We first meet Frank Walker (George Clooney) as a boy (Thomas Robinson) at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The endless possibilities of tomorrow were on display for all to see. In a competition for inventors of all ages, Frank is unceremoniously dismissed by a pompous judge (Hugh Laurie); though Athena (Raffey Cassidy) takes interest. But, interest in what exactly? Secretly, Athena gives Frank a pin and tells him to follow closely. He does ; and whizzes and bangs later, Frank steps out into the unknown. A similar thing happened to Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), in the present. She’s the daughter of a NASA engineer (Tim McGraw) who is about to be laid off, pending the decommission of the space shuttle program. When some of her late night activism lands her in hot water with the local authorities, Casey also discovers a pin similar to Frank’s. (more…)
That right! Starting Monday, the 9th Annual GI Film Festival will ship into our nation’s capitol! Launched back in 2007, the mission of the festival has always been to allow artists to tell the story of our great troops; more specifically, their successes and their sacrifices. Since that time, the festival has developed into one of the nation’s premiere events for the screening of military films. (more…)
The land is barren. Unbroken, only by a smattering of rocks and cliffs in the distance. The desert is unforgiving and endless. The lands of this unnamed terrain have been decimated by war and the fall of society; which is where we meet our unnamed hero (Tom Hardy). The vagrant wanders through the hinterlands alone, haunted by his memories and hunted by marauders from a nearby stronghold. That citadel is ruled by King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) with the Imperator, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) by his side. While out on a supply run, Furiosa has her own ambitions and steals Joe’s most cherished possessions. With Furiosa on the run and a battalion of the War Boys on the hunt, the only way to escape is down Fury Road.
The acapella world was turned on its ear when the Barden Bellas won the 2012 International Championship of Collegiate A Capella. After their three-peat as champions, the Bellas, now seniors are on a whirlwind tour. In a performance at Washington D.C. ‘s John F. Kennedy Center, with the President and First Lady in attendance; Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has a wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions. The Obamas were not amused. The following embarrassment gets the Bellas suspended from competition for the rest of the season; also, the Bellas are prohibited from recruiting new members. As most of the squad are seniors, The Barden Bellas may be finished. Since all good things eventually come to an end, Co-Captain Becca (Anna Kendrick) takes an internship in a record company and other Co-captain Chloë (Brittany Snow) exploits a loophole in their punishment. While the Bellas aren’t able to perform at the collegiate level; nothing could stop them from entering international competitions. The legacy of the Barden Bellas is at stake when they battle on the world stage against their stiffest competition yet. (more…)
Upon concluding my time at C2E2, there were quite a few sites to be had; particularly, on the show floor, where attendees could not only check out the various special guests of television and film, but also those artists from the world of comics. However, in addition to all these great features just mentioned, the expo played host to a number of other artists as well that blurred the line between each of these said categories. One such example would be artist Diego Gonzalez. (more…)
As mentioned before, my time spent with the folks of Adult Swim was one of the most memorable moments of my C2E2 experience this year. In addition to speaking with the devilish duo of Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell, I also took the opportunity to speak with the minds behind the Adult Swim series, China, Il. (more…)
After making the trip out to the “Windy City” last year to check out C2E2, I knew that I would be back to see what the show had to offer the following year….Now, fast forward to the present day, I (not surprisingly) have great stories to tell from this year’s event! Perhaps among the most memorable of these stories would be my time spent with the folks from Adult Swim’s Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell as well as those on hand from China, IL (stay tuned for this one momentarily!). (more…)
Being a huge movie fan myself, I am always intrigued by the prospect of checking out a new local festival; therefore I was curious to know what would come of my experience at the 1st Annual NOVA Film Festival. Thankfully, I’m happy to report that this festival has a great deal for it. (more…)
Dan Landsma (Jack Black) is a loser, always has been. Less popular than salmon flavored yogurt in high school, Dan hasn’t gotten past the simple fact that he isn’t a popular guy. Now married and father to a teenage son, Dan has made a pretty decent living as an executive for a small consulting firm in his hometown. Yet he is still unhappy. Harboring a two decade long resentment for not being as popular as some infectious diseases. Now the self-proclaimed chairman of his high school’s reunion committee, Dan is constantly undermined and ridiculed by his peers, never to be accepted as one of the cool kids. Like Dan, some things never change. Luckily, Dan has a plan to improve his social status’ stock. Oliver Lawless (James Marsden).
