Category: Movies & Shows

“Tokyo Ghoul S” Review – Touka Shines

If this is your first foray into the world of Tokyo Ghoul, the opening sequence of Tokyo Ghoul S, the second live-action film in the franchise, will be a baptism by fire.

The film opens as a beautiful model with heterochromatic eyes (each is a different color) arrives to her luxury hi-rise apartment, only to be greeted by a sparkly mask-wearing ghoul who proceeds to, in order: promise she won’t be violated; force her to do an uncomfortable dance with him; rip out and eat her eyeballs. Oh yeah, then he throws her out the window to her bloody death. I think that counts as “violating” but I guess ghouls have different standards.

And that is the introduction to the villian of this movie, Shuu “The Gourment” Tsukiyama (Shota Matsuda), who has some serious food fetishes but, unfortunately, little backstory.

For those unfamiliar with Tokyo Ghoul, its set in a world co-inhabited by normal humans and ghouls who must feed on people to survive – ala vampires but with serious martial arts skills and superweapons called kagune, which are literally part of their bodies. Ken Kaneki (Masataka Kubota) is our warm-hearted half-ghoul, half-human protagonist who really doesn’t want either ghouls or humans to be hurt or killed, but alas regularly finds himself in situations where both are.

Tsukiyama, the aforementioned eyeball muncher, catches wind of Kaneki’s unique biological makeup, and decides he must have a taste of such a rare breed of ghoul. He befriends Kaneki through their common bond over books, and sets in motion a plan for the ultimate ghoulish feast.

While Kaneki’s plot line is ostensibly the focus of the film, I found that the true standout of the movie is ghoul Touka Kirishima (Maika Yamamoto), who is struggling with her friendship to a mortal — knowing the danger that she poses should she ever find out her true identity. Her storyline is a nod to the complicated nature of relationships among different classes, or even biological races, of people — and the sad truth that friendship can be marred by differences people have no control over.

She also happens to kick major ass, and in this film demonstrates why she is such a valuable character not only to Kaneki, but to the Tokyo Ghoul universe itself. Looking forward to seeing more of her!

Other pluses of the film are the fight sequences, which are quite fun albeit kind of short, and seeing the effort some of the ghouls go through to try to better the darker parts of their nature. If they can do it, maybe we humans can too!

Weaknesses include the lack of backstory for The Gourmet, a lack of Hide’s comic relief, and a fairly predictable trajectory: bad guy does bad things, hero almost dies trying to stop him — will he prevail? I think you know the answer–especially as the mid-credits scene portends a Tokyo Ghoul 3.

All-in-all, Tokyo Ghoul S is a’ight. Fun to watch but not something that breaks any new ground. B minus.

The film opens Monday, September 16 in 400 theaters across the U.S. and Canada. The film will have a three-day limited theatrical run (September 16, 18 & 20) and will screen in Japanese with English subtitles.

34th Annual Imagen Awards Nominations – List of Nominees

34th imagen awards nominees

The Imagen Foundation has just released its list of nominees for the 34th annual awards show which honors Latino diversity in Hollywood. There are 93 nominations in 18 categories from informational programming and on-air advertising to outstanding individual performances, and primetime programming in film and television. The 34th Annual Imagen Awards will be presented Saturday, August 10th, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

For more information regarding The Imagen Awards please visit www.imagen.org

The Theatrical Motion Pictures Nominees are:

Best Feature Film

  • ¡He Matado a mi Marido! (HM Movie)
  • Instant Family (Paramount Pictures)
  • Monsters and Men (NEON/Moviepass Films)
  • Pain and Glory (El Deseo/Sony Pictures Classics)

Best Director

  • Sean Anders, Instant Family (Paramount Pictures)
  • Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory (El Deseo/Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Reinaldo Marcus Green, Monsters and Men (NEON/Moviepass Films)

Best Actor – Feature Film

  • Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (El Deseo/Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Joe Camareno, Tin Holiday (Celtino Entertainment Group (CEG))
  • Andy Garcia, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Universal Pictures)
  • Anthony Ramos, Monsters and Men (NEON/Moviepass Films)

Best Actress – Feature Film

  • Jasmine Cephas Jones, Monsters and Men (NEON/Moviepass Films)
  • Jennifer Lopez, Second Act (STX Entertainment)
  • Isabela Moner, Instant Family (Paramount Pictures)
  • Rosa Salazar, Alita: Battle Angel (20th Century Fox)

The Television Nominees are:

Best Primetime Program – Drama

  • How To Get Away With Murder (ABC; ABC Studios)
  • Magnum P.I. (CBS; CBS Television Studios, Universal Television, Perfect Storm Entertainment, Davis Entertainment, 101st Street Productions)
  • Manifest (NBC; Jeff Rake Productions and Compari Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and Universal Television)
  • Pose (FX Networks; Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions)
  • Queen of the South (USA Network; Fox 21 Television Studios and UCP)
  • Shades of Blue (NBC; Universal Television in association with Nuyorican Productions, EGTV, Ryan Seacrest Productions and Jack Orman Productions)

