‘A Cure For Wellness’ Film Review

(PCM) Gore Verbinski has returned with a masterful tale called, “A Cure for Wellness”. The visionary director hit gold with The Pirates of the Caribbean series including: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) which made the industry record with the highest opening weekend of all time. Gore Verbinski would also introduce fans to the horror hit 2002’s “The Ring”.

Verbinski has returned to the horror genre with his latest film. “A Cure for Wellness” follows the story of an ambitious young business man who is sent to a remote “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps to bring the CEO of the company back home. The young man soon realizes that the treatments at the wellness center are nothing as it seems.

Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider- Man 2, Chronicle) portrays the young business man named Lockhart. The character isn’t likable from the very start. DeHaan, does an amazing job portraying a character who is so self-absorbed that he is blind to the occurrences going on around him. This is done by showing Lockhart all about work and not really caring at all about his dying mother, and just having a cold exterior. Audience opinion of the Lockhart character slowly turn as we witness what he goes through to uncover the horrible secrets of the wellness center. Harry Groener portrays Pembroke the embattled CEO that seems to be out of his mind at times when talking to Lockhart. Jason Isaacs plays the mysterious Volmer, who is the facility director. The character of Volmer comes off as charming, but audiences can tell that something is amiss when he first appears onscreen.

Mia Goth portrays Hannah a mysterious girl who hangs around the wellness center. Hannah is shy and doesn’t speak that often. It is blatantly obvious that she knows a little more of what’s going on in the wellness center than other people. Mia Goth does an outstanding job with this role. It can be challenging for an actress to hold her own with two great actors that have more screen time than her, but she nails the performance of Hannah.

The movie is long, with a run time of 146 minutes, that is a lot of time to invest in a film. Verbinski does a good job pacing out the movie to catch the viewers interest. The story was written by Verbinski and Justin Haythe. The story is flawed in a couple areas. In one scene when Lockhart first gets to the wellness center he signs his name at the bottom of a clipboard presuming he’s signing into see a guest. What Lockhart is signing is his consent to stay. In the story, Lockhart is portrayed as a very meticulous person. Yet he does not read what he is signing.

The film is set in present day, but has a feel like it was set decades ago. The set designs for the wellness center are amazing and gives it an extra special creepy feeling. The team of Bojan Bazelli, and Verbinski, work marvels together. They first worked together on The Ring 15 years ago, and the two prove they can shoot a marvelous film that combines ambiance and horror. If you are squeamish you might be hard pressed to watch this film. This film features eels in all their wiggly glory. There’s eels in a bathtub, a pool, and a sensory deprivation tank to name a few.

20th Century Fox took a big chance with this film, but it looks like they hired the right man for the job. When first viewing the trailer many fans will see similarities between “Shutter Island”, but upon viewing the film “A Cure For Wellness” stands on its own.

The post ‘A Cure For Wellness’ Film Review first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Stranger Thing’s Season Two Release Date Announced

 

(PCM) The release date for Stranger Things Season 2 was released during the Super Bowl. The hit show which premiered on Netflix last summer will premiere there second season on Halloween. The thirty second trailer showed various clips of what is in store for the residents of Hawkins,Indiana. Looks like a new monster is walking around ready to strike. And eleven is back with hair.

The first season of Stranger Things is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s, focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of a young boy by his brother and traumatized mother and the local police chief, amid supernatural events occurring around the town including the appearance of a psychokinetic girl who helps the missing boy’s friends in their own search. The second season is set a year after the first, and deals with attempts of the characters to return to normalcy and consequences of events from that season.

There are many unanswered questions and hopefully Season 2 answers some of them. Some of the kids from the show will be in the remake of Stephen King’s IT, which will be out later this year. Stephen King’s influence on the show is apparent and he happens to be a fan. Make sure to take the kids out early and get your popcorn, and Eggo’s ready because Stranger Thing’s is back.

 

The Smiling Man Director A.J. Briones Interview

 

(PCM) I had the chance to interview the very talented Mr. A.J. Briones. The following is the interview I did. Be sure to check out his work he’s a very talented person who has a lot to offer..

