Saturday, February 26, 2011

Drive Angry Movie Review

Title: Drive Angry 3D

Directed by: Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine, Condition Dead 3D)

Starring: Nicolas Cage (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Season of the Witch), Amber Heard (Zombieland), Billy Burke (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) and Katy Mixon

Written by: Karen Benardello

Combining the popular movie genres of car racing, revenge thrillers and religious cults may sound like an odd mix to many film viewers, but the unusual blend had the potential to captivate audiences. When first hearing of the new action movie ‘Drive Angry 3D,’ led by Nicolas Cage, many fans undoutbingly thought it would help reverse the actor’s floundering career, and make it prosper into what it once was. But once audiences see the film, they’ll realize that not even the most dazzling stunts will help a movie with under-developed characters and a seemingly hastingly put together story-line.

‘Drive Angry’ follows John Milton (played by Cage), a man who recently broke out of Hell to hunt down a satanic cult whose leader, Jonah King (portrayed by Billy Burke), murdered his daughter and is intending on sacrificing his infant granddaughter. Milton has three days to track Jonah down and avenge his daughter’s death, as the devil has sent one of his supernatural operatives, simply known as “The Accountant” (played by William Fitchner), to track him down and bring him back to Hell. Along the way, Milton picks up a waitress, Piper (portrayed by Amber Heard), who is eager to go on the road to get away from her cheating fiancé.

After seeing advertisements for ‘Drive Angry,’ Cage’s fans may have expected the movie to mark his return to the blockbuster action genre. After the box office successes of his recent films ‘Kick-Ass’ and ‘Ghost Rider,’ the Academy Award-winning actor seemed to be back on track to achieving the wide-spread fame he once rightfully garnered. While Cage was able to convincingly portray Milton’s pain and desperation of wanting to stop Jonah, he was unfortunately unable to prove what a great actor he can be with this role.

Cage’s lack of connection to Milton can mainly be contributed to the fact that ‘Drive Angry’s director, Patrick Lussier, who also co-wrote the script with Todd Farmer, seemed to want to focus more on the stunts than the plot-line, like most action films. Lussier, who previously worked with Farmer on his last directorial effort, the 2009 remake ‘My Bloody Valentine,’ achieved success with that film, as he was able to balance an intriguing story with intense stunts. However, he wasn’t able to attain that same success with ‘Drive Angry,’ as he created a somewhat confusing back-story for Milton and puzzling explanation of why he was going after Jonah.

To read the rest of this review, please visit:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Angel of Vengeance Book Review

Angel of Vengeance Book Review

Written by: Karen Benardello

The overall intriguing theme of the new Titan Books’ vampire crime novel “Angel of Vengeance” by Trevor Munson is relying on the past to get to where you are today. Munson, who first came up the idea for a vampire book and the main character, Mick Angel, in 2005, saw that the road to publishing his novel was coming to an end. So a year later, he turned to Hollywood to turn his manuscript into a teleplay. After the success the resulting paranormal romance drama, CBS’ 2007-08 series ‘Moonlight,’ found, Munson rightfully returned to the publishing world to finally release “Angel of Vengeance”.

The book follows Mick Angel, an L.A.-based private detective and a vampire. While recalling his transformation into a vampire by his wife Coraline in the mid-1940s, Mick is hired by a burlesque dancer, Reesa Van Cleef, who wants him to find her 14-year-old sister Raya, who ran away from home. Fighting his ever-growing attraction to Reesa and the numerous drug dealers and thugs who seem to know where Raya is but won’t tell him, Mick is determined to find her no matter what the cost. What makes the case harder is the police’s persistence that Mick is somewhat involved. He has to balance his insistence that he’s innocent with the obstacles that continually block him from gaining any leads in the case.

Despite having served as the inspiration for ‘Moonlight,’ which starred Alex O’Loughlin as Mick (his last name was changed to St. John) and Sophia Myles as his love interest Beth Turner (who doesn’t appear in the novel), Angel of Vengeance definitely takes a much darker route than the show. Following in the footsteps of other self-loathing vampires, such as Louis de Pointe du Lac in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, Mick continuously struggles with his need for blood and his desire not to kill innocent people. Even though vampires are supposed to be evil antagonists, Mick’s willingness and need to protect the innocent gives him a humility and relatablity that will make readers sympathize with him.

To read the rest of this review, please visit:

Exclusive Cody Deal Interview on 'Almighty Thor'

Read our exclusive interview with actor Cody Deal, whose next set to portray the title role in the SyFy Original television movie ‘Almighty Thor.’ The movie follows the Norse god as he tries to defeat the villainous Loki (played by Richard Grieco) before he can defeat both the world of the gods and the world of men. Deal discusses with us, among other things, why Thor fans should watch ‘Almighty Thor’ when it premieres on May 7, 2011, and how he transitioned to the superhero role after appearing in several comedies, including ‘Get Him to the Greek.’

