• linkedin

Archives for : September2014

Quick Reviews: “Tracks” & “Good People”


Rated: PG-13

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, Lily Pearl

Directed By: John Curran

Written By: Marion Nelson (Screenplay), Robyn Davidson (Novel)

Rating: 3.5/5

I guess by now, we can expect that at least one film a year will be about someone’s struggling, isolated travels.  Though, unlike Life of Pi and All Is Lost, Robyn Davidson’s (Wasikowska) rough journey was by choice. Tracks follows the true story of Davidson as she treks 1,700 miles across the Australian desert with four camels and her faithful dog.  Since National Geographic ends up sponsoring her trip, Robyn agrees to the monthly drop-in of the magazine’s pestering photographer Rick Solman (Adam Driver), who must take pictures of her progress.

Unfortunately, this film does lack a certain amount of excitement that we would expect from most dangerous adventures.  Nevertheless, Tracks portrays an authentic voyage that is heightened by its stunning cinematography and the brilliant performances led by Wasikowska and Driver.


Good People

Rated: R

Starring: James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson

Directed By: Henrik Ruben Genz

Written By: Kelly Masterson (Screenplay), Marcus Sakey (Novel)

Rating: 3/5

What good has ever come to people who find large sums of money in the movies?  None you say?  Well you’re right!  And that redundant premise that we have so often seen follows just as predictably in Henrik Ruben Genz’s thriller, Good People.

Tom and Anna Reed (Franco and Hudson), a young American couple, fall into serious debt while renovating Anna’s home in London.  As they begin to accept their losses of having a dream home and finally starting a family, they discover the dead body of their tenant who lives below them and the bag of cash worth $400,000 that he stashed away.  Since no one comes forward to claim the cash, Tom and Anna agree to only spend money that they need.  Unaware that this loot was stolen from a deadly enemy, they are now the crook’s latest target.

Good People is as formulaic as they come.  There are no twist or turns.  However, the story manages to stay engaging the whole way through and ends with a climactic, suspenseful conclusion.  Even though this movie probably won’t even get a bleep on the cinematic radar, Good People does pass for a solid rental.

Good People and Tracks are currently playing in select theaters on September 26.

The 9th Annual Dallas International Film Festival Announces 2015 Dates

Now Accepting Submissions for the 11 Day Festival

DALLAS (September 23, 2014) – The Dallas Film Society has announced that the 9th annual Dallas International Film Festival will take place April 9-19, 2015. The film society is now accepting submissions. The early deadline is Friday, October 17, 2014, the regular deadline is Friday, December 5, 2014 and the late deadline is Friday, December 12, 2014.

The Dallas International Film Festival is one of the fastest growing festivals in the world and has brought over 190,000 film lovers together to view over 1,520 films from more than 50 countries. Named one of MovieMaker magazine’s “25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee,” the festival has consistently featured the finest cinema has to offer, including 84 world premieres and 27 U.S. premieres.

This past April, the festival successfully completed a marathon of more than 165 screenings with attendance surpassing 33,000. The 2015 festival will once again span 11 days and feature International Premiere screenings with red carpet entrances at theaters throughout the city, award presentations, filmmaker panels and other special events.

“We are proud to be known as the filmmaker’s festival and consider it an honor to host such incredible and diverse talent from around the world,” said Sarah Harris, Dallas International Film Festival Senior Programmer. “We look forward to sharing our love of film with the community and introducing Dallasites to some of finest work filmmaking has to offer.”

The festival welcomes submissions for all categories. Grand Jury Prizes will be presented for Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Short Film, Animated Short Film, Student Short Film and Texas Film Competition presented by Panavision. Audience Awards will be given for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Short Film. Additional programming categories include World Cinema, Latino Cinema Showcase, International Spotlight: Germany, Deep Ellum Sounds (music documentaries), Family Films and Midnight Specials.

