NUP_177059_2803.jpgOne of the things that has made This Is Us so refreshingly watchable is the way it has treated its marriages.  They’re neither storybook fairy tales nor nightmares… they just feel real.  The best example might be Randall and Beth Pearson’s marriage; Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson shared their thoughts about playing the loving, yet sometimes flawed, couple.

This Is Us airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on NBC.

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Posted by: AC


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John T. WilliamsMost people who reach the age of 85 are retired, happily enjoying the fruits of their labor.  Not John Williams — he’s still too busy enjoying the labor!  The award-winning composer and winner of 23 Grammy Awards (including his latest on Sunday night for his Star Wars: The Force Awakens score) has several more projects already lined up.  Among them are Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, while he’s already prepping for Star Wars IX and a new Indiana Jones movie.

Williams is trusted by Hollywood’s top directors because he’s always had a knack for coming up with scores that are just as memorable as the movies themselves, as evidenced by his 41 Academy Award nominations (including five wins).  In fact, many of those directors will acknowledge that the music itself becomes a character in their movies.  Such is the case with Richard Donner and his 1978 classic, Superman. Who could ever forget that amazing opening theme?  (Chances are you’re humming it right now, aren’t you?)  When we spoke with Donner, he talked about bringing Williams aboard the picture, and how his Oscar-nominated score helped define the film. (Click on the media bar below to hear Richard Donner)

So far, all seven of the Star Wars episodic films have featured Williams’s distinctive “Main Title” theme over the opening screen crawls George Lucas, the architect of the Star Wars empire, acknowledged the importance of Williams’s contributions to the franchise. (Click on the media bar below to hear George Lucas)

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Posted by: AC


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burncountry2

Dominic Rains (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night) delivers subtle yet ultimately powerful work as the lead in Burn Country, a drama which is a blend of a fish out of water tale and a film noir driven thriller. Osman (Rains) is a former fixer who helped journalists navigate their way in Afghanistan, and now he’s found a new home in a small town in California. Melissa Leo is Gloria, a sheriff who provides Osman with a temporary roof over his head (she’s the mother of a journalist friend of Osman’s).

Believing a change of scenery will finally bring him peace and a bit more safety, Osman attempts to land a job at the local newspaper and ends up with a low paying crime reporter job. As he journeys deeper into the town’s mysteries, Osman becomes entranced by a theater actress (Rachel Brsonahan) and an eccentric local (James Franco) with criminal tendencies.

Inspired by the moral and thematic ambiguity of films from the 1970s, director Ian Olds (the filmmaker cites Night Moves as an influence for Burn Country) crafts an unpredictable and atmospheric thriller that takes us right into the complex mindset of Osman. Though Osman is filled with emotional turmoil, which simmers with almost every person he meets in town, Rains wisely doesn’t overplay his hand. By crafting his character with a more humanistic approach, Rains infuses Osman with a ton of depth and feeling.

Burn Country is a fictional tale, but the movie originates from a real place, as director Ian Olds found the narrative’s inspiration from his own experiences helming the documentary Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi.

Burn Country’s DVD doesn’t come with any special features, but it’s still worth a look, especially if you love intricately crafted thrillers.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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Timeless is literally going gangster tonight with the episode “Public Enemy No. 1″ as Flynn (Goran Visnjic) is working with Al Capone (Cameron Gharaee) in 1931 Chicago. Lucy (Abigail Spencer), Wyatt (Matt Lanter), and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) have an ace on their side, however, as Elliot Ness (Misha Collins) helps them in attempting to stop Flynn.

“His main objective still is to bring his family back,” said Visnjic. “But as he goes through more and more things - the things he does obviously is not what he was planning. He didn’t plan on becoming a ravaging psychopath who is doing all these crazy things but he constantly questions himself (and) . . . he’s really trying hard not to do that but he’s so infatuated with this idea that he can do this.”

Speaking of doing things that one doesn’t plan for, Visnjic has been getting his feet wet with social media. Click on the media bar to hear the actor talk about his experiences opening his own Instagram account and how it enhances his experience with Timeless’ diehard fans (Timeless co-star Malcolm Barrett is also heard on the clip).



Timeless airs Monday evenings on NBC (10 pm et/pt).

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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legobatman33

In a box office weekend filled with high profile films, The LEGO Batman Movie was the clear cut winner with $55.6 million. Coming in second was the critically reviled flick Fifty Shades Darker, which took in $46.7 million, followed by John Wick: Chapter Two at #3 ($30 million).

Here’s this weekend’s top 10:

1. The LEGO Batman Movie - Who knew Will Arnett (voice of Batman) would beat Keanu Reeves during a weekend box office showdown? $55.6 million

2. Fifty Shades Darker - Horrible reviews didn’t stop audience members from checking out this erotic drama. $46.79 million

3. John Wick: Chapter Two - A third place finish isn’t bad when you make $30 million. Chalk up another hit for Keanu Reeves.