Written by: Karen Benardello

Shockya (SY): You are next set to play the title role in the upcoming SyFy Original television movie ‘Almighty Thor,’ which premieres on May 7, 2011. What attracted you to the role of Thor?

Cody Deal (CD): I originally auditioned for Mavel’s ‘Thor’ before I moved to Los Angeles. Doing research on the role then, and being a fan of watching their version come together, is something I took an interest in long before I heard about ‘Almighty Thor.’ At that time, I browsed all corners of the Internet researching Marvel’s ‘Thor’ and went to the public library and picked up a large collection of comics including The Avengers comics.

When I heard about the audition for ‘Almighty Thor,’ I felt with total confidence that I already knew this character. I had studied him almost two years prior and breathed life into my own interpretation of him. All of that is what initially attracted me to want to want to take full advantage of this second opportunity to become Thor on screen.

SY: ‘Almighty Thor’ is going against the high-profile Marvel Studios adaptation of ‘Thor,’ which is being released theatrically a day before your film debuts on SyFy. Why should the comic book fans watch ‘Almighty Thor,’ and what is unique about your film?

CD: This particular version of Thor becomes very interesting for the Thor fanatic because they will be watching a story of Thor that they don’t already know.

‘Almighty Thor’ is a coming of age story of a young hero who, although eager to fight, is not yet ready for the mantle of leadership. Yet certain circumstances make him have to embrace who he really is much sooner than he wants to and Thor becomes the only hope to save the world of men and the world of gods. Loki (played by Richard Grieco) is an all-powerful God and threatens to destroy everything in his path. And, Odin (played by Kevin Nash) has to make the decision to let Thor step up when he, too, may not think he is ready.

What makes this truly interesting for Thor fans is the old Norse legends weren’t really about coming of age. The stories around Thor talk about him being born by a human mother and his God-father, Odin, but it does not talk about his early life. Just like when Jesus of Nazereth becomes The Christ, no one knows much about his first 33 years on earth, because it’s not documented. The same is true for Thor. The polytheistic traditions didn’t explore his early youth. But ‘Almighty Thor doesn’t. What you see is a God who begins to embrace his divinity; his greatness.

To read the rest of this interview, please visit:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

'Unknown' Movie Review

Title: Unknown

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger and January Jones

Written by: Karen Benardello

While Dark Castle Entertainment, the studio behind the new Liam Neeson thriller ‘Unknown,’ was busy promoting the action film, the actor’s fans undoubtedly questioned if the movie would be reminiscent of his 2009 sleeper hit ‘Taken.’ Both films are focused on Neeson’s character, an American, who travels to Europe and puts himself through physical danger to put his life back together. While the plotline for ‘Unknown’ unfortunately doesn’t stay entirely true to ‘Taken’s format, Neeson still proves that as an older actor, he can still equally balance action while developing a sophisticated character.

‘Unknown’ follows Dr. Martin Harris (played by Neeson) as he arrives in Berlin with his wife, Elizabeth (portrayed by January Jones). After they reach their hotel, Martin realizes he left one of his briefcases at the airport, and quickly hails a taxi to go back to retrieve it. But his cab driver, Gina (played by Diane Kruger), gets into an accident along the way, sending Martin to the hospital in a coma.

After he wakes up from the coma, Martin goes back to the hotel to find his wife, as he’s worried that she’s been in a strange city by herself for several days. When he does find Elizabeth, she denies knowing him, and insists that another man (portrayed by Aiden Quinn) is really her husband. Determined to prove who he really is to police and the world, Martin will stop at nothing to get his life back.

Neeson definitely seemed to connect with Martin, as he was convincingly able to portray his pain and confusion. The audience will definitely question Martin’s sanity as he talks to his doctor in the hospital and the security guards at the hotel; despite seemingly knowing almost everything about his life with Elizabeth, he doesn’t have any physical proof that he is indeed who he says he is. What makes his situation worse is that everyone in his past denies knowing him. Neeson’s accurate depiction of a man wandering unfamiliar streets, hoping someone will be willing to help him, will surely make the audience question what they would do if they were in his place.

To read the rest of this review, please visit:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Exclusive Azita Ghanizada Interview

Read our exclusive interview with Afghan-American actress Azita Ghanizada, who is set to portray Rachel, a lab tech with hyperactive senses, in SyFy’s upcoming series ‘Alphas.’ The show follows a covert government agency that hires superheroes who have mental/psychic abilities to hunt down their enemies. Besides rising to fame in America as a television actress, Ghanizada also works with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help refugees in her native Afghanistan. Ghanizada discusses with us, among other things, how she prepared for the role of Rachel, and why she wants to help the UNHCR.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Shockya (SY): You are next set to play Rachel Myer, a lab tech with hyperactive standard senses, on the upcoming Syfy series ‘Alphas.’ While you have also guest-starred on an episode of ‘Ghost Whisperer,’ your portrayal of Rachel in ‘Alphas’ is your first starring role in a sci-fi series. What type of research did you do to prepare before you began filming?

Azita Ghanizada (AG): Rachel’s last name is to TBD - when I got cast in the role, the writers shifted things around to fit in better with me. To be honest, I didn’t have a ton of time to prepare, in television you get cast so quickly in things, that you have to just be really available to understanding the character as a part of you - I rearranged bits of myself and found the qualities that Rachel & I shared and brought them to life. I also watched as many of Zak Penn’s films as I could, and did some research on Echolocation and telescopic sight .. trying to find human ways to give Rachel an IN into her hyper senses.

SY: Since you don’t have much experience in the sci-fi genre, what ultimately convinced you to take the role of Rachel?

AG: Ultimately it was something that the agents and managers were fighting for me to get seen in ~ Rachel is a bit conservative and shy ~ casting really knew me as more of an outgoing person, but there is a sensitivity to her that I related to, the need to fit in, the need to have her voice be heard, but to struggle with that. On top of that, Jack Bender, Zak Penn & David Strathairn were all involved - it is an actors dream land of creative’s that are at the top of there game and also classy, super intelligent and generous.

SY: ‘Alphas’ follows a covert government team that hires superheroes who have mental/psychic abilities to neutralize other Alphas. Rachel is described as a lab tech with hyperactive standard senses; how are her senses different from the other Alphas’ senses?

AG: Well, we’ve got someone who can push people, a man with hyper kinesis and another with intensified fight or flight and someone with the ability to read streaming data ~ all the senses differ in a real drastic way, and the way each character uses them to solve these crimes and find these Alphas is unique. Rachel isn’t the aggressive one in the bunch - well at least not yet - she’s finding her footing in how to use these gifts that have been actually a curse for her at home and her community - this team actually applauds her gifts and for the first time she’s brave to start using them in a positive way, and its starting feelings of empowerment. Her senses are so extreme she can taste, small, see, hear things that no one else could.

To read the rest of this interview, please visit:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

'I Saw The Devil' Movie Review

Title: I Saw the Devil

Director: Ji-woon Kim

Starring: Byung-hun Lee, Gook-hwan Jeon and Ho-jin Jeon

With some horror movies, directors aim to feature complex characters and developed stories amidst the gore the genre’s fans have come to expect. Other directors strive to only focus on violence, and don’t care as much about including an important moral or lesson. Kim Jee-Woon, who helmed Magnet’s new horror-thriller movie ‘I Saw The Devil,’ aimed to do the former; he wanted to make a revenge story that would leave his audiences questioning why some people are consumed by the need to brutalize those who have wronged them. Disappointedly, despite his best efforts, the director lost focus on the story he wanted to tell, and instead indulged in the brutality that’s guaranteed to sell in today’s horror market.

‘I Saw The Devil’ follows psychopathic serial killer Kyung-chul (portrayed by Choi Min-sik), who has committed numerous vicious murders on defenseless victims for no reason. He has alluded police until he murders Ju-yeon (played by Oh San-ha), who is stranded at the side of the road with a flat tire. Ju-yeon is the pregnant fiancée of an elite federal agent, Soo-hyun (portrayed by Lee Byung-hun), and the daughter of the retired captain of the violent crimes unit, Capt. Jang (played by Chun Kook-haun).

Filled with the need to seek revenge on Ju-yeon’s murderer, Soo-hyun takes the police file of the suspects from Capt. Jang, and hunts Kyung-chul down. While he knows that he should turn the killer into the police, Soo-hyun instead decides to turn Kyung-chul’s acts of cruelty on him. While the authorities work to capture Kyung-chu to legally prosecute him, Soo-hyun becomes consumed with his need to brutalize Ju-yeon’s killer the way he tortured her.

Of the film, Jee-woon has said he wanted to create “the most violent and elaborate revenge story ever told onscreen.” He also wanted to showcase some of the most explicit, realistic and brutal displays of violence ever seen. Despite Jee-woon’s best efforts to create film’s most unpredictable serial killer who doesn’t have any apparent motives or patterns and the best revenge story ever told, his attempt doesn’t work with ‘I Saw The Devil.’

