Singer Amy Lee of Evanescence talks about her new single “Speak to Me”

Amy Lee is the co-founder/lead singer for the Grammy Award winning rock group Evanescence. Lee has also participated in numerous other musical projects and has performed as a solo artist. Amy’s latest release is for the film “Voice From the Stone” starring Emilia Clarke and Marton Csokas. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Amy recently about the film, her experience at Skywalker Ranch and what’s in-store for Evanescence this year.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your new single “Speak to Me”?

Amy Lee: This was quite different for me. Writing a song comes from a lot of different places. This one has a really cool and unique story. It was written for the film “Voice From the Stone” which I got to actually see before writing the song. I really loved the film as it made feel so many different things. Being a new mother I was really able to connect with the film main theme as it centers on the bond between mother and son. For me to watch that and relate it to the new huge inspiration in my life I instantly knew it was something I wanted to do. I spoke on the phone with the film’s director Eric Howell and Michael Wandmacher the films composer and we had a great talk about the directional idea and once we were off the phone I went straight to the piano and came up with the initial idea. That doesn’t always happen with me. Sometimes I can go months waiting for an idea to come that I feel is good enough to move forward with. Working on this track was a very inspiring experience.

AL: Were you basing your idea on a portion of the films score or
was it something completely separate from that?

Amy: When I saw the film the score was there but it wasn’t completely finished. They weren’t looking for me to do anything related to the score. They wanted me to write the one and only song in the film which has lyrics. It was helpful to see the visuals and hear some of what was going on as it helped me envision the finished product.

AL: Was this your first time writing for a film?

Amy: I have actually written quite a few things for movies however, most of the time it hasn’t made it through all of the different doors you have to go through to get to the final product. (Laughs) There have been several things that have made it though. In 2014 I did my first score which was a much bigger undertaking as opposed to doing just one song when I worked with David Eggar on the movie “War Story”. There’s another film titled “Blind” coming out later this year that I worked on the score for as well. My experience working on this latest film was very unique as I was able to travel to Italy and visit the filming locations and I was also invited out to Skywalker Ranch in California while they were mastering parts of the film. That was just a dream come true!

AL: Do you ever find differences between writing solo/Evanescence material and music for films?

Amy: Definitely. When I am writing for Evanescence or for my solo stuff and I am writing something that is supposed to represent me. I have these expectations I set for myself to ensure that whatever I do represents who I am. From the lyrics to the music I want it to showcase me. Luckily there are lots of sides of who we are so I get the chance to go down a lot of roads. When you are writing for something like a movie where you are trying to represent the emotions of a character you have to put yourself in that place and try to speak artistically from that view point. Even though it’s someone else’s emotions you are their voice and vehicle. This is different but it’s a nice change as you are allowed to make other choices

AL: What was it like being able to work at Skywalker Ranch?

Amy: After showing my idea to everyone a couple days after our initial talk and them really liking it I was invited to the Ranch to record. I had never been away from my son at the time as he was only thirteen months old. I had to really think about things as it was such a great opportunity but living in New York I would have to fly across the country to California and leave my baby for the first time ever. We hadn’t even had just a single overnight away from one another at this point. After deciding to do it things really couldn’t have been more perfect. Being away put me emotionally in the right place to write the song as I was dealing with separation which was something the song needed. It was just perfect. The ranch is such a great place for creation. There recording studio is the most immaculate place I have ever seen. I actually stayed there and when you are a guest you get stay in your own private cottage with a bike you can ride from place to place on. The one night I was there I had this idea in the middle of the night so I rode my bike down to the studio and just started working. It was the perfect free space to work. Any chance I get to work there again I will certainly take it.

AL: Can you give us an update on your solo work and what is going on with Evanescence?

Amy: About a month ago I released a new solo song called “What Exists”. Looking at my solo releases I feel like I have released more than I actually have. (Laughs) I certainly feel like I have done a lot. I have done a lot of covers. Doing covers is something you can put your own style to without the pressure of having to write a song. I did some of those covers for Disney a few years back. Evanescence has started touring again and we are gearing up to start next month. We will be in South America for a few weeks then we go to Europe. We are working on a bigger project right now which I can’t talk about just yet but we will be releasing something this year. I am very excited!

AL: Any other projects you would like to mention that you have been working on?

Amy: I worked on the score for an independent film titled “Blind”. The film stars Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore. I am not sure of the exact release date for it but I believe it should be coming out this summer, possibly fall. It was a different type of project for me. I didn’t do the soundtrack but as there was a need for music David Eggar would call me. It’s a very different film than “War Story”. For me it’s really fun to be able to work on different things as I get to learn about different genres of music or how to play a different way. There are different feelings which come along with all of that. It’s great to be able to find new collaborators and projects as you are giving yourself the space and a reason to try new things which I think can only be good for you.

Guitarist Alex Grossi talks Maps to the Hollywood Scars and their new EP “Vol. 1”

Alex Grossi is one of the busiest guitarists in today’s music scene. Some of his projects include the bands Beautiful Creatures, Hookers and Blow, Hotel Diablo and most notably Quiet Riot which he joined in 2003. Alex’s newest project Maps to the Hollywood Scars” recently released a new EP titled “Vol. 1” featuring former American Idol contest James Durbin. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Alex recently about the new project and the recent addition of James to the Quiet Riot lineup.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the new project Maps to the Hollywood Scars and, how you and James Durbin came together?

Alex Grossi: I had met James back in 2011 through a mutual business acquaintance when he was doing American Idol. We became friends during that time but lost touch for a few years. It wasn’t until James was doing a residency in Las Vegas recently that we reconnected and I started sending him demos. He was recording some great melodies and lyrics and the more we worked the better things kept getting. Eventually we have almost a dozen songs done. We decided to put out an EP to see how things would go and that led to us doing a second one and so on. Things happened very organically and we are very happy where things are at.

AL: What was the process like for working on the new EP titled “Vol.1”?

AG: I had been working on songs as they came to me for about a year prior. When I sent them to James he immediately got it and was inspired. There was really no set plan for anything but I had been demoing songs for about a year and finally found the right outlet for them. Having James come in has been great and also working with our producer AJ St James and Dizzy Reed who played piano and strings.

AL: How did Dizzy Reed become involved with the project?

AG: I have been playing in a cover band we do called Hookers and Blow for the past twelve or thirteen years. When we wrote the song “Death” I could just hear the string parts and piano parts. I sent him the song and asked him what he could add and what he sent back is what you hear on the record. He did a great job and nailed it.

AL: Are there any plans to tour behind this release?

AG: There have been some offers that have come in but with the both of us now being in Quiet Riot we have to work around that schedule and we would have to put a band together. Right now we are only going to do what makes sense for everyone as it’s hard to schedule something for spring and summer when we already have commitments with Quiet Riot. There has been talk of doing some late night television appearance but as far as a full blown tour we will probably only do a show here or there. It’s a side project and something that we want to keep special. We have plans but we just have to wait for the right time when everyone’s calendars line up.

AL: Can you give us an update on the recent Quiet Riot line-up change?

AG: We just announced James as our new singer and we are currently recording the new album with him titled “Road Rage”. We have bunch of new tour dates that just went up on the Quiet Riot website which will taking us all over the country and also to Canada. More shows keep getting added to it hard to keep up with them all. (Laughs) We are very grateful for the support which keeps us going.

AL: How instrumental were you in bringing James into the Quiet Riot fold?

AG: I was demoing the songs with James and during that time I was sending the tracks over to Frankie to check out. He has been very supportive of the project since I started it so when it came time make a singer change I offered to call James up and see if he would be interested. I called him up; he said he was interested and about two weeks later things were on their way. We did rehearsals and a photo shoot and that was it. It all happened very quickly. James is such a pro in that he came in prepared knowing all the songs and was ready to go. I am very blessed to play with such a great group of guys. We all get along great and I am really excited to get out there with this new lineup.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on?

