Metallica and The San Francisco Symphony’s “S&M²” Coming to Cinemas Worldwide

TRAFALGAR RELEASING TO BRING METALLICA AND SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY: S&M²  TO CINEMAS WORLDWIDE ON OCTOBER 9

CELEBRATING THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1999 PERFORMANCE AND GRAMMY-WINNING S&M ALBUM, METALLICA & SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY REUNITE FOR S&M². 

THE FILM WILL FEATURE THE FIRST LIVE PERFORMANCES OF S&M ARRANGEMENTS IN 20 YEARS PLUS RENDITIONS OF SONGS WRITTEN AND RELEASED SINCE ORIGINAL SHOW.

TICKETS ON SALE FROM AUGUST 7 FROM METALLICA.FILM

Trafalgar Releasing is excited to announce the forthcoming release of Metallica and San Francisco Symphony: S&M² in cinemas worldwide this October 9. Metallica and San Francisco Symphony reunite to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their original S&M (Symphony & Metallica) show with S&M², filmed at San Francisco’s new Chase Center. 

Tickets will be on sale on August 7 from metallica.film. 

The original S&M concerts were performed by Metallica and San Francisco Symphony and conducted by the late Michael Kamen in spring of 1999 at the Berkeley Community Theatre. 2019’s S&M² concert will feature the first live performances of these arrangements in 20 years, plus the first-ever Metallica and San Francisco Symphony renditions of songs written and released since the original concert, with new orchestral charts by Bruce Coughlin. 

Legendary conductor Michael Tilson Thomas completes the first week of his final season as San Francisco Symphony Music Director with a special appearance, conducting a portion of the show. 

Metallica’s first collaboration with San Francisco Symphony was documented by the Grammy-winning live album S&M

Kymberli Frueh, SVP for Programming and Content Acquisitions at Trafalgar Releasing has said: “Trafalgar Releasing is excited to give Metallica fans around the world a chance to celebrate this anniversary concert together in local cinemas in October.

The original collaboration between two San Francisco legends—Metallica and San Francisco Symphony became a true moment in music history two decades ago. Reuniting again to perform S&M² is a salute to the legendary collaboration and creates a special moment for Metallica fans to see this iconic pairing.” 

The event will be screened in cinemas around the world on October 9. More information can be found at metallica.film, where fans can sign up for event alerts including when tickets go on sale.This announcement follows a busy 2019 in music for Trafalgar Releasing with the upcoming release of Roger Waters Us + ThemRush: Cinema StangiatoThe 9th Annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Moviescoming to cinemas worldwide for the first time ever and BRING THE SOUL: THE MOVIE, the latest film from K-Pop phenomenon BTS. Recent releases have included Tribeca documentary Between Me and My Mind about Phish front man Trey Anastasio, The Cure – Anniversary 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park LondonKhalid Free Spirit and The Music Center presents Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration.

Nickelodeon Celebrates 20 Years of Spongebob With a 75-hour Dvd Collection of Nautical Nonsense “Spongebob Squarepants: The Best 200 Episodes Ever!”

30-Disc collection with special anniversary poster available exclusively on Amazon Prime Day on July 15, 2019. Available nationwide on August 27, 2019

NEW YORK – July 10, 2019 – Nickelodeon is celebrating twenty years of the worlds’ most recognizable yellow sponge with a special DVD release, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Best 200 Episodes Ever! This DVD collection, made up of two box-sets, will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime Day on July 15, 2019, followed by a nationwide release on August 27, 2019 wherever DVDs are sold. Each DVD comes with the special-edition 20th anniversary SpongeBob SquarePants poster, which was created specifically for Nickelodeon San Diego Comic-Con and features all 760 characters and creatures that have ever appeared on the show. 

This collection contains SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes & SpongeBob SquarePants: The Next 100 Episodes and features every deep-sea adventure from the first 200 episodes of the series. Get lost in the zany and wonderful world of Bikini Bottom and relive every “F.U.N.” episode from the first nine seasons including classic episodes such as “SpongeBob You’re Fired,” “It Came from Goo Lagoon,” and “Mermaidman Begins.”                         

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Best 200 Episodes Ever! fast facts:
Street Date: June 15, 2019 (Amazon Prime); August 27, 2019 (nationwide)
Catalog: 59207160000 (US); 59207161000 (CAN)
Running Time: 75 hrs 33 min
Audio: Dolby Digital English Stereo
S.R.P.: $76.99

The Filmmakers of YESTERDAY

Yesterday…or rather just about a month ago Danny Boyle’s new romantic comedy called Yesterday hit the red carpet as the closing night film of the Tribeca Film Festival. Written by romcom guru Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral), the film follows Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) a struggling musician who wakes up one day in a world where the Beatles never existed. In this situation, Jack takes the music world by storm reintroducing classics like “Yesterday”, “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude”.

I got to speak with the talented filmmakers at their premiere about the impact the Beatles had in their own lives and shooting some epic concert scenes.

“Just think how often life has been sort of softened and sweetened by [The Beatles]” – Richard Curtis

Lauren Damon: Soundtracks are so integral to your movies, does it pain you to imagine the world without the Beatles?

Screenwriter Richard Curtis: I think it would be worse! I mean certainly my life would have been worse. You just think how often life has been sort of softened and sweetened by them. When I was living here in America, I was terribly aware of how often you heard Frank Sinatra and I was thinking, ‘God, wouldn’t all these shoe shops be worse without Frank Sinatra to make it less painful?

LD: For the concept of this film did you ever consider other bands being gone?

Curtis: No. No and it’s interesting, is there another band? And I don’t know that there is. A lot of this movie came about was because every time I would go to see my kids’ school plays they would always end with a Beatles song. You know, William the Conqueror would hold King Harold’s hand and they would both sing “We Can Work it Out.” Or you do something about the environment and they sing “Here Comes the Sun.” So I do think at the moment that the Beatles are the most comprehensive band of all.

LD: Did you get to speak to Paul or Ringo about this concept?

