Director Carrie Carnevale’s debut short film, “Beside Her” is a love story and fictional portrayal of the true human condition. An amazing piece of film work that’s been screened to audiences world wide. Now, here’s your chance to see the film for yourself.
Join Carnevale and members of the cast and crew of Beside Her for a screening at this year’s Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival on Saturday, March 15th .
Along with the amazing talents of actors Ashley Watkins, Erika Flores and Owen Conway, Carnevale delivers a film containing all the elements that make for a great story: love, tension, drama, suspense and even a twist in the end for good measure!
While watching “Beside Her” you quickly become oblivious to the fact that the lovers you see on-screen are female, and become more enthralled with the deep sense of love and connection they both share with each other. But Beside Her is much more than just a love story. It’s a beautiful film about the human condition and the connection we all share.
The Alliance of Women Filmmakers Inc. is a non-profit 501c(3) organization established to empower women filmmakers to create diverse roles for women as well as increase exposure for women made movies. Each March, they produce the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival which showcases narratives, documentaries, animation and student short films made by women of diverse backgrounds from around the world.
Beside Her will be screening as part of the LA Women’s Fest Shorts Program Four. For more information and to purchase tickets Click Here
Be sure to type in the code “AWF” to get a discounted ticket price of $6.00.
For more information on “Beside Her” and 17 Films Click Here
Actress Amber Bollinger is no stranger to the world of horror, having already accumulated a number of them on her film resume. But it was her role in the 2010 scream filled “Pelt” that caught the attention of director Paul Morrell, who asked her to audition for a role in “Big Bad Wolf” (releasing on DVD March 4th). Working together alongside other talented cast and crew, this twisted version soon came to life; exceeding expectation and delivering a thrill ride of scares, screams and sexiness.
A dark, allegorical adaptation of the story of “The Three Little Pigs”, Big Bad Wolf stars former “Bachelor” Charlie O’Connell as Huff, an abusive stepfather living in poverty in California along with his battered wife, Lorelei (Elina Madison) and three teenage girls. On the verge of making a lucrative drug deal that will finally give him the money he needs to escape his misery and retire to Mexico with his mistress, Huff’s plans begin to unravel when his wife secretly gives the drug money to her daughters and encourages them to run away to seek better lives. This series of events triggers a chain of rage-induced asthma attacks, complete with ‘huffs and puffs’ as Huff attempts to locate the three runaways and recover his money. “Big Bad Wolf” also stars Clint Howard, Natasha Alam, Jenna Stone and Elly Stefanko.
I spoke with Bollinger about “Big Bad Wolf” as well as her upcoming film, “Listening” which deals with the power of telepathy.
How did you become involved in Big Bad Wolf?
I actually landed the role based upon a movie I had done called “Pelt”. A mutual friend had introduced me to Paul Morrell, who had seen it and liked my performance. He contacted me through Facebook and asked me to come in and audition.
What attracted you to the story?
I liked the fact that it was a different kind of horror film. It literally is a dark twisted ‘Three Little Pigs’ story.
Tell me a little about your character, Brixi.
Brixi is the oldest of the children and becomes the real mother figure her little sisters never had. She’s the God-fearing, tough one who understands that she may have to take on the role of martyr in order to protect her sisters and get out alive.
What was the chemistry like on the set?
It was great and we all got along really well. Charlie [O'Connell] is such a funny guy and not anything at all like his character on-screen. When “action” was called, he became someone completely different. He can turn it on and off at will. Elina [Madison] was great too. She works a lot to get into her character and I really trust her as an actress. You knew that everyday she was going to come in fully prepared and ready to give her all.
What do you think makes for a great horror movie?
I love all kinds of horror films but I think the best are the ones that aren’t apologetic. They’re just brutal, bloody and go for the jugular. That’s what this film does.
Tell me a little about your other upcoming film “Listening”.
It’s a Sci-Fi drama about grad students who are trying to invent mind-reading technology. My character, Jordan helps them along by giving them elements they haven’t seen before. There’s also a government organization involved that’s trying to get the discovery in order to use it on a much larger scale. In a lot of ways, the story is not that far-fetched. There’s a lot of reality to it.
