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Created by Steve Wozniak, the 1st Annual Silicon Valley Comic Con has generated a lot of buzz thanks to promise of marrying the worlds of both technology and entertainment all under one gigantic roof.  Now, as the event quickly approaches (roughly a month and a half away from now), they’ve announced their first wave of guests!  Curious to see what’s in store attendees come March?  Then check out the press release below! (more…)

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After an unnecessarily long exposition, we finally meet the ill-fated SS Pendleton, a battered Type T2-SE-A1 tanker; off the Massachusetts coast, south of Cape Cod. The Pendleton was en route to Boston from New Orléans until. A sudden lurch then am loud explosion ripped the boat in half. The bow drifted more to the south and the stern, with its 33 men remained afloat in tormented seas, but quick thinking from the crew delayed the inevitable. The stern of the Pendleton had power, but was taking on more water than it could pump out; with only a few hours of buoyancy left, The Finest Hours is an overly dramatic (at times) account of the rescue attempt of those men. (more…)

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Ray Stevenson as Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach in BLACK SAILS

Not long ago I had a opportunity to catch up with star Ray Stevenson (mind you, it was over the phone) to chat about his turn as the iconic pirate known as Blackbeard on the STARZ‘ series, Black Sails.  Far from being a stranger to playing iconic roles (having played The Punisher in PUNISHER: WAR ZONE) or being apart of critically-acclaimed shows (such as HBO‘s Rome or Showtime‘s Dexter),  I asked the actor what it was like to be a newcomer to already running STARZ‘ series as well as what it was like to take on a character that already been portrayed many time before.  (more…)

the others

In an instant, The Others appeared. Their origin, motives, even their appearance remains a mystery. The world watch the lone spaceship circumnavigate the planet, only to hover over a suburban Ohio town. A high school Junior and otherwise pretty average kid Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Moretz), survival meant gym class. As the story starts in medias res, Cassie now survives with a scavenged M4 rifle, a few bottles of water and protein bars from abandoned gas stations. The remnants of her humanity remain in her diary, as Cassie faces danger at every turn.  (more…)

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In a week Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) and his fiancée Meredith (Julianne Hough) will finally tie the knot. Meredith may be a bit controlling, but wedding planning is serious business and Jason isn’t much help. Once an aspiring photographer, Jason is now an uptight lawyer at his father’s (Dermot Mulroney) practice. Jason’s life (according to his father) is finally taking shape until his grandmother dies. The film starts after the funeral where life goes on for Jason, as he and Meredith are finalizing their wedding plans. Jason’s grandfather Dick (Robert De Niro) is in mourning wants to go to a special vacation spot where he and his wife went over the last 40 years. What seems like a chance for Jason to bond with his grandfather, Dick has other ideas. Allegedly, Grandma’s dying wish, was for Dick to go out and find love again. As a horny septuagenarian, Dick will settle for lust and worry about love later. For Jason, surviving the weekend with his horny grandpa in tow won’t be as easy as it seems.

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WJFF 2016

Marking its 26th year, the Washington Jewish Film Festival has announced its festival lineup!  Check out the press release below for details… (more…)

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There’s much ado about the Arctic these days, with apocalyptic climate change on the horizon due to the shrinking ice caps; who’d thought that the biggest threat to the stability of the Arctic would be…(wait for it)…..(hold)….Condominiums?

Huh?

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Apparently an unscrupulous land developer named Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong) wants to capitalize on the increase in tourism to the Arctic by developing luxury condos on a glacier. Nevermind the bitter cold or the sun setting in August, not to return until March; the Arctic is a vast, undeveloped landscape that’s home to a few polar bears, lemmings and a very wise seagull named Socrates (Bill Nighy). Norm (Rob Schneider) is one of the local polar bears and future king of the wild. As Mr. Greene ships materials to the Arctic for construction, Norm and his Lemming friends who are weird, obedient and totally not Minions, head to New York City to protest (as bears are known to do). However, the gullible Norm becomes the mascot of Mr. Greene Arctic development and surprisingly, there’s still an hour left in the film.   (more…)