1. What was your childhood like? At what age did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?

I grew up in the suburbs of San Diego. I was a pretty sheltered kid. I was the youngest of three to very strict Asian parents. I didn’t get out much because my mom was convinced that I would end up dead somehow. They did, however, let me pursue two of passions: computers and movies. This was in the late eighties, and even though they were strict about me being out of the house, I had free reign on what movies I wanted to see on TV or rent from the video store. The first horror film I can remember with clarity is the first A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was so scared that my uncle had to take me out of the theatre halfway through. As I got older, I got a bit braver. When I was about 13 or 14 I took over my dad’s VHS camcorder and started making movies. I would cast my relatives and friends in these slasher films and edit them by daisy-chaining our VCRs together. I never thought it would be a reality because I didn’t know anyone in the film industry, but that’s when I realized I wanted to make movies one day.

2. Who are your top 3 favorite directors and why?

Chan-Wook Park

He has a fantastic visual style that is very deliberate. You can tell just by looking at his films that every detail has been painstakingly designed and you are looking at exactly what he wants you to see and all of it drives the narrative and his vision.

Stanley Kubrick

He’s the master of creating unease. One of my favorite movies of all time is A Clockwork Orange. That movie just transports you to a different world. His films are great at that. There’s a great little mini documentary called Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes (https://vimeo.com/78314194). It is a great little sneak peek at his research and his development process. I show this to people when they say he’s a genius. No man, he’s not a genius. He worked his ass off. There is no such thing as genius.

John Carpenter

John Carpenter has made some of my favorite films: Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing, They Live. Great stuff. Big Trouble in Little China in particular was a big film for me growing up because I actually got to see an Asian actor on screen that was a normal person. One of the highlights of my life is when he said my name when introducing The Smiling Man on El Rey Network’s horror anthology: The People’s Network Showcase, Horror Edition. I can seriously die now. I’d rather not, but I can.

3. Can you describe your creative process when it comes to both storytelling & directing ?

I’m very process oriented, which comes from my experiences as a previs supervisor on some very big tentpole films that I’ve had the great fortune of working on. It’s an experience I am very grateful for. Once I have a script completed, I try to find a theme or allegory that I want to anchor the film to, something that is below the surface, that I hope that most viewers actually don’t pick up on upon first viewing. For example: the sub-surface theme in The Smiling Man is a woman’s realization that she is vulnerable in this world of men. Once I have a theme, it informs everything: from the casting to the costume design, makeup fx, the gestures, the camera angles, pacing, score, sound design… everything. Because of this, all of the disparate parts of the film come together in a way that can be a haunting experience for the viewer. I storyboard key sequences myself, and once we get a location nailed down, we take the time to model them in 3D and I pre-shoot the film on the computer. That way, we have fast-paced shooting days where everyone in the production knows what is going on: where the camera will be, what it’s pointed at, where we can put lights, how it will roughly be framed, and what to start setting up for next.

4 You have been credited as being a visual artist on many blockbuster movies. Do you have a favorite work experience from working on those those films?

I’ve had a great time on most of the films I’ve been lucky to work on. I’m always learning a lot on all of them. I think Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was pretty special because I didn’t even dream about working on a Star Wars film since by the time I became a vfx artist the prequels were already done. Avatar was great because I learned so much on that movie and made so many lifelong friends there, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was special for really pushing me creatively.

5. What movie do you think you could have made better visually?

I don’t know if I would want to answer that one without being seen as rude or arrogant. Let’s just say that I hope I get the chance to do a feature so I can show what I can do.

6. I’m a huge fan of horror and I recently saw your award winning short film, The Smiling Man. I was both terrified and curious. Where did the concept of the story come from ?

