TV & Film

Monday Morning Critic podcast was developed by my passion for people whose work has moved me. Guests are hand picked and purposely selected in a format where storytelling is done properly. If you’re like me and you’re a huge movie fan of the big and small screen, welcome!
Monday Morning Critic Podcast.
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Episodes

Monday Morning Critic Podcast!  

Episode 221. "The Dig" Composer: Stefan Gregory.   

Stefan Gregory is a very talented composer whose music you can currently find in the Netflix hit movie: "The Dig".

Meet the wonderfully talented and kind: Stefan Gregory.

 

Episode 221.

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Episode 220. "Driving Miss Daisy" Cinematographer: Peter James.
 
Peter James is an Australian Cinematographer whose filmography includes 27 Dresses, Meet the Parents, Double Jeopardy, My Life, Alive, Driving Miss Daisy, Black Robe and so many more. 
 
Meet a wonderful human being and legend: Peter James!

 

Episode 220.

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EPISODE 219. "COBRA KAI" ACTOR: HAN SOTO!

Actor Han Soto is a native of New Orleans whose work spans across the lines of genre. Beyond acting in blockbuster films (e.g. Ender’s GameLogan) and hit television shows (e.g. MacGyverThe Purge), Soto brings his blend of business sense, he produces films via Kamikaze Dogfight which distributes cutting-edge horror and thriller feature films. Aside from working on the recent award-winning documentary A Tuba To Cuba and executive producing Jeffrey Reddick’s directorial debut Don’t Look Back, he appeared in the latest season of Netflix favorite Cobra Kai as Pham Minh Thao.

Prior to working in the entertainment industry, Han Soto was a successful businessman within the building trades industry. He had also created and operated a website and branding business and had worked as an independent consultant within the corporate Information Technology field. However, acting and its related fields have been Soto’s primary focus for more than a decade.

Episode 219.

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Episode 218.

Monday Morning Critic Podcast.

Rafael Yglesias is an American novelist and screenwriter best known for the 1993 movie Fearless, which he adapted from his own novel of the same name.

He is an amazing screenwriter and novelist. 

Please welcome, Rafael Yglesias.

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Episode 217!

David Louis Newman is an American composer and conductor known particularly for his film scores. In a career spanning more than thirty years, he has composed music for nearly 100 feature films.

His films include: Hoffa, The Sandlot, Brokedown Palace, Galaxy Quest, Tommy Boy and many, many more.

Welcome the very talented and kind, David Newman.

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Stuart Dryburgh is a British born, New York based cinematographer.

His credits include ‘The Great Wall’, ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, ‘The Piano’ (AAN 1994), ‘An Angel at my Table’ and the amazing "Gifted" starring Chris Evans.

Stuart Dryburgh was born in the UK in 1952, and migrated with his family to New Zealand in 1961, where he spent most of his childhood and young adult life. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Auckland University in 1977.

Stuart started out working on early NZ films such as ‘Middle Age Spread’ and ‘Good-Bye Pork Pie’ and ‘Smash Palace’.

He was employed as a gaffer from 1979 – 1985, working on many NZ and international feature films and commercials. From 1985 on he has worked only as a cinematographer, at first shooting short films, music videos, and tv commercials.

In 1989 he shot the 3 part TV mini series ‘An Angel at my Table’ for director Jane Campion. This led to another Dryburgh/ Campion collaboration, ‘The Piano’. For this film he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1994.

His next project, ultimately his last in New Zealand for many years, was ‘Once Were Warriors’ with New Zealand director Lee Tamahori.

In 1994 Dryburgh shot his first US feature film, the ‘Peres Family’, for director Mira Nair,and moved permanently to the US in 1996.

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Stephen Tobolowsky is one of the leading character actors today. He has appeared in over 200 movies and television shows. 

He has played everything from Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day to Sandy Ryerson in Glee and has worn the same suit for seven years as Principal Earl Ball on The Goldbergs. Stephen most currently appeared as Dr. Leslie Berkowitz in the new generation remake of Norman Lear's One Day at a Time. 

In addition he has also appeared in Spaceballs, Mississippi Burning, Momento, Thelma and Louise and the list goes on and on.

Stephen has always been a storyteller. In sixth grade he won his school’s storytelling contest and over that summer won the award as best storyteller in the City of Dallas (13 years old and under division.) 

I had so much fun during this interview.

I hope you will as well.

Welcome the phenomenal: Stephen Tobolowsky!

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Chuk Iwuji was born in Nigeria in 1975. When he was ten his parents began working for the United Nations Organization and moved to Ethiopia, sending their son to a boarding school in England. He got in to Yale University to major in Economics but was interested in acting and joined the university's drama society. Whilst he was appearing in their production of 'Murder in the Cathedral' he was offered an acting scholarship. He went to a drama school in Wisconsin then moved back to the United Kingdom, successfully auditioning for the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he has joined the ever-growing number of black actors, including David Oyelowo and Adrian Lester, who have played leading roles with no reference to their colour, replacing David Oyelowo in the role of Henry VI as well as playing Buckingham to Kevin Spacey's Richard III at the Old Vic.

Welcome the awesome: Chukwudi Iwuji!

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Jon Jon Briones was born in Quezon City, Philippines as Ernesto Briones. He is an actor and singer who first left the Philippines at the age of 23 to venture to London and join the original cast of Miss Saigon. Since then he has traveled all over the world appearing on stage, television and in film. He has been married to actress/singer Megan Johnson Briones since 1996. They have two children who are also in the business, Isa and Teo, and they now reside in Los Angeles.

 

Welcome the very talented and kind: Jon Jon Briones.

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Paul Raci is an American actor best known for his role as Joe in the Sound of Metal (2020) directed by Darius Marder, starring opposite Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke. Paul can also be seen in many TV shows including Baskets opposite Zach Galifinakis, Goliath opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Parks and Recreations opposite Amy Poehler.

Paul was born and raised in Chicago by Deaf parents and is fluent in American Sign Language. While in Chicago, he honed his acting chops at the local theaters and was a founding member of The Immediate Theater Company, where he was nominated for a Jefferson Award for their production of Children of a Lesser God. He also trained at Second City and has worked with several improvisation companies.

In Los Angeles, he has performed in over 12 productions with the locally acclaimed, Deaf West Theater including Of Mice and Men, Medea, Equus, A Christmas Carol, and most recently the acclaimed, award winning production of David Mamet's American Buffalo in ASL.

A Vietnam veteran, Paul is also a musician and singer with the band Hands of Doom an ASL rock, Black Sabbath Tribute band where Paul dazzles his audience with his outstanding, raw vocals and outrageously artful ASL. Paul has been married for years to Liz Hanley Raci. They have one daughter, Britta, who is also a singer, songwriter with the Indie Band It's Butter.

 

Paul gives an Academy Award worthy performance in his newest film, "Sound of Metal" directed by Darius Marder starring Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke. Truly, one of the best films of the year, supported by Paul's amazing work.

Welcome the absolutely talented, honest and simply wonderful, Paul Raci.

 

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Kenny Anderson was selected by the New Jersey Nets with the second pick in the 1991 NBA Draft. He was the youngest player in the league at that time. He averaged seven points, two rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. In Anderson’s second season he nearly doubled his point, rebound, and assist averages. In his third season, he averaged 18.8 ppg and 9.6 apg. Anderson and teammate Derrick Coleman represented the East squad in the 1994 NBA All-Star Game. He was traded to the Charlotte Hornets in 1996.

Anderson has played for the Nets, Hornets (including both Charlotte and New Orleans franchises), Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, Seattle SuperSonics and the Indiana Pacers, and split a season for the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers.

In 1998, Portland traded Anderson to the Toronto Raptors for Damon Stoudamire, but he refused to report to the team because he did not want to play in Canada. The Raptors traded him to the Celtics for Chauncey Billups.

Meet the very kind: Kenny Anderson!

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Ragno was born in Vieste, Apulia, Italy. He is an actor, known for Happy as Lazzaro (2018), Pandemia (2012) and L'uomo privato (2007). He is currently starring in Season 4 of Fargo.

Welcome the talented and kind: Tommaso Ragno.

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ALAR KIVILO lensed the box office hit “The Blind Side,” which was nominated for an Oscar® for Best Picture and won the Best Actress award for Sandra Bullock.

A native of Montreal, Kivilo began his cinematography career shooting documentaries and short films, including “Boys and Girls,” which won an Academy Award® for Best Live Action Short in 1984.  Kivilo next began shooting music videos, which eventually led to commercials and the formation of his own company, Propeller.  For the next ten years, he directed and shot many Bessie, Clio and Cannes Award-winning commercials. In recent years he has been directing and shooting the award winning Newfoundland and Labrador tourism commercials. “Ancient Land” won a Gold Lion at Cannes for cinematography.

In 1987, Kivilo lensed his first feature, “Da,” followed by Sam Raimi’s “A Simple Plan.”  He has since served as the director of photography on such films as “Frequency,” “The Glass House,” “Hart’s War,” “Aurora Borealis,” “The Ice Harvest,” “The Lake House,” “The Lookout,” “Year One,” “The Blindside,” “Bad Teacher,” “The Lucky One,” “Fallen,” and “The Choice.”

