• Underground Episode "Cradle" Chosen as One of Top Ten for 2016

    From The Washington Post:

    In its first season, the WGN America show put the Underground Railroad into thrilling context by subtly connecting slavery to current issues around race. Seven episodes in, “Underground” shifted its perspective to the children of the show. “Cradle” follows children grappling with dire circumstances beyond their control and explores how hate, mistrust and tragedy are handed down through generations. It’s a heartbreaking episode that showcases the immense talent of the show’s youngest actors.

    "Underground told its story through the eyes of children.  It made for an unforgettable episode."

    Full article at www.washingtonpost.com

  • Underground episode bursts with growth from the ‘Cradle’: Recap and Review

    by: Eddie Villanueva Jr
     
    This week was, without a doubt, one of, if not the best episodes of the series so far! The anthological approach to the story structure of the episode really highlighted some great performances from the cast. From Renwick D. Scott as Henry to Toby Nichols as T.R., nothing but stellar performances all the way around.  I've talked about it before how the score and soundtrack to the series plays a huge role in the progression of the story, and this episode was one of those great examples of just that. The show title, “Cradle”, was typified consistently throughout with songs of children’s Sunday school or children’s choirs, and followed the evolution of the characters in the episode with either darker or more ominous tones that held more weight within their notes.
     
  • ‘Underground’ Ep. 7: Childhood Innocence is Shattered in ‘Cradle’

    From creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, and executive producer and Academy Award-winner John Legend, “Underground” is that slave revolt drama that surprises you at every turn because no one is what they appear to be, the plot twists play out better than an M. Night Shyamalan movie, and the suspense will keep your heartbeat racing faster than the slaves.
     
  • Underground Series Premiere Recap

      Back on the plantation, Rosalee and Ernestine prepare to serve lunch to the Macon family. "You should know there's trouble with one of the field hands; got the white folks on edge," Ernestine warns Rosalee. At the table, we learn that the master, Tom Macon (Reed Diamond), is running for Senate. They've chosen to use the birthday of his teenage daughter, Mary (Mary Katherine Duhon), as a political fundraiser. She's none too thrilled, though her younger brother, T.R. (Toby Nichols), is content to stick string beans up his nose and ignore the family banter. He's already my favorite Macon.

    Full article http://www.vulture.com/2016/03/underground-recap-season-1-episode-1.html#

  • Underground Has Unseated "The Walking Dead" as Television's Finest Survival Thriller

    by: Joshua Alston

    “Cradle,” the best episode of Underground’s first season, and an early contender for episode of the year, dives deep into a theme that ran through TWD’s second season. It wrestles with the question of what it means to be a child in such a bleak environment, one in which adulthood is far from guaranteed and living longer only means more unfathomable suffering. Underground ditches its elegant, animated credit sequence in order to save time, making it the first episode since the pilot to do so. In its place is a brilliant cold open that shows the production of Necco Wafers, the classic candy that becomes the great equalizer between children whose lives have little else in common. Of course, for most of their young lives they haven’t realized how different they are, and “Cradle” is so devastating and effective because it makes the audience witness the exact moments when each of the four children loses their innocence.

    The terrific script, by creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, bookends the episode with the story of T.R., the privileged son of the plantation owner, who has his best friend torn away from him as a result of the horrific practice of slavery.

    It’s no easy feat to make T.R. just as sympathetic a character as James, all things considered, but by essentially splitting its story into discrete vignettes, Green and Pokaski allow the audience to consider the suffering of each of the children without directly comparing their plights.

    T.R. is just a kid, so he’s not thrilled at the prospect of owning his best friend along with the cotton fields in which James bloodies his hands every day. The only silver lining is his belief that he’ll be able to make things better once he’s in charge. T.R.’s naivete is adorable and heartbreaking at the same time. He doesn’t understand how growing up in this environment will gradually imbue him with the same cruelty his father displays, nor does he grasp why it provides no comfort to James to know that maybe, after a decade or so, things might get better. T.R. figures that they may not be able to ride horses together, but they can at least share the candy Ernestine gave him in the big house. But James rejects the gesture, neutralizing their only commonality.

    Full article at http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/underground-has-unseated-walking-dead-televisions--235653

  • EXAMINER

    Chasing Ghosts

    The loss of a loved one can wreck families and leave you lost in a world of sadness. Death creates a hole and and fills it with unanswered questions. Yet, through the pain, maybe living is the real struggle. Chasing Ghosts, available on Netflix, takes you through the world of grief through the eyes of eleven year old Lucas Simons in an emotionally humorous and touching 2014 film. Writer Josh Chesler's poignant screen play is brought to life by the impressive directing of Joshua Shreve and the remarkable acting by the young Toby Nichols who plays the mourning lead character.

    Joshua Shreve fills the screen with fervent scenes and picks unusually perfect music to help in aiding in desolation and humor. Toby Nichols shows massive amount of range in showing a child's sadness, anger, and desire of knowledge, while remaining a kid and not a fast talking adult in a child's body. He makes viewers laugh and choke up, sometimes in the same scene.

