myfilmblog

UserpicKevin James (INTERVIEW)
Posted by Kam Williams
14.04.2015

Kevin James
The “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” Interview
with Kam Williams

Watch Out! The Portly Security Guard’s Back on the Segway

Kevin James, star of the hit comedies Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Zookeeper will also be seen late this year in the ensemble, sci-fi comedy Pixels. He began his showbiz career as a stand-up comic on the Long Island circuit. After being discovered at the 1996 Montreal Comedy Festival, he signed a network development deal to create his own sitcom.

“The King of Queens,” which premiered in 1998, ran for nine seasons on CBS with Kevin co-starring and executive producing. The show garnered him an Emmy nomination in 2006 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and has continued to air all around the world in syndication since concluding its run.

On the big screen, Kevin made his feature film debut in Hitch opposite Will Smith. Since then, he headlined Here Comes the Boom, and starred alongside Adam Sandler in Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Besides his live-action work, he’s done voice work in such animated features as Monster House, Hotel Transylvania, and its upcoming sequel, Hotel Transylvania 2, opening this fall.

Here, Kevin talks about his new film, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, a slapstick-driven sequel which finds the hapless hero on vacation in Vegas with his college-bound daughter (Raini Rodriguez) until he instinctively jumps into action when duty calls.

 

Kam Williams: Hi Kevin, thanks so much for another opportunity to speak with you.

Kevin James: No problem, Kam. How’s it going?

 

KW: Great, thanks! The last time we spoke, you were doing Here Comes the Boom?

KJ: Oh, I wish that one did better. I loved that movie.

 

KW: So did I. I gave it a great review.

KJ: That was awesome. Thank you.

 

KW: So what inspired you to put back on the badge on hop onto the Segway again?

KJ: You know, we all loved the character, and after the first film did well, I didn’t want to see him disappear. It was just time, it felt right, and we missed him. We also wanted to bring him back because the world needs a hero now. So, it was nice to bring him to Vegas, make it a bigger platform, and raise the stakes. He’s going through an emotional time with his daughter [played by Raini Rodriguez] who’s about to go off to college. But he can’t separate himself from his calling, and even though he’s on vacation, he’s got to serve and protect. You can’t take him away from his work.

 

KW: How was it co-writing the script with Todd Garner and Nick Bakay, who wrote Zookeeper for you?

KJ: It’s just great, because these guys know Paul Blart so well. So, we’re able to bounce ideas off each other, which makes the process more comfortable. And of course, the character’s more familiar to us, which means we were able to take it to another level.

 

KW: I have some questions for you from fans. Editor Lisa Loving says: There is something about the mall cop as a stock persona in American culture. We've all giggled at mall cops. In our town, the mall cops used to dress up in Canadian Mountie hats like Dudley Do-Right. And yet they are serious law enforcement professionals too, as we have seen in some of the more outrageous acts of mass violence during the past decade. In my home state of Oregon that includes the Clackamas Town Center shooting of a few years ago. Paul, what do you draw on in creating this character?

KJ: Initially, I drew on the stereotype of them as goofy. But then I thought about the fact that these security guards have basically the same job as regular cops but without any of the training or lethal weapons. It was inspiring to me. I was like, “These guys are really heroes!” They’re doing more with less. That’s the key.

 

KW: Sangeetha Subramanian says: Hi Kevin! I'm a huge fan of your stand-up and on-screen work! Is your approach to comedy different for a family-friendly movie like the Paul Blart movies versus your other work?

KJ: They’re certainly different from The Grown-Ups films which aren’t dirty at all. But since I have four kids now, I try to gear my movies towards them, so we can sit down and watch them together. That’s what makes me feel good and drives me to create content for parents who desperately want to have a great time in the theater with their children as a family.    

 

KW: Eleanor Welski asks: What's the special place your song takes you to? I think she might be referring to your character, Paul Blart.

KJ: It takes him to a higher level, to hero status.

 

KW: The Harriet Pakula-Teweles question: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you'd like to star in?

