Month: February 2015

Grace of Monaco

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Grace of Monaco Movie

Grace of Monaco is an American-French biography film about the life of Grace Kelly, directed by Olivier Dahan and written by Arash Amel. The film stars Nicole Kidman in the titular role. It also features a supporting cast of Frank Langella, Parker Posey, Derek Jacobi, Paz Vega, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Milo Ventimiglia and Tim Roth.

Grace of Monaco is focused on former Hollywood star Grace Kelly’s crisis of marriage and identity, during a dispute between Monaco’s Prince Rainier III and France’s Charles De Gaulle and a looming French military invasion of the principality in the early 1960s.

Production began in September 2012 in Paris and Menton, France. In October 2012, the production moved to Italy, first to Grimaldi, the village near Ventimiglia, which bears the name of the royal house of Monaco, then in Mortola, near Ventimiglia at Villa Hanbury.

The production was granted permission to close Monaco’s main square for 24 hours between October 29–30, 2012, and during this time the cast were seen filming outside and around the Monte Carlo Casino.

Grace of Monaco Movie

The director of the film, Oliver Dahan has been vocal on the final cut disagreements he has with the film’s US distributor Harvey Weinstein. He told Libération, “It’s right to struggle, but when you confront an American distributor like Weinstein, not to name names, there is not much you can do. Either you say, ‘Go figure it out with your pile of shit’ or you brace yourself so the blackmail isn’t as violent … If I don’t sign, that’s where the out-and-out blackmail starts, but I could go that far. There are two versions of the film for now: mine and his … which I find catastrophic.”

In April 2014, only two weeks before its opening night premiere at Cannes, Variety reported that Weinstein was considering dropping the film for US distribution. It was reported several weeks later that Weinstein had decided to keep the film. Weinstein said that the cut shown at Cannes was missing a key scene that would address the ‘legitimate concerns’ raised by the royal family over the depiction in Dahan’s movie. Though Amel never publicly took a side in the long-running feud over final cut, he refused to attend the film’s official photo call and press conference at the Cannes Film Festival for the director’s cut being screened.

At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, notable absences at the press conference and official photo-call were Harvey Weinstein and the film’s screenwriter Arash Amel. Weinstein cited charitable work in Syria as the reason for his absence, while Amel told The Hollywood Reporter that “he doesn’t want his “big first Cannes moment” undermined by the controversy surrounding the dueling cuts.”

Grace of Monaco Movie Poster

Grace of Monaco

Directed by: Olivier Dahan
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, André Penvern, Parker Posey, Paz Vega, Frank Langella, Jeanne Balibar
Screenplay by: Arash Amel
Production Design by: Dan Weil
Cinematography: Eric Gautier
Film Editing by: Olivier Gajan
Costume Design by: Gigi Lepage
Music by: Christopher Gunning
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: March 14, 2014

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Date and Switch

Date and Switch Movie

Taglines: Love’s all about the right combination.

High school seniors Michael and Matty have been best friends since 3rd grade. Still virgins, they make a pact to help each other “score” before Senior Prom – but their mission suddenly takes an unexpected turn when Matty announces that he’s gay.

Dakota Johnson might be exploring the very adult world of S&M in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but in her upcoming flick, “Date And Switch,” the actress is exploring another kind of sexuality.

The flick follows two high school seniors, Michael (Nicholas Braun) and Matty (Hunter Cope), who make a pact to lose their virginities by senior prom. However, that all changes after Matty comes out as gay. Johnson plays Em, who, based on the poster, looks like one of their pals.

While Johnson recently dyed her hair brown for her role as Anastasia Steele in “Fifty Shades,” she’s rocking platinum blonde locks on the “Date And Switch” poster, which also features her co-stars Braun, Cope and Zach Cregger. “Love’s all about the right combination,” the tagline reads.

The movie will hit theaters and on demand on February 14, 2014. Directed by Chris Nelson from a screenplay by “Parks and Recreation” writer Alan Yang, the flick also stars Sarah Hyland, Gary Cole, “Parks and Rec” star Nick Offerman, “Don’t’ Trust The B” actress Dreama Walker and Megan Mullally.

In addition to “Fifty Shades” and “Date And Switch,” Johnson has several other projects lined up, including “Theo,” “Need For Speed” and a modern interpretation of William Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline” with Ethan Hawke, Anton Yelchin and Penn Badgley. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” co-starring Jaime Dornan as Christian Grey, is slated to hit theaters February 13, 2015.

No word on whether she will get it on in “Date And Switch,” but she did recently open up about having to show skin in “Fifty Shades.” “Obviously, I want to look good naked,” she told Entertainment Weekly in November. “I totally understand now why people exercise, because it kind of f—ing feels awesome.”

Date and Switch Movie Poster

Date and Switch

Directed by: Chris Nelson
Starring: Sarah Hyland, Nick Offerman, Dreama Walker, Brian Geraghty, Megan Mullally
Screenplay by: Alan Yang
Production Design by: Geoff Wallace
Cinematography by: David Robert Jones
Film Editing by: Akiko Iwakawa-Grieve, Tia Nolan
Costume Design by: Maria Livingstone
Set Decoration by: Terry Joseph
Art Direction by: Tara Arnett
Music by: Eric D. Johnson
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content including crude dialogue, pervasive language, drug and alcohol use – all involving teens.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: February 14, 2014

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Son of God

Son of God Movie

Taglines: Their empire. His kingdom.

