Get our your cardboard and your Flip Cam because Swede Fest 12 is taking place 6 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Tower Theater. If you don’t know about the festival (which was the first of its kind), here’s a quick summary from the organizers.
Swede Fest gives everyone who participates the unforgettable experience of seeing their work on the big screen. A “sweded” film is a summarized, low-budget recreation of a popular movie, starring you! “Sweding” takes the best and worst movies that come out of Hollywood and combines them with the creativity and ingenuity of their greatest fans.
Entries for the festival are being accepted now through 11:59 p.m. Nov. 4. Film enthusiasts of all ages are encouraged to submit. Films must be no longer than four minutes and suitable for all ages.
I had an amazing time the other night at the preview for “World War Z.” In attendance with me and several hundred other lucky movie revelers were the members of the effervescent Fresno Zombie Society. Nothing quite screams scary-awesome like watching a zombie-thriller-action movie with several hundred, blood-and-gore-coered zombies in attendance.
Throughout the show there I sat, munching popcorn, heart pounding and palms sweating; all with a bloody corpse next to me breathing heavily. Their presence really enhanced the mood. (SIDE NOTE: Let it be known that the zombie seated at my left — incredibly nice brain eater, though she was — was just as freaked out as I.)
But no spoilers here — I’ll leave the movie opinion stuff to Rick. Most of it. I do have one thing I’d like to share. A pet peeve, if you will. A large, hairy, overgrown pet peeve that punches me in the face EVERY TIME I go to a movie preview. PARENTS: It’s your crappy parenting.
Christopher Guerrero, who grew up in Selma, is trying see if flattery will get him someplace with Bill Murray.
The student at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and UC Santa Cruz alumni is directing his thesis film and has written the main role with the “Saturday Night Live” alumnus in mind.
If you are going to dream, then it’s good to dream big.
Guerrero was told he had about as much chance of Murray agreeing to star in a student film as Michael Bay making a good “Transformers” movie. That hasn’t stopped the young filmmaker. He’s put together the Bill Murray Appreciation Day (BMAD) to be held Feb. 2 on the Sunset Strip. The Feb. 2 day was selected because it’s Groundhog Day, a holiday well known to Murray fans.
“By utilizing social-networking platforms and media, our goal is to play upon the mythical, enigmatic presence Mr. Murray has become famous for to our advantage as aspiring filmmakers,” Guerrero says.
He wants as many people as possible to dress up as their favorite Murray character and visit a few bars in attempt to garner attention. That means you can put on golf attire to be Carl Spackler from “Caddyshack” or suit up as Dr. Peter Venkman from “Ghostbusters.” Guerrero will be dressed as Steve Zissou from “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.”
Those who want to participate in this blatant effort to woe Murray, should show up at the Vista Theatre, 4473 Sunset Dr. Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The bar hopping Murrays will leave from there.
Local film director/writer Travis Cluff is using his low-budget movie “Gold Fools,” shot in and around Fresno with local actors, to raise $1 million for cancer research.He originally hoped to sell a few thousand copies of the movie to friends and family to take care of some debuts but now the goal is to sell of 100,000 copies of the movie for charity.
“My personal belief, in a leap of faith, if someone is willing to give up something that is important to them that will benefit others, then unknown opportunities and blessing wait right around the corner,” Cluff says at a press conference earlier this afternoon. “This is my leap of faith.”
Cluff went on the Sept. 2, 2009, edition of the ABC competition show “Wipeout” with hopes of winning enough money to help him recoup financially after being pulled into a Ponzi scheme. The $50,000 won helped him pay off bills. That made it easier for him to decide to do something philanthropic with money made from the movie.
“ ‘Gold Fools’ is my gift to the world,” Cluff says.
Cluff says he would be willing to go door-to-door if it would help but the plan is to make the movie available through the web site. Each copy of the movies will cost $20 and can be purchased at www.goldfoolsmovie.com.
The money will be donated to Huntsman Cancer Institute that’s part of the University of Utah Health Care system. It provides academic and clinical training for future physicians and researchers. Cluff says there’s no particular reason cancer research has been targeted for the financial gift but that it just seemed like a very important cause to support.
“Gold Fools” follows a successful sales and family man who after losing his job leads his friends on a gold panning expedition in the mountains of Sonora. He hopes to change his financial luck but there may be forces against him. The feature film hasn’t be submitted for a rating — because of the high cost to have the board rate the movie — but Cluff guarantees it is PG in nature. Although there are no specific religious elements, he compares the tone to movies like “Fireproof.”
The film debuted here in July 2012 with a screening at the Clovis North Performing Arts Center.
