Dream Factory: ‘Seven Days In May’ With A Dash of Synchronicity


Years ago I was a UCLA Daily Bruin film writer with a column titled Dream Factory, and these days I’m a full time manny to my 2-year-old niece. I’m also a podcaster times two, lifelong press junketeer, horrible fantasy football player, and, most of all, a dude who loves his family.
Family has a strong way of putting things into perspective, but Clare is gradually giving me a deeper sense of purpose and, most recently, focus. This synchronicity story started on a  Thursday morning, and I had Rod Serling on my mind

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Chris Hemsworth Has The Butterflies Working On ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Avengers: Infinity War
Chris Hemsworth has been a staple of the Marvel Universe since 2011’s Thor, and in Avengers: Infinity War the God of Thunder is one of many superheroes attempting to take down a world destroying villain known as Thanos (Josh Brolin). The confrontation with Thanos has been building up for years now, and sans a hammer one would assume Thor may not be at full strength by the time he faces Thanos.

Continue reading “Chris Hemsworth Has The Butterflies Working On ‘Avengers: Infinity War’”

‘The Judge’ With Robert Downey Jr. Hits Blu-Ray In January

Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Duvall in The Judge - (Credit: Claire Folger)
Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Duvall in The Judge – (Credit: Claire Folger)

The Judge, a drama headlined by Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, hits Blu-ray and DVD on January 27 via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The story centers on Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.), a highly successful defense attorney who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral. Hank’s reunion with his family is bittersweet due to his estranged relationship with his father (Duvall), who serves as the town’s judge. When his father’s accused of murder, Hank takes on the most important case of his life. Jeremy Strong and Vincent D’Onofrio play Hank’s brothers with Vera Farmiga starring as the lawyer’s former flame.

The Judge Blu-ray Combo Pack Special Features Include:

  • Commentary from director David Dobkin
  • The featurettes “Inside the Judge” and “Getting Deep with Dax Shepard” (he plays a well intentioned but inexperienced lawyer).
  • Deleted Scenes with optional commentary from David Dobkin

***The Standard DVD edition release has the “Getting Deep with Dax Shepard” featurette.

One of The Judge’s strengths lies in Downey Jr.’s innate chemistry with the ensemble cast. Hank Palmer is a lawyer who’s still living with a chip on his shoulder, only to have those edges slowly worn off by letting go of his past.

Since it clocks in at 141 minutes, The Judge thankfully doesn’t skimp on character development, and one wonders what David Dobkin left out of his final cut. Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl, Country Strong) is wonderful as a young girl who flirts with Hank at a local bar, but her character is understandably under developed (there’s a ton of story to tell in The Judge). Maybe Meester, as well as Samantha Powell’s (Vera Farmiga) relationship with Hank, will be given a bit more “screen time” with deleted scenes.

As it stands, The Judge is one of this year’s most underrated films, and it’s great to see Robert Downey Jr. in a dramatic role that has nothing to do with the Marvel Universe.

During The Judge press conference, Robert Downey Jr. talked about the universality of the film and the joys of working with Robert Duvall.

The Judge - Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
The Judge – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment






Black Panther and Captain Marvel Added to Marvel’s Film Slate


Marvel fans received a ton of great news today, as several movies were announced that will run through 2019. The biggest casting news was Chadwick Boseman’s (42, Get On Up) singing as T’Challa the proud ruler of Wakanda and the hero behind the movie Black Panther. The movie is set for a November 3, 2017.

Black Panther’s debut in the Marvel Universe came in 1966, and during the years he’s also been a member of the Avengers. “I’m blessed to be a part of this Marvel Universe, to work with you both, and to make magic together,” said Boseman, who was flanked by Marvel stalwarts Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans at the event, which was held at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.

Along with the announcements of Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016), Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (July 2017), Thor: Ragnarok ( July 28, 2017 – Tom Hiddleston is also back as Loki), comes the news that an Avengers movie will be divided into two movies. The first installment comes out May 4, 2018 with the second slated for May 3, 2019.

Marvel Studios Fan Event

Personally, I’m just glad kick-ass Carol Danvers gets her own film with the release of Captain Marvel (July 6, 2018). And if you love introspective superheroes, Black Bolt and his devastating screams are on display November 2, 2018 with the release of Inhumans. Last but not least, Doctor Strange hits theaters November 4, 2016, and there was no confirmation at the event that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the titular character.

Marvel Studios Fan EventMarvel Studios Fan Event

Vera Farmiga Talks “Spiritual Journey” Behind ‘The Judge’

Opening Friday, The Judge centers on a high powered lawyer (Robert Downey Jr.) who returns to his childhood home after his mother passes away. Reuniting with his family has its share of bitterness, as his strained relationship with his father (Robert Duvall), the town’s resident judge, is seemingly at the point of no return.

Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) is Samantha, Hank’s (Downey Jr.) ex-girlfriend, an old friend who provides the lawyer with a temporary respite from his familial struggles (Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong co-star as Hank’s brothers).

During The Judge press conference, Farmiga elaborated on how Sam provides Hank with a slight semblance of balance:

“I found Sam’s spiritual frequency really alluring in this sweaty Turkish bath of this really unsettled and frenetic (group) of males. She has a serenity to her spirit. Her heart is elastic – she’s like a rubber band until this guy comes and snaps it too hard.”

Click on the media bar below to hear Vera Farmiga discuss the “romantic investigation” behind The Judge:

“Chef” Director Jon Favreau Gets Bitten With Culinary Bug

Iron Man filmmaker Jon Favreau writes, directs, produces and stars in the comedy Chef, a feature which also stars Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire), Robert Downey Jr., and Scarlett Johansson. The storyline centers on Carl Casper (Favreau), a chef who quits his job at a respected Los Angeles restaurant after having disagreements with the owner (Dustin Hoffman) over his menu.

Casper’s rash decision is a definite gamble, as he heads to Miami to launch a food truck with the assistance and emotional support of his buddy (Leguizamo), ex-wife (Vergara) and his son (Emjay Anthony). The food truck specializes in pressed Cuban pork sandwiches which, though seemingly simple, can only achieve excellence with a certain level of nuance.

Chef – John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony, Jon Favreau (Open Road Films)

Although cooking is a passion for Favreau, he needed experts in the field to give his comedy a realistic feel. Enter Roy Choi, the creator of the famed Kogi BBQ Taco Truck as well as the man behind the praised establishments Chego and A-Frame. “To really represent a chef on the movie screen, you’ve got to what it feels like to be a cook,” said Choi, as quoted in the film’s production notes. “You’ve got to know how it feels to stand on your feet and work and sit down on a milk rate and drink out of a deli cup.”

Click on the media bar and listen to Jon Favreau talk about how Roy Choi, who’s also a producer on Chef and also launched the new Koreatown restaurant Pot (located at The Line Hotel) helped sharpen the filmmaker’s culinary skills.

Chef, which opens in select theaters in May 9, is just part of Favreau’s culinary journey. “The bug bit me and I’m still doing it,” said Favreau, who shot Chef in just a month. “It’s my hobby. I’m ripping apart my kitchen at home and putting commercial equipment and the family loves doing it with me. It’s a nice thing – it’s a hobby that ages gracefully.”