This film brings the story of Jesus’ life to audiences through compelling cinematic storytelling that is both powerful and inspirational. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays the role of Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection.

Producer and Actress Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel, The Bible) and Producer Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, The Bible) brought the epic miniseries “The Bible to television audiences around the world with their company LightWorkers Media. The series became the number one cable entertainment telecast of the year, one of the fastest-selling TV-to-disc titles ever and went on to garner 3 Emmy Award nominations. Mixing adventure, action and drama from The Bible, the series drew acclaim for retelling the sacred text in a way that was relevant to today’s audiences.

Now, the larger-than-life story of Jesus gets a larger-than-life treatment in the stand-alone feature Son of God. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado beautifully portrays the role of Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. This movie has been able to bring leaders together with support from across all denominations. The producers focused from the very beginning on creating an experience that would be shared by all.

Son of God Movie Poster

Son of God

Directed by: Christopher Spencer
Starring: Diogo Morgado, Roma Downey, Louise Delamere, Darwin Shaw, Amber Rose Revah
Screenplay by: Richard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Colin Swash, Nic Young
Production Design by: Alan Spalding
Cinematography by: Rob Goldie
Film Editing by: Robert Hall
Costume Design by: Ros Little
Set Decoration by: Claudia Parker
Music by: Lorne Balfe, Hans Zimmer
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: February 28, 2014

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Non-Stop

Non-Stop Movie

Taglines: The Hijacking Was Just the Beginning

Non-Stop is a mystery-action film starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Lupita Nyong’o and Scoot McNairy and directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.[5] This is the first Silver Pictures film to be distributed by Universal Pictures after the end of the production company’s deal with Warner Bros., and the first since Weird Science. The film received mixed reviews from critics.

Liam Neeson stars in Non-Stop, a suspense thriller played out at 40,000 feet in the air. During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the airline to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes.

About the Story

Bill Marks is an alcoholic U.S. federal air marshal; he enrolled in the Air Marshal service after he was discharged from the NYPD. On a Boeing 767 non-stop flight from New York to London aboard British Aqualantic Flight 10, midway over the Atlantic Ocean, Marks receives text messages on his secure phone stating that someone on the plane will die every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred into a specific bank account.

Non-Stop Movie

Breaking protocol, Marks consults with Jack Hammond, the other air marshal on the flight. Hammond is revealed to be smuggling cocaine in a briefcase; following an altercation, Marks ends up killing him in a lavatory. This occurs exactly at the 20 minute mark, resulting in the first death. As Marks attempts to stall for time with the texter, he works with Nancy Hoffman, a flight attendant, and Jen Summers, a passenger seated next to Marks, to discover the texter’s identity. When the next 20 minutes expires, the captain suddenly dies of poisoning.

The public becomes convinced that Marks is hijacking the plane, as the bank account is in his name and a passenger uploads video footage of him treating passengers aggressively with no explanation. Co-pilot Kyle Rice has been instructed by the TSA to ignore Marks and land in Iceland, the closest destination; he diverts the plane but continues to cautiously trust Marks. Cell phone programmer Zack White is asked by Marks to design a hack which will cause the texter’s cell phone to ring. It is discovered in the pocket of a passenger, who claims to have never seen the phone before. Following a fight with Marks, the passenger dies in a similar fashion to the captain.

In the lavatory, Marks finds a hole in the wall that allowed someone to shoot a poison dart at the captain; he finds that the deceased passenger was struck with a dart as well. While Marks and Summers try to gain access to the texter’s phone, it suddenly activates, sending automated messages to TSA implying that Marks is suicidal and is going to detonate a bomb on the plane.

Marks finds the bomb hidden in the cocaine smuggled by Hammond. Passengers attempt to disable Marks, convinced he is a terrorist. They overpower Marks but passenger Tom Bowen uses Marks’s gun to make them move away. Marks finally explains the situation and they agree to work with him.

Unable to land the plane in time, he attempts to initiate a protocol of least damage: by descending the plane to 8,000 feet to equalize air pressure, placing the bomb in the rear of the plane, covering it with baggage and moving the passengers to the front to contain the explosion and minimize casualties.

Watching a video clip of himself handling passengers, Marks notices Bowen—whom he had initially cleared of any suspicion—slipping the texter’s phone into the pocket of the second poison victim. Realizing that Bowen is the culprit, he learns that Bowen’s father was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that he and White are ex-military. Appalled by the lack of security at U.S. airports after 9/11, Bowen believes framing an air marshal as a terrorist will lead to drastically increased security.

Bowen is prepared to die with the plane and shoots White, who planned to parachute off with the money, after Marks persuaded White to disarm the bomb. Following another fight, Marks shoots Bowen in the head. Marks then fights and defeats White, who survived being shot by Bowen. Immediately afterwards, he escapes from the blast radius of the bomb; White is killed by the subsequent detonation.

Non-Stop Movie Poster

Non-Stop

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Corey Stoll, Bar Paly, Anson Mount
Screenplay by: John W. Richardson, Chris Roach, Ryan Engle
Cinematography by: Flavio Martínez Labiano
Film Editing by: Jim May
Production Design by: Alec Hammond
Costume Design by: Catherine Marie Thomas
Set Decoration by: Regina Graves
Art Direction by: David Swayze
Music by: John Ottman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references.

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Winter’s Tale

Winter's Tale Movie

Taglines: This is not a true story. This is true love.

