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Interview: David Weiner, Writer/Director Of ’80s Horror Doc ‘In Search Of Darkness’
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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In Search Of Darkness 80s Horror

In one of the best displays of the power of horror movie fandom, a project that started with a crowdfunding campaign lives to see the light a year later in the most special month of the year for horror fans. Last year, a Kickstarter campaign was started for ’80s horror documentary In Search of Darkness, written and directed by David Weiner. After meeting their goal in just two days, the campaign moved to Indiegogo in early 2019 and now right in time for Halloween, the epic horror documentary about the genre’s craziest decade will make its grand premiere this weekend at Beyond Fest in LA.

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‘Frozen 2’: Creating A Beautiful Disney Animated Ballad
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Frozen 2

“Into The Unknown” is just one of seven songs that will be featured in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ upcoming Frozen 2. Sung by Idina Menzel, it is an extraordinary ballad that is paired with a stunning sequence that is perfectly choreographed and staged. We got a small one-look sample of the sequence during the D23 Expo, where it was met with a huge amount of applause.

During our recent sneak preview of Frozen 2, Geeks of Doom and a select group of journalists learned about what goes into making a visually stunning musical sequence, including the costumes, hair design, effects, and more.

Check out how visual development artists, the story team, music producers, the animation team, and what the effects artists had to say about what it takes to put a musical sequence together below.

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‘Frozen 2’ Adding Elements and Creatures To Enchanted Forests and Dark Seas
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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FROZEN 2

Elsa (Idina Menzel) may be an ice queen, but she rules her kingdom with a warm heart. In Frozen 2, her powers are put to the test when an enchanted forest awakens and endangers the kingdom of Arendelle. In order to save it, she, along with Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Gross), and Olaf (Josh Gad), must embark on an incredibly dangerous journey into the unknown where they will encounter new elemental creatures and possibly discover the answers to why does Elsa have powers.

Geeks Of Doom joined a group of journalists for a rare opportunity of a sneak peek of Frozen 2 to learn about how the research process plays a huge part in expanding the world of Frozen, as well as adding new characters based off native folklores, fairy tales, and more.

Check out what sort of elements come in to play and how they will be an intricate part of the sequel.

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‘Frozen 2’ Sees Anna and Elsa Go On An Incredible Journey To Find Answers
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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FROZEN 2

Frozen 2 was a four-year process in the making. In the past few years, the cast and crew have kept the worldwide phenomenon alive by working on various shorts like Frozen Fever and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. But now co-director and writer Jennifer Lee, co-director Chris Buck, and producer Peter Del Vecho, along with the voice talents of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad all return for the long-awaited sequel of the beloved animated musical.

Geeks Of Doom joined a group of journalists for a rare opportunity of a sneak peek of Frozen 2 to learn all about why Walt Disney Animation Studios returned to Arendelle and what it takes to make a sequel happen.

Over the next few weeks leading up to the release of the highly anticipated sequel, we will be sharing what we saw from the sneak preview, including a look at the new characters that will appear, how to build a musical ballad, and the new story arcs for Anna and Elsa. But before all of that, we will share what Lee, Buck, and Del Vecho had to say about the sequel, the research they did, working with Oscar-winners Bobby and Kristen Lopez, the new characters that you will meet, and more.

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Interview: Stardust Founder and CEO Derek Forbes
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Stardust app banner

Do you love movies and TV? Do you spend tons of time talking about movies and TV? If so, then the Stardust App is most certainly for you. Available for both iPhone and Android devices, Stardust is the best social media platform available for entertainment fans. The app allows you to make 30-second reaction videos to any movie or TV show, down to the episode. Your video then goes online with thousands of other fans leading to tons of awesome interactions. You can direct message other users, comment on their reactions and make genuine friends. You can also share your Stardust reactions to other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The best part, and the reason I call it the best form of social media… no trolling and no negativity. And believe me, I’m on the app all the darn time. I have personally recorded over 1,600 Stardust reactions and never one fight or argument has resulted.

When I got invited to interview Stardust founder and CEO Derek Forbes, I was truly excited to thank him for creating it, but more excited to hear about how the app is growing and expanding. Before founding and becoming CEO of Stardust in July of 2017, Forbes was the President of Vista Entertainment Solutions and COO of Vista Group Limited. Check out my full interview with Forbes here below.

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Interview: ‘Hell House LLC’ Trilogy Writer/Director Stephen Cognetti
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Hell House LLC III Writer Director Stephen Cognetti

A few years ago scrolling through the horror selections on Prime Video I found the movie Hell House LLC and it seemed intriguing enough to throw in my watchlist. There it stayed until my friend Chris (FutureBoyReviews on Facebook) told me to give it a watch. I’m an unabashed fan of found-footage horror and this was right up my alley. The movie was great, filled with genuine scares, and some of the creepiest clowns you’ll ever see. Last year, writer/director Stephen Cognetti returned with Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel, a worthy sequel that explored the backstory of the haunted attraction. On September 19, 2019, Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire debuted on AMC’s horror streaming service, Shudder, to much fanfare. (You can check out my full review of the film here.) On the day of the third film’s premiere, I got the chance to speak with Stephen Cognetti about the Hell House LLC trilogy, found-footage, his inspirations, and more. Read the interview here below.

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Interview: ‘Ma’ Director Tate Taylor
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Director Tate Taylor Octavia Spencer Ma movie

[Image Credit: Anna Kooris/Universal Pictures.]

In 2011, relatively new director Tate Taylor wrote and directed The Help, based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett. Taylor, born in Jackson, MI, helped tell the story of the Civil Rights-era South through the eyes of African American maids working for white families. One of those maids was Minny Jackson, played by Octavia Spencer. The film received rave reviews and was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture. It’s sole Oscar win went to Spencer, who took home Best Supporting Actress. Eight years later, Taylor and Spencer reunited for an unlikely movie, the Blumhouse produced Ma. Spencer stars as Sue Ann, a mysterious loner with a dark past whose home becomes a party den for teenagers until her true intentions are revealed. Spencer is wild, appearing to relish playing a psychotic stalker and she carries the film. Debuting in theaters this past Spring, the horror film grossed over $60 million worldwide on a $5 million budget. Ma arrives on Digital today, and Blu-Ray and DVD on September 3, 2019. I was lucky enough to talk to director Tate Taylor about the film, his Oscar-winning star, and his career.

Geeks of Doom: Hi, thanks for taking the time. I saw Ma and really enjoyed it, especially Octavia Spencer’s performance. What got you interested in this project and what was it like working with Octavia again?

Tate Taylor: It was kind of serendipitous how it all happened. I’ve been doing back to back studio films for awhile. And studios are corporations and corporations have shareholders and you can only push things so far. While it’s frustrating I also understand it. I was in this mindset that I wanted to shake things up a bit and do something just crazy. At about the same time, Octavia and I — we’re best friends, we talk everyday — and she had confided in me that she was really frustrated that she was being offered the exact same roles, which happens to everybody. She was really kind of bummed about it. And then Jason Blum, who’s a friend of mine, we had a meeting to see if we can find something to do together and I looked at him and I said, “What do you have that’s really f*cked up?” He says, “Really?!” He says, oddly enough they just got this script in yesterday that they optioned and haven’t even really broken it down. He lets me read it, I read it, and it needed work. It wasn’t written for a woman like Octavia. So I call her up and tell her “Octavia, I’m reading the most fun, f*cked up script, believe it or not it’s in the horror genre, but I found a way to find heart in the message.” She says, “I’m in! If I’m not the first to get killed and I’m the lead in a horror film, I’m in.” I told her to read it first and she did and I called Jason and asked, “What about Octavia?” and he yelled, “WHAT!?!?” And that’s it.

Geeks of Doom: Wow. I’m a huge horror fan. The joke with horror is usually it’s a stepping stone genre where big stars make their debuts there and then graduate out. It’s rare to see a big star, an Oscar winner like Octavia Spencer, take the lead in a horror film. I think it’s great for the genre. What are your thoughts on that?

Tate Taylor: It is. The Wall Street Journal just did a big article on that very thing worrying if this was going to be the future. We did this out of love and getting ready to get my repertoire of actors and crew together and go back to Mississippi and just have a blast. We didn’t really ever think of her as “the Oscar winner.” It was just, let’s go have a blast.

Geeks of Doom: She seems like she’s having a blast. You mentioned wanting to do something f’d up and there are certainly some messed up things happening in the film. Was there anything too dark or going too far where you needed to edit it out? I’m thinking of something that might be on a Bu-ray extra.

Tate Taylor: There’s a few deleted scenes, but nothing too crazy where you’d say, “Damn, I wish that was in there.” We did some f*cked up stuff in there. The frustrating thing of this genre for me was the expected lengths we have to go to keep the attention spans for many of the people that like this genre. A lot of the cuts were due to concerns over the amount of time.

Geeks of Doom: Speaking of genre, you have certainly made your way through a fair amount. You wrote and directed the historical drama The Help, the thriller The Girl on the Train, you’ve worked in comedies, and now horror. What’s it like bouncing between genres like that as a filmmaker?

Tate Taylor: It may be confusing for the town, but like I said it goes to the place of me of Octavia and I not considering her an Oscar winner and me a feature director doing a horror film. We truly love the joy of filmmaking. I really had to fight after The Help, honestly I just kept being given scripts of women who have cancer, over and over and over. And the irony is The Help and that subject matter, I did it because I understood it and I lived it. But my brain is closer to Ma. And The Girl of the Train was an example where I went too far in their minds. I did a biopic of James Brown after The Help, then I did a thriller, then I did a horror movie. Now I’m doing a TV series about religion in New Orleans, and I have an oxycodone movie I wrote that we’re going to do. I just like to eat at different restaurants.

Geeks of Doom: I never heard it put that way, but I like that way of thinking.

Tate Taylor: Yeah, like people are “foodies,” I’m a “Movie.” I want to try everything. And as you learn and sharpen your skills in different genres, it makes it easy to bring the hybrid together, and it makes you a better director I think. You may stumble, people may scratch their heads, but I think that’s how you get better.

Geeks of Doom: You mentioned your relationship with Octavia Spencer, but researching your filmography you work with the same cast members very often. You obviously have good working relationships. What is it like being able to go back to that well of talent?

Tate Taylor: Well, I am in NO WAY, and I want to capitalize that, comparing myself to Robert Altman, but I did see a documentary about his life. I found his approach to work and making films is much like mine. It’s about family, it’s about food, it’s about trust, it’s about collaboration. That’s what I love to do. When you find people, cast, and crew that like to play that way, you keep them around. They want to be around you. When I make a movie most people say it doesn’t feel like a job, it feels like camp. And I always laughingly say, “Let’s go to Movie Camp.”

On Ma, most of the actors lived with me in my house. I just think when you build a family the trust increases. They trust you and vice versa and you’re willing to take chances. It’s not like that when you hop in a van and go home to sit by yourself waiting to be picked up again.

Geeks of Doom: You’ve touched on a few of your upcoming projects. Can you go into any details about any of them?

Tate Taylor: I’m actually going to New Orleans tomorrow. I created a show called Filthy Rich that got picked up by FOX and I’ll be doing that till March. I’ll be directing five of the episodes, starring Kim Cattrall. It’s a comedic look at faith, people of no faith, sex, hypocrisy, you know all the juicy stuff. The right, the left, evangelicals, hard line conservatives; it’s just one huge photo of where we are right now in the country. And I’m really excited about it.

Geeks of Doom: Thank you very much, we look forward to Ma coming to Blu-Ray soon, and as a history teacher by day, thank you for The Help, I show it in my U.S. History classes.

Tate Taylor: That’s really cool, I appreciate you saying that.

Tate Taylor was a funny and down to earth interview. He is a total southern gentleman. Aside from Filthy Rich, Taylor has four other projects lined up according to IMDb. Ma, starring Octavia Spencer, Luke Evans, and Juliette Lewis, is available now on Digital and on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 3, 2019.

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‘The Lion King’ Cast Share Their Experiences Making The Photorealistic Reimagining
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THE LION KING

Disney’s The Lion King (2019) may be a near reflection of the animated original, but director Jon Favreau’s use of groundbreaking and innovative Photo Real technology allows audiences to experience a familiar story in a whole new way. But not only did Favreau use these sets of tools for the reimagining, but he also brought in a cast that would help carry the film. Comprised of mostly black actors, this new take on The Lion King is a celebration of African culture and an opportunity for young black children to feel that they matter.

Geeks Of Doom joined their fellow journalists at the global press conference of The Lion King where Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Keegan-Michael Key, Florence Kasumba, Eric Andre, John Kani, JD McCrary, and Shahadi Wright Joseph shared their own experience making the film, being able to improv and riff, the legacy of the animated original, identity, and so much more. Check out what they had to say here below.

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‘The Lion King’ Interview: Director Jon Favreau Talks Reimagining A Beloved Animated Classic With New Technologies
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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The Lion King

Disney’s The Lion King (2019) isn’t quite the live-action adaptation of the animated classics we’ve come to know. Instead, it is a reimagined version that takes the lessons learned from The Jungle Book and uses new tools and technologies to tell a beloved story in an all-new way. Director Jon Favreau takes the helm of what is essentially an old story told from a different technological lens. Using photorealistic technologies, animals in the film come to life. So much so this new Lion King looks like a DisneyNature title.

We sat down with our fellow journalists at the global press conference for The Lion King, where Favreau talked about his three-year journey making the film, how he wanted to pay homage to the animated original, and more. Check out what he had to say below.

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‘Toy Story 4’ Interview: How Ally Maki’s Giggle McDimples Brings Joy To Pixar’s Sequel Through Laughter and Inspiration
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Toy Story 4

Pixar’s Toy Story 4 may bring back some of the most beloved characters that we’ve cherished since 1995, but the latest installment adds a few new unforgettable characters that come in all shapes and sizes. One of them is the tiniest toy of the entire Toy Story family: Giggle McDimples is the pocket figure who happens to be an officer of Miniopolis’ Pet Patrol. But whenever she isn’t out on patrol, she can be seen perched on Bo Peep’s shoulder. And just as her surname suggests, she is full of infectious giggles and has an energy that simply cannot be contained.

Voiced by Ally Maki, Giggles will help Woody and Bo rescue Forky, who is being held captive by Gabby Gabby. But Giggles isn’t just some simple side supporting character. She has a fairly substantial role in the film. And a lot of that will show in her assertiveness and fearlessness, and also that contagious laughter that she has.

Geeks of Doom joined fellow journalists for a roundtable interview with Maki at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA. There, she talked about what it was like to voice the pocket-sized toy, why she created Asian American Girls Club, and what she hopes Toy Story 4 can accomplish. Check out our roundtable chat with her here below.

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