Friday, December 27, 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:

You May Like - Read about the Maisel NYC Exhibit: 

Movie Review: Martin Scorsese's The Irishman is Brilliant, Reflective and full of Good Old-Fashioned Mob Fun

by Ashton Samson

Once upon a time there was an old man, on the verge of death, lacking in remorse for his past deeds, but sorrowful for his failures and the loss of his family. What started out as running miniscule criminal errands in an attempt to gain money for his family soon transformed into a lifestyle of crime, leading to rivalries and the destruction of many men, including the character himself. Now in a nursing home, the errors of his ways are clear to him, but it's all too late. He might as well confess anyway and that's mostly what the “Irishman,” Frank Sheeran does while telling the audience his life story. Brilliant director, Martin Scorsese looks back on a behemoth career, finally writing an unofficial ending of sorts for similarly related characters he's written about since his debut, Mean Streets (1973). Welcome to The Irishman, one of 2019’s best films that is equal parts reflective, solemn and good old-fashioned mob fun.

When Scorsese commenced his career, he probably wasn’t thinking that he would still be telling stories about mobsters forty-six years later. Sure enough, that's exactly what he ended up doing. Now remember, the characters in this film are not the same exact characters as those in Scorsese's previous films (these characters are real people), but they are certainly related. So you might be asking yourself, how is The Irishman any different from Goodfellas, Casino, Mean Streets or The Departed?

Are You Tired of Christmas Movies Yet? Here's a Guide on What Is Yet to Come in 2019

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

Well, I thought I was tired of them.

I started watching them pretty much right when they started, way back before Halloween. That's a steady diet of holiday movies - dating back to when there is pretty much no holiday spirit in the air yet - for well over 6 weeks already.  For my tastes that means countless Crowns for Christmas, innumerable Hallmark and Lifetime weekend premieres, several versions of Home Alone, always Love Actually and probably two dozen other movies that right now seem to blend in to one another. I am holding off on Elf and It's a Wonderful Life. Those I watch Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My husband watches A Christmas Story.

But I had to take a break last week. I was actually a little bored with them. Yes, as much as I love them some of the plots are pretty much the same, just different people in different locations. I turned on the news.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache, A Documentary About One of the First Female Filmmakers Screened at Teaneck Film Festival: Jodie Foster Speaks About How a Century Later Equality Behind the Camera is Not Fast Enough

Jodie Foster Executive Producer
Be Natural -
 The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache
Academy-award winning actress, director and producer Jodie Foster stopped by Teaneck, NJ for a screening of her documentary, Be Natural, The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache. Foster is the executive producer and narrator of this documentary about Alice, whom some people are familiar with as being the first true female motion picture director but whom many know little or nothing about.

And that was the purpose of this film. The film was made by documentary filmmaker Pamela B. Greene, who painstakingly detailed and traced the life and times of Alice Guy-Blache using any avenues she could including personal as well as technological means. With a Jersey connection, Ms. Green followed Alice's' beginnings in France as a secretary at film equipment company to her full career and family life in New Jersey. She still has some family remaining in NJ, and many of her relatives contributed their knowledge to this film.

The film accomplished it's objective - the viewer gets a complete and accurate picture of  her ambitions, her struggles and, her accomplishments in this period of time on this earth and also touches upon the relevant aspects of her personal life. It is a film for everyone, especially anyone interested in cinema to watch, as her life chronicles the birth of film as we know it. My guess is that Ms. Greene has documented facts and stories about this inspiring filmmaker and creator that had never been uncovered before.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Review of NJ Paper Mill's Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella: This Updated Version is Purely Magical and Simply Charming

By Beth Abramson Brier

Just Be Home By Midnight.

How do you describe a performance worthy of a prince? In a word: Charming!

Paper Mill Playhouse swaps its ruby slippers for glass slippers this holiday season. Following on the heels of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, the timeless fairy tale Cinderella takes the stage with all the romance and magic you could wish for. Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director of Paper Mill, directs this classic Rogers and Hammerstein musical with a few modern twists courtesy of Douglas Carter Beane.

