Horror movies are so simple when there’s a clear-cut antagonist, someone like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, or Michael Myers to play the villain role. Sometimes, things aren’t quite so obvious, such as when zombies look like regular people in movies like Dead & Buried or when aliens take the form of other organisms such as in The Thing. And things get really complicated when the threat is completely ambiguous, as is the case with the newest sensation horror film It Follows. Way back in 1978, however, underdog horror writer/director Jeff Lieberman pondered what would happen if something that someone experienced in their past could affect their present state, using drugs as its example, and brought us Blue Sunshine.
For more than forty years, Sabastião Salgado has been one of the premier social documentary photographers in the world. He’s worked for newspapers and magazines, photo agencies and photographers’ cooperatives, and has even been a UNiCef Goodwill Ambassador. Now, Sebastião’s son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, has teamed up with narrative and documentary filmmaker Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club, Pina) to make a movie called The Salt of the Earth about his father’s life, work, and most importantly, his photographs.
Hollywood is still reeling from last week’s passing of actor Robert Z’Dar at the age of 64. Born Robert James Zdarsky, Z’Dar carved himself a niche in the film industry by becoming the quintessential villain, and had roles in such big-budget movies as Tango & Cash and Mobsters. Z’Dar’s most famous role, however, was that of the title character in the 1988 cult classic slasher movie Maniac Cop.
Las Vegas. The mere mention of its name provokes Hollywood movie memories from all genres. It is an eternal movie city that can feature any sort of hijinks, madness, mayhem, murder, sin, romance, and anything else a Hollywood screenwriter can dream up to place on the page. The time has come for Las Vegas to meet Jason Statham in Simon West's Wild Card. The meeting of the pair, a city and an actor who both play the same character whenever they appear on screen, is an exciting idea that has come at a price. That price being a loss of wonder for both as Wild Card is without a doubt a disordered attempt at merging two of the movie world's best "characters" on screen.
Randall James Hamilton Zwinge, better known as The Amazing Randi, is one of the greatest and most renowned magicians in the world. In his day, he would amaze and confound audiences with his Houdini-like escapes and tricks. Later on in his life, also like Harry Houdini, Randi would serve the same masses that he used to deceive by routinely exposing fraudulent clairvoyants and debunking phony psychics. Because of this, he was known as one of the “good” magicians, an illusionist on the people’s side. The perfect name for a documentary about him is An Honest Liar.
A couple of years ago, writer/director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering broke the silence on the issue of sexual assault in the military with their gripping documentary The Invisible War. Now, they have tackled the same problem on college campuses with their newest film The Hunting Ground.
Whenever there’s a controversial subject, each side of the debate has its experts that provide scientific and credible evidence of their argument’s superiority to the opposition. The practice of spin doctoring has been around for decades without a whole lot of change. But who are these “experts,” and what makes them so knowledgeable? That’s the question at the heart of Merchants of Doubt.
Guitar Player magazine once described guitarist Tommy Tedesco as the most recorded guitarist in history. The funny thing is that most listeners would never even know it was him playing. The twangy galloping acoustic guitar on the “Bonanza” theme? The fuzzy, distorted intro riff to “Green Acres?” The silly wah-wah solo that signaled the beginning of “Three’s Company?” All Tommy Tedesco. It turns out, Tedesco was only one of the unsung studio musicians of the Los Angeles scene. There was a group of about twenty or so seasoned professionals who seemingly played on every record made on the west coast in the sixties and seventies. This group, and the documentary film that is named after them, is known as The Wrecking Crew.
When sports fans think about dynasties, there are certain names that come to mind. The New York Yankees have dominated Major League Baseball for nearly a hundred years. The Chicago Bulls of the nineties ruled the basketball courts. The National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers won five Super Bowls in the eighties and early nineties. But perhaps the most successful dynasty of all time worked its magic on the ice, and we’re not talking about the Montreal Canadiens. For a long time, the most feared hockey team on the planet was the USSR Men’s National Ice Hockey Team, and they are the subject of a fascinating new documentary called Red Army.
Around the same time that Motown Records was doing its thing in the big city of Detroit, Stax records was recording and releasing music down south in Memphis. The output from these two labels represented the best of what American music had to offer, and continued well into the days of the British Invasion of the mid-sixties. Although Motown had more chart success and record sales, Stax had the attitude; the cool mix of blues, gospel, funk, and jazz that became a recognizable sound all its own. Director Martin Shore tells the Stax story, but not in the traditional way, in his new documentary Take Me to the River.
If you have not seen Frank, stop at the end of this paragraph and go see it. Do not check IMDB, watch a trailer, or read any reviews or publicity materials for the film, just go see it. The rest of this article will deal with a spoiler that is not really a spoiler, because just about all promotional materials for the film make it common knowledge. But, Frank is the kind of movie where the surprise reveal of the identity of the title character is a key aspect of the effectiveness of the film. So do not pass go, do not collect $200, just go watch Frank. We’ll be right here.
