Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lucio Fulci's Contraband

Hey gang. Well there are more than a few of you that have asked me when the next Rotten Reelz Reviews Video Review is coming out. I finished the script last week but I haven't gotten to any of the filming yet. That will be on tomorrow's agenda. Oh don't pout. Say, how about a Lucio Fulci movie to tide you over? This time around we are actually looking past his illustrious Horror endeavors and we are going into a crime drama. With smugglers of illegal goods, gangs and cartels, how can we go wrong? This is Contraband.

Say you look like Sean Connery.  SAY IT!

Not to be confused with the Marky Mark Walberg film in 2012. Nope, we hit the way back machine and set for 1980. Ah yes, an innocent time. Stock market manipulations, Reganomics and cocaine by the truckloads.

Starring Italian film Western and Action legend Fabio Testi (The Black Hand, Speed Driver, The Hawk and the Dove, Madman at War, Mussolini and I, Torrente 3: El protector and Sottocasa)as Luca Di Angelo. He and his brother Mickey (Enrico Maisto of Naples shoots!, Corleone, Naples, a story of love and revenge, Do Not Trust the Mafia and Fear in the City) are moving their ill gotten gains in and narrowly missed getting pinched by the local cops. What results is a decent boat chase scene and co-ordination stunts fleeing the cops. Good they outran the cops the pursuit ship had a Breda M37 heavy machine gun, belt fed so those wooden boats would have been splinters and the smugglers the contents of chunky salsa.

Automatically Luca suspects a rival gangster, Scherino(Fernando Murolo of A Man Called Magnum, Bomber, California, Three Brothers, Neapolitan Sting and Sicilian Connection) for ratting them out.'s all fitting into place now.

Luca and Mickey express their concerns to da boss, Luigi. He tells them Mario is missing and... no wait. Sorry wrong Luigi. Luigi Perlante (Saverio Marconi of Padre Padrone, Orgo, Difendimi dalla notte, Crimes love and jealousy and Inspector Montalbano). No sooner have they expressed their concerns, one of Mickey's beloved horses is killed. Yeah equine lovers will want to skip that scene, and a fake police barricade is erected (heh heh). The faux cops proceed to gun down everyone in the car.  Mickey turned to Swiss cheese but Luca escapes. Seems almost like an homage to Coppola's Godfather when Sonny gets riddled. Fulci, tipping his hat to fellow masters of film.

Sneaking into Scherino's house, Luca almost blows him away when Scherino's men jump Luca, kick the crap out of him and tell him to bounce, claiming no part in the death of his brother.

Luca starts hitting the streets to find out who the bastardo is responsible for all this when he finds out about a Frenchman heroin kingpin is moving in on Naples. The Marsigiliese (Marcel Bozzuffi of Lucky Luke, Colt 38 Special Squad, Safari Rally, The French Connection, To Catch a King and Bilbao Blues) seems to be rubbing out all the gangs left and right, staking a claim to Naples for his own empire. Oh and the title simply means of or one from Marseilles. Bit of a let down, right?

His final words were, "Jazz Hands!"

The Marsigiliese doesn't deal well with a heroin shipment getting spoiled as he takes a frickin' blowtorch to a woman's head. Yup, in case you forgot this is a Fulci movie. Expect tons of graphic violence.

With blood being spilled like so much marinara sauce, it is pretty evident that The Marsigiliese doesn't play well with others as the bodies are stacking up like cord wood. AHEM! Where are the damn cops in all of this? My God there are corpses all over the ground, blocking alleys left and right, the hell are the cops? Polizia!!!

Luca, Perlante and Scherino have a meeting about what they're gonna do about the gun happy frog and the meeting feels off. A proposal to join forces and see how to remove him from the picture but again, feels out of sorts.

The Marsigiliese offers a sit down and frankly whoever is stupid enough to break bread with this nutter butter kind of deserves everything coming to them.

Will Luca have his revenge? Can his boss agree with the Marsigiliese? With there be an offer than no one can refuse?

This is a different area of expertise for Fulci and again, commonly I have seen most of his Horror films and a Sci-Fi fantasy film called Conquest. It's dark and gritty as similar to several crime dramas of this time just coming off the cusp the seventies movies like, The French Connection, The Mechanic, Dirty Harry or The Godfather.

Great pacing, simple and elegant story line and yes my version was English dubbed so you just know some of these lines got butchered.