Movie Review – 13 Hours

January 14, 2016

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Before I start breaking down the latest Michael Bay film, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi; I’d like to take a moment for this brief disclaimer. As this movie is a hot button issue of either religious, political or historical nature; it’s important to remember that the following review is of a movie. If you’re looking for commentary outside the scope of a critique of the film, you’ll find it by clicking that sassy lil’ ‘x’ at the top right of your screen. I’m well aware of the political ramifications of the film. Fox News won’t let me forget. The rhetoric and inane banter among the talking heads on television is nauseating, especially since it detracts from the spirit of the film; more on that later. If you choose to see this film as an excuse to spout political ramblings, cool, good for you, but I think that’s a short-sighted approach. The movie is decidedly apolitical and goes so far as to not mention any members of any government, let alone cast blame. There’s plenty of time to blame everyone later, but for 2 hours and 30 minutes, lets sit in quiet reflection of true heroism. At least both side can agree to that.

Enough ranting, on with the show.

It’s no secret that Michael Bay is a friend of the military, but a director that’s made his fame on testosterone fueled popcorn flicks that; when they’re good, they’re fun and when they’re bad, it’s Pearl Harbour. Can Michael Bay tell that story of the terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi Libya, with the respect and subtlety it deserves? Will 13 Hours be more ‘Armageddon’ or ‘Pearl Harbour’?

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The Warriors Three as seen in Marvel Comics

As Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe commences this May (see CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR), there will undoubtedly be changes and/or shake-ups happening with its heroes (and their respective franchises).  However, with so much in store for our headlining heroes, it’s easy to forget that there are many supporting characters that will be forever changed.  One such example can be found with the third THOR installment, subtitled RAGNAROK. (more…)

My Top 10 Films Of 2015

December 31, 2015

2015 in film

Every year around this time, we stop and reflect on the year that has passed. Every year we complain at the lack of original ideas hitting the theaters and how much more prices have risen. It’s easy to complain that the mainstream wide releases are remakes, adaptations from books or sequels. True, and 2016 doesn’t seem to be any different. So this list is of my favourite films for this year 2015. 

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Well, it appears that  the folks that brought us the Force Trainer II  are at it again as they reveal (in a press release today) to fans their latest product.  Check it out below… (more…)

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That right! Check out the press release from Marvel today which reveals how you can get your 1st month of their Marvel Unlimited service for free! Read on below… (more…)

Movie Review – Mr. Six

December 25, 2015

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Zhang Xuejun a.k.a. Mr. Six (Feng Xiaogang) is a man of principle. A Godfather of sorts to his neighbourhood, Mr. Six is well-respected, only preceded by his reputation. Not oblivious to the changing world around him, Mr. Six laments the erosion of respect and common courtesy among the youth of Beijing. Throughout his neighborhood, Mr Six quietly patrols the area. To the uninformed, Mr. Six is just another old man in a youngsters world. But when his estranged son Bobby (Li Yifeng) is kidnapped by a top street racing gang, Mr. Six tries a diplomatic approach to secure his son’s freedom. The problem is, kids today don’t respect their elders.

The film doesn’t rush into the preceding. It’s methodical pace allows your assumptions to run wild as the trailers suggest extended sequences of violence along the lines of Taken, The Equalizer or John Wick. We Know Mr. Six has a special set of skills and so does everyone in town. But this isn’t one of those films with a high body count, Mr. Six doesn’t approve of such barbarism.  (more…)

 

Pt BreakJohnny Utah (Luke Bracey) is a rookie FBI agent who is sent to observe a suspected gang of international thieves. The gang of Robin Hood like criminals who uses extreme measures in their heists. Whether it’s robbing a bank on the top floor of a skyscraper, then eventually parachuting to safety, gang leader Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) always is on his mission. He sees himself as a catalyst for change and the antithesis of a corporate backed world.    (more…)

Review – Concussion

December 24, 2015

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Meriweather hit, leads to Lacy concussion.

In the gif above, Green Bay Packers (in Green) Running Back Eddie Lacy (#27) runs for a first down, but not before being brought down by Washington Safety Brandon Meriweather (#31 in white). The helmet to helmet contact gave Lacy a concussion, taking him out of the game. No penalty flag was thrown on the play, but Meriweather was fined later $42,000. Only a slap on the wrist when you consider Meriweather had a salary of around $1.2 million that year. Ironically, Meriweather left the game later on after a similar hit that left him motionless on the field. That was from a regular season game in 2013; last weekend in New Jersey, New York Giants star Odell Beckham Jr. committed 3 “unnecessary roughness” penalties for unsafe hits on opposing players, but wasn’t ejected from the game. One particularly vicious blow to the helmet of Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman cost Beckham Jr. a game, as he was suspended; but the damage to both players will certainly play a role in their post career quality of life.

Meriweather goes down after dirty hit.

Meriweather goes down after dirty hit.

Before the talk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the technical term for the trauma to the brain players sustain during the violent collisions; football players faded into obscurity, rarely to be heard from again. What’s usually lost on casual fans, is how long it takes to make it to the NFL. Players usually start around 8 years old on the Pop Warner fields through High School, College and hopefully to the pros. Depending on the position, some players will take a hit every down of every game and others can avoid contact. As the NFL evolves from the ‘What have you done for me lately?’ mentality toward its players; there’s still a long way to go before players receive the post career treatment they deserve. As the CTE debate and diagnosis continues, Concussion takes a look at the origins of the discovery of the disease and Dr. Bennett Omalu’s (Will Smith in the film) fight to bring his revelation to the NFL’s attention. Much like big tobacco in the 90’s defence against warnings about smoking, the NFL was less than receptive to Dr. Omalu’s discovery.  (more…)

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The affable Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) trying to make the best of a tough situation. Due to a mishap of great improbability, Brad is impotent and thus, unable to start a family of his own. So, if Brad can’t be the best dad ever; he’ll strive to be the best step-dad ever and that’ll take winning over Megan (Scarlett Estevez) and Dylan (Owen Vaccaro), the children of Sara (Linda Cardinelli) from a previous marriage and Brad’s current wife. As Brad makes small gains with the kids, his progress is grounded as Sara’s ex-husband Dusty Mayron, (Mark Wahlberg) announces his return. The polar opposite of Brad, a mild-mannered radio executive for a smooth jazz station; Dusty breezes in with a John Wayne swagger, turning Brad’s childish insecurities into an inferiority complex, in the time it takes Dusty to reach the bottom of the airport’s escalator. Since Brad can’t compete physically with Dusty, he’ll have to work smart to stop Dusty from taking over his marriage and kids’ affection. 

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What happens when the line is blurred between illness and reality and challenges the power of our perception? Well, this is the question posed to audiences in the upcoming thriller, THE ABANDONED.  Director by Eytan Rockaway, the film takes a terrifying plunge into the warped mind of a disturbed young woman. Desperate to get her life back on track, the unstable Streak (MARHA MARCY MAY MARLENE Louisa Krause) takes a job as a security guard, working the graveyard shift at a once upscale, now abandoned apartment complex. (more…)

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Tor (right) will be portrayed by actor Chris Showerman (left)

Next month, actor Christopher Showerman will be joining the CBS series Supergirl as the character, Tor.  Perhaps known to some for his role as George in Disney’s GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE 2, Showerman will be apart of the series as a recurring character throughout the season. (more…)

Oh Crap!