Set in 1916 and present-day Manhattan, Winter’s Tale follows the story of Peter Lake (Colin Farrell). Peter Lake is a Irish thief who falls in love with Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay), a dying girl who occupies one of the houses he breaks into. Lake is saved from the Irish insane gangster Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) and his gang of thugs by Athansor, a mysterious white horse who becomes his guardian angel.

Winter’s Tale (released in the United Kingdom as A New York Winter’s Tale is an allegorical 2014 American supernatural fable based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Mark Helprin. The film is written and directed by Akiva Goldsman (in his directorial debut) and stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, and Will Smith.

About the Story

In 1895, a young immigrant couple is refused entry into Manhattan because they have consumption. When their infant son is not allowed entry to the country without them, the couple decide to place him in a model sailboat named “City of Justice” to float there safely.

In 1916, the infant boy has grown up to be Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), a thief raised by a supernatural demon posing as the gangster Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe). Peter is marked for death when he decides to leave Pearly’s gang. In a confrontation, he is rescued by a mysterious white horse, his guardian angel. Although Peter hopes to move to Florida and come back in the summer, the horse encourages him to steal from one last mansion.

Winter's Tale Movie

The mansion is the home where Beverly Penn lives, a young woman dying of consumption. While her publisher father Isaac and younger sister Willa are not home, Beverly discovers Peter preparing to commit robbery of the house. When he assures her that he no longer wishes to commit robbery, she offers to make him a cup of tea. They tell each other about their stories and fall in love.

Pearly orders his men to Beverly’s home, believing that saving her is Peter’s “miracle” and spiritual destiny. Peter rescues Beverly and they escape to the Lake of the Coheeries, where Pearly, who is supernaturally limited to the five boroughs of New York, cannot follow. Peter meets Beverly’s family at their summer home and wins their respect. While on a walk, Beverly explains to Peter that everyone is born with a miracle inside which are destined to become stars when they die.

Pearly asks the devil, Lucifer (Will Smith), for access to the lake home, but his request is denied. Instead, Pearly, who refers to himself as a Knight among Lucifer’s angels, calls in a debt owed to him by another of Lucifer’s angels. At a ball, a man poisons Beverly’s drink. When she returns home, Peter sneaks up to her tent. The two have sex and she suddenly dies. After the funeral, as Peter and his mysterious white Horse are about to leave, Pearly and his men surround them on the Brooklyn Bridge. Peter orders his mysterious winged Horse to fly away, and Pearly gives Peter four vicious head-butts pushing him off the bridge. Peter miraculously survives, but wanders around the city with amnesia for a century, drawing chalk art of a red-headed girl on the pavements.

Winter's Tale Movie

In 2014, Peter bumps into a girl named Abby and meets her mother, Virginia Gamely. He rediscovers the “City of Justice” plaque from the toy sailboat his parents placed him in. Peter then discovers the Theatre of the Coheeries, founded by Isaac who has dedicated it to Beverly. He goes to the library where Virginia works and she helps him get his memory back using historical photographs archived at the library. While there, he meets the grown up Willa, who is the boss of Virginia’s newspaper. Abby has a seizure, revealing that she has cancer. Realizing that Abby, not Beverly, is his “miracle” and spiritual destiny, Peter convinces Virginia that he can save Abby.

About the Production

Winter’s Tale has been described as a “passion project” for director Akiva Goldsman, who was given the go-ahead for the film by Warner Brothers in February 2011 with a budget of $75 million. It was reported that the film’s budget was dropped to $46 million in February 2012; at the same time Will Smith and Russell Crowe were linked to the project in supporting roles.

Various actors were considered for the central roles of Peter Lake and Beverley Penn. Benjamin Walker, Tom Hiddleston, Aaron Johnson and Garrett Hedlund auditioned for the role of Peter Lake while Elizabeth Olsen, Bella Heathcote, Gabriella Wilde and Sarah Gordon tested for the role of Beverly. In March 2012 it was reported that Jessica Brown Findlay had been offered the role of Beverly; Colin Farrell was linked to the role of Peter Lake in the following month.

William Hurt joined the cast as Beverly’s father, Isaac Penn, in August 2012. In September 2012 multiple new cast members were announced, including Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths and Eva Marie Saint. The final major addition to the cast was Jennifer Connelly, whose involvement was confirmed in October 2012 shortly before the start of filming.

Winter's Tale Movie Poster

Winter’s Tale

Directed by: Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Will Smith, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint
Screenplay by: Akiva Goldsman
Production Design by: Naomi Shohan
Cinematography by: Caleb Deschanel
Film Editing by: Tim Squyres, Wayne Wahrman
Costume Design by: Michael Kaplan
Set Decoration by: Leslie E. Rollins
Music by: Rupert Gregson-Williams, Hans Zimmer
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and some sensuality.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: February 14, 2014

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Endless Love

Endless Love Movie

Taglines: Say goodbye to innocence.

In suburban Chicago, teenagers Jade Butterfield and David Axelrod fall in love after they are introduced by Jade’s brother Keith. Jade’s family is known in their community for a bohemian lifestyle, allowing them to develop an all-consuming and passionate relationship; including allowing the two to make love in Jade’s bedroom. In contrast to the openness of her family, David’s home life is dull; his parents are wealthy political activists who are not actively involved in his life.

