New Website Launches For Filmmakers

Sneak On The
Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other social networking sites have made it easier for self-promotion especially for struggling filmmakers.  A new website targets filmmakers to showcase their talents through social networking and interactive gaming. 

Launched in April 2010,™  players compete throughout the year for their shot at producing a $20,000 short film in Los Angeles in a studio-lot environment with filmmaking tools, a screening room, access to a music and sound effects library, script library, virtual chat rooms and much more.

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Jack Black Belt

Kung Fu Master

"Kung Fu Panda" opens nationwide this weekend starring Jack Black as Po, the cuddly bumbling Panda obsessed with being a Kung Fu hero like the Furious Five.  Cine Movie sat down with Jack Black at a recent publicity event in Beverly Hills. 

Q:  Seth Rogen said you were perfect for the role of a panda because you have panda-eque qualities.  Do you agree?

Jack:   Yeah!  I feel like I'm panda-eque.  We are both rolley polley, cuddly, furry AND my beard has black and white in it now that I'm getting older.  So I'm like a panda in that way.

Q:  Was this role a way to live out your kung fu fantasies?

Jack:  In a way, it was my living out my kung fu fantasy.  When I was a child, I took one year of obligatory karate and I believe I graduated to a yellow belt and then I quit.  Don't know why I quit.  Then I did some judo and believe I made it to the green belt but never kung fu and I always wanted to do kung fu. 

I had seen the movies with Bruce Lee and the great television series with Mr. Carradine.  I've always been really interested in the mystical art of kung fu, the most wise of martial arts.  So this was my chance to explore that world.

Q:  Could you break a board?

Jack:  With my mind.  I don't have to use my hands.  It's the highest level of kung fu.
Q:   Po the Panda has a catch phrase of "skadoosh" which you came up with.  How much were you allowed to improve?

Jack:  I was allowed to go crazy.  I would do what's on the page as written but they encouraged me to explore all the different things, which I did.  I don't know how much they used but they did use "skadoosh".  So I have to take some credit... some writing credit!

Q:  What was it like not being able to use your entire body like you did in Nacho Libre?
Black:  I did use my bjackblackpanda_r1_c1ody an awful lot, actually.  They're filming us during our vocal recordings and they use it for reference.  And to get the proper sounds, I would really do the things that I was supposed to be doing.   Like if I was supposed to be tired from running, I would run around.... it was very method acting that way.

Q: During the development of the story, one of the film's directors was influenced by your Tenacious D song ,"Cosmic Shame."

Jack:  That's what he said to me too.  I suspect he said that to get me to do the movie.

Producer Melissa Cobb intercedes and confirms that the crew did listen to his song very early on.

Melissa:  He wanted the crew to understand the essential dilemma of Po, which is really explained well in that song.

Jack:  The idea in the song is about following your heart.  Sometimes you'll follow your heart and it wont lead to anything BUT you have to try.  You have to try because if you don't, you'll always regret not chasing your dreams.  It's a theme that I was exploring before this movie. 

Q:   Kung Pu Panda's dilemma mirrors Jack Black's real life problem early on in his career.

Jack: Po becomes the Dragon Warrior when he realizes he doesn't have to imitate his heroes.  He just has to be himself and be the best he can be and that would make him a master of his craft.   For me...Jack Black...I didn't really have a real career going on until I found my own voice because for many years I imitated other actors and comedians that I loved.  It wasn't until I started writing my own scenes and music and finding my own voice that I became a Master (jokingly) of my craft. 

Q:  You've played a shark in "Shark's Tale" and now a panda, what's next?

Jack:  I'd like to be a winged creature like an eagle although I kind of was an eagle in Nacho Libre or I had eagle powers.  So maybe next I'd like to be a chee-TAH.   It's always been my favorite animal because of it's speed.  The fastest of all creatures.  My favorite superhero is Flash because he's the fastest.  He runs the speed of light.  I don't know why I like the fastest of all things because I'm certainly not the fastest.

Q:  What films will you be shooting next?

Jack:  There's an impending strike so I don't want to mess around. 

Q; Think it'll happen?

Jack:  I hope not. 

No cheetah or Flash roles are in the near future for Jack but catch him in "Kung Fu Panda" this Friday and later this summer in Ben Stiller directed comedy, "Tropic Thunder".

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Rob Zombie's Top 5 Horror Films

Rocker and writer/director Rob Zombie has made a career of incorporating the horror Rob Zombieelement into his music, art, and films.  With his second Halloween movie set for release August 28th, CineMovie sat down with him for his views on the Twilight craze, remakes and we thought it befitting to ask the Halloween II helmer to name his top five horror films of all time. 


