Win Passes to Kansas City Screening of “The Favourite”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Fox Searchlight to give (5) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the most anticipated films of the year, “The Favourite,” starring Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.

The film will be shown on Wednesday, December 12 at the AMC Town Center Theatre in Leawood, Kansas and will start at 7:00 p.m.

All you need to do is let us know below what movie due this Holiday season you’re most looking forward to seeing. (5) random entries will be chosen and will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. The contest ends on Monday, December 10 at 8:00 p.m. CST. Winners will be notified by email. Good luck!

Win Passes to the Kansas City Advance Screening of “CREED II”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at MGM to give (50) lucky readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the most anticipated films of the year, “CREED II.”

The film will be shown on Monday, November 19 at the Cinemark Palace at the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the (50) passes have been claimed the giveaway is over.  Good luck!

CREED II

Monday, November 19, 2018 – 7:00 pm

Cinemark Palace at the Plaza – Kansas City, Missouri

Win Passes to the Kansas City Sneak Preview of “Robin Hood”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Summit Entertainment to give (3) lucky readers and a guest the chance to attend the special sneak preview of the upcoming film, “Robin Hood,” starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx.

The film will be shown on Monday, November 19th at the AMC Barrywoods Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri.  The show begins at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do to enter for a chance to win these passes is let us know below who your favorite big-screen Robin Hood is.  Errol Flynn?  Kevin Costner?  How about Disney’s animated hero?

Three entries will be randomly chosen and the winners notified by email.  

This giveaway ends at 6:00 p.m. Sunday night, November 18th.  Good luck!

Actor – and Bronson Lookalike – Robert Kovacs talks about his new film “Death Kiss”

If you were walking down the street and passed by actor Robert Kovacs nobody would question if you did a double-take or two.  Ruggedly handsome, the Hungarian-born actor and stuntman bears more than a strong resemblance to one of the greatest icons of action cinema, Charles Bronson.

Capitalizing  on that resemblance, Mr. Kovacs is currently starring in the action-thriller DEATH KISS, currently available ON DEMAND from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Nicknamed “Bronzi” by his friends, Mr. Kovacs took time out from promoting his new film to chat with Media Mikes.

 

When did you come down with the acting bug, Robert?

I have always loved film. Since seeing the Westerns on the movie theatre screens as a boy. This caused me to work as a stunt man and live performer at Wild West shows all across Europe including Almeria, Spain where I was the Sheriff for many years.  Performing in front of tourists at the same locations the epic films of Sergio Leone were filmed.

Did you go to acting school?

Yes, I attended acting school at the Maria Mezey Theatre School in Budapest.

 What was your first project? 

Aside from Live Performances I have also been featured in commercial print ads for many European Brands and featured in a series of commercials for one of Europe’s largest  supermarket chains. They featured me as a Bronson-type character to promote sales in their Grilling Season promos. Much fun and very successful. But my first film was years ago, a Western called American Night.

 Who was the first person to tell you looked like Charles Bronson?

My good friend Peter. We were very young men and worked together in horse breeding. He would always say “ You look like him.” “ You look like Bronson. “ So he begins calling me Bronzi. It kind of stuck.

 And is this the first film where you’ve emulated him?

The first film where I portrayed a character similar to Bronson was From Hell To The Wild West also by Director Rene Perez. (NOTE:  Mr. Perez is also the director of Death Kiss).  The character was a stranger with no name hot on the trail of a serial killer. The stranger was a man of few words who let his pistols do the talking.

 Is there anything you had to do to ‘perfect’ your look for the film?

I grew my hair in a more familiar style and trimmed my mustache just right. Rene had many suggestions and I listened closely and followed them. Much of what you see is naturally how I move but he greatly showed me how he perceived the character.

How different is Death Kiss to Death Wish

I think they are very different films. Similar in tone with a tale of vengeance or retribution but a very different approach. The stranger is more mysterious in nature and less transparent. So his actions may be perceived as darker in intent. Also Death Kiss is a much smaller film so the emphasis on action and gun-play are more at the forefront.

Did you have to do any weapons training?

