Movie News

‘Going Clear’ points critical finger at Scientology

Going_Clear_PosterDirector Alex Gibney’s new film “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” won’t present any breaking news for viewers who read Lawrence Wright’s shocking novel of the same name. Similar to many documentaries largely focused on social commentary, seeing is believing, and the film aims to devastate.

Before “Blackfish,” many articles and published journals discussed SeaWorld’s mistreatment. Before “The Inconvenient Truth,” global warming was no stranger to those in the scientific community. There’s something to be said about critical documentary filmmaking that rides the line between journalism and entertainment. After HBO airs “Going Clear” this Sunday at 7 p.m., it will sends shock waves through the media, and Scientology will become a target on a much larger scale than it already is today.

The filmmakers understand this, and so does Scientology, which is why they’ve fired back at the documentary in the weeks leading up to its release. Scientology is notorious for their dealings with the media and their reluctant attitude toward reporters. The church wrote a five-page letter, which The Hollywood Reporter published, stating “the film is biased propaganda that on average includes at least one major error every two minutes.”

The Daily Beast also accused the church this month of using Google ads to discredit the film, claiming they purchased top spots for “Going Clear” searches that would send them to Scientology-sponsored articles about the film.

Regardless of whether Scientology claims the film is propaganda (because why wouldn’t they?), one of the biggest advantages Gibney’s documentary has over reading Wright’s novel is viewers will be able to see real footage of Scientology’s mass “events,” which will be much more compelling.


“Going Clear” features eight former Scientology members, some of whom were at the top of the pack. Marty Rathbun was the church’s second-in-command at one time as well as the chief enforcer. Rathbun discusses the tactics of Scientology, including how they actively pursue celebrities to generate more “true believers,” and explains what some of them are willing to do in the name of Scientology. Two of the more prominent A-listers active in the church are, of course, actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise.

There is so much content in the film. Viewers might not be able to find a singular theme, but that’s not relevant. The content doesn’t do well under the time constraints of a feature-length piece. The narrative bounces from celebrity involvement to the individual members who have seen their lives change dramatically because of their involvement with the church.

“Going Clear” doesn’t leave out the most important part in their attempt to expose Scientology, which is what the church actually teaches. When you join the church, it presents itself as a program of sorts that gives a new follower the tools to live a better life, but the core belief system isn’t explained until years of involvement within the church where a member may spend thousands of dollars before learning the core doctrine.

When a member reaches the Operating Thetan level after ascending “The Bridge,” they receive the sacred text of Scientology, which is L. Ron Hubbard’s notes explaining the history of humanity. This handwritten material tells the story of how humans were brought to Earth (a slave planet) billions of years ago by a dictator, Xenu, and thrown into volcanoes where they were blown up with hydrogen explosives.

This backstory is just one of the many things “Going Clear” looks to further expose. The film premiered at Sundance this year, and the powerful documentary quickly became the talk of Hollywood. Gibney’s film outlines the church’s origins and Hubbard’s rise to power, but “Going Clear” looks to overwhelm viewers with themes of exploitation and the desire for power.

 ‘A recap of the 2015 Oscars’


“Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” are the popular winners today, but this year’s Academy Awards ceremony was full of heart and politically-charged moments as stars took advantage of their moment in the sun.

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 87th Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles Sunday night, successfully providing his talent for on-stage entertainment and comic relief.

Although a few of the categories were close calls, the winners were fairly predictable, including the biggest prize of the night. “Birdman” walked away with the Oscar for best picture, but director Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” could have easily won and fans would have been just as pleased.

Eddie Redmayne won best actor for his transformative performance in “The Theory of Everything.” Redmayne gained some serious award-winning momentum before Oscar night, lifting him above Michael Keaton, who was a long-time frontrunner for his role in “Birdman.”


Julianne Moore was one of the sure bets this year for best actress. Her role in “Still Alice” details the experience of early onset Alzheimer’s and the impact the disease has on the subject and the people around them. Even though this category was full of great performances, Moore was going to win this category. If there were any viewers last night who hadn’t seen any of the performances in this category, the clips before the announcement clearly worked in Moore’s favor, and one could easily see she was the frontrunner.

J.K. Simmons was the other actor locking up a category weeks before the ceremony. Simmons won for best supporting actor in his role as crazed instructor Terrence Fletcher in “Whiplash.” Before the Oscars, Simmons swept the supporting actor categories at every other award ceremony, making this an easy choice and a deserving award.

