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Movie Review: “Don’t Worry Darling”

This week I review one of the most talked about movies of the year. Drama has surrounded “Don’t Worry Darling” on and off the screen, but is there more to this movie than all the gossip? I share my thoughts on the thrilling new drama in the video below!

“Don’t Worry Darling” is currently playing in theaters.

Rating: B-

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“Bros” Interview w/ Billy Eichner and Luke MacFarlane

I got the chance to sit down with the stars of the new, groundbreaking romantic comedy, “Bros.” Billy Eichner and Luke MacFarlane discuss a time they tried to impress a significant other and what the representation in this film means to them. They also answer some rapid fire questions related to the movie in this hilarious and fun interview!

“Bros” opens in theaters on September 30, 2022.

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Movie Review: “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.”

This week I review Focus Feature’s newest comedy, “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul”. The film stars Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall. It’s a thought-provoking dark comedy that stays with you long after it’s over.

The film opens in theaters and available on Peacock September 2, 2022.

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“Adopting Audrey” Interview w/ Jena Malone

Based on a true story, “Adopting Audrey” is about a young woman puts herself up for adoption and forms a bond with the misanthropic patriarch of her adoptive family. I got a chance to speak with the star and executive producer of the film, Jena Malone. We discussed the film, the importance of how you act around your child, what YouTube videos comfort her, and much more.

“Adopting Audrey” opens in theaters and is available OnDemand August 26, 2022.

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Movie Review: “Spin Me Round” is Wonderfully Weird

If there’s any takeaway from Jeff Baena’s new comedy, “Spin Me Round”, it’s that Allison Brie and Aubrey Plaza need to be in more films together. But they aren’t the only shining stars in this movie.

Alison Brie plays Amber, a manager of an Italian chain restaurant (similar to Olive Garden) that gets selected to go on an all-expense paid trip to the company’s training program in Italy. Amber is not only thrilled at the chance to further her career, but she’s excited at the opportunity to fall in love. Once she arrives at the “institute”, she soon gets wrapped up in a different kind of “romance”.

Amber is not alone in this experience. The other managers in the program are Deb (Molly Shannon), Jen (Ayden Mayeri), Susie (Debby Ryan), Dana (Zach Woods), and Fran (Tim Heidecker), who are a little quirky. But they are the least of Amber’s worries. The group is not staying at a villa, but a rundown hotel. Their guide Craig (Ben Sinclair) is a mono-toned weirdo. And they can’t leave the compound. But, when Amber meets the restaurant’s handsome founder, Nick Martucci (Alessandro Nivola), his assistant, Kat (Aubrey Plaza) sneaks Amber away so that her and Nick can “get to know each other”. This eventually leads to one crazy adventure.

I’m not sure how many people will enjoy this film. There will be a lot of confusion, and some will wonder if there was a purpose for the movie. Well, the purpose is fun. Not every film is going to have a deep underlining meaning. “Spin Me Round” does touch on inappropriate power dynamics and manipulation tactics used in seduction, but that’s hardly the point. Director and co-writer, Jeff Baena (alongside co-writer Alison Brie), succeeds in making a hilarious, oddball comedy that is elevated by his excellent cast.

No surprise, Brie and Plaza are fantastic. They have great chemistry and engaging banter. While they may be the backbone of this wacky story, the ENTIRE comedic cast serve up plenty of laughs. Shannon might one of the best characters with her hot & cold, “mentally off” behavior. Mayeri plays a delightfully ditzy, overly positive manager. And Woods is the most endearing of the bunch, as he plays the awkward, number one fan of the chain.

The only negative is a certain character being removed from the film far too early and in a manner that felt unintentional, but the rest of the strong supporting cast makes up for this random disappearance.

If you allow yourself to be immersed in this weirdly entertaining story, then you’re in for a really great time. Believe it or not, I didn’t want it end. All these characters were so intriguing, I was craving an extended trip.

Rating: B

“Spin Me Round opens in theaters and available to rent August 19, 2022.

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“Day Shift” Interview w/ Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, & J.J. Perry

I got the chance to speak with the director and stars of the Netflix action/comedy, “Day Shift”. Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, and J.J. Perry discuss the film, which ring tone they would choose for each other, who they fanned out over and more!