Q:  What do you think about this whole 'teeny bopperizing' as we like to call it, of the vampire genre with the Twilight mania and now a tv series (Vampire Diaries).

Zombie:  I don't know.  Truthfully, I was sort of oblivious to it.  I saw Twilight two days ago for the first time out of curiosity and True Blood I watched once on a plane.  Everything goes in waves.  I guess people always lean towards vampires because they are the easiest to make cool and marketable.  Whereas if you make people werewolves they always look goofy.

Q:  That would explain why the Benicio del Toro werewolf movie is being delayed again.

Zombie:  Maybe. But it's an easier thing to keep vampires since they exist through time, it's easier to update them than other monsters.

Q:  So it doesn't bother you that they're turning it into a tween thing and moving away from the horror aspect?

Zombie:  I could care less.  It's like the Lost Boys again.

Q:  What do you think about people boycotting the new Nightmare on Elm Street movie?

Zombie:  It's fine.  I used to be like that ten years ago when I would say, 'why are they remaking these movies?'  It seemed so stupid to me.  Now I'm so numb to it that I don't even care.  I look at it this way now  - there are so many movies that I love that are remakes of other movies.  Christopher Lee's Horror of Dracula is a remake of Dracula which is a remake of Nosferatu.  And I love all those movies so why do you get all close-minded about remakes.  To me, if it's a really good movie - great!  If not, whatever!

Q:  Speaking of good movies, what are your five all-time favorite horror movies?

Zombie: I like classic stuff mixed in with 70's stuff. Stanley Kubrick Movie Collection DVD Some of my favorites are the original Frankenstein movie, Todd Browning's Freaks, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original Dawn of the Dead.  And then something like The Shining even though it's maybe not a horror but I love Stanley Kubrick so much.  I love the fact the he decided to make the ultimate science fiction movie, the ultimate horror movie and the ultimate war movie.  I just find that incredibly awesome.

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein on DVD
 Todd Browning's Freaks The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on DVD
George A. Romero's Dawn Of The Dead
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining DVD

Zombie's re-imagining of another popular horror movie Halloween has it's latest incarnation in Halloween II  in theaters August 28.  In October, look for Rob Zombie the rocker on the road in concert to promote his latest solo music project. 

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Will Ferrell and Land of the Lost Interviews

Will Ferrell, Danny Boyle, Anna Friel star in Land of the Lost movie

Will Ferrell Rules This Land

Will Ferrell, his "Land of the Lost" co-stars Danny Boyle, Anna Friel, and director Brad Silberling recently sat down with CineMovie  to discuss their big screen adaptation of the popular 70’s tv show which has transformed into a Will Ferrell comedy.

This modern take on "Land of the Lost" is not the family adventure everyone remembers.  The family is replaced with adults, sexual tension, and references sure to go over kids heads.   Watch Trailer

CM:  As a fan of the original show Will, why make those changes?

Will:  We didn’t want my character saddled with two kids.  We thought it would be a better platform for comedy to have a love interest and a funny man like Danny Boyle.  We didn’t want it to be a Disney film in a way.  The humor had to be cool and pushing that PG-13 rating.  This is the first family I’ve done in a while but the jokes are original and sophisticated which you’re not going to find in a movie in the same vain.

CM:  Were any of original actors approached for a cameo in this film?

Will: The kids from the original tv show did have a cameo at the end of the movie but they were cut out.  I’m not sure why.

CM:  Will we be seeing it on the DVD?

Will:   Yes.

CM:  Chaka, the half man, half ape character has evolved from naïve child-like character to a bit of a pervert as seen in the funny scene with Chaka grabbing
Chaka from Land of the Lost movieHolly’s chest played by Anna Friel.  Was that in the script all along or was it taken further through improvisation on set? Watch hilarious Land Of The Lost movie clip

Will:  That was always in the script. Chaka quickly figured out that the way to communicate with women is to grab their breasts.  He’s kind of sly and a little bit, touchy feely.  We just that would be a funny place for Chaka to go. Jorma (Taccone) did such a great job and he added stuff like touching me all over the place when we first meet Chaka and he steals my wallet.  It was really funny to play off of.

WILL:  Originally the script called for a panel with Al Gore, Stephen Hawkins and Rick Marshall.  Hawkins goes after me to debunk my theories and I lunge at him.  It was funny on paper and then you start making the phone calls and they’re like ‘No, no we’re unavailable.’  So then it became the "Today Show" and they were really up for it.  Matt was totally game and that became plan B which worked beautifully so much so that we went back to reshoot a scene for the end of the movie.