For his work on the small screen, he received an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Motion Picture/Mini-Series Television for the acclaimed HBO movie “Taking Chance,” starring Kevin Bacon.  Kivilo previously earned Emmy and ASC Award nominations for the HBO biopic “Gotti,” and an ASC Award nomination for the miniseries “The Invaders.” His other television credits include the HBO movies “Normal,” “Weapons of Mass Distraction” and “Rebound.” 

Kivilo is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Society of Cinematographers, the Canadian Society of Cinematographers and the Estonian Society of Cinematographers.

Meet the wonderfully talented, Alar Kivilo!

 

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Larry Watson is the author of the novels THE LIVES OF EDIE PRITCHARD, AS GOOD AS GONE, LET HIM GO, MONTANA 1948, AMERICAN BOY, IN A DARK TIME, WHITE CROSSES, LAURA, ORCHARD, and SUNDOWN, YELLOW MOON; the fiction collection JUSTICE; the poetry collection, LATE ASSIGNMENTS, and the chapbook of poetry LEAVING DAKOTA. Watson’s fiction has been published in ten foreign editions, and has received prizes and awards from Milkweed Press, Friends of American Writers, Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association, Mountain and Plains Library Association, New York Public Library, Wisconsin Library Association, Critics’ Choice, and The High Plains Book Award. The movie rights to MONTANA 1948 and JUSTICE have been sold to Echo Lake Productions and WHITE CROSSES and ORCHARD have been optioned for film. LET HIM GO was made into a film starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane in 2020.

Meet the very kind and talented, Larry Watson!

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Episode 207!

Actor: Vernon Wells!

You would be hard pressed to find an actor that has had an impact on the 80's the way Vernon Wells has. Some of his amazing Filmography includes, Commando, Weird Science, Fortress, The Road Warrior and Inner Space.He continues to kick ass as an actor. 

Meet the Awesome, Vernon Wells!

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Demetrius Grosse is an American actor and producer. He is best known for his role as Rock in the feature film Straight Outta Compton, Emmett Yawners in the Cinemax television series Banshee, Errol in the FX television series Justified, and Baron Samedi in NBC's Heroes.

 

Currently you can find him in Season 6, Episode 1 of Fear the Walking Dead.

Meet the talented and kind, Demetrius Grosse.

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Kate Dickie is a Scottish actress who has appeared in television series, stage plays and films. She is perhaps best known for her role as Lysa Arryn in the HBO series Game of Thrones, and is also known for her portrayal of the security camera operative Jackie in her starring debut Red Road, directed by Andrea Arnold, for which she was given several awards as best actress, among other things at the BAFTA Scotland Awards and the British Independent Film Awards. Meet the awesome, Kate Dickie.

 

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A look at the wonderfully inspiring, the 1995 release-

Mr. Holland's Opus.

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Christian Sparkes is an award winning writer and director of film and television hailing from Newfoundland, Canada. His films have screened at various festivals around the world including TIFF, Fantastic Fest and Cannes and are typically revered for their unique blend of fantasy and drama along with a classical shooting style. 

"Hammer" his most recent project, stars Mark O'Brien and Legend Will Patton. 

Meet the very kind and talented, Christian Sparkes.

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Cristo Fernández is a Mexican actor & filmmaker born in Guadalajara, Jalisco. After finishing his degree in communications back home in UNIVA GDL, he pursued his career as an Actor, and in 2016 studied a master degree at the Guildford School of Acting from the University of Surrey in the UK. Being fluent in various languages including English, German, French, Italian and his mother tongue, Spanish, has allowed Cristo to work in projects in Mexico and abroad, both on stage and on screen.

 

You can currently find Cristo in the amazing and wonderful "Ted Lasso" on Apple TV+!

Welcome the genuine, hardworking and kind, Cristo Fernandez!

 

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Brannon Braga’s tenure in the industry began in 1990 as a writer/producer on Paramount’s top-rated series STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. In 1995, he was appointed Executive Producer of STAR TREK: VOYAGER. As a writer/producer on ST:TNG, he wrote many popular episodes including the series finale “All Good Things…” which earned him the Hugo Award for excellence in science fiction writing. Braga also co-wrote the movies STAR TREK GENERATIONS (1994) and STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT (1996). The latter film became the highest grossing of the nine Star Trek films. In all, he has written more than 100 Star Trek episodes. Outside of Star Trek, Braga has also developed television series for the FOX Network, including TERRA NOVA, 24, and COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY.

