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As Awesome Con 2016 draws ever closer news regarding the programming will likely stream in each day. With that said, today comes news that hit series A Haunting will have a presence at the convention. Check out the release for more information…

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The Angry Birds Movie -2016 (3)On a tropical island inhabited only by flightless birds, Red (Jason Sudeikis) stands out in more ways than one. The entire island lives in relative comfort and perfect harmony. The few malcontents are sentenced to mandatory anger management classes, led by the nauseatingly perky Matilda (Maya Rudolph). While delivering a cake to a chicks birthday party, Red arrives late and can’t control his temper when the recipient refuses to pay for the order, due to Red’s tardiness. The altercation lands Red in anger management class. This is where we meet other characters like Chuck (Josh Gad) a mischievous yellow speedster. Bomb, a round black bird with a short fuse who, when angered physically explodes. Lastly there’s Terence (Sean Penn). Terence is the same type of bird as Red (apparently unrelated), but many times larger and only speaks with a short grunt or a long grunt. No one knows of the horrors committed to land Terence in anger management and it’s probably best that it remains that way. One fateful day the island is visited by its first visitors ever: a ship full of wayward pigs from Piggy Island. The Birds welcome their new friends into the flock, except for the skeptical Red, who questions the omelette loving visitors’ goodwill. 

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This weekend the DC area will play host to the 2016 GI Film Festival.  If (by chance) the event is unfamiliar to you, its a festival which (as the name states) dedicates itself to sharing the military experience in and out the of the arena of war.  Distinguished as the first in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the service member through the medium of film, GIFF presents films from new and established international and domestic filmmakers that honor the heroic stories of the American Armed Forces and the worldwide struggle for freedom and liberty.  (more…)

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The triathlon is the fastest growing endurance sport in the world and has quickly become the fastest growing sport in the UK since 2014.  In fact, millions of athletes compete in its races each year.  In lieu of this trend, a new film aptly titled, TRI, has begun generating buzz on the festival scene. Written by Ted Adams III, the film follows Natalie (Award-winning actress Jensen Jacobs), an ultrasound tech who is inspired by a cancer patient to sign up for a Triathlon.  However, in the process of her training, Natalie is introduced to the strange (and aerodynamic) world of triathletes-meeting a colorful cast of characters as she trains for the Nation’s Triathlon. With the support of her new teammates, she digs deep to discover just how far she can push her mind and body.

Recently, I spoke with screenwriter Ted Adams III to discuss his history in the triathlon world and how it shaped his construction of the film’s story.  In addition, we also touched on showing the film at the NOVA Film Festival as well as what his desired goal would be in presenting the film to movie-going audiences. Check out the interview below…

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Lee Gates (George Clooney) is an outlandish financial pundit for FNN. Much like his real life counterpart CNBC’s Jim Cramer, Gates give ‘can’t miss’ stock tips daily on his show Money Monster. However, the stock market is a gamble. Winners are celebrated regularly as geniuses, while losers plunge into bankruptcy. One of Gates’ pick, that was such a sure winner “you could bet your savings” was  Ibis Clear Capital. The advice was sound, the logic was clear but the tip failed miserably. Reported as a “computer glitch” by Ibis, their new rapid trading algorithm proved fallible and with it Ibis’ stocks nearly flatline; losing somewhere in the vicinity of $800 million. While it’s c’est la vie for Gates, one of the bigger losers of the day, a disgruntled investor named Kyle (Jack O’Connell) sneaks on set and holds the Crew of Money Monster hostage.

Searching for ‘answers’, Kyle calls shenanigans on the ‘glitch’ and forces Gates into a vest rigged with explosives. While Ibis Clear Capital tries to maneuver through this PR nightmare, unfolding live around the globe; the man at the center of it all is suspiciously AWOL. Ibis’ CEO Walt Camby (Dominic Cooper). The search is on to find the elusive Camby while at the FNN studios, Gates and his long time producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) continue to negotiate with the desperate Kyle.  
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Harold (ZACK WARD) in RESTORATION

Ghosts. They’ve been a tried and true plot device/element used in horror films since the beginning. However, in RESTORATION, a new horror film set to release on Friday, the typical conventions which we come to expect in such films are turned on its head.  Co-written & directed by Zack Ward, the film follows a couple who find a long lost diary in the walls of their home.  In opening the book, they unwittingly release the ghost of a child that haunts their dreams and waking life, driving them to find the cause of her death and release her soul.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to actor/director, Zack Ward, about the newest film produced by Grit House Film (a production company that Zack co-owns with co-screenwriter, James Cullen Bressack). In the interview, Zack not only sheds light about how the film came about, but also the creativity needed on his part (and on the part of his crew) to produce the film with limited resources.  Check it out below…. (more…)

