Monday, February 24, 2020

Movie Review of The Farewell: We're Not Lying, You Should See this Heartfelt, Funny and Mostly-Snubbed Movie


By Beth Abramson Brier

...Pants on Fire

Lulu Wang is a liar! And she has the awards to prove it! Wang is the creator, writer, and director of the highly acclaimed but somehow Oscar snubbed film, The Farewell. And if there is any doubt about the veracity of the story line, right up front Wang states it is “Based on a true lie”. It couldn’t be more different. That’s the first of many reasons The Farewell should have received a nomination.

This is the real life story of Wang’s grandmother (Nai Nai) who was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer and has only a few months to live. The entire family is stricken with grief - everyone that is except Nai Nai, who doesn’t know – and they are determined not to tell her. Her two grown children and their families, now living in Japan and New York, return to China to say goodbye under the guise of arranging a wedding banquet for her grandson and his new bride.

NY/NJ Event: Help Kids in Foster at Bergen CASA's Casino Night entitled "Play Like a Champion" With Help from Iconic Sports Figures Carl Banks, Ottis Anderson, Sam Garnes, Eddie Cotton and Eric Murdock

Hackensack, NJ  Have some fun and benefit children in foster care at the same timeCASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children of Bergen County is holding its 16th Annual Event: Casino Night: Play Like a Champion for the Kids on March 19, 2020 from 6:30pm - 10:30pm at The Venetian, 546 River Drive  in Garfield, NJ. Tickets are $125. This year is a special year in that BERGEN CASA is honoring all of its advocates, its champions, and hence notable champions from the world of sports will be on hand for the festivities. Included in the ticket price is a wide array of hors d’oeuvres, food stations and desserts, open bar and $100 in casino play money. There will also be basket raffle, silent auction with mobile bidding and other games in addition to exciting casino-style play throughout the evening. To purchase a ticket, please visit the website, www.BergenCASA.org or call 201-336-7520 for tickets and information. Donations for the evening's auctions and raffles are always welcome.  If interested in donating an item or service, please contact ​Lauren@BergenCasa.org.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Review of Paper Mill Playhouse Production of UNMASKED: The Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber Will Leave You Wanting More


By Beth Abramson Brier

Unplugged.  

“Let’s put on a show about the wife of a South American dictator, an ex-pat hat designer living in New York, a cat, and Jesus Christ!” said no composer ever.  Except one did: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Now through March 1st, 2020 Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey celebrates the genius of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber in its latest production, Unmasked-The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.  This intimate theater is the perfect venue to premiere the very up close and personal look into the composer and some of his best known works.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Interview with RJ Hatanaka - This Canadian Actor is Achieving International Success with HBO, Hallmark's When Hope Calls, Global TV's Nurses and More

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

Actor RJ Hatanaka is all over the place lately. Literally - he's all over the world. In his home country of Canada, he can be found on the TV show Nurses as a handsome and eligible young doctor. Also filmed in Canada but airing over the American station Hallmark he plays the dashing and brave Canadian Mountie Gabriel on the new hit and first series for the platform Hallmark Movies Now called When Hope Calls.  It's  also premiering on the Hallmark Channel on February 23, 2020.  And across the pond, he works as the Spokesman for HBO Europe, travelling that continent helping to promote the HBO brand in dozens of countries. 

Luckily for me this world traveller was in my neck of the woods. I had the pleasure of talking to this talented actor at a club in New  York City, where we dined with some female producers - who all happened to be fans of Hallmark - and really got to know him. Read on for your chance to get a little more personal with this strikingly handsome up and coming actor. 


                                                               Hugh Jackman as Inspiration

"I have always loved performing, but it wasn't until I was at the University of Toronto that I started to understand what a life in the entertainment industry could offer: it's creative, it's challenging and it can be a powerful impetus for social change. I was fortunate enough to attend the National Theatere School of Canada, and then New York University's Tisch Graduate Acting Program in order to put more tools in my toolbox. It's been off to the races ever since."

