The Playlist

Survive Hard: All The Times John McClane Should Have Died In The ‘Die Hard’ Series

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • February 13, 2013 12:58 PM
  • |
  • 6 Comments
In 1988, when the first "Die Hard" was released, Bruce Willis' everyday action hero John McClane was something of an anomaly. This was the era of the invincible action superstar – people like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who would waltz through action movies firing machine guns, surviving explosions with the casualness of someone doing laundry or putting up wallpaper. With "Die Hard," McClane was a new kind of hero -- a New York City cop who is afraid of flying, who's deeply insecure about his marriage and who, once bank-robbing terrorists seize a Los Angeles skyscraper, forgets his shoes, embodied by an actor most knew from a primetime comedy. And while there are plenty of instances where he survives against all odds, he also gets cut, bleeds, and screws up – things that these Reagan-era he-men rarely (if ever) did. As the series progressed, things became more and more cartoon-y for John McClane, until, by the fourth film, he was just as undefeatable as the heroes he was once such a refreshing antithesis to.

John Williams Turned Down Scoring 'Heaven's Gate' & More Learned From The Criterion Edition Of Michael Cimino's Cult Film

  • By Simon Abrams
  • |
  • November 29, 2012 10:59 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
A critical re-assessment of "Heaven's Gate" is now underway thanks in no small part to the Criterion Collection, who just released on DVD and Blu Ray the new 2K restoration of the controversial 1980 Michael Cimino-directed western. The film's notoriously troubled production history, scathing first-run reviews and poor initial box office is the stuff of “movie disaster” legend, and understandably downplayed in this new, director-approved release.

Interview: John Hillcoat Talks The Top 5 Influences For His Prohibition-Era Gangster Movie 'Lawless'

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • November 28, 2012 11:00 AM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
This past summer, "Lawless," a gripping, based-on-a-true-story gangster movie from Australian director John Hillcoat, opened and closed without much fanfare, despite its uniformly excellent cast (included: Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Shia LeBeouf, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska and Gary Oldman) and the fact that it was a really terrific movie. Thankfully, if you missed it in the theaters, you have a second chance as "Lawless" debuts on Blu-ray, DVD and iTunes this week. To mark the occasion, we got to speak to Hillcoat about the top five films that influenced his thrilling film.

Sacha Gervasi Shot & Mostly Cut His Own Cameo In 'Hitchcock' & More About The Master Of Suspense

  • By Jen Vineyard
  • |
  • November 21, 2012 1:59 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
In Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock,” Anthony Hopkins plays the legendary director, and Helen Mirren his wife and often unacknowledged collaborative partner. On the surface, the film is about the making of "Psycho" -- and great fun is there to be had with recreating some of the key moments of that movie, including a shower scene with Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh -- but even more so, the film is a love story (about both the married couple who made the film possible by mortgaging their home and their mutual love of film).

8 Things Learned About 'Sunset Boulevard' Now Out On Blu-Ray/DVD

  • By Rodrigo Perez
  • |
  • November 16, 2012 11:04 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Man, you gotta love the wit and bite of Billy Wilder. It's hard to pick a best film from the great Austrian-born American filmmaker who made an indelible mark on Hollywood in the '40s, '50s and '60s, making major contributions to American cinema with "Some Like It Hot," "Stalag 13," “The Apartment,” the rediscovered acidic gem "Ace In The Hole," “Double Indemnity” and “The Lost Weekend,” to name just a few (you can dive into our full-blown retrospective to get our take on all his work). But if you had to choose one picture to represent the greatness of Wilder you might be forced to acknowledge the sheer brilliance of perhaps his best known film, "Sunset Boulevard,” his last collaboration with his screenwriting partner Charles Brackett.

The Essentials: 5 Amazing Joe Wright Scenes You Need To Know

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • November 15, 2012 1:14 PM
  • |
  • 6 Comments
In just five movies, British director Joe Wright has established himself as a master stylist with an almost painterly eye for shot compositions and spatial geography. On the eve of his newest film, "Anna Karenina," we thought we would go through the five most amazing shots in his oeuvre (whittling them down was something of a challenge). As an added bonus, we got to talk to Seamus McGarvey, the cinematographer behind behind three of the five scenes, including the one from "Anna Karenina," about what it was like crafting these truly unforgettable moments. We've included the scenes where possible, but of course, you can check out each of these films on home video.

The Films Of Spike Lee: A Retrospective

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • August 10, 2012 4:05 PM
  • |
  • 32 Comments
If this weekend feels special for movie fans, it's not because of the trio of big-name blockbusters hitting theaters, it's because it sees a new dramatic feature -- the first in four years -- from Spike Lee, one of the most talented, idiosyncratic, maddening and controversial American filmmakers of the last thirty years. It's a rarity for a director to be instantly, iconically recognizable, but Lee's one of the exceptions, gaining visibility through starring roles in his early films, a famous appearance in a Nike ad alongside Michael Jordan, and plenty of moments when he's spoken his mind and caused an uproar.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Sam Fuller Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • August 10, 2012 3:49 PM
  • |
  • 8 Comments
The great Sam Fuller began life as a crime reporter at the age of 17, before writing pulp novels and doing mostly uncredited work on screenplays through the 1930s (his first credit was on 1936's "Hats Off"). He served in World War Two, seeing action in France, Italy and North Africa, as well as being present at (and filming) the liberation of the concentration camp at Sokolov. By the time he came to direct in 1939 -- having been inspired by his anger at what Douglas Sirk did to his screenplay "Shockproof" -- Fuller would infuse his work with his experience as both a journalist and a soldier.

The Films Of Sidney Lumet: A Retrospective

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • April 9, 2012 11:00 AM
  • |
  • 13 Comments
Lumet was never fancy. He never needed to be, as a master of blocking, economic camera movements and framing that empowered the emotion and or exact punctuation of a particular scene. First and foremost, as you’ve likely heard ad nauseum -- but hell, it’s true -- Lumet was a storyteller, and one that preferred his beloved New York to soundstages (though let's not romanticize it too much, he did his fair share of work on studio film sets too as most TV journeyman and early studio filmmakers did).

Woody Allen & Dick Cavett Look Back At 'Radio Days' In Candid Conversation At 92Y

  • By Cory Everett
  • |
  • February 23, 2012 9:56 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
With the Academy Awards almost here at last we can finally put a capper on 2011. One of last year’s most unexpected success stories was “Midnight In Paris,” which is currently nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, as well as Best Original Screenplay for Woody Allen. Allen’s 41st feature film was also his highest grossing of all time, but in all likelihood he'll be skipping the festivities at the Kodak Theater this Sunday. Instead, the filmmaker decided to drop in to the 92Y in New York with his old friend, talk show host Dick Cavett for a discussion about his early days in Brooklyn, the golden age of radio and his 1987 film “Radio Days” which screened immediately following the discussion.

Email Updates

Recent Comments