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The Playlist

Review: Marvel's 'The Avengers' Is Immensely Satisfying, Entirely Thrilling & Possibly The Best Superhero Movie Yet

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 19, 2012 7:05 PM
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  • 33 Comments
The first scene of " The Avengers" is not very good. Deep in a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base, scientist Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) is conducting experiments on The Tesseract, the blue cube that powered the Red Skull's experiments in "Captain America." Expriments that, unfortunately, bring to earth Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the vengeful brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), last seen plummeting from Asgard into oblivion. Loki manages to take down S.H.I.E.L.D's best -- Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) -- with ease, and soon the base is decimated. It's a perfectly acceptable place to start, but there's something off about the execution: it's stilted, awkward and humorless, and the action is pretty uninvolving, with a TV-level of scope.

Supermodel Daisy Lowe To Make Screen Debut Opposite 'Game Of Thrones' Star Alfie Allen In Brit Thriller 'Confine'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 1, 2012 9:44 AM
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  • 3 Comments
The track record of supermodels making their way on to the big screen is not a particularly strong one. Cindy Crawford in "Fair Game?" Not so much. Gisele Bundchen in "Taxi?" No thank you. Heidi Klum in "Ella Enchanted?" Let's move on, please. Nevertheless, they keep trying, particularly so in the current generation. Lily Cole, for example, has actually had more success than most, with roles in films like "The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus" and the upcoming "Snow White And The Huntsman." And now, one of Cole's catwalk colleagues is dipping her toes into acting waters.

The Prime Minister's Speech: Why The British Government's Plan To Shake Up Film Financing Is Wrong-Headed & Doomed To Failure

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 11, 2012 1:58 PM
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  • 18 Comments
Eighteen months or so ago, the British film industry, which relies heavily on states subsidy through money from the National Lottery, was thrown into turmoil when the new coalition government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, announced that they were shutting down the UK Film Council, the organization that, among other things, was responsible for the allocation of funding for development and production. Those responsibilites were shifted to the British Film Institute, but many in the industry were fearful what changes were still to come.

David Tennant & 'Gavin And Stacy' Star Joanna Page To Star In 'Nativity! 2'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 31, 2011 2:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Yes, Virginia, There Was A 'Nativity 1'Comedy doesn't travel well, historically. It's rare to find a giant comedy that performs as well abroad as it does in the U.S -- instead, each nation will have their own box office draws in the genre, with only the occasional slapstick hit, like the current "Johnny English Reborn," going great guns internationally (but dying in the States), uniting comedy fans worldwide. As such, it's easy to miss these localized box-office phenomena. Like "The Inbetweeners Movie," a big-screen take on the crude British sitcom, currently the third-biggest film of 2011 in the U.K. Like "Le Petit Nicolas," an adaptation of a beloved childhood character that was France's top-grossing home-grown hit of 2009. Or like "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis," and its Italian-language remake "Benvenuti al Sud," which mined millions of Euros out of local cultural stereotypes.

Tim Roth Joins Cillian Murphy In 'Broken,' Film Debut Of Theater Director Rufus Norris

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 10, 2011 1:03 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Actor Also Joins Peter Mullan In Hitman Flick 'The Liability'Tim Roth's got to be looking over at old pal and compatriot Gary Oldman with a little envy right now. Roth might have found moderate success on U.S. TV with "Lie To Me" (and he's been signed to a deal with Fox TV for another series), but his co-star in "Meantime" and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" is appearing in billion-dollar "Harry Potter" and "Batman" movies and looking like a serious potential to be a Best Actor nominee at the Oscars for his amazing performance in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."

Watch: Trailer For British Crime Flick 'Turnout' Is Predictably Uninspiring

  • By Sam Price
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  • September 6, 2011 3:01 AM
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  • 0 Comments
While “Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy,” Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights,” and Steve McQueen's "Shame" are jostling for pole position at the Venice Film Festival, it’s easy to forget that films produced in the U.K. tend to hew, crudely speaking, to diametric opposites: either boffo pictures about stammering royalty or ones about cock-er-ney geezers roving around London with Kalashnikovs. The trailer for “Turnout” from director Lee Sales, which recently cropped on the site for UK tabloid The Sun, would appear to fall distinctly into the latter camp.

Too Much Madness To Explain In One Text: On The U.K. Riots And 'Attack The Block'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 9, 2011 7:54 AM
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  • 14 Comments
Joe Cornish's directorial debut "Attack the Block" has now been in U.S. theaters for about 10 days, having been rolling out in its native U.K. and elsewhere since May. We're sure you're fed up of the hype at this point, but it's a very, very good film: a nifty, witty, extremely well-executed little genre picture. It's also one that, like the best genre movies, has a socio-political backbone to it that in the last few days has suddenly struck a vein that few were expecting with the explosion of violence and looting that's taken place in London since Saturday night.

Andrea Arnold's 'Wuthering Heights' & Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Get U.K. Release Dates

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 4, 2011 1:44 AM
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  • 0 Comments
International release dates can be a curious thing. With international box office making up bigger and bigger percentages of total grosses, many high profile films open abroad before they do in the States, with "Fast Five," "Thor" and "X-Men First Class" numbering among them. But then others, such as "Bridesmaids" and "Super 8," which require a little more work, get a steady roll-out, taking months to make their way around their world. And then there are the prestige pictures. The vagaries of international distribution mean that some pictures will sneak out abroad after festival bows -- "The Tree Of Life" opened in France weeks before the U.S -- while others can literally take years to find a big-screen home, like Oren Moverman's "The Messenger," which bowed in the U.K. in June, a full eighteen months after its American release.

Watch: Trailer & Clip For Britflick 'Albatross' With Felicity Jones & Sebastian Koch

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 3, 2011 2:19 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The name might still only be vaguely familiar, but 2011 is Felicity Jones' year. She's been working for some time, lighting up the likes of "Brideshead Revisited," "Cheri" and "Cemetery Junction," but she got the year off to a killer start by picking up Best Actress at Sundance for her turn in Drake Doremus' "Like Crazy," while the rom-com "Chalet Girl" was something of a sleeper hit in the U.K in the spring. She's got plenty more on the way, including another project with Doremus that'll film shortly, but first along is another home grown picture, the coming-of-age tale "Albatross," and The Guardian just premiered the film's trailer.

'Doctor Who' Star Karen Gillan Top-Lining Indie Rom-Com 'Not Another Happy Ending'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 1, 2011 4:29 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The revival of long-running sci-fi series "Doctor Who" has been, it's fair to say, a huge success. Becoming appointment viewing for kids and adults alike in the U.K, it's virtually the biggest drama in the country, and has become bigger and bigger abroad as the years go on. So far, however, it's stars haven't really broken out on the big screen: Christopher Eccleston was already well-established before his one-season turn, while a punishing shoot schedule didn't leave much space for tenth and eleventh doctors David Tennant and Matt Smith to sneak in a movie.

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