Wide sweeping vistas and a romantic musical score add to The Ottoman Lieutenant’s compelling war drama. It’s a moving and defiant love story, one that reaches audiences far and wide with a chance for women to revel in its forbidden romance. If you like sagas that titillate your imagination sending you back to an era that’s almost forgotten, then this is your cup of tea. Read more
An apropos title for the film On the Map opens in several cities in Florida this weekend and it’s exciting, heartwarming and inspirational. Set in Israel following the Yom Kippur War, the documentary captures the serious issues of the people, the challenges before them and a team of basketball players that dig deep into their hearts for a chance to get their country recognized as nation in the eyes of the world. This is not an ordinary sports movie, but a historical tribute to the men who made it all happen some 40 years ago. Read more
Not the best comedy I’ve watched, the movie Table 19 unfortunately has a dull script that may have been a good idea, but just doesn’t work. The direction and the comedic scenes are not funny and the cast of well known actors are off kilter. Even the chemistry between the leads just isn’t there. It’s about a wedding reception gone wrong for a forlorn guest that just can’t come to grips with haven been rejected and that’s more drama than this comedy can handle. Read more
After the first 10 minutes getting to know the characters in the movie and finding how they were chosen to be together, Deserted moves into a long grueling predictable story much like the movie Gerry. But, after it got moving along to an unexpected event that sets the tone, the movie isn’t all that bad. If you like films that are more introspective than openly action oriented, than this one should be good for a girls wine and cheese gathering. Read more
One of the more incredible stories to serve as a romance, Bitter Harvest tells the tale of two lovers caught up in one of the world’s most evil genocides, the Russian Holodomor. Filmed in the Ukraine where it happened, the movie shows how Russia took over the country for their grain and starved its people to death during the mid-1920’s. Told from the perspective of two youngsters who grew up, married and were forced to separate under Soviet Russian control, the film becomes a heartfelt tribute to the terrible nightmare. Read more
Disturbing and provocative the movie Get Out turns up the volume on suspense and terror. One of the better scary films in a long time, the movie challenges you from the very start as to the motives of a family gathering with a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” impression that turns sour. If you like fright films like The Visit the this is your cup of tea. Read more
First released in theaters over 33 years ago, TheNever-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.
How did you get the role of the Child Empress in Never Ending Story?
Tami Stronach: I was doing a lot of acting and dancing in local community theaters. I attended an acting school in San Francisco. We were doing various plays in different schools and Anna Gross, the casting agent for Never Ending Story, was in town looking for an actress for the role. Coincidentally, Anna just happened to be friends with my acting teacher at the time. She came into our acting class and asked me if I wanted to audition for the role in this new film. I treated it as any local school audition and had no idea I’d be participating in a major project of this scope.
It sounds like you were already busy doing lots of performance art.
Tami: I loved acting and dancing from very early on. I was always happy in that context. I kind of drowned myself in those activities.
The film has delighted millions of children and parents over the years. Do you still get feedback from your fans?
Tami: I do. I’ll be honest with you, for the longest time, I wasn’t really focusing on the letters and emails. I came to New York as a young person to pursue a career as a dancer. At that time, I didn’t feel that Never Ending Story was something that would give me a leg up in the field I was trying to enter. So I kind of distanced myself from it and focused more on live performance art and dancing. I read the letters back then, but I was a starving artist working 12-hour days, so I didn’t really have time to sit down and write people back. But recently with the birth of my daughter, everything shifted and I founded Paper Canoe Company to create family-oriented content. It brought me back to my roots of family entertainment, which is really what the Never Ending Story was.
Why do you think audiences around the world have responded and continue to respond to Never Ending Story?
Tami: I think it’s the theme of the story. It’s a fun movie and visually beautiful. It has so much whimsy. But beyond that, it’s also kind of a deep film with an urgent message. It shows that through imagination and trusting your heart, there’s the possibility of building better worlds. I think that reality can beat us into submission. We need to trust our imagination, to believe that something new can be created, something that opens a door to new vistas.
So you’re also doing a lot of dancing. What made you segue into that realm of creative expression?
Tami: After Never Ending Story became far more successful than we imagined, being a celebrity at that age was really overwhelming. I never wanted to walk away from performing. It’s in my DNA. But at the time, I didn’t want to choose celebrity as a lifestyle. For me, dance was a way of staying creative without the pitfalls of being a child celebrity. But now as an adult, I see that celebrity can be a wonderfully powerful way to build connections with people. So viewed through that lens, I really have a very different perspective.
So what inspired you to create the Paper Canoe Company? And what can you tell us about the dark comedy, Light?
Tami: With Paper Canoe, I’m putting all the things I’m passionate about under a single umbrella. I had this diverse life that included acting, dancing and singing—even doing a POP album when I was a little older. Now I want to create family content that connects with kids, families and people who loved Never Ending Story, so that parents will have something magical to enrich their kids’ childhood. Last year, we created two theater shows and an album. Among these were the dark comedy called Light, and the folk rock opera, Beanstalk Jack. The joy is that little kids are still at the age where reality and fantasy are still kind of blurred for them.
