2017 Academy Award Nominations Reavealed

Hollywood, CA: January 24, 2017

La La Land leads the 2017 Oscar nominations with a record tying 14 nods. Damien Chazelle’s love letter to classic Hollywood musicals  joins Titanic and All About Eve as one of the most nominated films of all time.

Some observations, surprises and disappointment:

Amy Adams was snubbed for both Nocturnal Animals and Arrival. Meryl Streep was recognized for Florence Foster Jenkins. Take that, Donald Trump.

What should have been Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s well deserved nomination for Nocturnal Animals went instead to his co-star, Michael Shannon, playing a grizzled sheriff in a small town solving a crime. Ironically, Jeff Bridges was recognized and more deserving for playing a very similar role in Hell Or High Water.

Happy to see the touching and beautiful Lion nominated, though Nicole Kidman did little in that film to earn her a best supporting actress nod. Disappointed that the Academy did not recognize Annette Benning’s fine work in Twentieth Century Women.

Pleased that young actor, Lucas Hedges was nominated for Manchester By The Sea.

The love for Hidden Figures is well deserved but the raves for Moonlight are hard to understand. Is it a result of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign of the last few years?

13th and I Am Not Your Negro are both moving and powerful films in the Best Documentary category. Both have to be seen.

Isabelle Huppert’s nomination as Best Actress in the lame, Elle makes little sense, and talking of making little sense, the off the wall, nonsensical and ridiculous, Toni Erdmann is on the list for Best Foreign Language film. That award has to go to Land of Mine, a powerful and moving film from Denmark that should not be missed.

The 2017 Oscars will take place on February 26 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

Read the 2017 nominations in full below.

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester By The Sea
  • Moonlight

Best Director

  • Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)
  • Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson)
  • La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
  • Manchester By The Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
  • Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

Best Actor In A Leading Role

  • Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
  • Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
  • Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
  • Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
  • Denzel Washington (Fences)

Best Actress In A Leading Role

  • Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
  • Ruth Negga (Loving)
  • Natalie Portman (Jackie)
  • Emma Stone (La La Land)
  • Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Best Actor In A Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
  • Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
  • Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea)
  • Dev Patel (Lion)
  • Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

  • Viola Davis (Fences)
  • Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
  • Nicole Kidman (Lion)
  • Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
  • Michelle Williams (Manchester By The Sea)

Best Original Screenplay

  • Hell or High Water (Taylor Sheridan)
  • La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
  • The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou)
  • Manchester By The Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
  • 20th Century Women (Mike Mills)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Arrival (Eric Heisserer)
  • Fences (August Wilson)
  • Hidden Figures (Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi)
  • Lion (Luke Davies)
  • Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

Best Cinematography

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Silence

Best Original Score

  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Passengers

Best Animated Feature

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life As A Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Best Film Editing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

Best Original Song

  • ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream)’ (La La Land)
  • ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ (Trolls)
  • ‘City Of Stars’ (La La Land)
  • ‘The Empty Chair’ (Jim: The James Foley Story)
  • ‘How Far I’ll Go’ (Moana)

Best Documentary Feature

  • Fire At Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • OJ: Made in America
  • 13th

Best Documentary Short

  • Extremis
  • 4.1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Land Of Mine
  • A Man Called Ove
  • The Salesman
  • Tanna
  • Toni Erdmann

Best Live Action Short

  • Ennemis Interieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

Best Animated Short Film

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper

Best Sound Editing

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

Best Sound Mixing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Production Design

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail Caesar
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

Best Visual Effects

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Costume Design

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

Best Makeup and Hair Design

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

“Last Days Of Summer” Seeking First Place This Winter

Los Angeles: October 27, 2016

Festival circuit darling,  “LAST DAYS OF SUMMER” produced by British born OLIVER RIDGE, is going for another win at the upcoming Whistler Film Festival. Having taken the grand prize for best feature at the Rhode Island Film Festival, the acclaimed drama starring WILLIAM FICHTNER next goes into competition at the prestigious Canadian event, which starts Nov. 30th.

Getting great buzzOliverRidgepic (1) ahead of an anticipated theatrical release next year, the film offers the kind of role we’ve never seen before from Fichtner, best known for “ARMAGEDDON” and “PRISON BREAK” and currently starring in CBS sitcom “MOM.” In Last Days of Summer” he  plays a suburban husband whose quiet life is turned upside down when he becomes obsessed with the beautiful young woman who moves in next door.

