Wednesday, April 18, 2018

This Looks Like A Job For....

I can think of no better way to end the blog--yes this time I mean it--than by bringing things full circle--And telling you a little bit more about my life in the process. A heartfelt THANKS to all of my loyal readers for supporting me and all of my nonsense over the last 12 years or so. It's been fun!

A special shout out to Brittani Burnham at Rambling Film-Thanks for always having my back kiddo!! See you on Twitter....@TheLastReel....Now on with the final Reel.....


2018 marks the 80th birthday of the greatest comic book superhero of all time....Superman.......Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster--the character first appeared in Action Comics #1 dated June 1938....

If you've known me for any real amount of time-you know that save for a few struggles--I tend to orbit positive people places and things. On a basic level It's the reason I prefer Star Trek over Star Wars. Instead of evil empires taking over galaxies in Wars-with Trek we explore the final frontier and ourselves--always striving to be better...Each franchise has a complicated story and its themes are nuanced I know--but you get the broader point.

The Man of Steel was not just a bright light for me growing up....He was also "virtually invulnerable" and nearly flawless--Having a disability since birth--His perfection was appealing to a young boy who was reminded every day that he was differently abled. Despite those challenges--and with the loving embrace of my parents and siblings--I still found a way to look towards the sky smile and say "Up Up And Away!!" Although I lived a wonderful childhood buoyed by a great support system of family friends teachers and the like--all in my corner--cheering me on...I was not immune to times of struggle--self doubt-frustration and sadness. This may sound ridiculous to some of you--but--As a fictional character Superman helped me get past most of the negative stuff at a young age. Early on I believed (and still do) that you have to play the hand you are dealt. Humor. Humility Grace Qualities that will get you farther than you know... I chose to try and live by those words--yet not always succeeding....I am deeply and hopelessly flawed after all. Superman never gave up on me though...Superman I am not...A hero--surely not--but striving to live the best life possible-yep...optimistic and hopeful--Hell yes!!


Here's how it all began...Before I read a single comic book--An origin if you like--The first time I met Superman.

I was 10 years old at the time...

It was August 23rd 1979, and as usual for that time of year the weather was very warm and humid. My Mom and Dad were busy working around the house. Four of my five siblings were out and about, doing the things that normal teenagers and young adults do. I decided to pass the time by playing a very long game of Monopoly with the one sister who was home--Maria. After she beat me, it was time to eat dinner. As we finished our meal, two of my brother Nick's buddies--both named Mike, came by for a visit. Even though he wasn’t home, his two pals as they often did, had decided to stick around for a little bit anyway. This visit allowed them to give me some of those old "Space: 1999" action figures and toys, which they was planning to do anyway. The duo said that they were going to the movies in town.

Eventually, they invited my sister and me to come along. After getting permission and money from the folks, off we went...

Little did I know, this simple outing to the movies, would have such an affect on my life and my future...

The only movie theater within walking distance from my home in Woodbury NJ., had only two screens, (yeah remember when movie theaters only had 1 or 2 screens!) and was located right in the center of town. The Wood, (sadly, closed in the mid-80's after the cineplex took over) on Broad Street, was what’s known in the business as, a second run theater. This is the last place where movies would go before they show up on cable or in the video store. The fifteen minute trip ended and we arrived some twenty minutes before the 7:00 p.m. show time. The four of us sat three rows from the front. The screen looked very big to this 10 year old. In the center section, we took four seats on the right side of the row. I sat on the end. This was the first time I sat that close to the screen.

The movie I was about to see had originally been released on December 15 1978. It had been number one at the box office for eleven weeks in a row, garnered four Oscar nominations, and was a hit with the the critics and the public alike. A few moments later the theater went dark and the film began...

The movie I saw that night was officially titled SUPERMAN-THE MOVIE


There are many other films that have inspired me over the years. The list is long and varied. However, this was the very first film to have an impact on me, and the choices that I would make later in life. So that is why it is singled out here.

From the opening shots in black and white--the voice over of a young boy reading a comic book, dissolving into one of the most memorable credit sequences ever filmed, to its epic story and great score, SUPERMAN had it all. A great cast, led by Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, and Christopher Reeve In fact, it is his performance as both the man of steel and his alter ego, Clark Kent, (Reeve later said that he modeled his Clark Kent after actor Cary Grant) that made it work. Under the fine direction of Richard Donner, the movie and its characters came alive...

