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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

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Talking With Jeff Nichols of ‘MIDNIGHT SPECIAL’

Director Jeff Nichols faces his biggest obstacle yet this upcoming weekend: the general public. Reviews for his fourth feature film have been largely favorable so far, with a very warm SXSW debut reception, but Midnight Special launches the Arkansas filmmaker into the spotlight in a big way. With a considerable marketing push behind it and general critical support (the film is “certified fresh” at a lofty 86% on Rotten Tomatoes as of writing this), the cards look good for Nichols’ biggest picture yet. Read More

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Talking With Sarah Gavron of ‘SUFFRAGETTE’

Lovely Sarah Gavron arrives on the scene with Suffragette, a wanna-be prestige picture with award’s contender written back-and-front. Though I had a fair share of issues with the film itself [our review], Gavron provided a right compelling interview. Sarah and I talked the casting process, getting Meryl Street onboard, women in the film industry, transitioning into larger-scale projects, directorial influences and the battle between historical accuracy and narrative tread. Read More

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Talking With Leslye Headland of ‘SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE’

Lesyle Headland couldn’t give a lumpy shit what bad things you have to say about female directors and she won’t stop herself from telling you so. The verbose talent provided some nasty good times when we sat down to discuss her latest film, the truly hysterical Sleeping With Other People [review here]. Leslye proved not only the most crass interview we’ve sat down to but also one of the most candid. We talk being a female director in a male world (with lion and lioness allegories), the film’s infamous bottle scene, her favorite scene that she cut from the film, casting Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie, crying on set, the misnomer of improvisation, the shift from Bachelorette , movie references and what you would find in her VHS Blu-Ray player. Read More