X-Men:Apocalypse Tops Box-Office Over Memorial Day Weekend


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

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Blu-ray Pick: ‘Risen’ Rises With Joseph Fiennes And Epic Storytelling

RisenNow 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”).

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Samantha Montgomery Talks ‘Princess Shaw’ And Will To Live


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!

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

New ‘Deepwater Horizon’ Trailer With Mark Wahlberg Debuts


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!

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

‘CinemAddicts’ Podcast Spotlights ‘Presenting Princess Shaw’

princessshawOn 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.

CinemAddicts is a co-production of Hollywood Outbreak and Cold Cockle Productions. To subscribe to the show on iTunes, please click here. Click on the media bar below to hear this week’s show!

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi