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Film Critic, Film Programmer, Film Lover, Nap Taker. Usually Hungry.

Moderated the Q&A for the Dallas advance screening of The Guest with three of the most innovative new faces in film: Director Adam Wingard (You’re Next), Writer Simon Barrett (You’re Next), and heartthrob/actor/guy-with-killer abs, Daniel Stevens. I’m one lucky dude. (Photo by Eli Luna - check out his work at EliLuna.com)

—Joan_Rivers_Interview

RIP Joan Rivers. Here’s the uncut interview I did with her at my very first Sundance — she was there promoting the terrific documentary, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK. What a firecracker she was. 

Too cool, a quote from my Sundance review of Rudderless made it on the poster. 

Too cool, a quote from my Sundance review of Rudderless made it on the poster. 

The Most Daring Giveaway, Ever: Win Drafthouse Films’ ‘Cheap Thrills’ On Blu-ray

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This Contest is now over. 

The winner is DJ Kento — please don’t set yourself on fire anymore. (Look for my email.)

I’ve teamed up with Drafthouse Films and Cinedigm to give one copy of CHEAP THRILLS on Blu-ray. If you dare to enter, here’s how you can win: EMAIL ME the craziest dare you’ve ever done — it’s OK to lie, but you better make it believable. I’ll pick the most batshit crazy entry and will announce on Sunday, March 25th. Good luck, movie lovers!

CHEAP THRILLS releases on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download tomorrow.

Dallas! Come See ‘LOCKE’ With Me, Followed By A Q&A With Writer/Director Steven Knight

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Longest title ever — apologies. 

This Thursday, A24 is will have LOCKE’s writer and director Steven Knight (writer, David Cronenberg’s EASTERN PROMISES) in Dallas for a Q&A following a screening of a the film. The moderator? Yours truly. 

Want to go? Below is your free ticket to ride. Print it out and bring it with you to the theater. Heads up — it’s first-come, first-serve, so get there early. A good hour should work. (There’s a bar, so you and your +1 can trade off going in for a drink.)

See you there, move lovers!

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Interview: ‘Blue Ruin’ writer/director JEREMY SAULNIER and star MACON BLAIR

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[Editor’s Note: This interview was originally published on Film Threat.]

Blue Ruin is the biggest success story to come out of (Warning: pun ahead) the blue this year. Tapped out on funding to finish the film, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier took to Kickstarter. Shortly after, he met his goal of $35K (and a few grand more). After he finished the final cut of the film, it went on to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight, where it won the FIPRESCI Award (fun tidbit: winning this prestigious prize puts Saulnier in the same company as Paul Thomas Anderson, Jean-Luc Godard, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, Aki Kaurismäki, Pedro Almodóvar and Michael Haneke, to name a few(. That’s a pretty damn good start if you ask me.

Blue Ruin started making the festival rounds and it’s all I heard about after it screened at Fantastic Fest. “Blue Ruin! You must see Blue Ruin!” pounded Twitter. Walking into it blind, I finally got my chance to see it at Sundance. This unconventional revenge movie is so violent and relentlessly suspenseful… if you can sit through it and not have that holy-shit-something-insane-is-about-to-happen squint on your face once during one of its extreme scenes, dear reader, you’re a lot tougher than I. 

A day before moving from New York, I interviewed Saulnier and star Macon Blair (who’s performance is staggeringly batshit-crazy good). We talked about the usual interview stuff — the making of Blue Ruin, taking a financial leap of faith, Kickstarter, eating croissants, etc. — but I got a lot of good answers out of them and this is perhaps one of the best interviews I’ve ever done. Enjoy. 

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Movie Review: ‘Blue Ruin’

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[Editor’s Note: This review was originally written and posted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.]

Revenge is a dish best served with a knife, a crossbow and semi-automatic rifles in Jeremy Saulnier’s bloody and brilliant sophomore feature, Blue Ruin.