Best Primetime Program – Comedy

  • Abby’s (NBC; Universal Television in Association with Waila Inc., Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment)
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC; Universal Television in association with Fremulon, Dr. Goor Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment)
  • Jane the Virgin (CW; CBS Television Studios)
  • On My Block (Netflix)
  • One Day at a Time (Netflix; Sony Pictures Television for Netflix)
  • Superstore (NBC; Universal Television in association with Spitzer Holding Company, and The District)

Best Primetime Program – Specials, Movies & Limited Series

  • Emilio & Gloria Estefan: Library of Congress Gershwin for Popular Song (PBS; WETA, Bounce, the Library of Congress, Latino Public Broadcasting)
  • Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: One Show Fits All (Netflix; Triage Entertainment)
  • Icebox (HBO; HBO Films in association with Gracie Films and Endeavor Content)

Best Actor – Television

  • Gabriel Chavarria, The Purge (USA Network; Blumhouse Television and UCP (Universal Content Production))
  • Jason Genao, On My Block (Netflix)
  • Jay Hernandez, Magnum P.I. (CBS; CBS Television Studios, Universal Television, Perfect Storm Entertainment, Davis Entertainment, 101st Street Productions)
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ducktales (Disney Channel; Disney Television Animation)
  • JD Pardo, Mayans M.C. (FX Networks; Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions)
  • Jon Seda, Chicago P.D. (NBC; Wolf Entertainment in association with Universal Television)
  • Diego Tinoco, On My Block (Netflix)

Best Actress – Television

  • Alice Braga, Queen of the South (USA Network; Fox 21 Television Studios and UCP)
  • America Ferrera, Superstore (NBC; Universal Television in association with Spitzer Holding Company, and The District)
  • Diane Guerrero, Doom Patrol (DC Streaming Network; Warner Bros.)
  • Lela Loren, Power (STARZ; End of Episode, Inc., Atmosphere Entertainment MM, LLC, G-Unit Film & Television, Inc. and CBS Television Studios in association with Starz Originals)
  • Justina Machado, One Day at a Time (Netflix; Sony Pictures Television for Netflix)
  • Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin (CW; CBS Television Studios)
  • Mj Rodriguez, Pose (FX Networks; Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions)

Best Supporting Actor – Television

  • Ser Anzoategui, Vida (STARZ; Big Beach and Chingona Productions in association with Starz Originals)
  • Angel Bismark Curiel, Pose (FX Networks; Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions)
  • Omar Leyva, Icebox (HBO; HBO Films in association with Gracie Films and Endeavor Content)
  • Julio Macias, On My Block (Netflix; Sony Pictures Television for Netflix)
  • Hemky Madera, Queen of the South (USA Network; Fox 21 Television Studios and UCP)
  • Danny Pino, Mayans M.C. (FX Networks; Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions)
  • Wilmer Valderrama, NCIS (CBS; CBS Television Studios)

Best Supporting Actress – Television

  • Carla Baratta, Mayans M.C. (FX Networks; Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions)
  • Stephanie Beatriz, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC; Universal Television in association with Fremulon, Dr. Goor Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment)
  • Melissa Fumero, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC; Universal Television in association with Fremulon, Dr. Goor Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment)
  • Isabella Gomez, One Day at a Time (Netflix; Sony Pictures Television for Netflix)
  • Natalie Morales, Room 104 (HBO; HBO Entertainment in association with Duplass Brothers Productions)
  • Rita Moreno, One Day at a Time (Netflix; Sony Pictures Television for Netflix)
  • Genesis Rodriguez, Icebox (HBO; HBO Films in association with Gracie Films and Endeavor Content)

Best Young Actor – Television

  • Anthony Gonzalez, Icebox (HBO; HBO Films in association with Gracie Films and Endeavor Content)
  • Elias Janssen, Jane the Virgin (CW; CBS Television Studios)
  • Jenna Ortega, Elena of Avalor (Disney Junior   Disney Television Animation)
  • Jenna Ortega, Stuck in the Middle (Disney Channel; It’s a Laugh Production)
  • Marcel Ruiz, One Day at a Time (Netflix; Sony Pictures Television for Netflix)

Best Variety or Reality Show

  • Hip-Hop Houdini (Fuse; 7Beyond)
  • Last Week Tonight (HBO; HBO Entertainment in association with Sixteen String Jack Productions and Avalon Television)
  • Mexican Dynasties (Bravo; Shed Media and Campanario Entertainment)
  • Mira Quien Baila: All Stars (Univision; Endemol Shine Boomdog, Univision Studios)
  • Pati’s Mexican Table (WETA Washington, DC / American Public Television; Mexican Table, LLC, WETA Washington, DC, FRANK. and Switchblade)
  • World of Dance (NBC; Universal Television Alternative Studio in association with Nuyorican Productions and World of Dance)

Best Children’s Programming

  • Ducktales (Disney Channel; Disney Television Animation)
  • Elena of Avalor (Disney Junior; Disney Television Animation)
  • The Loud House (Nickelodeon)
  • Sesame Street (HBO; Sesame Street Workshop)
  • Victor and Valentino (Cartoon Network; Cartoon Network Studios)

Additional Nominees are:  

