Private Number, a Twisted Murder Mystery

PRIVATE NUMBER boxart

Surprisingly the low budget mystery thriller Private Number hits the mark in all three categories, directing, acting and storyline. The film had a brief theatrical bow a month ago, but the crowded box-office with several blockbusters must have taken its toll on this cunning little film. But now it has been released on DVD and I highly recommend it for those who like a good compelling plot that twists and turns to the closing credits.

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Poltergeist of Borley Forest, a Ghostly Thriller

Poltergeist BOXART

Lack of a bigger budget to make Poltergeist of Borley Forest hurts the production value and turns a good idea into a ho hum recycle of other ghostly films. Now on DVD, the movie has some creative value, but not enough to make it a hit. Suffering from lack of good photography, lighting and sound efficiency, the movie just doesn’t frighten enough to deliver the impact from the storyline. If you are a horror fan and just have to see every scary flick that comes down the pike, then gather a few friends and rent this DVD.

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Hungarian Painter Tibor Helenvi’s Controversial Star Wars Posters Auctioned

Check out some of these original and amazing oil paintings of the Star Wars trilogy created by Hungarian painter, Tibor Helenvi, thanks to the Budapest Poster Gallery. These Hungarian Star Wars movie posters were auctioned off earlier today, and now you can take a closer look at them. They were created for the original trilogy in 1979, 1981 and 1984 — and they are extremely rare.

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The Truth from Pretty Little Liars Star Sasha Pieterse

Sasha Pieterse talks about some of the things fans have to look forward to in the upcoming summer episodes of the new season of Pretty Little Liars which airs on ABC Family this coming Tuesday, June 2. During this season, truths will be uncovered as viewers learn just how dark and strange the DiLaurentis family really is.  Read more

Diary of a Teenage Girl #Trailer

Check out the trailer for the upcoming theatrical release, Diary of a Teenage Girl, due in theaters August 7.

Synopsis: Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe Rutherford (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment.

Pics of Stefanie Scott and Logan Paul at Insidious Chapter 3 New York Advanced Screening

Stephanie Scott and Logan Paul hosted an advanced screening in New York for the upcoming horror flick Insidious Chapter 3. Fans were given a sneak peek of the film, plus treated to a little Q&A with the cast members. This scary flick is about to terrify moviegoers nationwide June 5. Check out more pics from the event below. Read more

Behind the Scenes of the Upcoming Point Break #Remake

If you’re an action fan, and you can get beyond your love for the original Point Break movie long enough to give this remake a chance, you might actually see some things of merit when you check out this behind-the-scenes video. Only time will tell what the actual finished production will bring. I think the key here is to ignore the “title” of the movie and consider this a totally different production – not a remake. Read more

Interview with Once Upon A Time Star, Kristin Bauer Van Straten, on Illicit Ivory Trade

Kristin Bauer Van Straten (Once Upon A Time’s Maleficent and True Blood’s Pam De Beaufort) will introduce viewers to a special installment of American television’s environmental investigative series, EARTH FOCUS: Illicit Ivory. An animal rights advocate, Van Straten hopes this documentary will help viewers understand the dire situation that elephants face—that poachers kill an elephant every 20 minutes to feed an insatiable demand for ivory. As a result, African elephants may be gone in as little as ten years. In this one-on-one interview, Van Straten reveals her commitment to saving these regal animals and her passionate pursuit of animal rights.

You’re a long time animal rights advocate. What prompted you to become involved with this particular documentary?

Kristin Bauer Van Straten: I had no idea this was going on. I met with James Isiche from IFAW (international Fund for Animal Welfare). They do great work in Kenya and he told me this was happening. I was so stunned. I’d heard about the ivory crisis in the 80s, but I didn’t realize that ivory was such a widely traded commodity. The cruelty of it is astounding. Elephants are massive and majestic creatures. The slaughtering of these 15,000 pound animals for four percent of their body for a trinket is appalling. I spent a month with elephants in Kenya where we met Cynthia Moss, who had conducted the longest running study of elephants in the wild. She’s observed their family structure, bathing rituals, their birthing and mourning process. I read her book, and there’s just no disputing that they are as sentient as we are.

African elephants are intelligent creatures
African elephants are intelligent creatures

What were the major challenges in filming this documentary?

