With Sicario: Day of The Soldado, director Stefano Sollima roughened the edges of screenwriter Taylor Sheridan‘s potential trilogy. With Kate Macy (Emily Blunt) no longer around, Sollima felt Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) and Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) unleashed naturally meant things would turn bleaker. A crowd-pleasing thriller Sollima’s sequel is not, and nor should it be.

It’s a suitably bleak and often unpleasant experience that reveals more about Alejandro and Graver without completely stripping them of mystery. The main thrill is watching one of the best actors around, Benicio Del Toro, continue to make you both fearful and empathetic of Alejandro.

With the sequel now available on Blu-ray, we had the chance to ask Sollima about Del Toro’s performance, his time in El Paso and Juarez, long tracking shots, and more.

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Peyton Reed interview

Peyton Reed, the director of Down with Love and drummer of a long defunct Smiths cover band, once again brought some feel-good laughs to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Ant-Man and the Wasp. The sequel was a bit bigger, a little looser, and even Scott Lang was funnier, but Reed and all involved still managed to keep it as contained and as cleanly told as the first movie. Reed’s Ant-Man still ain’t going big for the sake of going big.

Reed basically made what was a large-scale studio comedy with more emphasis on laughs than action. Ant-Man and the Wasp is a buddy comedy, not another save the world story. With smaller but more personal stakes, Reed delivered a sequel that does a lot more than check boxes. We recently had a brief conversation with the director about the sequel, mostly focused on his days in a Smiths cover band, notes from Marvel President Kevin Feige, working with Evangeline Lilly, and two of his past movies.

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For over five years, Jeff Nichols has been talking about trying his hand at a biker movie. The writer-director behind Mud and Take Shelter has yet to write a script, but he knows the story is set in the 1960s and is dead set on making the movie one day. The filmmaker, who is currently working the Alien Nation remake and a script for an animated film, recently shared with us some of his ideas about his potential biker movie, and why he’s intimidated by it.

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Jeff Nichols‘ very first music video is both new and familiar for the filmmaker. The director behind MudTake Shelter, and Loving reunited with a slew of his frequent collaborators, including actor Michael Shannon and cinematographer Adam Stone, to create a music video/short film for Lucero’s new album, “Among the Ghosts.” It isn’t Nichols’ first collaboration with his brother (and Lucero frontman) Ben Nichols, but him directing a short based on a Lucero song was always an inevitability.

The song “The Long Way Back Home,” which is about a criminal on the run, immediately struck a chord with Nichols. It’s not the first time the Mud director has shown a criminal fleeing the law, or told a story about bad blood between brothers. In Long Way Back Home, a man (Shannon) searches for his two brothers (played by Garret Hedlund and Scott McNairy) in a story reminiscent of At Close Range and Nichols’ debut film, Shotgun Stories.

We recently spoke with the director at great length about the short film, his career, and what’s next for him. In part one of our three-part Jeff Nichols interview, you can read what he had to say about the making of Long Way Back Home.

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colors music video

Edgar Wright made his most colorful piece of spectacle yet with the music video for Beck’s “Colors.” The Baby Driver and Hot Fuzz director crafted a music video jammed full of joy and it has been steadily making people happy (and dazzling their senses) since it debuted last year. The director’s propulsive style goes perfectly hand-in-hand with the total blast of a pop song.

The filmmaker previously directed music videos for Pharrell Williams, Mint Royale, and around a dozen other bands. With his music video for Beck, Wright told us, “Most of the other videos that I’ve done have some plot or premise or sort of story concept, but this one was more like, how can I just express how I feel about this song in visuals?”

And he sat down with us to tell us how it call came together.

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Quincy Jones Documentary

Alan Hicks and Rashida Jones‘ Quincy get so close and intimate with the great and powerful Quincy Jones you feel like you’re watching a hangout movie. From his youth playing music with Ray Charles, his unforgettable and award-winning film scores, his collaborations with Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson, and far more, the Netflix documentary goes deep into Jones’ work and accomplishments. However, it also gives any fan of the legend the pleasure of watching him at work and out and about in the world. This doc is probably the closest you’ll ever get to being in Quincy Jones’ company, which is a joyful feeling.

