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Interviews
UserpicSelena Gomez (INTERVIEW)
Posted by Kam Williams
18.09.2012

Selena Gomez
The "Hotel Transylvania" Interview with Kam Williams

Welcome to the Hotel Transylvania!

Born on July 22, 1992 in Grand Prairie, Texas, Selena Gomez got an early start in show business as Gianna on "Barney & Friends." She made her screen debut soon thereafter in "Spy Kids 3-D," and subsequently appeared on such TV shows as "Walker, Texas Ranger," "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "Hannah Montana" and "The Suite Life on Deck," before skyrocketing to fame starring as Alex on the Disney Channel's Emmy-winning sitcom, "Wizards of Waverly Place."

In 2008, the versatile entertainer embarked on her musical career when she recorded several songs for the soundtrack of her Disney film, "Another Cinderella Story." She has since had many hit tunes, including duets with Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, as well as with her own group, Selena Gomez and The Scene.

In 2009, Selena became the youngest UNICEF Goodwill ambassador in history at 17. The following year, she launched her very own fashion line, the Dream Out Loud Collection.

In terms of her private life, Selena has long been romantically-linked to pop idol Justin Bieber, and the couple was recently rumored to be building a love nest together in the San Fernando Valley. Here, she talks about her new movie, Hotel Transylvania, an animated adventure where she plays Dracula's daughter Mavis who, over her father's objections, falls in love with a mere mortal.

 

Kam Williams: Hi Selena, thanks for another interview.

Selena Gomez: Of course, Kam thank you.

 

KW: I really appreciate that last time you were gracious enough to take a photo afterwards with my intern, Richie. Thanks.

SG: Thank Richie for asking. That was so sweet.

 

KW: Editor/legist Patricia Turnier asks: What interested you in Hotel Transylvania?

SG: It had a really good script, it's really funny, and has an amazing cast, so it was kind of a no brainer.

 

KW: How would you describe the movie?

SG: I think it's a really cute father-daughter film that kinda touches on growing up, and on experiencing your daughter wanting to have independence. It's a really sweet story that daughters and dads can relate to.

KW: Richie would like to know what's your favorite type of monster: a zombie, a werewolf, a vampire or something else?

SG: Probably a zombie.

 

KW: Larry Greenberg says: I really love the place where horror and comedy touch. Did you have a lot of fun working on this film?

SG: Yes, and for that particular reason. I love scary movies, so I really enjoyed being a part of a project that puts a twist on the scary formula.

 

KW: How did you find it portraying an animated character for the first time?

SG: It was different for me, since I had never done something like that before. So, I enjoyed it. It was new. I would love to do it again. It was great!

 

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles says: You've already been acclaimed for singing and dancing, for acting on TV and film, for fashion, for your charity ambassadorship and you're only 20 years old-- what's left for the rest of your life?


SG: [Giggles] I don't know. I guess I'm just sort of figuring it out. But I do enjoy everything I've been doing, and I feel very, very blessed and lucky.

 

KW: Patricia also asks: What does it mean to you to be a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and what was the most fulfilling thing you did so far for UNICEF?

SG: Working with Unicef is very, very important to me. Like I said, I've been very blessed, so I feel that it's very important for me to give back as much as I can and to use the platform that I have to kind of spread the word. What's been most fulfilling is being able to travel with them and witness how this organization does what it believes in, which is saving kids' lives.

 

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: How did you become so altruistic at such a young age? Where did you get your inspiration to do so much to help make the world a better place, all the charity work with children, animals and other causes?

SG: It's always been important to my parents, and that's where it came from. I was taught that no matter how little or how much we had, that it was important to give back. They always donated my clothes to shelters, and we'd always volunteer at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving. So, concern for the less fortunate has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.

 

KW: Bernadette also asks: Is there another pop icon whose career choices and level of success you're trying to emulate or exceed?