 

Brannon has written for and directed episodes of "The Orville" and has written and directed "Books of Blood", dropping HULU on October 7th.

Meet the talented and kind: Brannon Braga.

 

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September 11, 2020

MMC Movie Loft: The Natural.

Monday Morning Critic examines the best sports movie in history. The Natural. 1984.

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EMMY® Award-winning composer Alex Wurman is highly versatile with a broad musical palette. He is able to work with directors in many different genres. He has particularly enjoyed the breadth of work with notable writer/directors, such as Steven Conrad (Perpetual Grace LTD, The Promotion, Patriot), John August (The Nines), Jill Sprecher (Thirteen Conversations About One Thing), Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) and Ron Shelton (Play It To The Bone, Hollywood Homicide).

 

Whether writing critically-acclaimed music for an Oscar®-winning film, supporting comedy with musical punctuation for box office giants, or capturing the essence of brainy ideas for indie films, Wurman traverses the film-score landscape with ease. This is exemplified by his eerie piano melodies of Confessions of A Dangerous Mind, groovy ’70’s themes for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, contemporary interpretations of French impressionism for Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, and soulful melodies combined with ethereal orchestrations for March of the Penguins. 

Meet Alex Wurman.

 

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Morgan Symes is an actor most notably for his role in a "A Monster Calls" 

 

Meet the very kind: Morgan Symes.

 

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Patric Laprade is a Canadian professional wrestling historian and French-speaking Quebecer best known for his several award winning books on Canadian and womens wrestling. and working for TVA Sports as an interviewer and WWE as a French language broadcaster of Monday Night RAW.

You can also find Pat in the 2018 HBO Documentary, "Andre the Giant"

 

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Monday Movie Loft examines Ferri Bueller's Day Off!

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Yvon Barrette's iconic portrayal of Goalie Denis Lemieux in the legendary 1977 movie "Slap Shot" produced some of the most memorable moments of the movie, which starred Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean, Strother Martin and the Hanson Brothers, played by Steve and Jeff Carlson and Dave Hanson of the Johnstown Jets.

 

Meet the awesome: Yvon Barrette!

 

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Annie Rose Buckley is an Australian actor whose performance in "Saving Mr. Banks" remains one of the best in recent memory.

Her role as "Ginty" was nothing short of phenomenal. 

 

Meet the very kind and talented: Annie Rose Buckley.

 

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His big Hollywood break came in the form of him being cast in the upcoming Bourne Ultimatum (2007) by award-winning director, Paul Greengrass, in which he plays 'Desh', a Blackbriar super assassin working for the CIA who goes up against Jason Bourne (Matt Damon). The Bourne Ultimatum (2007).

 

You can currently find him in the Netflix smash hit,  "The Old Guard"

 

Meet the very awesome, Joey Ansah.

 

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Lauren Sweetser is an actor whose filmography includes the four time nominated "Winter's Bone" and Season 3 of "True Detective"

Meet the very cool: Lauren Sweetser.

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Meet one of the best documentarians on the planet!

Joe Berlinger!

 

Emmy-winning and Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger has been a leading voice in nonfiction film and television for over two decades. A pioneer in the genre of true crime documentaries, Berlinger draws attention to social justice issues in the US and abroad with such landmark documentaries as Brother’s KeeperParadise Lost, and Crude. Highlighting the issue of oil pollution in the Amazon rainforest, Crudewon 22 human rights, environmental, and film festival awards and triggered a high profile First Amendment battle with oil-giant Chevron, while Brother’s Keeper and Paradise Lost influenced a generation of documentary filmmakers and are routinely studied in numerous film and law schools across the country. The New York Times included Brother’s Keeper in its guide to the 1000 best movies ever made, a list that represents all genres of film. Berlinger has received multiple awards from the Directors Guild of America, the National Board of Review and the Independent Spirit Awards. Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, is a feature-length documentary produced by CNN Films and theatrically released by Magnolia in 2014. Berlinger’s film captures notorious crime boss Whitey Bulger’s sensational trial, using it as a springboard to explore allegations of corruption within the highest levels of law enforcement. The film was one of six Berlinger features to have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

In addition to social justice filmmaking, Berlinger has explored cultural icons in such documentaries as Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, a film that redefined the rockumentary genre, and Under African Skies, about the 25th Anniversary of Paul Simon’s Graceland album. The film was nominated for three primetime Emmy awards after its 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere, including Outstanding Nonfiction Special. In the summer of 2016, Netflix released Berlinger's Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru, a riveting vérité film that goes behind the scenes of renowned life and business strategist Tony Robbins and his mega once-a-year “Date With Destiny” seminar. Also for Netflix, Berlinger directed and produced Hank: 5 Years From the Brink, a dissection of the actions taken by then Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson to stave off a global meltdown during the financial collapse of 2008.