I train regularly with replica firearms. I do stunt work as well with most of it being firearms related stunts. I also perform often as a costumed reenactor of famous battles in Europe. This also requires the use of period replica powder firing rifles and cannons.

Do you do your own stunts?

I do. I work hard to keep my body in shape. I have been a stunt man in live shows. Everything from saloon brawls to falling off horses. Maybe even a building or two. I have trained as an acrobat and continue to lift weights daily as well as regular conditioning, Judo training and a few nights a week I do Thai Boxing.

How about a sequel?

If the fans would be so kind as wanting a sequel and Rene has something in mind I think the Stranger still has much work to do.

 

 

 

Film Review: “Wildlife”

WILDLIFE

Starring:  Ed Oxenbould, Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal
Directed by:  Paul Dano
Rated: PG 13
Running time:  1 hr 45 mins
IFC

It’s amazing what a little pride will do to a family.  Take the Brinsons.  Things go to bad when man of the house Jerry (Gyllenhaal) is fired from his job.  They go to worse when he is offered his job back but, because of his pride, refuses to accept it.  With a family to support – wife Jeanette (Mulligan) and 14 year old son Joe (Oxenbould) – he leaves home to take a dangerous job as a firefighter.  He should have just gone back to work.

I don’t know what is happening in Hollywood, but so many young actors are taking the reins and writing and directing their own features.  This film was directed by Paul Dano (the co-star of such films as “Little Miss Sunshine” and “There Will Be Blood”) and written by Dano and fellow actress Zoe Kazan (“The Big Sick” and the granddaughter of the great director Elia Kazan) and while it starts off a little slow, as the story grows you begin to embrace it.

The performances are smartly delivered, with Gyllenhaal at his most hang-dogged at times and Mulligan her beautiful but unsure self.  The story is told through the eyes of Joe and Oxenbould is fine as the central story point.

Technically the film is beautifully presented, with long shots of mountains and sky as far as the eye can see.  Credit this to director Dano and cinematographer Diego Garcia, who give the film almost a “postcard” quality and Mr. Dano a very strong freshman effort from behind the camera.

Film Review: “Boy Erased”

BOY ERASED

Starring:  Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Joel Edgerton
Directed by:  Joel Edgerton
Rated: R
Running time:  1 hr 54 mins
Focus Features

 

ARKANSAS.  THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY.

So reads the license plate that is the first thing we see at the beginning of “Boy Erased.”  But opportunity for who?  It’s certainly been good to the Eamons family.  Father Marshall (Russell Crowe) is not only the town preacher, he also owns the big car dealership in town.  Wife Nancy (Kidman) is busy in the community.  And son Jared (Hedges) is a popular high school boy who dreams of being a writer.  But Jared has a secret, one that will pit him against those he loves because of those he loves.

Based on the experiences related in the book “Boy Erased” by Gerrard Conley and written by director and co-star Edgerton, the film follows Jared as he is outed to his parents and made to attend a program that will “cure” him of his supposed misdeeds.  He is taken to a campus run by Victor Sykes (Edgerton).  The rules are strict.  No cell phones allowed in classes.  They are actually confiscated each morning, with the staff informing the owners that they will be checking their contacts and calling random numbers to ensure there is no evil happening on the other end of the line.  No contact, except for the briefest of handshakes.  Heck, you have to take a counselor with you when you use the bathroom.  Most important…you do not discuss the therapy with anyone outside the campus.  Jared wants so much to please his parents but as his therapy continues he realizes that to deny his true feelings is to deny himself.

I was a huge fan of Edgerton’s previous writing/directing project, 2015’s “The Gift” and he continues to show with his work here that he is one of the most gifted filmmakers working today and one to be reckoned with for many years.  It can’t be easy pulling double duty both in front of and behind the camera, but he keeps the story moving while allowing the audience to absorb the happenings on screen.  He also pulls amazing performances out of both Hedges and Kidman, with both of them doing some of their best work in recent years.  Add to the acting kudo list Edgerton himself, as well as supporting work by Flea, Jesse LaTourette, Britton Sear, Theodore Pellerin and David Joseph Craig, whose smug face and attitude made me want to punch him every time he came on screen.

