Surreal Fantasy Features Liam Neeson as Voice of Anthropomorphic Tree

 

A Monster Calls,  DVD Review by Kam Williams, Lewis MacDougall, Toby Kebbell, Felicity Jones, visually-enchanting, Patrick Ness, Sigourney Weaver, facing deepest fearsA Monster Calls

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Surreal Fantasy Features Liam Neeson as Voice of Anthropomorphic Tree

Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is understandably miserable. First of all, the 12 year-old divorced mom (Felicity Jones) is terminally ill. Second, they’re both estranged from his father (Toby Kebbell) who has long since started another family over in America.

Third, Conor is tired of being mistreated by his cold-hearted grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) who cares more about her prized possessions than his welfare. And finally, he’s routinely teased at school by a bully (James Melville) about always being off in his own dream world.

So, it’s no surprise when Conor starts being plagued by nightmares on a daily basis. A few minutes after midnight, the giant yew tree (Liam Neeson) standing in the graveyard outside his bedroom window turns into an intimidating, anthropomorphic monster.

Despite its imposing presence, the beast gradually gains the kid’s confidence, agreeing to tell a trio of insightful allegories on the condition that Conor reciprocate with one of his own. The idea, ostensibly, is that there will be a meaningful lesson to be learned from each of the parables.

That is the point of departure of  A Monster Calls, a bittersweet escapist fantasy directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible). The movie is based on the illustrated children’s novel of the same name by Patrick Ness who also adapted it to the big screen. Ness’ award-winning book was inspired by the late Siobhan Dowd, who passed away before she could tackle the semi-autobiographical project herself.   

The film is less a feel-good flick than a picture about making the best of a bad situation. For, the monster’s stories paint a sobering picture of life that’s anything but rosy. However, they do ultimately enable Conor to own up about his deepest fear, when it’s his turn to share.

Given the mature themes and the dire plot developments, it’s hard to recommend A Monster Calls for vulnerable youngsters. Nevertheless, it is unique in its approach to preparing a tweener to processing an impending tragedy.

A visually-enchanting, if fateful, fairy tale.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated  PG-13 for mature themes and scary images

Running time: 108 minutes

Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; The Making of A Monster Calls; and Making of the Tales.

To order a copy of A Monster Calls on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01LTI21YY/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  GIG News

For movies opening March 31, 2017

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening March 31, 2017

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEK,   Kam's Kapsules,  Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun,  by Kam Williams

BIG BUDGET FILMS

The Boss Baby (PG for some mildly rude humor) Animated family comedy about a precocious infant (Alec Baldwin) who teams up with his 7 year-old brother (Miles Christopher Bakshi) to foil the dastardly plan of a diabolical CEO (Steve Buscemi) determined to destabilize feelings of love around the world. Voice cast includes Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, ViviAnn Yee and Eric Bell, Jr.

Ghost in the Shell (PG-13 for ) Futuristic sci-fi based on the Japanese comic book series of the same name about a cyborg counter-terrorist commander’s (Scarlett Johansson) deployed to prevent power-hungry computer hackers from purloining powerful, mind control technology. With Pilou Asbaek, Juliette Binoche and Takeshi Kitano.   

The Zookeeper’s Wife (PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, mature themes, smoking, sexuality and brief nudity) Jessica Chastain plays the title character in this true tale, set in Poland during World War II, recounting how a fearless woman hid hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust on the grounds of the Warsaw Zoo. Cast includes Daniel Bruhl, Johan Heldenbergh and Timothy Radford.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Aftermath (R for one scene containing graphic violence) Fact-based docudrama about a grief-stricken vigilante (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who seeks to take revenge on the air traffic controller (Scoot McNairy) whose mistake led to the crash which claimed the lives of his wife and daughter. Supporting cast includes Maggie Grace, Kevin Zegers and Hannah Ware.

All This Panic (Unrated) Coming-of-age documentary, set in Brooklyn, chronicling  the transition of a group of teenage girls from adolescence to adulthood over the course of three years. 

Bwoy (Unrated) Homoerotic drama revolving around a closeted, former physician (Anthony Rapp) who starts cheating on his wife (De’Adre Aziza) with a hunky young Jamaican (Jimmy Brooks) in the wake of their son’s untimely death. Featuring Jermaine Rowe, Drew Allen and Ashton Randle.

