Tucson Local Media: Prime Time Review

Prime Time Review

Tuesday 03/14/2017
Dave Chappelle returns on Netflix with two specials this month

“I’ve been gone for a very long time.”

The voice behind that statement was unmistakably that of actor/comedian/writer Dave Chappelle, who will be making quite a splash within the internet media streaming scene when he makes his Netflix debut later this month with two comedy specials.

Available to stream next Tuesday, March 21, the two hour-long specials entitled “Dave Chappelle: The Age of Spin” and “Dave Chappelle: Deep in the Heart of Texas” were filmed at the Palladium in L.A. last March and two-years-ago at the Moody Theater in Austin, Tex., respectively.

To mark the occasion, and give fans a taste of Chapelle’s first specials in more than a decade, Netflix released an official trailer. Longtime fans of the comedians biting, adult humor will find nothing less than Dave’s best on topics ranging from ISIS to the dietary dangers of salt for African Americans.

Chappelle is currently working on a third special with Netflix, to come at an as-of-yet unannounced time.

Be advised, adult language throughout.

Posted in Blogs, Prime time review, Speak out on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:06 pm. Updated: 4:12 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 12/12/2016
Elton John partnering with YouTube to host video contest

Have you ever stayed up late at night making your own music video, taking the inspiration felt from the work of one of your favorite artists to craft a visual story all your own?

With the help of YouTube, Sir Elton John and longtime musical partner Bernie Taupin have today launched “Elton John: The Cut,” giving fans across the world the opportunity to create visual accompaniment to three classic Elton John hits released before the video era.

“We’re giving new and undiscovered filmmakers from all over the worked the chance to create the official music videos for ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Bennie and the Jets,’ …We're excited to see creative ideas that push boundaries, tell compelling stories and give viewers something they have never seen before," John said in the YouTube video released with the announcement.  

The contest, which marks the 50th-anniversary of the duo’s songwriting partnership, requires that each video be created in a genre assigned to each song: “Rocket Man” must be animated, “Tiny Dancer” live-action and “Bennie and the Jets” must feature choreography.  

Launching today, “Elton John: The Cut” will accept public entries beginning on Jan. 9 of next year, with submissions closing on Jan. 23. Elton John and Taupin will work with a panel of YouTube creators and industry judges to select the three winners – and will fund the production with an online premier set for next summer. Any aspiring film maker over the age of 16 may submit after reviewing terms and conditions at thecut.eltonjohn.com.

Submissions will be reviewed and shortlisted by a panel of professional YouTube creators, who will then present the selected videos to the judges panel. After the selection process, John and Taupin will review the submissions before selecting the winners, who will also be given $10,000 each for future projects.

Watch the release video below

Posted in Speak out, Blogs, Prime time review on Monday, December 12, 2016 12:27 pm. Updated: 3:00 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 09/19/2016
World Fighting Federation celebrates achievements before Oct. 1 Tucson show

Having celebrated its landmark 30th event in Chandler, Ariz. less than a month ago, one of Arizona’s premier mixed martial arts promotions, the World Fighting Federation, is returning to Tucson for another night of thrilling amateur and professional fights within WFF cage. On Oct. 1 Casino Del Sol Resort is hosting WFF 31 at the AVA Amphitheater, and the fight card is already competing with WFF 30’s fight of the year atmosphere.

Even though the most exciting part of any MMA contest are the competitors which enter the cage, WFF cofounder Brandy Pierce said the crowd plays a large role in the success of any show – and that the Tucson community really rocks the house.

“We absolutely love bringing WFF to Tucson,” Pierce said. “The fight community within the city really turns out to support their fighters, and few places really show that tremendous level of support and excitement like Tucson.”

Headlining the Oct. 1 fights is Tucson’s own Raymond “The Truth” Piña, who currently holds and 8-2 pro record and is quite familiar with combat sports - not only fighting for WFF but also for Bellator MMA. A Sunnyside High School wrestler turned professional fighter, Piña will be facing off once again in the 170-pound welterweight division against California-based Nathan Espinoza (5-6).

Piña, who trains out of Neutral Corner in Tucson, was last seen fighting at WFF 29 on July 23 against MMA veteran Estevan “El Terrible” Payan (16-10). Having out-wrestled the more experienced Payan during that night’s main event on his way to a unanimous decision victory, Piña said he feels as though he is “on the door step of taking the next leap to the next level” and looking to keep his three-fight win streak alive.

“I feel great physically and mentally,” Piña said. “I think I'm finally on the fight trail to where I want to go. My last opponent was such a veteran of the sport. He's one of those guys who won't quit. I've learned that I can get through a grueling three round war. There are not very many fighters who push the pace like I do. It requires being in great shape and I'm glad I got some experience with that against Payan.”

Returning to Tucson after training at high elevation in Denver, Colo. will be Andrew “Golden Boy” Perez, who trains locally at Apex Mixed Martial Arts and holds a 4-4 professional record.

Having previously been what he called “a fat fighter,” Perez moved down from welterweight to the 155-pound lightweight division and said that his recent trials within the cage have given him a better perspective as a fighter – and that he looks at the sport much differently now. Looking to right a four-fight slip, Perez was last seen fighting in Wilkes-Barre, Penn. at “PA Cage Fight 25” on Aug. 19 where he fought in the main event against Pennsylvania-based Jim Jordan (6-3)  and lost via unanimous decision.

Perez has been pitted against Safford-based Anthony Wray (3-1), who last fought at WFF 29 and will be a perfect challenge for a highly motivated Perez.

Though not a professional yet, one young fighter who has been making quite a name for himself within the regional circuit fighting at WFF 31 is 20-year-old Levi “El Toro” Escobar. Tucson-born and training out of DeBrazil Jiu-Jitsu Academy under his father Martin, Escobar most recently won himself a championship belt at WFF 29 after quickly submitting Kyle “Nuk Soo Kow” Sullenberger of Knox, Penn. by way of standing guillotine at the 43-second-mark in the first round of the fight in the lightweight division.

Having fought his last three contests under the WFF banner – going 2-1 in those fights - Escobar has become a crowd-favorite within the amateur roster. Holding a 3-1 record overall, Escobar said that he still sees plenty more fights in his amateur career before he takes the step up to the pros.

“I plan on going pro after I close in on about 10 amateur fights,” he said. “All I'm really seeking right now is true comfort and experience in the cage so that my vision is clear at the end of my [amateur] career. I want to be able to see everything that is there for me in the cage and that feeling, that vision, only comes with experience and comfort.”

Looking at the rest of his career, Escobar said that he plans on remaining undefeated as an amateur and hopes to be tested against the best amateur fighters in the Southwest – and hopes on moving up from the local scene to fight with the TuffNUff promotion in Las Vegas at the end of this year or early next year.

Though he may have his sights set on greater fame in the future, Escobar said that he loves to fight in front of a home town crowd.