As the curtain rises to a story book set of woods and cottages, the ensemble announces that the prince is “coming of age”. Billy Harrigan Tighe takes on the role of Price Topher, not only a slayer of dragons and giants but, we learn, a recent university graduate. The wide-eyed prince returns home to hear rumblings of unrest among his subjects. The royal court, led by the Prince’s advisor Sebastian, knows just how to deal with these peasants – create a distraction. Sound familiar? Christopher Sieber plays this role for laughs and often, for a point. The palace decrees that there will be a ball so that Prince Topher may find a wife.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Film Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is What We All Need Now: Tom Hanks Shines as the Affable Fred Rogers

By Beth Abramson Brier

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is out in theaters.

Henrietta Pussycat is my doppelganger! This may explain why I was among just seven other people at the 10 AM showing on opening day of  A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The other explanation is that I wanted to see right away if it lived up to the hype - and my hope. A simple answer for a complex film: Yes.*

Tom Hanks takes on the enormity of playing not only Mr. Rogers but also Fred Rogers. Although they are separate it is almost impossible not to conflate them. The New York Times praised Hanks’ performance in a three page spread in the Arts and Leisure section on Sunday, November 17. He is that good in this role. Matthew Rhys is Lloyd Vogel, a journalist charged with interviewing Fred Rogers for an article in Esquire about heroes. Together Hank and Rhys bring you into the co-existing worlds of both truth and make believe.

The film is gentle. Like Mr. Rogers himself it is unrushed – which is very different than slow. Something director Marielle Heller understood well. The pace is the very core of the enduring success of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Hanks artfully recreates Mr. Rogers’ cadence and deliberate movements. I watched him remove his blazer and street shoes and put on his signature zip cardigan and blue sneakers, marveling that he finished just as the opening song concluded.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Gina Avino's Artistic Design Stores Holds Holiday Open House to Benefit Ramapo Bergen Animal Shelter- Shop for a Cause, Free Medium and Tarot Card Readings

Start your holiday shopping early and benefit animals who need homes! Gina Avino's Artistic Design store in downtown Ramsey NJ will be running a Healthy Mind and Soul Event. Come by her store on November 21st to shop her line of Soulscents products for the body and mind, home decorative products and other items. Enjoy some free refreshments and perhaps try something new. There will be free tarot card readings, medium reading and crystal healings available. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the shelter. Donations of pet goods and food will also be accepted.The event runs from 6-9pm.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Event: Film Forum in New York City Presents a Retrospective of Actress, Filmmaker, Visionary Lee Grant with Special Appearances by Lee Grant

A celebration of the life of the iconic actress Lee Grant will be held from November 17, 2019 to February 12, 2020 at the Film Forum in New York City. There will be screenings of the movies she appeared in as well as made.

This legendary woman was not just an actress but also a groundbreaker. According to the press release, at 26, Grant won Cannes’ Best Actress award and was Oscar-nominated (for Detective Story); within the year, she was blacklisted for over a decade. Coming back strong, she won an Emmy for Peyton Place, then appeared in a series of modern movie classics, winning an Oscar for her brilliant comic performance in Shampoo. But a whole new career beckoned as the director of acclaimed documentaries (including a Best Documentary Oscar for Down and Out in America), both warm portraits of friends and cutting-edge films on women’s gender issues.

She made her film debut in William Wyler's Detective Story, starring with Kirk Douglas. Lee Grant is also known as being the first woman to win a DGA Award. Her stellar career spans decades, and she is still active, having a small role in a new film called Killian and the Comeback Kids, to be released in 2020.

In the Heat of the Night

Friday, November 15, 2019

Review of Bong Joon-Ho's Parasite: Unique, Relevant and Powerful, Perhaps the Best Movie of the Year

Review by Ashton Samson

 In 2019, the latest trend in Hollywood seems to be finding original opportunities to communicate creative and insightful storylines. It's almost as if our newest generation of directors, each of whom have proven that they are perfectly capable of filling the shoes of previous directors, united in a secret meeting and decided it was time to tell stories from a different perspective.

