NUP_177166_1456.JPGUh-oh.  They’re going to make us cry, aren’t they?  This Is Us wraps up its first season tomorrow night on NBC, and from the looks of the previews, it looks like they’ll once again be aiming right for our tear ducts.  That’s been part of the series’s recipe for success, giving its characters and their relationships genuine, real-life emotional weight.  Chrissy Metz, who plays Kate Pearson, credits show creator Dan Fogelman and the show’s writers for creating such true-to-life characters.  In fact, she told us that her character is based on Fogelman’s actual sister!  (Click on the media bar below to hear Chrissy Metz)

This Is Us airs its first-season finale tonight at 9/8c on NBC.

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Posted by: Susan Brown


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Chips_04667.dngIt’s all Dan Aykroyd’s fault.  Back in the ’80s, he rewrote the ’60s cop show Dragnet for the big screen — but as a comedy.  Then came Charlie’s Angels.  After that, The A-Team and 21 Jump Street. And now, here come Ponch and Jon, playing it for laughs as CHiPs hits movie screens for the first time.  Writer/director Dax Shepard has reimagined the ’70s TV staple as a raunchier, riskier big-screen comedy, and he also stars in the movie, alongside Michael Peña.  For Shepard, it was a labor of love, because he was a huge fan of the original show, and he wanted to give it the completely new spin, like Christopher Nolan did with the Batman franchise.  (Click on the media bar below to hear Dax Shepard)

CHiPs opens in theaters March 24

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Posted by: Susan Brown


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countrycrush4Musical fans who love good old-fashioned storytelling that’s coupled with catchy songs should give Country Crush a look. Though its narrative does have its predictable beats, the 96-minute picture is an often engaging experience thanks to innate charisma of lead actors Munro Chambers and Madeline Merlo.

Charlie Bishop (Chambers) is a mechanic who’s holding down the fort at home while his older brother Cody (Kevin McGarry) spends most of his days overseas completing another tour of duty (Jana Kramer co-stars as Cody’s wife). Nancy (Merlo) is an aspiring singer and city girl whose car breaks down, and when Charlie (and his tow truck) come to the rescue, sparks immediately fly. Sophie Tweed-Simmons co-stars as Nancy’s devil may care best friend.

Film chemistry is often hard to find, and thankfully Chambers and Merlo light up the screen during their scenes together. Director/writer Andrew Cymek also gives each of the film’s characters their respective moment to shine with various musical numbers, and each actor definitely knows how to carry a tune (Kramer, Tweed-Simmons and Merlo are music artists in their own right).

The special features on the DVD come with a refreshingly numerous collection of deleted scenes with commentary from Cymek. Several of these sequences provide more insight and color to Kramer’s character, and there’s also an extended scene which details Charlie’s true affections for Nancy.  Also included is the “Crush” music video by Merlo and audition footage.

Thanks to the winning work from the leads and solid musical numbers, Country Crush delivers the goods, proving that sometimes you don’t need to live in La La Land to enjoy a good tune or two.

Country Crush hits DVD as a Walmart exclusive on March 14.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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powerrangers1Directed by Dean Israelite, Power Rangers is a modern day take on the iconic franchise. The story centers on five teenagers who discover that their hometown of Angel Grove is the target of an alien threat. Though they realize they may be the only ones who can save Earth from this evil, the teens aren’t exactly joined at the hip.

“They’re outcasts,” said Bryan Cranston, who plays Zordon in the flick. “That’s the one thing they have in common. They don’t feel like they quite fit in anywhere for a variety of different reasons and they have to bond and come together. It’s not easy and they don’t. They’re not attracted to each other right away. They’re not fast friends. That’s the old version. The real version, the more honest version, is it’s difficult. Everybody wants to have individual strength but the conceit about the power rangers is that their power is accumulated in the sense of teamwork.”

Cranston, who was seen last year in The Infiltrator, actually provided voice-over for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series, so he was familiar with this beloved universe from the get-go. Click on the media bar below to hear Cranston talk about his previous work in the Power Rangers universe:

Power Rangers opens March 24.


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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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KONG: SKULL ISLAND

As expected, Kong: Skull Island demolished the competition with over $61 million in box office receipts. The $185 million budgeted feature performed above expectations, as it was predicted to have a $45-50 million weekend. Coming in a distant second was Logan, which still had an excellent outing with $37.8 million. Here’s this weekend’s top 10:

1. Kong: Skull Island - $61 million

2. Logan - $37.8 million

3. Get Out - This horror film has grossed over $111 million domestically, and this weekend it amassed $21 million

4. The Shack - To date, this faith based film has made $32.2 million domestically. This weekend, it takes in $10 million

5. The LEGO Batman Movie - $7.8 million

6. Before I Fall - Teen thriller is falling down the charts and makes just $3.1 million.

7. Hidden Figures - One of this year’s surprise box office has collected $162.8 million domestically. This weekend, it adds another $2.7 million.