“I like to display what a true product of Tucson looks like in the cage when all the aspects of a true MMA fighter are there, so any chance to show out in front of my family and friends is a blessing,” he said. “Specifically with WFF, there's something about fighting at the Casino Del Sol that's special to me. I really embrace the feeling of going to war in the desert at such a beautiful location like the AVA. To feel the October air touch my skin while I'm walking to the cage is an unexplainable and priceless feeling.”

Also named to the WFF 31 main card is a bout between Tucson-native and Apex fighter Joel Champion (3-0) and Gilbert, Ariz.-based Chris Collins, who will be making his professional debut after a long amateur career at multiple weights. The fight will take place at welterweight.

“Though there are plenty more fights to come on this card, the group of guys already training to compete at Oct. 1 are some of the best the regional fight community has to offer and I am honored that they are willing to put it all on the line within the World Fighting Federation cage,” said Thom Ortiz, WFF cofounder and matchmaker. “Our organization thrives alongside these fighters, so to see them so willing to not only fight for us – but come back and fight again – it just means so much to me and the whole organization.”

While many of the fighters competing under the WFF banner have ties to Tucson and the surrounding region, Ortiz himself is a native Tucsonan and a Sunnyside High School graduate who in his own right has made a lasting impact within the local sports community.

During his time at Sunnyside, Ortiz was a two-time Arizona state wrestling champion, a two-time runner-up and a three-time High School All American who was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler and Arizona Republic’s Wrestler of the Year in 1985.

Moving on to compete while attending Arizona State University on full scholarship, Ortiz was a four-year starter, three-time NCAA All-American, three-time PAC-10 champion, Academic All-American and a member of the 1988 NCAA Championship Team and held an overall record of 118-34-2, competing at both 150 and 142-pounds.

After graduating, Ortiz coached at both Iowa State University and returned to ASU for eight years. While at the latter he garnered three Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year awards, two top six finishes within the NCAA Tournament, coached a NCAA individual champion, 14 All-Americans, 17 Pac-10 champions and earned three Pac-10 team titles.

For his efforts and contributions to wrestling, both as an athlete and coach, Ortiz was inducted into both the ASU Sports Hall of Fame and the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame for the class of 2016.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized like that,” Ortiz said of his inductions. “Halls of fame were never something I aimed to be in, I just thank God that I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to achieve so much. That is part of the reason that I helped found WFF; to give other athletes the opportunity to create a future for themselves as I have.”

For Piña, achieving glory is one of his goals, and another fight in the WFF cage is just another step along the way.

“I would love to fight with the best of the best in the UFC,” he said. “But whatever the next step is, we shall see. My goal as a fighter is to fight with the best and when people think back on me they will say, “damn, that's was one tough SOB.’”

Casino Del Sol Resort is located at 5655 West Valencia Road. For tickets to WFF 31 go to www.BuyFightTickets.com and for more information on the World Fighting Federation visit www.wffmma.com or follow on social media. For those unable to make the fights, streaming service is available for $9.99 through the WFF website.

The World Fighting Federation will also be heading to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico (Rocky Point) on Oct. 15 in conjunction with longtime Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA veteran Efrain Escudero.

More information on the full fight card will be made available via WFF in the coming weeks before WFF 31.

Posted in Blogs, Prime time review, Speak out on Monday, September 19, 2016 11:44 am. Updated: 1:56 pm. | Tags: World Fighting Federation , Wffmma , Wff , Ufc , Bellator , Fighting , Tucson Comments (0)

Friday 09/09/2016
‘I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change’ coming to Oro Valley this month

Fresh off a successful run at the Alliance Performance Center of Tucson (APCOT), the Roadrunner Theatre Company is partnering with The Gaslight Music Hall to stage the musical comedy “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change” later this month.

“We’re extremely excited to be partnering with Roadrunner Theatre Company to mount the first of what we hope will be many collaborations with area performing arts organizations,” said music hall producer and artistic director Robert Shaw.

Set in two acts, the four-actor performance will weave in and out of the various intricacies of love, from dating through marriage.

Written by Joe DiPietro and with music by Jimmy Roberts, “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change” is one of the longest running Off Broadway musicals and has made appearances through different companies throughout the world.

“It touches on so many aspects of people’s lives,” said Jose "Chach" Snook, who directs and stars in the Roadrunner performance. “So many people can see themselves in each of these characters and it’s why it’s so easy to laugh at – you can just relate so much”

Cach will perform the musical alongside his wife Jodi Darling, Kelli Workman and Tyler Wright with support from musical director Geoff Gale and violinist Callie Hutchinson.

The show will run on the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, Sept. 22, 7PM
  • Sunday, Sept. 25, 3PM
  • Sunday, Sept. 25, 6:30PM
  • Thursday, Sept. 29, 7PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 2, 3PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 2, 6:30PM

Tickets are $25 with discounts available to students, seniors and military through the box office of the Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 North Oracle Road. For tickets call 529-1000 or visit www.gaslightmusichall.com

Posted in Blogs, Prime time review, Speak out on Friday, September 9, 2016 3:42 pm. Updated: 10:23 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 08/29/2016
Alison Brie joining cast of “G.L.O.W.”

One of Netflix’s recently announced original shows has found its leading lady.

Recently announced, Alison Brie of “Community” fame, whose career first reached widespread audiences in 2007 when she landed a role as Trudy Campbell in 2007 on AMC’s “Mad Men,” will be the central character in “G.L.O.W.”

Announced back in May, “G.L.O.W.” is based on the real all-female wrestling league originally formed in 1968 - the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling. The series, which has been approved for a 10-episode run, tells the fictionalized story of an out-of-work actress named Ruth (played by Brie), who makes a last-ditch attempt to live out her dreams in the form of a weekly series about female wrestlers.

Behind “G.L.O.W.” are several figures quite familiar with the Netflix system and television success. The show was co-created by Liz Flahive of “Homeland” fame and Carly Mensch of “Orange is the New Black.” Flahive and Mensch will both serve in executive producer positions alongside Jenji Kohan, who is most well known as the creator and executive producer “Orange Is the New Black,” as well as co-executive producer Tara Herrmann.

 Having spent some time behind the microphone, Brie has been heard more than seen in the past few years. Last seen in Jeff Baena’s “Joshy,” Brie has been credited for her work in “The LEGO Movie” and more recently on the Netflix animated original – “Bojack Horseman”

The story of the true-life women of G.L.O.W. can be seen in the 2012 documentary “GLOW: The Story of The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” written by Bradford Thomason and directed by Brett Whitcomb.

Posted in Blogs, Prime time review, Speak out on Monday, August 29, 2016 12:26 pm. Updated: 12:29 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 05/02/2016
LeBron James’ ‘Space Jam’ may actually be happening

The idea of LeBron James starring in a sequel to the 1996 live-action/animated children’s classic “Space Jam” has floated around the internet and among gossip circles for some years now. Though often considered a joke, it looks as though the Cleveland Cavaliers baller may actually be taking another step closer to the legacy of Michael Jordan. James is reportedly cast to star in “Space Jam 2.”