One night Jade’s mother Ann sneaks downstairs, and upon seeing Jade and David make love in her living room, starts living through them vicariously. Jade’s father, Hugh, watches the couple with increasing unease. Soon Jade realizes her regular sexual encounters with David are depriving her of sleep and adversely affecting her grades at school. Eventually, she tries to steal a sleeping pill in order to get some sleep, but her father catches her in the act. Subsequently, he insists David stop seeing Jade until the end of the school term in 30 days. Although David is heavily opposed to this idea, Ann gently coaxes him into agreeing, telling him not to let Hugh “do something he’ll regret.”

Endless Love Movie

One of David’s friends jokingly suggests kidnapping Jade to get her back or burning down the Butterfield house in revenge. Another friend Billy, then tells David that when he was 8-years-old he tried burning a pile of newspapers and after he became scared, put the fire out, only to find his parents think he was a hero for saving the house from burning. Inspired by this story, David starts a fire on the Butterfields’ front porch and walks away briefly to be seen returning to the flame. By the time he returns, the flame has spread too far and he rushes to warn the family but he is too late, the entire house is lost.

Following the trial for arson, David is sent to a mental hospital for the next two years and is forbidden from ever going near Jade or her family again. Nevertheless, he continues to write daily, but his letters are held and never mailed. He receives them upon his exit, learning for the first time why Jade never wrote back, thus renewing his spark to pursue her.

When David is released on probation, he goes to look for Jade and remains in love with her. In the meantime, following the loss of their home, the Butterfield family has moved from Chicago to Manhattan, and Ann and Hugh divorce. In Manhattan, Ann tries to seduce David, but he refuses and tells her he can make love only with Jade. In a chance meeting, Hugh sees David on the streets of Manhattan and while chasing David, Hugh is hit by a car and killed. Hugh’s new girlfriend Ingrid Orchester, catches up to the scene and cannot put together what just happened, but later recognizes David as having been present at the accident.

Endless Love Movie

Later, Jade goes to see David to say goodbye but he pulls her back as she tries to leave, throwing her on the bed and begging for her to admit she still loves him. Jade does, and resumes her relationship with him. When Keith tells the couple to come downstairs, he tells Jade that David is at fault for their father’s death. Jade refuses to believe this and turns to David for the truth. He tries to explain it was an accident, but Keith fights with David until the police arrive and arrest David.

Sent to prison, David seems doomed never to see Jade again. Jade tells her mother that no one will ever love her the way David does. The final scene shows Jade walking toward the prison where David is being held.

About the Production

The first trailer was released on December 23, 2013. On January 28, 2014, the film was given a PG-13 rating for “sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language, and teen partying.”

Like the original, Endless Love has received negative reviews from film critics. Criticism was mainly made towards the many liberties taken with the original source material. The film currently holds a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 84 reviews with the consensus: “Blander than the original Endless Love and even less faithful to the source material, this remake is cliched and unintentionally silly.”

In 2013, after reading the screenplay for the film, Scott Spencer, the author of the novel on which the film was based, wrote that “It’s about one hundred pages, and the only ones that were not dreary were sciatica inducing”. In 2014 he wrote that his novel “has been even more egregiously and ridiculously misunderstood” in making the remake than in the 1981 film.

End title track “Don’t Find Another Love” was sung by Tegan and Sara and written by Golden Globe award-winning composer Julie Frost. Singer / songwriter Skylar Grey’s cover of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” was used for the trailer of the film. In addition, the song “Explosions” by Ellie Goulding was used in trailers adapted as television commercials. Another song which was taken is the track “Pumpin Blood” by the Swedish dance-pop trio NONONO. Director Shana Feste had considered using the original film’s iconic theme song in one scene but eventually decided against it.

Endless Love Movie Poster

Endless Love

Directed by: Shana Feste
Starring: Emma Rigby, Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Rhys Wakefield, Robert Patrick, Joely Richardson, Anna Enger, Dayo Okeniyi, Fabianne Therese, Paisley Scott Dickey
Screenplay by: Shana Feste, Joshua Safran
Production Design by: Clay A. Griffith
Cinematography by: Andrew Dunn
Film Editing by: Maryann Brandon
Costume Design by: Stacey Battat
Set Decoration by: Wayne Shepherd
Music by: Christophe Beck
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language and teen partying.
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: February 14, 2014

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Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter Movie

Taglines: Sometimes you have to leave home to find your family.

16 year old street-wise Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) has never had an easy life. Her mother, June Bailey (Rosario Dawson), is an addict and prostitute, is verbally and physically abusive, and is grooming her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Apple knows the streets, alleys and motels like the back of her hand but wants more from her life. She possesses a tenacious, tough, indomitable spirit, and will not surrender to fate.

Apple runs away from her mother and tracks down her father whom she has never known, as he was only 19 when he got Apple’s mother pregnant. Apple begs her now Wall Street Broker father, Tom Fitzpatrick (Brendan Fraser), to take her in. In the few days under her father’s care, she learns she’s become pregnant by a kid from the streets she met on the train, who now wants nothing to do with her. She is forced to leave her father’s home because of her choice to give birth to the baby she is carrying. Apple runs away again, and is eventually taken under the wing of Father.

Based on a true story centering on 16-year-old Agnes “Apple” Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens), Gimme Shelter uncovers the struggle for survival and the hope of redemption through the harsh realities of life on the streets. As a pregnant teenager, Apple’s journey plummets her into a perilous struggle until finding salvation in a suburban shelter for homeless teens. With provisions of unprecedented comfort, a collective sisterhood connection and female empowerment, the shelter inspires Apple to break the shackles of her past and inspires her to embrace the future with clarity, maturity and hope not only for herself but her unborn child.