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Interview: Patrick Fabian's Many Roles - From Better Call Saul, to Friends to Carole's Second Act Plus the Secret to Staying Alive in Hollywood


Actor Patrick Fabian is all over the place these days. This talented working actor is on a myriad of shows, from cable to the network. I met him years ago at the premiere of his movie DriverX which he starred in as a middle-aged ride share driver.  He's been promoting Better Call Saul (where he stars as Howard Hamlin) as of late as it's now on Netflix for the entire planet to watch, and just a week ago I started seeing him on promos for the hit CBS comedy Carole's Second Act starring Patricia Heaton. He plays the handsome Dr. Lewis.

But this is not his first stint on a comedy. Fans of Friends may recognize him as the eligible Nurse Dan from the Friends' 100th episode. And his resume is chock full or roles. He's been in many mvoies and TV shows including The Connors, Agents of Shield, Lucifer, Barry, Code Black, Grey's Anatomy (as a doctor again), Scandal and more.

Read on to find out more about his philosophy on life,  his life, lessons he learned, acting with Friends and  RUSH.

Suzee: Tell me about this new gig on Carole's Second Act.

Patrick: Back at a hospital again! This time, with Patricia Heaton who couldn't be more funny or gracious to work with. I love working in sitoms and she's starred in two of the most successful ones, Raymond and The Middle, so I follow her lean and hopefully keep up!

I’ll be on the last four episodes of this season...don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ve risen in the hospital ranks since playing ‘Nurse Dan’ on Friends (the 100th) so don’t miss it!”

Suzee: So I look at your IMDB and I was getting dizzy because there is so much on there. How have you managed to keep working for so long?

Patrick: First of all, I’m really lucky. There’s no doubt about it. If there’s any kid out there who want to get into the arts all I can say is this; I got an education and went to class and learned my craft. I think that gave me a leg up on the long run. I didn’t get in to get rich and famous, I got in it to be an actor.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Learn How to Salsa From Pro Salsa Dancer Talia Castro-Pozo at Special Dance Event on Valentine's Day - Proceeds Benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Ever want to learn how to salsa? Take a special class and do good at the same time.  Professional Salsa Dancer Talia Castro-Pozo is conducting a special introductory class at 7pm on Valentine's Day. All proceeds will benefit the ! No experience necessary. Come with or without a partner. 

Our doors open for the event at 7pm with Salsa Instruction beginning at 8pm, followed by sangria, hors d'oeuvres, and dancing until 11pm. No experience necessary. Come with or without a partner. 

There will also be a live DJ and special dance performances and music by Peak Latin Dancers Featuring Baudilio Rivera, Eleanee Jimenez & Semi Pro Team!

Admission Price: $50
Student Discount $40 (with valid ID)

The program coordinator is  Alicia Nigro. All proceeds from this event will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Online pre-registration required: https://heartinmotionstudio.com/salsa-sangria-for-a-cure

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Video: Film Critic Connor Moriarty's Top 15 Films of 2019

by Connor Moriarty

Film Critic and contributor Connor Moriarty gives us his take on his Top 15 Films of 2019. He's got many Oscar-worthy titles included as well as some not so well-known. Listen here as he reviews films such as Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, El Camino, 1917, Midsommer, Portrait of a Lady, JoJo Rabit, Marriage Story, The Lighthouse, the Irishman, and more. But what one film comes in as number one - what film does Connor say that despite a viewer's genre preference, he would recommend for almost anyone? View here:



Monday, February 3, 2020

Event: Acting for Beginners - Learn about the Acting World or Becoming an Extra

Do you want to become an actor? Maybe you've got some spare time and are wondering what it would be like to be an "extra" or "background" on a film or TV show. There is so much filming going on these days that the opportunity is there. All ages are needed. There are lots of ways to become an actor, there are serious classes, but in order to become an extra, there's not a whole lot of experience needed! If you want to be an extra, just google casting agencies and you will find a whole lot that cast background. If you live near a major city, you will be more likely to find one. But, beware of any agency that wants to charge you for photos or for anything. Extras make money, they don't pay fees.