SG: There are a lot of people I look up to. But the person whose story has touched me the most is Katy Perry. She's worked really hard to get to where she is, and it certainly didn't happen overnight for her.

 

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read? The last time you told me it was, "13 Reasons Why."

SG: "The 5 Love Languages."

 

KW: What was the last song you listened to?

SG: I've been listening to Frank Ocean's new album.

 

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

SG: Oh, I love Southern food, so any type of casserole.

 

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

SG: For high, high-end fashion would have to be Marchesa.

 

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

SG: Myself. [Giggles]

 

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

SG: For everyone to be nice.

 

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

SG: A monkey.

 

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

SG: My first concert ever, with Britney Spears.

 

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

SG: Drive.

 

KW: The Michael Ealy question: If you could meet anyone who has passed on, who would it be?

SG: Marilyn Monroe.

 

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

SG: You have to love what you do. You really have to be passionate about it, and you can't let anyone else get you down.

 

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

SG: For my work.

 

KW: Thanks again for the time, Selena, and best of luck with Hotel Transylvania.

SG: Thank you so much, Kam.

 

To see a trailer for Hotel Transylvania, visit

    


Reviews
UserpicResident Evil: Retribution
Posted by Kam Williams
17.09.2012

Resident Evil: Retribution
Film Review by Kam Williams

Enduring Franchise Finds Latex-Clad Heroine Fighting More Mutants

The Resident Evil film franchise is proving to be every bit as enduring as the hordes of flesh-eating zombies featured in its every episode. The movies are based on the popular series of high body-count computer games which has also spawned some comic books, graphic novels, cartoons, and a line of merchandise with action figures and more.

This fifth screen adaptation marks yet another collaboration between writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson and his wife, cover girl-turned-actress Milla Jovovich. She, of course, reprises her lead role as Alice, the pistol-packing protector of a planet once again threatened with extinction.

As usual, Anderson does his best to exploit his supermodel spouse's good looks, between keeping her clad in form-fitting latex for the duration of the adventure and seizing on any excuse to take a pause in the action for a lingering, extreme close-up of her flawless facial features. Otherwise, RE 5 offers formulaic zombie fighting fare, with Alice and an intrepid team of defenders (Michelle Rodriguez, Boris Kodjoe, Bingbing Li, et al) representing the last hope of humanity.

At the point of departure, our heroine, by way of voiceover, quickly recounts the back story of what's transpired in the prior installments. We learn that the trouble all started when an industrial accident triggered a viral outbreak which in turn led to the rise of the undead.

Today, the diabolical Umbrella Corporation is apparently again up to no good, and on the verge of unleashing an army of mind-controlled minions, including clones of our pretty protagonist. Over-plotted to the point of absurdity, there's no reason to try to follow RE 5's storyline.

For while Milla might be up to the challenge of executing the script, the same can't be said about her supporting cast's wooden delivery of every last line of dialogue. The worst in this regard is Hong Kong star Bingbing Li who is crippled by the English language making a disastrous Hollywood debut here. A visually-captivating fantasy for teenage males with raging hormones, the demo most apt to enjoy watching an invincible vixen in spandex waste wave after wave of mindless mutants.

Star

Fair (1 star)

Rated R for partial nudity and pervasive graphic violence.

Running time: 95 minutes

Distributor: Screen Gems

 

To see a trailer for Resident Evil: Retribution, visit

    


Interviews
UserpicJoseph Gordon-Levitt (INTERVIEW)
Posted by Kam Williams
16.09.2012

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The "Looper" Interview with Kam Williams


In the Loop!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was born on February 17, 1981 in Los Angeles where he began acting at the age of 4 when he played the Scarecrow in a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz. He subsequently grew up in front of the camera, appearing in television commercials for Pop Tarts and Cocoa Puffs and on such shows as Family Ties, Murder She Wrote, L.A. Law, Roseanne and Dark Shadows.