When the movie ended, 2 hours and 23 minutes later, I thought WOW! As the four of us made our way back to my house, I was pumped up, and very excited!--And could not stop talking about it...When I finally made it home, I couldn’t wait to tell Mom and Dad all about it. It wasn’t just the movie that I wanted to talk about though. I wanted talk about everything that went into MAKING IT as well. I noticed a lot more about the movie than just the great script by late great writer Tom Mankiewicz. Examples of what else I noticed include: the cinematography (by the late Geoffrey Unsworth), the music (by John Williams), the set design (by the late John Barry), editing (by Stuart Baird), and on and on... The point is that I became interested in all areas of the film’s production. Even to this day, I still pay attention to the credits of films that I see....Driving everyone else nuts---I remember telling my mom that night that I wanted to be a film director as an adult...

As a teenager, I went to the movies a lot, with family and friends. I was and still am the movie guy to those that know me..Trips to the bookstore back then meant getting my hands on any tome about movies and how they got made...

When it came time to pick a major in college--After encouragement from my sister Karen.- the choice was simple--Communications with a concentration in Film and TV production....My parents were never really thrilled with the idea. They wanted me to go into a more "stable profession" Mom always saw me as a teacher--which is of course--very ironic--considering how and where I ultimately landed.

Post graduation I made a few promotional films including one for my high school alma mater--commonly referred to as Gatorland. And... Profiles of interesting people that I thought could use the attention...The highlight among those films though was the completion of an indie short--that-thanks to the help of some very dedicated folks--is literally one experience I will never forget...And Like Superman--it will always be with me for the rest of my life Thanks always to Matt for going above and beyond in making the Indie happen at all and to the rest of my cast/crew--It truly was something special....


My affection for, and inspiration from the celluloid medium has never really left me--and I doubt it ever will really..In some ways, one could say, TLR would not exist without 1978's STM... and that trip to the center of town 38 years ago. No matter my mood, I hear that rousing main title march and my spirit soars. I have probably watched the film in part or in its entirety some 250 times....I even got to hear Reeve speak to a crowd--a few years after his accident-at a motivational appearance event in North Jersey...

Thank You Mr Donner For Making A 10 Year Old Boy Believe A Man Can Fly....And giving me a lifetime of movie memories...And Most importantly helping me stay Positive Always.

This post is lovingly dedicated to the memory of my Mom and Dad, my niece Kayla, my pals Alex, Lindsay and lastly "Beccs" I miss you all every day...now and forever....Always in my heart...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Review: Dark Forrest (2015)

I recently took some time out to watch the 2015 low budget Canadian 80's horror throwback flick Dark Forest--while it boasts a strong antagonist, some inventive kills and some fine cinematography--not all of the puzzle pieces quite fit to form a cohesive whole.


The film employs the traits of the sub genre that any fan would love. Its plot is simple enough. Meet Emily (), she is in an abusive relationship with Peter (). His hold over her is so strong that she basically lives a life locked away from the outside world. Emily finally decides enough is enough--finding the courage to leave Peter and join her friends Michelle (), Jolene (), and Francine () on a camping getaway. Soon after they arrive at their destination--the ladies discover that Emily's act of courage has put them all in mortal danger....

Director concocted the script with David Zellis infusing the final product with a few horror tropes that made the genre so popular in the late 70's/80's; Pretty people out to have fun, gratuitous shots of girls frolicking about in the water--in this case though the sequence is pretty tame when compared to many of the films of the era that Dark Forest pays homage to, a sex starved male character-looking to score, characters blissfully unaware of the danger that hovers around them until it's too late, among others. The cast is solid and work well--given the trappings of the horror formula here. The standout here is Scullard who is quite off-putting from the start, gets creepy and then becomes downright homicidal by the end. Some kills are very well orchestrated despite the flick's low budget. The gore is also there but tastefully executed.

The film loses points for me by introducing another set of characters in the middle of the story--whose only function is clearly to raise the body count--which is fine-but this tactic could have had  more of an impact if used earlier in the film perhaps. The 2009 Friday the 13th remake did something quite similar with better results. The movie has pacing issues too and with a running time of just 75 minutes--it's noticeable.

Those concerns aside I can still happily recommend the flick--if you are a genre devotee like me. There's plenty to like here. The film is streaming on Amazon Prime and platforms like YouTube, iTunes and Vudu.


Be sure to visit the film's page and follow it on to learn more about it and keep updated.  

Friday, December 15, 2017

Superman The Movie And The Gift Of Flight

Sure Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters today (I am excited to see it on Sunday) but I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the other reason this date is special to this self proclaimed fanboy.....


39 years ago today Richard Donner's Superman The Movie opened in theaters--and the "modern" superhero film genre was born. While I would not see the film for another 8 months--I remember that special day Like It Was Yesterday.

