The Playlist

Michel Gondry Talks Making Sense Of Noam Chomsky In New Animated Doc, Cutting ‘Mood Indigo’ & More

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
  • |
  • November 20, 2013 10:28 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?, Michel Gondry
The prospect of holding ones weight conversationally with one of the world's most prominent thinkers is daunting enough, but in sitting down with cognitive scientist and activist Noam Chomsky for the animated documentary “Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?,” director Michel Gondry chooses a personal path through the intellectual distance. Illustrating Chomsky’s ideas on linguistics and his childhood memories via Gondry’s hand-drawn 16mm animation, the film is at once dense and incredibly playful, packed with the “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” director’s trademark visuals and Chomsky’s logical clarity whether explaining the emergence of language or simply what makes him happy. We sat down recently with Gondry to discuss the film, his decision to cut down his latest effort “Mood Indigo,” and why Roman Polanski shoots Paris better than any French director—but first Gondry described how his path crossed that of Chomsky in the first place.

James Toback Talks ‘Seduced & Abandoned,’ Working With Robert Downey Jr. Fresh Out of Prison & More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
  • |
  • November 14, 2013 4:30 PM
  • |
  • 7 Comments
Seduced And Abandoned
It sounds like the makings of a bad joke. A renowned filmmaker (James Toback) and a famous actor (Alec Baldwin) walk into a film festival with an idea under their arm… In reality, it’s a film (though, it’s by all rights a documentary, just don’t tell this to the director). The HBO movie “Seduced & Abandoned” features James Toback – writer of “The Gambler” and “Bugsy” director of “Fingers,” “Two Girls & A Guy” and the doc “Tyson” – and Alec Baldwin, and follows them to the Cannes Film Festival (Baldwin’s first time ever) with the idea of pitching and selling their latest film ideas to financiers at the fest.

Interview: Will Forte Talks 'Nebraska,' What He Learned From Alexander Payne & Bruce Dern & Status Of 'MacGruber 2'

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • November 14, 2013 2:53 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Nebraska
There are a number of surprises nestled within Alexander Payne's warmly homespun "Nebraska." Like all of Payne's films, it dangles on the precipice between drama and comedy, this time following an elderly man (a revelatory Bruce Dern) as he travels to Nebraska to collect his winnings from a phony sweepstakes mailer he's received. Accompanying him on the journey is his son, played by Will Forte, who is both humoring him and looking for a way to connect with his emotionally distant father. And it's Forte's performance that might be the biggest, most delightful surprise in "Nebraska." This is, after all, an actor who, just a couple of years ago, waddled around on screen with a stalk of celery sticking out of his butthole. Talk about range.

Who Really Created The 'Inception' BRAAAM? Composer Mike Zarin Sets The Record Straight

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • November 13, 2013 1:18 PM
  • |
  • 25 Comments
It has become nearly omnipresent in blockbuster trailers, it was the defining characteristic of a major movie campaign, it has become as recognizable as any piece of score or movie music, and you know it as one single, stomach rumbling note: BRAAAM! Ever since it accented the mysterious world Christopher Nolan was conjuring for "Inception," there has been an equally enigmatic air surrounding just who is the true creator of this dark musical motif. Most of us assumed we had it figured out when Hans Zimmer shared last week how the sound was created, along with his disdain for its overuse in movie spots. But his involvement is just a small part of a much bigger story. And composer and sound design Mike Zarin, after reading Zimmer's comments, reached out to us to finally clear the air on how the BRAAAM was made and the journey it took through the advertising campaign for "Inception." And how should he know? Because Mike Zarin created it.

Saoirse Ronan Talks 'How I Live Now', Working With James Gandolfini & More

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • November 11, 2013 12:21 PM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
How I Live Now, Saoirse Ronan,
Not even 20 years old, Saoirse Ronan has already made a significant cinematic impression. Most of us got our first glimpse of Ronan in Joe Wright’s operatic, Oscar-nominated literary adaptation “Atonement,” and in the years since she has anchored films for directors like Peter Jackson, Peter Weir, Andrew Niccol, and Neil Jordan. (She’s set to team with Ryan Gosling and Wes Anderson for future movies, which we quizzed her about here.) Her latest film, “How I Live Now” (our review) comes from “Last King Of Scotland” director Kevin Macdonald and is based on the acclaimed young adult novel of the same name by Meg Rosoff. Last week, we got to chat with Ronan about what drew her to the film, and asked her to reminisce about what it was like working with the late, great James Gandolfini.

