Saturday, November 26, 2011

NBA and Players End Boycott With New Deal |

The NBA has reached a deal with its players, ending the second-longest lockout in league history, the New York Times is reporting. The new 66-game season will begin on Christmas Day 2011.

The deal is expected to last 10 years, the longest in NBA history, with an option for either side to terminate after six years. The deal will include a significant pay cut for the players, with shorter contracts, smaller raises and a more punitive tax system for the top-spending teams. The deal was reached on the 149th day of the lockout, after a 15-hour bargaining meeting at the Manhattan law offices of Weil, Gotshal and Manges.

To continue reading this article, please visit: NBA and Players End Boycott With New Deal |

Keeping Up With the Kardashians Boycott Picks Up More Support Online |

The new ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ boycott started by Colorado resident Cyndy Snider is now garnering extra support online, AOL TV is reporting. The petition went viral just at E! is pushing the second season premiere of the second spin-off of the hit reality show, ‘Kourtney and Kim Take New York.’

Snider started the petition two days after Kardashian filed for divorce from her second husband, NBA player Kris Humphries. In the petition, Snider wrote to E! that she wants the network to find other shows to air, in lieu of the Kardashian series. More than 165,000 people have signed the petition to get the show off the air, and 77,000 have recommended it to their Facebook friends.

To continue reading this article, please visit: Keeping Up With the Kardashians Boycott Picks Up More Support Online |

Carnage Movie Review |

'Carnage' Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

Director: Roman Polanski

Starring: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly

Adapting an acclaimed, Tony Award-winning play that perfectly captures the satirizing of the human condition, parenting and marriage into an intriguing, true-to-life film is never an easy task. But director Roman Polanski effortlessly did just that with his new comedy-drama movie ‘Carnage,’ based on Yasmina Reza’s play ‘God of Carnage.’ The filmmaker, who co-wrote the film with the playwright, hired a respectable cast that brilliantly showcased how disengaged people really are from their relationships, and the disdain they hold towards the people who don’t share the same views as they do.

‘Carnage’ follows two diverse Brooklyn couples, Penelope and Michael Longstreet (played by Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly) and Nancy and Alan Cowan (portrayed by Kate Winslet and and Christoph Waltz), as they meet at the former’s apartment to discuss the fight that broke out between their two 11-year-old sons on the playground. The Longstreet’s son is struck in the face with a tree branch by the Cowan’s son. The couples initially act nice towards each other, in an effort to peacefully resolve the situation. But as the meeting progresses, and the four can’t find a common ground, their true, clashing personalities are revealed.

Investment broker Nancy and lawyer Allan feel that their son shouldn’t take all the blame for the attack, as the Longstreet’s son wouldn’t let him join his “gang” of friends. However, liberal writer and campaigner Penelope and wholesaler Michael think the Cowan’s son should learn to take responsibility for his actions, and he’s being coddled by his regularly absent parents.

While all four actors realistically connected to their self-involved characters, Waltz undoubtedly gave the most memorable performance as the career-driven Allan, who has very little involvement in his son’s life. The actor embodied the mind and attitude of many working parents who become disconnected from their home lives, and have no desire to mend their broken relationships with their families. Waltz’s portrayal realistically showcases how society has become so obsessed with their technology that no one knows how to relate to, or communicate with, anyone verbally, face-to-face.

To continue reading this review, please visit: Carnage Movie Review |

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Top Five Things Karen Is Thankful For in 2011 |

It’s that season again, when Americans count their blessings and remember what’s happened to them in the past year that they’re thankful about. While many people will include their family and friends, their homes and their jobs, if they’re lucky enough to have one in the continually bad economy, at the time of their lists, many things have happened in the entertainment world in 2011 that pop culture followers will surely love as well. Whether it be the continuation of an old favorite television series, the premiere of a new hit show or the release of a touching film, this edition of ShockYa’s latest mini-series will remind movie and TV fans of the great things that happened in the entertainment world in the past year.

The CW renews ‘Supernatural’ for a seventh season.

Eric Kripe, the creator of the hit horror television series ‘Supernatural,’ which debuted on The WB in 2005 before making the leap to the newly launched CW a year later, originally only intended for the show to run for three seasons, before changing it to five; he wanted the series to end on a high note, and not wear out its welcome. However, ‘Supernatural’ has garnered a cult following among fans for the natural, believable chemistry between its main stars, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Combined with the intricate mythology of the demons, angels, God and the diverse, clashing personalities of brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, ‘Supernatural’ has the momentum to continue for several more years.

To continue reading this article, please visit: Top Five Things Karen Is Thankful For in 2011 |

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sharon Tate's Jewelry From Murder Scene Up For Auction |

The engagement ring Sharon Tate was wearing on the night of her murder in 1969 is being auctioned, TMZ is reporting. Beginning on November 30, 2011, interested buyers can place bids of at least $10,000 on Gotta Have Rock and Roll’s official website. The actress had the engagement ring, which was given to her by her husband Roman Polanski in 1967, when she was stabbed to death by Charles Manson’s followers.