Best Documentary

  • A Sacred Journey (Higher Ground Entertainment)
  • ●      America ReFramed: Pyne Point (WORLD Channel; American Documentary)
  • Great Performances: John Leguizamo’s Road to Broadway (PBS; NGL Studios & Diamante Content Production in association with THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET & Latino Public Broadcasting)
  • Harvest Season (PBS/Independent Lens; Quiet Pictures)
  • The Sentence (HBO; Park Pictures in association with HBO Documentary Films)
  • Wonders of Mexico (PBS; PBS and BBC co-production)

Best Informational Program (Local or National)

  • Breaking Big (PBS; Ozy Media)
  • Pati’s Mexican Table (WETA Washington, DC / American Public Television; Mexican Table, LLC, WETA Washington, DC, FRANK. and Switchblade)
  • Univision 34: Mujeres en el Poder/Women in Power (Univision 34)
  • VICE (HBO; HBO Entertainment in association with Vice and Bill Maher Productions)
  • VICE News Tonight (HBO; HBO Entertainment in association with Vice and Bill Maher Productions)

Best Short-Form Non-Fiction Program

  • Cuban Canvas (Riverfilms)
  • SC Featured – A Dreamer’s Path (ESPN)
  • SC Reportajes: Chicharito – Vidas Paralelas (ESPN)
  • SC Reportajes – Maryland Gonzalez (ESPN)

Best On-Air Advertising

  • Acura “Senses” (Orci)
  • DISH Puerto Rico COPUR Inspiración (RightCut)
  • DishLATINO Ingles Para Todos Campaign (RightCut)
  • Sexism (Orci)

 About The Imagen Awards

The Imagen (pronounced ee-mah-hen) Awards program was established in 1985 from a suggestion by veteran television producer Norman Lear to encourage and recognize the positive portrayals of Latinos in the media. Later, as The Imagen Foundation, it expanded its programs and initiatives to further its mission to serve as a bridge between the Latino community and the entertainment industry in providing access, education, and resources for Latinos in the industry, as well as those seeking careers in entertainment. More information on the organization as well as details of the event can be found online at www.imagen.org and its social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’ Review

Dragon Ball Super Broly review2

Dragon Ball fans have a reason to get psyched. Its release day for the 20th film in the franchise, Dragon Ball Super Broly! Teens Wanna Know got a sneak peek courtesy of Funimation, so let’s get right the review!

Dragon Ball Super Broly review

Spoiler Alert: a few spoilers below..which have been elsewhere revealed in trailers and promos but we’d like to inform you just in case you haven’t seen these.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly opens some time in the past with the citizens of Planet Vegeta, home of the Saiyans, being introduced to their new ruler, Frieza, who’s father is retiring and handing over the reins. After a brief show of force, Frieza and his ships depart, leaving King Vegeta stewing in anger.

Shortly thereafter, we see King Vegeta gloat as he looks over his son Prince Vegeta, floating in a fluid-filled nursing capsule, who represents eventual freedom from Frieza’s enslavement. There is, however, a wrinkle: the king notices a commoner in his own capsule near the prince’s. When he interrogates his staff, he is told that the reason this capsule is secured near the prince’s is because the boy’s latent battle powers are even stronger than Vegeta’s. His name is Broly, son of Colonel Paragus. Upon being informed that this child has the potential to be the legendary Super Saiyan, the King orders him exiled to a faraway, uninhabited planet, ensuring his prince has no competition. Paragus follows to attempt a rescue, and ends up stranded with Broly.

Dragon Ball Super Broly review2

Meanwhile, we see what life was like for the Saiyans. We see Goku’s origins, and understand why his father sent him away to Earth. This is another instance of the father-son focus the movie has…a very refreshing theme prevalent throughout the film and missing in the currently man-bashing Western media. When Gine asks Bardock why he cares about his son so much, he says “Maybe its because I am constantly fighting, destroying. And I’d actually like to save something for once.” Bardock shows that he can love his son and still retain all his fierce masculinity.

He does the rational thing and sends Goku away in a capsule — just minutes before Frieza displays why he is one of the greatest villians in all the multiverse by obliterating Planet Vegeta in a single act of calculated coldness. The only Saiyan survivors are those who disobeyed Frieza’s orders to return to their planet before he blew it up, and this includes Prince Vegeta and Goku’s brother Raditz.

After many years in isolation, Paragus and Broly are rescued and brought to Frieza. It is revealed Paragus has trained his son to be a fierce warrior. At first his father’s gritty determination seems admirable: what a dad, risking it all to save his precious son and train him to be the best fighter he can be! Soon, however, we see that what lies behind his drive is more an obsession for revenge instead of fatherly devotion — and this makes Broly a more tragic figure rather than an evil one. He is being used by both his father and Frieza.

Dragon Ball Super Broly review3

The fight scenes are wild. I mean every punch and kick is like armageddon. We’ve seen a lot of environmental destruction before in previous Dragon Ball films, but this is next level. Broly is beast! And yes, as shown in one of the trailers and widely discussed online, fans finally get to see Gogeta on the big screen — the blend of Goku and Vegeta seems their only chance to defeat the seemingly unstoppable Broly — although achieving fusion is hilariously much harder than one would think. Is it enough? Watch the film to find out!

Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a fun ride. It does the franchise justice and will please existing fans, and will probably make new ones who never paid much attention to the anime before, but who enjoy crazy fight scenes or superhero films. Go see it and have some fun!

