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The Playlist

Interview: Terry Gilliam Talks 'The Zero Theorem,' Working With A Low Budget, Artistic Influences & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 27, 2013 12:01 PM
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The Zero Theorem Terry Gilliam
If anyone personifies taking lemons and making lemonade, it might just be director Terry Gilliam. The filmmaker is almost as known for the battles he's endured on various pictures than the movies themselves, but it speaks to his spirit and determination that he's created a singular and distinctive catalog of work. There are few moviemakers who could've not only made "Brazil," but turned out a masterpiece in an environment where the studio was actively working against the director (documented thoroughly in The Criterion Collection's excellent edition of the film). "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" is still the closest anyone has come to capturing Hunter S. Thompson's fever dream prose, while "Twelve Monkeys" endures to the point that SyFy is now ordering up a pilot for a TV show based on the movie (and no, Gilliam has not been contacted about it).

Interview: 'You're Next' Writer Simon Barrett & Director Adam Wingard On Sequel Ideas, Inspiration & The 'V/H/S' Franchise

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 26, 2013 2:56 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Way back in 2011, "You're Next" became the toast of the Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness series, was the focus of a frenzied bidding war and then… the kind of eerie stillness that you might expect from one of the horror movies "You're Next" gleefully sends up. Now, almost two years after it originally debuted in Toronto, "You're Next" is now in theaters, just as audiences have regained their composure after "The Conjuring" scared them witless. We finally got to see the movie at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this spring (you can read our review here) and got to talk to writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard, about what it was like having to wait all that time for their big horror movie to make its debut, whether or not they've planned subsequent "You're Next" sequels, their "V/H/S" franchise and what movies inspired this delightfully gory home invasion romp.

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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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.

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