Meet Wetlands' Helen (Carla Juri). She is in her post-teen years, still lives at home, is quite pretty with her tomboy haircut that is juxtaposed with her liking for very short shirts. She is a tiny bit insecure, and extremely precocious; exhibiting a child-like sense in her very much young adult body. Helen is also extremely vulgar in everything that she does. Obsessed with sex, sexuality, and pushing the boundaries of appropriateness there is no end to what Helen will do. Or what those around her will be compelled to do by her influence. Helen is, in a word, amazing. Solely for the fact that she exhibits everything that is wrong for a girl of her age, and you instantly fall in love with her because of this fact.
Rich Hill, Missouri, is a small town of less than 1400 located about 90 minutes south of Kansas City. The town’s citizens are a mixture of the working class and the poverty stricken, but they hold on to hope. A new documentary, simply called Rich Hill, paints a picture of the town as seen through the eyes of three of its residents, all teenaged boys.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic dance music festival held in several different locations all over the world during the summer months. The festival brings fans together into a musical circus-like atmosphere for three days of non-stop partying. The largest of these gatherings is the one that takes place in Las Vegas, NV, and that is the one that is at the center of Under the Electric Sky.
In Yiddish, the word “mensch” refers to “a person of integrity and honor.” One would not think that it would be a term that could apply a showbiz manager, but it is the best description for Shep Gordon. Even those who have never heard of Shep Gordon are probably familiar with his clients. He’s one of the entertainment industry’s most powerful players, having represented musical heavyweights like Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, and Teddy Pendergrass. His list of A-list friends is exponentially longer than his artist stable, and the guest lists to his famous parties read like a who’s-who of Hollywood. And every one of these friends and acquaintances has nothing but good things to say about him. He’s more than a mensch, he’s a Supermensch, hence the title of the intriguing documentary about his life and times, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.
“I don’t know if they’re here, or have ever been here, but I definitely do believe in them.” William Eubank, director of The Signal ponders the existence of aliens and UFOs. It’s a fair question; The Signal is all about the possibility of extraterrestrial life on Earth, and Eubank’s first film, Love, was produced and scored by the rock band Angels & Airwaves, whose famous frontman, Tom Delonge, is an outspoken alien conspiracist. Eubank speaks fondly of Delonge - “I’ve sat in his backyard many a time with night vision goggles, looking at the sky. He’s a good dude.”
Water is something we all take for granted. We couldn’t exist without it, yet we only think about it when it’s running scarce. We use it to cook, clean, work, and play, and we do it all on a daily basis. Renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky has teamed up with filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal (Payback) to pay tribute to the most overlooked and underappreciated of the Classical Elements in the documentary Watermark.
In 2007, a young realtor named John Maloof was looking for pictures of different areas of Chicago for a book that he was compiling. He bought a storage unit for $380 that contained thousands of negatives and a bunch of undeveloped rolls of film. When he examined the negatives, he saw some of the most captivating street photography that had ever been taken. He knew that he was onto something, so he snooped around the locker a bit more and found pieces of mail addressed to a woman named Vivian Maier. Seeing that there was a story developing, he enlisted producer Charlie Siskel (“Tosh.0”) to help him tell it, and the resulting documentary is Finding Vivian Maier.
There is no denying that the Mad Max trilogy of films is iconic. To say they have created a legacy that stands to continue is perfectly acceptable, especially when it involves filling Mel Gibson's shoes with Tom Hardy in the titular role of Max Rckatansky, akaMad Max. It has been 30 years since audiences were engulfed in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is the backdrop for the Mad Max series of films. The time has surely come to revisit it, and Mad Max: Fury Road will do just that when it hits theatres May 15.
Summer would not be complete without at least one horror movie on the schedule. Blumhouse Productions, who is responsible for scaring audiences with such films as Oculus and Insidious: Chapter 2, has big plans for the 2015 summer season. Insidious: Chapter 3 hits theatres June 5, but another movie on their roster wants to scare the living daylights out of you in July--The Gallows.
If you're pursuing a career in the entertainment industry or simply like to know what's going on in Hollywood, you're likely interested in keeping up with the latest news and offerings in the industry as-they-happen. Because the television and movie industries move forward and evolve so quickly, it can oftentimes be challenging to stay current--it doesn't have to be.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the list of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards, with the ceremony scheduled to take place on February 22, 2015. As usual, there are safe bets and snubs, but the quality of the cinematic output for the year was high enough to make some of this year’s decisions pretty tough. Here’s a look at the nominees – and potential winners – in some of the major categories.
The moment has arrived, Universal unleashed the first trailer for Jurassic World. Call it a re-boot, a re-make, a complete waste of time, or the best thing to come in 2015. Whatever you do, don't ever tell this movie lover that you don't care about Jurassic World; my bite is ferocious.