Dragon Ball Super: Broly is rated PG and opens in theaters everywhere today (Jan 16th), including certain IMAX theaters. For locations, check https://www.dragonballsuperofficial.com/

 

‘All These Small Moments’: Brendan Meyer from The OA and Mr. Young talks about latest film

brendan meyer

Brendan Meyer is the lead in the new film “All These Small Moments,” which also stars Molly Ringwald, Brian d’Arcy James, newcomer Sam McCarthy, Harley Quinn Smith, and Jemima Kirke and directed by Melissa B. Miller Costanzo. It opens January 17th in select theaters, and the 18th on VOD.

Set in New York, the movie is a somewhat quiet study of relationships and the awkwardness that accompanies teenage life, especially when compounded by family strife and the beginning of sexual self-awareness. The film will resonate with older teens and anyone who has experienced a crush which one knows will never come to fruition, but which nonetheless inexplicably fixates one’s desires.

We got the chance to interview Brendan about the film as well as a few other topics (like his role on Fear the Walking Dead) via phone conversation, scroll down to read!

brendan meyer
Brendan Meyer as Howie Sheffield in Orion Classics’ drama ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS. Photo courtesy of Orion Classics.

[Full disclosure: Interview below has been edited for clarity…and because on the call I kept calling the movie “All the Small Things” like the Blink-182 song instead of All These Small Moments — oops lol]

Hello Brendan.

Hi there.

How are you?

I’m good. How are you?

I’m swell, we got exactly 10 min and I was told I better not go over so I am going to be speed talking. Is that cool?

Yeah, that’s absolutely fine. I’ll try to talk quickly too.

All right, cool. So before we talk about your movie All These Small Moments let’s help the people who may not be familiar with you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Yeah, ok! My name’s Brendan Meyer, I am actually Canadian but I live in Los Angeles now. And yeah, I always wanted to be an actor so I’ve kind of been doing little acting classes since I was really really young. But it’s probably been…I’ll say my first actual professional acting credit was probably like almost 14 years ago now.

It started kind of small only working every now and then, did this show call Mr. Young and then I moved to Vancouver. I’ll say that’s when I really started — I mean I was working before that but not as consistently. So yeah that is kind of when I really started pursuing it both in Vancouver and then in L.A. So that’s been about eight years.

You live in LA now?

I do now. Yes. Yes.

Let’s get to the film now. Tell us what All These Small Moments is about, and about your character?

Well basically it focuses on this teenage boy and a bunch of different aspects in his life, and it also focuses on his parents. So his parents are going through kind of a rocky patch in their relationship. They are not sleeping in the same bed all the time, and the kids can kind of feel that, so that is kind of the home life.

Then Howie — the teenage boy that I play — whenever he is going to school, he rides the public bus and sees this sort of older woman, early 30s, and starts to be drawn to her and wants to know more of her story. And it also goes into sort of what is going on with him in school and this girl Lindsay, that he is always running into at the library, and his relationship with his friends and stuff. It is a little hard to describe succinctly, but it’s sort of this tapestry of all these moments that he is going through and that the family is going through.

all these small moments poster

Right. I saw it and I loved it. I think that everyone’s performances were amazing. So, I enjoyed it, but why do you think teenagers are gonna want to watch this film?

Well, I think teenagers will like this film because I think it is a great portrait of adolescence and I think how he desires to make sense of his situation and deal — I mean I think anyone who has dealt with parents breaking up or having a rocky relationship, that is not something I personally went through that but I imagine so many kids did. So that is something that young people could relate to if they are going through it right now, because I think its very real and honest to that experience.

And then I think there is a real interesting sense of development to all the different characters and I don’t think its just funnelled through a teenage experience. I think a teenager might enjoy not just relating to what they see, which is this sort of teenager-around-their-age’s journey, but they might also kind of be able to see their parents in some of the characters, or think more about what it would be like when they are a little bit older. So I think there is a lot there to chew on that is not just something that is trained to that teenage experience, and I think teenagers may be interested in that.

I agree. Especially older teens, maybe not the 13 or 14 year olds but you know the…

….maybe not, maybe definitely people in the Howie age-range, like 16, 17 and maybe even 18 could really, I think, get a lot out of it.

Absolutely. Now did you know who Molly Ringwald was before you booked the role? Did you know her iconic status?

Yeah, yeah, of course I was very very familiar with her movies and who she was and and the career that she’s had. So yeah, I was very excited to get the chance to work with her and was absolutely familiar with her.

Awesome. What stand out most for you from the production?

I mean one of the greatest things, you know the first thing that I always think of, is getting to film in New York. I love New York and I love spending time there, and we really were in such great, kind of classic New York locations whether it would be a Brooklyn brownstone or this roof overlooking the city or you know in these little parks or shops or cafes or wherever the scenes were.

I think that the movie does such a great job at capturing New York. And so, as an actor in the moment, being there was so amazing. I mean, I lived in a brownstone in Brooklyn while I was there. I walked to set a lot of days. I think the place I stayed was like two blocks away from the actual house where we shot all the stuff with the family. And it was pretty close to some of the other locations too, so it was really really cool.

Were there any awkward moments on set, especially with the actress who plays your crush? I know in real life there is not such an age difference, but as actors getting into your characters, was there any kind of maybe deliberate awkwardness that you guys kind of played off each other? I am talking about Jemima.