    Some of the best emotional movies have not only sadness but moment of elation. Chasing Ghosts is an exceptional film that does everything a well scripted film should have. It turns quickly back and forth and surprises you with raw emotion and amazing performances. A tearjerker film it will also fill your heart and bring a smile to your face. It inspires you and makes you think and talk. Chasing Ghosts is a definite movie to watch just make sure you have someone close by to snuggle with and wipe away your tears. 

    Full Review at http://www.examiner.com/review/chasing-ghosts-is-an-emotional-and-inspiring-film-about-death-and-living

  • My Devotional Thoughts

    First of all, I will admit I was somewhat put off by the title. After all, I don’t like anything having to do with the “supernatural” as a rule, and ghosts are something I tend to shy away from. However, since this film earned the Dove Family-Approved Seal for All ages and since I was asked to review it, I went in with an open mind. And I can now say I am so grateful I did as the film was completely different from I could have ever dreamed.

    Before seeing this film, I had never heard of any of the actors in the film. In fact, I would say that although most of the actors are somewhat seasoned, I couldn’t recall ever seeing these actors in other works.  I was most impressed with the young acting talents of Toby Nichols who played the child lead, Lucas.  In fact, I think the success and credibility of the film rested on his shoulders, and he pulled it off beautifully–quite beyond his years. I found myself believing that he was this boy who had unwitting success and was obsessed with death.  Furthermore, his interactions with the others in the film appeared to be genuine and well-done. I certainly hope to see Toby in future projects as I could see his having quite an acting career in the upcoming years.

    Toby’s dealings with Tim Meadows (who played Chris Brighton) were rather intriguing.  In fact, those were some of my favorite scenes in the film. For me, it was refreshing to see a young boy and a man from two different walks of life enjoying each other’s company. In fact, since Lucas’s parents were nursing their own grief for much of the film instead of being fully functional parents that Lucas needed, it was outstanding to see the character Chris step up and become the positive role model for Lucas. I truly enjoyed seeing their interactions and hearing the wisdom/conversations they exchanged.  Both had unique experiences with death, and both bonded over their questions about what happens when one dies.

    Full Review at http://mydevotionalthoughts.net/2015/07/chasing-ghosts-movie-review.html

     

  • Mr. Rumsey's Film Related Musings

    Child actor Toby Nichols impresses in this tender if occasionally schmaltzy look at grief…


    There are three great successes in Chasing Ghosts; firstly the film has cast two lead child actors who have real talent and personality, secondly it mixes lots of very welcome humour and charm into what’s otherwise a very sombre look at death and grief, and thirdly the film doesn’t come down hard on any side of the spiritual/religious debate regarding the afterlife. All of these elements were real concerns of mine going into the film but I knew I was pretty safe in regards to at least one of the child actors which was The Walking Dead‘s Meyrick Murphy. She gives a lovely and intelligent performance here which nicely compliments the excellent work done by our lead Toby Nichols who demonstrates quite some level of talent here. His performance comfortably ranges from a giggling schoolboy to a raging and grief-stricken child who can’t find a way to cope with his loss. Everyone around him does a good job, and Tim Meadows in particular delivers a heartfelt and layered performance, but none can outshine Nichols’ star.

    Summary:

    What is the film’s greatest strength? Toby Nichols’ lead performance.

     Full Review at    http://mrrumsey.com/2015/04/21/chasing-ghosts-review-spoiler-free/

  • Viewer Review

    Review by bastian1138 ★★★★★

    A rare gem of great film-making. This film moved me more than any film I've seen recently. It's a film made with passion and love from cast and crew and you can see that in every frame.

    https://letterboxd.com/film/chasing-ghosts-2014/

  • American Horror Story - Head

    Never forget what they are.

    American Horror Story introduced a whole new mythology into the "Salem vs. Voodoo" mix this week in the form of an ancient organization of witch hunters who now secretly work within a large global company called the Delphi Trust (which came complete with the "Sarabande" piece from Barry Lyndon). Some solid texturization here for a world that had been rapidly growing paper thin. And the two scenes between Hank and his father - the first being a flashback to 1991 - were excellent.

     Full Review at http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/12/12/american-horror-story-coven-head-review

  • Nashville Film Festival

    Chasing Ghosts was shot here in Nashville by local director Josh Shreve. It tells the story of Lucas, a young boy who captures a ghost on a video camera following his brother's death. The video goes viral on YouTube and Lucas's family's grief is interrupted by a chance at money and fame. The film stands solidly on the strengths of its central characters. Toby Nichols plays Lucas with equal parts distracted angst and sweet curiosity: although the character is aptly written, one gets the sense that Lucas is brought to life by Nichols' engaging charisma (and that the character might have fared worse in the hands of a lesser actor).

    Full Reveiw at http://www.nashvillescene.com/countrylife/archives/2014/04/18/nashville-film-festival-2014-day-one-happy-valley-chasing-ghosts-and-more