Kodi Smit-McPhee Embarks On “Intense” Journey With ‘Alpha’

Directed by Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli), Alpha is a dog movie that definitely distinguishes itself among the pack. Set in prehistoric Europe, the story centers on Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a youth who bonds with a wolf while attempting to return home after sustaining an injury. 

“This has been the most intense one physically,” said Smit-McPhee whose previous credits include Slow West and ParaNorman. “Maybe because obviously I’ve been in it every single day – but  actually that was a huge part of what attracted me to the story because a lot of the things I’ve been doing they’re very modern and I’ve been waiting for something close to ritualistic (that) has to do with Earth and Mother Nature. It’s been hard though – it’s been an equal challenge.”

Click on the media bar to hear Smit-McPhee talk about the challenges of working with Chuck the wolf dog in Alpha:

Alpha is now playing nationwide.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Blu-Ray Spotlight: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Goes “Beyond The Battle” With In-Depth Extras

Avengers: Infinity War is a title many Blu-ray, DVD, and digital enthusiasts will scoop up. Aside from the title being one of Marvel’s best features, the disc is worth picking up on Blu-ray thanks to its in-depth look at the storyline’s epic battles on Wakanda and Titan.

“Beyond The Battle: Wakanda” and “Beyond The Battle Titan” offer up different looks at how the cast, filmmakers and special effects team worked in different environments to pull off these visually arresting sequences. The Titan confrontation between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Thanos (Josh Brolin) is the centerpiece of the impressive Titan feature, as witness how the actors collaborate on their collaboration.

There are ten minutes worth of deleted scenes, one of which has Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) attempting to keep paparazzi way from Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). There’s also a bit more banter among the Guardians as they try to find Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and it’s a sequence set to Ace Frehley’s “New York Groove.”

The commentary track, which features filmmakers Anthony and Joe Russo and the screenwriters (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley), features a deeper look into the story. One interesting fact discussed during the talk centered on Iron Man’s pivotal moment with Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Without giving away any spoilers, that moment was actually going to be much shorter, but the Russos decided to elongate the exchange for dramatic effect.

Avengers: Infinity War is an excellent movie and worth picking up just for the overall quality, but thankfully the Blu-ray has enough special features to make this a much more value added purchase.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Netflix Documentary ‘City of Joy’ Spotlights Women Turning “Pain to Power”

The upcoming documentary City of Joy focuses on the friendship that developed among Congolese doctor (and Nobel Peace Prize nominee) Dr. Denis Mukwege, The Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler, and Congolese human rights activist Christine Schuler Deschryver. Their bond led to the 2011 creation of City of Joy, which is described as a “transformational leadership community for women survivors of violence.”

One of the community’s focus is to turn “pain to power” and give these women tools to enhance their own lives and become leaders of their respective environments. The feature is directed by Madeleine Gavin, who has carved out a successful career as the editor of such films as Nerve, The Wilde Wedding, Song One, and What Maisie Knew.

Check out the evocative trailer below and tell us what you think!

City of Joy debuts on Netflix September 7.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Heather McComb Gets To The Truth With ‘Pretty Bad Actress’ Role

Written and directed by Nick Scown, Pretty Bad Actress centers on Gloria Green (Heather McComb), a former child star whose popularity has waned over the years. Thanks to her addiction to pills and hot tempered personality, Green is occasionally her worst enemy, and working in show business can take an exacting toll on one’s psyche. The dark comedy follows Green’s journey towards redemption, as she attempts to escape the clutches of a stalker (John Hensley) who has also kidnapped a huge Green fan named Dawnee (Stephanie Hodes).

One of Green’s talents is her ability to cry on demand, and we asked the actress if she held a similar talent. “Well, it’s actually really funny. I was a child actor,” said McComb, who was the lead in the Francis Ford Coppola project Life Without Zoe, a segment from the feature New York Stories. “I started when I was very very young. I knew a lot of Gloria Greens in my life. When I was growing up, I was sort of known for that. They would say ‘We need a crier so call Heather in.’ That is something that I was known for, especially as a child actor, was my being able to cry on cue (laughs).  It was really fun to be able to use that in the movie.”

Click on the media bar to hear McComb discuss how, though rooted in comedy, Pretty Bad Actress is grounded in a lot of truth:

Pretty Bad Actress is now out in theaters and VOD.  

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Ronda Rousey Loved “Refreshing” Acting Process Of ‘Mile 22’

MMA icon and WWE star Ronda Rousey trained with U.S. Navy SEALs and Army Rangers to prepare for her role in Mile 22, the latest collaboration between director Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg. The feature centers on a CIA task force assigned to transport an asset 22 miles to safety while a group of terrorists try to take them down.

“It meant a lot to me to have somebody see more than just a fighter in me,” said Rousey whose previous credits include Entourage and Furious 7. “It’s easy to feel like people think that’s all I have to offer. (Peter Berg) saw something in me that I have been trying to see in myself for a really long time. I’m more than just a fighter and I could be so much more. I love acting. I just want to be able to do what I love.”

Click on the media bar to hear Rousey talk about the “refreshing” part of doing Mile 22:

Mile 22 opens nationwide August 17.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Michelle Yeoh Discusses The Universal Appeal Of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Based on Kevin Kwan’s international bestseller, Crazy Rich Asians centers on Rachel, an Asian American who travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend Nick’s (Henry Golding) wealthy family. Michelle Yeoh, whose credits include Supercop and Danny Boyle’s underrated Sunshine, co-stars as Eleanor, Nick’s overprotective mother.

“Because it talks about love and family,” said Yeoh. “It’s something we can all relate to. We can relate to a very protective mother. I’m sure we all have one at home. It’s not just for the sons but for the daughters as well. The universal topic of love transcends any culture.”

Click on the media bar to hear Michelle Yeoh discuss how she fleshed out her character in Crazy Rich Asians.

Crazy Rich Asians, co-starring Ken Jeong and Awkwafina, opens nationwide August 15.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi