Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Interview: The Cast Talks About Their Roles in Madea's Witness Protection, Written by: Karen Benardello Sometimes the most important lessons in life can come from the most unexpected places. That’s one of the most comedic and enduring aspects of the new Tyler Perry movie ‘Madea’s Witness Protection,’ the fourth film based on one of the screenwriter-director-actor-producer’s plays. The filmmaker’s most well-known, beloved title character is back to not only show another family the true importance of caring for each other, but to also find out for herself what it means to experiment out of her comfort zone. ‘Madea’s Witness Protection’ follows George Needleman (Eugene Levy), the successful CFO of Wall Street investment bank Lockwise Industries, who contends with his frustrated second wife, Kate (Denise Richards), who has come to her limit caring for his senile mother, Barbara (Doris Roberts). They also have to deal with his rebellious teenage daughter from his first marriage, Cindy (Danielle Campbell), and their young son, Howie (Devan Leos), who wishes George was home more often. George gets the shock of his life when he finds out from his co-worker Walter (Tom Arnold) that the company is running a Ponzi scheme, and he’s been set up to take the blame. Brian (Perry), now a federal prosecutor in Atlanta, gets the task of placing the Needlemans in witness protection, after they received threats from the mob. So he decides to move the family in with his aunt Madea and father Joe (both also played by Perry). As Brian works to solve the case, Madea works to straighten the Needlemans out with her trademark tough love. Jake (Romeo Miller), the son of the pastor (John Amos) of Madea’s church, decides to help in the case, after losing the money intended to pay off the church’s mortgage in an investment with Lockwise Industries. The cast of ‘Madea’s Witness Protection,’ including Perry, Levy, Richards, Roberts, Miller, Arnold, Amos and Marla Gibbs, generously took the time to participate in a press conference at Le Parker Meridien hotel in New York. Among other things, they discussed the funniest parts of the movie, what it was like working together and what they learned from Madea. Question (Q): Tyler, do you think it will be hard for audiences to accept you as Alex Cross in ‘Alex Cross’ when it’s released this fall? Tyler Perry (TP): Alex Cross is such a departure for me. Wesley Deeds in ‘Good Deeds’ was the closest character I’ve ever played to Alex Cross. I think people will accept it, just as they accepted ‘Good Deeds.’ Q: Tyler, can you talk about two prominent themes in ‘Madea’s Witness Protection,’ and why you included them? The first theme being why corporations do the things they do, and also, what you drew from your own life and observations, to flush out the racial dynamics between a white and black family. TP: Well, I had a bunch of money with Bernie Madoff, and when he took off…oh no, I’m kidding. (laughs) No, I was having dinner with a friend, and they were saying, and this is how the whole thing started, the best punishment for Bernie Madoff would to have a movie with Madea. I thought man, that is funny. So I started writing the movie, and that’s where the whole process started. I thought, who would be the best person to play this guy? I thought, of course, Eugene Levy, who does an amazing job. (laughs) So that’s where it all started for me. As far as the dynamic of drawing on my own experiences, I drew from my mother. God rest her soul, if we put her in a five star hotel, as we did once, or if you put her on an airplane and put her through security, you would have all of those scenes. Or if you put her at a dinner table with a bunch of white people, you would have a lot of things that we have there. Q: We have followed Madea through all her movies. What would you say she learned this time around on her journey? TP: (laughs) I don’t know if she’s learned anything. What I’m trying to do as I grow as a filmmaker and in life, I want to make sure the character’s growing. This is a classic fish out of water story. She’s a big fish out of water in New York, and so is this family down south in her house. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 9:06 AM
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello Director: Lorene Scafaria Starring: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley and Connie Britton (TV’s ‘American Horror Story,’ ‘Friday Night Lights’) With the conspiracy theory that the world is going to end at the end of this year, to coincide with the ending of the Mayan calendar, many people have thought about what they would do if they knew they only had weeks or months left to live. The new romantic dramedy ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ looks past the violence that has often surrounded the idea of the Apocalypse in many horror films to show how people will genuinely act in the event science couldn’t save Earth and its life forms. The main characters in the film choose not to engage in the reckless behavior their friends are to instead find comfort with each other, and accept how they’re lives have turned out. ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ follows soft-spoken insurance salesman Dodge Peterson (played by Steve Carell), whose marriage quickly disintegrates when the news that the world will end in an estimated 21 days leads his wife to leave him. Realizing that he was never truly happy in his marriage, and wanting to make the most of the rest of his life before a 70-mile-wide asteroid hits Earth, Dodge decides to track down his high school sweetheart, Olivia. Dodge thinks Olivia is the love of his life, which leads his hopeless romantic neighbor, Penny Lockhart (portrayed by Keira Knightley), to encourage him to search for her. Dodge and Penny leave their respective lives as they head out on the road to reconnect with the people in their past. While traveling together, seeking their own personal journeys in an effort to contend with their looming deaths, the two realize how much they truly like each other. Both Dodge and Penny come to accept that their friendship may be all they need. ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’s screenwriter, Lorene Scafaria, who also made her feature film directorial debut with the romantic dramedy, perfectly captured the essence of people needing to find comfort in each other during dire circumstances with Dodge and Penny. Unlike many films dealing with the pending Apocalypse, which are often told in the horror genre with the visual horrors of the end of days, ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ rightfully took a different perspective by focusing on people’s natural reactions. Dodge and Penny’s immediate response to the news is to make up for the wrongs in their lives, and search for people from who they’ve become distant from in order to save the relationships. To continue reading this review, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 4:13 PM
