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The Playlist

Retrospective: The Films Of Wong Kar-Wai

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 19, 2013 2:00 PM
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  • 10 Comments
Retro: The Films of Wong Kar Wai
Perhaps the best way to describe Shanghai-born, Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai is as a fetishist of romance. Throughout his entire career, which spans four decades of filmmaking, the director has manifested his obsessive preoccupation with details and minutiae time and again; the little fleeting moments and impressions that that add up to a mood. “I’ve never worked with someone who’s put so much emphasis on a single moment,” Jude Law said in a New York Times interview in 2008, describing an entire night of shooting devoted to different angles and set-ups on a kiss within “My Blueberry Nights.”

Killer Kids: 5 Unforgettably Lethal Children In Film

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 15, 2013 1:04 PM
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  • 17 Comments
Killer Kids: 5 Of The Most Lethal Children In Film
One of the touchstones of the horror genre are movies that involve the "scary little kid"—things like "The Omen," "Village of the Damned," "The Innocents" and, more recently, movies like "Joshua" and "Orphan." In these films, childhood innocence is perverted, replaced by pure, blackened evil, and the results are often chilling. But a much more interesting sub-genre, one that "Kick-Ass 2" (opening this weekend) fully engages with is the "killer kid" genre. This is different than the "evil kid" strain because these children aren't necessarily evil (and there is no supernatural mumbo jumbo) but they can drop you like a bag of laundry just the same.

Robots, Spaceships & Jodie Foster: The Good, The Bad, And The Wildly Uneven Of 'Elysium'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 12, 2013 4:37 PM
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  • 29 Comments
Elysium
Few summer movies in 2013 were as highly anticipated as "Elysium" and few were as divisive. Perhaps it was because the promise of something meatier on the bone than the occasionally entertaining, but all too often disposable summer blockbusters. "Elysium" had the potential to hit all our sweet spot: brains, heart and brawn, and not just spectacle and scale. While the film topped the box office this past weekend with more than $30 million (a decent number, but not a great one considering its cost), it was less successful critically, earning a somewhat limp 60 on aggregator Metacritic and more than a few seesawing hands from the nation's top critics (you can read our review here). Set in the not-too-distant future, "Elysium" tells a zeitgeisty dystopian tale of a world with have and have nots; Earth is overpopulated, diseased, polluted and resource drained so the rich have moved up to their gated community in the sky while the 99% are stuck down on the garbage can that is the planet.

10 Futuristic Sci-Fi Movie Concepts That Could Actually Happen

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 8, 2013 1:04 PM
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  • 6 Comments
While star Matt Damon and writer/director Neill Blomkamp have been repeatedly stating that there is no inherent social message to their new futuristic thriller "Elysium" (review here), it's something of a dubious claim. There are a number of real-life social and political parallels that you can draw between burnt out future of "Elysium" and the slightly less charred world we live in today (everything from the Occupy movement to Blackwater's involvement in American military actions in the Middle East). And if it isn't a social commentary (as the filmmakers claim), at the very least, it is a work of extraordinarily vivid speculative science fiction, one in which Los Angeles looks like an unruly Mexico City (where they shot the film) and robots hassle you on your way to work. It's enough for us to start wondering which of the concepts trotted out in "Elysium" (and there were a bunch) have the possibility of actually coming true. If "Elysium" isn't a social movie now, it might be a crystal ball instead.

Retrospective: The Directorial Career Of Elaine May

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • August 8, 2013 12:03 PM
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  • 2 Comments
What is the statute of limitations on a notorious flop? Elaine May’s “Ishtar” finally gets a North American Blu-ray release this week (the rest of the world has had the DVD since 2004), a release that was itself delayed by two and a half years from its originally mooted date of January 2011—an ironic echo of the protracted and painful post-production process the film went through back in 1986/87. But then, nothing about the production and release of "Ishtar" was simple, just as there is nothing particularly straightforward about its brilliant, elusive and often "difficult" writer/director.