To continue reading this post, please visit: Sharon Tate's Jewelry From Murder Scene Up For Auction |

Script For DC Comic Booster Gold TV Series Ordered by SyFy |

A pilot script for a one-hour drama series adaptation of DC Comics’ Booster Gold has been ordered by SyFy, Collider is reporting. If picked up, the series will be brought to the cable network by Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions, in conjunction with Warner Horizon Television.

‘Fringe’s Andrew Kreisberg, who last worked with Berlanti on ABC’s ‘Eli Stone,’ has signed onto write and executive produce the script for ‘Booster Gold.’ Berlanti previously garnered attention with the SyFy network on its show ‘Warehouse 13,’ and its feature-length film ‘Red Factions: Origins.’

To continue reading this post, please visit: Script For DC Comic Booster Gold TV Series Ordered by SyFy |

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel Movie Review |

Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

Director: Alex Stapleton

Starring: Roger Corman, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Ron Howard, William Shatner and Jack Nicholson

The explicit use of sex, drugs, nudity violence and gore in exploitation films may seem like a great marketing tool to draw in potential audiences, but the genre has often garnered harsh criticisms for its broad overstatement of the issues presented in its movies. However, famed B exploitation writer-director-producer Roger Corman has fearlessly shunned his critics who have condemned his movies and his film-making style. The new documentary ‘Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel,’ which was helmed by Alex Stapleton, succeeds in showcasing the filmmaker’s dedication to making the movies he wants to make. As a result of this devotion, he has gathered a following from the genre’s fans and his fellow directors.

‘Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel’ chronicles the rise and ever-lasting illustrious career of the celebrated filmmaker. The documentary features interviews with such iconic Hollywood filmmakers and actors as Martin Scorsesee, Robert De Niro, Ron Howard, William Shatner and Jack Nicholson, who fondly reminisce about their experiences working with Corman. The film also tells how the filmmaker created his cult film empire by capitalizing on undiscovered talent and pushing the boundaries of low budget, independent movies.

Stapleton expertly showcased Corman’s early motivation in working in the film business, and how he still enjoys directing movies today. It was intriguing to see his determination to produce and direct films that he believes in, even if the big studios won’t support them. While Corman is known for, and enjoys, creating campy films, the documentary proves he also wants to reflect on the importance of the day’s most influential societal issues.

To continue reading this review, please visit: Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel Movie Review |

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Interview: Chris Kerson Talks Cost of a Soul

Associated Content Interview: Chris Kerson Talks Cost of a Soul, Written by: Karen Benardello

Actor Chris Kerson, who portrays Tommy Donahue, a wounded military veteran returning home to Philadelphia from Iraq in the independent movie 'Cost of a Soul,' was finally able to showcase his talent in the true-to-life film. 'Cost of a Soul,' which is from first-time writer/director Sean Kirkpatrick, focuses on the struggles Tommy and DD Davis (portrayed by Will Blagrove), another wounded veteran, face as they return to their crime-stricken neighborhood.

The crime-drama was released by Relativity Media's Rogue Division into 50 AMC Theaters nationwide on May 20, 2011, as part of the AMC Independent program. 'Cost of a Soul' holds the distinction of winning last year's "Big Break Movie Contest," which gives previously undistributed feature-length films the chance to gain exclusive on-screen distribution across America. The film is now available on Cable On Demand, iTunes and Amazon, and will also be streaming on Netflix next month.

While promoting 'Cost of a Soul' in New York City, Kerson generously took the time to sit down and discuss, among other things, what it was like working with Kirkpatrick, and how he prepared for the role of Tommy.

Question (Q): The first scene of 'Cost of a Soul' featured you in an intense military interrogation in Iraq, and show how Tommy was wounded. How did you prepare for the scene?

Chris Kerson (CK): There were guys who were vets who came back who were interested in the acting process. I read the interrogation scene and I talked to them. I actually talked to them and asked them to help me with the event. They said "Not only will we do that for you, we'll do a real interrogation. We'll put you through a real interrogation, like an Iraq interrogation. We'll get a warehouse in Jersey, we'll get water, we'll get a car battery. Don't ask me what all these means, you'll see it." He (one of the veterans) looked at my work. He's like, "Wow." He mentioned Al Pacino. He's a real method guy. "You're a real method guy" But he said, "This is going to scare the daylights out of you when you see what this takes." He said, "If you want to walk away at any point, that's okay. (But) I gotta show you what it takes to point a gun in some guy's mouth." The way it worked out, I never got to do that. The plans fell through, the guy didn't follow through, and I was off filming.