Officer Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) has longed to follow in her father’s footsteps. He was a decorated officer in San Antonio, Texas; who was killed in the line of duty. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that Cooper joined the force to make her city safer and her daddy proud. Daniella (Sofia Vergara), is the wife of a high-ranking member of the Cartel. She and her husband are to testify in open court in Dallas, against The Cartel in a few days, then off to witness protection.
Cooper, normally found processing evidence; couldn’t be less ready for any field work. So it’s to everyone’s surprise, including Cooper; she is assigned to escort Daniella to Dallas, along with Detective Jackson (Richard T. Jones) of the DEA. So let’s recap: A woefully unskilled desk jockey is going to escort a top member of North America’s most infamous gangs to court 200 miles away? Well, what could possibly go wrong? Nothing funny apparently.
The bar was set extremely high in 2012 with The Avengers. My second thought, after that was awesome was whether or not the series had peaked. The third highest grossing movie of all time (unadjusted for inflation); The Avengers was the culmination of five years of movies and the end of Phase one. The penultimate film of phase two is Avengers: Age of Ultron with Ant-Man to début in July. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has ridden an unprecedented wave of successes. So far the eleven films has a joint worldwide gross of over $7 billion. The MCU is long overdue for a dud, it could be devastating to the franchise if that dud was the Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
As improbable as it is that Age Of Ultron won’t be anything less than epic, it’s equally unlikely that the film will surpass its predecessors. The Avengers (2012) is the highest grossing superhero film of all time and three years later has a sequel that reaches a new, undiscovered level of awesome. (more…)
As mentioned before, the SOLC Awards was ripe with guests; so in addition to speaking to an R&B icon, I also took the opportunity to speak with the lovely Jessica Reedy. Perhaps best known to some of her fans as the runner up in Season 2 of BET”s Sunday’s Best, Reedy has undoubtedly blazed forward since that time, having hit #1 on the Billboard charts and on iTunes with her freshmen album, “From the Heart.”
Now in the midst of her sophomore album release, titled “Transparent,” I spoke with the Michigan native to not only chat about the Awards show, but also to chat about the approach she took in writing her second album. Check out the interview below… (more…)
Not long ago I took part in the Standards of Living Community (SOLC) Awards, produced by Kappstone Media. As the name of the event suggest, the show acts as a event which recognizes major figures in the community. With that said, this year’s Awards show (like last year) had much to offer in the way of guests: from figures in the world of music to those in the world of sports.
Therfore I took the opportunity to catch up with a few of the said guests; the first of which coming in the form of accomplished music artist, Johnny Gill. In our interview, Mr. Gill opened up about being at the Award show as well as his latest album, “Game Changer.” Check out the interview below… (more…)
The tenth Nicholas Sparks movie adaptation is ‘The Longest Drive’. Another saccharin rich story of boy meets girl, (stuff) happening and boy risks losing girl. But, with a little luck; both boy and girl find a way to make it work. Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson) is a Wake Forest University senior who has aspirations of being an art dealer in New York. Dragged away from her books to buy her impossibly attractive sorority sisters to bull riding competition; Sophia expectantly meets Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood), a professional rider. Luke is a year removed from a career threatening injury at the hooves of (the scene stealing) Rango, an ill-tempered bull. Sophia and Luke start their summer fling on schedule, but happen across a wrecked car off the side of the road. Luke pulls the driver, Ira (Alan Alda) from the wreckage and Sophia saves his box of letters to his wife Ruth; the letters chronicle their 60 year marriage, which started in the mid 1940’s.
