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February 2020

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FILM!

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island hits theaters Feb 14th (Photo Sony Pictures)

Fantasy Island

  • By Debbie Emery
  • Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Cult TV ‘70s TV series Fantasy Island is brought back to life in the creepiest way possible by Sony Pictures and Blumhouse Productions (founded by the prince of horror, Jason Blum). For all those dreaming of an idyllic tropical vacation in the midst of winter, the film adaptation of Fantasy Island will squash any wanderlust. Michael Peña (Crash, End of Watch) plays Mr. Roarke, an enigmatic host who makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort. But according to the studio’s synopsis, when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island’s mystery in order to escape with their lives.

Described as Westworld meets The Cabin in the Woods, 2020’s Fantasy Island plucks its victims from a group of contest winners who quickly realize that the grand prize is often death. This dark, modern take on Gene Levitt’s ABC show brings an added layer of horror to the mysterious island, which in real-life was Fiji, without the humor value of sidekick Tattoo screaming “Ze plane! Ze plane!” to announce the arrival of a new set of guests.

Directed by Jeff Wadlow (Truth or Dare), Fantasy Island also stars Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, and Michael Rooker.

Fantasy Islandhits theaters on February 14th.

Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey hits theaters Feb 7th (Starring Margot Robbie)

Birds of Prey

  • By Debbie Emery
  • Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.

While Suicide Squad got mixed reviews in 2016, one thing all critics agreed on was the captivating performance by Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn – a former psychiatrist who reaps chaos with her frequent accomplice and lover, the Joker.

Now the DC Comics character gets her own movie with Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) from director Cathy Win. The plot of the superhero spinoff sees Harley (Robbie) join forces with Black Canary, Helena Bertinelli, and Renee Montoya to save Cassandra Cain from Gotham iron-fisted crime lord.

Ewan McGregor goes from fighting the dark side in the Star Wars prequels to the epitome of evil as Roman Sionis a.k.a. Black Mask. The actor described his character in a recent interview with Men’s Journal as “an absolute narcissist, spoiled in his upbringing to the point of having no contact with what life or people are about, who has a skin this thin and wants nothing more than to be the center of attention.”

As star and producer, Oscar nominee Robbie always perceived Birds of Prey as an R-rated girl gang movie because her colorful character loves interacting with people. “Harley needs friends … don’t ever make her do a standalone film,” she told Warner Bros.

Birds of Prey hits theaters on February 7th.

Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems is now playing (Starring Adam Sandler)

Uncut Gems

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of A24

Some movies touch your heart.  Other movies stimulate your brain.  But it is a rare movie that physically rocks you to the core and that is exactly how I felt after watching Uncut Gems.  It was like standing on the edge of a cliff for two hours…and sometimes that is not a bad thing. Adam Sandler stars as Howard Ratner, a New York jeweler with a serious gambling addiction who gets in over his head with a ‘take no prisoners’ loan shark.  Clearly on the road to destruction, he conjures up a precarious plan for one desperate winner-take-all sports bet.

Sandler’s character is a true adrenaline-junkie whose life ‘on a tightrope’ is a series of chaos and contradictions as he slowly destroys everything around him.  The supporting cast – Idina Menzel as his wife (who shines in this non-musical dramatic role), Julia Fox as the girlfriend, and sports legend Kevin Garnet, a key figure in the plot – seamlessly add to the tension.  The manic nature of New York City’s Diamond District with its host of characters also plays a key role in the film.

Uncut Gems was released at the end of the year and sadly has been overlooked for any major awards. Sandler, known mainly for his over-the-top comedy roles, gives the performance of his career. Don’t miss this movie and hold on to your popcorn, it’s quite a bumpy ride!

 Uncut Gems” is now playing.

Elton John Party

Elton John’s Annual Oscar Party Feb 9th (Photo Faith Moran/Wireimage)

Elton John Party

  • By Debbie Emery

If you’re not one of the privileged few sat inside Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre on February 9, the next best place to watch the Oscars is at the 28th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party. Hosts Elton John and David Furnish will once again create an intimate party atmosphere as A-list guests sip champagne, enjoy a three-course dinner – which has been created by Chef Wayne Elias and Crumble Catering for the past 15 years – and watch the Oscars air live on giant screens inside the customized venue in West Hollywood Park.

After the final statuette was been handed out, British singer-songwriter Sam Fender will headline the after-party as Oscar winners and nominees spill over from the Governor’s Ball. Guests at last year’s party were treated to a surprise duet when Rocketman star Taron Egerton joined real-life Elton (complete with sparkly jacket and pink glasses) on stage for a historic rendition of Tiny Dancer.

All proceeds benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which works in over 23 countries to provide treatment, testing, care and support to people at risk of or living with HIV, especially marginalized groups that are disproportionately affected such as men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers. Cadillac, M&M’S Chocolate Candies, Gilead Sciences and M•A•C VIVA GLAM join the Foundation as the 2020 co-sponsors.

For more details on the foundation, click here.

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