The Good Dinosaur reviews

Last month I had the opportunity to visit Pixar Animation Studios and preview the company’s next film The Good Dinosaur. You can read what I learned about the making of The Good Dinosaur here and read my interview with director Peter Sohn. While at Pixar, I had that opportunity to sit down with some of the other creatives behind the film, here is my interview with Denise Ream, who has an interesting story as she started out as a Visual Effects Producer at ILM working on films like Star Wars, Men In Black, Harry Potter and Mission Impossible movies before jumping across the bay to Pixar where she worked on Up, Cars 2, Brave, The Good Dinosaur and the upcoming sequel Cars 3.

Hit the jump to learn about how she went from Star Wars to Pixar, what its like to be on a project that loses a director and gets completely reworked, the choice of making the characters cartoony against a almost photo real backdrop, the daunting quest to find voice actors for this film, and how do you hide a Pizza Planet truck in a Dinosaur movie? All this and more in our Denise Ream interview, which you can read now after the jump.

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Brian Helgeland interview

Set in the 1960s, Brian Helgeland‘s Legend opens with East London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray already at the top of the food chain, avoiding the typical rise-and-fall structure we see in most biopics. Everyone knows the gangsters, and not just because they’re two bulky, hard-hitting twins. Everyone loves Reggie, a charming, friendly face with a sense of panache. His brother, Ronnie, however, is less popular. The hulk of a man is a bit mad and doesn’t share his brother’s good looks or smarts.

Both twins are played by actor Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road). A dual performance is tricky for a variety of reasons. Even if Hardy delivered a simply good performance, it might not have been enough to prevent an audience from focusing on the gimmick of two Tom Hardys in a scene together. But Hardy is fantastic in Legend because he’s serving the story, not showing off his acting or technical trickery.

Helgeland credits Hardy and his director of photography, Dick Pope (Mr. Turner), for making the two performances disappear into the story. But of course, Helgeland also deserves recognition for pulling off such a feat. The director made seemingly minor but vital decisions to make an audience believe Hardy in both roles.

Here’s our Brian Helgeland interview, in which he discusses brotherhood, Tom Hardy’s performance, the American mafia, and recreating the 1960s.  Read More »

The Night Before

The Wackness wasn’t Jonathan Levine‘s directorial debut, but it was the first film we saw from him. Following the long-delayed All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Levine wrote and directed the coming-of-age film set in the early ’90s. The Wackness was packed with music of its time, with no shortage of Biggie songs, and lots of old classics, such as Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.” Levine’s love for music, and his knack for using music to tell a story, rang loud and clear in The Wackness.

Over the years he’s continued to use music rather effectively. As famous as some of the songs are in his films, they never distract from the emotional or comedic beats they’re serving. The Wackness, 50/50Warm Bodies, and the director’s newest film, The Night Before, are packed with great tunes. Levine’s Christmas comedy features plenty of cheerful holiday music, but there are also some modern hits that play a major part in the story. There’s a Miley Cyrus performance, for example, that is more than a cameo.

At the junket for The Night Before — which stars Seth Rogen (Steve Jobs), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50), and Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) — we decided to discuss with Levine his love for music and why he chose certain songs over the course of his career. Read our Jonathan Levine interview after the jump.  Read More »

Sylvester Stallone Interview

Next week brings Sylvester Stallone back yet again as famed boxer Rocky Balboa. But this time he’s a mere supporting player, as the son of Apollo Creed takes the spotlight in a new era for the boxing franchise. Creed sees Michael B. Jordan take the title role of a young up and coming boxer struggling to live up to the legacy of his late father. And he has quite the supporter in his corner with Rocky as his trainer, even if it looks like he might be on his way out.

Now you can spend some time with Stallone as he sits down for a 50-minute discussion with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez for an episode of The Director’s Chair on The El Rey Network. It’s a fascinating career-spanning chat that dives into Stallone’s life as an actor and a filmmaker. Read More »

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Reunion

It’s not exactly a milestone celebration, but this year marks 44 years since the release of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the classic musical adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s classic book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. To celebrate the occasion, the five golden ticket winners (Peter Ostrum, Paris Themmen, Julie Dawn Cole, Michael Bolner and Denise Nickerson) from the movie appeared on The Today Show to reminisce about the making of the movie, and chief Oompa Loompa Rusty Goffe accompanied them.

