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Archive for the 'Events' Category

DWFF 2017 Interview – Captivating “Cassidy Red” Actress Abby Eiland Talks Westerns, Female Grit And Becoming Something Dangerous

There’s nothing better than a no-nonsense leading lady force to be reckoned with to make a wild west yarn even wilder.  But add to that a careful character layering that also infuses equal amounts of passion, romance, heart and grit and you’ve got one dynamic and long lingering female performance that demands to be seen and praised.  Such is the fate of the terrific turn by actress-to-watch-for Abby Eiland via the Dances With Films 2017 recently screened dramatic western set against the 19th century American Southwest titled Cassidy Red.  Eiland plays Josephine “Joe” Cassidy, a headstrong daughter of a prostitute and a gunslinger who heads into town with skills and singular vengeance in mind when she finds out her lover has been gunned down – and she’s not happy.

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Dances With Films Festival 2017 – ‘What To See’

It’s June here in Los Angeles and that could only mean one thing – multi-film festival time!  First up for the indie film enthusiast is the coveted and prestigious Dances With Films Festival 2017 (taking place June 1-11 at the Chinese 6 Theaters at Hollywood and Highland – go to www.danceswithfilms.com for more details!) which this year is celebrating it’s amazing 20 year anniversary! (Congrats!)  Notable flicks of the past like Honeyglue, Soledad and Lola’s Last Letter (all featuring 5-star turns by the likes of actors Adriana Mather, Jesse Celedon and Valerie Brandy!) and filmmakers to watch for like the stunning Christopher Soren Kelly (his short Monkeys has pure Fincher aesthetic!) all came out of the fantastic film festival known as Dances with Films.  This year seems even more filled with promise as 2017 boasts more than 160 films to choose from – the odds are most assuredly in a movie geeks favor!  So in gearing up to find the good stuff, I’ve strapped on my movie-watching boots and am hitting the flicks hard to provide you with the most comprehensive cinematic coverage beginning with a first look preview.  And while there are a myriad of fine films to choose from (hey, can’t list them all here!), below is merely a tiny taste of the films that initially intrigued and peaked my possible best of fest interest – an on-screen appetizer for those hungry for more.  So from gals kicking some Wild West ass to docs through the eyes of resilient youngsters here are my first glance picks on…”What To See!”   Continue reading ‘Dances With Films Festival 2017 – ‘What To See’’

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Alamo Drafthouse’s BAYWATCH ON THE BEACH (Event Coverage)

Baywatch on the BeachSo most movie aficionados, especially in the Austin, TX area, love their neighborhood Alamo Drafthouses.  And let’s face it who of my generation doesn’t love the Baywatch television series featuring David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson and more?  I know right!  So imagine my surprise when I received an invite to cover the following event.  It read and I quote “Join us on Wednesday, May 24th for BAYWATCH ON THE BEACH, a special opening night only event of a no shirt, no shoes, no problemo screening of the summer of 2017’s bronzed and buff comedy spectacular, all happening on the sunny, lake-side shores of Volente Beach.”  As an added bonus Volente Beach is located in the city of Leander.  Hello!  That’s where I live.  While I have never been there before I knew I could not pass this unique screening opportunity up so I did what I always do.  I applied for press credentials and the rest is history.  So join me down below here in my recap of this historic screening. Continue reading ‘Alamo Drafthouse’s BAYWATCH ON THE BEACH (Event Coverage)’

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BHFF 2017 Interview – “The Girl Who Invented Kissing” Actor Dash Mihok Talks Character, Honesty And Daring To Differentiate

For someone still early in their career, actor Dash Mihok has certainly wasted no time stacking up an impressive cache of credits.  And while most fans know Mihok from his prolific work as the flawed young brother Bunchy to Liev Schreiber’s Ray Donovan on the hit Showtime series, cinefiles like myself have also relished his various big screen endeavors.  Working with the likes of Baz Luhrmann, Terrence Malik and Wolfgang Peterson and playing memorable roles in notable flicks like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Day After Tomorrow and Silver Linings Playbook, Mihok is the epitome of the hard working actor who shows no signs of stopping.  But it’s his latest performance playing an over-protective brother who has become mentally challenged due to an accident in the new film from writer/director Tom Sierchio called The Girl Who Invented Kissing that could launch Mihok into a new category – award winning actor.  (He already deservedly nabbed the Best Actor Award at the recent Beverly Hills Film Festival 2017 for his performance – a sign of things to come for sure!)  His carefully constructed character is so utterly effective and at the same time so completely relatable that he almost steals the already amazing film.   Continue reading ‘BHFF 2017 Interview – “The Girl Who Invented Kissing” Actor Dash Mihok Talks Character, Honesty And Daring To Differentiate’

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NBFF 2017 Review: Animated, Irish & Horror Shorts

Wrapping up my coverage of this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival, I wanted to shine the spotlight on some of the short film programs I was able to see. Thanks to some hype created by my lovely girlfriend, I was particularly excited to see the animated and Irish short programs but was also able to see a set of horror shorts as well. There is always plenty to admire in these films, as they must tell a full story in a limited amount of time while also showing off a level of cinematic talent from newer and veteran filmmakers alike. Here are some thoughts on the short films in particular that stuck out to me in the programs I saw.

