YouTube Originals is set to premiere the exclusive 4-part documentary Demi Lovato:Dancing with the Devil about 28-year-old singer/songwriter/actress Demi Lovato on March 23, 2021.
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil follows the last three years of Lovato’s life, most notably her near-fatal drug overdose in 2018. This dangerous medical emergency sadly led Lovato to suffer from 3 strokes and heart attack, which left her with brain damage and vision issues.
Directed and executive produced by Michael D. Rather, Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil gives the audience in-depth interviews with Lovato, Lovato’s family, friends, as well as music icons Sir Elton John and pop diva Christina Aguilera. Lovato also serves as the documentary’s executive producer alongside her manager Scooter Braun.
From a young age, Lovato showed impressive talent in music and acting. In 2002, Lovato began her professional acting career as the character Angela in Barney & Friends. Later, she became an actress for the Disney Channel in the series As the Bell Rings. Through the series was short lived, this opened the opportunity for two bigger Disney projects, most notably the TV film Camp Rock and the TV series Sonny with a Chance.
In 2008, Lovato began her successful music career, releasing her debut album Don’t Forget. Among Lovato’s six albums, three are certified gold (Don’t Forget, Here We Go Again, and Demi), while three are certified platinum (Unbroken, Confident, and Tell Me You Love Me) by the RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America.
Lovato’s first documentary with YouTube, was the 2017 Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated. This documentary, in support of Tell Me You Love Me, Lovato’s sixth studio album, follows her life and career to that point.
Lovato recently released her latest single, What Other People People Say a collaboration with Australian singer-songwriter Sam Fischer. The single talks about staying true to oneself and not to mold yourself into what others think you should be. She is one of the most popular singers in contemporary pop music. On social media she is among the the most followed performers with 99.2 million followers on Instagram, 55.3 million followers on Twitter, and 16.7 million subscribers on YouTube.
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is produced by Marc Ambrose, directed by Michael D. Rather and airs on March 16, 20201 on YouTube Originals.
Marco Rodriguez will be part of the main cast for Blumhouse TV’s Season 2 finale and twenty-fourth installment of the anthology on Hulu Into The Dark, “Blood Moon”, set to premiere March 28, 2021.
The lead actors for “Blood Moon” are Megalyn Echikunwoke and Yonas Kibreab. Among the main supporting cast alongside Rodriguez, feature Joshua Dov, Jack Yang, and Gareth Williams. Additional cast includes Jan Munroe, Brian Norris, Danielle Juliet Me, and Patrick W. Day. “Blood Moon” is directed by Emma Tammi and co-written by Adam Mason and Simon Boyes.
Rodriguez is a veteran actor on both the stage and screen. His talent has been seen in a variety of film and television programs, such as The Rookie, The Crow, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, Velvet Buzzsaw, NYPD Blue, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Hill Street Blues. He also performed stunts for the action-packed Denzel Washington crime drama Man on Fire.
Blood Moon follows mother Esme (Echikunwoke) and her ten-year-old son Luna (Kibreab), as they settle in a small desert town, looking forward to a fresh start. Unfortunately, they draw unwanted attention from the inquisitive locals. The more the locals pry into their personal business, Esme must protect Luna and their deep dark secret, before the next full moon sets, jeopardizing their lives.
Into The Dark releases a feature-length installment a month. All of the installments combine a holiday theme, with the signature style of the Blumhouse genre films, especially horror and thriller.
Both Tammi and Mason have previously directed installments for Into The Dark. Tammi directed the 2020 Mother’s Day installment Delivered. While Mason directed two installments from Season One, including the April Fool’s installment Just F*cking With You, and the Father’s Day installment They Come Knocking.
Executive producers for Blood Moon are Jason Blum, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman, Lauren Downey, Alexander Koehne, Adam Mason, Simon Boyes, and John Hegeman.
Latin music icon, pioneer, and trailblazer Johnny Pacheco has sadly died due to complications of pneumonia on February 15, 2021, in New Jersey.