Gimme Shelter - Vanessa Hudgens

16 year old street-wise Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) has never had an easy life. Her mother, June Bailey (Rosario Dawson), is an addict and prostitute, is verbally and physically abusive, and is grooming her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Apple knows the streets, alleys and motels like the back of her hand but wants more from her life. She possesses a tenacious, tough, indomitable spirit, and will not surrender to fate.

Apple runs away from her mother and tracks down her father whom she has never known, as he was only 19 when he got Apple’s mother pregnant. Apple begs her now Wall Street Broker father, Tom Fitzpatrick (Brendan Fraser), to take her in. In the few days under her father’s care, she learns she’s become pregnant by a kid from the streets she met on the train, who now wants nothing to do with her. She is forced to leave her father’s home because of her choice to give birth to the baby she is carrying. Apple runs away again, and is eventually taken under the wing of Father.

AboutThe Production

Ron Krauss has been writing, producing and directing intensely personal movies since his first short film, Puppies for Sale (starring Jack Lemmon), began collecting rave reviews and international awards in 1998. Whether making documentaries or narrative films, Krauss’ focus is always on reflecting real-life issues with compassion, hope and authenticity. When his recent project, Amexica, a devastating drama about human trafficking, was screened at the United Nations, Krauss unexpectedly discovered the subject of his next film.

Gimme Shelter - Rosario Dawson

There he was introduced to Kathy DiFiore, a remarkable woman who was being honored at the UN for her work with teenaged mothers. Formerly homeless, DiFiore managed to put her life back together before founding Several Sources Shelters, a network of resources devoted to helping women in need. “I was immediately intrigued,” Krauss says. “I arranged to visit one of her shelters and I was awed by what I saw.”

At the shelter, Krauss met pregnant, homeless teenagers as young as 15 who had been turned out of their homes with nowhere to go. His initial thought was that he had found the perfect subject for his next documentary. Moving into the shelter to get an up-close look at the lives of these young women, their babies and the dedicated workers who support them, Krauss stayed a year and recorded close to 200 hours of interviews with the shelter’s residents.

As he learned more and more about his subjects, the compelling stories he heard fired his imagination and he began to reconceive his ideas about the project. “The shelter began to seem like holy ground to me,” he says. “As I became close to several of the girls and heard their stories, I began to write this screenplay based on their lives.”

Being at the shelter was a profound, even life-changing experience, says Krauss. “It opened my eyes. Just like the movie, I went from fall to winter, spring and summer with the girls. Even for me, staying there was one of the hardest times of my life. The girls who live there are relying on this place for survival.”

Gimme Shelter Movie

He witnessed first-hand how lives are changed through DiFiore’s work. “When I’d only been there a short time, I saw a young girl standing in front of the shelter,” the filmmaker recalls. “She didn’t have a coat and it must have been 18 degrees outside. I thought she lived there, so I let her in. When Kathy showed up, it turned out she wasn’t a resident. In fact, no one there knew her. She had heard about the shelter and walked about 25 miles to get there, with no coat and three months pregnant.”

Fortunately, there happened to be a bed available at the shelter. “All this time, she had been acting like everything was fine, but in reality she was desperate for a place to stay,” says Krauss. “When she heard there was room for her, she grabbed me and hugged me so hard she almost knocked me over. That hug was the inspiration for the movie.”

The girl, Darlisha Dozier, became one of the primary inspirations for Apple’s story. “Darlisha came from a very abusive home,” says Krauss. “There’s a shockingly violent incident in the movie between Apple and her mother that really happened to Darlisha. She has a small part in the film, as does a girl named Alison Bailey, who also provided inspiration for the character. The story is real and the girls are real.”

Another pivotal part of the story is Apple’s relationship with Tom Fitzpatrick, her biological father. The character is based on a real-life Wall Street executive whose young daughter is a resident at the shelter. “Teen homelessness and pregnancy are not limited to any economic strata,” observes Krauss. “It happens to rich and poor families. I felt those two characters embodied some of the most important things I learned.”

To ensure the film would be as authentic as possible, Krauss began to involve the girls themselves in the writing process. He scheduled “script nights” where they would read sections of the movie and share their thoughts on the story as it developed. “They helped me find the reality of their lives,” Krauss says. “They shared their deepest emotions about what it is to be homeless, to not know where you’re going to be tomorrow.”

When Krauss eventually showed his script to people in the entertainment industry, he was surprised by the overwhelming emotional response he received. “Homeless teens and crisis pregnancy are an unusual subject for a mainstream film,” he says. “I wasn’t sure anyone would care. In fact, there was enormous interest. Many young actresses saw this as a showcase for their talent. The character is in virtually every scene and goes through so much.”

While he was writing the script, Krauss says he never imagined casting a Hollywood star in the lead role. He had planned to scour local high schools in search of an unknown with the emotional transparency and resilience to embody Apple’s formidable spirit. But after meeting with Vanessa Hudgens, best known as perky A-student Gabriella Montez in the three High School Musical films, Krauss began to reconsider. “Vanessa was a little different from anyone else I met,” he says. “And she was hungry for the transition.”

