Mean Girls meets Scream in Tyler MacIntyre’s trendy satirical midnight horror-comedy Tragedy Girls. Like Heathers for the social media age, MacIntyre’s coming-of-age serial killer misadventure satirizes iPhone-obsessed culture as two popular girls go on a killing spree in order to gain followers, accrue likes and establish a brand. A fucked-up ode to friendship first and foremost, Tragedy Girls’ kill-happy mentality is demented no doubt but the relationship at its center sincerely (and gruesomely) cuts to the core of high school woes and the trials of BFF-dom. Not to mention, it’s bloody good fun. Read More
2015 is shaping up to be the year of the great rom-com as Judd Apatow‘s Trainwreck is the third great romantic comedy or romantic comedy drama (or romantic dramedy) that I’ve seen this year – the other two being Adult Beginners and Sleeping With Other People. A portion of our SXSW review states: Read More
2015 is shaping up to be the year of the great rom-com as Judd Apatow‘s Trainwreck is the third great romantic comedy or romantic comedy drama (or romantic dramedy) that I’ve seen this year – the other two being Adult Beginners and Sleeping With Other People. A portion of our SXSW review states:
Take it from the effervescently crass mouth of Amy Schumer, “The title was always Trainwreck. Trainwreck or Cum Dumpster.” Oh Amy, you are such just so…you. From talk radio appearances to gross-out Twitter posts, the Schum has crafted her image on being unapologetically, oh-so-adorably crude and in the context of Trainwreck, it’s miraculous to take in. At last night’s premiere, when an audience member inundated her with compliments, she barked, “Stop trying to fuck me.” She has swiftly become the epitome of 21st century feminism-as-middle finger; the crème de la crème of vagina jokes and reverse slut shaming that will melt the lipstick off housewives and zap the calories off your finger sandwiches with her gloriously nasty one-liners and hysterically sexual non-sequiturs. (Full review here)
Amy and Judd appeared after the SXSW premiere of what is being referred to as a “work in progress” cut of the film – though in my review, I question how much – or rather how little – change we’ll see before the final cut – to talk about where the film came from, what it was like working together, what makes Amy Schumer Amy Schumer and moving the action from LA to NYC.
How was it, working with Amy on this?
Judd Apatow: I was just a fan. I heard Amy on the Howard Stern show one day. I had been talking a lot about these things, and I was just sitting in my car in the parking lot, because I didn’t want to miss it. I remember thinking, “I think she has stories to tell.” And I called her and said, “Do you want to meet?”, and she wrote back.
Amy Schumer: I said, “I’m super busy.” Yeah, I was like, “Oh my god!” We met in person, to find out what stories we’d like to tell.
What was one of the most fun parts of making this movie for you?
AS: The most fun part? This is super personal, but this is a personal story, for me. Just getting to do it with my sister there, every step of the way. Being able to play with my sister, Kim, and having her there. She helped me to write it. So getting to go back to my trailer every day, and being like, “Do I have a trailer?” This is my first movie, so getting to be with her, from day one to the last day, when we went back, and started drinking tequila, just the two of us. It was so special to do with her.
Judd most of your films take place in L.A. but this is set in NYC. What compelled you to really write a really classic New York City romance?
AS: I was born and raised in New York City and then we went bankrupt and moved to Long Island. I write everything that I’ve ever written in New York. I can’t imagine having a big kitchen. Judd was nice enough to leave his family for a couple of months and shoot in the ninety-degree New York China Town weather. I write everything in New York.
How close is the story true to real life?
AS: I’m fine! The truth is, I submitted my first script to Judd and he was really nice. He was like, “Why don’t you write about what’s really up?” And I took a look at myself. So this is very much me taking a look at what’s going on with me. I wanted to say, “This poor girl!” But yeah, it’s me.
Where do you get your attitude of empowerment from?