In 2017, Berlinger completed Intent to Destroy, which pulls back the curtain on the violent history of the Armenian Genocide and legacy of Turkish suppression and denial over the past century. The film won numerous film festival awards after its Tribeca Film Festival world premiere and was broadcast on Starz. In 2018 Berlinger executive produced Paris to Pittsburgh for Bloomberg Philanthropies and National Geographic. The film highlights the impassioned efforts of individuals across the United States who are battling climate change despite the Trump administration’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement. The film debuted in December of 2018 and aired globally in 172 countries.

In addition to his feature documentary work, Berlinger, a two-time Emmy and Peabody award winner (with five additional Emmy nominations), has created hundreds of hours of television as both a producer and director, including the Emmy-winning History Channel series 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America and the Emmy-nominated Gray Matter. He directed and produced six seasons of the critically acclaimed Sundance Channel series Iconoclasts and directed/executive-produced the first two seasons of the Emmy-nominated Master Class, a series for the Oprah Winfrey Network. His numerous HBO productions include AddictionJudgment Day andVirtual Corpse, and he has created series for VH1 and Court TV. Berlinger’s dramatic television directorial credits include NBC's acclaimed hit drama Homicide: Life on the Street, as well as the short-lived UPN/Dick Wolf series D.C.

Berlinger’s multiple Emmy-winning Paradise Lost series for HBO helped spawn a worldwide movement to free the “West Memphis Three" from wrongful murder convictions, ultimately resulting in a death sentence and two life-without-parole sentences being vacated, allowing the men to finally be released from prison on August 19, 2011. The last film in the trilogy, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory was nominated for an Oscar and two primetime Emmys in 2012.

In 2015, the filmmaker finished directing and executive producing The System with Joe Berlinger, an eight-part series examining systemic problems within the American justice system for Al Jazeera America. Berlinger also directed and produced Judgment Day: Prison or Parole, an investigative series for Investigation Discovery that takes viewers inside the high stakes decisions made by parole boards everyday. Killing Richard Gossip, another Investigation Discovery series, tells the haunting story of a former motel manager sentenced to die for orchestrating a murder that he swears he had nothing to do with.

In the summer of 2017 Berlinger’s eight-part docuseries for Spike TV premiered. Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio, about the deaths and disappearances of six young women in southern Ohio, is a tragic saga shrouded in a mystery that includes a dark underbelly of a struggling Midwest region plagued by drug and sex trafficking, and a system that seems to have failed to protect these women. In the fall of 2017 Berlinger’s four-part true crime documentary series Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders reexamined the crime chronicled in Truman Capote’s landmark book and Oscar- nominated film.

In 2018, Berlinger produced and directed Wrong Man, a documentary series for Starz. An investigation into three separate cases of wrongful conviction, the show seeks to bring three innocent people the justice that the American criminal justice system has denied them. Wrong Man has been greenlit for a second season, where Berlinger and his team will examine three new cases. His most recent series, Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers, is an investigative look into the brutal murder of a Mississippi teenager, which Berlinger directed and executive-produced. It debuted as Oxygen’s highest rated show since its true crime rebrand in 2017.

Berlinger directed two projects which premiered days apart in early 2019. Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, a four part series for Netflix, examines notorious serial killer Ted Bundy through exclusive interviews with the killer himself after being sentenced to death in Florida. The series debuted on January 24, just two days before the Sundance premiere of Berlinger’s narrative feature film on the same subject: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. The film chronicles the life of Ted Bundy through the eyes of Liz Kloepfer, his longtime girlfriend, who refused to believe the truth about him for years. Starring Zac Efron, Lily Collins, John Malkovich, Jim Parsons, Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario and Angela Sarafyan, Extremely Wicked made its world premiere at the Eccles Theater in Park City on January 26. Netflix also aquired the film and released it globally in May of 2019. 

Berlinger’s articles and photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, ArtForum, Film Comment, and Aperture magazines. His book, Metallica: This Monster Lives, The Inside Story of Some Kind of Monster, was published in 2004 by St. Martin’s Press.

Berlinger’s film and television development company, Third Eye Motion Picture Company, has had a long-standing unscripted production output deal with RadicalMedia, which also represents the director for commercial and branded-content production.

