BREAKING BAD Director Rian Johnson Talks “Ozymandias”, Babies Crying on Cue, and Maintaining Dignity in Death, Plus Behind-the-Scenes Images

by     Posted 212 days ago

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If you haven’t seen the latest episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad, I’d suggest you queue it up on the DVR before reading any further (and then check out Allison’s episode recap once you’ve recovered).  “Ozymandias” episode director Rian Johnson (Looper) recently spoke about the various challenges the shoot imposed, such as dealing with death in a way that maintains a character’s dignity, getting a certain baby to cry and speak on cue, and how the entire 60 minutes of the episode was filled with big moments.  This will be your second spoiler warning because Johnson goes into extensive details about the shoot after the jump, where you’ll also find some behind-the-scenes images from Johnson himself.

LOOPER Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 68 days ago

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One of the most original films of 2012 by far was writer/director Rian Johnson’s Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as two versions of the same character from different points in his life.  Rather than fry your brain with this time travel crap, Looper sets up a believable futuristic world where time-travel is possible without bogging down the audience with extraneous details.  However, for fans who want those details, the Looper Blu-ray has plenty of extras, including deleted scenes and expert testimonials from a physicist, that give extra bang for the buck.  Hit the jump for our review of Looper on Blu-ray. 

New Images from PACIFIC RIM plus Test Screening Reactions from Rian Johnson and Others

by     Posted 1 year, 71 days ago

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New images have been released for Guillermo Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim.  The story is kicked off by the rise of monsters (known as Kaiju) from the sea who start a war that devastates humanity.  To fight back, the humans build giant robots (known as Jaegers) that are controlled by two pilots.  I’ve noted on more than one occasion how this movie is one my most-anticipated of the year, and these new images do nothing to change that opinion.

The film recently had a test screening, and the reactions will make fans even more excited to see what Del Toro has unleashed.  Among those who loved what they saw was Looper writer-director Rian Johnson.  Hit the jump for more.  The film stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Ron PerlmanPacific Rim opens in 3D on July 12th.

Ben Affleck Wins Directors Guild Award for ARGO; Rian Johnson and Lena Dunham Win TV Awards for BREAKING BAD and GIRLS

by     Posted 1 year, 72 days ago

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The freight train that is Argo kept on trucking last night.  Though the film’s Best Picture Oscar chances were all but dashed when Ben Affleck was snubbed for Best Director (it’s incredibly rare for a movie to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination), the film picked up the top awards at two major guilds—the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild.  Now two becomes three, as the Directors Guild Awards were held last night and Argo pulled off the hat trick by landing Affleck the Best Director DGA trophy.

There is one major precedent that everyone keeps pointing towards with regards to Argo: 1995’s Apollo 13.  That film won the PGA, DGA, and SAG awards, only to find Ron Howard left out of the Best Director Oscar nominations and it ultimately lost Best Picture to Braveheart.  Is Argo in the same boat as Apollo 13 or can it pull off the win?  Furthermore, who wins Best Director at the Oscars?  Hit the jump for more, along with the full list of DGA winners that includes Looper’s Rian Johnson for his work on Breaking Bad and GirlsLena Dunham.

Adam Predicts the 2013 Oscar Nominees

by     Posted 1 year, 97 days ago

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At last, Oscar is upon us.  Back in November I shared a look at the early awards season race by way of our 2013 Oscar Preview articles, and now nearly two months later there’s still quite a bit up in the air.  This truly is one of the more exciting awards races in recent years, as 2012 is so stacked with quality that there are a surprising number of uncertainties this close to the Academy Awards ceremony.  Nevertheless, I am once again foolishly going to attempt to predict how the Oscar nominations will shake out when they’re announced tomorrow morning, January 10th.  Hit the jump to check out my predictions.

2013 Writers Guild Awards Nominations Include LOOPER, THE MASTER, ZERO DARK THIRTY, and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

by     Posted 1 year, 102 days ago

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As we head into the thick of awards season, we’re starting to see how the various guilds stack up with regards to the best of 2012 (the PGA nominations were announced yesterday).  The guilds are usually a good Oscar predictor as their voting bodies overlap significantly with the Academy’s voting body, and today we have a peek into the screenplay race by way of the nominations for the 2013 Writers Guild Awards.  The list includes some pleasant surprises like Rian Johnson’s brilliantly original script for Looper and Steven Chbosky’s touching adaptation of his own novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as well as expected candidates like The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lincoln.