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Interview; Harold Perrineau Talks Seeking Justice When a tragic event happens to a person or someone close to them, one of the first thoughts in many people’s minds is to seek vigilante revenge on those who have wronged them. While most people fight back these spontaneous urges, there are some who will do whatever it takes to get payback, even if they have to resort to illegal means themselves. This is certainly the case in director Roger Donaldson’s action-thriller ‘Seeking Justice,’ which will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and DVD combo pack and Digital Download on Tuesday. One of the film’s stars, Harold Perrineau, who has experience in the action genre, agrees that seeking justice is one of the first thoughts on many people’s minds after going through a terrible accident, and openly discusses why he thinks so. ‘Seeking Justice’ follows happily married New Orleans high school English teacher Will Gerard (played by Nicolas Cage), whose wife, Laura (portrayed by January Jones), is brutally attacked one night after leaving rehearsal for the orchestra she works for. While waiting at the hospital to hear more about her condition, Will is approached by Simon (played by Guy Pearce), who makes him an intriguing offer. Simon, who is a leader of a secret organization, will have someone kill Laura’s attackers, if exchange for a favor from Will in the near future. Grief-stricken, Will agrees to become part of the dangerous underground vigilante operation. While trying to protect Laura from the truth, he soon realizes that his quest for justice is leading to deadly consequences he never could have imagined. Perrineau recently took the time to generously speak with us over the phone about the what it was like filming ‘Seeking Justice.’ Among other things, the actor discussed what attracted him to his role of Jimmy, who is friends with Will and Laura; what it was like working with Cage and Donaldson and why he enjoys working in the action genre so much. ShockYa (SY): You played Jimmy in the action thriller ‘Seeking Justice,’ which is scheduled to be released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on Tuesday. What was it about the character and the script that convinced you to take on the role? Harold Perrineau (HP): Originally (I thought), and I still think, the script is really interesting. I’m a big fan of movies, and (particularly) movies you can go in and enjoy as an experience. That’s what I first got when I first read the script. I just kept asking questions, like who’s that person? Why are they there? Is that something I would do? After I finished the script, I was like, wow, that was a step I didn’t expect. So I wanted to be part of that, and I wanted to be Jimmy. While he’s not the main character, he’s a really interesting figure in this film. So I wanted to be part of it. It was Nicolas Cage and (director) Roger Donaldson, and I wanted to be part of that team. Luckily, I was able to do it. SY: Speaking of Nicolas Cage, Jimmy is friends, and works, with his character, Will Gerard, in the film. What was your working relationship with Nicolas like on the set? HP: It was really good, it was really interesting. From the first time he opens his mouth, you go, right, this is Nicolas Cage. All the memories of all the movies he’s done come rushing back. Even though you know it going in, when you’re standing there, you’re going, this is a voice that’s familiar to me. It’s almost like family in an interesting way, it’s so familiar. So it was really fun and interesting. He’s an actor who just doesn’t stop working. So me loving the craft of acting, I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to stay up with him, and get up there and play back and forth. That was a really good experience for me. He’s really focused in, which made me focused in, and I thought it was a really playing experience. It was really fun. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 6:52 PM
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Interview: Peter Shinkoda Talks Falling Skies, Written by: Karen Benardello Successful sci-fi series are often lauded for their impressive visual effects and stunts, but at times cans sacrifice intriguing characters and thought provoking plot-lines. But the hit critically acclaimed TNT series ‘Falling Skies,’ whose anticipated second season premieres tomorrow night at 9/8c, has garnered attention for its suspensefully paced stories and strong-willed characters. Actor Peter Shinkoda, who was cast by the show’s executive producer, Steven Spielberg, returns as Dai in the new season. Dai, the competent commando who is often coming to the rescue of Noah Wylie’s character, Tom, is just one of the strong, memorable characters on the series. ‘Falling Skies’ follows a group of civilians and soldiers struggling against an alien force that has invaded earth. In the chaotic aftermath of the alien attack, most of the world has become completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, the few human survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin fighting back. Not only must the citizen soldiers left have to protect the people in their care, they must also engage in an insurgency campaign against the occupying alien force. Shinkoda generously took to the time recently to speak with us over the phone about the upcoming second season of ‘Falling Skies.’ Among other things, the actor discussed what it’s like working with Spielberg and Wylie, why he enjoys the sci-fi genre so much and his aspirations of becoming a screenwriter and director. ShockYa (SY): You’ll be returning as Dai for the second season of ‘Falling Skies,’ which is set to start its second season. What was it about the character and the series overall that convinced you to take on the role? Peter Shinkoda (PS): It was offered to me by Steven Spielberg, that was the only criteria needed for me to take the role. I was excited about all the elements of the show, the science-fiction, the aliens, the action. So all of it combined was very appealing to me. SY: Dai is often coming to the rescue of Noah Wylie’s character, Tom. What’s it like working with Noah, who made a name for himself on ‘ER,’ on the set? PS: It’s an utter pleasure. I’ve worked quite a bit in the last decade-and-a-half, and never have I run into somebody, and worked hand-in-hand with somebody so frequently, whose company I have enjoyed as much as him. He’s a very decent fellow, and kind, so it’s easy to get along with him. Noah’s also amazing to watch at his craft. After all those years on ‘ER,’ he’s very honed into his talent. Just by being in his vicinity, watching him be social, conducting himself on set and performing, the possibilities are endless. I completely enjoyed being around him, on- and-off set. SY: Like you mentioned, Steven Spielberg offered you the role of Dai. Do he and Noah offer you any acting and career advice overall? PS: Maybe not so much acting advice. Steven came in maybe only a couple of times on set. I was fortunate enough to be one of the actors he directed for a couple hours. That was a fantasy come true. To tell you the truth, I was probably in shock, so I can’t recall everything. But growing up, I just idolized the man. He started giving me directions on set, like what kind of expressions (to do), or what I may be feeling as the character. I don’t think there was a presence or gift more fulfilling than that. As far as Noah Wylie, like I said, all you have to do is watch that man. I would like to try to emulate him, in acting and as the gentleman he is. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 8:46 PM
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Fans of the action films are often attracted to the genre for the extensive number of fights and stunts included in the narrative. But the new action romance thriller ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye’ takes a risky, but unique, chance by mixing a love story between the main characters with a stimulating vengeance tale after they’re separated by murder. ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye,’ which was directed by David Ren, follows Jake (played by Jason Yee), an ex-gambler who is trying to pay off a debt by working as a driver for The Naked Eye. The private gentleman’s club fronts for a prostitution ring, and Jake is stuck in his existence there. However, his life changes when he meets Sandy (portrayed by Samantha Streets), an innocent misguided runaway, and the two form an unlikely bond and give each other the will to strive for a better life. However, when Sandy is murdered, Jake vows to stop at nothing to find her killer. He risks everything in order to uncover the truth. Jake must survive as he uncovers lies, clues and his own feelings about Sandy. Yee generously took the time to speak with us over the phone about the action romance thriller, which hits select theaters tomorrow. He discussed, among other things, how he separated his duties as an actor, co-writer, producer and the second unit director; his working relationship with Ren, one of his co-scribes on the script; and why he looks up to Clint Eastwood as an actor and director. ShockYa (SY): Besides co-writing the film, you also portray Jake in ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye.’ What convinced you to take on the role after you wrote the script? Jason Yee (JY): Well, we developed the script from scratch. I was looking for a character that was conflicted and for a script that had a singular character that was carrying the story that had a lot of action. We found a script that was different than what it is now, and we developed it from scratch. SY: The director of the film, David Ren, also co-wrote the script with you. What was it like working with him, both as co-screenwriters and in a director-actor relationship? JY: Sometimes it was a director-actor-producer relationship. So at times, as the producer, I had to watch out for things we wanted to do creatively, my business partner and I. We also had to watch out for budget and time constraints, etc. So sometimes there were conflicts, and sometimes we were on the same page. So we were working with multiple people to make things happen. SY: Like you said, besides acting in, and writing, the film, you also served as a producer. When you were on the set, did you try to separate your acting from your producing duties? JY: When it came time to shooting, I tried to separate myself. But that always becomes really hard when it’s a low-budget production, because there are always constraints, having to do with time and finances. Sometimes that can take over, so that can make it really tough. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 2:49 PM
'Your Sister’s Sister' Shockya.com Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello Director: Lynn Shelton (‘Humpday,’ ‘We Go Way Back’) Starring: Mark Duplass (‘Humpday,’ ‘Darling Companion’) Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt (‘Rachel Getting Married,’ TV’s ‘Mad Men’) While summer blockbusters heavily rely on visually stunning special effects and stunts to draw in viewers, one of the most intriguing, thought-provoking movies this season is the independent film ‘Your Sister’s Sister.’ Reuniting screenwriter and director Lynn Shelton with her ‘Humpday‘ star Mark Duplass, ‘Your Sister’s Sister’ expertly and courageously explores what happens when people realize their self-perception isn’t really in line where they truly are in life. The dramedy, which hits select theaters tomorrow, also interestingly explores sibling relationships, and the lengths people go to in order to save their bonds with their family. ‘Your Sister’s Sister’ follows emotionally unstable slacker Jack (played by Duplass) on the one-year anniversary of his brother Tom’s death. Jack continues to struggle with his brother’s passing at a memorial party held by Tom’s friends, at which he makes a scene. Tom’s ex-girlfriend Iris (portrayed by Emily Blunt) offers Jack her family cabin on an island in the Pacific Northwest, so that he can seek peace in solitude. Once he arrives, however, he meets Iris’ sister Hannah (played by Rosemarie DeWitt), who is unexpectedly staying at the cabin. Hannah, a lesbian, is also seeking catharsis at the cabin after the abrupt ending of her seven-year relationship with her girlfriend. Hannah finds solace in Tom’s surprise presence, and the two bond over a long night of drinking. The evening ends in an awkward sexual encounter, which is only made even more uncomfortable when Iris spontaneously shows up at the cabin. The two debate whether they should tell Iris about their night, as Iris tells her sister she has developed romantic feelings for Jack. Shelton once again created a realistic film that allows the characters to fully examine themselves with ‘My Sister’s Sister.’ Jack, Iris and Hannah amusingly showcase how people react when they realize their lives aren’t necessarily going as planned. Their self-perceptions dramatically change when they examine their sibling relationships aren’t as strong as they want them to be, and they essentially drift apart because of their faults. While Jack, Iris and Hannah are contending with the serious issue that their relationships are strained because of their own actions, the humor naturally arises from the context of their interactions. Shelton smartly didn’t include set jokes in the script, which effectively allowed Duplass, Blunt and Dewitt to naturally bond and create jokes out of their own life and on-set experiences. To continue readings this review, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 8:44 AM
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Interview; Dominique Swain Talks The Girl from the Naked Eye, Written by: Karen Benardllo Some people will do whatever it takes to avenge the wrongs that have been committed against their loved ones, even if it means putting their own life in danger. This is certainly the case with the main character, Jake, in the upcoming action romance thriller ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye,’ which is scheduled to hit select theaters on Friday. While Jake’s determination to seek revenge for the death of his true love, he further enters an underground world of prostitution that threatens his own well-being. ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye,’ which was directed by David Ren, follows Jake (Jason Yee), an ex-gambler who is trying to pay off a debt by working as a driver for The Naked Eye. The private gentleman’s club fronts for a prostitution ring, and Jake is stuck in his existence there. However, his life changes when he meets Sandy (Samantha Streets), an innocent misguided runaway, and the two form an unlikely bond and give each other the will to strive for a better life. However, when Sandy is murdered, Jake vows to stop at nothing to find her killer. He risks everything in order to uncover the truth. Jake must survive as he uncovers lies, clues and his own feelings about Sandy. Actress Dominique Swain, who played Alissa in ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye,’ generously took the time to speak with us over the phone about the film. She discussed, among other things, what attracted her to the role, what kind of restrictions the limited budget had on filming and her working relationships with Yee and Ren. ShockYa (SY): You play Alissa in ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye.’ What was it about the character and the script that convinced you to take on the role? Dominique Swain (DS): Well, I’m sort of a wholesome addition in a film that’s rated R for violence, nudity and language, and is very graphic (laughs). So I’m the little breath of fresh air, which is difficult when you’re playing a prostitute who’s falling on hard times. (laughs) But script was actually very, very different than how the film turned out. Some of the story-lines didn’t really make it into the final edit. SY: Were there any story-lines that didn’t make it that would have benefited the film, or do you feel the final cut portrayed the story accurately? DS: I thought the final cut was very strong. I think they found out in editing what the film was really about. Ultimately, it’s a love story. I was supposed to have a death scene in it, but I didn’t. (laughs) So that was kind of interesting. But mainly I play a girl who helps the main character, Jake, figure out the mystery with my basic knowledge of detective work. SY: Like you said, the film is a romance story, but the movie also features several fight scenes and action. So do you feel that the movie balances the romance and the action together? DS: I think it’s a perfect balance of romance and action. It’s a vigilante, revenge story. The character of Jake is an anti-hero who’s avenging the death of his true love. It plays through the dark underworld, and the fight sequences are very impressive. They go on for a long time without any editing. For one of the scenes, and I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen the film, the scene where he fights three cops in the hallway, it goes on for minutes. (laughs) They’re beating each other with night sticks. It’s like, I don’t want to fight that guy. SY: The film had a limited budget of a little over $1 million. Did that place any kind of limitations on what you could shoot, particularly in the fight sequences? DS: You know, it came out looking beautiful. I wasn’t involved in the action sequences, I only got to watch. But it seemed sometimes, there wasn’t enough time to turn the camera around, or to get some of the shots that they thought they needed. But it played very stylistically, instead. But there was a lot of focus on the lead character, instead of who he was talking to. But I think, just upon watching the film, they did an excellent job. The look of the movie is very comic book and graphic novel, very surreal. It’s really fabulously done. SY: Like you said, the film has a graphic novel feel, which has been popular in recent years. Why do you think people like that genre? DS: I think people are drawn to adventuring in that world. When you go into this surreal filming style, and with the fighting, you’re asking people to enter that world. You’re demanding a very exciting ride, because graphic novels are graphic. (laughs) There’s nudity and violence in a very elementary kind of storytelling. This is ultimately a love story, and it’s a very appealing world, where good and evil are obvious. SY: Were there any films based on graphic novels or comics that you enjoyed that inspired you to take on the role in ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye?’ DS: I thought that ‘Sin City’ was great. There’s a comic book that I’m actually looking at right now, it’s called ‘Unholy.’ I’m hoping that they make that into a film. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 11:15 AM