Berlinger is a member of the DGA, PGA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) and the National Board of Review. He serves on the boards of the International Documentary Association, The Bedford Playhouse and the wrongful conviction nonprofit Proclaim Justice. Berlinger is on the Advisory Boards of the Jacob Burns Film Center, The Woodstock Film Festival and Rehabilitation Through the Arts. 

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While playing disabled characters has been, for the past 27 years at least, a great way for actors to win an Oscar, Americans haven’t actually seen many impaired people on their screens. So when American Horror Story: Freak Show, introduced Mat Fraser as Paul the Illustrated Seal Boy in 2014, it was a challenge for some and a revelation for others. An actor with phocomelia a congenital condition triggered in tens of thousands of children after their mothers used the drug thalidomide for morning sickness, Fraser has short arms and no thumbs. His casting, among others in American Horror Story, triggered a wave think of pieces about the depiction, casting, and exploitation-versus-agency of disability in the media. But although Fraser is a new figure to many Americans, this wasn’t his first rodeo. Long a presence in British media before coming to the States, Fraser has used his art and public profile to push and shape conversations about disability depictions, rights, and equality for years.

Meet the awesome Mat Fraser!

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A look at the hidden classic from 2010, "Hot Tub Time Machine"

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Bao Nguyen is an award-winning Vietnamese American filmmaker whose past work has been seen in the New York Times, HBO, NBC, Vice, ARTE, and PBS. He has directed, produced, and shot a number of short films, which have played internationally in numerous festivals and museums including MoMA and the Smithsonian. His graduate thesis film, "Julian", won a CINE Golden Eagle Award, the Best Student Documentary Short at the Palm Springs ShortsFest, Special Jury Prize at DOCNYC, and was nominated for an IDA Award. He was the producer and cinematographer of "Nuoc 2030", a feature narrative set in near future Vietnam which opened the Panorama section of the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival and was a recipient of the Tribeca Film Institute Sloan Filmmaker Award. His feature doc directorial debut, "Live From New York" opened the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast nationally in prime time on NBC, preceding the 41st season premiere of Saturday Night Live. He is a 2011 PBS/WGBH Producers Workshop Fellow, an alumnus of the 2012 and 2014 Berlinale Talent Campus, and a Firelight Media Fellow. He earned his BA at NYU and his MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

 

Bao's current documentary "Be Water" an ESPN 30 for 30 is currently one of the most successful in recent memory.

Meet: Bao Nguyen.

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The first Monday Morning Critic Movie Loft!

Avengers: Endgame

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William Xifaras's path to acting is very much unlike anyone I have ever interviewed. I found him kind, open, honest and extremely talented on screen. His filmography includes Ted 2, The Equalizer, Castle Rock, The Heat and most recently and notably "Defending Jacob" in which he plays (and is absolutely fantastic as) "Father O'Leary"

Meet: William Xifaras.

 

 

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Jim Morris always dreamed of being a major league baseball player. When he got drafted in the first round in 1984, that dream felt close to becoming a reality. Unfortunately, a series of injuries forced him into early retirement. Instead, Morris got married, started a family, and got his college degree. Shortly after, he became a high school science teacher and baseball coach in West Texas.

One day, while giving a speech to his high school team about pursuing their dreams, a player challenged Jim to go after his own. So they made a bet, if the team won the District Championship, he would try out for the majors.

The team did their job. Now it was time for him to do his.

The 35-year-old Morris wasn’t very sure of himself at the try-out. When he saw the scout shaking the radar gun, he was worried his fastball didn’t even register. But soon he learned the truth. He was bringing it. Hard. 98 miles-per-hour to be exact.

Three months later, Jim Morris was toeing the rubber for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, finally living his major league dream.

Disney quickly turned Jim’s incredible story into a feature film, The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid. And the rest is history.

Today, Jim Morris is a renowned motivational speaker, sharing his journey with audiences across the globe.

Meet: Jim Morris.

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Mark O'Brien is an actor whose filmography includes "Ready or Not", "Marriage Story", "Bad Times at The El Royale" and "Arrival."

Mark's newest film, "Hammer" is available June 5th.

Meet: Mark O'Brien.

 

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Marcus LaVoi is best known for his roles on shows like Gone, Touch (TV Series) and as well as in Den of Thieves and Maternal Instinct TV Movie as Police Officer. He has also portrayed the role of “Commander Porter” in the Power Rangers Time Force. In his early years, he has worked as security guard on film sets.

He started his career as a security guard. He made his movie debut with movie “The Expendables” (TV Movie) in 2000. In 2002, he appeared in movie “Outta Time” as Riker. He also portrayed “Luka” on the series “The Young and the Restless” (TV Series) in 2005.