Big Bad Wolf is available on DVD March 4th
“A divided young man must fight for life and love in his estranged, nightmare-like reality.”
Writer Ian Brightman has put much of his own life experience into “Shattered”, a short film/passion project with a script that’s taken him nearly three years to complete. Starring Hunter Garner and Jenna Stone, “Shattered” is a film that will make you rethink your entire life and realize that sometimes no one can help you, except you.
Brightman has recently started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project and bring the film to the big screen. Backers of the film will have the option of several “rewards” to choose from as a way of saying thanks for their generous support. From a private link to screen the film to producer credit and even the opportunity to appear in the film itself, everyone that takes part in the project will be recognized for their contribution.
In typical film projects, everything is panned out and you go in and do your job, but the cool thing about Kickstarter is that everyone becomes more personally involved in the film’s success by actually making it happen and getting the word out.
Shattered tells the story of Asher (Garner), a young man who finds out that no matter how hard he pushes, he can’t seem to help himself. He finds this out every time he sleeps when his dreams emotionally scar him with images of his ex, Aria (Stone). His nightmares also mentally torture him with the vision of dying at the hands of Gabriel, a physically identical young man. In reality, Asher attempts to solve his issues with Aria along with what may be causing his nightmares.
Actress Jenna Stone is no stranger to the suspense thriller, having played the lead role of Ali in the horror film “A Haunting In Salem” as well as a strong supporting role alongside Charlie O’Connell and Marie Bollinger in “Huff”. For Stone, it’s not only about creating an experience for the audience, but also about releasing emotion and that moment of truth.
I spoke with Stone about her role in Shattered and more in this exclusive interview.
How did you get involved in this project?
It was a passion project that was written by a friend of a friend. When they started talking about it, they asked me if I’d be interested in one of the roles and after I read the script was immediately on board. It’s a short film about two guys battling inner demons and given the choice of love or fighting for yourself. It’s going to be very visually appealing. You really get to see the extreme sides of the characters on many different levels.
How would describe the story of Shattered?
It’s about twins and takes place in dreams, which is another one of the reasons I really liked it. I’ve always been interested in how people dream and how the subconscious works. The story itself takes place in the mind and becomes an inner battle between life and death. There’s a blurred reality and at times you’re not really sure what’s real and what’s not. That’s what makes it scary. It fits into the psychological suspense thriller category in that it makes you think a lot.
Tell me a little about your character, Aria.
Aria has good intentions. She’s a sweet girl who’s going through life confused and not knowing what she wants in a relationship. She knows that it would be logical to not be together, but it’s too hard emotionally.
Are there any other projects your working on?
I’m working on another film called “Jack & Cocaine”. I play “Cocaine”, a LA prostitute who meets a guy named Jack in the same field of business. Her mother died when she was a teenager and was also a prostitute and drug addict. She didn’t set a very good example and that’s why Cocaine got involved in the work that she did. She ends up seeing a psychic who helps her talk to he mom and the journey ends up being about trying to find her father. It’s a self growth, love conquers all type of film and I’m very excited about that one too!
For more information on “Shattered” and the Kickstarter Campaign, Click Here!
Versatile actor Armando Riesco, whose already achieved critical acclaim for his work in both film and television recently took on one of his most challenging roles yet in the Scott Coffey directed film “Adult World.”
Adult World stars Emma Roberts as a recent college graduate who believes she’s destined for greatness but instead winds up working in an adult book store. While there, she meets one of her favorite poets and becomes his assistant at Syracuse University. Riesco plays the role of Rubia, a transgender who takes Robert’s character under his wing and helps her transition to life in the real world. Originally premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in April of 2013, Adult World also stars John Cusack and Cloris Leachman.
Riesco’s acting prowess is not limited to just film, but also to the theater world as well. He’ll soon be reprising his role as troubled Iraq war veteran Elliot Ortiz in “The Happiest Songs Play Last”, the final installment in a trilogy by Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes at Second Stage in New York City. Riesco has previously portrayed the real life veteran twice before in “A Soldier’s Fugue” and “Water by the Spoonful.”
I had the pleasure of speaking with Riesco about Adult World and his other upcoming project.
Tell me how your role in Adult World came about?
