If you’re a fan of Bill Paxton’s work in such hard-boiled narratives like One False Move and A Simple Plan, then Mean Dreams is right up your alley.
Paxton plays Wayne Caraway, a corrupt police officer who understandably wants his business dealings to remain top secret. When his Casey (Sophie Nélisse) gets involved with her next door neighbor Jonas (Josh Wiggins), Wayne immediately tries to break them apart. Jonas, along with Casey and Wayne’s recently scored drug money, leaves his home to escape from Wayne’s clutches, and it’s a move that he may soon regret.
Mean Dreams features memorable work from all three actors, and the movie is a fitting cap to Paxton’s diverse career. Nélisse and Wiggins, as displayed in their nuanced work in Mean Dreams, are young actors on the rise. Director Nathan Morlando’s sure handed direction enables the film to be a seamless blend of a coming of age drama and a crime film.
Also discussed on this week’s CinemAddicts is the comedy All Nighter, starring Emile Hirsch and J.K. Simmons. Click on the media bar below to hear our discussion of Mean Dreams and All Nighter:
In the near future set Atomica, Sarah Habel (Riverdale) is Abby Dixon, a principled safety inspector who travels to a nuclear plant power plant that has somehow gone off the grid. A loner and workaholic at heart, Abby is the type of person who’ll do the job while everyone’s safe at home resting. Although that’s a great quality in a person, her latest task carries a potentially dangerous outcome. Tom Sizemore and Dominic Monaghan play the two power plant employees who each have a special connection to the plant.
Directed by Dagen Merrill, the film was shot on an indie budget but still managed to score an excellent location.
“It was a super cool experience,” said Habel, who was also a cast member on the TV series Rush. “It was like an indie, but with everyone who had all of the best intentions and was ready to party. The simplicity of the three-hander (construct) was great and we just scored in the biggest way possible by getting the location we got it was so creepy in there. It was three levels below ground in an abandoned silo. It was forty degrees in there and there were bats flying around. It was the creepiest, most enormous, sprawling, cool set ever.”
One of Atomica’s strongest aspects is its uncompromising approach to Abby’s journey. Caught between the two men with opposing viewpoints, Abby must make her own decision, with a final outcome that, while being sci-fi driven, is also grounded in truth.
“I was on board when I saw the nature of this character that was so different from me as a person,” said Habel. “Just being part of a film that doesn’t have that goes in unexpected directions is a huge blessing.”
Click on the media bar below to hear Sarah Habel talk about working with Dominic Monaghan and Tom Sizemore.
Atomica opens in select theaters March 17 and hits Digital HD and VOD March 21.
Before there was Samuel L. Jackson, there was Action Jackson. And the star of that ’80s kitsch classic was none other than Carl Weathers. After making his name playing Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies, Weathers became one of Hollywood’s go-to guys in the action genre, taking roles in movies like Force 10 From Navarone, Death Hunt, and Predator.
These days, he’s not doing much running, jumping, shooting or fighting, as he’s got himself a pretty good gig as State’s Attorney Mark Jefferies on NBC’s Chicago Justice. But while he’s found a home on TV, a couple of his old movie franchises have been reborn. Creed didn’t bring back his Rocky character (after all, he was killed during Rocky IV), but was about the son who followed in his footsteps as a fighter. And there’s a new Predator movie being made, due to be released next February. There are some actors who get territorial about their old movies, especially when they aren’t involved in the reboots. Is Carl Weathers one of those actors?
You can watch Weathers on Chicago Justice, Sunday nights at 9/8c on NBC.
There are few child stars who have been able to maintain the kind of career Sarah Michelle Gellar has had. Gellar, who turns 40 next month, earned her first acting credit at age 5, when she played Valerie Harper’s daughter in a TV movie. At 14, she had a featured role as the young Jacqueline Bouvier in NBC’s acclaimed miniseries, A Woman Named Jackie, and when she was 15, she was cast in a recurring role on long-running daytime soap All My Children. But it was the TV role she won at age 19 that has defined her ever since. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which premiered on The WB 20 years ago this week, propelled Gellar into a worldwide spotlight, and she’s been a household name ever since. In addition to changing her career trajectory and her life, Gellar says that Buffy was an extraordinary show that gave her an amazing role to play. (Click on the media bar below to hear Sarah Michelle Gellar)
The sci-fi thriller Life centers on a several scientists (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada) who are tasked with retrieving a life form that is coming from Mars. Although the Red Planet discovery is life changing, expectations should be tempered, and it’s a pragmatism that’s engendered by Miranda North (Ferguson).
“(Miranda) represents caution, and my character has nothing to do with caution,” said Reynolds, who reteams with Safe House director Daniel Espinosa for Life. “He has kind of a cowboy mentality so she and I don’t really see eye to eye very well.”
Although the trailer suggests the film will have its share of action, hopefully Life will also contain a healthy level of world building before this creature takes hold of the crew. First rate sci-fi features such as Alien and the underrated Sunshine (which also starred Sanada) have us care for the characters before the inevitable chaos ensues, and with the top level talent involved, we’re hoping Life brings something interesting to the table.
Click on the media bar below to hear Ryan Reynolds talk about working with co-star Jake Gyllenhaal:
Life opens nationwide March 24.