AS: I think I was just very innocent for a long time. I was just visiting my brother last week, in Chicago, and he reminded me that I didn’t lose my two front teeth until fifth grade. But I had just had my first period so I was just this jack o’ lantern with tits, walking around! I just looked like Pinocchio, when he was transitioning into a donkey. Or like Pluto. I just didn’t think anything was possible but polygamy for me until I was 30. So I don’t know. I get super sentimental when I see girls on the Ellen show, just like young girls that feel like everything’s okay, and for some reason, I held on to that for longer than most. I just encourage that kind of being non-apologetic and that you’re allowed to be a human being. Yeah, and I was lucky to meet people like Howard Stern and Judd.
For all the schmaltzy young love that pollutes our movie screens (*cough* If I Stay, Fault in Our Stars *cough*) there comes the ocassional tale of youth and young love that actually merits a watch. 6 Years is that movie. And now that it’s been picked up by Netflix, you’ll actually probably watch it. How novel! From our review;
Emotionally raw though a dash melodramatic, Hannah Fidell’s 6 Years is a bittersweet look at love and sacrifice at the ripe young age of 21. Fidell plants us at the focal point of their oft imploding relationship with truly intimate camerawork that operates in tandem with the film’s unobtrusive technical aspects – like Julian Wass‘ mellow score and Andrew Droz Palermo‘s low profile cinematography work – to create a convincing, and affecting, narrative. Able to share its time equally between the two leads – both of whom offer excellent performances – 6 Years paints an important and empathetic portrait of young relationships without necessarily taking a side. Like Boyhood and Blue is the Warmest Color before it, 6 Years enters a class of independent film that young people should be made to watch before making any major life decision.
Speaking with 6 Years stars Taissa Farmiga and Ben Rosenfield, we discussed morphing technology, favorite flicks, American Horror Story, dream directors and getting advice from their older generation.
So first of all, congratulations! Your film was just picked up this morning by Netflix!
Taissa Farmiga: Thank you.
Which is kind of crazy, because Netflix is really shifting, in the way that they’re now acquiring exclusive material. They picked up ‘Beasts Of No Nation’ as well [and also Manson Family Vacation.] So, when you guys are thinking about the future of film and what medium that film comes in, does that play a part in how you think about your roles, and what opportunities you might want to take?
Ben Rosenfield: I think it effects it – just in terms of what a movie is going to. It’s a different medium, so it broadens the scope of how things might work, you know what I mean? A film like this, I think, is going to work beautifully on Netflix, and there are other ones where it’s like, it belongs in a movie theater, properly, in that way. Netflix, and the internet, is just creating a wider variety of platforms.
It’s changing everything.
TF: It’s letting more people access it now. Which isn’t, it’s not a negative thing. Again, it’s just thinking, “Where’s the best place?” Some things belong in the movie theater.
So with this, what was it about the director, Hannah Fidell, that basically won you guys over and where you felt comfortable saying, “This is the project I need to be a part of?”
TF: When I was reading the script, I immediately fell in love with the characters – they’re so relatable, and so personal. I just thought, “I would love to play this,” because, also, I’m 20, and I’m figuring life out. I would love to portray that. So the script actually had a bunch of images in it, for visuals, for tonal references…
TF: So I got to see a little bit of Hannah’s mind, and what she envisioned the project. It was very helpful. Then I had a Skype with her and Mark Duplass, and I heard them talk about it. They just sounded so smart, and like good people, and I was like, “”I want to make a movie with them.”
They had a vision?
BR: Also, all of what Taissa is saying is similar to the experience I had, and then I also watched ‘The Teacher’ before, and I thought it was a really interesting film.
So, Taissa, how has it been for you, navigating the film world, having your older sister showing you the ropes, saying, “You should do this, and this…” I’ve gathered that you have a strong bond but do you ever feel like, “Back off! Let me do my own thing here!”
TF: No, never! I feel so blessed to have my older sister. She’s been through it all; she’s been through the ringer. If I call her up, and go, “[Vera], what do I do? I’m in this circumstance – I’ve got to pick this job, or this job.” She’s just always there for me. She’s helped guide me. I owe her so much. It’s nice to have someone to talk to, and now she’s got someone to talk to. I know how hard it is. So yeah, it’s great! It’s nice to have your own personal wealth of information, right there. I pick her brain all the time.
Taissa, you found your breakout with ‘American Horror Story’, and Ben, I know the last film you worked on was ‘A Most Violent Year’. So can you both talk about working with these exquisite talents? Like Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as well as Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange, who’s just phenomenal in that show?
TF: Man, it’s just incredible to have not been in this industry for so long and to get to work with these incredible people. I mean, just massively talented people. I love to just sit back and watch how these people work, rather than be like, “Oh, tell me everything!” I’m more of a…
An observational learner.
TF: To see how they operate, and take what I can from that. If they want to throw a couple of tips out there, I gobble them right up.
BR: It’s amazing getting to work with great actors. You learn a tremendous amount from them. It’s like the best. Taissa didn’t go to college. I didn’t go to college. But I think we’re both getting a pretty great education, based on that.
Do you have any funny stories, where one of these actor giants has just taken you aside and tried to guide you one way or another?
TF: I stepped on Jessica Lange’s line once during ‘American Horror Story’. It was totally fine, I was just too over-eager to like show my stuff and because they switched the lines a little bit and I didn’t know what was happening. I go to go, and I see her look over at me, and I shrink.
That terrifying Jessica Lange stare.
TF: I mean, it was nothing, but you know me, of course. “Oh my God, the lion’s looking at me.”
Following up on ‘American Horror Story’, I think the show is one of the best platforms for female performances, not only in television but in movies. That kind of makes me think of a quote from Zoe Saldana, where she said something like, “Genre films – sci-fi, horror, etc. – really have the best opportunities for women to work.” They get better opportunities when they work in these genre niches. Is that an experience that you’ve had?
TF: Well, it’s interesting because, like in the horror genre, females are very empowered. Like The Final Girls, the one that wins; it’s the woman.
Especially in ‘American Horror Story’.
TF: Especially in ‘American Horror Story’. In ‘Final Girls’, as well, it was uplifting a woman, which was nice to play.
BR: I think there’s also a lot of objectification of women going on in horror films, too.
TF: That’s what’s so nice about ‘Final Girls’. It makes fun of those tropes. Like ‘The Slutty Girl’, ‘The Mean Girl’, ‘The Shy Girl’. It makes fun of that. It’s like, “That’s in the past, guys.” It brings a fresh way of doing it.
My final ‘American Horror Story’ question: I know you’ve been in, you’ve been out, you’ve been in it again, kind of oscillating back and forth, from season to season. So, if you were to follow your trend, you would be in the next season. Is that something that you’ve discussed and talked about?
TF: I’m just so busy with movie stuff lately. And I also just got another pilot, for a show called ‘L. A. Crime’, for ABC, so I’m excited for that because it shoots on the Sunset Strip. If it works out to do ‘American Horror Story’ I would love to do that show. I was there in the beginning and it meant so much to me. If I could poke my head in and say “Hi,” I would love to.
So, unfortunately, I’ve not yet seen ‘6 Years’, I was sick as a dog from food poisoning.
BR: I’m so sorry. That sucks!
That always seems to be what happens when you travel. But can you just kind of give me a bird’s eye perspective of what the film is about, and how you divorce it from previous incarnations of this young, romantic drama film? What sets it apart?
BR: To answer the first part, it’s the story of a young couple who’s been together since high school, and they’re now approaching the end of college, and their paths are starting to diverge.
They’ve been together for six years?
TF: Yeah, their relationship started in this youthful place and as they’re transitioning into adults, and they’re changing, either their relationship is changing with them, or it’s not.
BR: I think what’s different about this film is the way the split happens, the way it manifests itself. It’s told in a unique way. There’s some domestic violence which happens, which you don’t see very often with young people. I think the fact that me and Taissa are actually the ages of the people we’re playing is cool.
