The Playlist

The Essentials: The Works Of Harris Savides

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • October 11, 2012 2:03 PM
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  • 6 Comments
As you might have already heard, today brings the awfully sad news that Harris Savides, one of the great working American cinematographers, has passed away at the age of 55. Savides was a relatively late-starter in features (his first stint as DoP was Phil Joanou's "Heaven's Prisoners" in 1996), but over the next fifteen years managed to work with a laundry list of great filmmakers, from James Gray and Gus Van Sant to Ridley Scott and Sofia Coppola.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Christopher Walken Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 9, 2012 12:56 PM
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  • 14 Comments
It's easy to caricature Christopher Walken. One of the most iconic character actors of his generation, he's also got one of the most imitated voices around (everyone has a Walken impression, even if it's as bad as this writer's...), and has become an indelible part of pop culture, thanks to everything from memorably hosting "Saturday Night Live," to popping up in Spike Jonze's Fatboy Slim video, to taking unlikely roles like the broad villain in "The Country Bears."

The Essentials: 5 Great Films Based On Stephen King Novels

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 21, 2012 10:55 AM
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  • 33 Comments
Stephen King is, all of a sudden, a hot property again. One of the major forces in popular literature of the past forty-odd years, it's been a few years since the last major King adaptation, but a wealth of projects from the director are on their way in the next few years.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Tony Scott Films

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 20, 2012 11:59 AM
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  • 11 Comments
Something we've come to appreciate since the terrible news of the passing of director Tony Scott came in this morning, is that there's an argument to be made that almost any one of his films saw him at the top of his game. From debut feature "The Hunger," one of the first movies of the MTV generation, and the era-defining "Top Gun," all the way to the bold formal experimentation of his last four films (some of which, especially the highly divisive "Domino," were derided by many, but have their fervent auteurist supporters as well), his films were always technically impeccable, thrilling and instantly recognizable as a Tony Scott picture. He was the action director as auteur.

30 Essential Films Missing From The Sight & Sound Top 100

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 16, 2012 12:20 PM
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  • 26 Comments
The trouble with a list is that not everyone is going to agree. What's often offered as a personal selection of favorites can often be taken by a reader as a personal affront, a sign of snobbery or boorishness, even if a list is a compilation from multiple contributors. And as the fuss over the Sight & Sound Greatest Films Of All Time poll reminds us, that'll likely always be the case. After all, we know that it's all just a fun exercise, and yet looking over the full list (published today on the magazine's website along with the 800-odd submissions from critics all of the world), we still feel the pang of the absence of some of our own favorites.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Sam Fuller Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 10, 2012 3:49 PM
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  • 8 Comments
The great Sam Fuller began life as a crime reporter at the age of 17, before writing pulp novels and doing mostly uncredited work on screenplays through the 1930s (his first credit was on 1936's "Hats Off"). He served in World War Two, seeing action in France, Italy and North Africa, as well as being present at (and filming) the liberation of the concentration camp at Sokolov. By the time he came to direct in 1939 -- having been inspired by his anger at what Douglas Sirk did to his screenplay "Shockproof" -- Fuller would infuse his work with his experience as both a journalist and a soldier.

The 5 Best Bob Hoskins Performances

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 9, 2012 1:43 PM
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  • 9 Comments
For many actors, there is no such word as "retirement." While there are big names who slip away from the movie business to do other things, or simply enjoy time off as they head into their twilight years -- Gene Hackman and Peter O'Toole being among the recent examples -- those feel like the exception, rather than the rule. But unfortunately, the great British character actor Bob Hoskins has been forced to step away from the limelight.

5 Of Dustin Hoffman's Most Underrated Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 9, 2012 10:01 AM
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  • 13 Comments
There’s a certain generation of male stars who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s who signify that golden age of American cinema, starring in some of the most acclaimed films of that era while also maintaining long careers as box office draws that continue to this day. Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty -- a line-up of actors that, for the most part, puts today’s A-listers to shame. And the unlikeliest of them all is Dustin Hoffman.

The Essentials: The 5 Best William Friedkin Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 30, 2012 12:00 PM
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  • 15 Comments
The decent opening weekend for the NC-17 "Killer Joe" should be celebrated for a number of reasons, but perhaps most notably, it marks something of a comeback for director William Friedkin. The helmer was, for a brief period in the 1970s, the most powerful filmmaker in Hollywood, but a series of critical and commercial flops after "The Exorcist" saw his stock drop quickly, and while there were a few quiet gems, the quality of his work tended to be closer to sub-"Basic Instinct" erotic thriller "Jade" (which Friedkin has said is one of his favorite of his films, curiously), or tree-rape horror "The Guardian," than to his breakout films.

The Essentials: 5 John Schlesinger Films You Can't Miss

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 27, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 7 Comments
He’s not a name that many young filmmakers reference these days, but British director John Schlesinger quietly managed a career spanning five decades, with a small fistful of classics to his name. A former actor, Schlesinger moved into documentaries in the late 1950s, graduating to features soon after, and worked fairly prolifically until 2000’s “The Next Best Thing” (admittedly a rather ignominious end to a great career), a film released only a few months before he passed away from a stroke.

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