LaVoi's 14 years with the San Diego Sheriff's Department and his experience as a maximum-security prison officer for the California Department of Corrections made his role as a bodyguard in Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra a natural fit. With an expert-level command of a wide range of firearms, including handguns, assault and sniper rifles, and a certified side-handle Baton, LaVoi has worked with Hollywood's top stunt coordinators. He has also put to work his experience as a weaponless self-defense instructor by helping choreograph hand-to-hand combat and tactical fight scenes.

Meet Marcus LaVoie.

 

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Cara Pifko is a Canadian born actor and currently has a recurring role on Better Call Saul, Seasons 2-5.

She was a winner as Leading Female for LA's Stage Raw Award and a Gemini Award (Canadian Emmy). She's had roles in blockbuster movies, including the Steven Spielberg directed "Ready Player One"

Meet the very kind and talented: Cara Pifko!

 

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Harry Waters, Jr. is most famous for his portrayal of Marvin Berry in the movie Back to the Future, which earned him a Gold Record for his rendition of “Earth Angel.” Television acting credits include Adventures in Wonderland, among other guest-starring roles. He worked as an actor on and off Broadway, and continues to teach acting today.

Meet the Iconic: Harry Waters Jr. 

 

Monday Morning Critic Podcast.

 

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Vikas Swarup is a diplomat and a well known writer. He is the current Secretary (PCV) at the Ministry of External Affairs in India and previously as High Commissioner of India in Canada.

He is best known as the author of the novel Q & A, adapted in film as Slumdog Millionaire. The winner of Best Film for the year 2009 at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTA. 

Meet the very kind, talented and funny: Vikas Swarup.

Monday Morning Critic Podcast.

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James DuMont is an American actor and producer who played Hal Osterly in Jurassic World. Other notable films DuMont has appeared in include Speed, Primary Colors, War of the Worlds, Ocean's Thirteen, Dallas Buyers Club and Deepwater Horizon. You can also find James in Spenser Confidential on Netflix, The Righteous Gemstones on HBO and The Banker on Apple TV+

Meet the very cool, kind and busy: James Dumont.

Monday Morning Critic Podcast.

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Coming from a musical background (he is Benjamin Britten’s godson), Martin read drama at Manchester University. Fortunately for the acting profession, he decided to concentrate his energies on writing music. Since scoring his first TV drama, Eureka Street, in 2002, he has won 2 BAFTAs 5 Ivor Novello Awards, and gone on to write music for many of the most interesting series of recent years, including the BBC and Weinstein Company’s War and Peace, Hugo Blick’s Black Earth RisingPeaky Blinders and Black Mirror. Martin is currently scoring season 4 of the Leftbank Pictures/Netflix series, The Crown.

Martin’s film credits include the Weinstein Company’s Woman In Gold (scored with Hans Zimmer), starring Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren.

Meet the awesome, Martin Phipps.

 

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Keith Richards first role, (Uncut Gems) is an absolutely legendary one. Senior Film writer (Vince Mancini) at Uproxx.com describes Keith's performance...

"Phil, one of the terrifying mob guys to whom Adam Sandler’s Howard Ratner owes money. Played by Keith William Richards, with creased skin, piercing blue eyes, and a voice like a rock polisher, Phil instantly became one of cinema’s all-time great heavies. Richards is the kind of guy with a face that just screams “I’ve got some stories” 

Meet the very cool, very talented, Keith Richards.

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In 1958, 34-year-old Marlon Brando got great notices for his complex and layered performance as Nazi officer Lt. Christian Diestl in Edward Dymtryk’s Oscar-nominated World War II drama, “The Young Lions.” Like Brando in “Lions,” 36-year-old Mexican actor Harold Torres’ turn as dirty soldier Sgt. Manuel Contreras in Amazon’s limited narcoworld series “ZeroZeroZero” has sent writers and critics scrambling to describe his impact. The dynamic actor has been racking up honors and significant credits in the world of Mexican film and television. In the past 10 years, Torres has been nominated for the lead actor Ariel award (the Mexican Film Academy’s Oscar equivalent) three times and won the actor prize at the Morelia Film Festival in 2013.-Variety.

 

Meet the Awesome, Harold Torres.

