First Look Clip Of Mr. Rogers Documentary (VIDEO)

We could really use a patron saint of pop culture, one who could steer us toward a virtuous north star and away from our crass impulses and divisive toxicity. My choice would be for Mr. Rogers.

A new documentary about Fred Rogers life and work is about to debut at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s called Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, and it’s from Oscar-winning documentarian Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom).

In this first look clip (above) we see how, even in his time, Mr. Rogers’ sweet and loving tone was in direct contrast to conventional norms.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? opens in theaters this summer on June 8, 2018.

MrRogers

WINGFEATHER SAGA: Sneak Peak Of New Animated Adventure (VIDEO/IMAGES)

The Lord of the Rings meets The Princess Bride. That’s the pitch for the new animated adventure The Wingfeather Saga.

Based on the best-selling fantasy novels by  author and singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson, it follows the quests of a boy, his two younger siblings, and the map that could lead to treasure.

The trailer above previews the longer 15-minute short that’s available to watch now at outlets like Amazon Prime, YouTube, and more.

The Wingfeather Saga 
Amazon Prime
YouTube Channel
YouTube Short Film
Vimeo

Still in the development stages, the 15-minute short is a pilot prototype, but the style and vision is impressive for a treatment produced on a limited Kickstarter budget.

Directed by Tom Owens (Head of Story – How to Train Your Dragon 2), producer J. Chris Wall (VeggieTales) says of the project’s aesthetic approach, “We thought it would be really cool to create something visually that felt handcrafted and with a unique blend of CGI and traditional 2D. Something that felt closer to a moving painting or stop-motion.”

Below you’ll also see a gallery of Wingfeather production stills.

Other creative contributors include Director of CGI Keith Lango (Portal – Valve Corp) and Production Designer Nicholas Kole (Hasbro, Disney).

Produced by Magnetic Dreams in Nashville, TN, The Wingfeather Saga is being developed as a feature film, with further plans to launch as a multi-season mini-series.

If you enjoy what you see and what to help the project gain momentum, just Watch It, Like It and Share It. You can also learn more about at the official website.

Click on any still for larger image gallery.

On The Set Of SELMA: Filmmaker Conversations (FEATURE)

David Oyelowo Ava DuVernay

“I felt God tell me that I was going to play Dr. King – and in Selma.” – David Oyelowo 

In the summer of 2014, I was able to visit the set of Selma during its final days of shooting in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. There, I was able to talk with star David Oyelowo, director Ava DuVernay, and others. Here is a link to the feature story I wrote for Crosswalk.com in 2014.

SELMA (Movie Review)

selma
***1/2 out of ****
Rated PG-13
(for disturbing thematic material, violence, a suggestive moment, and some strong language)
Released: December 25, 2014
Runtime: 125 minutes
Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Starring: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Colman Domingo, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephan James, Wendell Pierce, Andre Holland, Oprah Winfrey, Tim Roth, Dylan Baker

My 2014 review of Selma, for Crosswalk.com. It “examines the three-month period in 1965 (which included the tragic event known as Bloody Sunday) when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. organized a march for equal voting rights from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.”

Directed by Ava DuVernay, Selma “combines the provocative anger of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing with the righteous conviction of Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront…in virtually every respect, Selma is a triumph.”

To read my full review, click here.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (Movie Review)

TGS_Jackman
***1/2 out of ****
Rated PG
(for thematic elements, including a brawl)
Released:  December 20, 2017
Runtime: 105 minutes
Director: Michael Gracey
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Austyn Johnson, Cameran Seely

Get your freak on.

That’s the tenet of The Greatest Showman, an exhilarating mainstream entertainment with inspiring uplift.

It’s an axiom proudly proclaimed in the most literal sense (not lurid), an original movie musical about entertainment pioneer P.T. Barnum (he coined the phrase “show business”) that shows grace and respect to the societal pariahs who’ve been shunned to the fringes. The only thing it shames is shaming itself.

Starring Hugh Jackman as the circus ringleader, The Greatest Showman is a Broadway caliber musical brought to the multiplex masses with nearly the same degree of live theatre satisfaction. It succeeds on all levels by exceeding expectations.

What first appears to be a surface-level allegory for all types of outcasts goes beyond Pollyanna affirmations to more complex, challenging territory, with moral complications, compromises, and unexpected betrayals. In a beautiful irony, The Greatest Showman isn’t simply a contrived comeuppance of the narrow-minded elite; it’s a parable about the dangers of chasing applause and acceptance on society’s terms.