The Phantasm Collection, one of this year’s most anticipated box sets, streets April 11, and Well Go USA Entertainment is offering up new bonus material to add to the 6-disc set. Additional home footage, culled from the films, as well as a tribute to late actor Angus Scrimm (aka The Tall Man), have been added to the release.
“Well Go USA has done an outstanding job in curating the ultimate Phantasm collection,” said director Don Coscarelli. “This terrific new release rivals the best Blu-ray box sets ever in its size and depth. I am so excited to share these never-before-seen features with our devoted fans, who will now be able to witness just how the Phantasm films were created in this stunning high-definition presentation.”
Along with an upscale in its video presentation, the discs are BD50, which leads to higher quality audio and space for the collection’s extensive bonus features. The box set also contains a 120 page book featuring interviews and rare behind-the-scenes photos which chronicles the franchise’s storied history. A reversible poster, featuring the original theatrical artwork, is also part of the set.
Are you a fan of the Phantasm series, and do you think the movies will go on even with Scrimm’s passing? Feel free to comment below!
Did you ever wonder how Sheldon Cooper grew into the lovable yet irritating know-it-all Ph.D we’ve gotten to know on The Big Bang Theory? Sure, the show has dropped a few hints and told a few stories over the past 10 seasons, but this fall, we’ll get to know young Sheldon like never before as “Young Sheldon” debuts on CBS. The prequel, which has been picked up straight to series, will introduce us to nine-year-old high school student Sheldon Cooper. The casting choice for Sheldon’s mother is an inspired one: She’ll be played by Zoe Perry, the real-life daughter of Sheldon’s Big Bang Theory mother, Emmy winner Laurie Metcalf. And you’ll also hear the familiar voice of Jim Parsons, who will be narrating the series, The Goldbergs-style, as Adult Sheldon. It’s a pretty safe bet that young Sheldon will be a geeky kid, which — as Parsons points out — will put him in great company. After all, as sitcom characters go, Parsons says you can’t knock (knock knock) the nerds! (Click on the media bar below to hear Jim Parsons)
Young Sheldon will premiere during the upcoming 2017-2018 TV season on CBS.
As the title of the series implies, the stakes are high on Billions. And so is the tension between Damian Lewis, who plays billionaire Wall Street investor Bobby Axelrod, and Paul Giamatti as the U.S. District Attorney who’s trying to bring down the Axelrod empire. The two Emmy Award winners don’t get to share a lot of screen time together, since the characters are usually scheming and strategizing with their teams to stay a step ahead of each other. So when the two characters do clash in a scene together, it heightens the experience for both Giamatti and Lewis. (Click on the media bar below to hear Paul Giamatti & Damian Lewis)
New episodes of Billions air Sunday nights on Showtime.
Graphic artist and scribe Daniel Clowes take on the universal tragedy and eccentricities of humanity was best captured years ago in the Terry Zwigoff directed Ghost World, and now Woody Harrelson steps into that universe as the titular character in Wilson.
An oftentimes cranky middle-aged man, Wilson’s (Harrelson) circle is very small now that his best friend (Brett Gelman) is leaving town with his wife (Mary Lynn Rajskub). With just a fox terrier named Pepper and an estranged father who’s dying serving as his family, Wilson attempts to reach out and widen his community.
Wilson eventually tracks down his former lover Pippi (Laura Dern), an ex-drug addict who’s gradually piecing her life together as a waitress. When Pippi tells Wilson that she lied about having an abortion 17 years ago, an ecstatic Wilson finds their daughter (a scene stealing Isabella Amara) and attempts to construct his own ramshackle family.
Director Craig Johnson, who received his share of acclaim for The Skeleton Twins, crafts several memorable sequences throughout the narrative, and there are a few laugh out loud moments that make Wilson a pleasurable enough watch. Harrelson and Dern, always good with whatever material they’re working with, are also believable as the mismatched couple.
Wilson’s tragic flaw is that, although it has its share of sentimental moments, the story never fully gets into the skin of Wilson, often preferring to highlight his eccentricities over his humanity. Although the story is essentially a Sisyphean adventure of a displaced man in search of a home, the film fails to land a knockout punch. Supporting players Judy Greer (as a compassionate dog-sitter) and Cheryl Hines (as Pippi’s judgmental sister) are both a joy to watch, but their characters are disappointingly one dimensional.
There’s enough comedy and solid work by Harrelson, Dern, and Amara that make Wilson a pleasurable enough experience, but don’t be surprised if this flick fades from your memory as soon as the credits roll.
Wilson opens in select theaters March 24.
Luke Evans, effective as the bad guy in Furious 7, is the antagonist once again with Beauty and the Beast. A war hero who is celebrated in his respective town, Gaston (Evans) has his eyes on Belle (Emma Watson), but his charms do not exactly sway her (she, of course, has her bond with the beast, played by Dan Stevens).
Instead of making Gaston supremely unlikable and evil from the beginning, Evans looked at his role from a different vantage point. “A villain shouldn’t start out as the bad guy,” said Evans. “A villain should end up being the bad guy. With Gaston, outwardly, to a lot of people in that village, he is the hero.”
Eventually it is Gaston who serves as the main antagonist behind Beauty and the Beast, and Evans made sure the “humanity” behind his character was also a part of the storytelling.
Click on the media bar to hear Luke Evans talk about what makes Gaston a unique Disney character:
Beauty and the Beast opens March 17.