I can't help but notice that Fabio Testi looks like Italian Sean Connery. Similar jawlines, rugged build and hell go look at a current photo of the guy. Cuts his beard like him as well.

Had a good time with this and for the horse lovers, there's a fire but nothing anywhere near the horse. The flames are background super imposed. Yeah I was afraid we'd see smoldering horse too as a dark standing but this isn't an Italian Cannibal animal mutilation exploitation director so we can all relax.

I did start laughing at the fight in the sulfur pits because the fight number sounds like a 70's soft core porn soundtrack.

 It's sinister, moody and damn good writing that pops off the page and on the screen. This is deemed a lesser known film but I was blown away by it. Well not as blown away as Mickey of course.

Looks like Ms. Jackson's turn to be nasty.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Emerging Past: Director's Cut

Hey there readers! I'm back again. Well last week started off timid with a comic book movie then we got a hard hitting action flick, a POV zombie movie, so what can we do to embrace this week? How about a psychological thriller? Starring, written and directing by...Thomas J Churchill? Andy from Syndicate Smasher? Oh hell yeah. Okay I am stoked. Let's do this. This is The Emerging Past.

Yes folks, turns out Thomas J Churchill (A System Devoured, Lazarus: Apocalypse, Check Point,The Rack Pack, Birth of the Zombie and Nation's Fire) writes, directs, produces and acts so he is a Jack of all Trades. Move over, Bruce Campbell.

Hmm loving couple or Double Mint Gum ad?

Our opening credits sound like Harry Manfredini of the Friday the 13th franchise and a news photographer Pam (Krista Grotte of The Rack Pack, The Lost, Check Point and Nation's Fire) describing some inherently messed up cult and a killing in graphic detail.  Jeez lady, the priest is used to masturbation confessions.   Father John (Edward X Young of Mega Man, The Green Monster, The Killer Clown Meets The Candy Man, The Gift and The Litch)is taking this all in stride as this crazy tale unfolds as Pam explains seeing a murder of a ritual sacrifice and the cops either didn't care or were in on it.

Father John kicks back with a whiskey and grabs a bath to Ave Maria playing in the background. I'm sure that was the soundtrack and not what he chooses to pipe in his room. Just before his appointment with Mr. Bubble, a POV killer gets to Father John, viciously attacking and gouging to death by a terrifying amount of strength, left looking like a cherry pie tossed at the wall.

Credits are interspersed with symbols of the church, Christ on the cross and the departed father now resembling stigmata and a crime scene. Within four minutes of our movie, the tone is clear. Evil's afoot.  Someone!  Call the Tick!!   A black clothed individual leaves the scene with a nice steady, and dare say carefree pace.   Guess it got the blood pumping as well as Father John's all over the walls.

Detective Vorheeses slashes through the red tape.

Detectives Vorheeses and D'mato (Rick Borgia of Ghost Source Zero, Proximity to Power, Tatalia, The Making of the Mob and My Father, The Don) are on the case. The moment I head D'Mato my brain went to exploitation/Italian mockbuster director Joe D'Mato of the Ator movies, Anthrophagous and Emanuelle flicks.

Cut to a hospital/mental ward holding Pam as she is cut up, been manhandled and no answers are good enough for the cops or the hospital staff. Yup she is being held for observation cuz she's talking crazy. Ugh, incomplete sentence structure there. Who am I? Frank Miller?

A quick stroll down flashback lane; we see Pam doing a little B & E and a fade to later cry in her bathrobe and hit the showers trying to make sense of the last 43 hours.  I normally cry in my PJs myself.

This film is shot and edited out of sequence to create an impact of events that have happened or ongoing. This isn't rocket science to figure out, people.

Is Pam having a nervous breakdown? Are there dark forces roaming the Earth? Did this black mass rituals bring about Trump's presidency?

And now trivia or things I noticed. Yes you didn't ask for it but you're getting it anyway.

Actor Mike Marino looked familiar and it hit me. Nikos, the Impaler. YuuuuuUUp, that Andreas Schnaas flick. Oh well, you got to start somewhere, right?
Funnier side note is Tony Moran. Any Carpenter buff would know him better as Michael Myers in the first Halloween. Okay, any obsessive fan would know this. Don't you judge me!
The orignal Jason potato sack and all of Friday the 13th Part 2 fame, Steve Dash as Detective Vorheeses. Hmm might be a bit on the nose but hey I have done far cornier jokes in my Rotten Reelz Reviews Video Reviews on YouTube. It would also appear I am not above shameless plugs.

