Monday, January 31, 2011

'Husk' Movie Review

Title: Husk

Director: Brett Simmons

Starring: Devon Graye, Wes Chatham and C.J. Thomason

Written by: Karen Benardello

Routinely overlooked by critics and award shows, horror movies have been showcased and honored over the past five years with production company After Dark Films annual film festival Horrorfest. Brett Simmons is one of the latest screenwriter-directors hoping to make a name for himself in the horror genre with his new supernatural thriller ‘Husk,’ which is one of the entries in this year’s festival. While aiming to stay away from making a purely slasher movie, and instead focusing on what people would do if a scarecrow suddenly came to life to take control of their bodies, Simmons’ final outcome unfortunately won’t scare audiences into being afraid of the decoy.

‘Husk’ follows five friends, including Scott (played by Devon Graye), Brian (portrayed by Wes Chatam), Chris (played by CJ Thomason), Brian’s girlfriend, Natalie (portrayed by Tammin Sursok) and Johnny (played by Ben Easter), as their car breaks down on the highway during the midst of their road trip. After discovering that Johnny is missing from the car, Scott and Brian journey into the corn field on the side of the road to not only find him, but to look for help as well

The two are thrilled when they discover a house in the middle of the field. However, they become dismayed when they find Johnny unresponsive in the sewing room, creating a scarecrow mask. Brian further becomes agitated when Chris finds them and tells him that Natalie is missing. While the three look for Natalie and try to fight off a now violent Johnny, Scott has visions of a family who once lived in the house. The three are left to figure out how the family relates to them not being able to enter the field without being attacked by scarecrows.

The supernatural horror film tries to take a unique approach to the scarecrow genre, as Simmons made the corn field haunted, instead of the house. Having the scarecrows hiding and only attacking Scott, Brian and Chris in the field finally answers the eternal question of why victims in horror films stay in one place and don’t try to run away from their attackers. Viewers will also be interested enough to wonder what happened between the family from Scott’s visions in the field, and if their violent tendencies towards each other created the scarecrow’s need to overtake people’s bodies and collect their souls.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

'The Other Woman' Movie Review

Title: The Other Woman

Director: Don Roos

Stars: Natalie Portman, Lisa Kudrow and Lauren Ambrose

While Natalie Portman plays Emilia Greenleaf, “The other woman” in the upcoming film adaptation of author Ayelet Waldman’s 2006 novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Emilia will also be remembered as the Academy Award-nominated actress’ “other character” this season. After appearing as ballerina Nina Sayers in this winter’s hit Oscar-nominated movie ‘Black Swan,’ Portman is once again portraying a character overcome with emotion in ‘The Other Woman.’ However, despite her best efforts, Portman fails to deliver another passionate and intense performance.

‘The Other Woman’ tries to take a humorous, sarcastic and dramatic look into the devastating world of dealing with the grief of losing a loved one. Don Roos, who both wrote and directed ‘The Other Woman,’ deserves credit for his attempt to showcase such a serious subject in an unconventional way. However, his final effort did not totally live up to the movie’s studio, IFC Films, description of the plot as frank, funny and heart-wrenching.

Audiences will surely sympathize with Emilia (played by Portman), who’s struggling to find a balance in her life. She’s trying to figure out how to deal with the death of her newborn daughter, her deteriorating marriage to her husband Jack Wolf (portrayed by Scott Cohen), her hostile relationship with her stepson William (portrayed by Charlie Tahan) and the rift in her relationship with her father, due to his cheating on her mother. With all of this, Emilia must also deal with Jack’s jealous ex-wife Carolyn (played by Lisa Kudrow), who doesn’t like how she treats William. Carolyn is also still upset Jack had an affair with Emila, got her pregnant and married her.

While writing the script, Roos definitely had good intentions, as he wanted to showcase what happens to a family behind closed doors as they struggle with their problems with each other. While movies detailing influential men leaving their families for a woman working in their company is clich├ęd, the after effects and problems of their new marriages are rarely shown. With Emilia and Jack’s union, Roos wanted to prove that not all relationships that arise from work affairs are stable.