“It was an honor to work with such a talented and dedicated actor and make art with him” said producer Ridge, whose Last Days team also included director AARON HARVEY.

Ridge made his directorial debut recently and managed to pull of a coup by being able to recruit Academy Award nominee ERIC ROBERTS to star in Ridge’s “BLUEBIRD,” a poetic short film based on one of the works of the late Charles Bukowski.

We caught up with Oliver Ridge to to talk about his experiences in Hollywood.

Hollywood Revealed: How hard has the transition beenlastdaysofsummerposter (1) for you, moving from the UK to L.A? What were some of the challenges you faced?

Ridge: Driving was pretty scary! Away from that I think media has united us recently in western culture, but certainly when you’re moving five thousand miles away from home, it can be daunting. There are so many people in Los Angeles, but I think the biggest challenge was finding like minded people who I could drink whiskey with and talk movies.

Hollywood Revealed: How did you transition from producing to directing?

Ridge: I loved producing Last Days of Summer, but it certainly made me impatient to be in creative control again. I think that desire made my pre-production for Bluebird even more detailed and thorough, so that helped smooth the transition.

Hollywood Revealed: What kind of genres interest you as a producer/director?

Ridge: Can I say all oliverstepsof them? Because they all do. I want my films to have a universal feel and tone that you can see, but I also want them all to have an emotional weight. I like exploring the darker emotions, because I want my audience to feel something. But specific genres? My next film is a revenge thriller, but I’ve also just finished writing a science fiction film and have plans for a western. So I am all over the place!

Hollywood Revealed: Who are some of the directors you look up to? Who has been your biggest influence?

Ridge: David Fincher and Denis Villeneuve are two of my all time favorites, but Nicolas Winding Refn has certainly had the biggest influence on me.

Hollywood Revealed: Thanks for chatting with us, Oliver.

Ridge: It was a pleasure.

 

“All About The Afterglow” Announced As Next Feature for Jonny Walls and David Foy Bauer

Los Angeles: October 23, 2016

Writer/Director JONNY WALLS and Producer/Actor DAVID FOY BAUER have teamed up on an up-coming independent feature film, entitled “ALL ABOUT THE AFTERGLOW.” The film deals with two soon-to-be stepbrothers as they road trip up the California Coastline to their parent’s wedding. Along the way they encounterIndigogVideo_02.00_04_27_03.Still004 eccentric characters and various roadblocks that cause them to rethink the trip, their parent’s union as well as their own lives.

Afterglow will be Walls and Bauer’s second collaboration after working on Cineline Production’s 2015 comedy feature, “Couch Survivor.” That film has been picked up for world-wide release by Glass House Distribution.

Joining Walls again as Director of Photography will be IndigogVideo_02.00_04_52_15.Still005MARK FARNEY, another “Couch Survivor” alumni. Other cast announcements include NATHAN CHAMPION, MELISSA LAWLOR, NICCO ANNAN, SIGFRIED TIEBER and ANGIE LISTER.

“All About the Afterglow” begins shooting October 30, 2016 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA.

It’s All In The Family With Michael and Stephanie Katherine Grant

September 20, 2016

To be successful in Hollywood, you need a team around you. A powerful team. Young actors,  Michael and Stephanie Katherine Grant, who hail from Tennessee  and have been in Hollywood making the rounds since 2010 are more than a team. They’re family.

But the siblings who have made an impact with appearances on shows such as “The Secret Life of The American Teenager” and “The Goldbergs” were not content to just be in front of the camera. They have recently branched out into writing, producing and directing.michael grant

Now you may think there’s nothing impressive about that in a town full of multi-hyphenates, but consider the fact that Michael is only 21 and Stephanie Katherine a mere 16.

The dynamic duo recently completed their first production called, “Dominion,” an impressive, well acted, well directed short film that is sure to get traction for it’s talented young creators.

An abstract story that deal with different layers of consciousness, the film has the look of a well funded feature, even though it was made with money Michael and Stephanie raised on their own. The pair found and hired the best film crew available and the results here speak for themselves.

In a male oriented world it took the film crew stephanie katherine granta minute to realize that teenaged Stephanie Katherine was a capable filmmaker worthy of  helming the project.

“At first people were directing their questions to me and kind of ignoring my sister” says Michael, “but eventually they got the message that Stephanie Katherine was an equal contributor and co-director, in fact she was the one who came up with the story in the first place. Soon she was running the set like a pro.”