When Blue Ruin opens, a drifter named Dwight (Mason Blair) is coasting through life on a beach. He’s dirty, living on a steady diet of trashcan food, and his face looks as if it’s never felt a clean shave. He breaks into houses just to take a bath, however his presence shows he’s not a bad or harmful man — he’s just trying to survive. Things aren’t so bad, this bum has built a home and life for himself at a place where things are simple and uncomplicated.

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New York, I Love You, But I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane

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Often people ask me if I’ve lost my mind, and normally the answer is yes, but this time it’s a little different. For the last few weeks, I’ve been telling folks close to me that I’m leaving New York and moving back to my hometown, Dallas, TX. Then I get that deer-in-headlights have-you-lost-your-fucking-mind look. I’m used to that look, so let me explain.

Being a film critic / journalist / blogger / whatever-you-want-to-call-me has afforded me the ability to travel and live around the world. I’ve been to France, Germany, London and Canada, and lived in Los Angeles and New York back-to-back, respectively. As a writer, I’ve covered Cannes, Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, LAFF, TIFF, AFI, DIFF, AFF, Comic-Con, and every film festival I’ve ever dreamed of covering (a lot of IFFs, I’ll tell you that much). This sounds awesome as I type it — and I’m extremely grateful for it all — but I’m not sure how many are aware how lonely it can get traveling solo and moving around so much. When Gordon and the Whale was alive and kicking, I had a second family and a lot of us attended festivals together. Once I shut that down, life took its course as it tends to do and everyone (thankfully) went on to bigger and badder things. GATW afforded all of us that and it makes me incredibly happy to know it.

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Giveaway: Win Drafthouse Films’ ‘MS. 45’ on DVD!

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This giveaway is now over. Winners are: Leslie Stinson and Josh Gressett. Please check your email to claim the movie!

Ah, yes, another fantastic release from Drafthouse Films, the ultimate revenge thriller, Ms. 45

I’ve once again teamed up with Drafthouse and Cinedigm to give two copies of the film on DVD. To enter, EMAIL ME your favorite revenge film and why (please put MS. 45 in the subject line). I’ll pick the two most deranged answers and will announce on Monday, March 17th. Have a blast, movie lovers!

Giveaway: Win @DrafthouseFilms’ ‘THE VISITOR’ on Blu-ray or DVD

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UPDATE: Winners are:

1) DJ Kento
2) Garrett Solomon

I have emailed you both — please reply within 48 hours to claim your movie!

This week, “the greatest film 1979 couldn’t handle” — The Visitor — released on Blu-ray and DVD, by way of Drafthouse Films and Cinedigm Entertainment. I’ve teamed up with the distributors to give whoever’s reading this a chance at winning a copy on either Blu-ray or DVD. To enter,  EMAIL ME your favorite film from the 70s that should be restored and re-released and why (please put THE VISITOR in the subject line). Also, let me know which format you want the movie on.

I’ll pick the two most die-hard answers and will announce on Wednesday, March 12th. Good luck, movie lover. 

Movie Review: ‘THE VISITOR’ Returns From 1979 to Peck Out Your Eyes and Make You Like It

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Good vs. evil! Abortion! Potty-mouthed asshole children! Frank Nero as Jesus? Frank Nero as Jesus! Shelly Winters power-slaps! How to fight off bullies on the ice skating rink! Lance Henrikson getting his ass kicked by a plastic falcon! This is The Visitor, a super low budget horror film from 1979.

There’s a lot of fun going on in The Visitor, but I really couldn’t tell you what it’s about. It’s a bizarre circus of magic and mayhem, and stars Sam Peckinpah (director of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and The Wild Bunch), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Glenn Ford (Clark Kent’s dad in Superman 1979), Franco Nero (Django) Shelley Winters (The Poseidon Adventure, Lolita, Night of the Hunter) and John Huston (The Maltese Falcon) as people of good and bad higher power trying to get inside the head of and brainwash an 8-year-old girl with telekinesis powers and an attitude that will put any Hollywood diva to shame. Things will go one of two ways: 1) good or 2) the opposite of good.

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