It was a bit strange because I generally don’t get auditions for transgender characters [laughs]. In fact, when I first got the call about it, I passed on it immediately. At the time, I figured “This is crazy! There’s no way I’m right for this!” I remember I went home that night and told my wife about it and then later to my very conservative, Cuban, republican father and they both told me that I should should go for it! It was a huge challenge and something that I wanted to get right. I didn’t want it to come off as a caricature. It had to be real.
Did you have to do a lot of research prior to filming?
Absolutely. That’s my favorite part about acting. Immersing myself in whatever world the character is in. It takes me outside of my cocoon and lets me switch into overdrive. It was fun to think about what it would be like being a transgender living alone in an apartment in Syracuse and making a living through “nefarious” means [laughs]. It was a fun character to work with.
What’s the story of Adult World and how does your character fits into it?
Emma Roberts’ character (Amy) is a recent graduate who can’t find work and takes a job at a porn shop. She then ends up moving in with my character Rubia, who also works in the porn shop as well. I function as sort of a fairy godmother to Amy and lead her into becoming an adult.
What was the filming process like?
I’ve never had so much fun. Scott Coffey (Director) trusted me with the character and it was a responsibility that I gladly took on. It was so playful and there was a lot of improvisation involved. It really gave me the opportunity to take chances and see what would happen. As a result, we got a lot of great stuff that made it into the movie.
What was it like working with a cast that included Emma Roberts and Cloris Leachman?
Emma is lovely and was super-fun to be around. I think the relationship we got to develop together both on and off-screen really shows up in the film. And I loved working with a veteran actress like Cloris Leachman. You can tell that she really understands that life is bigger than just a movie. Her performance is so uninhibited and loose. It’s exactly what you want to see on camera.
What made you decide to be an actor?
There were several things, but one of them was seeing the movie “Shadowlands”, a story about the life of C.S Lewis. I saw that movie and then I saw it again, and again, and again. I thought the entire project was connected to a higher power in a way that made me want to be a part of. It was almost like a religious experience. It really inspired me to pursue the feeling of making people connect with life in a way that’s a little bit deeper than what they’re normally accustomed to.
What other projects are you working on?
I’m working on the last part of a trilogy of plays in New York. It’s been an amazing ride. The second play won the Pulitzer prize; the first one was nominated for one and now we’re on to the last one. I play an marine veteran who comes back from Iraq and has to deal with PTSD and getting back into the civilian world.
What advice can you pass along to other aspiring actors?
Acting is an endless process. There are always new things to learn and the moment you stop learning is the moment you should quit. In a way, it’s almost like the way muscle confusion is when you work out. You constantly have to be on your toes and try new things. Remain excited about acting and life in general. You have to be curious and if you are, you’ll have that spark that hopefully you can pass on.
Adult World comes to theaters and VOD February 14th.
For more on Armando Riesco, Check out his Facebook page by Clicking Here!
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many different actors, authors and artists about their current and upcoming projects, but perhaps none of them has been cooler or more unique than actress Michal Sinnott. Let’s face it; it’s not every day you get the opportunity to talk to someone who’s played a role in what’s poised to become the best-selling video game of all time.
It was recently revealed that Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto 5 broke seven Guinness world records, including the highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours.
Michal’s role of Tracey De Santa in GTA 5 is truly one of a kind. It’s acting, but not something you’d see in a typical film or theatrical role. Michal actually describes the experience as a hybrid combination of the two. Working exactly like the actors in Avatar, each was rigged up to get their performances captured in 3-D and then have those recorded images digitally transferred into the game world.
In my interview with Michal, we discuss her role in GTA 5 as well as how she got her start and the projects she’s currently working on.
What attracted you to such a unique project?
It was Rockstar so I knew that it would be a quality project. It was a cool opportunity that turned out to be an amazing experience. Way more that I had anticipated.
Were you presented with an actual storyline or script – like one you’d get for a film?
Not exactly. They really tried to tell you as little about it as possible [laughs]. I knew it was a character, but I was only getting my material and not the whole picture. They really wanted to have everyone focus on their own part. There are thousands of pages of dialogue in this game and it takes hundreds of hours to complete, not to mention that there were so many people involved in working on the project. If you watch the credits, it takes about twenty minutes to go through them. It’s a massive amount of information. But once you know the character and know the world, you can focus on doing the best job possible. Then it all magically comes together.