4. Split - M. Night Shyamalan’s most successful film in years continues its solid run with $9.3 million.

5. Hidden Figures - $8 million this weekend and the sleeper hit has made over $140 million worldwide.

6. A Dog’s Purpose - $7.3 million

7. Rings - $5.8 million

8. La La Land - The musical, which has generated over $294 million worldwide, makes $5 million domestically this weekend.

9. Lion - $4 million

10. The Space Between Us - $1.76 million

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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A Cure For Wellness

Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, Kill Your Darlings) stars in A Cure for Wellness as Lockhart, an unscrupulous and ambitious executive who is tasked with finding his company’s CEO at a wellness center in the Swiss Alps. Lockart’s mission has its share of complications, as the center’s enigmatic leader (Jason Isaacs) may not have the best of intentions for his clients. Mia Goth co-stars as Hannah, a young woman who aimlessly wanders the grounds, only to catch Lockhart’s attention. Hannah may have the key to unlock the dark secrets of the wellness center, and Lockhart immediately forms a connection with this eccentric young woman.

Featuring eye-catching visuals from cinematographer Bojan Bazelli and directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Rango), A Cure For Wellness is a highly ambitious undertaking. Running at 146 minutes, the horror/thriller is an epic narrative that, due to its subject matter, will garner a cult following for years to come.

Click on the media bar to hear Dane DeHaan talk about collaborating with director Gore Verbinski.




A Cure for Wellness opens nationwide February 17.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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WISH UPON

Up and coming star Joey King (TV’s Fargo, Wish I Was Here) is front and center in the highly anticipated horror/thriller Wish Upon. Co-star Ryan Phillippe knows a thing or two about horror with his early work in I Know What You Did Last Summer, and it will be interesting to see if their dynamic works in Wish Upon.

Twelve years after her mother’s suicide, 17-year-old Clare Shannon’s (King) life is not exactly a bed of roses. Bullied by classmates, ignored by her high school crush, and saddled with an obsessive hoarder of a dad (Phillippe), Clare needs a bit of an outlet for her frustrations. When her father brings home an olid music box whose inscription promises the owner seven wishes, Clare is immediately seduced by the intriguing object.

Though her life temporarily improves after a wish, Clare realizes the music box is actually a cursed object which may be leading to the violent death of her loved ones. Addicted to the power of the wishes, Clare must fight the box’s seductive power and get rid of it altogether.

Wish Upon, co-starring Twin Peaks’ Sherilyn Fenn, opens nationwide June 30.Check out the trailer and tell us what you think!



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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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greatwall

Filmmaker Zhang Yimou is considered one of cinema’s greatest visualists, and his ambitious work in Hero and House of Flying Daggers is a testament to that opinion. Now he teams up with Matt Damon for The Great Wall, an epic about a couple of travelers (Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal) who get swept up in the epic battle between monsters and warriors.

In the story, the Great Wall was not created to protect China from invaders. Instead, its barrier serves as a temporary safeguard from monsters who attack the region every 60 years. Though Damon is the film’s headliner, the picture features an international cast including Willem Dafoe, Hanyu Zhang, Eddie Peng, Kenny Lin, Cheney Chen, and revered star Andy Lau.

Damon has been a lifelong fan of Yimou’s work, as he’s been wanting to collaborate with the filmmaker for years. Click on the media bar below to hear Damon talk about Yimou’s talents as a filmmaker.




The Great Wall opens nationwide February 17.



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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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Paul McCartneyIt wasn’t 20 years ago today.  No, it was much longer than that — 53 years ago today, to be exact, when The Beatles made television and music history with their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. An audience of 73 million watched the Fab Four make their American TV debut, a viewership record that wouldn’t be surpassed until Super Bowl XII, nearly 14 years later!  In fact, of every man, woman and child living in America, two out of five were watching the broadcast.

Interestingly enough, before being booked on the show, The Beatles didn’t know who Sullivan was!  But here in the U.S., he was a legend; his variety show ran on CBS from 1948 all the way to 1971.  No episode, though, was watched more than The Beatles‘ first appearance on February 9, 1964.  When we spoke to Sir Paul McCartney, he took us back to his memories of that historic night. (Click on the media bar below to hear Paul McCartney )

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Posted by: AC


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NUP_172800_1478.JPGGet ready for… “The Walking Idol”?  Well, not exactly.  You won’t see zombies singing on TV.  But you might see American Idol brought back from the dead.

Yes, although Idol’s 15-season run on Fox ended a couple years ago, Variety reports that NBC is in talks with producer Fremantle to revive the show that made household names out of previously-unknown artists like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Daughtry.  Working in NBC’s favor: The network runs another Fremantle show, America’s Got Talent,  featuring one of Idol’s original judges, the irascible Simon Cowell. And many believe that if the show is resurrected by NBC, the network would want Cowell to return to the judges’ panel.  To Cowell, though, the idea of life after death for Idol must be mind-blowing, considering that he never thought the show would make it past its first few episodes!  (Click on the media bar below to hear Simon Cowell)

Is an American Idol encore a good idea? Would you watch? And which judges would you bring back for the revival?  Tell us your thoughts!

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Posted by: Susan Brown


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