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Exclusive Interview with 'Prowl' Director Patrik Sversen

Read our exclusive interview director Patrik Syversen, who helmed the upcoming horror movie ‘Prowl.’ The film is being released theatrically as part of this year’s After Dark Films’ Horrorfest, more commonly known as the 8 Films to Die For film festival, on January 28, 2011. The movie will then premiere on DVD, On Demand and Digital Download on March 29. The director, who has made a name for himself helming, writing and editing such horror movies as ‘Manhunt,’ discusses with us, among other things, why he was attracted to ‘Prowl’ and what differentiates the film from other horror movies.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Shockya (SY): Your upcoming horror movie, ‘Prowl,’ follows a small-town girl, Amber, as she moves to the big city with friends. After accepting a ride from a trucker, the friends discover he has brought them to a warehouse where humans are the prey for blood-thirsty creatures. What was it about the script that convinced you to direct the movie?

Patrik Syversen (PS): I was attracted to the themes, and the fact that the film is a sort of coming of age survival horror. For me to do a film, it has to speak to me on a personal level. Making a film is a lot of work and effort, so the more personal, the better the film will turn out. The script was well written, had a clear central character with an interesting arc, and that really appealed to me. It was also one of those things, the main character is always running away, but in the process of running away from things in her life, she realizes who she is as a person. I like working with specific themes, and using genres to explore them. In this case, a survival horror works really well. It’s in your face, intense, and violent, yet it’s all grounded in a central story. Being a fan of both character driven films and horror, choosing this project was a no brainer, even though it’s the first film I’ve done that I haven’t written myself.

SY: How did you decide what the creatures would look like? Did you work with a particular visual effects supervisor/make-up artist to create the creatures?

PS: The creatures were initially written as birdlike, but time and budget gave us lot of restraints. In the end, this really helped in the decision of what the creatures should be. I wanted the film to have a realistic feel, so we sort of stripped it down to the bare essentials; sharp fangs, black eyes, and then focused on the performances to make it creepy. And sometimes less is definitely more. We did a lot of work on different designs, and some of them were really cool, but in the end, the more direct and simple, the more relatable. So, I’m really happy that it turned out the way it did.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Exclusive Courtney Hope Interview

Read our exclusive interview with movie and television actress Courtney Hope, who next appears as Amber in the After Dark Originals horror film ‘Prowl.’ The independent movie is included in this year’s Horrorfest, also known as the 8 Films to Die For film festival. It’s scheduled to hit theaters on January 28 before receiving a March 29 DVD, digital download and On Demand release. Hope discusses with us, among other things, how she prepared for the role of Amber and how ‘Prowl’ is different from other horror films.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Shockya (SY): You have starred in a variety of genres, including action movies and short films. So what persuaded you to take the role of Amber in the upcoming horror movie ‘Prowl?’

Courtney Hope (CH): The role of Amber in the horror movie ‘Prowl’ was something new and different, unlike than anything I had done prior. I am always up for trying new things, stretching my acting ability and finding new niches. I really thought it would be a fun change to do something out of the realm of what I am used too.
SY: ‘Prowl’ follows your character, Amber, as she convinces her friends to move to the big city with her. While on their journey, the truck driver who picks them up takes them back to a warehouse where blood-thirsty creatures want to hunt them. Does Amber exhibit or feel any remorse or guilt for getting her friends into such a dire situation?

SY: ‘Prowl’ follows your character, Amber, as she convinces her friends to move to the big city with her. While on their journey, the truck driver who picks them up takes them back to a warehouse where blood-thirsty creatures want to hunt them. Does Amber exhibit or feel any remorse or guilt for getting her friends into such a dire situation?

CH: Absolutely. Amber feels very guilty for getting her friends in such an intense, life-threatening situation. She knows that she is the reason they are all there in the first place, and admits at one point that it really is all her fault. She cares so much for her friends that she finally has to buck up, and take responsibility for her actions and find a way out, otherwise no one is going to make it out alive.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Exclusive Patrick Fabian Interview on 'Working Class'

Read our exclusive interview with Patrick Fabian, who stars as grocery store boss Rob Parker in CMT’s first original sitcom ‘Working Class,’ which debuts at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 28, 2011. The series follows the attraction between Rob and one of his workers, Carli Mitchell (who is portrayed by Melissa Peterman of ‘Reba’ fame), a twice-divorced single mother of three who is struggling to make ends meet in her upper-middle-class neighborhood. Fabian discusses with us, among things, why the series is different from other series he has appeared on, and what it’s like working with Peterman and their other co-star, television icon Ed Asner.

Shockya (SY): You play the role of Rob Diamond on the show, the boss of the grocery store, and you are primarily known for your guest-starring roles on various TV shows. What is it about ‘Working Class’ that makes it different from the other shows you’ve appeared on?

