Dysfunction and a Horror Comedy in Theaters Now

This is Where I Leave You200This is Where I Leave You
I didn’t expect much from this film but I have to admit, I enjoyed watching this dysfunctional family—from the matriarch, played by Jane Fonda and all her offspring’s played by Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, and Corey Stoll. There’s chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide. Also adding some good performances are; Kathryn Hahn, Rose Byrne, Connie Britton, Abigail Spencer, and Dax Shepard.

L-r: Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman and Adam DriverL-r: Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman and Adam Driver

L-r: Génesis Rodríguez and Haley Joel Osment

L-r: Génesis Rodríguez and Haley Joel Osment

It’s hard to truly describe this film except that it’s a mixture of horror, comedy, drama, walruses and your imagination. The film is based on an idea writer/director Kevin Smith talked about on his podcast for sometime—He talks about the making of the film in the video below with our friend Teresa Garza of ChecaLaMovie. It stars Justin Long, Michael Parks, Génesis Rodríguez, and Haley Joel Osment.

A New “Annie” is on Its Way December 19

AnnieIt has been thirty-two years since the Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, and Carol Burnett version of Annie. Now we have a new one coming for the holidays—a new Annie with a very eclectic cast; the very talented Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz, and David Zayas.

In theaters December 19.

First Look at SyFy’s “Z Nation:” Been There, Bitten That

z-nation-poster200Z Nation lurched onto SyFy network on Friday the 12th (Friday the 13th being on a Saturday this month–who thought up that brilliant idea?), and the response was…underwhelming at best. Yet another shamble through some very familiar territory, without an overabundance of new ideas, cool characters, or even energy. With so many really, really good zombie-story alternatives available, why do a bad Xerox (or would that be Z-rox?) of The Walking Dead?

Harold Perrineau

Harold Perrineau

Just a few notes:

Okay, this is TOTALLY different than The Walking Dead, because these are, you know, fast zombies. Not slow. So that, you know, matters.

The idea is we’re three years into the zombie plague, though people and institutions seem to be just as panic-stricken and chaotic as if it happened yesterday. And the zombies themselves, though clearly and completely the result of a virus rather than a supernatural event, still seem to be going strong, even though the number of tasty humans has been reduced to damn near zero. 28 Days Later still had the best projection: wait a couple months and they’ll starve to death. But here…nah.

Basic premise? Here you go: a year after the outbreak, as the last of the government is dissolving, a doctor in the Eastern U.S. comes up with a vaccine. Gives it to one convict, who survives multiple zom-bites. A year later, the one surviving soldier (Harold Perrineau of Blade and Lost fame, in a curiously flat performance) of that doomed experiment shows up at a small outpost on an island in the Northeast, saying he has to get this here guy–the immune convict–to the last medical facility still operating, located in Southern California, at Mt. Wilson. After the island is overrun (coincidentally?) moments after he arrives, a few of the island survivors, the doc, and the grumpy con start on a road trip across post-apocalypse America to get the con’s magic blood to Mr. Wilson. There, now you don’t have to watch it. You’re welcome.

Tom Everett Scott centered and Kellita Smith on the right

Tom Everett Scott centered and Kellita Smith on the right

There is one interesting question in here: the outpost is overrun by what looks like a whole bunch’a fast zombies working in concert, faking them out, lying in wait. So the Z’s of this Nation are fast and smart? That’s never mentioned again or even noticed, but…hmmm…

There are a couple of decent lines in here: “This is an extinction-level event. Do not panic.” Uh…what? “You haven’t talked to them in a month? That’s two years in apocalypse time.” “It’s a real, live baby. Haven’t seen one of those in years.” And the hu-mons that remains don’t talk about killing Z’s so much as “showing mercy,” which is a nice touch.

The parallels to Walking Dead really are unavoidable. We got this lean, no-nonsense African-American woman with a machete, a Michonne kind’a dame, and this decent-guy-driven-to-the-edge, your Rick Grimes kind’a guy, and this Herschel kind’a old dude, and a woman who looks kind’a like Red Sonja or Big Barda (the woman you wish Rick’s wife could have been), and a real cute baby, and a bunch of randomly wrecked institutional buildings that look like they raided the TWD sets after hours. Between all that, the graphic CGI head-shots, the gray-on-gray cinematography and ‘important’ lighting, you just can’t help thinking you’ve seen this all before. And will again, in about a month.