The picture gave me a love for cinema and put me on a path--that shaped my life and influences me to this very day--indeed TLR and all of its permutations on social media would have never came to be without the 1978 classic. I am thrilled that the film--along with a few other favorites of mine--was recently added to the National Film Registry!! Beats me why it took them so long but better late than never. 




The film's late great writer Tom Mankiewicz Talks Superman....and then read Superman-The Movie: The Inside Story according to Donner....

Here composer John Williams conducts the Boston Pops playing the rousing theme that he wrote for the film.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween: My Decades Long Friendship With Michael Myers

Halloween is my favorite holiday...This is the time of year where I tune in to see which horror movie is currently playing on TV as part of the annual AMC FearFest at least twice a day. Or I will just pull out a bunch of my favorites from the personal collection and have my own marathon. I own more horror flicks than other genres....The total number is probably in the 100s....I purposely started TLR 12 years ago this week to ensure that the anniversary would be tied to the date--no really...and it all began with John Carpenter's 1978 classic Halloween. Like Richard Donner's Superman--The Movie helped shape my life and who I am--the scare-filled flick film did the same...


I was too young to see it during its initial theatrical run...3 years later I remember watching the premiere of the now famous TV Version....in which 12 minutes of footage was added to replace the more violent material of the original cut. These scenes were shot simultaneously with "Halloween II" in 1981...Anyway--I was hooked--Even in its edited form it scared the bejeebus out of me! My Mom was not happy with me after I disobeyed her and watched it anyway. Sorry Mom--So glad I disobeyed you.



What can one say about the performances of Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis and a very young Jamie Lee Curtis as iconic heroine Laurie Strode...

One of the strengths of the film is its ability to scare viewers using suspense and shock-without having to depend on gore--to tell its story.

Written by Carpenter and the late Debra Hill--the tale follows masked killer Michael Myers institutionalized since childhood for killing his older sister--he escapes and returns home on October 31st to continue his spree while doctor Loomis tries to stop him.


Halloween was produced on a budget of $300,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States, and $70 million worldwide, equivalent to roughly $267 million as of 2016, becoming one of the most profitable independent films.

A cluster of sequels and one remake and its sequel later--not to mention countless imitators--and here we are.. For me, the original Halloween is one classic that just can't be topped...even after multiple viewings. In fact if you read my review of Rob Zombie's 2007 remake of the 1978 classic--you know that I loathe nearly everything about the film...Hard to believe then that I think Zombie's Halloween II was even worse!!!

The Halloween film franchise has been stalled for a number of years now while everyone wrestles with where to take the series next...There is reason to be hopeful with the news that Carpenter will executive produce the next movie--and Curtis will return as Laurie Strode as well. It looks like the new the new film will will ignore all of the sequels--including 1981's Halloween II--which picked up right after the original left off. We shall see· One thing is certain Zombie's timeline will not be revisited and that is a great thing folks. I am jazzed to see how it all plays out.

Happy Halloween everyone! "Sleep Tight Kids!"

A special thanks to my older sister Karen for watching Halloween on TV with me all those years ago and sharing a very special experience with me...

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Guzman And Olmos Look Out The "Windows"

Variety has the exclusive that Ryan Guzman and Edward James Olmos will star in the feature film “Windows on the World”.


The father-son drama is set during the horrors of September 11, 2001--where Guzmam plays a man who sees the news about the attacks, with his family and travels to New York City to find his father (Olmos), who was working on the top floor of the Twin Towers. The Windows on the World venues were on the top floors of the North Tower.

 Olmos’ son Michael D. Olmos will direct from a script by Robert Mailer Anderson and Zack Anderson.

 Robert Mailer Anderson and Vicangelo Bulluck are producing the movie.

 Production will begin on July 10 in Mexico and New York City.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"American Assassin" Peek: "It's About The Mission"

A new RESTRICTED trailer for the film adaptation of "American Assassin" has dropped online ahead of its theatrical release on September 15th 2017.


Based on author Vince Flynn's eleventh Mitch Rapp novel that charts a Cold War veteran (Michael Keaton), who would be the most feared training officer in the CIA if more than a handful of people at the agency actually knew of his existence. CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) tasks him with training a black ops recruit (NJ native "The Maze Runner," and "Teen Wolf" star Dylan O'Brien) devastated by the loss of his fiancee to a terrorist attack. The pair is eventually dispatched to go on a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (former Friday Night Lights TV fave Taylor Kitsch) from kicking off a global war.

 Should the film spawn a few sequels Lathan's Kennedy could return. Scott Adkins and the great David Suchet co-star.