Yeah, I don’t think…there was no real awkwardness but I think there was certainly…you know the two of us and [the director] Melissa certainly worked together to sort of get it. A lot of it was in the script but it was still in the moment that you really have to finesse that sort of balance of the relationship, because obviously it is sort of an inappropriate age gap.

But is also one of the central relationships in the movie and so I think its an interesting balance. You are right, it is awkward and finding the moments in the script where the age difference didn’t matter in what they were talking about, and maybe finding the moments where it did and where that led to a little bit of awkwardness when that age difference shows, that was something we definitely had to work on as actors and with Melissa.

ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS2
Jemima Kirke as Odessa in Orion Classics’ drama ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS. Photo courtesy of Orion Classics.

 

Well you did a good job because there were some moments when I was cringing. I was like “oh no…”

I am also very naturally awkward. So sometimes that would just come out, and I like to think they could just use that (laughing). I don’t have to pre-plan that necessarily all the time.

All right, good. What role do you get recognized most for and maybe you wish people would move on? I am guessing Mr. Young, am I right about that?

Ah, look I never wish people would move on from anything I…you know, I don’t mind whatever people recognize me from, it’s fine. But yeah, I think that’s probably still the one that I most get recognized for. Sometimes The OA, but mainly Mr. Young still.  And for the most part I can still move around and its not too crazy but yeah, I’ll say when people do stop me its most often from Mr. Young.

Cool. You were part of another iconic series, albeit briefly: Fear the Walking Dead, first in the web series form and then in the actual show itself. Did you have hopes to make it as a regular or did you kind of know beforehand that your character was going to be limited?

You know, there was always talk about it potentially being more, but that was never confirmed. I actually booked the regular role I have on The OA at like the exact same time so I couldn’t have actually done it. So I don’t know necessarily if they ever made that call. I know there was certainly talk about having that character having a little of a longer lifespan, but I never got a confirmation one way or the other.

But it didn’t really ever matter because I started filming The OA I think the month after I did that episode of Fear of the Walking Dead — which was an amazing experience. It was really, really cool. The one episode that I got to do, filming in the water tank they filmed that season in and being down there on the set with all those actors for a day was cool. But yeah I think I filmed that the end of January and was in New York for The OA in February so it wouldn’t have worked.

Alrighty, so Brendan what do you have coming up next?

Yeah so the next thing is season 2 of The OA. I think that is the next chance you will be able to see me, and this movie comes out on the 17th in theaters and the 18th on VOD.

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. Love your Instagram feed by the way, you have a good eye for photos man, you are talented. Good luck with the movie and hope to see you on a red carpet in L.A. somewhere.

Thanks man hope to see you too!

Follow Brendan: http://instagram.com/brendankjmeyer

Film trailer:

Disney Stars Joshua Rush and Kylee Russell Spread Holiday Cheer at the 8th Annual Holiday in the Hangar by Delta Airlines

joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar

On Dec. 12th, Joshua Rush from Disney’s hit series Andi Mack and Kylee Russell from Disney Channel Original Movie Zombies surprised over 150 kids from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Normandie Avenue Elementary School and McKinley Avenue Elementary School at the “North Pole,” an LAFD Fire Station transformed into a winter wonderland.

At the Delta Air Lines’ 8th annual “Holiday in the Hangar” charity event at LAX’s Fire Station 80, the young Hollywood stars took pictures and danced with guests and kids, helped Santa and Mrs. Claus hand out toys and crafts, and generally spread holiday cheer to the delight of everyone in attendance.

The children boarded a chartered (and decorated!) Delta “flight” to the Fire Station and, upon arrival, were greeted by special guests including LA Lakers Alumni A.C. Green and The Laker Girls, LA Kings Ice Crew, Los Angeles Football Club Forward Christian Ramirez, and more. Throughout the day, the children were treated to holiday activities with Delta, the GRAMMYs and the GRAMMY Museum, sweets from Sprinkles Cupcakes and lunch from Westfield.

Let’s check out some pics!

joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar joshua rush and kylee russell 8th annual holiday in the hangar

Meet Sophie Thatcher – Interview plus Gunpowder & Sky’s DUST “Prospect” film review

sophie thatcher prospect film review

Sophie Thatcher is the star of Gunpowder & Sky’s DUST new film, Prospect, slated to open November 2nd. The film follows the path of a father-daughter team as they search for riches on a dangerous, toxic planet — and whose mission turns deadly very quickly. We got the chance to ask Sophie a few questions about her role in the movie — check her answers below — but first a quick Prospect film review.

The film opens with young Cee, played by Sophie Thatcher, and her father Damon, played by Jay Duplass (“Transparent”), preparing to descend to the planet they are orbiting in their rickety space pod. The father’s plan is to collect extremely valuable amber-like gems known as Aurelacs. These gems are found in large root- or termite mound-like structures, and have to be carefully extracted lest they self-destruct in a bath of acid. The pair set course for the mother lode — a large deposit of Aurelacs known as the “Queens Lair.”