Coming up with the first question to ask Johnny Knoxville is always easy. After watching him be beaten, electrocuted, gored, smashed and had his manhood hit with almost anything heavy imaginable, the big concern is how Knoxville is feeling. He’s not as big a “Jackass” these days but one has to wonder how much of the aftermath of all the physical abuse he took over the years in the name of the TV show and movies remains.
“I’m feeling pretty good because everything’s completely healed right now. But there have been a few breaks and sprains and concussions. Not lately. Knock on wood,” says Knoxville during an interview for his latest film “The Last Stand,” that opened in theaters today.
Knoxville plays a gun hoarder who comes to the aid of the local sheriff (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to stop a drug cartel leader headed to their quiet community.
I worry about Knoxville because while he might seem like a raving maniac when you watch him on TV or film, he’s actually a very nice guy. He’s nice but you never want to turn your back on him or you might suddenly find a set of battery cables attached to your derriere.
Once the health issue was covered, Knoxville got to talk about why he would have worked through any pain to be in this movie. His favorite scenes is where Schwarzenegger is firing a massive gun out of the back of a school bus and Knoxville’s character is feeding him the bullets.
“Doing an action sequence with Arnold Schwarzenegger was it for me. It’s one of the highlights of my career — and life. Just to be on a set with him, to film a movie with him, was surreal for me,” Knoxville. “But he makes it so easy for you because he’s so open and pleasant and the most gregarious person I ever met. He just loves to be around people and make movies.”
And he never once hit or kicked Knoxville in the groin.
Most of the time, my interviews with celebrities tend to talk about the mechanics of making their latest movie or TV show. You aren’t going to see a lot of reporting from me about who someone’s dating or how much they spent for their new home or if they even have a favorite color.
The way I look at it is that readers want a little behind-the-scenes information and that’s generally the focus of my questions.
Then a movie like “Cloud Atlas” comes along. There’s no way to talk about it in traditional terms because the movie tackles some very lofty issues about reincarnation. If you haven’t seen it, “Cloud Atlas” looks at six different stories over a 500 year span where the same group of actors play roles in each time period as a way of showing that a life force continues long after a body has died.
That’s why I found myself talking to Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon about her views on reincarnation. I’ve interviewed her plenty times before but this was one of the heaviest discussion we ever had.
“Energy can’t be destroyed,” Sarandon says. “When you see someone that you’ve lost and they are no longer in that body, you can see whatever that spark was is no longer there. Where does it go? I don’t know but I agree with Kurt Vonnegut in this idea that there are people who come into your life, people that you don’t foresee coming into your life, that serve a purpose that you aren’t aware of.
“You must me flexible and take advantage of these people that you draw to you.”
Sarandon had such a feeling with her children especially when her daughter, actress Eva Amurri, was only 3 and asked “When did I chose you for my mother?” Sarandon believes that there was some connection between her and her children from before they were born.
You look at some people and there’s no question that they should be actors. Imagine running into Brad Pitt as the guy who’s changing the oil in your car or Olivia Wilde taking your order at Olive Garden. Your first thought would be “they should be in pictures.”
Then there are people like John C. Reilly. Don’t get me wrong. Reilly, who’s one of the voice talents in the recently released “Wreck-It Ralph,” is an incredibly talented actor. It’s just that he doesn’t have classic leading man looks. But, that’s what makes him such a memorable actor and the target of adult fans whenever he’s getting his car serviced or dining out.
Reilly tells me that it doesn’t surprise him when adults recognize him from “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” or “Step Brothers.” What shocks him is how kids recognized his voice even before “Wreck-It Ralph” was released. All they had seen were the commercials for the new animated film.
“They hear me talk and they say ‘You’re Wreck-It Ralph!’ They’re quoting lines to me from the trailer and the movies not even out yet,” Reilly says. “I really like that. It can be kind of tiring to deal with adults with all of their different perceptions of who you are.
“One hundred percent of the time, when a kid comes up to me, it’s always a really cool interaction. I love kids.”
Reilly thinks the young fans — and the older ones — will relate to his new movie because it’s about a life-long journey to discover who you are, accepting the kind of person you are and then getting past that to enjoy life. For Reilly that was realizing he wasn’t a classic leading man, being OK with that and then becoming a big acting star.
Variety is reporting Ben Affleck is in the running to direct a big screen movie based on the Justice League of America comic books. If you aren’t familiar with the JLA, it’s the DC Comics version of The Avengers and features heroes such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman and The Flash.
This film has been a rumor for years. Assuming it gets made soon, and there is an unlimited budget to hire the cast, here are the actors I would select to play the main characters.