Okay I am actually confused on the hate poured onto this film. It's cut like a gruesome pulp fiction with supernatural themes, cult standings and visions that may or may not have happened to Pam. Maybe Pam is completely crackers. Maybe it is a huge cover up. Maybe you should watch it and draw your own conclusion like I did.

With a smaller budget this was graphic, good camera work, subtle music hints and some quick and fast editing to offer a bizarre vision.  It offered good suspense and a solid cast bringing what they could to their roles.  I also didn't see half of the IMDB user complaints about every character had to be loved or deemed noteworthy.  The story is set, the characters are in play and I didn't see Churchill's focus that led me to believe you as the viewer, will remember every character. Secondaries get their time in front of the camera but it doesn't feel like favoritism.

Mind you, these are folks that buy an IMDB Pro account primarily to bitch and complain and offer no real constructive criticism. IMDB Trolls under these here bridges!

Little issue I had was how fast the pans were, photophobia didn't like that but nowhere near the BS of an Uwe Boll movie. That is Boll's filming without a stabilizer and puke worthy for anyone prone to migraines or seizures as we run through a forest with realism. Or lazy filming. Buy or build a unipod. Enough about Boll. No real bearing here.

I can't say I have any complaints about this film. Decent run time, good cast and compelling story. Of course the tragedy of the late Brooke McCarter (The Lost Boys, Thrashin', Double Switch, Wired, The Uh-Oh Show and Space Gila from the Deep) who passed away in 2015 as this was his last film.

With the theme of evil striking from the darkness with no mercy or quarter, I think it feels a bit similar to The First Power where madness and reason are just not going hand in hand. A touch of The Omen on the scale of oddity, this film is pretty good. I think some of the users at IMDB need to get a hobby. Try knitting a scarf, guys.

Pam's Vegas vacation gone off the rails.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dead Kansas

And we're back ladies and gents to another blog. So as you know I just got through Green Lantern and the surprising good time that is Syndicate Smasher. At the request of the director of today's film I think we can give it the once over. Got to tell you, I am a bit overwhelmed at the love this humble blog is getting but we steady the course and keep pushing the silly and informative.

Today's movie hails from director Aaron K. Carter (Dead Kansas and An Hour to Kill) just breaking into the field with some writing and acting as well. Let's see if he can cut the mustard in Romero territory with his own zombie flick. This is Dead Kansas.

Our potluck dinners just don't do well. Huh hun?

We open with a POV shot as a father and daughter duo deals with one of these shamblin' stiffs known later as Rottens. Hey! That's my area. Moving on, a small prayer and a boomstick later we cut right to credits so we are in for a decent pace already.

We touch base with a paramilitary gathering of guys straight of Dawn of the Dead. We've got APCs, bikers, cats lifting weights and just killing time before a dangerous foray into zombie infested regions. Well looks like we got a Governor or Neegan like character Jebiediah (Michael Camp of Dead Kansas and An Hour to Kill) telling his pantheon of men that they are in a position to get everything they need. All they need to do is kidnap a girl and hand her over to the money bags fat cat and they'll have food, supplies and as much ammo as they can carry.

So the guys mount up and prepare to raise a little hell. Emma (Erin Miracle of Perceptio, Dead Kansas and Sweet Caroline) is a teenage girl stuck on a farm during a zombie apocalypse. Hey, we've all been there. Farm chores, popping zombies in the coconut, burying and burning the bodies. That folks, is what we call a rut. Her father Glenn (Aaron Guerrero of Dead Kansas and An Hour to Kill) is attempting to bestow skills and ideas to her and explain just how dangerous it is beyond their house but Emma's bored and has no one to talk to except her dad. Also Dad, she might possibly be interested in boys. 

Just sayin' the beard makes you look like the dude from Wishmaster.

Just his tone says, I'm the mentor character for you, little lady as Jebediah and his posse arrive toting enough firepower for a good skirmish. Glenn's having none of this and smokes a couple of this posse to get his point across when a "rotten" attacks Jeb's baby brother, Zeke (Kevin C. Beardsley of Dead Kansas and An Hour to Kill)

This is the part I am pointing out. Rather than a ton of improvised makeup, we got a POV quick jump cut attack. Yeah! That's astonishing! No boiling hot extras in makeup that is dribbling off of their heads, just a POV camera shot and cut to aftermath of attack. Why haven't we seen something like this before? Aside from POV shakey cam via Sam Raimi's deadite attacks via Evil Dead, you'd think people would have jumped on this idea AGES AGO..

