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The Playlist

Interview: Wong Kar-Wai Talks Kung Fu, The Different 'The Grandmaster' Cuts & His Favorite Directors

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 22, 2013 3:22 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Wong Kar Wai, The Grandmaster
It's been six long years since a new Wong Kar-Wai movie graced cinema screens. The notoriously patient director behind "Chungking Express" and "In the Mood for Love" is back with "The Grandmaster," the biographical tale of Ip Man (also known as Yip Man), a true life historical figure (played in the film by the always brilliant Tony Leung) and martial arts wizard who would go on to train some kid called Bruce Lee. Harkening back to the director's earlier films, while adding a new level of expert technical precision, "The Grandmaster" is for any fan of kung fu or a devotee of Kar-Wai's work. It's in turns epic and gorgeous, a movie that demands to be seen, just for its visual opulence, and then discussed at length afterwards. We got a chance to do just that with Wong himself, who talked about the film's somewhat tortured production, why he decided to tell this story, what's different between this version and the international cut, what it was like working with Megan Ellison and who his favorite modern filmmakers are.

Interview: Edgar Wright Talks 'The World's End,' Completing The Cornetto Trilogy, 'Ant-Man' & Much More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 21, 2013 1:44 PM
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  • 2 Comments
All good things must come to an end, and this weekend, the "Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy" finally melts with the debut of apocalyptic robo-comedy "The World's End." Beginning with 2004's romantic zombie comedy "Shaun of the Dead" and continuing with 2007's buddy comedy send-up "Hot Fuzz," the loose trilogy and the films within are wild, visually stunning homages to very specific genres, all of them directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. (Pegg also co-wrote all three.) Wright, Pegg and Frost all return for "The World's End," which dramatizes what happens when several childhood friends return to their hometown to find things are different. Like really different (minor plot spoilers ahead).

Watch: Brie Larson & John Gallagher Jr. Talk 'Short Term 12,' Working With Kids, Upcoming Projects & More

  • By Edward Davis
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  • August 20, 2013 2:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Brie Larson, the 23-year-old actress known for roles in "The United States of Tara," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," and "21 Jump Street," is having a moment. In fact, she was crowned the unofficial "It Girl" of the 2013 SXSW Film Festival by us and many others. Why exactly? She had (count 'em) four films at the festival this week. They include the Sundance hits "The Spectacular Now" and Joseph Gordon Levitt's directorial debut, "Don Jon," her second co-directed short film, "Weighting" and lastly, "Short Term 12," the movie which won SXSW's coveted top Grand Jury prize this spring.

Watch: Joe Swanberg Talks "Breakthrough" Feature 'Drinking Buddies' Starring Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick & Jake Johnson

  • By Edward Davis
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  • August 20, 2013 12:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Joe Swanberg, the indie director arguably responsible for the DIY aesthetic known as "mumblecore" (though don't fully blame him, he didn't coin the term) is the most prolific filmmaker alive. OK, maybe not quite, but since 2005, the filmmaker has made about 14 feature-length films. That's not quite an average of two films per year between 2005-2013, but it's close (and it doesn't even include the shorts he's made). His debut, "Kissing on the Mouth" kicked off this movement when it was heralded as a hit at SXSW and since then he's become known for micro-budgeted indies like "Hannah Takes The Stairs" (which helped launch Greta Gerwig's career), "Nights & Weekends" and "Alexander The Last."

Interview: 'Breaking Bad' Writer/Producer George Mastras Talks Wrapping Up The Series & Much More

  • By Cory Everett
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  • August 15, 2013 2:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Now that "Breaking Bad" has entered the home stretch, we've been doing as much as anyone to celebrate the conclusion of the beloved series. Earlier this week, we sat down with writer/producer George Mastras, the man responsible for unforgettable episodes like "Crazy Handful of Nothin," "Grilled," "Mandala," "I.F.T.," "Thirty-Eight Snub" and "Dead Freight" (which he also directed) and the upcoming fourth-to-last episode, "To'hajiilee." (He also has co-writer credits on "Kafkaesque," "Hermanos," and "Crawl Space.") Brought on to the show in Season 1 by showrunner Vince Gilligan, Mastras—along with Peter Gould, Moira Walley-Beckett, Sam Catlin, Gennifer Hutchison and Tom Schnauz—became part of the core group that would plot the entire rise and fall of Walter White, successfully turning him from Mr. Chips to Scarface just as Gilligan had promised back in 2008.