What makes horror-revenge movies, such as ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ work is that not only do they focus on the question “what if the victim becomes the criminal,” they also continuously showcase the victims’ emotions. The audience is constantly reminded that the victims’ pain is driving them to take their revenge on their attackers. However, with ‘I Saw The Devil,’ the audience quickly forgets Soo-hyun’s grief over losing Ju-yeon after he begins assaulting Kyung-chul.

To read the rest of this review, please visit:

'Just Go With It' Movie Review

Title: Just Go with It

Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker

Directed by: Dennis Dugan

Having Adam Sandler headline a comedy movie still almost always guarantees a studio that fans will flock to the theater to see one of the most successful comedians of all time. Sandler thrives in roles in which his character feels he can joke himself out of any situation, and doesn’t have to take life or responsibilities seriously. His new film, ‘Just Go With It,’ co-starring Jennifer Aniston, is his latest project that tries to offer his successful set-up; however, with this movie, Sandler’s care-free, lax attitude happens to be his greatest flaw.

During the campaigning for ‘Just Go With It,’ Columbia Pictures seemed like it was the latest studio to solely appeal to Sandler’s built-in fan-base. The commercials seemed to promise another movie similar in premise and delivery to the comedian’s previous romantic comedies, such as ‘50 First Dates.’ While screenwriters Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling do, to some level, deliver a plot-line where Sandler’s character woes the girl of his dreams with his wit and charm, overall, true romantic comedy fans won’t be persuaded to just go with what the actor is delivering.

‘Just Go With It’ follows Sandler’s character, plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel “Danny” Maccabee, as he explains that after being hurt by his fiancée, he decides to pretend he’s in a bad marriage in order to pick up women. But after meeting Palmer (played by Brooklyn Decker), a young teacher, at a party, Danny feels that he’s finally met someone with whom he’s made a connection with.

However, when Palmer finds his fake wedding ring, Danny decides to enlist the help of his assistant, Katherine (portrayed by Jennifer Aniston). To win Palmer back, Danny pretends that he’s married to Katherine, but they’re going through a divorce. While at first Katherine is against the whole scheme, she finally decides to play along, even allowing Danny to pretend that her kids, Maggie (played by Bailee Madison) and Michael (portrayed by Griffin Gluck), are his. But complications arise along the way when Danny and Katherine begin to realize that their feelings for each other go far behind being friendly and professional.

What made ‘Just Go with It’ different from ‘50 First Dates’ and Sandler’s other romantic comedies is that he barely has any romantic connections with Aniston. While the two are at ease with each other, cracking jokes as friends, it seems unlikely that they would really foster any romantic feelings or attraction towards each other. The two are more comfortable on screen together in the beginning of the movie, when Katherine is constantly making jokes about Danny’s inability to fully commit to anything.

To read the rest of this movie review, please visit:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Exclusive Interview with 'Vanishing on 7th Street' Director Brad Anderson

Read our exclusive interview with director Brad Anderson, who helmed the upcoming post-apocalyptic horror-thriller movie ‘Vanishing on 7th Street.’ The film, which is set to have a limited February 18, 2011 theatrical release, follows a group of four strangers who discover Detroit has been hit by a black-out. The four strangers, who are played by Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo and newcomer Jacob Latimore, try to figure out how to stay alive as people around them are simply vanishing after being engulfed by the dark. Anderson discusses with us, among other things, why he decided to use shadows to bring on the apocalypse, and why he thinks people are afraid of the dark.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Shockya (SY): ‘Vanishing on 7th Street’ takes place, and was shot, in Detroit. Why did you decide to shoot and set the post-apocalyptic thriller in one of the country’s biggest cities?

Brad Anderson (BA): One of the reasons we shot it there is because Michigan has really good tax breaks and substitutes to shoot. With Detroit, we were looking for a city that would visually work for us and would capture a dark, forbidding, abandoned city. To be honest, with Detroit, we didn’t have to do much production design. We just shot Detroit as Detroit, which I felt made sense.

SY: The film is unique in the fact that instead of using weapons or technology to bring on the apocalypse, it instead uses the shadows and dark. Why did you decide to do that?

BA: This was a script I wrote. With the script, if you see the film, there’s no explanation given. What’s happening is purposely left ambiguous. The shadows are the monster or the villain, if you will. It’s interesting to me because it’s not as if there’s a nuclear threat or a virus, or anything like that. What I did was an existential threat. People are confronted with disappearances without any real explanation. They’re left to debate what that means. The circumstances as to why this is happening were less interesting to me than the reactions and the behavior of the people, the survivors of the story. It’s not a typical apocalyptic genre film at all. I was never into that.

