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Aliens from Another Planet! (2015)
An interesting yet unsatisfying attempt
Perhaps the extended 10 minute version of this film brings it justice. However, in the 7 minute contest version the film came off as derivative of other genres with only 1 memorable thing.
Essentially this film is a kids at the campfire tell an alien story film.
Only these are not kids, they are older adults and basically the aliens befriend one of them, which pays off at the end.. .
Nothing else to really say, but nothing new and the actors do what they have done in the past.
I guess the makeup or whatever got this 4th out of 10, but just not my thing.
That is film though. To each their own
Can One Man be Stopped from making the Unstoppable? Thankfully not.
This movie is about an Insect, a Giant one. It is crazy, stupid, dumb fun.
Really you shouldn't have to be told #spoiler to know this.
If you want an intelligent giant bug movie, watch...The brain bug from Starship Troopers
If, however, you want smart people acting stupid in obviously stereotype roles, then "Insectula!" is just the bug for you.....
#spoiler alert... all of those cardboard characters who have absolutely no character development .... well they are just meant to be annoying fodder for the bug anyway.
So, now that all of the #spoilerAlert insanity is out of the way prepare to stop the unstoppable Insectula by purchasing the video at
#thisIsNotAPaidEndorsement #ifYouDoNotGetTheIronicStupidittyOfThisSpoilerAlertGrrr #ThenNotTheMovieForYou #IfSo #ReadOn
Michael Peterson is just one man. One man with a daughter, a dream, and an insatiable appetite to make a movie about a giant bug and special effects
#spoiler - writer/director/SFX/camera/cameo actor/father/compositor/fund-raiser/come on man, I am running out of space here/fine/other
Seriously, major illnesses and setbacks were telling this guy to not complete the film, but gosh darn it, he would not be stopped..... "Insectula!" would be unleashed.
oh and a bunch of other people worked on the film, but really without Mike,(and producer/sound/mother Danielle Cezanne) his baby "Insectula!" would never have been born.
So, onto the plot summary portion of my review darn it and because the irony of spelling everything out for you in a blatantly redundant attempt to have you say #uhIGetItItIsAThrowBackBugMovie
This is really a simple movie told in an interesting way that sets up the typical Hollywood 3 part structure but blasts it to smithereens by having each part be its own mini movie in terms of tone or throwback references.
PART 1: serious set up monster Bug movie
Part 2: over the top gore-fest Bug Italian horror exploitation movie
Part 3: Mad scientist Satire throwback movie
Each part bleeds into the other as the story flows from one to the other.
Like --> Review Template,
Part 1: summary
Part 2: what works
Part 3: how things tie together
This review is referential and ironic and slightly covered in all parts.... SORT OF LIKE TAKING THIS SUMMARY PART 1 too seriously and beating your head into it like the movie did.
In other words:
Simple summary. BUG MOVIE
Complete Summary.. Insectula is BUG MOVIE,THROWBACK MOVIE, MAD SCIENTIST MOVIE,EXPLOITATION MOVIE, and encyclopedic reference of a genre MOVIE.
#easterEggAlert Did you catch Brandon Van Vliet's characters name? There is the obvious horror reference. "Insectula!" also references the work of Elliot Diviney, whom is also a Minnesota filmmaker and whose latest feature dropped on DVD May 19.
The complete summery portion of the review also shows some technical aspects....excessive and cheap CGI, which at the beginning of the movie slows it down. Part one is probably the weakest. The characters are stiff, and if YOU Don't KNOW ITS MAKING FUN OF ITSELF, you check out.
it is supposed to be that way, but unfortunately part 1 is basically set up without payoff, so there is no fun in the....
The payoff really comes in part 2 and that is where the movie starts to rock.
Really it all boils down to the actresses and the cameos. I mean sure Harrison Matthews is good, but Nicole Kreux, Sarah French, and Arielle Cezanne are better, and to be fair for you ladies.. H.T. Altman is to die for in this film.....
If you claim that this movie sucks because it degrades women then you are missing the point. It is doing the exact opposite. The skimpy attire and dumb blonde staple of movies of the 60s and the ilk is in full effect here. Also, Peterson's instincts are on-the-money here with perfect casting. Nicole Kreux is essentially the Drew Barrymore role in Scream here. Sarah French is selling both her sexiness and her strong persona and presence. Each of these assets is equally useful in the film. The least clothed of the bunch is Michael's own real life model daughter, Arielle Cezanne.
NOTE: In my book if a director has the balls to put the film in the hands of his own daughter, in front of her mother, while birthing his new child, aka Insectula, and barely clothing her for the world to see, you would have to be insane to think that he is degrading women.
