Category Archives: Interviews

An Interview with Matt Rager, writer of ‘As I Lay Dying’ and the upcoming ‘The Sound and The Fury’

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Matt Rager is the co-writer, alongside James Franco, of Franco’s As I Lay Dying, an adaptation of the Faulkner novel. [Ed. note: you can read John D’Amico’s review of the film here.] He’s also the sole writer of the pair’s upcoming The Sound and the Fury, also based on the Faulkner book. Recently, we sat down over banana bread and talked about filmmaking:
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An Interview with Chris Wilcha, Director of ‘The Target Shoots First’

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Chris Wilcha (Center, Glasses) in The Target Shoots First.

Chris Wilcha made one of my all-time favorite documentaries, The Target Shoots First.  I feel really cool for having seen it since it hasn’t been released yet, and I saw it by borrowing a VHS version from a friend who knows him—which is how I connected with Chris for this interview.  

The Target Shoots First is a collection of footage shot by Chris while he was working at Columbia Music House in the early 90s, which he guides you through with his own narration.  It sounds simple, and it is, but the story that unfolds is unassuming and profound.  It’s like Office Space, but for real, and a lot more personal.  Like many films of the 90s, it explores the life of a post-college twenty-something, and how they fit into the workforce as a Gen-X’er.

The entire movie should be available online sometime soon. When it is, we’ll link it here.
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An Interview with the Directors of ‘A Band Called Death’, Jeff Howlett & Mark Covino

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From left: Jeff Howlett, Mark Covino

A Band Called Death is one of my favorite films of 2013. It’s everything you could want from a music doc—great music, plus a compelling and unique story, told with love and care. I’m sure it will go down as one of best music docs of all time, right up there with Don’t Look Back and Gimme Shelter and Some Kind of Monster.

In a way, it’s not just a story about an interesting rock band, but a time capsule of the power of the time we live in—how music can be discovered nowadays, and how, through the power of the internet, and a generation of music lovers bent on discovering missing pieces of music history, a timeless band from the past who never had the right exposure can finally reach the audience they always deserved.

It’s a fascinating flick, and I’m honored to have had the opportunity to sit down and pick the brains of its filmmakers:
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The Greatest Movie Mashup: ‘Spring Breakers’ & ‘Heavyweights’

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There are a lot of movie mashups out there on this here internet, many of them quite funny, but it’s pretty rare that you come across one that’s perfect. For a long time, Brokeback to the Future has been the undisputed king of this, but I believe that title has now been usurped by an up-and-comer by the name of Harmony Korine’s Heavyweights. It might not be as ‘funny’ (in the traditional sense of the word) but it makes up for that in pure transcendence.

Much like the music mashup gold standard, A Stroke of Genie-us by Freelance Hellraiser, what transpires is definitely funny, but you’re not exactly laughing. Instead, you’re smiling, and you’re feeling the laughs all throughout your body, warming you. It’s a rush of all-things-are-connected-in-this-world that takes hold of you and provides you a momentary trip. That is the power of the art of the mashup, when what is being mashed up comes together like peanut butter and jelly.

Behold this delicious sandwich:
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An Interview with Madeline Blue of ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ and ‘Justified’

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I met Madeline Blue in quite the serendipitous way. My friend / next door neighbor Jeanine asked me how my mom was doing, because she’s been quite ill this winter. I told her she was a bit better, but still very much on the mend, and that I’d been spending a lot of time with her watching TV—in particular, we’d been marathoning the brilliant FX series Justified. “My friend was on Justified!” My jaw dropped. “Yeah, and she’s been staying with me the past couple days!” My jaw dislodged entirely and fell to the floor and spent way longer than the five-second rule there.

Turns out her friend Madeline had played a prostitute by the name of Minerva in the third season. A quick IMDb-ing refreshed me as to which prostitute this was, and also enlightened me to the fact that this very same actress had also played the highly-memorable role of ‘Cure Girl’ in one of the greatest comedies of all time, Wet Hot American Summer—a favorite not only of mine, but of my mom’s as well.

I knew that a surprise visit from her would be the perfect thing to help perk my mom up. Jeanine agreed, and put me and Madeline together, who immediately got the synchronicity of it and was more than happy to do it. And it couldn’t have gone better.
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