KJ: Wow! That’s a good question. A movie I would like to do again is Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I love that movie. That’s the sort of movie I gravitate towards, one where you have an underdog who somehow overcomes the odds. I’m always looking for movies, and I would definitely consider a remake.

 

KW: Did you ever see Baby’s Day Out? That’s another great film by John Hughes.

KJ: I’m a huge John Hughes fan, but that’s one of his I haven’t seen.

 

KW: It’s every bit as funny as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. And you can watch it with your kids.

KJ: I gotta see it. 

 

KW: The “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan’s question: What’s your dream locale in Los Angeles to live?

KJ: In L.A., I like Orange County. There also some beautiful spots in San Diego. And I was in Encino for a long time, and enjoyed that as well.

 

KW: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

KJ: I’d say a manatee for several reasons. I don’t have long arms… I like to just float… and I eat a lot. [Chuckles]

 

KW: The Anthony Mackie question: Isthere anything that you promised yourself you’d do if you became famous, that you still haven’t done yet?

KJ: Get ripped.

 

KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?

KJ: On the red carpet, you’re always trying to watch and guide your way through these questions, while at home you free to just be loose and let your kids climb all over you, and you don’t have to throw any makeup on your face.

 

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

KJ: Wow! That’s a good question. That would be the question.

 

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?

KJ: The possibility of bringing an unsung hero to the screen.

 

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share? 

KJ: Humility.

 

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: What is your favorite charity?

KJ: I have several different causes I support, but I don’t have one favorite.

 

KW: Let's say you’re throwing your dream dinner party—who’s invited.

KJ: This is gonna sound weird, but it would be the band One Direction.

 

KW: Would you be inviting them for yourself or for your kids?

KJ: For both.

 

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

KJ: I think it would be Under Armour.

 

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid on the set anymore?

KJ: I get butterflies because I’m excited, but not because I’m afraid.

 

KW: The Anthony Anderson question: If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?

KJ: This is awkward, because I do have a superpower. I have a vertical jump of about 17 or 18 feet.

 

KW: The Laz Alonso question: How can your fans help you?

KJ: By going out with their families and enjoying Paul Blart 2 and the other movies I make.

 

KW: The Pastor Alex Kendrick question: When do you feel the most content?

KJ: When I’m at home with my family, just hanging out and watching a movie.

 

KW: Lastly, Kevin, what’s in your wallet?

KJ: What’s in your wallet? My goodness! A little Pyle [GPS chip] to help me find it, because I lose it all the time.

 

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

KJ: You’re awesome, Kam. I appreciate the support.

To see a trailer for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmD2vogB6yE

    


Interviews
UserpicPinto's Intro
Posted by Kam Williams
13.04.2015

Freida Pinto

Freida Pinto
The “Desert Dancer” Interview
with Kam Williams

Born in Mumbai on October 18, 1984, Freida Pinto exhibited an interest in acting from an early age. She had participated in community theater as well as school productions by the time she graduated with a degree in English Literature from St. Xavier’s College, rated the top college in India for the Arts.

Freida was signed as a model by the Elite Agency and was hired to anchor a TV travel show prior to making her highly-acclaimed screen debut co-starring opposite Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire, which swept the 2009 Academy Awards. She’s since appeared in Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, portrayed the title characters in Trishna and Miral, and played James Franco’s love interest in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Here, she talks about her latest outing in Desert Dancer, a biopic about Afshin Ghaffarian, the Iranian dissident who founded an underground, modern dance company in a country where dancing is strictly forbidden.    

 

 

Kam Williams: Hi Freida. Thanks for the interview. I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.

Freida Pinto: Of course, Kam. Thank you so much for doing this for my little, tiny film.

 

KW: A small, but powerful art film. It had everybody at my screening crying.  

FP: Oh my God! Thank you for telling me. We love hearing that there wasn’t a single dry eye in the room. That’s what we aimed for.

 

KW: Yes, it was very moving, as well as uplifting. In this picture, you reminded me of Halle Berry in Jungle Fever, where she also played a drug addict. Have you seen it?

FP: No, I haven’t. But I love Halle Berry, so thanks for the compliment. I’m going to watch it.

 

KW: How did you prepare to play a heroin addict?

FP: I didn’t want to watch any film about heroin addicts, because I didn’t want to imitate or exactly copy someone else’s take on what the individual symptoms were, although I did watch Candy, with Abbie Cornish and Heath Ledger, which was amazing. Instead, what I did was spend a lot of time with my director [Richard Raymond] at A.A. meetings in London, and just listened to people speak.

 

KW: I told my readers I’d be interviewing you. So I’m mixing in some of their questions with mine. Sangeetha Subramanian says: Hi Freida, the movie looks great! What was the process like learning the dances for the film? 

FP: It involved a physically-demanding regimen, because in a movie like this about dance, the actors are expected to look the part. So, first, we had choreographers and trainers come and break us down. If we arrived thinking movement was a certain thing, they were teaching us something brand new. We were being twisted and turned and bent backwards, and under the most challenging of circumstances, as well. We were working really, really long hours, so we had to push ourselves. It was amazing to test your endurance and find yourself motivated to go one step beyond what you thought were your limits. Another aspect was the mental and emotional training, especially with my character, Elaheh. It was very important that I let myself go, and experience things I was afraid of experiencing.

 

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: Did your training in classical Indian dance help prepare you for the 8 hours of daily practice for this role?

FP: [Laughs] I wish I really had any training in classical Indian dance. That’s Wikipedia just lying. That is not true. I came with zero experience from the dance world. The only dancing I’d ever done was in clubs. [Laughs some more] 

 

KW: Bernadette also admires that you are so involved in causes respecting girls and education. She asks: Is there any particular subject or course of study you would recommend to young girls considering a career in film? 

FP: In film? I have not been formally trained at an acting school or even a film school. But when I majored in English Literature in college, part of the syllabus covered film in literature, adaptations, and reading poetry and prose from the early 19th Century to the present, all of which was beautiful and opened your mind to so much more. But I also studied Psychology which helped me immeasurably, and continues to help me in terms of the science of accessing emotions and how the human brain functions. I find all of that very intriguing. I’m not saying that’s the answer for other actors, just that I’m a very cerebral and scientific kind of person. More than anything else, if you can spend a great deal of dedicated time observing people without judgment, that can be a great way of learning. 

 

KW: Editor Lisa Loving says: You are such a talented performer, and yet I have been thrilled at the work you have done to support underprivileged women and children around the world. This film, too, shows the power of art in a corrupt society. What do you think are the most pressing political and social issues we should be addressing today? And what do you think we, as citizens of the world, should be doing to make it a better place?  

FP: I’m not going to comment on political issues. America and India both have their issues. One thing I can say is that awareness is very, very important because we’re living in a world which is literally shrinking by the day. We are global citizens. So, for us not to be aware of what’s happening to our neighbor is almost sad. Once you’re aware, then you can decide what cause you want to dedicate your time to. I feel that all of us can contribute something, and it doesn’t have to be money. It can just be service or talent.  

 

KW: Environmental activist Grace Sinden asks: Have you ever felt culture shock in moving between the Indian and American cultures? If so, what have you found to be the biggest differences between the two cultures?

FP: No, not at all. Perhaps growing up in Bombay made me immune to culture shock, in a way. So, culture shock is not part of my DNA.

 

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: Would you be interested in dubbing your dialogue into Hindi?

FP: I’d love to, if that means opening up the film to another audience. In fact, I did that for Slumdog Millionaire and in Trishna, which was part Hindi, part English. The subject-matter of Desert Dancer is not just limited to Iran. Freedom of expression can be a topic of discussion in India as much as it is in America or Iran. 

 

KW: Patricia also asks: Is there an Indian figure you would like to portray in a biopic, such as Indira Gandhi?

FP:Yes! Quite a few. Indira Gandhi and Jhansi Rani, to name a couple. Jhansi Rani was actually a soldier. You should Google her. She’s phenomenal! There’s also a Pakistani character I’d love to play. But I’d never mention her name right now, because I’d get into so much trouble.   