Not bad for a sixteen year old.

Beyond co-writing and co-directing, Michael also scored the project, (he happens to be a classically trained pianist) while Stephanie Katherine edited.

“Dominion” is now making the festival rounds. First up is the Calgary International Film Festival which kicks off on September 20, 2016. The film will screen there on September 24th, at TELUS Spark, located at 220 George Drive, NE, Calgary, Canada.

Dominion CJFF Still 3

So what’s next for the Grant kids?

“More writing and directing is definitely in the cards,” says Stephanie Katherine. They are turning “Dominion” into a feature film script and also developing others projects.

If you get the chance to meet this talented and ambitious brother and sister team, you’ll see that no is not an option here. Film domination is their ultimate ambition and from the look of their first project, they seem bound to succeed.

Re-Bourne

Review by Mark Salcido

It’s been about 11 years since we’ve had JASON BOURNE grace our movie screens with enough espionage and action to give any fan of the spy genre a big o’stiffy. The studios tried out Jeremy Renner to continue the franchise and we all know how that turned out. Now Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon have returned to the action fold that made them both household names in hopes to bring the legacy of Jason Bourne back to the glory days it once was.

Was it worth it? Let’s talk about that.

As the film opens we discover xjason-bourne-1068x601.jpg.pagespeed.ic.bnRz7Rs5HTBourne back in hiding and trying to find meaning in his life. He’s getting up there in years and looks worn down after the events of the ‘Ultimatum’. He may be done with that mess, but it’s not done with him. The film introduces the current topic of world-wide mass surveillance. Think Snowden, folks. This is not much a spoiler and not much of a plot. It gets quickly left behind as the film focuses more on Bourne and his father issues. It’s a nice personal touch to the character but felt somwhat forced as there was no hint of it in the previous films.

Within the first 20 minutes, of “Jason Bourne” you see where the surveillance plot is going and will probably guess where it will end up. 10 minutes after that, you already know who the villains are to the point where you wonder if the writers even tried to put any mystery behind it.  I will have to add, there is a death in the film that I didn’t seem coming but it had me question if it was even necessary. It follows the same kind of path that was in the ‘Identity’, ‘Supremacy’, and ‘Ultimatum’ but it doesn’t add anything new to the franchise. But hey, I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The acting in “Jason Bourne” is what you expect from the stellar cast and Matt Damon still manages to bring some of the emotional level that was also evident in ‘Supremacy’.

The new players like Tommy Leee Jones and jason_bourne_2016_8k-1280x720Alicia Vikander do a serviceable job though Vikander’s character feels like she was trying too hard be a tough CIA Agent. Her face reveals a look that feels soulless, even when she goes for that connection with Jason Bourne, like Joan Allen’s character did in the last films.

The action of the film is it’s only saving grace. Greengrass hasn’t lost a step when it comes to really good action scenes that feel genuine and with little CGI effect. The first action sequence reminds us how bad ass Bourne is and continues to escalate as the film goes on, but not to a ridiculous level. Yet, Greengrass can’t seem to stop it with the shaky cam. It’s not to a nauseating degree, as he’s done in some of his previous film but it can be bothersome. You hope at some point the director will  put the camera on sticks show us the awesome coordination of the fighting.

The final car scene shot in Las Vegas is spectacular and leaves you with a visceral rush that makes the 2 hour experience ultimately worthwhile.

I love the Bourne films…exceptjason-bourne-2016-movie-review-21-1500x844 ‘Legacy’. I can watch the first three all day on repeat because they had a level of mystery and action that mixed well. When I heard that Damon and Greengrass were coming back for another installment, I was all in. After watching ‘Jason Bourne’ I’m not so sure they should continue. By the end,”Jason Bourne” had enough set ups to warrant a few more sequels, but this installment doesn’t leave you wanting more.

With the dismantling of Treadstone and Black-Briar,‘ Ultimatum’ ended in a way that could’ve seen Jason ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after. But with the inclusion of a new operation known as Iron Hand, you kind have to wonder, is there even a purpose in what Bourne is doing? Or is the franchise being kept alive for the big score that this movie will surely reap with this current wide release.

 

 

16th Anual Polish Film Festival To Open October 13th, 2015

Los Angeles: October 9, 2015

Founder and Festival Director, Vladek Juszkiewicz announced in West Los Angeles today that the 16th Annual Polish Film Festival, celebrating the greatest achievements of Polish filmmakers, will open in L.A. on October 13th and run through October, 22nd, 2015.