To read the rest of this interview, please visit:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

'Seconds Apart' Movie Review

Title: Seconds Apart

Directed by: Antonio Negret

Screenwriter: George Richards

Stars: Edmund Entin, Gary Entin, Monica Acosta, Gabe Begneaud and Kent Jude Bernard

Written by: Karen Benardello

Reports focusing on the close mental relationship between twins, particularly those that speculate they share telekinetic abilities together, have always been met with interest, especially by horror fans. Horror and thriller directors have long relied on telekinesis and other rumored powers of the mind to sell their evil-twin movies, and Antonio Negret is one of the latest to do so. His latest directorial effort, ‘Seconds Apart,’ which is being released as part of After Dark Films’ annual Horrorfest (also known as the ‘8 Films to Die For’ film festival), hopes to prove that the tight bond between twins doesn’t always last forever.

Negret, who has experience in the thriller genre after helming the 2007 film ‘Towards Darkness,’ somewhat succeeds in achieving his goal of offering a twist on the evil-twin sub-genre. Wanting to show that some twins do indeed outgrow their dependence on their sibling, and that some people do finally see the error in their ways, ‘Seconds Apart’ follows telekinetic twins Jonah and Seth. (The two are played by real-life twins Edmund and Gary Entin, respectively, who rose to fame portraying the Wenabago sons in the horror movie ‘Rest Stop’ and its sequel, ‘Rest Stop: Never Look Back’). The brothers live a seemingly privileged and spoiled life furnished by their father, who is a doctor. However, unbeknownst to the outside world, Jonah and Seth actually use their gift to kill people.

Detective Lampkin (portrayed by Orlando Jones), who is still dealing with the death of his wife, actually comes to suspect Jonah and Seth of being involved in several murders linked to their high school, even though no one else believes him. While Seth is determined to keep his and his brother’s guilt hidden from Lampkin, and even uses the detective’s grief over losing his wife to his advantage, Jonah begins to have a change of heart. After meeting new student Eve (portrayed by Samantha Droke), Jonah starts to see the error in his and his brother’s murder schemes. But Seth won’t let Jonah break their bond and plans easily, even if it means destroying his brother’s new relationship with Eve.

Negret made the right decision in hiring Edmund and Gary to portray the murderous twins, as they both exude the desire to harm other people. Neither one seems to care what effects their actions have on other people, and are only concerned with finishing their project of filming the murders they commit with their minds. While Gary perfectly displays the characteristics of a psychotic killer who is only concerned with harming other people, Edmund deserves just as much recognition, if not more, for his portrayal of Jonah.

To read the rest of this review, please visit:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Director Quentin Dupieux 'Rubber' Interview

Read our interview with French director, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor and music producer Quentin Dupieux, who attended the New York City premiere of his new comedy thriller ‘Rubber’ on February 3, 2011 at the IFC Center. ‘Rubber,’ which is scheduled to have a VOD release on February 25, 2011, followed by a limited theatrical release on April 1, tells the story of a tire named Robert who comes to life in the California desert. He soon discovers he has telepathic powers, and at first is content with blowing up discarded objects and small animals with his mind. However, Robert soon finds enjoyment in killing people, all while an audience watches. After the screening of the Magnet Releasing film, Dupieux engaged in a question-and-answer period with the audience to discuss, among other things, why he made the film and how he got the tire to move.

Question (Q): Why did you make the film?

Quentin Dupieux (QD): I don’t know! The reason was I was supposed to shoot another movie, a bigger one, and it was too hard to finance. I had to do a small shoot like this.

Q: Why did you shoot in America instead of out of France?

QD: My first feature (’Nonfilm’) was shot in France, and it was really frustrating. I wanted to shoot in English first to reach a bigger audience. The desert is like a blank piece of paper, you can create anything in the desert.

Q: How did you get the tire to move?

QD: I don’t know! (laughs) It’s just a tire, so it’s supposed to roll. For a few shots, we had a remote control tire, but it was like a sh*ty remote control tire, so it was able to roll a little bit and stop. But for like 80 percent of the shots, it’s just a guy operating the tire with his hand outside of the shot. That’s the truth! There’s no CGI, for real, and what you saw I shot. But it’s an easy remote control car, you know we can make remote control cars?!? (laughs)

To read the rest of this post, please visit:

Friday, February 4, 2011

'Prowl' Movie Review

Title: Prowl

Director: Patrik Syversen

Stars: Ruta Gedmintas, Joshua Bowman and Courtney Hope

Written by: Karen Benardello

Slasher films have earned a reputation for forgoing relatable characters and a developed plot-line to instead focus on brutal killings. While horror audiences thrive on the adrenaline rush from seeing gory and bloody attacks, independent production company After Dark Films is hoping to change people’s perception of the horror genre with its new film ‘Prowl.’ Combining a main character with a detailed back-story with the ever-popular vampire attacking her and her friends, ‘Prowl’ promises to be one of the stand-out films of this year’s Horrorfest (also known as the ‘8 Films to Die For’ festival).

