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“This Industry is Crumbling Like a Nature Valley Bar”: Dan Licata on For the Boys

A white man with a large mustache performs stand-up comedy under a spotlight.Dan Licata in For the Boys

Dan Licata has come a long way since high school, where he shattered both of his legs by jumping off the roof of a Buffalo church. A ferociously funny comedian, he has written for Saturday Night Live and Joe Pera Talks with You and recently performed stand-up on Late Night with Seth Meyers. His chaotically brilliant new stand-up special For the Boys (available on YouTube) was shot at his high school alma mater in front of a crowd of 15-year-old boys, the perfect audience for his arrested pubescent persona—a blustery Jackass-fueled manchild who desperately wants to connect with the youth but whose cultural references are woefully out of date (he gifts one sullen teen a DVD of Jarhead). It is a…  Read more

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“It Is Like a Palette Cleanser, In a Way…”: Yorgos Lanthimos on Following Poor Things with the Sardonic Portmanteau Film, Kinds of Kindness

Kinds of Kindness

The organizing principles of portmanteau films are often quite simplistic. A group of directors tackling a particular genre, for example, or films united by geography. An example of the latter is the straightforwardly-titled New York Stories, of which only Martin Scorsese's "Life Lessons" is remembered much these days. Jim Jarmusch has made a few united around theme and setting — Coffee and Cigarettes, where famous actors sit down over a brew and a smoke; Night on Earth, where famous actors take cab rides in production-friendly cities around the world; and Mystery Train, where the stories are linked by a setting (a hotel) within a city (Memphis). The common denominator in such films is usually some form of co-production, or the…  Read more

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Holding the Chicken: DP Rob Hardy on Civil War

Two women walk past a helicopter that's crashed din a parking lot.Civil War

In Civil War, the United States has splintered into four clashing factions, but if you’re expecting a treatise on the country’s ideological divide from British writer-director Alex Garland, this is not that movie. America’s dysfunction is secondary to examining the toll on the journalists covering the conflict. The story follows a quartet of correspondents (including jaded photographer Kirsten Dunst and green Cailee Spaeny) as they travel to the war’s front in Washington D.C. in hopes of landing an interview with the embattled president (Nick Offerman). Cinematographer Rob Hardy, who’s lensed all of Garland’s projects since the novelist/screenwriter turned to the director’s chair, spoke to Filmmaker about shooting A24’s most expensive film to date. Filmmaker: Tell me about the logistics of making Civil War.…  Read more

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Cine Gear Expo 2024: 17 Cameras, LED (and Traditional) Lights, Lenses and Remote Camera Controls We Loved

Every start of summer, the Cine Gear Expo comes to Los Angeles. Initially  held on the Paramount lot, the Expo had a short stint at the LA Convention Center for two pandemic years before landing this yearat the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank. The movie lot aspect assists greatly with vibes: While its chief competitor, NAB Show—held a few months earlier in the Las Vegas Convention Center—feels like a traditional trade show, at Cine Gear you can peruse the latest lenses as the iconic Animaniacs water tower looms in the distance, just visible behind a camera crane which swings around high above you in demonstration. With the chatter so gear-centric, it’s nice to have visual reminders of what these products…  Read more

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“Polaroids Were Certainly a Key Touchstone Into This World”: Osgood Perkins on Longlegs

Longlegs

It’s somewhat apt to say that Osgood Perkins owes much of his cinematic success to Satan. His 2015 debut as a writer-director, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, explores the sinister presence of the occult at a Catholic boarding school in Upstate New York. He leaned into a gothic ghost story for his 2016 follow-up, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, eschewing devil worship for a clear nod to novelist Shirley Jackson. Longlegs, his third effort as sole writer and director, veers staunchly back toward Satanism, this time revolving around a series of murders committed by the eponymous killer. Notably, The Blackcoat’s Daughter and Longlegs both share a chilling scene where a character declares, “Hail Satan!” After they invoke the…  Read more

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“That’s What’s Thrilling about Acting—Recreating Private Moments”: John Early, Back To One, Episode 296

John Early is an actor, comedian, writer, and wearer of many hats. His latest as a comedian and writer is the HBO special Now More Than Ever. His latest as an actor is the independent film Stress Positions. On this episode he talks about how these two projects came about, the differences between the John Early character and himself, the pleasure of working on the series Search Party, why he relishes straight-up acting, the comedy breakthrough he made in his new special, and much more.  Back To One can be found wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. And if you're enjoying what you are hearing, please subscribe and rate us! Follow Back To One on…  Read more

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Kill the Piano Player: Composer Sean Murray on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Call of Duty and Jesse V. Johnson

A white man with a dimple talks on a cell phone on a street.Aaron Eckhart in Chief of Station

You’ve probably heard Sean Murray’s music without knowing it. A composer for nearly 40 years, his work has appeared on dozens of soap operas, action movies and cultural touchstones like TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Call of Duty video game series. His most fruitful collaboration has been with his longtime friend Jesse V. Johnson, a director of low-budget/high intelligence genre movies—the latest of which, Chief of Station, a spy thriller starring Aaron Eckhart, was released in May. Both Murray and Johnson are students of old Hollywood, and their films and scores honor the spirits of their idols.  Filmmaker: Your father was the actor Don Murray (Bus Stop, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes). Could you talk about him…  Read more

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“Anamorphic Just Looks More Like a Movie”: DP Nick Remy Matthews on I.S.S.

I.S.S.

When war breaks out on Earth, the kinship between Russian and American scientists aboard the International Space Station (including Ariana DeBose and Chris Messina) is shattered when both sides receive orders to take over the station by any means necessary. What follows is a taut chamber piece of ratcheting paranoia and betrayals, shot in 32 days in Wilmington, North Carolina partially on an I.S.S. replica originally created by NASA. After a theatrical release earlier this year, the movie is now available on VOD and Paramount+. Cinematographer Nick Remy Matthew talked to Filmmaker about counterintuitively shooting anamorphic in tight quarters, spending almost his entire lighting budget on Astera Titan tubes and his quixotic plan to use teeter totters to simulate zero gravity. Filmmaker:…  Read more

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