Win Tickets to Advance Screening in Boston for “The Sisters Brothers”

Annapurna Pictures is releasing THE SISTERS BROTHERS on October 5th and we are having an advance screening in Boston on Monday, October 1st. Click below to get tickets, first come first serve! Good luck and like always leave a comment here after you’ve seen the film!


Monday, October 1st
AMC Boston Common

Opening Dates: October 5th
Rating: R
Running Time: 121 mins
Director: Jacques Audiard
Cast: John C. Riley, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed.

From acclaimed director Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone, A Prophet), and based on the novel by Patrick deWitt, THE SISTERS BROTHERS is a reimagining of the cinematic Western as a dangerous, witty, and emotionally cathartic exploration of what it means to be a man.

It is 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly) are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and hostile world. They have blood on their hands: that of criminals, that of innocents…and they know no state of existence other than being gunmen. The older of the two, introspective Eli (Reilly) rides hard with his younger sibling yet dares to dream of a normal life. The younger of the two, hard-drinking Charlie (Phoenix) has taken charge with gusto as lead man on the duo’s assignments. Each increasingly questions, and quibbles with, the other’s methods.

The Sisters brothers find themselves on a journey through the Northwest, bringing them to the mountains of Oregon, a dangerous brothel in the small town of Mayfield, and eventually, the Gold Rush land of California — a journey that will test the deadly family ties that bind. But, can it also be the path to rediscovering what remains of their humanity?

THE SISTERS BROTHERS also stars Jake Gyllenhaal as learned scout John Morris, and Riz Ahmed as fugitive chemist Hermann Kermit Warm.


Twisted Sister’s Jay Jay French talks about the bands new live DVD/CD and upcoming farewell shows.

Jay Jay French is the guitarist/founding member of the heavy metal group Twisted Sister. The band which is gearing up for a run of farewell shows in the summer/fall of this year is set to release a new live CD/DVD release titled “Twisted Sister: Metal Meltdown Live at the Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas- A Concert to Honor A.J. Pero” on July 22nd. Media Mikes spoke with Jay Jay recently about the upcoming release, the group’s final shows and what he will miss most about being on the road.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us an overview of the new CD/DVD Twisted Sister has coming out on July 22nd?

Jay Jay French: The whole focus of “Twisted Sister: Metal Meltdown Live” was to celebrate our drummer A.J. Pero who had recently passed away. This show was the bands first show after A.J.’s death and so much of his life and death was around that show that it made things very important to us. Subsequently this was also our first performance with Mike Portnoy on drums. The sound was produced by our bass player Mark Mendoza and the video was done by Barry Summers. Barry’s first exposure to the band was when he was a kid and saw play in a bar. I think because of that experience Barry brought sort of a fan boy type desire and approach to this project. I think Barry definitely tried to transfer his love of rock and roll over to people through this film.

AL: What was it like for the band going into this show knowing it was being filmed along with the fact that is was also going to be the bands first live performance with Mike on drums?

JJF: What band in their right fucking mind would have a new drummer come on and then have their first performance record for television? (Laughs) Mike is such a pro and a really great guy. I don’t know if we could have done this with any other person. This was a very hard and emotional thing. In the film there is a drum solo that is just A.J. That wasn’t a production trick or anything like that. That was actually up on the screen during the show. We did every show like that last year. Mike is so respectful of A.J. that he was up for whatever we wanted/needed.

AL: How does this film differ from that of the recently released “We Are Twisted F****** Sister” documentary?

JJF: We have a very unusual story. Every other story ends after being told about the ups and downs the band went through to make it. This story ends before we end up getting a record deal. “We Are Twisted F****** Sister” shows the struggle we went through to make it. We were basically just the focal point of that film. We didn’t know where the production was going or what portion of our career it was going to actually cover. It was interesting to see the director’s final interpretation of it. “Metal Meltdown Featuring: Twisted Sister” we were more involved in and I see it acting almost like a book end. The first film shows the beginning of the band and the new film shows the ending. The contrast between the two films is amazing. I think the coda being the Vegas show proves that not every band in their 60’s has to suck. We have a lot of pride in what we do and I think this DVD shows that not only are we still good but we are actually better.

AL: Was the Las Vegas show one you guys picked to film or was it sort of predetermined by the production company?