But I knew for myself what I could tap into to give the type of reaction Tommy goes through. It was interesting because the first thing we filmed in Iraq was the scene in the bathroom, it's a lot smaller in the film now, it was larger in the festivals. It was originally in the festival film that Tommy was putting a gun to his chest because he's considering killing himself, and he's looking at pictures of his daughter. It was my first day, it was so technical, and we were doing one, two takes and moving on, covering all this stuff. Sean was like, "put the gun up here, and this is what I need." It was much more specific than directions he would later on give me. And they got what they got, but we got out of the bathroom scene, and we started with that interrogation scene.

I've spent all this time on-stage, and I said "Now I can show Sean what I do." There's another person supposed to be opposite me, and I know where Tommy's supposed to be coming from, and what he's trying to do here, so let me go. It was scripted that he was going to react this way, but a lot of what you're seeing is Sean letting me go and do my thing. I didn't know what the quality of the film was going to be because I wasn't allowed to see dailies from the film because he didn't want me to be self-conscious. But I argued with him that I never become self-conscious from dailies, I learn about my acting. But he didn't want me to see them, and maybe he was right. He probably was, and it's a good performance, considering he let me see the Iraqi scene.

To continue reading this interview, please click here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

J. Edgar Movie Review |

'J. Edgar' Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer (‘The Social Network’), Naomi Watts and Judi Dench

Preserving your place in history and protecting your reputation while maintaining your privacy is important to many people, particularly those in the government and the public spotlight. But the rise of fame and struggle to hold onto power often leads people to question the intentions of those around them. Such is the case with the FBI’s first director, J. Edgar Hoover, as seen in the new biographical drama ‘J. Edgar,’ directed by Clint Eastwood. While only a select few understand the struggles of being the director of the FBI, many viewers will surely understand the feeling of testing loyalties, both at home and in their private lives.

‘J. Edgar’ chronicles the rise, and later professional and personal lives, of the FBI leader (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). As the head of the government agency for nearly 50 years, through eight presidents and three wars, Hoover often bent the rules and exaggerated to protect his country. Hoover placed great value in keeping secrets, and wasn’t afraid to use what he knew to maintain authority over leading figures in America.

In his later years, Edgar relayed his life story to Agent Smith (portrayed by Ed Westwick), including the loyalty he expected from those closest to him, such as his colleague and companion, Clyde Tolson (played by Armie Hammer), and secretary, Helen Gandy (portrayed by Naomi Watts). Edgar also relayed the importance of the investigation into the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh, Jr., his distrust of Richard Nixon and most importantly, his endless quest to please his mother, Anna Marie (played by Judi Dench).

‘J. Edgar’ screenwriter Dustin Lance Black crafted an intriguing, emotional look into the personal aspects of Hoover’s highly-guarded life. While the FBI director was a well-known public figure during his life, he rarely allowed the public see the intimate interactions that formed his closest relationships. Black found the right balance of not only showing Hoover’s determination of winning the public’s support and admiration, but also his struggle to feel loved and protected at home.

To continue reading this review, please visit: J. Edgar Movie Review |

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting Off: A Novel of Sex & Violence Book Review |

Getting Off: A Novel of Sex & Violence Book Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

Author: Lawrence Block, Writing as Jill Emerson

People are always fascinated with how the minds of serial killers work, and what motivates them to commit their heinous crimes. The new Titan Books crime thriller ‘Getting Off: A Novel of Sex & Violence,’ the latest noir book featured in the Hard Case Crime series, strikingly recreates the style of crime novels of the 1940s and ’50s. Writer Lawrence Block adds an interesting, modern twist to his story by featuring a strong, determined femme fatale as the lead character who’s determined to punish and kill all men for their sexual urges, particularly towards her.

‘Getting Off’ follows a smart, self-motivated young woman, Kit Tolliver, who sets off on a mission to find every man she’s ever slept with. Still suffering from the effects of her father sexually molesting her as a teenager, and her mother neglecting to protect her, Kit finds it necessary to punish every man who has sex with her. She heads off on a cross-country road trip, changing her identity in every city she passes through, and relishes in targeting men of all ages, races and backgrounds.

While Kit enjoys sleeping with the men she targets, she enjoys killing them, in such diverse ways as stabbing and poisoning them, even more. After killing them, she steals their money and moves to the next town before she can get caught. While on her journey, Kit surprises herself by becoming physically and emotionally attracted to one of the women she briefly rents a room from in Kirkland, Washington, Rita Perrin. Kit must contend with her ever-present need to kill the men she’s ever been intimate with and her surprising, conflicting attraction to Rita.

Block makes a risky move in creating Kit’s story through the eyes of his female writing alter-ego, Jill Emerson. But channeling the emotions and motivations of one of the most self-possessed femme fatales in the crime noir genre through the eyes of a woman allowed Block to create a memorable and unique serial killer. While some fans of the crime genre will surely be appalled by the graphic details Block included during the numerous sex and murder scenes, as well as Kit and Rita’s growing attraction towards each other, readers will come to identify with Kit’s plight.

