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Talking With Veronica Ferres of ‘SALT AND FIRE’

From the Peruvian rainforest to the Katmai Alaskan Wilderness, the depths of the Chauvet caves of Southern France to McMurdo Station in AntarcticaWerner Herzog is a journeyman who has long questioned man’s relationship with nature. In Salt and Fire, Herzog takes us to Bolivia’s sprawling Salar de Uyuni, the worst’s largest salt flat. A desolate beauty of biblical proportion, here transpires a kidnapping and desertion in this eco-minded quasi-thriller that feels  like a natural extension of Herzog’s last documentary, Into the Inferno. The auteur again twisting his most recent obsession (volcanoes) into narrative form to varying success.  Read More

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Talking with Olivier Assayas of ‘PERSONAL SHOPPER’

Man of vision Olivier Assayas is not your average filmmaker. The Parisian director is the kind of filmmaker that makes critics blush, his last feature Clouds of Sils Maria making its way onto a sizable share of Critic Top Ten Lists circa 2014/15. Dedicated to making bold, often female-led poetic musings, Assayas is celebrated for helping shape rounded, vibrant characters. For the second time, Assayas pairs with Kristen Stewart to tell an unconventional ghost story in Personal Shopper, a woeful tale of a woman’s tedious professional life and search for peace after her brothers passing ingrained within larger themes of spirituality and self-doubt. Unsurprisingly at this point, Stewart is phenomenal in the role, with more emotion spilling from her jittery, anxiety-wracked texting fingers than in some lesser performer’s entire arsenal.  Read More

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Talking with Mark Webber of ‘FLESH AND BLOOD’

Fans of the darker side of cinema may recognize Mark Webber from last year’s excellent Green Room where Mark played a Nazi trying (and failing) to defect from a gnarly order of backwoods skinheads but his roots in the film world run deeper than you’d think at first glance. A seasoned actor and filmmaker both, Webber has not followed a traditional path but has found success nonetheless. With his latest feature, a documentary-cum-drama, Webber has pioneered something unclassifiable, a powerfully pure art piece where the lines of reality and fiction become blur and indistinguishable. Read More

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Talking with David Mackenzie of ‘HELL OR HIGH WATER’

David Mackenzie has been making films since 1994. He directed a string of lauded shorts which lead to his debut feature film, The Last Great Wilderness, bowing at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival. The Scottish native has since delivered nine feature films, bucking expectations at every turn. With a vast and varied range of influences and styles, Mackenzie hasn’t always enjoyed the critical success afforded him from his early work. But a recent string of successes – 2014’s universally celebrated Starred Up (which still claims at whopping 99% on Rotten Tomatoes) and Un Certain Regard nominee Hell or High Water (currently standing with an unfettered 100%) – has David Mackenzie back on top.

I spoke with David about bringing Taylor Sheridan’s Black List script to life, having pride in a finished product, new films as a reaction to prior films, the overwhelming positive response to Starred Up and Hell or High Water, letting tape run on Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham, his weird director’s cuts and that crusty T-Bone diner waitress who totally steals the scene. Read More

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Talking With Taika Waititi of ‘HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE’

Taika Waititi is the second coming of the New Zealand film wave, but he would never admit it. The NZ native quickly outgrew his indie roots and has evolved massively since his debut feature Eagle vs Shark, which starred frequent collaborator and Kiwi compatriot Jemaine Clement, and has gone on to deliver a string of critical smashes in Boy, What We Do in the Shadows and, most recently, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Before Waititi switches hats completely and goes on to deliver his first certifiably blockbuster for Marvel with Thor: Ragnarok, the tongue-in-cheek actor/director got to bask in the critical and box office adoration of Wilderpeople. Read More

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Talking with Viggo Mortensen and Matt Ross of CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

Viggo Mortensen is one of the greatest actors working today. Of that, I have no doubt. He stormed the screen as Aragorn in Peter Jackson’ epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, lead David Cronenberg’s outstanding crime thriller A History of Violence (which lead to a three-film collaboration between the two) and thinned down to a troubling frame in John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and for all the variety Mortensen injects into his roles, the one consistent thread is his supreme dedication. So it will come as no surprise that when I got to sit down with the thespian behemoth for his newest feature Captain Fantastic, we had much to discuss. Read More

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Talking with Craig Robinson of ‘MORRIS FROM AMERICA’

Funny guy Craig Robinson strikes you as the kind of dude with a beefy laugh and a heart of gold. His appearances in film and television throughout the years were jump-started by his turn as ambitious warehouse manager Daryl Philbin in cult TV classic The Office which in turn resulted in a string of parts in Evan Goldberg comedies including Pineapple Express, This is the End and, most recently, Sausage Party as well as features on other notable comedies as Knocked Up, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and a starring role in the two Hot Tub Time Machine movies (though we wish we could forget that second one.)  
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Talking with Greg Kwedar of ‘TRANSPECOS’

First-time writer and director Greg Kwedar describes the six-year process of creating Transpecos like a proud, but deservingly exhausted, father. The Texas-set border thriller is as much character study as it is a certifiable nail-biter; a politically-minded meditation with a throbbing pace and tightrope tension. Kwedar’s preternatural ability to blend high drama with explosive pressure cooking won him and his film the Audience Award for Narrative Competition at this year’s SXSW Film Festival and, arguably more importantly, near universal praise. Read More

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Talking with Robert Eggers of ‘THE WITCH’

Robert Eggers‘ first trip to Sundance was rewarded with a little thing called the Best Director award. Since then, he’s seen his New England-based independent horror film soar, earning a fervent critical backing and loads of support. But not everything has been roses. I chatted with the first-time director to discuss the years-long journey of making and releasing The Witch, the current state of horror movies, religious zealotry and the history of American witchcraft, the modern equivalent of witches, working with children actors to elicit believable performances, and how to deal with negative reactions to the film. Read More

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Talking with Jeremy Saulnier of ‘GREEN ROOM’

Jeremy Saulnier emerged from the shadows last year with his not-quite-cult independent smash Blue Ruin. About a man fatally ill prepared to strike justice on the man responsible for his parent’s slaying, Saulnier managed an original voice in a familiar setting. With this year’s Green Room, he’s managed to strike the sweet spot once more. An uncompromisingly violent tale of a hapless punk band (played by Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin, Callum Turner and Mark Webber) who come head to head with a Neo Nazi club owner (an intimidating as hell Patrick Stewart) is shrouded in viscus and plays like a violent assault to the senses. Visceral and mean, Saulnier has sharpened his edge as a filmmaker to craft a siege film set in a seedy underbelly society that’s absolutely boiling with tension. Read More