America has a long-standing need for foreign oil. Long before it was extracted from the Earth, Whalers from around the country took to the seas to catch and render the world’s largest mammals. The pursuit of this living treasure usually meant year-long trips at sea, combing the ‘fishing’ grounds, no matter the weather. Early on in the film, the whaling ship Essex, from Nantucket, Massachusetts gets rocked by three-story tall waves, while chasing a pod of whales. This particular run is successful, as their bounty yields a dozen barrels of oil, but the rest is too shallow to send a bucket. A person small enough must climb inside the whale and scoop out the rest by hand. Luckily smell-o-vision isn’t a thing anymore, as 14-year-old Cabin Boy Thomas Nickerson (Tom Holland) is shoved headfirst into the whale. It’s 30 years later, where our story starts as the older Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) is paid by an unknown author Herman Melville (Ben Wishaw). Nickerson’s account of the Essex inspired Melville to write Moby Dick in 1851.  (more…)

Sofia Boutella as Gazalle in KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE

Sofia Boutella as Gazalle in
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE

In an age of movies in which “shared universes” (see THE AVENGERS, IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, MAN OF STEEL, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, etc.) are now all the rage, many studios are keen on cashing in on the trend with movie universes of their own.  With that said, it would appear that one studio is one step closer to casting the title character of one of their movie universe films. (more…)

 

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Author Margaret Atwood (left) & her work (right), ANGEL CATBIRD

Today, Dark Horse Comics has announced that the author behind The Blind Assassin, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood, is publishing her first graphic novel, Angel Catbird.  Check out the press release below: (more…)

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To close off my coverage of the 2015 Virginia Film Festival, I sat down with returning special guest Scott Haze.  On hand two years ago to promote his starring turn in the 2013 festival selection, CHILD OF GOD, the actor/director returned  this year to promote festival selection, MULLY.  Marking his first directorial turn in a documentary, Haze’s film highlights the true story of Charles Mulli-a man whose unlikely stratospheric rise to wealth and power leaves him questioning his own existence and searching for meaning in life. Against the better judgment of family and community, Mulli sets out to enrich the fate of orphaned children across Kenya. (more…)

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In addition to a prolific animator/director, the Virginia Film Festival also afforded me the opportunity to chat with Rick Alverson, writer/director of festival selection, ENTERTAINMENT.  Making its premiere earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, the film follows a broken, aging comedian as he tours the California desert in a vain attempt to reach his estranged daughter. By day slogging through the barren landscape, while at night seeking solace in the animation of his onstage persona, he trudges through a series of increasingly surreal and volatile encounters.  In our interview together, Mr. Alverson opened up a bit about how he developed the story as well as how he amassed the talent featured in his film.  Check out the interview below… (more…)

Movie Review – Creed

November 26, 2015

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Adonis Johnson (Alex Henderson) has had it rough, seemingly since birth. We’re introduced to Johnson in a Los Angeles Juvenile Detention Center, moments before he pummels a bully into submission. Apparently the bully made the grave mistake of disparaging Johnson’s deceased mother. Orphaned, Johnson has bounced between foster homes, never finding a permanent family; that is until he’s paid a visit by Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad). The widow Creed fills Johnson in on his paternal lineage and takes him in. Being the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed has its perks, but an adult Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) feels unfulfilled by his current job in a downtown office. Making the weekly drive to Tijuana, Mexico to box amateurs is fine, but knows he can do better. An arrogant Adonis (aka Donnie) can’t find a trainer at his father’s old gym in Los Angeles, so he heads east to Philadelphia, with hopes of being trained by family friend and former rival Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone).     (more…)

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As stated not too long ago, this year’s Virginia Film Festival had much to offer film lovers-from films and special guests to parties.  With that said, I caught up with writer/director/animator, Bill Plympton, at chat about his film, CHEATIN’.  Featured as a 2015 festival selection, the film follows star-crossed lovers, exploring the dual nature of how two people immensely attracted to each other can also want to kill each other at the same time.  (more…)