Awards season is coming and “Boy Erased” has easily put itself in the running for some end of the year gold.

Win Tickets to the Kansas City Screening of “Boy Erased”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Focus Features to give (50) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the most anticipated films of the upcoming season, “Boy Erased.”

The film, written and directed by Joel Edgerton, will be screened on Wednesday, November 7 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kansas City.  The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m.

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the (50) passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended.  Good luck!

BOY ERASED

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Kansas City, Missouri

Win Tickets to the Kansas City Screening of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Fox Searchlight to give (100) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first in Kansas City to see the new film, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

The film, starring Melissa McCarthy, will be shown on Monday, October 29 at the Cinemark Palace at the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.  The screening will begin at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is click HERE  The first (100) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once all (100) passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended.  Good Luck!

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME

Monday, October 29, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.

Cinemark Palace at the Plaza – Kansas City, Missouri

Film Review: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
Starring:  Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton and Joseph Mazzello
Directed by:  Bryan Singer
Rated: PG 13
Running time:  2 hrs 14 mins
20th Century Fox

 

I’m going to confess something here.  On my list of life regrets, one of the ones near the top has to do with the fact that I had a few opportunities in my lifetime to see the band QUEEN live in concert and never went, always telling myself, “I’ll see them the next time they come around.”  Sadly, on November 24, 1991 that statement became moot, as the world mourned the death of the bands flamboyant lead singer, Freddie Mercury (music trivia purists will also note that Eric Carr, the 2nd drummer for KISS, also passed away on that date).  Director Bryan Singer’s new film, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” containing an amazing star-making performance from Rami Malek, lets the world know that Freddie isn’t dead!

London, 1970.  When we meet Farrokh Bulsara (Malek) he is unloading luggage at Heathrow Airport.  He is not happy in his work, especially when his co-workers refer to him as “Paki.”  “I’m not Pakistani,” he constantly reminds them (he was actually Parsi, having been born on the island of Zanzibar before his family moved to England).  While his mother and sister dote on him, he knows his father is ashamed of him, scolding him for going out late at night and imploring him to follow his father’s words of “Good Thought.  Good Words.  Good Deed.”  Farrokh has the opportunity to meet a band who has just lost their lead singer and he soon gets the gig.  A few changes, including the name of the band (and its lead singer) and QUEEN, as well as Freddie Mercury, are on their way.

Full of the music you will fondly remember and featuring one of the most immersive performances by an actor EVER, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a musical masterpiece.  And while the film is definitely designed around the flamboyant Mercury, the other band members – Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardee) and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) – are given ample screen time, allowing their characters to be as fleshed out as possible.  They enjoy the musical ups (concert tours and success) and downs (the head of the record company hate’s their music and concepts, critics hate the song “Bohemian Rhapsody”) together, as a family.

However, anyone familiar with the QUEEN story knows this may not be a family you or I would like to be a part of.  Besides the “getting better through science” fast track that Freddie s drug abuse puts him on, there is the same kind of in-fighting and arguments between the members of the group.  There is also the subject of Freddie’s sexuality.  He meets the “love of his life,” Mary (Boynton) but she understands that there will always be an unsaid “thing” between them that will keep them apart.

The film follows the band through their appearance at 1985’s LIVE AID.  It is here that they cemented themselves as one of the greatest bands of all time.  Four decades later, they still hold that distinction.

Confession number two:  I’m old enough to say that my first concert was Elvis Presley (Valentine’s Day – 1977) so when I say I’ve seen them all, I’ve seen them all.  And I’ve said for years that the greatest front man EVER was Freddie Mercury.  If you care to disagree, drop me an email and we’ll talk about it.

Film Review – “Halloween”

 

HALLOWEEN

Starring:  Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer and Will Patton
Directed by:  David Gordon Green
Rated:  R
Running time:  1 hr 46 mins
Universal

 

There are a handful of films that can be pointed to and described as “game changing” in Hollywood history.  “Citizen Kane” broke all the rules as to how a film is made.  “Jaws” gave us the summer blockbuster.  “Star Wars” ensured that sci-fi fans would always have a voice.  And where do you start when you talk about the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  In 1978, another film arrived and changed the face of the horror genre’ forever.  That film was “Halloween.”