Each year a number of screenplays are ruled ineligible for the WGA’s, and this year is no exception as Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Behn Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, and William Nicholson’s Les Miserables were all  ineligible for WGA consideration for various insignificant reasons.  Hit the jump to check out the full list of WGA nominations.  The 2013 Writers Guild Awards will be held on February 17th.

Watch a Deleted Scene from LOOPER Featuring Emily Blunt and Garret Dillahunt

by     Posted 1 year, 105 days ago

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Now that writer/director Rian Johnson’s Looper is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, you can check out the 22 deleted scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut.  The first of those scenes is online and it features a tense moment between Emily Blunt and Garret Dillahunt’s characters.  It’s easy to see why this particular little bit of narrative was cut, but I’m looking forward to seeing what else Johnson had to leave behind in the recycle bin. Hit the jump to check out the first deleted scene from Looper, also starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis

Rian Johnson’s LOOPER Blu-ray Has 22 Deleted Scenes

by     Posted 1 year, 123 days ago

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Looper will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 31, and many of us will be looking to the special features to untangle the intricate time travel plot.  Team Looper is ready to deliver.  There a few featurettes (“Looper: From the Beginning”, “Scoring Looper“, and “The Science of Time Travel”) and a commentary track with director Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt (that will add to Johnson’s in-theater commentary download).  But the key draw is a whopping 22 deleted scenes with commentary by Johnson and co-star Noah Segan.

Check out the press release after the jump for the full breakdown of special features.

National Board of Review Names ZERO DARK THIRTY Best Film of the Year; DJANGO UNCHAINED, LOOPER, and LES MISERABLES Make Top 10

by     Posted 1 year, 131 days ago

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The second major critics organization has announced its Best of 2012 winners, and director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama Zero Dark Thirty is once again the victor.  The National Board of Review named Zero Dark Thirty the best film of the year, also awarding Kathryn Bigelow with Best Director and Jessica Chastain with Best Actress.  Bradley Cooper bested heavyweight Daniel Day-Lewis for the Best Actor trophy for his work in Silver Linings Playbook, while Leonardo DiCaprio and Ann Dowd took home the supporting awards for Django Unchained and Compliance, respectively.  Other notable wins include Rian Johnson’s Looper script winning Best Original Screenplay (huzzah!) and Les Miserables being named Best Ensemble, with The Perks of Being a Wallflower (huzzah again!) and Argo making the Top 10 list.

It certainly looks like the critics will be rallying around Zero Dark Thirty this year, but as we’ve seen many times in the past, the critics’ pick doesn’t always match up with Oscar.  Since 2000, only two NBR Best Film winners have gone on to win the Oscar: No Country for Old Men and Slumdog Millionaire.  Other past NBR Best Film winners include Hugo, The Social Network, and Up in the Air.  Hit the jump for the full list of 2012′s honorees.

Download Director Rian Johnson’s In-Theater Commentary Track for LOOPER

by     Posted 1 year, 192 days ago

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In addition to being incredibly talented, writer/director Rian Johnson is a really swell guy.  He’s constantly interacting with fans on Twitter in a candid and refreshing manner, and is always engaging and thoughtful in interviews.  For his 2009 film The Brothers Bloom, Johnson recorded and released an audio commentary track that fans could bring with them to the theater and privately listen to as the film played.  By popular demand, Johnson has done this again for his fantastic new sci-fi pic Looper.  It’s a ridiculously generous gesture made all the more enjoyable by the fact that it’s entirely free.

Obviously this track shouldn’t be listened to on first-viewing, but Johnson assures fans that this commentary is totally different from the one he recorded for the eventual Blu-ray/DVD release.  Hit the jump to either stream the track from your computer or download it for in-theater viewing.