When first hearing of ‘Prowl,’ horror fans may feel it has the premise of most other slasher films, and it doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from other entries in the sub-genre. Like many other slasher films, ‘Prowl’ follows teen Amber (played by Courtney Hope), who is determined to leave the small town she despises, the parents she isn’t close to and the dead-end job she’s stuck in. Amber is resolved on moving to Chicago to settle into a new apartment on her own, but has no way to get into the big city. In one last outing together before she permanently leaves her old life behind, Amber convinces several of her friends, including Suzy (portrayed by Ruta Gedmintas) and Peter (played by Joshua Bowman), to embark on a road trip with her.

But when their van breaks down on the side of the interstate, the friends realize their journey into the city won’t be as easy as they planned. They eventually enlist the help of trucker Bernard (played by Bruce Payne), who offers the group a ride in the back of his semi, as he’s also on his way to Chicago. The friends come to realize that something is wrong when they discover packages of blood in the back of the truck with them. The group must then fight for survival when Bernard stops at a warehouse full of blood-thirsty creatures, called ‘The Strays,’ who are intent on using the friends as their prey.

While After Dark Films isn’t marketing The Strays in the film as vampires, it seems likely executives still want to profit from the current craze with the mythical beings. Even though director Patrik Syversen has said “The script was well written, had a clear central character with an interesting arc…in the process of running away from things in her life, (the main character) realizes who she is as a person,” horror fans may still question why this vampire movie is different from other films in the genre. Adding vampire-like creatures who just want to use the main characters as prey doesn’t seem to promise complex characters or an intelligible plot-line.

To read the rest of this interview, please visit:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Exclusive Greg Ellis Interview on 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'

Read our exclusive interview with actor Greg Ellis, who reprises his role of Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves in the upcoming installment of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ series, ‘On Stranger Tides.’ Being helmed by new director to the fantasy-action series, Rob Marshall, the film will be released in 3D on May 20, 2011. ‘On Stranger Tides’ follows new character Angelica (played by Penelope Cruz), who is determined to race against Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. Ellis discusses with us, among other things, why he wanted to play Theodore Groves again and why the fountain is so appalling.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Shockya (SY): You’re next set to star in the upcoming fourth installment of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ series, ‘On Stranger Tides.’ What was it about the script that made you want to reprise your role of Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves?

Greg Ellis (GE): It has a compelling simplicity and clear narrative that reminded me of the first ‘Pirates’ movie.

SY: You first portrayed the Lieutenant in the original ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie, ‘Curse of the Black Pearl.’ Why has his presence been so important to the series?

GE: I’m not sure it has! You’d have to ask the fans that question.

SY: The plot of ‘On Stranger Tides’ follows Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbossa as they search for the mysterious Fountain of Youth. What is it about the fountain that makes it appealing to everyone around the world, including Jack Sparrow?

GE: Eternal youth. Doesn’t everyone want to stay young forever?

SY: Besides your movie career, you’ve also made a name for yourself on television, appearing on such series as ‘The Boondocks,’ ‘Trust Me,’ ‘24,’ and most recently, ‘Gigantic.’ How is acting in movies different than acting on television series, and do you prefer one medium over the other?

GE: I like them both. TV moves at a much quicker pace and you get to switch gears more quickly. Movies are slower paced and more of an ensemble experience, which is enjoyable.

To read the rest of this interview, please visit:

Exclusive Audrey Genevieve Holland Interview on 'The Snow Princess'

Read our exclusive interview with director Audrey Genevieve Holland, who’s set to release her new short film ‘The Snow Princess.’ Besides helming the seven-minute stop motion animation movie, which has been featured in over 30 film festivals worldwide and has won numerous awards and critical acclaim, Holland also wrote, produced and edited ‘The Snow Princess.’ Previously, Audrey worked for DreamWorks Animation SKG on several features including 'Kung Fu Panda' and 'How to Train Your Dragon,' as well as Laika Entertainment on 'Coraline' and 'MoonGirl.' Her short film 'The Snow Princess' follows Gwyneira, the Snow Princess, who has longed dreamed of entering the Land of Spring, but once she has finally arrived there, she realizes she must be careful what she wishes for.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Shockya (SY): Your new animation short film ‘The Snow Princess,’ which you both wrote and directed, follows the Snow Princess Gwyneira, who falls into the land of spring after spending an eternity dreaming of living there. Once there, Gwyneira realizes that you have to be careful what you wish for. Why is that message so important for viewers to learn?

