“Cargo” Creators Discuss Their Australian Zombie Drama

The Australian-based zombie drama Cargo was released on cinemas down under this month and is currently streaming internationally on Netflix. It follows Andy (Martin Freeman, read his interview here) a father facing down a viral plague outbreak and journeying across the Australian wild to get his baby somewhere safe. Along the way he encounters both natural and human foes and joins forces with Thoomi (Simone Landers), a young indigenous girl who saw her own father taken by the virus. The film was based on a short that debuted at Australia’s Tropfest in 2013. I sat down with directors Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke as well as producer Kristina Ceyton (The Babadook) to discuss expanding their unique zombie take to a feature.

Lauren Damon: What made you approach a zombie film from this father-daughter angle?

Yolanda Ramke: I guess, I mean for us that really was sort of the heart of the short film— was this relationship between the father and the child. And I think we felt like with the response that the short got that that was the theme, like the vibe that was really resonating with people. So we knew that that was something that we wanted to hold on to in sort of a longer form story. And then it was just a case of you know, fleshing that out. And how do you expand that from a seven minute thing to a hundred minute thing? And then also yeah, how do you bring something kind of that you feel might at least have some element of freshness to it within that genre. For us, it was going Aussie and thinking about our culture.

LD: With such a populated genre, you know, “The Walking Dead” would have already been on a couple seasons when you made the short—do you watch other content out there or try to avoid it?

Ramke: Well I think when the short kind of came out, it was maybe the “Walking Dead” was in season 2?

Ben Howling: End of season two.

Ramke: So it was still sort of like at its zenith and it was—but yeah, we were keeping tabs definitely. I think it’s good to know what other projects are doing and just to make sure that you’re conscious of that. And pushing away from it where you can.

LD: Do any of you have small children that influenced this story at all?

Ramke: We don’t, no.
Howling:No. We have fathers though!
Ramke: We have parents!

LD: Parents who would combat zombies for you?

Ramke: [laughing] Yeah, exactly. That’s it. I think they would.

Kristina Ceyton: ‘Dad, can you carry me on your back?’
Howling: We’ve actually both got fathers who are kind of like engineers, mechanic engineer types, so I guess that kind—the ingenuity of that, we’d be fine—
Ramke: Yeah, I think we both think they probably could do something like that.

Cargo Directors Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke and producer, Kristina Ceyton

LD: Kristina, you also produced The Bababook which had that heavy mother-son theme front and center, was this project like a funny coincidence to go to a father-daughter?

Ceyton: It is. It’s funny, like initially I didn’t make that connection at all on that level because I just gravitated to the story and you know, was really moved by it. I think it is a genre movie that is surprisingly emotional and has a lot of deep layers about exactly the, you know, parent to child dynamic…but yeah, I suppose there’s parallels, but it’s a very different beast in this instance. I think it’s a lot less psychological and this is about survival and about transcending death. And I think what you would do, you know, the length you would go to to sacrifice yourself for love and family and also community on a more broader level. Yeah. I think it’s those things that really resonated.

LD: When expanding from short to feature, what was the decision making process like on how much more to reveal about the nature of this virus? Because the short was obviously very sparse on details.

Ramke: I think we were really interested in the idea of just throwing the audience in the middle of it. And just personally because we love films that do that. And that make the audience work a little bit to kind of put things together. And I think we just also felt within this genres, we’ve seen a lot of stories that were about finding the cure or that sort of thing and we just thought, ‘well that’s been done really well by other films.’ It just didn’t interest us to go there. I think we just thought, how can we carefully deal out bread crumbs and details for people to put the world together and work out what’s going on. And then just let them go on this journey with this father and this baby and this indigenous girl.

LD: Yeah, that indigenous element is very unique to this film, did you outreach to people in those communities to get their perspective?

Howling: Yeah, in script development, we brought a script consultant on, Jon Bell—who is an indigenous writer from back home and he was able to kind of walk us through. We had some ideas which we’d researched but then we’d discuss with him—‘is this feasible? Is this practical?’ Indigenous culture is very sensitive back home because you could never make a blanket statement like ‘everyone would behave like this.’ There’s all these micro-communities that have these different cultures and values and practices. So he was able to help us navigate those waters in terms of what would be the appropriate response. And then on top of that, just with his own experience. Talking about ways that you can use indigenous hunting techniques and things like that.

Ramke: And then from there, once we knew where we were shooting, which was South Australia, it was a case of conversing with local elders in those communities as well. Just to make sure that we were sort of tailoring things to that region. And giving them the script and making sure that they were comfortable with what was happening. Seeking formal permission to use language in the film. And just trying to basically approach it as respectfully as possible.

LD: How did you go about casting Thoomi?

Ramke: She was a find. Our casting director Nikki Barrett had put a call out. So that had gone to a load of very regional communities across Australia and we had kids filming themselves on their phones, having their parents like read the lines off camera in these very monotone voices. It was just super cute. And yeah, we got down to four girls who we did sort of a workshop with and we just felt like Simone from day one was sort of the standout. And yeah, she really killed it.

LD: How did you get in touch for casting Martin Freeman? Had he seen the short?

Ceyton: No he didn’t so we approached his agent. It was just basically the traditional way of approaching his agent and the initial response was ‘I don’t think that Martin likes genre films’ [laughs] But luckily he read the script and really loved it and fell in love also with the story of this dual kind of father-daughter relationship and survival. And I think for him, it was never really a ‘genre film.’ So luckily he was available at that time and just all the pieces fell into place.