Can you tell us more about the folk rock opera, Beanstalk Jack?
Tami: It’s the third project created by Paper Canoe and we’ll be developing it into a full theater show. It’s a concert because it tells the story all through music. We’ll be adding some costumes and theatrical elements, so it becomes kind of a concert play. We wanted to take a story that’s so iconic and make it relevant to kids and families today. So we put a bit of spin on the original story. I use my daughter and her friends as sort of a mini focus group to test out if something works or not. Ultimately, I came up with the idea of having Jack defeat the Giant a different way. Our message is that being happy and doing what you love is the ultimate triumph over anything dark.
Will Beanstalk Jack ever be produced as a video for kids and parents to watch at home?
Tami: We’re developing these projects in a variety of ways. Beanstalk Jack is on sale right now on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and others, so you can by the CD. We also want to do some live streaming of upcoming concerts, which we’ll have on our website and available for download. I’m making some music videos for the shows, which will bring my dance background into it.
And what are your plans for Light?
Tami: We’re going to turn it into a graphic novel. I know it will come alive in that medium because the particular world we’ve created lends itself to pictures. We’re thinking about moving ourselves into TV and film, and I think Light would make a great film.
I understand you’re now a big Comic-con fan.
Tami: Attending Comic-con made me realize how really special Never Ending Story was, to have all these people who care so much about this film. So this year, I’m making a point of returning to Comic-con, hugging people, shaking their hands and enjoying this special connection with those who share my love for the film. I now make it a point to answer all my fan mail. I’m connecting with people on Twitter and other social media. It’s kind of a whole new chapter for me and I’m really enjoying it.
Will you be showcasing any of these projects at Comic-con?
Tami: I’ll do interviews. I’m a huge fan of Stranger Things. At the last Comic-con, I got to interview Millie Bobby Brown about being a young actress and we talked about my Paper Canoe projects. So at our booth, we’d like to have the graphic novel, Light and other Paper Canoe projects. I’ve started reading scripts again and I’m looking at coming back into TV. I’m also getting letters of support, urging me to do another movie. It’s not only surprising but humbling.
Visually amazing and thrilling, the movie The Great Wall certainly has the best effects and story thus far in 2017. Even though most of the film makes the use of a massive amount of CGI, that’s not a bad thing here as the production certainly warrants it. If you are a fan of high impact movies like World War Z, then this film should be on your list to see this weekend. Read more
Oddly enough the film A Cure for Wellness actually makes a lot of sense. The two hour and a half film delves into the psyche of a man who tries to make contact with the boss of his company. The mystery thriller takes a few twists and turns on its way to providing closure while leading the viewer through a suspense filled labyrinth of deception. Read more
The courageous and compelling true story Fanny’s Journey (le Voyage de Fanny) takes you on a journey during WWII that grabs its audience early on and doesn’t let go until the credits role. It’s as much inspiring as it is dauntless, featuring a fine cast of youngsters that should touch your heart and remind you that heroism can come in small packages. Read more
Turing out the very edgy and scary flick Havenhurst, director and writer Andrew C. Erin’s film should delight fans of the horror genre. Nicely written, expertly filmed and edited, there’s shock and fear coming at you when you least expect it. The story even has a message that there’s consequences for wrong decisions, abuse and over indulgence. That said, let’s get on with the movie review. Read more
If you are familiar with the original movie two years ago, John Wick: Chapter 2 serves up a heaping helping of violence this time around as well. The action packed hitman film moves from New York to Rome, Italy where violence explodes Italian style. Although you need not have seen the first film, it wouldn’t hurt to relive it a bit on video. Especially if you may be hesitant about seeing a second passionate ode to carnage. Read more
The coming of age movie 20th Century Women takes a look at life askew in the late 70’s for a single mother of a teenage boy. Nicely written the film features very good performances directed by a filmmaker that has lived the age of the boy during the time period. Unsuccessful for two Golden Globes, it’s now in the hands of those who may make 20th Century Women an Oscar winner. Read more
When’s the last time you saw a good dog movie with love, devotion and heroism? Not the animated type, but one that stars dogs doing some awesome stunts, creating the love for animals and even inspirational. Well you can find all that and more in the movie A Dog’s Purpose, a fun, adventure of a dog’s life that runs full circle. It’s fun for the whole family, but don’t be surprised when your youngster starts begging for a new furry friend. Read more
Very disturbing and frightening at times, the film Split puts director M. Night Shyamalan back in movie theaters. Coming off the sinister shocker The Visit, which earned over $98 million in 2015, he’s chosen a good weekend for his new horror thriller with its only competition xXx sequel and The Founder. The trailer should drive all the thrill seekers and especially mature pre-teens to 20’s horror fans into seats this weekend, making it the top box-office winner. But except for a few of Shyamalan’s movies, it has his signature weak “how did that just happen” finale. Read more