How do you prepare for a project like this?
The research I had done on Grand Theft Auto couldn’t really prepare me for it. The cool thing about the series is that it’s always different with new characters and new worlds. My character, Tracey may not be the most complicated person in the world, but there’s a larger than life quality to her. She wants to be a celebrity but doesn’t have any talent. She’s one of those people who’s really focused on having everyone look at her. She’s got really big needs and thinks everything is so tragic. Tragic in a sense that she can’t find the right color nail polish [laughs]. The fun of it was being able to take it on fully and have those extreme emotions over something so petty and small. In reality, that kind of behavior could lead to an awful life, or at least alienate you from your friends. It was cool to go and explore and then still be able to walk away unscathed.
What was the filming process like?
We would usually shoot for a three-week period and then take a few months off. Then we’d start up again. The entire process took somewhere in the realm of three years to complete. Along the way, I would always be given clues about who Tracey is. I remember that every time I would come back for another shoot I’d get the script of new material and say “Oh cool! This is who this person is!”
How would you describe performance capture as it relates to typical acting mediums?
I think it lies somewhere in between the realms of film and theater. You wear the balls [the same technology that was used in Avatar] and you have a camera recording your facial gestures. The balls help process the movement so that they can be transformed into a 3D image of you. Your movements also have to be larger than life, so there has to be a sense of theatricality to it. When you’re angry, you really have to stomp! It’s almost like you’re a cartoon character. You also film on a sound stage and don’t really have a backdrop when you’re shooting. It’s acting without any stimulus. So you have to learn to fill that void with your imagination. To see that world and realize what all the technical people did to fill that world is amazing.
When did you realize you really wanted to pursue acting?
I went to a performing arts high school and had written a play that ended up winning a festival and I got to go to a playwright conference. Just being on the other side and having my work not be so personal really opened me up to how magical it is to really live out your dreams and pursue what you want. I remember being out in the audience watching this play and realized in that moment that I couldn’t deny myself this life. After that, I never looked back. I majored in theater in college, moved to New York and went full throttle. I’ve been at it ever since.
What other projects are you working on?
I’m an associate producer on a biopic about Rick James that I’ll also have a role in as well. Right now, we’re in talks with a production company and it’s coming along really well. It’s been exciting to get the opportunity to wear a lot of different hats and work the other side. It feeds your understanding of the business.
I also like to blog. It’s something that I started doing as a way to share with my friends, family and other actors the inner workings of what it’s like to be an actor growing on her path. It’s funny, quirky and a little bit spiritual.
For more info on Michal Sinnott be sure to check out her website by Clicking Here!
Laneya Wiles is a true triple-threat. No only does she possess amazing acting prowess, but she’s also a model and stand-up comic as well; performing her act in such places as the famous Gotham, New York and Greenwich Village Comedy Clubs.
Wiles’ breakout performance will no doubt be in the upcoming Ron Krauss directed film “Gimme Shelter.” Based on a true story, “Gimme Shelter” stars Vanessa Hudgens as Agnes “Apple” Bailey, a pregnant 16-year-old struggling for survival and redemption through the harsh realities of life on the streets. Apple’s journey plummets her into a perilous struggle, until she finds salvation at a suburban shelter for homeless teens. Wiles plays the role of Jasmine Colon, one of Apple’s friends and constant supporter in the shelter. Sadly, Jasmine’s own story is one that’s all too similar, with a background of rape and teen pregnancy.
Gimme Shelter also stars James Earl Jones, Rosario Dawson, and Brendan Fraiser.
I spoke with Wiles about her work on the film as well as her stand-up comedy and how she got her start.
What attracted you most to “Gimme Shelter”?
It was a little bit of a mystery at first, but I did a little more research once I got the script and really loved the message and what it was about.
How would you describe the story?
It’s based on a true story, actually a collection of two young girl’s stories. One had a mother who was on drugs and wound up pregnant from her boyfriend. She goes on a journey to find her father, but since it wasn’t acceptable for her to be pregnant in that household, she’s forced to be out on the street. Eventually, she finds all of the girls in the shelter and they become just like her family.