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Former FBI Investigator Ray Kasten (Chiwetel Ejiofor) spends many sleepless nights searching among the thousands of faces for one man. Wherever he is, Ray is determined to bring the suspect to justice. The crime: rape and murder. The Victim: Carolyn Cobb (Zoe Graham) high school senior, months away from college and daughter of Ray’s former partner, Jess Cobb (Julia Roberts). 13 years ago while working in a counterterrorism unit in the Los Angeles division of the FBI, with the images of the attacks on 9/11 seared in the consciousness of America; Ray and Jess along with Bumpy (Dean Norris) and the unlikable Siefert (Michael Kelly) get a report of a homicide. The crime scene is in close proximity to a mosque that has possible links to a terrorist sleeper cell waiting to strike Los Angeles. When Carolyn is discovered as the victim, everything changes. The team is understandably morose, but aren’t allowed to investigate Carolyn’s death due to their current assignment being of a top national security priority. That doesn’t stop Ray as he privately investigates the case, developing a person of interest and a name. Frustrated by the Bureau’s inability to pursue justice for Jess, Ray leaves Los Angeles and finds work in New York, still haunted by this mystery. (more…)

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After the sudden death of his parents, Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was destined to spend the Christmas holiday alone. Luckily for him, his best friends Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) were there for him. Isaac is Jewish and Chris avoids his overbearing mother on most holidays, so starting a new Christmas tradition of debauchery and merriment sounds like a good idea. That was 15 years ago. Now, Chris is a rising football star and Isaac is a married doctor who’s expecting his first child. The last 15 years haven’t been as kind to Ethan, still recovering from the breakup of longtime girlfriend Diana (Lizzy Caplan), Ethan has come to terms with the fact life is passing him by and his annual yuletide romp with his friends will come to an end. The one things the trio never got to do was attend the mysteriously awesome Nutcracker’s Ball. The clandestine bash, known only to a chosen few is purportedly legendary. If the guys are going to spend their last celebratory Christmas together before fully transitioning into adulthood, then they’re going out with a bang. However, life happens and people change, along with their priorities; but most importantly, the invitation to the party doesn’t have an address. A night on the town was already in the works, hopefully to culminate at the party of the year. 

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Last weekend, I returned to yet another film festival that I love, and that is the Virginia Film Festival.  Created in 1990, the festival has become a staple of Virginia, regularly holding its event on UVA’s campus in Charlottesville.  Never a stranger to landmark films and terrific guests, the festival has featured films such as NEBRASKA, BLACK SWAN, and THE DESCENDANTS to name a few. Additionally, the festival has had the likes of Jimmy Stewart, Morgan Freeman, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Hopkins, Sandra Bullock, Nicolas Cage, Gena Rowlands, Sigourney Weaver, William Styron, Tippi Hedren, Ross McElwee, Matthew Broderick, Will Forte, Mia Wasikowska, Barry Levinson, David Dastmalchian, Ashley Judd, Jenna Elfman, and Patrick Wilson all come as special guests through the years. (more…)

Movie Review – The 33

November 12, 2015

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One of the biggest humanitarian efforts of this decade was in the remote expanse of the Atacama Desert near Copiapo, Chile. There lies the 126 year old San José Mine and its bounty of gold and copper. Mine owners, the San Esteban Mining Company has a reputation for taking shortcuts on safety measures; which is evident by the number of workplace injuries since 2000. Regardless of the mine’s safety record, 33 miners went to work on the morning of August 5th, 2010, a day no better or worse than any other. After a 3 mile drive through winding helix-like tunnels, 2,300 feet below the surface; the miners reach an area near a safety bunker named The refuge. After a rumble, reminiscent of the devastating 8.8 earthquake 6 months prior, a massive stone collapses, trapping 33 men working in the deepest parts of the tunnel. After barely surviving the cave-in, the guys regroup and hope help comes soon.  (more…)

2015 Spooky Movie

As Halloween officially finds itself in our rearview mirror, I figured I’d revisit one of my favorite festivals to attend each year, which is the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival.  Celebrating its ten year, the horror festival has become a staple event (especially for me, see Tweet) at AFI Silver-in recent years-during the month of October. (more…)

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