Rather than thirty-year-old people playing college students?
TF: That’s what’s so nice about it. It feels so real. Because we’re the real age. We’re also going through these transitions in our lives, so we can relate to these characters really well. It just feels so relatable. It’s personal. It’s intimate.
BR: And we improvised a great deal of the film.
BR: Which happens, but again, you don’t see a lot of films with young people improvving.
So did you guys draw on any particular relationship in the past that you’ve experienced in order to play this?
TF: Not specifically. Obviously, I drew on just past experiences, with people that I’ve connected to and dealt with in my life. But nothing specific.
A couple of quick shot questions that you can just do quick answers to. If there’s any director that’s working today and said, “I need you in my next film,” who’s the one you just couldn’t turn down?
BR: P. T. Anderson.
TF: Oh, that’s a good one. I’d love to work with Danny Boyle. I almost got to. I got to audition with him. He directed my hand in the audition room. To be able to do that, for a real movie.
BR: Also, Todd Rohall. I want to work with Todd Rohall. He’s a genius.
And another quick one: what was your favorite film of last year, and what really speaks to you in these kinds of movies?
BR: I guess I’ll say ‘Force Majeure’. I loved that movie. Last year was good so I’m just naming the first thing that came into my head. I loved it because it’s very, very sad and it’s very, very funny. I love art that has both sides. It’s so well done.
TF: You know what I actually loved, and you can’t bitch because you were in this? I loved ‘The Most Violent Year’. I love Oscar. I thought it was a great cast. Obviously, part of me wanted to see [Ben] in it to talk about it. I loved it – it was a little bit of a slow burn, which is not usually my taste, but I really loved it. Jessica Chastain was so subtle in it.
She’s so good! And, finally, where are you guys off to next? What’s the next big projects, and things you’re circling right now?
TF: I’ve got a couple of projects here that are about to come out, and hopefully they’ll sell. But I’m about to go shoot a pilot in L.A.
‘L. A. Crime’, that you were talking about?
TF: Yeah. So that’s cool.
Anything else on the docket for films? Going back to the TV world for a little bit?
TF: I shot a Western last year. I got to work with Warren Beatty, as well. I’m hoping those are about to come out soon. I want to get those out into the world.
BR: I’m in a play right now, so I have to leave the festival and go finish that up. In another Manhattan Class company. And then this summer, I’m in Woody Allen’s new film. And then I might go to England, and record some music. Not filming anything in particular though.
Remember those fetid middle school health videos about eating disorders? The concerned best friend, the bespectacled guidance counselor, the implied offscreen self-abuse. The gorging. The vomiting. The inevitable dramatic hospital visit. Excess Fleshisn’t quite that but Patrick Kennelly‘s wannabe horror feature is still very much the cinematic version of binging and purging. It crams a bunch of junk down your throat only to yuck it back on the screen as watery, indistinct gook. Kinda like the next day stomach movement of a truly ripping kegger. Kennelly’s narrative circle of hell exhumes outdated and/or overplayed models of violence towards women and the violence women inflict on themselves to ill-effect. Aided by a predictable and heavily cliched script from Kennelly and co-writer Sigrid Gilmer (starring bottom-feeding lines like “You’re not gonna get away with this, you know”), Excess Flesh is at once an obvious and oblivious body dysmorphia thriller that’s more than a little flabby. And by curtain time, it, like a half-starved model, has totally collapsed off the runway. Read More
Traditionally, the horror movies begins with the tabula rasa and from there builds upwards with little narrative Lincoln Logs stacked on shower scares and mirror pop-ins. Ava’s Possessions shrewdly flips the formula on its head, poising an intriguing conceit in the exploration of what transpires after a ghastly, cathartic event. Where is the werewolf at mentally the morn after the full moon? When do the disfigured, backwoods cannibals run out of human stock and have to settle on Ramen? How nasty a case of PDST results from a Eli Roth-style torture session? What is the aftermath of an exorcism? Read More