Nothing like not knowing who you are and having an encounter with space zombies. Talk about a big pain in the neck! The crew thought they were doing a straightforward reclaim op on an abandoned freighter … only it wasn’t as “abandoned” as they thought it was.
A touching look at a continuous problem in Seoul Korea fuels this important poignant documentary on saving the lives of abandoned children. Well written and directed The Drop Box explores an anomaly of society and one man who stood tall to help reduce the problem. Even with the huge burden it brought upon him Dr. Lee Jong-rak still sticks to it to this day. Nicely put together by director Brian Ivie, the film takes you up close and personal into the unenviable life of a great man.
Worn out and not very scary, the sequel to the classic horror flick The Town that Dreaded Sundown tries to piggyback off the original, but comes up lame. The original 1976 release, as campy as it is, follows the crimes that actually happened in 1946 in the City of Texarkana and gives an aura of fear. Making a remake of the original film would have been better as the fear factor would still radiate from the real serial crimes that was never solved. Read more
Brooklyn native Vanessa Ferlito has appeared in crime-themed series programs including “CSI: New York” and “The Sopranos.” In 2002, Ferlito appeared in Spike Lee’s “The 25th Hour.” The following year, Ferlito starred as ‘Lizette Sanchez’ in John Leguizamo’s acclaimed boxing drama “Undefeated”, which earned her an NAACP nomination for Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie. In 2007, Ferlito starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. In 2012, she appeared in the feature film, Stand Up Guys opposite Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. Currently, she can be seen on “Graceland,” the hit series on the USA network.
In The Aftermath, a powerful tale of lost love, obsession, and self-destruction, Ferlito stars opposite Sam Trammell (Sonny) as Franki, a tough small-town madam. When Sonny tries to return a necklace to his estranged wife for their anniversary, it’s stolen by a gang of criminals led by Franki. Directed by Tim McCann and written by McCann and Shaun Sanghani, The Aftermath is a gritty and honest portrayal of a broken man, risking his life, desperately seeking redemption. In this one-on-one interview, Ferlito reveals the challenges she faced in life, her acting career and in bringing Franki to life.
What attracted you to the role of Franki?
Vanessa Ferlito: I’m really drawn to dark scripts. And this was a dark movie. I also really like Sam. He’s an amazing actor. Franki’s a great character to play. As a pimp and drug dealer, she’s got a lot going on.
What did you find most challenging about the role?
Ferlito: To try to put myself in that mindframe, which is something I always try to do. To get into that life — in Alexandria, Louisiana, which is a very small town — I hung out around the area to see what it was like to live there and be this person. Most of the people in the film were not actors. So when I go into that place in my mind, it was really challenging for me because I tend to go into a dark place. And I don’t like it much. I usually have my son with me, but since this was only for a week, I left him. I stayed in this small hotel in the middle of nowhere. And that allowed me to go to a really dark place.
What did you draw from to prepare yourself for the gritty, street tough Franki?
Ferlito: I grew up in the streets of Brooklyn, in an Italian family. My dad died when I was two years old from a drug overdose. My mom was straight, never on drugs, but she just got caught up with the wrong people. I hung out with a rough crowd. And the neighborhood I grew up in was rough. We were scrappers. I fought my way through school. And at the end of the day, these kids had to battle what was going in their home. Now, I go to yoga, and try not to use what I was taught in the street. So yeah, I do pull a lot from my background for these roles. Maybe that’s why I always get them.
How is Franki like FBI agent Charlie’ DeMarco and how is she different?
Ferlito: The only difference is that Charlie puts people like Franki away, but at the end of the day, they’re both playing a role. Charlie is always under cover playing a drug dealer or something hard. So Charlie’s the good guy and Franki’s the bad guy. But they’re similar in the sense that they’re playing a role every day. Franki knows who she really is and why she did this with her life. When I see someone like Franki, I wonder how and why she got to that place. What makes them different is extreme; what makes them the same is a fine line.
What do you like about working in TV as opposed to film?
Ferlito: Stability in TV. I was doing a TV show in the middle of my career. I had just played the lead in a Tommy Lee Jones movie (Man of the House) and then Shadowboxer with Helen Mirren. Four days later, I was doing CSI. I was young and didn’t feel I needed that stability at the time. But now, I love it. I go to a job, four and half months straight, every day and I love knowing that I’m okay. Besides, the movie business has changed so much. When I started doing independent films, there were just so many, and they weren’t hiring people just for their name but who was best for the job. Now, it’s based on social media. As a single mother, I like the stability of being on a show like Graceland or CSI.