The project has a few more names already on board. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Fast & Furious 6” and “Star Trek Beyond” director/producer Justin Lin has signed on. Writers Andrew Dodge and Alfredo Botello are also listed on the film; Botello consulted with Lin on “Star Trek Beyond.”

Though the movie is still in the earliest stages of development, any news regarding “Space Jam” is big news.

Though the original film was Jordan’s first foray on the big screen, James has some previous film time – playing himself - in last year’s “Trainwreck,” headed up by Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, directed to Judd Apatow.

Though James has shown the excellent athletic ability needed to compete with Jordan’s legacy on the court, he and the rest of the cast and crew on the new film will have quite a challenge on their hands.  

Released in the U.S. on Nov. 17, 1996, “Space Jam” grossed over $230 million worldwide and a $27.5 million opening weekend in domestic theaters.

Twenty years down the road, and the greatest challenge that “Space Jam 2” may face is brand recognition, or lack thereof. While James is a guaranteed attraction, the fervor of fandom surrounding the Looney Toons has all but disappeared – though a sequel may change that.

And if it’s not called “Space Jam 2,” my personal recommendation is an easy one, “Space James.” 

Posted in Blogs, Prime time review, Speak out on Monday, May 2, 2016 3:14 pm. | Tags: Lebron James , Space Jam , Justin Lin Comments (0)

Monday 04/18/2016
Olympic gold medalist & UFC fighter returns to where his MMA career began

Inspirational figure, youngest Olympic gold medal wrestler in history, mixed martial arts fighter - Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo has had the honor of donning several titles before turning 30, though there is still a major goal within his sights:

The Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight title belt.

Cejudo will have the opportunity to become a world champion in the UFC this Saturday, April 23 when he takes on current champ, Demetrious “Might Mouse” Johnson as the co-main event at UFC 197 in Las Vegas. The headlining fight of the night will be Jon “Bones” Jones taking on Ovince Saint Preux for the interim light heavyweight title.

Cejudo trains out of Fight Ready MMA & Fitness Gym in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Though this Saturday will mark his first chance to don a championship belt in the UFC octagon, Cejudo has been involved in combat sports for the majority of his life, having first been introduced to wrestling by his brother, Angel. While in high school, he captured several state titles and finished with a combined record of 120-3.

After retiring from a legendary career on the wrestling mat, Cejudo decided to turn his attention to mixed martial arts. Moving up to 135 pounds, he won his professional debut in Tucson, fighting against Michael Poe at World Fighting Federation’s “WFF - Pascua Yaqui Fights 4” on Mar. 2, 2013. More than three years later, and Cejudo finds himself sharing the focus of a world-wide spotlight, fighting in the sports biggest promotion.

With a world title fight just a week away, Cejudo recently made a surprise visit to the WFF during the promotion’s most recent event, WFF 27 at Casino Del Sol Resort on April 16.

“Nothing really compares to having the opportunity to watch a guy like Henry come up through our organization, sharpen his skills, rise through the ranks and compete against the greatest in the world in the UFC,” said Thom Ortiz, founder and matchmaker for WFF.

Back in 2013, it was Ortiz who put together Cejudo’s first fight.

“We here at WFF are always looking to shine the light on the best up-and-coming talent in the world of mixed martial arts, and I think Henry is exactly that. Not only is he an outstanding wrestler and fighter, he is a genuine person and a true professional. For him to come out and visit us just a week away from competing for a belt in Vegas and visit the fans – man, there’s nothing like that kind of love.”

Though the hype surrounding Cejudo’s rise up the UFC ranks is nothing short of prolific, he will be facing his most challenging opponent to date when we squares off against Johnson on Saturday. With eight title defenses already behind him, Johnson has been competing at a level few have ever attained in the sport – though Cejudo thinks his Olympic experience and wrestling pedigree more than match Johnson’s ability.

His visit to Tucson was a treat for the huge crowd of fight fans, but Cejudo took a moment to reflect on where he's been, and pay a complement to WFF.

"Guys that come out of WFF are ready for the UFC" he said. 

Cejudo also took a moment to talk about his upcoming title shot, telling fans that he was excited to put on a show, and expected to walk away holding a UFC belt.

Check out the first behind-the-scenes episode of "UFC 197 Embedded," which follows the fighters as they train for their upcoming bouts.

Check in at www.wffmma.com to see the most exciting fighting talent in the region.

Posted in Speak out, Blogs, Prime time review on Monday, April 18, 2016 9:10 pm. Updated: 11:16 pm. | Tags: Ufc , Mma , Mixed Martial Arts , Henry Cejudo , Demetrious Johnson , Wff , World Fighting Federation , Olympics , Wrestling Comments (0)

Saturday 04/16/2016
Mixed martial arts live in Tucson

Twenty men, ten fights, twenty pairs gloves - and one cage.

For the 27th time, the World Fighting Federation is showcasing some of the most impressive up-and-coming talent in the competitive world of mixed martial arts. Amateur and professional, fighters from across Arizona, Texas and Mexico have come to Tucson to square off against one another at the AVA Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol Resort.

 Among the fighters, nearly ten come from or train in the greater Tucson area – though all are excited to showcase their skills in front of hundreds of excited fans. While watching mixed martial arts on the television set is fun, little compares to the cage side excitement of live MMA.

WFF founder and matchmaker Thom Ortiz said he was extremely excited for WFF 27 and that the competitors could each have a potential future in larger promotions, something he hopes to one day see.

“They’ve done everything professional,” he said. “They’ve got their medicals in on time, and everyone’s ready to go. Every fight is going to be a great fight…These guys are warriors, and it’s an honor to have them step in to the cage for us”

Tickets range from $20 for lawn seats to $100 for VIP, and alcohol will be available for purchase. For tickets, visit www.buyfighttickets.com. The fights begin at 7:30 p.m. today, April 16. If you are unable to make it to the fight, World Fighting Federation offers a purchasable streaming service of the fights for $9.99, found at www.wffmma.com

-- Full Fight Card –

Sergio Gonzalez

Yuma United MMA/Yuma



Greg “McGanja” Edwards

Northside BJJ/Tucson

Amateur Debut


Taylor Walters




Chris Henderson

The MMA Lab/Glendale

Amateur Debut


Raul Nava

Torres Dojo/Phoenix



Callum Antone




Allan “Big Snacks” Cater

Briggs Academy of Martial Arts/El Paso

Amateur Debut


Deon “The Merciless” Clash

ToroTech MMA/Tucson



Josue Rodriguez

Ichinoe Dojo/Mexicali, México


136 lb Catchweight

Adam “Kid Solo” Ortiz

Maxx Force MMA/Tucson


136 lb Catchweight

Timmy “Two Tone” Landess

Team Driven/Scottsdale

Pro Debut (Amateur 2-6)


Sam “Leumas” Compton

Tucson’s Undisputed/Tucson

Pro Debut (Amateur 3-2)


Derrick “The Sheriff” Brown

Team Driven/Scottsdale


150 lb Catchweight

Magic Mike Hamel

The MMA Lab/Gilbert

Pro Debut (Amateur 3-1)