We “meet” Michael Myers as an adult, standing alone in a squared-in area of a state-run mental institution.  He is being visited by a film crew working on solving a mystery:  why did 6-year old Michael stab his sister to death on Halloween night, 1963 and why, after escaping from captivity, did he return to his hometown 15 years later and kill again?

One thing to note here for fans of the series, or just those that are interested.  Despite a plethora of “sequels” to the 1978 original, they are treated here as non-existent, making THIS film a continuation of the original.  And I’ll say here that the film, with some tongue in cheek references to other films, works well.  The scares are legit and the performances, led by the amazing Jamie Lee Curtis, are well delivered.

I was surprised to learn that this film was co-written by the always funny Danny McBride.  Good job.  The script is solid, with some nice set-ups inter-spliced with some emotional family moments between Curtis’ Laurie Strode and her estranged daughter and granddaughter.  But you go to these films to see the boogeyman get his comeuppance.  So, what are you waiting for?

Win Passes to the Kansas City premiere of “Hunter Killer”

Media Mikes has teamed with their friends at Lionsgate Films to give (50) lucky readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film “Hunter Killer,” starring Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman.

The screening will be held on Wednesday, October 24 at the Screenland Armor Theatre in North Kansas City and will start at 7:00 p.m.

To win all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  When the allotted (50) passes have been claimed, the giveaway is ended.  GOOD LUCK!

HUNTER KILLER

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.

Screenland Armor Theatre, North Kansas City, Missouri

Win Passes to the Kansas City premiere of “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Media Mikes has teamed with their friends at 20th Century Fox to give (25) lucky readers and their guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the most anticipated films of 2018:  “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The film will be screened on Tuesday, October 23 at the AMC Studio 28 Theatre in Olathe, Kansas.  The screening begins at 700 p.m.

 

 

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (25) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first-come/first-serve giveaway.  When the (25) pair of passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended.  GOOD LUCK!

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY opens nationwide on Friday, November 2.

 

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.

AMC Studio 28 Theatre, Olathe, Kansas

Remembering Scott Wilson

It’s fitting that, on the night before the 9th season of “The Walking Dead” premiered, one of it’s former stars would pass away.  
Scott Wilson, who for three seasons played the beloved Hershel Greene on the AMC program, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer.  He was 76.
Atlanta-born Wilson had planned to attend college on a basketball scholarship yet on a whim decided to head to Los Angeles.  A random chance to go with a friend to audition for a part hooked the young man, who began pursuing acting with a vengeance.
His big break came in 1967, when he was cast as a character suspected of murder in the Academy Award winning “In the Heat of the Night.”  That same year he appeared opposite Robert Blake as two real-life murderers in “In Cold Blood.”  

Robert Blake (l) is Perry Smith. Scott Wilson (l) is Perry Hickock in the 1967 thriller “In Cold Blood”

He followed those two career-making roles with parts in films like “The Gypsy Moths,” The New Centurions” and “The Great Gatsby..”  He portrayed test pilot Scott Crossfield in “The Right Stuff” and appeared in films as different as “Young Guns II” and “The Exorcist III.”
But it was Hershel Greene that Mr. Wilson achieved his biggest success.  A favorite of cast, crew and fans of “The Walking Dead,” Mr. Wilson would often spend his weekends off traveling the country and meeting his fans.  I got the amazing opportunity to meet him when he came to Kansas City as a guest of Planet Comicon.  His representative was a friend of mine and I offered to take them to dinner one night after the show ended.  Piling into my car, I asked him question after question about his career, all of which he answered gracefully.  I told him that I was a huge “In Cold Blood” fan (both the book and the film) and, since moving to Kansas had visited the killers graves and other landmarks in the area.  He seemed pretty impressed and we talked through dinner.  When the check came, he would not let me pay, instead insisting on buying dinner for our group.  The next day, with a starting time of 11:00 a.m., I went to his area of the convention to say hello.  With 15 minutes to go until opening, there were no less than 125 people already lined up to meet him.  Hershel was indeed a popular character and Mr. Wilson was indeed a popular man.