To continue reading this review, please visit: Getting Off: A Novel of Sex & Violence Book Review |

Penn State Students Riot After Coach Joe Paterno is Fired |

Thousands of Penn State students rioted on November 9 after hearing the news of football Coach Joe Paterno being fired by the school’s Board of Trustees, the Los Angeles Times is reporting. As the students assembled the mini-riot two blocks from campus, some threw rocks and bottles, while chanting “We want Joe! We want Joe!”

About 100 police, who were wearing helmets and carrying batons, arrived at the scene around midnight. The officers used pepper spray to break up the crowd, and announced via megaphones that the students would be breaking the law if they didn’t stop rioting.

To continue reading this post, please visit: Penn State Students Riot After Coach Joe Paterno is Fired |

Ashton Kutcher Apologizes for Joe Paterno Comments on Twitter |

Ashton Kutcher has apologized for tweeting his support for disgraced Penn State football Coach Joe Paterno, E! Online is reporting. In the wake of Pataerno’s firing on November 9, the ‘Two and a Half Men’ star tweeted “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult @noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.”

Almost immediately after posting the tweet, Kutcher was attacked by his followers, saying things like “F**k you. He covered up child rape.” In the wake of the attacks, the actor removed his original tweet approximately 30 minutes later. He then posted “Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet! Didn’t have full story. #admitwhenYoumakemistakes.” Kutcher later added “This is an insane story, I just heard Paterno was fired, getting the rest of the story now…Wow.”

To continue reading this article, please visit: Ashton Kutcher Apologizes for Joe Paterno Comments on Twitter |

Determining Heavy D's Cause of Death Could Take Six Weeks |

The L.A. County coroner’s officer has said it will likely take up to six weeks to determine the cause of death for rapper Heavy D, the LA Times is reporting. A spokesman for the coroner’s office, Ed Winter, said there weren’t any illegal drugs in the record producer’s Beverly Hills home. However, a doctor did prescribe him a drug after experiencing a cough.

To continue reading this article, please visit: Determining Heavy D's Cause of Death Could Take Six Weeks |

Universal Develops Young Leonardo da Vinci Action Film |

In the wake of Warner Bros. moving forward with its film adaptation of Leonardo da Vinci’s young life, Universal is now producing its own biopic of the Renaissance artist and mathematician, Variety is reporting. The Universal spec, titled ‘Leonardo,’ which was written by Jonny Kurzman, will focus on da Vinci’s quest to stop Renaissance Europe from returning to the Dark Ages.

‘Watchmen’ and ‘Hellboy’ producer Larry Gordon will produce the action-adventure ‘Leonardo,’ which will reportedly also show some of da Vinci’s mechanical creations in use. Lawrence Gordon Prods. Vice President Philip Westgren secured ‘Leonardo’ for Universal, and will oversee the project for the producers.

To continue reading this article, please visit: Universal Develops Young Leonardo da Vinci Action Film |

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Change Up DVD review

'The Change Up' Examiner DVD Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

People often envy their friends’ lifestyles, naively believing that whatever job and family relationships other people have are better than their own. Despite all their wishing, no once can change their life with their friends, and don’t always realize that what they have may be the best option for them. But in the comedy ‘The Change Up,’ which is available to rent on DVD at select Long Island Blockbuster locations, best friends Mitch Planko and Dave Lockwood, who lead completely different lifestyles, accidentally switch places, and realize that they shouldn’t take what they have for granted.

‘The Change Up’ follows Mitch (played by Ryan Reynolds) and Dave (portrayed by New York native Jason Bateman), who have been life-long friends, despite their drastically different lifestyles; Mitch is a single, under-employed actor who doesn’t like the responsibility of family, while Dave is a workaholic lawyer, who’s determined to provide for his wife Jamie (played by Leslie Mann) and their three kids. One night while they’re at a fountain, the two wish for each other’s lives. When they wake up the next morning, they discover that they’ve switched bodies, and that the other’s life isn’t as fulfilling as they expected.

Reynolds and Bateman have an exhilarating relationship together as they portray the unlikeliest of friends who envy each other’s personalities and lifestyles. The two seem as though they truly have been friends for most of their lives, and they would do anything to protect each other. While the two both had the taunting challenge of taking on Mitch’s carefree lifestyle and Dave’s stressful, chaotic schedule, they always made the characters seem loyal to each other, despite not always understanding the other’s choices.

Despite its quick, three-month turnaround to home video from the theater, ‘The Change Up’ DVD surprisingly features several extras allowing viewers to gain a glimpse into the making of the film. The bonus features include an audio commentary with Dobkin; making-of featurettes, titled “Time for a Change” and “Family Matter;” a gag reel and deleted scenes.

To continue reading this review, please click here.

Interview: Robert Duncan Talks Castle and The Entitled |

Read's exclusive interview with television and film composer Robert Duncan, who is currently working on the new season of the hit ABC police series ‘Castle,’ for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award for the show’s first season in 2009. Duncan also worked on the music for the new film ‘The Entitled,’ which is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. The composer, who produces all of his music at Hollywood’s legendary Devonshire Studios, discusses with us, among other things, what the process of working on both ‘Castle’ and ‘The Entitled’ is like, and the similarities and differences of working on television and films.