Pacheco was the prolific musical talent, whose monumental professional musical career has spanned nearly seven decades, as a musician, composer, arranger, and bandleader. He is also known as the co-founder and musical director for Fania Records in 1963, alongside lawyer and promoter Jerry Masucci, to promote Latino music.
Pacheco, born Juan Azarias Pacheco Knipping, on March 25, 1935, in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. From a young age, Pacheco showed a natural talent for music. In 1946, the eleven-year-old Pacheco and his family moved to New York City. He continued his music education, becoming self-taught in multiple instruments and studying at the world-renounced music academy Juilliard for percussion.
In the 1950s, Pacheco performed percussion with a variety of New York City based orchestras, including the orchestras of the world-famous bandleaders Xavier Cugat and Tito Puente. Towards the end of the 1950s, in 1958, Pacheco was recruited by the Jazz bandleader and “Giant of the Keyboards” Charlie Palmieri, to perform on the Latin Jazz album, Easy Does It.
The 1960s was a groundbreaking decade for Pacheco. As a bandleader, Pacheco released multiple records under Alleger Records, finding initial success in 1960, with helping to popularize the newest dance craze in New York City, the Pachanga. This launched Pacheco into international stardom. His band made history in 1962, by becoming the first Latin band to head headline at the famous Apollo Theatre.
With Fania Records, Pacheco continued to develop his signature musical sound and uplift the careers of many of the most famous and talented Latin musicians in the 1960s and 1970s, most notably Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, and “The Queen of Salsa” and “The Queen of Latin Music” Celia Cruz. To highlight the massive talent on the Fania Records roadster, the Fania All-Stars were formed in 1968. They played around the world, most notably Zaire 74, a three-day music festival in Zaire, Africa.
When developing Salsa, Pacheco explained in the documentary, Latino Music USA, “It was Cuban music that we took and we changed the arrangements, being that most of the guys were born here [in America], or were brought up on New York, we had the rock influence, the jazz influence, and we changed the approach.” He further added, “Now, what happened was, people would confuse [the sound of] the mambo, cha-cha-cha, and guaracha. So, what we did was put the music under one roof and called it Salsa”.
Pacheco’s contribution to Latino music in America through many contemporary Latino musical talents, including singer/songwriter Marc Anthony. Anthony loving referred to Pacheco as the “Maestro of maestros”.
While some independent movie houses have closed indefinitely, others persevere with a mix of drive-ins, virtual screenings and concession sales as they apply for long-awaited federal relief.
The COVID-19 relief package passed in December is expected to distribute $15 billion for artistic venues, which includes independent movie theaters. Around the greater L.A. area, some small theaters have closed all operations for the duration of the shutdown that began in March, most notably the Vista, the Downtown Independent and the Quentin Tarantino-owned New Beverly Cinema. Here’s how four others are struggling to stay afloat as the National Association of Theatre Owners estimates that 70 percent of smaller movie theaters are at risk of shuttering without federal aid.
To help supplement the income of their Academy Award-qualified drive-in theater — launched in December in the Egyptian Theatre parking lot and accommodating 20 cars — the Arena Cinelounge sells gourmet popcorn online, shipped nationally. “We have 12 gourmet blends of Cinelounge popcorn. I have to lean on the popcorn revenue stream to bring in any revenue,” says CEO and founder Christian Meoli. However, Meoli explains that the popcorn’s income — so far it has “grossed over $100,000 for us,” he says — makes “below 90 percent of what we [normally] generate as a whole, as a business.” Running the drive-in is not easy, either. “We’re spending upward of five times what we would normally spend with our indoor business to make this happen,” says Meoli, who’s applying for aid under the COVID-19 relief bill. “The funding is vital to save a part of our culture, a part of our society. Who wants to lose theaters?” It also runs a virtual screening room for new releases at arenascreen.com.
