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.


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

View: Hallmark-Gate

“Hallmark-Gate!”
By Beth Abramson Brier, Writer of "My Thoughts.. Exactly"
As if the backdrop of impeachment were not enough to “make the Yuletide gay*”,  this holiday season has given us the “Hallmark Channel debacle“.  For the last ten years Hallmark Channel offered us a reprieve from shopping, wrapping, baking, and stressing with its 24 hour sucrose diet of happy-ever-after-Christmas movies.  But this year I turned it off.  Earlier this month Hallmark pulled four ads that featured two brides kissing each other.  It had caved to pressure exerted by an organization that calls itself “One Million Moms”, part of the uber-conservative American Family Association.  

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: 

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.