I had just finished my first short film, Carolina Parakeet (https://vimeo.com/89773402), and my team and I were brainstorming for ideas on what we could do next. My producer Tefft Smith II came up with the idea of a clown that used blood instead of makeup and I thought that could be a lot of fun. I wrote a draft of the script pretty quickly. It was pretty much fully realized then, but with some notable exceptions: the main character was a boy and the scares weren’t so refined. I like to weave allegory into my films, and I wanted to find a theme to attach to the film in subtext. For me, The Smiling Man is about a woman’s introduction into the world of men. Once I decided on that theme, I rewrote the script, putting in all the little details and flourishes that would be synonymous with the theme without stating it overtly.

7. Is there any plans to explore the Smiling Man ?

The Smiling Man was a film exercise for me. I thought my first film was way too dialogue-heavy and I told more than I showed, and I so I wanted to do something shorter that took the voice away so I was forced to tell a story without dialogue. That, and I wanted to scare the crap out of people. I think we achieved that. I think there could be a feature version of it, and I do have some ideas, but I am working on other things at the moment. With IT coming out and a lot of shorts and features that are doing the clown thing, I think it’s a bit saturated, so I think the best thing is to hold off and revisit it later. The Smiling Man was great. We were ahead of that whole clown curve. Once it dies down I’d love to go back and see if we can shake things up again.

8. If you had another occupation, what would it be?

I love my current day job. As a previs/postvis/vfx supervisor, I get to work with some of the greatest living directors today and help them craft their action and vfx-heavy sequences, and I learn so much from it. It’s basically like being paid to take a master class in filmmaking. It has honed my taste and my sensibilities and given me the confidence that I know what I’m doing. Of course, I’d rather work on a 200 thousand dollar film of my own than be an artist on someone else’s 200 million dollar movie, but it’s not a bad day job while I cross my fingers and hustle to make it happen.

9. Any advice for anyone trying to get into the film industry ?

Watch a lot of films. Good ones. Not just the ones in your desired genre. There’s a great documentary series called The Story of Film: An Odyssey. See it. If you have a large catalog of movies to in your head to draw from, you will have a bigger reference pool that is outside the genre you’re working in. That way, when you’re making your horror movie it won’t look like all the other horror movies out there.

Find people who are as obsessed as you and make movies with them. Make shorts. Short shorts, like 2 minutes. Don’t get caught up on making it perfect, just make it. Write, plan, produce, shoot, edit, grade, spit it out. Watch it, learn from it, then do it again. Pretty soon you’ll get amazing.

10.Do you have a preference between working on shorts or feature length films ?

I think the short film medium is great when you’re trying to find your voice and your style. It’s great because it’s kind of a sprint compared to a marathon. That said, now that I think I’ve found my -esque, I’m salivating at the chance to do a feature.

11. Any upcoming projects in the works ?

I have two feature film scripts that we are taking out right now, and I am very excited about both of them. I hope things fall into place and I get to tell these stories, because I think they’re very special.

The post The Smiling Man Director A.J. Briones Interview appeared first on The World Of Pop Culture.

Remembering The Irreplaceable David Bowie Ten Things You Might Not Know

(PCM) It’s been a year since the world lost a great man in Mr. David Bowie. Mr. Bowie was a worldly enigmatic chap. He was an amazing musician, an innovator, and an actor just to name a few. We look back at ten things you may or may not know about the late singer.

  1. Rock guitarist Peter Frampton was Bowie’s friend at school – his dad was head of the art department. He’s gone on to play guitar with Bowie many times during his career.
  2. On Jun. 19, 2004, David Bowie was playing for a crowd of around 7,500 at the Norwegian Wood Festival in Oslo, Norway. Due to circumstances that remain mysterious, a lollipop flew from the crowd to the stage area, miraculously landing and lodging into the performer’s left eye. The singer stayed on stage after help from an assistant. He ended up playing an incredible 27 songs. He remained on the stage for over two hours and 20 minutes.
  3. He started playing the saxophone when he was 12 years old.
  4. He later changed his name to Bowie to avoid confusion with Monkee Davy Jones.
  5. He released his debut album, the self-titled David Bowie, in 1967 after playing in a host of pub and club bands.
  6. Bowie’s first hit in the UK – 1969’s Space Oddity – was used by the BBC in its coverage of the moon landing.
  7. David Bowie’s first US number one was his single Fame in 1975. It was co-written by John Lennon and features the former Beatle on backing vocals.
  8. In the 1986 Jim Henson movie Labyrinth, Bowie plays Jareth The Goblin King.
  9. Bing Crosby recorded his last-ever single with David Bowie. Their duet version of The Little Drummer Boy was recorded for Christmas 1977. It was a hit five years later.
  10. His hit Ziggy Stardust is about Vince Taylor, who wrote Brand New Cadillac – later covered by The Clash.

David Bowie will be sadly missed, but he left us enough material to fill a spaceship. Rest Easy STAR MAN.

 

 

Remembering The Irreplaceable David Bowie Ten Things You Might Not Know was contributed by a Myth

WWE’S Royal Rumble Preview 2017

(PCM) WWE will be returning to Texas to host the 2017 Royal Rumble. The event takes place on January 29th at San Antonio’s Alamodome. The last time WWE hosted the Royal Rumble was way back in 1997. This year’s event is gearing up to be memorable, with many big names returning to the squared circle to get their rumble on.

The Royal Rumble first premiered in 1988 and was televised on the USA Network. The Rumble was the idea of WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, and has become a staple of WWE’S programming. The event also marks the beginning of the WrestleMania season. The winner of the Royal Rumble which features 30 Superstars, gets a title shot at WrestleMania which some to refer to as the showcase of the immortals. WrestleMania by far is WWE’S biggest event of the year. So, it’s not rocket science that all the wrestlers in the Royal Rumble will do whatever it takes to throw their opponent over the top rope, and get their shot at the title.

Thirty Superstars, including a returning Bill Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, and Braun Strowman have been announced thus far. Hopefully Goldberg and Lesnar have more time in the ring than their lackluster match at Survivor Series 2016. The match only lasted one minute and twenty- four seconds, and saw Goldberg pin Lesnar after two spears and a jackhammer.

Other matches announced so far:

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte Flair Vs Bailey

WWE Universal Championship Kevin Owens Vs Roman Reigns (Chris Jericho will be suspended in a shark cage above the ring)

WWE Champion AJ Styles Vs John Cena

This year’s Rumble will the 30th in the Royal Rumble chronology. The show will feature Superstars from both the Raw and SmackDown brands. Tune into the WWE Network and check out the show.

 

The post WWE’S Royal Rumble Preview 2017 appeared first on The World Of Pop Culture.

Police Need Amazon Echo’s Help In Solving A Murder Case!

(PCM) Amazon Echo the popular gadget from Amazon has been a popular item as of late. The device has the capability of Android’s ‘Ok Google’ and Apple’s Siri. The device can do everything from answering questions to turning on your air conditioner. But a lot of people are questioning is this technology a good thing or bad thing. Even though the sales that Amazon have reported over the holiday season are enormous.

Police seem to be using this technology some say against the public. In a crazy case, out of Bentonville, Arkansas police have filed search warrants with Amazon. The police are looking to get the records of an Echo belonging to a man named James A. Bates. Investigators want the records from the device between November 21 and November 22, 2015. Bates was charged with murder in the strangling death of

According to some media reports, while investigating, police noticed the Echo in the kitchen and pointed out that the music playing in the home could have been voice activated through the device. While the Echo records only after hearing the wake word, police are hoping that ambient noise or background chatter could have accidentally triggered the device, leading to some more clues.

The incident occurred when Bates had invited two friends — one of them former Georgia police officer Victor Collins, over to his Bentonville home, where they watched college football, drank beer, and had shots of vodka, according, to the search warrant. The men then decided to get into Bates’ hot tub and Bates said he went to bed around 1 a.m. When he awoke in the morning, Collins was floating face-down in the hot tub, the affidavit says.

According to court documents, Amazon has yet to give into the search warrant and has not sent any recordings to police. So next time you have a private conservation with some friends, BEWARE, Alexia might be listening..

Police Need Amazon Echo’s Help In Solving A Murder Case! was contributed by a Myth

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