Patrick Fabian (PF): Well, first off, the character’s name is actually Rob Parker. Originally, he was called Rob Diamond, and I think they changed it for a number of reasons. For one, in my mind, Rob Diamond sounds like someone who’s going to steal your money, doesn’t it? He sounds like a skeevy guy (laughs). I play Melissa Peterman’s boss. What’s really fun about being in a sitcom with Melissa is that I’ve played a lot of corporate CEO’s, sort of a**wholes. I’ve played a lot of teachers in my work. But being able to be in a sitcom with her, I get the chance change it up and be funny, which is really great. We have a chemistry. We’re from the opposite sides of the track. I’m a rich guy, she’s sort of more working class, hence the title. But we both find each other really attractive. I think that’s where we’re going to explore our characters down the line.

SY: As you said, you’re working with Melissa, and Ed Asner on the show. What were your experiences like working with them on the set?

PF: Well, you know, Melissa is so funny. She’s the funniest girl on television. She’s also come from improv. She’s quick on her feet. She’s good to go no matter what’s thrown at her. We were shooting the show in a three-day cycle, having somebody who’s really good like that is imperative. She busted me up on set all the time. Ed Anser, by the way, a TV legend, he’s all about the work and all about the funny and making it happen. But he’s fantastic to work with as well. He’s kind of like that crotchety old grandfather that everyone has in their family. Except of course he’s an old softie, and he’d hate me for saying that, but it’s true. He’s a real softie underneath. Working with him was a real fun experience because he’s such a pro. With his experience, you can go ahead and learn from him. He was so funny, and he would steal scenes from me just by doing a look. I would say, “Wait a second, Ed. Get out of my background.” So it was a good lesson.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Exclusive Tim Tori on 'Prowl' Interview

Read our exclusive interview with horror screenwriter Tim Tori, who scripted the upcoming After Dark Originals film ‘Prowl.’ The movie is scheduled to open in a limited theatrical release on Friday, January 28, as part of the studio’s annual Horrorfest, more commonly known as its 8 Films to Die For Film Festival. Tori discusses with us, among other things, where he came up with the idea for ‘Prowl’ and what it’s been like working with After Dark.

Shockya (SY): ‘Prowl’ follows the story of main character Amber and her friends as they travel to their new apartment in the big city. They discover the driver they accept a ride from into the city is storing hundreds of cartons of blood in his truck, and takes them to a warehouse where creatures hunt humans. Where did you come up the idea for the movie?

Tim Tori (TT): The initial idea for “Prowl” was simply a reversal of the standard model. I noticed that a lot of horror films portrayed kids from the big city driving out to the middle of nowhere and running into trouble. I decided that it might be interesting to follow the kids who live in the middle of nowhere as they drive out to the big city. As it turns out, they also run into trouble.

SY: ‘Prowl’ is being distributed by After Dark Films, which has also released such movies as ‘An American Haunting’ and ‘Skinwalkers.’ What has your experience been like working with a production company that focuses mainly on horror films?

TT: My experience with After Dark has been incredible. Everyone at that company is committed to creating fantastic films. Working with them is like going to school because they’ve done this so many times. They know what works and what doesn’t, and they care about making their movies different and distinctive. They take their horror seriously, which is what I do. I had a blast working with them on “Prowl,” and we are making more movies together as we speak. In fact, I’d better answer these questions fast and get back to work!

Written by: Karen Benardello

To read the rest of this interview, please visit:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

'No Strings Attached' Movie Review

Title: No Strings Attached

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Kline

The two can’t be anymore different from each other, both on-screen and off. In real life, Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, who co-star together in the new movie ‘No Strings Attached,’ have varying experiences in the romantic comedy genre; this is her first rom-com, while he’s made a name for himself portraying fun-loving slackers who ultimately find love in numerous movies. In the film, Portman’s character, Dr. Emma Kurtzman, wants a casual sexual relationship with Kutcher’s character, Adam Franklin, while he wants to romance her.

In an effort to sell ‘No Strings Attached’ in the wake of Portman’s most recent film, last month’s successful thriller ‘Black Swan,’ the rom-com’s ads continuously focused on the fact that Emma is commitment-phobic instead of Adam. The plot follows the two, who met a few times over the course of their teenage and college years, as they decide to start a low-key, no strings relationship after they both settle into their careers. While Emma insists on keeping the relationship simple by not bringing jealousy or fighting into their agreement, Adam begins to develop feelings for her.

