The Playlist

Happy Birthday Stanley Kubrick! Watch Full 2 Hour 20 Minute Doc 'Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 26, 2013 2:16 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Were the late Stanley Kubrick still alive, he'd be celebrating his 85th birthday today, and undoubtedly be working on a new film that would puzzle, delight, fascinate and intrigue and keep him in the ranks of the cinema's foremost talents. To speak of his influence would be redundant—you should already know that his filmography just in terms of ambition and accomplishment has been matched by very few, if any directors. And even as Spike Lee listed "Paths Of Glory," "Spartacus" and "Dr. Strangelove" as the essential Kubrick movies every filmmaker should see, you could easily toss in "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Barry Lyndon" and "A Clockwork Orange," and few would debate you.

Nicole Kidman's 5 Bravest Roles

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • June 20, 2013 3:03 PM
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  • 15 Comments
While in everyday life it may conjure images of people charging into burning houses or diving into choppy oceans to save drowning dogs, “bravery” has a rather different connotation when applied to Hollywood actors and their choice of roles. Threatening to simply become a byword for “gets his/her kit off” or “plays a gay character,” the word "bravery" as critical currency has perhaps been a little undermined by reductive overuse. But there is still value in separating the kinds of performances that are calculated simply to rake in dollars, raise profiles or cement a star persona from those that seem chosen to test an actor's limits and challenge the audience’s expectations. For the sake of argument, the latter roles are the ones we’re labelling “brave” here, which comes in handy when discussing the varied and thriving career of Nicole Kidman, who turns 46 today. This time last year we talked about her 5 Essential Performances, and while there's obviously some overlap, this year we thought instead about which we might consider her bravest.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Tim Burton's 'Beetlejuice'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 29, 2013 11:00 AM
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  • 22 Comments
This week, Tim Burton's wild supernatural comedy "Beetlejuice" turns a whopping 25 years old. A funny/scary ode to both the potential liveliness of haunted houses and the deathly drudgery of everyday life, it stars Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as the Maitlands, a pair of suburban Connecticut softies who, after their death in a tragi-comic automobile accident, have to try and spook the upper crust Manhattanites named the Deetzes who have taken up residence in their home (the all-star family consists of Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara as the parents and Winona Ryder as Lydia, their sullen daughter). Since they don't have what it takes to scare away their new houseguests, they have to call on Betelgeuse (an unstoppable Michael Keaton), a self-styled "bio-exorcist," to get rid of them. And all hell (quite literally) breaks loose.

5 Things You Might Not Know About The Coens' Cult Classic 'The Big Lebowski'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 6, 2013 1:06 PM
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  • 23 Comments
Aside from perhaps "The Ladykillers" (and even that film features a great Tom Hanks performance, at least), it's hard to find at least one Coen Brothers movie that doesn't have passionate supporters that declare it the best thing the directing duo ever made. From debut "Blood Simple" to the recent megahit western "True Grit," every Coen picture has its advocate (this writer has an unconditional adoration of their 1994 commercial disaster "The Hudsucker Proxy," for instance). But none of their films are more beloved than "The Big Lebowski."

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Groundhog Day' On Its 20th Anniversary

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 12, 2013 1:04 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Twenty years ago today, on February 12th, 1993, Harold Ramis' comedy "Groundhog Day" opened in theaters. Twenty years ago today to the day, on February 12th, 1993, Harold Ramis' comedy "Groundhog Day" opened in theaters. Twenty years ago today to the day, on February 12th, 1993, Harold Ra-- sorry, we're not sure what came over us there. The film stars Bill Murray as crotchety weatherman Phil Connors, forced to go to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the annual Groundhog Day celebrations -- where, as legend has, a groundhog may or may not see its shadow, portending whether an early spring is coming, or if another six weeks of winter lie ahead.

The Essentials: 5 Great Ernst Lubitsch Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • November 30, 2012 2:20 PM
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  • 11 Comments
Sadly, the name Ernst Lubitsch isn't one that's batted around much by the hip young gunslingers of the movie world. Given that he passed away in the 1940s, there are many whose grandparents were barely out of short trousers the last time a Lubitsch picture was in theaters, and only a few filmmakers (Wes Anderson the most recent) mention him as a touchstone these days. But we're firmly of the belief that cinema would be much improved if every screenwriter and director sat down for a weekend with the films of the much-missed director.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Casablanca' On Its 70th Anniversary

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 26, 2012 1:57 PM
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  • 3 Comments
A little over 70 years ago, Allied troops had invaded and freed French North Africa from Nazi occupation. And aside from helping to turn the tide of the war, it proved to be something of a boon for Warner Bros. as the company had just completed a film called "Casablanca," which was set among the resistance movement in the Moroccan city under German occupation. The film hadn't been greenlit with high hopes and was generally seen as something of filler material, intended to cash in on the recent success of the now-mostly-forgotten "Algiers."

5 Things You Should Know About The Making Of 'No Country For Old Men'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 9, 2012 3:40 PM
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  • 1 Comment
At the start of 2007, the Coen Brothers were not in a good place in their careers. Even after the major success of "O Brother Where Art Thou" and the critical acclaim of "The Man Who Wasn't There," they weren't able to get their Brad Pitt-starring adaptation of James Dickey's WWII novel "To the White Sea" financed, and two commercially-aimed star-laden pictures, "Intolerable Cruelty" and "The Ladykillers," had disappointed financially and seen them pick up the worst reviews of their careers.

5 Things You May Not Know About Alfred Hitchcock's 'Spellbound'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 31, 2012 1:57 PM
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  • 2 Comments
We're of the general opinion that you can never get enough Hitchcock, and while we've just wrapped up our massive retrospective of the director's works, to celebrate the release of a new Blu-ray boxset of his work, today has another Hitch connection. These days, Halloween means "Paranormal Activity" sequels in theaters (and before that, "Saw" movies), but in the past, when the holiday wasn't such a corporate behemoth, more interesting fare made it to theaters for that time of year. And October 31st, 1945 saw the release of Hitchcock's "Spellbound."

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Reservoir Dogs'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 23, 2012 1:47 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Prepare to feel very, very old indeed -- twenty years ago today, on October 23rd 1992, "Reservoir Dogs" was released in theaters, introducing the world to a 29-year-old video store clerk turned filmmaker with an encyclopaedic knowledge of film named Quentin Tarantino. But even in the months beforehand, his feature directorial debut, "Reservoir Dogs" had already started to upend the American independent film movement but with tremendously well received screenings at Sundance, Cannes and Toronto.

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