The most memorable roles in the film are the women... Well except for H.T. Altman... great scenes there.
Aside from the aforementioned Harrison Matthews, the Guys in this film are the standard, staple characters... because they are written that way. Harrison sells his character well and so does Joel Thingvall as his assistant. Both are eccentric and creepy. Shout out to Pasquale Pilla for his set up and threw line character. His is in the weakest portion of the film; its not because of his doing. Edel, Flemming, Giger, Niel Johnston, and the aforementioned Altman, Van Vliet, and even Peterson show up in genre staple cameos...
Cameos sell these kind of movies; here most work.
The sets are gorgeously sadistic. High quality low tech laboratory equipment. Mike spared no expense; time appropriate era phones, locations, caves and woods. OK its practical locations, but nice scouting and of course the cheesy effects sell the cheese of the low budget picture. Maybe a bit to over the top.
In the end the film keeps on giving with credits that sell the women of the film and perhaps purposely have errors (another nod to the old films). We are left with Michael Peterson's baby Insectula, starring his baby Arielle, all grown up and unleashed onto the world.
The End of the Tour (2015)
Takes a look into the real life addiction of fame and fortune and the wanting/needing of something else that never comes until THE END.
"The End of the Tour" is a unique, bizarrely intriguing, strangely satisfying , road movie about fame and fortune and the price people pay to achieve it whether or not it's wanted.
It is a movie that really should not work, yet it does.
(I guess ... spoiler..., but it is by a loose definition, as a plot summary is given in the next few sentences. Also, the framing device of the film is discussed. Additionally, the film is based off of a true story, so the ending shouldn't be shocking. However, that is part of the unique framing device.)
For 106 minutes we are treated to
"2 guys talking about stuff" and although that title sums up the movie, ''The End of the Tour" also shows that the movie is about "The End".
David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg)
David Foster Wallace (Jason Segal)
Are perfectly cast as two real life writers whom are on the final leg of "David Foster Wallace"'s book tour for his over 1000 page tome. "David Lipsky" is the "Rolling Stone" reporter assigned the task of finishing an article on Wallace and the rumors of his heroine addiction.
Over the five day course of the interview both Davids become friends, buds, and enemies.
At times you don't know if they are lying or being too smart for their own good.
That is what makes the story work.
While Lipsky never finishes his article; he eventually turns the notes and tapes into his own book and this memoir ends up as a tour back where the friendship began.
The movie shows this beginning just as it shows the end.
For 106 minutes the two guys are the story. Sure Mamie Gummer. Shows up as an old Wallace friend/groupie, Joan Cusack is in the film to shuttle them to the airport and Mall of America, Anna Chlumsky is the school friend Wallace has, even Mary Tyler Moore has a brief cameo, but otherwise everyone else is an extra and the 2 guys run the show and talk about stuff.
Scenes are even framed to show as much of the two of them as possible. Most of the extraneous "stuff" is edited out of frame.
Extraneous activities like "underwater world" are cut from the film entirely and the depth of frame makes additional skyway scenes almost irrelevant.
All the while instead of guys having fun in the Mall, they do and talk about Stuff that Wallace at times doesn't want to discuss.
They talk about anything from "dog excrement" to "the meaning of a book passage". Each of these conversations has double meanings.
Is Wallace full of "it" or is he the real deal?
Is his book about a heroine trip or additions?
Is Wallace leading a double life?
Is he the normal guy he says he is?
Or is he a "Broken Arrow"?
Would Wallace even want this movie made????
Some of these questions are answered, more are not.
I would offer the answer that Wallace would be passive aggressive and say that he wants the movie "Not to be made", but in his heart actually want it to be made. However, that is just an opinion based off of how he is portrayed in this movie. Which, ironically, conveys exactly what kind of a conundrum he was in real life and unfortunately real.... "THE END".
In the end we get a simple movie about a complex friendship and a man with addictions who was famous, but didn't really want to be and who knows in 3 years that this may not be the case.
The reasons why are known only to him/ Wallace, but this movie is a unique experience and look into the real life addiction of fame and fortune and yet wanting something else.
Alanis Morissette would be proud.
showed as part of #mspiff Picked up smartly for distribution by #A24 whom is on quite a role recently with quality film releases.
