The Playlist

5 Things You Might Not Know About Paul Verhoeven's 'Robocop,' Released 25 Years Ago Today

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 17, 2012 2:53 PM
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  • 5 Comments
We're just over a year away from seeing "Robocop" back on screens, in a remake/reboot with "Elite Squad" director Jose Padilha making his English-language debut on the film, and an impressive cast featuring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Abbie Cornish, Samuel L. Jackson and Hugh Laurie . A viral video has already appeared, and this weekend saw banners from the film debut at Comic-Con.

The Films Of Cameron Crowe: A Retrospective

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 13, 2012 2:11 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It may be hard to believe, but Cameron Crowe is 55 today. The eternally boyish journalist turned writer-director feels, perhaps because of his alter-ego in "Almost Famous," as though he'll always be seventeen. But for a certain generation, he's been a figurehead for his journalism (at Rolling Stone and elsewhere), his screenwriting (of seminal teen flick "Fast Times At Ridgemont High," most notably), and for his direction, starting with 1989's "Say Anything" through to last year's charming semi-return-to-form "We Bought A Zoo."

5 Things You Might Not Know About Disney's 'Tron,' Released 30 Years Ago Today

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 9, 2012 10:55 AM
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  • 1 Comment
As has been discussed ad infinitum this year, on its 30th anniversary, the summer of 1982 holds a very special place in the hearts of geeks of a certain age; between May and August, a number of films now deemed genre classics hit theaters, proving to be a life-changing experience for many. "Conan The Barbarian," "E.T," "Blade Runner," "The Thing," "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan" -- all have only grown in reputation over time. And one of the last of that wave, Disney's "Tron," perhaps inspired one of the most fervent cults of them all.

The Essentials: The 5 Best John Frankenheimer Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 6, 2012 1:57 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Few filmmakers these days name John Frankenheimer as an influence. He was never particularly trendy, never embraced by the auteurists or overtly paid homage by those who came after. In part, it's because of some of his later projects; the commercial failure of thriller "Black Sunday" in 1977 drove him to alcoholism that lasted for several years (it was only when he was reduced to drinking on the set of martial arts actioner "The Challenge" in 1981 that he checked himself into rehab), and some of his later projects, including his final film, "Reindeer Games," and the famous disaster "The Island Of Doctor Moreau" (on which the helmer replaced Richard Stanley several weeks into production) meant his critical reputation took a hit.

5 Things You May Not Know About 'Do The Right Thing'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 2, 2012 8:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments
On a weekend where record temperatures were being recorded in New York City, and elsewhere in the U.S., it's appropriate that two of the best films in theaters, "Magic Mike" and "Take This Waltz," both revolve around long, hot summers. And it's doubly appropriate that Saturday also marked the anniversary of perhaps the definitive heatwave movie: Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing." Of course, Lee's masterpiece isn't just a look at Brooklyn over a boiling hot summer day, it's also one of the greatest American films in the history of the medium, one whose critical reputation has only grown since Kim Basinger's protestation on stage at the Oscars the following year that it was the best film of 1989, and yet hadn't been nominated (although Danny Aiello got a nod, as did Lee's screenplay).

5 Things You Might Not Know About John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 25, 2012 1:58 PM
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  • 4 Comments
June 25, 1982, was a good day for genre fans. Hell, that summer saw a spate of genre classics released, including "The Road Warrior," "Poltergeist," and "E.T." But June 25th in particular saw not only the release, as we discussed earlier today, of "Blade Runner," but also another legendary sci-fi picture, which like Ridley Scott's film, wasn't well-received at the time, and flopped at the box office, but went on to be enshrined in the geek hall of fame. No, it's not Barry Bostwyck vehicle "MegaForce," it was John Carpenter's terrifying "The Thing," which despite the efforts of last year's poor retread/prequel, remains one of the greatest sci-fi/horrors ever made.

Wake Up, Time To Die: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Blade Runner'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 25, 2012 12:02 PM
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  • 7 Comments
One of the many reasons "Prometheus" was eagerly anticipated by so many was the director's track record in the sci-fi genre. Ridley Scott had only made two science fiction pictures before this year's blockbuster, and both are considered classics (and arguably his best two films). The first was 1979's "Alien," the direct inspiration for "Prometheus." And the second? 1982's "Blade Runner," the noirish mystery, and adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep," which has been one of the most talked about and influential science fiction films of all time, particularly in terms of its grim look at Los Angeles in 2019.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Nicole Kidman Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 20, 2012 2:42 PM
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  • 24 Comments
Few actresses seem to make as diverse an array of choices as Nicole Kidman. The actress has spent the last decade or two as one of the few actresses who can truly call themselves A-list, but swings between incredibly bold, interesting choices with world-class filmmakers, and nearly irredeemable crap ("Bewtiched," "The Stepford Wives," "The Invasion," "Trespass"). She rarely gives a turn that's anything less than totally committed, but one always feels a little nervous settling in for a new Kidman flick.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Roman Polanski's 'Chinatown'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 20, 2012 12:00 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Is there such a thing as a perfect film? Perhaps. You could certainly argue that personal taste plays into the question of perfection too much -- one man's triumph is another's disaster. And even so, there are so many possible things that can go wrong with a film -- one duff performance, one ill-conceived shot, one poorly-written scene -- that it's almost an impossible task. But dammit if we don't consider "Chinatown" to be as close as you can get to being perfect.

20th Anniversary: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Batman Returns'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 19, 2012 10:58 AM
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  • 22 Comments
We’re on the eve of a brand new Batman blockbuster, next month’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” which will feature Anne Hathaway as the semi-villainous cat burglar Selina Kyle who prowls the streets at night as Catwoman. While Christopher Nolan and co. have given some real-world explanations for her eccentricities (her night vision goggles prop up on her head like cat’s ears), the hardest task in defining Catwoman for a new generation will be getting out from under the shadow of Michelle Pfeiffer, whose portrayal in Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns” remains one of the towering performances in all of comic book moviedom.

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