Friday, June 8, 2012
'Peace, Love & Misunderstanding' Shockya Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello Director: Bruce Beresford (‘Driving Miss Daisy,’ ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’) Starring: Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener (‘Capote,’ ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (‘Watchmen,’ TV’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy’), Elizabeth Olsen (‘Martha Marcy May Marlene,’ ‘Silent House’), Chace Crawford (TV’s ‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’) and Nat Wolff (TV’s ‘The Naked Brothers Band,’ ‘New Year’s Eve’) Often times families that include parents and children who are strong-willed in their ideas and beliefs are often reluctant, and find it difficult, to connect with each other. This is the main driving force in the new dramedy ‘Peace, Love & Misunderstanding,’ which features several generations who are long set in their beliefs, but try to reconnect through both comical and serious means. While the actors in the film genuinely connected, the story unfortunately features numerous clichés and predictable plot points of a family putting aside their differences to reunite. ‘Peace, Love & Misunderstanding’ follows uptight Manhattan lawyer Diane (Catherine Keener), who decides to visit her hippie mother Grace (Jane Fonda) in Woodstock for the first time in 20 years, after her husband Mark (Kyle MacLachlan) asks for a divorce. Diane brings her two teenage children, Jake (Nat Wolff) and Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen), who have never met their grandmother before. What’s meant to be a weekend getaway turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets and self-discovery, as Diane and the kids learn to adapt to Grace’s hippie lifestyle. Along the way, the family finds love in Woodstock-Diane with carpenter-songwriter Jude (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whose impulsive ways contradict Diane’s demeanor; Jake connects with local teen Tara (Marissa O’Donnelll) as he shoots a movie and Zoe falls for butcher Cole (Chace Crawford), even though his job goes against her vegetarian beliefs. Fonda, who made her return to feature film acting in the Bruce Beresford-directed dramedy, after being absent from American cinema since 2007′s ‘Georgia Rule,’ was the true stand-out star in ‘Peace, Love & Misunderstanding.’ Besides acting, Fonda is also partly known for her political activism in the 1960s and her longtime support for feminist causes, and effortlessly brought her beliefs to Grace’s free-loving lifestyle. While Grace does recognize her family’s differing opinions, especially Diane’s conservative views, she’s determined to prove that not all ideas in life have to be taken so seriously. To continue reading this review, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 8:52 AM
Thursday, June 7, 2012
'1 Out Of 7' Shockya Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello Director: York Shackleton (‘Kush’) Starring: Laura Ramsey (‘Kill the Irishman,’ ‘The Ruins’), Toby Hemingway (‘Black Swan,’ ‘In Time’) and Vivica A. Fox People often search their entire lives to find their true identities and truly succeed on their own terms. These desires are the strong motivating factors for the main teen characters in writer-director York Shackleton’s new drama ’1 Out Of 7,’ which is set to hit VOD and select theaters tomorrow. Desperate to get away from their parents and make a life for themselves on their own, they don’t realize how difficult independence can be until they’re forced to live on the desolate streets, alone and scared. ’1 Out Of 7′ follows Lexi (Laura Ramsey), who runs away from her overbearing mother Jan (Theresa Russell) and their home in Seattle after another abusive incident. What starts as a temporary escape to Portland with her friend Tasha (Kelly Kruger), turns into Lexi living on the streets of Portland with the hundreds of other forgotten runaway teens. Lexi meets fellow drug user and street kid Eric (Toby Hemingway), and finally feels like she has met someone who truly loves and understands her. When Eric abandons Lexi in order to sore his next high, she finds herself alone on the streets. Overwhelmed by despair and loneliness, Lexi turns to Devon (Vivica A. Fox), who, despite battling her own demons, takes her in off the streets. As the two begins to form an emotional bond, Lexi must question what she wants to do with the rest of her life. She must decide if she wants to continue living on her own, or return to her sister Krisi (Mika Boorem) and their mother, who is expressing grief and regret over the way her relationship with her daughter turned out. In ’1 Out Of 7,’ Shackleton captured the essence of teenage angst through Lexi’s estranged relationship with her mother. Lexi feels conflicted over her despaired feelings towards her mother; she thinks Jan’s overbearing ways are what drives everyone away, especially after her father left the family. But once she begins experiencing loneliness and helplessness on the streets of Portland, Lexi truly evolves. She comes to appreciate her mother’s concern for her life and future, even if she doesn’t express her thoughts in the most heartfelt way. After spending time, and speaking, with Devon, Lexi realizes that her mother must truly be worried about where she is and if she’s still alive. She finally begins to ponder if she should give up some of her new-found freedom and independence to return back to her family. To continue reading this review, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 3:07 PM