Patricia Arquette represented “Boyhood” in the core acting category wins, as she has in many award shows this year, but unlike Simmons, this did not grant her a guaranteed victory. Emma Stone was close behind for her role in “Birdman,” but Arquette prevailed and delivered a powerful speech about equal rights for women in the workplace.

Arquette wasn’t the only political voice. John Legend and Common performed their award-winning song “Glory” before the category for best original song was announced. The song is featured in Ava Duvernay’s film “Selma,” and the two artists took the stage to give their own moving speech, declaring “Selma is now.”

After the nominations were announced for the Oscars several weeks ago, “Selma” was the popular topic after only receiving a nomination for best picture and original song. Many expected the film’s leading role, David Oyelowo, to earn a nomination for best actor, and Ava Duvernay was expected to be one of the front-runners for achievement in directing. With all of the “Selma” snub talk leading up to the Oscars, it was clear last night that the film and its messages rightfully stole the show’s spotlight.

Published by The O’Colly:

Weekend Movie Preview 8/29/14

What’s the trend?

Both of the nationwide release options have promising themes, but each one unfortunately falls back into their genre’s familiar tune.

If you want to find a fun movie to watch this weekend (or the entire month of September), you’ll have to dig deep. Hollywood is experiencing an awkward phase before unloading an arsenal of Oscar-worthy films before 2014 concludes. With that being said, one of the most exciting films hitting theaters this Labor Day weekend came out 30 years ago. “Ghostbusters” is celebrating its anniversary, and if there’s a nationwide release to go see with the family, Ivan Reitman’s classic paranormal comedy will pleasantly suffice.

Two films (not including “Ghostbusters”) release nationwide today, while six more come out on a limited basis. Check out your options below.

Recommendation: “Starred Up” hit UK theaters earlier this year and received an immensely positive response from critics. This story about a troubled teenager that gets transferred to an adult prison is both hard-hitting and uncomfortably realistic. Check your local showtimes for this limited US re-release.

Keep up with the latest movies and more on twitter @MilesDailyMovie

The November Man’ (Wide)


All the ingredients for an above-average spy thriller are present in “The November Man,” but the film quickly slips into a cliched mess. Serving as a late-night television spectacle, there isn’t anything particularly wrong with Pierce Brosnan’s return. The issue is that there isn’t much right about it either. When the end finally comes, the audience isn’t left with much to write home about. “The November Man” is unnecessary and banks on borrowed motifs.

Rotten Tomatoes: 35 percent

R, 108 min.

“The November Man is one of those thrillers that grows progressively more incoherent, and it simply isn’t fast enough to glide over its gaping narrative holes.”- Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

‘As Above/So Below’ (Wide)


Much like “The November Man,” “As Above/So Below” starts off with a valuable narrative outline, but spirals into the pit of mediocrity toward its disappointing conclusion. It’s safe to say the found-footage spectacle is in its overkill stage, and John Dowdle’s latest horror show doesn’t break any new ground. For viewers looking for a disturbing underground thriller, track down “The Descent” (2005). Neil Marshall’s most positively reviewed film traps a group of cave explorers in, well, a cave. I can’t say much more about the plot without ruining the film’s aura, but “The Descent” drops the found-footage gimmick in favor of proper aesthetic touch, which is a benefit “As Above/So Below” failed to realize.

Rotten Tomatoes: 25 percent

R, 93 min.

“Like other movies of its ilk, it’s missing a very simple bit of next-level Hollywood technology: a tripod.”- Kyle Anderson, Entertainment Weekly

Notable limited release

‘Starred Up’

Jack O'Connell as Eric in a film still from Starred Up

David Mackenzie’s “Starred Up” has several advantages over other rough-and-tough prison features. First, the realistic setting is gripping. Realism often (not always) makes for a more engaging drama versus a montage-themed film. Film critic Andre Bazin once wrote an article, “The Evolution of the Language of Cinema,” discussing the weight of realistic-driven style. Longer shots and stepping away from hidden messages through a series of images are just two examples of this style.

Second, Jonathan Asser wrote the script, and he happened to work as a counselor in a tough London prison. His real-world experience gives “Starred Up” the juice it needs to resemble a culture the free world knows little about. Even though we are exposed to fictitious jailhouse content all the time (e.g. “The Green Mile,” “Prison Break,” etc.), movies like “Starred Up” tend to surprise us.

This hard-nosed drama dives into cell block politics and crooked authority figures. “Starred Up” doesn’t hold back any gritty content in its mission to accurately depict prison life. For the queasy, stick to the comedic “Orange is the New Black.”