In fact, the actress was so eager to play the part that she came to her audition in character as Apple. “I knew I could bring her to life,” Hudgens says. “It was an opportunity to completely transform myself. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see myself. The story, which is based on the lives a several young women who stayed at the shelter, is completely terrifying, which was all the more reason why I wanted to do it.”

Her transformation and her enthusiasm for the role impressed Krauss, but the filmmaker kept his options open, narrowing down the field to a mixture of about a dozen rising stars and complete unknowns. Then, in an unusual move, he screened their auditions for the girls at the shelter.

“I was already focused on Vanessa, but I needed confirmation from them,” he says. “They had no idea who she was. Some of them had never even been to a theater until I took them to a movie night while I was staying there. But they confirmed what I already felt. They said that Girl Number 8-Vanessa-was the most like them.”

Landing the role was just the beginning of a long and challenging journey for Hudgens. As Apple, she is a far cry from the actress and pop singer that her fans look up to. Drastically deglamorized, Hudgens is almost unrecognizable after adding about 15 pounds to her diminutive 5’1″ frame. The only makeup she wears is designed to mask her wholesome beauty.

“I chopped all my hair off,” she says. “I had a neck tattoo with fake piercings and I wore baggy old clothes. When I walked around the building I lived in and no one recognized me, I started to get really excited about the role. The hardest thing was trying to stay away from paparazzi. I wanted the way I looked to be a complete surprise.’

Gimme Shelter Movie Poster

Gimme Shelter

Directed by: Ron Krauss
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser, Stephanie Szostak, James Earl Jones, Laneya Wiles, Emily Meade, Ann Dowd
Screenplay by: Ron Krauss
Production Design by: William Ladd Skinner
Cinematography by: Alain Marcoen
Film Editing by: Marie-Hélène Dozo, Mark Sult
Costume Design by: Ciera Wells
Set Decoration by: Stephanie Beaurain, Cathy T. Marshall
Music by: Ólafur Arnalds
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving mistreatment, some drug content, violence and language – all concerning teens.
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Release Date: January 24, 2014

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The Adventurer: The Curse of The Midas Box

The Adventurer: The Curse of The Midas Box

Taglines: The New Name for Adventure.

Ancient mysteries. Powerful evil. And a fearless hero’s quest through a fantastical realm of steam-powered wonders and sinister magic… In The Adventurer: The Curse of The Midas Box, seventeen-year-old Mariah Mundi’s life is turned upside down when his parents vanish and his younger brother is kidnapped.

Following a trail of clues to the darkly majestic Prince Regent Hotel, Mariah discovers a hidden realm of child-stealing monsters, deadly secrets and a long-lost artifact that grants limitless wealth – but also devastating supernatural power. With the fate of his world, and his family at stake, Mariah will risk everything to unravel the Curse of the Midas Box!

The Adventurer: The Curse of The Midas Box Poster

The Adventurer: The Curse of The Midas Box

Directed by: Jonathan Newman
Starring: Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill, Ioan Gruffudd, Aneurin Barnard, Keeley Hawes, Elaine Caulfield
Screenplay by: Christian Taylor, Matthew Huffman
Production Design by: James Lewis
Cinematography by: Unax Mendía
Film Editing by: David Gallart, Bernat Vilaplana
Costume Design by: Annie Hardinge
Set Decoration by: Tamsin Clarke
Music by: Fernando Velázquez
MPAA Rating: PG for adventure action and violence, some peril and brief smoking .
Studio: Image Entertainment
Release Date: January 10, 2014

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The Legend of Hercules

The Legend of Hercules Movie

Taglines: Every man has a destiny.

In Ancient Greece 1200 B.C., a queen succumbs to the lust of Zeus to bear a son promised to overthrow the tyrannical rule of the king and restore peace to a land in hardship. But this prince, Hercules, knows nothing of his real identity or his destiny. He desires only one thing: the love of Hebe, Princess of Crete, who has been promised to his own brother. When Hercules learns of his greater purpose, he must choose: to flee with his true love or to fulfill his destiny and become the true hero of his time. The story behind one of the greatest myths is revealed in this action-packed epic – a tale of love, sacrifice and the strength of the human spirit.

The Legend of Hercules (formerly known as Hercules: The Legend Begins and Hercules 3D) is an American action fantasy film directed by Renny Harlin and co-written by Harlin with Daniel Giat, Giulio Steve, and Sean Hood. The film stars Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Roxanne McKee, and Liam Garrigan. The film was widely panned by critics and was a box office flop. It was one of two Hollywood-studio Hercules films scheduled for 2014, with Paramount Pictures and MGM’s Hercules.

The Legend of Hercules Movie

About the Story

In 1200 BC ancient Greece, King Amphitryon of Tires invades the shores of Argos. The two massive armies face each other, prepared for battle. Amphitryon strikes a bargain with the rival King Galenus: the two will fight to the death, to the victor goes his adversary’s kingdom and army. The two engage in combat and Amphitryon easily defeats Galenus and seizes his kingdom.

That night, Amphitryon is visited by his estranged wife, Queen Alcmene. Amphitryon boasts he won the kingdom for her while Alcmene protests he won the kingdom for himself and its gold. Alcmene is disgusted by her husband’s thirst for power and warmongering. She prays to Hera for guidance. A woman appears declaring herself to be Hera, wife of Zeus, and prophesies that Alcmene will bear the son of Zeus and he will be the savior of her people. The only other witness to this is Chiron, the queen’s loyal adviser.

