Monday, June 29, 2020

New Streaming Platform Herflix Offers Free Movies: This Changes Everything, Nora Ephron, The Girls in the Band and More

Looking for something new and different? The new online movie theater for women, Herflix, is announcing a  line-up of movies just in time for the summer which can be streamed for free. Herflix is all about content for and about women. The movies that are available to stream for free are This Changes Everything, The Girls in the Band, Chavela, Sand Dollars, Nora Ephron (documentary) and Gemma Bovary.

These movies are sponsored by Martha Stewart Perfectly Roasted Coffee by Barrie House. They can be viewed for free at anytime at using the links listed below. No membership is required. Just sign in for free to access the site.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

A New NO! An OLD Way to Watch Movies is Back, and There's Nothing Like a Drive-In.

A Case of  Blue Film premiered at a  Drive-in Film Festival
Photo courtesy Dana Glazer
By Ashton Samson

Against the backdrop of the current state of the world, how can we retain our connection with one another, all while keeping our safety? That’s the question that everyone is pondering and I have the answer: Drive-ins. You might have heard this phrase from one of your grandparents as they reminisced about a Friday night hangout from the days of yesteryear. Come on this journey to learn about the time of its apex at a much more simplistic moment in history, its decline at the commencement of a much more technologically complex era and intertwined with it all through the ages, the power of cinema. It will help you to understand why we could really have the potential to return to the good old days of our parents and grandparent’s youth, so I entreat you to dream with me of the past, present and future.

Movie Review of The Help: It will Make You Laugh and Make you Cry, But Above All it is Movie To Help you Understand

By Julia Colucci

Since the recent protests around the world, Netflix and other streaming services have been showcasing more films on systematic racism to help people better understand the issues. The movie The Help is a 2011 film directed by Tate Taylor and based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett. It’s rated #7 in Netflix movies today, because not only is the cast phenomenal, but the story is an honest representation of the tragic racial injustices that were so prevalent in the past and still linger today.

The movie is about an aspiring writer named Skeeter, played by Emma Stone, living in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. It was a time when being a black woman meant that your only future was being a maid to white families and raising their babies. Growing up, Skeeter was very close with her maid, Constantine, who was a much more loving and present figure to her than her own mother. This is one of the reasons she is so dismayed by the way the black community is treated by her friends, neighbors and white people across the country.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Females in Entertainment: Interview with Writer/Actor/Coach Shevaun Cavanaugh Kastl - All about Her Film The Mourning Hour Now on The Reel Women's Network, Her Past Films and Her Quarantine Projects

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

Shevaun Cavanaugh Kastl has always been keeping herself busy in the film world as an actor, director, filmmaker, writer, dancer and teacher. And during the pandemic, she's used the time to create even more.

I got a chance to talk to her about her short film, The Mourning Hour, which she stars in alongside Brandon Barash (General Hospital, Days of our Lives), that is now streaming on the new The Reel Woman's Network.

 The Mourning Hour is about a 1950's suburban housewife whose husband was killed in a train accident. The film is unique is that it tells the story in an unusual way, seeing the women "travel" through two periods of time, her present life as well as when she was an aspiring cellist at 19.

Shevaun is also busy with her acting school, which she says has been quite a challege during the pandemic (she is in hard-hit NJ) and looking towards the future of coaching as well as making more films. Read on to find out what inspires this young woman to keep working in a very hard business.

What inspired you to make The Mourning Hour?

Shevaun C. Kastl: Wow! BIG question. So many things! I had just finished my first short as a Writer/Producer/Actor and was on this crazy high after the Premiere. I couldn’t wait to write something else. I was like a cinematic junkie. And I love a good challenge, so I wanted to write a period piece. And right away I thought of adapting a short story I had read in High School called “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. I always loved the author (who also wrote The Awakening) and this particular story of love and loss and reawakening really resonated with me, even at an early age.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Brad Forenza's "Squeaky" to Stream Live July 5th at 2020 Hollywood Fringe Festival: A New Take on Manson Cult Leader Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme Delivered in a New Kind of Theater Environment

(Staff) The Fourth of July is a celebration of our Independence and the radical proclivities of our founding fathers. However, in Brad Forenza’s Squeaky, the day after Independence Day may paint a less liberated picture.

This Fifth of July, Forenza’s Squeaky (an examination of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme) will receive her own show, as presented by the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Squeaky will be accessible to all through the rapidly expanding “streamed theater” experience. It stars Sara Eklund, Rosie Gunther, Brooke Hoover, and Roberta Lipp, as different dimensions of the titular character, as she opines about the current state of affairs and the unavailable men in her life (Tom Pryor and Forenza also appear).

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Review of Netflix Series Hollywood: Hooray for this Series About Glitz, Glamour and Getting a Seat at the Table

By  Beth Abramson Brier

Hooray for Hollywood! I’m talking, of course, about the seven episode series Hollywood  by Ryan Murphy released by Netflix in May.

