Author Archives: James Rocchi

The Lunch with ‘Jodorowski’s Dune’ Producers Travis Stevens and Stephen Scarlatta

JDuneMedA 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…

The film can be found on Twitter @JodorowskysDune; Mr. Stevens and Mr. Scarlatta can be found on twitter @TravisStevens and @XNeckX.


Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes; The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of “Cheap Thrills” and the upcoming “The Guest.”

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The Lunch with Alison Willmore, Film Critic for BuzzFeed

alisonwillmoreheadshot1Alison 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.

Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes; The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of “Cheap Thrills” and the upcoming “The Guest.”

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The Lunch with Matt and Tom Berninger of ‘Mistaken for Strangers’

MFSCROPMatt Berninger (R) is the lead singer for Brooklyn-based band The National; his younger brother Tom Berninger (L) was a would-be-filmmaker residing in his parent’s house when Matt asked him to work as a roadie and shoot documentary footage on a ocean-crossing The National tour. The result, “Mistaken for Strangers” is far more than a rock doc, combining true humanity with great comedy and rock performance footage, up to and including Tom being fired from the tour … Speaking with both Tom and Matt in Los Angeles, this episode of The Lunch covers topics including the film itself, the rock-and-roll lifestyle, Tom’s camera choices, the purpose of wearing a suit, Orwell on autobiography, the rock-music balancing act between the Byronic and the moronic, and much more. “Mistaken For Strangers” is in select theaters and on iTunes tomorrow, and can be found on Twitter @NationalMovie.
Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes; The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of “Cheap Thrills” and the upcoming “The Guest.”

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The Lunch, with Anne Thompson, Journalist and Author of ‘The $11-Billion Year’

thompsontumblr_n2c00doiXk1qegacgo1_500Anne Thompson may be best known for her fast-paced and fresh take on the film industry via her Indiewire column, Thompson on Hollywood – but she’s also the author of the superb new book, ‘The $11-Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, a Look at the Changing Hollywood System.’ Anne and I spoke in Los Angeles about her book and it’s creation, as well as what she truly discovered through taking the microscope to 2012 in American film from the January Sundance debut of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” to “Argo”‘s startling Oscar win; along the way, we cover topics as diverse as the MPAA, whether the Oscars do more harm than ill, the profits and perils of the global marketplace, her take on what’s going on for both small indies and big-budget tentpoles in the years to come, the merits and flaws of “Battleship” and much, much more. Anne can be found on Twitter @akstanwyck.
Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes; The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of the upcoming The Guest.

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The Lunch with Chad Hartigan, Dir. of ‘This is Martin Bonner’

2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards - ShowChad Hartigan’s This is Martin Bonner won the John Cassavetes Award at the Indie Spirit Awards; it’s a truly impressive American film about life and second acts, as Martin Bonner (Paul Einhoorn) rebuilds his life in a new town with a new job helping prisoners transition to the outside world; Travis (Richmond Arquette) is the new parolee Martin is assigned — not realizing that helping Travis will also help him. Hartigan and I dined at L.A.’s Unami Burger, talking about the challenges of his budget, real independence in film making, the paranoia you can get from winning the Sundance Audience Award, the best places to eat in Reno and his forthcoming projects. This is Martin Bonner can be found on iTunes and Netflix Watch Instant right now.

Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes; The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of the upcoming The Guest.

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The Lunch: Todd Sklar & Alex Rennie of ‘Awful Nice’

photo 6 (1)This week on The Lunch, regular host James Rocchi is joined by Todd Sklar (R) and Alex Rennie (L), the co-writers of the new film Awful Nice, which Mr. Sklar directed and Mr. Rennie stars in. Full of undeserved overconfidence and flailing feuds, Awful Nice follows James Pumphries and Rennie as two brothers, strange and estranged, who learn that their recently-deceased father left the two of them the old family getaway .. in Branson, Missouri, the showbiz playground of the heartland. After dining at The Wood in Culver City, Mr. Sklar and Mr. Rennie shared stories of their production, the Kraft-Dunning effect, how they may have accidentally helped cover up a murder during their indie shoot, myths and legends of Christopher Meloni, how to best detonate an airbag with a wrestling move, the best places to eat in Branson, Missouri, and the difference between contrast and contempt. The film can be found @AwfulNiceMovie on Twitter; it’s available on iTunes now and will be in theaters from Screen Media on March 7th.

Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes; The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of the upcoming The Guest.

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The Lunch: Critics Alonso Duralde & Dave White on ‘Robocop,’ Reagan & Rye …

A&DSmallThis week on The Lunch, regular host James Rocchi is joined by both Alonso Duralde — Film Critic for The Wrap — and Dave White — of Movies.com — to talk about the new-school Robocop remake and the singular strangeness of the original after Canter’s deli sandwiches. Diverse topics discussed also include growing up in the Reagan years, Paul Verhoeven’s Catholicism, Phillip K. Dick-ish behavior, global capitalism, which of West Hollywood’s delis has the best sandwiches, why the global marketplace for blockbusters may not be the best thing for the people who make them, subversion in slaughter and much much more. You can find Mr. Duralde on Twitter @aduralde; Mr. White can be found @dlelandwhite — and their superb podcast on film and more, Linoleum Knife, can be found at www.linoleum-knife.com.

Also, for interested parties, Mr. Duralde’s review of Robocop from The Wrap; Mr. White’s from Movies.com and The Lunch Podcast host James Rocchi’s review from Cinephiled.com … 

Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes; The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of the upcoming The Guest.

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The Lunch, with Standup & Author DC Pierson on ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

DCPiersonThis week on The Lunch Podcast, regular host James Rocchi is joined by stand-up comedian and author DC Pierson (DERRICK comedy, Crap Kingdom, The Boy Who Never Slept and Didn’t Have To) for a lengthy discussion of Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street that ranges from Quaaludes and camera moves to the very pertinent question of what makes Kimmie Belzer so special. There’s also plenty of discussion of actual U.S. Financial law and practices, the unexpectedly comedic origins of one of Jordan’s guys, observations on how Terrence Winter turned the glib ‘apology’ of Belfort’s book into a fierce f-you for Jordan Belfort’s sleazy ilk and much, much more. DC and James  dined at Rutt’s Hawaiian on Washington Boulevard; you can find DC on Twitter @DCPierson

Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes.

The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of the upcoming The Guest.

 

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The Lunch with Justin Simien, Writer-Director of Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner ‘Dear White People’

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This week on The Lunch Podcast, regular host James Rocchi is joined by Justin Simien, the writer-director of the Sundance 2014 breakout hit Dear White People, a campus comedy about race, class and representation in an America — and the rare satire that cares about its characters with honesty and humanity even as it makes swift, slashing attacks with a rapier wit. Justin and I dined at My Two Cents on W. Pico in L.A., and then talked about Dear White People, his love of Altman and Kubrick, the pleasures of a long-lens zoom, when depressing news in the world is good news for your film, his experiences as a publicist for Paramount, Kanye West vs. Lorde vs. Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey, how to best ‘sing’ along with rap singles while not saying the  N-word, Dear White People‘s arduous but impassioned shooting schedule and much, much more. You can find Justin on twitter @JSim07, and Dear White People @DearWhitePeople

Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes.

The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of the upcoming The Guest.

 

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The Lunch Closes Out Sundance 2014 with William B. Goss of Film.com

Goss Option 2 (1)Wililam Goss (of Film.com, Empire Magazine’s U.S. iPad Edition and TheDissolve.com) joined The Lunch Podcast this week either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning to talk about the rest of the best of the fest, from Listen Up Philip to Cooties, Love Is Strange to Dear White People, as well as Obvious Child, the 2014 Sundance Award Winners like Whiplash, and many more over a glass of bourbon to celebrate the annual wind-down of Sundance. You can find Will on twitter @williambgoss.

Remember, The Lunch Podcast is available on iTunes.

The Lunch Podcast is proudly sponsored by Snoot Films, makers of the upcoming The Guest.

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