"It could only be done the way we did it." Now in theaters is Oblivion, the second feature directed by sci-fi filmmaker Joseph Kosinski, who last directed Tron Legacy. Starring Tom Cruise as a drone repairman working on an uninhabitable future Earth, Kosinski created a new technique using LED screens on the set to envision the world and shoot without using CGI. I first met Joe on the set of Tron Legacy and interviewed him back in 2010. After giving his film quite a profile in A New Era of Sci-Fi is Upon Us, I reconnected with him last week for an interview about Oblivion, which was already playing in theaters by the time we talked.
"My job is how to affect people..." Meet Jeff Nichols, the Arkansas-born filmmaker responsible for three great films so far: Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and recently Mud (all featuring Michael Shannon by the way). After falling in love with his new film Mud at the Cannes Film Festival last year, I wrote a glowing review, which ended up getting me quoted in the official trailer. Earlier this week in New York I went to see the film again and met up with writer & director Jeff Nichols afterward for a discussion on storytelling, his background, how exactly he makes his films, plus the main motivations behind all three of his stories so far.
After Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture in 2008, director Danny Boyle was able to tell the wild true story of hiker Aron Ralston in 127 Hours. Three years later he's back with a new movie, and in keeping with Boyle's career thus far, it's not quite like anything he's done before. Trance is a riveting psychological heist thriller that plays with the concepts of memory and identity while slowly revealing the larger picture of a heist gone wrong. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Boyle about the film, and we talked about his thoughts on jumping between genres, the defining factor of his work as a whole, and plenty more. Watch!
When it comes to filmmakers that I love talking with, Derek Cianfrance is at the top of the list. I first met him at Sundance years ago for Blue Valentine, and have followed him since then up to the release of his next film, The Place Beyond the Pines, now playing in select theaters. I initially interviewed Derek on Pines at the Toronto Film Festival last year, and met with him again recently in New York for another chat. This time we talked about violence, specifically in The Place Beyond the Pines, as well as balancing how much of his own self he puts into his films, and what his most important values are as a storyteller/filmmaker. It's another outstanding interview with Derek and a fascinating discussion that I highly recommend listening to.
Director Rodney Ascher's documentary Room 237 has stuck with me ever since I first saw it at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The movie is an exploration of the deeper themes and meanings found in Stanley Kubrick's classic 1980 psychological horror film The Shining as told by five different fans who have come up with some quasi-insane but often-convincing theories about what's really going on at the Overlook Hotel. (The trailer is here.) I had a chance to speak with Ascher and the film's producer Tim Kirk here in L.A., and we talked about the movie as a piece of film criticism, getting a release beyond the festival circuit, and more.
Bursting onto the mainstream acting landscape in Across the Universe, actor Jim Sturgess has since succeeded in balancing blockbusters with smaller independent movies. His latest film, Upside Down, is a science fiction romance that fits both of those categories, wrapping a love story in a ton of often-impressive visual effects. I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Sturgess recently about his experience working on the movie, his take on the cold reception and poor box office of Cloud Atlas (which was my favorite movie of last year), working with visionary directors, and much more. Watch the interview and let us know your thoughts.
Despite hearing good things about it, I never found time to see Horrible Bosses back in 2011. I finally caught up with it a few weeks ago, and was pleased to discover a solid comedy with a strong cast and an original premise: a rare trifecta in Hollywood's current state of making movies from board games. Since that film was released, writing partners John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein have become one of the most buzzed-about up and coming comedy duos in the industry. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with them in Los Angeles to discuss their writing process, their upcoming directorial debut and plenty more.
He's directed numerous X-Men, Superman, Tom Cruise, Verbal Kint and Dr. House, but before getting back to the X-Men, he visited the land of giants. In theaters this weekend is Jack the Giant Slayer, directed by Bryan Singer (of Public Access, Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men, X2, Superman Returns and Valkyrie), starring Nicholas Hoult as in an epic new take on the Jack and the Bean Stalk story. I interviewed Bryan when offered the opportunity recently, as a fan I couldn't say no even though we couldn't talk about X-Men. But we did talk about Jack before his return to Montreal for seven months of work on Days of Future Past.
Few would truly argue that Full Metal Jacket is the greatest film about the Vietnam War. Some would say Platoon. Others Apocalypse Now. But Stanley Kubrick and his war film from 1987 showed audiences the preparation for war as it was under the draft, hard conditions that broke men down into heartless, sometimes mindless, killers. The star of that film, actor Matthew Modine, has made an iPad App that serves as a behind-the-scenes look on how Full Metal Jacket got made and how Kubrick, one of the great filmmakers of all time (not arguably), pulled it together. You can download the app from the App Store now.
Ever since creating one of the most beautiful, memorable scores in recent history for Tom Ford's A Single Man, Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski has been on my radar. When I first heard his music, I thought this was the work of a composer well into his years, finishing his 50th score or so, but Abel is a rather young up-and-coming composer making a name for himself. Besides A Single Man, he scored Madonna's W.E. as well as the Sundance Disney World-set buzz film Escape From Tomorrow. Yep, even that has a classical score, and it's one of the standouts this year already. I interviewed Mr. Korzeniowski through email recently.
Even if you don't know the name Yoshihiro Nishimura, if you've seen movies like Tokyo Gore Police or Helldriver, you are fully aware of the director's unique style of over-the-top gore and imagery that could only come from someone's nightmares. A makeup and special effects artist, as well, Nishimura has dug a long line of memorable images in the nine films he's directed. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for him to be 1 of the 26 directors chosen to contribute to Drafthouse Films' The ABCs of Death, a horror anthology bringing together the best genre filmmakers out there. Luckily we had a chance to speak with him recently.
After premiering their film Ass Backwards in the Park City at Midnight section of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, writers and stars Casey Wilson & June Diane Raphael couldn't have been more happy and proud of their hilarious road trip comedy that has flares of Dumb & Dumber and Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion. Thankfully, the female comedy duo took the time to sit down for an interview which resulted in some sultry casting couch talk, Britney Spears quotes and more. In addition, director Chris Nelson sat down to talk about entering the female comedy world with Wilson and Raphael, and just letting these girls open up a whole can of crazy on the big screen with outlandish fashion and antics. Watch below!
Boogie Nights. Carlito's Way. Traffic. Out of Sight. These are a small amount of the over 100 credits that acclaimed character actor Luis Guzmán has to his name. His newest movie, The Last Stand, is an action film directed by Korean director Kim Jee-woon that stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, and Rodrigo Santoro as a group of small town folks tasked with stopping an infamous cartel leader trying to get to the Mexican border by crossing through their town (trailer here). I had a chance to speak with Mr. Guzmán about his career, his legacy, Schwarzenegger's comeback, and more. Check it out!
In as little as four years, director Ruben Fleischer has made three high profile features. His third, the Los Angeles-set mobster action movie Gangster Squad, arrives in theaters today after being delayed from last October. His career kicked off spectacularly with Zombieland, was followed up by the comedy 30 Minutes or Less, then completely switched gears to this period action drama for Warner Bros with an impressive high caliber cast. I connected up with Ruben Fleischer this morning over Skype for chat on all things Gangster Squad, his career, how he got here and why, what it was like shooting in LA, and plenty more. Watch below!