 

KW: The Harriet Pakula-Teweles question: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you'd like to star in?

FP: Oh, I’ve never been asked that… I’m a great admirer of Audrey Hepburn, so I’d love to be a part of a different take on any of her films, like a re-versioning of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. 

 

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

FP: Gosh, there are so many. My association and affiliation with a lot of fashion brands goes way beyond the fashion itself, almost into a relationship. Right now, I have a very, very strong relationship with the Ferragamo family. So, I’d have to say Salvatore Ferragamo.

 

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

FP: This was an exercise I had to do in an Actor’s Workshop. It was of me getting lost in a fair in Bombay. I thought I was lost for about 2 hours, but my dad said it was only about 2 minutes.

 

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

FP: Anything that is breakfast-related. I love making eggs and avocado toast, but I have no patience for the rest of the day. The only thing I can pride myself on is making a really good breakfast.

 

KW: Lastly, what’s in your wallet?

FP: Money, hopefully. [Laughs] I don’t carry a wallet, per se. I just carry a tiny thing that can hold a credit card, an I.D. and a little bit of cash.

 

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

FP: Thank you, Kam.

To see a trailer for Desert Dancer, visit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZC3er0RuVw

    


Furious 7
Film Review by Kam Williams

The late Paul Walker (1973-2013) was best known for playing Brian O’Conner, a charismatic lead character of the Fast and Furious franchise. During a break in the filming of this seventh installment, he perished in a fiery crash away from the set while being driven in a Porsche by his friend and financial advisor, Roger Rodas.

Putting the production on hiatus, director James Wan (The Conjuring) consulted with Walker’s family before deciding to complete the project. After revising the script, he resumed shooting, using Paul’s younger brothers, Caleb and Cody, as body doubles.

Between the delays and complications flowing from the overhaul, the picture’s budget ballooned to over a quarter-billion dollars. Nevertheless, the rewrite was undeniably well-worth all the effort, since Furious 7 is easily the best offering from the series by far, for it’s the first to convincingly combine sincere sentiment with its trademark swagger and spectacular action sequences.

Yes, it’s remains mostly a muscle car demolition derby featuring an array of sensational stunts, destroying 230 automobiles along the way. But it’s also a touching tribute to the much-beloved Paul Walker, poignant homage carefully crafted to ensure there won’t be a dry eye in the house when the closing credits roll.

At the point of departure, we’re reintroduced to Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), a trained assassin hell-bent on avenging the death of his brother, the diabolical villain who met his demise during the climax of the previous episode. Deckard’s already killed Han (Sung Kang), so gang leader Dom (Vin Diesel) encourages his wife (Michelle Rodriguez) and the rest of his ragtag crew of mercenaries to regroup in order to avoid the risk of getting picked off one-by-one, since there’s strength in numbers.

However, coaxing brother-in-law Brian out of retirement isn’t easy, now that he’s settled down in suburbia and has already started a family with Mia (Jordana Brewster). By contrast, unencumbered playboys Roman (Tyrese) and Tej (Ludacris) are game for another round of bombastic vehicular warfare, especially given the addition to the team of a cute computer hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel) whose affections they can compete for.

After a bit of obligatory flirting and jive talk by the brothers, it’s not long before the plot plunges the mercenaries headlong into a familiar concatenation of fisticuffs and gravity-defying car chases punctuated by macho exclamations like “I’m back bitches!” and “Time to unleash the beast!” Yet, such simplistic non-sequiturs are effectively counterbalanced by tender exchanges with Brian (“You’ll always be my brother!”) during a denoument where he makes it clear that this dangerous adventure will definitely be his last.

A captivating combination of camaraderie and cartoon physics tempered by just enough nostalgia to tug at your heartstrings.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for pervasive violence and mayhem, suggestive content and brief profanity

Running time: 137 minutes

Distributor: Universal Pictures

To see a trailer for Furious 7, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yISKeT6sDOg

    


The Sisterhood of Night

The Sisterhood of Night
Film Review by Kam Williams

Mary Warren (Georgie Henley) was once a popular straight-C student voted most likely to become famous by the student body at Kingston High in upstate New York. But everything changed the day a jealous competitor stole her phone while she was auditioning for a role in a school play.

