Sunday, December 4, 2016

Beyond Fest 2016: Dog Eat Dog w/ Paul Schrader & Nicolas Cage

Now in it's fourth year, Beyond Fest has become America's largest genre film festival with 10,000 plus attendees and more than 30 films screening, many making their west coast premiere at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Writer and director Paul Schrader's violently funny crime flick Dog Eat Dog kicked things off with a sold out night and Q&A with the legendary filmmaker along with star Nicolas Cage. The scribe of The Yakuza, Taxi Driver, Rolling Thunder, Raging Bull, Bringing Out the Dead and many more was insightful and amusing speaking about how Dog Eat Dog came to life after working with Cage on The Dying of the Light, a film taken away from the filmmakers with a released version the director and star were not proud of. DED follows three crooks in Ohio as they plot a kidnapping job to set them up financially for a while. Of course things go bad, people get dead, Cage effects a Humphrey Bogart accent, drugs are taken and Willem Dafoe shows he's still one of our greatest actors working today as a scuzzy yet likeable con.

After the film, Schrader spoke about how making the film quickly and cheaply created a kinetic energy compared to the old days where having more time and money just meant sitting in a trailer doing drugs. Schrader also had some interesting views on film history, speaking about people who made the rules, those that challenged them, those who broke them then filmmakers today who don't have any rules and can have a scene influenced by Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Tarantino or Bay in a single film. Originally a film critic, Schrader used writing as a form of therapy and after four outings with Martin Scorsese, had the guts to walk away and not become "his writer". Cage chimed in, always being a Schrader fan and used Andy Warhol as a metaphor for his acting. As in if an artist can present versions of a can of soup or celebrity, why can't Cage as an actor channel Elvis, Adam West or Bogart for a performance? A little subdued and not trying to take the light, Cage still came off intelligent and funny and would do well with a one man show, methinks.

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