You once mentioned that you thought about being an undercover cop. What do you find interesting about that life?
Ferlito: Oh my God, I still want to be one. I swear, I was on the set the other day and I thought about getting my degree and becoming a cop. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. There are lots of bad things going on and I want to help. Maybe I’m a control freak, I don’t know. It’s dangerous but fun. It’s funny, I never wanted to be a cop before, but after playing this FBI agent, I thought, I’d be great at this. I was always great at catching my boyfriend. He could never get away with anything. That said, I’m a bit too sensitive, so I don’t think I could handle child abuse cases.
What was your very first audition like? And what have you learned about auditions?
Ferlito: They sent me out on commercials but I never booked once. It was six months of that, then they sent me out for Sopranos and I got the role (of Tina Francesco). Two weeks later, I got the lead in an indie film called OnLine. Then my career took off and I worked with Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino.
What was it like working with those directors?
Ferlito: With Spike Lee, it was a small role in the beginning of my career. I was in one scene. He threw words at me and gave me the freedom to play it. Quentin is a dear friend. He loves TV, loves movies, and he wrote the role (Butterfly) for me (in Grindhouse). People still go crazy over that lapdance—it has a cult following now.
What’s next for you—any upcoming film, TV projects you can talk about?
Ferlito: Not at the moment. I’m working on Graceland now, and I’m not reading any other scripts. We film an hour show in seven days. CSI was an hour and we did that in nine days. So I don’t really have the time to read other scripts.
At the time of our telephone interview Natalie Burn was in Turkey making a film. I caught Natalie on her day off sightseeing like an ordinary tourist.
In the fictional action movie “Awaken” Natalie Burn stars as Billie Kope. She’s a woman hell bent on finding her sister, but ends up on an island where a black market organ dealer is harvesting body parts for the rich. The film demonstrates Natalie’s fine acting talent as an up and coming action actor. Read more
The splendid little comedy The Overnight turns a friendly evening with the new neighbors into an over the top night of uninhibited sensuality. While the theme has been used before in other movies with the most famous being Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, this modern day soon to be a classic leaves nothing to the imagination. Daring, erotic and unabashed yet not a skin flick, the movie has a very good cast and script that bares it all for those who have pondered about kinking up their own relationships. Read more
UK rock band Lawson will head for the Roads on their summer U.S. tour. They will be rocking out on stages from New York to Ohio with the Australian indie-pop ensemble, Sheppard. These guys have a great sound. Don’t miss them if they come to your area (hopefully they will tour in more locations in the future). Read more
The movie Terminator Genisys surprises with top quality special effects, continuous action scenes and a welcome return of Arnold. The storyline may be a little complicated if you are trying to piece together the previous four outings, but take a deep breath and just go to enjoy the shape shifting time traveling bots that deliver chaos wherever they appear. If you are an action junkie and want an adrenaline rush, go see the newest edition of John Connor’s attempt to take down the spy in the sky that lead to annihilation of billons on the planet.
Brawny, Bold and bawdy the movie Magic Mike XXL (I guess they didn’t use a third X instead of an L because it doesn’t go that far) struts and dances its way across the screen at the delight of a female audience. The story gets sluggish, silly and wacky, but I’m positive not a woman in the theater will notice. Not much on plot, the road trip to Myrtle Beach does have its moments at stops along the way. There the film bangs out tunes while muscle bound men raise hell tearing their T-shirts and dropping their drawers in places like Tampa, Jacksonville, Savanna and Charleston. Read more
Directed toward a teen audience, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl easily appeals to a female audience and should even charm males through their late twenties. The film features excellent performances by a familiar cast, gets able guidance from director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and delivers an appealing screenplay by the original novelist Jesse Andrews. Working against last year’s tearjerker The Fault in our Stars, I found this film to be more realistic and less maudlin. Not a love story per se, but the bond between the two main characters that goes deep to the bone. Read more
There shouldn’t be a dry eye in the theater from the heartfelt movie The Farewell Party set in an Israeli retirement home. Courageous acting, script and directing, the touching dark comedy takes a look at old age with story characters nearing their passing. If you see one foreign film this year and don’t mind shedding a few tears, rush to see The Farewell Party. Read more
Tina Ivlev brings a broad acting background to Bound to Vengeance. She starred in the gripping teenage drama, Dry Land, a Colt Coeur production written by Ruby Rae Spiegel and directed by Adrienne Campbell Holt. The play immediately became a New York Times Critics’ Pick, playing to sold out houses in New York. She mesmerized film and television audiences alike with characters who are real, compelling and strong. Her screen credits include The Devil’s In The Details (with Ray Liotta) and Death Clique. Her TV work includes appearances in The Bridge, Graceland, Anger Management, Major Crimes, and CSI.
