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Great independent film
Having seen the director's previous film, this one surpassed my expectations. The film follows a group of young drug dealers in rural Pennsylvania as they struggle to keep their empire afloat and deal with the challenges of rival dealers.
The acting was fantastic as it was fleshed out with mostly actors who are new to the scene. They all conveyed a sense of honesty and gravitas reserved for more seasoned actors and filmmakers. Using some high end camera equipment, the movie looks beautiful and was edited well.
The plot revolves around a dealer and his cohorts being approached to do a deal with a new buyer and how some behind the scenes scheming ends up in tragedy. You feel the loss in their performances and sympathize with their plight for revenge, regardless of it's moral and legal implications down the road.
Very well acted overall, some nice twists and turns along the way. I look forward to seeing Sean Roberts future films, he has a knack for this.
The Fate of Phoenix (2011)
Pretty cool idea.
When i read the premise, I immediately thought of Groundhog's Day and the other "wake up the same day over and over again" movies. The Fate of Phoenix has some similar ideas, but also varies off on it's own tangent.
The main character, Phoenix, has been dying for 265 days straight, differently each day, meeting the same people each day, each of which has a new name and life each day. The short film follows him through the 266th day, bringing the viewer with him throughout his daily routine.
Without spoiling anything, I will say that the ending was something I didn't see coming and I thought it worked well in the psychological realm of playing with reality and the subconscious.
My only real complaint about the movie was the inclusion of numerous hard rock songs during it that felt very out of placed and forced. A simple score would have been more poignant in most of the scenes. Other than that, the acting was pretty good, cinematography beautiful at times and even the special effects seemed pretty good the few times the used them.
Check it out for free here on IMDb if you have a spare 30 minutes, maybe you'll find it a happy surprise like I did.
Great short film. Totally out there.
I recently saw this short film not knowing anything about it. I think that is probably the best way to watch it. Its a bit off the wall and out there, but the directing was very well done. It had a really cool little story to tell and the acting by Tom Noonan was fantastic. It is great to see him get a a nice juicy role that is a bit different from his normal roles. In fact I cant recall seeing any character like this one in any film I've seen.
If you get the opportunity to see this, check it out. I think the director has a lot of potential to go on to a feature film, if he can keep this unique style of storytelling going.
Blood Trail (2010)
Fun independent horror film.
I go to see a screening of this recently with the director and some of the cast in attendance. I was pleasantly surprised with the film. You can tell the director is a big fan of horror by the way he made the movie. They are some nods to horror classics from the 70's-90's. Late night camp outs, getting lost in the woods and bitter sheriffs. The acting was good and the actors all seemed competent to carry a film. I didn't see the ending coming at all, a very cool twist. If you like horror and/or independent film, give it a shot, you will probably like it.
When speaking to he director he said that this was mostly made to show what he can do with a limited budget. If that's the case, I cannot wait to see his next project with funding.
The Birthday (2004)
Pretty awesome cult film
Let me preface this brief review by saying that I have been waiting 4 years to see this and I finally came across a copy to watch.
This is quite a strange movie. I didn't know what to expect going in. It starts off with Norman (Feldman) going to a birthday party for his girlfriend's father in a hotel their family owns, which is to be demolished shortly after. The only guests in the hotel are the group for the birthday party and a group of young men who work for a pharmaceutical company partying upstairs at a different location.
The movie starts to transcend into a sci-fi/thriller/horror movie short after. Strange things start to occur. It is told to us through several characters that there is a religious sect in the building who are there to facilitate the birth of a god in their beliefs.
Norman is met by a group of men who are trying to stop the sect from letting the god be born and destroy the world. They try to enlist them into their cause by giving him information that will help stop it and team up to find out how and where it is going to happen.
What starts out as a normal story descends into cult territory. Without giving up any second half plot points, I'd have to say its a very fun journey to the end of the film.
The only actor I know in this film is Feldman, who gives one of his best performances to date. He uses a higher pitch to his voice and sounds like a cross between Peter Falk and Woody Allen as far as accents go. At first it is distracting, but you get used to it and I actually found myself liking that aspect of his character. He has great comedic timing and made me actually care about his character.
Although this does not have any distribution in the US (the only version commercially available is from Germany (no idea why), I think this would make a great addition to any cult collection.
The Black Ninja (2003)
Straight to video silliness.
I'm a big fan of B-movies, and this one takes the cake for best B-movie of 2003. Shot on what I presume is video, as the film takes several different looks to the screen throughout, the film starts with the credits "written and directed by 'Me' ". Priceless. Who starts their film out like that? Clayton Prince does.
The plot is basically a ripoff of the Daredevil comic/movie. Malik Ali(Prince) is an "infamous lawyer" who defends criminals (who are guilty no less, makes no sense) then at night he fights the same criminals with his ninja abilities, which aren't too impressive. He uses the moniker Black Ninja to hide his identity, along with a batman style mask.