"Kill the Messenger" director Michael Cuesta called action from an adapted screenplay written by Stephen Schiff.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing the film.

 It seems O'Brien's all sorts of jacked in this film--a star rising for sure--Excited to see how it all turns out for him. In the meantime Teen Wolf ends its run this Summer on MTV after six seasons.

 BE WARNED THE FOOTAGE INCLUDES DIALOGUE AND INTENSE IMAGES THAT ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS....PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

TLR's Summer Blockbuster Contest Answers And More

What started with TLR's Captain America: Civil War Blu-ray Contest has now concluded with the Summer Blockbuster Contest.


Here are the answers that complete the list.....

Tom's top 10 movie soundtracks:

1. Superman The Movie
2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
3. Halloween 1978
4. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
5. Psycho 1960
6. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
7. Raiders of the Lost Ark
8. Batman 1989
9.  Poltergeist 1982
10. Die Hard

A big thank you to all of you who entered the sweepstakes!

Congrats to Ron O. who got 2 of the 5 bottom answers correct and sent his entry in very fast!! An astounding hour and four minutes after the contest began on May 10th--WOW...While the entry sent in by Becky P had the identical number of correct answers those--came in 11 days later. As stated in the rules--in the event of a tie the first person to send in a correct entry wins the prizes listed.

To the winner--I will be in touch by way of the email address that you used to send your entry to me...Watch your inbox for more info.


Thank you all for your continued loyalty and support--even as I reduced my blogging considerably in the last 2 years. You are the best!

This will be the blog's last contest for the foreseeable future--Life is taking some turns for me again and as such--another IMPORTANT announcement is coming soon.

Until then--All the best,
T

Friday, June 02, 2017

Sam Heughan Is “The Spy Who Dumped Me”

Deadline reports that "Outlander" co-star Sam Heughan is in negotiations to play the title role in the  action-comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me”.


The story follows two best friends (Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon) who become part of a conspiracy when one of them discovers that the boyfriend who dumped her was actually a spy.

Susanna Fogel, best known for her work on the TV show “Chasing Life,” will direct the pic using a script she’s co-writing with David Iserson.

Brian Grazer of will produce the film.

Production is scheduled to start in the summer.

If a deal is made, it would be the first role for Heughan in a major Hollywood flick.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Final Spidey Homecoming Previews

The 3rd and final set of trailers for this summer's reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming has spun onto the net today.


The film stars Tom Holland Robert Downey Jr., , Marisa Tomei, Logan Marshall-Green, Donald Glover, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Michael Mando, Bokeem Woodbine, Abraham Attah, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Michael Barbieri, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, and Jon Favreau.

The story takes Peter back to High School and follows events chronicled in Captain America: Civil War where Holland made his debut as the wall-crawler as he takes on the Vulture played by Keaton 

The Sony Pictures and Marvel reboot is directed by Jon Watts from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis DaleyChristopher FordChris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

The movie is currently set to be released on July 7th.

The U.S. peek focuses on Peter’s learning curve with the new suit as designed by Tony Stark. The international one, meanwhile, hones in on callbacks to "Civil War"



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Zac Efron Lands Killer Role

Deadline reports that Zac Efron is tipped to play notorious American serial killer Ted Bundy in a biopic called Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.


The story explores the dysfunctional relationship between Bundy and his long-time girlfriend Liz. Regarded as charming and charismatic, Bundy was responsible for assaulting and murdering numerous young women during the 1970s, and ultimately confessed to 30 murders before his execution in 1989.

The film is being directed by Joe Berlinger from Michael Werwie’s award-winning script.

The movie is being produced by Michael Costigan and Nicholas Chartier.

I have been trying to work with Zac Efron for a long time,” said Chartier. “From his dramatic turn in Paperboy to his hilarious performance in Neighbors, he continues to impress audiences and critics alike with his extraordinary versatility and range. We couldn’t be more excited to see him in this amazing role.

Production is set to start on October 9th.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

TLR's Summer Blockbuster Contest Is Now Over...

When TLR's Captain America: Civil War Blu-ray Contest ended last Summer I hinted that I may hold a sequel contest...Well that day is here at last!!


One of the most important aspects to a film is its music soundtrack--the contest will focus on that ingredient...The winner will receive 50.00 in movie theater gift cards from either AMC Theatres or Regal Entertainment. It's your choice! But that's not all...The winner will also get a 50.00 Amazon gift card as well--That's a pretty cool combo prize.

All you have to do is complete the following list:

Tom's top 10 movie soundtracks.