New York Women in Film and Television in NY is hosting an event for those thinking about becoming an actor. It is being given my Mellini Kantayya. Following are details. You don't need to be a member to attend.

New York Women in Film and Television has many events and you don't need to be a member to attend many of them. Check out the website to see if any of these women and the events will inspire you to do something new: www.NYWIFT.org.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Interview with Actor/Director Trent Dawson: From Soaps to Mrs. Maisel to Shakespeare, He's Now Pursuing his Dreams and Building a Theater Company

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

If you are a fan of daytime, you might recognize Trent Dawson from his role as  Henry Coleman on  As The World Turns as or more recently as Huxely Lynch on General Hospital. Or perhaps you saw him on a nightime drama. And as the new season picks up even more fans on Amazon Prime, you'll also get to see him in his latest role The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. He plays Scott the Producer, a man who wants to mold the lovely Mrs. Maisel into something she doesn't want to be - you'll have to watch to see if he succeeds.

Aside from his role in front of the lens, Trent takes pride in his role behind the camera. He recently completed his first short, called The Six, with Alejandro Hernandez (New Amsterdam.) It's a short film that will be seen at festivals in 2020. He wrote it and directed it. It's about a couple with a lot to say to each other on a subway platform. Thought he is from Louisiana, Trent considers himself a New Yorker and drew his inspiration for it from real life. Trent also recently directed a few plays in Brooklyn.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival Kicks off 10th Anniverary Festival Season with "An Evening with Oscar" Fundraiser Party in Ridgweood, NJ on February 7th

The Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival kicks off its
10th Anniversary Season with it's yearly "Evening With Oscar" Party
The Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival kicks off its 10th Anniverary in 2020. To kick off the season, they are hosting "An Evening with Oscar" party on Friday, February 7th at Park West Loft, 38 Oak Street in Ridgewood from 8:00pm – 12 midnight. 

Held at the upscale Park West Tavern this event is filled with excitement, movie trivia, people in the film business and fine food and drink. Guests also get to walk the "Red Carpet" and pose for photos. There will also be dancing and a trivia and a costume contest with some great prizes from local businesses. You can dress as your favorite Oscar-nominated character, or dress formally. The cost is $65 per person, which includes a two-hour open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres, pasta station, salad and dessert. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

VIDEO: Iliana Reviews Ford V. Ferrari - A Wild Ride You Won't Want to Miss

Iliana Guibert- McGinnis is an actress, writer and filmmaker. With that background, it's no suprise she knows her stuff when reviewing a film. Here's Iliana's review of Ford v. Ferrari, that's playing in theaters now because of the Oscar buzz. When she first told me about this movie, she said, "It's not really about cars! You'll like it!






For more of her reviews, Follow her on Instagram: 
or Like/Follow SuzeeBehindtheScenes on Facebook:

Movie Review of Greta Gerwig's Little Women: A View through the Eyes of a A Male High School Film Critic on this Remade Classic

by Ashton Samson
Little Women 2019 Review: Greta Gerwig Brilliantly Captures the World of Louisa May Alcott's Novel, All While Creating a New One for 2019
For as long as I can remember, it has been a personal goal of mine to read Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 classic, Little Women, not only because of the many glowing reviews that the book has received, but also because I have always thought that in discussions with others who had read the novel, I would later be able to offer my perspective, which might be considered unique because I am a fifteen-year old male. 
Over the years, I have heard nothing but the highest acclaim from Alcott’s many vehement fans. They have stated that the novel is so beloved because of its brilliantly crafted characters, swift pace and enduring themes and messages that have touched women and men alike since its publication. Amazingly the novel has never been out of print and in elementary schools, it is the most frequently read work of literature, statistically exceeding even the Bible. Most recently, in anticipation of the upcoming film, I finally had the chance to read the novel and found it to be one of the most enjoyable and heartwarming books I have ever read.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Film LIBERTÉ: A Call to Spy about Three Female WWII Spies Premieres at Santa Barbara Film Festival: Wins Prestigious Anti-Defamation League Stand Up Award