     Directors such as Robert Eggers, Taika Waititi, Todd Phillips and Vince Gilligan are all tired of seeing the same superheroes lunge across the screen, or the same jump-scare movie garbage. They want to produce something that will make a difference within the fabric of Hollywood and they all did just that with their new films in 2019. Bong Joon-Ho, the director of Parasite, not only continued the streak with his work, he also delivered the very best film of the year.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

New Filmmaker Series: Sing to Me by Scranton Films to Premiere in November - An Emotional Story of a Young Friendship

The premiere of a new short film, Sing to Me, produced by Scranton Films will take place at the Ritz Theater and Performing Arts enter in downtown Scranton, PA on November 16th at 6pm. Tickets are still available but seating is limited. This is a great movie for a family, it's a touching movie about the power and love of a friendship between two young girls having to deal with a loss at a young age. 

The film was made by Scranton Films, a company that uses local resources and talent to produce entertainment. I spoke to Luz Cabrales, producer and director of this emotional and pretty film.

What is this film about?

Luz Cabrales:  Sing to Me is about two friends who use the power of friendship to help cope with grief and loss. 

This film is a wonderful story written by Julian Santos, a long time friend and creative collaborator and it is directed, filmed and edited by Luz Cabrales.  We wanted to tell a story that focused on the experience children have when they lose someone important in their life, it is about coming to terms on the reality of a bad situation and using friendship to help with the process of healing. 

ChristmasCon 2019 Day 3 Photos: The Busiest Day of the Convention Celebrating the Busiest Time of the Year - Hallmark Movie Stars Shine throughout the Day

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

Day 3 of #ChristmasCon 2019 was the busiest of all! It was a convention hall full of Hallmark Christmas movie fans, all bustling about browsing the vendors, eating the foods, getting selfies and chatting with the stars, listening to panel discussions by the stars and the writers and taking lots and lots of pictures in front of the many gorgeous Christmas backdrops provided by Hallmark. Hallmark was an official sponsor of this event created by Thats4Entertainment.

Panel discussions for the day were: Danica McKellar and Rachel Boston with Bubbly Shesh, Creating Chrismas with the writers Julie Sherman Wolfe, Alys Murray and Joany Kane with Joanna Wilson, Gingerbread Wars (a contest hosted by Jonathan Bennett- there were about a dozen stunning entries), Panel with Eric Krakow, Paul Greene and Jack Wagner, and another panel with Ryan Paevey and Andrew Walker. In all the panels, convention-goers got to hear some behind-the-scenes stories about how their favorite Hallmark movies were made and other fun facts. Audience members also got to ask questions, many were about locations. There was enough trivia to keep the fans going until ChristmasCon2020!

View Video of Day 3 Here:

One of the points I was told by the organizer was that the actors were all happy to be together in one place, that it was like a reunion for them since the movies are shot at different times.

Here's some exclusive pictures from Day 3 of ChristmasCon2019.

Nikki DeLoach and Lacey Chabert on stage with Jonathan Bennett and a Gingerbread Baker

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Christmas Con 2019 - Exclusive Photos of Hallmark Christmas Movie Actors including Lacey Chabert, Paul Greene, Holly Robinson Peete, Alicia Witt, Nikki Deloach and More

Alicis Witt appeared at ChristmasCon 2019
Edison NJ - The first ever ChristmasCon came to the convention center in Edison NJ on a chilly weekend in November, but inside it was warm with the Christmas - or shall I say Hallmark - spirit in everyone there. ChristmasCon2019 was created by Thats4Entertainment, a company created by 4 ladies who love Hallmark Movies and conventions. (Come back to this site for my interview with the organizer.) And what an event it was!

This sold out event was an early Christmas present for any fan of Hallmark, complete with a bevy of Hallmark's favorite actors and plenty of photo opps with them, vendors with cupcakes and fudge and other goodies that looked straight out of a Hallmark movie, Hallmark Christmas backdrops perfect for your personal Christmas cards, fake snow, Christmas songs in the air, old-fashioned carolers, panel discussions with the stars, and well, lots of ugly sweaters. Let me rephrase that, there were lots of people walking around in "beautifully-adorned" sweaters with bows, trees, lights, you name it some of which were so outrageous you just had to stop and stare. But isn't that what a "con" is about?