Rotten Tomatoes: 98 percent

Unrated, 106 min.

“Starred Up is a small indie film in danger of slipping through the cracks at the Hollywood-driven multiplex. Finding it – in theaters or on VOD – is well worth the effort.”- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Other limited releases

“The Congress” (RT rating: 76 percent)

“Life of Crime” (RT rating: 60 percent)

“The Calling” (RT rating: 46 percent)

“The Last of Robin Hood” (RT rating: 27 percent)

“Patema Inverted” (RT rating: 91 percent)

Aug. 22, 2014

Weekend Movie Preview 8/22/14

The rise of the independent film continues this week, and this trend of impressive indie pieces may be foreshadowing a much-needed change to the mainstream movie market. Three flicks release nationwide today, and six more hit theaters on a limited basis. Check out this week’s most popular releases below.

Recommendation: By far, Ira Sachs’ “Love is Strange” is the best release this week, but will be limited to certain markets. Like we’ve seen throughout the year, the limited releases are dominating when it comes to critic praise.

Keep up with the latest movies and more on twitter @MilesDailyMovie

‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ (Wide)


Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez follow up the success of “Sin City” in 2005 with a lame duck unfit to share the name of its engaging predecessor. It’s just as visually striking as the first, but somewhere in the middle of all the violence, the strong impact “Sin City” generated was lost. Fans of graphics-driven films will enjoy this one, even without a compelling narrative.

Side note: There will be a trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” before the film, and it will be the only way to see the preview. No online version will be available, so “A Dame to Kill For” will at least see traffic via Tarantino die-hards.

Rotten Tomatoes: 41 percent

R, 102 min.

“It’s hard to believe that so much visual elegance has been brought to bear on material so ugly, and yet the disjunction is intentional, and the film is all of a piece.”- David Edelstein, New York Magazine

‘If I Stay’ (Wide)


Chloë Grace Moretz attempts to use her star power to lift “If I Stay” into a more positive light, but even the undeniable talent of Moretz couldn’t cover up this feeble melodrama. There are worse movies to see this weekend, but it’s just too hard to connect with clearly artificial characters.

Rotten Tomatoes: 41 percent

PG-13, 106 min.

“You want these people to have real challenges and messiness. But their lives don’t quite feel lived in; they feel exemplary.”- Bilge Ebiri

‘When The Game Stands Tall’ (Wide)


As we have seen with many feel-good, Christian-themed dramas, “When the Game Stands Tall” tries too hard to reach for the compelling and ends up overwhelming viewers with melodramatic cliches. This true story of a coach and his football team sounds admirable, but even with several exciting sports sequences, it fails to convert.

Rotten Tomatoes: 18 percent

PG, 115 min.

“When “The Game Stands Tall” is more manipulative than a hulking chiropractor. It’s so busy beatifying its protagonist that it makes him into a grave idol rather than a man.”- David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer

Notable limited release

‘Love is Strange’

Love is Strange

Noteworthy performances from John Lithgow and Alfred Molina is what makes “Love is Strange” so moving, but more importantly, gives recognition to all the couples in the world who struggle with adversity. The movie highlights love’s awkward uncertainties but also reminds us how marvelous it can be at the same time. “Love is Strange” wonderfully blends witty content and a compassionate tone for your viewing pleasure.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96 percent

R, 98 min.

“You need to give “Love Is Strange” your eyes and ears and attention, let it work its effects on you gradually, like the lovely Chopin piano music that forms the spine of its soundtrack.”- Andrew O’Hehir,

Other limited releases

‘The One I love’ (RT rating: 78 percent)

‘To Be Takei’ (RT rating: 84 percent)

‘Metro Manila’ (RT rating: 96 percent)

’14 Blades’ (RT score: 64 percent)

‘Are You Here’ (RT score: 9 percent)

Aug. 15, 2014

Weekend Movie Preview 8/15/14

As a sluggish summer at the movies slows down and we head into Oscar season, the theater will be the place to be on a Friday night, but this weekend carries the same lethargic tone we’ve seen for most of the past few months. Three films receive a nationwide release this week, while seven more will be limited. Check out the previews below.

Recommendation: One of the more popular modern actors, Michael Fassbender, won’t even show his face in this week’s most notable feature, “Frank.” This dark comedy is a limited release, so check your local showtimes.