AG: Back in 2002 I joined Beautiful Creatures replacing DJ Ashba. We recorded an album called “Deuce” which we just got the rights back to. We remixed and re-mastered that album along with adding a few new things. That is going to be released March 31st. We are calling it “Deuce Deluxe” it’s going to have a bunch of new stuff on it and it sounds really great. I also do a fun cover band with Dizzy Reed called Hookers and Blow which we will be doing some shows here and there. I also am working still with Steven Adler. Getting to see him play with Gn’R this summer was amazing.

For more info on all of Alex’s projects visit: www.alexgrossimusic.com

NYCC 2016: Adult Swim’s DREAM CORP LLC

Have you made your appointment with Dream Corp LLC yet? The mind-bending new series from creator Daniel Stessen is currently admitting new patients every Sunday night at 11:45pm on Adult Swim. Starring Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite), Stephen Merchant (“The Office”, “Hello Ladies”), Nick Rutherford (Balls Out, “Drunk History”) and a host of guest stars, the series follows a strip mall clinic that uses advanced technology to invade its patients dreams in order to solve their real life problems. At New York Comic Con this year, the Adult Swim panel was treated to the first two episodes of Dream Corp which blend live action sci-fi and trippy rotoscope animation.

Accompanying the new series to NYCC was creator Stessen with stars Gries, Rutherford and Merchant (who also serves as an executive producer on the show). I sat down with them to talk about this new addition to the Adult Swim lineup.

How did you develop Dream Corp?

Daniel Stessen: I had the concept, been developing it for a while, and created this world and kind of came over to Steve for a little guidance as to how to make it more palatable to a larger audience. Being that he has some–

Stephen Merchant and Daniel Stessen

Stephen Merchant: I think he’s being immodest–or he’s being too modest, I should say, that’s not right. Too modest. I was there as just a friend of Danny’s…to do a voice for this robot [T.E.R.R.Y] that’s in the show and inevitably whenever there’s anything creative going on, I like to start meddling, and just offering thoughts. And we started talking more and more. And it was just for me, it was something I would have done as a friend anyway…but I just thought, you know, let’s try to screw these guys for some money. (Both laugh)

Stessen: And the robot, we love the robot, he was built by Jim Henson Studios…That was one of the more validating moments of my last ten years on Earth, just getting that call that they were on board to build Terry the robot.

Merchant: There’s a really strong visual sense to the whole thing, again largely down to Danny. He’s just got an incredible visual imagination. And so you see that both in the real world–where you see this kind of twisted, eccentric sort of laboratory– and then also when you enter that dream world. And that’s done with the rotoscope animation. When you go on the set, it’s you know, it’s bits of cardboard and people with fake cardboard wings and cardboard jaws and things. All of which is going to eventually going to be animated but which only [Danny] can really see. So a lot of people I think are just stood there and like ‘you want me to what? I’m drowning in spaghetti now?’ And he’s like ‘Trust me.’ So it’s sort of extraordinary, an extraordinary kind of vibe there. Wouldn’t you say people were confused [on set]?

Stessen: It’s just, when people would walk on when we were shooting the dream world stuff, people would walk into an empty room and I would just be like ‘this is going to feel super weird, just trust me, it going to look real cool.’

Can you speak about your characters?

Nick Rutherford and Jon Gries

Nick Rutherford: I play patient 88–
Jon Gries: Nick!
Rutherford: Yeah, Nick as well, who comes to the office to work on erectile dysfunction and pretty quickly realizes that the office itself is kind of dysfunctional.
Gries: What happens is that he has to work for us because he can’t pay for his procedure
Rutherford: Yeah I can’t pay for the procedure and you think that it’s a confidence issue and I don’t have a job so you say–
Gries: A job?
Rutherford: Why don’t you work here? And I’m like this is a terrible place, but I kind of go along with the flow.
Gries: So he’s really the eyes of the audience. Because obviously he’s come into this place that is so–well from some perspectives, would be ridiculous and crazy. It’s not from my perspective.
Rutherford: It’s your life’s work.
Gries: It’s my life’s work. Dr. Roberts has this vision that this is the most transforming and necessary procedure but he’s lost his funding. So now he’s working out of a strip mall because he believes and he knows that it’s working. He knows that he’s changing people’s lives. There’s a little problem here and there but–
(Both laugh)
Rutherford: There’s a lot of problems.
Gries: There’s a couple of bugs that get worked out of the system. But it could be because the system’s really old and we haven’t had the money to update it.
Rutherford: And I think Nick, Patient 88, comes into it and kind of sees a family forming. Because everybody trusts and loves each other. Like there’s, Stephanie Allen plays Joey, his protégé–
Gries: My intern for nine years. No pay!
Rutherford: (laughs) Yeah, Nine year intern. Who loves him and obviously thinks he’s the most brilliant guy ever and he just does not give her the time of day. And Mark Proksch plays kind of the navigator of sorts, I don’t know if you know his work–
Gries: He’s amazing. And he doesn’t ever leave the building. For fifteen years he doesn’t leave the building.
Rutherford: So he’s incredible. And then [Ahmed Bharoocha] plays kind of the nurse and he’s just this big stoner who doesn’t even really care. So Everybody relies on each other in a nice way. So the meat of the story is us working together and growing together and me being thrown into this world. And it being very dangerous, but also fun. And then bringing in these amazing guest stars and throwing them into that.
Gries: He gets attacked by June Squibb at one point. She stabs him.
Rutherford: Yeah she stabs me in the neck with a a screw driver. I’m kind of like the Kenny, I get hurt a lot. (both laugh)

Have you ever had a weird celebrity dream like with [episode one guest star] Dave Coulier?

Rutherford: Yeah that was really surreal.
Gries: I did, I had a weird celebrity dream. I was very nervous, I was about to do a movie years ago and I dreamt that I was in a barbershop. And I was sitting and the man sitting in the next chair was Fred Astaire.
Rutherford: Really?
Gries: True story. And he looks at me and he goes, “Are you worried about something?” And I said “I’m just a little uncomfortable” And he said “Have fun. Just have fun.” I swear to god! And that was like two days before I started shooting Fright Night Part 2.
Rutherford: Have fun out there.

What was it like working with the rotoscope animation?

Dream Corp LLC/Adult Swim

Rutherford: It’s really fun because everything is so grand. You know it’s like now you’re falling off of a hot air balloon, or now you’re running away from your bullies in high school. So you’re playing these large characters, so you just kind of jump into it. Like, I remember thinking when I was very young and being an actor, how it must be really hard to shoot like Jurassic Park when you’re in front of a green screen and then they’re like “and THAT’S a velociraptor” and you’re like “ahhh!” I didn’t feel that at all during the production that that those scenes were difficult thing to do. Because they’re just so silly and fun and you’re wearing kind of a half costume so they can animate it later. Like I’m dressed up like Legolas–
Gries: And literally it was sometimes it was pieces of cardboard, you have cardboard on you almost like a really bad–
Rutherford: Like a play
Gries: Like a kid’s play. But you know it’s all for reference and they’re gonna draw on top of it. And the thing is, knowing how beautiful the animation is also gives you the impetus that when you’re in it, you understand what it’s going to look like, so it helps, it augments. Whatever decision or choice you’re going to make, you can go further with it because you just have that confidence behind that animation. It’s almost like ‘pay no attention to me, it wont be the real me, it will be a better me.’

Stessen: The inspiration came from working with his name’s Michael Garza [of Artbelly Productions] out of Austin, Texas. He worked on A Scanner Darkly, and then a couple other guys on the crew are Scanner Darkly. And one of the woman who was an animator on Waking Life. Which I’m a huge fan of. I saw Waking Life a while back and watched it over and over and over again. Huge inspiration. And we made a short film together that did well in festivals and kind of, we started developing that style in trying to evolve it and I think we’re pushing it forward a little bit and figuring out that we can build things out of cardboard. And make a dragon face. Because all he has to do is draw what’s there. Not that’s all he has to do–his job is to draw what’s there. So we could draw you [all] here and now you’re on a volcano, you know what I mean? So it gives us a lot of flexibility and the fact that with where we are, with little funds, we could do a ton.