It’s a pretty fun little interview, with part of the conversation turning to the disgusting chocolate river. As if you couldn’t tell in the movie, it wasn’t actually made of chocolate. Read More »

The Finest Hours

Jack RyanStar Trek, and now Wonder Woman star Chris Pine is no stranger to hero roles, but there’s something a little different about his next one. The Finest Hours stars Pine as real-life figure Bernie Webber, who on a bitterly cold winter day in 1952 led one of the greatest rescues in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. And that’s without the aid of sci-fi gadgets, superpowered buddies, or a novelist’s imagination, mind you.

Webber is an old-fashioned kind of leading man in an old-fashioned kind of movie — one that, according to Pine, rejects modern cynicism in favor of simple, decent earnestness. The new Finest Hours trailer aims to highlight these men’s brave deeds, while keeping them grounded in a relatable sort of humanity. Check out the new Finest Hours trailer — and then read our on-set interviews with Pine and director Craig Gillespie — after the jump.
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Victor Frankenstein (1)

Cobble together a composite image based on stereotype ideas about child stars and you’d end up with something that is exactly the opposite of Daniel Radcliffe. The man who grew up in public as Harry Potter has followed that film series with a set of eccentric, sometimes adventurous jobs, playing Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings and a suspect young man in Horns. A tendency towards genre is the only tentative unifying factor.

Radcliffe’s latest film, Victor Frankenstein, is perhaps his most conventional post-Potter film yet, and even this one is hardly a typical studio picture. A revisionist vision of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein created almost explicitly as a meta-assembly of good ideas from other Frankenstein adaptations, the movie is really a two-hander that pairs Radcliffe with James McAvoy, who plays the egocentric Victor Frankenstein.

Speak to Radcliffe and you’ll enjoy the thoughts of a young man who is as passionate about his craft as he is aware of its unusual aspects. I visited the set of Victor Frankenstein at Shepperton Studios outside London over a year ago. Now, finally, we can present the talk I and a few other writers conducted with Radcliffe, in which he spoke about being tossed around by McAvoy, the relationship between Victor and Igor, and the rare but terrifying potential of being attacked by a lion on set. Read More »

Victor Frankenstein trailer

James McAvoy is stepping away from the science of mutant behavior to explore a more experimental form of early research in Victor Frankenstein. He plays the title character in the film, a new take on Mary Shelley‘s original novel and a pastiche of elements, in a way, inspired by other interpretations of the story, with the hopes of synthesizing a new whole. Appropriate, really.

McAvoy is a physical actor, one who literally likes to throw some weight around in scenes, and in Victor Frankenstein his prime partner in mad science is Daniel Radcliffe. The former Harry Potter plays Igor, if not exactly a version of Igor that looks like the one you probably have in mind, and the two sought to create a version of Frankenstein that has its own soul and personality.

A few editors and I spoke to McAvoy on the film’s set back in March 2014; our conversation, about Victor and mad science and the art of pushing around other actors, is below.
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The Good Dinosaur

Last month I had the opportunity to visit Pixar Animation Studios and preview the company’s next film The Good Dinosaur. You can read what I learned about the making of The Good Dinosaur here. While at Pixar, I had that opportunity to sit down with a bunch of the creatives behind the film.

After the jump you will find my interview with director Peter Sohn, who I’ve talked to a few times over the years and seems like a great and talented guy. In the interview, Pete talks about some of his favorite movies he recommends to friends, the evolution of the project over the years, how he got involved as a director, his vision behind the stark contrast between the beautiful, almost photo realistic backgrounds and the cartoony characters, a scene from the film that I felt was a homage to Jaws, the 1400 kid search for the main star of this film, how directing the voice actors for the English version of Miyazaki’s Ponyo helped him in making this film, and find out who directs Peter Sohn when he performs in his own film. All this and more in our Peter Sohn Good Dinosaur interview, after the jump.

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