Superman: I spoke to Brandon Routh recently for his role on the new CBS series “Partners.” He still looks like he could slip back into the Superman outfit with ease.
Batman: Jeffrey Dean Morgan already has super hero experience playing The Comedian in “Watchman.” He could bring a gruff tone to the role that would work against the All-American look of Superman.
Wonder Woman: I didn’t think of Jessica Biel as an action star until I saw her in “Total Recall.” She could bring a nice edge to the character.
Aquaman: Is there really anyone other than Michael Phelps who should handle the role?
The Flash: Ryan Reynolds was the name that kept popping up to play The Flash before he landed the role of Green Lantern in the big screen production. He couldn’t play the scarlet speedster any worse than he played Green Lantern.
Green Lantern: Many fans were pushing for Nathan Fillion to play Green Lantern before Reynolds got cast. The “Castle” star should finally get the chance.
Those are my initial choices. Who do you think should play the parts?
It’s always seemed weird that so many actors want to be singers and so many singers want to be actors.
Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, Don Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Robert Downey Jr. and almost every young female actor who’s worked for Disney have all moved away from their comfort zone of acting to go into a recording studio.
Then there are singers like Cher, Prince, Kris Kristofferson, Phil Collins, Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Elvis who left the security of a recording studio to step in front of TV and film cameras.
It makes sense if a singer is being cast in a musical such as Mary J. Blige in “Rock of Ages.” She plays the owner of the gentleman’s club that comes to the rescue of the lost and alone character played by Julianne Hough. Good move. Blige’s strong voice lifts the movie’s musical moments.
Blige has had a handful of acting roles since she appeared on “The Jamie Foxx Show” in 1998. She wasn’t looking for an acting job when she ran into “Rock of Ages” director Adam Shankman two years ago at a housewarming party for Jennifer Lopez.
“We were just hanging out and having a good time,” Blige tells me. “He kept saying that he was going to put me in a movie. People say things when you are just hanging out but they don’t deliver. So, I just ignored that and said I love him anyway.”
Six months later, Shankman shows up with the “Rock of Ages” script and wants her to play Justice Charlier. Blige hired an acting coach and then went to work on the project.
It looks like that the crossover between musicians and actors may just be the product of these two entertainment worlds existing so closely together.
The rights to Clovis East graduate and “Glee” star Chris Colfer’s feature film, “Struck By Lightning,” have been acquired by Tribeca Film. It should be in theaters by the end of the year. The movie debuted earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Colfer both wrote and stars in the film about a high school senior whose path to greatness ends when he’s killed in the school parking lot by a bolt of lightning. The student recounts the last few weeks of his life via flashbacks. The movie also stars Allison Janney, Polly Bergen, Rebel Wilson, Christina Hendricks, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Hyland and Angela Kinsey.
After the theatrical release, the movie will be available through video-on-demand outlets.
“Showcasing his remarkable talents not only as an actor but as a writer and storyteller, Chris Colfer infuses this reinvention of the high school comic-drama with such spirit and joy that he almost makes us fondly nostalgic,” says Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises in a press release announcing the deal. “Rousing, fresh, superbly acted by a strong ensemble, and wonderfully directed by Brian Dannelly, we are delighted to be partnering with Chris and his fellow filmmakers to share this new take on a classic genre for a new generation.”
Colfer says in the same release that he’s “thrilled to be partnering with a company as passionate about this film as we are.”
Cameron Diaz and I start talking about her breasts.
Let me be very clear — I didn’t pick the topic. It’s “Glee” star Matthew Morrison who brings up the subject when he says Diaz showed him her breasts during the filming of the new movie “What to Expect When You Are Expecting.” It opens May 18.
It wasn’t only Morrison who got a peek. Diaz showed everyone the special effects chest she was given for the role.
Diaz plays a fitness guru who, while appearing on a “Dancing With the Stars” type show, becomes romantically involved with her dance partner played by Morrison. That romance leads to a pregnancy. They are just one pregnancy story line of several in the film based on the best-selling book by Heidi Murkoff.
“Well, he got to see my prosthetic breasts, my pregnant breasts, which were really amazing. I was like, wow! Those are awesome!” says a VERY enthusiastic Diaz.
There was a problem. The movie shot last summer in the middle of a Georgia heat wave.
“In the Atlanta heat, I aged about 40 years by the end of two hours. They were literally hanging down to my hips! They were just drooping down. They were just melting off my body. It was really not attractive,” Diaz says.
The perky actress continues discussing the topic as she explains why a woman’s anatomy changes with passing years. Diaz goes into great detail of how she’s watched women in other countries who could breastfeed the babies strapped on their backs and continue to work.