What can viewers expect for the rest of the series?

Gries: Surprise after surprise after surprise. I’m not kidding you, it’s different every time!
Rutherford: Yeah it really is. I mean there’s this kind of thread of these different guest stars coming in and getting their therapy as our relationship progresses and as the interrelationships between Joey and Ahmed and…Randy–Randy’s arm gets cut off (laughs)–
Gries: There are things that happen, there’s a continuity within the core group and yet at the same time it’s absolutely ridiculous what happens–but it still stays, it still answers that continuity. And yet the people that come, the patients that come, their stories individually are so different from week to week that it just gives us a whole other area to run through.
Rutherford: yeah There’s like a couples therapy–a gay couple comes in to get like couples therapy. June squibb comes in to quit smoking but then finds out that really just she just wants to have sex.
Gries: And have a baby–and she’s never had sex in her life.
Rutherford: So Roberts appeases that in the dream world–
Gries: You know he says, it’s been a while!

Dream Corp LLC is on tonight and every Sunday on Adult Swim at 11:45pm, with the premiere episode currently streaming at AdultSwim.com

For photos from Adult Swim and many more NYCC panels, make sure to check out our Facebook page!

 

“Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years” Lands at New York’s Paley Center

September 16- “Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years”,  which made its debut at this year’s San Diego Comic Con opens up to New York fans today at the Paley Center for Media in midtown. The exhibition, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek television series, features fifty pieces from ten nations as well as tie-in fan screenings and whimsical photo ops sure to please the Trekkies of Manhattan. Noteworthy amongst the art on display is a piece of the famous Vulcan salute by none other than the late Leonard Nimoy himself.

Work by Leonard Nimoy

To my eyes, Spock looks to be favored character by the show’s artists, including a digital illustration from Stanley Chow whom I spoke with at the exhibition preview:

Where are you from?
Stanley Chow: I’m from Manchester England.

What Inspired you to choose Spock?

SC: I think like when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s and then watching reruns of Star Trek, the first person I kind of looked up to was Spock. He seemed like the more intelligent one and slightly different. I guess with me it was–when I was growing up, I was the only Chinese boy in the village, you always kind of–I felt you needed someone different to look up to and aspire to, you know? And Spock was always the one, with his cool, calm, collected demeanor. And his pointy ears.

Artist Stanley Chow with his work

Do you have a favorite Spock moment?
SC: There’s not been a favorite moment, but I’ve always liked the kind of relationship he had with Uhura. You know? It was never kind of like a fully fledged relationship. It was always kind of like an underlying thing…Which was sort of my life with lots of girls when I was growing up.

Do you enjoy Zachary Quinto’s take on the character?
SC: Oh, I think he’s amazing! When he was picked, obviously he was off of “Heroes”…And then once he puts the ears on and he does his thing [in the] movies, he’s the only actor–it’s sounds kind of cliché to say he’s the only actor who could do Spock but he’s done it so well but that’s why it’s become a cliché isn’t it?

Head of CBS consumer products, Liz Kalodner was also on hand to celebrate the opening.

Do you have a Star Trek favorite character?
Liz Kalodner: Well Captain Kirk is the classic, c’mon! Although I have to say, Captain Janeway [From Star Trek: Voyager], also pretty good.

Do you enjoy the new film franchise?
LK: Oh, absolutely. i think JJ Abrams has done a wonderful job. It’s brought in a new, younger audience, and really has given the franchise great energy.
As you’re from consumer products, I noticed you’ve got a fictional cereal here in the exhibit, is that a favorite item?

LK: Yeah! So that’s by an artist named Juan Ortiz who loved Star Trek from when he was a kid and actually had that idea when he was a child. And he always wanted to do it. And I don’t know if you saw the back but there are cutouts, trading cards, because cereal boxes always had you know, the free in-pack or on-pack, so he created that.

Since Star Trek is coming back to TV are you getting ready with your department for that?
LK: We are getting ready! We’re working with showrunner but it’s all in the development stage. But it’s a wonderful time to be in the Star Trek business.

“Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years'” brief stop in NYC concludes on September 25th. Details on the Paley Center’s screenings to coincide with the exhibit can be found here.

The Paley Center for Media is located at 25 West 52nd Street.

Owain Yeoman on the New Season of “Turn: Washington’s Spies”

4/20/2016 The cast and creators of “Turn” at the New York Historical Society

Haven’t you heard? American history is so hot right now, you guys. Between Hamilton dominating Broadway and our electoral cycle being, for better or worse, completely unprecedented, now’s as good a time as any to look back to where it all began. “Turn: Washington’s Spies” returns Mondays on AMC for its third season so you may do exactly that. “Turn,” based on a book by Alexander Rose, follows the Culper Ring, an unlikely batch of spies from Long Island who helped George Washington turn the tide of the American Revolution. After two strong seasons—which, for you binge-watchers out there, are both currently streaming on Netflix!—the third looks to be the most exciting yet. There will be the addition of their own Hamilton and more importantly, the infamous defection of Benedict Arnold.

Owain Yeoman

Originally an American war hero for his decisive actions at the Battle of Saratoga, an injured Arnold was passed over for promotions he believed were his due and eventually his bitterness swayed him into the service of the British. On the show, Arnold is played with humanity by Welsh actor Owain Yeoman as part of a love triangle that involves romantic rival, and British spymaster, John Andre (JJ Feild) and beautiful loyalist Peggy Shippen (Ksenia Solo). Yeoman was part of a premiere screening panel last week at the New York Historical Society where I talked to him about today’s politics and the exciting times to come for his role on the show.

Lauren Damon: When you’re working on a show like this and at the same time watching this year’s election, does it have a greater impact on you?

Owain Yeoman: It’s very interesting I think, the parallels between—and I think it’s something that the show is consciously trying to market this year, is the, you know the parallels between the Red states and the Blue states and how things, depressingly, probably haven’t changed for a few hundred years. You know, we’ve still got the same old gripes and the same old battles. I think it’s very smart of AMC also to kind of market a you know, “WWGWD?”—What Would George Washington Do?—type campaign… And it’s true, he’s the father of our nation, of this nation, not necessarily my nation! [laughs] But you know the nation that I’ve come to call home. And I think it’s incredible how the show really does speak to the current political climate. And we couldn’t be more in the sort of fervor of it all with [the New York primary vote] going on here last night. So I think that’s our hope, that people really see that though hundreds of years have gone by, the themes and relationships and political climate is definitely still the same.

LD: This season is really your season, getting into Benedict’s treachery, is that exciting for you?

OY: Very exciting! Yeah, I mean like I’m finally becoming the traitor I always hoped I’d be! [laughs] It’s kind of a dubious prospect. He’s one of the those characters who when you tell people who you’re playing, they’re like ‘Oh you’re playing That Guy, I’m sorry’ but it’s a great challenge. I love discovering a more human side to him because I think you know he’s known very one-sidedly as America’s biggest traitor and there’s so much more to him. He was a great hero, the hero of Saratoga, and he was a real person. And I think if you approach something in that black and white area and don’t have the gray area that is real life, it doesn’t do someone justice. So that’s what we’re concerned about, showing the journey that gets him to be that guy.

LD: Yes in grade school history he was definitely The Bad Guy.

Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold on “Turn: Washington’s Spies”

OY: Yeah, it’s like ‘Ooooh it’s Benedict Arnold!’ Yeah and I think you know that it’s important to understand that he was one of America’s greatest generals before he became the famous traitor. And I think you only get a sense of the drama and the tragedy of that turn if you establish him as the general that he was before that fall. So you know hopefully people can get invested in that, and people can be you know, sort of see a different side to the character than maybe grade school taught us about, you know?

