YRB Magazine Interview: Director James Wan

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After making his wildly successful directorial debut with the low-budget horror film Saw, young director James Wan returns with Death Sentence, a revenge-thriller about a family man (Kevin Bacon) who takes matters into his own hands after his son is murdered. I caught up with Wan to discuss Death Sentence and his approach to filmmaking, and here’s what he had to say.

Movie: The Brothers Solomon

Will Arnett and Will Forte are the Brothers Solomon

The Solomon brothers want to put a baby in you, and goddammit they will, even if it’s the last thing they do. When their dying father expresses one final wish to have a grandchild, Dean and John Solomon (Will Forte and Will Arnett) must find a way to procreate, stat. And it’s not going to be easy. That’s because until now, they’ve grown and developed (or rather, not developed) in the social equivalent of a concentration camp: a remote arctic location where they were home-schooled by their father. Miffed to find that the ladies aren’t exactly swooning, Dean and John explore other options, such as kidnapping (“We were trying to coax that little girl into our car, but her mom’s being a real pain in the ass,” Arnett explains to the police) and adoption (“What is your return policy?”), before they find Janine (SNL’s Kristen Wiig) on Craigslist, and convince her to serve as a surrogate. Written by Forte and directed by the legendary Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show), this late-summer gem has all the right ingredients for comedy gold.

Movie: Superbad

-Popular Girl: "You know, you scratch our backs, we'll scratch yours." -Fat Nerd: "The funny thing about my back is that it's located on my cock."

Once again, director Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) proves that good things happen when you combine a funny script with funny actors. Superbad tells the tale of Evan and Seth (played by Michael Cera of Arrested Development and Knocked Up’s Jonah Hill), two socially inept best friends and high school seniors who must make the most of their days together before enrolling at different colleges in the fall. With no social skills, less than no sex appeal, and nothing even resembling a cool bone in their bodies, the boys realize that if they want to make it as college men, they’re going to have to turn around their luck with the ladies – starting tonight, on the eve of their graduation. Not to be mistaken for a classic coming of age tale a la Stand By Me, Superbad is about as heartwarming as a funeral. But thankfully, it’s a whole lot funnier.

Movie: I’m Reed Fish

Jay Baruchel stars in I'm Reed Fish

In his breakout movie role, Jay Baruchel (Undeclared, Knocked Up) proves to the world that Zach Braff isn’t the only geeky leading man who can pull off a romantic comedy without making us want to puke. Baruchel plays Reed Fish, a small town radio personality with a hot fiancée (Gilmore GirlsAlexis Bledel) and a solid 10-year plan, whose life is turned upside-down when his former high school crush suddenly reappears on the eve of his nuptials. With DJ Qualls (Road Trip, Hustle & Flow) and SNL alum Chris Parnell at the helms, I’m Reed Fish takes a not-so-original story and turns it into a not-half-bad picture.

TV: It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia

 

It's Always Funny in Philadelphia

The little TV show that could, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns to FX this summer for a third season. The show–which was picked up in 2005 after a pilot that reportedly cost only $85 to make was submitted to FX under the title It’s Always Sunny on TV–circulates around four friends (two of whom, Dennis and Dee, also happen to be twins) who run Paddy’s, an Irish pub in the City of Brotherly Love. Midget-turned-actor Danny DeVito joined the cast last year in the role of Frank, the twins’ father–or so we were led to believe before it was revealed at the end of last season than he is actually their friend Charlie’s biological father. A bunch of lazy, depraved, egomaniacal liars, these kids are fast becoming our personal heroes, and if you don’t get FX, don’t worry; episodes of It’s Always Sunny are available for download on iTunes.

Movie: I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

When the fine print in his insurance plan prevents New York firefighter and widower Larry Valentine (played by Hitch’s Kevin James) from naming his own kids as beneficiaries, he and his best friend Chuck Levine (Adam Sandler) devise a foolproof plan to get around the technicality: They tie the knot, claiming to be gay domestic partners. So far, so good, until a suspicious official starts snooping around, and Chuck and Larry’s personal life is suddenly front-page news. Enter Jessica Biel, the firecracker lawyer who feels so comfortable around her gay client Chuck–who is of course actually straight and single–she doesn’t think twice about getting undressed in front of him or making sure he knows first, uh, hand that she doesn’t have breast implants. A bit of a hokey premise to be sure, but everything Adam Sandler touches turns to gold, and Kevin James’s ass is no exception.

Movie: Spider-Man 3

PHOTO COURTESY OF COLUMBIA PICTURES

This spring, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) returns in the third installment of Spider-Man. In the new flick, Spidey’s suit suddenly turns black, augmenting his existing powers and drawing out a more sinister side focused on retribution and vengeance. As he struggles to resist the power of the black suit and remain on the side of good, he must also throw down with two of his most dangerous opponents, Sandman and Venom. Can Peter overcome the forces of evil that threaten to pull him away from his family and his dreamgirl, M.J. (Kirsten Dunst), or will he hold it down and regulate on his enemies? Since this is Hollywood (and since we’re not retarded), we already know the answer, but with Tobey Maguire dancing around in a glorified leotard, Spider-Man 3 is like watching a demented version of Billy Elliot with high-budget special effects and action sequences. In other words, it’s worth it.