The Playlist

Review: 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx & Dane DeHaan

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • April 8, 2014 7:03 PM
  • |
  • 42 Comments
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Jamie Foxx
As far as superhero reboots go, "room for improvement" was probably the best way to sum up 2012's "The Amazing Spider-Man." Certainly financially, the film made a very healthy $750 million worldwide, but that's still less than any of the three Sam Raimi films that preceded it. And creatively, the film had some strong building blocks—an increased emphasis on romance, a hugely appealing central pairing in Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone (plus support from ringers like Sally Field and Martin Sheen), a bright sense of humor, a fresh-ish take on the characters—but a patchy script, disappointing action and lackluster villain meant that there was plenty of opportunity for a sequel to prove itself worth of the title "amazing."

BFI London Film Festival Review: 'Saving Mr. Banks' With Tom Hanks & Emma Thompson

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • October 20, 2013 6:00 PM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
Saving Mr. Banks
Though the general public doesn't always share their enthusiasm, Hollywood loves making movies about itself. Whether fictional or based in reality, it's rare for a year to pass without some kind of film about filmmaking, from classics like "Sunset Boulevard" and "Mulholland Drive" to, uh, not-classics like "Hitchcock." In recent years, "The Artist" and "Argo" have both been critical and commercial successes (and not coincidentally, Best Picture Oscar winners), and Disney are clearly hoping that the same kind of success follows for "Saving Mr. Banks," which examines one of the family friendly company's most beloved films, 1964's "Mary Poppins," and their own founder and figurehead, Walt Disney, here played by megastar Tom Hanks.

First Clip & New Photos From 'Parkland' Starring Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti & More

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • September 10, 2013 11:32 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Parkland, Efron
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, undoubtedly one of the central flashpoints of the modern American experience and a singular event that has inspired as much theorizing, speculation, and conjecture as any in history. Perhaps it is a result of its insolubility that it retains such an ability to capture our imagination endlessly, whatever the reason, the books and films keep on coming. The latest in JFK-assassination-related ephemera is "Parkland," a drama that looks at the events immediately following the president's murder, through a prism of characters who were on the ground in Dallas. The large ensemble includes Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti (as Zapruder!), Billy Bob Thornton, James Badge Dale, Jacki Weaver, Colin Hanks and Marcia Gay Harden. Now the first clip and a bunch of stills have been unveiled, so start your theorizing.

Watch: New Trailer For 'All Is Bright' Starring Paul Rudd & Paul Giamatti

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
  • |
  • September 6, 2013 9:30 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Paul Rudd,Paul Giamatti, Almost Christmas
It's been eight years waiting for a follow-up from Phil Morrison, director of the wry Oscar-nominated drama “Junebug,” and now that the occasion's finally arrived, he's unfortunately faced with being the second Paul Rudd two-hander this year. “All Is Bright,” which premiered in April at Tribeca (under the awful title “Almost Christmas”), sees Rudd paired with Paul Giamatti and selling Christmas trees to resistant passers-by. Hilarious, right? Well, a new trailer has dropped, suggesting that the tone for the film is more “Bad Santa” than “Prince Avalanche.” So that's something.

Review: DreamWorks Animation's 'Turbo' Featuring The Voices of Ryan Reynolds & Samuel L. Jackson

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • July 17, 2013 5:47 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
With some DreamWorks Animation movies, you can practically see and hear the pitch meeting that they came out of, as fully realized as any of the whiz-bang 3D computer graphics that will eventually coat movie theater screens nationwide. There are a few executives there, some animators, maybe one of the marketing guys (to represent such vaunted interests as toy manufacturers and video game designers). Someone yells out, "What about a panda bear that does kung fu?" and the rest of the room agrees (and the video game guy gets very excited). Or, in the case of this week's "Turbo," there was probably a meeting after it was widely reported that Disney makes something like $4 billion a year from selling stuff related to the Pixar movie "Cars." "What about a snail… That wants to be a racer?" You can picture the rest of the room sheepishly nodding their heads, and then the guys responsible for the actual movie sweating bullets because, good lord, how do you make an animated movie about a snail that wants to be an Indy 500 racer? It turns out: you don't.

Review: 'The Ides Of March' Is A Gripping Return To Form For Director George Clooney

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • October 6, 2011 2:05 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
The following is a reprint of our review from the Venice Film Festival

Watch: Trailer For Don Coscarelli's 'John Dies At The End' Starring Paul Giamatti

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • September 26, 2011 2:20 AM
  • |
  • 5 Comments
It's hard to believe it's been almost a decade since genre favorite Don Coscarelli delivered the outrageous "Bubba Ho-Tep." That film which pit Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell, of course) and JFK (Ossie Davis, naturally) against an Egyptian mummy was a hit, and while an idea for a sequel, "Bubba Nosferatu," knocked around for a while, it never really panned out. However, fans take heart as Coscarelli is back with a brand new feature and his flair for the weird is still very much intact.

Review: 'Ironclad' Is Made Of Flimsy Fabric

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • July 7, 2011 3:14 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
There have been a wealth of medieval swordplay pictures in the last couple of years. Some have adhered to a jumpcut-heavy editing method to allow these pictures a contemporary feel. Others have taken advantage of more liberal times allowing these films the influx of the blood and guts appropriate to the era. But it’s a good bet that none of these efforts from recent years has nearly the same amount of scenery-chewing as “Ironclad.”

George Clooney's 'Ides Of March' Will Open The Venice Film Festival

  • By Catherine Scott
  • |
  • June 21, 2011 1:01 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
We are all highly anticipating the fall festival season, and, for most of us, it couldn't get here sooner. The first big news of the season, is that George Clooney's newest directorial effort, "Ides Of March," will open the Venice Film Festival. Clooney will also star as a presidential candidate alongside man of the year Ryan Gosling as his head of media. Philip Seymour Hoffman will take on a supporting role as a campaign manager with Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood rounding it out, making the film's cast a star-studded one to watch.

Review: 'The Hangover Part II' Is A Lazy, Unpleasant & Unfunny Mess

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • May 25, 2011 3:24 AM
  • |
  • 9 Comments
Unlike most of the summer movies, which seem to be thundering into theaters without any real anticipation beyond the cacophonous marketing hype, "The Hangover Part II" seems to be a film people are unreasonably excited for. The 2009 original, directed by Todd Phillips, has metamorphosed from simply being the biggest R-rated comedy of all time (and winner of a Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Golden Globe) to being a movie that average filmgoers consider an instant "classic" of the genre and a staple of any fun-lover's DVD collection. (It's also the biggest selling comedy DVD of all time. Jesus.) The prospect of another movie, again starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis, coming this quickly, has been tantalizing for cinemagoers and something that is getting people really, really jazzed, which makes it somewhat harder to report that "The Hangover Part II" is one of the laziest, unself-aware and most unpleasant Hollywood products we've seen all year. And we just saw the fourth "Pirates Of The Caribbean" movie a couple of weeks ago.

Email Updates

Recent Comments