LD: As on the show, is there on-set any rivalry between you and JJ Feild?

OY: Oh always! [laughs] Yeah, I mean we’ve got a fierce love triangle that really comes to a head—no pun intended you know ’cause someone loses theirs at some point [laughs], history’s the ultimate spoiler for this show so I don’t feel bad about saying that. But yeah, it’s one of those things where you know, the stakes are high. In love, in the political climate, international climate. And this show—this season is the season [creator Craig Silverstein] said he always wanted to make. So all the big stuff’s happening this year, it is the Don’t-Miss Season.

Ian Kahn (“George Washington”) and Owain Yeoman (“Benedict Arnold”) at the New York Historical Society

This Don’t-miss season of Turn: Washington’s Spies starts Monday April 25th at 10pm on AMC.

Sitting down with “Everybody Wants Some!!” stars J. Quinton Johnson, Glen Powell and Wyatt Russell


Described by its writer/director, Richard Linklater, as a “spiritual sequel” to his popular 1970’s set film Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! follows the fun times being had by a small college baseball team in 1980. To promote the film, co-stars J. Quinton Johnson, Glen Powell and Wyatt Russell sat down with me at the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre in Kansas City. Johnson enters the room in full voice, performing a song he literally just wrote. Powell, the most outgoing of the group, sits between the other two, eager to chat. Russell, a former hockey player and the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (he has his dad’s eyes) busies himself with his phone. And so we begin:

Mike Smith: What was it like going back in time to 1980?

Glen Powell: It was a transitional time and everything. Clothing. Presidents. Everything was kind of shifting and changing. Our relationship with the world was changing and I think this movies about guys who were shifting from either college to the real world or high school to college. And that shift not only in their world but in the world at large is what the film is about.

Wyatt Russell: So it’s AWESOME! [everyone laughs]. I mean we talked about the clothes and the hair and the music. I think everything was much sexier then I just love that era.

GP: Nowadays we have social media…smart phones… so when you go to parties today everyone has their phone out to show how good time they’re having. But in that era it’s like having a good time with these people right here.

WR: I’m at the Bieber concert!

J. Quinton Johnson

J. QUINTON JOHNSON: I’M AT THE BIEBER CONCERT!!!

[Note: Justin Bieber was in Kansas City the same week as the guys]

GP: And when we’re having a good time, we’re also athletes on the dance floor. Rick [director Richard Linklater] told us that back then athletes were peacockers, in every sense of the word. When I was an athlete, we were almost wallflowers. You go to practice and then you go home and do your thing. I mean these guys are drinking beer. Today it’s much more competitive.

JQJ: You’re not going to be out at the club.

WR: I played hockey. When I played in Europe it wasn’t a problem going out for a few drinks. But when I played in the states it was pretty rigid. Back then it wasn’t for a career you were going to make a lot of money and become a brand and sell a lot of clothes.

GP: Rick also talked about the body type of an athlete back then. Today everyone takes supplements…they’re all almost like Adonis, they’re all shredded. Back then Rick said we would’ve been in what you would call pretty good shape. I mean you are athletes but you just don’t look like one. It’s a different body type now.

MS: Was it easy to film the baseball scenes? I mean you all had participated in athletics before, right? Wyatt, you played hockey…

JQJ: I played basketball.

Glen Powell

GP: I played football. On the set we would have baseball practice every morning. We had a couple guys who had played professional ball. One had played for the A’s, and a couple of played in college. So those guys helped out the guys who might not have had that much baseball experience. We also had to do a skills video as part of our audition. I think Quinton had the most entertaining non-baseball video.

JQJ: I mean I was an athlete. I could catch a ball. I could throw a ball. But I wasn’t a baseball player and Rick knew that instantly. So what I did is I added more flair as an artist. Again I played basketball so I threw a dunk in there. And I kept trying to throw in more as a person. I was juggling. I had a shot of a dog running through the park, set to the tune of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town.”

GP: I was filming Ride Along 2 so I went to a batting cage and filmed mine. And then I just laid a bunch of 80s music on top of it. Mine wasn’t nearly as fun as yours.

Wyatt Russell

WR: I had like five minutes to do mine because I had a go somewhere. The casting director called me on Friday and said you have to have it in… By 5 o’clock… On Friday. It was a big festival going on and all my friends were out of town. I didn’t even have a baseball glove. So I ended up going to my brother’s house and had him film me using my seven-year-old nephew’s glove.

MS: The film is full of great 80’s music. Did you listen to any particular songs to get into the feel of the era?

GP: Yes. Rick gave each of us and iPod nano with 100 songs from 1979 and 1980 on it. And so were ever we went… whatever we did… we listened to the music. And if we are in his game room playing ping-pong we listened to the music. It was a big part of getting us in tune with the times.

Everybody Wants Some!! is now playing in select cities. For tickets, visit everybodywantssomemovie.com

LG Eyes Mainstream Adoption of Wearables With First Device Powered by Android Wear

“Glance-able” Interface of LG G Watch to Appeal to both Consumers and Developers

SEOUL, June 26, 2014 – With an eye on transforming wearable devices into more than just a conversation piece, LG Electronics (LG) today introduced the highly anticipated LG G Watch (http://goo.gl/Ie8TB0), one of the first devices powered by Android Wear™, Google’s new operating system which extends the Android platform to wearables. As a wrist wearable device featuring a button-less design, the G Watch will appeal to a mass audience with its simple minimalist design, quick and “glance-able” access to useful information and seamless connectivity with other Android devices, keeping users connected wherever, whenever.

“As one of the first to market with Android Wear, LG wanted to develop a product that functions as an essential companion device but most importantly, was simple to use,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “We wanted a device that would be simple to learn and so intuitive that users wouldn’t even have to think about how to use its features. That’s what the LG G Watch is all about.”

“Watches powered by Android Wear aim to show you the right information and suggestions you need, right when you need them,” said Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps. “It’s been great to work with LG on the launch of the G Watch ? especially given its simple, easy-to-use design.”

At the core of the LG G Watch is a powerful and energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 400 processor clocking in at 1.2GHz. Paired with a low power consuming Always-On 1.65-inch IPS display with true-to-life color reproduction, the LG G Watch enhances the functionality of Android smartphones by providing quick access to useful information. The Always-On screen makes it easy to tell the time with a quick glance. Connected via Bluetooth, the LG G Watch displays messages, shows who’s calling, controls music playback and more without the smartphone ever having to be removed from a pocket or bag.

Integral to the LG G Watch and Android Wear is a simple new user experience designed around cards, which provides useful information when it’s needed, and voice recognition which allows one to ask questions and get things done easily. With voice recognition, LG was free to design the LG G Watch without any buttons or keys. Users can send text messages and search for useful information just by saying, “Ok Google”. LG and Google worked closely together from the outset to design a truly integrated experience.

The LG G Watch combines form and function in a subtle, minimalist design with an intuitive touch-based user interface. And with an Ingress Protection rating of IP67, the LG G Watch is designed to be protected from dust and water resistant for up to 30 minutes to a depth of one meter. The LG G Watch will be available in two colors ? Black Titan and White Gold ? and is constructed of PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coated stainless steel with a rugged silicone wristband in matching color. The LG G Watch can be personalized with any standard 22mm strap available in the market.

The LG G Watch will be available for pre-order on the Google Play Store starting June 25 in 12 countries including key markets such as the United States, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea and Japan. The LG G Watch will also be available soon after at retailers in 27 markets such as Australia, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Russia. Additional details will be announced locally at the time of availability.