This Gardena theater has been run by the Kim family since 1976. For extra revenue during their drive-in screening series, which debuted last year in their large parking lot, they sell concession items and movie posters and feature Zoom interviews before special film showings, such as one with Jurassic Park cinematographer Dean Cundey. They also have rented out the theater for music videos and TV and film productions. Though the Gardena Cinema (gardenacinema.com) received a small Economic Injury Disaster Loan last year, they are also applying for help through the COVID-19 relief bill. Says manager Judy Kim, “I can use all the help I can get. I’m hoping it will get me through the pandemic until things are back to ‘normal’, whatever that will be.” As for audience film tastes at the Gardena drive-in, Kim says that “audiences love the movies from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. There appears to be a yearning for the happy freedom of decades past.”
The Beverly Hills theater is streaming indie and foreign films (at lumierecinema.la) and selling items from its concession stand during limited hours. “We tried to do drive-ins; it didn’t work for us,” says co-owner Peter Ambrosio, who also has started a GoFundMe campaign to help the theater survive, so far raising a little more than $12,000 of its $90,000 goal. Ambrosio is hoping that the stimulus relief bill “gives us the needed boost to weather the storm.” Among the owners’ frustrations is the lack of government guidance during the shutdown. Says Ambrosio: “[Government officials] don’t offer guidelines for small business on how to deal with landlords, deal with taxes. If you are going to close all these businesses, why not create a liaison, or an arbitration system for dealing with rent, for dealing with taxes, just so small business can make plans?”
THE FRIDA CINEMA
Orange County’s only nonprofit art house cinema is presenting films at pop-up drive-ins in various O.C. locations and streaming through its website (thefridacinema.org). Among their diverse film selection, the most popular genre is horror. “The drive-ins and streaming films have allowed us to continue our mission, but their collective box office doesn’t come close to mirroring the returns of a seven-day-a-week, two-screen cinema,” explains Frida Cinema executive director and founder Logan Crow. “Every dollar really does make a tremendous impact.” The theater also supplements income by selling merchandise, live-streaming special events and holding online fundraising marathons. Adds Crow, “Grants and initiatives like the COVID-19 Relief Bill allow us to fill in these gaps. If we are to survive this, sustain, and God willing, get to a point in the future where we can once again see some growth, we will need some very substantial support.”READ MOREStudios Hold Out Hope for Theaters’ Return to Normalcy
A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
ActressEmily Tosta stars alongside Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage, in the indie comedy-horror adventure Willy’s Wonderland.
Tosta, who was born in the Dominican Republic, first came to prominence in her recurring role as Leticia (Richard Cabral) sister (who soon we learn is really his daughter) on FX’s Mayans M.C. After season two, when Tosta landed a series regular role on Freeform’s reboot of the popular 90’s drama Party of Five it was unclear if we would ever see her back on Mayans M.C. However, Party of Five was canceled after just one season, and almost as if not skipping a beat, she just filmed the first episode of season three which premieres on March 16.
Cage, is known for his wide range of roles, from Valley Girl, Moonstruck, Leaving Las Vegas, Face/Off, Con Air, to National Treasure. He is also the nephew of the iconic director of the Movie Brat era, Francis Ford Coppola. In recent years, Cage has made a name for himself in horror cinema, gaining a new generation of fans as the contemporary “it guy” of horror, with such films as Mandy and Color out of Space. Past horror films of Cage’s include Vampire’s Kiss, 8MM, Mom and Dad, and the infamous remake of The Wicker Man. For Willy’s Wonderland, Cage is both the lead actor and a producer.
Willy’s Wonderland follows an unnamed loner, aka The Janitor (Cage), who is stranded in the middle of nowhere, due to car issues. In order to pay for the car repairs, he agrees to a one-night overnight cleaning job at Willy’s Wonderland, an old family entertainment center. The Janitor gets more than what he expected when he finds out that he has been locked inside and must face the terror of the bloodthirsty animatronics.
A local teenager, Liv (Tosta) is determined to destroy Willy’s Wonderland, to end the animatronics’ bloodlust attacks. She, along with her friends go to Willy’s Wonderland to burn the building down, until they realize the janitor is locked inside. They make their way inside to try and rescue him, but find themselves locked inside along with him. Liv and The Janitor become unlikely friends as they fight to get out alive.