Audrey Genevieve Holland (AGH): Because it’s true! And because sometimes it’s better to learn harder life lessons through a seven minute film and a stop-motion puppet, than to have to live through them ourselves.

SY: ‘The Snow Princess’ was inspired by both Tim Burton’s ‘Vincent’ and Dr. Seuss. What is it about their work that you find most appealing?

AGH: {laughs} I could write a whole dissertation on why I love the work of both Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss. The short answer is that I grew up with both of their works around me and I’ve always related to the whimsical tales of the outsider.

SY: After appearing in over 30 film festivals around the world, ‘The Snow Princess’ has won several awards. What was your reaction when you found out the movie was continuously being honored by the film community?

AGH: It’s the highest compliment to be so continuously appreciated. I’m so flattered.

To read the rest of this interview, please visit:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good Charlotte Releasing New Album

Are the Members of Good Charlotte Ready to Give Up their Partying Lifestyles?

The Group Returns to Music After Four Years With the Release of its New Album, ‘Cardiology’

Written by: Karen Benardello

The band members of Good Charlotte are finally forgoing the celebrity gossip lifestyle they famously criticized in their breakthrough single, ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,’ and are returning to what rightfully made them famous-making music. The pop-punk band is releasing its fifth studio album, titled ‘Cardiology,’ on its new record label, Capitol Records, the label confirmed on its website, This will be the first album to feature new music from the band since its March 2007 release ‘Good Morning Revival.’

To support the release of ‘Cardiology,’ Good Charlotte will be launching a North American tour on March 3 in Atlanta. The tour, which will feature special guests Forever the Sickest Kids and This Century as Good Charlotte’s opening acts, will wrap up in two L.A.-area concerts on March 26 and 27.

Good Charlotte will also be promoting its new tour and album by performing its next single, ‘Last Night,’ on ‘Live with Regis and Kelly’ on February 21. DJs are rightfully starting to play the song on Top 40 and Hot AC radio; as with all of the band’s other hit singles, including ‘Hold On,’ ‘Predictable’ and ‘The River,’ Good Charlotte knows how to reflect and give a voice to what young adults are feeling, but don’t have the courage to say themselves.

In its review of ‘Cardiology,’ Billboard rightfully set the group’s latest effort apart from other punk bands. It stated that “age has brought some more mature insights and a few tender melodies” from the group.

'Somewhere' Movie Review

Will America’s Perspective of Hollywood Actors Change with Sofia Coppola’s New Movie?

‘Somewhere’ Aims to Prove that the Most Successful People Aren’t Always the Happiest

Written by: Karen Benardello

The public often feels that Hollywood actors have a charmed life after achieving unlimitless wealth and fame. But Sofia Coppola hopes to debunk these ill-conceived beliefs in her new directorial effort, the Focus Features drama ‘Somewhere,’ starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning. The talented director hopes to prove with the small, low-budget film that everyone has doubts about their lives, and even the most successful people don’t always know how to deal with their new-found fame.

The core lessons presented in ‘Somewhere’ are similar to the themes presented in Coppola’s previous efforts, notably the main character facing challenges in their life and being forced to assume new responsibilities. The drama follows newly famous Hollywood actor Johnny Marco (played by Dorff), who has trouble adjusting to his new lifestyle. Despite living the high life at the Chateau Marmont hotel in L.A. and performing the numerous press obligations required for his new movie, he doesn’t seem content. Johnny deals with his loneliness by driving his Ferrari, drinking alcohol, taking pills and engaging in several sexual relationships with different women.

Johnny’s life drastically changes when his 11-year-old daughter, Cleo (portrayed by Fanning) shows up at his doorstep. Happy wallowing in his own pain, Johnny is reluctant to alter his ways when Cleo first arrives. However, after he discovers that her mother went away on vacation and has no immediate plans to return to their daughter, his entire prospective on life immediately changes.

While ‘Somewhere’ is similar to the overall themes presented in Coppola’s first three directorial efforts, including ‘The Virgin Suicides,’ ‘Lost in Translation’ and ‘Marie Antoinette,’ she deserves credit for attempting to slightly deviate from recycling all of their ideas. While her first three movies feature on feminine self-definition and maturation, Coppola easily transitions to instead focusing on a man’s seclusion and depression in ‘Somewhere.’ While Johnny doesn’t experience any major external conflicts because of his new fame and questioning of self-worth, as the movie has more of a character-based plot, Coppola is easily able to translate his lack of feeling of pleasure through her visual cues.