Key Specifications:
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 400 processor
Display: 1.65-inch LCD IPS (280 x 280)
Memory: 4GB eMMC / 512MB RAM
Battery: 400mAh
Operating System: Android Wear
(compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 and above)
Size: 37.9 x 46.5 x 9.95mm
Weight: 63g
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
Sensors: 9-Axis (Gyro / Accelerometer / Compass)
Color: White Gold/ Black Titan
Others: Dust and Water Resistant (IP67)

Movie Mike to Host 35mm Screening of “Jaws”

Long time readers of MediaMikes.com know that the Mike’s love the movie “Jaws.” So when an opportunity came up in Kansas City to host a 35mm presentation of the Steven Spielberg classic, the people at the Alamo Drafthouse knew where to turn.

Mike Smith will host the special “late show” screening of “Jaws” on Saturday, July 5, at the Alamo Drafthouse Kansas City. The show will start at 10:30 p.m. Prior to the screening Smith will have on display some of his extensive collection of “Jaws” memorabilia. MovieMike and Loaf will also be interviewing fans of the film for an upcoming BEHIND THE MIKES Podcast, which is recorded live each week at the Alamo.

For tickets and more information, go to: http://drafthouse.com/movies/the_late_show_jaws/kansas_city

Mimoco® Announces Star Wars x MimoPowerBot™ Line of Universal Backup Battery Chargers for Smartphones and Tablet Devices

(New York – June 25, 2014) – At CE Week 2014 (Booth #169 in the iLounge), Mimoco, the Boston-based consumer electronics design studio, is proud to announce the Star Wars x MimoPowerBot™ line of backup batteries for smartphones, tablets, and other 5V USB-powered devices.

MimoPowerBot is Mimoco’s newest tech’cessory, originally hatched on Kickstarter where fans were invited to preorder the product concept expanding upon Mimoco’s character-based spin on designer electronic accessories.

Renowned for the MIMOBOT® collection of designer USB flash drives and eight Star Wars x MIMOBOT series, yielding more than 30 different stylized Star Wars characters in the form meets function electronic line, Mimoco’s newest crossover collaboration with Lucas Licensing continues the trend of pioneering licensed electronics.

The Star Wars x MimoPowerBot line kicks off with a pair of fan-favorite characters: the loveable droid, R2-D2; and the Empire’s own Sith lord, Darth Vader.

Both Star Wars x MimoPowerBot styles will be powered with a 5200mAh capacity lithium-ion battery with a 2.1A output for fast universal charging of tablets, smartphones, and other 5V USB-powered devices. The MimoPowerBot can charge a smartphone up to 3 times on a single charge and will serve as a trusty companion on long intergalactic trips to keep one’s device powered up while on-the-go.

In addition to the Star Wars crossover products, Mimoco is also showcasing at their CE Week booth their original Bloohvian and Animobotz designs, as well as the Adventure Time x MimoPowerBot collection. The full MimoPowerBot line will ship in time for holiday 2014, alongside the currently available MimoPowerTube assortment also on display in the Mimoco booth.

For more info, please visit Mimoco.com and prelaunch.com where Mimoco is currently accepting preorders for the new Star Wars x MimoPowerBot line.

If you want to pre-order these, click below:

Darth Vader: http://goo.gl/VmsRdK

 

Celebrate 4th of July by Entering to Win a Limited Edition “Jaws – Bruce Shark Shakems” [ENDED]

Fourth of July is right around the corner! You know what that means? Time to hit the beaches! Nearly 40 years ago, fans flooded the theaters to be forever scarred by the film “Jaws”. Media Mikes is teaming up with Factory Entertainment and are very excited to giveaway a limited edition Jaws – Bruce Shark Shakem to our readers. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite “Jaws” quote. This giveaway will remain open until July 4th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

“This shark, swallow you whole! This Limited Edition Premium Motion format statue is designed to match the ‘Bruce’ filming models seen on screen using the original construction plans as reference. Crafted from heavyweight polyresin and hand painted the integrated, non-electronic motion feature brings the piece to life and creates the illusion of the shark swimming. Each statue is 7.5” long and comes packaged in a full color presentation box.

LEGO Systems Blends Physical and Digital Play with New LEGO® FUSION


-New Play Experience Moves Children Seamlessly Back and Forth Between Physical and Virtual LEGO® Worlds Via Hands-On Brick Building and App Gaming to Delight LEGO Builders and Casual Gamers Alike-

NEW YORK (June 19, 2014) – LEGO Systems, Inc., makers of the world’s leading construction toys, today introduced LEGO® FUSION, a play experience that combines traditional LEGO brick play with familiar app-based game themes. LEGO FUSION leverages new technologies—and children’s fascination with them—to create an entirely new way to engage in LEGO brick building and app game play for children ages 7 and up. Available later this summer, the LEGO FUSION collection will include four distinct titles: LEGO FUSION Town Master, LEGO FUSION Battle Towers, LEGO FUSION Create & Race and LEGO FUSION Resort Designer.

Each LEGO FUSION experience consists of a distinct set of LEGO bricks, a corresponding free downloadable app and the new FUSION capture plate, a small brick building plate with a printed design that enables a smart phone or tablet’s camera to identify the size and colors of the LEGO bricks built onto it. In response to game prompts, children build vertically in 2-D on the FUSION capture plate, enabling the app to ‘see,’ import and transform the creation into 3-D in the digital world.

“Children have always imagined their LEGO creations as immersive worlds which come to life for hours of role-play and adventure,” said Ditte Bruun Pedersen, senior design manager, LEGO Future Lab. “Recently, smart phones and tablets have become a popular platform for empowering game mechanisms that kids love. LEGO FUSION brings these two favorite play patterns together in an experience where real-life LEGO builds come to life in a virtual game, inspiring creativity, strategy, and the pride of creation.”

To Win, Step Away from the Screen
Once a child’s creation has been imported into the game, a series of challenges and interactions requires that players turn away from the device and return to the real world to use their LEGO bricks to build new solutions in order to move game play forward. Each game encourages this back-and-forth between physical and virtual, keeping children engaged in both worlds.
“In our research, we heard repeatedly from parents that they are constantly battling ‘zombie gaze,’ the experience when their children are immersed in their device screens for large blocks of time,” said Pedersen. “We developed LEGO FUSION with this challenge in mind, creating a play experience that keeps children entertained with the kind of app gameplay they love while giving real reasons to return to the brick pile to creatively build.”

Each LEGO FUSION product offers a distinct play experience. The four products launching this year are:

LEGO FUSION Town Master
In this simulation game, players create and rule their own LEGO town, first by building it with LEGO bricks, then by capturing it and importing it to the game. Children build everything from houses to a pizzeria, fire station and bike shop while completing errands and missions like catching robbers, fighting fires and skateboarding. To keep the minifigure citizens happy, players solve problems through physical building and earn points to gain access to more structures, and even run additional towns.

LEGO FUSION Battle Towers
Players build a tower and defend it against attack so they can rule the kingdom. First, players design the Battle Towers with real LEGO pieces, then capture them and import them to the game. Next, players choose tower defenders like wizards and archers and battle against evil warriors, skeleton armies, and more. If a tower is damaged in battle, players can repair the damage with a timed build with the game’s real LEGO bricks.

LEGO FUSION Create & Race
In this racing game, players get behind the wheel and virtually drive the cars that they create with real LEGO bricks. Once a custom vehicle is digitally designed, physically built, and imported to the game, it can be optimized for success in racing, demolition or stunts. Players learn that every brick shape and color on the vehicle matters for performance. Three themed courses offer endless challenges unlocked by physical LEGO builds, and children can even ghost race against friends to top the leaderboard.

LEGO FUSION Resort Designer
Players help the LEGO Friends design new vacation houses, shops and activities for Ambersands Beach. After building 2-D facades, capturing them and importing them to the game, players can design the interiors of 3-D digital structures, such as an aquarium, surf shop and beach houses. Children can unlock new levels and build more resorts by completing missions like rescuing dolphins, riding horses, surfing and other resort activities.