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It’s been a long time since Duncan (Rupert Graves) had been to his hometown in the remote Shetland Islands. His job brought him back to the sleepy subarctic archipelago North of Scotland; and seems like the perfect setting for Duncan and his wife Tora (Radha Mitchell) to start a family. While doing a little yard work (with a backhoe), Tora makes a grisly discovery. A woman was buried under her property. Making matters worse is the body’s missing heart, which had been removed and her back, which is covered in weird markings. Coincidentally, the markings are old runes , also seen in Tora’s basement as well. After being told to not “dig” any further into the story, Tora is unsatisfied with the official investigation and conducts her own. Unsurprisingly, Tora unearths more than rumours, thought to be old wives’ tales.  (more…)

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Despite the divisive feelings audiences and critics had toward the ALIEN franchise’s pseudo-sequel, PROMETHEUS, it made a good deal of money.  Not surprisingly, a sequel, titled ALIEN: COVENANT, is now in production in Australia.  Taking place 10 years after PROMETHEUS, ALIEN: COVENANT follows “the crew of a colony ship (called Covenant) who discover what they think is an uncharted paradise only to find a dark, dangerous world-whose sole inhabitant is the ‘synthetic’ David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.” (more…)

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Director Garry Marshall is at it again, taking another ensemble cast and pairing it with another Hallmark Holiday. This time, Mother’s Day approaches and we follow four different, seemingly unconnected families as they prepare for the big day.

Sandy (Jennifer Anniston) is a recently divorced interior decorator, shares custody of her two boys with ex-husband Henry (Timothy Olyphant). All is as well as could be, under the circumstances; until Henry divulges his engagement to the younger, more attractive and generally better in every conceivable way Tina (Shay Mitchell). Upset over the finality of her failed marriage Sandy vents her frustrations to friend Jesse (Kate Hudson). Jesse lives next door to her sister Gabi, who is married to her wife Max (Cameron Esposito). The couple also has an adopted son. Jesse, is also married, but to a doctor of Indian ethnicity Russell (Aasif Mandvi). They also have a child together. Gabi and Jesse share two archaic (read: ignorant) parents who are so stubbornly closed-minded, the siblings hid their relationships from their parents, avoiding confrontation. Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is recently widowed. This will be his first Mother’s Day without his wife and he is still grieving. Now struggling to raise two teenage girls alone, he reluctantly ponders joining the dating scene again.  (more…)

Movie Review – Keanu

April 27, 2016

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After a recent breakup, Rell (Jordan Peele) is down in the dumps, wallowing in his own misery and Cheetos. Aimlessly stumbling through life without any direction, things are seemingly looking up when a stray kitten scratches at his door. The furry ball of cuteness was named Keanu and Rell and kitty lived happily ever after…for a few days until burglars ransacked his home, taking Keanu as well. Determined to find Keanu, Rell and his suburbanite cousin and super George Michael fan, Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) will stop at nothing to find the precious pet.

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Before the events of Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), we learn of Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the misunderstood evil sorceress who will become queen and her sister Freya (Emily Blunt). Freya had an affair with the Duke of Blackwood and is now with child. Unfortunately, the Duke committed filicide, sending Freya into a rage, unleashing her cryokinesis. The two sisters separated as Freya turned toward the Northern Lands and began her icy rule. Determined to rid the world of love; convinced that it is a weakness, kidnaps children to raise them as soldiers called The Huntsmen. Two particularly talented warriors are Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain). The secret couple, secretly wed and live relatively harmoniously, that is, until their discovered by Freya. There are only two laws in Freya’s Queendom: Love is forbidden, and Freya demands absolute loyalty. The penalty for breaking either law is death (of course). Both Eric and Sara resist, but Sara is apparently killed in the fight forcing Eric to flee, starting his story in Snow White and the Huntsman. As that story ended happily ever after, the peace didn’t last long. The infamous Magic Mirror has been stolen and in the wrong hands, its power could be used to rule the world. The only one trustworthy enough to retrieve the Mirror and place in a safe place, hiding it from all is (conveniently) our Huntsman and some friends made along the way.

