Interview: ‘Bushwick’ Actress Angelic Zambrana

The action adventure film Bushwick hits theaters on August 25. The film stars Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow and Angelic Zambrana. I had a chance to speak to Angelic prior to the release of the film. We discussed the making of the film and the shooting locations. Angelic talked about her friendship with Bautista, as well as her approach to characters she plays. All that and more. You can check out the following interview excerpts and listen to the entirety of it below.

RT: What drew her to the film:

Angelic: We shot this in 2015 and the story concept was thought of before that. I thought Bushwick and American Civil War, this is different. I thought it was unique and different and I was hoping they would go with me. 

RT: What drew her to the role of Belinda:

Angelic: The character of Belinda reminded me of a friend of mine in the good parts of her. She doesn’t have a filter in her emotions and thinking of her of how special and funny she is gave me permission. I used her to step-in for my audition and to be present in the moment. 

RT: You seem to have a flare for playing New Yorker’s, what appeals to you about these characters:

Angelic: Yeah, I am a New Yorker and I’m such a keen observer. I know what the accents are from the old time New York and different periods and different boroughs have different accents. I’m surrounded by true New York characters, that’s why Belinda was inspired by someone. I like them and I’m surrounded by these unique intense New York characters.

MY TAKE:

Angelic is one of the bubbliest and excited people I’ve ever interviewed (that was all on through the phone!). It’s addictive to hear someone so joyous and engaged in the interview and speaking about the film. I’d liken that to someone on a first day of their dream job, seems like Angelic is living many of those first days on a dream job, which is wonderful.

It’s cool to hear that the film was shot on location in Bushwick, NY. I could definitely envision people thinking bombs were going off and something wrong was happening when they used smoke bombs on set. The film definitely has that authentic feel to it. CGI couldn’t do justice to that.

One of the coolest things was hearing how Dave Bautista helped her volunteer in a soup kitchen. She really raved about Bautista. It’s nice to hear stars give back and be good genuine people off-camera. Angelic definitely also seems to be that kind of a person, just check out her Instagram page angeliczambranafanafofanna (for real).

This was one of those interviews that left me with a smile on my face afterwards. I’m excited to follow Angelic’s career, certainly with that personality it will be an easy draw for casting directors. The film itself is unique and compelling. I urge you to check it out.

‘Bushwick’ is out in theaters and VOD on August 25

You can also follow me on Twitter @TheJimAlexander 

Movie Review: The Only Living Boy in New York

Going into it I had little expectation or idea of what this movie was going to be like. Coming out of it, I feel I saw one of the best movies of the year. The Amazing Spider-Man films, 500 Days of Summer and this years Gifted, director Marc Webb brings The Only Living Boy in New York to life. Time to delve straight into what makes this movie a must-see.

WHAT’S THIS MOVIE ABOUT:

Where do I start?! The film has many moving parts and characters that contribute to the twists and turns in the plot. Try to follow me on this. Callum Turner plays a college aged guy named Thomas Webb (is that a wink and nod from the director?) who is smitten with a girl named Mimi (Kiersey Clemons) who may or may not be into him, but definitely has a boyfriend. At home there are marital issues between his parents. The mother Judith (Cynthia Nixon) is on the edge of a breakdown and his fancy publisher father Ethan (Pierce Brosnan) is interested in anything but his wife, while discouraging Thomas from pursuing his passion for writing. Meanwhile, Thomas has an odd, yet, interesting new neighbor that’s played by Jeff Bridges, that befriends him.

Things get spicy quickly when Thomas catches his father cheating with a stunning lady named Johanna (Kate Backinsale) that becomes the eye of Thomas’ affection. Needless to say there is a lot going on, but that’s not even touching on half of what’s to come.

maxresdefault (20)

HOW DID THE ACTORS DO:

The casting and acting is outstanding. I couldn’t see many others playing the parts that were individually cast. Turner has this charming nerdy and confident thing going for him. One moment he seems like “aww shucks” out on his luck kinda guy, next moment he’s a ladies man and you’d think that he is the James Bond in this movie, not Brosnan, an actual former Bond. Either way, you can’t help but root for the character.