Hardly speaking for the beginning of the film, Dorff surprisingly worked with Coppola’s visual cues quite well. He was able to accurately portray Johnny’s fear of commitment through aimlessly driving his Ferrari throughout L.A., hiring strippers to perform for him in his hotel suite and looking surprised at Cleo’s hobbies and talents, including her love for ice skating and ballet.

Viewers will certainly begin to root for Johnny throughout the course of the movie, as he accepts, and ultimately enjoys, caring for Cleo and learning about her interests. The audience will also empathize with him as his self-esteem and worth start to improve after his ability to care for Cleo grows. However, the audience will eventually become claustrophobic in his hotel room, questioning why he can’t form meaningful relationships with his peers as well. While Coppola, who also wrote the film, didn’t have to completely change Johnny’s lifestyle and his thoughts about himself, as that would have defeated the whole purpose of the film, it would have been nice to see him make some kind of attempt to deal with his loneliness.

While ‘Somewhere’ isn’t Coppola’s most revolutionary work as a director, she does deserve credit for wanting to change her usual perspective of higher-class women questioning their place in society. With the help of a surprisingly well-cast Dorff, whose critics have described as a real-life Johnny in the past, the actor was finally able to prove his acting abilities. Even though ‘Somewhere’ has only received a limited theatrical release, the chemistry between Dorff and Fanning will surely resonate with audiences.

Exclusive Interview with 'Angel of Vengeance' Author Trevor Munson

Read our exclusive interview with author Trevor Munson, who’s set to publish his never-before-released novel “Angel of Vengeance”. The book first received attention when it served as the inspiration for the CBS cult-classic vampire series ‘Moonlight,’ which Munson helped create, write and produce. “Angel of Vengeance” provides a twist to the vampire genre, as it combines the world of the undead with detective work; it follows vampire-P.I. Mick Angel who has been hired by a dancer to help find her sister amongst the drug world. Munson discusses with us, among other things, where he got the inspiration for the story and why he decided to work on ‘Moonlight.’

Written by: Karen Benardello

Shockya (SY): Your upcoming novel, “Angel of Vengeance”, provides a unique twist to the horror genre, as it mixes vampires with P.I. detective work. It follows L.A.-based P.I.-vampire Mick Angel who was hired by a dancer to find her missing sister. Where did you get the idea for the story?

Trevor Munson (TM): I came up with the idea for “Angel of Vengeance” and the character Mick Angel sometime in 2005. At that point, I had already had a long love affair with vampires, but I’d never written anything in the genre. To me it was only worth doing if I had a new and fresh way in to the vampire mythos. The idea for a hard-boiled, noir vampire story came to me after rereading Dracula and following it up with a Raymond Chandler novel, and right away it seemed like it held a lot of potential to be that story.

The novel that came about is a much darker tale than that depicted in ‘Moonlight,’ the show that eventually evolved from it, but many of the themes that motivate Mick, and the way he views the world remain much the same. The end result is a sort of blood-sucking Philip Marlowe who was turned in the forties and who now finds himself unwilling or unable to get in step with the modern world in which he now lives.

SY: You have said that you’ve had a “long love affair with vampires,” but with Angel of Vengeance, you wanted to add new elements to the vampire mythos. Why did you feel it was time to include new ideas in the genre?

TM: I do love vampires and the whole mythology that surrounds them, but if I was going to throw my hat into the ring, I wanted to try to put my own spin on things. I didn’t see the point of writing anything if I was just going to do what others before me had already done. As a result, my basic approach in redefining classic vampire lore was to attempt to “noirify” (not a word) the vampire mythology. I wanted recreate the rules to reflect the themes you see repeated over and over in noir storytelling. This is why I had Mick take his blood with a needle, and sleep in a freezer to stave off his slow decay.

Other changes came from just wanting to make more sense of classic rules, such as the idea that vampires are unable to see their reflections. It didn’t make sense to me that a body with mass wouldn’t cast a shadow, or reflection, so I altered it so that Mick can see his reflection, but when he does, he always sees the inner monster inside. Thematically this worked for a story where the main character views himself as a monster and generally hates what he is.

Finally, I also departed from the general mythology by having my vampires actually have to die in order to turn. In many current vampire tales, (’Moonlight’ included) vampires are turned by being taken to the brink of death and then being fed the blood of their sire. In my novel, however, I wanted a more defined death process. As a result, I came up with the idea that the vampire bite transmits the infection, turning the bitten person into a carrier until the time of their death whenever that may be. Then, after a period of incubation, the vampire rises again as a member of the undead.

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