Curtis: Well they know about it now. I wrote to Paul asking him if it would be okay to call it “Yesterday” And he wrote back and suggested we call it “Scrambled Eggs” which was the original name of “Yesterday” And he said ‘I think that would be the better title, but if you haven’t got the courage to call it “Scrambled Eggs”, then I don’t mind you calling it “Yesterday”

Film Composer Daniel Pemberton

Film Composer, Daniel Pemberton: Paul and Ringo were very aware of the film. But with this we took a step back because the thing is in this world the Beatles don’t exist…And we kept having to say ‘the Beatles do not exist in this film’ so you have to pretend Paul and Ringo don’t exist.

LD: When you’re starting with a film that’s based around The Beatles when you go in to compose for it, do you draw strains for them? Or is it from scratch?

Pemberton: Yeah, the score element of this film has been massively influenced by the Beatles. So that’s everything from–I tried to approach the score in a way where we would use the sort of sonic landscape the Beatles created. So that would be everything from the instruments, like the mellotron…We actually used some of the actual instruments that the Beatles recorded on. So we recorded at Abbey Road all the score. And so we used things like the Mrs. Mills piano–the piano from “Lady Madonna”. And those are the actual pianos they used on the recordings. We’d also use a similar kind of bass guitars that Paul McCartney plays. We used the same mixing desks and the same recording techniques. But then we tried to write a different score that wasn’t just a pastiche of the Beatles but just had the elements of their work. Almost as if the Beatles had scored this movie, what would it sound like?

Himesh Patel (“Jack Malik”)

Lauren Damon: What was your casting process like to go from tv into this big lead in front of thousands of extras?

Himesh Patel (“Jack”): I mean the casting was kind of just like anything else to be honest. I just got a breakdown and then I did the self-tape and then I met Danny [Boyle] and Richard. And then I met Danny again and then waited a long time and then I got a call.

LD: Do you have a singing background?

Patel: Not in any sort of professional way, no. I did a little bit on the stage in a play I did a couple of years ago. And I’d some, you know, for myself, youth theater and that kind of thing but nothing like this.

LD: What was it like recreating songs like this? Such important and monumental songs?

Patel: It was thrilling, you know but also a little bit nerve-wracking. The people I was working with, the people we got on board with were really great and so I never felt the pressure of what we were doing. And we had a little bit of leeway because narratively the songs don’t exist. So we could make them our own.

LD: Do you have a favorite?

Patel: A favorite…I mean, one of the ones I love singing was “Long and Winding Road.” I think it’s a really beautiful song…and where it sits in the movie is so beautiful too.

Yesterday is out this weekend in theaters

“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mystery Mansion – Available September 3, 2019

SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU!:THE LIMITED EDITION 50TH ANNIVERSARY MYSTERY MANSION RELEASED BY WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT SEPTEMBER 3, 2019 FEATURES ALL EPISODES OF THE ICONIC SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU! SERIES ON BLU-RAY FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!

Four-Disc Collection Includes 41 Episodes Packaged in a Limited Edition Collectible Mystery Mansion Giftset that Features Enhanced Content Plus Unique Memorabilia Including an Exclusive Scooby-Doo Funko Keychain and A Mini Scooby-Doo Encyclopedia!

BURBANK, CA (June 25, 2019) – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) salutes that lovable Great Dane, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang with the release of Scooby-Doo, Where are You!: The Complete Series Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mystery MansionAvailable in stores on September 3, 2019, this release is packaged in an eye-catching, limited edition collectible mystery mansion giftset that includes all 41 episodes of the original series, Scooby-Doo! Where are You!, released on Blu-ray™ for the first time, as well as a Digital Copy of the series. This must-own box set has some fun extras. The set contains all-new HD content and Scooby-Doo collectibles including an exclusive Scooby-Doo Funko keychain, and a mini Scooby-Doo Encyclopedia. Scooby-Doo, Where are You!: The Complete Series Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mystery Mansion will retail for $89.99 SRP.                   

 For 50 years, the Mystery Inc. gang has entertained Scooby-Doo fans with zany hijinks, action-packed adventures and engaging mysteries that have captivated viewers of all ages. What started as a Saturday morning cartoon, exploded into an enormously successful franchise encompassing multiple spin-off series, original animated and live action films, consumer products and much more. Now fans have the opportunity to enjoy the original series which launched Scooby-Doo into worldwide stardom. Scooby-Doo follows the adventures of four teens, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and his lovable, but cowardly Great Dane, Scooby-Doo, as they travel far and wide in their stylish van, the Mystery Machine, to solve mysteries involving ghosts, monsters and other supernatural forces. Their entertaining adventures are always filled with hilarious hijinks and sometimes even catchy musical moments. Through teamwork and clever investigation, the teen sleuths solve case after case, while unmasking the villains who are usually behind each of the mysteries they encounter.  “We are thrilled to celebrate the golden anniversary of Scooby-Doo, with the release of this gorgeous, limited edition, collectible set,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Vice President Family & Animation Marketing. She added, “The original Scooby-Doo! Where are You! series is an iconic cartoon that has captivated audiences for generations. We are delighted to release the series on Blu-ray™ for the first time ever. Scooby-Doo fans and collectors won’t want to miss the chance to own this unique, classic animation collectible.” Brand-new Bonus Content:

  • My Life with Scooby – Frank Welker’s Animated Journey (Featurette):
    Frank Welker is the only voice actor to work on Scooby-Doo in its many incarnations, since the very first series debuted in 1969. Welker has been the voice of Freddy since the beginning and has provided the voice of Scooby-Doo since 2002. My Life with Scooby is a personal look at the seminal voice actor’s five-decade body of work on Scooby-Doo, complete with personal stories and fun memories from the recording booth.
  • A Scooby-Doo for Everyone (Featurette):
    The iconic look and feel of the original Scooby-Doo cartoon is a beloved classic… and within 50 years of animated adventures, WB Animation has created a host of different versions of the series for each new generation.  From the kid-friendly approach of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo to the envisioned look of Be Cool Scooby-Doo, WB Animation has consistently reimagined the characters in fun and exciting ways over five decades.  Interviews with the animators behind the many different Scooby-Doo versions, reveal the compelling creative process.
  • 50 Years of Scooby Snacks (Featurette):
    A narrated history of the cultural impact of everyone’s favorite mystery-solving gang over the last 50 years.  This fun-filled featurette is brought to life by interviews with creatives and cultural historians, plus clips from the TV series, films, toys lines, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi Scooby-Doo ride, and upcoming animated feature…Scoob.
  • Scooby-Doo and the Lost City of Gold Trailer: 
    A sneak peak of the all-new Scooby-Doo! Live stage production.