Using “Mount Wilson” as the goal is pretty hilarious. Everybody in L.A. knows Mr. Wilson is just a bunch of TV antennas on a very small mountain above Pasadena. Now just below it, off to one side, is the Jet Propulsion Lab, and that could have been interesting. Not that it matters: our intrepids don’t know what we know: the folks at the Mt. Wilson facility have already bugged out.

DJ Qualls

DJ Qualls

Yeah, we get it, it all very, very post-apocalypse…but how come every radio and walkie-talkie works like crap, whether it’s a local call or secret messages from the NSA? Was there a solar storm in there somewhere, and we just didn’t know it?

None of these guys, from any plot-thread, seem to be worried about a shortage of weapons, ammunition, or fuel even three years after doomsday. They rain unnecessary lead upon an already undead trio near the end like there’s no tomorrow, and putt-putt away in a whole caravan of vehicles. Road trip! Whooooa!

The show really can’t seem to find its voice. It’s 28 Days Later contempo-crazy at the beginning, a little more jokey and flip in the middle, and then tries–unsuccessfully–to go for Zombieland or Cockneys vs. Zombies in the last reel, what with the zom-baby and the NSA dweeb turned Civilization’s Last DJ.

Does it show promise? A little. There are some better-than-decent actors in here, like Tom Everett Scott and D.J. Qualls. But the strongest actor with the best vampire-zombie creds in the bunch doesn’t make it to the end titles (have fun over on Constantine, dude!), and you can’t help feel that everybody’s kind of phoning this in, at least a little. Some of the plot- and world-inconsistencies could get smoothed out in future episodes, but confidence is low, and surprises are in short supply. Damn. We had such high hopes.


A Look Inside “No Good Deed:” Exclusive Conversations with Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba

Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson ©2014 Angela María Ortíz S.

Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson
©2014 Angela María Ortíz S.

No Good Deed is a straight-up thriller starring a couple of powerhouse performers: Taraji P. Henson, best known for Person of Interest (we still miss you, Carter!), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the upcoming music/drama Empire, and Idris Elba, the legendary performer from Pacific Rim, Prometheus, the Thor movies, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and of course The Wire.


SeFijaOnline had a chance to sit down with both of them–one right after the other–in a recent press junket, and what you’ll hear here is pretty much that entire raw recording. We thought long and hard about trying to edit Taraji P. Henson, but really, what’s the point? She is absolutely irrepressible, and everything she said that day was worth listening to. And who would dare to mess with the powerful tones of Idris Elba? We just don’t have the nerve.

The premise of No Good Deed is pretty simple: A mother with a baby on her shoulder, all alone in her house, thinks a friend is coming by in the early evening, so she opens the door when the bell rings…and finds Idris Elba, playing an escaped convict, standing outside. The rest of the film is a fight for her life, and the outcome is far from assured.

We start the talk with Taraji’s own view of that first crucial moment in the film, when Taraji’s character Terri opening the door to Elba’s Colin.

Taraji P. Henson

Once Taraji had had her way with us, the ever-impressive Idris Elba sat down for a few minutes, and brought a whole different energy into the room. He talked about his most famous roles, his future plans, his background as a real, life Cockney, and the odd and exhilarating experience of working with Guillermo del Toro. Above all else, Elba came off as a regular guy, an amiable and intelligent man with great (and justified) confidence in his abilities, who likes to work, likes to surprise his fans, and clearly likes to keep everything on an even keel. See if you agree:

Idris Elba

Taraji will be seen next in Empire when it premieres in the spring of 2015; Idris mentioned two of his upcoming films, A Hundred Streets and Beasts of No Nation. Personally we can’t wait to hear him in the role he was born to play: the voice of Shere Khan in the upcoming remake of Jungle Book.

