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The Playlist

The Essentials: 5 Great Films By Nicholas Ray

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 15, 2012 1:51 PM
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  • 6 Comments
While adored by the French and the Cahiers Du Cinema coterie that went on to become the rebellious French New Wave -- which spawned the oft-quoted Jean-Luc Godard phrase "cinema is Nicholas Ray" -- the American filmmaker never really received his due outside of the one film of his that most moviegoers have seen (and even then, they’re possibly unaware that he directed it): “Rebel Without A Cause.” And while that iconic 1950s film, with its audacious, expressionistic colors, its passionate angst and anguish, its mix of quiet machismo and vulnerability, is perhaps the cornerstone of many of Nicholas Ray’s films -- vibrant melodrama on the surface, percolating emotional agony within -- it’s certainly just the tip of iceberg when it comes to the director’s career.

The Films Of Sidney Lumet: A Retrospective

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 9, 2012 11:00 AM
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  • 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
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  • February 23, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 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.

The 5 Worst Best Picture Oscar Line-Ups Of All Time

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 20, 2012 2:57 PM
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  • 48 Comments
Alright, you've already seen our picks for the five best BEST Picture years, the Oscar years that you can actually look back on and not wince if you're a fan of movies and just-deserved prizes. So let's keep it simple: here are the five worst years below, the ones that make fans of cinema rather crazy and that have had people bitching about it ever since.

The Playlist's Most Anticipated Escapist/Popcorn Films Of 2012

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 5, 2012 10:31 AM
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  • 38 Comments
Admittedly, Team Playlist is an oddball collection of cinephiles, snobs and genre-dorks, sometimes only unified by one thing: a healthy dose of skepticism in a world largely occupied by wishful-thinking fanboys. But this diversity means that we can be at once cynical optimists and optimistic cynics.

The Films Of Steven Spielberg, Part Two: The Serious Fare

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 23, 2011 12:00 PM
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  • 8 Comments
It's the classic dilemma of the entertainer, perhaps best embodied in Preston Sturges' "Sullivan's Travels." After a decade or so of delighting audiences with thrills and wonder, Steven Spielberg decided he wanted to be taken seriously.

The Playlist Staff Pick Their Most Underrated & Overrated Films Of 2011

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 20, 2011 9:26 AM
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  • 66 Comments
One of the pecularities of our site is our insistence on writing in the third personn, something designed to create the impression of a collective, a hive mind, and it's served us fairly well so far. But the realities of this are a little trickier; we're not all programmed the same way, and our beloved readers, understandably, can be puzzled to see a film derided in a review, and then ranking highly in our end-of-year features. But the truth is, we're not all cut from the same cloth; one person's treasure can be another's trash, and the debates around The Playlist's proverbial water cooler rage on year-round (for some reason, we continue to fight about Polanski's "The Ghost Writer," two years after it came out).

The God Of Carnage: The Complete Films Of Roman Polanski

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 16, 2011 2:54 PM
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  • 13 Comments
With a career marked by controversy and tragedy, triumphs and disasters, that Roman Polanski has shaken off personal obstacles and professional setbacks is a feat in itself.

Hope You Like Synths: The Best Scores & Soundtracks Of 2011

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 14, 2011 2:29 PM
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  • 30 Comments
Way back in the day, The Playlist started as a site focused principally on the places where movies and music met, and in particular, on scores and soundtracks. We've widened our net in the intervening years simply because that sole focus felt too small and we're movie lovers just as much as music lovers, but that interest has never gone away. And how could it? In many ways, we've reached the most interesting time in film scoring in years, with 2011 in particular seeing a number of electronic artists bringing the synth back into fashion in a big way. Between these and last year's Daft Punk-abled "Tron: Legacy" score, has there ever been a time when movie music has been so, well, danceable?

From Bloody Murders To Bridesmaid Speeches: The 25 Best Movie Moments Of 2011

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 13, 2011 1:59 PM
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  • 49 Comments
The great Howard Hawks once famously said that what makes a good film is "three great scenes, and no bad ones." While we'd argue that that's not an absolute hard-and-fast rule, he wasn't far off. With 2011 providing a number of above-average films, there've been plenty of memorable moments to go around, even if we couldn't attest to them all following Hawks Law.

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