Bonus Content (Previously Released):

  • Scooby-Doo’s Ultimate FansHail the Gang’s Followers and Memorabilia Collectors
  • Get the Picture: How to draw Scooby-Doo and the Gang.
  • Funky Fashion
  • America Loves Scooby-Doo: Music Video
  • Scooby-Doo Street Smarts: Favorite cases of Scooby-Doo Fans
  • Take the Scooby-Doo Challenge
  • Hanna-Barbera: From H to B: Uncover how the studio’s artists and animators collaborate internally and connect with fans externally.
  • Scooby-Doo The Whole World Loves You!: It’s a fun-filled exploration of the world’s on-going love affair with all things Scooby-Doo.  With interviews with actors, writers, and directors of various Scooby-Doo TV series and movies from the last 50 years.
  • The Eerie Mystery of the Scooby-Doo HistoryThis featurette talks about the beginnings of Scooby-Doo and how the show came to exist from the point of view of the executives and creative team behind the show.
  • The Scooby-Doo Gang: In Their Own Words: This featurette talks about the original voice cast of Scooby-Doo and how they originated the characters’ distinctive voices.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!:The Complete Series Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mystery Mansion Featured Episodes

1.What a Night for a Knight
2.A Clue for Scooby-Doo
3.Hassle in the Castle
4.Mine Your Own Business
5.Decoy for a Dognapper
6.What the Hex is Going On?
7.Never Ape and Ape Man
8.Foul Play in Funland
9.The Backstage Rage
10.Bedlam in the Big Top
11.A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts
12.Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too
13.Which Witch is Which?
14.Go Away Ghost Ship
15.Spooky Space Kook “That crazy spaceman, yeah!”
16.A Night of Fright Is No Delight
17.That’s Snow Ghost
18.Nowhere to Hyde
19.Mystery Mask Mix-Up
20.Scooby’s Night with a Frozen Fright
21.Jeepers, It’s the Creeper
22.Haunted House Hang-Up
23.A Tiki Scare Is No Fair
24.Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Werewolf?
25.Don’t Fool with a Phantom
26.Watch Out! The Willawaw!
27.To Switch a Witch
28.A Creepy Tangle in the Bermuda Triangle
29.The Creepy Case of Old Iron Face
30.A Highlight Fling with a Monstrous Thing
31.A Scary Night With a Snow Beast Fright
32.The Tar Monster
33.Jeepers, It’s the Jaguaro
34.The Creepy Creature of Vulture’s Claw
35.Who Was That Cat Creature I Saw You With Last Night? (a.k.a. Make A Beeline Away From That Feline)
36.The Diabolical Disc Demon
37.Scooby’s Chinese Fortune Kooky Caper
38.A Menace in Venice
39.Don’t Go Near the Fortress of Fear
40.The Beast is Awake in Bottomless Lake
41.The Warlock of Wimbledon

Digital – Scooby-Doo, Where are You!: The Complete Series is now available to own on digital. Digital ownership allows consumers to instantly stream and download all episodes to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices.  Digital movies and TV shows are available from various digital retailers including iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and others.  

The Credits – About Warner Bros. Animation Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) is one of the leading producers of animation in the entertainment industry, producing and developing projects for multiple platforms, both domestically and internationally. WBA’s TV series include Teen Titans Go!, Unikitty!, DC Super Hero Girls and the upcoming ThunderCats Roar for Cartoon Network; Bunnicula, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Tom and Jerry ShowNew Looney Tunes, Wacky Races and the upcoming Scooby-Doo! and Guess Who? and Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs for Boomerang; Mike Tyson Mysteries for Adult Swim; Green Eggs and Ham for Netflix; Harley Quinn and Young Justice: Outsiders for DC UNIVERSE; Animaniacs for Hulu; and the upcoming Looney Tunes Cartoons content initiative. Theatrically, WBA’s full-length film, Teen Titans GO! to the Movies, released in summer 2018. As home to the iconic animated characters from the DC, Hanna-Barbera, MGM and Looney Tunes libraries, WBA also produces highly successful animated films — including the DC Universe Animated Original Movies — for DVD, Blu-ray® and digital media. One of the most-honored animation studios in history, WBA has won six Academy Awards®, 35 Emmy® Awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Environmental Media Award, a Parents’ Choice Award, the HUMANITAS Prize, two Prism Awards and 20 Annie Awards (honoring excellence in animation). 

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc.Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

“Toy Story 4” Summer Road Trip Rolls into Kansas City on June 23rd

 Attention “Toy Story” fans, this announcement is for YOU!

  On Sunday, June 23rd, the “Toy Story 4” Summer Road Trip will be making a stop in the Kansas City area. A “Toy Story 4”-themed RV will roll into Kansas City, featuring photo opportunities for fans, film-themed prizes, carnival games and lots of family-friendly fun.     

Local “Toy Story” fans are invited to take part in the activities. Two film ambassadors will be on hand to share details about fan-favorite characters—Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep—as well as new characters coming to the big screen—Forky, Bunny, Ducky and Duke Caboom, among others—learn more about this all-new adventure.     

The event will be held at the AMC Town Center 20, 11701 Nall Ave. in Leawood, Kansas and will run from 10:00 am through 3:00 pm.

2019 Summer Movie Preview

As Memorial Day has come and gone, it’s time once again to take a look at some of the films being offered to us for our air conditioned enjoyment. As always, special thanks to our friends at the Internet Movie Database for some synopsis information. Opening dates shown are subject to change at the whim of the studios.
(*) denotes a film that one of Media Mikes’ critics are especially looking forward to.

