Monthly Archives: January 2011

Interview: The Task’s Texas Battle

We’ve all seen our fair share of reality TV disasters, but fistfights, mental breakdowns and drunken rages can’t quite compare to what the stars of The Task have to face. The film is one of After Dark Original’s eight 2011 productions. It focuses on a group of reality show contestants required to complete a series of tasks inside an abandoned prison. The winner gets a hefty prize, but before they can get their hands on the cash, they must battle forces that even catch the show’s production team off guards – some malicious and violent spirits.

Starring as one of the six contestants is The Bold and the Beautiful’s Texas Battle. Battle may play a young man struggling with family issues and trying to find love on the soap opera, but he’s also pretty familiar with the horror genre, most notably from playing Lewis Romero in Final Destination 3. However, even with the experience of battling death under his belt, The Task still had some new and fairly terrifying scenarios to throw his way, specifically a scene involving solitary confinement. Check out what Battle had to say about that and much more in the interview below.

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Interview: Seconds Apart’s Edmund Entin

Two is always better than one, right? Well, in the Entin brothers’ case, I’d say so because otherwise, one or the other would have his work cut out for him doubling as a set of telekinetic twins in Seconds Apart. The film is one of seven After Dark Originals films due out on January 28th in which Edmund Entin and his brother Gary star as Seth and Jonah, twins with an unusual and dangerous ability. When their classmates begin to die, the brothers become prime suspects. However the police should be the least of their worries because jealously winds up turning the brothers into their own worst enemies.

Just the other day we spoke with Gary and now it’s Edmund’s turn to enlighten you on what’s it’s like playing a deadly twin. Edmund touches on everything from his experience growing up with acting aspirations, working with his brother, the effect the horror genre has had on him and much more.

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Review: Bereavement

Bereavement may be a prequel to the 2004 film Malevolence and share some concepts and characters, but otherwise, it’s an entirely different film. Not only is it an incredible improvement in terms of camerawork, score and performances, but Bereavement paints a horrifyingly vivid picture of the mind of a psychopathic killer whereas in Malevolence, that element is missing entirely. It’s one thing to watch victims lose their lives one-by-one, but it’s a completely different experience when you’re well aware of what makes the villain commit such heinous crimes. Bereavement puts the frames of minds of its killers in the forefront and boy are they powerful.

Bereavement basically kicks off where Stevan Mena’s first film, Malevolence, began, but rather than jumping ahead 20 years after poor Martin Bristoll’s kidnapping in 1989, we linger a bit and get a much deeper look at exactly what happened to the six-year-old boy when Graham Sutter (Brett Rickaby) snatched him up. Martin (Spencer List) wasn’t just one of Graham’s many victims, rather an apprentice. Martin has a condition called congenital insensitivity; he can’t feel pain, an attribute that’s key to Graham’s psychopathic and somewhat transcendental methods.

Now here comes the time-lapse, but this time around, we fast-forward just five years. After a family tragedy, 17-year-old Allison Miller (Alexandra Daddario) is sent to Minersville, Pennsylvania to live with her uncle Jonathan (Michael Biehn), right down the road from Graham Sutter himself. An avid runner, Allison’s only athletic outlet in the tiny town with a high school sans track team is a five-mile run around the neighborhood. Little does she know, her route takes her right by the rundown Sutter family meat packing plant, the building in which Graham continues to teach Martin his horrific ways. It takes just one glimpse of Martin through the broken window to stir her curiosity, drawing her in to the point at which running away is no longer an option.

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Interview: The Company Men Writer-Director John Wells

Of course most films are aiming to make their subject matter feel real, but in The Company Men’s case, the topic may hit a little too close to home for some. Seasoned TV writer and producer John Wells’ very first feature film focuses on three, well, company men. Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is the young employee on the rise, but when he’s stopped dead in his tracks, thanks to corporate downsizing, he finds that even an impressive resume and skill set aren’t enough during hard times. There’s also Chris Cooper’s character, Phil Woodward. Like Bobby, Phil gets the axe, but in his case, his age makes finding a new spot seemingly impossible. Lastly there’s Gene McClary played by Tommy Lee Jones. He’s the company’s #2, but also finds himself in a tough situation in terms of protecting his employees and himself.

Clearly this is a testy topic for some and Wells was very aware of that. The Company Men was a long time in the making with Wells first developing the concept back in 2000 when the dot-com bubble burst, however, it wasn’t until the most recent economic downfall that filming The Company Men became a reality. During a recent interview with Wells, he told me all about the road to production as well as each member of his all-star cast’s working styles, his experience directing his first film and much more. Check it all out in the video interview below.

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Review: The Way Back

No, it’s not right to knock a film for a lengthy runtime, but if a movie is pushing two hours, it better be able to justify it. In The Way Back’s case it does – kind of. While the first portion of the film drags considerably despite impressively effective imagery, it isn’t until over an hour into it that things really become compelling. There’s nothing wrong with a film that saves the best for last, but it still needs to be entertaining while you’re waiting for the good stuff and The Way Back comes a little too close to missing that mark.

In the midst of Stalin’s Reign of Terror, Janusz (Jim Sturgess) is sent to a Siberian gulag after his wife is coerced into convicting him of espionage and criticizing the Communist Party. It doesn’t take long for Janusz to realize he’ll never survive his 20-year sentence and dreams of freedom. As the conditions worsen with the prisoners being forced to brave terrible blizzards and live on measly portions of food, other inmates become aware of Janusz’s plan and together they make their escape.

There’s Mr. Smith (Ed Harris), the stoic American, Valka (Colin Farrell), one of the few real criminals in the camp, Zoran (Dragos Bucur), a former accountant, Tomasz (Alexandru Potocean), a sketch artist who survived in the camp by selling pictures of naked women, Voss (Gustaf Skarsgard), a priest and Kazik (Sebastian Urzendowsky), the youngest of the bunch who suffers from night blindness. Together they must brave the wilderness, the elements and the Communist regime in order to trek south to safety in Mongolia.

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Hailee Steinfeld’s Next Film — Could It Be ‘The Hunger Games?’

Hailee Steinfeld is no longer just the girl from the K-Mart Blingitude commercial or the young actress from a handful of short films for that matter; she’s a critically acclaimed actress and quite possibly even an Oscar contender for Best Supporting Actress (she already won Best Young Actress at the Critic’s Choice Awards). Of course it’s a special thing to be cast in a Coen brothers movie, but in Steinfeld’s case, being cast as Mattie Ross in ‘True Grit’ is life changing.

It should come as no surprise that with this particularly big break will come an assortment of film offers – and rumors of offers, too. Lately, we’ve been hearing quite a lot about Steinfeld potentially portraying Katniss Everdeen in the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins‘ wildly popular book, ‘The Hunger Games.’ From the start, I’ve championed Chloe Moretz for the part not only because she’s a spectacular actress, but also because there was really nobody else who could handle the part. Well, after catching ‘True Grit,’ my ideal casting for the lead role in this potential blockbuster franchise changed and Ms. Moretz has slipped to option #2.

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Should ‘The Hunger Games’ Be PG-13 Or R? Director Gary Ross Weighs In

Back in October it was revealed that ‘The Hunger Games’ film adaptation was going to be stamped not with an R, but a PG-13 rating — and outrage ensued. Yes, Suzanne Collins’ entire series is for young adults, but for anyone who’s read the books – young or old – you know that the kids of Panem don’t play nice; they’re fighting for their lives.

After posting the news here on Cinematical, we got tons of angry responses, one of which going as far as to say, “This book is not appropriate for twelve year olds, but unfortunately, too many parents lack the spine to say so,” and another posting, “This book is nothing without its brutality. Unless the slaughter of those ten innocent kids is shown in the movie, the audience won’t understand why a revolution is needed.” However, we also got quite a few readers defending the PG-13 ruling: “The books are already PG-13. They’re totally innocuous and lacking in much action and certainly any adult themes. The books seem tailored to a PG-13.” Another pointed out, “I grew up on G movies that killed more horribly.”

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