It’s hard to imagine how the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise started as a typical summer blockbuster in 2001; to a seven movie franchise, that has grossed nearly a billion dollars domestically. Who knew that ‘Tokyo Drift’ would be the catalyst for the resurrection of the franchise. As a collective sigh washes over the theater, there’s a strange silence in the audience. Personally, I believe it’s because we’ve witnessed a small miracle. Director Justin Lin had been with the franchise for 4 installments, but parted ways in 2013. Production stopped because of the death of Walker, a principle character. With the film only half-finished, if production resumed; how would it continue without one of its lead actors?
A little computer generated wizardry, a complex editing technique and help from Walker’s brothers: Caleb and Cody; Furious 7 still required the services of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop, the New Zealand based special effects company to complete production. The budget ballooned from $200 M to and estimated $250 M, mostly to cover the cost of editing Walker; but it was money well spent. Except for one scene toward the end, the combination of Paul Walker, his brothers, quick editing and stunt doubles worked surprisingly well. Walker’s ironic death quickly became an afterthought, as he was indistinguishable from his avatars.
If you will be in attendance at WonderCon this weekend and love cosplay, there will be a panel & screening available that might be right up your alley! Check out the press release below for more details: (more…)
2015 Washington Jewish Film Fest (WJFF) EXCLUSIVE: Filmmaker Yael Luttwak Talks MY FAVORITE NEOCONSERVATIVE
What happens when one grows up as the daughter of one of the most revered conservative strategist and political consultants in our nation’s recent history? This is the unique question posed and examined by the 2015 WJFF Selection, MY FAVORITE NEOCONSERVATIVE. Directed by Yael Luttwak, the real-life daughter of prominent strategist and political consultant, Edward Luttwak, the documentary offers personal insight into the surreal power circles of Washington D.C.
Seeing that the film featured on the last day of the festival, I took the opportunity to cap off my coverage of the festival by chatting with Yael. In the interview, she not only sheds light on how she acquired access to the information revealed in her film, she also revealed the objectivity required to complete such a personal project. Check out the interview below… (more…)
2015 saw a number of “firsts” for the DC Independent Film Festival: from virtual reality movies to beer tastings and yoga session between movies. In fact, the addition of these new elements saw a few of this year’s selections being chosen as some of the festival’s best. However, at the end of the day, in order for such a festival to run smoothly, there (of course) has to be someone helping to oversee all the linguistics behind the scenes. In the case of the DC Independent Film Festival, that person would undoubtedly be Deirdre Evans-Pritchard.
Now entering her third year as the festival director, I caught up with Deirdre (on the last day of the festival) to discuss the successes and highlights of this year’s festival as well as what she aspires to accomplish with the festival going forward. Check out the interview below… (more…)
“Success is a mountain!” yells James King (Will Ferrell) to Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart), as James pulls away in his newly detailed luxury car. James is having the best day of his life as he has become a Partner at his hedge-fund management company. He goes home to his palatial estate in suburban Los Angeles to his beautiful fiancée (Alison Brie); who’s flanked by a platoon of maids and housekeepers. Meanwhile, in the ghetto, Darnell is the proud husband and father to a school-age girl. Close to realizing his dreams of a new house in a better school district; Darnell works hard to provide a higher quality of life for his family, but is $30,000 short of his goal.
Suddenly, James is arrested by the FBI, charged with securities fraud and embezzlement; which carries a lenghty maximum sentence, but usually in a minimal security facility, also known as “Club Fed”. With white-collar crimes being a source of angst in the national consciousness, the Judge sets a precedent and sentences James to the maximum allowable sentence of 10 years in a maximum security federal penitentiary at San Quinten.
Jim Terrier (Sean Penn) is on the search for answers, after an assassination attempt in the Congo. While working for UNICEF and drilling wells in a village, Jim’s bloody past as a mercenary has come back to haunt him.
