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The Playlist

Looking Back On 20 Years Of 'Candyman': What's Blood If Not For Spilling?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 16, 2012 1:23 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman. One silly sounding word repeated five times into a mirror, which unleashes all kinds of mayhem -- and, as it happens, one of the more original horror creations of the last few decades. The hook-handed son of a slave (as embodied by Tony Todd) summoned by the chanting of his name, created by horror legend Clive Barker (along with writer/director Bernard Rose), he's appeared in three films to date. And while the substandard sequels saw the character lose his luster, it doesn't change the fact that the original "Candyman," which was released twenty years ago today on October 16th, 1992, is a fairly superior and unusually intelligent horror flick.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Princess Bride' On Its 25th Anniversary

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 25, 2012 12:01 PM
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  • 2 Comments
The bargain bins of the world are littered with attempts to make films for the whole family. Making something that will please young kids, grandparents, and everyone in between (a four-quadrant hit, as studio types call it) is a tough nut to crack. But one of the most enduring family favorites of the last few decades is one that, against the odds, managed to thrill audiences, make them laugh, and make them swoon: Rob Reiner's "The Princess Bride."

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'L.A. Confidential'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 19, 2012 12:07 PM
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  • 8 Comments
It's safe to say that "L.A. Confidential" wasn't greeted with especially high expectations in the run up to its release. James Ellroy's 1990 book, the third of his "L.A. Quartet" (preceded by "The Black Dahlia" and "The Big Nowhere," and completed by "White Jazz") was a favorite among crime fans, but hardly a best seller. Screenwriter Brian Helgeland was known only for "Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" and a rewrite of actioner "Assassins." Director Curtis Hanson was well-liked, but mostly known for mid-level programmers like "Bad Influence," "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" and "The River Wild." And the cast was led by two virtual unknowns from the Southern Hemisphere, with the most recognizable names in the cast being Kim Basinger, whose career was a little on the outs, comedy actor Danny DeVito and recently Oscar-nominated character actor Kevin Spacey.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Bonnie & Clyde'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 14, 2012 3:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It's almost impossible to overstate the influence of Arthur Penn's "Bonnie & Clyde." It wasn't alone as one of the film breaking down the walls of a "new cinema" -- Michaelangelo Antonioni's "Blow Up" had turned heads the previous year, and Mike Nichols' "The Graduate" helped with the impression of the changing of the guard when it followed a few months later. But it was Penn's film (written by journalists Robert Benton and David Newman, with a polish from Robert Towne and produced by Warren Beatty), which told the story of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, the Depression-era bank robbing duo, that really felt like the lightning strike, bringing the techniques, sexuality, violence and cool-factor of European cinema to a mainstream audience for the first time.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 13, 2012 1:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
One of the trickier genres to get right is the teen comedy. Walking the line between not condescending to a high-school-age audience and yet also not alienating them is a difficult balance, let alone making a film that doesn't age, feels truthful, and can be smart and funny as well. And one of the finest examples of the genre remains to this day, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

5 Of Dustin Hoffman's Most Underrated Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 9, 2012 10:01 AM
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  • 13 Comments
There’s a certain generation of male stars who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s who signify that golden age of American cinema, starring in some of the most acclaimed films of that era while also maintaining long careers as box office draws that continue to this day. Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty -- a line-up of actors that, for the most part, puts today’s A-listers to shame. And the unlikeliest of them all is Dustin Hoffman.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Stanley Kubrick's 'Full Metal Jacket'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 7, 2012 11:22 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Stanley Kubrick was never the most prolific of filmmakers, but his productivity slowed right down in the last couple of decades of his life; while there were several projects he worked on that never got made, including "Napoleon" and "A.I.," the director only made three films in the last twenty years of his career. And sandwiched between 1980's "The Shining" and 1999's posthumously-released "Eyes Wide Shut" was his Vietnam war epic "Full Metal Jacket."

5 Things You Might Not Know About Brad Bird's 'The Iron Giant'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 6, 2012 1:19 PM
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  • 14 Comments
These days, Brad Bird is one of the most sought after directors around. He helmed "The Incredibles" for Pixar, still one of the company's best and biggest hits, and took over troubled project "Ratatouille" at the last minute, helping turn it into another classic, and another global hit. And last year, he made his live-action debut with the thrilling "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," which became the biggest film of Tom Cruise's career, and will follow it up in the near future with the Damon Lindelof-penned sci-fi "1952."

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Lost Boys' On Its 25th Anniversary

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 1, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Vampires are pretty much everywhere these days, with the "Twilight" franchise and TV's "The Vampire Diaries" gripping the imagination of teen audiences the world over. In part, it's because of the element of sexuality inherent in vampires, something that's been present ever since the archetype was born in Bram Stoker's "Dracula." But the idea of vampires appealing to teens, now something worth billions of dollars, can be traced directly back to one film: Joel Schumacher's 1987 film "The Lost Boys."

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Deliverance,' Released 40 Years Ago Today

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 30, 2012 1:11 PM
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  • 2 Comments
For a film just entering its fifth decade, "Deliverance" still maintains a real power to horrify. Based on James Dickey's poetic novel, and adapted by the writer himself, it follows four friends (Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox) who go for a canoeing trip together in the Georgia wilderness, only to come into terrifying conflict with some inbred locals. And that plotline taps into very primal fears -- man vs. nature, town vs. country -- and perhaps most memorably, it preys on masculinity, thanks to film's unforgetabble rape sequence.

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