Interview with Jeremy Saulnier

Jeremy_Saulnier_Director.jpgGreen Room hits theaters on April 22nd and it’s sure to fill any unmet cinematic hardcore punk/gore needs that have been growing lately. I saw it myself and was quite a fan, so I naturally jumped at the opportunity to interview writer-director Jeremy Saulnier. One day I’m sitting in a theater, watching a punk band duke it out with machete-wielding neo-Nazis with a side of vicious attack dogs, and the next I’m sitting across the table from the man who masterminded the whole thing, expecting him to be at least a little psychotic. So I’m setting up for the interview while he’s chilling out on his phone and the first thing he says is,

“This is gonna sound so lame… (puts on a mock arrogant voice) ‘lemme just email my agent real quick.'”

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Oscar Reactions: Part I

OSCARS-2014As another year of Oscar nominations comes and goes, the saying “the more things change the more things stay the same” rings in my head. A new year of movies has arrived, but not a whole lot has changed. The noms are released, people complain that “X” movie wasn’t nominated for “Y” category, everyone makes their predictions, it all feels rather familiar. In fact, this is one of the most boring Oscar years in recent memory due in no small part to 2015 being a somewhat tepid year for film. All of the films nominated for Best Picture are based on or are a follow-up to pre-existing material and events as opposed to last years best picture contenders which featured three original films. That being said there were a handful of quality films so let’s take a look at some of the major categories.

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2015 in Review: 5 Films You Might Have Missed

This past year has been a tremendous year in movies, with summer blockbusters as big as “Jurassic World,” and record breaking box office numbers from the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” With awards season upon us, the buzz is nonstop about top runners such as “The Revenant,” “Spotlight,” “Room,” and others. Every year during awards season, we remember the ones getting nominated for the top awards. Every year, great films go forgotten, and 2015 is no different. From the summer of 2015, here is a list of five such films, films that might otherwise go overlooked.

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Over/Under #6

Over/Under: “Zoolander” (2001) and “Starsky and Hutch” (2004)

Movie_poster_zoolanderAlthough they were at their prime in the early to mid 2000s, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson remain an iconic comedy duo (icomic, you might say) alongside the likes of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, Jay and Silent Bob, and Harold and Kumar. With the upcoming release of Zoolander 2, it’s worth looking at their origins and the original. Zoolander (2001) may not have been the first movie starring the duo (it was preceded by The Cable Guy (1996) and Permanent Midnight (1998), neither of which I recommend), but it was certainly the movie to put them on the map.

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Over/Under #5

Over/Under: “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” (2015) and “Hard Boiled” (1992)

Mission_Impossible_Rogue_Nation_posterWhen my dad preordered Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation tickets for the entire family, I had my reservations. His movie preferences aren’t bad per se, but he’s weirdly and exclusively obsessed with blockbusters. I used to think that it’s because when he was younger, the only options available to the fledgling Korean movie industry were big budget films. That was a decent working theory… until he showed me Lawrence of Arabia (1962), which is way before his time. Maybe he just likes seeing high production value – expensive cars, huge explosions, millions of extras, A-list celebrities, etc. At any rate, my somber dad walked out of the movie with a big grin on his face.

I, on the other hand, did not. Before I discuss the rest of this lackluster film, I want to set aside Simon Pegg. I love, loved, and always will love, Simon Pegg. He’s good in all three Cornetto Trilogy films, he’s good in Run, Fatboy, Run (2007), he’s even good in the previous Mission Impossible movie. I love everything about him, from his British accent and gently fuzzy beard to his diverse facial expressions and sunny smile. When his character (Benji) was introduced in Rogue Nation, I was reminded of everything I love about him all over again. Unfortunately he is starting to be typecast – Benji was basically the same witty, lighthearted, loveable character that Simon Pegg always plays. But frankly, I can’t get enough of him, and his comical confusion was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dull movie.

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Trailer Reactions: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Star_Wars_The_Force_Awakens_Theatrical_PosterThe Force is with Star Wars fans yet again with the premiere of a third trailer for the upcoming seventh installment in the saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Internet was abuzz, and fans found themselves watching a football game involving teams they didn’t root for just to catch the trailer on TV during Monday Night Football. It raises the hype meter to an 11, and actually features characters talking, so let’s take a look…

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Trailer Reaction: “Hail, Caesar!”

Coen-BrothersJoel and Ethan Coen have staked out their own small corner of the Hollywood scene, one where they work uninterrupted, tinkering away in the dark. Sometimes it feels like they aren’t a part of Hollywood at all. A Coen Brothers announcement always surprises me despite their steady output these past three decades. They’re independent filmmakers who just happen to attract the best talent in the industry, a duo that has moviemaking down pat. Each movie feels small yet large, possessing the intimacy of art and the grandiosity of spectacle. One watches their movies in awe of just how seamlessly they are crafted. All but two of their eighteen directorial features have been based off of original ideas, and none of them have felt tired or half-baked or derivative. Joel and Ethan Coen are my favorite directors working today, and the first trailer for their new film, “Hail, Caesar!” has been released.

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