Van Straten: Kenya is the only country that has chosen to destroy their seized ivory—as opposed to selling it to China. The biggest problem we’ve seen since the total ban on ivory in the 80s is that other African countries are choosing to enter the black market, become traders and profit from the sale of illegal ivory. Most people in China don’t realize that an elephant had to be killed for their ivory trinket. The word ivory in China translates into “teeth.” Ivory has become a status symbol there; it’s how the Chinese middle class show “they have arrived. And that has fueled this drive to move ivory overseas again. We’re trying to get an all-out ban on ivory, but we’re getting all kinds of blowback from the people who would profit form its sale.

An elephant dies for these trinkets
An elephant dies for these trinkets

How long have you been involved in animal rights? And in the protection of elephants?

Van Straten: Throughout my life on some level. My dad was such a nature lover. While my siblings aren’t into animals like I am, they are into the environment. I became actively involved, and as my career rose, so did my opportunities to give back. There are so many amazing causes. And since I can’t clone myself, I try to get involved with the most voiceless—and that’s animals. I wasn’t involved in the protection of elephants until about three years ago. I didn’t go to the circus. I don’t believe in slavery. I’m not fond of using animals for entertainment. I’m an entertainer and it’s rough. I think it should be your choice. So I wasn’t aware of the elephant genocide until a few years ago. Lions, zebra, giraffe—all being slaughtered. Many animals in Africa are under siege, mainly from Asia.

Elephants are loving animals
Elephants are loving animals

What are the short and long-term goals you hope this documentary will achieve?

Van Straten: From what I saw in Kenya, the people there are astoundingly optimistic. I think it’s just their nature, but I also think that when you’re on the ground, literally saving lives, even if you save less than you’d like, there’s a certain can-do attitude that comes from having your hands in the dirt. And that optimism became infectious. The more who get involved, the greater chance we have of keeping elephants on Earth. I watched two animal species go extinct in the last two years, which is very sad. I asked a ranger in northern Kenya what will happen if more people don’t get involved in saving animals and he said it’s uncertain. The only thing we can do is try to support what these heroes in Kenya are doing.

How can people help this noble cause?

Van Straten: Depending on the person’s resources, if all they have is a voice, that’s huge. We need the world to declare an all-out ban on ivory. We need to spread the word as fast as we can. Many people hear about this and make the choice—to write a letter, foster a baby elephant in Kenya, send $50 to one of the organizations that I know will make a difference (they’re on my website).

Switching gears, what are some of your favorite moments in Once Upon a Time?

Van Straten: I usually watch the show, but I don’t like to watch myself. I really had a ball with Lana Parrilla and the rest of the cast. Lana is the first person I got to work and she has this amazing big laugh. The hours are really long, but we just dove in and had so much fun playing with these roles. I just came off seven years playing evil characters, and she has been killing it, playing evil. But now both of our characters have found a softer side.

EARTH FOCUS: Illicit Ivory airs on KCET. The program will also be available on http://www.kcet.org/ivory and KCET.org/ivory. The trailer can be seen on http://bcove.me/slkmg39e (warning: contains shocking footage of killed elephants).

 

San Andreas, a Wild Ride Through Disaster

SAN ANDREAS poster

Especially for disaster movie fans, San Andreas delivers a thrilling feast for your eyes and ears. Brilliantly concocted with amazing visuals of destruction, the movie’s not much on storyline, but bold and brazen when it comes to explosive excitement. It may not be considered the disaster movie holy grail, but you’ll surly be entertained for the price of your admission. 3D is the choice you’ll want to take for an experience remembered way after leaving the theater. And for the ultimate rush, see it in IMAX 3D where available.

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Aloha, a Covert Mission and Romance

ALOHA poster

 

There may be an upside to Aloha, but it’s not the storyline a contrived bundle of fiction that a novice writer could have scripted. In today’s scheme of things, moviegoers, especially romantics, are demanding a screenplay that could be at least realistic so they can emulate with the characters. The word trite or even tripe comes to mind with this imposter of a love story that’s laced with comedy to hide the improbable circumstances. Evan as a comedy Aloha has its shortcomings like Emma Stone’s stumbling in love character that gets too silly to be likable.

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