Be sure to watch the hilarious interview, and the movie when it releases on Netflix August 12, 2022.

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“Vengeance” Interview w/ B.J. Novak

B.J. Novak’s directorial debut, “Vengeance”, is a thought-provoking, hilarious, dark comedy. The talented filmmaker also, wrote and starred in the film. I got a chance to speak with him about the film, the best way to connect with people, what he loved about Texas, and much more!

Check out the interview and the movie when it opens in theaters on July 29, 2022.

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Movie Review: “Nope” & “Where the Crawdads Sing”

This week I review Jordan Peele’s latest sci-fi horror, “Nope” and the film adaption of the Delia Owens’ best-selling novel, “Where the Crawdads Sing”.

“Nope” and “Where the Crawdads Sing” are currently playing in theaters.

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EarthX Film Festival Announcement

EARTHX FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES ITS 2022 PROGRAM LINEUP FEATURING OVER 75 FILMS

— BEN MASTERS’ FILM DEEP IN THE HEART NARRATED BY AWARD WINNER MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY WORLD PREMIERING ON OPENING NIGHT AT THE FEST —

Also Screening are Festival Favorites FIRE OF LOVE, WE FEED PEOPLE, and THE TERRITORY Along with Stories Unique to Texas

Curiosity Joins Festival as Presenting Sponsor

Dallas, TX (April 8, 2022) –  EarthX Film Festival 2022 presented by Curiosity unveiled its programming lineup today with over 75 feature-length and short films screening during its four-day run May 12-15. This year’s theme, “A Celebration of the Outdoors,” continues the Film Festival’s mission to highlight films and emerging media that celebrate nature and outdoor adventure stories exploring the environment, conservation, climate change, and science while honoring the heroes working to protect our planet. This year for the first time, the EarthX Film Festival will be held in the Dallas Arts District, providing easy walking for attendees to the five theater venues tapping into the vibrant downtown community and making it an exciting cultural touchstone for the city. Each night of the Film Festival will feature a musical act performing before a showcase screening.

Curiosity, a leading factual entertainment media company, has joined the festival as the Presenting Sponsor. Curiosity’s flagship streaming service, Curiosity Stream, delivers thousands of films, series, and shows on space, history, nature, tech, lifestyle and more, all on demand, available to watch on all the major streaming devices. They will also be presenting a screening of the Curiosity original film GOING CIRCULAR, exploring circularity, an innovative concept that could save our collective future on planet Earth.

“We’re thrilled to present films this year that showcase our amazing planet and the people dedicated to making a difference. It’s always been our vision to create a world-class event that celebrates the spirit of Texas and welcomes global citizens to experience the rich arts culture in Dallas,” said Michael Fletcher, CEO of EarthX. “We’re pleased to welcome Curiosity as our Presenting Sponsor. They share our vision in the power of storytelling to change the world, and we’re grateful for their continued support.”

Curiosity is thrilled to partner with EarthX to bring this incredible lineup of game-changing films to thousands of festival-goers both in person and virtually,” said Rob Burk, head of original content for Curiosity. “We know firsthand to resonate deeply with viewers, films must dive into our past and present and also explore solutions for the future, and we are proud to support the EarthX Film Festival mission to empower documentary fans to learn, enjoy, and take action.” 

For more information and tickets, go to: https://earthxfilmfestival.org/  or download the app available on iOS and Android.

OPENING SCREENING

This year’s Film Festival has something for everyone with 24 features and 54 shorts, music, art installations, panel discussions, and more. The festival’s opening night will be the world premiere of Ben Masters’ film DEEP IN THE HEART, narrated by Academy Award® Winner Matthew McConaughey. The first feature-length wildlife film ever produced about Texas, DEEP IN THE HEART, is a visually stunning celebration of what makes Texas unique — its diverse landscapes and remarkable wildlife behavior that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.  Filmed over two years, DEEP IN THE HEART showcases Texas’ breathtaking species and wild places, the connectivity of water and wildlife, and recognizes Texas’ conservation importance on a continental scale.

