Archive for June, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

Posted in Movie News on June 28, 2009 by Steve Mesa

Despite all the trials and tribulations that Michael Jackson gone through the past 15 years, I still love him as an artist. It was very sudden when I was told that Jackson has passed away at the age of 50 from cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009. I have grown up with Jackson on the brain ever since my father bought himself the LP of Jackson’s best studio-made album “Thrller”. He bought me the audio cassettes of the Jackson 5’s “ABC” album and Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” and “Bad” albums. I also grew up watching the movie he made called “Moonwalker”, a film combining fantastical elements and live concert footage to be a long-form music videos for his-then recent album, “Bad”.
It is very sad that he died before he could make the 50-city concert tour which deemed his comeback. He will be very missed by people all over the world who adored Jackson for his music as a performer.

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Luis Guzman takes a ride on ‘Pelham 1 2 3’

Posted in Features on June 12, 2009 by Steve Mesa

You may not know his name, but when you see him on the silver screen, you will remember him.
His name is Luis Guzman and he has starred in a more then 100 television series and movies that include “Carlito’s Way”, “Boogie Nights”, “Magnolia”, “Punch-Drunk Love”, “Out of Sight” and “Traffic”. He has also two voiceover works as part of the popular video game series, “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”.
On Friday, Guzman will make his fourth film appearance this year (a cameo in “He’s Just Not That Into You” and roles in “Fighting” and “Still Waiting”) in a remake of the 1974 movie, “The Taking of Pelham 123”, directed by Tony Scott and starring Oscar-winner Denzel Washington and Oscar-nominee John Travolta.
In the movie, Travolta takes over the role that Robert Shaw originates as a lunatic who hijacks a New York City subway train with passengers and only wants to negotiate and talk to Washington’s subway dispatcher (originally played by Walter Matthau).
Guzman was here in Miami to promote the film and The Beacon was able to sit down and interview him. In the movie, Guzman plays Phil Ramos, a former subway employee just recently released from jail who helps Travolta’s character carry out the hijacking.
To prepare for the role, Guzman and the cast had to go through training in order to be familiar with the New York City subway system.
“The first thing you learn is that the third rail will fry you quicker then you can think you’re being fried,” Guzman says. “There is also no such thing as getting hit by a train and walking away. If a train hits you, that is it because a train weighs at least 100,000 tons. You have to respect the system, which is a huge thing”.
Guzman said that the training he received were from the people that worked with the New York City subway system. He also shot his role in 3 ½ months in a compartment that Guzman said was 2 ½ feet by 8 feet.
“You go through all the emotional stages because somebody says to you ‘Come on, your going to make $2 million and it will take an hour’, Guzman says. “If you think you are going to do this and things get ugly, you wish you weren’t there”.
Guzman said that it was amazing working with Scott and Travolta. He also said while they were shooting the film, Scott set up 4 to 5 cameras to shoot at the same time in one take.
“Its amazing to watch Scott as he watches all the different cameras that are ready to film and he is talking to every single camera operator like if he was conducting an orchestra,” Guzman says.
As for working with Travolta, Guzman said that Travolta really poured his heart and energy into the character.
“He did an amazing job with how he approached that character and how he put it out,” Guzman says. “To me, that kind of role is like jumping off a cliff without a parachute and you have every confidence in the world that you are going to survive it because you are that bad ass. You want to find something somewhere that will help break your fall, you hope.”
Before Guzman became an actor, he worked as a social worker in New York City several years ago. Guzman said that as a social worker, Guzman’s job was to help motivate teenagers and to help build up their self-esteem and self-confidence.
“I would get into their heads and ask them what they would want to do in 6 months, a year or 5 years from now to present them in the best way possible,” Guzman says. “That is what I do when I show up, I present myself in the best way possible by being honest and truthful about it”.
Guzman says that he is really humble of his acting career and that he is able to being doing this for a long time.
“I stumbled into this career because all I wanted to do was to make enough money to buy a used car to drive to the beach on the weekends and not take transit,” Guzman says. “I have an amazing life and I am grateful for it everyday”.