Tell me a little about your character.
I play Jasmine Colon, a teenage runaway who was raped and is pregnant. It’s a pretty heavy role.
How did you prepare to take on such a role?
The call back for the role took place at the actual shelter in New Jersey, so I got to meet members of the cast as well as a few of the people who actually lived in the shelter. A lot of the “prep” work happened naturally while we were there. We got to see first hand what it was really like. It was a reality we faced by being there with them and it helped to give it a more well-rounded view.
What was it like working with such a great ensemble?
It was amazing and humbling. Everyone was just so genuine and down to Earth. Vanessa and I would sometimes just sit down in our dressing room and talk about how production was going. I definitely enjoyed it.
What would you say was the hardest part of the filming process?
I think the most intense scene for everyone was when we were all in the office and were reading the files about what happened in our lives and the things our characters had gone through on paper. We all shared this moment together and it was very tense.
In addition to your film work, you’ve also done stand-up comedy. What are some of the differences between the two?
In stand-up comedy, you’re able to get automatic response and feedback because it’s highly interactive. You also feel the vibe of the room and get to work off of that. I like the fact that there’s a spontaneous element to it. Doing comedy also allows me to increase my focus, which complements my acting.
When did you get started in acting?
I started when I was four, making Playbills and putting on shows for my family. I loved performing right from the start and knew early on that it was something that I wanted to do with my life. One of my teachers in kindergarten realized this as well. She knew a manager and told my Mom that she should look into it. That was how I started.
Any advice you could give to up and coming actors?
You have to have undying determination and perseverance to survive in this business and not expect things to just happen overnight. Everything is a process, but if you believe in yourself and love what you do, then you’ll be willing to hang in there and not give up the good fight!
Actor Ser’Darius Blain has a lot to celebrate this year. Already well-known for his work in the ‘Footloose’ remake as well as commercial and television roles, the talented actor will be attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival to promote his latest film “Camp X-Ray.”
Written and directed by Peter Sattler, “Camp X-Ray” is a military drama starring Kristen Stewart based on the “temporary” facility at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Blain plays the role of Raymond Jackson, a country boy who’s all business when it comes to work.
In addition to “Camp X-Ray” Blain can also be seen in the upcoming films “When The Game Stands Tall” and “Maybe Someday.”
I had the chance to speak to him about his films, his acting and what he likes most about making movies.
How would you describe the story of “Camp X-Ray”?
It tells the story of a soldier who comes to a really rough prison and is taught how to stand up for what she believes is right at any cost. Along the way, she gains some friends and also makes a few enemies, but the story itself sheds light on everyone’s humanity and the notion that we as humans all need the same thing.
Tell me a little about your character, Raymond Jackson.
Jackson is the fun-loving goof ball of the bunch, but when it comes to work he’s all business and definitely does his job to the letter. He’s all about camaraderie and doing what’s best for the group. It’s a pretty heavy story, but my character brings some light to it.
What was it like working with Kristen Stewart in the film?
Getting the chance to work with Kristen one on one was an amazing experience. She’s one of those people who really knows everything about her character. She’s always prepared, very down to Earth and the consummate professional. She’s so easy to work with.
As an actor, what’s it like to have your film premiere at Sundance?
It’s incredibly rewarding to get to go to Sundance. So many great, notable films have come out of there since Robert Redford established it. I’m excited to see what happens next.
Tell me about how you go into acting.
I was super shy as a kid, but was always good at writing and literature. My mom was an English and drama teacher at my middle school and one year I helped her write a play. I remember I had memorized the entire script and was goofing off in the kitchen singing all the lines when she asked me to audition for it in front of a panel. I was reluctant at first but she made me do it and I wound up being chosen as the understudy for the lead character. Throughout high school and college I did some community theater and eventually wound up getting a scholarship to New York Conservatory For The Arts. From there, I never looked back.
What do you like most about doing film work as compared to television and commercial roles?
In film, your character is built within the parameters of a two and a half hour movie and the cool thing about it is that your performance can become “immortalized.” I say that because a good movie today is going to be a good movie twenty years from now as people continue to watch it over and over. The other thing is that you get to build awesome relationships and learn to cherish the special moments.