Beginning in September, LEGO FUSION will incorporate the ability for players to access their digital LEGO creations and game play anywhere. Using their LEGO ID, players can sign in on any compatible device and access their gallery and game play from within the LEGO FUSION app.
The LEGO FUSION app uses the Qualcomm® Vuforia™ mobile vision platform, enabling the games to ‘see’ the LEGO bricks and making possible the transition from physical to digital. Developed by TT Games, makers of the best-selling LEGO video game franchise, the LEGO FUSION Town Master, Battle Towers, Create & Race, and Resort Designer app games are free for download from the Apple, Google or Samsung App Store for Apple iOS and Android.

LEGO FUSION Town Master, LEGO FUSION Battle Towers, and LEGO FUSION Create & Race will launch in August 2014; LEGO FUSION Resort Designer will launch in September 2014. Each will be available for $34.99 in LEGO Stores and Toys”R”Us stores in the U.S., as well as online at shop.LEGO.com and at toysrus.com.

About LEGO Systems, Inc.
LEGO Systems, Inc. is the North American division of The LEGO Group, a privately-held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of creatively educational play materials for children. The company is committed to the development of children’s creative and imaginative abilities, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: “Only the best is good enough.” Visit the virtual LEGO world at www.LEGO.com

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Minifigure and brick and knob configuration are trademarks of The LEGO Group. ©2014 The LEGO Group. ]

About the Qualcomm® Vuforia™ Platform
Vuforia is a mobile vision platform that enables apps to see and connect the physical world with digital experiences that demand attention, drive engagement, and deliver value. Vuforia is supported by a global ecosystem of more than 100,000 registered developers in 130 countries and has powered more than 10,000 apps for iOS and Android devices. Additional information is available at www.vuforia.com.

Qualcomm Vuforia is a product of Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Qualcomm and Vuforia are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries, used with permission.

Media Mikes’ 25 Most Anticipated Films of 2014

Happy New Year movie lovers!! Who is excited for a great year of movies? We here at Media Mikes are very excited about the upcoming movies of 2014. We have complied a list of our 25 most anticipated films this year. They are listed alphabetical and include posters and trailers when available. Please feel free to chime in below in the comments and let us know what movies you looking forward to most this year.

“BIG EYES” is directed by Tim Burton and stars Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman and Terence Stamp. It is currently scheduled to be released in Late 2014.

Premise: A drama centered on the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.

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“BIG HERO 6” is a 3D computer-animated superhero film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. The film will be directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. “Big Hero 6” will also be the first Disney animated feature to feature Marvel characters since Disney acquired Marvel. It is currently scheduled to be released on November 7, 2014.

Premise: Set in a fictional metropolis called San Fransokyo (a portmanteau of San Francisco and Tokyo), Big Hero 6 will be centered on a young prodigy named Hiro Hamada and his self-created robot Baymax, both of whom uncover a criminal plot and must join a team of inexperienced crime fighters, including Wasabi No-Ginger, Honey Lemon, GoGo Tomago, and Fred.

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“THE BOXTROLLS” is the latest film from LAIKA, the company that has made wonderful stop-motion animated films like “Coraline”. It is based on the novel “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow. The film is being directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi and stars Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Toni Collette and Jared Harris. It is currently scheduled to be released on September 26, 2014.

Premise: The film tells the story of an orphaned boy named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) who was raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors called the Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls are targeted by an evil exterminator named Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley), and Eggs has to save his friends from that evil exterminator.

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“CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER” is the sequel to 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” and the ninth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and features returning cast of Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Cobie Smulders, Hayley Atwell and Samuel L. Jackson, also on board Robert Redford and Emily VanCamp.

Premise: Two years after the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers resides peacefully in Washington, D.C., struggling to adapt to contemporary society. However, after a S.H.I.E.L.D. compatriot is assailed, Steve becomes entangled in a mystery that may endanger the globe. Together with Natasha Romanoff, Captain America attempts to uncover the growing machination while fending off hired hit men. When the entire scheme is discovered, Captain America and the Black Widow must recruit the aid of the Falcon and soon encounter an unanticipated and powerful adversary — the Winter Soldier.

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“DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES” is the sequel to the 2011 film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” picking up eight years after the events of the first film. It is directed by Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, and Keri Russell. It is currently scheduled to be released on July 11, 2014.

Premise: Eight years after the events of the first film, a growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

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“DUMB AND DUMBER TO” is a sequel to the 1994 film “Dumb and Dumber” taking place 20 years after the film film. The film stars Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Laurie Holden and Kathleen Turner and is again directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly. It is currently scheduled to be released on November 14, 2014.

Premise: Twenty years after their last adventure, good-hearted yet dimwitted best friends, Harry and Lloyd, head out in search for one of their long lost children in the hope of gaining a new kidney.

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“EDGE OF TOMORROW” is a science-fiction action film directed by Doug Liman and based on the Japanese light novel “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the film stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. It is currently scheduled to be released in 3D and IMAX 3D on June 6, 2014.

Premise: Lt. Col. Bill Cage is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop – forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again – and again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski. And, as Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.

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“THE EXPENDABLES 3” is the third installment in “The Expendables” film series. It features returning cast members Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, and Arnold Schwarzenegger and new additions to the cast include Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz, and Glen Powell. It is currently scheduled to be released on August 15, 2014.

Premise: The mercenary group, The Expendables, led by Barney Ross, come face to face with the team’s co-founder Conrad Stonebanks. Ross was forced to kill Stonebanks after he became a ruthless arms trader, but Stonebanks survived and has now made it his mission to destroy The Expendables. Ross resorts to recruiting a new and younger generation of Expendables to help the team overcome his old adversary.

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“GODZILLA” a reboot of the Godzilla film franchise and timed to hit the 60th anniversary of the series. The film retells the origin of Godzilla in contemporary times as a “terrifying force of nature”. The film is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Sally Hawkins, and Ken Watanabe. It is currently scheduled to be released on May 16, 2014 in 2D and 3D.

Premise: An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence

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“THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL” is directed by Wes Anderson and stars Ralph Fiennes as a hotel concierge who strikes up a friendship with a young employee at the hotel at which they work. Along with Fiennes, the film has an all-star cast including F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Léa Seydoux, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson. It is currently scheduled to be released on March 7, 2014.

Premise: In 1920s Europe, a famed hotel concierge by the name of Gustave H. is bequeathed a painting called Boy With Apple after his one night stand, Madame D, is killed. Madame D’s son, Dmitri, vows revenge on Gustave by framing him for Madame D’s murder. Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy, and his love interest, Agatha, help Gustave hide Boy with Apple from Dmitri and the authorities

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“THE GREEN INFERNO” is a cannibal horror-thriller directed by Eli Roth and stars Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Sky Ferreira and Daryl Sabara. It is currently scheduled to be released on September 5, 2014

Premise: A group of student activists travel from New York City to the Amazon to save a dying tribe but crash in the jungle and are taken hostage by the very natives they protected.

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“GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” is based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name and is the tenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is written and directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro. It is currently scheduled to be released on August 1, 2014 in 3D.

Premise: In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan. Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a group of futuristic ex-cons including Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer and Groot. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand — with the galaxy’s fate in the balance

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“THE HOBBIT: THERE AND BACK AGAIN” is the final film in the new trilogy from Peter Jackson.
Returning cast includes Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch,
James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans and Orlando Bloom. It is currently scheduled to be released on December 17 2014.

Premise: The Company of Thorin has reached Smaug’s lair; but, can Bilbo and the Dwarves reclaim Erebor and the treasure? And, if so, can they hold on to it?

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“HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER” is a fantasy-neo-noir film written, produced and directed by Ryan Gosling, in his directorial debut. The film stars Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith (aka Doctor Who), Saoirse Ronan and Eva Mendes.

Premise: “How to Catch a Monster” weaves elements of fantasy noir, and suspense into a modern day fairytale. Set against the surreal dreamscape of a vanishing city, Billy, a single mother of two, is swept into a macabre and dark fantasy underworld while her teenage son, Bones, discovers a secret road leading to an underwater town. Both Billy and Bones must dive deep into the mystery, if their family is to survive.