Lee Daniels Talks The Ratings Struggles Of 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' And A Musical Remake Of 'Nights of Cabiria'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • August 13, 2013 4:00 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Lee Daniels is used to a good fight. He had to fight perceptions of his first film, “Shadowboxer,” in order to make “Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire.” He had to fight for the right to direct “The Paperboy,” a project that had switched hands amongst filmmakers as lauded as Pedro Almodovar. But nothing could have prepared him for the ratings fight that greeted him in regards to his new film, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

Interview: Inside The 'Breaking Bad' Writers Room With Writer/Producer George Mastras

  • By Cory Everett
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  • August 13, 2013 3:03 PM
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  • 1 Comment
On Sunday, "Breaking Bad" returned for the first of its final 8 episodes. Anticipation for the premiere was at an all-time high, reviews were ecstatic (read ours here) and ratings were 5 times higher than when the series first debuted back in 2008. To celebrate the final curtain closing on this highly acclaimed series, the cast and crew have been taking a well deserved victory lap — a 90 minute Times Talks event, LACMA Live Read and Q&As at FilmLinc are just the tip of the iceberg — but before Heisenberg cooks up his last batch, we sat down with writer/producer George Mastras who was one of the first writers brought onboard by creator Vince Gilligan back in Season 1. In this age of showrunner-as-auteur, Gilligan is one of the few to loudly refute this view, crediting his team of writers (which includes Mastras, Peter Gould, Moira Walley-Beckett, Sam Catlin, Gennifer Hutchison and Tom Schnauz), as well as the cast and crew for making the show the success that it is.

Interview: David Gordon Green On The Free-Spirited 'Prince Avalanche,' Working With Nicolas Cage & 'Suspiria'

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • August 9, 2013 1:30 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Filmmaker David Gordon Green has had a deeply eclectic career of omnivorous tastes thus far. To perhaps best demonstrate the polar extremes, the 37-year-old director (who has already made nine features) has had films produced by Terrence Malick ("Undertow") and Judd Apatow ("Pineapple Express"). His body of work thus far has covered intimate indie dramas featuring children ("George Washington"), broad comedies ("The Sitter"), adult dramas ("Snow Angels"), and high concept absurdist swords and sorcerer pictures ("Your Highness"). His oeuvre has run the gamut of styles, tones and genres.

Interview: ‘In A World...’ Filmmaker Lake Bell Talks ‘Childrens Hospital’ As Directing Boot Camp, Shifting Role Of Kickstarter & More

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • August 5, 2013 11:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
In A World
In our interview with her at Sundance London back in May, Lake Bell explained that she'd always had the inclination to direct, but she was “steadfast on the path to being an actor." Now, a short year after helming a short film "Worst Enemy" and some episodes of "Childrens Hospital," the “It’s Complicated” and “How To Make It in America” actress’ feature debut "In A World" goes into theatrical release this week. The ensemble film — which won excellent reviews (us included) and the Best Screenplay award at Sundance — stars Bell as Carol, a voiceover artist looking to break into the Hollywood industry, who faces competition from her veteran voice star father (Fred Melamed) and his clique-minded male colleagues.

Interview: Paul Schrader Talks 'The Canyons,' How The Kickstarter Bubble Might Burst & Why "It's Not Lindsay's Porn Film"

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 1, 2013 11:56 AM
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  • 3 Comments
A crowd-sourced project, from an acclaimed writer/director, with a script from one of literature's enfant terribles, and a cast led by a tabloid headlining actress and an adult film star, perhaps the buzz, press and hype around "The Canyons" was to be expected. But surely no one predicted a journey that saw a devastating behind-the-scenes piece from the New York Times, highly publicized "rejections" from Sundance and SXSW and more. But standing solidly at the centre of the storm and never wavering was helmer Paul Schrader, whose career has known no shortage of controversy. Throughout the entire pre-production, filming, post-production and publicity for the film, he has remained transparent about what happened on set, and more importantly, proud of the film he put together. And why not?

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