What can you tell me about your next film, “When The Game Stands Tall”?
When I first saw the script, I knew right away that it was a role for me. Think of it as “Friday Night Lights” meets “Remember The Titans” meets “When The Game Stands Tall.” You’ll laugh a little and cry a lot, but it’s going to make you stronger. Its one of those true heart-felt, human stories.
What other projects have you been working on?
I’ve recently completed an indie film called “Maybe Someday.” It’s a zany comedy about a guy whose daughter comes back from the future to tell him that he sucks as a father in the future. So he first has to find find out who her mother is and then figure out how he can fix his life. I play the part of Skip, his best friend and therapist. In addition to that, I’m also working on writing my own projects as well. I really want to forge a path and make the most out what God has given me with this opportunity to act.
For more on Ser’Darius Blain, be sure to check out his
official website by Clicking Here!
Better late than never I suppose. Especially when you consider that when the artsy, independent horror film “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006, George W. Bush was still President.
But thanks to poor test screenings, distributor cash flow problems and bankruptcy, the film never made a big enough splash to warrant a more wide spread showing and instead wound up collecting dust for the next seven years until finally getting a proper release here in the U.S. on Dec 3rd.
“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” follows the same format of most horror/slasher films we’ve become accustomed to: a young, virginal Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) is a high-school student who goes off to a remote ranch to party with a much rowdier bunch of kids that includes the jock (Luke Grimes), the sensitive guy (Edwin Hodge), the stoner (Aaron Himelstein), and two sexy, albeit air-headed beauties (Melissa Price & Whitney Able). The addition of a mysterious ranch hand (Anson Mount) popping up at the strangest of times only adds to the tension.
All of the guys are so focused on getting with Mandy that no one really notices that some of them have gone missing until it’s too late. That’s when the bloody truth emerges.
In addition to witnessing the demise of the film’s characters, old school slasher film fans will find plenty of other meat on the bone with “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane”. Whether its the recreational drug use, gratuitous sexual encounters and truth or dare or asking the question of who is really out there in the darkness. Artsy fans will marvel at many of the techniques director Jonathan Levine and cinematographer Darren Genet employed during the filming process.
But for me, what separates this film from the standard ho-hum fare of serial killer pablum was the cool little twist that’s engaged halfway through the film. I’ve seen plenty of Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger “adventures” over the years, but have to admit this was something I certainly wasn’t expecting, and it changed the viewing dynamic for the better.
“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” is Lane’s first leading role as well as Levine’s directorial debut. He’s since gone on to make a name for himself with films like “The Wackness,”and “50/50”. Not bad for a director who’s first film took seven years and two Presidents to see the light of day.
In my view, any filmmaker who invests a substantial amount of time and money into a project should be able to see a proper release of the finished product. While this film is certainly not for everyone, “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” is one fans of the genre will find was well worth the wait. (Three Stars)
Following the recent U.S. economic downturn, actor Paul Blackthorne (along with photographer and friend, Mister Basquali) decided to embark on a cross-country road trip deep into the heart of the American landscape.
Along the way, they stopped to interview random people about the issues and concerns facing every day Americans to try to gauge what society can do to pull together when times are tough.
The resulting documentary, “This American Journey” is an encouraging, insightful look into the unbreakable will of the American spirit.
Regardless of what we may have been brought up to believe through our own socioeconomic backgrounds and biases, “This American Journey” reveals the unique perspective that lies within each of us. It’s the showcasing of those opinions regarding what’s right and wrong with America that makes the documentary so compelling and engaging.
As an actor, Paul Blackthorne has appeared on some of television’s most iconic series, including “24″, “ER” and most recently, as Detective Quentin Lance on the CW hit series “Arrow”. But it’s his directorial debut in “This American Journey” that adds a fresh layer of inspiration to an already impressive resume.
There are moments in the film that are uplifting, while others will surely move you to tears. You’ll hear perspectives of common folks from all walks of life; many of whom having ideas that may make you reconsider your own way of thinking.
But in the end, the real reason “This American Journey” shines is because it makes you think. And perhaps that’s what Blackthorne had in mind all along when he set out on his cross-country quest.
