This week, The Lunch is joined by Chief Film Critic for the L.A. Weekly Amy Nicholson, also the author of the upcoming Tom Cruise: Anatomy of an Actor from Phaidon/Cahiers du Cinema. After dining at Pepy’s Galley — a The Lunch Podcast favorite that’s regrettably closing at the end of June — Amy and I discussed Tom Cruise’s career, the specifics of Edge of Tomorrow — from its philosophy of time travel to its dark sense of humor — and talk about Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer as well.
This week, The Lunch is joined by director William Eubank (Left, with Beau Knapp) of the Focus Features scifi brain-bender The Signal; over coffee at Olive and Thyme in Burbank, Mr. Eubank and I discussed low budgets, big ideas, what it means to get Laurence Fishburne on board, how a big movie wanted his small movie’s set and much much more — including, in the second half, some conversation explicitly designed (and clearly pointed out, for you spoiler-phobes) for those who’ve seen The Signal already. You can find The Signal online at www.ruagitated.com; Mr. Eubank is on twitter @superswift.
This week, The Lunch is joined by director and writer Gillian Robespierre of the film Obvious Child, which stars Jenny Slate as a NYC stand-up with a stalled career, deep insecurities .. and an unwanted pregnancy. Ms. Robespierre and I dined at the Beverly Hilton before discussing improvisation, Sundance, quick shoots, having political urgency thrust upon you, the necessity of a good edit and much, much more. Obvious Child is currently in theaters (and you can find my Sundance review for The Playlist here) ; you can find Ms. Robespierre on Twitter @GillianHardG …
This week, The Lunch is joined by Grantland.com staff writer Alex Pappademas; after dining at Guisado’s on Sunset, Alex and I talked all things X-Men: Days of Future Past — from plot holes to soap operatics, representation and vertical flying-styles, Marvel boardroom politics to the question of ‘Peak Comic Book Movie,” budgetary bloat and the metaphors of mutancy. You can find Alex on Twitter @Pappademas …
This week, The Lunch is joined by actor AJ Bowen, star of the now-on-VOD The Sacrament, as well as indie faves like You’re Next and The House of the Devil. After lunch at Evenleigh on Sunset, AJ and I discussed his work as a VICE reporter who stumbles into darkness investigating a cult in The Sacrament, as well as the challenges of movie making vs. movie marketing, the challenges of layered characters, waffle irons, the tuba and much more.
This week, The Lunch is joined by Sean O’Connell, Movies Content Director of the lively news-and-reviews site CinemaBlend.com. Speaking via Skype, Sean and I discussed our opposing takes on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — he a fan, and me not — which spirals out into a discussion of what the comic-book movie could — and must — do to avoid over-saturation, fossilized storylines and other pitfalls of the field; we also talk Godzilla, where urban destruction is offered up without too much meaning to get in anyone’s way, as well as barbecue philosophy and a parent’s take on Peter Parker … you can find Sean on twitter @Sean_OConnell.
This week, The Lunch is joined by Germain Lussier, senior writer for the notorious and well-read Slashfilm.com; after we dined at The Grill in the Hollywood and Highland complex, Germain and I talked about that Star Wars photo, as well as sharing our three picks for which summer films we’re most enthused about — from the city-ravishing promise of Godzilla to the team-of-rogues Guardians of the Galaxy, the smart-looking Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to the gloriously goofy-seeming Jupiter Ascending, as well as the comedy of 22 Jump Street and the high-flying sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2. Digressions cover ground from the last time we saw a film without knowing every single detail of it (and wishing for that pleasure back) to John Bogeya’s star power, Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado to The Fifth Element as wish-fulfillment for 12-year-olds and much, much more.
Blue Ruin may be one of the strongest American independent films of 2014: It’s a revenge saga, but it isn’t; the hero isn’t a terse one-man army but instead a shy, silent man driven to desperate, dangerous acts; it isn’t about swift, cinematic slaughters visited on the deserving but, instead, on the slow, arduous and awful work of killing. Mr. Jeremy Saulnier (R) is the director, writer and cinematographer of Blue Ruin; Macon Blair (L) plays Dwight, the film’s off-center center. We spoke with the two in Los Angeles about silence in filmmaking, happy accidents, location scouting and the journey of work and will that took Blue Ruin from a work-in-progress rejection by Sundance and the doubts that came in its wake to re-shooting, re-cutting and then a premiere at Cannes to rave reviews. My review of the film, at Cinephiled.com from Sundance 2014, can be found here.
A film-lover’s dream documentary, Jodorowsky’s Dune is a chronicle of magnificence, obsession, impracticality and excess, all culminating in one of the greatest films that never existed. Chronicling the attempts by noted director Alejandro Jodorowski to adapt Frank Herbert’s sci-fi saga in the early ’70s, director Frank Pavich turns the film from a curious cultural ‘What If?” into a gripping dissection of the business of making films and the buredn of wanting to make art. After dining with producers Travis Stevens and Stephen Scarlatta at Daichan in Studio City, they were gracious enough to join The Lunch Podcast to talk about the project’s genesis, clearance rights vs. ‘Fair Use,’ jamming a film crew into a European car, Jodorowski’s enthusiasm, cultural archaeology, the changing nature of the future and, much like the documentary itself, the tantalizing possibilities of what might have been…
Alison Willmore is the newly-hired Film Critic for BuzzFeed — and the first time that mighty site has created a position with “Critic” in the title. After dining at Golden State, on Fairfax, Ms. Wilmore and I talked about her new position, what criticism is in this modern era, the ambitious plans she and BuzzFeed have for her work, the merits of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” other Marvel movie matters, what makes a good burger, self-editing in the age of self-publishing and much, much more. Ms. Willmore can be found on Twitter @AlisonWillmore; the excellent podcast she co-hosts, “Filmspotting: SVU (Streaming Video Unit)” can be found here, as well.