Geraldine Chaplin Says Sand Dollars is Her Best Work Ever

Categories: Film and TV

Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Yanet Mojica and Geraldine Chaplin in Sand Dollars
Directors/co-writers Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas had the cast and crew of their latest film, the Spanish-language drama Sand Dollars, live in primitive huts in an unpopulated section of the Dominican Republic for the seven weeks of filming. "We were out 20 miles away from East Jesus," laughs Sand Dollar star Geraldine Chaplin who was in Houston over the weekend to introduce a screening at Latin Wave, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's annual festival of Latin American cinema.

"We were out in the middle of nowhere with no flushing toilets and just a little bit of solar power. I didn't mind, but I did have one requirement - I needed a king-size bed. They had to build a hut around the bed because there wasn't one big enough for it."

Chaplin plays Anne, a much older, rich European woman living in a small town in the Dominican Republic. She's in love with Noeli, a 20-year-old local, played by newcomer Yanet Mojica. Noeli hustles rich vacationers of both genders, constantly asking for money and gifts in exchange for her sexual favors. She passes the cash on to her boyfriend who she tells Anne is her brother. Her real goal is a passport and a plane ticket, a way to get off of the island and escape its oppressive poverty.

This story continues on the next page.

More »

Game Of Thrones S05E04: "All Sinners Are Equal Before The Gods"

Categories: Film and TV

Photo courtesy of HBO
So many feelings.
The fourth episode of Game of Thrones' fifth season aired last night, and as has been the case with many of its earlier counterparts ("Oathkeeper," "And Now His Watch Had Ended"), there was a good deal of table setting in "The Sons of the Harpy:" Tyrion gets to know his new traveling companion, while Jaime and Bronn arrive to a less than friendly reception in Dorne.

Although one can't overlook the significance of the actions of two groups of fanatics, leading to what will likely be an unpleasant confrontation between the Sparrows and the Lannisters in King's Landing, and the somewhat surprising death of a loyal knight in Meereen.

"The Sons of the Harpy" is also the last of the previously leaked episodes that came out before the beginning of the season, so your pirate friends will no longer be able to taunt you anymore. Anything can happen, people!

More »

Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
Avengers: Age of Ultron

Title: Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Describe This Movie In One Simpsons Quote: "William Faulkner could write an exhaust pipe gag that would really make you think."

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Three-and-a-half Emma Peels out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Earth's mightiest heroes fight Steff from Pretty in Pink.

Tagline: "A new age begins."

Better Tagline: "Avengers, dissemble."

Is There a Post-Credits Sequence? Does a bear ... sorry. There's a mid-credits sequence, and I assume one after the full credits, but we didn't see it in the press screening.

More »

Why Avengers: Age of Ultron Fills This Buffy Fan With Despair

Categories: Film and TV

Walt Marvel Studios/Mutant Enemy Productions
Captain America in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Buffy with stake, resolve.

Depending on whom you talk to, we live in an era of conformity or one of anything-goes individuality; in a golden age of television or the brightest of movie galaxies. But just about everyone will agree that we’re ruled by screens of all sizes, which means it’s harder than ever to make what's on them special.

In 1997 Joss Whedon launched a television show, adapted from the script he’d written for a not-so-great 1992 movie, about a teenage girl (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who learns that she’s part of a centuries-old lineage of young women fated to battle vampires, demons, and other enemies of humankind. She has friends to help her, classmates who are fiercely loyal yet sometimes shift shape and become adversaries. Whedon took a serial ostensibly chronicling the ups and downs of vampire slaying and, over the course of seven years, explored the capillary-delicate intricacies of what it means to be human: what it’s like to have your boyfriend turn against you after you’ve had sex for the first time, how it feels to lose a parent, maybe even what it’s like to die.

More »

Podcast: Avengers 2 Is Better Than Avengers 1

Categories: Film and TV

Jay Maidment/Marvel
For 150 minutes they shout at the audience, "You are having fun!"

