Fort Bliss (Phase 4 Films)

Michelle Monaghan Explores Military Life With Resonant “Fort Bliss”

Opening in theaters and VOD September 19, Fort Bliss centers on Maggie Swann (Michelle Monaghan), a dedicated U.S. Army medic who returns home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Although Maggie puts her life on the line for her country, her honorable sacrifice comes at a huge price when she must slowly regain her 5-year-old son’s (Oakes Fegley) trust and love.  Lending solid support is Ron Livingston, who co-stars as the son’s father, with Emmanuelle Chriqui playing Livingston’s girlfriend.

FortBliss5 Michelle Monaghan Explores Military Life With Resonant Fort Bliss

“It’s such a collaborative experience that everyone has when you’re doing an independent film,” said Monaghan. “Because they’re so hard to get made. It’s a very inclusive process – everybody’s position is embraced.”

During this week’s Fort Bliss interviews, I asked Michelle Monaghan how she is able to bring a seamless, emotional access to her roles (for proof, check out her standout performances in Trucker, True Detective, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Balancing studio driven films and indie projects has been a staple in Monaghan’s career, and although I’m more than happy to watch escapist fare such as  Mission: Impossible III and Eagle Eye, the character driven stuff resonates on a much different level.

Here’s Monaghan’s response to my question:

“I just say it’s being present. I feel grounded. I’m the most emotionally honest when a character feels very real to me. It’s somebody next door. It’s somebody’s sister or mother or wife…it’s a total testament to the writing and the material that’s been given to me.”

Monaghan’s complete answer, in which she also praises Fort Bliss writer/director Claudia Myers, can be heard in the following audio clip:

Taraji P Henson - NO GOOD DEED (Credit:  Quantrell Colbert, Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Taraji P. Henson’s “No Good Deed” Scares Came From Creepy House

For Taraji P. Henson, the real scares from No Good Deed wasn’t being chased around set by Idris Elba. Although the thespians square off in the thriller (opening Friday, September 12), the challenge for Henson was after the shooting day was done.

Living in a spacious house in a nice area should only be a good thing, but sometimes the creepiness factor can set in, especially when no one’s around.

“I decided to stay in a five bedroom house in Atlanta,” said Henson, who plays a housewife who’s terrorized by an escaped convict (Elba) in No Good Deed. By myself – filming this thriller. All night shoots, so I’m getting home at weird hours at night. If you could see me making a mad dash to that other room – I don’t know what the other rooms look like. There was this one door that stayed lock – I was like something is going to come out of that room and get me!”

To hear Taraji P. Henson explain why the house reminded her of a scene from The Shining, click on the Soundcloud audio below:

Today is also Taraji P. Henson’s birthday, and she posted this following tweet on her Twitter account (@TherealTaraji):

Vanessa Hudgens (CR: Andrew Macpherson)

Vanessa Hudgens Heads To Broadway With ‘Gigi’

Vanessa Hudgens has signed on to headline a Broadway production of the Oscar and Tony award winning film and stage musical Gigi  (Leslie Caron starred in the 1958 film) The project is penned by Emmy nominated screenwriter Heidi Thomas (Call the Midwife, Upstairs Downstairs, Cranford) and directed by Eric Schaeffer (Follies, Million Dollar Quartet).

“I started performing in musicals from a young age, and it has always been my dream to be on Broadway,” said Hudgens in a statement. “I cannot wait to get back on stage, singing and dancing these songs and living in Gigi’s glamorous world.”

VanessaHudgens10 382x600 Vanessa Hudgens Heads To Broadway With Gigi

“I have been living with Colette’s feisty, elegant, feline Gigi in my imagination for a long time now – and in Vanessa Hudgens, she is finally made flesh,” said Thomas.

A pre-Broadway engagement, which takes place at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., runs from January 16-February 12, 2015 (opening night is January 29). Tickets go on sale Monday, September 22 to Kennedy Center members and on Wednesday, October 1 to the general public. For further details go to www.kennedy-center.org.

Vanessa Hudgens has turned in her share of inspired work with The Frozen Ground and Gimme Shelter. During the Gimme Shelter interviews, she talked about “riding on a total high” while doing the film.