Brosnan fits his role great. He plays the stern and disappointed father, that appears to be emotionally unavailable for his family. He definitely turns on the playboy charmer side when Ethan is on-screen with Johanna.

Beckinsale surprised me. I must have seen her in too many Underworld movies lately and got used to her just kicking ass, but she really turns on the heat. Her character is sexy and seductive, but possesses this cunning wisdom and knowledge. Not to mention the aura of mysteriousness she presents. She’s the ideal slick and sexually charged mistress type.

Not to be omitted, Jeff Bridges, the MVP of the film. I’m hit or miss on Bridges. He’s a phenomenal actor, but his roles get too cliche. In this movie that’s not the issue. His character drives the story and serves as a perfect kind of GPS narrator guide. While all the characters have a certain amount of mystery to them, none are as subtly mysterious as his.

The Only Living Boy in New York

HOW DID THE MOVIE LOOK AND SOUND:

It looked and sounded like New York. There is no doubt that this movie was shot throughout NYC, I mean it’s in the title of the movie after all. The look, the feel, the sounds are all tied into the locations that are featured. There is a scene where Thomas and Mimi are having an argument outside in a downpour until a taxi comes and whisks her away, for some reason that moment felt so New York to me. When you see it all, you’ll understand. As far as the look and sounds, this movie is spot on, as if you were tracking a daily life of someone living in New York.

WAS IT ENTERTAINING:

You bet it was. The beginning starts off a bit slow actually, but that’s done to properly introduce the characters and their objectives. If you can stick around after 15 minutes then things start moving, and once they are moving they don’t stop. I was definitely surprised by all the twists, turns and reveals. Best way to describe it is that seeds are planted from the start of the movie and it’s all about following the clues and focusing on the needs and desires of the characters. Once you’re engaged, you’re all in. This isn’t one of those movies that needs to fight for your attention, the script writes itself and you’d be hard pressed not to want to follow. Webb does an outstanding job of keeping things simple and focusing on the characters.

IS IT WORTH SEEING:

PROS

No doubt. One of the best movies of 2017. It’s one of these dramas that delivers across the board with the writing, directing and the acting. It has a smart and well developed plot that’s seamlessly executed among the web (no pub intended) of occurrences. This is a movie about people. It addresses our individual emotional and physical desires and needs in life. While Thomas’ narrative suggests a coming-of-age story, it’s really everyone in the movie that is growing and learning about their desires in life. That’s what makes this film relatable to many people, even if it’s in the slightest of ways. It touches on the inner thoughts and feelings that people have, yet, don’t disclose or act upon. The least of things you need to do is miss The Only Living Boy in New York.

CONS

Aside from the slow start of the movie that leaves you trying to figure out the characters a bit, there are no real cons to this film. Just go see it.

  • Movie Rating: R  
  • Runtime: 1 hr 28 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: August 11, 2017 (August 18 in Chicago and remaining cities)

‘THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK’ SCORE: 95% (MUST-SEE MOVIE) 

You can follow me on Twitter @TheJimAlexander & @TheReelTalker

Interview: ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ Directors Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen

Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth has a sequel. Unfortunately for us the weather is getting worse, but the movie sequel is just as educational and important, if not more, than the first. An Inconvenient Sequel’s filmmakers Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen stopped in Chicago on their press tour and I had a chance to speak to them. Joining me in the interview are Chicago film critics Jon Espino of The Young Folks and Pat McDonald of Hollywood Chicago. Two very good journalists that I enjoy interacting with. We were all part of the roundtable with Jon and Bonni and the following is what was discussed about the film, global warming and Al Gore. Check it out below:

“I question this all the time, having spent two years with Al Gore, is the work potentially more vital that he’s doing now than he could have done as president? It’s a better question to ask if he hadn’t done it, would anyone else have and where would we be?” — Bonni Cohen

MY TAKE:

I never know what the folks I interview will be like when I meet them, but I always tend to have an idea or image that sort of comes about before I meet them, even for a fleeting moment. In Jon and Bonni’s case, they were fairly similar what I imagined them to be. They were intelligent, well-spoken, thoughtful and conversational. These are the sort of people you are drawn to listen to and hear talk about their experience and expertise. I found them to be that way.