Check Back with BehindtheScenezz all week long as our elves
are busy with more articles and videos of Christmas Con 2019!

Like us on Facebook for Updates

All the actors felt the excitement, and spoke about the power of the movies during the panel discussions.  I got to speak with Nikki Deloache, who said how grateful she was for the fans and how she just could feel the love. Here's some exclusive pics from ChristmasCon 2019. While viewing, see if you can name the movies these stars are in!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Netflix Christmas Movies: What's New for 2019 and What Classics You Can Find - New Netflix Originals Include Holiday in the Wild and Let It Snow But no New Prince Movies

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

Tis the Season for holiday movies! Netflix, coming off the success of its movies from previous years including The Christmas Prince (which frankly checked the box for every cheesy and twinkling detail we crave in a holiday movie) is providing us with yet even more this year. The number one movie I plan on seeing is Holiday in the Wild. Right off the bat the title does not conjure up snow and mistletoe, but it's got Kristin Davis (Sex and the City and Deck the Halls) and Rob Lowe (who needs no intro with that chiseled mug) in it, so that's a definite yes for me. I don't even have to know what it's about or even if it's filmed where there is no snow (it is), I'll watch it just because they are in it.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Event: Morphmom Conference in NJ Features Women to Inspire you to a New Path - Tickets Still Available

Sally Jesse Raphael spoke at
the last Morphmom Conference
If you've never been to a Morphmom event, you're in for a treat. For women of all ages, these quarterly events feature accomplished women willing to share there know-how and story for other women who dare to dream. Whether you just want to hear some inspiring stories, want to connect with like-minded women, or are looking for ideas for a new career, this event will provide you with that opportunity.

Visit for info and tix.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

New Book Entitled American Boy: The Opioid Crisis and the Sister Left Behind Chronicles One Family's Fight Against the Opioid Crisis in America - Read what Mom Megan Megale Wants Every Mother to Know

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

Though in my time on this planet I have known many parents who lost children, losing one to addiction is one of the most difficult situations I have encountered. I try to choose my words and questions very carefully and often second-guess everything I say.

I had the pleasure and honor of being connected by a new friend to Megan Megale, whose son Matt died from a fentanyl/opioid overdose - in the bathroom of their home while she was in the next room watching TV. It was difficult to know what questions to ask this grieving and courageous mom, but i hope I have touched upon the main points so that anyone reading this can get a glimpse of the magnitude of her and her family's grief as well as the magnitude of the opioid crisis in this country.

The family has chronicled their events and emotions in a book written by Matt;s sister Shear, for all the world to see. Fortunately or coincidentally, Shea, who is wheelchair bound due a disease, was already a prolific writer who enjoyed putting her thoughts into words on a page.

The goals of the book are twofold. The family is bearing their souls for others to see what they went through, but they also want change to come from it. They want to change the way rehab in this country works and take the stigma away from addiction. They know they cannot change it all but hope that what they are doing makes some small change or makes someone, on any level, think differently. And, in speaking to Megan, I can safely say that one message they want out there is that this can happen to anyone - to any American boy.

BTS: Tell me what this book is about.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

New Filmmaker Series: Rutgers Grad Ian Lettire Talks about Making his first Feature Called Anywhere Is Here and Gives Advice for Young Film Students

In this interview I talk to Ian Lettire of NJ, a Rutgers grad who straight out of Mason Gross School of the Arts hit the festival circuit with his first feature, Anywhere is Here and already has it streaming on Amazon. As making a feature film is a daunting task, read how he had the help of his family and community to create this movie, and learn some words of wisdom for other film students.

BehindtheScenezz: What is this film about and where did you get the idea for it?

