Tag Archives: Paul Giamatti

Review: 12 Years a Slave

12_Years_a_Slave_Poster1It’s impossible to call “12 Years a Slave” an enjoyable film, but it is exceptional in every respect, making it a warranted 133-minute nightmare.

Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free man living happily and comfortably in upstate New York with his wife and two young children – until he’s abducted, shipped off to the south and sold into slavery.

“12 Years a Slave” is a beautifully brutal experience. Solomon is a loving father and husband who’s earned his good fortune, so watching him lose everything he holds dear in the most vicious manner possible is crushing. Hope and pray all you want; this movie is called “12 Years a Slave,” so no one’s coming to save the day. Solomon is heading straight towards years and years of slavery and that awareness infuses each and every step of his journey with an astronomical amount of dread.

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Interview: John Dies at the End’s Don Coscarelli and Paul Giamatti

Paul_Giamatti_Don_Coscarelli_John_Dies_at_the_EndDavid Wong’s book warns, “STOP. You should not have touched this book. NO, don’t put it down. It’s too late.” Too bad Don Coscarelli’s feature film adaptation of “John Dies at the End” isn’t branded with the same advice because once you get sucked into his world of soy sauce, meat monsters and Korrok, there’s no turning back.

Straight from Wong’s book, Coscarelli’s film features Chase Williamson as David Wong, a harmless college dropout consumed by the effects of a drug known as soy sauce. The thing is, Dave wasn’t even looking to get high. He thought his buddy, John (Rob Mayes), overdosed on the black stuff, so he was just being a good friend by taking John to the hospital along with the needle he injected himself with. Trouble is, Dave puts the thing in his pocket, accidently sticking himself. From that point on, he’s got no choice, but to play along, using bratwurst phones and battling otherworldly creatures if he’s going to save the world. Paul Giamatti steps in as Arnie, a reporter who arrives after all the insanity goes down and is tasked with putting together the details of David’s seemingly bogus adventure.

With “John Dies at the End” due for a theatrical release on January 25th, Coscarelli and Giamatti sat down for a roundtable interview to discuss the meat of the film (no pun intended), the current state of the horror genre, where “John Dies at the End” fits in and more. Check out all the highlights from the interview in the video below.

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Review: John Dies at the End

John_Dies_at_the_End_Poster“John Dies at the End” shouldn’t be a good movie. The narrative is just way too off the rails, there’s nearly no reasoning behind most of the plot points and the large majority of the visual effects are rather rough, but the power of smart and deeply dedicated filmmaking takes over and writer-director Don Coscarelli manages to lead his cast and crew through to an undeniably entertaining end product.

David Wong (Chase Williamson) is far from a golden boy, but he’s your pretty average slacker – that is until he comes in contact with “the sauce.” One night David and his buddy John (Rob Mayes) go to a party. John’s rocking out with his band while David’s moseying around, drinking his beer. He spots a jerk named Justin White (Johnny Weston) teasing Amy Sullivan (Fabianne Therese) about her prosthetic hand, and after rescuing said prosthetic hand, Amy tells David her dog bit some Jamaican guy and ran off. David tracks down the Jamaican guy who gives David the creeps by reading a recent dream and making him puke up a living bug. That’s enough for one night; David calls it quits, heads home and crashes.

Later that night, David’s awoken by a frantic call from John so he heads over to his place to check on him. Sure enough, John’s off his mind, running around his trashed apartment in his underwear. David tracks down the culprit, a syringe filled with a black liquid, and takes it and his deranged friend to the hospital. Trouble is, that black liquid’s got a mind of its own and David doesn’t make it very far before feeling the effects of the soy sauce himself.

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Interview: John Dies At The End Writer-Director-Producer Don Coscarelli

John_Dies_at_the_End_PosterMeat monsters, flying moustaches, chest-sucking slugs and bratwursts that function as cell phones. Think all that’s a challenge to sell on the big screen? Director Don Coscarelli takes it one step further aiming to do just that within a non-linear narrative in his adaptation of David Wong’s off the wall, time-traveling novel, “John Dies at the End.”