Festival Director, Vladek Juszkiewicz

Festival Director, Vladek Juszkiewicz

“With Pawel Pawlikowski’s film, IDA winning last year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, this year’s festival promises another wonderful selection of over sixty five features, short films, animation and documentaries,” said Mr. Juszkiewicz,  “many of the North American, international or world premieres.”

The event kicks off with THE CITIZEN (Obywatel) by Jerzy Stuhr on October 13, 2015 with a star-studded gala during which both Polish and American film makers will walk the red carpet at Hollywood’s legendary Egyptian Theater. Angelinos may enjoy  subsequent  screenings at the Laemmle’s NoHo 7 and Royal Theaters as well as the  CSUN Armer Theatre.

“We’re trying to accommodate film lovers from both sides of this hill,” stated Mr. Juszkiewicz at today’s press conference. “The festival will also be presenting sixteen films by female directors this year.”

Polish filmmakers expected attend the festival include: Lukasz Simlat (actor), Aleksander Gruz (composer), Andrzej Cichocki (director), Joanna Jasinska-Koronkiewicz (director), Adam Bobik (actor), Tomasz Kot (actor), Image 4Lukasz Palkowski (director), Pawel Lucewicz (composer), Paul Bieda (composer), Tomasz Blachnicki (director), Anna Prochniak (actress), Jan Komasa (director), Magdalena Lazarkiewicz (director), Marian Dziedziel (actor) and Jacek Bromski (director).

The highlights of the program are: ANATOMY OF EVIL (Anatomia zla) by Jacek Bromski, BODY (Cialo) by Malgorzata Szumowska,  GODS (Bogowie) by Lukasz Palkowski, WARSAW 44 (Miasto 44) by Jan Komasa,  CARTE BLANCHE by Jacek Lusinski, THE SHADOW FOREST (Las cieni) by Andrzej Cichocki, IT’S QUITE TRUE! (To pewna wiadomosc!) by Joanna Jasinska-Koronkiewicz, CALL ME MARIANNA (Mow mi Marianna) by Karolina Bielawska and KARSKI by Magdalena Lazarkiewicz.

Screenings of film made abroad by Polish filmmakers, with Polish talent, or with Polish subjects will include: JOURNEY TO ROME by Tomasz Mielnik, ONCE MY MOTHER by Sophia Turkiewicz, AGAINST NIGHT by Stefan Kubicki,  IT HAPPENED AGAIN by Wojciech Fry-Lewis, MESSIAH by Mark Grabianowski, SHADOWS by Paul Kowalski  and THE VIGILANTE by Matthew K. Firpo.

At the Gala Opening on October 13th, the following awards are to be presented.

Adam Bratcher Music Debut Award to: Aleksander Gruz for WARSAW BY NIGHT, by Natalia Koryncka-Gruz.

The Pola Negri Award will be presented to Andy Garcia for his collaboration with Polish filmmakers: Oscar winning

Actor, Andy Garcia

Actor, Andy Garcia

composer  Jan A. P. Kaczmarek and production designer and producer Waldemar Kalinowski.

Piotr Lazarkiewicz Award for Young Talent will be presented to two young, talented Polish actors, Anna Prochniak and Adam Bobik.

Jury members for the Polish Film Festival this year include Priscilla Barnes, Bruce Locke, James Mathers, Jennifer Taylor, Ben Berkowitz, Susana Casares, Erik Friedl, Tchavdar Georgiev, Jacek Kropinski, Mike Libonati, Tom Mclean, Stephan Szpak-Fleet, Vazrik Der-Sahakian, Rachel O’Meara, James Ulmer and Bijan Tehrani. They will present awards for Best Feature, Best Animation, Best Documentary and Best Short film.

The full film program for the Festival can be found on the website: http://www.polishfilmla.org

For further information, contact: Vladek Juszkiewicz

818/982-8827

info@polishfilmla.org

 

You Tube Icon Freddie Wong To Be Honored By Hollyshorts 2015

Hollywood, CA: August 10, 2015

YouTube icon Freddie Wong, the filmmaker behind the online phenomenon web series Video Game High School, will be honored with the 2015 HollyShorts Trailblazer Award at next Thursday’s HollyShorts Film Festival’s opening night celebration.

The event takes place on August 13 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater.