Ian Lettire: Anywhere Is Here is about Sarah Dawson, a teenaged girl, who endures life at the hands of an abusive father and a neglectful mother. Seeing no other option, Sarah devises a plan to steal her father's money and run away with her best friend Ben. Unfortunately, things go terribly awry, and Sarah is unwittingly thrown into a nefarious world of white - collar crime. Sarah stands at a crossroads where she must decide to flee or take over her father’s business. If Sarah is to navigate the tangled web of corruption her father has spun she will need to dig deep and find the inner strength she never knew existed.

Discount Tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

This annual show in New York City starts soon. Here is a way to get discount tickets. If you miss this offer, check the Radio City Box office, all the resellers and NYC theater sites for discounted seats.

Christmas Spectacular
Christmas Spectacular
Christmas Spectacular

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Women in Film: Cady McClain's Seeing is Believing: Women Direct to Screen at DTLA Film Fest Followed by Panels Featuring Females Talking The Biz

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

Producer/Director Cady McClain will be screening her documentary film, Seeing is Believing: Women Direct, at the DTLA Film Festival in Los Angeles on October 26, 2019. Following the screening, Cady, a 2-time Emmy award winner who spent years in front of the camera on As The World Turns, All My Children and Young and The Restless along with many TV roles but is now an active advocate for females behind the camera, will participate in two panel discussions. One panel will be on the constantly changing landscape of indie film distribution and the other about diversity.

Seeing is Believing features candid and intriguing interview with female directors talking about their experiences, goals and the environments they have encountered. Cady states that the "film emphasizes the opportunity for women to use their voice through media to change the social and political landscape and achieve full equality." The importance of a film like this in today's environment, with a continued lack of females providing direction and voices in the film industry cannot be understated. 

Some of the directors interviewed in the film include Lesli Linka Glatter (EP/Director Homeland), Sarah Gavron (Director: Suffragette, Brick Lane), Li Lu (There is a New World Somewhere) and Naima Ramos-Chapman (Director HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness) as well as Marianna Palka (3 time Sundance Alum), Lee Grant (first woman to win a DGA Award), Lizzie Borden (Born in Flames), Kimberly McCullough (One Day at a Time), Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry), Deborah Kampmeier (Queen Sugar, Sundance Jury Prize nominee), and more. Special guest Deborah Riley Draper (Olympic Pride, American Prejudice and director of Coffee Will Make You Black starring Octavia Spencer) will be attending the Q&A.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Move over ComicCon There's Something Bigger - Hallmark Christmas Stars Come to NJ at the First Ever Christmas Con!!

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

If you're a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies (and you live in the NY metro area), you're getting an early Christmas present this year (aside from the 40 new movies they are showing this season)! Fans of those wonderfully perfect Hallmark holiday movies that start oh so early this year will be able to meet their favorite stars - we all know who they are - in Edison, NJ on November 8-10th at the NJ Convention Center.

It's a Christmas expo filled with all the trimmings of holiday fun. Aside from the exhibitors, the main attraction will be performances and photo opps with the Hallmark stars. Actors attending as listed right now are: Lacey Chabert, Jonathan Bennett, Cameron Matheson, Jackee Harry, Alicia Witt, Nikki DeLoach, Erin Krakow, Paul Green, Ashley Williams, Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Paevy, Chad Michael Murray, Melissa Claire Egan, Jack Wagner, Melissa Joan Hart, Andrew Walker, Rachel Boston, Danica McKeller, Whoa... what a lineup!!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Writer/Director Joshua Coates Talks about His New Indie Film Hollywould- A Thriller Which Stars Eric Roberts, Pete Postiglione, Torrei Hart and Caitlyn Fletcher

By Diane Somerset

Independent film is alive and well. It seems every week there's a new film festival popping up, and at these festivals one can find a plethora of new movies, in every genre available. I had the pleasure of meeting writer/director Joshua Coates at the Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival in picturesque Ridgewood NJ at the premiere of his latest film, Hollywould. Flanking the Red Carpet with him were not just the actors, including Eric Roberts, Torrei Hart, Pete Postiglione and Caithlyn Fletcher, but also most of the crew and his family. Everyone was there to support this filmmaker who has a knack for making films that keep you at the edge of your seat.

BTS: So tell me Joshua, how did this film get started?

Joshua Coates: The Story of Hollywould was inspired from the ideas and writings of Mitchell Bass who pitched the idea to me. I thought the concept was amazing and soon after that Mitchell and I met for weeks developing the outline for the story. It took me about 2 weeks to write the screenplay, Mitchell was blown away with the first draft and soon after that he secured funding from the Executive Producers Steven and Marcia Bass to green-light the Production.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Review: Paper Mill Playhouse's Chasing Rainbows- The Road to Oz is a Journey You'll Want to Experience

Review by Beth Abramson Brier

There’s No Place Like – Hollywoodland

“You always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” Glinda the Good Witch’s words ring true in the Judy Garland story Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, now playing at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ. The Tony Award winning regional theater springs to life in its 81st season with this high energy, youthful production about the early years of “the little girl with a big voice”.

New Jersey native Ruby Rakos brings down the house as Judy Garland, proving that if you show up in a shmata you better have show-stopping talent. Rakos belts out à la Garland while bringing a quiet authenticity to the role. Born with the unfortunate name Frances Ethel Gumm and equally unglamorous looks, the future Dorothy’s painful and humiliating beginnings on her earnest journey from Hollywoodland to Oz are revealed by Rakos.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Interview: NJ Resident and YES Network Baseball Analyst Talks his Book with David Cone Called Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

For New York baseball fans, or really any baseball fan, the book to read this season is The New York Times Bestseller entitled Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher. 

Written by  David Cone with YES Network Analyst Jack Curry, this book is filled with anecdotes, inside stories and lessons for any aspiring pitcher. David Cone has lead an extraordinary life in the world of baseball and it is captured vividly by Jack Curry, who has been writing about baseball for the past 25 years.

Full Count  covers Cone's journey from the minors to the majors and beyond. In this memoir Cone talks about the intricacies of pitching - every pitch - and about his perfect game 1999.

I had the opportunity to ask Jack Curry a few questions (full disclosure, he's my brother in-law) to get a read on what writing this book was like. I rather already knew how much work it was just by all the times we heard over the past two years his wife Pamela saying  "He's busy writing in his office" or "He's meeting with David today."

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Movie Review: Stephen King's IT Chapter II - Thrilling, Fun and Grotesque, but does it Remain True to its Roots?

Review by Ashton Samson

It is an immensely difficult task to do justice to a horror movie, chiefly because the genre is in a constant need of resurgence. Over time, fans get tired of seeing the same type of villains or monsters slash their way across the screen, until there is only one person left standing. We want to see something new, because we know just how successful and spectacular horror can be whenever the formula is reinvented. Just think about every significant movie in the genre. Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho and many other game-changing horror films were made at times where the genre was in a need of change. These films proved themselves worthy of being the best horror pictures of their time, and also paved the way for future horror. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tainted Dreams, the Emmy-Nominated Soap within a Soap Comes to Popstar! TV with Bonus Episode: See Iconic Daytime, Reality and Theater Stars in the Dramedy

Soaps live on! Tainted Dreams, the 7-time Emmy-nominated digital series based on the behind-the-scenes antics of a fictional hit soap opera, will now be available to stream for free on Popstar! TV beginning 9-23-19. #Tainted Dreams is a steamy dramedy following the cast and crew behind the scenes of a hit TV soap opera called Painted Dreams. Set in New York City, the show is filled with lots of twists and turns, current issues and of course all the type of drama that soaps are known for, but with a bit of an edge. The cast is comprised of well-known actors from daytime TV, some Hallmark movies and a  few well-known reality and off-Broadways stars. 

Tainted Dreams can also be viewed on Amazon Prime where is has been since 2016. It originally started as a web series.  It was created by Sonia Blangiardo, who is part of the Emmy-winning director team at Days of Our Lives. Viewers will find a bonus  episode on Popstar! TV, one that gives some background on how all the characters came to be a part of  Painted Dreams. 
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