JFF: We had booked that to be filmed prior to A.J.’s passing. The big question was what we were going to do. The producers of the film as well as all of the promoters we worked with that summer were really great. They all told us that if we wanted to pull out of the events we could and that they would totally understand. We asked for a couple weeks away in order to be able to digest what all had happened. We had planned to end the band that year and I had actually talked with A.J. the day before his passing about the discussion I had with Dee related to this being it. During that conversation A.J. mentioned that he was going to need to drop off his current tour with Adrenalin Mob because he was in need of some rehab on his shoulders. He didn’t want me to be alarmed so he was letting me know ahead of time. That ended up being the heart attack. I guess he had actually had a heart attack three days prior also. I didn’t think anything of it as drummers tend to have aches and pains. I wished him well and that was it. That next morning I got the phone call that had passed. Shortly after I got a call asking if I would come out to the Adrenalin Mob show at the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey to do a song dedicated to A.J. I gladly accepted and that’s when Mike Portnoy came up to me and told me had always been a fan of the band and if we needed any help he would be glad to jump on board. I initially thought that after the funeral we would all sit down and that would be the end of things however after talking we decided to honor all of our commitments for 2015 and then wrap things up in 2016.

AL: What can you tell us about the bands remaining shows and, what are your plans once the band is done?

JJF: Our last show will be on Oct. 1st in New Jersey. We will be doing a bunch of well known festivals leading up to that. Due to all of our personal schedules the band can only play 10 or 15 shows a year as we just don’t all have the time. Outside of the band I write for Ink magazine and also write a business column for their online site. I am doing motivational speaking engagements and I am writing a book as well. I also like to do business advice for people. Those things are really my focus these days.

AL: Is there any part of you that will miss being on the road and in the band?

JJF: I don’t think I am going to miss any part of being on the road. I have done over 9,000 shows which is like being in the heavy metal version of “Cats” accept because were Jewish it’s spelled Katz. (Laughs) Those shows were all fun and everything and I loved being up there but I’m ready for it to be over.

Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider talks about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fames latest exhibit “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics”

Dee Snider is the out spoken, wild hair front man of the heavy metal band Twisted Sister. Dee is currently one of the subjects in a recent exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame titled “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics”. The exhibit showcases some of the most important debates of our country through the lens of rock music. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Dee recently about the exhibit, his thoughts on the country’s current political climate and the Twisted Sisters farewell shows scheduled for this fall.

Adam Lawton: How did you become involved with the current Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit “Louder Than Words”?

Dee Snider: As it turned out my involvement during the 1980’s in Washington was a significant rock and politics moment. They reached out to me to do an interview and afterwards asked if I had any items I could loan them for a display. I ended up donating some of the things I wore the day I testified before congress. After talking with them more I was invited to the opening of the event which evolved into me singing an acoustic version of “Were Not Gonna Take It”. We did that with just piano and vocals and it went real well. This song is so much more important and says so much. It’s a lot more than just a great party song.

AL: Prior to your appearance before congress were politics something you had always been interested in?

DS: I had no interest in politics at that time. I was a young man in rock and roll and you just don’t think about those things. The song was written about my/our oppressors and I was sharing it with our audience who were equally frustrated. Now were older and there are greater concerns. The political climate right now is just awful! The fact that we have probably the most despised person in the history of presidential elections running against the second most despised person. The elections are going to come down to voting for one of those two people. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be so that’s why now more than ever I want “Were Not Gonna Take It” to inspire people. I want people to listen to that song and have it inspire them to try and make a change to get things back to the way our fore fathers intended it to be. People have to vote based on if they like the other guy or girl candidate instead of what issues they stand for. People are viewing this election like a reality television show. We all know reality television is not real but this is! When it comes down to this election we are just boned. I am actually in the process of shooting a new video for “Were Not Gonna Take It” with the guy who shot the original. This time around the video is not going to be funny. It’s going to be a fucking statement! The thing is its too late now but it’s not too late for the future to make something happen.

AL: Initially “Were Not Gonna Take It” was attached to Donald Trump’s campaign. How did that come and about and how did things work when you asked them to stop using it?

DS: I want to make something very clear. Donald Trump is a friend, a great guy and a class act. Unlike most politicians he called me and asked if he could start using the song. Him being my friend I told him he certainly could use it. Now when you are friends with people there is a rule. You don’t talk about three things sports, religion or politics. We never talked about the things he was standing for so when I started to see and read this stuff I thought “Holy Shit!” I called him up and told him I couldn’t stand behind the things he was saying. He said ok and that was it. Donald is a class act because he asked me first to use the song and then stopped using it when I asked him. I still like him as a person but we definitely don’t see eye to eye politically.

AL: Having seen where “Were Not Gonna Take It” has gone what do you think the young Dee Snider would think of all this?

DS: Young Dee Snider would be stunned. That song was written to rile up the masses and scare parents and it did that. Then it leads to me being the poster boy for all things bad about rock music and having to defend my songs and speaking out about censorship. Cut to now and it’s a rock and jock anthem, It’s on kids shows and commercials for women’s pre-menopausal medications. The ultimate irony of all happened a couple of years ago when the “Rock of Ages” film came out. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a typical esc character fronting a PMRC esc organization who is trying to stop rock and roll. What song do they end up singing? “Were Not Gonna Take It”. You had to be fucking kidding me! That was the ultimate definition of irony. If you told young Dee Snider that thirty or forty years ago he probably would have punched you in the face! (Laughs)

AL: Twisted Sister was recently the topic of a documentary titled “Twisted F****** Sister” which showcased the bands early career. Are there plans to release a second part to that showing the success of the band?

DS: We sort of covered that with the “Behind the Music” special that aired on VH1. That’s the story most people tend to already know. We supported the making of that documentary but it was not something that was instigated by us. There was a documentarian who was intrigued by our story having learned that we were a band for ten years prior to making it big. This was something he was taken with and we welcomed his interest as too many people think that we jumped on the bandwagon of hair metal. We didn’t jump on it we built it! There were no bands like Motley Crue or Poison when we started. I give credit to Hanoi Rocks and Quiet Riot as well for also contributing but there was certainly no wagon to be jumped on. We were carrying the torch for something that record companies were rejecting. This film shows how hard we fought to get noticed and to where we are.

AL: It was recently announced that the band will be playing a handful of farewell shows this year. Can you tell us about those plans and what prompted this decision?

DS: I think this is long overdue. I don’t want anyone to take that the wrong way but I never intended to reunite Twisted Sister and then be together longer than we were when we first got together. I wanted to fix the broken relationships we had with one another and then end on a higher note than the one we ended on when we quietly disbanded in 1987. After a few years of reunion shows we had accomplished what I had wanted. We played the Wacken Festival to seventy five thousand people and it was a perfect show played to a perfect crowd on a perfect night. It also was captured by a dozen or so HD cameras and is available on DVD. That’s how I wanted to end things and I asked the guys if we could stop however the guys voted to keep going. With AJ passing away the sense of who Twisted Sister is and how we wanted to be remembered has become very strong. We know guys have members die and they keep going but we don’t want to be that band. After AJ died it seemed like a logical stopping point for us but with one caveat. AJ was the nice guy in the band however he didn’t have any sort of estate planning set up in the event something happened to him. These shows are going to allow us to say our goodbyes to the fans but also help raise some money for AJ’s estate. Along with our love for AJ and with the help of Mike Portnoy who is one hell of a drummer we did a run of shows last year and will be doing some this year as it will be our 40th anniversary. After these show’s that will be it for us. I don’t think anyone would fault us if we wanted to continue on indefinitely however there are other things we have to take in to account besides the loss of AJ. We perform with a very high energy rate and aggressiveness which has become expected of us. I don’t want to let our fans down. With a lot of work at the age of 61 I am still in great shape but no one beats gravity. I don’t want to go down on stage with a broken hip or something. If I did I don’t think the guys would even know something happened because they have seen my roll around on the floor before. (Laughs) Those guys wouldn’t think anything was really wrong until the EMT’s showed up as they probably would just assume I was milking it.

Lynn Shelton talks about directing “Your Sister’s Sister”

With only three feature films to her credit, Lynn Shelton has built a reputation as a writer with a keen ear and a director with a similar eye. Her last film, “Humpday,” earned her multiple awards, including the prestigious John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Her latest film, “Your Sister’s Sister,” continues her rise as one of the most talented and respected independent filmmakers of her generation. While promoting the film’s release, Ms. Shelton took time out to speak with Media Mikes about her love for the Pacific Northwest and her even greater love: being behind the camera.