1. Superman The Movie
2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
3. Halloween 1978
4. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
5. Psycho 1960
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

READ ON FOR THE DETAILS

Still too hard? OK you don't have to put them in the right order...AND... If nobody gets all five answers then whomever gets closest with one or two let's say--will win. The guessing period runs for THREE WEEKS--starting today 5-10-17 until 5-31-17 at 12:00 PM EDT The answers can be submitted via email thelastreel@comcast.net with words Blockbuster Contest in the Subject line or via Direct Message by way of the Twitter handle @TheLastReel.

 Who Can Enter?: ANYONE WHO LIVES IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA WITH A VALID E-MAIL ADDRESS. 

SHOULD THERE BE A TIE--THE INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS FIRST TO SEND IN THE CORRECT ANSWER(S) WILL BE DECLARED THE WINNER. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON WILL BE ACCEPTED AND THE LIST MUST BE COMPLETED. ENTRIES THAT DO NOT HAVE 5 CHOICES WILL BE DISCARDED.

 The winner will be announced on 6-7-17 (WED) Once that's done he or she will provide a mailing address. Further info will be given to said winner at that tine....

Questions? Send them to the email address above DM on TWITTER or at The Last Reel Cinema Group on Facebook once you join the group.

I know that this contest is a bit harder than the last one--Still--if you do a bit of digging you might just find the answers that you seek in order to win. The extended time to submit your guesses should help too. 😀

GOOD LUCK! THANKS FOR READING TLR!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Remembering My Mom And Movies

On what would have been her 81st birthday I would like to spend some time talking about--My Mom--and the films she loved..

From a very early age, I remember spending many Saturday afternoons with mom, watching a show called Creature Double Feature, where a local host would introduce classic horror films like Frankenstein, Dracula, (both from 1931), House of Wax (1953) The Blob, (1958) I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)-just to name a few.

Mom's favorite film star was James Cagney. Sitting down with her to watch White Heat was a both a treat and chore, because I really didn't understand the beauty of the black and white film yet. Into my adulthood I came to appreciate it for the masterpiece that it is. When the 4th of July rolled around, Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) became a family tradition. When Cagney died on March 30th 1986, I vividly recall her shedding a few tears upon hearing the sad news.



Mom liked films about the underdog overcoming adversity. The film saga of Rocky Balboa was her favorite of the genre.

Watching Ryan Coogler's excellent continuation Creed in the theater for Christmas of 2015--was very bittersweet. I thought about the time I saw the original film with my parents on the big screen. Memories flooded back. I think she would have loved it... and Sylvester Stallone were great together. They both deserved more attention from the Academy....Mom would have most likely agreed with me on that. If you have not seen it yet...It's a MUST WATCH...


Speaking of sagas...even though the first two Godfather films were not meant for kids my age, the first time they hit broadcast TV in the mid 70's, I was allowed to watch them. Of course I'm so glad my parents made the exception.

As mother and son we shared many other favorite films over the years. Comedies like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and High Anxiety, all from the mind of a master named Mel Brooks. We also got a kick out of Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the original Pink Panther movies, as well as Sellers' turn in the underrated Murder by Death (1976).

She warned me not to watch John Carpenter’s Halloween the first time it hit broadcast TV--It's not like the Creature Features she said... Sorry Mom--So glad I disobeyed you. Regular readers of the blog already know how special Carpenter's 1978 original is to me....And the Horror genre as a whole...the funny thing here is that The Godfather on network TV is waaaaay more violent and disturbing than Michael Myers.

When the news of Shirley Temple-Black's passing broke in February of 2014 ..I thought about my Mom...Oh how she loved watching Temple's films. At a young age I remember that she had them on nearly every Saturday when the local UHF station would run two of them back to back...At the time I did not appreciate them. As an  adult--It's easy to see that Temple had a special kind of magic...that has never been duplicated. What I would not give for one more chance to sit with Mom to watch a Temple film.

Mom would also indulge me by sitting through multiple viewings of Superman and various "Star Trek" flicks...especially Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, without much of a fuss. Any Star Wars movie, on the other hand, was a tougher sell...

When my sister Karen suggested that I study film making in college--while I was still in High School--Mom tried to steer me into a more "stable profession" She would say "you should be a college professor--you could teach the kids of the future so much..." I did think about the teaching idea for a bit--but the pull of cinema was too strong...Here I sit...There is a bit of Irony considering the path that I find myself on now though...

The last film that Mom saw in the theater was the live action/CG hybrid based the classic 1960's cartoon "The Flintstones" in 1994. Created by Hanna-Barbera the show premiered in 1960 and ran for six seasons before going into syndication for decades. As a youngster Mom latched me onto the reruns....While she enjoyed herself watching the film...I think she still preferred the series over the adaptation. Her biggest joy was seeing screen legend Elizabeth Taylor in a fun cameo....The live action film did a good job at capturing the spirit of the TV series. It made her smile. And that's all that matters....soon after she got very ill and our family would never be the same...