Keep up with the latest movies and more on twitter @MilesDailyMovie

‘Let’s Be Cops’ (Wide)


Let’s start with the worst of the bunch. “Let’s Be Cops” went into the weekend with two days already under its belt, but those two days didn’t do much for this basic “comedy.” This one genuinely captures the mood of Hollywood this summer; stale.

Rotten Tomatoes: 12 percent

R, 109 min.

“As a film, “Let’s Be Cops” glides in the same way its characters do. Though it charms, it’s difficult to ignore how many times we’ve seen this story played out before”- Brittany Spanos, Villiage Voice

‘The Expendables 3’ (Wide)


Its niche audience will be impressed as usual, but “The Expendables” franchise once again fails to do anything special with such a juiced-up cast. At least this predictable franchise is consistent.

Rotten Tomatoes: 35 percent

PG-13, 146 min.

“The Expendables 3, trading on our affection for action stars of the past, has officially worn out its already shaky welcome.”- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

‘The Giver’ (Wide)

Many fans of the scholastically popular Lois Lowry novel have been looking forward to the screen adaptation for a while now, but unfortunately the film fails to grasp the deep, thought-provoking ideas the source material provided. The visuals are what make “The Giver” a decent family outing.

Rotten Tomatoes: 29 percent

PG-13, 100 min.

“Another week, another movie about a special adolescent who saves society from the forces of darkness.”- Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

Notable limited release



This offbeat comedy comes to us from overseas. Irish director Lenny Abrahamson tells the story of a musical genius, Frank, who hides himself under a large, fake head. It’s a crazy movie, but the good kind. Michael Fassbender has proven himself as a top-tier actor, and hiding him behind an awkward disguise is a bold comedic move to match an already sarcastic tone.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90 percent

R, 95 min.

“It’s not going anywhere terribly important and is in no hurry to get there, but “Frank” is an accumulation of memorably offbeat moments, like an album made up of B sides and lost demo tracks that you stumble across and can’t stop replaying.”- A. O. Scott, New York Times

Other limited releases

“Life After Beth” (RT score: 42 percent)

‘The Trip to Italy’ (RT: 87 percent)

‘Dinosaur 13’ (RT: 73 percent)

‘Ragnarok’ (RT: 57 percent)

‘Jealousy’ (RT: 73 percent)

‘Jake Squared’ (RT: 14 percent)

Aug. 11, 2014

Robin Williams dead at 63


“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”- Robin Williams, “Dead Poets Society”

Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams was found dead Monday morning in his California home. The Marin County Sheriff’s department is investigating the incident as a “suicide due to asphyxia.”

William’s press representative, Mara Buxbaum, made a statement regarding the actor’s mental state before his passing.

“He has been battling severe depression of late,” Buxbaum said. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”


Robin Williams as John Keating in “Dead Poets Society.”

Williams leaves behind three children: Zachary Pym, 31; Zelda Rae, 25; and Cody Alan, 22.

The actor admittedly suffered from drug and alcohol addictions throughout his life. After close friend John Belushi died in the early 1980s due to a drug overdose, Williams remained sober for 20 years before entering rehab in 2006 for alcohol abuse.

On July 31, he checked in rehab for “continued sobriety.”


Williams with co-star Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting.”

Williams will be remembered for his captivating and comedic roles alike. His lovable on-screen presence, philanthropy and devoted fan base will nullify any negative impact his personal struggles had on his image.

On July 31, his daughter’s birthday, Williams posted his last message; a picture of the adored actor holding his daughter.

Williams won an Oscar in 1998 for “Good Will Hunting” and was nominated for three more.

“I left school and couldn’t find acting work, so I started going to clubs where you could do stand-up. I’ve always improvised, and stand-up was this great release. All of a sudden, it was just me and the audience.”


Weekend Movie Preview – Aug. 8, 2014

If there was a weekend to skip the theater for some more appealing entertainment, this would be that weekend. Four films open today nationwide, and one more opens on a limited basis.

Recommendation: If you’re lucky enough to catch a limited release, Daniel Radcliffe is worth going to see in “What if.”

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ (Wide)


The reboot of a classic franchise is unfortunately placed in the wrong hands. “Transformers” director Michael Bay takes on the producer role, but this style over substance mess has Bay written all over it.

Read more about where this mega blockbuster went wrong on Daily Movie: TMNT

Rotten Tomatoes: 20 percent

PG-13, 120 min.