Eight years ago, Jim was working with a private security company while a Congolese airport was under construction. Jim and his team; led by Cox (Mark Rylance) and Felix (Javier Bardem) were also employed by a multinational mining company looking to protect its assets. The company hires Jim’s team for a political assassination, with the caveat that the shooter leaves the continent without a trace. Jim is that shooter and he is required to leave the continent and his girlfriend Annie (Jasmine Trinca), a Doctor’s Without Borders volunteer.
In the 1980s, DC was a city plagued with violence and bloodshed; particularly, in the southeast quadrant of the city, where the unfortunate arrival of cocaine devastated the lives of many that it touched. Often (at that time) identified as the nation’s “Murder Capitol,” the city saw many of its citizens lose their lives to violence. However, as the documentary, SOUTHEAST 67, points out, there were individuals during that time who were intent on breaking this cycle.
Picked as a selection at this year’s DC Indie Film Fest, the doc follows the story of 67 rising seventh graders who were promised college scholarships by area businessman Stewart Bainum through the “I Have a Dream” program-a national movement to provide kids in underserved communities the opportunity to attend college. Revisiting some these students 20 years later, the film revisits the students’ struggles to reconcile the dream of college with daily survival in a community rife with violence, poverty and addiction. (more…)
2015 Washington Jewish Film Fest (WJFF) EXCLUSIVE: Sas Goldberg & Jake Wilson Talk YOU MUST BE JOKING
If you recall, I was recently in attendance at the 25th Annual Washington Jewish Film Festival to check out what this year’s event had to offer. However, with such a diverse slate of film selections to choose from, there was only so much that I was able to see. With that said, I caught up with some of this year’s special guests to not only chat about their experiences being at the festival, but also to chat about the film selections that they were there to promote. One such example was my chat with Sas Goldberg and Jake Wilson, the star and the director, respectfully, of festival selection, YOU MUST BE JOKING. Co-written by both Goldberg and Wilson, the film follows Barb, a listless, confrontational 27-year-old paralegal, who, inspired by her childhood best friend, decides to pick up her long-shelved passion for stand-up comedy. Aside (of course) from discussing the film’s inspiration we also managed to discuss their future collaborations together. Check it out below…. (more…)
Mike Conlon (Joel Kinnaman) is a hard-working family man. Splitting time between the boxing gym, where he mentors the youth and his night job as a limousine driver; Mike barely has time for his wife Gabrielle (Genesis Rodriguez) and two daughters. When Mike is requested to take two guys to Queens, where they’re murdered by Danny McGuire (Boyd Holbrook), and Mike is a witness. Danny, son of Shawn McGuire (Ed Harris), is out to prove himself to his father that he can handle his own affairs, mistakes and all. When Danny finally catches up with Mike, he is killed by Mike’s father Jimmy (Liam Neeson). Jimmy and Shawn are long time friends and successful Irish gangsters in their youth. Surely that ended with the murder of Shawn’s son by his best friend. Now Shawn and every asset at his disposal, including a hitman named Mr. Price (Common); Mike Jimmy are on the run, desperate to survive the night.