CM:  Will Ferrell and Brad Siberling tell us Matt Lauer did his own improvising during that last scene when Ferrell’s Rick Marshall returns to promote my book “Matt Lauer Can Suck It.”

Will:  Matt said “lets do one more take’ and then he just tackled me which was great. And I’m trying not to laugh because I’m so surprised that he tackling me.  That was brilliant.

  Matt tricked me into a second take and then he improvised the tackle.  It was hilarious.

CM:  Perhaps Matt Lauer was channeling what he would have liked to have done to Tom Cruise once upon a time.  

Sid and Marty Krofft, owned the children’s airways with their numerous tv shows (H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, The Bugaloos, Dr. Shrinker, Donny and Marie Show) during the 1970’s.

CM:  What do the creators of the classic tv show think about converting Land of the Lost to an irreverent Will Ferrell comedy? 

Marty: We would not have done it without Will Ferrell.

The original Land of the Lost was a lot more serious than Will Ferrell’s take.

Marty:  We’re okay with that.

Sid:  Our shows were always on the cutting edge.

CM:  Do you think there will be a sequel to Land of the Lost?

Marty:  I hope so but we have to see after it opens June 5th.

The Kroffts have a lot riding on this movie - another of their classic tv shows H.R. Pufnstuf is headed to the big screen.  Fans of the show and Will Ferrell fans are sure to make this tv adaptation a success at the box office this weekend setting the stage for more 70's shows coming to the movies.  


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Interview: John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph

John Krasinski (TV's The Office, Leatherheads) and Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) star as Bert and Verona in AWAY WE GO, directed by Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road, American Beauty. In AWAY WE GO, the hippie go lucky couple travel to find a new home to give birth to their first child. 

CineMovie's Viviana Vigil sat down with the charismatic actors to discuss their new film.  Watch as Viviana makes John Krasinski blush on the topic of lactacting nurses.

                                                    Sam Mendes Interview

Movie Synopsis:  

Exploring the comedic twists and emotional turns in one couple’s journey across contemporary America, Away We Go is the new movie from Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes, from the first original screenplay by novelists Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida, and featuring music by singer/songwriter Alexi Murdoch.

Longtime (and now thirtysomething) couple Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) are going to have a baby. The pregnancy progresses smoothly, but six months in, the pair is put off and put out by the cavalierly delivered news from Burt’s parents Jerry and Gloria (Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara) that the eccentric elder Farlanders are moving out of Colorado – thereby eliminating the expectant couple’s main reason for living there.

So, where, and among whom of those closest to them, might Burt and Verona best put down roots to raise their impending bundle of joy? The couple embarks on an ambitious itinerary to visit friends and family, and to evaluate cities. The first stop on the grand tour is Phoenix, where the duo spends a day at the (dog) races with Verona’s irrepressible (and frequently inappropriate) former colleague Lily (Allison Janney) and her repressible family, including husband Lowell (Jim Gaffigan); then it’s Tucson, and a visit to the lovely Grace (Carmen Ejogo), Verona’s sister.

An intimate conversation with her sister, who is her lone living relative, gives Verona a refreshed perspective – which she will sorely need in Wisconsin, where Burt’s childhood “cousin” Ellen, now known as LN (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and her partner Roderick (Josh Hamilton) have Burt and Verona over to their home. After LN and Roderick elaborate on their intractable ideas for raising children and running a household, Burt and Verona bolt for Montreal and a warmer welcome from their former college classmates Tom (Chris Messina) and Munch (Melanie Lynskey).

Even though the latter’s house is full of children, comfort and joy, a night out for the four old friends provides a bracing reminder of how much it takes to sustain a relationship and a family. When an emergency phone call forces Burt and Verona into an unanticipated Miami detour to visit Burt’s brother Courtney (Paul Schneider), they realize that they must define home on their own terms.

A Focus Features presentation in association with Big Beach of an Edward Saxon/Big Beach production in association with Neal Street Productions. A Sam Mendes Film. Away We Go. John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Allison Janney, Chris Messina, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Schneider. Casting by Ellen Lewis and Debra Zane, C.S.A. Music by Alexi Murdoch. Music Supervisor, Randall Poster. Costume Designer, John Dunn. Film Editor, Sarah Flack, A.C.E. Production Designer, Jess Gonchor. Director of Photography, Ellen Kuras, ASC. Executive Producers, Mari Jo Winkler-Iofredda, Pippa Harris. Produced by Edward Saxon, Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf. Written by Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida. Directed by Sam Mendes. A Focus Features Release.