After they recover one stone at an old dig on the way to the main site, two ne’er do wells (one played by Pedro Pascal of “Game of Thrones” and “Narcos” fame) happen upon the father and shake him down for his treasure. A couple of bad decisions later, and this encounter changes from a scavenging  expedition to a quest for survival and escape — one where teenage Cee has to use all of her wits and determination to try to make it back to her shuttle and rejoin the mothership.

This movie is, atmosphere-wise, like no other film I have seen before, truly otherworldly but grounded in reality — if that makes any sense. Production design is fabulous, from the realistically-lived in capsule whose rickety instruments are covered in gritty, grimy breath, oils from fingertips and palms, and who knows what else. Wardrobe, hair and makeup convey a feeling that everything and everybody in this film needs a good hot shower. There’s plenty of little details to appreciate, especially in the space capsule. Particles of dust float around and there’s a barely perceptible layer of ice on the window which they could have skipped, but didn’t. The 8-track aesthetic of just about every switch and mechanism further lends credibility to the world created here by the filmmakers.

The film is described as a sci-fi western, but it also has a strong steampunk vibe. None of the weapons fire lasers, but projectiles from rather primitive-looking weapons. This coupled, with the flimsiness of the suits everyone wears in order to breathe on the alien world, raises the stakes of every shot discharged and every step taken for that matter. Little protects the characters from a tear or rip which would lead to a quick death — and when you compound with bullets and high speed foot chases through an environment full of brambles poised to ensnare breathing tubes –you end up on the edge of your seat.

My biggest complaint is the off-putting poetic dialogue used by a few characters. Its hard to follow and a bit melodramatic and goofy, but it’s not a dealbreaker. Other than that–this is a movie I definitely recommend and I hope it finds its audience as a cult hit.

As evidenced by her acting in Prospect, plus her unique personal style, Sophie Thatcher has the potential to be absolutely huge. Excited to see where her career takes her!

Now let’s get to the interview! p.s. Is it just me or does she bear a resemblance to Emma Watson?

sophie thatcher prospect film review

Hi Sophie, nice to e-meet you! Before we get into your role on Prospect, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an actor, musician, artist and a Chicago native!

Thanks! You have an extensive theater background, having studied since age 4 and with performances in The Diary of Anne Frank and several others in Chicago. How was this, your first film, a different beast?

It took me a while to transition from stage to screen because I was used to the repetition of doing a full show every night. In contrast to theater, film is shot scene by scene and I never realized there was so much time waiting around on set! Ahh! But this process helped me to grow with the character. I was drawn to the natural aspects of the film world.

What helped you manage the pressure of being a newcomer, yet carrying the film as the lead character?

The whole cast and crew were very kind and made me feel safe and that if I made a minor mistake, it wasn’t the end of the world. Everyone was so warm and made me feel comfortable. Zeek and Chris trusted me with the character and that helped me gain confidence.

How did you book the role—traditional audition process or something different?

I was sent the sides from my agents and manager and put it on tape, then recorded the callback myself. After that, they flew me out to Seattle to see the workspace, meet the directors and work through a couple different scenes. I remember feeling like I had bombed the audition somehow, but an hour later they invited me back to the workspace to tell me I was cast. I remember feeling relieved and tremendously excited.

Why do you think teens are going to want to watch this movie?

I think it’s rare to have such a powerful young female lead in a film. I hope that young women, or any outliers in society can be inspired by Cee’s character trajectory.

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What was the most memorable part about filming it?

Definitely the night shoots. It really messed up everyone’s sleeping schedule so we were all suffering together. I was exposed to a bunch of the cast and crew’s looney side and we all formed a tight bond.

What was it like to wear that space suit and helmet – any claustrophobia? Was it crooked on purpose or did it just slip to the side like that?

The first week of filming was stressful because they were still working on the helmets, and I felt like I could barely breathe. Of course they fixed that and once the helmet was on, it helped me dive into the Prospect universe. I fully became Cee.

The clothes you and your dad wear on the ship look very lived in, almost like you guys were directed to sleep in the clothes for a couple days and show up to set without doing your hair. Am I close to the mark—or were the hair and wardrobe people that good?

The hair and wardrobe people were exceptionally talented! They often kept to a very minimal makeup look on me- or sometimes they would add under eye circles as the story progressed and Cee’s circumstances became more difficult.

Why do you think fellow teenage girls are going to like your character, Cee?

I think a lot of teenagers can relate to a bunch of different aspects of Cee. First, I’m sure kids can relate to the feeling of being an outsider in one way or another. Also Cee uses music and books as an escape. I, and I’m sure many other people my age can heavily relate to this.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I have a twin sister who’s an artist! I also make music too and someday would like to focus on that more.

Biggest pet peeve?

People pleasers and wishy washy people.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?

I adore New York City and all the possibilities and artists that live there. I would love to move there one day to work on music and art.

Favorite food?

Sushi or any kind of Japanese food.

Favorite book?

Just Kids written by Patti Smith (my biggest inspiration) and Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad.

Most attractive thing in another person?

Creativity and individuality.

Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?

The first time I was kissed I couldn’t stop laughing because I was so nervous, so he ended up kissing my teeth.

What else are you working on or have coming up?

I have a few projects up in the air! Would love to focus more on music and art too and put some stuff out there into the world!

Could we get a selfie of whatever you are doing at the moment? It’s something we ask to keep it real for the fans!

