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By Jeanne Ferris

Charlize Theron with Seth Rogen in “Long Shot”

SAN DIEGO – Hundreds turned out for the San Diego Film Foundation’s Film Insider Series special pre-release screening of Long Shot, which stars Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, an unlikely duo at the center of an unlikely, but charming, comedy.

At the Series screening, held every month through July at ArcLight Cinemas, the local cinephiles – some on date night and some on friend’s night out – sporting sparkly stilettos, stylish chapeaus and sleek business suits walked the red carpet with big smiles for the camera, making for a fun departure from the beloved San Diego standard: activewear and flip-flops.

Those gathering for the swanky pre-screening soiree enjoyed tasty sliders (from Liberty Call Distillery), flatbreads (Melting Pot), glazed Brussels sprouts (Eureka) with Stella Artois beverages and lemonade from Urban Leaf.

Long Shot’s star Charlize Theron has won a slew of awards (Oscar, Golden Globe, and Screen Actor’s Guild) and been nominated for just about everything else (Emmy, British Academy). She has played a one-armed big rig driver (Mad Max: Fury Road), a serial killer (Monster), and a coal miner (North Country) among other roles. So, why not a presidential nominee?

Her partner in this rom-com is Seth Rogen, who adroitly handles the slapstick and ribald humor, which, in one particular scene, rightly earns the film its R-rating.

Rogen, who plays a brutally honest journalist, has honed his fast-talking neurotic signature character that allows the audience to believe he is a worthy relationship interest for intelligent, stunning women.

Several East Coasters also add to the evening’s cocktail buzz. Connecticut native Liz Hannah of The Post penned Long Shot with Dan Sterling, whose previous credits include Girls. Sterling is a West Philadelphia native and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of Arts. He and Rogen co-authored the now infamous, The Interview, which Rogen also directed. Sterling and Rogen are back at it, except this time Hannah brings it home with boisterous female comedic repartee and political gags galore.

Costars June Diane Raphael and Ravi Patel elevate the comedy to additional face hurting laughs. Theron is a master of the impeccable comedic deadpan. Who doesn’t micro-nap with her eyes open?

Did we mention Theron’s fabulous comportment? She rocked Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana like newborn skin while striding in Christian Louboutins with 4-inch heels. Her wardrobe stands in sharp contrast to Rogen’s ’80s color-blocked windbreaker, with a baseball-capped slouch replete with “Daddy” YMCA camp pants. The costumes were the unmistakable handiwork of Mary E. Vogt, who nearly stole the show with her work in Crazy Rich Asians. Vogt added to the hilarity with Rogen’s traditional Swedish folk dräkt in a colorful scene.

Produced by Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures, Long Shot (a South by Southwest Festival audience winner) is scheduled for release on May 3 by Lionsgate.

As with all FIS screenings, the evening did not end with the credits but with a post champagne reception, Cookies by Cravory and red carpet interviews.

FIS runs February through July, leading up to the San Diego International Film Festival, which will run from Oct. 15-20, 2019 when VIP hubs of premieres, screenings and parties will connect Arclight Cinemas and the highly anticipated Theatre Box (new this year). TCL Grauman’s Chinese Theatre owns Theatre Box and has brought its Old Hollywood legacy with New World technology to the Gaslamp District. Join us next month for another exclusive screening. For more information, click here.

“A Star Is Born” Producer Billy Gerber with Tony Finn /Trenton Badillo Photography

SAN DIEGO — The owners of TCL Chinese Theatre, known to most as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, are behind San Diego’s newest hot spot, The Theatre Box, a luxury theater, dining and entertainment complex. 

And, the new venue was kicked off in grand style, with a private screening of “A Star Is Born,” which recently was nominated for eight Oscars. Noted movie producer Billy Gerber made the short trip form LA to welcome the guests and lead a question and answer session before the film’s screening. 

The night was held in partnership with the San Diego International Film Festival, which launches its 2019 season this month with the “Film Insider Series” and its Annual Awards Viewing Party (watch the Academy Awards in style!) star power fundraiser on Feb. 24th.

Theatre Box was the perfect venue for about 400 attendees who played on the red carpet and sipped cocktails from the large bar upstairs. “For the theater itself, Theatre Box plans to host world-class Hollywood film premieres and hand- and footprint ceremonies in the long-standing tradition of Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre,” said a representative. “We will surprise you by bringing Hollywood to San Diego.”
  

