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.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 15, 2012 11:58 AM
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  • 5 Comments
What's the greatest Alfred Hitchcock film? Every film fan will have a different answer, with "The 39 Steps," "Rebecca," "Spellbound," "Notorious," "Rear Window," "Vertigo" and "North By Northwest" all making compelling cases for being the very best. But few of his films had such an impact on cinema as "Psycho," the 1960s thriller that saw him go into darker, more shocking territory than ever before, with some of the most famous sequences in the history of the medium.

10th Anniversary: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Bourne Identity'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 14, 2012 2:01 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Ten years and one day ago, Doug Liman was an independent director with a couple of critical favorites behind him. Ten years and one day ago, Matt Damon was the promising writer/star of "Good Will Hunting" who's seemingly squandered his potential on a string of questionable choices, kept on the A-list only by his presence in "Ocean's Eleven." Ten years and one day ago, the spy genre was increasingly tired, with the Bond movies moving into new levels of ridiculousness (that year's "Die Another Day" would introduce Madonna and invisible cars to the series).

25th Anniversary: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Predator'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 12, 2012 11:00 AM
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  • 9 Comments
On June 12th, 1987, audiences around the country got their first look at that (to borrow one of the more quotable bits from the movie) ugly motherfucker that is "Predator." It heralded a number of promising new stars – most notably Arnold Schwarzenegger finally getting a bona fide blockbuster after sleeper hits like "The Terminator" and "Conan The Barbarian" – and director John McTiernan would emerge as one of the freshest, most stylish voices in action filmmaking since John Ford.

30th Anniversary: 5 Things You Might Not Know About Steven Spielberg's Classic 'E.T.'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 11, 2012 2:48 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Thirty is a tricky birthday for anyone - your twenties are in the rear-view mirror, and your forties start to sneak up (can you tell this writer is getting closer to the magic 3-0?...). But it's also the point at which you can reach a certain respectability, start to push towards (whisper it) adulthood, and make it clear that you're here to stay. All of which is a long-winded and possibly over-sharing way of saying that thirty years ago today, on June 11, 1982, "E.T: The Extra Terrestrial" was released in theaters.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Joe Dante's 'Gremlins'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 8, 2012 3:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
June 8th, 1984 was a great day for movie nerds, particularly those with an affection for special effects, scares and belly laughs. Not only did they get "Ghostbusters" in theaters that day (as we've already looked at, but they also got "Gremlins," the subversive PG-rated horror-comedy from the A-list trio of writer Chris Columbus, director Joe Dante and producer Steven Spielberg.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Ghostbusters'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • June 8, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Remember 1984’s “GhostSmashers” aka “GhostStoppers”? Of course you do. With a star-studded cast featuring John Belushi (Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), Jeff Goldblum (Egon Spengler), Eddie Murphy (Winston Zeddemore), John Candy (Louis), Sandra Bernhard (Janine) and Paul Reubens (Ivo Shandar/Gozer), the future-set supernatural comedy in which roving teams of ghost catchers protect humanity from the supernatural, directed by Ivan Reitman, cost a whopping $300 million to make, featured hundreds of monsters, including a giant marshmallow man, and spawned not one but two sequels; the second of which got smoothly underway recently with the full, gracious participation of all of the original cast.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Richard Donner & Steven Spielberg's 'The Goonies'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 7, 2012 11:05 AM
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  • 2 Comments
In the last couple of years, a spate of films, from Joe Cornish's "Attack The Block" to J.J. Abrams' "Super 8," have named one film as a particular influence: Richard Donner's "The Goonies," the 1985 kids' adventure film that served as part of the 1980s golden age of Amblin, Steven Spielberg's production company. Following a group of working class kids from the 'Goon Docks' of Astoria, Oregon, on one last adventure before their homes are demolished, only to end up on a quest, and pursued by a vicious criminal family, the Fratellis, the film is a rollicking adventure that also had a particular feel for the friendships between kids.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 4, 2012 11:02 AM
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  • 7 Comments
While "Star Trek" is now a huge, beloved franchise, recently reinvigorated by J.J. Abrams' reboot (and, fingers crossed, next year's sequel to that film), it wasn't always like that. The original 1960s series had low ratings, and only lasted three seasons, and while success in syndication let to a film version being greenlit in the aftermath of "Star Wars," that film, 1979's "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," proved hugely expensive, and less profitable than Paramount had hoped.

The Essentials: 5 Great Howard Hawks Films

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 30, 2012 10:56 AM
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  • 2 Comments
We love a chamelonic director here at The Playlist, and Howard Hawks was one of the first, and one of the best. Across a 55-year career that spanned silents and talkies, black-and-white and color, Hawks tackled virtually every genre under the sun, often turning out films that still stand as among the best in that style. Romantic comedy? Two of the finest ever. War? "To Have And Have Not" and "Sergeant York," the latter of which won him his only Best Director Academy Award nomination (though he did win an Honorary Award in 1975, two years before his death). Science-fiction? The much ripped-off "The Thing From Another World." Gangster movies? "Scarface," which practically invented a whole genre. From film noir and melodrama to Westerns and musicals, Hawks took them all in his stride.

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