LIBERTÉ: A Call to Spy, a film written and produced by Sarah Megan  Thomas (Equity), will premiere at the 2020 Santa Barbara International Film Festival which runs January 15th-25tth 2020. LIBERTÉ: A Call to Spy, is the story of three heroic women serving as spies in World World II as part of Churchill's new secret army, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) which was designed to build a resistance. The film is inspired by the real lives of three women: Vera Atkins (played by Stana Katic) Virginia Hall (played by Sarah Megan Thomas) who was an ambitious American with a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat Khan (played by Radhika Atpe), The movie was directed by Lydia Dean Pilcher. The movie also stars Linus Roache and Rossif Sutherland.

This film will receive the prestigious Stand-UP Award at SBIFF given by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties Region in California. The League states, "The courageous heroism of soldiers risking their lives to counter the Nazis is not a new story. What is new, at least for the big screen, that the heroes featured in LIBERTÉ are women, and it is certainly worth discussing why it has taken so long for their stories to be celebrated in this way."


Stana Katic, Sarah Megan Thomas and Radhika Apte play real-life female heroes.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Movie Review of JoJo Rabbit: A Satire Done Right and Here's Why

By Ashton Samson

In the opening scenes of JoJo Rabbit, I must admit that I found myself in a state of disbelief.  I couldn’t believe that I was watching a satire, where the principal character, JoJo, adores and idolizes Hitler. One can imagine the initial conflicting feelings that were swirling around in my head as the film started. Is it alright to laugh at what I’m seeing? Will there be an abundance of humor in this film?

I was thinking in the theater as the film started that Taika Waititi, a man known for his humor, shouldn’t include too many jokes in the movie, because otherwise, it could come across as a movie in which the audience is on Hitler’s side, laughing at his jokes, finding him to be a funny man. The answers to my questions were yes, it is alright to laugh because no, there won’t be an abundance of humor. Although it might not seem like it at first, JoJo Rabbit is an immensely successful film because it does what a satire is supposed to do.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Indie Rock Band Zoochie Debuts First Album entitled "Honey" at Pianos Showroom in New York City January 10th

Zoochie, the popular indie-rock band that came together in New Brunswick NJ, is debuting their long-awaited first album at Pianos howroom in New York City on January 10th from 7pm - 11pm EST. The venue is located at 158 Ludlow Street.  Flychatcher and Boyish will open.

Zoochie will be debuting songs from their new album entitled "Honey".  Honey contains 9 dynamic rock tracks, each of them pulling from different influences of each of the band members over the three years they have been together. Expect rock and jazz sounds with whispers of their favorites like Zappa, Cage the Elephant and Haitus Kaiyote.

When asked what can be expected of the album, the band responded. "A specific type of energy.. one that will move you.. something new."

The band's first hit was "Matador." They released an EP in November 2019 called Pow! This past summer they released the song "Talk", which will also appear on a movie soundtrack. The album "Honey" was produced by Paul Ritchie at the Parlor Mob at New Future Studio in Belmar, NJ.

Listen to “Honey” Here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/zoochie/honey

Film Review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - A Phenomenal Conclusion to the Series and Message about Inclusivity Satisfies the True Fan

By Ashton Samson

Star Wars, The Rise of Skywalker is a somewhat disappointing entry not without its moments of greatness.

Editor's Note: We get a unique perspective from Ashton, who is a very young Star Wars fan when you consider the age of most movie reviewers.
  