Me, drinking my morning coffee

sophie thatcher prospect gunpowder and sky

Sophie Thatcher Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soapy.t/

Watch the original short film on which the new full-length movie is based:

 

Laws of the Universe Part 1 Review

laws of the universe part 1 happy science review poster

Laws of the Universe Part 1 is an animated feature film which opens today, October 12th. Despite its name, it is actually the second in the anime series written by Happy Science founder Ryuho Okawa. We’ll get to Happy Science in a minute, but first let’s talk about the film.

laws of the universe part 1 happy science review poster

The plot of Laws of the Universe Part 1 revolves around a group of young heroes who protect the earth against invading aliens. An evil overlord named Dahar enchants one of them, Tyler, forcing his best friend Ray to travel back 330 million years to try and save him. Tyler goes a little bonkers and completely destroys the home planet of a group of Reptilians led by Queen Zamza — leading them to flock to Earth for sanctuary. Shenanigans ensue as Zamza first tries to conquer Earth for herself, then joins Ray in trying to save his friend and planet Earth from evil.

Now…who are the makers of Laws of the Universe Part 1 and why should you care? Well, it is backed by religious organization founded in 1986 by Ryuho Okawa, called Happy Science. On its website it claims to be “Japan’s biggest and the most influential religion,” (actually, that is Shinto) and Okawa furthermore claims to channel Jesus. Now, I feel people can believe what they want to believe as long as they don’t hurt others, so more power to him. But the reason I bring it up is that this explains a lot about the plots in this series.

There is a lot of new-Age spirituality injected into both films. In this one, Alpha, the God of Earth and his wife, appear as golden angelic figures who live in a flying Egyptian-style pyramid to moralize and save the day. In both the earlier film, Laws of the Universe Part 0, and this one, there’s a lot of talk about reptilians and apocalyptic alien invasions, the true spiritual nature of man, brotherly love and understanding, and other things which seem kinda odd for an anime.

When I saw the first movie three years ago, this puzzled me — until I put two and two together and found that these ideas are based on some of the teachings of Happy Science. So, I think it is kind of a dissemination or enlightenment vehicle rather than a pure creative work by storytellers. There is a definite religious angle here, although I wouldn’t go so far as to call it propaganda.

This latest film, Laws of the Universe Part 1 (why oh why isn’t it called “Part Two,” since its the 2nd?) thankfully is more action-packed and less “preachy” than the first film. The animation is pretty great except for one giant CGI-spider thing which doesn’t do the rest of the animation justice.

There are some unintentionally funny moments, such as when a group of primitive early humans start chanting what I believed was “ENEMA! ENEMA! ENEMA!” and the reptilians show delight at the idea of eating this tasty “HUMAN ENEMA.” Gross!

Until I realized they were saying ANIMA…which I imagine means soul or life force. Awkward.

And there is this gem of a line: “Don’t forget to remember your place!” Actually, you could have just said “Remember your place!” but I’ll let that slide because this was translated from Japanese and little grammar things are forgivable.

The filmmakers did use some great voice talent for the English dub, including Kari Wahlgren and Tom Kenny, so that is a plus.

The film is long, at exactly two hours, but there is enough action and decent visuals to keep you entertained throughout.  If you end up watching it, I would love to hear your feedback. Was it too spiritual? Too melodramatic? Just right? Leave a comment below!

For showtimes and tickets, go to: https://www.elevenarts.net/animedistrbution/laws-of-the-universe-part-1

Watch our interviews from the first movie’s red carpet in 2015.

Captain Marvel 2019 Trailer – Most Powerful Superhero in the MCU?

The new trailer for Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson just dropped, and it looks amazing. Is Captain Marvel the most powerful superhero in the Marvel Comics Universe? Well, we will have to see her in action when the movie opens next year, but for now, she looks like quite the beast!

The film is slated to open March 8th, 2019. Here is the official synopsis:

Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom.

Some of Captain Marvel’s reputed powers include:

  • superhuman strength
  • flies at six times the speed of sound, and even at light speed under certain conditions
  • discharges explosive energy blasts from her fingers…up to the strength of a nuclear weapon
  • sixth sense
  • controls stellar energies

Cannot wait to see her powers in action!


My Hero Academia: Two Heroes Review and Red Carpet Premiere Interviews

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My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is a great movie! Scroll down to watch red carpet interviews from the Hollywood premiere with Dj Slushii, King Vader, Bryan Forrest, Tim Neff, Steven D’Onofrio, Cassandra Morris.

my hero academia two heroes

Synopsis & Quick Review of My Hero Academia: Two Heroes

“Deku and All Might receive an invitation to I-Expo, The World’s Leading Exhibition of Quirk Abilities and Hero Item Innovations. Amid the excitement, Deku meets a girl who is Quirkless, just like he once was. Suddenly, I-Expo’s Top-Of-The-Line Security System gets hacked by villains and a sinister plan is set in motion. It’s a serious threat to Hero Society and one man holds the key to it all.”

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is action packed and full of your favorite My Hero Academia characters including All Might, Izuku Midoriya, Katsuki Bakugō, Shōto Todoroki, Ochako Uraraka and more. The film opens with the student heros coming together for the I-Expo, where Deku meets All Might’s “niece,” Melissa Shield, son of All Might’s best friend David Shield. Turns out she is also quirkless, like Izuku “Deku” Midoriya, but carries on in her dad’s footsteps as an inventor.