Eventually, everyone in Emma’s life, including her roommates and fellow doctors Shira (played by Mindy Kaling) and Patrice (portrayed by Greta Gerwig) and her sister Katie (played by Olivia Thirlby), sees a potential relationship for her and Adam. But Emma refuses to listen to them and follow her heart, as she’s afraid she’ll get hurt.

Screenwriter Elizabeth Meriwether deserves credit for infusing a unique idea of making her lead female character commitment-phobic instead of the lead male in the redundant rom-com sub-genre. However, Meriwether continuously reminded audiences that ‘No Strings Attached’ is her first major screenplay, as she failed to include any of the elements that make a rom-com successful. While Adam occasionally gives Emma romantic glances and tells people he is starting to care for her, he never proves his true love to her. He also wants to protect his image so much that he doesn’t want to fight for her.

Meanwhile, Emma is afraid of opening up to Adam, as she doesn’t want to get hurt. But it’s never fully explained why she’s unwilling to give love a chance. While audiences may assume that Emma emotionally shut down after her father died in the beginning of the movie, she refuses to discuss anything serious, and instead just wants to live in the moment.

Even though the script for ‘No Strings Attached’ doesn’t follow typical rom-com forum, as there are no external obstacles keeping Emma and Adam apart, and their insecurities of being in a relationship is the only thing separating them, Portman and Kutcher’s chemistry does hold the movie together. Kutcher’s ease at portraying the crazy, easy-going male lead, as seen in his previous rom-coms, including ‘Just Married,’ ‘A Lot Like Love’ and ‘What Happens in Vegas,’ helped Portman become comfortable in carrying a fun love story. With Kutcher’s help, Portman effortlessly transformed herself into a free-spirit after appearing as tormented ballerina Nina Sayers in ‘Black Swan.’

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Regis Philbin Retiring from Talk Show

After being in show business for 40 years, Regis Philbin shocked fans when he announced he will be retiring from his hit syndicated morning talk show, ‘Live with Regis and Kelly,’ sometime in late summer, is reporting. The famed 79-year-old talk show host confirmed the news when he said “I don’t want to alarm anybody, but this will be my last year on the show.”

Philbin has hosted several different versions of the program since 1983, when it premiered as ‘The Morning Show.’ He has had several co-hosts since then, including Cyndy Garvey, Ann Abernathy, Kathie Lee Gifford and his current co-host, Kelly Ripa. While he added that it has been a thrill for him to be able to host a talk show in New York, he also said that “There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera -- especially certain old people!”

The veteran talk show host, who has also hosted such shows as ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ and ‘America’s Got Talent,’ holds a Guinness world record for most hours logged on television. But rumors began swirling several years ago about his retirement, when he said he loves being off. There hasn’t been any speculation yet over who will replace Philbin when he leaves.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Dilemma Movie Review

Title: The Dilemma

Director: Ron Howard

Stars: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James and Winona Ryder

Vince Vaughn seems to have a dilemma on his hands. Throughout his comedic career, Vaughn has risen to popularity by starring in successful bromance movies that focus on the “man code,” including ‘Old School’ and ‘Wedding Crashers.’ He hopes to add his latest comedy, ‘The Dilemma,’ co-starring Kevin James, to that list. But unfortunately, at the age of 40, the non-committal, man-child role that Vaughn has repeatedly played throughout his career has seemed to have lost its appeal.

Since ‘The Dilemma’s advertising first started, the movie has also caused nothing but trouble for director Ron Howard, who has earned fame for directing numerous award-winning dramas, including ‘Apollo 13′ and ‘Frost/Nixon.’ Even though he reunited with his ‘A Beautiful Mind’ star Jennifer Connelly and paired her with comedic favorites Vaughn and James, Howard received backlash after the film’s first trailer included a negative use of the word gay. Plus, even though he has thrived with his dramatic projects over the past decade, ‘The Dilemma’s inane take on such mature topics of infidelity and gambling addiction only remind audiences why Howard’s last comedic effort, ‘EDtv,’ flopped in 1999.

‘The Dilemma’ follows best friends Ronny Valentine (played by Vaughn) and Nick Backman (portrayed by James), who are partners in an auto design firm. They’re trying to create and sell an environmentally-friendly engine for muscle cars. After Ronny inadvertently sees Nick’s wife Geneva (played by Winona Ryder) kissing another man, Zip Hanson (portrayed by Channing Tatum), he struggles over whether or not he should tell Nick, as he’s already stressed out about finishing their project on time.