Releases July 31, 2015
Also With Amber Danger Johnson, Barbara Berosik, Jake Hinkley, and many others in the Mall of America scenes. A lot of people were cut out due to the depth of frame and perhaps pacing issues with walking around the Mall of America. Although if some of the other extras, like Erica Wyman, Karen Voels, Russell Johnson, myself, and more made the cut, we are only shown in a tiny blimp, or as a small blurry segment and the movie with its focus of 2 characters painting the bigger picture is better for it.
The Jingle Dress (2014)
The movie paints a vivid portrait of a simple story about growing up in a hard time.
(I guess in the loosest sense there is a spoiler, but it is by the loosest definition only, as a plot summary is given in the next sentence or two.)
Note: I also state that there is a twist. However, this twist isn't a spoiler in terms of how the movie ends, but rather in how the movie is told.
The viewer can watch the movie one way; that being from the eyes of the grownups.
A second way to view the film is to watch the story unfold through the eyes of the child. Doing so has different meaning and effect.
"The Jingle Dress" film is a simple story told in a straight forward way with the twist that it's essentially about a little girl growing up.
As directed by William Eigan and produced by Mr. Eigan and Meighan McGuire, "The Jingle Dress" is a contemporary look at Native American family life, indigenous culture, and tradition.
It's slow, it's meditative, it's about murder and growing up, yet it works and should be viewed.
Steve Reevis and Chaske Spencer lead weight to the story as Johnny Red Elk and Uncle Buff as they search for what happened to "Uncle Norton".
Stacey Thunder is the loving wife who follows her husband, Mr. Red Elk, off the "rez." and takes care of the kids.
She is sort of the bridge between the 2 linear stories.
One is being told via the death/murder search by the adults and the other is told through the eyes of their daughter Rose, as played by S'Nya Sanchez-Hohenstein.
Rose is growing up and getting her Jingle Dress soon while at the same time wishing she was a real Indian.
So in essence she is the children's story part of "the Jingle Dress".
Note: a jingle dress is essentially a native American customary dress for a naming ceremony. It basically literally is a growing up dress.
This part of the story is anchored, and also bridged, by a funny yet educational grandpa figure (uncle Matty), as played by Charles Brin, and the interaction of Rose with her loving yet serious faced DieselPitbull Walsh, both of whom help Rose grow up and learn about her culture while the adults are off on the business of living (and dying).
Through the story you see that anything is possible yet it still takes a lot to get used to this place.
You can view it through the eyes of an adult and "rez" life or the more simple view of a girl growing up and "rez" and land and nature.
Afterall, once Rose grows up and gets her Jingle Dress she is both an adult and an "Indian".
In the end things come full circle.
The film was made through a Minnesota Production grant of 2014. While 4 production companies received a grant, only Patrick Coyle (The Public Domain) and William Eigan finished the feature films and filmed entirely in Minnesota.
Production wise the cinematography, editing, and lighting serve the story. Although there are funny moments in deleted segments the cuts serve the story. A story that is essentially of a little girl who can see far, loves stories, and learns what is like to be a real Indian as she grows up and into her Jingle Dress.
(Official selection of #mspiff2014) (a DVD release is scheduled around July 2015)
The Center (2015)
Every Frame in this picture has meaning and serves the Story
I don't know if you will like the film "The Center".
It is very polarizing.
What I do know though is that it is great to look at, it has great production value, and I really don't believe there is a wasted shot in the film.
Directed by Charlie Griak and produced by Judd and Annie Einan, the center is pretty simple to explain but harder to fully describe.
(I guess in the loosest sense there is a spoiler, but it is by the loosest definition only, as a plot summary is given in the next sentence or two.)
The simple explanation is that a simple man named Ryan (Matt Cici) with family and work issues gets recruited into a cult like group. His world changes for better and worse and eventually there is a resolution.
What is harder to describe is the immersion into this world. A world based in the reality of the city and Ryan's life and interaction with others, but centered in a place 97 minutes away.
Ryan's city life is pretty fleshed out. The lighting, framing, and editing make Minneapolis (St. Paul in reality) a real character in the film and performances by Amanda Day, Dan Carroll, Ramon Pabon, and Annie Einan fully sell Matt Cici (aka Ryan's) situation.
The scenes at "The Center" have equally great performances by Roger Wayne, H Thomas Altman, Judd Einan and others and the shots of the group members showcase a plethora of Minnesota talent without pandering to the "must show extras" mentality.
Joel Thingvall is great with a story, ... Mark Scanlan shows a great face, ... Kelly Barry-Miller has a nice scream etc....
none of the shots seem gratuitously unnecessary and serve the purpose of the film, which is to showcase the cult like mentality of the leadership.