Forced to the fruit cellar because of a tornado, my brain suddenly conjures Z Nation's Zomnado scene in first season. I almost expect to see a rotten gotten down in the cellar with them. Would have been a fun gag. The twister blows over and Glenn goes topside to see how things panned out. Apparently there were more than a few rottens up there as we hear a far amount of gun fire and Glenn looks to be removing a bitten limb. Ho boy. Get the ax.

More POV camera attacks and still have to give credit to a brilliant idea, the twosome head to Shambles due to the house getting slapped around.

Meanwhile, Jeb's having himself a serious moment of amping up the boys to hunt the duo down, pop Glenn and make off with the girl.

Shambles appears to be a farming community with decent enough guarded gates made up from carny folk. Of them is Squeak (the late Ben Woolf of Unlucky Charms, Dead Kansas, American Horror Story and Tales of Halloween) seems to be in charge and his giant known as... well Giant actually (the late Irwin Keyes of The Warriors, House of 1000 Corpses, Intolerable Cruelty, Dark Place, Dream Slashers and Horror High) grabs Glenn as we head back to a small carnival layout with brick walls, steel doors and narrow corridors so you could see how folk might bottleneck and get stuck behind one another.

With the amount of blood loss, Emma fears for her dad and asks the giant if there is anyone can help. Reluctant to tell her for all the danger in the area, he speaks of an older gent name of Doctor Emerson (Darryl Dick of Dead Kansas) and how he might be able to help if he is still alive.

With the aid and guidance of Skinny (Joe McQueen of Zombie Ed, Dead Kansas, Fight or Die and An Hour to Kill) they make their trek of five miles in record time to speak to the only doctor in the area.

Ambushed on the road by Jeb and his boys, it is looking more and more grim for Emma. Skinny and the caretaker must find Emma as she could be even more important they either of them ever imagined.

Okay, this is a micro budget first time attempt at a movie. There are a lot of elements going for it.  We have some fairly impressive performances from folks that clearly have not been in front of a camera before as well as, the name actors they managed to scoop up. This is primarily a cast of unknowns and they get a chance to shine. Juliette Danielle of The Room, 'Til Morning, The Trouble with Barry and Development Hell was part of the flashback sequence.

Yes we could argue no zombies and blood caked against the wall equals not a zombie movie but trust me, as a guy who saw Platoon of the Dead, this film has story, some decent music attached to it and the plot moves along at a decent pace. Frankly, if this is the outcome of what can be made on this tiny budget, I really want to see what can be captured with a larger one.

For an introductory into the making of film, Aaron K. Carter has the potential to really get some films going. I'd suggest more stabilizers for the hand held work. You can build a unipod on the cheap with a PVC pipe, PVC covers and a wing nut and screw and those things balance so well. Also 3M gaffer's tape for a good grip in the middle of the pipe.

For the initial try at bat, not too shabby. 

Later episodes of Captain Kangaroo I just didn't get.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Syndicate Smasher

Back again blog fans.   No sooner did I finish up Green Lantern, I got a request to view an existing film that wouldn't mind a little hype and input.   I think I can swing that.  So it would appear I am going to be partaking in a 80's homage to action with stars Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop, Maniac Cop 2, Hundra,I, The Jury, Armed Response and Samurai Cop 2) and character actor Mel Novak (Game of Death, An Eye for An Eye, Sword of Heaven, Moonbase, Vampire Assassin, Big Guns and Nemesis 5: The New Model). Novak gives good villain in the styles of Henry Silva,so you are always in for a decent monologue but I think he's on the side of the Angels this time.

Action and Horror producer/director BennyTjandra (The LBC: Smile Now, Cry Later, Blonde Squad, Lovesick 2 and Nation's Fire) takes the reins with our latest movie and we will see what he can do with them. This is Syndicate Smasher.

Who needs Rambo? We got Mel.

First off, I love this title. It's a bit of a throwback to the 1930's Columbia Pictures serials similar to Spy Smasher so I'm on board. Our story unfolds in Siberia (Looks a tad bit like Bronson Park and the existing cave area but who am I to kibitz?) as an elite squad of mercs are moving in on their target.   Later they take Walmart. (Is joke, comrade. Is being funny) Sporting 50 Barett sniper rifles, the convoy they have in sight could be taken down before they so much as regroup and defend.