MAY 31st

*ROCKETMAN
Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell and Bryce Dallas Howard
Directed by: Dexter Fletcher

At first I was shocked when I heard about this film. Harlan Williams playing Elton John??? Then I realized it was a different Rocketman. Following in the footsteps of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” this bio-pic tells the story of one Reginald Dwight, who the world knows as Sir Elton John. Director Fletcher took over for Bryan Singer on “Bohemian Rhapsody” and early reviews say this film is equally good.

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
Starring: Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra
Directed by: Michael Dougherty

The big guy is back and he’s bringing his pals with him.

MA
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis
Directed by: Tate Taylor

The Podcast gang spent a lot of time trying to come up with the plot to this one. Give it a listen and let us know if we got it right.

JUNE 7th

DARK PHOENIX
Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender
Directed by: Simon Kinberg

Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world. Though it’s being released by Disney, this was originally a 20th Century Fox property. Now that the MCU is ALMOST one big happy family, I’m curious if the X-men will show up in a future Avengers film.

*LATE NIGHT
Starring: Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow and Emma Thompson
Directed by: Nisha Ganatra

A late night talk show host suspects that she may soon be losing her long-running show. Kaling is always fun to watch and I’ve been in love with Emma Thompson since “The Tall Guy!”

*THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2
Starring the voices of: Kevin Hart and Patton Oswalt
Directed by: Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val

Continuing the story of Max and his pet friends, following their secret lives after their owners leave them for work or school each day. Hopefully in this one, Hart’s Snowball isn’t homicidal.

JUNE 14th

AMERICAN WOMAN
Starring: Sienna Miller, Aaron Paul
Directed by: Jake Scott

A woman raises her young grandson after her daughter goes missing.

*MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL
Starring: Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson
Directed by: F. Gary Gray

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. Sadly, the newbies won’t be trained by agents J or K.

JUNE 21st

CHILD’S PLAY
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Tim Matheson
Directed by: Lars Klevberg

Hollywood again picks the bones of a dead franchise and tries to breathe new life into it. The bad news: Brad Dourif is not the voice of Chucky. The good news: Mark Hamill is.

TOY STORY 4
Starring the voices of: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
Directed by: Josh Cooley

When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy. Disney’s movie about toys dolls is going to kick the crap out the Universal’s movie about a toy doll at the box office.

JUNE 28th

ANNABELLE COMES HOME

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson
Directed by: Gary Dauberman

Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren bring the possessed doll to the locked artifacts room in their home, placing her “safely” behind sacred glass and enlisting a priest’s holy blessing. But an unholy night of horror awaits as Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on a new target-the Warrens’ ten-year-old daughter, Judy, and her friends. The real Lorraine Warren recently passed away, for those of you keeping score at home.

*YESTERDAY

Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James
Directed by: Danny Boyle

A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed. Written by the great Richard Curtis – who also wrote “The Tall Guy,” the movie I first fell in love with Emma Thompson with.

JULY 2nd

*SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
Starring: Tom Holland, Jacob Batalon and Marisa Tomei
Directed by: Jon Watts

Following the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. I’m guessing the start of Phase 3 of the MCU? Love Holland as Spidey and Batalon’s Ned is one of my favorite movie side-kicks ever.

JULY 12th

*STUBER
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista
Directed by: Michael Dowse

A detective recruits his Uber driver into an unexpected night of adventure. As someone that has driven for Uber I will admit I’m intrigued. The most exciting thing that ever happened to me was a woman breaking up with her boyfriend in the back of my car!

JULY 19th

THE LION KING
Starring the voices of: Seth Rogen, Donald Glover and Beyonce’
Directed by: Jon Favreau

For those of you who have been on Mars for the last 25 years: After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery. Favreau worked miracles with his version of “The Jungle Book” and Disney is hoping this is another “Aladdin,” not “Dumbo.”

JULY 26th

*ONCE UPON A TIME IN… HOLLYWOOD
Starring: Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margo Robbie
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

It’s the summer of 1969 and a lot of things are happening in Hollywood. Sex. Drugs. And Charles Manson. As advertised, this is the 9th film directed by Tarantino, who has always said he plans on making 10 and retiring. I challenge you to find a filmmaker that has made as many films as he has without making a dud. Even my favorite director, Steven Spielberg, has made a misstep (I’m looking at YOU, “Hook”).

AUGUST 2nd

FAST AND FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS and SHAW
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and lots of cars
Directed by: David Leitch

When the eighth film in this franchise came out I joked on our Podcast that the next one would be called “Fine and Furious,” because “fine” rhymes with “nine.” However, to avoid paying me money, Universal has chosen this title. Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity. I’ve only seen the original and part 5. However, the addition of Idris Elba as the villain might pull me into the theatre for this one.

AUGUST 9th

*SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
Starring: Michael Garza and Austin Zajur
Directed by: André Øvredal

A group of teens face their fears in order to save their lives. Podcast co-host Loey Lockerby says that these books scared the hell out of her when she was a kid.

AUGUST 16th

47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED
Starring: John Corbett, Nia Long
Directed by: Johannes Roberts

Four teen girls diving in a ruined underwater city quickly learn they’ve entered the territory of the deadliest shark species in the claustrophobic labyrinth of submerged caves. Why isn’t this being called “48 Meters Down?”

*WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Kristin Wiig and Laurence Fishburne
Directed by: Richard Linklater

A loving mom becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Her leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.

AUGUST 30th

In Germany, our movie would be called “De Scheisse”

PLAYMOBIL THE MOVIE
Starring the voices of: Daniel Radcliffe and Kenan Thompson
Directed by: Lino DiSalvo

Animated feature film inspired by the Playmobil brand toys. Are you ****ing kidding me??? PLAYMOBIL THE MOVIE???? A movie about the little toys my grandchildren play with?? Quick, get me Hollywood…I want to make a movie about the game of Jacks! Believe it or not, Daniel Radcliffe was not only Harry Potter but did “Equus” on Broadway. How the mighty have fallen. Look for him to reprise the role of Harry Potter when he leads tours around Universal Orlando.