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“HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2” is the sequel to the 2010 computer-animated film “How to Train Your Dragon” and the second in the trilogy. It stars the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. It is currently scheduled to be released on June 13, 2014.

Premise: The thrilling second chapter of the epic How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy brings us back to the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years after the two have successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.


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“INTERSTELLAR” is a science fiction film directed by Christopher Nolan. It follows a team of space travelers who travel through a wormhole. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Caine. It is currently scheduled to be released on November 7, 2014.

Premise: When a wormhole (which hypothetically can connect widely-separated regions of spacetime) is newly discovered, a team of explorers and scientists embark on a voyage through it to transcend previous limitations on human space travel

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“INTO THE WOODS” is a musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and directed by Rob Marshall, which is based on the Broadway musical by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim. The film stars Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp and Tracey Ullman. It is currently scheduled to be released on December 25, 2014.

Premise: Set in an intertwined world of various Grimm fables, when a Baker and his Wife learn they’ve been cursed childless by a Witch, they must embark into the woods to find the objects required to break the spell. What begins a lively irreverent fantasy musical eventually becomes a meaningful tale about responsibility, the problems that come
from wishes, and the legacy that we leave our children.

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“JUPITER ASCENDING” is an original science fiction epic adventure from filmmakers Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) and stars Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis and Sean Bean. It is currently scheduled to be released on July 18, 2014.

Premise: Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is an unlucky Russian immigrant who cleans toilets for a living. She encounters Caine (Channing Tatum), an interplanetary warrior whom the Queen of the Universe sent to kill Jupiter. Caine tells Jupiter that the stars were pointing to an extraordinary event on the night she was born, and that her DNA could mark her as the universe’s next leader.

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“MALEFICENT” is a dark fantasy film directed by Robert Stromberg and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. The film stars Angelina Jolie as the well-known Disney Villain character and Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora/Briar Rose aka the Sleeping Beauty. The film is both a prequel and a re-imagining of Walt Disney’s 1959 animated adaptation of “Sleeping Beauty” and tells the story from the perspective of the antagonist, Maleficent. It is currently scheduled to be released on May 30, 2014.

Premise: The “Sleeping Beauty” tale is told from the perspective of the villainous Maleficent and looks at the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse young Princess Aurora.

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“MUPPETS MOST WANTED” is the sequel to 2011’s The Muppets and stars Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burrell along with the whole Muppets gang. The Muppets find themselves unwillingly involved in an international crime caper while on tour in Europe. It is currently scheduled to be released on March 21, 2014.

Premise: Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine—the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit—and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two.

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“SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR” is the sequel to the 2005 film “Sin City”. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller are sharing the duty of directing.The film stars an ensemble cast including returning castmembers Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Powers Boothe, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Willis. Newcomers to the series include Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Jamie Chung, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Haysbert, Marton Csokas, Julia Garner, Juno Temple, Ray Liotta, Stacy Keach, Christopher Meloni, Lady Gaga, Jeremy Piven, and Crystal McCahill. It is currently scheduled to be released on August 22, 2014.

Premise: “A Dame to Kill For” is a mixture of two of Frank Miller’s Sin City stories. Dwight, this time played by Josh Brolin, is being hunted by Ava Lord, the only woman he’s ever loved.

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“TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES” is a reboot of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series”, directed by Jonathan Liebesman and stars Megan Fox, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, William Fichtner, Will Arnett and Whoopi Goldberg. It is currently scheduled to be released on August 8, 2014.

Premise: Aliens invade Earth and inadvertently spawn a quartet of mutated reptile warriors, the Ninja Turtles, who rise up against them to defend the world.

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“TRANSCENDENCE” is a science fiction thriller film that will mark the directorial debut of long-time cinematographer Wally Pfister. The film stars Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Cole Hauser, and Paul Bettany. It is currently scheduled to be released on April 17, 2014.

Premise: Dr. Will Caster is an artificial intelligence researcher who strives to create a machine that possesses sentience and collective intelligence. Extremists who oppose technological advancement target him, but their actions drive him toward his goal. Caster also wants to become part of the new technology, and his wife Evelyn and his best friend Max Waters, also researchers, question the wisdom of this drive. Caster’s goal to acquire knowledge becomes one to acquire power, and he seems to be unstoppable

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“THE WIND RISES” is a Japanese animated film written and directed by Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki. In fact, this is his last film ever that he will be directing. I have seen this film already and it is no question one of my favorite Studio Ghibli films. The U.S. dub voice cast includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, William H. Macy, Werner Herzog, Mae Whitman, Jennifer Grey, Darren Criss and Elijah Wood. It is currently scheduled to be released on February 21, 2014.

Premise: A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.

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“X-MEN: DAYS OF THE FUTURE PAST” is the seventh film in the X-Men film series and follows the 1981 “Uncanny X-Men” storyline “Days of Future Past” by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. It is Directed by Bryan Singer and stars an ensemble cast including Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Shawn Ashmore, Daniel Cudmore, Nicholas Hoult, Omar Sy, Booboo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman and Lucas Till. “Days of Future Past” acts as a sequel to both 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand and 2011’s X-Men: First Class, as well as a follow-up to 2013’s The Wolverine. It is currently scheduled to be released on May 23, 2014 in 3D.

Premise: The X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in a battle that must change the past – to save their future.

2013 Holiday Movie Preview

As the holiday season approaches you can smell it on the air.  No, not turkey and pumpkin pie!  I’m talking popcorn and Junior Mints.  Because with the holidays comes an opportunity to sample the best (sometimes) of what Hollywood has to offer.  From sure Oscar contenders to “might as well get it off the shelf” films, here is a list of some goodies that are on the menu between now and the end of the year.

As always, thanks to our friends at the Internet Movie Data Base for some synopsis information.  And remember, opening dates published are subject to change at the whim of the studios.  Enjoy!

 

NOVEMBER 27

BLACK NATIVITY

Starring:  Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson  

Directed by:  Kasi Lemmons

Based on an early 1961 stage musical by Langston Hughes, the film tells the story of a single mother in Harlem sending her teenage son to visit her parents in Baltimore for the holidays.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Whitaker and Hudson already have one and Bassett earned a nomination for her incredible portrayal of Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”  Writer/director Lemmons, probably best known for her work as an actress (she was Jodie Foster’s roommate/partner in “Silence of the Lambs”) previously helmed “Eve’s Bayou” and “Talk to Me.”  That all being said, the possibilities are there!

 

FROZEN

Starring the voices of:  Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell     

Directed by:  Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

When Princess Elsa accidentally uses her magic to cover her kingdom in ice it is up to her younger sister, Anne, to warm things up.

OSCAR CHANCES:  A possible nomination for Best Animated Feature but I think “Despicable Me 2” has that award sewn up.

 

HOMEFRONT

Starring:  Jason Statham and James Franco 

Directed by:  Gary Fleder

A former DEA agent moves his family to a quiet town, where he soon tangles with a local meth drug lord.  Based on the novel by Chuck Logan, the film’s script writer is none other than Sylvester Stallone.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Sly did nab a Best Original Screenplay nod back in 1976 for “Rocky” but I’m not to optimistic.

 

OLD BOY

Starring:  Josh Brolin
Directed by:  Spike Lee

A remake of the 2003 South Korean action film, Brolin stars as a man placed in solitary confinement for 20 years with no idea why or by who.  When he’s finally released he makes it his mission to answer those questions in a most bloody manner.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Could tie with “Machete’ Kills” for most blood used in a single film. (oh if only that was a category).

 

NOVEMBER 29

MANDELA:  LONG WALK TO FREEDOM (Moved to December 25th)

Starring:  Idris Elba and Naomie Harris

Directed by:  Justin Chadwick

Based on the autobiography of the great South African leader Nelson Mandela, the film follows his life from his early days as a student to his imprisonment through his rise as President of his country.