I felt we all had solid questions for them. I liked how Jon snuck in a Star Wars mention, Jon directed Star Wars: Episodes 1 & 2, although there wasn’t much of an acknowledgement to Jon’s statement, oops. Someone was gonna bring it up and Jon was the one. I think the answer that might have surprised us most was that Jon and Bonni were married. None of us had any idea! They were so professional that you couldn’t tell. The content in movie wasn’t as surprising given the reality of the climate change, but them being a real life couple might have been the biggest reveal of the day. I wanted to follow-up and ask them how they manage to be on the road for two years with Gore and bring this film together, all while having two teenage kids to tend to. Can’t be easy.

As far as the movie itself, it’s great. One of those must-see documentaries that impacts EVERYONE on this planet. Global warming is a real problem, just look out the window and step outside and you’ll notice. The film clocks in at 98 minutes, but you’d never know due to the engaging effect it has. It draws you in and doesn’t let go.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power is out now in theaters in Chicago and nationwide. Check your local listings.

You can follow me on Twitter @JimRko and @TheReelTalker

Interview: ‘Pilgrimage’ Director Brendan Muldowney Discusses The Film

Pilgrimage (in theaters & VOD on August 11) tells the story of a group of monks on a journey to Rome in order to deliver a holy monastery relic. The film stars Tom Holland, Jon Bernthal and Richard Armitage. I had an opportunity to talk to the director of the film, Mr. Brendan Muldowney. In my interview Brendan discusses the weather troubles the production encountered during filming, he talks about the three lead actors Holland, Bernthal and Armitage, and he shares with me his former unique hobby, which is quite shocking when you hear it. An excerpt of the interview and the full audio can be found below:

“Tom Holland, who I’ve seen in ‘The Impossible’ and ‘How I Live Now’, he wasn’t Spider-Man, Tom was the first one on. I saw him in those films and I thought he was brilliant. Thought there was a great truthfulness to him, that’s what I was looking for.” — Brendan Muldowney

MY TAKE:

When it came to the weather I expected to hear that it played in naturally to the film. The answer I received was the opposite. Apparently, there was a heat wave while they were shooting and those cool gloomy dark shades of the skies in the background were computer digitized and enhanced.

I really liked the fact that Brendan didn’t give a copout answer when talking about what attracts him to films, good stories being that answer. Brendan’s answer was cult movies. That’s really cool and interesting to hear. I enjoy finding out quirks or special interests of the folks I get to interview. When I asked Brendan this question, he told me he used to canoe for Ireland. I think that’s just badass and so unique. This is the kinda stuff I get a kick out of hearing and would like my readers to know about.

Pilgrimage releases in Theaters, Digital HD and VOD on August 11, 2017

You can follow me on Twitter @JimRko and @TheReelTalker

Interview: ‘The Gracefield Incident’ Director Mathieu Ratthe

The Gracefield Incident is a fun and intriguing indie horror film that’s out now. I spoke to the film’s writer/director and star Mathieu Ratthe. Mathieu discusses the concept of the film. The challenges that he faced filming and he answers why we don’t see the monster earlier in the film. All that and more. Here is an excerpt from the interview and the full audio below:

“We shot this film in 13 days, so fast, really fast. I was like how are we gonna do this? So that’s how the conceptual idea of the eye came in. It wasn’t in the script in the first draft. I wasn’t going to be able to do any camera set-up or anything so I was like, alright, I was going to have to put the camera on my shoulder.”  —  Mathieu Ratthe

MY TAKE:

Mathieu is an interesting guy to talk to. He exudes passion for filmmaking. I was surprised to hear a few things he had mentioned. First was that the film shot in 13 days. Even if you aren’t in the know about filmmaking, that sure is fast, or short amount of time to make a film. He started shooting movies since he was 10-years-old, this month marks his 25 year doing this, that’s impressive. I’m amazed that you can become a successful filmmaker without film school, which Ratthe didn’t attend.

I loved the fact that he told me that the reason you don’t see the monster in the film is because he didn’t have the funds to put in in earlier and feature it more in the film. I liked his honesty. I enjoy when filmmakers tell me about stories from the set, in Mathieu’s case, one of them being him switching between the acting and directing which lead him to keep the hat on-screen and even speaking in a different language to the actors.

I enjoyed The Gracefield Incident. You should give it a try. It’s simply in context, but rich on execution and presentation.

‘The Gracefield Incident’ is out and available now in select theaters, Digital HD and On Demand

You can follow me on Twitter @JimRko and @TheReelTalker

Movie Review: Atomic Blonde

What can I say about this movie that hasn’t maybe been said already? Well, for one it’s tries to be many things and never settles on an identity. So Charlize Theron kicks a lot of ass, I mean, a lot. The previews have been pinning her character as a female James Bond, but James Bond didn’t stab baddies in the neck. She’s ruthless in this film. Jason Bourne envies what Theron’s badass Lorraine Broughton (not so badass of a name) does in this film. It’s more violent than I expected it to be. Some parts are even cringe worthy.

WHAT’S THIS MOVIE ABOUT:

Theron plays an undercover MI6, no, not referring to the 6th Mission Impossible movie, it’s a British government spy organization. The time and place is is late 1980’s Berlin, in times of the Cold War. The Atomic Blonde, aka Lorraine, is sent there to investigate a murder of a fellow agent and to retrieve a very important list of double agents. Needles tot say there is a lot on Broughton’s plate and a lot to follow in the film.

While the plot shouldn’t be too difficult to follow, I found myself lost throughout. There are so many different faces bouncing onto the screen that it was hard to keep track of who is who, much less who is working with whom. The action is too frantic to be able to keep up, they also don’t do a good job of attempting to have you follow and elaborate. I constantly found myself thinking, whose the short quiet wimpy guy? Or who is the clean cut dude assisting in the coordination to Broughton?

Atomic-Blonde-Charlize-Theron-1HOW DID THE ACTORS DO:

Theron really gets it done. Kudos to her for getting down all the choreography training and getting into incredible shape to perform some of the stunts and fight scenes. She’s very fitting in this role, actually, may be the most fierce and intimidating female action character I’ve seen in a while.

Aside from Theron, there is a nice supporting cast to assist her. James McAvoy plays a sleazy Berlin confidant named David Percival. I liked McAvoy’s work here, as always. He plays a untrustworthy sidekick that you can’t necessarily trust, but you kinda want to. McAvoy is the right casting.

atomic-blonde-movie-james-mcavoy

John Goodman plays one of the directors that’s conducting the mild interrogation with Broughton. He’s great in these sort of roles. He projects this directness about him that’s both serious and entertaining. To think about this man was mainly known for being on Roseanne for a big chunk of his career. Craziness.

The other supporting actors with significant parts are played by Sofia Boutella, who is rising fast, having already starred in the new Tom Cruise Mummy film. She’s solid in her role in this film, but not sure I get the Boutella hype? I mean she’s not super hot, she’s a serviceable actress, so what’s the big deal? Is it because her name rhymes with Nutella? Must be it. Another Broughton sidekick is Merkel, played by Bill Skarsgard. I swear I’m about to conduct a search as to how many Skarsgard’s are there?! Are they all brothers? Is there a Scandinavian law that forces all Skarsgards to become actors and head to Hollywood? Upon further search, this is what Imdb says on this matter:

So there it is. The Skarsgard mystery solved for you.