It’s at that point I notice Anna Kendrick, who also stars in the film. Her face has turned ashen as she listens to Diaz talk. Kendrick can thank Morrison for such a revealing dialogue by Diaz.
Can’t think of anything to do this weekend? Here are a few options. MOVIES “The Avengers”: Director Joss Whedon has put together a film that slams you with first-rate action and hits you with smart comedy. Nick Fury rounds up Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk and Thor to stop Loki and an invading alien army. Despite the huge cast, Whedon manages to give every character a chance to shine. It’s a great start to the summer movie frenzy.
TV “Good Luck Charlie,” 8 p.m. Sunday, Disney Channel: The new season opens with the Duncans preparing to welcome the newest member of their family. Baby Duncan, whose name was chosen by more than 25 million votes worldwide on www.DisneyChannel.com, will make its debut during a special one hour episode premiering this summer. These episodes will deal with changes in the family as the big day nears. DVD “Haywire”: Gina Carano is the latest athlete to cross over into the world of acting. The mixed-martial-arts fighter turns in a convincing performance — both with the punches and lines of dialogue she delivers — in this story of a government operative who gets double crossed. Director Steven Soderbergh not only stages some high-powered fight scenes but understands how to build tension in the simplest of moments. There’s no wasted energy in either. He also was smart enough to surround his novice actor by veterans such as Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor and Michael Douglas to help lift up her acting moments.
Depending on your age, you probably either know Blythe Danner for films like “The Great Santini” or as the mother of Gwyneth Paltrow. She can currently be seen in the new romance movie “The Lucky One,” a film that is designed to appeal to all ages.
Danner’s also gaining a following for her TV commercial for the drug Prolia. She explains that it’s purpose is to treat osteoporosis in women after menopause. In the commercial, she starts talking about the drug after someone offers her the old theater adage of “break a leg” before she goes on stage. It’s hard to turn on the television and not see the advertisement.
“I’ve started to have people walk up to me on the street and tell me ‘Break a leg.’ I’m sure there are a lot of people ready to say “Enough!’, especially the men I know. They tell me they have to watch the commercial every five minutes,” Danner says. “I’ve only seen it once. I guess that means either I don’t watch much TV or haven’t been on those stations.”
Paltrow’s proud she did the commercial because until now osteoporosis in women after menopause has been “a silent disease.”
This isn’t the only project Danner’s passionate about as she continues to talk a lot about oral cancer prevention. Her husband, Bruce Paltrow, died from it 10 years ago. Even though there is less smoking, there is still a push is to get children who are prepubescent to get the shots because the incidents of oral cancer continue to rise. One factor suggested for the increase is the rise in oral sex.
It’s not all health talk. She also chats about romance movies, working with her daughter and her long career. I can’t help it but when the actress stands up to leave after the interview, I tell her “to break a leg.”
“Bully,” the documentary film that has been at the middle of a heated battle over being given an R rating for language, will play in at least one local theater.
Caleb Dix, assistant film buyer for the SR Entertainment Group, owners of Sierra Vista 16 in Clovis, says that as soon as the film is made available to this market, it will be added to the local theater complex schedule. The movie opens in New York and Los Angeles Friday and then slowly will be moved out to smaller markets.
Upset the film was given the R rating, the distributor, The Weinstein Co., will release the movie with no rating. That generally means it is to be treated like a movie with an NC-17 rating which means and no one under the age of 18 – the key target group of the film – should be allowed into the theater.
Dix says that because the film is a special situation, the company will make a decision before the screening in Clovis as to how theater managers should deal with young moviegoers.
“Remember, the ratings are not law but just a guideline,” Dix says.
Regal Movie Theaters, owners of the majority of screens in Fresno, didn’t return my calls.
UPDATE: Here are the winners of “The Hunger Games” posters:
Large posters: Kyle, Lauren.
Mini posters: Christian, Dominic, Trisha, Jennifer, Haley P.
UPDATE: Now that more of you have seen the movie, post your reviews in the comments. Deadline is noon Tuesday.
ORIGINAL POST, 3/22: “The Hunger Games” opens at 12:01 tonight and thousands of locals have purchased tickets to be among the first to see the film based on the Suzanne Collins book. There are still tickets available but they are going fast.
My review ran in today’s Fresno Bee. Now I want to hear what you have to think about the movie. Send me your review as a comment to this blog item. You don’t have to write a novel but tell me why you did — or did not — like the film.
From those who submit a review, a random drawing will be made to give away two (2) full size and five (5) mini “The Hunger Games” posters. That means seven winners will get a rare souvenir of the movie starring Jennifer Lawrence.