The film stars Chase Williamson as Dave, a guy who goes from living the typical lazy slacker life to battling supernatural creatures and traveling to other worlds via a new drug known as soy sauce. In his attempt to rush his buddy John (Rob Mayes) to the hospital after indulging in a bit too much of the black stuff, David gets stuck with the needle himself, letting the sauce loose in his system, heightening his senses to a superhuman extent and making him the centerpiece of an epic battle to save the planet.

Think that sampling of “John Dies at the End” sounds a little off the rails? Just wait until you catch the full feature. The movie is currently available On Demand, but in honor of its January 25th theatrical release, Coscarelli sat down to talk soy sauce and all of its outrageous side effects. Check out what Coscarelli had to say about honing his narrative, finding the right actors to strike the perfect tone, the plan to manufacture meat monsters and more in the video interview below.

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Review: Rock of Ages

Hello, guilty pleasure.

Based on the Broadway show, Rock of Ages centers on the story of two wannabe rock stars, a small town girl who moves to LA to live the dream, Sherrie (Julianne Hough), and a bar back with a killer voice who suffers from stage fright, Drew (Diego Boneta). After getting mugged on her very first night in the big city, Drew comes to Sherrie’s aid and helps her get a job waitressing at the Bourbon Room. The place is an undeniable hotspot, but times are rough and owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) still can’t earn enough to keep the place afloat. With the mayor’s anti-rock wife, Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones), eager to shut the place down, Dennis and his right hand man, Lonny (Russell Brand), have their fingers crossed that their big show featuring Stacee Jax (Tom Cruise) will bring in enough cash to save the Bourbon Room.

Just like the original Broadway production, there’s a lot going on here, but all of the storylines are generally straightforward making them easy to follow and letting the music take center stage. If you’re interested in checking out Rock of Ages for the budding young love, the nobodies trying to hit it big or the authority vs. rock and roll scenario, you’re in for a major disappointment. The relationship between Drew and Sherrie is as trite as they come, you can see Drew’s chance at making it big coming from a mile away and Patricia Whitmore’s battle against the Bourbon Room never really feels like much of a threat. But really, who cares about any of that? Rock of Ages features a slew of famous faces singing some of the best music rock and roll has to offer.

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Review: The Hangover Part II

The second the trailer hit, we knew The Hangover Part II was basically The Hangover, but in Thailand. While simply recycling a storyline is generally a cause for concern, that’s really the point of this film, otherwise we’d be getting some sort of odd spinoff or no sequel at all. The Hangover Part II could have failed on just about every cinematic front as long as the boys experienced a drug-induced night of debauchery followed by a hilarious attempt at recovery. Unfortunately, just like the memory of the wolf pack’s big night out in Thailand, funny jokes seemed to have simply slipped the filmmakers’ minds.

With Doug (Justin Bartha) happily married and sunburn-free, it’s Stu’s (Ed Helms) turn to tie the knot, albeit not to a Las Vegas stripper. This time around Stu’s keeping it classy and marrying a beautiful, family oriented woman named Lauren (Jamie Chung). The ceremony is to be held in Thailand where Lauren’s entire family, including her disapproving father and genius of a younger brother, Teddy (Mason Lee), will be on hand. Naturally, coming out to support the groom is none other than his buddies Doug, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis).

Determined to keep things simple and problem-free, Stu opts out of sharing a beer beside a bon fire with his buddies and Teddy. However, at his fiancée’s urging, Stu heads out to the beach for just one drink. Phil proudly presents a six-pack of sealed beers, but, sure enough, something isn’t quite right and that one beer turns into yet another night Phil, Stu and Alan can’t remember. However, this time around, Doug makes it home safe and sound; it’s Teddy the trio manages to lose in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand.

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Review: Cold Souls

ColdSoulsPosterWhat exactly is a soul? I’d like to imagine it as an internal element of a person that provides a personality. Our likes and dislikes, talents, hopes and dreams all connected and projected via the body so those around us can see who we are. It’s ironic, but that’s what Cold Souls lacks, a consistent soul. It’s got all of the pieces – great performances, an intriguing plot and visually stimulating camerawork – but it is trying to be too many things at once. The elements that work are deep and thought provoking while the others are, well, soulless.

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