Alex Kecskes

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of film reviews and celebrity interviews for a wide variety of online and print outlets. He has covered red carpet premieres and Comic-Con events for major films and independent releases.

At the roundtable with Sarah Ramos & François Arnaud on “Midnight, Texas”

Sarah Ramos and François Arnaud talk about their roles on Midnight, Texas. Based on True Blood author Charlaine Harris’ series of novels. the supernatural thriller features a vampire, witch, angel, hit woman and anyone looking to hide from the outside world. François Arnaud plays Manfred Bernardo, a charming, powerful psychic who can communicate with spirits. Sarah Ramos plays Creek, an aspiring writer with big dreams. Midnight, Texas premieres July 25th on NBC. Read more

At the roundtable with Parisa Fitz Henley & Dylan Bruce on “Midnight Texas”

Parisa Fitz Henley and Dylan Bruce talk about their roles on Midnight Texas. Based on True Blood author Charlaine Harris’ series of novels. the supernatural thriller features a vampire, witch, angel, hit woman and anyone looking to hide from the outside world. Parisa Fitz-Henley, playsFiji,” a powerful witch who owns the local wiccan shop  Dylan Bruce plays Bobo,” a pawn shop owner who has everything the town needs. Midnight Texas premieres July 25th on NBC. Read more

At the Roundtable with Jenna Elfman & Stephen Schneider on “Imaginary Mary”

Jenna Elfman and Stephen Schneider talk about “Imaginary Mary,” a new TV series from the creative geniuses behind “The Goldbergs.”  The live action/CGI hybrid comedy follows Alice, a single, public relations executive who draws on Mary, her imaginary childhood “friend” to help her deal with the new love of her life–a divorced father of three. Imaginary Mary can be seen on Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on ABC. Read more

Natural Products Expo West — Bigger and Better than Ever

Natural Products Expo West 2017

Drawing a record-setting 80,000 attendees, the 37th annual Natural Products Expo West & Engredea has grown to become the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event.

Main floor

Over 3,100 exhibiting companies, including more than 500 first-time exhibitors showcased their products during the five-day show from March 9-13 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The event not only filled two and a half floors of the Convention Center, but also spilled over into the Anaheim Marriott Hotel for the first time.

Panhandle Milling is a flour mill, grain processing, blending, facility in Dawn, Texas producing organic, whole grain, high-gluten flour, tortilla and bread flour. They process ancient grains and corn products for southwest markets, although there are some products that are distributed nationwide.
The ladies of +RED Power Elixir®. The energy drink features Red Marine Algae, Green Coffee Bean Extract, B-Complex, Electrolytes and the super amino blend of L-Arginine & L-Carnitine.
Crystal demonstrating the Spoonk™ Mat designed to reduce tension, muscular pain, stress and anxiety.
Harmony Ear Candle demonstration. The burning candle creates a low-level suction force that pulls wax and debris out of your ear.
The ladies of Black Forest Organic showcasing some of the company’s yummy gummy treats.
Going bananas for Banana Joe chips. The chips are handmade using handpicked bananas to ensure correct ripeness. The bananas are gently cooked to allow the flavors to remain intact.

Interview with “Never-Ending Story” icon Tami Stronach

First released in theaters over 33 years ago, The Never-Ending Story still has a huge following. Directed by Wolfgang Peterson, the film catapulted its child star Tami Stronach to stardom and became a global hit, earning over $100 million worldwide. Today, Tami’s Paper Canoe Company produces ‘family friendly’ work similar to Never-Ending Story. In this one-on-one interview, Tami fondly recalls her role as the Child-like Empress in her breakout role, and she reveals the many new creative outlets she continues to explore as a talented entertainer. Read more

Interview with Director Abigail Fuller on “Do You Dream in Color?”