“A reminder that we should keep our guard up when we suspect creative choices coming from the stockholders’ perspective.”- Jordan Hoffman, Guardian

‘Into The Storm’ (Wide)

maxresdefault (1)

“Twister” without the good acting, coherent script, fun humor and personal touch. Actually, it’s nothing like “Twister” other than the obvious. You would have more fun renting the 90s classic with heart this weekend instead of watching forgettable characters bounce from one CGI trap to the next. Oh, but there does happen to be a tornado that catches fire.

Rotten Tomatoes: 20 percent

PG-13, 89 min.

“The notion that we should worry about human beings – even poor Matt Walsh, heroically staying deadpan as lead storm chaser – becomes a source of humor in what is otherwise a showcase for extreme weather.”- Nicolas Rapold, New York Times

‘What if’ (Limited)


Daniel Radcliffe steps into the realm of romance, and he’s earning positive reviews for the on-screen chemistry with co-star Zoe Kazan. The narrative may be covering tired ground, but director Michael Dowse provides a unique blend of visual ingenuity and a sharp enough script.

Rotten Tomatoes: 73 percent

PG-13, 102 min.

“In the absence of novelty, execution becomes vital, and What If hits its marks with wit, consistency and even a bit of visual inventiveness.”- Chris Vogner, Dallas Morning News

‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ (Wide)


Helen Mirren is the highlight of this dramatic comedy. Director Lasse Hallström does a fair job of keeping her character as the focal point, and a good Mirren performance is always worth watching. Even so, this one just doesn’t force its way out of the crowded pack of sub-par, feel-good dramatic comedies.

Rotten Tomatoes: 64 percent

PG, 142 min.

“If there is room for romantic fantasy in your life, this cinematic equivalent of comfort food goes down easy enough, and it’s hard to begrudge it that.”- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

‘Step Up: All In’ (Wide)


After so many depth-deprived “Step Up” films, the world has just accepted the niche audience buying tickets. The narrative is grotesque and the acting is devoid of any originality, but it doesn’t matter. Dance fans will ignore the stale story and enjoy the fresh dancing sequences for what they are. The choreography will most likely impress the young dancers in the audience enough for another “Step Up” film.

Rotten Tomatoes: 41 percent

PG-13, 112 min.

“Dazzling choreography and colourful 3D visuals attempt to make up for a patchy script and some incredibly wooden acting from the cast of real-life professional dancers in this fifth instalment of the series.” Doug Whelan, Irish Independent


Aug. 3, 2014

First teaser trailer for the final ‘Hobbit’ film released this week


The internet has been buzzing this weekend about the first look at the last chapter of our favorite Middle-earth heroes and heroines. Academy award-winning director Peter Jackson wraps up his ‘Hobbit’ trilogy adaption of the beloved J.R.R Tolkien novel this December with “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.”

We will see an epic conclusion after Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves have reclaimed their homeland from the ancient dragon, Smaug.

In a fiery rage, Smaug releases his frustration on the men, women and children of Lake-town. To many, there are dangers unforeseen lying ahead, but Gandalf is fully aware of Sauron’s legions of Orcs headed their way.

Elves and men must come together or be destroyed.

The future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance, and as darkness looms, Bilbo finds himself in the midst of a massive battle of the Five Armies.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is slated for release on Dec. 17, 2014.

July 21, 2014

Dwayne Johnson’s long, painful journey to become Hercules might not pay off at the box office


Director Brett Ratner (“X-Men: The Last Stand”) revamps the classic tale of Hercules this weekend, and his leading role, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, had to overcome several physical hurdles to complete his role as the son of Zeus.

Enduring 150 days of excessive physiotherapy and physical training, Johnson returns to the big screen with his latest action role in “Hercules.” Johnson had to go through therapy after sustaining a serious injury in a wrestling ring and a hernia operation.

During a press interview in Toronto, the 42-year-old celebrity discussed his role in film lately.
“Y’know, it’s funny,” he said. “We have these moments in life where you’re thinking, ‘Is the universe trying to tell me to do something else? Romantic comedies maybe? Is that what’s in the cards? Am I just not listening?’”


Johnson appeared in a WWE WrestleMania match last year against John Cena at New York’s MetLife stadium, where Cena “beat” him. Johnson had torn his adductor and rectus muscles, but the problem was he agreed to do this event while he had thousands of crew members building sets and awaiting the feature character’s arrival.

Johnson had to make one of two choices; undergo surgery and a year of physiotherapy, or he could keep going at his pace and hope the tendon shreds reattach with the scar tissue through intense physiotherapy.