Bradley Cooper had a tough ‘Hangover’

Posted in Features on June 6, 2009 by Steve Mesa

In “The Hangover”, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) are four men going to Las Vegas to celebrate Doug’s impending marriage to love of his life. Phil, Stu and Alan wake up the next day to find their hotel room a mess and Doug missing. It is up to them to work as a group to retrace their steps in order to find their buddy, which leads them a stray tiger, a motherless infant and a naked Chinese man in trunk of their car.
The Beacon was able to sit down with actor Bradley Cooper (“Wedding Crashers”, “Yes Men”) at the Lowes Hotel in South Beach. He plays Phil Wenneck, one of Doug’s best friend and the apparent leader and alpha male of the group.
Cooper was able to make this film when he first met the film’s director, Todd Phillips, two year ago. A year later before “The Hangover” was ready to be filmed; he received word from Phillips that he got the role.
“I really did not think I could pull it off for some reason,” Cooper said. “I just thought I did not feel secure about me playing that role.”
He said that Phillips believed that he can do it and Cooper listened to him two weeks into filming and it all clicked for him.
Filming “The Hangover” was not the first time that Cooper worked with Bartha and Galifianakis. Cooper has been friends with Barth since they worked with each other for the first time in 2006’s romantic comedy “Failure to Launch” and second time in the upcoming anthology film, “New York, I Love You”.
“I met Zach in Vancouver long time ago where we were both shooting separate television series’,” Cooper said. “He and I shared a car to drive to Vegas for the film and we bonded on the trip.”
Cooper would go on to say that himself, Galifianakis and co-star Ed Helms became very good friends.
During the filming of the movie, Copper and the guys had no breaks when they were filming six to eight weeks and sixteen hours a day.
“We went all over Vegas because of the movie and to places we probably we would not have gone to,” Cooper said.
Cooper said that any down time that they had been spent sleeping and relaxing.
When it came to what scene was the most difficult to scene to shoot, Cooper said that the scene with a naked Chinese man jumps on his neck and hits everybody with a crowbar.
“We shot that scene forty times with the guy jumping on my neck and his balls was in my face,” Cooper said. “After we shot that scene, we though ‘Wow, this movie could be really special.”
The year 2007 was the busiest year for Cooper where he was filming five films that include “The Midnight Meat Train”, “Yes Men” and “He’s Just Not That Into You”.
“At one point, I was shooting three movies that were overlapping and at the same time, I was doing a guest spot on ‘Nip/Tuck”.
The next films that Cooper will be in is “Case 39”, a horror film starring Renee Zellweger with an unknown release date and “All About Steve”, a romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock to be released on September 9.

R.I.P. David "Bill" Carradine

Posted in Movie News on June 5, 2009 by Steve Mesa

Today is a sad day as David Carradine was found dead at the age of 72. The Thai police found his body hanging in a closet in his Bangkok hotel room while he was shooting his latest movie. He first became famous for the role of Kwai Chang Caine in the ABC TV series KUNG FU, whcih ran from 1972 to 1975. After the series, he started getting film roles such as the prison-turned-driver Frankenstein in Roger Corman’s classic B-movie DEATH RACE 2000 witha young Sylvester Stallone as Bazooka Joe. He would then go to portray Woody Guthrie in the 1976 biopic BOUND FOR GLORY, which earned him his only Oscar nomination. After that, he seemed to drop off the Hollywood radar.
26 years later, director Quentin Tarantino who was a fan of KUNG FU casted Carradine in the KILL BILL movies as a leader of elusive assasins that are targets of a vengeful bride (Uma Thurman). The films gave Carradine his third Golden Globe nomination. When the movies became a hit, it open many doors to Carradine to buld up his acting resume.
The last big film Carradine that he was in was CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE as Poon Dong, the leader of the Triad gang that is after Chev Chelios’ heart. After three years of interviewing celebrities, David Carradine was one of the celebrities I did not get to talk to. He will be very missed.