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Empire StatesRed State Of Mind - Part Three

Posted on Monday December 13, 2010, 20:26 by James White in Empire States
Red State Of Mind - Part Three

Empire attends Kevin Smith’s filmmaking Q&A series - Part Three: Adam Druxman

Kevin Smith introduced the third segment of the Red State podcast club by addressing the inaccurate information about the film’s focus. “Some people have called it a satiric comedy or horror comedy and it's none of those things. I've been saying for three years it's a horror film. Nobody apparently believes me. The other thing people say is it's him giving to (homophobic preacher/funeral protester) Fred Phelps. Everyone gets it given to them, but it's not just the Phelps, it's everybody. Sounds a little cryptic, but the early scene in Red State with protestors at a young gay man's funeral is the closest we come to the real world. What I'm hoping to do is just slowly unveil the whole movie through the ears online, up to a certain point.

“Shooting a sequence like that looks easy, looks like you could go run and steal it anywhere, but it wasn't it was l...

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Empire StatesRed State Of Mind - Part Two

Posted on Friday December 10, 2010, 17:29 by James White in Empire States
Red State Of Mind - Part Two

Empire attends Kevin Smith’s filmmaking Q&A series - Part Two: Deborah Aquila

Casting director Deb Aquila might not be the biggest household name in the film industry, but after working on more than 119 movies, her fingerprints are all over some of the most successful titles, ones that certainly appear on many cinemagoers’ favourite lists. The Shawshank Redemption? Primal Fear? Sex, Lies and Videotape? And she’s the woman who helped Catherine Hardwicke lock down the leads for Twilight.

For Red State, she wasn’t just a key component behind the camera, locking in the likes of Michael Angarano, Melissa Leo and Kyle Gallner, but also in front of it, making her first ever film appearance as an actress.
Aquila proved to be a hilarious and honest interviewee, spinning stories about her time in the industry and telling the true story about how she discovered Ed...

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Empire StatesRed State Of Mind - Part One

Posted on Friday December 10, 2010, 17:24 by James White in Empire States
Red State Of Mind - Part One

Empire attends Kevin Smith’s filmmaking Q&A series - Part One: David Klein

Kevin Smith, a man whose name has been synonymous with indie filmmaking for years, is entering what could be described as the next act of his career. After making movies funded by studios and chafing against the restrictions, he’s going back to basics, scraping up the money to make his latest, horror move Red State, on his own terms. And while his career and recognition factor meant he didn’t have to max out any credit cards this time, he’s still taking a big risk and ploughing a lot into this new endeavour.

At the same time, he has extended his seemingly boundless yen for talking about his work and himself, building a network of podcasts featuring the filmmaker and his friends chewing the cud on all manner of subjects. In less than a year, he has a podcast show running every day of the week for free online, a labour of love that appears to be slowly t...

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Small ScreenThe Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

Posted on Monday November 1, 2010, 05:00 by James White in Small Screen
The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

What happens when the closing credits roll on a zombie film and the survivors are left to fend for themselves in a land infested with the undead? It’s certainly an intriguing premise that a few films have tackled, but it took Robert Kirkman to really crack it with his ongoing (for seven years now!) comic book series The Walking Dead. Kirkman didn’t just want to follow the characters for a few days or weeks, or even months, but years after the initial outbreak. So while the comic initially attracted a lot of interest from filmmakers, it seems only natural for the story to be told on TV, where many more hours can be dedicated to following what happens. And committed horror fan Frank Darabont has held on to the idea like a dog with a bone for years, keeping the flame alive through an unsuccessful attempt to get the show up and running at US network NBC before finally locking in a deal with AMC, the channel behind such shows as Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

If you’ve never cracked open a...

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Small ScreenBoardwalk Empire: When alcohol was outlawed, outlaws became kings

Posted on Sunday September 19, 2010, 20:33 by James White in Small Screen
Boardwalk Empire: When alcohol was outlawed, outlaws became kings

If the latest show to saunter down the pipeline from US network HBO had an actual canine pedigree, it would probably be strutting around the show ring at Crufts, lumbered with a name like Prince Masterson Von Bonio, known to his over-enthusiastic owners as Matty. You want to talk pedigree? How about the fact that Boardwalk Empire comes from the brain of Terence Winter, one of the select few that Sopranos creator David Chase treated as one of his capos. More? Try the fact that the show has recruited a cast that includes the likes of Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg and Kelly Macdonald, not to mention a roll call of actors from other great shows such as The Wire (OMAR!)

But above all else, surely the biggest fish hooked on this particular line is Martin Scorsese. Returning to television in a directorial (and non-documentary) position for the first time since a 1986 episode of Amazing Stories, Scorsese agreed to produce the show and step behind the camera for the pilot, ...