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Beverly Hills Film Fest 2017 – Eight Feature Film Reviews

So many amazing film fests – so little time!  The recent star-studded 17th Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival happened this past week (at the famed TLC Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood!) and it was a massive five day movie event indeed.  Not only were there amazing docs and features, but also a slew of short films in various genres guaranteed to please every moviegoers.  (There were a whopping 87 competition films!)  Of course it’s impossible to check out everything (again, I’m only a single movie geek!), but the power of a passionate one still prevails as I managed to check out eight feature film hopefuls.  From flicks about the pleasure of dream life and not giving up to docs about tigers, underdogs, former movie moguls and Aussie hotshots, we’re hitting the films of the BHFF fest hard and fast to provide some cinematic insight into what to possibly seek out in the future.  Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of Zen Dog, The Girl Who Invented Kissing, John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs, Mable, Mable, Tiger Trainer, Golan A Farewell To Mr. Cinema, Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches, Gun and Legendary AD below! Continue reading ‘Beverly Hills Film Fest 2017 – Eight Feature Film Reviews’

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NBFF 2017 Review: The Exception

Closing out the 18th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival is The Exception, a World War II drama that may as well be called The Good Nazi. Adapted from the novel “The Kaiser’s Last Kiss” by Alan Judd, the film tells the story of a German Nazi Captain who falls in love with a Jewish Dutch spy. The conceit is pulpy enough to fit right in with Paul Verhoeven’s great 2006 WWII thriller Black Book, but there is a major problem in the film’s attempt to be anything more than serviceable at best. Leave it to star Jai Courtney to make a film like this duller than it ought to be.

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NBFF 2017 Review: The Hero

One of the advantages of seeing smaller films touring around festivals is having a chance to see character actors in lead roles. The Hero provides the great Sam Elliot this chance and it’s a joy to watch. No stranger to cinema, Elliot has been a stable presence in many films and TV shows for over 40 years. Here’s a film that gets to play with his image, while also challenging the man to be more than just a mustachioed character actor with a deep and wonderful voice.

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NBFF 2017 Review: The Scent Of Rain And Lightning

There is a lot to get out of films surrounding family secrets. Ideally, you are gradually drawn into learning about who a family is, establishing various personas, only to have things turn around on you thanks to sudden reveals. It’s not a cheat to make these sort of twists, as you’ve been effectively coerced into feeling like a part of the family. The Scent of Rain and Lightning is a modern western with a mystery at its core. We are well aware that something bad happened early on, but the film wants us to continue questioning the validity of this fact throughout. Unfortunately, the results are not as effective as they could be, due to a disjointed narrative.

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NBFF 2017 Review: Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton

The tagline for this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival is “Go Deeper” and that is certainly fitting for the Opening Night premiere film. Take Every Wave: The Life of Laid Hamilton is both an extreme sports film, featuring some breathtaking footage, and a solid biographical study of big-wave surfer and ocean pioneer Laird Hamilton. This documentary from director Rory Kennedy certainly does take us deeper, as we spend nearly two hours watching the story of a fearless and quite affable athlete who has pushed himself hard to find various successes throughout his life, while also experiencing some literal and emotional tough breaks.

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Audience Awards Film Festival 2017 – Horror Shorts Reviews, Shout Outs & Award Winners Announced

The Audience Awards Film Festival wrapped this past weekend in North Hollywood, CA and it was a real hoot.  Not only did yours truly get to represent the great WhySoBlu.com by hosting and moderating a Q&A for the Project Earth Doc Challenge, but I also got to meet the illustrious Effie T. Brown and take in a gaggle of horror shorts to boot!  (That’s an evening!)  In any case thought I would pay tribute to the new fest by taking an “Encapsulated” look at the six flicks that made up the Horror Shorts program, give a few shout outs and post the release of the winners to which the fantastic festival gave over $100,000 in cash and prizes – read on!