Joseph first enjoyed widespread fame on TV playing Tommy Solomon on 3rd Rock from the Sun which led to his breakout role on the big screen in 10 Things I Hate about You. He has since blossomed from a teen heartthrob into a truly talented thespian with both big box-office and art house appeal.

That versatility is reflected in a resume with acting credits ranging from sleepers such as 500 Days of Summer, The Lookout, Brick and Uncertainty to bona fide blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Premium Rush and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, which is set to be released in November.

Here, Joseph talks about Looper, a mind-bending sci-fi thriller where he and Bruce Willis play the same character. The story revolves around a hit man who has no problem traveling 30 years into the future to murder for the mob until the day he is ordered to assassinate his future self.

 

Kam Williams: Hi Joseph, I'm honored to have this opportunity to interview you. I think of you as the best actor never to have been nominated for an Oscar.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Thanks, Kam. That's very kind of you.


KW: I love a lot of your artsy films that many people might have missed. Movies like 500 Days of Summer, Uncertainty and The Lookout.

JGL: Why, thank you!


KW: What interested you in doing Looper?

JGL: First of all, having a chance to work with Rian [director Rian Johnson] again. He's a dear friend of mine. We've known each other since making Brick [2005]. I also found the story incredibly intriguing, as well as the role.


KW: Alison Kruse was wondering what attracted you to the role?

JGL: It posed a unique challenge to me as an actor, to have to play the same character as another actor. It was a challenge that required a real transformation, and my favorite thing about acting is becoming somebody else different from me.

 

KW: Watching the movie, I kept wondering whether that was you, because you looked and sounded so different.

JGL: Well, thanks. To me, the highest compliment you can really pay to an actor is saying, "I didn't recognize you." My favorite acting performances are the ones where the actor disappears and you just see the actor onscreen.

 

KW: Laz Lyles says: You are one of my favorite actors. I'm curious to know how much you adapted to Bruce Willis' physicality and looks for the role, and how much he was made up to look like you.

JGL: It was me basing my character on him. It only felt proper to me for the junior actor to defer to the senior actor. So, I studied Bruce. I watched his movies. I ripped the audio off his films so I could listen to him on my iPod. And Bruce even recorded himself doing some of my character's voiceover monologues, so I could hear what they would sound like in his voice.

 

KW: Editor/legist Patricia Turnier asks: What was the most challenging aspect of doing Looper?

JGL: The biggest challenge was being somebody other than myself. And not only was the character different, but he was specifically connected to another actor, and Bruce Willis was sitting across the table from me.

 

KW: Patricia also says that since you speak French and are a Francophile, she'd like to know if you have any plans to do a film in French?

JGL: I would love to! That would be a dream come true.

 

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles says: You've played such an array of characters. Which one was the biggest stretch and which one comes closest to how you see yourself?
JGL: I try to make something different from myself in every character I play. I don't think I've ever played a character that's all that similar to me. But this one was possibly the most transformative of all, partially because of the make-up. I actually have a different face. But also because I was making myself move and sound like Bruce Willis.

 

KW: Alex says that you have a big fan base at the Brooklyn Friends School. He would like to know, if you still support the Occupy Wall Street Movement?

JGL: Absolutely! And the 99%. In fact, I think that Looper offers a really subtly but powerful warning about what the future could look like, if the rich keep getting richer without any regard for everybody else. You might eventually have tents lining the streets of Kansas City.

 

KW: Alex also asks: What is the biggest misperception about you?

JGL: [Chuckles] Uhh... I don't know. I try to not pay attention to stuff like that, I guess.

 

KW: Alex has one more: What do you do to relax between films?

JGL: I go to the movies.

 

KW: Larry Greenberg says: I know I am going to love this film either way but are there any comedic moments in the non-stop, sci-fi time travel action?

JGL: Yes, there are. It's actually quite a funny movie. Rian's a funny guy with a great sense of humor. So, my answer would definitely be "Yes!"

 

KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?

JGL: Last night, while Rian and I were having dinner together.

 

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

JGL: No, I don't think so.