150 lb Catchweight

Isaac Camarillo


Pro Debut (Amateur 2-0)



Brandon “The Baby Assassin” Moreno

Entram Gym & Fight Ready/Tijuana, Mexico



Jeff Anderson

Neutral Corner/Tucson

Pro Debut (Amateur 4-4)


Joel Champion

Apex Mixed Martial Arts/Tucson



Nicholas “Cobra” Salantri

Golden Cobra Snakepit USA, Ultimate HB, Prescott HB/Prescott


175 lb Catchweight

Raymond “The Truth” Pina

Independent MMA/Tucson


175 lb Catchweight

Posted in Blogs, Prime time review, Speak out on Saturday, April 16, 2016 2:20 am. Updated: 9:55 pm. | Tags: Mixed Martial Arts , Mma , Wff , Wffmma , World Fighting Federation Comments (0)

Thursday 04/14/2016
UPDATE: AMC Entertainment CEO: texting-friendly movie theaters a possibility

"NO TEXTING AT AMC. Won't happen. You spoke. We listened. Quickly, that idea has been sent to the cutting room floor."

The internet spoke, and AMC listened. Just hours after Adam Aron announced the possibility of texting-friendly theaters, AMC axed the idea.

--Original Story--

For most (99.9 percent) moviegoers, texting while in the theater is quite possibly one of the gravest sins possible. Whether the clicking of typing away or the light from the screen, cell phone use has long been frowned upon, even disdained, by both the theater industry and film buffs alike.

Well that may come to an end soon, at least in some places.

While attending CinemaCon this week in Las Vegas, the official convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners, AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron sat down for an interview with Variety. During that interview, he shared a potential marketing plan many may find quite surprising: allowing text-friendly theaters.

The topic came up when Aron was asked if there were any particular demographics the company was planning to target with a nearly $4 billion marketing campaign. He mentioned three groups: people already interested in movie who could be enticed to see more, market share taken away from competitors and the third, “pockets of consumers who do not see as many movies as other segments of the population and that we can be doing more to attract those people,” he said.

Aron mentioned millennials as a potential consumer base to be tapped, and said the company would need to reshape its product in order to attract younger customers.

Variety reporter Brent Long asked if appealing to millennials involved cell phone use in theaters, Aron had this to say:

“Yes. When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow. You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cell phone. That’s not how they live their life.”

While the idea of a bright screen ruining a movie should be quite appalling, Aron is keeping traditional moviegoers in mind.

“At the same time, though, we’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences. There’s a reason there are ads up there saying turn off your phone, because today’s moviegoer doesn’t want somebody sitting next to them texting or having their phone on.”

Some of the possible ways mentioned to possibly create a texting-friendly theater included a texting zone, or even auditorium specifically designated to allow for cell phone usage.

In the immediate aftermath of Aron’s idea, scores of websites and internet users took to the web to voice their displeasure at the idea of including texting at the theater, causing Aron to release a clarifying statement today:

"There is no specific time frame as to when we might introduce such a test, if ever…We would only introduce a concept like this when we are totally confident that we can fully satisfy the desires of our current guests," the statement added.”

Here in Tucson, AMC owns and operates the AMC Loews Foothills Theater at the Foothills Mall. Though there is a relatively small presence in town, AMC Entertainment will be the largest movie theater operator in the world after a $1.1 billion merger with Carmike Cinemas.

Texting in theaters: a good idea, or a horrible possibility?

Posted in Blogs, Prime time review, Speak out on Thursday, April 14, 2016 6:43 pm. Updated: 3:40 pm. | Tags: Cinemacon , Amc Theaters , Texting Comments (0)

Wednesday 03/30/2016
UFC Fighter calls cop 'pig' and 'f-ing liar' during traffic stop

It seems as though mixed martial artist and Ultimate Championship former light heavyweight champ Jon “Bones” Jones just can’t keep himself out of trouble with the law. He is currently in custody without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center since being taken into custody yesterday morning by the New Mexico Corrections Department. Jones is serving an 18-month supervised probation, which he received in a plea deal after his hit-and-run accident last April.

Last Thursday, March 24, Jones was pulled over in downtown Albuquerque and received five separate traffic citations for drag racing, exhibition driving, weaving, failing to properly display his license plate and modifying his exhaust pipe. 

The timing for the most recent of a string of incidents could be worse for Jones, coming only weeks before he is set to take on current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in a well-anticipated rematch on April 23 as the pay-per-view headliner of UFC 197.

Jones currently holds a record of 21-1 in mixed martial arts, 15-1 in the UFC octagon. Cormier holds a record of 17-1 overall, and 6-1 within the UFC. As for the upcoming bout, representatives from Jones’ camp have expressed confidence that the fighter will not be prevented from competing at UFC 197.

Known as the youngest fighter to ever hold a UFC title, Jones picked up the belt after defeating Maurício “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 on March 19, 2011. Jones went on to defend his belt on eight separate occasions and was scheduled for a ninth against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson before he was stripped of the belt and suspended from the UFC indefinitely in connection with a hit-and-run incident in April of 2015. The incident also caused Jones to lose his sponsorships with Reebok and MuscleTech.

Jones issues with the police date back to before his hit-and-run, though. He picked up a DUI charge in 2012 after he drove his Bentley Continental GT into a pole in Binghamton, NY. He sparked a fight with long-time rival Cormier during a promotional event for UFC 178 and failed a drug test prior to UFC 182 in 2015 – among other issues in and out of the octagon.

Despite difficulties, Jones was considered – and still is – by many in the MMA community to be one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in recent memory, if not all time. Though many fighters and fans have plenty of negative things to say, Jones has been one of the sport’s most entertaining fighters.

He recently went on MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and spoke about the incident:

"I definitely wasn't drag racing," Jones said. "I got emotional and said some things that I probably shouldn't have said to a police officer."

"He needed something to justify pulling me over. He fabricated the whole thing that I was drag racing."

Watch the video of the encounter below:


offensive language

Posted in Speak out, Prime time review on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 12:33 pm. Updated: 7:00 pm. | Tags: Ufc , Jon Jones , Ultimate Fighting Championship , Traffic Stop Comments (0)

Friday 03/25/2016
New clip of "The Jungle Book" offers glimpse of Shere Khan

Based on the classic collection of stories by British novelist and literary mastermind Rudyard Kipling, director Jon Favreau will be retelling the story of “The Jungle Book” in a film set to release on April 15.

The movie will be a live-action epic surrounding Mowgli, played by relative newcomer Neel Sethi, a ”man-cub” raised by a family of wolves, under pack leader Akela, voiced by  Giancarlo Esposito. Alongside the wolves are the fearsome panther Bagheera, voiced by Ben Kingsley and the lovable bear Baloo, voiced by none other than Bill Murray.

While many in the jungle accept Mowgli as one of their own, the fate of the young human comes into question upon the introduction of the fearsome tiger, Shere Khan, voiced by Idris Alba. Alongside the aforementioned voiceactors will be Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken, among others.