TOP 5: Fantastic Fest 2012 Coverage, LOOPER, THE AVENGERS Blu-ray, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA

by     Posted 1 year, 198 days ago

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For the first time, I’m writing from the comfort of my newly remodeled “mancave” or, as my wife likes to lovingly refer to it, the “nerdcave”. For a space that used to be an attached garage/dungeon, I have to say that the end result is pretty cozy. I guess there really are no living quarters that a substantial amount of time, money, and framed movie prints can’t fix. Now, if only I could find a way to fit and/or afford a mini-fridge, classic stand-up arcade games (i.e. The Simpsons, and X-Men), theater-style seating, and a projection screen that comes down from the ceiling via hand-clap command, I may finally be able to fulfill my dream of never leaving home again.

All praises of my new space aside, this week’s incarnation of the Top 5 brings a look back at our Fantastic Fest 2012 coverage, Looper interviews with writer/director Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, The Avengers Blu-ray interviews with members of the pic’s visual effects team, The Perks of Being a Wallflower interviews with Emma Watson, writer/director Stephen Chbosky and more, and Hotel Transylvania interviews with Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez just to name a few. As you might expect, a brief recap and link to each is holding down the fort after the jump.

Rian Johnson Talks LOOPER, Deleted Scenes, His Writing Process, TIFF 2012, BREAKING BAD, THE TERMINATOR, Future Projects and More

by     Posted 1 year, 199 days ago

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With writer-director Rian Johnson‘s Looper opening today, I’ve spent all week posting exclusive video interviews with the cast (here’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt).  The film takes place in a future where time travel exists, but it’s only used on the black market.  Gordon-Levitt plays a “Looper”, a hitman who is contracted to kill people that are sent back in time, and then disposes of the bodies so the victim technically no longer exists.  Things go awry when his future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time as a target and then escapes.  The film also stars Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano.  For more on the film, here are 4 clips and Matt’s review.

At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, I got to speak with Johnson.  We talked about the positive buzz for the film, what it meant to be the opening film of TIFF, Breaking Bad, his writing process on Looper and how it was different than his previous work (Brick and The Brothers Bloom), deleted scenes and what will be on the Blu-ray (up to 45 minutes!), how The Terminator was an influence, future projects (says he’s got “five or six germs of ideas”), and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

LOOPER Review

by     Posted 1 year, 199 days ago

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[This is a repost of my review from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.  Looper opens today.]

Sacrifice goes against our biological imperative of self-preservation. If we have a will to survive, then shouldn’t we do everything in our power to stay alive? Or is life only worth living if it’s the good life (whatever that means)? Shouldn’t we celebrate our desire to live? Rian Johnson‘s sci-fi film Looper casts a dark spell over our need for self-preservation, and bitterly twists it into a world where people would go so far as to kill themselves to live. Anchored by tremendous performances from leads Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, Johnson manages to deliver thrills as intense as the ideas he wishes to explore. However, his quest to reach a thoughtful conclusion stumbles over new characters, plot shortcuts, and an extreme tonal shift that leaves the big ideas intact, but fractures the powerful storytelling.

Rian Johnson Talks Working with Joseph Gordon-Levitt on LOOPER, Hollywood’s Lack of Originality, Future Projects and More

by     Posted 1 year, 203 days ago

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With Looper set to bow in theaters this weekend, director Rian Johnson took some time out of his busy schedule to participate in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) at Reddit.  What followed was an absolute deluge from the writer/director in a back-and-forth that encompassed everything from his box office expectations for Looper, to working with long-time friend Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to his favorite episode of Cowboy Bebop.  Hit the jump to see what Johnson had to say.

Looper, also starring Bruce Willis, Jeff Daniels and Emily Blunt, opens September 28th.

Impressive Animated Trailer for Rian Johnson’s LOOPER

by     Posted 1 year, 203 days ago

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A fantastic dialogue-free animated trailer for writer/director Rian Johnson’s sci-fi film Looper has gone online.  The film takes place in a future where time travel exists, but is only used on the black market.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a “Looper”, a hitman who is contracted to kill people that are sent back in time, and then disposes of the bodies so the victim technically no longer exists.  Things go awry when his future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time as an assignment and then escapes.  The film itself is genuinely great on multiple levels with incredible performances all around, and this trailer’s gorgeous animation is a nice spoiler-free tease for what’s in store; you can also hear some of Nathan Johnson’s top-notch music.

Hit the jump to watch the animated trailer.  The film also stars Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, and Piper PeraboLooper opens on September 28th.

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