Wong will be honored with the Award for his outstanding accomplishments as a filmmaker freddie_wongand YouTube pioneer. Wong and RocketJump’s videos have amassed more than 7.5 million subscribers on YouTube with over 1 billion views of their content. Season 3 of their Video Game High School web series drew over 85 million views. RocketJump is in the process of creating a long-form series for Hulu with Lionsgate.

Wong joins an impressive star-studded evening at HollyShorts opening night, which will feature short movies starring Rose McGowan, Jason Patric, Sharon Lawrence, Rose McIver, Beth Grant, Robert Forster, Jennifer Morrison, Josh Lawson, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin, and many more. HollyShorts is the largest annual gathering of short form movies in Los Angeles with over 15,000 anticipated attendees for the week-long event (August 13-22) and over 400HollyShorts logo 2012 (2) pieces of short form content being showcased in competition. Actress Victoria Summer will be presenting the Award to Wong on Thursday.

Freddie Wong is the co-founder of digital entertainment company RocketJump. He co-created the award-winning web series Video Game High School (VGHS) that aired its third and final season, breaking crowdfunding records for a web series by raising $900K last year. RocketJump has entered into a content partnership deal with Lionsgate and signed a deal to bring RocketJump’s next series to Hulu.

Commented Daniel Sol, co-founder, HollyShorts: “Freddie Wong exemplifies a HollyShorts Trailblazer, what he’s been able to accomplish with VGHS and his shorts is just astounding. Numbers don’t lie, with over 1 billion global views on YouTube, Freddie and RocketJump are this generation’s new storytellers and we are proud to honor them at HollyShorts, this will be an epic night to remember.”

HollyShorts past honorees include The Russo Brothers, David Lynch, Eli Roth, Joe Carnahan, Paul Haggis, Matthew Modine, Bill Plympton among others.

Two Steps Forward For Indie Film

By Peter Foldy

Had the pleasure to see a very cool, low key indie thriller last night called “Two Step” written and directed by first time feature director, Alex R. Johnson.  The story deals with James, (Skyy Moore) a young college drop out who has a couple of very bad days after he becomes a victim of a home invasion robbery.

As the film opens, Jamestwostepjamesdotbarnice arrives at his grandmother’s house, his only living relative, to find her dying of a  stroke. Before long he learns that Granny has left him eighty five thousand dollars and her house. James is suddenly flush with cash.

He makes friends with a kindly neighbor, a former ballet dancer called Dot (Beth Broderick) who becomes something of a mother figure and his only friend in  town.

Meanwhile a psychotic low life criminal called Webb ( James Landry Hebert) has just gotten out of jail and is very quickly back to his old ways.  Webb is working a scam where he calls elderly people and pretends to be their troubled grandson who needs a loan. Most of the time the scam backfires, but once in a while it doesn’t.

Webb discovers that he has been dumped by his girlfriend, Amy (Ashley Rae Spillers) a girl who he had beaten up.  Amy  is now Two_Step_credit_Photo_Courtesy_of_quotTwo_Stepquotshacked up with Webb’s former employer Duane (Jason Douglas) and Webb is pissed. He owes Duane a large amount of cash and is quickly given an ultimatum. Pay up and get out of town or have your ass kicked by one of Duane’s heavies.

As Webb continues his calls to the elderly in order to find money he and James randomly connect.

It is a tense wait for the two to meet up in person and when they do the outcome is bloody and violent. Webb soon figures out that James has an inheritance and knows he has hit the jackpot. Now how to get a hold of the cash. James only has a $900 a day ATM limit.

More suspense and violence are in store till James and Webb’s destinies  collide for the last time and the third act sees the rampage come to an end. It’s a relief when it does. Johnson makes you care for these characters,images especially the innocent James.

“Two Step” is a finely crafted character driven thrill ride that keeps the tension on a low boil. That’s not to say the film doesn’t also have it’s “boo” moments that will have you jumping out of your seat.

The entire cast, all Texas locals, are excellent here, right down the the under fives. The film perfectly captures the tonality of suburban Austin, Texas where it was shot.

“Two Step” is also an inspiration to aspiring filmmakers. Made on a low budget it has garnered great reviews from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times.  It’s success shows that determination and a “no is not an option” attitude will get things done.  It’s a film made for art’s sake and writer/director Alex Johnson’s win here is also a win for indie crime and thriller fans everywhere.