 

KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?

JGL: I don't know, and I probably wouldn't tell you, if I did.

 

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

JGL: I was just reading this really cool book of poetry called "Euonia." The author, Christian Bok, takes a fascinating approach to writing where each chapter only uses one vowel. Putting limits on creativity like that forces the artist to figure a way around any limitations.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1552452255/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

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

JGL: When I was doing Looper, it was a bizarre experience looking into the mirror and seeing a face other than your own. And it was also weirdly inspiring.

 

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

JGL: A human being.

 

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

JGL: Humility.

 

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

JGL: First of all, you have to be yourself. You can't imitate anybody. The most important thing is focusing on what you love. As for me, I love movies, and that's what I focus on. There are a lot of other accoutrements that come with success, and if you start to focus on those trappings, I think you're doomed.

 

KW: Have you ever wished you could have your anonymity back?

JGL: Yes.

 

KW: What would make your life easier?

JGL: [Laughs] I don't know.

 

KW: What are some of your favorite films and directors of all time?

JGL: I think Walt Disney was a fantastic filmmaker. I love Dumbo, Mary Poppins, The Matrix trilogy, Lysistrata and Sunset Boulevard. I also like Tarantino, the Coen Brothers, Michel Gondry, Edgar Wright and Jacques Audiard who's a really good French director.

 

KW: What's it like to try to assess yourself on the big screen.

JGL: It's a skill you have to acquire, because at first it just feels weird. When I was younger, it was really hard because you get self-conscious. It's almost disturbing to hear your own voice and to see your own face. But, if you practice, you can get used to it, and learn to be critical and productive. I've always played with video cameras and made little movies with myself in them.

 

KW: Well, you'll be making your directorial debut next year with Don Jon's Addiction. And you wrote it, too. How did that go?

JGL: It went great. I wrote a part for Scarlett Johansson, she agreed to do it, and was fantastic and very funny in it, playing a character very different from anything she's done before. Julianne Moore, one of the greatest actresses alive, is also in it.

 

KW: How hard was it to act and direct at the same time. I think of directors as disciplinarians who have to keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time.

JGL: It is a bit of a juggling act, but I think it turned out pretty well.

 

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

JGL: I like to give to public media, like PBS and NPR.

 

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

JGL: [Chuckles] I don't know. That's not up to me.

 

KW: Thanks again for the time, Joseph, best of luck with Looper, and I hope to speak to you again when Don Jon's Addiction is released.

JGL: I look forward to it. Thanks so much, Kam.

 

To see a trailer for Looper, visit

 

    


Reviews
UserpicAbout Cherry (FILM REVIEW)
Posted by Kam Williams
15.09.2012

About Cherry

IFC Midnight
Ashley Hinshaw and James Franco star in “About Cherry.”

About Cherry
Film Review by Kam Williams

Naive Runaway Turns Porn Star in Cautionary Tale of Survival

Angelina (Ashley Hinshaw) is a naïve, 18 year-old with a blossoming body but a horrible home situation. Between a predatory stepfather (Stephen Wiig) with a creepy agenda and an alcoholic mother (Lili Taylor) too inebriated to protect her, it's just a matter of time before the poor girl has to vacate the premises.

Unfortunately, she proceeds to follow a lot of bad advice, starting with her boyfriend's (Jonny Weston) pressure to pose naked for pay. Although initially hesitant, the clueless coed goes along with the idea, unaware that nude photo spreads are apparently the adult entertainment industry's equivalent of a gateway drug to utter depravity.

The next thing you now, she's dropping out of high school and running away from L.A. to San Francisco with a Platonic pal (Dev Patel) who worships her. They rent an apartment together, with him landing a legitimate job at a bookstore while she finds work at a seedy strip club.

Soon thereafter, Angelina not only starts dating a customer (James Franco) but is recruited to appear in X-rated movies by a very-reassuring, retired porn star (Heather Graham). She adopts a stage name, "Cherry," and takes to performing sex acts in front of the camera like a fish to water, gradually graduating from soft porn to ever-increasingly salacious fare.