Cexanne and I (R for profanity, nudity and sexual references) Bifurcated biopic chronicling the lifelong friendship of novelist/philosopher Emile Zola (Guillaume Canet) and Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne (Guillaume Gallienne). With Alice Pol, Deborah Francois and Pierre Yvon. (In French with subtitles)

David Lynch: The Art Life (Unrated) Prestige biopic following David Lynch as he discusses the formative years of his life which helped turn him into an iconoclastic film director.   

God Knows Where I Am (Unrated) Poignant post mortem reenacting the events leading to the death by a starvation of Linda Bishop, a homeless woman who tried to survive a harsh New Hampshire winter in an abandoned farmhouse on apples and rain water.

Here Alone (Unrated) Post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller chronicling the struggle of a young woman (Lucy Walters) to survive in the wilderness in the wake of a mysterious epidemic that has decimated civilization. Cast includes Gina Piersanti, Adam David Thompson and Shane West. (In English and French with subtitles) 

Live Cargo (Unrated) Crime thriller about a couple (Dree Hemigway and Lakeith Stanfield) that retreats to an island in the Bahamas to mourn the loss of a baby, only to become entangled in a turf war between the mayor (Robert Wisdom) and a human trafficker (Leonard Earl Howze). co-starring Sam Dillon, Ayumi Iizuka and Frantz Lecoeur. (In English and Creole with subtitles)

The Prison (Unrated) Action thriller revolving around an ex-cop (Rae-won Kim) who pretends to be a convict in order to infiltrate the crime syndicate operating behind bars responsible for the murder of his younger brother. With Woong-in Jeong, Seok-Kyu Han and Kim Sung Kyun. (In Korean with subtitles)

 

Source:  GIG News

Architecture in America That Would Make Frank Lloyd Wright Proud

 

Architecture in America That Would Make Frank Lloyd Wright Proud

by Amy Lignor

There is a brand new headline when it comes to an innovative new building; a building that the creator hopes to construct in America. It is a design that looks stunning on paper, however, it is also a design that is ‘far right’ of, well…even Wright’s own ideas.

A conceptual design by Oiio Studio proposes “the Big Bend” as Manhattan’s longest (not tallest) residential building. Photo: Oiio Studio.

Manhattan, as everyone knows by now, is the King of the skyscraper business. They are also always striving, along with Seattle, Chicago and others, to own the tallest building in America, let alone the world. Greek architect Ioannis Oikonomou and his firm, Oiio Studio, may just be the ones to give Manhattan this glory.

Not only could he break the “tallest” record with his idea, but he would also create one of the most interesting, beautiful, yet slightly supernatural looking building in all the land. This would be a U-shaped tower that’s along the lines of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis or the first big drop on a roller coaster as far as construction is concerned. It will also be the “longest” structure and has already been assigned the name, “Big Bend.” A skinny skyscraper bent in half, if you measured from end to end it would be approximately 4,000 feet. The stretch running from the sidewalk to the building’s peak directly in its center would make it 200 feet taller than One World Trade Center was; thus, creating the longest/tallest skyscraper.

It already has a place, of course. If everything were to go perfectly and investors signed on to the project, “Big Bend” would be built on the south corner of Central Park. You know the area as Billionaire’s Row.

It is not a stretch to say that this is a design that very well could come to fruition. And although it would come in as the longest skyscraper, it would not be the “strangest” architectural site that America has to offer. You see, almost every state can claim one site that is so beautiful, unique, or just simply odd that tourists go to see them every year.

Just take a look at a few…

In Alaska, the “Dr. Seuss House” can be found in a place called Willow. Although this is an unofficial name, the beloved author would be proud to see it. The 12 stories, that sat untouched for ten years and was only recently completed, resembles the illustrated homes that Seuss was famous for.

In Arkansas, A stunning architectural work of art comes in the form of Thorncrown Chapel. Wood and stone were used to create the structure, yet a wandering eye that wandered too quickly would see it as just a chapel sitting in the middle of the forest completely abandoned. But don’t let the eyes deceive, because this is one chapel that is not “buried in overgrowth and weeds.” Up close, it is actually enclosed by huge glass panels on all four sides and is truly a sight to behold.