OSCAR CHANCES:  The Academy loves biographical stories and Elba is said to deliver a brilliant performance.

 

DECEMBER 6

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

Starring:  Oscar Issac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake        

Directed by:  Joel and Ethan Coen

The brothers Coen take a look at the early days of the folk music scene in New York City.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Three words:  “the Coen brothers.”  Academy Award nominations stick to their films like Mary Lou Retton sticking a dismount!  (please tell me you know who Mary Lou Retton is)

 

THE LAST DAYS ON MARS

Starring:  Liev Schreiber and Elias Koteas   

Directed by:  Ruairi Robinson

The title says it all.  Schreiber leads a manned mission to the Red Planet where things don’t go as planned.

OSCAR CHANCES:  No.

 

OUT OF THE FURNACE

Starring:  Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson 

Directed by:  Scott Cooper

When his younger brother disappears, Russell Baze takes it upon himself to find out why and becomes entangled in the world of underground bare-knuckle fighting.  Wow, it looked so cool when Clint Eastwood and Clyde were doing it.

OSCAR CHANCES:  This is Cooper’s second film, his first being the Oscar winning “Crazy Heart.”  Bale has an Oscar and little Affleck and Woody have nominations so nothing is ruled out here.

 

DECEMBER 13 (limited opening – Opens wide December 18th)

AMERICAN HUSTLE

Starring:  Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams    

Directed by:  David O. Russell

A look back at the 1970s and the famous ABSCAM sting in New Jersey and Philadelphia.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Director Russell has assembled the cast members of his previous two films (“The Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook”) for a very ambitious project.  The main cast members either have Oscars or been nominated for one as has Russell so I’m giving this film a definite “yes.”

 

THE HOBBIT:  THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

Starring:  Martin Freeman, Orlando Bloom and the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch

Directed by:  Peter Jackson

The second film in director Jackson’s planned HOBBIT trilogy follows Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf friends as they attempt to reclaim what’s rightly theirs from the dreaded dragon Smaug.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Of course.  Many fans of the books are upset that Bloom’s Legolas shows up but come on, “Pirates 5” has been postponed and Orlando Bloom has to eat.  Thankfully I’m guessing most members of the academy ever read Tolkien so look for this to earn many technical nods.

 

SAVING MR. BANKS

Starring:  Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson

Directed by:  John Lee Hancock

The behind the scenes tale of the struggles Walt Disney had to undertake to turn P.L. Travers novel, “Mary Poppins,” into a film.  I’ve known for years that she didn’t like Dick Van Dyke being cast so how incredibly insane must she have been?

OSCAR CHANCES:  Several, starting with previous two-time winners Hanks and Thompson.

 

TYLER PERRY’S A MEDEA CHRISTMAS

Starring: Tyler Perry 

Directed by:  Tyler Perry

If you haven’t jumped down to the next film, you’re a better person than I.  The title says it all.

OSCAR CHANCES:  I actually stopped typing and slapped myself for including the words “Oscar Chances” within two sentences – top or bottom – of the name Tyler Perry.

 

DECEMBER 18

HER (limited opening – Opens wide January 10th)

Starring:  Joaquin  Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson

Directed by:  Spike Jonze

As the world grows more reliant on technology a man begins to fall in love with the female voice of his computer operating system.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Jonze’s “Being John Malkovich” scored a few nods so I’m not ruling anything out.

 

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

Starring:  Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell

Directed by:  Adam McKay

Ron Burgandy and the rest of his channel 4 news team are picked to help launch a 24-hour news channel.

OSCAR CHANCES:  A great mustache and salon quality hair could equal Best Makeup.

 

DECEMBER 20
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS

Starring the voices of:  John Leguizamo and Justin Long                                                                                                                

Directed by:  Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale

Three young Pachyrhinosauruses discover the ups and downs of the prehistoric world.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Again, like “Frozen,”  maybe an animated nod.

 

DECEMBER 25

47 RONIN

Starring:  Keanu Reeves

Directed by:  Carl Rinsch

A band of samurai set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun.

OSCAR CHANCES:  This is the kind of film that pulls the costume award nomination.

 

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

Starring:  Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor                                                                                                        

Directed by:  John Wells

A screen adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Tony-award winning play about a family that gathers for the funeral of a relative and the internal battles that resurrect themselves.

OSCAR CHANCES:  I had the good fortune of seeing this film a couple of months ago and I’m going to say there will be no less than three nominations here.

 

BELIEVE

Starring:  Justin Bieber

Directed by:  John M. Chu

When a deadly virus strikes Canada, it is discovered that it’s evil host is…….Damn, I’d like to BELIEVE that was the plot.  Another concert film for those fans who apparently spent enough money on the first one to rate another.

OSCAR CHANCES:  As much as Tyler Perry.

 

GRUDGE MATCH

Starring:  Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro

Directed by:  Peter Segal

30 years since their last fight, boxers Henry “Razor” Sharp and Billy “the Kid” McDonnen, participate in a television special that rekindles old fires.  Or as I like to think of it, Rocky Balboa vs Jake Lamotta!

OSCAR CHANCES:  Probably not but this promises to be fun.

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN

Starring:  Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones

Directed by:  Ralph Fiennes

No, nothing spooky going on here.  The film tells the story of famed English author Charles Dickens and his secret affair with a younger woman.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Remember, it’s a bio-pic, so I’ll say maybe.

 

LABOR DAY

Starring:   Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin 

Directed by:  Jason Reitman

A woman and her young son are made to shelter an escaped convict.  The story gets interesting when she begins to fall for him.  I was so worried this was going to be the third film in Garry Marshall’s “holiday” trilogy!

OSCAR CHANCES:  Always a “yes” when director Reitman is in the mix.

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

Starring:  Ben Stiller and Sean Penn 

Directed by:  Ben Stiller

Director/star Stiller attempts to update the classic 1947 film that featured the great Danny Kaye.  Bored with his life, Walter Mitty imagines himself in various exciting situations.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Maybe something technical.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Starring:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Ethan Suplee                                              

Directed by:  Martin Scorsese

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort; from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.  This film was originally scheduled to open on November 15 and was pushed back at almost the last minute to finish post production.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Marty and Leo equal yes!

 

LONE SURVIVOR (limited opening – Opens wide January 10th)

Starring:  Mark Wahlberg and Ben Foster                                                                                                                                          

Directed by:  Peter Berg

The telling of a June 2005 military mission to capture a Talibad leader that went wrong.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Oh yeah.

 

1984’s “Silent Night, Deadly Night” Returning to the Big Screen

Christmas is coming early this year for horror fans. Starting December 4th, Screenvision and Fangoria Presents will unwrap Charles E. Sallier, Jr’s cult horror classic “Silent Night, Deadly Night” in theatres all across the country.

The story of Billy Chapman, a young man who, at age five, witnessed the murder of his parents by a madman wearing a Santa Claus suit, the film was a hot bed of controversy upon it’s original release due to it’s story line, drawing the ire of parent associations and film critics, most notably Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

For a list of dates and theatres currently booked for this event go to www.fangoriaonscreen.com

Complimentary Passes to Orlando, FL Screening for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

If you would like to enter for passes to the following advance screening:

Log on to www.GOFOBO.com/RSVP

Enter RSVP Code: MEDIAMA22S

Passes are VERY limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Screening Information:
Date: Monday, November 18th
Time: 9:30 PM (View the Live Stream from the LA Red Carpet Premiere); 10:30pm (Film Starts)
Place: Regal Waterford Lakes

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is directed by Francis Lawrence, from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael DeBruyn, based upon the novel “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins and produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik. The novel is the second in a trilogy that has over 50 million copies in print in the U.S. alone. THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE opens on November 22, 2013. Lionsgate presents a Color Force/Lionsgate production.