LD: Did his casting change anything within the film seeing as he is basically THE whole film?

Ramke: It would have been just very small things. I think at the point that he had come on we were in the process of doing another draft anyway. So just subconsciously as a writer once you know who the actor is going to be and you’re familiar with their work, you can kind of hear their voice a little bit. So when you’re writing dialogue, there’s an element of writing it with that person in mind. But I think also once we knew that we were going to be casting a British actor, which is something we had hoped to do from quite an early on—that also informs some of the more thematic threads of the story, in terms of Australia’s colonial history. And that just absolutely put more meat on the bones I guess.

LD: Can you talk more about Australia’s past in terms of this story?

Ramke: Absolutely. Just in terms of Australia obviously being, a long way back, colonized by the British and there were a lot of ramifications that kind of linger. In terms of social issues and Australia has some work to do, I think, in terms of acknowledging that past. And you know, it hasn’t been handled in a way that some other nations like, I believe, Canada and New Zealand, where there are treaties with their indigenous people. It’s all been quite overlooked. So I think there is still a lot of collective pain that exists in indigenous Australia. And we just didn’t want to ignore that, I suppose. But we also didn’t want to get too preachy about it either. So it was something we could just let sit in the story, just by nature of being English and coming into contact with this indigenous—

LD: And him requiring their assistance.

Ramke: That’s right. That’s sort of like the reversal of the sort of historical context, I guess in a way.

LD: How did you go about developing the other Australians in the film? The human villains, who weren’t present in the short.

Howling: I think in early drafts we just explored a variety of like different antagonists. And then we just kind of blended them together into one kind of more fleshed-out three dimensional kind of person…It was nice to have somebody as a bit of a contrast to the indigenous response which was to go back to the land and traditional ways. And this is somebody who is very attached to western living and can’t let go of it. So it was just in terms of creating that, that split between the two of them and learning his motivation and fleshing it out from there.

LD: When you make a zombie-apocalypse film like this, do you find yourself considering what you would do in this worst-case scenario?

Ramke: Ohhhh…have you ever thought about what you’d actually do?
[laughter]
Howling: That makes you cocky…
Ramke: No, but I think ultimately it would always come back to family though. It would always be about ‘Are my family safe? How do I re-connect with my family?’ and make sure that we’re together if this was to go down.
Howling: But what if they’re already infected??
Ramke: [Gasps] Oh! Well I just can’t even deal with that idea, that would be heartbreaking.

LD: Your zombies are unique in that they’ve got a different design, this orange slime rather than regular blood and gore, what was the thought behind that?

Ramke: Yeah, we didn’t want to do the gory bloody thing. And I think that that just came from this approach that we tried to take to the whole film which was to just to try and keep it as sort of grounded as we could. And as subtle as we could. And that idea of that design aesthetic coming out of the natural environment. The idea that this sort of toxicity in the environment and that it sort of literally affecting the land and that is spreading to the people. So the influence for that was like tree sap was like a visual reference. That more organic kind of reference.

LD: Are you excited that this film with be hitting the Netflix audience?

Ramke: Yeah we are!

LD: Are you guys the Netflix binge-watch types, do you have favorites?

Howling: Yeah, definitely.
Ramke: I loved “The OA”. “The OA”, “Stranger Things”, I feel like there’s some other really great shows that I’m completely neglecting!
Howling: There’s really not much that I don’t binge on.
Ramke: Yeah, you’re a really good binge-er.
Howling: “Dark”, “Requiem”.
Ramke: “Requiem’s” cool, yeah.
Howling: Just recently, actually just the other day I smashed out “Lost in Space.”

LD: Do you have personal favorite zombie or horror films?

Ramke: Shaun of the Dead is my favorite zombie film, actually. But I think in terms of reference points for this film, oh my goodness, we were looking at more sci-fi stuff. So like Children of Men, District 9 and I guess The Road as well is sort of comparable.

Howling: And also Frank Darabont’s “The Walking Dead” season one was out. That’s what really kind of like ignited us back into the zombie thing…he only did season one. That was like a six-part, it’s very different to the rest.

You can watch Cargo now on Netflix.

 

Related Content

Ancient Aliens: 10th Anniversary Edition Gift Set arrives on DVD 6/12

Fans of the acclaimed HISTORY® series can finally take the first ten seasons home in this incredible 36-disc collection when Ancient Aliens®: 10th Anniversary Edition Gift Set arrives on DVD June 12 from Lionsgate. Just in time for the show’s 10th anniversary comes this massive gift set featuring all 135 episodes and over 100 hours of Ancient Aliens® content. The Ancient Aliens®: 10th Anniversary Edition Gift Set will be available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $99.98, a savings of almost 50% over buying each season individually.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

Since its premiere on HISTORY® a decade ago, Ancient Aliens® has enthralled millions of fans as it endeavors to seek out and evaluate evidence of extraterrestrial contact with humans. The epic series explores the ancient and unexplained — all in search of humankind’s origins and even the secrets of the universe. From the age of dinosaurs to the mysteries of ancient Egypt, from early cave drawings to present-day sightings and cover-ups, Ancient Aliens® takes viewers on a provocative, thought-provoking journey around the world and across the universe, beyond our wildest imagination. This comprehensive set includes all 135 episodes from the first 10 seasons of the landmark series.