“Texas has one of the most diverse wildlife and ecosystems in the country. For Texans, this is a love letter to the diverse and vibrant state that we call home,” said Ben Masters, filmmaker. “We’re all interconnected, and it’s only by conserving what we have that we can ensure our future. I’m proud to bring DEEP IN THE HEART to the EarthX Film Festival.”

FESTIVAL FAVORITES COMING TO DALLAS

The Festival has programmed several festival darlings in the lineup, including Sara Dosa’s FIRE OF LOVE, WE FEED PEOPLE, directed by Ron Howard, THE TERRITORY (Sundance Audience Award winner), Lucy Walker’s BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE, and Rachel Lears’ TO THE END.

This year’s Festival features a wide range of filmmakers, including award winners Jeff Orlowsky (CHASING ICE), Raj Patel & Zak Piper (THE ANTS AND THE GRASSHOPPER), young superstar Lindsey Hagen (CALIFORNIA NATURAL)  and several newcomers, includingtwo, second grade brothers making their first film with their father called LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE. The films cover a variety of important topics, from the healing experience for veterans through nature (ERIC AND THE BEES, BASTARDS’ ROAD), to female big wave surfing (BIG VS SMALL), and tiger poaching (TIGRE GENTE). Also screening are popular outdoor culture films REEL ROCK: BLACK ICE, The North Face’s award-winning film LEARNING TO DROWN, SPIRIT OF THE PEAKS from REI and Protect Our Winters, and MOUNTAIN REVELATIONS from Protect Our Winters.

LOCAL SPOTLIGHT – UNIQUELY TEXAS STORIES

This year’s festival turns a spotlight on Texas with DEEP IN THE HEART that addresses Texas conservation issues, BATTLE FOR THE HEART OF TEXAS that addresses property rights in energy production, WHEN IT’S GOOD, IT’S GOOD, focusing on oil-drilling communities in West Texas, and REI’s SLIM PICKINS about diversity in outdoor culture.

SHORT FILMS

Many of the Festival’s shorts are associated with well known brands and film companies including Patagonia’s RAISED FROM THE EARTH about living off the land, and THE MONSTER IN OUR CLOSET which focuses on the plastic in our fashion. The Redford Center is presenting two short films on mass transit, COMMUNITY POWER ARIZONA: EN NUESTRXS MANOS (IN OUR HANDS) and COMMUNITY POWER NEVADA: UNIDXS EN ACCION (UNITED IN ACTION).

You can find the entire EarthX Film Festival 2022 line-up here:  

FEATURE-LENGTH FILMS

  • Bastards’ Road, Director Brian Morrison
  • Battle for the Heart of Texas, Director John Brown
  • Before They Fall, Director Cam MacArthur
  • Big vs Small, Director Minna Dufton
  • REEL ROCK: Black Ice, Director Peter Mortimer, Zachary Barr
  • Bring Your Own Brigade, Director Lucy Walker
  • Chasing Ice, Director Jeff Orlowski
  • Coextinction, Director Gloria Pancrazi, Elena Jean
  • Deep in the Heart, Director Ben Masters
  • Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, Director Bill Kroyer
  • Fire of Love, Director Sara Dosa
  • Godspeed, Los Polacos!, Director Adam Nawrot
  • Going Circular, Director Ricard Dale, Nigel Walk
  • Inhabitants, Director Costas Boutsikaris, Anna Palmer
  • Learning to Drown, Director Ben Knight
  • Mountain Revelations, Director Justin Fann
  • Newtok, Director Michael Kirby, Andrew Burton
  • Spirit of the Peaks, Director Connor Ryan, Tim Kressin
  • The Ants and the Grasshopper, Director Raj Patel, Zak Piper
  • The Territory, Director Alex Pritz
  • Tigre Gente, Director Elizabeth Unger
  • To the End, Director Rachel Lears
  • We Feed People, Director Ron Howard
  • Zero Gravity, Director Thomas Verrette