An enlightening and poignant coming of age documentary, Do You Dream In Color? captures the inspired journeys of four courageous blind teens as they face the challenges and frustrations of living in a sighted world. There’s, Connor 14, who uses echo-location to improve his skateboarding skills so he can join a skateboarding team. Sixteen-year-old Sarah dreams of studying in Portugal, where her mother was born. Read more

Interview with Monica Engesser on “The Covenant”

Known for Krampus: The Reckoning and Blind People, in The Covenant, Monica Engesser is Sarah Doyle, a troubled woman who returns to her childhood home with her estranged brother Richard (Owen Conway) after the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter. When Sarah begins to experience violent and hostile supernatural phenomena, Richard enlists the aid of a paranormal investigator who confirms that Sarah has become possessed by a powerful demon. Together, the three men fight to save Sarah’s soul. In this one-on-one interview, Engesser reveals what attracted her to the role and the challenges she faced in making this chilling film. Read more

Interview with Gabrielle Stone on “Stray”

Known for ZK: Elephant’s Graveyard, Speak No Evil and Cut!, Gabrielle Stone is an accomplished actress with an impressive resume of work. In Stray, Stone is Jennifer, a troubled young woman with a disturbing past and a penchant for killing. Penned and helmed by award-winning writer-director Nena Eskridge, Stray follows Jennifer as she struggles to break free from a cycle of violence and seek love and redemption in a small town. In this one-on-one interview, Stone reveals the challenges she faced in bringing a flawed and exceedingly complex character to life. Read more

Interview with Hannah Levien on “Blood Brothers”

Growing up in Australia, Hannah Levien worked extensively in theatre before making her feature debut playing a teenage-runaway in the award-winning Australian film The Horseman. A recipient of the Arts Queensland Professional Development Award, Levien also starred in SyFy’s The Magicians and appeared in the popular TV series, Supernatural (as Calliope). Read more

“Journey to Space” Reveals Past, Present and Future of Space Exploration in 4K Realism

Narrated by a deep-space captain we all know—Patrick Stewart—Journey To Space reveals in stunning, 4K realism how NASA and other space adventurers are boldly taking on the challenges of interplanetary space travel. Highlighted by extensive interviews with astronauts Chris Ferguson (Commander of the final shuttle mission) and Serena Aunon (a new astronaut chosen for future flights), Journey To Space delivers a breathtaking overview of past space achievements, current projects and future plans, including a number of Mars missions.

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-9-54-27-am

Journey To Space underscores how the Space Shuttle program led the way in moving us into the space station era, a critically important step in preparing astronauts for journeys to Mars and beyond. We see astronauts at work and play in the confines of this tubular home circling the globe every 90 minutes. Perhaps not since the film, Gravity, have viewers been treated to some of the most spectacular space footage—including stunning views of Earth and work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

International Space Station (ISS)
International Space Station (ISS)

Watching the International Space Station (ISS) being assembled is an awesome visual treat. We see how astronauts learn to live, build and conduct science in space, laying the foundation for the next giant leaps to explore the planets.

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-9-53-22-am

Among the major highlights of the film are the many parallel efforts to place humans on Mars. The film explores in fascinating and realistic detail how astronauts will travel, land and live on the Red Planet. We learn the many ways our early Mars pioneers will survive on a lifeless world, the habitats they will build, and the many physical and psychological challenges they will face after years of isolation from Earth.

Mars mission
Mars mission

Also documented in stunning visual detail is Orion, a spacecraft designed to carry humans on long-duration deep space missions throughout the solar system. We learn about Olympus, an inflatable transportation habitat that’s 50-feet in diameter and provides astronauts the work area and living space necessary for long-duration missions. And finally, the Space Launch System (SLS) is presented in detail, showing how its huge rocket will carry spacecraft, Mars landers and ascent vehicles to place astronauts on the surface of Mars.

Mars habitat
Mars habitat

Journey to Space should inspire a new generation of astronauts to explore space, while reminding us of the accomplishments of the Space Shuttle Program, the ISS and the many unmanned Mars missions.