Intentionally or not, the script’s construct follows the blueprint of Disney’s animated musicals from the 1990s Golden Age: take an existing narrative (either fiction or real life) then dramatically refashion its details around a specific thematic core. In that spirit, this is far from the true story of P.T. Barnum (and don’t Google it if you want maintain this film’s illusion) but how it fictionalizes his story – and why – earns the broad artistic license it takes.

A first rate production on all fronts, it’s the songs by Ben Pasek and Justin Paul that give this extravaganza its heart and soul. Oscar and Tony winners for (respectively) La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen, these celebrated pop tunesmiths are reinvigorating the genre across multiple mediums.

These songs resonate as deeply in lyrics as in music, poetically capturing both ideas and passions, while also being among the duo’s most instantly catchy. Pasek & Paul are a Kander & Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret) and Lerner & Loewe (My Fair Lady, Gigi, Brigadoon) for the 21st Century.

The cast is equal to the craft. Few can ooze such exuberant charisma or charm as Hugh Jackman can, and then convey vulnerable depths with heartfelt sincerity, particularly within an oversized theatrical milieu.

Michelle Williams absolutely radiates as Barnum’s wife (it’s so refreshing to see her shine in something other than a gritty indie), Zac Efron returns to his musical roots with confidence and maturity, and Zandaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming) is not only a bright rising star but a serious talent. Keala Settle is also a standout as the bearded lady, especially when she anchors the crucial anthem “This Is Me”.

There’s a moment early on when I knew first-time director Michael Gracey, a former visual effects supervisor, could conjure more than just song-and-dance spectacle (which, in itself, is no easy task). A young Barnum is thrown to the streets and, well, to not spoil the moment, I’ll simply say he receives an unexpected act of kindness, one that serves as the first catalyst for the people Barnum would come to embrace and champion. Caught off guard, I was instantly choked up and moved.

The rest of the film fulfills that promise.

It’s not often that a movie-going experience elicits audible “wow”s and credit-roll cheers; when it does, it’s a testament to being the best of what Hollywood has to offer. The Greatest Showman is exactly that. It digs deep thematically, delivers emotionally, and artistically soars.

TGS_Circus

Indy Trilogy Collector Poster On Sale – Two Versions (FILM FUN)

IndyPosterTop

Fortune and glory in a spectacular poster. This is one archaeological find you don’t have to risk life and limb to get (just some hard earned cash).

Lucasfilm has officially licensed Grzegorz Domaradzki – aka “Gabz” – to produce this spectacular three poster / one sheet design of the original Indiana Jones trilogy: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

(Maybe they want to forget Indy 4 like everyone else).

It’s available in two editions (see below), “Timed” and “Variant”. You can see them below, with dimensions.

Currently on sale, copies are limited, and only guaranteed for buyers who purchase before Sunday January 14, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST, as long as supplies last. Act now before you have to pay more later through a second-hand seller (a.k.a “Belloq”).

Click here to purchase the Timed Edition, but the Variant Edition is already sold out.

Click on each poster for larger image.

REGULAR EDITION (BUY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST)

IndyGabzRegular

Regular Edition

  • Screen print
  • 8 colors w/ metallic inks
  • 36 x 24 inches
  • $50

VARIANT EDITION (SOLD OUT!)

IndyGabzVariant

Variant Edition

  • Screen print
  • 36 x 24 inches
  • Edition 250
  • $65

Broadcast Critics Go For SHAPE And BILLBOARDS (AWARDS 2017)

CCA23_Gold

It’s official: two locks for Oscar wins just got unlocked.

For the first phase of the awards season – a.k.a. Critics Groups – the Supporting Actor and Actress categories were dominated by Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) and Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird). They had become the safest bets of the entire Oscar season.

Then the Golden Globes happened, and now the Critics Choice awards. Both galas gave their Supporting trophies to Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Allison Janney (I, Tonya). In a wide open year, even the sure things aren’t so sure any more.

Beyond that, most of the winners at this year’s Critics Choice Awards (chosen by the Broadcast Critics Film Association, a nationwide group of TV and Radio critics) were within the range of the expected. Three Billboards and The Shape of Water duked it out for the top prizes. The former took Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Supporting Actor, and Ensemble while the latter took Best Picture and Director (Guillermo del Toro).

The Shape of Water took home the most with 4, including Best Score and Best Production Design.

