12 OClock Boys

The Wire with wheelies” is how one outlet described Lotfy Nathan‘s documentary 12 O’Clock Boys. That’s pretty accurate. The film, shot over several years on the streets of Baltimore, follows the titular group, a band of young black men who ride up and down the streets on dirt bikes and four-wheelers. Members attain status by riding wheelies high and long. For the most part, the gang keeps youths off the street and focused on something positive.

Unlicensed motorcycles speeding down city streets isn’t considered to be the safest thing, however, and Baltimore Police have their hands full with the 12 O’Clock Boys. Nathan’s documentary shows how the group was created, and follows a young man named Pug who is desperately trying to join  his hometown heroes.

The film is currently playing in several markets and is on all major on-demand outlets. Below, check out an exclusive clip from the film and read an interview with Nathan about his impressive, interesting documentary. Read More »

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Need for Speed

It began with a simple tweet. “Need For Speed will now be released in 3D.” Like that, the talk  began to spread across the Internet. The Aaron Paul video game adaptation was set for release in a few mere weeks and now someone made the decision to convert the film to 3D?

Instantly the frightening associations began to films such as Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender, which were also given last minute 3D conversions to suck a few extra dollars out of the audience. They’re post-conversion horror stories with awful visuals. But everything we’d heard about Need For Speed suggested it didn’t need such a thing. We’d heard it was, by all accounts, a fun action movie. So why the decision to convert to 3D so late in the game?

We got director Scott Waugh on the phone. As expected, the decision wasn’t as last minute it it seems. In fact, the decision to covert to 3D was made in September and the only reason we’re hearing about it now, he says, is they didn’t want to milk the 3D gimmick. Waugh wants the film to be seen as a throwback to action films of old, not a CG video game. Read his quotes below. Read More »

Miller Lord Pratt

The Lego Movie is the third film Phil Lord and Chris Miller have directed. In each, they’ve blown low expectations out of the water. How could a movie about falling food be funny? Why would anyone remake 21 Jump Street? And how the heck do you make an interesting movie about Lego? The answer: make an adventure that’s exciting and funny, but also deeply rooted in the essence of what we all love about toys themselves.

To create The Lego Movie, Lord and Miller co-wrote a compelling screenplay and also gave the film an incredibly intricate and realistic look. It’s a blend of CG with stop motion using actual Legos; every single structure in the film was literally built piece by piece, be it in the computer or in Denmark at Lego headquarters. That gives the film an incredibly authentic feel.

Speaking to the directors, I interrogated them about that process, asking if there were limitations to the Lego construct and about pressure from toy manufacturers. This is part one of our interview. It’s spoiler-free, so feel free to read ahead. Check back Friday for part two where we talk about some of the film’s biggest, most interesting spoilers. Read More »

Listen: John Landis Talks Movies for Three Hours

John Landis, the critically-acclaimed writer and director of ÒAn American Werewolf in LondonÓ visited Universal OrlandoÕs Halloween Horror Nights 23 on Friday, September 20, 2013 to enjoy the elaborate haunted house that brought his classic horror film to life.

Who wouldn’t love to pick the brain of a Hollywood legend for hours on end? Even actors themselves take the privilege seriously. Case in point, this newly-discovered three hour conversation between Kevin Pollak and John Landis. Landis, whose films include The Blues Brothers, Animal House and An American Werewolf in London, was a guest on Pollak’s “Chat Show” in 2011. They talked about Alfred Hitchcock, the Marx Brothers, George Burns and even J.J. Abrams’ Super 8, which had just been released. Check it out below. Read More »

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

In July of 2013, I took a short trip to Marvel Studios in Manhattan Beach to visit the set of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While I’m not allowed to write about what I learned and saw on the sound stages, Disney has given me the go-ahead to share a transcript of our on-set interview with Captain America himself Chris Evans. Note, as with a majority of the set visit interviews we participate in, this chat was conducted in a roundtable setting with our colleagues at other film outlets. Read the full interview right now after the jump, along with some new production photos.

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Steve James Life Itself

Steve James credits Roger Ebert with launching his career. It was Ebert’s championing of James’ first film Hoop Dreams, at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, which put that film on people’s radars. James scored an Oscar nomination and the film enjoyed a successful box office run. Afterwards, the two remained friends and James was eventually tasked with directing Life Itself, a documentary based on Ebert’s memoir.

Soon after filming began, Ebert tragically passed away. James endured and finished the film in time for the 20th anniversary of the beginning of his relationship with Ebert, the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaking look at the career of the man many consider to be the most influential film critic in history.

During Sundance I was lucky enough to talk to James about the film. We discussed his approach to the story, balancing the tragedy with humor, the relationship between critic and filmmaker, and the choice to include Gene Siskel’s story. Check it out below. Read More »

Peter Sciretta and Miss Piggy on the set of Muppets Most Wanted

Last May, I was lucky enough to visit the set of Muppets Most Wanted, and alongside a group of other journalists, interviewed the stars of the film on Platform 11 of Union Station. No human actors were on set the day of our visit, but I’m fine with that as it means I got to chat with two of my childhood heroes: Kermit, Miss Piggy and their newest Walter . After the jump you can read the transcripts of these three roundtable interviews.

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Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones

For some, the best parts of the Paranormal Activity franchise are the tension and scares. For others, it’s the mythology and mystery that deepens with every film. The latest entry, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, has all those elements. It marks the first film in the franchise to go strictly handheld and really play with spaces outside of the house. Then it ends on an event so shocking, fans will be discussing it for a long time.

The architect behind it all is Christopher Landon. He wrote the second, third and fourth films before writing and directing The Marked Ones, which tells the spin-off story of a recent high school graduate who is possessed by a demon. In our interview, we talked about the decision to change the aesthetic of the franchise, how the editor plays into an overall consistency, potential comparisons to the film Chronicle, and more.

But most importantly, Landon broke down every story strand potentially changed by the shocking ending and told us whether they would be important, or not, in the upcoming movies. Read the full interview below.  Read More »

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