Mike Smith: What was your inspiration in writing this film?
Lynn Shelton: The initial kernel of the film came from Mark Duplass. It was a little different. It was a guy and a girl who were best friends and the guy loses his brother. She sends him up to the cabin to be alone and he meets her mother. Her hot, youngish mother. It was going to be a kind of mother/daughter bed switching comedy. It was something he had envisioned making with his brother, Jay. But because it dealt with a dead brother Mark felt that it might be a little too close to home for them to handle as filmmakers. But he liked the idea still so he brought it to me with Jay’s blessing. And I made a few changes. I set it in the Pacific Northwest, where I set all of my movies. I just finished my 5th filmthere. I live in Seattle and I love to work in Washington state. And I also changed the mom to a sister. I always liked the idea of exploring a sister relationship…I’ve had an incredibly fascinating and rich love/hate relationship with my sisters my whole life and I thought it would be rich territory for a film.

MS: As a writer do you encourage your casts to improvise?
LS: I do. Well, in this case, for sure. My last film, “Humpday,” was 100% improvised in terms of the actual dialogue. I knew what was going to happen in each scene but we would talk before hand. Then we’d turn the camera on and they would find their way through the scene. In this film I actually had most of the dialogue written out. But I asked them to just hold the words loosely in their heads…don’t memorize the lines. It was really a quest for naturalism. I wanted the audience to believe that these people were having real conversations.

MS: You kind of touched on the fact that Mark Duplass is also a talented writer/director. Is it harder or easier to work with someone with that experience? Not to the point that he would second guess you but would he step back and offer advice?
LY: Not really. It’s a very open environment on set and everybody is contributing a lot. All of the actors. And I find that his experiences as a writer and director are really very invaluable. His input is really, really valuable. He never tried to overstep his bounds. He’s always an actor. I like to engage my actors…I like them to bring everything they’ve got to the table. I find it an incredible value.

MS: And as someone who also acts it might be easier to see where they’re coming from in certain situations?
LS: Yes. And that’s why I still like to keep my toe in that discipline. If somebody asks me to do a role and I’m able to…if it’s small and not too time consuming…I like to say “yes” because it keeps me close to that process. It also reminds me how difficult it is and what ittakes to do it. So you’re right. I am extremely empathetic with my actors. I try to create an emotionally safe work environment. That gives them the best chance of giving their best performance.

MS: Since we’re on the subject, have you decided to remain more behind the camera or is there still an acting role out there you’d like to do?
LS: I’ll never say never but right now I’m just so in love with directing that it’s hard for me to imagine taking on any kind of major acting role. But there may be something that comes down the line when I have an opening in my schedule that feels like the right thing to do. So I don’t want to put a total nix on that. But I’ve really just fallen in love with directing so it’s kind of hard to imagine taking acting seriously at this point in my life.

MS: You mentioned that you just finished your next film. Can you talk about it or what else you have coming up on your schedule?
LS: Sure. We wrapped shooting about five weeks ago. It’s called “Touchy-Feely.” My other films have been three character pieces and I wanted to get away from that. This one has an ensemble cast. It’s not a typical “Lynn Shelton” film. It’s a real departure. It was a great deal of fun to shoot.

Film Review “Your Sister’s Sister”

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass
Directed by: Lynn Shelton
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 30 mins
IFC Films

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

As a group of friends gather to remember their friend, Tom, tensions begin to build. Gone a year, it’s obvious that Tom meant a lot to a lot of people, including his ex-girlfriend, Iris (Blunt) and his brother, Jack (Duplass). After the gathering Iris invites Jack to spend time in her father’s cabin, assuring him the privacy and solitude is just what he needs right now. Jack accepts her offer but when he arrives he finds Iris’ sister, Hanna (DeWitt) already there. They spend a night filled with conversation and tequila. Hanna has just broken up her lesbian relationship while Jack laments his lack of a love life. Almost comically they end up in bed. But when Iris makes an unexpected visit to the cabin herself some secrets are kept while others are revealed.

Solidly acted with a smart script by director Shelton, “Your Sister’s Sister” is one of those small films that it’s a pleasure to discover. Blunt gives a very strong performance here, taking an emotional journey that most fans may not have seen her take in the past. DeWitt, probably best known for her work on “The United States of Tara” and “Mad Men,” is also well cast. But the standout here is Duplass. Better known as the writer/director, with his brother Jay, of films like “Cyrus” and “Baghead,” he makes great use of his talents here. His performance here reveals an actor of many layers. In fact, if Duplass hadn’t already been doing double duty on the recent “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” he would have been a perfect choice for the title role.

Director Shelton makes good on the promise she showed on her last feature, “Humpday.” Her camera moves in and out of the characters conversations, making the audience feel not like they are eavesdropping but that they are a part of them. Credit also to cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke, who paints postcards of the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest.


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