The summer variety show that audiences can’t seem to get enough of is back! America’s Got Talent with former American Idol judge Simon Cowell who takes over for the great radio icon Howard Stern. For the next couple of weeks the AGT will crossing the country during the audition phase of the show. Of course we all know the audition shows can be hilarious at times, and even for the judges it’s hard to restrain themselves. Simon Cowell told us even after all these years of doing competition shows, he still laughs at some of the crazier auditions. (Click on the media bar below to hear Simon Cowell explain why being critical is a “public service).
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesday nights on NBC (8/7c).
Posted by: AC
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Megan Fox returns as April O’Neil to the satisfaction of many males all over the world. Back in 2014, the first film grossed $493 million at the worldwide box office. Many will remember back in the early 1990’s there were three very successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films. The turtles are still as popular today as they were over two decades ago. Megan Fox has her philosophical (and yes we mean it!) theories as to why the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are so popular.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens in theaters on Friday.
Posted by AC
Season three of The Night Shift begins Wednesday evening on NBC (10 pm et/pt), as the crew at San Antonio Medical Center treat a woman who was severely hurt in a car accident. Jennifer Beals, who was recently seen in the suspense thriller Manhattan Night, joins the ensemble in a recurring role as Doctor Syd Jennings, an Army Major who works with Dr,. Drew Alister (Brendan Fehr) in Afghanistan.
Chemistry, solid acting, and top notch writing are all ingredients that have given The Night Shift its legs, and cast members Robert Bailey Jr. (”Dr. Paul Cummings”), Eoin Macken (”Dr. TC Callahan”), and Scott Wolf (”Dr. Scott Clemens”) credit show creators/producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah for fostering such a creatively nurturing environment.
Click on the media bar below to hear the actors talk about working on The Night Shift:
As far as superhero franchises go, the X-Men franchise is one of the most enduring. Having revitalized the brand a few years ago by taking the plot back a few decades and recasting younger actors in already established roles and carefully introducing new characters into the X-Men movie universe, the films have thrived. But we’re now onto the third film with key players James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult, and things are feeling less fresh. And with a title like ‘X-Men: Apocalypse,’ you might fear its time to blow up the universe again, but that’s not the case here, while the plot may suggest otherwise.
Once again at the heart of the story is the long-running faith in humanity debate. McAvoy’s Professor Xavier is the optimistic idealist, trying to get through to his old pal Erik Lehnsherr, who has more reason than ever to turn on the human race. In the decade since the last film, the erstwhile Magneto has relocated, found peace with a wife and young daughter and a community that has embraced him, though unaware of his mutant powers. But when a slip-up saving a co-workers life alerts the police and inadvertently leads to a tragic loss in his life, he’s ripe for the picking by a supreme mutant being recently returned and looking to take over the world.
This being, known as Apocalypse (and played by a virtually unrecognizable Oscar Isaac), is believed to have been the first mutant and responsible for catastrophic carnage throughout history. Typically accompanied by four defenders, Apocalypse pulls in a pre-X-Men Storm (Alexandra Shipp), the enforcer Psylocke (Olivia Munn), a defeated winged warrior Angel (Ben Hardy) and Magneto to ultimately do his bidding. Seeking to be all powerful, Apocalypse puts his sights on Professor Xavier when he realizes he can consume his ability to be in contact with all mutants.
With Xavier captured by Apocalypse and his henchmen, it’s up to a rag-tag crew of X-Men to save the day. Led by Mystique (Lawrence), Beast (Hoult), the recently returned Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) and new students Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), the adventure is on.
As with most X-Men films, the visuals are stunning, the stunts are visually appealing and the action keeps you on the edge of your seat. There are also a few line and sight gags to make the hardcore fans and passive followers chuckle equally and several reveals that add to the X-Menmythology. However, the big bad Apocalypse almost felt like more of a plot device to force the oft-revisited mutant prejudice and acceptance debate that has been a constant throughout many of the X-Men films.
While it’s not on par with the other films featuring the newer cast, X-Men: Apocalypse does provide moviegoers with an enjoyable couple of hours of action and adventure. However, with the core cast contracts up and a film viewed by some as relying on old tropes, it could be time to infuse theX-Men universe with some fresh blood and new ideas.
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Posted by: Ari Coine
The Fundamentals of Caring hits Netflix on June 24, and the trailer shows off some pretty solid chemistry from Craig Roberts, best known for as the lead from Submarine, and Paul Rudd (Prince Avalanche, Captain America: Civil War).