Sadly, cancer took Mom from our family nearly 22 years ago...And now that Dad is also gone--It's been an even tougher slog.


Thanks Mom for all of your love, support, and kindness for all of those years. I miss you every day. But I'm grateful that we shared lots of love, laughter, and of course many movie memories. 💓💓

"Made it, Ma! Top of the world!'

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dylan O'Brien Gets Tough In "American Assassin" Peek

The first trailer for the film adaptation of "American Assassin" has dropped online ahead of its theatrical bow on September 15th 2017.


Based on author Vince Flynn's eleventh Mitch Rapp novel that charts a Cold War veteran (Michael Keaton), who would be the most feared training officer in the CIA if more than a handful of people at the agency actually knew of his existence. CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) tasks him with training a black ops recruit (NJ native "The Maze Runner," and "Teen Wolf" star Dylan O'Brien) devastated by the loss of his fiancee to a terrorist attack. The pair is eventually dispatched to go on a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (former Friday Night Lights TV fave Taylor Kitsch) from kicking off a global war.

 Should the film spawn a few sequels Lathan's Kennedy could return. Scott Adkins and the great David Suchet co-star.

"Kill the Messenger" director Michael Cuesta called action from an adapted screenplay written by Stephen Schiff.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing the film.



This looks like it could be really good....Nice to see that O'Brien's back at it in a big way following his injury last year and the end of Teen Wolf--which happens this Summer.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Review: Chris Esper's "The Deja Vuers"

Filmmaker Chris Esper's certainly been quite busy since I first met him in 2013--having produced the 13 episode series In the Bedroom, launching the media production platform and directing a handful of shorts--among those The Deja Vuers.


The 8 minute fantasy comedy follows Chuck () who experiences deja vu when he spots Morgan () sitting on a park bench - a woman that he remembers from a dream but has never really met. When their paths intersect, a portal opens which takes each of their lives into unexpected directions.

Esper and writer have concocted a whimsical little movie that examines how we relate to our past, while living in the present, hoping for a better future. The chemistry between Salvi and Devine is quite good--leading to some very humorous back and forth. Morgan clearly wants nothing to do with Chuck--while he hopes to score a date (at least).

The fantasy element of the piece is elevated--thanks to the gorgeous cinematography by 
Evan Schneider. It has a dream like quality to it with its soft lighting and use of saturated coloring. It reminds me of the way that the legendary Geoffrey Unsworth (2001: A Space Odyssey) used to photograph films. Esper's light touch certainly knows how to draw the viewer in--using a very simple filming approach and getting the most from what he has. Less is more if you will. It works beautifully here.
 

The Deja Vuers has received some well deserved attention on the festival circuit--and shows no signs of stopping.

, and also star in the film.

Be sure to read my review of Esper's short film Still Life and the interview I conducted with him shortly thereafter. Also check out my review of "Always a Reason" and  "Steak Knives"--from his filmography. You can follow Esper on Twitter by clicking here. Get news about Stories in Motion on Facebook

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer 2: "Don't Do Amything Stupid"

The action packed 2nd trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming dropped during this week's CinemaCon


The film stars Tom Holland Robert Downey Jr., , Marisa Tomei, Logan Marshall-Green, Donald Glover, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Michael Mando, Bokeem Woodbine, Abraham Attah, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Michael Barbieri, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, and Jon Favreau.

The story takes Peter back to High School and follows events chronicled in Captain America: Civil War where Holland made his debut as the wall-crawler as he takes on the Vulture played by Keaton 

The Sony Pictures and Marvel reboot is directed by Jon Watts from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis DaleyChristopher FordChris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

The movie is currently set to be released on July 7th.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baywatch Full Trailer: "I Can't Save You, If You're Being A D**K!"

The full trailer for the Baywatch Movie swam ashore today....



The film puts a comedic spin on the worldwide success of the TV show that ran from 1989–2001 charting the exploits and rescues of a team of lifeguards--ala 21 Jump Street

Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Priyanka Chopra, Hannibal Buress, , Izabel Goulart, Charlotte McKinney and  all star in the film.

 Series stars David Hassehoff and Pamela Anderson are both set to appear.