Interview: Catherine Keener and Jeffrey Dean Morgan Talk 'Peace, Love & Misunderstanding,' Written by: Karen Benardello While people are shaped by their past experiences and relationships in life, the idea of forgiving those who have wronged us and letting the past be the past is something that a lot of people can relate to. This all-to-important issue is a major motivating factor in many of the actions of the main characters in the new comedy drama ‘Peace, Love & Understanding,’ which hits select theaters and VOD tomorrow. ‘Peace, Love & Misunderstanding’ follows uptight Manhattan lawyer Diane (Catherine Keener), who decides to visit her hippie mother Grace (Jane Fonda) in Woodstock for the first time in 20 years, after her husband Mark (Kyle MacLachlan) asks for a divorce. Diane brings her two teenage children, Jake (Nat Wolff) and Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen), who have never met their grandmother before. What’s meant to be a weekend getaway turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets and self-discovery, as Diane and the kids learn to adapt to Grace’s hippie lifestyle. Along the way, the family finds love in Woodstock-Diane with carpenter-songwriter Jude (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whose impulsive ways contradict Diane’s demeanor; Jake connects with local teen Tara (Marissa O’Donnelll) as he shoots a movie and Zoe falls for butcher Cole (Chace Crawford), even though his job goes against her vegetarian beliefs. Keener and Morgan generously took the time to sit down with us recently during a roundtable interview at New York City’s Regency Hotel. The two discussed, among other things, what it was like working with two-time Academy Award nominated director Bruce Beresford, two-time Oscar winner Fonda and the locals in Woodstock, and how they relate to their characters’ rebellion. Question (Q): Jeffrey, you live in New Paltz? Jeffrey Dean Morgan (JDM): No, I live outside of Rhinebeck. I bought a house there after the movie. I love it. Catherine Keener (CK): Yeah, I remember that. JDM: A little log cabin. Q: Because of the movie? JDM: Yeha, I fell in love with the Hudson Valley. It’s not as cool-Catherine had a killer house while we were up there. CK: For some reason, I got the best house. JDM: It’s way cooler. CK: Jane said, this is the best house. JDM: Yeah, Jane moved like six times. (laughs) CK: She did. For some reason, I got a really cool house. Q: What was so cool about it? JDM: The view is really cool. CK: The neighbor’s dogs were always around. It was really pretty, and there was a porch. All the stuff you’d want in a house over the summer while you’re filming. JDM: A good fire pit, for bringing the guests over. It had a good pond, that I went boating in. Catherine had parties every weekend, so it was good. We had a good time. Q: How long did the film take to shoot? JDM: Seventeen years. (laughs) Q: How much of that was partying? JDM: Sixteen of them. (laughs) No, how long did it take? CK: A couple months, three months. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 11:26 AM
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Interview: Chace Crawford Talks 'Peace, Love & Misunderstanding,' Written by: Karen Benardello Even as teens and adults, people tend to be all too eager to fight with their parents over their differences in lifestyles and opinions. But the new comedy-drama ‘Peace, Love & Misunderstanding,’ which hits select theaters on Friday, shows that once people are pushed outside their comfort zones, they’re more willing to accept their family’s diverse views. A seemingly mismatched family unpredictably comes together after unforeseen circumstances bring them together in the Bruce Beresford-directed film. ‘Peace, Love & Misunderstanding’ follows uptight Manhattan lawyer Diane (Catherine Keener), who decides to visit her hippie mother Grace (Jane Fonda) in Woodstock for the first time in 20 years, after her husband Mark (Kyle MacLachlan) asks for a divorce. Diane brings her two teenage children, Jake (Nat Wolff) and Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen), who have never met their grandmother before. What’s meant to be a weekend getaway turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets and self-discovery, as Diane and the kids learn to adapt to Grace’s hippie lifestyle. Along the way, the family finds love in Woodstock-Diane with carpenter-songwriter Jude (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whose impulsive ways contradict Diane’s demeanor; Jake connects with local teen Tara (Marissa O’Donnelll) as he shoots a movie and Zoe falls for butcher Cole (Chace Crawford), even though his job goes against her vegetarian beliefs. Crawford generously took the time to sit down with us recently during a roundtable interview at New York City’s Regency Hotel. The actor discussed, among other things, what it was like working with Beresord and his co-stars Fonda and Olsen on the set of ‘Peace, Love & Misunderstanding;’ what it was like shooting in on location in Upstate New York and the ending of his hit CW teen drama series ‘Gossip Girl.’ Question (Q): You’re probably too young to remember the hippie days. Chace Crawford (CC): Oh, I remember Jane Fonda. (laughs) Q: Inside, do you have any kind of hippiness? CC: I like Tom Petty, and I think my music tastes might be of that era, partly. But other than that, not really, no. (laughs) My grandfather and my grandma have some good stories. Q: What was it like working with Bruce Beresford? He always seems to get great performances. CC: He was great, he was phenomenal. It was a real smooth process. I remember I was in L.A., and they sent me the script, and I just finished it when they said, you need to go in today. It was really a quick thing. I got it right away, and I was growing a beard and hadn’t really shaved, so it worked. I went in there, and he made you real comfortable. We played around with it. They liked me, and the next thing you know, we got the schedule. It worked out, because I was shooting ‘Gossip Girl’ here. I got a rental car, and would drive upstate every weekend for like six weekends. It was cool, when we were working, he was just good with actors. He let us improv, too, and let us throw some things away. He let us do our own thing, which was a blessing. Q: How would you describe Jane? What was the process like, working with her? CC: You know, I didn’t have any scenes with her, actually. I think we had a scene where it was overlapping. But in the overlapping scenes, yeah, I would use playful to describe Jane. She’s awesome. She came to the crew parties, and would dance and have a good time. She’s just really engaging, you know what I mean? She’s very charismatic. Even though we didn’t work together, she would pull me aside, and asked me where I’m from. She was really interested in Texas and Dallas, where I’m from. That just thrilled my mother and grandmother. I was a little awestruck. She just has this aura around her. She has a really good energy. Q: Do you share the same philosophy with your character about meat? CC: (laughs) I guess so, yeah. Is Jane’s character a vegetarian? I remember we discussed it a little bit. But being from Texas (laughs), I’m not too picky about my meat. Actually, I learned a lot, to be honest. Like the place we shot at, and there a couple places in the city that I’ve been to, that has had their name up on the list where they get their meat from organically grown farms. But as far as actually butchering and cutting the meat, I learned nothing. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 9:36 AM
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Interview: Carles Torrens Talks 'Apartment 143' Independent, low-budget horror films can sometimes suffer from the strain of not having enough money to include the stunts needed to create a truly frightening story. But much like ‘Paranormal Activity’ proved, these films can still effectively feature horrifying stories and scares to frighten audiences. The new movie ‘Apartment 143? is one such low-budget paranormal horror film that uses clever camera tricks and a detailed backstory to shock viewers. ‘Apartment 143′ follows a team of parapsychologists, including Dr. Helzer (played by Michael O’Keefe), Ellen Keegan (portrayed by Fiona glascott) and Paul Ortega (portrayed by Rick Gonzalez), who begin investigating a series of anomalous phenomena in a newly occupied apartment. As the team begins interviewing and recording the tenants, including Alan White (played by Kai Lennox) and his children, Caitlin (portrayed by Gia Mantegna) and Benny (played by Damian Roman), the unexplained phenomena intensifies; the phone rings but no one’s on the other end, objects begin flying and there are extraordinary light emissions. Using state-of-the-art technology, including infra-red filming an magnetic field alteration meters, the team tries to find the reasoning behind the unexplained phenomena. Meanwhile, the White family, particularly Alan and Caitlin, have a tumultuous relationship, which the parapsychologists believe may be a contributing factor in the unusual happenings in the apartment. ‘Apartment 143′s director, Carles Torrens, generously took the time to speak with us over the phone recently to discuss what attracted him to the horror movie. The first-time feature film helmer also spoke about how he research and prepared to shoot the movie, and what kind of limitations and difficulties he experienced by shooting over a four-week period with multiple different cameras in an apartment. ShockYa (SY): You directed the new horror film ‘Apartment 143.’ How did you become involved in the film, and what was it about Rodrigo Cortés’ script that convinced you to take on the job? Carles Torrens (CT): Well, Rodrigo, the director of ‘Red Lights,’ who I’ve admired for a long time, is also a friend of mine, and Adrián Guerra, one of the other producers, another friend of mine, had this project. Rodrigo was interested in directing it himself at one point. But then he was sent off in another direction. So they had a script and an idea for it. The point of the project was an exploration of film, and take a traditional ghost story and tell it with a new set of narrative tools. At this point, there was no director attached. They liked my work, and thought I’d be a good helmer for it. They approached me with the project, and asked me if I wanted to do it. I said absolutely. SY: Rodrigo wrote the script after researching skeptical science, parascience, the supernatural and the metapsychic for another one of his films, ‘Red Lights.’ How much knowledge did you have of the supernatural before you signed on to direct the film? CT: Very little, actually. The film provides an in-depth, rigorous look at the scientific side of parapsychology, something I knew very little about. The screenplay had a lot of information, so just by reading the screenplay, you learn a lot. But I had to do a lot of research on the side. I had to buy a lot of books, and I read them extensively. I summarized the books, and put them into a reader’s digest version, and that’s what I gave the actors, to get caught up to speed. We all had to be on the same page, as far as parapsychology, and how much we had to know. So that was a new area for me, and I learned a lot. SY: You made your feature film directorial debut with ‘Apartment 143,’ after helming several short films, including ‘Frank’s First Love’ and ‘Coming to Town.’ What was the transition period like from the short films to ‘Apartment 143?’ CT: Well, ‘Frank’s First Love’ was a very simple short I made, and I made a few shorts after that. I also directed a few TV movies in between. The challenge here wasn’t necessarily the length of the film, it was just the way it was filmed. You’re used to a very traditional kind of film language and lighting and way of telling the story. Then I had to come up with a whole new set of tricks and narrative notes to tell the story. So it was like starting from scratch. I wasn’t lighting the way I usually light. I didn’t have dollies or Steadicams. So basically it felt like an experiment, more than directing a feature film. One big difference I did feel from all the stuff I’ve done previously is working with special effects. That’s something I had very little knowledge about. So it was a huge world that was opened up to me. It was a very challenging experience, but it was satisfactory at the end. Also, the producers were very supportive at all times. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 12:49 PM
Sunday, June 3, 2012