Based on Jonathan Evison’s novel, the plotline centers on Ben (Rudd), a retired writer who becomes a caregiver to Trevor, an 18-year-old (Roberts) with muscular dystrophy who, as the trailer points out, is highly attracted to pop star Katy Perry. Selena Gomez co-stars as a runaway who joins the pair on a road trip through Americana (one of their destinations is to check out the “World’s Deepest Pit”).
Jennifer Ehle, an underrated actress who’s done excellent work in Pride and Glory and MI-5, co-stars as Trevor’s concerned mom. Rob Burnett, an executive producer of Late Night with David Letterman and director of the 2012 comedy We Made This Movie, wrote and directed The Fundamentals of Caring. Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!
X-Men Apocalypse was the #1 film over the Memorial Day Weekend, as the flick made $65 million to easily best fellow newcomer Alice Through The Looking Glass which made $28.1 million. Considering Alice’s estimated budget is $170 million, the film’s opening weekend was a disappointment. Meanwhile, The Angry Birds Movie continued its strong run with an $18.7 million showing for a third place finish. Here’s the top 10:
1. X-Men Apocalypse - $65 million
2. Alice Through The Looking Glass - $28.1 million
3. The Angry Birds Movie - $18.7 million, and the $75 million budgeted film is doing just fine with a $178 million worldwide gross.
4. Captain America: Civil War - $15.1 million and to date the flick has grossed $372 million worldwide.
5. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising - $9.1 million
6. The Jungle Book - $6.97 million
7. The Nice Guys - $6.37 million
8. Money Monster - $4.25 million
9. Love & Friendship - Considering this is an indie film directed by Whit Stillman, the movie, headlined by Kate Beckinsale, did solid enough business with $2.49 million.
10. Zootopia - $831,000
Now out on Blu-ray and DVD, Risen (108 minutes, PG-13) focuses on the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Cliff Curtis), but from an entirely different vantage point. Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) is a Roman tribune and non-believer who is tasked with finding the body of Christ, which has gone missing after his crucifixion. Clavius is under huge pressure from Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth) to find the corpse, as a missing Christ will only strengthen his followers’ belief that the son of God truly walked the Earth.
Harry Potter vet Tom Felton is Lucius, a fellow Roman who helps Clavius on his quest and is more than ready to punish anyone who impedes their mission.
One of the impressive facets behind Risen is that with a reported $20 million budget, director Kevin Reynolds (The Count of Monte Cristo, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) infuses the movie with enough epic scale to draw viewers into this arresting tale, which is essentially a mystery on what truly happened to Christ. Naysayers of the film may claim it’s a purely faith-based picture, but Risen has enough riveting action and compelling melodrama to keep one engaged. As the morally conflicted Clavius, Fiennes also turns in some of his best work to date, and even if Biblical features are not your cup of team, Risen may engage you on an entirely different level.
Special features on Risen include audio commentary from producer Patrick Aiello and co-writer Paul Aiello, several deleted scenes (one of which features the hanging of Judas Iscariot and another gives more depth to Felton’s character), and the featurettes “The Battle of the Zealots Deconstructed,” “The Mystery of the Resurrection,” “Script to Screen,” and “Creating A.D. Jerusalem.”
The visual scope and production design of Risen was particularly impressive, so learning how the crew designed the sets in Malta as well as checking out the behind the scenes details on shooting off a coastal area in Spain (for the Galilee sequences) were of particular interest (these details are discussed in “Creating A.D. Jerusalem”).
Presenting Princess Shaw is the uplifting story of Samantha Montgomery, a nurse who cares for the elderly and is also an aspiring singer-songwriter. Directed by Ido Haar, the documentary follows Montgomery, whose stage name is Princess Shaw, as she becomes a YouTube sensation thanks to her collaboration with Israeli musician Kutiman. Montgomery had no idea that her song “Give It Up” would be mashed up by Kutiman, and her surprise at the final product and her growing evolution is truly must-see viewing.
During our phone interview with Montgomery, she talked about her Presenting Princess Shaw experience and why, no matter what occurs, the “will to live” continues to burn bright.
How has it been with all the attention your life and this documentary has received?
It’s been pretty surreal for me. It’s amazing. It’s weird. I’m not used to it. But it’s been all a good ride.
It lets us know we’re connected. We’re all human. It’s really been a positive thing for me. When people come to talk to me, I feel honored because they open up to me about stuff but I feel my hands are tied behind my back because I can’t really help them through their struggle. I can talk to them - I can lead them to water but I can’t make them drink. I don’t really know how to help them, that’s the thing. I know what I did, but it doesn’t work for every person.