Written by: Karen Benardello

ShockYa (SY): You composed the music for the new thriller ‘The Entitled,’ which follows a man, Paul Dynan, played by Kevin Zegers, who becomes so desperate for money to save his family that he kidnaps three young socialites and holds them for ransom. Given that the movie focuses on such a dark, morbid subject, what was the process of creating the music like?

Robert Duncan (RD): When writer/executive producer Bill Morrissey first sent me the script for ‘The Entitled,’ I was very excited, as the musical opportunities were immediately apparent and it was the type of artistic canvas I had been hoping to find for a while. I knew that director Aaron Woodley and producer Dave Valleau would let me dig into deeper darker musical territory than some of my other projects allow. The whole movie is bound together with underlying threads of tension, violence and contempt between all characters. With this atmosphere as a launching pad, I called upon a motley assortment of unusual instruments and sound sources to create textures that would draw us deeper into this uncomfortable world. From the Dewanatron Swarmatron, which gives you command of a bee-like swarm of analog synthesis via two ribbon controllers, to the Ned Steinberger Omnibass, an electric bass/cello hybrid, to the recording and sonic manipulation of a shotgun loading, I built a palette that hopefully elicits curiosity from the listener’s ear.

The tone of the film changes when Paul’s partners become trigger happy, and his victims reveal surprises of their own. When his perfect plan goes horribly wrong, Paul must fight to stay ahead in his own twisted game.

SY: Did such drastic, unexpected turn of events influence the way you composed the music for ‘The Entitled?’

RD: The music does get darker and darker as the characters unravel, but one interesting factor in this movie is how unified it is thematically. From the beginning, it states very clearly that you are watching a thriller and foreshadows the dark territory ahead. It leaves you guessing as to the specifics, but you know what type of world you are venturing into emotionally. I really enjoy working on projects that pose a confident cinematic identity in this way.

To continue reading this interview, please visit: Interview: Robert Duncan Talks Castle and The Entitled |

Interview: Parker Young Talks Suburgatory |

Read's exclusive interview with up-and-coming actor Parker Young, who’s currently starring on the new hit ABC comedy series ‘Suburgatory.’ The show, which has been picked up for a full first season, follows a single father, George Altman, portrayed by Jeremy Sisto, who decides to move from New York City to the suburbs. George wants to give his 16-year-old daughter, Tessa, played by Jane Levy, a better life. Young plays Ryan Shay, one of the Altman’s new neighbors, who Tessa develops a crush on. The actor discusses with us, among other things, what attracted him to the role of Ryan, and what it’s like working with Sisto and Levy.

Written by: Karen Benardello

ShockYa (SY): ‘Suburgatory’ follows George as he moves Tessa from New York City to the suburbs to give her a better life. What did you find appealing about the show’s premise that compelled you to audition for the role of Ryan Shay?

Parker Young (PY): You know, I read the script, and I thought it was a creative, new take on comedy. I thought it was something that would really do great on television. My role, in particular, I thought would be a total blast to sink my teeth into. Originally, the character was written as not so dumb, just an arrogant, typical high school jock. It was a fun role, and I played football in high school. I was surrounded by these types of people.

SY: Jane Levy and Jeremy Sisto portray Tessa and George on the series. What is it like working with both of them?

PY: Oh, they’re amazing. They’re such brilliant actors, but at the same time, just truly great people. I found Jeremy especially such a pleasure to work with. He’s so seasoned, I guess would be the right word, and I learn so much from him all the time. I think our trip to Vegas last weekend really kind of solidified our relationship, just in time for some scenes that we have coming up between me and him for this next episode.

SY: Jane has expressed some romantic interest in Ryan. Is there any chance of expanding the romantic relationship between Jane and Ryan?

PY: (laughs) I think Ryan sure would like to hope so. Ryan still definitely has a place in his heart for Tessa, and I think there’s a chance that he might pursue that a little bit.

To continue reading this interview, please visit: Interview: Parker Young Talks Suburgatory |

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Boxer Joe Frazier Dies at 67 From Liver Cancer |

Muhammad Ali’s old boxing rival, Joe Frazier, died on November 7, 2011, after a brief battle with liver cancer, Hollywood Life is reporting. Frazier, a heavyweight champion, rose to fame as he fought Ali in three famous fights between 1971 and 1975.

Frazier won the first fight against Ali at Madison Square Garden in the Fight of the Century, while the latter won the last two. Ali also called his rival a gorilla outside of the ring, and mocked him for his looks. But after hearing the news of Frazier’s death, Ali had nothing but nice things to say about his former rival.