 

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Michelle Wilson was last seen in the New York Theater Workshop's critically acclaimed production of The House That Will Not Stand by Marcus Gardley. Michelle is best known for her Tony nominated performance in the Pulitzer-Prize winning play Sweat. Wilson played long-time factory worker Cynthia, a role she originated off-Broadway at the Public Theatre before the show transitioned to Broadway with incredible reviews. In 2017, Sweat received three Tony award nominations including Best Play, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role for Wilson. Wilson’s other notable theater credits include A Raisin in the Sun, Detroit ’67, Follow Me to Nellie’s, Fahrenheit 451, Two Trains Running, The People Before the Park and more. Wilson also had memorable turns on the small screen in Madam Secretary, The Good Fight, Blue Bloods and E.R., as well as in indie films Nehemiah, Sink and The Bicycle. Wilson can be seen next in the indie film The True Adventures of Wolfboy alongside Jaeden Lieberher and John Turturro. The film is currently in production. 

 

You can currently find Michelle in "Amazing Stories" on Apple TV+.

 

Meet the very talented, very kind and a wonderful sense of humor, Michelle Wilson.

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Matthew Del Negro was born in Mount Kisco, New York, as the youngest of three children. He grew up in Westchester County.

After graduating Boston College, Del Negro began to study acting, and after appearing in several minor commercials and independent films, he was cast as Brian Cammarata on The Sopranos. His filmography includes "Wind River", "City on a Hill", "Scandal", "The West Wing" and so many more.

His Podcast "10,000 no's" is as motivating as it is informative. 

Meet the awesome and very kind: Matthew Del Negro.

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Will Ropp is an American Actor.

He is a Connecticut native and attended the University of Michigan .

His phenomenal portrayal of "Kenny Dawes" in "The Way Back" is one of the best performances I've seen this year.

Please meet the immensely talented, Will Ropp.

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Edu has shot movies and commercials around the world with very unique directors, developing a beautiful eye, an honest smile and a very personal style.

Born in Barcelona in 1981, Edu Grau studied filmmaking in ESCAC (Spain) and the NFTS (UK) specializing early as a Director of Photography.

At 23, when he was not ready for that, and after the Sundance winning short "LA RUTA NATURAL", Edu shot his first feature, Albert Serra's "HONOR DE CAVALLERIA", which premiered at Cannes'06 and 40 other festivals.  Then he paired up with Tom Ford for his debut feature in Hollywood, "A SINGLE MAN", that was acclaimed as one of the most cinematically beautiful films of 2009 and got Colin Firth a Bafta and an Oscar Nom. Vice magazine included it in the ¨30 most beautiful movies of all time¨.

In 2009, Edu filmed "BURIED" with Rodrigo Cortés, and starring Ryan Reynolds. The film won Edu the Bronze Frog for Best Cinematography at Camerimage'10 and a Goya nomination. "FINISTERRAE" won the main award in Rotterdam'11, while his return to the Uk was with Nick Murphy's "THE AWAKENING", with Rebecca Hall and Dominic West. Shortly after came a special movie by his talented old friend Marçal Forés,"ANIMALS", pretty much in the vein of the shorts that they used to do together. 

Edu was then given the opportunity to work with Lady Gaga at the peak of her career, "BORN THIS WAY" was the result. In 2012, Edu premiered in Toronto Dante Ariola's "ARTHUR NEWMAN" with Emily Blunt and Colin Firth. "A SINGLE SHOT" with Sam Rockwell and Bill H Macy was just before "SUITE FRANÇAISE" by Saul Dibb, with Michelle WiIliams, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mathias Schoenaerts and Sam Riley.

"SUFFRAGETTE", directed by Sarah Gavron and with Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep  was Edu's next step modernizing a period film. "THE GIFT" by Joel Edgerton and starring Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall was one of the surprise film of 2015. "TRESPASS AGAINST US" by Adam Smith featuring Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson was a gypsie chase movie. His new 25M budget movie, "GRINGO" by Nash Edgerton with Charlize Theron, David Oyelowo and Joel Edgerton is a dark action comedy. 

In 2017, he shot "QUIÉN TE CANTARÁ" directed by the cult auteur Carlos Vermut. He was nominated for a Goya, a Gaudí and a CEC for Best Cinematography. Later on, Edu reteamed with the one and only Joel Edgerton to do "BOY ERASED" with  Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Xavier Dolan and Flea.  The movie got two Golden Globes nominations.

Edu recently shot Gavin O'Connor's latest movie at Warner Bros "THE WAY BACK" starring Ben Affleck. The movie will be released March 6th 2020. After an amazing run with some top commercial directors, Edu has just wrapped Rebecca Hall's debut feature "PASSING", with Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negra, Andre Holland, Alex Skarsgard and Bill Camp. It is Edu's first film in glorious B&W and 4:3. The movie will be released in the festival and awards season of 2020.

Meet Edu Grau.

 

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