Ronny’s silence, however, affects his relationship with his girlfriend Beth (played by Connelly). Beth feels that Ronny may have fallen off the wagon and started gambling again, and becomes upset that he doesn’t discuss what’s bothering him with her.

The combination of Vaughn, James and Howard alone should have guaranteed that ‘The Dilemma’ would be a success. But the screenplay, which was written by Allan Loeb, proves he is better at writing dramas, such as his previous efforts ‘21′ and ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.’ Loeb included the same redundant jokes and gags for Vaughn and James that were featured in their previous works, and didn’t create any range for them to become creative and original.

One such recycled theme was Nick’s insecurities of always being the outsider and not being accepted, as seen in his roles in ‘Hitch’ and his television series ‘The King of Queens.’ Most of ‘The Dilemma’s plot focuses on Ronny’s need to protect Nick’s feelings. As a result, Vaughn is unable to develop Ronny’s maturity of wanting to do right by his company and Beth.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

'Season of the Witch' Movie Review

Title: Season of the Witch

Directed by: Dominic Sena

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Conan The Barbarian), Stephen Campbell Moore, Robert Sheehan and Christopher Lee.

Written by: Karen Benardello

The art of making a thrilling and entertaining adventure movie involves mixing the element of surprise with fierce fighting and an enticing storyline. Not only is Relativity Media, the studio that is distributing ‘Season of the Witch,’ promising all these elements in the new supernatural action film, but it’s also claiming the movie throws in magnificent stunts and memorable performances that will leave audiences downright frightened. While the movie, which re-teams Nicolas Cage with his ‘Gone in Sixty Seconds’ director Dominic Sena, certainly delivers visually-stunning stunts as promised and believable relationships between some of the characters, ‘Season of the Witch’ doesn’t compare to the duo’s previous collaboration.

In Cage’s reunion with Sena, the actor portrays a heroic Crusader named Behmen. After years of fighting brutal warfare in the name of God, he deserts the Church with his closest friend, Felson (played by Ron Perlman). When the two enter the Palace at Marburg to search for food and supplies, they’re apprehended by Cardinal D’Ambroise (portrayed by Christopher Lee). In exchange for not being sent to prison for desertion, the two are ordered by the cardinal to escort a young girl (played by newcomer Claire Foy) who’s accused of being a witch and bringing on the Black Plague to a distant village to stand trial.

Felson feels compelled to protect the girl, as he feels she’s merely a scapegoat for the church. The trio is escorted by a con-man named Hagamar (portrayed by Stephen Graham), who knows the lay of the land; a young alter boy named Kay (played by Robert Sheehan); a knight named Eckhart (portrayed by Ulrich Thomsen), who lost his family to the plague; and a naive priest named Debelzaq (played by Stephen Campbell Moore).

While the trailers for ‘Season of the Witch’ promise a plot not only focused on a young witch tormenting her enemies for betraying her, but conflicts that will make viewers question their beliefs in religion and politics as well, the movie disappointingly fails on both counts. Sena was ultimately unsuccessful in keeping his audience interested in the film’s biggest plot point: whether or not the girl is really a witch. Instead, the majority of the film focuses on Behmen, Felson and the others boringly arguing amongst themselves about numerous things, including if the girl is just being used as a scapegoat, and if the teachings of the church are right.

Sena, who is known for making contemporary films that appeal to today’s audiences, wanted to incorporate a modern twist into the historical backdrop of the movie. To a certain degree, producer Alex Gartner wrongfully agreed with his approach, pointing to the fact that “The characters are questioning things that many people question today.” However, that approach doesn’t always work for period pieces.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

'Vanishing On 7th Street' Movie Review

Title: Vanishing on 7th Street

Director: Brad Anderson

Starring: Hayden Christensen (Jumper, The Cold), Thandie Newton (2012, For Colored Girls) and John Leguizamo (Ice Age: Continental Drift)

Written by: Karen Benardello

Ambiguity and being able to continuously leave viewers guessing about the cause of disasters may not sound appealing to all movie audiences, but if done effectively, is a valuable way to keep thriller fans interested in a storyline. The new Herrick Entertainment post-apocalyptic thriller ‘Vanishing On 7th Street,’ starring Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo, achieves director Brad Anderson’s goal of leaving its audience guessing if the end of the world has really come. Viewers will also be entertained as they are left wondering what the explanation for the world’s recent downfall is.