I spoke with him about his journey across America and what satisfied him the most about it.
What made you decide to take on a project like this?
Shortly after the economic down turn, I became curious about what the people of America were thinking about the country. At the time, the American Dream was in a troubled state, and even I wasn’t sure how I was feeling about America (having always loved it since I was a kid). I decided that the best way for me to form an opinion on how I felt about America was to go out and speak to the people of America. So that’s what we did. We got on the road and had a great chat with a lot of wonderful people.
Did you go into it having an opinion of the people you were likely to meet?
It’s easy to judge a book by its cover, but if you take the time to actually open the book and read a few words inside, there’s a lot more to it than what you originally thought. As we drove across the country and met people in certain places sure, it would have been easy to form an opinion of what someone might be like. But once we had the chance to actually listen to them and really get a sense of their character, we were amazed.
Did you at any time during the course of your journey fear for your own safety?
There was one neighborhood we visited in a big city where we had to make a pretty hasty departure, but generally speaking everyone we met was very open and receptive to us and we were received very positively.
What satisfies you the most about “This American Journey”?
Getting the film completed was very challenging, but we were supported by a lot of incredibly skilled people and that was very rewarding. Seeing the audience’s reaction to the film and the conversations that are generated from watching it is also very satisfying.
We went into it wanting to make a film that would make us all feel good about life and be inspired to dwell on the positive and as a result, hopefully generate more positive stuff. And that’s what we’ve done.
Has your own perspective of America changed now that you’ve completed the journey?
I feel very positive about America. We may be going though some tough times, but the American Spirit is in good shape. I’ve also learned that we have a lot more in common with each other than we have different. If we choose to dwell on the positive and look out for each other a little bit more, we’ve got a greater chance of getting out of difficult times. We’re all in this together, so let’s work together and focus on the important things we have in common.
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In Ambushed, agents Maxwell (Dolph Lundgren) and Beverly (Carly Jones) are closing in on an international cocaine smuggling operation that’s being run by criminal mastermind Vincent Camastra (Vinnie Jones). But when Beverly goes undercover with mid-level drug dealers Eddie and Frank (Gianni Capaldi and Daniel Bonjour, respectively) she finds herself in deeper then she can handle. The case then becomes personal for Maxwell who has to combat ruthless killers and a dirty cop (Randy Couture) in an all-out action filled finale.
Ambushed is told from the point of view of Eddie and Frank; two seedy guys who want nothing more than to become bigger players in the game. But their quest for glory goes awry and in the process sets off a murderous series of events.
Couture plays crooked detective Jack Reiley, an officer disgruntled with the current state of the LA system who decides to strong-arm his way into the drug business for a fast pay-day and early retirement. Meanwhile, Lundren plays DEA agent Maxwell, a man who’s seen his own share of destruction, but has kept his path on the straight and narrow.
What I didn’t like: Although the context of the story certainly gives a general indication, my biggest complaint with Ambushed was the lack of a definable plot and difficulty in determining just who the actual “bad guy” really is. Is it Eddie and Frank? The criminal mastermind, Vincent? Or is it the dirty cop, Jack? The film leads you in many different directions, none of which making any real sense. In fact, many of the scenes through out the film appear to have either been rushed or leave you just scratching your head. For instance, there’s a chase scene between Lundgren and Couture’s characters that initially begins on foot in broad daylight, but ends with Lundgren catching Couture long after dark in the pouring down rain.
What I did like: I enjoyed watching Lundgren and Couture’s characters develop over the course of the film. Let’s face it, both of these guys are already giants of “bad ass”, so it was no surprise that it was only a matter of time before they faced off against each other.
There’s also a scene where Eddie and Frank are bantering on about the violence in a Bugs Bunny cartoon that I thought was terrific. While Eddie’s describing the animated scene in detail, a real-life violent confrontation is playing out at the exact same time across town. It’s a pity the rest of the film didn’t follow through with this kind of formula.
Lundgren fans will certainly find something to savor with Ambushed, but for me the film came up empty. Although living up to the title’s expectation, I ended up feeling incomplete and wanting more. (Two of Five Stars)