A favorite of many can be found in the state of Connecticut. Gillette Castle is an awe-inspiring site, whether seeing it on land or from a boat staring up at the hill it sits upon. This is a very odd stone monstrosity that was commissioned by William Gillette, who was an American actor best known for playing the role of Sherlock Holmes. He was also a man with a sense of humor and a whole lot of bad luck. In his Will, he stated that the castle was never supposed to be owned by (and I quote): “a blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.” Seeing as that the state now owns it, seems that Gillette did not get his wish after all.

For those who love their canines, in the state of Idaho you can find The Dog Bark Park Inn. Locals call this structure “Sweet Willy” and the building is two stories built and painted to look like a beagle. Best dog-themed B&B out there in America. A real “treat” for both you and your special friend.

In Michigan you are granted a look at the Earl Young Mushroom Houses; in Oklahoma, the “Arts & Crafts” House (AKA: The Bavinger House) is also something you’ll never forget. Oddly enough, when it comes to alien beings, it is not Roswell, NM but actually Signal Mountain, Tennessee where you must go to see “The Spaceship House.” Built in 1972 for his son, the owner created this UFO-shaped home with interior décor that is totally round (even the furniture) and a drop-down staircase that allows you to “climb up” and enter the alien transport from the ground below.

But you really can’t speak about “odd” architecture without at least throwing in the name everyone knows. In Dodgeville, Wisconsin, “The House on the Rock” may have a bland name, but the oddities of the building came from the minds of builder Alex Jordan Jr., and designer Frank Lloyd Wright. This is a rural home, but inside you will find everything from the world’s largest indoor carousel to something called ‘The Infinity Room’, which is cantilevered and projected out over 200 feet beyond the actual rock the house sits on. Talk about a view, aye?

It will be interesting to see if investors jump at the chance to construct “Big Bend” in Manhattan and give the already beautiful spot even more cred. But even without it, take some time to research the stunning architecture that has been a part of the U.S.A. for a long time – some are even in your neck of the woods. Because even with the mastermind Wright gone, at least we can be proud that “over-the-top” designs continue to be a part of our architectural universe.

 

Source:  GIG News

Eddie Redmayne Stars as Wizard in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Spinoff

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,  DVD Review by Kam Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Morton, Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Eddie Redmayne Stars as Wizard in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Spinoff

It’s New York harbor in 1926, which is when we are introduced to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he disembarks a steamship from England that’s just docked at the pier. The young wizard has to resort to a sleight of hand to slip through customs, since his suitcase is filled to the point of bursting with a unique brand of contraband.

Newt happens to be hiding a menagerie of mythical creatures with unusual names like obscurials, bowtruckles and dougals. Given the unreliable latch on his tattered, leather satchel, it doesn’t take long for a mischievous niffler to escape. We soon observe the odd-looking critter breaking into a bank vault where it proceeds to indulge its insatiable appetite for gold by stuffing its pouch with glittery coins.

Newt, however, must get it right back under wraps ASAP, before it arouses the suspicion of Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton). She’s the leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society, a group of no-majs, aka muggles (meaning ordinary human beings), dedicated to the extermination of wizards and witches.

Newt whips out his wand to recapture the naughty niffler in front of Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), an affable Everyman applying for a loan with hopes of opening his own bakery. Trouble is, since the unassuming fellow has just observed the use of magic, wizardry protocol calls for his memory to be wiped clean on the spot.

But Jacob not only flees before being “obliviated,” he inadvertently takes Newt’s bag of tricks with him to boot. Next, Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a comely witch with the Magical Congress of the United States of America, comes to Newt’s rescue.

Thus unfolds Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a visually-captivating adaptation of the J.K. Rowling best seller of the same name. Although the book was alluded to in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, one need not be familiar with the Potter series at all to appreciate this delightful debut of a fantasy franchise designed for five episodes.

Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne (for The Theory of Everything) delivers afresh conveying an endearing vulnerability as the picture’s bashful protagonist. And he is ably assisted in this endeavor by a stellar supporting cast composed of both A-list actors and an array of computer-generated creatures.

Redmayne’s enviable acting range makes Newt Scamander a far more engaging and emotionally- accessible character than Harry Potter ever was. Heavens to Hogwarts! 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence

Running time: 133 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Over an hour of expansive, multi-part feaurettes; 11 deleted scenes; and Before Harry Potter: A New Era of Magic Begins!.

