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The Lunch with Gillian Robespierre, director, ‘Obvious Child’

GROBESThis 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

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 Alex Pappademas of Grantland.com on ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past …’

PappaThis 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

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 AJ Bowen of ‘The Sacrament’

BowenThis 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.

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 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 with James Ponsoldt, Director of ‘The Spectacular Now’

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James Ponsoldt, the director of The Spectacular Now, joins The Lunch Podcast this week, concurrent with the film’s release to DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday the 14th. After dining on Miracle Mile, Ponsoldt and I talked about everything — filming in his hometown, film over digital, casting realistic teen actors, keeping things just the right kind of sweaty, ‘real’ independent films versus the counterfeit of same and how his attempts to make real, honest films has taught him that the MPAA is the strangest gatekeeper our pop culture has.

Let us know what you thought of the podcast here, or you can find us on twitter @TheLunchPodcast; you can find the show on iTunes, as well.

The Lunch is back for the 2013-2014 season thanks to the sponsorship of Snoot Entertainment.

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The Lunch with Director Shaul Schwartz of ‘Narco Cultura’

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Shaul Schwartz was a photojournalist who spent decades covering global hotspots — but after covering the drug war in Mexico, he made the jump to documentary filmmaking with his new film, Narco Cultura. Contrasting the work of a CSI police officer in Juarez, Mexico who spends time cleaning up the human slaughter of the war on drugs and the career of a L.A.-based member of the popular group Buknas de Culiacan, ‘Narco Corridos’ who sings songs glorifying the drug chieftains of Mexico, Narco Cultura looks at the pop culture of crime … and at what happens when crime becomes its own culture. Currently in theaters, Narco Cultura  will expand into more markets in the coming weeks; see the film’s official website for more information. 

 

Let me know what you thought of the podcast here, or you can find us on twitter  @TheLunchPodcast; you can find the show on iTunes, as well.

 

The Lunch is back for the 2013-2014 season thanks to the sponsorship of Snoot Entertainment.

 

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The Lunch with Director Jacob Kornbluth, ‘Inequality for All’

IneqThis week on The Lunch, we talk with director Jacob Kornbluth, (r, above) director of the new documentary ‘Inequality for All.’ Featuring ex-Secretary of labor (and now Berkeley Professor) Robert Reich (l), the film’s a look at the growing gap between rich and poor in America — and how the expansion of that divide actually hurts both sides of that age-old equation. During The Lunch, Kornbluth and I talk about campaign finance, the visual display of data, how the documentary functions in part as “Graduate Schoolhouse Rock,” and more.

Let me know what you thought of the podcast here, or you can find us on twitter  @TheLunchPodcast …

Our iTunes page for the Lunch is right here; if you enjoy the show, maybe you might be kind enough to give us a review?

The Lunch is back for the 2013-2014 season thanks to the sponsorship of Snoot Entertainment.

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The Lunch Podcast, with Karina Longworth, author of “Al Pacino: Anatomy of An Actor”

LongworthThis week, The Lunch welcomes film journalist and author Karina Longworth, author of the new book “Al Pacino: Anatomy of an Actor,” where Pacino’s career (and the changes in Hollywood throughout that career) are examined  through 10 performances, from “The Godfather” to “Jack and Jill.” Karina and I talk about Pacino’s early work, hard-copy research, the “Hoo-ah!” nature of late Pacino performances and ponder what it is, exactly, that makes a movie star. This week, we dined (and recorded) at The Sunset Junction Coffee Shop, in Silverlake; Ms. Longworth can be found on twitter @karinalongworth …

Let me know what you thought of the podcast here, or you can find me on twitter  @TheLunchPodcast…

Our iTunes page for the Lunch is right here; if you enjoy the show, maybe you might be kind enough to give us a review? The show is also available directly below or as a stand-alone player on Soundcloud. 

The Lunch is back for the 2013-2014 season thanks to the sponsorship of Snoot Entertainment (whose upcoming “You’re Next” is due in theaters Aug. 23rd).

