Mike Ryan is currently the senior editor at ScreenCrush. Mike most recently served as Senior Entertainment Writer for The Huffington Post. Previously, Mr. Ryan was a frequent contributor at Vanity Fair and Wired magazine and wrote for Time, GQ, ELLE-UK, and New York magazine.
‘While We’re Young’ Review: Noah Baumbach’s Ben Stiller Comedy Has Mass Appeal
To date, the most successful movie that Noah Baumbach has been involved with grossed $530 million worldwide. This is an astounding and somewhat surprising figure until it’s revealed that the movie in question is ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – a movie that Baumbach co-wrote with the writer of the other two 'Madagascar’ movies, Eric Darnell. As a director, Baumbach’s most successful movie to date is 2005’s ‘The Squid and the Whale,’ which grossed a little over $7 million domestically. This will all change when ‘While We’re Young’ – which premiered in Toronto and was the New York Film Festival’s Surprise Screening on Sunday evening – reaches theaters next year. Noah Baumbach has made a commercially viable film.
J.C. Chandor on ‘A Most Violent Year’ And Keeping ‘Star Wars’ Secrets
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.
10 Best ‘SNL’ Sketches of 2014
‘Saturday Night Live’ started 2014 as a show that was rebuilding; it ended the year in a noticeable groove that foreshadows, hopefully, many more great things to come. The following 10 sketches represent the calendar year of 2014—which includes the last half of the 39th season and the first half of this current 40th season. So, with that explanation out of the way, here are the 10 best ‘SNL’ sketches of 2014. Like all lists, you will like some choices and not like others.
‘SNL’ Scorecard: Amy Adams Sings and Dances Her Way Through Christmas And Dr. Evil
The narrative surrounding ‘SNL’ for the last year and a half is that it’s a show that’s “rebuilding.” And, yes, last season, that was true. But it’s weird: That narrative is still lingering even though, for people paying attention (I tend to pay attention), this 40th season has been very, very good. Last year, ‘SNL’ relied way too much on in-the-moment pop culture references (never a good sign). This season—including what we saw again during Saturday night’s Amy Adams-hosted episode—was all about great writing and great execution. It wasn’t quite as consistent as last week’s Martin Freeman-hosted show, but ‘SNL,’ right now, has a lot of momentum headed into its winter break. (When it returns with Kevin Hart, I really hope we see a sequel to ‘Z-Shirt.’ Please make this happen, Tim Robinson.)
The 148 Best (And Worst) Movies Of 2014 (According to Mike Ryan)
I enjoy reading top ten lists, but I don’t particularly like making a top ten list—which does nothing as far as an explanation as to why I decided to do a Top 147 list (or Bottom 147 list, if that’s more your thing). I covered four film festivals in 2014, so I saw more than 147 movies, but these are the 147 movies I saw that came out in a theater this year. (I realize ‘The Interview’ is now not coming out, but, whatever, it’s on here too.) I am only one human being, so I didn’t see every movie that came out this year—Where’s ‘Noah’? I never saw ‘Noah’—but I think I saw quite a few! Anyway, here they all are. (I only wrote about a few of them because I am not a crazy person.)
Brie Larson on ‘The Gambler’ and Having Control of Her Career By Admitting She Has No Control
The first thing you notice about Brie Larson is her unexpected height, forever putting her in my own personal “this actor was much taller than I expected” club, where she joins the likes of John Cusack and Colin Firth. The second is that she’s, pleasantly, a bit of an oddball, meant in the most endearing and interesting way possible. With a single answer, she has the ability to be aloof and on point at the exact same time. Larson seems to have it all figured out without even trying. In other words: She’s winning a game that even she admits is impossible to win.
‘The Interview’ Review: A Movie Not Nearly as Interesting as Its Controversy
It’s kind of a strange thing to write about ‘The Interview’ now, right? Its place in culture will always be defined by the Sony hacks that preceded the movie’s release. Is any other film defined so sharply by events that were out of that movie’s control?
Christoph Waltz on ‘Big Eyes’ and Why He Wanted to Be in a James Bond Movie
Christoph Waltz is a lot like what you might expect Christoph Waltz to be like in person: Forever charming, even when he doesn’t agree with what you are saying. And Waltz always has a lot to say, which comes from an interesting perspective as an actor who, after years in German cinema, now owns two Academy Awards. Waltz has an equally interesting approach to characters—he doesn’t see characters as “good” or “bad”; and he certainly doesn’t let himself think about the fact that in his latest film, Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes,’ he’s playing a real person—but whatever Waltz is doing, it appears to be working.
Emily Blunt on ‘Into the Woods‘ and Why She Thinks ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Didn’t Catch On
While standing in the hallway of New York’s Waldorf Astoria, Emily Blunt approached me, assertively, and said, “We’ve met before.” This happens from time to time before interviews, even from people I’ve never met, but it’s usually with an I hope I’m right question uptick at the end. This seemed different. I responded, “We have, Comic-Con two years ago. There’s no way you remember that.” Chit chat continued and, it was at this point, that a publicist approached us and asked that we not conduct an interview in the hallway, so we were led into a hotel conference room with a big round table. Even in a desolate room like this one, Blunt has the ability to be on and funny when nothing funny should ever happen in a room like this.
Tim Burton on ‘Big Eyes,’ ‘Batman,’ ‘Birdman’ and ‘Beetlejuice 2’
A few months ago, the Internet celebrated the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’ as the Internet is wont to do: retrospectives, lists about things we may or may not have known about ‘Batman,’ embeddable clips from Prince’s ‘Batdance.’ So it’s kind of fitting that both the director of ‘Batman,’ Tim Burton, and its star, Michael Keaton, currently have movies out that are considered respective departures. Burton, for dropping his signature style to make the Margaret Keane biopic, ‘Big Eyes,’ and Keaton for playing off his own persona as Batman in ‘Birdman’—a movie Burton has yet to see, but that fact doesn’t stop Burton from saying many wonderful things about Keaton.