In the following audio clip, Vanessa Hudgens talks about preparing for her role in The Frozen Ground:

EA SPORTS FIFA 15 Demo

EA SPORTS FIFA 15 Demo Is Now Available For Download

 

Electronic Arts has announced that a playable demo of EA Sports FIFA 15 can now be downloaded for PC on Origin, Xbox One, Xbox 360 for Xbox Live Gold members, and the PlayStation 3 consoles (the PlayStation 4 demo is available later today). Xbox Live Silver members can download that FIFA 15 demo starting September 15. To download the demo, please visit http://easports.com/fifa/demo.

“The launch of the FIFA 15 Demo is like our pre-season and the first chance for millions of FIFA fans to get hands-onn with the game,” said EA Sports FIFA Senior Producer Nick Channon. “The demo is an early representation and taste of this year’s game, and we welcome the chance to get fan feedback on our innovations and new features.”

Along with the ability to play under such premier league teams as Liverpool FC, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea FC, gamers also get the chance to listen to eight new songs from the FIFA 15 soundtrack. They are:

  1. Elliphant – “All or Nothing”
  2. Polock – “Everlasting”
  3. Sante les Amis – “Brasil”
  4. Magic Man – “Tonight”
  5. FMLYBND – “Come Alive”
  6. Slaptop – “Sunrise”
  7. Milky Chance – “Down by the River”
  8. Jungle – “Busy Earnin”

Gamers are also encouraged to give their feedback on the demo by using #FIFA15Demo on their respective Facebook and Twitter accounts. FIFA 15, developed at EA Canada, hits North America September 23 on the PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the PlayStation 4 platforms.

FIFA 15 is also coming out on the Nintendo Wii (yes you heard right on the Wii and not the Wii U!), the Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita later this fall.

Honeymoon (Magnet Releasing))

Harry Treadaway & Rose Leslie Embark On A Dangerous “Honeymoon”

Opening September 12 in select theaters, iTunes, on VOD, Honeymoon centers on Paul (Harry Treadaway) and Bea (Rose Leslie), newlyweds who shack up in a remote cabin for a little rest and relaxation. Their romantic bliss is shattered when a half naked Bea sleepwalks her way into the middle of the woods, and her nighttime jaunt leads to her gradual mental and emotional transformation.

Paul tries his best to shake Bea out of her current state, and although he tries to solve the mystery of his wife’s transformation, his luck is slowly running out. Clocking in at 87 minutes, Honeymoon is a tightly paced thriller packed with its share of tension and inevitable heartbreak.

Playing Bea, a woman whose humanity is slowly slipping away was a challenging process for Leslie. “In terms of head space, it was very much leaning on Harry and being able to have a dialogue with him on and off screen,” said the actress, who’s best known for her work as Ygritte in Game of Thrones. “And kind of tackling it together.”

Although Honeymoon is a psychological thriller, it’s doesn’t approach the genre with paper thin insight. Treadaway, who celebrates his 30th birthday today, believes the film tackles even deeper issues regarding trust and intimacy:

Hopefully these are people that you can believe in and that universal question that must be asked when you decide to fully commit yourself to someone in life. To love them with all of yourself and to trust them with everything you have. The very process of that is opening yourself up to the possibility of them breaking that trust or not being the person that you hoped they were.

Click on the Soundcloud bar to hear Treadaway talk about one of the themes behind Honeymoon.

Sons of Anarchy (FX Networks, CR: Facebook)

Charlie Hunnam Takes “Final Ride” With ‘Sons of Anarchy’

The last season of Sons of Anarchy begins tonight on FX (10 pm et/pt), as Jax Teller’s (Charlie Hunnam) initial journey to live a life outside the motorcycle club has not been fulfilled. In its stead, Jax has risen to the head of SAMCRO while dispatching most of his enemies in the process. His success, however, has come at a weighty price (spoilers which I refuse to mention in this post).

During the interviews for Pacific Rim, Hunnam talked about why Sons of Anarchy has amassed such a loyal audience.

“For me, in this day and age where it’s kind of a big brother culture and it’s almost like we’re living in a police state – we get told what to do and how to do it every second of the day, these are a bunch of guys doing whatever the hell they want, whenever they want. To hell with the consequences, and I think that’s a real fantasy for people that are so contained by their lives and the society around them.”