What happens when you blend the childhood convention of treehouses and pepper it with horror/thriller tropes? Well, you get the latest thriller known as TREEHOUSE. Directed by Michael Bartlett (THE ZOMBIE DIARIES franchise), the film follows two brothers who discover a girl-who had previously disappeared after following a mysterious shadow into the woods- in a treehouse. Now currently available on VOD, I took the opportunity to speak with the film’s director, Mr. Bartlett, to chat about the film’s concept as well as the film’s financing. However, in the process, we also discussed the future of the VOD industry as well as his possible future projects. You can check out the interview below…. (more…)
Director Jody Lee Lipes’ “Ballet 422″ chronicles the creation of upstart choreographer, Justin Peck’s third ballet for the New York City Ballet’s ‘New Combinations Evening’ of 2013. Then, only a member of the Corps de Ballet, the lowest rank of dancers in the company, Justin has two months to bring ‘Paz de la Jolla’ to the stage. Comparisons to other ballet movies are unavoidable, but those seeking a psychotic thriller like ‘The Black Swan’ or the hyper competitive film ‘Center Stage’ shouldn’t look here. It isn’t that type of movie. “Ballet 422″ shows the intricacies of bring a prouction together, and the importance of a competent director. (more…)
Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn) had one of two choices, when he finally stepped up to his ball-buster of a boss, Chuck (Sienna Miller). He could take a pay cut can keep his job, or leave and start his own company. Putting his money where his mouth is, Dan starts up Apex Select as competition to his old company. Along with Dan are Tim McWinters (Tom Wilkinson), who was forced into retirement and Mike Pancake (Dave Franco), who is about as sharp as a wooden spoon. After a year of struggle, the trio lands a meeting with Jim Spinch (James Marsden) in Maine. Spinch’s company could absorb Apex and send Dan, Tim and Mike on the road to legitimacy. When Chuck snatches the bid from Dan; the team heads to Germany, with hopes of scoring a meeting with Spinch’s elusive boss. (more…)
Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) leads a of con artists into New Orleans, the site of the Football Championship Game. While Nicky is picking pockets and scamming drunk businessmen, others at home base are processing stolen cards bundling stolen cash, and replacing expensive jewelry with cheap knock-offs. For Nicky, it only takes a simple distraction to liberate a wallet, purse or watch from the unsuspecting mark. After a chance encounter with an amateur pick-pocketer named Jess (Margot Robbie); she becomes Nicky’s understudy.
One of the oldest civilizations in the world were, the Jews of Iraq. For over 2,000 years these Arab Jews were an important source of commerce, throughout the Arab world. For more than a millennium, during the rise of Islam, Jews and Muslims co-existed. Things changed dramatically for the Iraqi Jews during World War II, with the Nazi led anti-Semite movement. Muslim nationalism was on the rise in Baghdad, which led to the persecution of many Jews. In 1948 Israel was established, further increasing the antisemitism in Iraq, Jews were prohibited from holding public office, buying and selling land and travelling abroad. In 1950 a bill was passed by the Iraqi Government, that would allow Arab Jews to leave Iraq for Israel, only if they renounce their Iraqi citizenship.
In Director Nissim Dayan’s authentic looking 2013 drama ‘The Dove Flyer’, also known as ‘Farewell Baghdad'; we follow Kabi (Daniel Gad), a high school age kid that is forced to make very adult decisions, as his family comes under scrutiny from the Iraqi police. Kabi’s uncle Yehezkel was arrested by police for writing an article, criticizing the Iraqi government for the killing of a Jewish merchant in Basra. Any anti government rhetoric was punishable by several years in jail, but most likely, death. With the fate of his uncle unclear, Kabi keeps a watchful eye on Rachelle (Yasmin Ayun), his uncle’s wife, as they struggle for normalcy amid constant pressure from the Zionists, Government and Communists who routinely threaten their existence. (more…)
Jacob Kaplan (Hector Noguera) isn’t a happy man. Living in 1997 Montevideo, Uruguay, Jacob is displeased with his friends becoming old fossils and his granddaughter’s lack of interest of the past. Jacob, 76, is far removed from his homeland of Poland and the Nazi invasion. Faced with the grim reality that life has passed him by, leaving him with nothing memorable; Jacob is cantankerous and jealous of his youthful friends. When Jacob gets into a fender bender with a parked car, failed his mandatory eye test and loses his license; his family hires Wilson Contreras (Nestor Guzzini), a family friend and ex-cop to chauffeur him around. Lotte, Jacob’s granddaughter informs him of “The Nazi”, a local guy who runs a beachfront café, who’s in the age range and ethnicity to possibly be a Nazi. Coincidentally, an update of a news report about Nazis fleeing the crumbling Reich, landing in Argentina, is the motivator for Jacob to investigate this mysterious German. (more…)