The film itself has been traveling the festival circuit and showed as part of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Film Festival at the Saint Anthony Main Theatre on both 4/22/15 and on Friday 24th of April, 2015 at 10PM with director Q/A.
Both shows were sellouts. It also had a third screening during the best of fest and was 80 percent full on a week night.
The film has a lot of scenes on the cutting room floor as director Charlie Griak also edited and was ruthless. True he was supervised by Jonathan Demme, but to cut nearly an hour worth of material and to still have a streamlined story is genius. He effectively trimmed all of the fat and while some of the scenes excised from the film are great in themselves the overall story wasn't served by them as best it should have been.
(this is gathered by both talking to him and to some of the cast).
Upon first viewing I had a nagging suspicion that within the 72 minute runtime perhaps some of the story at the Center was shortchanged. However, if you watch the film and focus on that aspect of the story it really isn't, which shows just how good the editing was.
Hopefully you will get to view the movie. Perhaps it will still be called "The Center" then or perhaps it will go by its alternate name.... which while filming it was constantly stated that the title would be changed.
Since "The Center" serves as both the title and a character there is no further need for change...... read into that as much as you like.
So I could blindly tell you to go see it and to rate the film a 10, but I'll let you decide like the Ryan in the film did.
Maybe you will see something that you like, or maybe you wont, but I'll be under the Skyway walking by as you decide what do do with your 97 minutes on any given night.
Truth or Dare (2013)
Miss this only on a Dare
I saw this New Horror film Saturday October 19, 2013 at the Twin Cities Film Festival. The film was part of the horror spotlight and was going head to head for sales with a "Screwed" (already distribution), Chaske Spencer's latest project (which sold so well a second screening was added), and the big budget "Carrie" release.
The 100+ audience members who chose Truth or Dare were not disappointed...
This type of horror movie could have been simple trite with contrived characters and stock situations. For the first 5 minutes, in a pre-credit sequence, the film actually looks like it will go in that direction.
But the TRUTH is ....it doesn't The plot is simple and follows a group of 6 friends looking for internet fame who film "Truth or Dare" videos and post them to their "dare devils" followers. The videos involve murder and mayhem and before the credits roll, in a steal from "Scream", one of the main cast is DEAD.
OR is he? When the credits end, the movie picks up with the remaining group basking in their glory and boasting about "no body could be found", etc... while being interviewed for a talk show.
Then the group decides to top their last endeavor and fix their mistakes. The movie takes this step and what may be cliché, turns it on its head, and takes off.
In a new house in a remote desert area, where cell phones do not work chaos ensues and nobody is safe. There are still 6 players, but this time a crazed fan takes hold of the game. This is where you start to care about the film as these characters everyone loves are in danger.
But again, the film turns things on their head.
The film can be viewed as a prolonged torture film as each character chooses Truth and gets punished for lies or chooses Dare and gets punished for shear stupidity of choosing Dare.
However, I DARE you to look further.
On another level, Truth or Dare works because of Jessica Cameron and Jonathan Higgins' writing.
These characters are not stock characters, they all have pasts and secrets that get juicier as the movie progresses and which pay off up to 40 minutes after these secrets are at first literally pulled out of the characters. Secrets, which make you as the "Dare devil" audience actually root against these former favorite players and for the newest more bloody version of the show.
Afterall it is just a game anyway, right? But as the film tag line tells you the reality is that "It's not just a game anymore."
While the film features several scream queens, Jessica Cameron as the strong one and Devanny Pinn as the one with a nasty secret, Heather Dorff is the actress that steals the show and losses more than bargained for, in ironically the only secret I guessed.
The actors in the gang are not as memorable, but the second that Ryan Kiser hits the screen as ringmaster, even throwaway lines have meaning. Nothing that his character does can be ignored and even if he whispers a line or is screaming at a computer screen, the writing brings it back to being important at some time in the film.
As such, the film never feels dull.
This isn't your average horror flick.
One minute, a glass bottle is used as a weapon in a way you would never imagine and then 5 seconds later there is a comedic element that works. Then, the film changes tone back to being serious.
This works because you are in the mind of a truly psychotic individual. A person so out of his mind, that the reality of the game is his world. A world that get progressively bloodier and bolder in showcasing "Truth" and "Dare" as the movie runs..
I did not notice anybody leave the theatre because of body count or blood splatter, but apparently somebody fainted at another screening after the bottle incident.
Truth or Dare is not for the faint of heart. It is a horror movie that would easily get an R rating. However, all of the kills and torture actually fuel the progression of the film. I purposely waited to see "Carrie" before writing this review. and while "Carrie" is good in its own right. and while "Carrie" is more polished and from the world of Stephen King, "Truth or Dare" is more memorable.