Over the past eight years, the Dallas International Film Festival has presented filmmakers with over $690,000 in awards. This year, the winner of the Texas Film Competition presented by Panavision will receive a camera rental package valued at $30,000. Also, the Embrey Family Foundation will present The Silver Heart Award and a $10,000 cash prize to one inspirational filmmaker or film to honor their dedication for fighting injustices and/or creating social change for the improvement of humanity. Additionally, each recipient of a 2015 Dallas International Film Festival award will receive MOVIE MAGIC Budgeting and Scheduling software bundles from Entertainment Partners, which allows filmmakers to create and view production scheduling.

For more information and a link to submit films via, visit Questions can be emailed to

Movie Review: “The Skeleton Twins” Provides Enough Meat on the Bones of this Indie Gem

Girl Most Likely was a disappointing, failed attempt at the indie genre for Kristen Wiig.  So much so, that my standards were kept low when walking into The Skeleton Twins.  But, once again, Wiig’s unsurprising chemistry with another SNL alum creates an on-screen bond that immediately pulls you into their story.

The Skeleton Twins (directed by Craig Johnson, and written by Johnson and Mark Heyman) solely focuses on its two title characters.  Bill Hader channels his inner “Stefon” as Milo, the snarky, gay, depressed out-of-work LA actor.  He opens the film with an attempted suicide that reunites him and his twin sister Maggie (Wiig), who he hasn’t seen in 10 years.  Like her brother, Maggie is also unhappy, but hides her depression behind her marriage to a happy-go-lucky, Luke Wilson, to whom she has had trouble staying faithful.  Maggie insists Milo stay with them until she knows he is okay.  Milo agrees to come back to New York to live with Maggie for a little while.  At this point, the two of them attempt to revisit their past, try to make adjustments to their disturbed selves, and finally realize how important it is for their well-being to have each other in their lives.

What really makes the thematic material in The Skeleton Twins so grasping is that it has such an understanding on a siblings’ connection.  Throughout the film it’s referenced that the two had a rough upbringing, which has forced them to rely on one another since childhood.  Even though Maggie and Milo are miserable with their lives, their presence together is a silver lining.  The two not only share a bond, but also understand each other completely.  They make jokes, get high, and even have one of the best scenes this year, a sing-a-long to Starship’s “Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now.”

The Skeleton Twins’ grim tone throughout the film is balanced with its uplifting message of how sometimes the person in your life who completes you can make you realize why life is worth living.  There is also enough comic relief through Wiig and Hader’s hilarious, witty banter for you to continuously have a laugh.  Watching these two on-screen together is a rare treat no one should miss.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Skeleton Twins opens in select theaters September 19.

Historic ‘Vikings’ and ‘Pompeii,’ Exhibitions from the British Museum Come to U.S. Movie Theaters

Fathom Events and More2Screen Team Again to Offer Audiences an Exclusive, Private View of Highly Acclaimed British Museum Exhibitions 

Greenwood Village, Colo. – Sept. 03, 2014 – Fathom Events and the U.K.’s More2Screen are partnering to present two extraordinary cinematic experiences from the British Museum in London that shine a bright light on two cultures – Viking and Roman – that have had a profound impact on western civilization. Anyone with a passion for history, culture or forces in the modern world will be fascinated by the Museum’s Vikingsfrom the British Museum” on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 at 7 p.m. local time, and Pompeii from the British Museum” on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 at 7 p.m. local time. Both events, which will be shown two weeks apart and for only one night each,  provide an inside look into  the two most acclaimed exhibitions of the British Museum’s 2013 and 2014 seasons.

“Vikings from the British Museum” – the Museum’s first major exhibition on the Vikings in more than 30 years – will focus on the core period of the Viking Age: the late 8th to the early 11th century. The “Pompeii from the British Museum” exhibition was the first ever held on the important cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum at the British Museum, and the first in London for almost 40 years.

Tickets for “Vikings from the British Museum” and “Pompeii from the British Museum” are available at participating theater box offices and online at Both events will be presented in more than 470 select movie theaters around the country through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. For a complete list of theater locations and prices, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

Patricia Wheatley, Head of Broadcasting at the British Museum and Executive Producer of Vikings from the British Museum, said, “We are delighted that American audiences will be able to have their own private view of two of our biggest and most popular recent exhibitions, in the company of leading experts who really know their subject.  The Vikings influenced so much of our modern world and the extraordinary objects from the buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum tell a haunting human story.”