In his interview, he said he told the doctor he had a movie to shoot in six weeks. “Does it involve a lot of physical activity?” the doctor said. Johnson responded, “It’s Hercules, so yeah.”

If you push a movie of this magnitude back because of a major stumbling block such as this, it becomes unlikely you will retain the same members of the crew, so Johnson opted to move along with his schedule without surgery. As he went through the healing process, his muscles were under constant surveillance. During an assessment, a lump was found on the actor’s abdomen, which later was identified as a hernia. Then two more were found.


Johnson had to notify MGM studios he had to get his medical situation taken care of, and he would be back in action after two weeks, which ended up costing $1 million a week.

When Johnson eventually showed up for filming in Budapest, he obviously had some catching up to do for his role. Johnson’s life on set, for the 95 days the film took to shoot, was a recovery process.
“It was entirely dedicated to healing,” he said. “At 3:30, 4 in the morning wake up for cardio, had the cardio machine in my room, had food ready. Every minute was accounted for when I was doing something that supported the healing.”

Johnson is no doubt the most successful movie star to come out of the wrestling world. Son of Canadian wrestler Rocky Johnson and grandson of Samoan wrestler Peter Malvia, he started out in Honolulu where he ran into trouble with the police for petit thefts and assault incidents. He eventually went on to play football for the University of Miami and later played for the Calgary Stampeders.

When we was cut, he moved back in with his parents until he caught a break, joining the WWF/WWE in 1996 under the name Rocky Malvia. Johnson would change his name a year later to the know alias of “The Rock.” The Rock would go on to win 10 world championships and become the most famous wrestler of his generation. His first role in Hollywood was an alien wrestler in an episode of “Star Trek: Voyager,” where he caught the movie bug.

“Hercules” itself might hurt the Hollywood image of Johnson. This could be his “death by means of overexposure” point, where his recent, critically mediocre film endeavors finally reach a breaking point with fans.


Taking place 1400 years BC, “Hercules” features a soul who walks the earth as neither man nor God. The son of the God-king Zeus has only suffered for his connection to the heavenly entity. When Hercules loses his family, he turns his back on the Gods and befriends six similar souls. The King of Thrace has hired this group to train an army to fight in the bloodthirsty manor Hercules and his friends have come to know.

Director Ratner has not done well with critics throughout his career, and the best predictor of the future is the past. Ratner’s most critically popular film was a documentary called “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” but his non-documentary resume is lacking high critic appraisal.

It’s a slow weekend at the movies. Look for “Hercules” to offer some fun sparks of battle action, but also expect less than satisfactory special effects partnered with a long list of mediocre acting performances.

Scheduled for publication by The Lawton Constitution on July 25, 2014.


July 21, 2014

Jake Gyllenhaal plays ‘hungry’ journalist in the first clip of ‘Nightcrawler’


Director Dan Gilroy (“The Bourne Legacy”) posted a new video via Craigslist featuring an energetic, hungry looking Jake Gyllenhaal for his upcoming film, “Nightcrawler.”

Not much is known about the film other than it might release before the year’s end and Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a Los Angeles man looking for a job and stumbles into underground, freelance crime journalism.

Gyllenhaal’s character, Louis Bloom, posted the ad this weekend, marketing himself for a job. The post contained a YouTube link, which turned out to be our first look into the film.

“Nightcrawler” co-stars Bill Paxton, Rene Russo and Kevin Rahm.


July 20, 2014

‘The Patriot’ actress Skye McCole Bartusiak found dead at 21


Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak passed away this weekend. She was best known for her role in “The Patriot,” playing the youngest daughter of Mel Gibson’s character.

CNN reports the 21-year-old was found dead in her Houston home late Saturday evening. Investigators have yet to determine the cause of death, but Bartusiak’s mother says she had been suffering from epileptic seizures the past few days.

According to Variety, she died while she was sleeping. Her boyfriend discovered the body sitting upward in her bed.

Other than “The Patriot,” Bartusiak stared in “Cider House Rules” and “Don’t Say A Word.” The actress also appeared in popular television programs such as “Lost,” “24,” “House” and “CSI.” Her next project was to produce and direct her first feature film.


July 8, 2014

The first look at director Ridley Scott’s biblical epic, ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’


The first trailer for the second biblical epic of 2014 is here, and the hype is real. The trailer looks as if this may be Ridley Scott’s finest hour. Yes, the “Gladiator” and “Blade Runner” director still might have his best work ahead of him.

Christian Bale stars as Moses during his time leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt.

Watch the first trailer here:


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