The Playlist

'The Matrix' Anniversary: 7 Pre-Bullet Time VFX Effects That Blew Our Minds

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • April 3, 2014 12:07 PM
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  • 15 Comments
Matrix CG feature
15 years ago this week, a pair of siblings with only a modest cult indie movie under their belt, to that point, released a film you might have heard of: “The Matrix," a heady and immediately classic mashup of sci-fi, cyberpunk, Baudrillardian philosophy (or a distortion thereof) and anime, all wrapped up in an immensely compelling Messiah-myth story. On a macro level, the Wachowskis' film was such a successful fusion of all its various influences that it felt like something new, raked in just shy of half a billion dollars worldwide, and spawned a franchise (which we won’t talk about any further here for fear of spoiling the celebratory atmosphere). But on a micro level “The Matrix” was revolutionary too, delivering, in amongst some terrifically stylish set and costume design and spectacular action setpieces, one of the most jaw-dropping effects we’d ever seen to that point in a film: Bullet Time.

Watch: New Trailer For 'Jupiter Ascending' Starring Channing Tatum & Mila Kunis Goes Into Orbit

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 26, 2014 7:30 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Jupiter Ascending
The Wachowskis are back and once again, the fate of the universe is at stake, there's lot of prosthetics and ambitious costumes, and a big sci-fi spectacle being readied to hit the big screen. But here's the thing, post-"The Matrix" the sibling pair haven't exactly been box office titans. "Speed Racer" and "Cloud Atlas" were both high stakes stumbles, and one wonders how much of a shot they'll be given if "Jupiter Ascending" also manages to disappoint.

12 Indie Directors Who Jumped To Blockbuster Budgets

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 26, 2014 2:24 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Noah, Russell Crowe, Aronofsky
This week sees the release of “Noah,” and it’s notable for a number of reasons. For one, it’s that it’s a relatively rare Biblical movie not aimed principally at religious audiences (which may or may not pay off). For another, it’s the latest film from “Requiem For A Dream” and “Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky. But perhaps more than anything else, it’s a movie that costs $125 million, almost four times as much as the director’s most expensive previous film, “The Fountain,” the helmer having been given the keys to Paramount’s war chest after the surprise smash success of “Black Swan,” which made nearly $300 million worldwide.

Rumor: The Wachowskis Prepping New 'The Matrix' Trilogy

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 28, 2014 4:54 PM
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  • 10 Comments
The Matrix
When Keanu Reeves picked the red pill in "The Matrix," he kicked off an adventure that became bigger than anyone could have imagined. Not only did the Wachowskis' breakout 1999 blockbuster become a massive hit, it spawned a huge franchise with two (pretty bad and borderline-incomprehensible) sequels, video games and anime prequels. It was a major a pop culture phenomenon and if these reports are true, Warner Bros. wants the world to plug back in.

Watch: First Trailer For The Wachowskis' 'Jupiter Ascending' Starring Channing Tatum & Mila Kunis

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 9, 2013 7:32 PM
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  • 23 Comments
Jupiter Ascending
No matter where you stand on last year's "Cloud Atlas," it's undeniable that it had the stamp of Lana and Andy Wachowski. An amalgam of fantasy, sci-fi and Big Ideas, those have largely been the hallmarks of the directors and they are continuing in that tradition with "Jupiter Ascending," which is dropping the curtain on its veil of secrecy with the first trailer today.

Style Or Substance? 20 Visually Stunning Movies That Go For Broke

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 8, 2013 1:51 PM
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  • 23 Comments
20 Visually Dazzling Movies
No matter what you think of Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," opening this week in ultra-luxurious 3D, one thing's for sure – it looks pretty spectacular. Filled with lovingly crafted costumes, opulent sets, and computer generated imagery that makes ragtime New York seem like a quasi-futuristic metropolis, it is drunk on its own excess. It feels like the movie Luhrmann has been angling towards for a while and has finally achieved (thanks in part to the added dimensionality of 3D), for better or worse. It's a giant, gilded, vulgar monstrosity that overwhelms more often than it entertains. And it got us thinking about other movies whose similarly excessive styles have either been an asset or a detriment. So put on your 3D glasses, your best pink pinstripe suit, and grab a glass of bootleg liquor, for our list of 20 visually dazzling movies.

'Cloud Atlas' Star Bae Doona Reteams With The Wachowskis For 'Jupiter Ascending'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 19, 2013 9:25 AM
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  • 3 Comments
This writer was not a fan of The Wachowskis new age, multi-threaded, sci-fi tale "Cloud Atlas." However, one person who did impress among the A-list roster of stars, was South Korean actress Bae Doona. Playing Sonmi-451 most prominently (and of course, a couple of other characters just like the rest of the cast) she was (at least in my eyes) one of the few things that worked in the movie, with the futuristic portion of the film perhaps more affecting than anything else. But no matter what, The Wachowskis certainly liked working with her and are going to again.

Netflix Nabs The Wachowskis & Michael Straczynski's TV Series 'Sense8'

  • By Cain Rodriguez
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  • March 28, 2013 9:58 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Though last year’s “Cloud Atlas” wasn’t the barn-burner that some tipped it to be, The Wachowskis aren’t looking back, and are instead getting back to work. Not only are they working on their directorial follow-up "Jupiter Ascending," their first to tackle on their own since 2008’s “Speed Racer,” but the duo are set to embark on creating their first television series as well, and they’ve now found a home for the sci-fi show.

The Most Polarizing Film Of The Year? What Did You Think Of 'Cloud Atlas?

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • October 29, 2012 10:00 AM
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  • 14 Comments
It might have disappointed at the box office this weekend (although disappointment is a big word for a result that anyone with two eyes and a heart could have saw coming months ago), but in cine-circles, "Cloud Atlas" has been the center of conversation. The adaptation of the best-selling David Mitchell novel, directed by Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, and costing an independently-financed $100 million, it's a bold, genre-spanning film with an all-star cast, and great ambitions than pretty much everything released in theaters in the last month.

Review: 'Cloud Atlas' Is Bold, Messy & Disappointingly Unimaginative

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 25, 2012 6:32 PM
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  • 23 Comments
With The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer literally throwing a critic off the roof of a building to his death in the opening moments of the nearly three-hour "Cloud Atlas," it's clear that they aren't concerned in the slightest with how this ambitious effort will be received. And you certainly have to give the trio of directors some respect for their approach, which tag teams an all-star cast, gives them multiple roles and spreads the story across nearly a half dozen time periods. But for all their boldness in narrative approach, the adaptation of David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas" is also a mess, with an attempt to mix its various genres under a universal thematic banner that never quite coheres.

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