For, that classmate, Emily Parris (Kara Hayward), proceeded to humiliate Mary by posting some of her very intimate text messages online. Although the cruel ploy did draw a lot of traffic to a blog which nobody had been reading, the victim responded in a way no one could have predicted.

Instead of retaliating in kind, Mary resorted to calling Emily a whore in chalk on the schoolyard wall. Sick of the internet entirely, she also came up with the idea of forming The Sisterhood, a secret society which meets in the woods in the middle of the night. The idea was that instead of behaving like bitchy backstabbers, the members would promise to respect each other’s privacy while providing a shoulder to cry on as they share their personal problems.

The first two recruits are social zeroes, homely Catherine Huang (Willa Cuthrell) and Lavinia Hall (Olivia DeJonge), the troubled daughter of the school librarian (Laura Fraser). Their swearing-in involves taking a vow of silence about what transpires during their confessional sessions around the campfire.

The group’s numbers gradually swell as word spreads about the safe space they’ve created for females. This one admits to having had an abortion; that one says she’s afraid she’ll never be kissed. Another wants to be in love with the boy she surrenders her virginity to; while the next wants her chronically-ill mother to either recover or die. And so forth.

Unfortunately, vicious rumors circulating around campus suggesting that The Sisterhood might be a coven of witches or a sex cult eventually reach the ears of the guidance counselor (Kal Penn), the principal (Gary Wilmes) and even a reporter (Brian Berrebbi) interested in writing sensational stories for the local tabloid. Will the girls stick together when it seems like everyone in town comes down on it like a ton of bricks?

Directed by Caryn Waechter, The Sisterhood of Night is a compelling cautionary tale inspired by Steven Millhauser’s short story of the same name. A daunting test of teen loyalty by an Electronic Age equivalent of a Salem witch hunt.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, suicide, sexuality and prescription drug abuse

Running time: 103 minutes

Distributor: Freestyle Digital Media

To see a trailer for The Sisterhood of Night, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeR8NLIamcE

    


The Girl Is in Trouble
Film Review by Kam Williams

August (Columbus Short) would have been better off rolling over and going back to sleep the fateful night he got a call at 2:30 in the morning from Signe (Alicja Bachjleda), an attractive woman he met at the nightclub where he DJs over a month ago. For, although the damsel in distress was in desperate need of a place to rest her head, she had only reached out to him after being turned down by everybody in her phone book.

Nevertheless, the Nigerian immigrant lets her crash at his crib without asking any questions when she shows up naked under her trench coat. Sparks fly, and a few compromising positions later, August is ready to bid adieu to the Swedish temptress he so easily succumbed to as a booty call.

But then he catches her trying to leave the apartment with all the cash from his wallet. And in the ensuing struggle he discovers that she has recorded what appears to be a murder on her cell phone camera.

The apparent perpetrator is Nicholas (Jesse Spencer), a spoiled-rotten rich kid-turned-drug dealer. He’s the son of a very well-connected Wall Street powerbroker who’s made a fortune off a Bernie Madoff-quality Ponzi scheme.

When August asks Signe whether the slaying on the video is real, she curtly responds, “None of your business!” That only serves to whet his curiosity, and before you know it, he finds himself being slowly sinking deeper and deeper into a veritable quicksand comprised of intrigue and innuendo.

Executive produced by Spike Lee, The Girl Is in Trouble marks the feature-length directorial debut of Julius Onah. The movie is narrated by its star, Columbus Short, in an attempt to emulate the tone of the hard-nose hero of your typical pulp fiction novel. Regrettably, that’s where any similarities to the film noir genre ends, as this predictable whodunit proves a tad too transparent for this critic to recommend.

This film is in trouble.

Fair (1 star)

Unrated

Running time: 94 minutes

Distributor: E1 Entertainment

To see a trailer for The Girl Is in Trouble, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG8uJsCYflY