In late 2011 "Rescue Me" co-creator Peter Tolan and Jeremy Garelick had reportedly finished their script then--Reno 911 creators and stars Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant were attached to work on the pic at one point as well In June 2012, JustinTimberlake was linked to play a disgraced former Olympic swimmer forced to join the Baywatch crew as part of a community service. But that fell apart and now Efron fills those swim trunks

Justin Malen did a rewrite but Damian Shannon and Mark Swift wrote the latest draft of the script

Seth Gordon directed the picture.

Ivan Reitman, Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing the pic.

The Paramount release is set to hit theaters on May 26, 2017.

 BE WARNED THE FOOTAGE INCLUDES DIALOGUE AND INTENSE IMAGES THAT ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS....PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: Mark Battle's "Here Lies Joe"

The short film Here Lies Joe touches on a subject matter that, unfortunately, hits very close to home for me...Suicide. The good news is that it manages to entertain while at the same time send a message of hope.


In the 23 minute film plays the title character--a depressed man who finds himself attending a support group where he meets Z () who turns his plans for the day upside down.

Director , who also co-wrote the script with Pamela Conway, uses what he has here and produces great product. The chemistry between Battle and Morrow is off the chart. The duo play meet cute in an oddly effective way given the subject matter--Some Hollywood produced rom-coms have less of that key element with a two hour narrative than "Joe" has within its format.

Battle's cinematography deserves a mention as well--the film makes the most out of its New Hampshire and Massachusetts locales.  The film deserves your attention--once it has it--hopefully the all important conversation can begin.....


, , and also appear in the film. You can check out the trailer and the Sweven Films Facebook page for additional information about this talented team.

If you, or someone you know is having difficulty, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255

Monday, February 13, 2017

TLR Alert--Getting Older Sucks

Late last night I pulled a muscle in my right leg....The discomfort is there to be sure...I have already been in touch with my doctor about a course of action. A visit will likely take place over the next few days. I have a bit of swelling--thankfully it's not too bad. Some 20 years ago I did a similar thing to my right shoulder while lifting weights--and that took a few weeks to work its way out. I don't feel quite as knotted this time as I did back then. Of course this happens right before a busy week. Rest assured that I will be fine...things are well in hand.

My social media presence may be lighter while I recover. Thanks in advance for understanding...Remember to stay positive and live life happy...

All the best.
T

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

RIP Carrie Fisher (1956 –2016)

Absolutely heartbroken over the death of actress and author Carrie Fisher...

As Princess Leia she was strong feisty and fun as was Fisher herself--like a lot of you--a piece of my childhood was ripped from me today. Sure she will live on in the Star Wars films that she completed, including Star Wars: Episode VIII out next year...

Beyond the "galaxy far, far away" there was so much more to her. Click here for details about her extraordinary life and career.



Fisher once said that no matter how she dies, all obituaries should read that her cause of death be listed as having “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra”.

Rest well....And Thank You....The world will miss your talent wit and wisdom

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Review

I was a big skeptic of this new Disney phase of the Star Wars franchise, but Rogue One has won me over. Here’s why…


(Note: this review is aimed to be as spoiler-free as possible, however it’s pretty hard to talk about this movie without spoiling at least parts of it, so if you’re intent on avoiding any and all details, I advise you skip reading this and just go watch it yourself.)

On a scale of “Casual Fan” to “Grandiose Star Wars Nerd”, I fall squarely into the second category.

Being an OCD completionist since childhood, I have an obsession with continuity, so when it came to Star Wars I’ve always felt compelled to know it all.

People like me live for the insider thrill of knowing the secret history of an alien in the background, and sneaky cameos were pretty much the only redeeming quality of the prequel trilogy for me.

So naturally, the child in me died a little when he found out that Disney was re-setting the entire millennia-spanning storyline surrounding the actual movies. But what about the First Sith Empire? The iconic blue-skinned Admiral Thrawn? Han and Leia’s twin Jedi children?? Poof, gone.

At least, gone in the sense that they no longer count towards any new films or franchise content. And that’s a deep blow to someone who can tell you who originally stole the Death Star plans. (It was Kyle Katarn, in case you were wondering.)

There’s a point to this self-aggrandizing, and it’s this: people like me are among Disney’s toughest customers when it comes to the Star Wars franchise. It was going to take a whole lot to get me on board with this “new” Star Wars universe, and The Force Awakens didn’t quite manage it. Episode VII felt like a recycle of A New Hope, right down to a force-sensitive orphan starting on a desert planet suspiciously like Tatooine and a quest to destroy another super weapon.

Rogue One finally offers a large-scale exploration of this ‘new’ universe without being tied to the Skywalker storyline, and it’s arguably the biggest departure from any previous movies. No Jedi here: just desperate soldiers in a fight for survival.