To continue reading this article, please visit: Boxer Joe Frazier Dies at 67 From Liver Cancer |

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trespass DVD Review

Trespass Examiner DVD Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

The worst problems tend to arise when people make assumptions in relationships, and have no interest in solving their problems until their desperation leaves them with no other options. The psychological thriller ‘Trespass,’ which is now available to rent on DVD at select Long Island Redbox locations, aims to prove that families are only pushed to examine their deteriorating relationships when external forces physically put their lives in danger. While the film's director, New York native Joel Schumacher, succeeds in his mission to prove that all families bond when they’re threatened, the veteran filmmaker disappointingly includes character and plot cliches.

‘Trespass’ follows seemingly happy married couple Sarah (played by Nicole Kidman) and Kyle Miller (portrayed by Nicolas Cage). While the two, on outward appearances, have it all, including wealth, a newly renovated house and a lovely teenage daughter, Avery (played by Liana Liberato), the couple’s strained relationship is really plagued by secrets.

Kyle spends a lot of time away from home as a diamond dealer, and is pretending to be more successful in his career than he really is. While Sara, an architect, is at home overseeing their home’s remodeling, she is supposedly involved in a relationship with one of the contractors, Jonah (portrayed by Cam Gigandet). Sarah and Kyle are also dealing with their rebellious daughter, who won’t listen to a word they say.

The Millers’ luck begins to change when Jonah arrives at their home with his brother Elias (played by Ben Mendelsohn), Elias’ girlfriend Petal (portrayed by Jordana Spiro) and drug and gang enforcer Ty (portrayed by Dash Mihok). Thinking the family is extremely rich, the four demand Kyle gives them all the money and diamonds he keeps in his safe. The robbers vow not to give up, despite Kyle’s reluctance to give in to their demands, as they’re on a desperate mission to get money in order to pay back a drug debt.

Despite its intriguing premise, ‘Trespass’ made the quick move from its limited theatrical release to home video in a mere two-and-a-half weeks. The psychological thriller hit theaters on October 14, 2011, and was rapidly pulled 10 days later, due to its dismal box office receipt of approximately $25,000, against a budget of $35 million. As a result, the DVD only features one extra, a simple behind-the-scenes featurette with Cage and Schumacher talking about the film’s shoot.

To continue reading this review, please click here.

Crazy, Stupid, Love DVD review

'Crazy, Stupid, Love' Examiner DVD review, Written by: Karen Benardello

Sometimes the people we thought we knew can turn around and surprise us. That can be said about both Steve Carell and his character, Cal Weaver, in the new Warner Bros. romantic comedy-drama ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love;’ not only does Cal completely change his lifestyle and personality after he found out his wife cheated on him and wants to end their relationship, but the former ‘Office’ star proved what a diverse actor he can be with the role. Both Cal and Carell were thrown into unfamiliar territory, but ultimately thrived in their new atmospheres.

‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ follows Cal (played by Carell), who seems to be leading the perfect life with a strong marriage and family, good job and nice house. That is, until his wife of 25 years, Emily (portrayed by Julianne Moore), unexpectedly tells him that she slept with one of her co-workers, David Lindhagen (played by Kevin Bacon), and she wants a divorce.

After moving out and trying to start a new life, Cal attempts to integrate back into the dating world by going to a bar. There he meets teacher Kate (played by New York native Marisa Tomei), with whom he engages in a one-night stand with. Cal also meets player Jacob Palmer (portrayed by Ryan Gosling) at the bar, who tries to help him become more attractive to women. At the same time, Jacob starts to learn more about himself as he becomes more emotionally attracted to Hannah (played by Emma Stone), who at first resists the ladies’ man.

The DVD extras for the romantic comedy-drama are unfortunately scarce, and only feature a widescreen format and deleted scenes. With such drastic character transformations and an intriguing ensemble cast, audiences surely would be interested in hearing from Ficarra and Requa and the cast about the filming process on the film.

To continue reading this review, please click here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Interview: Nick Hamm Talks Killing Bono |

Read's exclusive interview with director Nick Hamm, who helmed the new comedy film ‘Killing Bono,’ which is now playing in select theaters. The movie, which is based on musician and music critic Neil McCormick’s acclaimed 2003 memoir, ‘I Was Bono’s Doppelganger,’ follows him and his brother Ivan as they strive to achieve fame as a rock ‘n’ roll band. The only problem is that Neil, played by Ben Barnes, and his brother Ivan, portrayed by Robert Sheehan, are competing against Bono, played by Martin McCann, and the rest of the members of U2, who they attended school with. While Ivan has come to terms with U2′s achievements, and doesn’t mind accepting help from Bono, Neil refuses to garner success off of someone he perceives to be his greatest rival. Hamm discusses with us, among other things, what he found compelling about Neil and Ivan’s story, and how closely he worked with them and U2 while filming the movie.

Written by: Karen Benardello

ShockYa (SY): ‘Killing Bono’ follows Neil and Ivan as they compete with their old classmate, Bono, and the success of his band, U2. What was it about the story that you found compelling, and convinced you to direct the movie?