In Bound to Vengeance, Ivlev is Eve, a young woman who fights back and manages to escape a malicious abductor. But after discovering she may not be the only victim, Eve unravels a darker truth and decides to turn the tables on her captor. In this one-on-one interview, Ivlev reveals the challenges she faced in bringing Eve to life.
What attracted you to the role of Eve?
Tina Ivlev: I thought she was a hero to these other girls. When I read the script, it was this really crazy story. Had it been a sexual exploitation film, I never would have done it. But this was the opposite, because Eve is just so smart and resourceful and heroic. She was someone who had these girls’ best interest at heart.
Did you audition for the role? And what was that like?
Ivlev: It was a standard audition. I hadn’t met any of the writers or directors before. I went in, got a callback immediately after I left, and got the part.
How did you deal with all the bloody violence in the film?
Ivlev: I just got into character and imagined what Eve was going through. It was weird, but I kind of got desensitized to it after awhile.
What did you find most challenging about portraying Eve?
Ivlev: I think her state of mind. She was really in a fragile state early on in the film. She was under tremendous pressure from the extreme situation she was in. Around Phil (Richard Tyson) and these other guys. She had lost her sister, and I think that losing someone so close to her eventually just made her unravel. And that was the hardest thing to find those moments. Like where is she in the script right now, where is she emotionally and mentally. That was the hardest part in playing Eve. There were crazy moments on set where you’re screaming and you have this nose around Phil’s neck. I felt so horrible because Richard had this mark around his neck. It was kind of intense after awhile.
How did you psyche yourself up to play victim, savior and executioner?
Ivlev: That’s why I liked Eve so much, because she wasn’t this victim throughout the whole film. In the very beginning, she turns the table on Phil, which is really cool and refreshing to see in these kinds of films. It was cool and weird. That was also kind of hard to play, because sometimes she gets captured and then she has to be aggressive to turn the tables again. So you’re wondering, who is she now? Has she completely lost it? Will she kill everyone? In the Salt Lake screening, everyone was screaming, no no!
Why do you think Eve was so driven to try to save the other girls?
Ivlev: For me, it was just survivor’s guilt over just losing her sister. The fact that she couldn’t save her, that it was almost her fault. I don’t think it was conscious but in real life, when girls go missing, it’s virtually impossible to find them. They could be in a different country. I don’t know if she just wanted to be a vigilante and take matters into her own hands, but I thought that Eve had snapped and she was unraveling. She couldn’t live with herself leaving these other girls who were in the same situation she was in and who might never see their families again. All she could see was her sister dying in front of her.
What message do you believe the film imparts to today’s audiences?
Ivlev: Hope, I suppose. When I read the script, it was heartbreaking. This person is tying to save these people on her own. Love would be another message. Eve loved her sister and cares about people and wants to save them. She didn’t just run away.
What’s next for you?
Ivlev: I’m auditioning for some projects now. And I’m writing. I don’t know how writers do it. I think actors have it rough but writers have it worse.
So do you like to do these horror films? Or maybe some comedy?
Ivlev: I don’t like to even watch horror films, because I just get so scared. But I love films like Rosemary’s Baby. I also love comedy and drama. So I don’t really have a preference.
The exciting thriller Survivor now on Blu-ray and DVD takes audiences on a wild ride through the streets of London. Starring Milla Jovovich as the hunted, Survivor has a good storyline, a solid well known supporting cast and able direction. While most of the film has edge of your seat action, the story may give you a hint of déjà vu if you have seen the movie SALT. That said the chase scenes in Survivor combined with Jovovich’s intensity are well worth the watch. Read more
The movie opens with a young gazelle running in the sand dunes of Timbuktu. Chasing the beautiful docile animal in a pickup truck are members of the Jihadists shooting their rifles in its direction. “Do not shoot the animal, we just want to tire it out” says their leader. It’s an act of domination repeated throughout the film, but instead of animals with humans living in fear. The film Timbuktu is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Read more
When Cameron’s neighbor is killed, the Stitchers group works to determine if the bullet was really meant for Cameron. As they stakeout the location from Cameron’s apartment, Kirsten finds that she enjoys the reconnaissance, maybe a little too much. Meanwhile, Cameron shares more details with Kirsten about Marta’s disastrous stitch. Read more