To hear the full audio version Charlie Hunnam’s answer, click on the Soundcloud bar below:

Roy Orbison-The Odeon Theatre, Stockton on Tees, England 1964 by Ian Wright

Roots of Rock N’ Roll Exhibit Debuts at The Sunset Marquis

Amidst the busied streets of West Hollywood is the oasis known as the Sunset Marquis, and starting Friday, September 12 you can roll up to this tucked away hotel and check out The Roots of Rock and Roll – The Rise and Beginning of Rock and Roll.

Free to the public and located inside the hotel lobby, the Morrison Hotel Gallery will feature photos of such music icons as Elvis, Roy Orbison, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Supremes, Muddy Waters and Duke Ellington. The photographers featured in this show include Morrison Hotel Gallery co-owner Timothy White, Al Satterwhite, Art Shay, Catherine McGann, Charles Trainer, and Curt Gunther.

SunsetMarquis 360x600 Roots of Rock N Roll Exhibit Debuts at The Sunset Marquis

The exhibit covers the late 1950s through the early 1960s, when many of rock, blues, and jazz icons changed the hearts and minds of a generation. The Roots of Rock and Roll – The Rise and Beginning of Rock and Roll ends Sunday, September 21. For more info on the Morrison Hotel Gallery, please check out their official site.

alper coltrane Roots of Rock N Roll Exhibit Debuts at The Sunset Marquis
John Coltrane – Credit: Joe Alper, 1965
Roy Orbison Photo 11 Roots of Rock N Roll Exhibit Debuts at The Sunset Marquis
Roy Orbison-The Odeon Theatre, Stockton on Tees, England 1964
by Ian Wright

 

 

God's Pocket (IFC Films, Seacia Pavao))

Blu-Ray Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman Explores ‘God’s Pocket’

John Slatttery’s affection for Pete Dexter’s novel God’s Pocket turned into a creative labor of love which took, in Slattery’s estimates, ten years to bring to the screen, and there’s a bunch of reasons to give this indie flick a shot.

God’s Pocket centers on Mickey Scarpato (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an average Joe living in a blue collar Philadelphia town that’s called “God’s Pocket.” Slattery’s Mad Men co-star Christina Hendricks is Mickey’s wife, a woman with a ton of love in her heart, especially for her ne-er-do-well son Leon (Caleb Landry Jones). When Leon supposedly dies from a construction accident, Mickey hides a few details from his wife, and when a local columnist (Richard Jenkins) comes sniffing around God’s Pocket to investigate Leon’s death, everything gets a bit more complicated.

GodsPocket101 Blu Ray Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman Explores Gods Pocket
God’s Pocket (IFC Films)

John Turturro co-stars as Arthur, Mickey’s good buddy and co-conspirator in their two-bit scams and nighttime gambling ventures. Eddie Marsan from Showtime’s Ray Donovan stars as the funeral director who is furious when Mickey can’t pay for Leon’s casket.

One of the biggest predicaments of God’s Pocket comes with Mickey’s attempts to keep Leon’s corpse presentable for the funeral, which eventually leads our protagonist to hiding his stepson’s body in a meat van. Although it’s a situation filled with its share of dark humor, the narrative’s main focus lies in each person’s struggles to survive within this small, somewhat suffocating town. When everyone knows your business, and each street leads to a proverbial dead end, where’s one to go?

Special features on the God’s Pocket Blu-ray includes several deleted scenes (one sequence, which I wish Slattery kept in the flick, further solidifies Leon’s irritable personality) and director’s commentary.

For directing and acting fans, the audio commentary is a must, as Slattery gives a no-nonsense breakdown on the challenges of making God’s Pocket. With over 25 locations to shoot (most of the flick had Yonkers doubling as Philadelphia) and over 40 speaking parts, Slattery, who also co-wrote the adaptation, had his hands full.

One highlight of the commentary has Slattery discussing what actors are really looking for during a scene set-up:

“The best film actors don’t want to know what exactly is going to happen. They want to know the conditions of the scene. They know their lines. They know where they’re supposed to be. They know where they camera is. The rest of it – they want to figure out in the moment.”