Year of Production: 2010–2017
Title Copyright: Ancient Aliens © 2010–2017, Cover Art and Design © 2018 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Ancient Aliens, HISTORY, the “H” logo and A+E Networks are trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. Distributed by LIONSGATE® under license from A+E Networks.
Type: TV-on-DVD
Rating: TV-PG
Genre: Sci-fi
Closed-Captioned: Yes (varies per season)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, English SDH (varies per season)
Feature Run Time: 120 Hrs., 6 Mins.
DVD Format: Full Screen & Widescreen Presentation
DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital Audio

Martin Freeman on Carrying Netflix’s CARGO

Martin Freeman was last seen on screen this year providing comic support to Wakandans in the blockbuster Marvel smash, Black Panther but this Friday on Netflix, he jumps to the forefront of a very different sci-fi landscape in Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke’s Cargo. This fantastic zombie plague story sees Freeman playing Andy, the father of adorable baby Rosie, who is unfortunately bitten by zombies and is racing against the clock to carry Rosie to safety across the Australian outback.

Cargo made its stateside premiere last month at the Tribeca Film Festival, after which I got to speak with Martin by phone about working in the horror genre, and of course what tech he’d like to lift from Shuri’s lab!

Lauren Damon: Before the Tribeca premiere had you seen the film?

Martin Freeman: I had, yeah. But only a long time ago on a laptop.

LD: I imagine it was more effective with other people around…

MF: [laughs] Yeah, it went down very well actually, yeah. It was very well received. It was late and people need not hang around for questions but they did. I think it seemed very positive, yeah.

LD: With the film going to Netflix next, are you excited? Are you a big Netflix user yourself?

MF: I am a frequent Netflix user, yes, very much so. I think when you make a film initially, you always envision it having a theatrical release. But maybe generations now don’t envision that. But my generation envisions a theatrical release and it’s gets that in Australia. The rest of [the world] is on Netfilx, that platform, and you think ‘ok, well fair enough.’ But then you actually think it’s more than fair enough because way more people are going to see it on Netflix eventually than would do in a theatrical setting. Just the accessibility of it, the ease with which you could see the amount of things you could see, yeah, I’m more than happy about it.

LD: With Cargo filming mainly being outdoors and with your character carrying the baby everywhere, what was the hardest part about shooting?

MF: Probably just getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. That was pretty challenging. Holding babies on my back was kind of alright. Sort of felt like free gym work, really.

LD: So you lost weight by shooting the film?

MF: I probably did. I probably did. I ate sort of reasonably healthily…but yeah I was constantly carrying a backpack.

LD: I assume there were multiple babies to rotate through?

MF: Yeah, two sets of twins. One pair of twins turned out, quite quickly, to be the more amenable pair. And the other pair was used more for in sort of wide shots.

LD: When you’re acting in an apocalyptic film or a zombie film, do you start thinking about the choices your character is making and whether you’d agree with Andy?

MF: Yeah, I think he did everything he could really. Part of what makes it relatable for me is that his actions seem very human.

LD: Do you think about if a zombie plague broke out what you—as Martin—would do?

MF: I haven’t thought about that a lot, no. No, not a lot. I don’t really fear zombies…but when the shit really hits the fan, whatever form that’s gonna come in…No, I guess like everybody else I’d panic [laughs]. Most people just hole up…

LD: Meanwhile, you’ve also just appeared in Andy Nyman’s Ghost Stories. If you don’t fear zombies, what about ghosts and the supernatural?

MF: Not really. I mean I kind of…I’m open to belief in the supernatural if it can’t be empirically disproved or proved. But no, I haven’t ever seen a ghost. I’ve had, you know, the occasional spooky night. Once you hear something that goes bump or bang and you start making up your own narrative for it. And I’ve been rooted to the spot a few times on my stairs thinking ‘is that a ghost or is it a burglar?’ And fortunately it was neither.

LD: Do you have any favorite horror films or ghost stories?

MF: I don’t know if they count it as horror…The first one I saw as a young child was Psycho. So that was when I was about seven and that was—it really affected me a lot. That first experienced of being very very frightened.

LD: In some sequences of Ghost Stories you get to play sinister, which I’m not used to seeing you in that way, was it fun to go there?

MF: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. I loved it. It’s just always nice to lean into another part of your personality and be able to perform in a different way. Because I think as the film goes on and what I’m doing goes on, it was allowed to get a little more heightened and theatrical. You don’t always, in front of the camera, get the license to be that theatrical and that slightly camp. Your job in front of the camera is usually to be very real and not do any acting at all. Or at least that’s the job I give myself. But to do something a little bit more arch—you know, he becomes a function of the story then, as opposed to a three dimensional character. He becomes the function of the story to do something to Professor Goodman he has to have an effect on [him]. And I really enjoyed, yeah, just having to fuck with Andy Nyman. That was really good fun, yeah.

LD: Between Ghost Stories and Cargo, you undergo some pretty heavy makeup prosthetics, is that fun to get more into it? Or something more challenging?