Not surprisingly, this development takes a toll on her personal relationships, as both her new beau ("What you do is disgusting!") and secret admirer roommate ("I'm just a foreigner you keep around to run errands!") eventually express their displeasure. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the trajectory of Angelina/Cherry's life has to turn tragic, especially when there's an empathetic lipstick lesbian waiting in the wings on the set of her latest explicit adventure.

Directed by Stephen Elliott, About Cherry's optimistic arc might be explained by the fact that he co-wrote the script with Lorelei Lee, a popular porn star-turned-NYU college lecturer. Lorelei's literary imprimatur lends considerable credibility to this presumably semi-autobiographical soap opera, since it would otherwise be impossible to fathom how the picture's terminally-suggestible protagonist wasn't left devastated by such a self-destructive string of degrading choices.

Pollyanna does ‘Frisco!

StarStarStar

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity, profanity and drug use.

Running time: 102 minutes

Distributor: IFC Films

 

To see a trailer for About Cherry, visit

    


Reviews
UserpicThe Words (FILM REVIEW)
Posted by Kam Williams
14.09.2012

The Words
Film Review by Kam Williams


Plagiarism Exacts Emotional Toll in Tale of Overwhelming Regret

The latest stop on Clayton Hammond's (Dennis Quaid) whirlwind book tour has the renowned author in New York City to promote his latest opus. It's a cautionary tale of overwhelming regret recounting the rise and fall of a presumably fictional character called Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper).

At the story's point of departure, he's an aspiring novelist under pressure to find a day job after years of relying on handouts from his father (J.K. Simmons). The young man grudgingly capitulates by taking a lowly 9 to 5 gig in the mailroom of a leading literary agency.

The steady pay does enable Rory to save enough money to propose to his longtime girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) who has been patiently waiting to start a family. Soon enough, they're newlyweds and honeymooning in Paris where the grateful bride impulsively buys her hubby a weather-beaten briefcase lying around a dusty antique shop.

Upon returning to the States, Rory opens the valise and discovers that it isn't empty but contains a yellowed, handwritten manuscript by someone far more talented than he. However, instead of trying to locate the owner, he succumbs to the temptation to submit the novel to publishers under his own name.

And lo and behold, the book, "The Window Tears," becomes a runaway best-seller, thereby belatedly launching the literary career he'd always dreamed of. But because of the possibility of the real author's (Jeremy Irons) stepping forward to expose the fraud, Rory faces the prospect of having to spend his life looking over his shoulder.

Co-written and co-directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, The Words is constructed as a series of flashbacks narrated by a visibly-haunted Hammond as he reads excerpts from his new book. It gradually becomes obvious that he is emotionally agonizing over the material on the pages as the tension mounts around whether what his audience is hearing might be autobiographical rather than fictional.

Unfortunately, the problems with this glacial-paced production are plentiful. First, it's hard to swallow the film's farfetched premise, and harder still to fathom how its protagonist has managed to maintain the charade for so long, especially given his guilty conscience and being confronted by the aggrieved party he's impersonated.

Secondly, neither of the parallel plotlines is particularly engaging, the only issue of interest being whether Hammond's new book constitutes a confession that his debut novel had been purloined. For this reason, the film's biggest flaw rests in its ultimately ending on a cliffhanger, and thereby failing to resolve if Rory Jansen is indeed a thinly-veiled version of the author.

That anticlimactic conclusion proves to be quite unsatisfying after an investment of what feels like an eternity awaiting the resolution of the specific question "Did he or didn't he?" The only thing worse than a movie without an ending, is a ninety-minute endurance test without an ending.

Star

Fair (1 star)

Rated PG-13 for smoking, sensuality and brief profanity.

Running time: 96 minutes

Distributor: CBS Films

To see a trailer for The Words, visit