The Playlist

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.

The Essentials: Michelangelo Antonioni

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • November 5, 2013 3:12 PM
  • |
  • 15 Comments
The Essentials: Michelangelo Antonioni
While he had made five previous movies, 1957’s “Il Grido” being the most essential of the bunch, Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni’s career didn’t really begin in earnest until a May 1960 evening at the Cannes Film Festival where his latest film, “L'Avventura” was met with boos, exaggerated yawns, loud jeers, even derisive laughter. Antonioni had made a mysterious, sparse and opaque film that would define the rest of his career — an unusual movie, like many others that would follow, where “nothing happens,” at least in the estimation of his harshest critics.

The Essentials: 5 Great Cate Blanchett Performances

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • July 23, 2013 2:01 PM
  • |
  • 17 Comments
Cate Blanchett, essentials
There are very few actors, in these days of soundbites and tabloids and gossip blogs and 15-page colour spreads in which we are “invited into their beautiful home,” that we can truly say we don’t get enough of. And there are fewer still, who even in that glare of publicity that surrounds a new film’s release, do not end up somehow diminished by the process, dissected and dissassembled and repackaged and repurposed for use as a tiny cog in a big marketing machine. But Cate Blanchett is one of the rare few who manages that trick, again and again, retaining a cool, inviolate and perhaps slightly detached image, even as the performances she gives can be frightening in their engagement and commitment. And it’s another such that Blanchett reportedly gives in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” which opens this Friday, and for which she’s already garnering early awards buzz. We called it “ an outstanding firecracker turn … that has Oscar-worthy written all over it in flames” in our review.

From Best To Worst: Elmore Leonard Movie Adaptations

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • May 14, 2013 11:57 AM
  • |
  • 17 Comments
Elmore Leonard feature
Today sees the release of a sparkling new Criterion version of "3:10 To Yuma," the perpetually-underrated 1957 Western that's somewhat overshadowed by the more recent 2007 remake. Even those who have seen the earlier version may not be entirely aware that it's based on a short story by a man that we consider not just one of America's finest crime novelists, but one of our finest writers full stop: Elmore Leonard.

The Essentials: Douglas Sirk

  • By The Playlist Staff
  • |
  • April 26, 2013 2:33 PM
  • |
  • 5 Comments
The films of Douglas Sirk, feature
German filmmaker Douglas Sirk (né Hans Detlef Sierck) directed almost 40 films in a career that spanned three decades. A late bloomer known for grand, gorgeously expressive and emotional melodramas in the 1950s, he took a third of his career to hit full stride. The early movies were comedies, glossy adventure stories and war dramas. During his days working in Germany the director was heavily censored and when he escaped to the United States in 1937 he found himself stifled once again, “A director in Hollywood in my time couldn't do what he wanted to do,” he once said. 1942’s vengeful, vehemently anti-Nazi “Hitler's Madman” only really existed because it was seen as patriotic, and films Sirk made as late as 1952, like “Has Anyone Seen My Gal?” featuring his broad-shouldered go-to male muse Rock Hudson, were insubstantial trifles compared to his mature work. That film, lightweight comedy though it is, does still possess hints of commentary on class, status, money and the sickening desire for it all -- themes Sirk would explore, and quietly explode, in his best work.

Email Updates

Recent Comments