As Hershel Greene in “The Walking Dead”

It was revealed earlier this summer that several former characters, including Hershel, would return in the upcoming “The Walking Dead” series.  According to AMC, Mr. Wilson’s scenes had already been completed before his passing..

“Back to the Future” heading to Omaha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long time readers know that our friend, film historian Bruce Crawford, loves to bring classic movies back to the big screen.  Since I’ve known him, Bruce has presented such films as “Jaws,” “Young Frankenstein,” “The Great Escape” and “American Graffiti,” among others, to packed theatres in Omaha.    On Friday, November 9, 2018, he’s doing it again.

“Back to the Future,” one of the most beloved films of all time, will be shown that evening at the Joslyn Art Museum, located at 2200 Dodge Street, in Omaha.  Of course, like all of Bruce’s presentations, you get much more than a movie.  Bob Gale, the co-creator (with Robert Zemeckis) of the BTTF Trilogy, will be on hand to participate in a Q&A before the screening and a meet-and-greet autograph session with fans after the show.  Joining Mr. Gale is actor Harry Walters, Jr., who played musician Marvin Berry (Chuck’s cousin) in the film.

 

Tickets to the event are now on sale for $24 each and can be purchased at the customer service counters of all Omaha-area Hy Vee food stores.  Proceeds from the event will benefit the Nebraska Kidney Association.

For more information, you can call (402) 830-2121 or (308) 830-2121.  You can also click HERE.

 

To read my 30th Anniversary Interview with Bob Gale, click HERE.

Film Review: “A Star is Born”

A STAR IS BORN
Starring:  Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper and Andrew Dice Clay
Directed by:  Bradley Cooper
Rated:  R
Running time:  2 hrs 15 mins
Warner Bros.

To quote “Beauty and the Beast,” it’s a tale as old as time.  Big star on the way down meets rising star on the way up.  They fall in love.  One embarrasses the other and their love is tested.  The tale is so old that it’s already been told, very well, three times before.  But the fourth time may be the best!

Jackson Maine (Cooper) is a popular singer who has lived his life on the road.  Once enjoying his time on stage, now he gets by with alcohol and drugs, showing up, plugging in then hurrying off-stage to the seclusion of his limo.  One night, while looking for a place to stop, he ends up at a drag club, where he gets the chance to listen to a young woman named Ally (Lady Gaga – I was just going to put “Gaga” but I’m not sure how the first name/last name thing works here.  I guess I could have put “Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta” but that would probably confuse you even more.  Ally does an old Edith Piaf song and soon Jackson is mesmerized by her voice.  He invites her out with him, where they buy some beer and talk about music.  When he drops her off at home she figures that’s the last time she will see him.  It isn’t.

A familiar story with enough new twists and turns to keep it fresh, “A Star Is Born” is a triumph.  Much of this praise must go to my rival Bradley Cooper.  (I know my wife loves me, but if Bradley Cooper came knocking I would be just a memory J).  As a first time director, especially in a film starring himself, there is an opportunity to make everything BIG and LOUD and, worse of all, put yourself front and center.  Cooper directs with a restraint that is almost unheard of with newbies.  He frames the story almost as if he’s shooting a documentary, and that close, inside look draws you into the story.  As an actor, Cooper is equally up to the task here.  His voice low and gruff (there’s a great line in the film where Sam Elliott, who plays his brother and who was also a musician, accuses Jackson of “stealing my voice”), he gives quite possibly the best performance of his career, which is saying a lot for a man who has already been nominated for the acting Oscars already in his career.

As Ally, Lady Gaga is outstanding.  We already know she can sing.  I haven’t heard a lot of her songs but I still include the night she showed up at the Academy Awards and sang “The Sound of Music” as one of my favorite all-time Oscar moments.  Not only is she in great voice, she has incredible acting chops.  Both the 1937 and 1954 versions of the film earned Oscar nominations for its stars.  The 1976 version swept the Musical Film Category and I’m predicting that both Lady Gaga and Cooper get nods for their work here.  Great supporting work from Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Elliott and Dave Chappelle make the film even more enjoyable.