Netflix’s Malcolm and Marieis a cinematic melodrama, which pulls away the curtain of Hollywood glamour, to reveal the drama of a couple that seemingly has it all.
Netflix’s 30 million dollars acquired film features two of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors, John David Washington as Malcolm and Zendaya as Marie, with Sam Levinson as the film’s director, writer, and producer. The behind the camera talent, including cinematographer Marcell Rév, production designer Michael Grasley, and editor Julio Perez IV, have worked with Levinson before on the popular award-winning HBO series, Euphoria, for which Zendaya received an Outstanding Actress Emmy award.
Perez’s editing style is best displayed in the action-comedy films American Made and Assassination Nation and the critically acclaimed horror films It Follows and His House. His editing, mixed with Rév’s cinematography, on 35mm film, gives Malcolm and Maire a visual feel of a classic Hollywood film. They distinctively and beautifully combined the use of shadows maximizing a small area, typical of the 1940s/1950s Film Noir and the editing of French New Wave. For instance, the Film Noir influence can be seen in Washington’s dance scene, where the camera is filming him from the outside of the home, looking inside through the window. While the French New Wave influence can be seen during the fast editing of the cuddle scene between Malcolm and Marie, as they talk and laugh about filmmaking.
Malcolm and Marie follows a couple who has just arrived after the successful film premiere of Malcolm’s directorial debut. While Malcolm is on cloud nine, Marie is upset over Malcolm forgetting to thank her in his acceptance speech. This lack of acknowledgment leads the couple down a rabbit hole, revealing the layers of manifested resentment that the couple has against each other.
The acting in this film beautifully resembles the presentation of a live play. Though Malcolm and Marie has repeatedly been compared to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, it’s far more similar to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Elizabeth Taylorand Paul Newman. Like Taylor, Zendaya initially expresses more vulnerability through her words and clothing. Both women are in intimate apparel when around their men, revealing a part of themselves only to their men. While Newman and Washington love their women, both are too stubborn and unwilling to acknowledge the issues creating friction in the relationships. The men also stayed relatively dressed, as though they were also trying to non-verbally hide their vulnerability.
Malcolm and Marie challenge the love clichés that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in Hollywood films and TV, reminding us that love is more than just a four-letter word.
Malcolm and Marie premieres on February 5, 2021, exclusively on Netflix.
Director/writer: Sam Levinson Stars: John David Washington, Zendaya Rating: R Running Time: 1hr 46m Genres: Drama, Romance
The Frida Cinema’s Film Programmer Trevor Dillon announces WTF WEDNESDAYS, a new biweekly film-discussion show where he will take a look at “films that assault the senses, melt the brain, and leaves some audience members asking themselves, “…WTF did I just watch!?”” On Episode 5, Trevor invites Frida Cinema bloggers Justina Bonilla and Austin Jaye to discuss the 1960 French classic EYES WITHOUT A FACE! EYES WITHOUT A FACE is currently streaming over at TheFridaCinema.org!
Saldana and Taylor-Joy In David O. Russell’s All-Star Film
By Justina Bonilla
Actresses Zoe Saldana and Anya Taylor-Joy are part of the illustrious list of actors who have signed on to Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell’s (American Hustle) new “untitled film” currently filming in Los Angeles.
The incredible list of actors attached to this project, is a literal who’s who of Hollywood heavyweights, a comedic legend, and some of Hollywood’s hottest talents. The list includes: Academy award-winning actor Robert De Niro and the versatile Christian Bale. They join two comedic legends and Saturday Night Live alumni Chris Rock and Mike Meyers. Academy Award winner Rami Malek, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington were some of the first actors cast last year.
Saldana is best known for her roles in multiple major Hollywood action and sci-fi film franchises. Her first major franchise role was as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. In 2009, Saldana starred in two of the biggest contemporary franchises to date, first in the reboot of Star Trek as Uhura and second and most notably as Neytiri in Avatar. Saldana is set to reprise her role of Neytiri in four more of the upcoming Avatar sequels, two of which have already been filmed with two more in production.