That night, as Amphitryon celebrates his victory, Alcmene is visited by Zeus. She is discovered by Amphitryon who believes the Queen has taken a mortal lover. Alcmene soon gives birth to a healthy baby boy whom Amphitryon names Alcides, but she secretly acknowledges his true name: Hercules. Twenty years later, a strong and handsome Hercules/Alcides rides along the countryside with his love, Hebe. They frolic along the shore of a secluded lake. Alcides admires Hebe’s necklace which was given to her by her mother; she in turn bestows the necklace to Alcides. The two are discovered by Alcides’ older brother, Iphicles. A search party was dispatched to look for Hebe, a princess of Crete.

Hebe returns to the palace along with her guard while Alcides and Iphicles follow. Along the way, the two are attacked by a lion. Alcides wrestles with the lion, strangling it. Iphicles takes all the credit and arrives at the royal banquet wearing the lion’s pelt as a cloak. He attempts to humiliate Alcides, calling him a coward but Hebe sees right through him. At the banquet Amphitron announces the engagement of Hebe and Iphicles. The two lovers are devastated and decide to run away together. They are chased down by the royal guard and Hebe nearly drowns before being saved by Alcides. Alcides is taken back to the palace and is sent away by his father to join a campaign of soldiers to Egypt.

As Alcides prepares for his journey, Alcmene tells him of his true lineage. Alcides believes it is madness and departs for his journey vowing to return to Hebe in three moons before her impending nuptials. Alcides, under the command of Captain Sotiris, traverses the arid Egyptian desert. Sotiris sends two scouts ahead to scour the desert but they never return. The company is ambushed, leaving Alcides and Sotiris as the last survivors.

The leader of the ambush recovers Alcides’ helmet and demands to know where the prince is. Sotiris gestures to the body of a slain soldier, saying he is Alcides. Alcides refers to himself as Hercules to protect his identity. It is revealed that Amphitryon planned the ambush in hopes of killing Hercules. The two are sold off as slaves to a vicious promoter who organizes gladiator style fights. Sotiris and Hercules fight to death with other slaves and soon become undefeated.

Sotiris and Hercules convince the promoter to send them to Greece in order to fight in an arena battle in which two gladiators fight six undefeated gladiators. If the promoter were to bet on Hercules and Sotiris he would have riches beyond his wildest dreams. The promoter agrees to take Sotiris and Hercules if they are able to defeat two other gladiators, Half Face and Humbaba. The four are thrown into an arena, with narrow stone paths divided by pits studded with spikes. Hercules defeats Half Face and Humbaba but Sotiris is injured. The promoter refuses to take Sotiris, since he will be useless in battle but Hercules convinces him to set Sotiris free and he will fight all six gladiators himself.

Back in Greece, Alcmene and Hebe mourn the death of Hercules. Alcmene once again seeks guidance from Hera. Amphitryon discovers her and confronts her about Hercules’ parentage. She reveals she took Zeus as her lover so that she would bear the child that would overthrow him, after which she tries to stab Amphitryon, but fails. In anger, Amphitryon stabs Alcmene with her own dagger. Chiron discovers them and Amphitryon tells him the Queen committed suicide in her grief. Meanwhile, Hercules arrives in Greece and easily bests the six gladiators in battle. The people celebrate his victory and deserters of Amphitryon’s army join him and Sotiris. Chiron brings Hercules’ news of his mother, who vows to avenge her death. Sotiris and Hercules seek refuge in the home of the human vessel of Hera, who foretells Hercules’ destiny.

Hebe is in anguish after the death of Alcides and dreads her wedding to Iphicles, in just two moons. She tries to leap off the roof of the palace but is saved by Chiron who brings her to Hercules. The two are reunited and return to Hercules’ safe-house. Amphitryon’s army begins to desert him, forcing him to hire foreign mercenaries. Hercules and Sotiris begin a fight against Amphitryon’s campaign of tyranny, angering Amphitryon who seeks to destroy them. Iphicles, aided by the mercenaries, murders Sotiris’ wife and uses his son as a bargaining chip.

He must lead them to Hercules or his son will die. Sotiris reluctantly leads them to the safe-house. Iphicles discovers that Hercules is none other than his brother Alcides. Hercules, Chiron, and Hebe are captured. Sotiris and Chiron are imprisoned while Hercules is chained and publicly flogged. Sotiris and Chiron are brought before the crowd. Hercules watches on in horror as Iphicles murders Chiron under Amphitryon’s orders. In anguish he acknowledges his father and calls upon him for strength. Hercules breaks free from his chains and crushes Amphitryon’s guard. Amphitryon and Iphicles escape.

The Legend of Hercules Movie Poster

The Legend of Hercules

Directed by: Renny Harlin
Starring: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Roxanne McKee, Johnathon Schaech, Sarai Givaty, Jukka Hilden
Screenplay by: Daniel Giat, Renny Harlin
Production Design by: Luca Tranchino
Cinematography by: Sam McCurdy
Film Editing by: Vincent Tabaillon
Costume Design by: Sonoo Mishra
Set Decoration by: Valentina Mladenova
Music by: Tuomas Kantelinen
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality.
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Release Date: February 7, 2014

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Taglines: In heroes we trust.