“The British Museum offers an array of exquisite collections from around the world,” Fathom Events’ senior vice president Dan Diamond said. “As part of Fathom’s continued commitment to bring the finest in alternative programming to movie theaters, local communities will have the chance to experience these breathtaking exhibitions of world history and culture like never before.”

“Vikings from the British Museum” – Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 at 7 p.m. local time

This exhibition offers cinema audiences an exclusive private view of the BP-sponsored exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend. Introduced by historians and broadcasters Michael Wood and Bettany Hughes, and featuring Exhibition Curator Gareth Williams and British Museum Director Neil MacGregor, this showcase  will take the viewer through the exhibition, getting up close to objects and exploring the global contacts of the Vikings –  ships and swords, burials and beliefs, language and legacy. The broadcast also explores how we are still connected to the Vikings, through our languages, our poetry, our personal and place names – even our DNA. With practical demonstrations and stunning close-up photography of Viking objects in the exhibition, this program is a reminder of how the Vikings have shaped our modern lives across four continents, yes, including North America.

“Pompeii from the British Museum” – Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 at 7 p.m. local time

This encore presentation of an event first shown in 2013, will offer an exclusive private view of the British Museum’s blockbuster show Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum. This special encore features an edited tour appropriate for all ages so that younger audiences can attend and enjoy this unique experience. The exhibition focuses on the homes and lives of the inhabitants of the thriving industrial hub of Pompeii and the small seaside town of Herculaneum nearly 2,000 years ago when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. Introduced by British Museum Director Neil MacGregor, this fascinating show takes audiences around the exhibition with insights from renowned experts who bring these extraordinary objects to life. With accompanying music, poetry and eyewitness accounts, viewers go behind the scenes of the exhibition to explore the stories of these famous Roman cities

Movie Review: “The Guest”- An Inevitable Cult Classic

Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett have revitalized the horror genre with their exciting new thriller, The Guest.

Fans of Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) will be more than pleased with the surprising new side he shows in this sharp, jolting, retro thriller.  His insipidly charming good looks, accessorized with the all-American accent, are put to disturbing use.  Audiences won’t know whether to fear him or root for him.  His character, “David,” is almost like a suave Jekyll and Hyde.  Even if you’ve never seen Downton Abbey, gentlemen and especially the ladies will be in agreement that Dan Stevens has never been better.

The Peterson family is suffering a great loss.  The death of their son, Caleb, has set a somber tone in their household.  When David (Stevens) shows up on their door steps, claiming to be a close friend of Caleb’s from the army.  It’s almost as if they have received a gift from God.  Parents, Laura (Sheila Kelley) and Spencer (Leland Orser) view David as the perfect guest.  He is kind and helpful around the house.  Even their youngest son, Luke (Brendan Meyer), is impressed by the polished soldier when he puts his military fighting to use against some violent high school bullies.

It seems that only Anna (the outstanding Maika Monroe), the Peterson’s brooding, teen daughter, senses something is off with her family’s new found house guest.  Though David’s arrival has broken the cloud of mourning that had descended in their podunk, New Mexico home, a string of mysterious deaths occur during his stay.  A suspicious Anna starts to wonder if David could be responsible.

Last year, Wingard brought us the ingenious You’re Next, which like The Guest, is a horror that calmly lets things escalate to a state of restless violence.  Wingard and Barrett have admirably paid homage to the old-school slashers with their John Carpenter-influenced 1980’s styling.  From their music, to their by the numbers outline that follows the rules of the usual scary movies.  Plus, they have added a few secret ingredients that spice up the predicable horror flick recipe.

The Guest may be welcoming audiences to a familiar plot, but there is enough gusto in this story that makes for a surprisingly, hell of a good time!

Rating: 4/5

The Guest hits theaters September 17.

