Interview: ‘Free Fire’ Director Ben Wheatley

Free Fire is out now in theaters and prior to the film release I had a chance to speak to director Ben Wheatley about the film when he came to Chicago on the promotional tour. I sat down with Ben at the swanky Waldorf Astoria in Chicago and we talked about the movie. Ben discussed the casting of the actors, the idea for how Free Fire came about and I also tell him about my displeasure with High-Rise. Listen to the entire audio below:

MY TAKE:

I wasn’t sure what kinda personality Ben has, but I was rather surprised how professional, yet forthcoming he was. He seems like the kinda guy that you wouldn’t expect to prank you and mess with you, but he might. So basically I felt a hidden dry sense of humor from him. I mean from the start I didn’t exactly endear myself to him by throwing out my disdain for High-Rise. I had no idea how he would react, but I’ll give him credit that he kept it cool, while giving me some shit for it, rightfully so. Obviously he would defend his project, but wasn’t dismissive of me either so I appreciated that.

As far as the film goes, I did enjoy Free Fire a hell of a lot more than High-Rise. This is a really fun film, with a lot of witty dry British humor. I asked him about his wife being is co-worker and writing his films with him. It was interesting to hear how he goes about that process. I also liked his honesty about wanting to do a bigger budget film, I’m sure there are some indie directors can’t swallow their pride and be candid about wanting to do something bigger budget and sacrificing their independent roots. On a side note, at the end of the interview when we posted for the pic (the featured image for this article) Ben asks the rep taking the picture if his fly was open! Haha. It wasn’t, but I got a kick out of that spontaneous joke. Overall, Ben Wheatley seemed like the kinda guy you’d wanna have beers with and shoot the shit with.

‘Free Fire’ is out now in theaters. Check your local listings. 

Interview: Actress Betty Buckley Discusses ‘Split’

Split is the best psychological thriller of the year, with James McAvoy’s most memorable performance(s).You can buy the movie now on Blu-ray and DVD. I spoke to one of the stars of the film Betty Buckley who plays psychiatrist Dr. Karen Fletcher. Betty discussed working with M. Night Shyamalan and McAvoy, preparing for her role and spoke about her music career. Below you can listen to the entire audio interview.

MY TAKE:

Prior to my interview with Betty, I had no idea about her distinguished music career. She has as long of a music career as she does her acting one. A true dual threat. Betty was interesting to talk to. I started out by asking her about her music career and her recently released new album. I wasn’t familiar with her music, but I did get to listen to a sample from a couple of her songs from the new ”Story Songs” album. It was pretty good. She did talk a little more about her music than I expected her to, but fortunately I did get just enough time to talk about Split. 

I must agree with Betty that James McAvoy’s performance in the film is amazing and one of the all-time best. She had very high praise for him, rightfully so. It was interesting to hear her talk about her preparation for the role and attributing older films she mentioned growing up on and books as preparation for the role. I wasn’t aware that Sterling K. Brown had a scene with her in the movie that ended up getting cut out, but it will be available on the Blu-ray bonus features. Overall, Betty seemed nice and it was a pleasure to talk to her, as I definitely enjoyed her performance in the movie. 

Check out Betty Buckley’s two-disc live album “Story Songs” out now at www.BettyBuckley.com

‘Split’ is out now on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and On Demand

Interview: Director Stacy Title Talks About Her Movie ‘The Bye Bye Man’

The chilling horror movie The Bye Bye Man is currently out on Blu-ray & DVD. I had a chance to speak to the film’s director Stacy Title. In the interview, Stacy talks about what appealed to hear about this film and the Bye Bye Man character. She also discusses the the lack of female film directors. You can listen to the entire interview with Stacy below:

MY TAKE:

Stacy was really cool to speak to. She seemed very knowledgable about the film and what she wanted to do with it. She really had a good grasp on the film and most importantly the characters. I appreciated her breaking down some of the scenes and motives for the characters with me. The wallpaper question is something I had to ask, as it appears to be a new trend to use in horror films. I liked how she wasn’t holding back about the lack of female film directors. It is clearly an issue, and unfortunate, considering there are so many capable and talented female filmmakers out there. Stacy is part of a rare breed of female directors to do horror. I thought she did excellent work and took some nice chances in the movie.

I feel she’s really an up-and-coming director that we will hear more about. I’d really be interested to see her direct more horror, a franchise one in particular. As far as The Bye Bye Man movie goes, I found it to be original and interesting. I liked the concept of the movie and the Bye Bye Man that Stacy and I talked about. To those of you on the fence about the film, I feel this is a movie that should be given a chance.

‘The Bye Bye Man’ is out now on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and On Demand. 

Interview: Jack Lowden & Ophelia Lovibond Discuss ‘Tommy’s Honour’

I had the awesome opportunity recently to speak to actors Jack Lowden and Ophelia Lovibond, the stars of Tommy’s Honour (out now in theaters). The movie about the life of golf’s first superstar and pioneer Tommy Morris. Jack and Ophelia stopped by in Chicago on their promotional tour. Hear the entire audio of my interview with them in the section below.

