Essentially, Director’s Commentary is a new audio track for an old Frankenstein film, featuring the star of that original film, Leon Vitali. But it also includes contributions from actors Clu Gulager and Zack Norman, who weren’t in Terror of Frankenstein. Exactly how truthful or fictional the commentary is, Ascher won’t say (“A little mystery never hurt anyone”). Whatever exactly it is, it sounds fascinating and unique enough for me to break my unofficial rule and donate to the fundraiser.
We talked to Wan about what changed in Furious 7 after Paul Walker died, whether he'd return for Fast and Furious 8 and what he wants to do with The Conjuring 2.
There are a lot of heroes in the Fast & Furious movies, but the unsung hero of the Fast & Furious movies is screenwriter Chris Morgan, who joined the franchise at its lowest point and helped transform a dying property about a couple of street racers into one of the most popular series (with one of the most cleverly complex mythologies) in all of Hollywood. It was Morgan’s idea to take the series international for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and to bring back the original franchise stars, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, which happened in the fourth film, 2009’s Fast & Furious. Six years later, Furious 7 is primed to open in theaters, and even after the tragic passing of Walker in 2013, the series now shows no signs of slowing down. Diesel’s so confident in the movie that he’s already predicted it will win the Best Picture Oscar at next year’s Academy Awards (Morgan’s reaction when I asked if he wanted to double down on Diesel’s bet: “Uh ... [laughs] no comment.”)
Increasingly the Fast and Furious franchise has felt like a superhero franchise. A group of heroes with seemingly infinite strength and abilities taking on the bad guys and becoming a family in the process. It's like Avengers meets the Fantastic Four, but with a lot of cars. With the movies already up to Part 7 and Paul Walker sadly gone, the series can't go on forever. So, how do they continue the brand? Just like the superheroes do: with spinoffs.
Fast and Furious 7 is an emotional movie; there's no getting around that. There were few dry eyes after the screening we attended. But, if it's this emotional for people who are watching the movie, can you imagine what it must be like for the people who made the movie, and knew Paul Walker? We spoke to director James Wan who told us that it's still so hard, he has to get up and leave the theater during the film's ending.
I met up with Teller in Austin where he was passing through on an Insurgent promotional stop. I was eager to see which Teller would show up. The formalwear of the Oscar season was long gone and Teller was dressed bro casual in blue tank top, showing off both his impressive physique and the deep scars from a 2007 car crash that nearly killed him. The contrast between the two recalls the strength and weakness Teller brings to his roles; he's equal parts vulnerable, but looks like he could (and would) kick your ass if need be.
David Robert Mitchell left quite an impression with his first feature film, The Myth of the American Sleepover, an honest and subdued look at teen friendship and coming of age. The director has returned with his second feature, It Follows, a thoughtful horror film in which teens are once again the focus, this time coping with a sexually-transmitted haunting. Mitchell has a knack for understanding young people, with a keen ear for their dialogue and a sharp perception of the somewhat separate world they inhabit. Along with a handful of other directors, Mitchell has helped to reinvigorate the horror genre, which has suffered in recent years from the influx of found footage and banal, unoriginal concepts. We had a chance to speak with Mitchell about It Follows, the genesis of this layered and impactful horror film, and the timelessness of what he’s created.
We spoke to Hugh Jackman earlier today for his upcoming movie ‘Chappie’ (we’ll have much more on that movie soon), and as we were making small talk, we asked Mr. Jackman whether he had heard the news yet about Marvel and Sony Pictures coming to terms on an agreement that would allow Spider-Man to crossover into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He had not. He was very surprised.
'Black or White' is a movie Costner admits no one in Hollywood wanted to make. So, he made it his damn self. With his own money. $9 million of his own money. If it seems like the kind of thing that a lot of people would advise against, you're right. We sat down with the actor to talk about this, and why he felt 'Black or White' was so important to invest so much of his own money in.
Chandor is the definition of “gregarious.” He likes telling long stories (to the point he drove the film’s publicists crazy trying to keep everything running on time, until they just kind of gave up), which I suppose makes sense considering his profession. Chandor is the true definition of “storyteller,” in that he conceives a story and follows it through from start to finish—whether that’s on film or in a Park Ave. hotel. Though, Chandor admits he’s a “loudmouth,” but commends himself on not revealing a big secret about Oscar Isaac’s role in the new ‘Star Wars’ movie.