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This Week on the Big Screen and DVD, 8/8/2013

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Plenty  of choices on the big screen this week. Elysium, with Matt Damon, feels more like the videogame of a science fiction film than it does a science fiction film, which is regrettable — it’s also pretty much a cover version of Neill Blomkamp’s District 9. From my Geek Nation Review:

“Any similarities to District 9 are far from coincidental, as a working-stiff guy gets his body terminally modified and has to not only fight to save himself but also liberate a people. The plot device of the magic healing booths is fairly thin as well – what, there’s not one miracle machine on the surface of the planet for anyone in need to buy, beg, borrow or steal? Elysium is also a film where you can feel any attempt to think and talk about ideas or character slump and slide away as the film has to stoop, squat and stretch itself into a wholly conventional third-act action closer mandated by the production-line construction that goes into any film that costs over $40 million. And the finale, which is meant to be stirring, just represents an entirely different can of worms being opened both within the story and within the film itself.”

– my full 2/5 Review is here.

As for Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, I’m confused by the reviews beating it up for not being big, grown-up or bold enough — can’t a kid’s movie be for kids? As I note in my Screencrush review,

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is exactly the kind of film that was made for me to take my teen and tween nieces to, not for me to enjoy. There’s some bloodless peril, not even a whiff of romance and plenty of spirited action … There’s fights and sights and cameos, and if Nathan Fillion‘s Hermes lacks the snap and style of Uma Thurman‘s Medusa from the first film, there’s a lively baddie in Polythemus, a colossal-yet-squat cyclops brought to life with clever CGI and the rumbling, rousing voice of Ron Perlman. Lerman is a more active action hero, as well — decent, determined, fighting not for glory or fortune but rather to help his friends. Lerman was fine in ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower,’ but the breezy, easy adventure of the ‘Jackson’ films seems to suit him, and he wears the character well. Filmgoers and fans will be able to follow the character arcs and the fight scenes, with both done well and simply enough to suffice. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is hardly the stuff of legend, but by keeping the plot straightforward and the storytelling clean, it’s an odyssey the intended young audience will be glad to take.”

My full 6/10 review is here.

Finally, Planes opens on the big screen, and, uh ….

“When Disney formally bought Pixar in 2006, the hope was that the small, scrappy upstart would revitalize and change the super-sized, deep-pocketed, tradition-bound company that purchased it. Seven years later, Planes suggests the opposite can happen.  Planes borrows a world from Cars, but even compared to that soulless exercise in animated automotive adventure, Planes is dead in its big, googly eyes and hollow inside.”

From my 1/5 star review at MSN Movies

We’re the Millers opens wide as well, but I haven’t seen it; at the same time, it’s a film from the writer-director of Dodgeball, so that alone makes me want to see it.

At the same time, if they’re open near you, The Spectacular Now and In a World are both truly impressive — two of the best fiction films I saw at Sundance. (Both titles lead to my MSN reviews …)

On DVD, don’t be fooled by the flash and flair of Oblivion; it’s a wash, script-wise, and while it looks great (or, rather, like a series of ’70s Prog-Rock album covers), it’s the same old same old in its script. (My Geek Nation Review is here.) My pick for the week would be Mud, an excellent moody drama about live on the river and how things float on by; Matthew McConaughy is excellent, and writer-director Jeff Nichols is a real talent. (My 4/5 MSN Movies review is here.)

Until next week,

J.

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The Lunch with Joshua Oppenheimer, Director of “The Act of Killing”

TheLunchAOKThis week on The Lunch, Director Joshua Oppenheimer talks about his film “The Act of Killing,” which finds an ex-member of the ad-hoc Indonesian death squads who killed millions as part of the establishment of the Suharto regime in ’65-’66 — and, by giving that ex-murderer access to a film crew, encourages calm, thoroughly respectable ex-killer Anwar Congo to shoot vignettes that reminisce about what he did and how — functioning, essentially, as art therapy for monsters. It’s one of the year’s best docs, and you can find my Toronto review of the film here.   You can find the film on twitter at @theactofkilling; it’s currently in theaters from Drafthouse Films.

Let me know what you thought of the podcast here, or you can find me on twitter @jamesrocchi …

Our iTunes page for the Lunch is right here; if you enjoy the show, maybe you might be kind enough to give us a review? The show is also available as a stand-alone player on Soundcloud. 

The Lunch is back for the 2013-2014 season thanks to the sponsorship of Snoot Entertainment (whose upcoming “You’re Next” is due in theaters Aug. 23rd).

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