The 5 Best Episodes Of 'Breaking Bad'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 7, 2013 2:00 PM
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  • 16 Comments
This Sunday sees the beginning of the end of an era. Because on Sunday, AMC will premiere the first of the final eight episodes of "Breaking Bad," which over the last five-and-a-bit years has firmly taken its place among the pantheon of TV drama, winning an ever-growing following, rave reviews and fistfuls of awards. For the uninitiated (and really, how many of there can you be now?) the series follows Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a high school chemistry teacher already struggling to make ends meet when he's diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Desperate to provide for his family, he teams up with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), a deadbeat former student, to cook crystal meth. Complications, as you might imagine, ensue.

The 5 Ways Hollywood Gets Porn Wrong

  • By Ben Brock
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  • August 7, 2013 1:02 PM
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  • 26 Comments
Hollywood has a dirty secret... Alright, Hollywood has thousands and thousands of dirty secrets, but it has one that's extra-dirty, and extra-secret. It's this: it's not the only movie business in America, or California, or even L.A. Just up the road, there's a whole other system of studios and stars and sound-stages, and Hollywood really, really doesn't like to talk about it.

DVD Is The New Vinyl: Rock Hudson Has 'Seconds,' Nazi Escapes & 'Ishtar'

  • By Aaron Hillis
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  • August 6, 2013 3:06 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Before digging into early-to-mid August's disc highlights, I'd like to set the Way Back Machine to two weeks ago and point out some eclectic late-July gems we missed, such as Twilight Time's exquisite Blu-ray edition of Walter Hill's 1978 neo-noir "The Driver," Olive Films' unexpected release of Anthony Mann's 1958 brazen, quasi-hicksploitation melodrama "God's Little Acre," and the Warner Archive re-release of 1998's eccentrically funny "Zero Effect," starring Ben Stiller and Bill Pullman as a socially stunted private investigator. From Europe, Raro Video lived up to their name with a rare trilogy of gritty moralist thrillers in "Fernando di Leo: The Italian Crime Collection (Volume 2)," Music Box Films stressed us out with the terrifically icy German thriller "The Silence," and sci-fi didn't get more provocative than the erotic Lithuanian curiosity "Vanishing Waves" (which Artsploitation lovingly packaged as a two-DVD set that includes director Kristina Buozyte's feature debut "The Collectress"). Are you caught up? Super, let's push on...

Retrospective: The Directorial Career Of Paul Schrader

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 5, 2013 12:06 PM
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  • 11 Comments
With the screenplays for Sydney Pollack’s “The Yakuza” (1975), Brian De Palma’s “Obsession” (1976), John Flynn’s “Rolling Thunder,” Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” (1976) and “Raging Bull” (1980) under his belt, Paul Schrader's legacy as a seminal figure in 1970s American screenwriting was unassailably assured. Yet not only did he go on to write "The Mosquito Coast" and Scorsese's "The Last Temptation Of Christ," he has also enjoyed a long, diverse career as a director, with his most recent foray being released last week: the controversial, chatter-worthy "The Canyons" (you can read our review here).

8 Established Filmmakers Who Reinvented Themselves With Risky Low-Budget Efforts

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 1, 2013 3:57 PM
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  • 12 Comments
This Friday will see the VOD release of Paul Schrader's much talked about "The Canyons," a film both inspired by and conceived for the post-theatrical era (though it will receive a limited theatrical run starting out in NYC and Toronto). The film, which revolves around a toxic producer (adult star James Deen) and his girlfriend (Lindsay Lohan), is a collaboration between "American Psycho" author/enfant terrible Bret Easton Ellis and "Taxi Driver" scribe Schrader, whose directorial career includes "American Gigolo" and "Affliction." After the duo failed to get a studio-financed shark attack movie off the ground, they decided to pursue something on a smaller scale that would required fewer gatekeepers. Schrader's email to Ellis read, "Enough of this. Let's just do something ourselves. The economics are right. You write it, I'll direct it, we'll pay for it, and we'll make cinema for the post-theatrical era." And so "The Canyons" was born.

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