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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You are what you eat. How many times have we heard that from nutritionists and doctors? Research conducted by Loma Linda University notes that there may be a link between what we eat and the prevention of disease. Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the roundtable with writer Beau Smith and Tim Rozon talking about Wynonna Earp. Beau Smith has written for every major comic book publisher, including DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Eclipse Comics, Dreamwave Studios and Dark Horse Comics. Tim Rozon, who plays the enigmatic Doc Holliday has appeared in Schitt’s Creek, Crossfire and Being Human. Read more
At the roundtable with Shamier Anderson talking about his role as agent Xavier Dolls in the popular sci-fi series Wynonna Earp. A member of the US Marshals’ Black Badge division, Dolls comes to Purgatory to investigate the Revenant problem, reaching out to Wynonna Earp and offering her a place in the division. Read more
WIRED Cafe once again provided a welcome retreat for press and celebs during the Comic-Con madness. The one-day invitation only retreat atop the rooftop terrace at San Diego’s Omni Hotel included drinks and tasty finger foods to re-energize attendees. Celebs on scene included Liam Cunningham, Alexander DiPersia, Maria Bello, and Teresa Palmer.
At the roundtable with Frankie Adams and Shohreh Aghdashloo talking about the popular ski-fi TV series The Expanse at 2016 Comic-con. Hundreds of years in the future, humans have colonized the solar system and Mars has become an independent military power. Rising tensions between Earth and Mars have put them on the brink of war. Against this backdrop, a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain come together to investigate the case of a missing young woman. The investigation leads them on a race across the solar system that could expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.See also my interview with Cas AnvarRead more
Featuring stars from Blindspot, Emerald City, Grimm, Powerless and Timeless, NBC’s Digital Network Party was host to top TV talent. The 6th annual, invite only soiree was once again held at the rooftop of the Andaz Hotel in San Diego. Partygoers were treated to plenty of good food and drinks as well as the opportunity to mix and mingle with NBC regulars and fellow press.
I ran into Sullivan Stapleton who plays Kurt Weller in Blindspot. He intimated that there might be a movie in the works for Strike Back, a popular British/American TV series whose final episode aired on July 29, 2015. I also ran into the beautiful Jaimie Alexander who said that it takes up to 6 hours to put on all those tattoos she wears in Blindspot.
The stars came out during NYLON/NVE The Experience Agency’s After-Con party on Thursday, July 21. at San Diego’s OMNIA Nightclub. Attendees included Teen Wolf’s Holland Roden, “I am Legend’s” Alexander DiPersia, and Kristian Nairn (“Game of Thrones” Hodor).
Musician Andre 3000 was spotted enjoying the festivities with long-time girlfriend Dominique Maldanado. Actor Tyler Posey arrived with younger brother Jesse Posey. The “Man in the High Castle” stars met up with their newest co-star Bellla Heathcote, who recently announced that she will be joining the cast as a series regular on Amazon’s hit drama.
Shortly thereafter, Miguel Gomez arrived with fellow co-star Kevin Durand. “The Strain” stars were spotted celebrating the release of their spoof rap video “Vamps Boom.” Other notable attendees included: Casper Van Dien, Cody Christian, Ian Bohen, JR Bourne, Mecad Brooks, Nina Sky, Shane West, Tara Reid and Zelda Williams.
Ending the party with a bang, DMX hit the stage for a surprise performance, which included hits such as “Up in Here” and “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” as revelers sang along to every single lyric.
Best known for her work on The Creation of Aspen, Send Me to Heaven and Horoscopes and Fortune Cookies, Amber Coney can also be seen in the upcoming L.A. Series, Kill The Czar, and Actors Anonymous. In Dead of Summer, Coney plays Carolina ‘Cricket’ Diaz, a warm, snarky camp counselor who harbors deep-seated issues beneath her carefree, fun-loving exterior. Read more
Best known as the DC Comics superhero Jesse Quick in The CW series The Flash, and as the missing girl in HBO’s, The Leftovers, Violett Beane appeared in the horror feature Flay, and the indie Slash, which recently premiered at SXSW. In Slash, Beane plays Lindsay in a coming-of-age drama about adolescent outsiders who write fan fiction. Beane can also be seen in Tower, an emotionally draining film that focuses on the mass school shooting at the University of Texas in 1966. In this one-on-one interview, Beane reveals some insights about her various roles and how she approached them. Read more