Nick Hamm (NH): The story was compelling because it’s an everyman’s story. The main character is an everyman. Fundamentally, the story is about failure, and the notion of failure. So I was very interested in doing a music movie that didn’t end with success, but ended with the protagonist basically failing, and not succeeding. I thought the character of Neil would be representative of quite a lot of people, in the sense that which one of us, in our teenager years, hadn’t stood in front of our bathroom mirror, and said “I want to be a rock star.” So it was a movie that dealt with hubris and ambition, and the idea of really achieving fame over talent, and I just thought it was all a very, very interesting subject matter. I thought they had great comedic potential.

SY: ‘Killing Bono’ is based on Neil’s 2003 memoir, ‘I Was Bono’s Doppelganger.’ Before you began shooting the movie, how much knowledge did you have of the story, and did you read the book first, before you began filming?

NH: I read the book myself, five years ago, optioned the book and then employed the writers to write the screenplay. So it was something that I produced from the beginning. When I first read the book, I realized that this story needed good cinematic treatment. So I involved the writers in that. The script took about two or three years to get right. I was very involved. The book is a sprawling account of Neil’s journey through the rock business in the ’80s. So what we did was focus on that in a much more character (driven) way.

SY: Since ‘Killing Bono is based on Neil’s memoir, how closely did you work with him while shooting? Did he have any say in the filming process?

NH: No. He didn’t have any say, but he was very close to the project. He read all the drafts of the screenplay. He was very instrumental in helping us through, and navigated certain issues. He became a very close colleague during the process of making the movie, and was very, very happy in seeing the movie being made. He wasn’t on set until the last couple of weeks of the film. In a sense, he wanted to let the actors settle, and get it right. But he was a total supporter, and has remained since then. He has been gracious in the fact that we have treated his life in this way.

SY: Since the film focuses on Neil’s rivalry with Bono and U2, did you have any contact with the band while you were filming the movie?

NH: Yeah, we had to have quite a bit of contact with the band, because in the movie, we use quite of bit of their original artwork, some of their songs they gave us. We were interested in showing certain early moments of when the band was formed.

In the movie, there were two scenes that were part of rock history. The band did put a notice, (U2 founder and drummer) Larry Mulln did put a notice up in the school corridor, and asked for signatures for anyone who wanted to join. They were going to join U2. At that moment, they were called The Hype.

There was also another scene in the movie that was an audition scene, and it takes place in Larry’s mom’s kitchen, which is the first audition that U2 ever did for their members. It was the first time they actually got together to play.

So we talked to The Edge, we talked to their manager, Paul McGuinness. We talked with (bass guitarist) Adam (Clayton). We talked with one of the producers on the movie, who was their ex-agent. We wanted to make sure we got those early things in, those early records of U2 correct, that we got them right. So from that point of view, we had a lot of communication with the band, all the way through the process.

To continue reading this interview, please visit: Interview: Nick Hamm Talks Killing Bono |

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Movie Review |

'A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas' Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn and Neil Patrick Harris

Christmas films are primarily known for their heartwarming, family-friendly messages and innocent stories aimed at children. But when the story is aimed towards adults and includes sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, violence and of course, drug use, the film is undoubtedly a follow-up in the successful ‘Harold & Kumar’ series. The second sequel in the franchise, ‘A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,’ doesn’t fail to please fans of the title characters, who once again find themselves in a crazy, illegal adventure after smoking marijuana. While some of the movie’s jokes feel recycled, the overall message that friends can reunite after life takes them in different directions is not only surprisingly touching, but also offers several amusing pranks as well.

‘A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas’ picks up six years after the previous installment in the franchise, 2008′s ‘Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.’ The title characters have been estranged for over two years, as their lives have taken very different courses; Kumar (played by Kal Penn) is unemployed, having failed a drug test required to enter medical school, and is still living in the same apartment he once shared with Harold (portrayed by John Cho). While Kumar has once again broken up with Vanessa (played by Danneel Harris), due to his immature ways, Harold is now married to Maria (portrayed by Paula Garges), and works on Wall Street.

The two title characters are preparing for their own respective holiday plans with their new friends, when a mysterious package mistakenly arrives at Kumar’s apartment for Harold. Kumar brings the package to Harold’s house, and accidentally burns his former friend’s Christmas tree, which was brought over by Maria’s father, Mr. Perez (played by Danny Trejo). Wanting to impress his father-in-law and keep him happy, Harold takes Kumar to find a new tree. The two naturally embark on a wild journey throughout New York City, which of course includes another chance encounter with Neil Patrick Harris.

To continue reading this review, please visit: A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Movie Review |

Friday, November 4, 2011

Exclusive Interview: Carrie Preston Talks The Good Wife |

Read's exclusive interview with actress Carrie Preston, who will be reprising her role of Elsbeth Tascioni on the upcoming episode of ‘The Good Wife,’ titled ‘Executive Order 13224.’ The show, which is set to air at 9 pm on November 6, 2011 on CBS, follows Elsbeth as she works for the legal team of litigator Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Margulies. Alicia grows concerned that she’ll break confidentiality when the Treasury Department wants her to report on her latest client. Preston discusses with us, among other things, what convinced her to play Elsbeth once again, and how she transitioned into her mindset after playing waitress Arlene Fowler on all four seasons of ‘True Blood.’