MF: It is a bit of both, really. It is fun, because I’ve not done loads of it so it’s still—it doesn’t feel too much like the day job for me. It isn’t boring yet to do prosthetics. But yeah, the challenges are just the time it takes and the relative discomfort of it. Just there is a layer between you and the outside world that you’re not used to. There’s a layer between you and the other actors that you’re not used to. I guess with Cargo it was meant to be uncomfortable. And as I say, where we were filming at that time was quite hot…

LD: Yeah and then I imagine being under a bunch of zombie makeup in the hot sun…

MF: Yeah, just getting eaten by mosquitoes and I didn’t get on very well with the contact lenses. I didn’t get on very well with those [laughs]

LD: It looked good!

MF: Good. Yeah, then it’s for a good cause.

LD: Between Cargo and Ghost Stories, which order did you shoot them in? Was it close together?

MF: They were quite close together actually. Yeah, I shot Cargo first and then about a month later I shot Ghost Stories. The month after I came back from Australia, I went up to northern England and shot Ghost Stories.

LD: So you were in like horror genre mode.

MF: Kind of yeah, it sort of worked out like that. And of course it, you know, as far as the actor’s concerned, that’s never The Plan. Because you very rarely have any plan at all other than, you know, be able to pay the rent. It’s just what comes to you that you respond to for whatever reason and I’ve got pretty poor taste in what I like—what I like as a viewer. And what I like doing as an artist….I guess there’s more genre around now than there was twenty years ago. There’s more genre around now. And I’m still from the old school of ‘hey it’s the story’. It has be as story that I like. That I would like to participate in totally regardless of genre. I never give a single second thought to genre.

LD: Speaking of being able to pay the rent—congratulations on being in Black Panther, only the highest US grossing movie ever right now, that’s pretty exciting!

MF: Yeah. Yeah, very exciting.

LD: I am just a giant Marvel nerd, so I’m also wondering, if you could have any of the tech from Shuri’s lab in real life, what would you pick?

MF: Hmmm. Well…anything involving the black sand so it could move around and make shit. If you can picture it, if you can envision it, then the black sand would make it to be like that, that would be very helpful.

LD: What would you use it for?

MF: I’m not sure. Probably just furniture. I like the idea of that. Furniture and shoes.

LD: Just have a nice chair to sit on when you need it…

MF: Yeah, exactly. [laughs] A very nice chair.

Cargo starts streaming on Netflix on Friday May 18th

Black Panther was just released on digital and blu-ray

S’ Wonderful News! Iconic Musical AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Comes to Movie Theaters September 2018

Tickets on sale across the U.S. from July 12, 2018

May 2018: Trafalgar Releasing has announced the North American theatrical release of the highly acclaimed musical, An American in Paris, coming to movie theaters across the USA on Thursday, September 20 and Sunday, September 23.This new rendition of An American in Paris premiered in 2014 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to ecstatic reviews before transferring to the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it became the most awarded musical of the 2015/16 season, including four Tony® Awards. While the U.S touring production continues to see great success with performances booking until July 2018, theater enthusiasts across North America can now experience the magic of the hit Broadway Musical performance from London’s West End in their local movie theater this fall.

With the gorgeous music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin (including the classic hits ‘S Wonderful and I Got Rhythm), book by Craig Lucas and direction and choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, this breathtakingly beautiful new musical is inspired by the Oscar® winning MGM film and tells the impassioned story of discovering love in the ‘City of Light’ in 1945.

Jerry Mulligan is an American GI striving to make it as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility. Following a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love in the aftermath of war…

The film stars Tony Award nominees, New York City Ballet principle dancer Robert Fairchild as Jerry Mulligan and British Royal Ballet dancer Leanne Cope as Lise Dassin, reprising their roles from the original Broadway production and a company of over 50 actors, dancers and musicians including Haydn Oakley as Henri Baurel, Zoë Rainey as Milo Davenport, David Seadon-Young as Adam Hochberg and Jane Asher as Madame Baurel.

The company also features Julian Forsyth and Ashley Andrews, Sophie Apollonia, Zoe Arshamian, Sarah Bakker, James Barton, Alicia Beck, Chrissy Brooke, James Butcher, Jonathan Caguioa, Jennifer Davison, Katie Deacon, Rebecca Fennelly, Sebastian Goffin, Alyn Hawke, Nicky Henshall, Genevieve Heron, Amy Hollins, Frankie Jenna, Justin-Lee Jones, Robin Kent, Kristen McGarrity, Julia J. Nagle, Daniela Norman, Aaron Smyth, Todd Talbot, Max Westwell, Jack Wilcox, Carrie Willis, Stuart Winter and Liam Wrate.

“An old-fashioned, big-hearted, spare-no-expense Broadway romance”
~ THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
.
An American in Paris is directed and choreographed by the internationally renowned, British-born Christopher Wheeldon, recipient of the Tony® Award 2015: Best Choreographer for this production. An Artistic Associate of the Royal Ballet, Wheeldon received an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours ‘for services to promoting the interests and reputation of British classical and theatrical dance worldwide’. The set and costumes are designed by the celebrated West End and Broadway designer Bob Crowley (The Audience; Mary Poppins) with projections by the prominent British designers 59 Productions (War Horse; London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony), lighting by Natasha Katz and sound by Jon Weston.The musical score is adapted, arranged and supervised by Rob Fisher with orchestrations by Christopher Austin and Bill Elliott; dance arrangements by Sam Davis; musical supervision by Todd Ellison; and musical direction by John Rigby.

