Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Playlist

The Essentials: Lauren Bacall's 6 Best Performances

  • By Jessica Kiang
  • |
  • August 13, 2014 2:28 PM
  • |
  • 13 Comments
Lauren Bacall
With the passing of Lauren Bacall at age 89 yesterday, the “they don’t make stars like that anymore”-style tributes came flooding in. But with all due respect to those sentiments, they didn't ever make stars like Bacall. Anomalous even in her starlet days, Bacall’s appeal was based on an allure that had as much to do with an attitude as any thespian talent. In fact, compare her early roles to later roles and it seems fair to suggest that acting technique and range were things Bacall acquired over time (and she was clearly a very quick study); she walked onto that first set with unalloyed charisma.

Philip Seymour Hoffman's 12 Best Performances

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • July 24, 2014 3:05 PM
  • |
  • 16 Comments
Philip Seymour Hoffman's 12 Best Performances
This Friday should have been a cause for celebration: the release of "A Most Wanted Man," an adaptation of John Le Carre's novel by one of our favorite working filmmakers, Anton Corbijn ("Control," "The American"), and starring one of our finest working actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Instead, it's a bittersweet occasion: as we all know, Hoffman heartbreakingly passed away in February, only a few weeks after the film (and "God's Pocket," released a few months back) premiered at Sundance. It was the last film that Hoffman saw to completion: he was in production on what will turn out to be his very final pictures, the two-part finale to "The Hunger Games" series, when he passed.

The Essentials: 8 Walter Hill Films You Should Know

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • July 9, 2014 3:44 PM
  • |
  • 15 Comments
Walter Hill Essentials
No one would love to believe more than film critics that criticism is the repository of the immutable, monolithic truth about a movie's quality. But as much as we may enjoy the dream of our grades and rankings and pithy pullquotes being Carved In Stone, experience has taught us otherwise, and nowhere is the shifting, flux-like nature of the beast more in evidence than in the mysterious processes of reevaluation and reassessment. This process, this ongoing cycle of neglect and discovery, vision and revision as reputation waxes and wanes can be tracked for both films (our feature on critically reassessed movies covers some of those) and for certain directors, who fall out of and come into favor with almost rhythmic regularity.

The Essentials: Angelina Jolie's 5 Best Performances

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • May 28, 2014 2:05 PM
  • |
  • 9 Comments
Essentials: Angelina Jolie
The big release this week is "Maleficent," Disney's latest attempt to reboot one of its classic family properties in as ugly a manner as humanly possible, following the enormous success of "Alice In Wonderland," and the less-enormous-but-still-substantial success of "Oz The Great And Powerful." Taking a page from their green-screen-heavy playbook, it's a riff on the story of "Sleeping Beauty," with young Elle Fanning as everyone's favorite narcoleptic princess Aurora, but as you might be aware from the title (and omnipresent marketing), the real star is the traditional villain of the piece, embodied by megastar Angelina Jolie.

Essential: The 6 Best Performances In The Films Of Wes Anderson

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • March 6, 2014 3:49 PM
  • |
  • 20 Comments
Wes Anderson, 6 Best Performances
“Max Fischer’s not fighting change, he’s determinedly fighting against being pigeonholed. He’s fighting for the renaissance view of the world, and for a sense of himself as an adult. I think that he and Steve Zissou and Gustave are all, in some way, at war with the philistines. They are all kind of righteous,” a wise and insightful Ed Norton said this week about the characters that inhabit Wes Anderson’s unique worlds. “I’ve come to think that Wes’s films are all about the way that your real family disappoints you and so you create the family that you need.” Wes himself could probably not articulate it any better.

The Essentials: 5 Alain Resnais Films You Should Know

  • By Jordan Hoffman
  • |
  • March 4, 2014 1:06 PM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
Alain Resnais
Alain Resnais passed away this weekend at the age of 91. This pillar of “art films” worked continuously since the late 1940s, delighting cineastes, baffling the squares and continually pushing himself with different genres. He made musicals, he made documentaries, he made science-fiction. Indeed, his psychedelic freakout time travel film “Je t’aime, Je t’aime” is currently enjoying a revival at some of the hipper art houses (check local listings) and his final film "Life Of Riley," his third adaptation of an Alan Ayckbourn play, just debuted at the Berlin Film Festival.

The Essentials: Francois Truffaut

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • February 5, 2014 2:32 PM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
Francois Truffaut
This week sees Francois Truffaut's seminal love-triangle "Jules Et Jim," one of the French filmmaker's best-loved and most seminal works, get an upgrade to Blu-Ray on the The Criterion Collection. And with New York City's Film Forum staging a significant retrospective of his work beginning in March, and "The 400 Blows" also being reissued on Criterion in April, it feels like the perfect opportunity to do something we've been dying to do for ages: put the spotlight on the filmmaker's work.

R.I.P. - The Essentials: 5 Of Peter O'Toole's Best Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • December 15, 2013 2:04 PM
  • |
  • 9 Comments
We have a story about Peter O'Toole. We can't remember where we first heard it, and like many such stories, it could well be apocryphal. Supposedly, O'Toole, at the height of his 1970s drinking, met a few friends for lunch at a restaurant in London's Soho. As was his custom, a bottle of wine was ordered, then another, then several more. After the food, they then reconvened to various pubs throughout the afternoon. As evening rolled around, the group got the idea to go and see a play. The drunken crew stumbled into a theatre, bought tickets, and took their seats. It was a good few minutes into it that O'Toole froze, then turned to his companion and whispered "Bloody hell, I'm in this fucking play," before dashing backstage, donning his costume and taking the stage.

The Films Of The Coen Brothers: A Retrospective

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • December 4, 2013 11:32 AM
  • |
  • 21 Comments
Coen Brothers retro
Are Joel & Ethan Coen the best American filmmakers of their generation? It's probably a silly question to pose, but we'll be damned if we can think of better candidates. Since their startling neo-noir debut "Blood Simple" (which turns three decades old next year), they've been behind a brace of firmly original pictures which couldn't have been made by anyone else (as every dire attempt by others to make a "Coens-esque" imitation has proven). And though there have been a few blips (most notably a patch in the mid 00s generally regarded as the duo being off their game, though the films have their defenders), they've kept up a remarkably consistent level of quality over the years, with multiple classics, of which their 16th film, "Inside Llewyn Davis," is only the latest.

Remembering Paul Walker: 5 Of His Best Performances

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • December 2, 2013 2:06 PM
  • |
  • 10 Comments
Over the weekend actor Paul Walker, best known for his role in Universal's ongoing "Fast and Furious" franchise, died tragically in a car accident in California. The actor was in the midst of filming the seventh film in the series, with every intention of continuing. As Bilge Ebiri pointed out over at Vulture, the series was originally designed as a vehicle for Walker, based on the actor's experience working with original director Rob Cohen on the marginal collegiate thriller "The Skulls." Even after his death it's easy to be glib about his skills as an actor, but Walker turned in a handful of memorable performances both within and outside of the 'Fast' franchise.

Email Updates

Recent Comments