‘Vanishing On 7th Street’ poses an interesting alternative to the classic apocalyptic thriller sub-genre. Instead of focusing on aliens or zombies, which have saturated the horror market in recent years, the movie instead preys on many people’s primal fears: the dark. An unexplained blackout overtakes the entire city of Detroit, and as the sun rises the next day, only a handful of survivors remain. Everyone else has vanished, leaving behind only their clothing as proof they ever existed.

Several strangers, including Luke (played by Christensen), a television reporter; Rosemary (portrayed by Newton), a physical therapist; Paul (played by Leguizamo), a movie theater projectionist; and 12-year-old James (portrayed by newcomer Jacob Latimore) survive the first several days of the blackout. They cross paths with each other at Sonny’s bar on 7th Street. The quartet have come to realize that in order to evade death and stay safe from the shadows that plague the darkness is to stay in the light. With the sun rising later and setting earlier every day, Sonny’s, with the help of its back-up generator, is the only safe haven throughout the entire city.

With ‘Vanishing On 7th Street,’ screenwriter Andrew Jaswinski achieved his goal of creating a chilling post-apocalyptic film in a deserted city. He has said that he’s always wanted to create a horror movie set in a bar without having to use a monster to create a sinister presence. “Essentially, the idea of nonexistence itself has become the entity,” Jaswinski added, which comes across quite effectively.

While the idea of using shadows and the unkown to scare its audience may turn some horror fans away, the absence of monsters allows viewers to instead focus on the characters and their desire to live. Forced to face their fears of giving up what’s always been familiar to them, and abandoning hope of finding their loved ones, including Luke’s estranged wife, Rosemary’s infant son and James’ mother, the audience will be left to question what they would do if they lost their entire way of life overnight.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

'Season of the Witch' Cast Interview

Here’s our interview with ‘Season of the Witch’ cast members Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Robert Sheehan, Stephen Campbell Moore and newcomer Claire Foy. The supernatural action-adventure film, which hits theaters on January 7, 2011, follows crusaders Behmen (played by Cage) and his closest friend, Felson (portrayed by Perlman), as they desert their mission to fight for the Church. In order to avoid prison time for their desertion, the two are required to accompany a young girl (portrayed by Foy), who’s accused of being a witch and bringing on the Black Plague, to a distant village to stand trial.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Question (Q): This film is deep-rooted in the Crusades. What would you say makes it relevant to today’s world?

Nicolas Cage (NC): Well, I think there’s enormous parallels to be made in all many different parts of politics, and also religion. I don’t want to dwell on it, I’ll leave it up to you guys to sort out.

Ron Perlman (RP): Very, very good answer!

Q: Nic, your first dialogue in the first battle scene with Ron, the two of you were talking about buying drinks after the battle. That seems like a current-day dialogue two guys would have before they compete on a hand-ball court, instead of in the 1300s.

NC: I think there was some desire on the part of the producers to try to give it somewhat of a contemporary feel, to hopefully make it connect to modern-day audiences.

Q: So it was intentional?

RP: Yes. It was an attempt to draw attention to the fact the last thing these guys want to do, before going into their possible last battle, is to draw attention to the heaviness of the situation. It was probably more internal of what warriors do, than allowing themselves to get caught up in something so negative, doom-oriented.

Claire Foy (CF): In a period piece, everyone thinks the characters have to talk in a certain way in order for it to work. I think that’s not really the case. I think it’s a lot more accessible to people if characters have real relationships and behave normally, as opposed to just playing a knight.

Q: Nic, you had said a minute ago that it’s up to us to look at the political-religious parallel. What made you want to do this movie when you read it?

NC: Well, first of all, I really wanted to be in the forest. I had just done a little movie called ‘Bad Lieutenant’ in New Orleans, and it was very hot. I was in these tiny, little humid offices, and I was dreaming about making a movie in the forest. Then this script came along, and I said “I’m going.” I was in the Austrian alps, which was divine, in Hungary. Then I found myself living a dream, because I had always wanted to play a knight. I’ve been doing it since I was very small, in my backyard. It was my dream. That was really the connection. I like to keep it mixed up. I want to keep trying to find new looks, new styles of movies to work in because its been 30 years now. I like to go into different careers. I’m embracing, celebrating the careers of Vincent Price and Christopher Lee, who I was fortunate to work with. (Lee portrays Cardinal D’Ambroise in the movie, and orders Behmen and Felson to make the voyage with the girl.) I liked those movies, they’re sincere. Those are the movies I watch. I thought, maybe now I should try that.

