Rocio Anica

Rocio Anica

It’s the age-old story of wolfboy meets girl. MTV’s popular small-screen interpretation of the ‘80s flick Teen Wolf (which starred Michael J. Fox) is eagerly awaiting its second season two-part premiere, the first of which follows the televised MTV Movie Awards, on Sunday, June 3rd.

In many ways, the overall series fits smoothly into the MTV demographic, as it weaves together fantasy, social adolescence, and an always-reliable metaphor for puberty. The show’s rising popularity is also due to its cast, which shines especially due to Crystal Reed, Dylan O’Brien, and Colton Haynes, all of who add depth to otherwise very straightforward dialogue.

That’s why on Wednesday May 23, 2012 the cast of MTV’s Teen Wolf rounded up for a red-carpet screening and panel in Beverly Hills at the illustrious Paley Center for Media, where I Am Rogue was in attendance. The event venue, it should be noted, has tall glass walls and sparse post-modern curves, which allowed for Los Angeles’ best sunlight to illuminate the young, well-groomed actors, who spoke excitedly to the press about the show’s upcoming season. Among them were Tyler Posey (Brothers & Sisters) who plays the lead character werewolf Scott McCall, Crystal Reed (Skyline, Crazy Stupid Love) who plays his love interest Allison, Dylan O’Brien (High Road) who plays the best friend Stiles. Also present were Holland Roden (Bring It On: Fight To The Finish), Tyler Hoechlin (Road to Perdition, 7th Heaven), Colton Haynes (Look), and Sinqua Walls (Shark Night 3D).

Resident Evil: Retribution opened the Sony Panel at WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim this past weekend. “This time it’s global” boasted the film’s promotional push; it’s on the Resident Evil trailer and posters, and certainly evokes the sense that, though this is the fifth of the Resident Evil variations, there is more to witness.

Universal Pictures held court for an hour at WonderCon to present footage and host a panel for the movies Snow White and the Huntsman and Battleship.

First on tap was Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristin Stewart (Twilight), Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Charlize Theron (Young Adult). A movie that comes out later this year, it was directed by Rupert Sanders (a relative directorial newcomer), who stepped on-stage to speak with the panel moderator about filming his own raw medieval take on a story that is traditionally known as a rosy-cheeked fairy tale.

Tim Burton is sick! No, he’s, like, literally sick. That’s the reason he missed being a speaker on the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which opened the Fox Films presentation at WonderCon 2012. Burton produced the film adaptation of the novel by the same name, which will be coming out in 3D on June, 22nd. For devotees of his brand and auteurship, he put together a brief but very apologetic clip, complete with a corpse (Burton’s temporary alter-ego, until he feels better), sexy nurses and a fat man in a black shirt and a long white beard (his doctor, of course!)

That’s the way the 20th Century Fox presentation for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter began, before moving forward with the panel’s moderator, Seth Grahame-Smith, who is the novelist presupposing that perhaps Abraham Lincoln saved the country in more ways than one. Grahame-Smith, who appeared all sorts of genuine and happy and amiable, opened the program by saying that it was really weird for him to be on the stage, because for the last ten years he was the one trying to get in on these panels and going and filling his swag bag; it was really emotional and a cool honor to be there. “It feels like this book came out a minute ago, and now we’re talking about a movie.”

Immediately thereafter, he invited director  Timor Bekmambetov (Wanted) and actor Benjamin Walker (Flags of our Fathers) out on to the stage, to sit and introduce an actual sequence from the movie, made ready for WonderCon attendees.

“Catches thieves just like flies.”

That’s how one of the most anticipated panels and presentations this year at WonderCon 2012 opened, spoken by the Sony Pictures Panel moderator in a room brimming with people, young and old. The quote pertains to the Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man helmed by director Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer), and distributed by Sony Films.

It is a complete re-imagining of the Spider-Man movie franchise, because Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) plays Peter Parker, Martin Sheen plays Uncle Ben, and MJ is not the love interest. In fact, Emma Stone (The Help) plays Gwen Stacy, Peter’s love interest, who as it turns out, is wildly different than MJ. More importantly, the driving motivator differs from the emotional catalyst put forth by the Raimi trilogy. In all, this story takes a different approach to telling the story of what compels Peter to try to make the world a little bit safer and better.

Here’s the thing about Prometheus, the 3D sci-fi movie coming out in June of this year. Prometheus was made by a genius. Its story is connected to, by degrees, one of the most important science-fiction narratives in movie history. In short, hardcore followers of Ridley Scott and the tetralogy inspired by his brainchild, Alien, have been waiting for this moment since it was first announced several years ago.

That anticipation was palpable at the WonderCon 2012 Fox Film Panel. The crowd cheered at length before one of the Prometheus script’s writers and panel moderator, Damon Lindelhof, came out to introduce the trailer. (It was to have been the first time an audience saw the Prometheus trailer, but unfortunately, someone leaked the trailer online 12 hours ago).

The crowd was understandably excited. Sir Ridley Scott is directly responsible for stunning movies of visual and narrative splendor across genres. From Alien (1979) to Bladerunner (1982) to Thelma and Louise (1991), Black Hawk Down (2001) and Gladiator (2000), his mythology is specific, humanistic, and resounding.

Opening in theaters on March 9th is the new 3D science fantasy film John Carter, which is based on an eleven volume series of novels entitled Barsoom by legendary author Edgar Rice Burroughs. The movie is helmed by Academy Award winning director Andrew Stanton (WALL-E) and stars Taylor Kitsch (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) in the title role. John Carter also features a supporting cast that includes Lynn Collins (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), Thomas Haden Church (Spider-Man 3), Samantha Morton (Minority Report), Dominic West (300), Ciaran Hinds (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), Bryan Cranston (Drive), and Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).  

IAR's very own Rocio Anica recently had a chance to speak with costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo (Avatar) about her work on John Carter. Rubeo discussed the new film, creating its exotic wardrobe, and she even gave Anica a tour of some of the fantastic costumes that she created for the upcoming film. 

Hollywood insiders were surprised last fall to hear that NCIS, a series in its ninth season that has pretty much always flown underneath the radar, was suddenly the number one scripted show on television. But it completely makes sense once you consider that the show’s audience transcends demographics and includes both men and women, young and old, rich and poor, Republican or Democrat. In fact, the show will reach a unique and honored television milestone when it airs its 200th episode of the series tonight, February 7th on CBS.

The show revolves around a fictional team of special agents located in Washington D.C. known as the Major Case Response Team, a division of the primary security, counter-intelligence, counter-terrorist and law-enforcement agency of the U.S. Department of the Navy. They are basically the people who deal with high-profile shenanigans. The team is comprised of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon, The Presidio), Special Agent “Tony” DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly, Dark Angel), Timothy McGee (Sean Murray, JAG), Goth-chick Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette, The Ring), Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and his assistant, Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen).

I recently had the chance to speak with actor Brian Dietzen about his role on NCIS and the show's longevity. The actor discussed the popular series, his character, it’s upcoming 200th episode, what it’s like to speak to fans that happen to be in the military, and working with fellow actor David McCallum.

Crime movies are a captivating genre because they are the perfect holdall; a crime thriller can be altogether suspenseful and grotesque and profound, a reflection of our dual humanity. It is in this spirit that Ami Canaan Mann (Morning, Friday Night Lights) helmed Texas Killing Fields, which is available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning January 31st, and is the director's follow-up feature film after more than a decade of writing and directing for TV.

The seedling for the script is found in Texas City, the outskirts of which harbor a massive, haunting field with a macabre history. Over sixty murders were dumped within this region, known by locals as the Killing Fields and it was from this that director/producer Michael Mann (Thief, Heat) was inspired to commission a script. Like a lot of movies in Hollywood, it took years for all the right particles to come together and greenlight a story into creation but when it finally did, the story succeeded in its director’s aim to do three important things: do right by the families of the real victims, put a face to the victims of sexual assault murders, and to evoke the horror of the story in a sophisticated, non-procedural manner.

To achieve all that, Texas Killing Fields makes use of the genre’s elasticity. On the one hand, you have the high-stakes plot: the story focuses on two detectives, committed to finding the culprit of a murder that had been dumped in the field, who end up having to race the clock in order to save the life of another potential Killing Field victim, played by Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass). Sam Worthington (Avatar) plays Detective Mike Souder, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) plays his partner, Brian Heigh, and Jessica Chastain (The Help) plays the former-Mrs.-Souder, Detective Pam Stall.

Beauty and the Beast was re-released in 3D to theatres everywhere on January 13th, and it has been doing remarkably well, though, honestly, it’s renewed success is no surprise. Beauty and the Beast may have been produced before Pixar’s time, making its sheen different than animations developed in this millennium, but certain elements of its story transcend the visual, hitting all kinds of notes that have proven timeless over the years.

For one, Beauty and the Beast is much darker than other animated features. It’s gothic allusions and brooding characters make it an animated feature that twinkles a little more darkly amongst the Disney renaissance repertoire, making it unlike any movie before or after it. Further, the movie’s heroine is the quintessential odd-girl-out, which is a starting point to any good gothic romance; it takes an interesting character to understand and grow intimate with another interesting character. Beauty and the Beast also marks the first time a “Disney Princess” is rewarded for favoring reading and her imagination, and not for simply being the town beauty. Then, there is the issue of the movie’s villainy. At times it seems as if it’s both the Beast and Gaston, the heroine’s ardent suitor, making this Disney classic a movie about redemption and the danger of committing erroneous and superficial judgments about the people you encounter. Indeed, the creators of Beauty and the Beast produced something truly unique by charging a gloomy fairy tale with modern sensibilities.

Oh, and then there’s the music! Really, its accolades speak louder. Beauty and the Beast won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture –Musical or Comedy, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song. It was also the first animated motion picture nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture (the only other animated feature to ever gain this honor was Up in 2009). It ended up sweeping the Oscars by winning the Academy Award for Best Music - Original Score, and the Academy Award for Best Music - Original Song.

With all of the renewed interest in this wonderful movie recently, I got the chance to speak on behalf of IAR with the inimitable Robby Benson, who voiced the part of The Beast and is an artistic force in his own right. Benson spoke about watching his children’s growth parallel the success of the Beauty and the Beast legacy, his thoughts about being a successful voice actor, and about what it means to be a creative person.

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