 

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TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON Opens 18th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival

For everyone looking to head to SoCal and check out some films this April, the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival begins on the 20th. Additionally, the NBFF has announced TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON as its opening night film. The screening will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 7:30pm at Edwards Big Newport in Newport Beach, followed by a gala reception at Fashion Island, also in Newport. The 18th annual NBFF will run from April 20 – April 27, 2017. Continue on to learn more about the upcoming opening night event, the film festival in general and where to find out more about the films being screened and how to purchase tickets.

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STAR WARS: FORCE FRIDAY II Debut THE LAST JEDI Toys On September 1st!

Force Friday ThumbDisney and Lucasfilm today announced Star Wars Force Friday II, a global fan event celebrating the launch of new products inspired by the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Toys, collectibles, books, apparel and more will go on sale beginning at 12:01 a.m. on September 1, 2017, with stores around the world opening for a weekend-long celebration of all things Star Wars.  The first Star Wars Force Friday event was truly unique, uniting fans across five continents in an unprecedented global live unboxing event ahead of thousands of midnight openings at retail,” says Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “We’re excited to confirm that Star Wars Force Friday is back for ‘The Last Jedi’. Plans for this year’s world-wide event are top secret but expect something befitting the excitement around the next episode of the Star Wars saga.” Continue reading ‘STAR WARS: FORCE FRIDAY II Debut THE LAST JEDI Toys On September 1st!’

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Sundance 2017 – Seven Feature Film Reviews + Final Fest Thoughts

sundance squareThe 2017 Sundance Film Festival has come to a close and it was interesting to actually be in Park City to experience an event I’ve only heard about all these years.  So to finish off all things Sundance related below are seven final feature film reviews including Bitch, XX, Where Is Kyra?, The New Radical, Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker And Trials Of A Free Press, Axolotl Overkill and Gook, a short review with the apt title F@cking Bunnies, plus a Sundance Thoughts section where I get honest about everything from venues to the films that played.  (Candid commentary alert!)  Plus as an extra bonus I’m doing a retro-review on a Slamdance 2017 documentary that took both the Audience and Jury prize titled Strad Style.  So slap on your snow boots and follow me into movie review territory for a final gander at all things Sundance 2017!

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Slamdance 2017 – Narrative Feature Winners Are Announced!

Slamdance Square copyWell, my Narrative jury time and of course WhySoBlu.com coverage of all things Slamdance Film Festival 2017 is officially over and it’s been one hell of a fun ride.  Not only did I get to watch tons of great films, brave the beauty of the snow and eat local food to die for (check out Freshies for amazing Lobster Rolls!), but I can now check being on a film jury off my bucket list.  I was so very proud to be a part of a festival that prides itself on picking great films and it’s a cherished memory I will hold near and dear.

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Slamdance 2017 – Four Feature Film Reviews

Slamdance Square copyThe illustrious Slamdance Film Festival 2017 is almost over and it’s been a wild ride.  Movies, jury duties and reviews galore, have made the Park City excursion a memorable time indeed.  But before we announce winners in Narrative (and the many other respective categories!) wanted to get up a few more reviews of flicks I saw outside my official duties.  Strange mother/son stories, docs about strong gals and backward boys and flick about finding closure all adorn the four reviews enclosed.  Check out the skinny on The Erlprince, Hotel Coolgardie, Supergirl and Suck It Up below.

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Sundance 2017 – Four Feature Film Reviews

sundance squareGotta say that in the Midnight section and late night movies line-up, Sundance has been surprisingly disappointing to me so far.  (Sole exception being the five-star Northern Ireland revenge flick Bad Day For The Cut!)  A handful of flicks dabbling in gross and disturbing plus a disappointing doc have brought the magnificent movie vibe to a low.  (But rest assured I have film faith and many more to go!)  So check out the skinny on some flicks that may or may not be hitting a theater near you – the review of the fearsome foursome via the Sundance Film Festival 2017 below!   Continue reading ‘Sundance 2017 – Four Feature Film Reviews’

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Slamdance 2017 – Twenty-Two Short Film Reviews

Slamdance SquareThings are moving at light speed here at Slamdance 2017 and with features, shorts and my own Narrative Jury duties it’s quite a haul.  (But an amazing one!)  First up are my reviews for a gaggle of shorts handed to me over my time here.  Whether it was through a personal reach out by the filmmaker or one I saw before a feature, anyone who got their short into my movie loving hands has equal consideration below.  So in various categories including animation, documentary, anarchy, experimental and simple block section, check out the massive twenty-two short film reviews below.  (In keeping with the shorts theme each review is quick!)  Plus hit the bottom for a little behind the scenes insight via my special Jury Section – enjoy!

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