Look for our movie NEXT summer!

Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson on HBO’s “CHERNOBYL”

Chernobyl filmmakers on the red carpet

In April 1986 the most catastrophic man-made incident the planet had ever seen occurred when reactor 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded during what should have been a safety test. The effects of the accident still wreak havoc over the landscape and containing the fallout has become an industry unto itself. It’s a job which will require centuries of human support. Tonight on HBO, Craig Mazin’s five-part miniseries, CHERNOBYL, dives deep into the the accident as it happened and the human cost and bravery it required to ensure that this tragedy did not engulf still millions more.

This past week at the Tribeca Film Festival, Mazin and his talented cast debuted the first two episodes of the series on the accident’s 33rd anniversary. The premiere episode was nothing short of a nightmare as the series delves into, in brutal detail, the accident and the shocking mishandling of both the initial fire and the surrounding population in those crucial first hours and days of fallout. It was a tense first hour and a brilliant setup into the second which saw the introduction of the scientists and politicians who then had to set about handling what was to come. The second episode in particular sees a stellar performance from Stellan Skarsgard as he plays a man coming to grips with his own mortality and entreating fellow countrymen to show selflessness so that millions can be saved. I spoke with Skarsgard, who also offered brief comments on his upcoming work in DUNE, as well as co-star Emily Watson on the red carpet about their own knowledge of the accident as it happened and the timely message this series has to offer in regards to listening to scientists.

“I think it’s a parable for our times. I think you ignore the truth and scientists at your peril. ” – Emily Watson

Emily Watson plays Ulana Khomyuk, a character created for the show as an entry-point into the role of a collection of European scientists in the fallout of Chernobyl.

Lauren Damon: Your character isn’t one specific person, but represents a collection of people involved with the accident, did you speak to people who experienced this?

Emily Watson: No. It’s sort of in tribute to many of the scientists who worked on the discovery of what happened. So I kind of had a bit of a blank sheet really to make up what I wanted to do. But Craig had written the character as coming from Belarus, which is a place that suffered terribly in the second world war. And she would have been a young child at that time, so that gave me a sense of just finding someone who was very very tough. It made her the perfect person really to go after the truth and find out what happened.

Do you remember when you were first aware of the Chernobyl accident in your life?

Watson: Yeah, I was a student at university and I remember there were students at my college who were on a year out, away in Kiev, and they all had to come home pretty quickly, it was very scary.

Did you have any misconceptions about the event going into this project that the script changed for you?

Watson: Oh my god, when I started reading the script, I had no idea that sort of within a few days–sort of 48 hours after the first explosion–there could have been one that was ten times worse. That would have taken out half of Europe.

In theory you could have been in range of those effects?

Watson: Definitely in range of radiation fallout…But yeah, it could have been much much worse. It was due to the heroism of the people on the ground who contained it and prevented it from being much worse.

What’s the biggest take away you’d like viewers to get from this series?

Watson: I think it’s a parable for our times. I think you ignore the truth and scientists at your peril.

Stellan Skarsgard plays Boris Shcherbina, the Deputy Head of the Soviet Government at the time.

What did you find surprising from hearing about Chernobyl originally in 1986 and then from working on this project?

Stellan Skarsgard: What I knew from ’86 was what you got from news media, which gave you a sort of superficial idea of what actually happened. What we learned through working with this material is I know now what technically went wrong, how the reactor works and what the mistakes they made were.

You also learn about it [was] more grave, the sort of the political system–the impact that had on the accident. When you have a system that is supposed to be perfect, you cannot allow any dissent in terms of somebody criticizing anything you do or any flaws cannot be accepted. And that then means that the truth was suppressed. It was all over the Soviet Union at the time. I mean truth is suppressed also for other reasons in the west now. I mean when you talk about Fukushima that was money that suppressed truth and created disaster there. In Boeing, you sent planes that are not fit for flying because you want to make money. So another way of suppressing truth and science. I think it’s important, an important film because it–not only because it talks about what we’re doing to this planet, the environment, which is really scary, but it also talks about how important it is that we listen to people who know what they’re talking about.

Facts are facts. They are not just individual ideas. Some facts you have to deal with and you have to accept and we have to listen to scientists. I mean 98% of the scientists in the world say that we are heading for a catastrophe in terms of global warming. We cannot ignore that. Do not ignore that.

Tell us about your character

Skarsgard: My character I’m playing Boris Shcherbina who was a minister in the government and who got the responsibility for cleaning up the mess. And he’s a man who spent his entire life working within the system and defending the system and he ends up realizing that this accident is a result of the system. And he has to question the system and he also has to decide whether he should keep on defending the system that is flawed. Or if he should start defending the truth.

Skarsgard’s next film role is in the highly anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic, DUNE, where he’ll play the villainous Baron Harkonnen

Lauren Damon: Have you begun work on DUNE as Baron Harkonnen?

Skarsgard:I haven’t started shooting yet, we’re still doing prosthetics work

That’s what I was wondering! Because the Baron is such a grotesque character but when you were cast I remember looking at a shot of you as Bootstrap Bill [Skarsgard’s heavily barnacled Pirates of the Caribbean role] and thinking ‘This man can handle anything they put on him!’

Skarsgard: [Laughs] That’s very nice of you! Thank you. I will probably spend probably six to eight hours a day in makeup and it will look fantastic.

“I will probably spend probably six to eight hours a day in makeup and it will look fantastic.” -Stellan Skarsgard on his upcoming DUNE role

What are you most excited about in doing that project?

Skarsgard: It’s a great story. It’s a fantastic world and Denis Villeneuve is a director that I’ve always wanted to work with. So I’m really happy, he’s a wonderful man and a great director. So I think–except for the eight hours in makeup–I think I’ll have a fun time.

Chernobyl airs tonight at 9pm on HBO

Michael Biehn and “Aliens” coming to Omaha

The month of May is known for many things. Flowers. The first beginnings of summer. And, here in the Midwest, another great Classic Film Screening presented by Omaha film historian Bruce Crawford.