Avengers: Age of Ultron director and screenwriter Joss Whedon wants to give us everything in his movie, and that he fits it all in is its own kind of feat, writes LA Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson in her review of the film, which opens May 1. Joining her on this week's Voice Film Club podcast are the Village Voice's Stephanie Zacharek and Alan Scherstuhl on this week's episode, before recommending Welcome to Me starring Kristen Wiig, Felix and Meira, and Don't Think I've Forgotten. Follow us on Twitter at @Voicefilmclub.

Subscribe on iTunes!

Ranking (All) the Marvel Comics Movies

Photo courtesy of Universal Studios
"I'm not #1?"
Avengers: Age of Ultron opens this Friday. It's the penultimate film of the so-called Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the last will be Ant-Man, coming later this summer). When all is said and done, there will be 22 movies in the MCU.

Now as you may know, Marvel Studios doesn't have the rights to all Marvel Comics properties. Sony owns Spider-Man, while 20th Century Fox owns the X-Men and Fantastic Four, neither of which have any say or role in the various MCU phases. So what follows, true believers, is the definitive ranking of all 36 Marvel movies released by the various studios. I'm excluding those released pre-1986 (sorry, 1944 Captain America serial) and those not released in U.S. theaters: Captain America (1990), The Fantastic Four (1994), Man-Thing (2005), and The Punisher (1989).

No, that last one was not released in theaters. You just think it was.

More »

J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy Makes a Successful Leap to the Small Screen

Categories: Film and TV

Photo by Steffan Hill/HBO
Monica Doland and Rory Kinnear in The Casual Vacancy.

Author J.K. Rowling's rags-to-riches biography is arguably better known than her most famous creation, Harry Potter. As the oft-repeated origin story goes, Rowling was a single mother making ends meet, aided by government assistance while she was scribbling the first installment of her phenomenally successful fantasy series in a café — which was heated, unlike her apartment. In five years, she went from being as poor "as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless" to becoming a multimillionaire, eventually surpassing the queen of England in wealth.

More »

Game Of Thrones S05E03: "It's Her Name I Need, Not Her Virtue."

Categories: Film and TV

Photo courtesy of HBO
"Age before beauty." "Pearls before swine."

It was an episode of unions and potentially unpleasant alliances last night. One wedding completed (and thankfully lacking any pigment-related modifiers) and another one planned, a possible detente at the Wall, and a dwarf kidnapping; beat *that*, Good Wife.

We still have our outliers: Arya is hellbent on becoming a Faceless Man, and Jon Snow is (for now) eschewing any alliance with Stannis Baratheon, but events are unfolding that will likely see a certain Lannister in front of a certain Queen by season's end, and they're setting up some kind of weird Brienne/Stannis/Bolton hoedown as well. I boldly predict more violence. And possibly boobs.

More »

Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
Ex Machina

Title: Ex Machina

Describe This Movie In One Simpsons Quote: "C:/DOS, C:/DOS/RUN, RUN/DOS/RUN."

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Four-and-a-half Marias from Metropolis out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Boy meets robot. Boy impressed. Have deep feelings for Sheriff Bart robot.

Tagline: "There is nothing more human than the will to survive."

Better Tagline: "Shall we play a game?"

More »

Bellas, 'Bots, And Brontosaurus: Your 2015 Summer Movie Preview

Categories: Film and TV

Photo courtesy of Universal Studios
Seems legit.
The long winter (such as it is here in Southeast Texas) is over, and the 2015 summer movie season promises to be a big one: three new Marvel properties (from two different studios, naturally); reboots, sequels, and the odd original property thrown in to keep you off balance.

I'd hate to send you out into the muggy coming months unprepared, so what follows is my analysis of the potential entertainment value of the 20 most anticipated summer releases, based on my viewing of trailers/personal bias/relative sobriety (or lack thereof). Enjoy, and turn your goddamned phones off.

More »