He ends up protecting a female witness who is standing trial against a crime boss, who for most of the movie, is getting massaged by two homely masseuses in bikinis. In the crime boss' employ are members of the WWW Wrestling federation, and you can tell they have no acting skills when it comes to their line delivery.
The action scenes aren't the worst I've seen but are funny enough to make them seem very poor. The Black Ninja uses the same moves throughout the movie, making it seem like a video game, and Prince decided it would be a good idea to do triple takes when something semi-impressive happens. These triple takes are some of the funniest parts of the movie. Plot holes abound throughout the movie, including a scene where the Black Ninja's identity is exposed to the woman he is protecting, and a love scene ensues, but there are dead bodies on the floor next to the bed that are not mentioned again, while they make love (which is only shown as kissing of her shoulders and cut to a post-coitus scene.
The main fight comes with the Red Ninja, who is in fact one of Malik's first cases, who ended up killing his family years prior to the fight. Acted by a japanese fellow with horrible English language skills, the Red Ninja is embarrassingly a formidable opponent for our likewise poor hero.
If you like bad movies and have run out of older ones from the 80's pick this one up, I found it at my local video store. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Things I learned:
1.Anyone with a computer can get classified files on criminals.
2.Dead bodies seem to disappear when a sex scene comes up.
3.Wrestlers make poor villains,
4.Friends of the director shouldn't be cast as small parts because they laugh after something serious happens.
5.Pictures of loved ones last for more than 5 years of being left on a gravestone in open weather conditions.
6.Poor lighting makes leading actresses look like zombies.
Jigoku Kôshien (2003)
Absurd but hilarious
I watched this movie not knowing much about it, but after watching it, I can truly say this is one of the most absurd movies I have ever seen. The Japanese love to mix genres, and with this one it is comedy, action, zombie film and musical all rolled into one big laugh fest. The wackiness starts off with a baseball team trying to make it to the finals but facing their first opponents the Gedo team, which consists of zombie/demons kills almost the entire team.
A rogue ex-player joins the high school and is recruited to the failed team in hopes that they can defeat them. The recruitment leads to the films first of 3 (that I can remember) comedic musical numbers giving background information on the characters.
The wide array of characters blends well for the film, and lends to the ridiculous scenes with the team facing off against the Gedo zombie team, who have their own rules for baseball, which doesnt even contain the actual game of baseball, but just attacking the other team attempting to kill them all. A movie that has to be seen to be believed. Theres no way this strange humor would work in America, so if you like off the wall comedies, try to get a copy of this movie and see for yourself.
blatant Matrix ripoff
This movie was not at all horrifying, let alone allowed to be let into the horror genre. The only thing horrifying was the plot.
The characters lead us to believe that all people associated with the internet dress in black latex and leather. It also wants us to think that by having a miniboss that ends up killing itself and a final boss that looks like a pile of trash on stilts is supposed to make us scared for our life.
The worst part is the driving sequences. One lasts past 5 minutes, consisting of a goth song that was probably put into the movie because the band paid them, and the visuals are simply two characters driving down a highway showing the same shots over and over again.
The plot is weak as well. The main characters girlfriend gets sucked into oblivion after viewing a website, horrorvision.com (which was a porno site when I went to it today). His girlfriend gets sucked away , and he doesnt even question it. He simply packs up a few things and leaves. If my girlfriend was sucked into oblivion, I would ask a few questions, or maybe call up the police, not run away.
Then he meets a character who is a direct ripoff of Morpheus from the Matrix, telling Dez (the main character) that the website created itself out of pure horror.
**SPOILERS**: the ending is not even resolved at the end, they meet some lame pile of garbage mentioned before. He busts the watch that he came out of and thats it. THATS IT!? I sat through 70 minutes of boring footage to see this? Please dont watch this movie, it is not good. Check out some of Full Moon's more competent movies.
American Psycho (2000)
Good, but with Flaws
I have read the book so I fully understood the movie. But to those who have not read the book, it may come off as being jumpy and boring.
The transition to film gave it a few flaws. It was too rushed, many of the best parts were left out or changed. So keep this in mind if you're going to see it.
If you liked the movie, go read the book, you'll love it.
Cover is misleading
I saw this movie in the store and thought "hey, this might be pretty cool. He was good in Predator and he's running for governor, so it cant be that bad." Boy was I wrong. The cover is so misleading. I thought it was supposed to be about space. The only "space" shot is when they show these two guys (which have no real purpose in the movie) talking about Abraxas in a cheesy low budget "science fiction" set.
The whole cover, front and back, looks like it is in space. Even the name Abraxas, Guardian of the UNIVERSE, should denote space and other galaxy related stuff. But no, All I got was an hour an a half of two burly aging men running around in a forest, and screaming and punching each other with no outcome. Boring. Plus there is a few scenes, where Jesse Ventura gets emotional. Made me want to puke.