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Small ScreenSons Of Anarchy: Season Three Rides In

Posted on Wednesday September 8, 2010, 05:15 by James White in Small Screen
Sons Of Anarchy: Season Three Rides In

Apologies to anyone seething in the UK, where the second season has only just finished, but the bikes of SAMCRO roared back on to America's airwaves on Tuesday night, which can only mean one thing: Sons of Anarchy has returned.

Kurt Sutter’s blacktop Shakespeare tale of a motorcycle gang and the various shifting allegiances as they smuggle drugs, run weapons and rule their small California town has grown into one of the best dramas to come out of the US. The emotions run high, the violence is brutal but the characterisation is sharp and this is the most charismatic bunch of criminals since The Sopranos left the air. Even if they can’t swear like them…

I came late to the Anarchy party. After sampling the pilot and one or two episodes of the first season, I decided I simply couldn’t connect with these lawless bikers. But sheer pressure from people whose opinions I respect led me back this summer, and I binged on both seasons in a fortnight’s marathon. I&rsquo...

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Small ScreenEmmys 2010: Something Old, But Something New Too

Posted on Monday August 30, 2010, 07:17 by James White in Small Screen
Emmys 2010: Something Old, But Something New Too

The Emmy Awards rolled around again in the States on Sunday and there were actually a few surprises dotted among the expected winners and repeat… well, I wouldn’t call them offenders, since there were some deserving choices.

The biggest news is that media sensation Glee and big US comedy hit Modern Family did decent business, with Modern Family scoring Comedy Series and the Writing for a Comedy Series award, plus a Supporting Actor win for the always funny Eric Stonestreet. Glee, meanwhile, walked away with a well-deserved win for Jane Lynch (who is one of the few characters to really bring the funny on the series) and a Directing for a Comedy Series gong that went to the show’s co-creator, Ryan Murphy.

The surprises also came from elsewhere, with Kyra Sedgwick snatching an unexpected first award as Lead Actress in a Drama for cop show The Closer. And there was a rousing cheer when Jim Parsons scooped his first win as Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for The Big Bang The...

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Comic-Con 2010Panel Report: Cowboys & Aliens

Posted on Sunday July 25, 2010, 08:22 by James White in Comic-Con 2010
Panel Report: Cowboys & Aliens

If Guillermo del Toro is the undisputed king of Comic-Con’s Hall H, and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the top jesters, then Jon Favreau is easily the ringmaster.

Or maybe the rockstar, since he arrived to roaring approval and pounding music. Thanking the fans of Hall H for getting behind Iron Man and its sequel, he was quick to raise a cheer by admitting that they’d considered filming Cowboys in 3D, but that he wanted to shoot on film, and that post-converting a movie was, unless you take the time to do it properly, like colourising a black and white film. Gawd bless ‘im for voicing what we’ve all been thinking recently. There was even room for a zinger: “Take the money you save and see it twice!”

And Favs wasn’t alone. He brought out stars Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach out, and even called up writers Rob Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

But there was a bigger surprise on the horizon: ...

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Comic-Con 2010Panel Report: Paul

Posted on Sunday July 25, 2010, 05:12 by James White in Comic-Con 2010
Panel Report: Paul

There was drama even before the Paul panel began, as, sometime near the end of the Resident Evil panel, there was a stabbing incident, apparently between two con-goers fighting over chairs. Our innocence is broken…

Still, despite a 45-minute delay, the Paul team arrived to brighten our spirits and make us forget about blood-spilling incidents.

Introduced by the panel’s moderator, the cast arrived to righteous applause. But what do you expect when Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are one stage? Greg Mottola (happy), Simon (mellow) Nick, (triumphant), Jason Bateman (sprightly), Bill H (gawky), Sigourney weaver (big cheers), Jeff Tambor (stately), Joe Lo Truglio (State-ly… because he used to be in US comedy troupe The State. Geddit? Oh, nevermind.), Seth Rogen (some mild cheers, though maybe that was due to leftover Hornet animosity).

Simon got proceedings off to a suitably audience-grabbing style by quickly name-dropping Shaun of the Dead (a trick ...

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Comic-Con 2010Panel Report: Priest

Posted on Saturday July 24, 2010, 17:41 by James White in Comic-Con 2010
Panel Report: Priest

Priest carries with it a certain amount of baggage in that it’s the second collaboration between director Scott Stewart and star Paul Bettany after the angelic/apocalyptic Legion, which was shown off to positive effect at last year’s Comic-Con but ended up a damp squib in reality and at the box office.

But when Stewart was introduced by Stu Levy, the head of Tokyopop comics (the company behind Priest’s hefty, sixteen-volume source material), the crowd was surprisingly positive. The pair were quick to cut the chat and get to the meat- some footage from the film, which is apparently in the middle of a months-long conversion to 3D. And yes, Stewart tried to convince us all that this won’t be another Clash of the Titans.

The teaser revealed the movie to be a rough cross between Mad Max’s dusty future and something out of Dark City. It looks like it could be fun – particularly when you watch Bettany and co-sta...

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