Quincy‘s co-writer and co-director, Alan Hicks, who previously worked with Jones on his directorial debut, Keep on Keeping’ On, first discovered Jones’ music when he was 13 years old and listening to Frank Sinatra Live at the Sands with Count Basie on a loop, which he followed with “Quintessence,” “Quincy Plays Hip Hits,” “This Is How I Feel About Jazz,” and Quincy Jones’ work with Dinah Washington. Hicks recently told us about the opportunity to further explore Jones’ epic body-of-work, telling a sprawling story in two hours, shooting 800 hours of footage, and more.

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the old man and the gun director interview

Writer-director David Lowery may have sent Robert Redford out with the bang the actor deserves with The Old Man & the Gun. No small feat on Lowery’s part. The filmmaker behind A Ghost Story and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints tells a playful but melancholic crime tale with the sweeping sense of adventure you want from watching Redford rob banks with his iconic charm.

Redford disappears into the role of happy-go-lucky criminal Forrest Tucker, but whether the character is making a getaway from the fuzz or enjoying a night at the movies with Jewel (Sissy Spacek), his power as both an actor and star is palpable in every scene. The Old Man & The Gun is a larger-than-life story made grander and all the more majestic by the mere presence of its lead.

Lowery recently told us about wanting Redford’s star power in all its glory, using a clip from a classic movie of the actor’s, having Tom Waits tell a Christmas story in the film, and more.

Note: This interview does contain spoilers.

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Eli Roth interview

Eli Roth has never thought of himself as a horror director, so the Hostel and Cabin Fever director’s first PG-rated and kids-friendly movie, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, isn’t that surprising of a choice for the filmmaker. As Roth sees it, his previous movies led him to directing Amblin’s adaptation of John Bellairs‘ novel, published in 1973. This is exactly the sort of lavish and old school spectacle he’s always dreamed about making.

While obviously tamer, The House with a Clock in Its Walls has the director’s dark, sometimes slapstick sense of humor as well as sequences that scream horror. Whether with a rotting corpse, evil pumpkins, or a hideous creature in the woods at night, Roth gives younger viewers enough credit to have fun with the scares. In addition to paying respect to his audience, the director told us about working with producer Steven Spielberg, his love of Amblin and Gremlins, influences and references, and showing the almighty Cate Blanchett firing a laser gun/magical umbrella.

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Panos Cosmatos interview

The unnervingly beautiful and grotesque worlds born in Panos Cosmatos‘ imagination are remarkable. The writer-director showed with his directorial debut Beyond the Black Rainbow that he knows how to keep an audience’s eyes glued to the screen, but he can do far more than compose piercing images and an all consuming atmosphere. The visuals in Cosmatos’ new film, Mandy, which feature Nicolas Cage wielding an axe and going after a pack of demonic bikers, are bolstered by a real sense of pain and loss.

Cosmatos and Cage have said before that Mandy is a movie dealing with loss – a loss that fuels Red Miller’s (Cage) journey. There’s some genuinely heart wrenching moments in Cosmatos’ sophomore effort that make it a revenge movie with a real punch. Yes, seeing Cage going toe-to-toe with evil makes for some epic iconography, but Mandy‘s moments of pain and intimacy are just as enthralling to watch. Cosmatos recently told us about making his second film, crafting a large sense of scope with limited resources, working with Nicolas Cage, and more.

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nicolas cage interview

If ever there was a match made in heaven, it’s filmmaker Panos Cosmatos and actor Nicolas Cage. The two have similar boundary-pushing sensibilities that coalesce in Cosmatos’ thrillingly imaginative followup to Beyond the Black RainbowMandy, which co-stars Andrea Riseborough and features Cage as lumberjack Red Miller going on a blood-soaked journey for revenge. The Academy Award-winner has made many remarkable and sometimes almost otherworldly transformations throughout his career. Whether he’s wielding a chainsaw or an axe, the actor’s presence is often epic in Cosmatos’ anamorphic shots.

While Cosmatos’ revenge tale is sometimes like an acid trip gone wrong in Hell complete with its nightmarish and grand imagery, the hypnotic aesthetic is made all the more transfixing by some visceral emotions from Cage and Riseborough . Mandy has great fight scenes, including a next-level battle involving chainsaws, but one of the reasons why the movie is so special is the palpable sense of loss. There’s one scene in particular where Cage lets out a lot of pain, and it hits like a ton of bricks.

We recently spoke with Cage about that scene, along with studying Bruce Lee and silent films, punk rock performances, Prince, and more.

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