While Disney had previously given fans the opportunity to see some of the CGI-produced animals and hear some of the voice actors at work, there hasn’t been much in the way of a long trailer or teaser, until recently.

The video, titled “Intro to Shere Khan” gives a spine-chilling look at just how menacing Alba’s voice is in the role of the violent tiger – one who bears the scars of human hands. Shere Khan’s character isn’t exactly a protagonist, and Alba adds a dark edge to the character.

Posted in Prime time review, Speak out on Friday, March 25, 2016 4:11 pm. Updated: 4:22 pm. | Tags: The Jungle Book , Jon Favreau , Bill Murray , Idris Alba Comments (0)

Thursday 03/17/2016
Indiana Jones and the never-ending well of money

Get your hat and whip ready; Disney recently announced that everyone’s favorite archaeologist - Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones – will be returning to the big screen in a fifth installment of the beloved franchise. Not only will the good doctor once again take to the deserts and jungles of the world in search for lost treasure and artifacts, but Harrison Ford will once again be reprising the titular role.

Joining Ford will be Steven Spielberg, who will once again sit in the director’s chair for the project, slated to release July 19, 2019. George Lucas is reported to not be involved with the project.

Since the release of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981, Dr. Jones has been a mainstay figure in the minds of many young and adventurous minds. Not only has “Indy” been a success among fans, but the franchise has brought in over $2 billion across the globe in box office sales and has been the starting place for various TV shows, theme park attracts and a plethora collectible goodies.

Ford last took up the titular role in 2008 when he teamed up with Shia LeBeouf to completely embarrass the series in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

Though “Crystal Skull” made more in the box office than any other film in the franchise, the series is in need of a powerhouse fifth film to reinvigorate “Indiana Jones,” especially since few fans want their last memory of the beloved archaeologist to include LeBeouf, aliens and Indy surviving a nuclear blast in a refrigerator.

According to a statement by Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, “Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019. It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.”

The as of yet unnamed “Indiana Jones” film may just be what the franchise needs, though, and couldn’t come at a better time. Ford has been on a roll with reboots and sequels, having recently returned to his role as Han Solo in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” to tragic on-screen results.

(It’s not a spoiler anymore, Han Solo dies)

Not satisfied with just returning to a galaxy far, far away, Ford is also slated to return as former cop turned android slayer, Rick Deckard, in an upcoming sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic, “Blade Runner,” set to release in 2018.

The question still remains: will the fifth “Indiana Jones” film include the retirement of Dr. Jones? Will an apprentice/protege make him or herself apparent and take the archaeological torch from Indy?

As long as it’s not LeBeouf, the series should remain in good hands, and Ford will be swimming in a pool of money.

Look for the newest “Indiana Jones” film in 2019.

Posted in Prime time review, Speak out on Thursday, March 17, 2016 11:40 am. Updated: 4:30 pm. | Tags: Indiana Jones 5 , Harrison Ford , Steven Spielberg , Raiders Of The Lost Ark , Disney Comments (0)

Friday 03/04/2016
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' DVD, Blu-Ray and digital release announced

While fans of a galaxy far, far away will still have to wait some time before the releases of “Star Wars: Episode VIII” or “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” there is some good news in regards to the beloved franchise.

Disney recently announced the release date for the digital, DVD and Blu-Ray versions of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which came out Dec. 18 last year. The movie will be coming to home TV screens in digital HD on April 1, while the DVD and Blu-Ray combo packs will release April 5.

Since being released, “The Force Awakens” has grossed more than $2 billion worldwide. Not accounting for inflation, the film stands at the No. 3 spot of all time at the box office, behind Avatar a $2.7 billion and Titanic at $2.1 billion.

“Star Wars” fans won’t just have the opportunity to watch their new favorite movie at home; purchasing the home-video version will come with a slew of extras:

  • Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey: For the first time, discover the complete story behind the making of The Force Awakens, revealed through in-depth footage and exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmakers in this feature documentary.
  • The Story Awakens: The Table Read: Cast members familiar and new reflect on the memorable day they all first came together to read the movie's script.
  • Building BB-8: See how the filmmakers brought the newest droid to the screen, creating an instant fan favorite in the Star Wars universe.
  • Crafting Creatures: Watch movie magic as the filmmakers bring a cast of new creatures to life.
  • Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight: Go deeper into the epic, climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren.
  • John Williams: The Seventh Symphony: The legendary composer shares personal insights of his work on Star Wars and The Force Awakens.
  • ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force: An insider's look into the remarkable digital artistry of the movie's visual effects.
  • Force For Change: Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. See how the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others.
  • Deleted Scenes

Keep an eye out for places to purchase the film and all of the attached goodies.

Posted in Prime time review, Speak out on Friday, March 4, 2016 11:34 am. Updated: 11:38 am. | Tags: Star Wars , The Force Awakens , Disney , Dvd , Blu-ray , Release Date Comments (0)

Monday 02/29/2016
‘Rick and Morty’ voice actors hard at work on season 3

It has been less than six months since the second season of “Rick and Morty” ended, and fans of the hit Adult Swim animated sci-fi show have been scrounging for every scrap of information, image, video or leak regarding the future of the beloved show.

The internet may rejoice; news of the third season’s progress has been made public – though the expected release is still some time away.

According to Mike McMahan, one of the “Rick and Morty” writers, voice actors have begun recording episode 301, confirmed by a post on his Twitter account “TNG Season 8,” which was later verified by iDigital Times. According to the report, McMahan is responsible for writing the first new episode, which is only given a working title, episode 301.

News of the new season isn’t exactly new. Show creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon announced back in December that the third season would soon be in the works – after some raucous New Year’s celebrations.

“Rick and Morty” is centered on eponymous characters Rick Sanchez and his grandson, Morty Smith. Rick, a dimension-traveling mad scientist with a drinking problem, mysteriously disappeared from his family’s life for 20 years; only to one day appear at the doorstep of his daughter Beth and her husband Jerry Smith. Morty and his grandfather spend their days on dangerous and often hilarious adventures throughout the multi-verses of space, all while Morty stresses about girls and school.

Roiland voices the series' eponymous characters, while the supporting cast stars the voices of Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer and Sarah Chalke.

Since season two ended in October, fans have had little to tide them over until new episodes. A mobile game titled "Pocket Mortys" was recently released for both iOS and Android. The game allows players to take control of over 70 bizarre Mortys to recruit and train in a similar style the “Pokémon” franchise.

Though the game allowed a small respite, it was not tied to the story of the show.

The story leaves of with Rick being jailed in the universe’s most maximum security prison for every crime imaginable. When the new season starts, the plot point of interest will be his escape from prison, a point Harmon teased would not take too long.

"I don't think anybody wants to do a third season that simply spends a whole bunch of episodes dealing with a situation that we created at the end of the second season,” he said in a recent interview. “So, I think that's a non-spoiler way of saying things should be okay pretty quickly," he said.

So more hilarity, more crazy adventures, more “Rick and Morty.”  While the new season is sure to bring about some changes, not much seems to be change for the winning recipe. As of now, the launch of the third season is speculated to air at some point in the first quarter of 2017, look for March.