SHORT FILMS

  • 80° North, Director Brandon Holmes
  • All Bodies on Bikes, Director Zeppelin Zeerip
  • American Scar, Director Daniel Lombroso
  • An Eye for Detail, Director Matthew Harmer
  • Bad Boy of Bonsai, Director Juan A. Moreno
  • Breaking Trail, Director Jesse Roesler
  • California Natural, Director Lindsey Hagen
  • Camp Yoshi, Director Faith E. Briggs
  • Chasing the Sublime, Director Amanda Bluglass
  • Community Power Arizona: En Nuestrxs Manos (In Our Hands), Director Pita Juarez
  • Community Power Nevada: Unidxs En Acción (United In Action), Director Nico Cadena
  • Eric and the Bees, Director Erin Brethauer, Tim Hussin
  • Finding Gulo, Director Colin Arisman
  • From My Window, Director Frank Pickell
  • Humanity Has Not Yet Failed, Director Norma V. Toraya, Jared P. Scott
  • I am One of the People, Director Cameron Woodle
  • If I Tell Them, Director Oliver Sutro
  • Kāhuli, Director Chris Jones
  • Life in the Slow Lane, Director Sol de Glanville, Ben de Glanville
  • Like a River, Director Jim Aikman
  • Listen to the Beat of our Images, Director Audrey Jean-Baptiste, Maxime Jean-Baptiste
  • Loon, Director Jason Whalen, Chris Zuker
  • Mission Mountain, Director Kody Kohlman, Andrew Bydlon
  • Mother of the Sea, Director Nicholas Brown
  • Mylo, Director Chris Bukard
  • No Soy Oscar, Director Jon Ayon
  • Nuisance Bear, Director Jack Weisman, Gabriela Osio Vanden
  • One Star Reviews: National Parks, Director Alex Massey
  • Patagonia Provisions: The Ocean Solution Film, Director Darcy Hennessey Turenne
  • Raised from the Earth, Director Forest Woodard
  • Rebirth of a Reef, Director Shaun Wolfe
  • Return to Earth, Director Darcy Wittenburg, Darren McCoullough, Colin Jones
  • Rockies Repeat, Director Caroline Hedin
  • Slim Pickins, Director Justin Jeffers
  • The Captain, Director Gregory Kohs
  • The Diamond, Director Caitlyn Greene
  • The Endless Wave, Director Tom Attwater
  • The Interconnectedness of all Living Things, Director Jenn den Broeder
  • The Land of Griffons, Director Riccardo Soriano
  • The Last Last Hike, Director Celene Francois
  • The Monster in Our Closet, Director Kathryn Bays, Nicole Gormley
  • The Seeds We Keep, Director Gabriel E.W. Carter
  • The Seeker, Director Lance Edmands
  • The Wilderness Within, Director Jason van Bruggen
  • They Carry Us With Them: Gabriel Frey, Director Jeremy Seifert
  • Thomas Deininger. Trash Artist., Director Gnarly Bay
  • To Live Here (sống ở đây), Director Melanie Dang Ho
  • Wastewater: The Tale of Two Cities, Director Sarah Franke
  • We Decided to Become Farmers, Director Rob Herring, Ryan Wirick
  • What Remains, Director Paavo Hanninen
  • When It Comes from the Earth, Director Katalin Egely
  • When it’s Good it’s Good, Director Alejandra Vasquez

ABOUT EARTHX FILM FESTIVAL 2022

The 2022 EarthX Film Festival is four days of film, music and interactive environmental programs and events set in the heart of Dallas Arts District, May 12-15. Our mission is to bring awareness of the environmental crisis in order to create sincere action on both an individual and communal scale; to inspire local and global change on how we as humans affect our home planet and our fellow beings. We aim to include Texas, and the Southwest, in the conversation on climate change through compassionate, positive, truthful storytelling.For more information, visit https://earthxfilmfestival.org

“Father Stu” Interview with Mark Wahlberg

“Father Stu” follows the true story of Stuart Long, a boxer-turned-priest who inspired many people during his journey from self-destruction to redemption. Susan Stephens sat down with the star and producer of the film, Mark Wahlberg. He talks about the movie and shares a memory of his dad that he holds close to his heart.

“Father Stu” opens in theaters April 13, 2022.

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