The force has been strong with me for most of my life, as it has been for many of the true fans of Star Wars. Therefore, there must have been a great deal of pressure placed upon J.J. Abrams to make The Rise of Skywalker a fitting conclusion to the Star Wars Saga. Although A New Hope wasn’t the first film I watched, the classic was one of the only movies at the time that I understood on a deeper level than Peter Pan, Pirates of the Carribean or any other childhood film I grew up watching. I was obsessed with watching Johnny Depp make jokes as Captain Jack Sparrow or Captain Hook dueling with Peter Pan, but when I watched A New Hope for the first time, as the mature little boy that I was, I saw more to the film than lightsaber duels and operatic space battles. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Movie Review of Knives Out with Jamie Lee Curtis: Sharp, Suspenseful and Star-studded, it's an Intense and Masterfully Realized Mystery

By Ashton Samson

Everyone’s a suspect in Rian Johnson's new brilliant mystery, Knives Out. Most of them are of the usual type, all of them could be liable for the murder of affluent mystery writer, Harlan Thrombey. As it starts, the film feels like something out of an Agatha Christie novel. Even as the film races through its energetic and riotous opening montage, I was uncertain of how Johnson was going to pull off a decent homage to the mystery/suspense genre, especially since it's been years since a truly good flick of that sort has been released.
As Knives Out progressed, continuing it's impressive handling of the diversity of well-chosen actors, all while maintaining a fresh and rejuvenated pace for the genre, it became clear that this wasn't going to be a straightforward mystery. The way that Johnson put a fresh spin on a nearly lost genre is by adding political undertones and stereotypical characters for a modern age, all seen through the eyes of Marta Cabrera, Harlan’s caretaker, played superbly by Ana de Armas. 

Johnson altered the traditional Agatha Christie format, by revealing the murderer earlier in the story. The significance of this? It's not about the mystery as much anymore. It's about Harlan's complete disdain and disgust for the greedy and self-centered behavior of his family members amidst the backdrop of the kind and compassionate Marta.

From the beginning, I latched on to Marta as a character, because I had a feeling that she would bring something greater to the themes of Knives Out. In a lavish house filled to the rim with the usual old-school suspects of rich, pretentious people, Marta was the standout, because she provided an opposing perspective.  Johnson used this film as a platform for social commentary regarding the issues of  immigration and the power of women.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Winnie Cooper: Danica McKellar is the Definition of Sweet Success - Get to Know More about this Charming and Smart Christmas Movie Superstar (Includes Video)

Danica McKellar is sweet. Sweet, successful and hardworking. We believe her in all her her roles, from girl-next door to princess, from child actress to adult leading lady.

I had the opportunity to meet Danica at the press block for Chistmas Con 2019, the first ever - and sold out I may add, convention devoted to Christmas and more so Christmas movies in Edison NJ. Dancia took the time to talk to all the reporters there. She was decked out in a beautiful, understated green lace dress - perfect for the event and perfect for Christmas. Any red in it would have been too much, it was just the righ amount and the right color green (evergreen) to subtly indicate Christmas.

Yes, this lady is now synonymous with Christmas. Though for those of us who grew up watching her on the small screen on The Wonder Years, she will always be Winnie to us, she plays her parts on her Christmas movies flawlessly. In each role she takes on a new character and defines herself as it.


Saturday, December 14, 2019

The 40th Annual New York Women in Film & Television MUSE Awards: Inspiration and Hope from Honorees Gloria Estefan, Ann Dowd, Anjali Sud, Kasi Lemmon, Jane Rosenthal, Shoshanna Stern & Caroline Hirsch

2019 NYWIFT Honoree Gloria Estefan at Hilton Midtown NYC
Inspiration and progress. That's the message that came from the New York Women in Film and Television's 40th Annual MUSE Awards ceremony held at the Hilton Midtown in bustling New York City on December 10, 2019.