The 23rd Annual Critics Choice Awards were broadcast live on January 11, 2018, on the CW.

WINNERS FOR
THE 23RD ANNUAL CRITICS CHOICE AWARDS
Best in Film for 2017

BEST PICTURE
Winner: 
The Shape of Water

The Big Sick
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Florida Project
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST DIRECTOR
Winner:
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

– Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
– Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
– Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
– Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name
– Jordan Peele, Get Out
– Steven Spielberg, The Post

BEST ACTOR
Winner:
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

– Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
– James Franco, The Disaster Artist
– Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger
– Tom Hanks, The Post
– Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
– Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

BEST ACTRESS
Winner:
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

– Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
– Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
– Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
– Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
– Meryl Streep, The Post

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Winner:
Sam Rockewell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

– Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
– Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name
– Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
– Patrick Stewart, Logan
– Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Winner:
Allison Janney, I, Tonya

– Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
– Hong Chau, Downsizing
– Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
– Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
– Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
– Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Winner:
Brooklynn Prince, The Florida Project

– McKenna Grace, Gifted
– Dafne Keen, Logan
– Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck
– Jacob Tremblay, Wonder

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
Winner:
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Dunkirk
Lady Bird
Mudbound
The Post

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Winner:
Get Out, Jordan Peele

The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, 
The Post, Liz Hannah and Josh Singer
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Winner:
Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory

– The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Mudbound, Dee Rees and Virgil Williams
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Wonder, Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, Stephen Chbosky

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Winner:
Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins

Dunkirk, Hoyte van Hoytema
The Shape of Water, Dan Laustsen
Mudbound, Rachel Morrison
Call Me By Your Name, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Winner:
The Shape of Water, Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau, Jeff Melvin

Murder on the Orient Express, Jim Clay, Rebecca Alleway
Dunkirk, Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
Blade Runner 2049, Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
Beauty and the Beast, Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
Phantom Thread, Mark Tildesley, Véronique Melery

BEST EDITING
Winner:
Baby Driver, Paul Machliss, Jonathan Amos

The Post, Michael Kahn, Sarah Broshar
Dunkirk, Lee Smith
Blade Runner 2049, Joe Walker
The Shape of Water, Sidney Wolinsky

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Winner:
Phantom Thread, Mark Bridges

Blade Runner 2049, Renée April
Beauty and the Beast, Jacqueline Durran
Wonder Woman, Lindy Hemming
The Shape of Water, Luis Sequeira

BEST HAIR & MAKEUP
Winner:
Darkest Hour

Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Wonder

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Winner:
War for the Planet of the Apes

Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Thor: Ragnarok
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Winner:
Coco

– The Breadwinner
– Despicable Me 3
The LEGO Batman Movie
Loving Vincent

BEST ACTION MOVIE
Winner:
Wonder Woman

Baby Driver
Logan
Thor: Ragnarok
War for the Planet of the Apes

BEST COMEDY
Winner:
The Big Sick

The Disaster Artist
– Girls Trip
I, Tonya
Lady Bird

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Winner:
James Franco, The Disaster Artist

– Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
– Chris Hemsworth, Thor: Ragnarok
– Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
– Adam Sandler, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Winner:
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

– Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
– Zoe Kazan, The Big Sick
– Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
– Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

BEST SCI-FI/HORROR MOVIE
Winner:
Get Out

Blade Runner 2049
– It
The Shape of Water

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Winner:
In the Fade

– BPM (Beats Per Minute)
– A Fantastic Woman
First They Killed My Father
– The Square
– Thelma

BEST SONG
Winner:
“Remember Me” – Coco

– “Evermore” – Beauty and the Beast
– “Mystery of Love” – Call Me By Your Name
– “Stand Up for Something” – Marshall
– “This Is Me” – The Greatest Showman

BEST SCORE
Winner:
The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat

Phantom Thread, Jonny Greenwood
Darkest Hour, Dario Marianelli
Blade Runner 2049, Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer
The Post, John Williams
Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer


Click on links below for other Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2017 / 18 season:

Directors Guild of America nominees
Golden Globe Winners
National Society of Film Critics
Producers Guild of America nominees
Writers Guild of America nominees
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle
Chicago Film Critics Association
Screen Actors Guild Nominations
Atlanta Film Critics Circle
San Diego Film Critics Society
Philadelphia Film Critics Circle
Toronto Film Critics Association
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Boston Society of Film Critics
Washington D.C. Film Critics Association
AFI Top 10 of 2017
Critics Choice Awards Nominations
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
New York Film Critics Circle
The National Board of Review