Has writing and singing always been a part of your life?
I’ve been writing since I was younger. I would write and I would sing, but I didn’t find my voice until I moved to New Orleans. I was always singing all around but it was not in my voice - it was in somebody else’s voice. When I was in New Orleans, in the shower, I found my voice. From that point, I was like ‘I’m going to try and do this and see what happens.’
Your writing comes from a lot of joy and pain. Does that come out of you naturally?
I think it was always there. I was just always shy. The process of me singing has always been a natural flow - a natural flow of things. It’s always been my way. It took me a while to break out from being shy and stand up and say ‘Here I am’ but it’s always been there. It’s just been hidden somewhere.
What was it like traveling to Tel Aviv?
It is - wow. It’s remarkable. I couldn’t imagine traveling to Israel and going to perform in front of all those people. When I did my channel I never looked beyond of (just recording songs). That was my main focus. So going to Israel and all of these places has been surreal. It’s like a dream - a purple haze.
Both you and Kutiman seem to gel. What makes your collaboration tick?
I think for me - we’re kindred spirits. We’re alike. He’s humble and he’s just a cool person. He took the music from my soul and transferred it to sound. For him to do that - I had other producers (work with me) and we didn’t have that kind of connection. We just meshed well. He’s just very supportive and pushes you, but it’s not like a pushy thing, you know what I mean? He’s pretty easy.
Your documentary also details your life as a caretaker for the elderly in New Orleans. What has that job given you?
I’ve always been a nurturer. I’ve always been that way. It makes me feel proud to be able to make life feel comfortable or be there when they’re upset. You become friends with their family (and) it does take a special kind of person to do that. It’s a very rewarding job and it gives me life.
I think it’s inspiring to be in New Orleans. It’s a different vibe here and it’s inspired me because it helped me find my voice. My voice has always been there but it took a change of scenery and people to bring it out.
For you personally, what kept you moving forward as as artist?
The will to live I guess. The pursuit of happiness. Chasing your dream, living with your music and (loving) yourself. Loving what you do and loving life - that’s what keeps me going. The will to be me keeps me going and things I can’t change, I don’t worry about it. It defeats the purpose if you’re worried about something you can’t change. I may fall, but I get up. I may sit there for a minute, I let it all out but I dust myself off and I keep moving. That’s what I do.
Thank you so much for your time and good luck moving forward and take care!
Thank you my darling and you too! Bye-bye.
Presenting Princess Shaw is now playing in select theaters and is available On Demand, Amazon Video, and iTunes. The documentary is discussed on this week’s episode of CinemAddicts, click on the media bar below to listen!
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion is chronicled in the upcoming feature Deepwater Horizon, and the new trailer for the film has just been released. Mark Wahlberg is Mike Williams, the electrician who escaped the tragedy that killed 11 people, and the project continues his collaboration with Lone Survivor director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Hancock). Wahlberg was seen last year in the indie thriller Mojave, which reunited him with The Departed screenwriter William Monahan (he directed the feature), Daddy’s Home, and Ted 2.
The movie also stars Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin) and Kurt Russell (Bone Tomahawk, The Hateful Eight) as crew members Andrea Fleytas and Jimmy Harrell. BP representative Donald Vidrine is played by John Malkovich.
Deepwater Horizon opens nationwide September 30. Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!
On this week’s episode of CinemAddicts, Anderson Cowan and I review the Magnolia Pictures release Presenting Princess Shaw, a documentary on how New Orleans singer Samantha Montgomery (aka Princess Shaw) overcame the odds to become a YouTube sensation and a flourishing artist. Though I was a bit mixed on the movie’s execution, Montgomery’s story is not to be missed, Cowan, on the other hand, highly praised the film and added that the project should be remembered come Oscar nomination time. Presenting Princess Shaw hits theaters May 27th and will be available On Demand, iTunes, and Amazon Video.
As much as I was entertained by X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through The Looking Glass, both big budgeted films didn’t stick with me as the days passed. Both flicks are worth a look if you’re in the mood for a light calorie, special effects abundant popcorn flick, but don’t expect anything of deep substance from either work.
For my Blu-ray pick, I espoused the virtues of the Warner Archive Blu-ray release Susan Slept Here, a 1954 comedic jewel that stars Debbie Reynolds and Dick Powell. Directed by Frank Tashlin, the picture comes off as a light comedy but there’s definitely more than meets the eye. To check out my review of Susan Slept Here go to Outbreak’s sister site Deepest Dream. Lastly, Cowan’s streaming pick of the weak is I Am Divine, which spotlights the life of John Waters’ titular muse.