Which is saying something considering that this is a low-budget feature film depending on fans to show their love and support of the film so distributor interest will be piqued. As such the TRUTH is that there are items to nitpick and minor elements that seem unnecessary. You can do this OR I DARE you to enjoy the nice special effects and revel in what is guaranteed to excite even a novel horror enthusiast.
I dare you to find a better quality deal than that. But at least Ryan Kiser's Derik B. Smith isn't Daring you.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
A nice conclusion with twists and nods abound
In The Dark Knight, Joker stats that "Gothum deserves a better breed of criminal and I intend to give it to them". In, The Dark Knight Rises, Joker is no where to be seen. He is never mentioned, but his intentions are on full display in, The Dark Knight Rises. While the film is not a perfect movie, it delivers the BREED in BANE. Bane appears right away and 2 hours and 46 minutes or so later, it only seems long when you look down at your watch and realize its been 3 hours. Why, because BANE is a dastardly villain and surprisingly so.
Director Nolan again has errors, like a chase scene starting in the day and then minutes later it being dark, but focusing on issues like these just shows how good the other 2hr and 45minutes are. After basically painting himself into a corner with the ending of Two Face in Dark Knight and thus the inability to have Darvey Dent be the main villain (as originally written), and with Heath Ledger's unfortunately passing, it is a minor miracle that Nolan could create such a grand spectacle with scraps. For Rises, Bane, who here is much closer to his comic origin, is a giant, not just amongst men, but of terrorists. He does things with reason and purpose, whereas Joel Schumacher had him play a "6th crew member" ready to die and drugged up on the juice. His Bane was a silly stupid figure that served no purpose in the story. For Nolan, Bane is the Story. Sure, Catwoman, Scarecrow, Ra-Al-Gul, and Talia all have purpose in the story, and Gordon, Blake, Fox, and Alfred appear for the side of good, but Bane is the force of the show and Batman's equal and sometimes superior, which comic wise he was. While the Dark Night trilogy plays a little fast and loose with the timelines of these interactions, this movie follows the comics via Bane. Bane, lets the inmates go (aka Scarecrow), he incites criminals in Gothom (catwoman), he was going to marry Talia and served in a prison since birth and even delt with mercenaries and the league of shadows (Al-Gul). All of this is in an epic movie about a minor villain whom, aside from the voice, (which still takes a little getting used to) is a force. A force that is as timely in our time now as to when he was created to face, fight, and be redeemed by batman before ultimately getting his end.
Through this epic story, Nolan still manages to twist our idea of what is coming next with characters whom show us thoughts of what might come next, even in a fittingly concluded trilogy.
Art School Confidential (2006)
Nice study in the comic form of art.
This nice little study into comic art is both unique in the genre and a fun view. However, when it continues to try and merge quirky character on top of quirky character, the enjoyment may wear a bit.
Unfortunately the movie failed to find an audience, even with its implied insight and social commentary.
Thus if you like Art, a little comedy or even just John Malkevich talking about triangles please enroll in this school.
the movie is a decent trip into a warped mind of "Art"
Additionally, remember to stay after the credits for a brief additional scene, which always adds value for those whom routinely stay.
Are We There Yet? (2005)
Makes you wan to say "Are we Done Yet"
Ice Cube does a kids flick and the results are big bucks, but a bad movie.
This would be road trip romp and kids excursion is sold as a redeeming comedy and family film.
However, it fails for the usual things which pass for smart movie making in Hollywood these days. 1-it relies on stupidity to get its humor across. 2-its "money shots" (like a car exploding) are to predicable and stupid (notice a trend) for words 3-Always, always throw in a fight kicking animal for good measure (ie the Kangaroo Jack type animal fight?)
Unoriginal wast of time (not to be confused with a decent time waster)
An Officer and a Gentleman walk into the armed forces and... hmm Richard Gere.. hummmm done before.
OK, OK, I know lets have a black hard ass instructor... urr no thats been done also... OK lets forgo the gentleman bit name the film after the institution, through in actual boxing (Not just fighting), have a trailer of parts not in the actual movie because you know the trailer looks cool, but the movie isn't, and oh yeah back it by Disney.
Disney has been known to sell their movies hard. They even sell their crap movies hard, and well this falls into the crap pile for all of the above reasons and the following.
It's not unique. Its not good. Its got actors and characters whom don't really act. It does not include the trailer of the airplane flyby.
Generally a waste of time.