Posted in Prime time review, Speak out on Monday, February 29, 2016 12:27 pm. Updated: 12:36 pm. | Tags: Rick And Morty , Rick , Morty , Dan Harmon , Sarah Chalke , Cartoon Network , Adult Swim , Mike Mcmahan , Idigital News , Tng Season 8 Comments (0)

Sunday 02/28/2016
The count rides again

The Ultimate Fighting Championship held its first event in England in almost two years over the weekend when UFC Fight Night rocked the O2 Arena in London. In the main event of the night, two mixed martial arts veterans, England’s own Michael “The Count” Bisping (28-7) and Brazilian former champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva (33-7-1), faced off against one another in a contest easily contending for fight of the year.  Though there was no championship on the line, both men have been eyeing a title run in the middleweight division for some time.

Despite an impressive performance and a show of dramatics by Silva, Bisping secured a victory by way of unanimous decision. Bisping claimed his victory despite several eye pokes, low blows and a serious gash under one eye.

Though the contest was far from one sided, Bisping showed himself to be the aggressor the majority of the five-round fight, pressing Silva against the cage with almost every step.

Not to be outdone, Silva remained competitive, if not active, throughout the entire fight. Silva is known for taunting, dancing and even teasing opponents during fights, though the equally veteran Bisping remained calm throughout the fight.

Bisping rocked Silva and dropped him several times, though the Brazilian returned the favor – most noticeably at the end of the third round. The strike was extremely controversial: Bisping had dropped his mouthpiece and while signaling to it, caught a vicious jumping knee from Silva, putting him down instantly as the bell rang.

"Well, my mouthpiece left my mouth” said Bisping in a post-fight interview. “We weren't exchanging blows. Of course he was trying to stalk me down, I was using my footwork to back away. I was talking to Herb Dean, saying 'Herb, my mouthpiece!' I don't want to lose my teeth. Contrary to popular belief, the British all don't have bad teeth. Mine are okay.”

Silva believed the fight to be over, and took much convincing otherwise.

Despite serious bleeding, Bisping pushed through the pain, and was able to secure a decisive victory over a constantly dangerous man in Silva.

Fight of the night honors were a given, and both men received a $50,000 bonus for the honor. Silva now has 13 career post-fight bonuses, putting him into a first-place tie with Joe Lauzon for most in UFC history.

Posted in Prime time review, Speak out on Sunday, February 28, 2016 2:11 pm. Updated: 2:16 pm. | Tags: Ufc , Michael Bisping , Mma , Mixed Martial Arts , London , Anderson Silva Comments (0)

Monday 02/22/2016
'Planet Earth II' coming later this year

Ten years ago, the world was shown just how beautiful the planet it in breathtaking HD video when the BBC released the ground-breaking documentary series, “Planet Earth.” A decade later, and the news of a sequel has arrived. The new series will feature six, one-hour episodes set to be released later in the year. In another stroke of good news, Sir David Attenborough will once again take to the microphone and narrate.

The sequel series, originally under the working title “One Planet,” has a lot of prestige to live up to. “Planet Earth” racked up Emmy Award accolades over its 11 episode run, which took five years to film and was the first to be filmed in high definition by the BBC.

The 89-year-old Attenborough was quite excited when speaking with The Guardian during a recent interview about the new project.

“I am very excited to once again be working with the Natural History Unit on its latest landmark series and am especially looking forward to getting out on location in the next month or so,” he said.

Attenborough will be joining the show’s filmmaker, Louis Theroux, executive producer Mike Gunton and series producer Tom Hugh-Jones in Liverpool for an event tomorrow to launch the series.

“Ten years after ‘Planet Earth’ first brought the wonders of the natural world to viewers in HD,” said Gunton, “‘Planet Earth II’ is another game-changer. Shot in UHD, the epic scale and ambition of this series is second to none. It will be a truly immersive experience, providing audiences with a unique perspective on the most extraordinary places and animals on our planet.”

The series will be shot in 4K Ultra HD, and will most likely mark a turning point in consumer realization of the beautiful capabilities of the resolution – much like “Planet Earth” did for HD video. As for the actual subject matter of the new series, it will center on the same topics touched on in the original production: exploring the Earth and its wide variety of biomes and inhabitants.

“The epic scale and ambition of this series is second to none,” said Gunton, “It will be a truly immersive experience, providing audiences with a unique perspective on the most extraordinary places and animals on our planet.”

Though Attenborough’s presence in any BBC production has long been a given, there were some fans of the series who had a different narrator in mind for the sequel. Recent online efforts signed by over 50,000 signers asked to have Snoop Dogg narrate the next installment, though it is doubtful the BBC considered the option.

Expect to see “Planet Earth II” later this year.

Posted in Prime time review, Speak out on Monday, February 22, 2016 2:46 pm. Updated: 2:50 pm. | Tags: Bbc , Planet Earth , Sir David Attenborough , Planet Earth Ii , Documentary , Emmy Award , Earth , 4k , Hd , Uhd , Hd Video Comments (0)

Wednesday 02/17/2016
Prime Time Review: The “Youth” of Old Age

Youth” is best seen with a foot firmly planted in the past. That foot, whether steeped in the careers of performers like Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, or in the gluttonous cinema of directors like Federico Fellini, proves crucial in the understanding of Paolo Sorrentino’s latest existential soufflé. Don’t let the promiscuous promotional posters sway your perspective; this is not a story that cashes in on easy old guy jokes. Instead, it offers an intimate, often times jarring window into the souls of its characters, who just so happen to be played by Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel.

As a retired composer and withering movie director, both acting giants ace their respective roles, oftentimes exceeding Sorrentino’s script with a tasteful flair for the theatrics; both a reminder of their once prodigious talents and a solid case that they’ve both still got it in spades. Barbs about old girlfriends and raising children are delivered with such moxy they can seem autobiographical at points, pushing the picture into performing territory unseen by either man in quite a while. It doesn’t hurt that Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano (who continues to shine in every role thrown his way) are there to lend scene strengthening support, fleshing out Caine’s character and formulating their own melancholy conclusions about life, languishing and the pursuit of happiness.

Each of these acting assets result in moments of wonder; from the father-daughter relationship of Weisz and Caine to the show stopping verbal brawl of Keitel and Jane Fonda, who immediately gets her hands dirty in a glorified cameo role. It’s here that Sorrentino, an avid expert in crafting moods onscreen, allows his thematic thread posts to do the talking — running head first into mortality, legacy and what to do when all that’s left is regret: the big three of arthouse cinema. “Youth” makes no attempt to conceal its niche intentions, and the director’s dreamlike editing will quickly filter out anyone who’s arrived unprepared for a draining display. But while the film’s successful moments reach gloriously tender heights, such an “artsy” approach can leave things feeling hollow or emotionally undercut at times. This shortcoming finds itself on full display come the finale; where what should have been a beautifully orchestrated curtain closer comes off as indifferent and rushed.