GodsPocket12 Blu Ray Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman Explores Gods Pocket
Arthur Capezio (John Turturro) and Mickey Scarpato (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in God’s Pocket – (IFC Films, CR: Lance Acord)

Also in the director’s commentary, Slattery talks about casting Christina Hendricks for the role (he realized she’d be perfect for God’s Pocket while directing her during a Mad Men episode):

Christina is one of those actors that there is so much going on emotionally. She has a face too that is so wide open that you can project all kinds of your own thoughts onto. Which is what an audience does, I think.

GodsPocket4 Blu Ray Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman Explores Gods Pocket
God’s Pocket – Christina Hendricks as Jeanie Scarpato (IFC Films, CR: Lance Acord)

Slattery, who’s directed several episodes of Mad Men, turns in a solid feature directing debut with God’s Pocket, which was a Grand Jury Prize nominee at the Sundance Film Festival. It tells a specific story (Slattery sets the narrative in 1978) of a guy who realizes that the walls are slowly closing in on him, even when he’s trying to do the right thing.

Without giving too much away, Slattery makes proper use of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” during the story’s third act. Even if Mickey’s having a hard run at finding his sense of direction, Slattery’s storytelling is right on the money.

God’s Pocket, from IFC Films and MPI Media Group, hits Blu-ray and DVD on September 9.

TENKAI KNIGHTS: Brave Battle (Bandai Namco Games America)

“Tenkai Knights: Brave Battle” Shape Shifts With Robofusion Technique

 

Bandai Namco Games America has released new multiplayer versus battle screenshots to detail the Tenkai Knight fighting technique called Robofusion that’s featured in the Nintendo 3DS title Tenkai Knights: Brave Battle.

With Robofusion, players will engage in a high level of shapeshifting which occurs when Tenkai energy is perfectly in sync to create a robot that is more powerful than any individual robot unit. The Tenkai Knights can enter Robofusion mode with an ally to combine powers and utilize combo attacks to defeat their enemies.

Firebird7 560x420 Tenkai Knights: Brave Battle Shape Shifts With Robofusion Technique SycleShip1 530x398 Tenkai Knights: Brave Battle Shape Shifts With Robofusion Technique DarkWingSpecter11 600x450 Tenkai Knights: Brave Battle Shape Shifts With Robofusion Technique Thunderbird8 480x360 Tenkai Knights: Brave Battle Shape Shifts With Robofusion Technique

A screenshot has also been released of the previously announced Limited Edition bundle that features a red metallic Bravenwolf figure that will be sold exclusively at Target stores in the U.S. Tenkai Knights: Brave Battle comes out on the Nintendo 3DS October 7, 2014 and retails at $29.99.

TKMECH Tenkai Knights: Brave Battle Shape Shifts With Robofusion Technique

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

‘Mr. Smith Goes To Washington’ Celebrates 75 Years With Blu-Ray Release

In celebration of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing a digitally restored and 4K mastered Blu-ray on December 2nd. The edition will feature collectible Digibook packaging which contains rare photos and an essay from film historian Jeremy Arnold.

Released in 1939, the Frank Capra directed feature centers on a naive guy (James Stewart) who is called to become a member of the U.S. Senate. Initially hired for his perceived naivete, Mr. Smith wages a one man war with the jaded politicians of Capitol Hill, thus leading to a sea change in political and social consciousness.

Bonus features on this edition include: commentary from Frank Capra Jr., the original theatrical trailer, a rare international trailer which features deleted footage from the movie, and the Ron Howard narrated documentary Frank Capra’s American Dream. Several other featurettes, including “Frank Capra Jr. Remembers…Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” are also featured in this edition.

MrSmithGoes1 Mr. Smith Goes To Washington Celebrates 75 Years With Blu Ray Release
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Nominated for 11 Oscars, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is one of James Stewart’s most beloved films (It’s a Wonderful Life was also directed by Frank Capra).

In the Soundcloud bar below, Jim Caviezel (during his When The Game Stand Tall interviews) reflects a memorable moment he had with James Stewart.

Where dreaming is believing…

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