8. John Wick: Chapter Two - $2.7 million

9. La La Land - Acclaimed film is proof the Hollywood musical is alive and kicking. This weekend, it makes $1.7 million.

10. Fifty Shades Darker - Critically lambasted romantic drama collects $1.6 million.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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332058id3i_Nightingale_Courage_Keyart_27x40.indd

Wonder Woman is a forced to be reckoned with and she’s one of the most powerful superheroes in the DC Comics universe. Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) gives glimpses of Diana Prince’s (Gal Gadot) warrior spirit in the new trailer of the highly anticipated flick Wonder Woman.

Along with giving viewers a glimpse of Diana’s life in the female dominated land of Themyscria, the trailer thankfully shows that American intelligence officer Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is not Diana’s knight in shining armor. Instead, Steve is saved by Diana on her land’s distant shores. Though her Amazonian paradise seems impenetrable, World War I is raging on, and our heroine believes she can make a positive difference in this escalating conflict. The feature co-stars Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, and David Thewlis.

Having a woman be front and center of a comic books franchise is simply rare, and Gadot seems to be up for this monumental and gratifying task. Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!

Wonder Woman opens nationwide June 2.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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thisbeautifulfantastic2On this week’s CinemAddicts podcast, we review three movies that are definitely worth watching.

This Beautiful Fantastic centers on a wannabe writer named Bella (Jessica Brown Findlay) who gradually befriends her cantankerous neighbor Alfie (Tom Wilkinson). Threatened with eviction if she doesn’t clean up her cluttered backyard garden, Bella is aided by Alfie, a man whose green thumb skills turns Bella’s life around.Though it doesn’t push any new boundaries, This Beautiful Fantastic is a feel good story that’s well told. A solid ensemble, including Jeremy Irvine and Andrew Scott, also lifts the material to another level.

Raw is a thriller about Justine (Garance Marillier), a freshman student at a veterinary school who is also a vegetarian. Eating meat for the first time, along with feeling peer pressure from her decadent fellow students, puts Justine in a tailspin and soon her eating habits lead her to cannibalism. This film, though not for the squeamish, is a hypnotic experience from filmmaker Julia Ducournau.

Running at 149 minutes, Brimstone is an ambitious Western about a frontier woman (Dakota Fanning) who has been hunted down by violent preacher (Guy Pearce) for most of her life. Directed by Martin Koolhoven, the project is definitely a must see for Western fans who don’t mind a lengthy running time to their cinematic viewing. Though not reaching the levels of a Sergio Leone (Once Upon a Time in the West, For a Few Dollars More) Western, Brimstone’s pure ambition and narrative scope makes this a worthy watch.

Check out this week’s CinemAddicts podcast below:

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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guardians8Marvel Entertainment’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters May 5th, and fans of the ragtag super team can also enjoy their adventures within the gaming universe.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is set for a spring release on mobile devices, PC, and consoles. The brand new story has the Guardians (Drax, Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket and Groot) discovering a powerful artifact. Together they face a ruthless enemy who is determined to claim this item at any price. Friday Night Lights actor Scott Porter serves as the voice of Star-Lord, with Nolan North (Rocket), Brandon Paul Eells (Drax), Emily O’Brien (Gamora), and Adam Harrington (Groot) rounding out the rest of the cast.

At today’s PAX East in Boston, the creative team from Telltale Games and Marvel Games Creative Director Bill Rosemann will be on hand to discuss the creative process behind the game. On March 17, SXSW and SXSW Gaming badge holders will be able to play an early version of the first episode by controlling the games from their seats by using their mobile devices. The event takes place at the Paramount Theater, and for more info please click here.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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145197_8747

One of the most critically acclaimed shows on television, American Crime continues its momentum with its third season spotlight on the complex issue of immigration. Creator John Ridley, along with an ensemble cast that includes Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, and Regina King, has created an ambitious series that confronts universal issues while also offering compelling dramatic stories.

Richard Cabral, who is part of the American Crime family, received an Emmy nomination for his work in the first season and his career has forever been changed by the series. This season Cabral is Isaac Castillo, a farm crew chief who employs undocumented workers and exploits their labor.

Part of American Crime’s appeal is to watch the same actors take on different roles each year, thus showcasing their talents and spotlighting the diverse writing behind the series. “It’s just been a blessing to be here since the first year, and I guess the outer layer, the landscape, what we look like - that is different,” says Cabral upon addressing playing various characters on the show. “But (the search of) the inner soul, that spirit - that is what always keeps me focused and keeps me striving for excellence, and I’ve just been grateful to be on the show since the beginning.”

Click on the media bar below to hear Cabral discuss his “life changing” experience on American Crime.

American Crime airs Sundays on ABC (10/9c).

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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NUP_176703_1090.JPGWith just one more episode to go this season, This Is Us feels like it’s been saving its best for last.  They followed up the amazing Memphis episode with another hour of Tuesday night television that managed to make us smile and make us cry — sometimes simultaneously.  (And who didn’t love the big Hollywood cameo toward the end?)  If you’ve already seen the episode, which centered around celebrating the life of Randall’s biological father, William, you’ll want to watch Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore’s post-show video, where they talk about what you saw, including the growing marital tension between their two characters.

If the season finale is going where we’ve been led to believe it’s going, you better have plenty of tissues handy.  The Season 1 finale of This Is Us airs Tuesday night at 9/8c on NBC.

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Posted by: Susan Brown


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