“Two Step” opens Friday, August 7th at the Arena Theater in Los Angeles with VOD to follow in September.  With beautifully stylized cinematography by Andy Lilien this is well worth seeing on the big screen.

Production: La Chima Films
Cast: Beth Broderick, James Landry Hébert, Skyy Moore, Jason Douglas, Ashley Rae Spillers
Director/screenwriter: Alex R. Johnson
Producers: Alex R. Johnson, Paul Biedrzycki, Pat Cassidy, Charles Mulford
Director of photography: Andy Lilien
Production designer: Claire M. White
Editor: Benjamin Moses Smith
Costume designer: Rachel Marie Jones
Composer: Andrew Kenny
Casting: Beth Sepko

Where: The Arena Cinema 1625 N Las Palmas Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028  (93 minutes)  Not Rated.

Showtimes, Friday, August 7th. 7:30 pm SOLD OUT.

Saturday, August 8, 4:00 pm, 5:30 pm

Sunday, August 9, 4:30 pm, 7:55 pm

Monday, August 10, 9:30 pm

Tuesday, August 11, 8:00 pm

Wednesday, August 12, 6 pm

Thursday, August 13, 9:30 pm

 

Poltergeist (2015) – A Review

by Mark Salcido

‘THEY’RE HERE…zzzZZZ’

‘Poltergeist’ is the 2015 remake of the 1982 classic. It’s directed by Gil Kenan of ‘Monster House’ and ‘City of Ember’ fame. It stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris and Jane Adams. It tells the story of a family who moves into a house where a poltergeist has taken resident.

Now of course in this remake frenzy world we live, there will be some comparison to the original which is considered a horror classic. But I promise to judge as bestMV5BMjIzNTI1ODgwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDYwODA1NTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_ as I can solely on its acting, visual and story. Before I continue let it be known that I have no problem with remakes. I loved Zack Snyder’s take on ‘Dawn of the Dead’. ‘The Crazies’ was serviceable. ‘3:10 to Yuma’ was definitely a good one. Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’, for god sake. Those are good ones. ‘Poltergeist’ is not one of those.

Alright let’s get to the biscuit. Let’s start with the story. It’s simple but adds nothing to justify a remake. Normally you might get a deeper story to go with the reasoning the presence of a ghost, or why the killer is on that killing spree, or just something to make you go “hhmm, so that’s why the victims are victims.”  Now, I know not everything needs a back story, but come on; give me a justification for my ticket purchase. That being said, I only saw this film because it was uncle and niece night and horror is usually a shared interest of ours.

The acting: yyyeah about that. It’s there, people act in it because it isn’t exactly a documentary. The folks try to make what they have, work, but it wasn’t enough. I will give it to my man Sam Rockwell. Always enjoy seeing him anything. I’ll go and see him read out loud the names out of phonebook because he’ll bring his Sam Rockwell touch to it.

There is one scene in the film that I almost cringe of the thought of it. (Spoilers) When Jared Harris informs the family what they got themselves into, he and Rockwell go back in forward in a, I guess was suppose to be an emotional moment. I mean, you see Rockwell poltergeist2015turning on the “water works” to let the audience know that he is suffering on the inside the most at the possibility his daughter might be lost on the “other side”.  That scene just fell flat. Even the famous “They moved the headstones but didn’t move the bodies” landed on a thud.  Am I cold hearted?  No. I just think it didn’t work. I would like to mention Kennedi Clements as she takes over the role of ‘Madison’ who went by ‘Carol’ played Heather O’Rourke. Clements had some big shoes to fill, although she doesn’t steal the role, you can tell she’s got a future in acting.

The scare: Oh boy. It follows the same formula of a typical jump-scare flick that’s been the go to for most horror movies of the past decade. A loud bang here, a surprise grabbed from an unseen entity there, just a lack of creativity to frighten. The budget was naturally bigger than its predecessors and we live in the fantastical world of CGI but I just couldn’t find anything scary. The director went as far as to give us a tour of what was on the “other side”.  I’ll give it a plus for helping us picture what Madison was witnessed to, but I’ll still give it a negative because it gave us little to the imagination. Even the famous “face melting” scene was done too quickly of a throwaway. I’ll admit the original doesn’t deserve high marks in effects, but I still remember it to this day.

So, I would say that this one is a definite skip. I get the urgency for the cash grab in the market of horror but if you want your film to continue to be talked about for more than a day, you got to bring something that’s going to stick with you. I even caught myself laughing in the last 15 minutes as everything was drawing to a conclusion. Now excuse as I dust off the original and pop that bad boy into the VCR.

