mandy macaroni and cheese scene

About an hour into director Panos Cosmatos‘ Mandy, something horrible happens. Something so horrible that it breaks Red Miller’s mind. A few scenes later, he is retrieving his long-stashed crossbow from the trailer of a friend, smelting his own homemade battle axe, and driving into a hazy, drug-laced fantasia where the laws of reality have ceased to apply on a mission of vengeance.

But first, he watches a macaroni and cheese commercial. And it may be the most important moment in the movie. It may be the best movie scene of 2018.

Major spoilers for Mandy follow.

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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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There are very few filmmakers who can match the energy Nicolas Cage brings to the screen. Werner Herzog is one; his Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, a bad-cop-gone-worse story, pits Cage against his drug-fueled demons and has them breakdance to taunt him. Adaptation, one could argue, traps Cage within creative claustrophobia and makes him force his way out. Perhaps this year’s Mom and Dad comes close, allowing Cage to take a sledgehammer to a pool table while singing the Hokey Pokey. But Panos CosmatosMandy, in which Cage does more screaming than speaking, may well be the Holy Grail.

The Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit montage on YouTube is creeping up on a million views, and while it’s all too easy to make fun of it, the video also doubles as the show-reel of an actor willing to dive in headfirst unlike most others. Cage creates people that feel like they can’t be contained by a screen, and Mandy is the rare film (the only film, perhaps) that approximates what it must be like to live inside the head of one of his characters. It’s filled to the brim with melancholy energy, in constant motion even during its quietest moments, stripping away layers of meaning and imagery until it furiously smashes them back together. “Finally,” I thought, as Mandy reached its fiery climax, “a film about Nic Cage’s specific brand of sadness.”

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mandy clip

Everything we’ve seen of Nicolas Cage‘s blood-soaked revenge thriller Mandy so far is gore, axes, chainsaws, and a maniacal Cage at his most unhinged yet. But a new Mandy clip slows things down a bit to show us the calm before the storm. There’s no blood or violence, just Cage and Andrea Riseborough as the titular Mandy, murmuring sweet nothings to each other as they enjoy a moment of peace and quiet.

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Mandy advance screenings

If you’re bored with the traditional movies found in your local theater, fear not: Mandy is coming.

That’s not to say that all of the films that are out right now are traditional – far from it – but Mandy, the trippy and twisted revenge thriller from director Panos Cosmatos (Beyond the Black Rainbow), is operating on an entirely different level from anything that’s been in theaters for a long time. This movie is next-level nuts, and now you can to have the chance to see it a bit early.

Regal Cinemas and Alamo Drafthouse have teamed up with RLJE Films to offer Mandy advance screenings in over 200 theaters across the United States – and in addition to seeing the film early, attendees will also be able to see an exclusive taped conversation between Cosmatos and star Nicolas Cage afterward. Trust me – Cage fans won’t want to miss this. Read More »

Holmes and Watson movie

Summer is almost over, and you know what that means: Entertainment Weekly is here with a 64 page fall movie preview! We dug through all of them and borrowed a few images that will surely interest you, including new looks at Gareth EvansApostle, Damien Chazelle‘s First Man, our first look at Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in their Holmes and Watson movie, and more. Read More »

mandy trailer

Nicolas CageAndrea Riseborough. The director of Beyond the Black Rainbow. Evil cults. Chainsaw fights. What more do you need?

Mandy is the latest stylish nightmare from Beyond the Black Rainbow filmmaker Panos Cosmatos, and it looks delightfully deranged. In the film, Cage plays a man on a quest for vengeance, battling cultists and supernatural creatures. Watch the Mandy trailer below.

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Mandy review

A primal, psychedelic rage-scream of a movie, Mandy takes a while to get going, but once it does, it delivers exactly what fans are hoping for: Nicolas Cage fully unleashing the beast within and absolutely wrecking people with a giant axe and a chainsaw. It’s just a shame it doesn’t get to the blood-soaked revenge much sooner. Read More »

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Our 12 Most Anticipated Sundance Movies

most anticipated sundance movies

This week, the bulk of the /Film crew is heading to Park City, Utah for the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. This means that the coming days will be full of reviews and reactions from the year’s first major film festival, a place where major movies premiere, gems are discovered, and the basic shape of the entire year in film begins to take shape. If this Sundance is like every other Sundance, we will see some of the best movies of 2018 and discover some incredible new talent over the next week – it’s our job to put them on your radar.

But that begins tomorrow. Today, the team is en route. Today, we’re writing about our 12 most anticipated Sundance movies, the films that we’re making sure we see no matter what. And that means you should know about them, too.

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