Set in post WWII Tinsel town, it is coincidentally (no, strike that) - it is eerily part of our current national conversation. And it is a “must see” for so many reasons. Trust me when I tell you this because in the last three months I’ve had the attention span of a carrot. Just when I thought I just didn’t have it in me to watch anything along comes Hollywood. Finally- a reason to bunker* down and binge watch through the night.

Hollywood had me at “hello” - in this case the dramatic introduction which I never once opted to skip when given the choice. Ambitious hopefuls ascend the landmark Hollywood sign: would-be stars and starlets, aspiring writers, budding directors - all willing to climb a little bit higher, leap without a net, take a chance.

It’s the golden age of studios and film. Big production numbers featuring staircases, swimming pools, and a hundred extras. Glamorous leading ladies (I’m talking opera gloves, evening gowns, feather boas). Swoon-worthy male stars in hats and suits instead of hoodies and shorts. It’s Hollywood at its best. Only better. It’s Hollywood reimagined.

View: My Must-See Summer Movie List has just Two Movies on it - Something's Gotta Give and Weekend at Bernie's...And Maybe Just One More

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

My summer viewing list is short. Yes, I'll watch several movies a week on the streaming platforms, but just as I have my Must-See list for the holidays, even though I've seen most of the holiday movies 20 times or more, I've also got my summer playlist. And I'll watch them every year.

For me, there's just two movies on that list. Something's Gotta Give and Weekend at Bernie's.

Total opposites, right? But, both make me smile. Isn't this exactly what we need now, and pretty much all the time?

I love Something's Gotta Give, because I want to step into that beachouse and be living that life. Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, Diane Keaton plays Erica Barry, a NYC playwright juggling work, her daughter, an ex-husband and two "suitors".

I don't think I am alone that most women watching that movie want to be Diane Keaton. She lives in the most stunning beach house in the Hamptons, she treks into New York City for fancy-schmancy events, she spends her days writing, and she has two guys swooning after her. Okay, so one of them is Harry Sanborn, (played by Jack Nicholson) who is a self-absorbed, womanizing, aging music producer that has a heart attack. But the other one is the handsome doctor Julian Mercer played by Keannu Reeves.  He pursues her, calls her, brings her flowers and whisks her away to Paris. Aaaahhh......

Thursday, June 11, 2020

What We're Viewing: Review of Mindy Kaling's Never Have I Ever - A New Twist on a Common Teen Plight But Shhhh.. Moms Like it Too

By Julia Colucci

The Netflix Original show Never Have I Ever is a hilarious comedy that highlights the life of a teenage girl struggling to survive high school and the many obstacles that come her way.

Honestly, I was a bit hesitant going into this show. From the Netflix description, it seemed a little cliché. When I read that it was about a high school girl trying to “spruce up her social status,” it sounded like dozens of other teenage dramas with mediocre writing. Just based off the name, Never Have I Ever, I figured it was for a younger age range, since it’s a game my friends and I played in junior high.

This is why I was shocked when my parents said we should make it our new “family show.” We’ve had this tradition in my house during quarantine where we all watch an episode of a television show together after dinner. Before the pandemic, most of the shows we watched as a family have been on the darker side—Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Walking Dead, How to Get Away with Murder, etc. 

NJ's Lighthouse Int'l Film Fest Goes Drive-In & Virtual: NJ Producer Scott Rosenfelt to be Honored for Home Alone, Teen Wolf, and his New film A Case of Blue, 80 Films Screened

Tucked away on a 18 miles stretch of white sandy beaches and shore houses along the Jersey shore is a film festival getting bigger each year.  The Lighthouse International Film Film is now in it's 12th year. Yes, the islanders and vacationers surely know about it but it's getting better and more reknown each year attracting people from all over the NY/NJ/Philadelphis area and more.

Courageously the show will go on this year despite the pandemic in a drive-in and virtual format from June 16th-20th. Luckily the island presents beautiful spaces where cars can socially distance themselves and movie buffs will get to see some great films on a big screen under the stars (which you can actually see on this pristine island).

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

What We're Viewing: The Killing of A Sacred Deer with Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell - An Unsettling, Fascinating Horror/Thriller Not for the Faint of Heart

By Alicia Wilcox

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a horror/thriller based on the ancient Greek tragedy “Iphigenia at Aulis” written by Euripides. Filled with symbols and metaphors worth analyzing, this movie is uniquely disturbing. Due to strange character details and dramatic orchestrated music throughout, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is sure to keep you in a state of suspense. The title itself comes from an ancient Greek myth where someone in a group was responsible for accidentally killing a sacred deer, and a sacrifice was required to reconcile the situation. The plot is based off of this required sacrifice. 

This movie follows Dr. Stephen Murphy, a cardiac heart surgeon (played by Colin Farrrell) who secretly befriends Martin. Martin is a teenage boy whose father was killed by Stephen during heart surgery, a surgery that he performed while drunk. When Stephen introduces the boy to his family, they all begin to fall ill under mysterious circumstances. This is because Martin forcibly makes Stephen choose one of his family members to kill to equalize the fact that he killed Martin’s father. If he fails to choose one family member, they will all die under the control of Martin’s plan. Quickly, they all begin to show symptoms of unidentifiable illness, such as bleeding out of the eyes and paralyzation.