And the 2019 Honorees were:
Ann Dowd, Actor, Gloria Estefan, Singer/Actor/Executive, Anjali Sud, CEO, Vimeo, Kasi Lemmons, Director (Nancy Malone Directing Award),Jane Rosenthal, CEO Tribeca Enterprises (Career Impact Achievement Award),and Shoshannah Stern, Writer/Creator (Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award). The Made in NY Award went to Caroline Hirsch, Carolines on Broadway Owner/NY Comedy Festival Founder
NYWIFT 2019 Muse Awards                                                                                             Photo from Facebook 

Lifetime's A Christmas Winter Song Christmas Movie with Grammy-Winner Ashanti: Actors Stan Shaw, Sashani Nichole, Director Camille Brown & Writer Melissa Bustamente Talk about this Heartwarming and Melodic Film

Grammy-award winner Ashanti stars in
and Executive Produced Lifetime's A Christmas Winter Song
by Suzanne Ordas Curry

A Christmas Winter Song premieres on Lifetime as part of the tremendously popular "It's a Wonderful Lifetime" seasonal lineup of movies on December 14th. This heartwarming tale is the story of a woman Clio (played by Grammy-winner Ashanti), who befriends an older man, Fred (played by veteran actor Stan Shaw) who was a promienent jazz singer back in the day. He's down on his luck now, but together he finds a new zest and meaning of life as they form a special bond over music. It's a meaningful story about life and reconnecting, wonderfully acted by a cast of known actors and upcoming talent. Another special aspect of this story is that there are many females behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Ashanti stars in and Executive Produced this film.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Interview with the Versatile Actor Tim Rozon: A Man in the Middle of Many Fandoms - From Wynonna Earp to Schitt's Creek to Hallmark's Christmas Town & More

Tim Rozon
By Suzanne Ordas Curry

Tim Rozon is the actor you've been seeing all over. Due to his rugged yet classicly handsome good looks, his command of the craft, his work ethic and his ability to become his character so effortlessly, he's found himself in the thick of several totally unrelated HUGE fan universes. 

As Doc Holliday on the internationally-successful Wynonna Earp on SyFy, he's a hit of the Earpers fandom. As the wayward son of Roland Schitt (say that name a few times!) on the clever comedy Schitt's Creek (which is being discovered every day on Netflix), he's well known for those fans who appreciate quirky comedy (think legendedary sitcoms like Seinfeld and Curb which this show will end up as). And just recently, he has embarked on a universe of fans that may or may not have any crossover to his other fan bases, the ever-expanding universe of the world of Halllmarkies. He's shot his first film for the network as the leading man for one of the queens of Hallmark, Candance Cameron Bure. What a way to get started on this platform! His film Christmas Town, premiered this month on Lifetime to rave reviews. 

Indeed, for this Canadian actor who is working at his passion regularly, he is living the dream, and he's often known for saying that. One of his biggest dreams came true recently. A comic book fan since he was a kid, he recently co-authoured with Beau Smith a series of Wynona Earp graphic novels. (You can find them on Amazon and wherever comic books are sold.) Yes, not only does he look good but he writes well too. Sitting on panels at Comic Cons, I think Tim often has to pinch himself to make sure this is indeed his reality.


Tim Rozon as the notorious Doc Holliday on #Wynonna Earp                Photo courtesy #Wynonna Earp

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Hop on Board for the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Bus Tour - See the Sights, Feel the Nostalgia

                                                                                                                                                                 
By Suzanne Ordas Curry

The only thing better than a New York City bus tour about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel would be if she herself were the guide. Can you imagine?

"I wonder how much of a cut Susie is getting."

"I know that's her plunger stand on the route."

From the company that brought you the Sex in the City, Seinfeld and Sopranos tours - On Location Tours -  here comes the most marvelous NYC tour of them all, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Bus Tour.

Staring December 16th, with a cost of $52 for advance tickets the two and a half hour tour will cover many of the locations featured in the AmazonPrime series, well at least what or where they are now. Oh, the places you'll see!  Think B Altman, The Gaslight, The Village Vanguard, the park where she protested and more.  You'll get to stop in and order at drink at the bar where Mr. Maisel drank and order food at the infamous diner frequented often by the character. If you thought the reuben looked good on tv, wait till you taste it for real.

Oh, and patrons are welcome to come in their best 50's outfits. Hats a must.

For more information: https://onlocationtours.com/

You May Like - Read about the Maisel NYC Exhibit: