BRAWL IN CELLBLOCK 99

Much like S. Craig Zahler‘s previous film, Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99 will be a divisive movie. Some will love it, some will hate it, but nobody is going to walk away feeling “meh” about it.

The film is anchored by Vince Vaughn‘s career-best performance as Bradley Thomas, an imposing hulk of a guy with a talent for bringing the pain. Bradley isn’t just a brute, though. The man has a moral compass that he has to obey, even if that means putting himself, his pregnant wife and the life they’ve built together at risk. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t unleash an ass-kicking when he has to. There is some brutal violence in this movie that would make even the most die hard fan of Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky nod in approval.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 is definitely not for the squeamish, but the film has lots of character and dramatic complexity layered within the very pulpy premise of a bone-breaker having to do some brutal things for the sake of his family.

I was able to sit down with writer/director S. Craig Zahler and Vince Vaughn to discuss that complexity as well as building the character of Bradley (don’t call him Brad) Thomas. Both men had no trouble going into detail about the world and character-building going on in this totally insane film.

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The Florida Project Review

At my screening of The Florida Project during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, director and co-writer Sean Baker directed a questioner to Google the film’s title to learn what it means. “It’s been harder […] to Google it since the film came out,” he admits. “Now we’re the one that comes up on Wikipedia first, which is weird.” That’s saying something because the original Florida Project refers to none other than Disney World itself, the epicenter of the Sunshine State under whose shadow Baker’s film (which our own Chris Evangelista called one of the best of 2017) takes place.

In 1966, shortly before he passed away, Walt Disney created a documentary laying out his vision for “the Florida Project,” a utopian community where free enterprise could cure the ails of the modern city. (Watch for yourself on YouTube, while you can, to marvel at his ultimately unrealized dream.) In his original vision for EPCOT, Disney envisioned a city without slums or ghettoes. Now, half a century later, the site of his idyllic metropolis showcases some of the starkest inequality in America, where children like the ones in The Florida Project grow up in motels along the same roads that others take to the Magic Kingdom.

But in my interview with Sean Baker, we focused less on this ironic contrast and more on the deep reserve of humanity and empathy shown for the people who dwell there.

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supermansion interview

SuperMansion season 3 won’t arrive until next year, but you can get a taste of one new episode with the Halloween special SuperMansion: Drag Me To Halloween now available to stream on Crackle. SuperMansion creators Matthew Senreich and Zeb Wells spoke with /Film about the special, upcoming season, and Robot Chicken.

Robot Chicken also has a Halloween special, Robot Chicken: Look Who’s Walking, a Walking Dead spoof premiering October 8 at midnight on Adult Swim. Season 9 of Robot Chicken will premiere this year.

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Denis Villeneuve interview

With Blade Runner 2049, which arrives in theaters 35 years after Ridley Scott‘s classic, Denis Villeneuve has pulled off no small feat. The filmmaker behind ArrivalIncendies, and Sicario has made a sequel that doesn’t stand an inch in the shadow of Scott’s masterpiece. He’s made this iconic depiction of the future feel as new and as awe-inspiring as the 1982 film.

Just like the original, every frame of Blade Runner 2049 is a visual marvel, which should come as no surprise considering the talent Villeneuve surrounded himself with on his largest film to date. The director reuinited with legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins on the sequel, and together they’ve again crafted such dense, emotional and dazzling images and created a hypnotic atmosphere. When we spoke with Villeneuve, he told us about their work together, what original Blade Runner director Ridley Scott told him to keep in mind, and why Blade Runner 2049 is a more hopeful story than the original film.

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Thor Ragnarok Cate Blanchett Interview

In honor of Thor: Ragnarok, the folks at Marvel Studios are celebrating the entire month with a little holiday called Helaween, named for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female villain, Hela, the Goddess of Death.

Cate Blanchett is playing the Marvel villain in question, and /Film had the incredible opportunity to sit down with the Oscar-winning actress for an interview during our visit to the set of Thor: Ragnarok in Australia last fall. If you haven’t read our full set report, be sure to check that out. Otherwise, keep reading below to find out everything Cate Blanchett had to tell us about Hela the Goddess of Death, how her vagina made her unafraid of Loki, working with director Taika Waititi, and her possible future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Read More »

udo kier interview

Udo Kier is one of the most interesting screen personalities working today. To call him a character actor is somewhat small-minded. The man is a force of personality, so incredibly comfortable with himself that nothing is ever off limits. That makes him dangerous on screen because anything can happen.

From his early days working with Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in artfully absurd takes on the famous Universal Monsters to his current work, usually playing creepy European dudes, Kier always elevates everything he’s in, be it the latest Alexander Payne movie (Downsizing) or direct-to-video sleaze like the Iron Sky films.

In S. Craig Zahler‘s Brawl in Cell Block 99 Kier plays a character known only as “The Placid Man,” a servant for the big bad guy of the story who calmly lays out some terrible options for Vince Vaughn‘s rage-filled criminal at the heart of the story. We spoke to him following the film’s premiere at Fantastic Fest and as you’d expect, chatting with him was an amazing, sometimes surreal experience.

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The Simpsons Showrunner Interview

Every summer at the Fox party for the Television Critics Association, I catch up with Al Jean. The showrunner of The Simpsons is always dutifully there, as the show is renewed through season 30 and Fox execs have given every impression of wanting to keep it going. I still have new questions for Jean every year because I’ve watched The Simpsons since they spun off the Tracey Ullman Show shorts in 1989 and every year adds new developments in Springfield.

This interview for season 29 happened before the show let composer Alf Clauson go, oherwise I definitely would have asked about it. That’ll be in next year’s interview, but this interview covers another Simpsons milestone (they will have produced more episodes of television than Gunsmoke), the new Halloween episode and season 18 DVDs. The Simpsons returns Sunday, October 1 on Fox.

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the gifted tv spot

The X-Men are back on television in a new show from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix. The Gifted is set in a world where the X-Men have left and government agencies arrest mutants exercising their mutant gene. When the son and daughter of agent Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer) reveal their powers, the family goes on the run.

Luckily, the Mutant Underground is there to help Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren Strucker (Natalie Alyn Lind). Blink (Jamie Chung) and Polaris (Emma Dumont) are also on The Gifted, as is a new mutant named Eclipse (Sean Teale). Nix spoke with /Film about The Gifted, which premieres Monday, October 2 on Fox.

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cult of chucky netflix

Cult of Chucky is the seventh Child’s Play movie featuring Chucky, the killer doll. After the events of Curse of Chucky, Nica (Fiona Dourif) is in a mental institution where doctors have convinced her she made up Chucky to justify the murders. Chucky (still the voice of Brad Dourif) won’t stay silent as both Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) and Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) converge around Nica.

Don Mancini has written every Child’s Play franchise screenplay and directed Seed of, Curse of and Cult of Chucky. Currently working as a writer on Channel Zero, Mancini spoke with /Film about the franchise and its latest entry. Cult of Chucky will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital Tuesday, October 3.

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Doug Liman interview

Filmmaker Doug Liman and superstar Tom Cruise have a good thing going at the moment. After making one of the most enjoyable popcorn movies in recent memory, Edge of Tomorrow, the two started working together on a few projects, including their latest film, American Made. As he did with Edge of Tomorrow, Liman focused on bringing out more of Cruise’s comedic chops with the rise-and-fall tale that’s based on a true story.

As Barry Seal, Cruise plays a happy-go-lucky, adventure-seeking pilot who doesn’t give much thought to consequences. The actor makes the character an enigmatic, empathetic, and highly-skilled goof, someone who’s easy to root for even when he’s making a lot of bad decisions. Seal has a surprising amount of charm – something Cruise can deliver in spades.

When we recently spoke with Liman, the filmmaker behind The Bourne IdentitySwingers, and Go gave us a little insight into his relationship with Cruise, his interest in Barry Seal, and the adventure and uncertainty he desires with each project. Below, check out our Doug Liman interview.

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