Taylor-Joy, the Argentine-British actress, gained acting notoriety in the chilling horror film The Witch as the lead Thomasin. She was a regular in the Netflix TV series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, the BBC’s Atlantis, and HBO Max’s Peaky Blinders. However it was her magnetic performance in the lead role as Beth Harmon in the Netflix wildly popular limited series The Queen’s Gambit that has put her acting career in full throttle.
Russell has also brought on board one of the most notable cinematographers in the business, Mexican born Emmanuel Lubezki, who has gained international notoriety for his breathtaking visuals. Among Lubezki’s highest awards are three Oscars and three BAFTA awards, won three years in a row, for Gravity, Birdman, and The Revenant.
It takes a three-time, Oscar nominated director with Russell’s track record of films like American Hustle, Silver Lining Playbook, and Three Kings to pull together such a noted cast for one film.
Not much has been revealed about the storyline of this film, other than it is a comedy written by Russell, based on an original idea of his.
1960 was a monumental year for the horror genre. Considered as cinematic classics, heavily influencing and setting the creative standard for subsequent entries in the second half of the 20th century, and well into the 21st century, here is a list of 10 films every horror fan should see.
10. Blood and Roses
A lesser-known French and Italian collaborative film, known for its stunning visuals and cinematography, Blood and Roses is cited as a paradigm of early European horror.
A bitter heiress, jealous of her cousin and best friend’s engagement, becomes obsessed with a vampiric ancestor, while a series of murders occur around them.
9. 13 Ghosts
The King of Gimmicks William Castel developed a unique style of publicity and camp, which left an indelible mark on filmmakers such as Joe Dante and John Waters.
A family inherits a mansion from a mysterious relative, soon discovering that it’s riddled with restless, ghostly occupants wanting to kill one of them.
A Mexican classic escaping traditional horror conventions, Macario is a visually stunning tale centered around The Day of The Dead and death.
Macario, a poor Mexican peasant, makes a deal with death, only to find that their deal is more than he bargained for.
7. Peeping Tom
One of the earliest influences on the modern slasher genre, sparking controversy at the time of release, Peeping Tom permanently damaged the career of director Michael Powell.
An aspiring filmmaker lives a double life as a serial killer, who captures his victims’ painful last moments before death.
6. Village of the Damned
A staple of classic British sci-fi horror, fraught with tension, creepy emotionless children actors, and an eerie sense of isolation, Village of the Damned follows a group of children, born under mysterious circumstances, as they use their mind-control powers to hold the inhabitants of a small village hostage.
5. Hanyo (The Housemaid)
Inspired by true events, Hanyo is remarked upon as the magnum opus of early South Korean horror films, highly inspiring Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 Oscar-winning film Parasite.
A middle-class family hires a young female housekeeper, whose presence turns their little home to a living nightmare, as she becomes obsessed with murdering the family.
This essential Japanese arthouse horror film broke new artistic ground with its graphic images of torture, inspired by the Buddhist interpretations of hell.
Several interconnected tales of sinners, whose devious behaviors lead them to suffer, torment in hell beyond their wildest nightmare.
3. Black Sunday
The cinematography of this landmark Italian horror film transformed gothic cinema internationally.
After a vampiric witch is executed by her brother, she returns centuries later to exact her revenge on his descendants.
2. Eyes Without A Face
One of the most important and bone-chilling French horror films of all time.
A mad doctor, who obsesses over fixing his daughter’s deformed face, kidnaps unsuspecting young women to graph their faces onto hers.
House of Usher
Circus of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors
City of the Dead
The Ghost Cat of Otama Pond
The Virgin Spring
The crown jewel of Alfred Hitchcock’s filmography, Psycho defied expectation with its innovative plot twists.
When a secretary vanishes after embezzling $40,000, it’s up to her sister and boyfriend to investigate her disappearance at her last known whereabouts, the eerie Bates Motel.