“The Guest” Official Trailer HD

Interview: Erin Richards Talks “Gotham”

Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones) stars in the highly anticipated new drama, Gotham. Set to make its debut on FOX this fall, Richards plays Barbara Kean, who is engaged to a current Comissioner James Gordon.  I sat down with Richards to discuss her role, what scene comes to mind when she thinks of Batman, how she lightens her dark days, and much more!

Side note: After watching the Gotham pilot at Comic Con this year, I can guarantee this is the MUST-SEE new series of the year!


Gotham airs September 22 on FOX.

“Gotham” Official Extended Trailer

Interviews: Dolphin Tale 2 & The One I Love

I got a chance to sit down with  the stars of  “Dolphin Tale 2,” , Nathan Gamble  & Cozi Zuehlsdorff.  We discussed their first impressions of each other, which other true story they would like to see have a sequel, and what helps them get out of a funk.  “Dolphin Tale 2” hits theaters today!

“Dolphin Tale 2” Interview with Nathan Gamble & Cozi Zuehlsdorff

dolphin tale 2



In this interview with actor Mark Duplass and director Charlie McDowell, we talk about their latest film, “The One I Love.”  The two discuss relationships, what they find attractive in a woman, happiest moments, and even played with barbies (sort of). “The One I Love” is still playing in select theaters!

“The One I Love” Interview with Mark Duplass & Charlie McDowell

mark duplass

Smellvana Presents Nirvana Sock Puppet Parody!

From the bottom of your angsty teenage hamper comes the grungiest parody of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ Sock Puppet Parody nails the feel, spirit and the odor of the band with their new satire, ‘Smellvana.’ It includes hand-tailored instruments painstakingly faithful to their original counterparts down to the lefty flipped guitar for Kurt.

sock puppet
Sock Puppet Parody pays tribute to iconic bands and glorifies their undergarments with a quality, musical prowess and production value on a level above most music videos. These aren’t your grandpa’s sock puppet shows!
With a stellar YouTube line-up including the upcoming bands: The Sox Pistols, Stayner and Fabrix, you’ll want to take a whiff for yourself.

Special Events: Dallas Film Society Honors Toni Collette


 The Art of Film set for Friday, November 21, 2014 with Event and Honorary Chairs Established

DALLAS, TX, September 5, 2014 — The Dallas Film Society is thrilled to honor Emmy® and Golden Globe® award-winning actress Toni Collette at The Art of Film in its 5th year on Friday, November 21, 2014. Geared toward celebrating talent within the film community, the premiere Dallas fundraiser has honored some of the biggest names in film including Robert Duvall, Lee Daniels, John Lithgow and Val Kilmer. Proceeds from the evening are directed to the year-round programming of the Dallas Film Society, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, and more specifically the 2015 Dallas International Film Festival, presented by AutoNation and the 2015 DFS Summer Film Camp, presented by SMU – Division of Film & Media Arts.

The Art of Film offers an opportunity for 300 film lovers to gather for an elegant dinner and to enjoy a moderated conversation with and honor the very talented Toni Collette who has a vast array of credits from film, television and Broadway. Collette made an indelible impression on Hollywood with her beautiful portrayal as the hopeless and desperate ‘Muriel Heslop’ in P.J. Hogan’s 1994 film, MURIEL’S WEDDING and has since starred in a variety of intriguingly diverse roles throughout the last two decades. Ms. Collette’s credits include THE WAY, WAY BACK, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, DINNER WITH FRIENDS, THE MAGIC PUDDING, HOTEL SPLENDIDE, THE JAMES GANG, THE CLOCKWATCHERS, THE PALLBEARER, LILIAN’S STORY, ABOUT A BOY, THE HOURS, and THE SIXTH SENSE.

Born and raised in Australia, Collette was a student at Australia’s prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). In addition to her undeniable talent on-screen, Collette has had the opportunity to demonstrate her talents on Broadway’s stage. In 2000, she starred in the highly anticipated revival of THE WILD PARTY alongside Mandy Patinkin and Eartha Kitt. In the role of ‘Queenie,’ Collette displayed her extraordinary range as both actress and singer. Additional stage credits include performances for the Velvoir Street Theater and the Sydney Theater Company.