Over the years, Bruce has put together some amazing screenings, including “Jaws,” “The Godfather,” “Young Frankenstein” and many more. On May 24th Crawford will present a special screening of James Cameron’s sci-fi classic “Aliens,” with the film’s co-star, actor Michael Biehn, in attendance.

The screening will be held on Friday, May 24, 2019 at the beautiful Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge Street in Omaha. Mr. Biehn will address the audience prior to the film and will have a meet and greet autograph session with fans after the show.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, May 2nd for $24 each and can be purchased at the customer service counters of all Omaha-area Hy Vee food stores. Proceeds will benefit the Nebraska Kidney Association. Tickets are not sold by the Joslyn Art Museum. For more information  call (402) 932-7200 or (308) 830-2121 or click HERE.

TFF Film Review: “Ask Dr. Ruth”

ASK DR. RUTH
Starring: Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer
Directed by: Ryan White
Running time: 100 mins.
Hulu/Magnolia Pictures

Dr. Ruth Westheimer–or as the world knows her simply “Dr.Ruth”–is an icon of modern pop culture both for broadening the discussion of sexuality in the mainstream as well as her larger than life personality. At just 4’7″, the diminutive German radiates a warmth and sense of humor that easily draws people to share their deepest personal concerns with her. Dr. Ruth has been on the world’s radar since her debut radio show “Sexually Speaking” in 1980 but at ninety years old, there is so much more of her story to be told. Fortunately for film goers, director Ryan White has chosen to take a thorough look into this extraordinary woman’s history. This internationally loved figure survived the Holocaust and time as a sniper in war-torn Jerusalem all before she reached Ellis Island to begin life in America as a single mother at a time when that was far from the norm. And then she took the media by storm. The documentary itself is as accessible and often light-hearted as its titular sex therapist while not shying away from her tragic beginnings.

Dr. Ruth was born in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel to Orthodox Jewish parents in Germany. As WWII was brewing, Karola saw her father arrested and she was sent away by her grandmother as part of the Kindertransport to an orphanage in Switzerland. The small Karola did not know she would not see her parents again but she kept up writing letters with them as long as they could in addition to her detailed journals. Dr. Ruth’s own records are a boon to this doc and her diligence in conserving them is rewarded with some lovely animation work that White introduces to bridge the time before she came to the public eye (though White’s choice of an unaccented young American woman reading her diaries is at times jarring). The film also has a nice blend of her home movies chronicling her life as she finally reached America.

There’s no doubt that the strength of this documentary is owed to its magnetic subject. Watching Dr. Ruth query an Amazon Alexa in her uber-thick accent (and it takes a few tries for the electronic helper!) is a pure delight. Fortunately for White, Dr. Ruth also surrounds herself with equally well-spoken company. Her two grown children, her quartet of grandkids and even her first “boyfriend”, a fellow Holocaust survivor, are welcome additions to rounding out her life off-camera. Finally and naturally, White doesn’t skimp on emphasizing her media impact. There’s highlights from the times she embraced a certain kitsch take on her pop persona–I am guilty of first being aware of her as a kid due to that cheesy ‘sex-noises’ Herbal Essences ad from the 90s–as well as the more critical role she played in the conversation during the AIDs crisis. There is so much of the human experience packed into Dr. Ruth’s tiny frame that this documentary is an embarrassment of riches.

Ask Dr. Ruth has its New York premiere tonight as part of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Fest screenings will be followed by a limited theatrical release on May 3rd and will debut on Hulu on June 1st.

RLJE Films Acquires the Nicolas Cage Action-thriller “A Score to Settle”

Photo by Jessandy Studios www.jessica-andy.ca @jessandyphoto

Following the success of ‘Mandy,’ Nicolas Cage reuniteswith RLJE Films.

LOS ANGELES, April 23, 2019 – RLJE Films has acquired the action-thriller A SCORE TO SETTLE. Written by John Newman (“Get Shorty”) and directed by Shawn Ku (Beautiful Boy), produced by Goldrush Entertainment’s Eric Gozlan (Beautiful Boy) and Minds Eye Entertainment’s Kevin DeWalt (The Humanity Bureau), and Danielle Masters (The Recall), the film stars Nicolas Cage (Mandy), Benjamin Bratt (Doctor Strange) and Noah Le Gros (Wolves). A SCORE TO SETTLE will be In Theaters and On Demand on August 2, 2019. Mark Ward, Chief Acquisitions Officer for RLJE Films, made the announcement today.

“We are excited to collaborate for the fifth time with the legendary Nicolas Cage,” said Ward. “Following the success of Mandy, we cannot wait to take audiences on another adventure.”

In A SCORE TO SETTLE, Frank (Cage), a former mob enforcer, is released from prison after serving 22 years for a crime he didn’t commit. Now free, he sets out on a path for revenge against the people who wronged him.

Ward and Jess De Leo from RLJE Films and Arianne Fraser and Alana Crow from Highland Film Group negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Highland Film Group is also handling international sales.

Fraser commented: “After our experience collaborating on Terminal, we are delighted to be partnering again with Mark and the team at RLJE Films. A SCORE TO SETTLE has found its perfect home and we can’t wait for audiences to experience this action-packed ride come summer!”

“We at Goldrush Entertainment are thrilled to have worked with Nicolas Cage whom brilliantly embodied the complex character of Frank Carver,” says Producer Eric Gozlan of Goldrush Entertainment. “We are ecstatic to have found a home for A SCORE TO SETTLE at RLJE Films!”

“It has never been more difficult to produce a truly independent film,” says Producer Kevin DeWalt of Minds Eye Entertainment. “We are delighted to have amassed such an outstanding cast for A SCORE TO SETTLE and to be working with great distribution partners such as the Highland Film Group and RLJE Films.”