To order a copy of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack , visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01LTHOAGM/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

Source:  GIG News

Made in the U.S.A. Should be the #1 Path for Businesses

 

Made in the U.S.A. Should be the #1 Path for Businesses

by Amy Lignor

 

The popular show called “Shark Tank” offers investors that back up small businesses – businesses that then turn around and make millions and are able to hire more and more American workers each year, still mentions something that breaks the heart in almost every episode. The fact that overseas manufacturers could save the entrepreneur who’s speaking a The popular show called “Shark Tank” offers investors that back up small businesses – businesses that then turn around and make millions and are able to hire more and more American workers each year, still mentions something that breaks the heart in almost every episode. The fact that overseas manufacturers could save the entrepreneur who’s speaking a great deal of money and lower their costs. Is that particular fact true? Well…unfortunately it is. However, as business has been changing, and America has been attempting to get back on the horse, many big names have proven that you can succeed and manufacture your product line in America, all at the same time. They are not about to go out of business anytime soon, and they take a whole heck of a lot of pride in the fact that their products are “Made in the U.S.A.” Don’t believe? Keep reading.great deal of money and lower their costs. Is that particular fact true? Well…unfortunately it is. However, as business has been changing, and America has been attempting to get back on the horse, many big names have proven that you can succeed and manufacture your product line in America, all at the same time. They are not about to go out of business anytime soon, and they take a whole heck of a lot of pride in the fact that their products are “Made in the U.S.A.” Don’t believe? Keep reading.

Grado is a name that all audiophile’s relate to in a big way. You might too, although you just needed the product, perhaps, and had no idea what an actual audiophile was. Grado Labs creates headphones that are used by an army of professionals in the music industry. For 60+ years now, they have making this high-class product line in good, old…Brooklyn, New York.

Along the same lines, another big name in the technology world makes its home and produces its amazing products in…New Jersey. The high-performance computers that are used in gaming and media production comes from the minds, hearts and manufacturing facilities of MAINGEAR.

Strangely enough, also in the computer world, is a product by the one and only Apple that is only produced in the United States. Now, yes, Apple does outsource a large percent of its manufacturing to China, but when it comes to the Mac Pro desktop console, Apple keeps that creation close to home – with production only coming from their facility in…Texas.

 

When we go to the world of transportation, two names sit atop the “Made in the U.S.A.” list and should get a big round of applause for keeping their products in American hands. URB-E is the name behind the only foldable electric scooter produced in the States. A very popular creation, these scooters allow you to travel up to fifteen miles per hour, and then fold up so that you can carry them on subways or in elevators or any other cramped space you can think of. And all this ingenuity is found each and every day in…California.

 

Also in California, in the town of Fremont, is a factory that is all about electric-car production – the Tesla. Tesla cars are becoming an empire, just the way General Motors did long ago. If all other manufacturers of cars set up in the U.S., just think of how many American jobs could be had.

This next one is definitely not a tough one. Everybody in the world knows the name Zippo, especially American soldiers which is the customer base that made Zippo a household name in the first place. What many may not know, however, is that since 1932 these iconic lighters have been produced out of their headquarters located in…Pennsylvania. Yet another big name in that state has its own “must-see” production company, that’s a lot like a giant carnival, in a city named after their actual brand: Hershey U.S.A.

 

One more name that is well-known in American households is MAGLITE. With this company you are talking about flashlights, lamps, and all different types of lighting products that are the “one and only choice” for people out there. Whether it be businesses, estates, empires, or individuals, MAGLITE has made sure to provide the best products to light up the world since 1979. And they do this all out of an 11-building facility based in Ontario…California.

 

There are many, many others out there who have brought their products back to the good, old U.S.A. in order to provide jobs and increase the wealth for this country. So when it comes to finding the “best manufacturer for your product” just make sure you consider America first. After all, it’s been good to some pretty popular names out there that have lasted a long time, and will continue to for decades to come.

 

Source:  GIG News

Yamaha Marine Receives 2017 Silver Star of Excellence

 

Yamaha Marine Receives 2017 Silver Star of Excellence

From American Technical Education Association and the National Technical Honor Society® for Contributions to Technical Education
RECOGNIZED FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MOTORCYCLE AND MARINE SERVICE PROGRAM AT THE TENNESSEE COLLEGE OF APPLIED TECHNOLOGY (TCAT) CHATTANOOGA

Yamaha Marine Group announced today that it was awarded the 2017 Silver Star of Excellence from the American Technical Education Association and the National Technical Honor Society®.  Yamaha was recognized for its contribution to the Motorcycle and Marine Service Program at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Chattanooga.

The Silver Star of Excellence is awarded to a business in recognition of specific contributions to technical education such as donations of equipment, facilities, training, financial assistance and support such as internships, apprenticeships, and advisory committee members.

Left to right: James King – Vice Chancellor, TCAT System; Jimmy Jones – Master Instructor, TCAT, Chattanooga Sate Community College; Ed Grun, Senior Instructor, TCAT, Chattanooga State Community College; Joe Maniscalco, Division Manager, Yamaha Marine Service; Parks Chastain, Department Manager, Yamaha Marine Technical Training; Jim Barrott, Director, TCAT, Chattanooga State Community College

“Yamaha Marine started its relationship with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in 2002, and its support has grown each year. In addition to significant product and equipment donations in the last few years, the company has provided full dealership access to Yamaha training materials for technicians in training in an effort to help them become more profitable assets for potential employers,” said Sandra Krebsbach, Executive Director, American Technical Education Association. “As a TCAT technical school program sponsor, Yamaha also has generously provided staff for advisory board meetings and Skills USA®State Competition Judges, going far above and beyond to support student learning program standards and the success of marine industry training overall.”

“Yamaha Marine is committed to helping dealers recruit new technicians by preparing students for a fulfilling and high-demand career in marine service,” said Joe Maniscalco, Division Manager, Yamaha Marine Service.  “We are gratified to support the Motorcycle and Marine Service Technology Program at TCAT Chattanooga for many years and are honored to receive the Silver Star of Excellence award as we both pursue shared goals for the industry.”

In addition to the award, Yamaha was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society® Educator Industry Hall of Fame at the ATEA National Conference on Technical Education on March 15, 2017.

Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Group, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and boat builders with marketing, training, and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology, and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA®’s CSI Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. Visit www.yamahaoutboards.com.

Original Source: Yamaha Outboards.com

Caro on the Straight and Narrow

 

Niki Caro,  "The Zookeeper's Wife” Interview, New Zealand, Director/screenwriter, Whale Rider, North Country, Holocaust, Jessica ChastainNiki Caro

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” Interview

with Kam Williams
Caro on the Straight and Narrow

Director/screenwriter Niki Caro is one of the most successful filmmakers to emerge from New Zealand. After completing a BFA at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Film from Swinburne in Melbourne, Australia, Niki wrote and directed a number of highly-acclaimed shorts.

Sure to Rise screened at the 1994 Cannes International Film Festival, and Footage was shown at the 1996 Venice International Film Festival. Her first full-length feature, Memory & Desire, focused on a Japanese married couple and was selected for Critics Week at the 1998 Cannes International Film Festival. It went on to win four New Zealand Film and Television Awards, including Best Film.

Niki’s sophomore offering, Whale Rider, explored the Maori community of Whangara on New Zealand’s East Coast, and made an impact globally. Whale Rider was seen by millions of people and won over two dozen prizes around the world, including top honors at the Toronto (the People’s Choice Award), Sundance (the Audience Award), Rotterdam, San Francisco, Maui, and Seattle (Best Film) Film Festivals. The film’s star Keisha Castle-Hughes landed an Academy Award nomination for Best Lead Actress, becoming what was then the youngest nominee ever in the category.

Niki next directed North Country, a drama set on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. The film starred Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sissy Spacek and Woody Harrelson. Theron and McDormand were nominated for Oscars in the Best Lead Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories, respectively.

Continuing to illuminate real lives and real communities onscreen, Niki directed the sleeper hit McFarland, USA, starring Kevin Costner. Set in California’s Central Valley, the inspirational docudrama chronicled the real-life exploits of an all-Latino cross-country track team.

Here, Niki talks about her new film, The Zookeeper’s Wife, a World War II biopic starring Jessica Chastain as an intrepid heroine who saved hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust.

Niki Caro,  "The Zookeeper's Wife” Interview, New Zealand, Director/screenwriter, Whale Rider, North Country, Holocaust, Jessica Chastain

Kam Williams: Hi Niki, thanks for the interview. I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.

Niki Caro: Oh, that’s very kind of you to say, Kam.

KW: I love all your films. In fact, your last one, McFarland, USA, was #13 on my Top 100 list for 2015.

NC: That’s amazing! You’ve made my day.

KW: I was really moved by it, as I was by this one. I went into the theater a little skeptical about the plot. Even though it’s true, a story about a woman saving both zoo animals and hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust just sounded a little farfetched. Yet, you had me weeping by the end of the picture.

NC: Great!

KW: What interested you in The Zookeeper’s Wife?

NC: The radical humanity of the Zabinskis.

KW: Was that from reading the book?

NC: No, I’m ashamed to have to admit I hadn’t. Neither had I ever heard of Antonina Zabinski [played by Jessica Chastain], let alone of the role she played in history. Here was this intriguing story in script form that I couldn’t believe was true. And yet it was. I felt it offered a really new way to talk about the Holocaust, a way that really spoke about heart, hope and humanity. And about feelings too.

KW: The movie has many tasteful touches of humor. How did you manage to do that without offending the audience? How do you know what humor will or won’t work when you’re dealing with such serious subject matter? It must be hard making sure you don’t cross a line.

NC: Well, I always take my inspiration from the true story, which in this case was Antonina. It was wonderful to me that her instinct to nurture and protect animals translated so effortlessly to the human species. And the way she created a sanctuary was so feminine. That influenced the filmmaking in a very big way. It’s a very feminine look at the Holocaust. It certainly speaks about war in a very feminine fashion. Of course, war didn’t just happen to men, as many war movies suggest. It also happened to women, to children and to animals, and I felt that this film uniquely gave them a voice. And it gave women, in particular, a way to express femininity as strength.

KW: Absolutely! I definitely don’t remember ever seeing war presented so intimately from a woman’s perspective.

NC: Well, there you go. We’re still somewhat unfamiliar with stories being told from a female’s point-of-view. So, i hope that makes this story kind of fresh.

KW: It sure does. After I saw the film, I couldn’t help but wonder why the movie wasn’t released during awards season. This movie has Oscars written all over it.

NC: That wasn’t my decision. There are a whole lot of factors that are weighed in determining when a movie’s released, and none of those determinations are made by the filmmaker. [Laughs] But I’m really happy it’s being released now.

KW: I point it out only because you’ve already directed three actresses to Academy Award nominations, and Jessica Chastain does such a terrific job, here. I just think the film would get serious Oscar consideration, if it were released in November or December.

NC: It still could. And if that is the case, it will really have earned it, because it will have stuck in people’s minds.

KW: What is your secret to coaxing Oscar-quality performances out of actresses?

NC: Gosh! the first secret is in casting really great actresses with whom I can have a genuine collaboration, and remain open to their contributions and their brilliance. I try to create an environment on set where they feel very secure and very supported, so that they can take risks and do what I hope is some of their best work.    

KW: When did you develop your interest in directing? Were you one of those kids who was constantly playing around with a video camera as a child?

NC: No, playing around with video cameras was not from my generation. [Chuckles] I never even saw a movie camera until I was in my late teens. I loved movies, but I didn’t necessarily think I could make them. Growing up in New Zealand, I thought of movies as something that Americans made until I saw a film by Jane Campion.

KW: The Piano?

NC: No, her first film, Sweetie. That movie knocked me sideways. I couldn’t believe it, because I recognized it. And I must admit it’s super-weird. But, for the first time, I saw something I recognized from my own world. That gave me a huge amount of confidence. And I remain incredibly inspired by her.I’m a great, big fan of hers. 

KW: Who are some of your other favorite directors?

NC: Back then, I felt very similarly about the work of another New Zealand filmmaker, Vincent Ward. Now, in terms of what I’ve seen recently. Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight was absolutely stunning. And so was Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. I love musicals. He’s adorable, Damien. A lovely person. And so talented.

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?

NC: I remember the joyousness of sitting in the bath at the age of 3, listening to the radio with my dad and singing “Me and Bobby McGee” at the top of my voice.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

NC: Oh God! [Chuckles] I see myself.

  

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

NC: Sorry, I’m drawing a blank. I’ve been asked so many questions.

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?   

NC: I want to see that new Kong movie, but monsters isn’t so much my preferred genre.

  

KW: What is your favorite genre?

NC: I love drama, obviously, especially when it’s really human, when it’s funny, and when it lifts me out of my world. And I love documentary, too.

KW: Tell me a little about your upcoming film, Callas. I assume that’s about Maria Callas.

NC: Yes, it’s a project I’ve been working on for a very long time, and won’t be making in the near future, because I’m moving on to Mulan. But Maria is very special to me.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

NC: I have two passports, a picture of my mother, my brother and me on a very unremarkable-looking beach. And some pictures of my kids, and a bunch of airline cards.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Niki, and best of luck with the film.

NC: Thank you so much, Kam. Have a good evening.

Source:  GIG News

Top Ten DVD List for March 28, 2017

 

This Week’s DVD Releases

by Kam Williams

Top Ten DVD List for March 28, 2017

This Week’s DVD Releases, Kam Williams, Top Ten DVD List, 03/28/2017

20th Century Women

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MRA563W/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01LTHOAGM/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

A Monster Calls

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01LTI21YY/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Silence

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01LTI119U/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

Jack Taylor: Set 3

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MRMBAE0/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Patriots Day

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01LTI1WBC/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Blow Up [Criterion Collection]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MSZLUQ6/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Monster High: Electrified

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01N5SAI3C/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Frontline: President Trump

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MSWRN9G/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Wishmaster Collection [4 Film Set]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01NCYUBIC/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Honorable Mention

Arsenal

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01N4N2SE4/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  GIG News

Whitetail Hunting in Illinois is About Making Memories in the Heartland

 

Whitetail Hunting in Illinois is About Making Memories in the Heartland

 

Whitetail hunting is the most popular area of the hunting universe in this day and age. When it comes to the great state of Illinois, there is one guide that is all about making your trip not only a success, but one of the most memorable experiences you can possibly have. And seeing that most of the dates sell out quite quickly, now is the time to research, review and then reserve your 2017 incredible whitetail hunt.

www.heartlandlodge.com

If you are looking to have a whitetail deer hunting trip with a premier outfitter,Harpole’s Heartland Lodge is the place for you. Specializing in archery deer hunts, along with gun hunts, Heartland is the original deer hunting outfitter and lodge in Pike County – and they can absolutely boast the fact that trophy whitetail hunts have been their specialty for the last 21 years…and counting.

 

Harpole’s is rated the absolute best in all areas you can think of when it comes to having a hunting trip that is nothing short of spectacular. Even the outfitter staff deserves and receives an A+ across the board, offering you a truly dedicated and full-time whitetail manager, full-time assistant whitetail manager, support staff and guides who work year-round in order to ensure that your hunt is off-the-charts.

 

Beginning in the winter, Harpole’s staff scouts bucks that survived the fall hunting season and are looking for new tree stand locations. The staff then moves on to late winter and early spring which is filled with tasks, from walking the woods looking for whitetail sheds to over-seeding the clover food plots. Early spring is spent planting new food plots, while summer is spent maintaining the plots, glassing and videotaping deer that come into the fields, and checking trail cam photos. When the late summer months arrive, planting the brassica food plots and new clover plots take over the daily work, so that when fall once again appears, every single step of the process has been done. All that’s left is to guide you to the perfect spot so you can have the best hunt imaginable.

 

Harpole’s diehard crew also makes archery hunting available. This is a passion absolutely shared by the entire whitetail staff who shoot their bows year-round, always practicing and always looking forward to when that next archery “party” arrives.

 

Pike County Illinois deer hunting has become legendary, and Harpole’s Heartland Lodge is the reason for the unbridled thrills that whitetail hunters experience when they utilize Heartland as their chosen guides. It doesn’t hurt that you are talking about one of the most stunning areas in the country. Located in the middle of incredible Illinois deer hunting country, centered between the Mississippi and Illinois River drainages, Heartland has always provided large whitetail bucks the perfect habitat. They understand the four key ingredients to having a quality deer herd: genetics, food, habitat, and a good age structure. By understanding this, they have been able to produce huge bucks and quality whitetail deer hunting for over two decades. And with their strict management program in place to preserve growth, Heartland continues to be at the top of the list for hunters who are searching for whitetail bucks not found anywhere else.

 

Harpole’s Heartland Lodge also provides first-class accommodations. Even though hunters may not think this is as important as the hunt itself, having a good night’s sleep and a great meal are just as important as the aim you bring with you. And at Heartland, receiving a comfortable bed after a long day’s hunt is the perfect way to “cap” off the day.

 

Various archery and gun hunting packages are available to one and all, but booking needs to begin as soon as possible, seeing as that Heartland’s customers continue to be repeat customers who will make sure they snag one of the pristine packages. Packages run from the Four-Night, Three-Day November Packages to Five-Night, Four-Day December Packages; Four-Night, Three-Day Muzzleloader Packages to Seven-Night, Six-Day Archery-Muzzleloader Combo Packages; Four-Night, Three-Day Firearm Doe Hunts, and the list goes on!

 

Harpole’s also rolls out the red carpet every year and welcomes both seasoned veterans and those who are just learning how to deer hunt. With deer hunting tips and strategies from Heartland’s professional and talented guides, everyone is sure to have an incredible time.

 

Memories are ready to be made, so head to www.heartlandlodge.com today to view everything from private rooms to luxury suites, and make your reservation. The only difficult part will be waiting for the months to go by so you can get to that beautiful Illinois country and bag that champion whitetail you’ve been dreaming about.

www.heartlandlodge.com

Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle

Holocaust Drama Recounts Daring Exploits of Heroine Who Save Hundreds of Jews

 

The Zookeeper’s Wife

Film Review by Kam Williams

Holocaust Drama Recounts Daring Exploits of Heroine Who Save Hundreds of Jews

In 1928, Dr. Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenbergh) became the director of the Warsaw Zoo. Over the next decade, he ran it  with the help of his wife, Antonina (Jessica Chastain), who was something of a wildlife whisperer. The institution flourished under their control until the outbreak of the Second World War in September of ’39 when Hitler invaded Poland.

The Zookeeper's Wife,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Dr. Jan Zabinski, Warsaw Zoo, Diane Ackerman, spine-tingling, quality performance

The zoo was closed to the public after being repeatedly bombed by the Luftwaffe during the siege of the city. However, the Zabinskis continued to live on the grounds with their young son (Timothy Radford) and the beleaguered animals that survived the attacks.

But once Warsaw was occupied by the Nazis, the couple was ordered to report directly to Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl), the Third Reich’s recently-appointed chief zoologist. Despite being married, Heck never bothered to hide his lust for attractive Antonina, shamelessly forcing himself on her as they attended to the agglomeration of exotic beasts scattered around the premises.

Knowing that resistance was futile and might cost her her life, Jan directed his wife to submit to the unwelcome advances. And he understandably ended up feeling utterly emasculated by the frustration of failing to prevent her being pawed by the creepy Hitler henchman.   

The Zookeeper's Wife,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Dr. Jan Zabinski, Warsaw Zoo, Diane Ackerman, spine-tingling, quality performance

Nevertheless, the  Zabinskis did find an avenue of retaliation in the Polish the resistance movement. Joining the Underground, they secretly helped smuggle Jews destined for the concentration camps out of the Warsaw ghetto. Furthermore, they hid the escapees on the grounds of the zoo at a time when death was the punishment for attempting to liberate a Jew.

This is the spine-tingling series of events chronicled by The Zookeeper’s Wife, a fact-based docudrama adapted from Diane Ackerman’s best seller of the same name. Ackerman’s book, FYI, had, in turn, been based on an unpublished memoir by Antonina Zabinski herself.

The Zookeeper's Wife,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Dr. Jan Zabinski, Warsaw Zoo, Diane Ackerman, spine-tingling, quality performance

Directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), the picture stars Jessica Chastain as the fearless and endearing title character. The two-time, Academy Award-nominee (for The Help and Zero Dark Thirty) delivers another quality performance here, which is no surprise given how Caro has previously coaxed Oscar-nominated performances out of a trio of talented actresses (Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand and Keisha Castle-Hughes).

A bittersweet biopic belatedly paying tribute to an unsung heroine who selflessly put her life on the line in the face of unspeakable evil.     

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated  PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, mature themes, smoking, sexuality and brief nudity

Running time: 126 minutes

Studio: Scion Films

Distributor: Focus Features

Source:  GIG News