Elvis Mitchell, former NY Times and Fort Worth Star-Telegram Film Critic and newly appointed Artistic Director of the L.A. Film Festival, will serve as guest moderator for the evening that will certainly be filled with wonderful dialogue between Mitchell and Ms. Collette. James Faust, Artistic Director of the Dallas Film Society, exclaims, “Toni Collette has built one of the most versatile acting careers in all of Hollywood. Instantly recognizable and always stellar, Ms. Collette will do the Dallas Film Society a great honor when she accepts the Dallas Star Award.”

The Art of Film, set to take place at Dallas’ remarkable Perot Museum of Nature & Science, is supported by Pam and Mark Denesuk, on board as Event Chairs and Barbara and Steve Durham as Honorary Chairs. “The Dallas Film Society is an instrumental part of the thriving arts scene in Dallas and film festivals have been a passion project of ours for many years,” states Mark Denesuk, Founder and Managing Principal of Commerce House and The Art of Film 2014 Event Chair along with his wife Pam. “We’re eager to play a part in the signature benefit event for the Dallas Film Society that allows filmmakers to be recognized for their great works and empowers the next generation of filmmakers through camps, high school programs, and the Dallas International Film Festival.”

“I look forward to The Art of Film each year and 2014 is going to be stellar with the assistance in planning and leadership from the Denesuk’s and Durham’s,” said Dallas Film Society CEO and President Lee Papert. “These couples not only possess the skills to ensure another great year for The Art of Film, but their commitment to community involvement and philanthropy speaks volumes as dedicated corporate citizens.”

Individual tickets from $500 are available for purchase, and underwriting opportunities are available from $5,000-$40,000. The Art of Film begins with red carpet arrivals and reception at 6:30PM, the conversation at 7:30PM and the seated dinner at 8:30PM. Additional information regarding The Art of Film can be found on the Dallas Film Society’s website, Contact Jennifer Dworkin at or call 214.720.0555 for more information.

Concert Review: ‘Jason Mraz’ Mesmerizes At The Winspear Opera House

Jason Mraz continues to let his voice do all the work.  Not relying on flashy lights, crazy props, or even choreography to distract from his hauntingly gifted vocals.

Have you had a bad day?  Or maybe you just think life sucks in general?  If that’s the case, it might be time to alter your negative perspective and start looking on the bright side of things.  Jason Mraz performed his latest uplifting album, YES!, in a packed opera house filled with audiences who were entranced by every word spoken and every lyric sung.  Mraz is probably one of the most genuinely grateful and happy artist out there, and he makes sure to spread that positive aura.

This is my third Jason Mraz concert. And I will tell you that, besides the incredible music, the best thing about his live performances is his banter in-between songs.  He is quick-witted, funny, and a smart story teller.  He understands how to be philosophical without being preachy.

Mraz introduced his opening band, thanked his audience for their support and choosing to spend a night with him instead of in their beds.

Mraz’s opening act/partners, Raining Jane, were the perfect addition to his special, stripped down, instrumental show.  After Raining Jane sang three of their own songs, Mraz joined them on stage for a magical collaboration.  These girls were no background singers.  In fact, they stood by Mraz’s side during the entire show.  Raining Jane gave Mraz the unique flair he was hoping for in order to keep each concert tour fresh.  The band only heightened the Grammy winner’s voice, by actually letting us clearly hear all his beautiful lyrics.

Though the show primarily featured songs from YES!, including the hit single, “Love Someone,” Mraz also played many old favorites, including “Remedy” and “I’m Yours.”

I love going to concerts, and seeing a singer that can get me dancing up out of my seat is of course great.  But, watching an artist truly hold an audience for nearly 2 ½ hours solely on their voice is the reason I love listening to live music.  Jason Mraz never disappoints, and this latest performance at Dallas’ Winspear Opera House is hands down Mraz’s best concert tour yet.