It’s a shame, really, given the brilliance of the moments that preceded it. Caine and Keitel co-opt some killer chemistry, but Paolo Sorrentino’s Fellini impression comes off a bit too superficial to close the deal. As a result, “Youth” files under the same bin that most albums do from elderly musicians — a few great songs, but an overall inconsistent experience. In the words of Caine’s nebbish nihilist, “tremendous effort, mild result.”


Danilo Castro is a resident of Oro Valley and writer for the Film Noir Archive blog at www.filmnoirarchive.com

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 4:00 am. Updated: 9:11 am. | Tags: Oro Valley , Pima County , Tucson News , Tucson Local Media , 10/13 Communications , Marana News , Explorer Newspaper , Northwest Tucson , Youth , Michael Caine , Harvey Keitel , Paolo Sorrentino , Rachel Weisz , Paul Dano , Nihilist Comments (0)

Aesop Rock announces “The Impossible Kid,” and releases first single.

Only four years after showing off his ever-growing, impressive lyrical prowess and dominance over the underground hip-hop industry, independent rap veteran Aesop Rock (real name Ian Matthias Bavitz) just announced the upcoming release of his newest studio album, “The Impossible Kid,” due to reach listeners April 29 via Rhymesayers Entertainment.

In addition to the news of the upcoming release, a video for a song off the album, “Rings” was also released, giving fans a first taste of what is to come from the indie rap pioneer.

To say that Aesop Rock sits in a class all his own, is quite the understatement. Few lyricists reach the same level of complexity in their songs as he. Known for in-depth metaphors about everything from social problems to suicide and the loss of friends, the music of Aesop Rock is impossible to put into simple terms.

His newest release, “Rings,” is somewhat of a return to more somber tones. The roots of song, and the newest album, stem from a turbulent period in the rapper’s life when he left his second home-city of San Francisco to live in a barn deep in the woods after a close friend passed away. Notes of grave melancholy can be picked up over the electronic introduction, and a smooth bass carries the song well.

Partnered with the introspective “Rings” is a video showing Aesop Rock being struck by a vehicle and later opened up on the operating table. Within the rapper’s CGI-created mind is a collection of different boxes and containers, each relaying memorable moments.

Back in the studio to work on a major project since releasing “Skelethon” in 2012, Aesop was able to once again maintain complete creative control over the album, a recipe for success if there is any in the music industry. “The Impossible Kid” will feature 15 songs and album artwork co-conceived with artist Alex Pardee.

Though Aesop hasn’t released a full length album since 2012, he did give fans a taste of his musical magic last year with the release of the EP “Cat Food,” as well as several collaborative projects with Kimya Dawson and Rob Sonic, to name a few.

If “Rings” is anything to go by, “The Impossible Kid” is going to be another amazing album from a man known for intimately understanding his own limits, only to break them with each release.

Special pre-order bonuses are included for those looking to secure a copy of the new album and some gear. Pre-orders of “The Impossible Kid” from Fifth Element will receive an exclusive autographed insert by Aesop Rock.

To preorder the album from  Fifth Element, click here


01: Mystery Fish

02: Rings

03: Lotta Years

04: Dorks

05: Rabies

06: Supercell

07: Blood Sandwich

08: Get Out of the Car

09: Shrunk

10: Kirby

11: TUFF

12: Lazy Eye

13: Defender

14: Water Tower

15: Molecules

Posted in Prime time review, Speak out on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 12:20 pm. Updated: 8:57 am. | Tags: Aesop Rock , The Impossible Kid , Rap , Hip-hop , Underground Rap , Rhymesayers Entertainment , Rings , Oro Valley , Pima County , Tucson News , Tucson Local Media , 13 Communications , Marana News , Explorer Newspaper , Northwest Tucson Comments (0)

Tuesday 02/02/2016
Schwarzenegger still eying third “Conan the Barbarian” movie

Last week, former body builder, film star and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told fans that he was still interested in turning the “Conan the Barbarian” films into a trilogy. He shared his intentions on the project while speaking at the “Experience with Arnold Schwarzenegger” event in Edinburgh and Birmingham.

The film, at one point set to be titled “The Legend of Conan” would bring the barbarian’s tale to an end, and relate his later years of ruling the Hyborian throne. During the interview, Schwarzenegger let slip that the film may be produced under a different yet familiar name, “Conan the Conqueror.”

“Conan the Conqueror,” said Schwarzenegger, “where I’m sitting on the throne for years and years; decades. And then all of the sudden, the time comes when they want to overthrow me. So that story will be told and that movie will be done.”

Not much else regarding the plot has been released. Though the film has been pushed back for some time, Schwarzenegger and others behind the project have said that progress is definitely being made.

Chris Morgan, best known as executive producer of “Furious 7” and as a writer for “Wanted” and “47 Ronin,” will be producing the new Conan movie. Morgan recently gave some insight as to what fans can expect from the new movie.

"When we meet him again, Conan has been many things over the course of his life,” he said, “a thief, a warrior, a pirate, a king, a legend and is now an older man. Think ‘Unforgiven’ with a sword-wielding barbarian."

“Conan the Barbarian,” was released in 1982, and is often pegged as the movie which launched Schwarzenegger’s career as a leading action star throughout the 80’s and 90’s. A sequel, “Conan the Destroyer,” was released in 1984, though it did not find as much success as its predecessor and was generally disliked by the fan base. Both films were relatively successful in terms of box office figures, though critics have hailed the series as either epic, or epic flops.

Conan did receive a re-boot courtesy of in 2011 starring Jason Momoa, though it performed poorly and received harsh reviews from both fans and critics.

The Conan universe is based on the writings of American novelist Robert E. Howard, who first developed the character in 1932 and introduced him in the pulp fiction magazine “Weird Tales.”

While the cultural impact of the franchise cannot be denied, the last few presentations of the classic fantasy series have left fans wondering if it was time to close the book on the beloved barbarian. Schwarzenegger and company believe there is more to be made.

With Schwarzenegger approaching the 70-year milestone, there are some who doubt he can handle such an active role, even if Conan himself is in his aged years. Schwarzenegger seemed very optimistic about playing the role believably, though. During the interview, he said he did not see his age being a restriction in his performance.

“One of the advantages when you train every day,” he said, “is that age is not registering in the body the same with everyone else. Because when you stay in shape, you do turn back the clock. So I feel great. I am absolutely convinced that I can do the Conan movie and do the horseback riding, the sword fights, and all the fighting.”

With the ball rolling on the movie, it seems as though Schwarzenegger may have to put his sword where his mouth his and once again strep on the furs and other accoutrements of a barbarian king. 

Posted in Prime time review, Speak out on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 2:33 pm. Updated: 2:36 pm. | Tags: Barbarian , Schwarzenegger , Conan The Barbarian , Arnold Schwarzenegger Comments (0)

“Mojave” offers bloodshed and boredom

“Mojave” is the embodiment of a mixed bag. It’s a film that, under the tedious eye of writer/director William Monahan, attempts to integrate chest-thumping machismo with existential rants — equal parts arthouse and action thriller. Plenty of big concepts to intrigue the average moviegoer, and definite moments where this high standard is delivered, but the film can’t muster enough quality to match its consistent attempts at quantity.

The premise is ludicrous from the get-go, dropping suicidal superstar Thomas (Garrett Hedlund) in the Mojave Desert where he meets Jack (Oscar Isaac), a rifle-sporting drifter with a penchant for Shakespeare. Camped out in search of life’s meaning, the two men wax poetic over a campfire of passive threats and hypothetical devil-dealing. It’s an intoxicating opening, nailing Monahan’s intended balance of realism and violent fantasy, building to a murderous accident that carries the lives of both men in the balance. Verbally and visually, it’s one of the many highlight exchanges that characterize what “Mojave” gets right.

Unfortunately, once the action relocates to the deserted mansions of Hollywood, the film finds itself overstuffed and undercooked on originality. Jack becomes a stalker of unbelievable proportions, while moody rich kid Thomas spends his time arguing with a hooker-loving producer (Mark Wahlberg) and a suit-loving lawyer (Walton Goggins). The latter cameo is delightfully appropriate to Goggins’ cheshire features, but Wahlberg goes overboard with his hammy character and the results are pretty tough to watch. Monahan, who scripted some of Marky Mark’s best lines in 2006’s Best Picture “The Departed,” should’ve known better.

Even Hedlund, who holds his own in the earlier scenes, disappears in a performance better suited for an Abercrombie & Fitch ad. Consequently, the only spectacular acting to carry this uneven story arrives courtesy of Isaac, newly minted A-lister of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” fame. Conjuring up a modern Max Cady, the Guatemalan actor oozes hypnotic intensity and chews each frame of scenery through his silver plated teeth; harnessing his caricature closest to a fully fleshed individual. Though the script annoyingly insists he conclude each bit of dialogue with the greeting of “brother,” Isaac plays murderous charm like a hobo plays a harmonica.

Though well intentioned and consistent to it’s tone, “Mojave” can’t even muster enough momentum to end on a decent note. As a result, it’s difficult not to harness the blame towards Monahan, who blatantly bit off far more than he could chew. By manipulating characters into becoming thematic placeholders, the director sucks the character out of a character study; as if emotionally shallow men were the way to go. In this regard, Monahan desperately tries to have his 90-minute cake and eat it too. Thing is, while his appetite may have been soothed, “Mojave” ultimately does little to suffice the sweet tooth of the audience overall.

Danilo Castro is a resident of Oro Valley and writer for the Film Noir Archive blog at www.filmnoirarchive.com

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 10:59 am. Comments (0)

Tuesday 03/14/2017

Dave Chappelle returns on Netflix with two specials this month

Monday 12/12/2016

Elton John partnering with YouTube to host video contest

Monday 09/19/2016

World Fighting Federation celebrates achievements before Oct. 1 Tucson show

Friday 09/09/2016

‘I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change’ coming to Oro Valley this month

Monday 08/29/2016

Alison Brie joining cast of “G.L.O.W.”

Monday 05/02/2016

LeBron James’ ‘Space Jam’ may actually be happening

Monday 04/18/2016

Olympic gold medalist & UFC fighter returns to where his MMA career began

Saturday 04/16/2016

Mixed martial arts live in Tucson

Thursday 04/14/2016

UPDATE: AMC Entertainment CEO: texting-friendly movie theaters a possibility

Wednesday 03/30/2016

UFC Fighter calls cop 'pig' and 'f-ing liar' during traffic stop

Friday 03/25/2016

New clip of "The Jungle Book" offers glimpse of Shere Khan

Thursday 03/17/2016

Indiana Jones and the never-ending well of money

Friday 03/04/2016

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' DVD, Blu-Ray and digital release announced

Monday 02/29/2016

‘Rick and Morty’ voice actors hard at work on season 3

Sunday 02/28/2016

The count rides again

Monday 02/22/2016

'Planet Earth II' coming later this year

Wednesday 02/17/2016

Aesop Rock announces “The Impossible Kid,” and releases first single. Prime Time Review: The “Youth” of Old Age

Tuesday 02/02/2016

Schwarzenegger still eying third “Conan the Barbarian” movie “Mojave” offers bloodshed and boredom

Wednesday 12/30/2015

eSports team TSM partnering with Red Bull to develop professional gamers

Wednesday 12/16/2015

Prime Time Review: Elvis Costello Solo ‘Detour’ shows announced for Arizona

Friday 11/27/2015

Wu-Tang Clan sells mystery album for millions

Wednesday 10/28/2015

“Crimson Peak” delivers creative creeps

Monday 10/05/2015

Princess Leia bikini sold at auction for nearly $100,000

Monday 09/28/2015

"Fast and Furious” franchise will end with a trilogy, according to Vin Diesel

Friday 09/18/2015

“X-Men” director Bryan Singer is heading 20,000 leagues under the sea in new project

Monday 08/17/2015

Zach Galifianakis set to join cast of "Lego Batman" — as the Joker

Wednesday 08/12/2015

‘Vacation’ lacks ‘National Lampoon’ fun

Wednesday 06/17/2015

Netflix releases new season of ‘Orange is the New Black’ a day early for fans

Tuesday 06/09/2015

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Anticipations

Wednesday 01/21/2015

Prime Time Review: CBS Announces Premier of Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show Sept. 8

Wednesday 12/24/2014

Christmas day film releases bring options for everyone

Wednesday 12/17/2014

The Loft Insider: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Tuesday 12/16/2014

Gamer's Scoop - Blizzard donates World of Warcraft pet sales to Ebola Relief

Wednesday 12/03/2014

Tucson Symphony Orchestra to perform Disney classic Burt Reynolds hoping for deliverance from financial woes

Wednesday 11/12/2014

‘Interstellar’ solidifies director’s legacy

Wednesday 11/05/2014

Suge Knight and Katt Williams arrested for robbery in Beverly Hills

Wednesday 10/29/2014

Netflix offers hidden Halloween treats

Wednesday 10/22/2014

Prime Time Review: Disney may be planning three Obi-Wan Star Wars movies

Wednesday 10/15/2014

Tucson crawling with Halloween events

Wednesday 10/01/2014

Prime Time Review: University of Arizona and Fox Theatre team up for new downtown lecture series

Wednesday 09/24/2014

Prime Time Review: NCIS: New Orleans coming to your TV soon

Wednesday 08/27/2014

Prime Time Review: Two new ‘Jungle Book’ movies hitting theaters soon

Wednesday 08/20/2014

Prime Time Review: Waves of “Blackfish” documentary start to hit SeaWorld

Wednesday 08/13/2014

Will Arnett announces more ‘Arrested Development’

Wednesday 08/06/2014

Prime Time Review: Indie rock princess poised to hit mainstream

Wednesday 07/30/2014

Prime Time Review: Two upcoming shows hip-hop heads should not miss

Wednesday 07/23/2014

Prime Time Review: ‘Goosebumps’ film coming next summer


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