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Deep in the jungle lives an orphaned boy. Mowgli (Neel Sethi), found by a no-nonsense panther named Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), Mowgli is brought to the wolves and is trained in the ways of the wolf. However, as a growing human, what Mowgli lacks in wolf like abilities he uses his human ‘tricks’ such as tool crafting.  During the summer, while everyone is gathering at the watering hole that is Peace Rock, the fearsome Shere Khan (Idris Elba) makes it known that humans aren’t allowed to live in the jungle. A violation of that law is death, according to Khan. The interspecies truce is only valid until Peace Rock is submerged by the fall rains. Khan bides his time as he knows what everyone else is thinking: Winter is coming. (more…)

 

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It’s been over a decade since we’ve taken a trip to Calvin’s barber shop, on the Southside of Chicago. The shop has evolved as the neighbourhood has evolved; but the bitter pill of change can be hard to swallow. Recently, Chicago has made international headlines, as high-profile murders plague the city. Gang warfare threatens the residents of the impoverished Southside, catching innocent victims in the crossfire. Fed up with the lack of progress by local police The Mayor’s Office proposes a plan to wall off the neighbourhood, with Calvin’s shop in the center. Fearful of the Mayor’s proposal, escalating violence and the impact on his impressionable, teenage son; Calvin secretly weighs his options: Move the shop to the preppy Northside, or stay the course and inspire a positive change in the neighbourhood (somehow). (more…)

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As mentioned before, if you follow me, you know that I love my Cons!  After starting my Con Season with C2E2, I now await the commencement of my summer Cons, starting first with my hometown Con known only as Awesome Con.  Having attended since its 1st year in 2013, I have witnessed the Con steadily GROW (and I do mean GROW) year after year.  Though the event has slowly revealed info regarding their incredible guest list week after week, today they have released their first official press release.  Check it out below…

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Today Fox Searchlight has announced the start of their new film, BATTLE OF THE SEXES, starring Emma Stone & Steve Carrell.  Directed by Jonathan Dalton & Valerie Faris, the biopic follows the legendary match between tennis greats, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.  Check out the press release below along with an official photo of Emma Stone & Steve Carrell as the tennis icons (which recalls the iconic image above).  (more…)

Movie Review – Criminal

April 13, 2016

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CIA Agent Billy Pope (Ryan Reynolds) is on the run in London and running out of time. Hunted by Hagbardaka Heimbahl (Jordi Molla) a Spanish terrorist, set on the destruction of the Western World; Pope has made a deal with a proficient hacker Jan “The Dutchman” Stroop (Michael Pitt). Stroop is in hiding but has access to the U.S. Military’s arsenal making him a high profile target to Hemibahl, The CIA and a number of groups on the Black Market. Finally captured and killed by Heimbahl’s men, the location of Stroop died with Pope. The race begins anew as London Field Office Director Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) uses every available resource to him, including transferring the memories of the deceased Pope to a living person.

Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) has discovered a way to do it, however the perfect candidate is Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner). Jericho is an unfeeling sociopath, housed in a supermax prison for the rest of his natural life. In a more invasive procedure than ‘Inception’, Jericho is infused with Pope’s memories. Slowly Jericho becomes aware of his plight and as the memories become clearer, but how willing is he to help anyone, especially the CIA given how expendable he is?

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Love it or hate it, Power Rangers was (and still is, to a degree) a huge pop culture phenomenon. Though the franchise continues to exist on the small screen today, it is undeniable the impact that it had on my childhood (and many others) back in the 90s.  Therefore to cap off my coverage of C2E2, I took a walk back down the memory lane of my childhood and spoke with actress Karan Ashley about her stint as the Yellow Rangers in the earlier years of the franchise. (more…)

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Last year, I stumbled upon a terrific artist by the name of Diego Gonzalez, whose airbrush art was quite incredible.  Since then, I kept in touch and was happy to learn that he was returning to this year’s C2E2 with his art.  Knowing that he is always pushing himself to do the new & inventive things (whether its airbrushing custom caps, controllers, shoes, etc.), I made it a point to visit him again this year to see what he was up to… (more…)

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There are many elements that viewers take for granted when watching a beloved television series.  It can be something as complex as the music score or something simple as sound effects; regardless, without these elements a show can intrinsically feel empty.  However, one other element that viewers sometimes overlook is the importance of costume design.  A great costume’s can effectively say SO much about the character’s idiosyncrasies, history, etc.  With all that said, at this year’s C2E2, I caught up with renowned costume designer, Ann Foley, to pick her brain about costuming the AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.           (more…)

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To close my coverage of the 2016 DC Independent Film Festival, I took the opportunity to chat with Special Guest Jean-Marc Barr.  With an acting career than spans a few decades, many of which include starring efforts in Danish director Lars von Trier’s films, the French-American actor/director had a lot to say about the current landscape of filmmaking, especially in regards to independent filmmaking vs. filmmaking within the studio system.  In addition, he also revealed details about some of his future projects as well. Check it out below… (more…)

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As mentioned before, one of the festival selections that I was fortunate to check out was AMERICAN BRED.  Aside from speaking with one of the film’s stars, I also chatted with the film’s writer/director, Justin Chambers.  Not a stranger to the festival scene-having won Best of Show Award at the 2012 Indie Fest-Chambers revealed what inspired the film’s premise as well as how he assembled the film’s ensemble.  Check it out below…

