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The Playlist

The Essentials: The Films Of Claude Chabrol

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • September 22, 2011 5:04 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Claude Chabrol
Looking at the core French New Wave movement in broad strokes, you essentially get five Cahiers Du Cinéma critics-turned-filmmakers: Jean-Luc Godard, the all-you-need-is-a-gun-and-a-woman, pop-cinema deconstructionist turned oblique radical; François Truffaut, the humanist with an affinity for childhood; Eric Rohmer, the genial comedic moralist; opaque experimentalist Jacques Rivette; and then, over in the corner, Claude Chabrol. Considered by many to be the most mainstream of the group, with his sinister, provocative, Hitchockian impulses, the filmmaker was also appraised as a distant, sometimes aloof formalist, given his objectivist proclivity for eye-of-god morality tales that generally end in tragedy.

The Road To 'Drive': The Films Of Nicolas Winding Refn

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • September 20, 2011 4:56 AM
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  • 13 Comments
After months of build-up, moviegoers finally got a look at "Drive," the much-acclaimed crime thriller by Nicolas Winding Refn, this weekend. With a C- Cinemascore (whatever that's worth), it's clearly a divisive picture, but there's been enough passion spent on the film, here and elsewhere, to suggest that plenty of discerning cinephiles have fallen for it in the way that several Playlist staffers have in recent weeks. And if you were one of them, Refn might have been a new face for you; the director has been active for fifteen years now, but only really started to come to attention of U.S. film fans in the last few years (or arguably, months), thanks to a pair of English-language pictures.

Post-Fall Film Festival Season: Five Movies We're Still Eagerly Awaiting

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 19, 2011 4:22 AM
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  • 20 Comments
And Five We're Worried About/DreadingWith the Toronto International Film Festival now over, the dust is beginning to settle on 2011 and we're moving into the final stage of the fall movie season. Many, if not most, of autumn's Oscar season big hitters have now been revealed, leaving principally commercial fare, and a few prestige-y films that are rushing towards completion. As ever, the benefits of opening your Christmas presents early is a mixed bag; it means that we're able to firmly recommend some big fall films, movies like "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Shame" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin." It means we can also tell you to be wary of the likes of "W.E." and "Butter."

Who Were The Winners And Losers Of The Summer Of 2011?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 30, 2011 4:08 AM
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  • 24 Comments
As the summer winds die down with a flat and uninspired whimper, the realization sets in: the summer of 2011 was for the birds. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was the last major tent-pole to open, followed by sleeper hits like "The Help" and the not-so-successful R-rated action comedy, "30 Minutes or Less." Many had forecast that the overstuffed summer would prove disastrous, with Jon Favreau predicting that, "There’s not a weekend where there won’t be teeth on the floor," but ironically it's Favreau's film that proved to be one of the biggest box-office disappointments. Financially, films did very well with three billion-dollar blockbusters – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”-- helping the industry set a summer box-office record and nearly rebound from a horrible start to 2011 (Currently, 2011 revenue is running only 4 percent behind 2010, but in March, things were looking grim – 19% lower than the year previous).

The Playlist Informs On You: 16 Notable Whistleblower Movies

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 5, 2011 6:03 AM
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  • 7 Comments
The idea of the insider who, despite pressure from authorities, employers, families and friends, decides to do the right thing and blow the whole operation sky high, has been the source of some pretty terrific drama for getting on half a century now. The latest addition to the canon is "The Whistleblower," which sees Rachel Weisz as a U.N. operative who risks everything to expose a sex trafficking scandal among her colleagues.

The Films Of Rainer Werner Fassbinder: A Retrospective

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 29, 2011 5:39 AM
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  • 12 Comments
"I'd like to be for cinema what Shakespeare was for theatre, Marx for politics and Freud for psychology: someone after whom nothing is as it used to be,” German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder once declared, likely half-seriously, half facetiously.

The Amazing Race: 10 Dark Horses That Could Shake Up The Awards Season

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 29, 2011 4:27 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Last time we talked about the awards race, we were halfway through the year, and it was anyone's game, with only a handful of even vaguely serious contenders emerging both from wide releases, and from the festivals up to Cannes. Our conclusion was that only "Midnight in Paris," "The Artist" and "The Tree of Life" were real contenders, with a handful of other films looking like they might pick up nominations here and there, but unlikely to be in the final ten.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Harrison Ford Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 28, 2011 4:03 AM
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  • 8 Comments
For a time in the 1980s and 1990s, Harrison Ford was untouchable, and basically the biggest movie star in the world. He'd cropped up in bits and pieces in the 1970s (most notably small roles in "American Graffiti" and "The Conversation,") but Han Solo turned him into an instant matinee screen idol: he was the beating human heart in George Lucas' "Star Wars," cynical and vulnerable at once, the figure that made all the cosmic silliness fly with audiences, and appropriately became the franchise's biggest break-out star. Only a few years later, lightning struck again, when he was made the last minute replacement for Tom Selleck in Lucas and Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark," a hall-of-fame action-adventure that would spawn three sequels.

When Celebrated Directors Lose The Plot: Interesting Left Turns And Failures In An Auteur's Oeuvre

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 21, 2011 6:55 AM
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  • 86 Comments
Even the greatest of auteurs in cinema generally take one or two big missteps in their careers, either early on -- as happened to a lot of the Easy Riders/Raging Bulls generation of American filmmakers, bringing their hirsute hubris down to earth with a bump -- or later, when poor judgement and a degree of fossilisation can cloud a director’s vision -- see Quentin Tarantino’s remarks, for example, about not wanting to be a "geriatric" filmmaker, making films deep into his old age because this is when filmmakers generally lose their mojo, or Steven Soderbergh’s early retirement plans, which he hopes will see him exit filmmaking at the top of his game.

As 'The Dark Tower' Crumbles, Here Are 10 Dead Projects In Search Of Resurrection

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 21, 2011 3:56 AM
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  • 3 Comments
One of the more ambitious projects in recent memory, "The Dark Tower," was canceled earlier this week by Universal Pictures. It's not a surprise, as the studio also recently put the kibosh on a $150 million-budgeted R-rated take on "At the Mountains of Madness" by Guillermo del Toro and Ron Howard, and Akiva Goldsman's multi-platform, multi-film Stephen King adaptation was arguably more risky and definitely much more expensive. We here at The Playlist root for movies to be good, but we mostly root for movies to be made, for a director to complete their vision and for it to have a chance to reach an audience and possibly become a part of the popular culture.

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