A SCORE TO SETTLE is a Goldrush Entertainment and Minds Eye Entertainment Production and was produced by Spartiate Films in association with Paragon Media Productions. Produced by Eric Gozlan, Kevin DeWalt and Danielle Masters, the film is Co-Produced by Benjamin DeWalt and the Executive Producers are Nicolas Cage, Richard Iott, Mark Weissman, Robert Bricker, Arianne Fraser, Delphine Perrier, Henry Winterstern, Daniel Negret, Stephen Dailey, Simon Williams, Silvia Schmidt, Sam Ai, Mike King, Jeff Rice, Luke Daniels and Co-Executive Producer Ryan Winterstern.

ABOUT RLJE FILMS

A privately-owned subsidiary of AMC Networks, RLJ Entertainment, Inc. is a premium digital channel company serving distinct audiences primarily through its popular OTT branded channels, Acorn TV (British TV) and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), which have rapidly grown through development, acquisition, and distribution of its exclusive rights to a large library of international and British dramas, independent feature films and urban content. RLJE’s titles are also distributed in multiple formats including broadcast and pay television, theatrical and non-theatrical, DVD, Blu-ray, and a variety of digital distribution models (including EST, VOD, SVOD and AVOD) in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Additionally, through Acorn Media Enterprises, its UK development arm, RLJE commissions and co-produces new programs and owns 64% of Agatha Christie Limited. For more information, please visit RLJENTERTAINMENT.COM.

Full Moon Features Takes on Bold Venture In Interactive Feature Filmmaking With “Deadly Ten”

Live-Streamed Production of Ten Original Full Moon Feature Films

HOLLYWOOD, April 20, 2019 – DEADLY TEN is an immersive cinematic initiative that will see Full Moon Features boldly producing a series of ten original genre films, live-streamed in front of fans. These ten films will include sequels of beloved Full Moon franchises, a spin on classic cult favorites, and daring soon-to-be essential genre films. Principal photography will begin shooting in June 2019 and continue throughout the year in Europe and North America. Release for the DEADLY TEN is slated for Spring 2020, and will premiere exclusively on Full Moon’s Amazon Prime Channel.

In an unprecedented move, Full Moon will be giving fans an all access pass to this unique production by providing an inside peek into the magic of genre filmmaking. Fans will be able to log into the DEADLY TEN website (www.DeadlyTen.com) and watch the current motion picture being shot in real time. Live feeds, exclusive on-set interviews, special effects secrets, pre-and post-production videos, interactive director’s blogs and more. Through this immersive experience, cineastes and budding young filmmakers can delve deep into mechanics of the movies and learn first-hand all about the joys, struggles, creativity, and hard work that goes into making a fully produced, independent feature film.

“This is one of the most exciting Full Moon production initiatives since our ’90s video store heyday,” says Full Moon founder and cult movie legend Charles Band. “It’s ambitious, high concept, a bit insane and there’s never been another interactive filmmaking concept quite like this. As Full Moon thrives in the new terrain of streaming and takes viewers to places not many have gone before, we hope fans will love being a part of our new adventure!”

The DEADLY TEN film slate will include:
BLADE: THE IRON CROSS (Dir:John Lechago)
BRIDE OF THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY (Dir: Charles Band)
NECROPOLIS: LEGION (Dir: Chris Alexander)
SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA 2 (Dir: David De Coteau, Brinke Stevens)
BLOOD RISE: SUBSPECIES V (Dir: Ted Nicolaou)
HALLOWEED NIGHT (Dir: Danny Draven)
THE HOURGLASS (Dir: Ryan Brookhart)
FEMALIEN: COSMIC CRUSH (Dir: Lindsey Schmitz)
THE SHADOWHEART CURSE (Dir: Charles Band)
THE GRIM RAPPER (Dir: Billy Butler)

ABOUT FULL MOON FEATURES
Founded in 1989 by iconic independent film producer and director Charles Band, Full Moon is the successor to Band’s groundbreaking Empire Pictures Studio from the 1980’s. With Empire, Band created now-classic horror films like RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND and GHOULIES. Band’s films helped launch the career of many of Hollywood’s biggest stars including Demi Moore (PARASITE), Helen Hunt (TRANCERS), and Viggo Mortensen (PRISON), to name a few. With Full Moon, Band has produced over 150 films, including the PUPPET MASTER franchise, SUBSPECIES, PIT AND THE PENDULUM, CASTLE FREAK, DOLLMAN, DEMONIC TOYS, PREHYSTERIA!, EVIL BONG and many more. As well as feature films, Full Moon produces original series, toys, collectibles, merchandise, comic books and publishes the popular horror film magazine DELIRIUM.

Film Review: “Family”

FAMILY
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Brian Tyree Henry, Kate McKinnon, Allison Tolman, Bryn Vale
Directed by: Laura Steinel
Rated: R
Running time: 85 mins
The Film Arcade

At the start of Laura Steinel’s Family, we find hedge fund manager Kate (Taylor Schilling) getting beaned in the head with a bottle of orange soda at the Gathering of the Juggalos. It’s an ambitious and fitting start for a film whose primary appeal is celebrating outcasts. As it turns out, Kate is hunting for her niece, Maddie (Bryn Vale), a middle school oddball who was entrusted with her aunt for the week while her parents dealt with grandma’s hospice care. Overworked city-dweller Kate is not the least suited for childcare but winds up being the kind of outside perspective that Maddie needs in her life while her hover-parents are distracted. Though it strays unnecessarily at times, at its best moments Family works as a well meaning tribute to letting your freak flag fly.

Kate is some sort of financial guru who’s climbed the corporate ladder by presumably shirking personal attachments and steadily getting drunk with important clients. It’s the kind of movie where office drones scramble over gaining or losing “THE IMPORTANT SOUNDING NAME ACCOUNT!” but you never know what they’re actually doing because it doesn’t matter. If that set up makes you roll your eyes, I get it, I’m really reluctant when it comes to the “cold career woman softens up with a kid” trope. That said, Schilling does well by leaning into how honest and awkward Kate can be. She says what’s on her mind without the finesse demanded by social mores and even if she’s right–and she sometimes is!–her coworkers ostracize her. I sympathized with Kate despite some of her callousness because Schilling can be so funny and charming and it rings absolutely true that a woman in this environment can more easily fall off the tightrope that is the line between “speaking your mind” and being pegged as a bitch. Her work life is interrupted when her brother calls on her for babysitting duties and she’s saddled with 14 year old Maddie. Kate is supposed to be picking her niece up from ballet but finds her instead in an adjacent karate studio where she’s been secretly studying under sensei Pete (Brian Tyree Henry, just one of a number of strong supporting cast here) for weeks. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the disconnect between how Maddie’s parents are raising her and where her actual interests lie.

Kate and Maddie’s relationship is definitely the strong point of the film. Bryn Vale brings a frankness to Maddie that allows Kate to open up to her. Maddie knows who she is, she knows why the other kids mock her and while she might avoid them, she is not even attempting to conform to them. Instead, Maddie takes a shine to fellow weirdos at a convenience store who introduce her to the Insane Clown Posse despite Kate trying to shoo them away. An ill-fated attempt at a makeover from Aunt Kate is a standout sequence. There’s also something very endearing about this awkward niece looking at Kate hopefully when in actuality she’s falling apart inside her business-attired exterior. The trouble comes when Steinel’s script attempts to go off on tangents with Kate–a random meetup with her father in rehab, a tacked on subplot with a nosy neighbor (Kate McKinnon)–when she should have stuck with the Maddie-Kate relationship. It’s as if Kate has to make amends with literally everyone in her life before the credits roll instead of allowing her to simply have her heroic juggalo transformation for the love of her niece.

Kansas City – Win Passes to Attend An Evening With Richard Dreyfuss

Long time readers know how much the Mikes love the movie JAWS. Well now we want to share that love with our Kansas City area fans by giving them the opportunity to an amazing evening “Jawing” with Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss.

“Jaws”
Richard Dreyfuss with his Oscar – named Best Actor of 1977 for “The Goodbye Girl”

The event, which will be moderated by Media Mike’s own Mike Smith, will be held on Thursday, April 4th at the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College. After the event, stay and enjoy a screening of the greatest film ever made (ok, I’m biased), JAWS.

Our friends at J & S Promotions has given us passes for (5) lucky readers and a guest to attend the event. All you have to do is let us know below your favorite Richard Dreyfuss film. Five random comments will be chosen and will receive a pass for (2) to attend the event. This giveaway will end on Sunday, March 31st at 6:00 p.m. Winners will be notified by email.

To purchase tickets to the event – including a Platinum VIP Package which puts you in the green room with Mr. Dreyfuss, click HERE. Good Luck!

“American Graffiti”

“Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel” book nominated for Rondo Hatton Award


“Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel,” a book written by Media Mikes co-founder Michael A. Smith, with Louis R. Pisano, has been nominated in the category BOOK OF THE YEAR for the 17th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards.

The Rondo Awards have recognized, since 2002, the very best in film, television and publishing in the field of Classic Horror.

“Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel,” was initially published in 2015. However, Smith spent two years after its publication finding more behind the scenes photos and tracking down more members of the crew to tell their story about working on the Hollywood Sequel that launched the constant stream of films we have today.

Filmed but never seen: the death of Bob (Billy Van Zandt)

The nominated book is a limited (to 1000 copies) signed and numbered edition, with the majority of the photos and images posted in color.

Tegan West, Sarah Holcomb, Martha Swatek and Gary Springer on set. West and Holcomb would later be replaced in the cast.

If you would like to vote for the book, send an email HERE and tell them you’d like to vote for the JAWS 2 book for Book of the Year. If you would like to order a copy, please click HERE.

Film Review: Woman at War

WOMAN AT WAR
Starring: Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Jóhann Sigurðarson, Jörundur Ragnarsson
Directed by: Benedikt Erlingsson
Running time: 1hr 41 mins
Magnolia Pictures

The personal and political overlap in Benedikt Erlingsson’s Woman At War which opens this Friday, March 1st in New York and Los Angeles. The Icelandic comedy-drama stars Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as Halla, to everyone in town she is the local choir director, but to only a close pair of confidants she is The Mountain Woman. Under this guise, Halla goes far into the Icelandic highlands to single-handedly sabotage a nearby aluminum plant and make global investors wary of further industrializing her country. In addition to Geirharðsdóttir’s passionate lead performance, there’s gorgeous scenery and some quirky narrative choices which make this timely, but never preachy, film well worth checking out.

As she sets about doing the opening mission of Erlingsson’s story, Halla marches to the beat of her own drum, literally. When she draws back her bowstring to let loose an arrow which will fell power lines of a whole factory, Erlingsson’s film composer, Davíð Þór Jónsson, and two additional musicians are diegetically staged behind her drumming (and sousaphoning) along in support. This deadpan trio make recurring appearances each time Halla’s actions tend towards the illegal, sometimes even before she knows she’s in hot water. At least they’re visually charming harbingers. Halla appears to be a lone wolf but she finds support in a local farmer, as well as a choir member who happens to be high up in the government team on Halla’s tail. With all this already on her plate, she also learns that years after submitting her paperwork to adopt a child, the agencies have dropped their age limits and she’s the candidate to take on a daughter from the Ukraine. The additional prospect of motherhood also introduces a beautiful trio of female Ukrainian choir singers who, at the best of times in the film, join Jónsson’s instrumental trio to lovely effect.

Erlingsson doesn’t get too bogged down in the whys of Halla’s quest to save the planet she literally hugs at times because his biggest ally in this is his DP, Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson. The wide shots of the Icelandic countryside are breathtaking and stand in stark contrast to the industrialized locales that Halla is railing against. In some of the films stunning helicopter and drone chase sequences, the quick-thinking Halla could have easily been a goner but for the natural resources and shelters offered up by the countryside she so loves. And while the film’s core cast is small, Erlingsson takes many opportunities to touch upon what’s at stake here whether through background telecasts, school girls posing in support of The Mountain Woman’s manifesto, or a finale that hinges on a flood that’s more than likely influenced by climate change. Seeing all this and knowing that Halla had retired her hopes for motherhood before seeking a way to save the world for its own sake, for me, makes her a woman to root for.

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