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CineMovie TV hung with the cast and guests of RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN at the Hollywood red carpet premiere of the number one movie in America starring Dwayne Johnson as a Las Vegas cab driver dragged into helping two teens from outer space. 

Los Angeles radio personality Alysha Del Valle of Latino 89.3 grilled the stars on their personal beliefs in other-worldly beings.

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Acting Out The Recession with Jacob Vargas

Actor Jacob Vargas may not be a household name but this familiar face has been a working actor with steady roles on television (Moonlight, ER, CSI:NY) and in major Hollywood films, starring alongside Jason Statham (Death Race), Jake Gyllenhaal and Jacob Vargas / credit: Fernando EsovarJamie Foxx (Jarhead), and Jennifer Lopez (Selena) for over 20 years. 

With his latest indie science fiction thriller SLEEP DEALER arriving on DVD, the actor tells CineMovie his secrets to staying in the Hollywood game and tips for aspiring actors. 

Q:  Is it a struggle to get roles?

Jacob: It’s always a challenge.  Unfortunately there are more actors than are roles.  You just have to go in and do something different.  You have to be on top of your game.

Q: Besides having an agent and manager constantly looking for new projects, how are you active in searching for projects as well?

Jacob: I’ve been fortunate to have a group of friends who are also actors and we all plug each other into other projects.  If I hear of a project, I’ll let my friends know and vice versa. On set, you make good relationships with other people on crews and you find that most cinematographers want to be directors and so forth.  And everybody’s got a project.  So as soon as you open up that door, then you find out there are all these projects.   Eventually you become part of that project early on. 

Q: How has the writer’s strike early last year and the recession affected you?

Jacob: I do feel that there are less projects out there.  And the studios know that and know actors want to work.  That’s been an issue.  Honestly I’ve been taking this slow time to spend with my family.  I’m bonding with my daughter which I haven’t been able to do in the last five years.  So I’m just sitting it out and waiting out this recession.

Vargas’ SLEEP DEALER, now on DVD, has a lot in common with DISTRICT 9 the low-budget sci-fi film out of Science Fiction MovieSouth Africa which was a surprise summer hit.  Both independent films were shot in a foreign country with a limited budget and both share a message about immigration issues.  SLEEP DEALER, a critical hit at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, however, was made for a lot less than District 9. 

VIDEO INTERVIEW: SLEEP DEALER director and Leonore Varela (Blade II)

Q:  How was the experience shooting the film?

Jacob: It was a challenge in itself.  I loved the subject matter and the political messages behind it. I had never seen a film set in a border town in Tijuana which is something you’ve never seen before.  With the success of District 9, you might see it more often now.  But I hadn’t seen anything like that before.  So I thought it would be something interesting.  But really the challenge on shooting the film was the budget or lack of.   You had to beresourceful when you were doing things on green screen. There are a lot of unknowns but you have to commit and give yourself to the project and trust the director or visual director that everything will turn out okay.

Q:  Do you have an acting method?

Jacob: I’m a big people watcher.  I love going to a crowded place – sitting there for hours watching people interact.  In my mind, I kind of create little scenarios in each conversation.  You wonder what they’re talking about, what their history is, what they have just gone through.  I don’t know if that’s an acting technique or just voyeurism?  We’re all actors.  I believe that human beings are always acting for one reason or another.  Either to impress somebody, to make somebody laugh.  We’re always in some shape or form performing.

Q: Have you tried method acting for any roles?

Jacob: I have in the past.  I tried but for some reason it’s always back-fired for me.  That doesn’t work for me.

Q:  Is there one role that you’re dying to play?

Actor Jacob Vargas in Sleep Dealer / credit: Fernando Esovar


Jacob: I would love to do the bio pic on Cesar Chavez the organizer and another great story is the Joaquin Murrieta story.  It would be like the Charles Bronson revenge film set in early California. 

Q:  What would be your best advice for those starting out?

Jacob: Find another profession. (Kidding)  Patience, resilience and just learn as much as possible.  Read as many books on acting and take lots of classes.  But not just on acting.  Now it’s not enough to be an actor.  You have to understand the business and technical side of it – lenses, camera angles, lighting, etc. in order to be a good actor.  You have to understand all of that. 

And we can understand why this young actor will be have a long Hollywood career.  Currently, Jacob Vargas can be seen in his latest film SLEEP DEALER on DVD and next up for the Latino actor, Kerosene Cowboys, a Mario Van Peebles film set for a 2009 release. 

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