Two years after the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers resides peacefully in Washington, D.C., struggling to adapt to contemporary society. However, after a S.H.I.E.L.D. compatriot is assailed, Steve becomes entangled in a mystery that may endanger the globe. Together with Natasha Romanoff, Captain America attempts to uncover the growing machination while fending off hired hit men. When the entire scheme is discovered, Captain America and the Black Widow must recruit the aid of the Falcon and soon encounter an unanticipated and powerful adversary — the Winter Soldier.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is intended to be the sequel to 2011′s Captain America: The First Avenger and the ninth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The film was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America and the Black Widow join forces to stop a covert enemy that is hiding in Washington, D.C.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

About the Story

Two years after the Battle of New York, Steve Rogers works in Washington D.C. for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. under Director Nick Fury, while adjusting to contemporary society. Rogers and Agent Natasha Romanoff are sent with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team, led by Agent Rumlow, to free hostages aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Georges Batroc and his mercenaries.

Mid-mission, Rogers discovers Romanoff has another agenda: to extract data from the ship’s computers for Fury. Rogers returns to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters to confront Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats. Unable to decrypt the data recovered by Romanoff, Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce to delay the project.

On his way to rendezvous with Maria Hill, Fury is ambushed by assailants led by a mysterious assassin called the Winter Soldier. Fury escapes to Rogers’s apartment, and warns Rogers that S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised. After handing Rogers a flash drive containing data from the ship, Fury is gunned down by the Winter Soldier. Fury dies in surgery, and Hill recovers the body. The next day, Pierce summons Rogers to the Triskelion. When Rogers withholds Fury’s information, Pierce brands him a fugitive.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Scarlett Johansson

Hunted by S.T.R.I.K.E., Rogers meets with Romanoff. Using data in the flash drive they discover a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker in New Jersey, where they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola reveals that ever since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, Hydra has secretly operated within its ranks, sowing global chaos with the goal that humanity would willingly surrender its freedom in exchange for security. The pair narrowly escape death when a S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker.

Rogers and Romanoff enlist the help of former USAF pararescueman Sam Wilson, whom Rogers befriended, and acquire his powered “Falcon” wingpack. Deducing that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is a Hydra mole, they force him to divulge that Zola developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals who might become future threats to Hydra’s plans.

The Insight Helicarriers will sweep the globe, using satellite-guided guns to eliminate these individuals. Rogers, Romanoff, and Wilson are ambushed by the Winter Soldier, who kills Sitwell. During the fight, Rogers recognizes the Winter Soldier as Bucky Barnes, his friend who was captured and experimented upon during WWII. Hill manages to extract the trio to a safehouse where Fury, who had faked his death, is waiting with plans to sabotage the Helicarriers by replacing their controller chips.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

After the World Security Council members arrive for the Helicarriers’ launch, Rogers broadcasts Hydra’s plot to everyone at the Triskelion. Romanoff, disguised as one of the Council members, disarms Pierce. Fury arrives and forces Pierce to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D’s database so that Romanoff can leak classified information, exposing Hydra to the public. Following a struggle, Fury shoots Pierce dead. Meanwhile, Rogers and Wilson storm two Helicarriers and replace the controller chips, but the Winter Soldier destroys Wilson’s suit and fights Rogers on the third. Rogers fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill to take control and have the vessels destroy each other.

Rogers refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Rogers is thrown out into the Potomac River. The Winter Soldier rescues the unconscious Rogers before disappearing into the woods. With S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, Romanoff appears before a Senate subcommittee and Fury, under the cover of his apparent death, heads to Eastern Europe in pursuit of Hydra’s remaining cells. Rogers and Wilson decide to find the Winter Soldier, while Rumlow, who was a double agent for Hydra, is hospitalized following the Triskelion’s destruction.

In a mid-credits scene, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, at a Hydra lab, proclaims that the “age of miracles” has begun as scientists examine an energy-filled scepter1 and two prisoners: one with superhuman speed, the other with telekinetic powers. In a post-credits scene, the Winter Soldier visits a Bucky memorial at the Smithsonian Institution.

Filming Captain America

Principal photography began on April 1, 2013, at the Raleigh Manhattan Beach Studios in Los Angeles, under the working title Freezer Burn. Scenes taking place on the “Lemurian Star” were filmed on the Sea Launch Commander, docked in Long Beach, California. In early May, Dominic Cooper confirmed he would return as Howard Stark. On May 14, 2013, production moved to Washington, D.C. with filming taking place at the National Mall and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. The following day, Garry Shandling was spotted on set reprising his Iron Man 2 role of Senator Stern. Other filming locations in Washington, D.C. included the Willard Hotel and Dupont Circle.

Filming in Cleveland began on May 17 and was scheduled to last until mid-June with locations scheduled on the West Shoreway, the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights and the Lakeview Cemetery Dam. Cleveland was chosen as a stand-in for Washington, D.C, with the city’s East 6th Street doubling as 7th and D Streets in Southwest D.C. Other locations in Cleveland included the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland State University, the Cleveland Arcade, Tower City Center, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Western Reserve Historical Society. Interior shots were also filmed inside private homes and the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Tremont. Filming in Cleveland concluded on June 27, 2013.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, Jenny Agutter
Screenplay by: Ed Brubaker, Jack Kirby, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Joe Simon
Production Design by: Peter Wenham
Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch
Film Editing by: Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt
Costume Design by: Judianna Makovsky
Set Decoration by: Leslie A. Pope
Music by: Henry Jackman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout.
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Marvel Pictures
Release Date: April 4, 2014

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