Pitbull and Nick Canon celebrate at Theatre Box

Pitbull and Nick Cannon celebrate at Theatre Box

Sugar Factory American Brasserie, the high-profile eatery is one of the stars of the show, with plenty of  celebrity endorsements behind it. Britney Spears, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman and many others have been seen licking those lollipops, but there is so much more on the table here. The Sugar Factory offers a menu created by world-class chefs that promises to satisfy any palate, offering items from yummy pancakes to mouth-watering burgers, pizza and salads. 

Nick Cannon is the face behind the new rooftop sports bar and arcade opening up this summer called Wild ‘N Out, and according to those in the know he and other celebs will be appearing from time to time to guest DJ. A 14,000-square-foot hip-hop-themed Wild ‘N Out will feature a complete arcade with interactive games and memorabilia from the hit MTV show and a sports bar that claims to have the largest televisions in the city. TCL has also teamed up with Pitbull “Mr. Worldwide” to collaborate on ILov305 Rooftop Bar & Garden–a 6,000-square-foot Latin-inspired, rooftop Tiki bar and nightclub set to open in 2019.  Known as the place “Where What Happens, Never Happened,” ILov305 fare will consist of a seafood-themed menu to offer in its numerous VIP rooms, several bars and a private lounge, all complete with Pitbull’s ball of fire persona.

So much more than a movie theater, the Theatre Box promises a multi-faceted experience that certainly feels like a giant step forward in the entertainment business. San Diegans should support any venue that shines a spotlight on this beautiful city that is only a stones throw away from Hollywood.

The Theatre Box is in discussions with the San Diego International Film Foundation to partner on several events over the course of the year and film fest CEO Tonya Mantooth is excited about the opportunities to engage with this spectacular venue. 

“We felt really good about partnering with Theatre Box on “A Star is Born” screening, and having the film’s producer Billy Gerber there was fantastic,” says Mantooth. “I’m pleased to announce that we have a number of exciting events planned this year and leading up to the San Diego International Film Festival.
 
“An important focus for both Theatre Box and the SDIFF will be to continue to collaborate on events that will bring more celebrities down from LA, says Mantooth. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”
 
The Planetary Chandelier Lights Theatre Box Lobby

The Planetary Chandelier Lights Theatre Box Lobby

 

ALL PHOTOS and VIDEOS by Joane Nelson

 

By Anna Paula Goncalves

LOS ANGELES — I’ll just cut straight to the chase:
Go catch “Mile 22” in theaters, Aug. 17! As you can see from watching our fun “black” carpet experience, maybe these 22 [no spoiler, here] reasons of why I think you should, means you will.

Ready? Here we go.

1) This is Mark Wahlberg and Director Peter Berg’s fourth collaboration (“Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon,” and the Boston-set “Patriots Day,” about the Boston Marathon bombings) yet “Mile 22” is their first collaboration on a fictional story.

2) Mark Wahlberg’s character, James Silva, will give you a little bit of everything you love about Mark.

3) Lauren Cohan. I was already familiar with her work on ‘The Walking Dead,’ but she was a revelation to me in this film. And she may just end up being one to you, too.

4) Iko Uwais. WHAT?!?!? Where did this guy come from and why wasn’t I familiar with his work before?!

5) Ronda Rousey. I personally love seeing her reinvent amd rebrand herself. If you dig her as much as I do, you’ll appreciate her character, Sam Snow.

6) John Malkovich. Need I say more?

7) Nikolai Nikolaeff. I got a taste of his work and definitely want to see more.

8) Every single cast member that was on that carpet loved being there and it showed. That made me much more excited to see them on the big screen. And after watching them on the big screen? Yup, that was some great casting.

9) In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and give credit where it’s due and where it’s usually not given: Casting Director and guru, Sheila Jaffe, for her and her team’s work.

10) Did you realize just how many of the actors come from TV series? Some of which didn’t have film credit at all prior to “Mile 22”! As someone involved with the  casting world, I love seeing professionals appreciate talent and hunger over a resume. Hence my point No. 9.

11)  Sound effects team made me really take in everything that was happening.

12.) You will want to applaud… (I lost track of how many ‘applauding’ moments happened in that theater.)

13.) You will be ‘shook’…

14.) You will also laugh, though…

15.) And yes, you will probably want to shout, too…

16.) You won’t want to look away. In fact, you may get mad at yourself if you do or if anyone walks in front of you. I saw it happen three times (one being with me, I’ll admit it.)

17.) You will be caught off guard…

18.) You will want to watch the sequel. Oh yes, there’s a sequel already set to happen you guys! That should tell you something. For more, read here.

19.) Lea Carpenter and Graham Roland. Intentionally left these two toward the end because every point made here was thanks to their original story.

20.) Screenwriting was also well done (Lea Carpenter).

21.) Although we see a lot of this kind of theme, these two really wrote something that was unexpected. You have to watch to know what I mean.

22.) Left the best for last: A reminder, even through a fictional film, of how sacrificial it is for our service men and women to sign up to give their lives as a shield to protect others.

And there you have it! My 22 reasons why you should drive however many miles to your nearest theater to catch this film on Friday, Aug. 17!

 

 

 

Denzel Washington stars as Robert McCall in Columbia Pictures’ EQUALIZER 2.

By Anna Paula Goncalves

 

Denzel Washington does it again! In his first career sequel, Washington is back as the retired agent Robert McCall in “The Equalizer 2.” 

In addition to Washington, director Antoine Fuqua returned to helm EQ2 as did actors Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman. The film also features Pedro Pascal and Ashton Sanders. Talks of an “Equalizer” sequel started months before the 2014 release of the original. The film follows McCall (Washington) as he sets out “on a path of revenge after one of his friends is killed.”

“The Equalizer 2” opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, July 20, 2018.

Filming for EQ2 began in September 2017, with crews spotted in Union Park in Boston’s South End, the North Shore, including Lynn, Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, and Randolph and Marshfield.  In 2017, Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen shared a post its Facebook page about EQ2 — with a photo of  Washington in the South End eatery.

Getting a chance to catch a sneak peek just a few days before the sequel arrives in theaters this Friday, I’ll say this much [without any spoilers, of course]:

Expect a thrilling, at the edge of your seat ride watching Washington reprise his role as the people’s hero. The character that we loved to love the first time around comes back just as vengeful and just as righteous – contradictory character traits that Denzel can genuinely and successful bridge with ease.

But if Washington isn’t enough of a reason for you to add him to your Friday night plans, I’d suggest you go for the eye candy; for the one that looks beautiful from every angle, day or night…

Yes, I’m referring to Boston! You may or may not geek out a little when recognizing some of our streets and neighborhoods on the big screen, but I am certain that you’ll appreciate it.

By Joane Nelson

LA JOLLA, Calif.—Those who were lucky enough to be at the ArcLight Cinema for the U.S. premiere of “I’m Not Here,” on April 25 will not soon forget the special night. If, alas, you were not at the San Diego International Film Festival VIP pre-screening on Wednesday night, then you missed out on a thought-provoking, exclusive screening with a theater packed with people excited to see J.K. Simmons do what he does best.

The film “I’m Not Here” is directed by Michelle Schumacher, whose star is her husband, Academy Award-winner Simmons. It was nothing short of amazing. In addition to Simmons, the features Mandy Moore and Sebastian Stan, who can be seen in “Avengers: Infinity Wars” and “I, Tonya.”

There’s really no way to describe this feature without any spoiler alerts but we have to try: Simmons plays a man at the end of his rope who’s dealt with problems that a lot of people can relate to. The film’s teasing logline is “A man struggles with the tragic memories of his past to make sense of his present, but soon realizes that time isn’t the enemy he thinks it is.”

In addition to the pre-screening, SDIFF also announced it had a new sponsor, the blue chip financial investment company, Morgan Stanley, which was represented by several staff including systems and policy expert VR Raman. Also in attendance were members of styleboston.tv and LeftCoast.LA.

Tonya Mantooth, CEO of SDIFF, led a lively post-screening Q & A panel with Simmons, Schumacher, and others who held nothing back as the night was full of thoughtful conversation, drinks, and laughs.

(Screening location: ArcLight La Jolla, 4425 La Jolla Village Drive, CA 92122.)

 

SDIFF: Michelle Schumacher in Director’s Chair from styleboston on Vimeo.

Speaking of movie director Michelle Schumacher, J.K. Simmons talked about the important qualities she brought to the production, including her sense of purpose, her detailed preparations and an ability to adapt to different situations. Michelle on her part told the SDIFF audience that the production was very dear to her heart. She thanked everyone who supported the project and described the movie as a low budget production which was made possible through the collaboration of friends and family.

 

SDIFF: Q & A with the Audience from styleboston on Vimeo.

Answering questions from the audience during the prescreening of the movie, Simmons talked about how he decided to shed more than 20 pounds to play the role of an emaciated 60-year-old alcoholic. According to him, he had a choice between getting emaciated or bloated for the movie role but he chose the former.

He and Michelle also talked about similarities/differences between the movie characters and real life.

 

SDIFF: J.K. Simmons ‘talks” about not using dialogue from styleboston on Vimeo.

In “I’m Not Here” J.K. Simmons played a remarkable character that did not speak a single word throughout the movie. He told the audience during the SDIFF prescreening that he had to completely immerse himself in the screenplay to prepare for the movie role. He said he was able to make a success out of it by relying on the guidance of the movie director