Tickets for An America in Paris will be on sale starting Thursday, July 12 and can be purchased at AnAmericanInParisCinema.com.

For information regarding the National Tour please visit AnAmericanInParisBroadway.com.

Bruce Crawford bringing “ALIEN” to Omaha

“In Space No One Can Hear You Scream”

But they sure will in Omaha.  Film historian Bruce Crawford has announced that the film to be presented at his 42nd Tribute to Classic Films will be the 1979 thriller ALIEN.

The film will be screened on Friday, May 25th. 2018 at 7:00 pm at the beautiful Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge Street, Omaha, Nebraska.  The screening’s special guest will be actress Veronica Cartwright who played navigation officer Lambert in the film.  This is the 26th year that Crawford has hosted film legends and the classic films they worked on.

ALIEN has become one of the most popular science fiction thrillers in cinema history and has spawned seven sequels/crossover films in the past four decades. Miss Cartwright will speak before the screening and share stories about the making of this iconic film. There will also be a meet and greet and autograph session for fans after the screening. .Tickets to see the film and hear/meet Miss Cartwright are $24 and can be purchased at the customer service counters of all Omaha-area Hy Vee food stores and go on sale Wednesday, April 26th. For more information call (402) 932-7200

 Proceeds will benefit the Nebraska Kidney Association. 

RLJE Films Acquires “Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich”

 

RLJE Films to Release the Reimagining of the Franchise Classic in August 2018 Following its World Premiere at The Overlook Film Festival

LOS ANGELES, April 23, 2018 – RLJE Films, a brand of RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE), has acquired all North American rights to highly anticipated horror movie Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.  The reimagining of the Full Moon Features cult classic stars Thomas Lennon (TV’s “Reno 911!”), Jenny Pellicer (TV’s “Cocaine Godmother”), Nelson Franklin (TV’s “Veep”), Charlyne Yi (This is 40), Michael Pare (Eddie and the Cruisers), and Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator).  The iconic Udo Kier (Brawl in Cell Block 99) stars as the titular character.  Written by S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk) and directed by Sonny Laguna (We Are Monsters) and Tommy Wiklund (Wither), RLJE Films plans to release the movie in theaters in August 2018.

Dallas Sonnier and Amanda Presmyk produced Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich for Cinestate, the Texas-based entertainment company that recently acquired Fangoria magazine.  This shall be the first feature released under the resurrected Fangoria label.  Sonnier and Zahler courted original franchise creator Charles Band for the right to produce an all new take on the idea, with Band serving as Executive Producer.

“We are incredibly excited to be able to bring the first film under the new Fangoria brand to audiences this summer,” said RLJE Films’ Chief Acquisitions Officer Mark Ward. “With an amazing script from S. Craig Zahler and performances from horror legends Barbara Crampton and Udo Kier, we know Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich will thrill fans of the original films and new audiences alike.”

In Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, recently divorced and reeling, Edgar (Lennon) returns to his childhood home to regroup his life. When Edgar finds a nefarious looking puppet in his deceased brother’s room, he decides to sell the doll for some quick cash at a small-town convention celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the infamous Toulon Murders. Girl-next-door Ashley (Pellicer) and his comic book shop boss, Markowitz (Franklin), join Edgar for the doomed road trip. All hell breaks loose when a strange force animates the puppets at the convention, setting them on a bloody killing spree that’s motivated by an evil as old as time. 

In addition to the talented cast and filmmakers involved in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, the legendary Fabio Frizzi (Zombi 2, The Beyond) composed the score for the movie and two-time finalist of Syfy’s FACE-OFF, Tate Steinsiek, served as puppet creator/SFX artist.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich maintains all of the brutally inventive puppet kills infused with the comedic tendencies that made the original franchise so popular with fans, while expanding upon Toulon’s backstory and developing richer dialogue, characters, and narratives.

The original Puppet Master is an American horror movie franchise that focuses on a group of anthropomorphic puppets, each equipped with their own unique and dangerous device. Produced by Band and his Full Moon Features label, the series was established in 1989 with the eponymous first installment, which has since been followed by numerous sequels, comic books, collector’s items and toys.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich was also produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura (1492) and Mark Vahradian (Transformers).  It was executive produced by Adam Donaghey (A Ghost Story), Johnathan Brownlee (The Incident at Sparrow Creek Lumber), Wayne Marc Godfrey (The Foreigner), Robert Jones (The Usual Suspects), Rick Prince (Enuattii) and Red Sanders (A Bad Idea Gone Wrong).  Frequent Laguna & Wiklund partner David Liljeblad also produced.

Ward and Jess De Leo from RLJE negotiated the deal with Sonnier on behalf of Cinestate.

# # #

ABOUT RLJ ENTERTAINMENT

RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) 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 co-produces and develops new programs and owns 64% of Agatha Christie Limited.

For more information, please visit RLJEntertainment.com, Acorn.tv, and UMC.tv.

 

RLJE Films’ new and upcoming features include Brawl in Cell Block 99 starring Vince Vaughn and written & directed by S. Craig Zahler, I Kill Giants with Zoe Saldana and Madison Wolfe, and Terminal starring Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg and Mike Myers.   www.us.rljentertainment.com.

 

Behold the Second Coming, as the Merc with a Mouth delivers New Trailer For The Highly Anticipated “DeadPool 2”

Behold the Second Coming, as the Merc with a Mouth delivers unto you a new trailer for the highly anticipated DEADPOOL 2 from 20th Century Fox!