The cast also includes Leslie Bibb, Kate del Castillo, and Henry Simmons. No Good Deed opens citywide, state wide, countrywide on Friday September 12.

Cause of Death: IOS 7

Director Alberto Belli

Director Alberto Belli

Reposted from our friends over on Amityville Now

When YouTube horror and iReality collide…you’ll find Alberto Belli’s Cause of Death: IOS 7, a funny and actually kind of creepy little short from last year. And yes, that’s the legendary Alison Haislip in the last couple of scenes!

Subscribe to Belli’s YouTube channel here; he has a new “commercial” about Rabid Weight Loss that’s a crack-up (also starring Alison Haislip!), and follow Alison herself and her busy interlife on Twitter right here or her robust web site here.

It’s Not the Girl, It’s “The Boy Next Door”

Jennifer Lopez in The Boy Next Door

Jennifer Lopez in The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door200We’ve been hearing about the new trailer for Jennifer Lopez’ new psychological thriller, The Boy Next Door. The Universal Pictures trailer looks quite interesting and it could be a hit for Lopez. Directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious) and written by Barbara Curry, the film also stars Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, and Kristin Chenoweth. Lopez’ Nuyorican Productions, Benny Medina, Jason Blum, and John Jacobs are producers on the film.

Out in theaters January 2015. Check out the trailer below:

Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” on Blu-ray/DVD

Maximiliano Hernández as agent Sitwell

Maximiliano Hernández
as agent Sitwell

One of my favorite movie of the year is now available on Blu-ray/DVD. And we can now enjoy Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the comfort of our home. Starring Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, and Frank Grillo. And directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-3D-Combo-Blu-ray-Cover-838x1024

Check out our interview with Maximiliano Hernández who rocks as agent Sitwell.

Annabelle, The Evil Doll from “The Conjuring,” Gets Her Own Movie

Annabelle (2014)Reposted from our friends over on Amityville Now

Show of hands: how many of us think dolls are creepy? Like the creepiest thing this side of clowns?

Just as we suspected. Everybody.

James Wan and his peeps may not be the most original purveyors of modern cinema-horror, but one thing’s for sure: they deliver the goods, shock chords and jump-out-of-frame boo-cuts included. The newest flick from the House Of Wan is no exception: Annabelle is a spin-off from Wan’s hugely successful haunted-house movie, The Conjuring, and it plays of the familiar but still effective icon of the weird-ass doll. If the full movie is half as good as the trailer, we’ve got a good ’un coming to us in October: Check it out:

The director, John Leonetti is a scare-vet, the DP on The Conjuring and both Insidiouses, as well a bunch ofSleepy Hollow episodes; the writer’s done half a dozen horror film, including the oddly not-awful SyFy jungle-mosterfest BloodMonkey. It screams onto screens nationwide on October 3. Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Eric Ladin, and Brian Howe.


Juanes to Guest Star on “Jane The Virgin”

Juanes-Jane the VirginThe Colombian musician was the only Latino artist featured among the hit makers at L.A.’s Made in America concert series during Labor Day Weekend—will also be featured in the upcoming primetime series. The Grammy winner will play a music producer and smooth-talking ladies’ man who considers producing a demo record for Jane’s pop-music obsessed mother Xiomara (Andrea Navedo).

Jane the Virgin Poster

Jane The Virgin will use multiple songs by Juanes and will feature the single “Una Flor”—from his sixth studio album Loco de Amor—in the premiere episode of the comedy on Oct. 13.

The upcoming series is an English-language remake of the hit Venezuelan show Juana la Virgenand features actress Gina Rodriguez in the lead role as a hard-working student who accidentally becomes artificially inseminated during an off-the-wall series of events. Justin Baldoni (Single Ladies), Ivonne Coll (Switched at Birth) Brett Dier (Ravenswood), Yael Groblas (Reign), andtelenovela’s Jaime Camil also star.

Red Carpet Photos from the “Cantinflas” Premiere

Here are some fun images from the red carpet at the Cantinflas premiere at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

All photos by ©2014 Angela María Ortíz S.




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