 

Rocky Mountain Express: A Breathtaking Journey into Railroading History

A giant screen experience that re-ignites the magic of Canada’s historic steam age, Rocky Mountain Express centers on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The film shot in IMAX highlights the nation’s emerging steam technology and the humanity of this enormous project.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-4-34-04-pm

To establish a true sense of realism, the documentary was filmed using a helicopter and gyro-stabilized camera. To give viewers a truly intimate experience of steam power, IMAX cameras were also mounted throughout the train. Employing these extraordinary efforts helped capture the journey of Empress (CPR 2816), a steam locomotive built in 1930 and recently restored by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-4-33-36-pm

The film explores the heroic journey in mapping routes through impossibly difficult terrain, then goes on to document the construction of the railroad track. Viewers are treated to the stunning and diverse Canadian landscape via breathtaking views of mountains, valleys and hills, through 5-mile long tunnels and soaring bridges and trestles.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-4-32-31-pm

The film also explores the personal pain and struggles of railroad workers, their sacrifices and lost lives as they inched their way through mountains of rock and snow. Animated 3D maps and carefully restored archival images provide insights into the building of this massive 3,000-mile transcontinental railway through some of roughest terrain on Earth.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-4-32-56-pm

Filmed with full 15/70 negative, Rocky Mountain Express employs the world’s largest film format. Every bit of this technology is visible on the screen. Breathing life into the steam engines of yesteryear, the film’s sound has been faithfully captured and rendered in six-channel sound. The original musical score by celebrated composer Michel Cusson adds to the emotional ambiance of this era and to the film’s more poignant moments.

 

In Order of Disappearance: Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgard)
Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgard)

A surprisingly enjoyable action flick, In Order of Disappearance unites Fargoesque elements with Dirty Harry street justice, piling up bodies faster than snow off a road plow. Hans Petter Moland’s gritty thriller draws on an everyman protagonist to work his way up the crime tree of dirt-bag criminals and sequentially dispense justice with Old Testament ferocity.

Death of Nils' son
Death of Nils’ son

After some bottom-of-food chain bad guys rig the death of his son, Ingvar, to look like an overdose, mild mannered Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgard) initially takes the blame and nearly offs himself with a rifle. But most viewers know better than to expect a protagonist to die so quickly, which is why it’s no surprise when we learn that Ingvar was murdered. And why the ostensibly docile Nils embarks on “digging two graves” for his son’s murder, uprooting the heretofore-cerebral crime paradigm of Scandinavian cinema. Among the mob soldiers Nils dispenses (with the help of his huge snowplow) is the likeable Strike (Game of Thrones Kristofer Hivju). It’s a bit more than a cameo, and there’s a good-guy-bad-guy camaraderie moment that gives the scene a bit of moral balance.

Kristofer Hivju and Stellan Skarsgard
Kristofer Hivju and Stellan Skarsgard

Nils clearing the Norwegian backwater with a giant yellow snowplow becomes an arresting metaphor for his life, removing obstructions in a physically cold, cruel world. And what better obstruction to remove than a crime family bent on expansion? With tongue-in-cheek tombstone solemnity, Nils’ enemies are dispatched and recorded on black screen—a nice, subtle comedic touch. During a visit to Nils’ estranged brother, Egil (Peter Andersson)—his former “wingman”—we learn that in his misspent youth, Nils picked up a few street survival “talents.” It’s a History of Violence moment that underscores Nils’ ability to dispatch goons with such lean efficiency.

Snow plow justice
Snow plow justice

Nils’ nemesis is a young ponytailed crime boss known simply as “the Count” (Pal Sverre Hagen). The second-generation mobster inherited the business from papa, but his hot temper and impatience eventually cause him to underestimate Nils. The Count seems to have his hands full in areas that extend beyond running the family business. A B-story that underscores his “husband/father of the year” persona is the Count’s ongoing fight with his ex-wife (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) over custody of their son.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 11.52.35 AM

Square pegged into crime boss status, the Count is repeatedly outwitted by Nils’ blue-collar tactics. Outmatched by a rival gang of Serbians, he unwittingly responds to “an insult” with the wrong “message.” Doing an admirable job as the Serbian’s avuncular capo di tutt’i capi is “Papa” (Bruno Ganz), a likeable sort and heavy counter weight to the impulsive Count. The final, shell-casing-littered standoff dovetails the Good, the Bad and the Ugly and is as satisfying as a gulp of ice-cold soda after a bucket of salty popcorn.

“Papa” (Bruno Ganz
“Papa” (Bruno Ganz)