Savannah Film Fest: Jeremy Irons Talks His Career, State Of The Industry, Which Film Deserves More Appreciation & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • November 9, 2013 11:06 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
Meeting actors and directors can be an interesting experience. There are some who are so far removed from what they do on screen or behind the camera and so comfortable and casual, you might think you were meeting them down at the local bar over a pint. Then there are folks like Jeremy Irons. Sitting across from the Oscar-winning actor at the Savannah Film Festival recently, he effortlessly projected the gravitas of a veteran at his trade; his presence filled the entire room even as he was seated on a couch. This wasn't due to pretentiousness or a put on; within minutes, it became immediately clear why Irons' career has spanned four decades, across no shortage of memorable films and performances. It also become clear why Savannah was honoring him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He's found a way to combine his natural charisma with a mastery of the tools of acting, and speaking with Irons about his work, he still remains humble about how his life on screen has turned out, while always looking ahead.

Keanu's Samurai Training Regime, How To Shoot 3D, Committing Seppuku & More Learned On The Set Of '47 Ronin'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • November 6, 2013 4:02 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
47 Ronin,
On Monday, we took you on the set of "47 Ronin," Universal's great tentpole hope for the Christmas season. Long-delayed (it was originally set for release last November) and with a troubled production history, the film tells the famous Japanese story of the 47 Ronin, former samurai who spent a year planning their revenge on the man who wronged their master, with two major twists: one is that one of their number is Kai, a "half-breed" played by Keanu Reeves, the other is that the vision of first-time director Carl Erik Rinsch was to set the film in "a dream of Japan," with fantastical creatures and heightened action.

Savannah Film Festival: James Ponsoldt Talks 'Spectacular Now,' Taking On Hilary 'Rodham' & The Power Of 'Pure'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • November 4, 2013 4:35 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
The Spectacular Now, James Ponsoldt.
Sitting down with James Ponsoldt backstage at the Lucas Theater in Savannah, Georgia, one thing becomes immediately clear: he loves movies. Already thrilled that his latest "The Spectacular Now" is screening at the Savannah Film Festival in a cinema first build in 1921, my conversation with the director is peppered with references to classic cinema and the answers to my questions are thoughtful and deeply infused by his admitted voracious movie watching habits, which have left him with a clear sense of what he enjoys in his film experiences and what he doesn't. And at the end of the day, no matter the genre, budget or any other factor, it's characters he's fascinated by, and the more complex they are, the more he's invested and involved.

Savannah Film Fest: Miles Teller Talks Long Haul Of 'The Spectacular Now' & Switching Gears For 'Divergent'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • November 1, 2013 2:53 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
The Spectacular Now
Sustaining the buzz from January at the Sundance Film Festival until October, ten months later, is no easy feat. Plenty of movies have floated out of Park City with oodles of press and praise, only to be forgotten by time it comes for their release. But it speaks to the quality of filmmaking, and the authenticity of feel, that James Ponsoldt's "The Spectacular Now" didn't suffer such a fate. The picture rolled into the Savannah Film Festival this week with both the director and star Miles Teller on hand to present the film, which was shot in Athens, Georgia. And we got a few moments to chat with Teller about the movie, his drumming skills and transitioning from indie pictures to full blown tentpole productions.

Interview: Keanu Reeves Talks 'Man Of Tai Chi' '47 Ronin'

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • October 31, 2013 5:27 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
The Man of Tai Chi
To put it bluntly, "Man of Tai Chi" kicks all kinds of ass. The film follows the Faustian rise and fall of Tiger Chen (the actor's name and also the character's name), who gets involved in a deadly underground fighting ring led by a wonderfully over-the-top villain named Donaka Mark. Keanu Reeves, who knows a thing or two about kung fu fighting thanks to his role in the trio of "Matrix" films, both directed and co-stars in the film as Donaka (who, unsurprisingly, gets all the best lines). We got to speak to Reeves about what about this project made him want to direct it, whether or not his experience in the film world documentary "Side By Side" inspired any of his choices, and what, exactly, is going on with his other big martial arts project of 2013, "47 Ronin."

Email Updates

Recent Comments