Written by: Karen Benardello

ShockYa (SY): You’ll be reprising your role of Elsbeth Tascioni on the upcoming episode of ;The Good Wife.’ What is it about the character that you find appealing, and convinced you to play her once again?

Carrie Preston (CP): Well, she’s so fascinating, and it’s exciting to play such a scatterbrained genius. Usually when you get cast as a lawyer, it’s usually a pretty cut-and-dry role. But on ‘The Good Wife,’ they’re notorious for taking roles like that and providing them with character traits, and giving them a real sense of humanity and authenticity. So that’s what drew me to it. Also, just to be part of such a great show is always appealing.

SY: In ‘Executive Order 13224,’ Alicia worries that she will break confidentiality when the Treasury Department forces her to report on her latest client. How does Elsbeth, a member of the legal team, fit into the story line?

CP: Well, Alicia has found herself in a Catch-22 situation, where she’s defending a suspected terrorist. If she reveals what she knows about the terrorist, what he has said, then the terrorist will go to prison. If she doesn’t reveal what she knows to the State Department, then she’ll go to jail. So she’s in a Catch-22 situation, which is why she brings me in.

SY: Elsbeth is viewed by other members of the legal team as not being the smartest person on staff. How do you prepare to play such a scatterbrained character?

CP: Actually, my character is smarter than everyone else in the room. She’s just the most eccentric person in the room, too. So I started to think of her as someone whose brain is doing one thing, and her hands are doing something else. Her body is moving somewhere else. Somehow, it all ends up integrating into one thing. It’s fun to think of her as someone who’s a thousand times faster than anyone else in the room, intellectually.

SY: How did you transition into Elsbeth’s mindset again, after playing Arlene Fowler on 50 episodes of ‘True Blood?’ What is the process like differentiating the two characters in your mind?

CP: That’s never a problem for me. I’m someone who’s known for her versatility. I really enjoy taking on different types of characters, and trying to provide them with as much serenity as I can, and truthfulness. So it wasn’t a problem to switch. There wasn’t a method to that. I definitely trust the writers, and I start with what they’ve given me, and build it from there.

SY: Since this is only your third episode of ‘The Good Wife,’ and you’ve appeared in all of the episodes of ‘True Blood,’ do you find it harder to play one character over the other?

CP: No, no. No, each character presents its own challenges, but those are always exciting. That’s why I love acting.

To continue reading this interview, please visit: Exclusive Interview: Carrie Preston Talks The Good Wife |

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Killing Bono Movie Review |

'Killing Bono' Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

Director: Nick Hamm

Starring: Ben Barnes (‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,’ ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’), Robert Sheehan (‘Season of the Witch,’ TV’s ‘Misfits’) and Martin McCann (TV’s ‘The Pacific’)

Modern society often encourages people to celebrate, and strive for, celebrity status and continued success. Unfortunately, not everyone can obtain high levels of exceptional success, as seen in the new comedy ‘Killing Bono.’ The film, which was based on musician Neil McCormick’s memoir ‘Killing Bono: I Am Bono’s Doppelganger,’ expertly shows the struggles the Irish musician faced in launching his career, as he’s always in Bono and U2′s shadow. Like many people in the world, Neil is fascinated with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, and will do anything to keep his dream alive.

‘Killing Bono’ follows Neil (played by Ben Barnes), a young Irish songwriter determined to become a successful singer and live the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. After he loses the chance to become the singer for the school band, The Hype, to his friend Paul Hewson (portrayed by Martin McCann), he forms his own band with his brother Ivan (played by Robert Sheehand). But as The Hype rises to fame and changes its name to U2, with Paul renaming himself Bono, the group leaves Neil and Ivan behind in Ireland.

Determined to become an even bigger success than U2, the brothers move to London, but are blinded by the injustices of the music industry. The little success they do obtain is always dwarfed by the achievements of their old school rivals. As his music dreams crash and burn, Neil feels his failure is directly linked to Bono and U2′s success.

Director Nick Hamm expertly portrayed a story that appeals to everyone’s determination and struggle to become successful in their chosen career. However, Neil and Ivan perfectly balance each other in their personalities and how they handle their failure, compared to U2′s success. Neil encompasses the mentality that every time Bono and the rest of his U2 friends succeed, his own aspirations and goals die; he feels that the world won’t embrace two rock ‘n’ roll bands from Dublin, especially since the bands are friends.

Neil resents the success U2 has obtained on their own, and the fact that he wasn’t chosen for the band. He foolishly believes that accepting help from his old classmates would diminish any success his would obtain. He seemingly revels in the local, small following they garner in London, even though he dreams for bigger success.

To continue reading this review, please visit: Killing Bono Movie Review |