HOW DID IT LOOK AND SOUND:

For the most part the film looked and sounded good. It really had a 80’s vibe to it. It’s how I imagined Europe to be and look during that time. The background music was fitting and pretty cool. Let’s just say the soundtrack included the very popular Euro mix “Sweet Dreams”. Just check out all of it below:
The look is exactly what I would envision Berlin to be during that time period. Tons of graffiti all over. Dark, brooding, mysterious and exciting. The clothing was timely. I mean Theron wears some interesting outfits and she can make anything look good, including those boots she wears. Theron does show a lot of skin and nudity, she has a steamy sex scene with Boutella, so be prepared, definitely not for kids.

WAS IT ENTERTAINING:

The action was exciting and intense. There is a lot of ass kicking, mainly by Theron. There is one extended scene in a apartment building that sticks out. Don’t want to give it away, but it’s jaw dropping. At my screening you could hear a few excited people cheering and laughing, well mainly one particular woman behind me.
bgdknqopnhvveut2qdnb
The plot on the other hand was convoluted and tried to do too much. There are so many double crosses that I was lost after the first reveal. By the end I didn’t know who was who and why they were who they were? Twist after twist without much of an explanation.

IS IT WORTH SEEING:

Pros
Atomic Blonde is one of those movies that you need to weigh the pros and cons of paying for a movie ticket. As a rental it’s worth it, but as a theater going experience not so worthy. If you’re looking for pure action then you should go see it. There is a ton of cool action scenes. If you’re a Theron fan, you should also see it mainly because you haven’t seen her in a role like this putting out this kind of menace. The music and look is good also. Those would be the pros.
Cons
Now onto the negatives. As mentioned throughout this review, the plot is confusing and hard to keep up with. I would have liked them to spot at various points and explain what is happening. It moves too fast to keep up or invest in any character, besides maybe Theron’s and McAvoy’s. I think I finally understood who was backstabbing who, but I’m still not that sure. Less would have been more when it comes to the twists and surprises the film presented.
Movie Rating: R
Runtime: 1 hr 55 min
Genre: Action|Mystery|Thriller
Release Date: July 28, 2017 

ATOMIC BLONDE RATING: 55% (AVERAGE MOVIE)

Interview: Filmmaker Ido Fluk Discusses ‘The Ticket’

The Ticket is a highly intriguing film starring Dan Stevens and Malin Akerman. I had an opportunity to speak to the writer and director of the film Ido Fluk. We discussed the making of the movie and talked about the concept of the story. Ido touches on the importance of the cast and a lot more. Listen to the entire audio of the interview below.

MY TAKE: 

It’s really unique to hear about how creative people come up with ideas for their work. For Ido to come up with the idea of this film from a unintentional observation editing another movie is pretty great. I was interested to hear how he also combined the fables his father used to tell him as a kid and that further inspired the plot of this film. Seems like the film came out of randomness combined with some memories from his past, which sounds cool to me. 

I got a kick out of his answer about him being in a band. This is the fun part for me to delve a bit into these filmmakers and actors personal lives and finding out some of their unique interests outside of their craft. Now, I’m compelled to find some footage of him rocking out! It just shows that these people we see on TV creating the content we enjoy so much have other personal interests, hobbies and passions outside of their art. 

Ido seemed like a very personable and forthcoming guy. I appreciated that and had fun talking to him. 

As far as the movie goes, the concept of ‘The Ticket’ really intrigued me. The movie itself is just as intriguing and compelling. Very good plot and storytelling by Ido, incorporated with some fine work from Dan Stevens and the supporting cast really makes this a movie to see. 

‘The Ticket’ is out and available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD