Interviews

The Gronvall Files: Director Alison Klayman On Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Acclaimed internationally for sculptures and installations that have been exhibited in western cities from Munich to London to New York, to name a few, Ai Weiwei is also a culture hero to millions of Chinese, not only for his trenchant and yet often playful art works, but also for his populism and activism, which he has advanced through blogging and social media like Twitter. His protests against injustice, corruption, and propaganda (he publicly criticized the 2008 Beijing Olympics) occasionally landed him in hot water with authorities (he was beaten up and seriously injured in Chengdu), and in 2011 led to an 81-day-long government detention.

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‘Nuit #1′ explores love, sex and despair in Montreal’s lost generation

It all happens in a flash. No sooner do Emond’s lovers kick the door of his apartment shut than they’re groping each other and striping off their clothes. The cherry is added to the sundae when Nikolai apologizes for having to ask Clara what her name is. The same thing happened in Rod Stewart’s “Stay With Me,” another song about sex without love, intimacy without passion. “There’s a lot of me in ‘Nuit #1,’ of course,” the first-time writer/director allows. “I know how it feels to be 30 and lost.”

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The Gronvall Files: Red Lights

“What jumped out at me about Tom were the themes of self-acceptance and obsession, because those I think are sort of the twin engines for him, and everybody can identify with that. When you take away the setting of this sort of paranormal world, or this sort of genre, and just talk about the characters—that, to me, is what I’m always interested in: character.”

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The Gronvall Files: Lynn Shelton

“With ‘Your Sister’s Sister’ I had a script, I had dialogue written out, but I asked the actors not to memorize it. Sometimes they would just slightly alter a line, or sometimes they would change a whole line. Maybe 25 percent of the movie is from lines that I wrote, so the vast majority of it is not. But there’s a very specific trajectory that needs to be followed, and so even though the dialogue itself may be improvised, the movie is not, if that makes sense.”

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The Gronvall Files: Safety Not Guaranteed’s Colin Trevorrow

I write studio films, and you’re not allowed to do that anymore, you’ve got to keep the plot going. And we took like a 15-minute break from the plot in this movie, and just let these characters hang out and fall in love and discover things. I guess that’s where maybe the hipster side comes in: “hipster quirky,” or whatever the label. I don’t even know what hipster means anymore. But I can’t apologize for wanting to spend time with these characters and learn what’s really going on with them, outside of this cool time travel story.

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Wilmington on DVDs: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Certainly Kevin is at his cutest when he finally listens to Eva, as she reads him the tale of Robin Hood, champion Saxon archer — and his father, whom Kevin plays like a bassoon, later buys him a bow and arrow, and he becomes a crackerjack archer, who can always hit his target.

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In Victorian England, good vibrations trump ‘Hysteria’ every time

All kidding aside, the prohibition on vibrators in Alabama — and, until recently, other several states – harkens to the 1920s, when a sharp-eyed publisher noticed that the same therapeutic gizmos being advertised in their periodicals were being used in stag films to accomplish paroxysms of a less clinical nature.

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The Gronvall Files: BETWEEN TERENCE DAVIES AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA

For a world-class filmmaker, Terence Davies keeps a fairly low profile; you’re not likely, for instance, to catch him chatting on late-night TV (in part because the director-screenwriter dislikes travel and hardly ever watches television). He has channeled his energies into his work, from ruminative autobiographical features like “Distant Voices, Still Lives” and “The Long Day Closes,” about Britain in the 1940s and 1950s, to his masterly adaptation of the Edith Wharton classic “The House of Mirth” (starring Gillian Anderson in one of her best movie roles), followed by the acclaimed documentary “Of Time and the City,” about his native Liverpool.

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The Gronvall Files: JENNIFER WESTFELDT ON FRIENDS WITH KIDS

What’s a gifted actress to do when Hollywood continues to bypass projects featuring strong roles for women, in favor of cookie-cutter productions kowtowing to that coveted 18-35 male demographic? In the case of Jennifer Westfeldt, you fight back, writing and producing indie vehicles to star in.

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The Gronvall Files: PAUL WEITZ ON BEING FLYNN

“Something that I sometimes worry is a flaw in myself is that I can’t really extricate some sense of humor from a sense of tragedy. Anton Chekhov would write at the front of his plays “a comedy in four acts,” and then Stanislavski would direct them as flat-out tragedies, and Chekhov would be furious that he’s not getting laughs.”

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THE KIDS AREN’T ALL RIGHT: An Interview With Submarine Director Richard Ayoade

The Gronvall Files British actor, writer, and director Richard Ayoade turns 34 this month, around the time that his feature directorial debut Submarine—a big hit in the U.K.–arrives on this side of the Atlantic. Based on the acclaimed novel by Joe Dunthorne, the movie is a whip-smart coming-of-age comedy set in Wales, about a very…

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Digital Nation: ‘Viva Riva!’ … think ‘Harder They Come’ in Africa

Remember the jolt of excitement you experienced watching “The Harder They Come,” “City of God” and “Amores Perros” for the first time? How raw depictions of violence, sex, corruption and poverty flowed organically from the directors’ choices of actors, locations and music, whose singularity couldn’t have been faked or synthesized? These stories may have been…

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Interview: Jodie Foster’s Tango With Depression In The Beaver

Jodie Foster’s directed a third feature. The one with Mel Gibson and the beaver hand-puppet? The Beaver is a rich fable about depression and fear and hope, piercing, personal, bruised. (I think it liked it more than a few opening week critics.) While Gibson’s two roles are his best (and most intense) in memory, other…

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The Gronvall Files: Tops in His Division: An Interview with Win Win Director Tom McCarthy

By Andrea Gronvall Who says you can’t go home again? Actor/writer/director Tom McCarthy, inspired by his memories as a high school wrestler in his hometown of New Providence, New Jersey, collaborated with his close friend and former wrestling teammate Joe Tiboni, a lawyer and first-time screenwriter, to create the funny and heartwarming new indie feature…

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The Gronvall Files: Richard Press and Philip Gefter: Partners Behind Documentary Bill Cunningham New York

By Andrea Gronvall As a breed, film critics are generally sartorially challenged, but I’ll freely admit to enjoying Vogue, Vanity Fair, and the style coverage in The New York Times–particularly the “On the Street” column that’s photographed, written, and composed by the paper’s long-time fashion chronicler Bill Cunningham. A colorful collage revealing trends Cunningham spots…

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Spotlight: Ari Gold on Adventures of Marketing Adventures of Power

Three years ago, filmmaker Ari Gold made a little film called Adventures of Power, a quirky comedy about a dorky air drummer (played by Gold himself) who pursues his air drumming dream all the way fro New Mexico to New … Jersey where he battles Adrian Grenier for a $2000 smackeroos. Unfortunately for Gold, the…

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“The Film That Changed My Life”: Richard Kelly On Brazil

Robert K. Elder’s latest book, “The Film that Changed My Life,” came together as he met filmmakers as part of his regular writing assignments, and then got them to expand on one film that changed their lives, and what form that “change” took. Among the thirty equally appealing conversations, Kevin Smith talks Slacker; Danny Boyle,…

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The Gronvall Files: Good Company: A Conversation with The Company Men Director John Wells

As this year’s Sundance Film Festival unfolds, one of the films that made a splash there a year ago, The Company Men, John Wells’s feature directorial debut, is gathering steam in its commercial rollout. The acclaimed writer-producer behind TV hits like ER and The West Wing, as well as Southland (which found a new home…

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Interview: In Arm’s Way With Danny Boyle

In 127 Hours, Danny Boyle doesn’t present Aron Ralston as any kind of idealist of the great outdoors, or as a man surmounting the wilderness. Rather, the climbing enthusiast who was trapped for days in a Utah canyon by a fallen boulder is a blithe young man who may have reached the limits of his…

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Digital Nation: Four Lions

Besides December 7, 1941, two other dates will live in infamy as long as wars against tyranny are fought. Americans will continue to mark September 11, 2001, for as long as there are people who can recall the sight of New York’s World Trade Center crumbling into ash and dust. For Britons still wary of…

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Interviews

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I don’t want to hold back movies from our subscribers. There’s no question there’s a romance with the old model. But the fact remains that people watch movies at home. [Theatrical] is increasingly out of step with the global audience. Buying movies and releasing them in theaters? There are plenty of people doing that. We’re not interested.”
~ Netflix Ted Sarandos

MIKE FLEMING: Given the week we’re in, an obvious first question: Mike, you’ve produced the second of three kinkily romantic Fifty Shades of Grey movies that have stretched the Valentine’s Day holiday. What advice from your exhaustive research can you convey that will guarantee Mrs. Fleming a whirlwind week of romance?
MIKE DE LUCA: Mr. Fleming must do whatever she wants and asks for, that’s my one and only instruction. Surrender, that’s the key to a successful marriage. Surrender. Surrender. Surrender.
MIKE FLEMING: So, reading between the lines, it feels like you’re advising me to stick to the usual playbook, a combination of groveling and guilt?
MIKE DE LUCA: Those are your words, not mine. I brought you the surrender advice. If she wants you to be a dominant, you become a dominant. If she wants you to be an infant, you put on a diaper. Happy wife, happy life, is all I’m saying.
MIKE FLEMING: I’m a tired 56-year old at the end of a long Oscar season. All this dressing up and role play sounds like a lot more work.
MIKE DE LUCA: The diaper helps, there. I’m wearing one right now. It’s really convenient.
~ Deadline’s Mike Fleming Interrogates Oscar’s Mike De Luca