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Trust.  It something which we all in value with those that we care about.  Unfortunately, it is undeniably something that is quite delicate and can easily be broken.  Such is the premise examined in the 2016 DC Independent Film Festival Selection, AMERICAN BRED. Written & directed by Justin Chambers, the film, set in Detroit, follows a crime syndicate whose lies and betrayal begins to devour the trust that holds them together. (more…)

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In addition to my chat with Districtland writer/producer, Russell Max Simon, on Opening Night of the DC Independent Film Festival,  I also spoke with star Brendan Wedner about his role as unemployed Georgetown Law Grad, Dave, on the show.  In our interview, Wedner not only reveals how he got involved with the project, but also how he executed an intimate scene that his character finds himself in as well.  Check out the interview below…    (more…)

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Told completely through the eyes of Henry, Hardcore Henry is a first person shooter video game, come to life. That maybe enough of a turnoff for some to skip this film but, to miss Hardcore Henry is to miss out on one of the truly unique experiences of the year (so far). Shot almost entirely with GoPro Hero 3 cameras, set on special rigging to be worn like a mask, Hardcore Henry is one of the most nauseating immersive film I’ve seen in theater since ‘The Blair Witch Project’ (1999); of course excluding D-BOX and 4Dx theaters.

We first meet Henry as he wakes up in the final stages of his rehabilitation. Completely rebuilt with cybernetic technology, Henry is without memories or a voice. Before his speech module could be installed, mercenaries from AKAN, a shady multi-national corporation storm the hospital. The beautiful Estelle (Haley Bennett) who reveals that their married, helps Henry escape capture in a harrowing scene. Before the couple are in the clear, Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) the billionaire, philanthropist, megalomaniac with unexplained telekinetic abilities catches up with them. After abducting Estelle and knocking Henry for (several) loops off of a freeway to the parking lot below, Henry’s death seems imminent as Akan’s guard closes in; enter Jimmy (Sharlto Copley) who saves Henry and claims to be a friend and has a mutual interest in getting revenge on Akan. The only thing left to do is rescue the girl, kill the villain and anyone that stands in the duo’s way. (more…)

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As Emerald City Comic Con quickly approaches this week in Seattle, Dark Horse Comics has announced today what attendees can expect from them at this year’s event.  Check out the specifics in the press release below… (more…)

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Today STARZ has released a 1st look at their original series, Ash vs. Evil Dead.  Read more about the highly anticipated 2nd season in the press release below… (more…)

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Any fanatic replica collectors out there? How about being the owner of the TMNT leader, Leonardo’s, legendary katana?  Well, you’re in luck!  Today, Factory Entertainment revealed that you can purchase a replica of Leonardo’s katana.  Check out the press release below… (more…)

When last seen, the city of Metropolis lies in ruin. General Zod (Michael Shannon) is dead and Krypton’s last known survivor has assumed the role of guardian of Earth. The very presence of Superman (Henry Cavill) answers some of the most elusive questions of our time; however, more arise. What are Superman’s intentions? Can we entrust this alien with our safety? Can you the control the uncontrollable?

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The U.S. Congress is very interested in the first question. Senate hearings commence, putting Superman on trial to answer for the collateral damage in the battle against Zod. Public opinion is mixed (as it usually is) and Superman is on the hot seat. Realistically, I’m not sure what this Dog and Pony show hopes to achieve, but it is a Congressional hearing after all. If history is to be believed, there might not be a reason. The second question is of particular interest to billionaire CEO and Gotham City socialite Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Superman’s superhuman abilities makes him a threat to all of Mankind, the moment he decides to abuse his power. Wayne wants to neutralize the potential threat before it develops. Killing Superman wouldn’t ensure world peace, but could rebalance the playing field. Neurotic billionaire Alexander “Lex” Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is only concerned with power. The power that Superman possesses is something that Luthor craves. Always planning, Luthor has plans to assume control of Superman. He who controls the cape, controls the World and world domination is what’s best for business.

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If you regularly keep track some of the events that we at Reel Film News cover you’d know that we love our Cons (especially me ;))!  We that said, the Con that typically kicks off my con season is the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (also known as C2E2).  Taking place in the Windy City, this 3-day comic book and pop culture convention is chock full of the awesomeness that fans would expect from their Cons (i.e. exclusives, panels, special guests, etc.).

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To open my coverage of this year’s DC Independent Film Festival, I checked out a series-formerly a play-known simply as Districtland.  Following a group of five DC millenials, the show follows these characters as they grapple with the loss of idealism while working, partying, and struggling to find meaning amid the city’s transactional foundations.  Seeing that the show opened the festival, I took the opportunity to catch up-at the opening night afterparty-with series writer, Russell Max Simon, to pick his brain about the show. (more…)

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