In particular, we get a really good look at the Rebel Alliance beyond the glossy do-gooder sheen of the original trilogy. This is an Alliance on the verge of internal collapse, full of infighting and radical factions that threaten to turn the whole uprising inside out. Even some of the ‘heroes’ have done a few things they aren’t proud of in the name of taking down the Empire.

The closest thing we even get to a Jedi is Chirrut Imwe (played by martial arts movie star Donnie Yen), once a protector of the ancient Jedi ruins on the planet Jedha, now cast adrift by the Imperial occupation. His lifetime devotion to the Jedi and his blindness offer him some access to the powers of the Force, but even those are very limited (think of it as a toned-down Daredevil ninja sense).

The characters in this story don’t have the benefit of ghostly Jedi appearing to give them clues or Force powers to open locked doors, either. They have to rely on their wits, luck, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to finish the job—even dying.

Speaking of which, the plot-armor of ‘destiny’ is not totally active on these characters; people die in this film, and not just extras. This adds a much-needed level of tension because we obviously know they’re going to find the Death Star plans, since we’ve all seen Episode IV. However, that certainty is overshadowed by the realization that yes, they do find the plans, but at what cost?


This film certainly has its flaws. The absence of any real planning before the final assault feels very unrealistic. The CGI face of Peter Cushing sits too deep in the uncanny valley (the place where things are just real enough to be creepy, but not convincing). There’s a whole lot of planet jumping, and yet we somehow still end up spending too much time on yet another desert planet. I could go on.

But, even with my inherent disappointment in the franchise handover, and even with all its flaws, I was willing to put aside all of my skepticism within the first 20 minutes because the loving care taken in world-building made me feel like I was getting another insider glimpse into the larger Star Wars world.

And, at the end of the day, that’s all fans like me really want.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Spider-Man: Homecoming Peeks

The first trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming dropped on Jimmy Kimmel Live


The film stars Tom Holland Robert Downey Jr., , Marisa Tomei, Logan Marshall-Green, Donald Glover, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Michael Mando, Bokeem Woodbine, Abraham Attah, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Michael Barbieri, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, and Jon Favreau.

The story takes Peter back to High School and follows events chronicled in Captain America: Civil War where Holland made his debut as the wall-crawler as he takes on the Vulture played by Keaton 

The Sony Pictures and Marvel reboot is being directed by Jon Watts from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis DaleyChristopher FordChris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

The movie is currently set to be released on July 7th, next year.



An International trailer was also released:

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Baywatch Teaser Trailer: "You Don't Get To Say That"

I am back as the first trailer for the Baywatch movie drops...and with that the peek promises the summer event plans to deliver as advertised...


The film puts a comedic spin on the worldwide success of the TV show that ran from 1989–2001 charting the exploits and rescues of a team of lifeguards--ala 21 Jump Street

Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Priyanka Chopra, Hannibal Buress, , Izabel Goulart, Charlotte McKinney and  all star in the film.

 Series stars David Hassehoff and Pamela Anderson are both set to appear.

In late 2011 "Rescue Me" co-creator Peter Tolan and Jeremy Garelick had reportedly finished their script then--Reno 911 creators and stars Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant were attached to work on the pic at one point as well In June 2012, JustinTimberlake was linked to play a disgraced former Olympic swimmer forced to join the Baywatch crew as part of a community service. But that fell apart and now Efron fills those swim trunks

Justin Malen did a rewrite but Damian Shannon and Mark Swift wrote the latest draft of the script

Seth Gordon directed the picture.

Ivan Reitman, Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing the pic.

The Paramount release is set to hit theaters on May 26, 2017.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering The Fallen...

Taking time to honor those who died 15 years ago... September 11, 2001...when America was attacked...


3,000 of our citizens murdered...



Today Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center once stood, now has a fitting National Memorial & Museum in its place after it was nothing more than a gigantic hole for far too long...



The Pentagon has been rebuilt and restored...



A memorial was dedicated in 2011 to the passengers and flight crew of United Flight 93-The jet-liner, hijacked by the terrorists was brought down by those brave folks in Shanksville Pennsylvania--before hitting the intended target....



Yes mastermind Osama Bin Laden, was killed by U.S. Forces in Pakistan during a firefight in 2011 but still WE MUST NEVER FORGET....EVER....

My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families---but especially to the family of Nicholas W. Brandemarti

Nick's Name On The Memorial

For More Be Sure To Visit The September 11 Digital Archive

Terrorists and their sympathizers are still killing our citizens--like James Foley and Steven Sotloff--or those in the San Bernardino attack in California and more recently the Orlando nightclub shooting in Florida--this evil must be confronted...and defeated....