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'Killjoy 3' Movie Review

Title: Killjoy 3

Directed by: John Lechago

Starring: Trent Haaga, Victoria De Mare and Al Burke

Written by: Karen Benardello

The appeal of horror movies to many fans is that they provide an adrenaline rush of terror from things people fear. With the help of the 1990 mini-series ‘It,’ based on the successful Stephen King novel, clowns have reached the top of the list of things people dread, based on their ease of getting joy of playing tricks on others. B-movie production company Full Moon Features hopes to further capitalize on people’s panic of clowns with its newest straight-to-DVD film ‘Killjoy 3.’ But with its light-hearted, comedic take on the insane killer clown genre made famous by ‘It,’ and its shortage of developed plot points, ‘Killjoy 3′ failed to become the next demon clown classic.

‘Killjoy 3,’ the second sequel to the 2000 cult classic slasher film ‘Killjoy,’ follows a group of four college students-Sandy (played by Jessica Whitaker); her boyfriend, Rojer (portrayed by Michael Rupnow); his football teammate Zilla (played by Spiral Jackson); and Sandy’s friend Erica (portrayed by Olivia Dawn York)- who give up going away during their spring break to housesit for their professor (played by Darrow Igus). The night before the professor is due to come back, a mysterious mirror is left on his doorstep, which Rojer brings into the house.

Unbeknown to the students, the professor tried to raise the demon clown Killjoy (portrayed by Trent Haaga) before he left to use him to get his revenge. But since the professor didn’t give Killjoy the name of his intended victim before he left town, the demon starts to pull his students through the mirror to lure him out of hiding. The professor and his students must now fight and defeat Killjoy and his three clown followers, Punch, Freakshow and Batty Boop, in order to survive.

While Killjoy isn’t nearly as terrifying as Pennywise the Dancing Clown from ‘It,’ the latest film in the Full Moon Features trilogy does succeed at bringing some laughs back to the usually overlooked comedic horror sub-genre. While Killjoy’s goal is to get the professor to give him the name of his intended victim and finds joy in terrorizing the students, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. A prime example of this is when Sandy tries to seduce and use him just to make Batty Boop jealous, but he doesn’t seem to mind that Batty Boop falls for Sandy’s trick. He just views Sandy as another easy target he can conquer.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

'Puppet Master' Movie Review

Title: Puppet Master

Director: David Schmoeller

Writers: Charles Band and Kenneth J. Hall

Starring: Paul Le Mat, William Hickey and Irene Miracle

Since the birth of the the film industry, puppetry has continuously loaned its magic of entertaining people to the screen, particularly in the horror genre. Several horror franchises featuring puppets have been met with great financial success, including ‘Saw’ and ‘Child’s Play.’ While these series certainly have their flaws, the cult classic ‘Puppet Master,’ which was released this past summer on Blu-ray in honor of its twentieth anniversary, will certainly leave many horror fans wondering why they’ve become so enticed with the dolls.

‘Puppet Master,’ which was co-written by Charles Band, the head of the film’s production company, Full Moon Features, had a promising and seemingly interesting plot-line. The movie follows psychic Alex Whittaker (played by Paul Le Mat) as he travels to the Bodega Bay Inn in California to meet with three of his telepathic friends. The four psychics are receiving visions of death, and assume the apparitions are coming from their colleague Neil Gallagher (portrayed by Jimmie F. Skaggs).

At the inn, the four psychics are introduced to Neil’s wife Megan (played by Robin Frates). They find out that Neil had recently shot himself. While trying to determine why, the psychics encounter living puppets, including Tunneler, who drills holes in people; Ms. Leech, who regurgitates killer leeches onto her victims; and Blade, who has a hook and a knife for hands. The psychics soon find out that the puppets were crafted by puppeteer Andre Toulon in 1939 to help create eternal life.

Bringing in the supernatural psychic element seemed like it it would create an interesting twist to an otherwise typical slasher horror film. However, ‘Puppet Master’ ultimately turned out to be a true representative of the B movie genre. While fans normally embrace B films for their campy acting and inferior character development, the actors and writing for ‘Puppet Master’ were even more horrific than most cult classics.

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