 

Mad Max Fury Road – A Review

By Mark Salcido

‘Oh what a day, what a lovely day’

Feel the rumbling underneath of your feet from the roar of the engines. Feel that exhaust explode with power. See the roads race by as bodies are thrown through the skies. Your heart is pounding. Your ears are buzzing. Your eyes are wide and your jaw is dropped. You my friend have entered the world of Mad Max Fury Road. Welcome.

Mad Max Fury Road is director’s George Miller’s fourth installment of Max Rockatansky (aka “Mad Max”) as he travels the roads of Image 6a dystopian future. It stars Tom Hardy in the title role (originally played by Mel Gibson), Charlize Theron as “Imperator Furiosa,” and Nicholas Hoult as “Nux.”

As the story goes, Max finds himself captured by tyrannical cult leader “Immortan Joe,” (played by Hugh Keays-Bryne) “War Boys” and taken to the Citadel. There, Max is used as a universal blood donor and his first recipient is War Boy Nux (Hoult). Meanwhile, Immortan Joe rallies his War Boys and Furiosa (Theron) as she takes the wheel of a “War Rig” (AKA big and bad ass muthafuckin heavily-armoured truck with A LOT of horse power).

As the group heads to Gas Town, Furiosa purposely drives off route into the Wasteland. Only to reveal that she took Immortan Joe’s five prize breeders and are on their way to a place far away from the tyrant. And so the chase begins. Nux joins pursuit with Max strapped to the hood of his car pumping his high octane blood into Nux’s dying body. If you think that is nuts, sit back, it’s only the first 15 minutes of the film.

Before we get into the selling point of the film, which is the action, let’s talk about the plot. It’s thin but in a good way. The Mad Max films haven’t been known to have really deep driven dialogues but what is said is indeed memorable and can some ways, actually have a point. That Image 8being said, I will bring up the underlying message this movie that some people have claimed it’s making, feminism. No need to sugar coat it, we are adults after all.  There is indeed somewhat of a feminist statement made but not in the “hairy armpit feminazi” manner people seem to picture. The statement that Furiosa, Toast the Knowing, The Splendid Angharad, Capable, The Dag and Cheedo the Fragile (those are the breeders) is that they are not property. Some critics have gone far as to say it’s much more than that but that may be because this is not Max’s story, it’s Furiosa’s.   Max just happens to be dropped into the situation.

Hardy does a great job as Max but Theron’s Furiosa easily steals the show. Her character is an amazing bad ass that I would go as to say (and I’m sure I’m the first to mention this) that she belongs up there with the great action heroines Image 2such as Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley and Foxy Brown. There’s even a scene where Furiosa goes toe to toe with Max and is able to hold her own.

Nuts doesn’t even begin to describe the action set pieces this film does. What makes these action scenes stand on top of all the other action films in the past decade is that most of it is practical. Now I say most because the portion that is CGI are some of the bodies being thrown around and an amazing scene where a sand storm is in play.

Speaking of sand storm, that scene played from the trailer is the only big action set piece. But don’t, worry it continues to go even crazier.  One particular action scene that I admire the most was set through a canyon as Max and Furiosa battle a gang of bikers. As the music ramps up, Max hands Furiosa a weapon, which he was keeping her away from. When that happens, no words are exchanged, only a look. A silent agreement, an understanding between the two, that their need for each other to survive is evident. And so the dance begins.

Max picks off one biker here (BAM!). Furiosa picks off another Image 7one there (BOOM!). The sequence for defense is laid out and it is seamlessly beautiful. I didn’t think it was possible to have a second viewing of the same film and still keep my heart racing as it did the first time.

The Bad.

I can usually pick out “the bad” from a film. Plot holes, horrible scenes, atrocious acting with god awful dialogue that makes you want to pull your teeth out, but I’m really finding it hard with this film. And I’ve seen the movie twice in theaters plus six times in my head.

So if you want some adrenaline in your diet with a side of pulse pounding action to wet your car crash whistle, this is the film for you my friend. I like to think that George Miller took a step outside of the G and PG rated movie building, saw the state of car action films these days and said, “Alright boys, let me show you how it’s done.” It took him 30 years to get this bad boy off ground; I only hope that it doesn’t take nearly as long for the next one. Because Mr. Miller, the world is going mad and we need more Max in it.