She gifts Deku with a glove which allows him to exercise more of his quirk (superpower) without hurting his body. In other words, he doesn’t have to hold back any more. When the entire island is held hostgae by an eveil gang, and All Might is helpless to defend them, the young heros must take matters into their own hands to fight an evil beyond any hero has faced before.

Without spoiling any more (told you this was a quick review), let’s just say that everybody gets a piece of the action and the new glove comes in quite handy.

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes Release date: September 25, 2018 (USA)
Director: Kenji Nagasaki
Distributed by: Toho Co., Ltd.
Screenplay: Yōsuke Kuroda
Music composed by: Yûki Hayashi
Story by: Kohei Horikoshi
Production company: Bones

***UPDATE 9/27/18***

Its seems like the movie is doing brisk business judging from this press release!

First Feature Film of the Global Hit Anime Franchise Brings in Nearly $2 Million at the Box Office, Out-Earning the Competition by $1400/Per Screen

FLOWER MOUND, TX – September 27, 2018. The theatrical release of Funimation Films’ highly anticipated “My Hero Academia: Two Heroes,” is producing heroic box office returns, outpacing any other top 10 film in per screen revenue totals by almost $1200 for the first day and by over $1,400 on the second day in its five-day run in over 500 theaters across the U.S. and Canada.  The first ever feature film based on the hit global franchise “My Hero Academia” from Toho Co. Ltd., is on track to earn well over $2 million dollars by this afternoon.  In addition, it garnered two of the top engagements in North American last night, and ranked as the #3 film over all despite its limited release.  On its first night the film had three of the top engagements and ranked 5thoverall. 

“We were convinced that moviegoers would come out for ‘My Hero Academia: Two Heroes’ based on the incredible responses we received to the franchise at our San Diego Comic Con panel and our  sold-out world premiere during Anime Expo,” said Gen Fukunaga, CEO and President of Funimation. “The box office success to date is extremely gratifying and we are already working with exhibitors to add additional theater locations and showtimes to keep up with the tremendous demand from audiences.”

“My Hero Academia: Two Heroes” is available in English dub tonight and on September 29 and in the original Japanese (English subtitles) on September 26 and October 2. Based on the film’s box office success, exhibitors are adding showtimes on Friday, September 28 and Sunday, September 30 in select locations. Check local listings for more information.

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes Trailer

Age of Summer film review – Teen film will have you California dreamin’

age of summer film review felice

Age of Summer is a beautiful little movie which opens today in select theaters and VOD. Its a coming-of-age tale with a completely different vibe than any recent film…one which will make you feel nostalgic for the 1980’s teen beach scene in California even if you weren’t born yet or lived in Hong Kong all your life.

age of summer film review poster

The plot revolves around a teenage boy, Minnesota (played by Percy Hynes White), who hits that crucial moment in time when childhood is about to transition to something new — something different and possibly scary — called the teenage years. This involves dealing with bullies, alcohol, and scariest of all for a boy just hitting puberty, GIRLS. It also involves saying goodbye to previously powerful bonds, in order to form new ones.

Age of Summer captures this evolution in the life of a teen boy in a charming, very real way as Minnesota and his best friend Woods (played by Jake Ryan) try out for the junior Life Guard team in Hermosa Beach.

age of summer film review percy

Seeing the cute girls and the older “cool” boys on the tryout squad is of course intimidating, and Minnesota struggles to figure out where exactly he fits in and what his relationship with Woods means. The drama is amped up by the news of a missing young man as well as Minnesota’s beloved Ripper bike getting stolen. Add some romantic tension, a game-changing round of spin-the-bottle, a spaced-out beach bum guru who dispenses tidbits of sage wisdom (or might just be totally crazy), and you have an interesting slice of life captured here by the filmmakers.

Stealing the show is the hard-driving Life Guard trainer, played by the hilarious Diarmaid Murtagh, who speaks in some sort of hyper-Australian accent full of ludicrous expressions which I swear do not actually exist in the English language, but make perfect sense here somehow.

age of summer film review charlotte

The film is gorgeous to look at, and the acting mostly sufficient. What makes the film is just the vibe, man. The colors. The surfing. The drinking of awful piss-warm beer and loving every drop because you are with your bros and a couple of cute chicks.

It will make you sad to see Summer end. Highly recommended.

Watch Age of Summer on demand: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/age-of-summer/id1430575602

Age of Summer is also playing in select cities, check their Facebook at http://facebook.com/ageofsummer page for details.

Distributed by: Freestyle Digital Media (Theatrical & North America), Automatic Entertainment (Foreign Sales)
Directed By: Bill Kiely
Written By: Dave Harris and Bill Kiely
Executive Produced By: Leo Kiely and Ryan Dorff
Produced By: Joseph McKelheer and Bill Kiely

Cast: Percy Hynes White, Peter Stormare, Jake Ryan, Charlotte Sabina, Diarmaid Murtagh, Bryana Alicia Salaz

Run Time: 89 minutes
Rating: Not yet rated

Facebook: http://facebook.com/ageofsummer
Instagram: @ageofsummer

age of summer film review felice