MY TAKE:

My sit down with Jack Lowden and Ophelia Lovibond was an absolute blast. Those two individuals were so personable and fun. Jack is a very charismatic individual, very excited and talks with passion in his voice. Ophelia was softer spoken and sounded very intelligent. I really go the sense that both actors really understood their roles. Jack was definitive in addressing the fact that this movie is not about golf and that golf was not what attracted him to this role. He definitely shares my sentiment on that. 

I enjoyed listening to Jack talk about the film. He just seemed like a real dude. Ophelia is stunning in person and lights up the room with her smile and presence. My favorite part of the interview was towards the end when I told them about how skeptical I was about the film. Their reaction to it was laughing out loud, in a fun kinda way. They enjoyed that the movie changed my perception. Being with them in the room really gave me an understanding as to how they were able to portray their characters so naturally. They have this very friendly chemistry with each other that is fun to watch. As you can hear, I had a lot of fun meeting them and talking to them. Due to studio and contractual stipulations I wasn’t able to ask Jack about the big upcoming summer movie he’s in that’s directed by Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk. I was so engaged about this film that it ultimately didn’t even matter. My personal highlight was that I had to stones to give Ophelia a hug at the end of the interview. She was so gracious about it. Winning! 

Check out Tommy’s Honour out now in theaters 

Interview: Director John Hamburg Discusses “Why Him?”

Why Him? Was one of the best comedies in the last year, it recently was released on Blu-ray & DVD. I had a chance to speak to the director of the film John Hamburg. John was the man behind successful comedies such as Meet the Parents, ZoolanderLittle Fockers and I Love You, Man. John discusses the making of the film. He talks about working with James Franco and Bryan Cranston, how the idea for the movie originated and a lot more. Check out the audio of the interview below:

MY TAKE:

John was really cool to talk to. There were some things I learned that surprised me. I thought it was awesome that he was James Franco’s college professor. What are the odds of that happening? Though, how many classes did Franco attend while he was filming 127 Hours? Of course the movie spawned from a story Jonah Hill had told. I can only imagine Johan going to meet the girlfriends parents. 

John is a really engaging individual with a lot of charisma. It was interesting to hear that he doesn’t want to go the route of sequels and seems like from what he said that he wouldn’t come back or entertain a Why Him? sequel. I’m not crazy about sequels myself, but I’d love to see these characters come back. There is no denying that Hamburg is a tremendous writer, his comedies are some classics. No doubt his directing is just as good. This movie couldn’t possibly be easy to direct with all the chaos that ensues. It was a pleasure to talk to John and hear his thoughts on the movie. 

I highly recommend Why Him? It really is a hilarious film. I saw it three times and it’s one of those films that never gets boring. The performances are really good and the casting itself was ideal. Check it out! 

Why Him? is out now on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Digital HD and On Demand

Video Interview: Fortune Feimster Talks ‘Office Christmas Party’

Office Christmas Party came out on Blu-ray Combo Pack & DVD this week and Chicago was the spot for the home entertainment release event. Fortune Feimster, who plays the Jennifer Aniston’s hilarious Uber driver, was on hand to talk about the movie and celebrate the release, while people lined up to try winning some cash and prizes in the money booth. I spoke to Fortune about the film, doing stand-up comedy and which drivers are better, Uber or Lyft? Check out the interview below:

 

MY TAKE:

Fortune was so down-to-earth and nice. She was very accessible and blended in with all the people there. What I mean by that is that she was so friendly and zero ego. Talking to her felt as if I was talking to a friend I haven’t seen in a while. I appreciated her candidness and willingness to answer any question and have fun with it. Prior to my interview she was in the money booth taking questions from fans via Facebook Live. 

There is a funny story fortune told me off-camera about her meeting Jennifer Aniston for the first time. It wasn’t on set for this movie, it was actually at Thanksgiving dinner at Chelsea Handler’s house. Fortune ended up doing the bold thing and sitting next to Aniston, but yet got starstruck when she started talking. Apparently Aniston made a salad and brought it by. She must have had a blast filming this movie with Aniston and the comedically talented cast. I wasn’t surprised she found T.J. Miller to be the funniest person on set. That guy is something else. I was surprised to find out that Jillian Bell (also hilarious in the movie) was her longtime close friend and they started up at the Groundlings together. I don’t get to do too many video interviews, but was glad I had this one with Fortune. It was a blast. 

Check out Office Christmas Party out now on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD & Digital HD

‘Rings’ Blu-ray & DVD Release Date

The legend of Samara appears that it will never die. The latest installment in the Ring franchise, Rings, is coming to Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on May 2. You can catch it two weeks earlier on Digital HD on April 21. The Rings Blu-ray Combo Pack includes over 45 minutes of bonus content. These are the features:

Blu-ray

  • Feature film in high definition
  • Bonus Content:
  • Terror Comes Full Circle
  • Resurrecting the Dead: Bringing Samara Back
  • Scary Scenes
  • Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes

DVD

  • Feature film in standard definition