Post your review no later than noon March 27. Winners will have until 4 p.m. March 30 to pick up their prize. You must come to the Fresno Bee offices, 1626 E St., to pick up the poster. They will not be mailed.
If you were planning to see one of tonight’s midnight showings of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” keep in mind 34 screens are already sold out in Fresno and Clovis – including all 22 at the Edwards Fresno Stadium 22 & IMAX. (PHOTO: Fans in line at Edwards). There are six sold out midnight screenings at the Regal Visalia Stadium 10.
The only showings tonight at Edwards that still have seats are for the 2:50 a.m. screenings.
Don’t fret. There are still some tickets to be found. Sierra Vista has 50 seats left in their ninth theater showing the last offering in the “Harry Potter” film franchise. There could be additional theaters added. And Both Regal Manchester 16 and UA Broadway Faire 10 have a few seats left for the 12:01 a.m. start.
Don’t forget the Metro 4 Cinemas in Hanford, the Lemoore Stadium Cinemas in Lemoore
I think I’ve watched every trailer that’s come out for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.” But I still can’t get enough. With just 3 weeks to go until the July 15 opening, I’m amped for the final battle. So I thought I would share this latest featurette. Enjoy!
[Look for another HP post next week - hint, hint.]
Enter to win tickets to a special screening of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1″ at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15 at Manchester Stadium in Fresno. We’ll pack the theater with nothing but Beehive readers and our bloggers.
To enter, just tell us in the comments which characters from the Harry Potter movies you’re looking forward to seeing in the new film and why.
Next week, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we’ll randomly pick winners from the comments on this post to give 2 seats to the screening. Winners will be notified by e-mail with more details, so use a real address and be sure to check for updates. Official rules are on the jump.
UPDATE: The winners are: erica, Garrett Bettis, Rosio, Nicholas De La Torre, Noe Rodriguez, 559rell, Amanda Allison, Jennifer, Michael Medrano and Michael. Winners were sent an e-mail. Congratulations!
We love the Internet. You love the Internet. None of us would be here if we didn’t. So when we heard about “The Social Network, the movie about the beginnings of Facebook, we thought, “Yeah, we gotta giveaway tickets to this.”
So we’re giving away 10 pairs of tickets to the preview screening at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Manchester Stadium, a few days before it opens to the public on Oct. 1. These are reserved seats, so while everybody else is standing in line, you can sit inside and update your status. You’re welcome.
To enter, leave a comment below and tell us — Facebook: Awesome? Annoying? Why? Deadline to enter is noon Monday. We’ll pick winners at random notified them by e-mail, so leave use a real one and check it. Official rules on the jump.
I had an interesting conversation with some colleagues this morning about the Chilean miners who’ve been trapped 2,200 feet underground for three weeks. There’s a lot of talk about how keep them sane because it’ll be months before they can dig a tunnel big enough to get them out. Here’s what one doctor had to say:
Dr. Jaime Manalich said rescuers are applying a holistic plan to support the miners’ well-being during the months it may take to carve out the tunnel, including exercise and other activities to keep them from gaining weight.
The goal is to “establish a daily and nightly routine” and “create an entertainment program.” They’ve been consulting experts in NASA and the Navy, who have experience dealing with people living in closed spaces. Rescuers have made it possible for the miners to watch movies to help with the mental health. But, apparently not all films will be approved. A local city councilwoman, says: “The psychologists will decide what movies they will see. It’s up to them if something like Avatar would be too upsetting.”
That got us talking about what movies we think are appropriate and inappropriate. I can’t figure out what would be wrong with “Avatar.” Maybe it’s too colorful. But I did have a few thoughts of movies that might be off limits. “Blair Witch Project,” with all that wobbly terror in the dark, came to mind. And, the new movie “Buried,” would seem extremely insensitive. Maybe on the positive side is a comedy like “The Hangover.” Or something inspirational like “Rocky.” Or, a national favorite like the top grossing movie in Chile, “The Motorcycle Diaries.”
What do do you think? What movies are off limits? What would keep you sane?
“I remember having all the dolls from El Coyote, the restaurant. I don’t even know if they even have dolls there anymore. I had hundreds of these Spanish dolls dressed like the waitresses there,” Applegate says. “I loved my little conchetas.”
In case you find yourself at the El Coyote Mexican Cafe in Los Angeles, the restaurant no longer sells dolls.
“There’s nothing harder than working with animals. Those animals really looked like they knew what they were doing but honestly, they were ANIMALS. I love them, but stay! Stay! STAY! I’ve worked with animals before but oh my god,” Midler said.
So it’s tough to direct animals. How hard is it to work with four-legged co-stars?
“Animals and humans, they’re quite similar,” a droll Midler said.