Watch The Trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D86RtevtfrA 

After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.

DEADPOOL 2 Official Channels
Website: Deadpool.com
Facebook: facebook.com/DeadpoolMovie/
Twitter: twitter.com/DeadpoolMovie/
Instagram: instagram.com/DeadpoolMovie/
#Deadpool

Film Review – “The Death of Stalin”

THE DEATH OF STALIN
Starring:  Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin, Andrea Risebourough, Rupert Friend and Jason Isaacs
Directed by:  Armando Iannucci
Rated:  R
Running time:  106 mins.

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In the Soviet loop. Armando Iannucci brings his breakneck quips and futile power plays to Stalin’s final days in The Death of Stalin, a darkly hilarious take on a moment in history handled by a collection of top notch actors.

In 1953 Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) sits atop a well oiled oppression machine. He doles out hit lists to his gulags on a daily basis and even among his closest confidants he wields terrifying power. Steve Buscemi’s sycophantic Khrushchev takes personal notes on what jokes bombed in his company so as not to repeat his mistakes. Inconveniently Khrushchev and company find their leader face down and on death’s door in a puddle of his own piss. With no official recourse for succession, the jockeying for power—and chewing of the considerable scenery—begins.

Filling out this Stalin’s cabinet with Buscemi is a dream team lineup of Simon Russell Beale, Michael Palin (my favorite Python!), Jeffrey Tambor and Jason Isaacs. To Iannucci’s credit none of the actors in this film are asked to adopt any sort of Russian or even any shared accent which only adds to the air of chaos in the party and likely is what frees up these actors to stay absolutely focused on the script’s fast and fierce comic timing. Additionally just when you’re getting the rhythm of this first set of yes-men, Andrea Riseborough and Rupert Friend are imported in as Stalin’s wayward offspring to inject even more manic energy into the proceedings. Friend in particular is a revelation as Vasily, a bellowing drunkard who arrives landing insults with surgical precision and more often than not, departs by being wrestled physically from the frame.

I had some hesitation going into this film being pretty much unaware of the specifics of this moment in history and wondered whether that would impact my experience however this turned out not to be the case. The themes of absolute power corrupting absolutely and the pettiness of men are always ripe for political farce especially from the likes of the man behind “Veep” and this spectacular cast.

“GET OUT” chosen the Best Film of 2017 by Media Mikes readers.

After tabulating the votes from more than 3,000 entries, “Get Out,” writer/director Jordan Peele’s debut feature, was chosen the Best Film of 2017 by the readers and staff of Media Mikes.   The film also nabbed Peele the award for Best Original Screenplay.

 

Director Guillermo del Toro was chosen the year’s Best Director for his film “The Shape of Water.”       

 

In the acting categories, James Franco was selected as Best Actor for his role in “The Disaster Artist” while Frances McDormand was chosen Best Actress for her performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the supporting categories, Sam Rockwell was named Best Supporting Actor for “Three Billboards” while Allison Janney was named Best Supporting Actress for “I, Tonya.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Coco” was chosen the year’s Best Animated Feature.

 

“Call Me By Your Name” was recognized for it’s Best Adapted  Screenplay.  Benjamin Wallfisch was named Composer of the Year for his work on “IT” and “Bladerunner 2049.”

Awesome Drew Struzan Inspired Poster Released for “Ready Player One”, in theaters March 29.

An adventure too big for the real world. #ReadyPlayerOne in theaters March 29.

FACEBOOK (@ReadyPlayerOne) | https://www.facebook.com/readyplayerone/

TWITTER (@ReadyPlayerOne) | https://twitter.com/readyplayerone

INSTAGRAM (@ReadyPlayerOne) | https://www.instagram.com/readyplayerone/

 

 From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon.

The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse.  But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance).  When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world.  When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.

Three-time Oscar winner Spielberg (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan”) directed the film from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline.  “Ready Player One” was produced by Donald De Line, Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Dan Farah; with Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris deFaria and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.

“Ready Player One” stars Tye Sheridan (“X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Mud”), Olivia Cooke (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” “Bates Motel”), Ben Mendelsohn (“Rogue One – A Star Wars Story,” “Bloodline”) and T.J. Miller (“Deadpool,” “Silicon Valley”), with Simon Pegg (the “Star Trek” movies, the “Mission: Impossible” movies) and Oscar winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” “Dunkirk”).

Behind the scenes, Spielberg reunited his creative team from “Bridge of Spies,” including Oscar-winning director of photography Janusz Kaminski (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan”), Oscar-winning production designer Adam Stockhausen (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Oscar-winning editor Michael Kahn (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark”) and Sarah Broshar (“The Post”), and costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone (“Moonrise Kingdom”).  The music is by Oscar-nominated composer Alan Silvestri (the “Back to the Future” films, “Forrest Gump”).

Warner Bros. Pictures and Amblin Entertainment present, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, an Amblin Production, a De Line Pictures Production, a Steven Spielberg Film, “Ready Player One.”

Slated for release beginning Thursday, March 29, 2018, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

THE SHAPE OF WATER Dominates 90th Annual Academy Award Nominations

 

The Shape of Water, director Guillermo det Toro’s “fish out of water” love story, led all nominees when the nominations for the 90th Annual Academy Awards were announced this morning, receiving thirteen, including Best Picture and both Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for del Toro.

 

Other films with many nominations include Dunkirk (8),  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (7), Phantom Thread (6) and Lady Bird (5).  All of those films were nominated in the
Best Picture category.  Other Best Picture nominees:  Call Me by Your Name, Darkest Hour, Get Out and The Post.

 

Director Christopher Nolan finally earned his first nomination in the Best Director category for his work on Dunkirk.  Joining him are del Toro, Jordan Peele (Get Out), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
and Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread).

 

Best Actor nominees are Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) and Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq).  Missing from this list, in my opinion, is James Franco, whose work in The Disaster Artist, was nothing short of brilliant.

 

For Best Supporting Actor, the nominees are Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) and Sam
Rockwell (Three Billboards).  This is Rockwell’s first nomination.  All of the other actors in this category have been nominated before, with Plummer winning the award for Beginners.  If he wins, I’m curious if Plummer will thank Kevin Spacey, who he replaced in the film.

 

Best Actress nods went to Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) and Meryl Streep (The Post). Amazingly, this is Streep’s 20th Academy Award nomination, giving her eight more than 2nd place legends Katherine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson.

 

Best Supporting Actress nominees are Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) and Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water). Again, in my opinion, this list is missing Holly Hunter, who was so good in The Big Sick.

 

Speaking of multiple nominations, congratulations to composer John Williams, who earned his 51st nomination for his score for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

 

For a complete list of nominations, click HERE

 

The 90th Annual Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 4th

OSCAR images copyright AMPAAS

Pick the Winners of the 2017 Media Mikes Awards and Win Some Swag!

Hello 2018.  Which means it’s time to say goodbye to the films and performances we loved in 2017.  And once again, the readers of MediaMikes.com will have the opportunity to choose the winners of the 2017 Media Mikes Awards.

All you have to do is let us know your pick as the Best in each of the following categories:  Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Animated Feature.  You can leave your nominees in the comments below or send them HERE

All nominations will be totaled up and the winners announced on Monday, February 12th.  (5) random entries, either on this post or via email, will be selected and will receive a selection of 2017 movie swag.  Balloting runs through 6:00 pm CST on Sunday, February 11, 2017.  Thanks for voting!

GET OUT and CALL ME BY YOUR NAME Dominate the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards

 

GET OUT, writer/director Jordan Peele’s darkly funny horror film and CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, the story of a young boy who meets a visiting American while on vacation with his family, took home the lion’s share of prizes as the Kansas City Film Critics Circle handed out their 52nd Annual James Loutzenhizer Awards for the best in film for 2017.  Media Mikes writers Mike Smith and Jeremy Werner are members of the group.
GET OUT took home the prize as the Best Film of 2017.  In addition, Jordan Peele won for his Original Screenplay and the film was also named the winner of the Vince Koehler Award as the year’s best Science Fiction/Horror/Fantasy film.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME earned recognition for Timothée Chalamet, who was named Best Actor as well as for it’s Adapted Screenplay, written by James Ivory (based on the novel by Andre Aciman).  The film also received the groups Dr. Tom Poe Award as the year’s best LBGT film.  The film shared the Adapted Screenplay award with LOGAN, written by Scott Frank, Michael Green and James Mangold, based on the popular Marvel Comics character.
Guillermo del Toro was named winner of the Robert Altman Award as the year’s Best Director for THE SHAPE OF WATER,  which also won the Best Actress award for Sally Hawkins.
The Kansas City Film Critics Circle is the second oldest film critics group in the country, founded in 1967 by Dr. James Loutzenhizer.  The group’s annual awards were named for Dr. Loutzenhizer after his passing in November 2001.
Here is a complete list of winners:
BEST FILM –  GET OUT
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR – Guillermo det Toro, THE SHAPE OF WATER
BEST ACTOR –    Timothée Chalamet – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR –  Willem Dafoe – THE FLORIDA PROJECT
BEST ACTRESS –  Sally Hawkins – THE SHAPE OF WATER
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Laurie Metcalf – LADY BIRD
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY –  Jordan Peele – GET OUT
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY –  James Ivory – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME/Scott Frank, Michael Green and James Mangold – LOGAN
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE –  COCO
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM –  IN THE FADE (Germany)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE –  JANE
VINCE KOEHLER AWARD –  GET OUT
DR. TOM POE AWARD –  CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Shout Factory Release “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” on Blu-Ray and DVD

The Documentary “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”
Out Now on Blu-Ray and DVD
From Shout! Factory

The November 13, 2015 terrorist attack in Paris claimed 130 lives around the city – 89 of them at the Eagles of Death Metal’s Bataclan Theatre concert.

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) spotlights the American rock band as they recount their experiences before and after the tragic events. The film explores the deep bonds between band co-founders Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme (also a member of Queens of the Stone Age), as well as the intense connection the band has always had with its devoted fans, which moved them to return to Paris to perform once again in February 2016.

Directed by Colin Hanks, Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) includes accounts of fans who survived the Bataclan attack, extensive behind-the-scenes footage of the band, and interviews with Bono and The Edge of U2 … and serves as a portrait of resilience in the face of unspeakable horror and a life-affirming coda to the events of November 13.

To Purchase the film click here: Shout! Factory

To read our review of the film click here

Bring on the Popcorn, and Make it a LOL Kids Movie Night! The Emoji Movie includes the original Hotel Transylvania Short “Puppy!”

Available on Digital October 10 and On 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack, Blu-ray + Digital, & DVD on October 24

CULVER CITY, Calif. (September 12, 2017) – Be the movie night hero and bring home the film that kids give two thumbs up to for the ultimate kid’s movie night! It’s time to express yourself when Sony Pictures Animation’s THE EMOJI MOVIE arrives for the first time on Digital on October 10 and on 4K Ultra HD+ Blu-ray + Digital, Blu-ray + Digital and DVD October 24 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The animated comedy unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene (T.J. Miller), an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris). Together, they embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever.

THE EMOJI MOVIE features an all-star voice cast including T.J. Miller (How To Train Your Dragon) as Gene Meh, James Corden (“Late Late Show with James Corden”) as Hi-5, Anna Faris (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) as Jailbreak, Maya Rudolph (Big Hero 6) as Smiler, Steven Wright (Louie) as Mel Meh, Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, Legally Blonde) as Mary Meh, Jake T. Austin (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) as phone owner Alex, Grammy® Award Winner Christina Aguilera as Akiko Glitter, Emmy® Award Nominee Sofia Vergara (The Smurfs) as Flamenca, Rachael Ray (“Rachael Ray”) as Spam, Emmy® Award Winner Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”) as “Devil” Steven, and Emmy® Award Nominee Sir Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek: The Next Generation) as Poop.

THE EMOJI MOVIE is filled with interactive bonus materials on the Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, DVD and digital releases that are fun for the entire family to enjoy including the “Good Vibrations” Dance Along and Lyric Video, where you can join along in the dance party. Learn about the amazing dance moves from the film’s celebrity choreographer in “Choreographing Emoji with Matt Steffanina.” Get creative with step-by-step tutorials on how to draw your favorite Emoji’s with two “how to” videos. Go behind-the-scenes of a real-life coding school with the “Girls Who Code” featurette, and get to know everything about the all-star cast in “Express Yourself: Meet the Cast.” Fans will also get to unveil more of the story behind their beloved character in “Jailbreak Decoded: The Untold Story.” Additional featurettes include “Creating the World Inside Your Phone,” “Bringing Emoji’s to Life,” and the very exciting “Puppy! An Original Hotel Transylvania Short.”

In addition to extra content above, exclusive to Blu-ray, fans of all ages will be able to give it their best shot at the “Gimme a Hand! Guess the Emoji Game,” where Hi-5 and Smiler give you clues to help you guess the mystery Emojis. You will also have the chance to get creative with your Halloween Trick-Or-Treat candy with “Sweet App-etite: Make Your Own Candy Crush Inspired Saga Cake.”

THE EMOJI MOVIE is directed by Tony Leondis, with screenplay by Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel and Mike White and story by Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel. The film is produced by Sony Pictures Animation, with Michelle Raimo Kouyate serving as the producer.

DVD and Digital Bonus Materials Include: 
• Director & Animators Commentary
Puppy! An Original Hotel Transylvania Short
• Jailbreak Decoded: The Untold Story
• “Good Vibrations” Dance Along
• “Good Vibrations” Lyric Video
• Express Yourself: Meet The Cast
• Girls Can Code!
• Choreographing Emoji With Matt Steffanina
• Creating the World Inside Your Phone
• Bringing Emojis to Life
• How To Draw Poop
• How To Draw Gene

Blu-ray Exclusive Bonus Materials Include:
Everything listed above, plus:
Gimme a Hand! Guess the Emoji Game
• Sweet App-etite: Make Your Own Candy Crush Inspired Saga Cake

THE EMOJI MOVIE has a run time of approximately 91 minutes and is rated PG: for Rude Humor.

ABOUT SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.

ABOUT SONY PICTURES ANIMATION
Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated and family entertainment for audiences around the world. The studio is following its worldwide comedy hits—the record-breaking monster comedies Hotel Transylvania and Hotel Transylvania 2, the hybrid live action/animated blockbusters The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2, and the mouth-watering Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movies—with the fully animated reboot Smurfs: The Lost Village available on digital and Blu-ray now; a surprising and comic take at the secret world inside our phones with The Emoji Movie in July 2017; the inspirational The Star in November 2017; Hotel Transylvania 3 in July 2018; and an animated Spider-Man feature from the minds of directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord in December 2018. The studio, in conjunction with Aardman Animations, has produced two critically acclaimed feature films: the CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas; and the Academy Award® nominated stop-frame animated high-seas adventure, The Pirates! Band of Misfits. In 2007, Surf’s Up also received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film; a sequel entitled Surf’s Up 2: WaveMania is now available on digital and DVD. The division, whose first feature film Open Season led to a very successful movie franchise including the brand new Open Season: Scared Sillynow available on digital, DVD and Blu-ray, was founded in 2002. Sony Pictures Animation is a division of the Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group.

Copyright: MediaMikes.com © 2017 · Powered by: nGeneYes, Inc. · Login

All logos and images used on this website are registered trademarks of their respective companies. All Rights Reserved. Some of the content presented on our sites has been provided by contributors, other unofficial websites or online news sources, and is the sole responsibility of the source from which it was obtained. MediaMikes.com is not liable for inaccuracies, errors, or omissions found herein. For removal of copyrighted images, trademarks, or other issues, Contact Us.