'Apartment 143' Shockya Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello Director: Carles Torrens (‘Coming to Town,’ ‘Frank’s First Love’) Starring: Kai Lennox (‘Beginners,’ ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’), Gia Mantegna (’13 Going on 30,’ TV’s ‘Gigantic’) and Michael O’Keefe (‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Michael Clayton’) Independent, low-budget horror films can sometimes suffer from the strain of not having enough money to include the stunts needed to create a truly frightening story. But much like ‘Paranormal Activity’ proved, these films can still effectively feature horrifying stories and scares to frighten audiences. The new movie ‘Apartment 143′ is one such low-budget paranormal horror film that uses clever camera tricks and a detailed backstory to shock viewers. ‘Apartment 143′ follows a team of parapsychologists, including Dr. Helzer (played by Michael O’Keefe) Ellen Keegan (portrayed by Fiona glascott) and Paul Ortega (portrayed by Rick Gonzalez), who begin investigating a series of anomalous phenomena in a newly occupied apartment. As the team begins interviewing and recording the tenants, including Alan White (played by Kai Lennox) and his children, Caitlin (portrayed by Gia Mantegna) and Benny (played by Damian Roman), the unexplained phenomena intensifies; the phone rings but no one’s on the other end, objects begin flying and there are extraordinary light emissions. Using state-of-the-art technology, including infra-red filming an magnetic field alteration meters, the team tries to find the reasoning behind the unexplained phenomena. Meanwhile, the White family, particularly Alan and Caitlin, have a tumultuous relationship, which the parapsychologists believe may be a contributing factor in the unusual happenings in the apartment. Screenwriter Rodrigo Cortes infused ‘Apartment 143′ with intriguing research about the supernatural, as the idea for the story came after the research he did for the paranormal thriller he penned and directed, ‘Red Lights.’ ‘Apartment 143′ doesn’t just scare with the typical moving object special effects seen in many supernatural films; there’s also an emotional and traumatic backstory the White family experienced before Alan’s wife died. The debate over the cause of her death genuinely explained the tension between the family, and why they were susceptible to the dangers of the paranormal. While ‘Apartment 143′s director, Carles Torrens, decided to shoot the movie in the found footage horror sub-genre that has become popular, and at times overused, in recent years, the technique ultimately helped the film. The script, which was written even before the popular ‘Paranormal Activity’ series was released, called for several different kinds of video cameras, including high definition video and security cameras. Utilizing the different cameras effectively showcased the different environments and feelings in every scene. To continue reading this review, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 9:19 AM
Friday, June 1, 2012
Yahoo! Voices Interview: The Chicharones Talk 2012 Warped Tour and "Swine Flew," Written by: Karen Benardello Music groups today are faced with not only creating an image and albums that are infused with their own unique personalities, but with memorable and creative lyrics and instrumentals as well. The underground pop/rap/indie group, The Chicharones, is one such duo that uses humor and harmony to create something new. The Chicharones is preparing for its first major appearance at The Warped Tour this year, starting on June 16 at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City. The tour coincides with the release of its new album, "Swine Flew," which will be released on June 19. Using five-part harmonies and speed raps during their set at The Warped Tour, The Chicharones, which is comprised of veteran performers Josh Martinez and Sleep, is raising the bar on what live performance can be. Martinez and Sleep generously took the time to discuss over the phone why they decided to play in this year's Warped Tour. They also spoke about their influences, including the Beach Boys and the Beatles, and what fans can expect to hear on "Swine Flew." Q: You'll be touring nationwide this summer as part of the 2012 Warped Tour. Why did you decide to play in the tour? Josh Martinez (JM): I think it's just been a great coincidence that we ended up booking this tour when we're trying to release the album. The album comes out June 19, so we wanted to be able to tour as much as possible when it came out. Warped Tour is 43 dates, and is as excellent of an opportunity as we can get for this. Sleep (S): Yeah, we got a toast from our friend Fritz from the Bring It Back stage back to the hip-hop stage on the Warped Tour. We started reconnecting-we've known each other for a little over 10 years now. He thought it would be a good fit for The Chicharones to come on the Warped Tour and headline the hip-hop stage. His main reasoning for it was that he wanted to help people who help people. He said he's been watching us for the past 10 years, and likes how we're community-based, and like to help the people around us. He wanted to help us and return the favor. So we had the opportunity, and it was great that we could drop the record at the same time. It really works well that way. Q: You'll be touring alongside such groups as The Used, Anti-Flag, Rise Against, Champagne Champagne and Machine Gun Kelly on the Warped Tour. Are there any particular artists that you're most looking forward to touring and playing with? S: Anti-Flag is definitely one of them. JM: Yeah, there are a lot of interesting groups on there, definitely outside of our genre. Some are bigger, and some are smaller. I think we look forward more than anything to seeing how the other acts perform live, and act as people. That always makes a big difference for me. As far as artists go, I like to see them perform live, and how they interact with other people and fans, just to see what kind of people they are-if they're nice people, or if they're spoiled kids, or whatever. S: Champagne Champagne is from Seattle, and we're interested in checking them out. We've heard a lot about them, and got to hear some of their music. We got to see them perform live, so I'm looking forward to seeing them. I know Josh is, too. Q: Are you both fans of the Warped Tour-have you seen it live before? S: Yeah, we've played it before as well, in 2003, 2004 and 2005, in five to ten day increments, not the whole thing. Neither of us went as kids, it never really came to either of our areas. JM: But we've got to see Billy Idol perform live, that was incredible. We're fans of music in general, so any platform where there are awesome musicians, you will find us there, for sure. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 7:08 AM