From the trailer, there are questions that will surely be raised. My biggest one is whether or not there will be a reference to the prior three films, or whether Jurassic World is poised to stand on its own and in fact be a new telling of the famous story about the dinos we love ever so much on screen. The trailer makes me think that it is an entirely new story, with the park being created anew and any signs of the past washed away by Hollywood's ever-present eraser.
You knew it was bound to happen, and it has officially. The character posters for the Rebel Warriors of The Hunger Games; Mockingjay Part 1 have been released. You've got Gale, Pollux, Messalla, Cressida, Boggs, and Castor all looking very serious, and very ready to battle.
Are you ready for your daily dose of adorableness? Disney's "Feast" is here to help you on your way with brand-new images from the upcoming short film. Who knew an animated puppy could bring so much joy, and such a big smile to one's face.
"Feast" will release in theatres November 7, 2014, playing with Big Hero 6. Until then, go ahead and fall in love with the adorable puppy, Winston.
I will admit, the trailer for Annabelle may not be terrifying to you. For me, it is, thanks to a debilitating fear of creepy dolls. Annabelle is one of the scariest dolls I have ever seen on film--I have The Conjuring to thank--and I have seen an incredible amount of movies. Regardless, the trailer for Annabelle will get your senses going, and your anticipation peaked for this sort-of prequel to The Conjuring.
Everyone who enjoys viewing the 'Sad Keanu' picture that is plastered all over the internet--you know the one, don't deny it--well, it is time to play homage to a new Keanu Reeves photo...that of him looking bad ass in the upcoming John Wick.
Reeves plays ex-hitman John Wick who must come out of retirement in order to battle gangsters. Yes, you read that correctly...gangsters vs. Keanu Reeves. Amazing.
It is a special treat when a movie like Chef is created. A film full of heart that brings out your emotions organically, without the need for gimmicks or special circumstance. Jon Favreau's Chef deserves the accolades it has received thus far since release in May and those that are sure to follow come awards season (fingers crossed). Chef is being re-released in theatres for a special engagement begininning August 29, 2014. If you did not have a chance to catch this gem of a film before in theatres now is your chance--and do not pass it up.
It has taken years for a movie version of Marvel's Ant-Man character to the screen. Some may say it is unnecessary; others are full of joy and anticipation. Either way, the Ant-Man movie has started production in San Francisco, CA and a first-look photo of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man has been released.
Here he is, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man.
Jason Reitman had a rough time of it last year when Labor Day did not sit well with audiences or critics. A far cry from his previous works that received rave reviews and awards aplenty, such as Up In The Air. It is a new year and with that comes a new movie for Reitman to deliver to the masses--and hope that this time goes better than the last. Reitman's latest is Men, Women & Children, yet another dramedy set around familial life, this time with the internet age taking center stage.
She may not exactly be a punk rocker any longer, but being a mother post-punk is tough for Juliette Lewis' Kelly in the trailer debut for Kelly & Cal from IFC Films. Cal, 17, is having a tough time at life as well. Enter the unlikely friendship of these two different people and the way they will each make everything just a little easier to manage for one another.
For those who have seen Guardians of the Galaxy you know the enjoyment there was to be had with Groot dancing. If you have not seen the film, then you're in luck as a clip of Groot dancing has been released. If the clip does not convince you to go see the movie read the review here and get yourself to the movies.
The process of crowdfunding has been a touchy one among movie fans. Established filmmakers like Zach Braff and Spike Lee have come under fire for wanting to raise money for their films through campaigns on Kickstarter, while the Veronica Mars movie obliterated its goal in a single day. Now, another established director is turning to crowdsourcing for movie money: horror icon Rob Zombie.
Disney is taking multiple stories from The Brothers Grimm fairytales and mashing them up into one intertwined story with Into The Woods. This is of course nothing new for Disney, as they have been reimagining The Brothers Grimm stories for eons. But it is a new twist on old stories, and with a cast that includes Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski and Johnny Depp, to name a few, it is sure to be a star-studded musical outing.
Have you been forced to watched "SpongeBob Squarepants" with your niece, nephew, friend's child, or more than likely your own child over and over again? Have you ever been able to figure out the plot or theme of an episode? Me neither. There is hope that the movie SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water will make more sense. Or are we asking far too much? The time will come to decide in 2015 when the movie is released. Until then, I dare you to watch the trailer...
Have you ever wondered what Vin Diesel would sound like speaking Russian, Mandarin Chinese, or just plain old common Spanish? Well, you are in luck as videos have been released where you can hear Diesel dubbing his lines for Guardians of the Galaxy in those three languages, and two more.
It just so happens that two evenings ago I was in the company of children and they chose to watch Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Imagine my surprise when the first teaser trailer for Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb popped up in my inbox this morning--and I must admit I had no idea they were making a third film in the franchise. There is more fun to be had this time around with all of the characters we remember from the other two films, and some new ones too.