Jack Samson's (Jon Miguel of Rise of the Zombies, Parts of Disease, Blonde Squad and Extraction:Genesis) position is compromised when his headstrong partner opens up with her sniper rifle and bodies start stacking like cord wood and all for a 100 large. 100 grand is a nice figure but it's at least 50 to 2 and those odds sound worse than betting all on black in Atlantic City.

Jack's partner Dasha (Olya Lvova of Blonde Squad, PhoenixCatcher84 and Curse of Sleeping Beauty) proceeds to smoke these commandos all in the first two minutes we got folks dropping like flies. Jumping the gun? Oh just a touch. Jack and Dasha are looking down the barrels of quite a few AKs when the rest of their team proceeds to go sick house on that unit. Mel Novak's character Milan opens up with a .50 Browning swivel mounted heavy machine gun (yes I am a gun nut, get over it) and in true Rambo style, reduces these guys to lumpy gravy. Stick from Game of Death is back, baby and got a big boomstick.
Dara (David Prak of Pirates of the Caribbean, Inherient Vice, The Rundown and No Escape) gunning down and mulching folk with LAW rockets. The rest of the team efforts mop up.

This Hardee's shake is horrible!

 Man, those Serbian commandos shot worse than storm troopers and Cobra combined. Also FYI in your next lives, don't hide behind blades of grass to avoid LAW rockets.

That whole bit of gunning down carnage goes on for almost 7 minutes. I know it's difficult to hit a moving target but again I am harping on these commandos. Their training was crap.

Our team makes it back stateside and then it gets a little crazy. Jack wants the team to do a little wet work in their backyard which let's face it, is dicey at best. Feds, cops and military can be up their collective asses quickly and violently like a drunken proctologist with poor depth perception.

A contract job worth $300,000 for taking out one man that is clearly off. No family to speak of, a house that was ceased by the city and he's been hiding out there for four months. Bells best be ringing and Admiral Ackbar is there to tell you it's a trap.

Contractee squeezes off his fair share of rounds managing to not get hit or hit the crew, Milan triple taps him, two to the heart, one to the head and they roll. Not sure if anyone bothered to collect shells or not.

Off to the courthouse where reputed "businessman Dippolito (Nic D'Avirro of Renegade, Baywatch, Baywatch Nights, Desert Son, Rounding Home and Track of Saints) is cleared of charges impending from an investigation. A Italian mob boss? Outrageous. Clearly an import/export business...that may or may not move smack around. A lucky break seeing the only prime witness was greased mere hours ago.

Enter Detective Carol Driscoll (Laurene Landon) as she points out how easily that could have been orchestrated on Dippolito's behest and that she will nail his ass to the wall.

He's got a rocket for your sprocket. Hey Hey! Ho Ho!

Milan's team is getting antsy as suddenly half up front isn't happening. Shocking that again the Russian mob doesn't care. You'd think four man hit squad would be folks you wouldn't want on your bad side. I mean let's face it, a little surveillance, watch their habits for a couple of weeks and boom. They could cripple their operations pretty effortlessly. Again now we have Italians and Russian mobs. Oh this can only get worse.

The crew meets up with some low ranking Yakuza for a smack deal and these guys are old school. No chem test just a taste test. You can lose your minions that way, fellas.

Driscoll hell bent on getting Dippolito and enter one Detective Beattie (character actor Joe Estevez of Soultaker, Werewolf, Roller Gator, Lethal Seduction, Hell Asylum and Samurai Cop 2) dealing with three very dead Japanese Nationalists with links to drug trafficking and it's all coming up Dippolito.

With our fierce foursome dodging the heat, the crooks and probably the Marines next, it's looking pretty grim.

Let me just say this, if gun fight violence and blood spraying every direction is your bag, you have found your film. We have a solid story, decent pacing, scenarios I didn't predict and trust me I have seen me some tropes but I had some genuine surprises in this film. Not nearly the exposition dump you expect from a smaller budget films, some choice camera angles and a sturdy cast.

Gun play worthy of a James Glickenhaus and/or John Woo flick. Yeah, envision The Exterminator meets The Killers.

FYI, I loved Thomas J. Churchill in this. Two and a half kilos dropped in his club and responded exactly like I would have. Plenty of WTF moments and getting pissed. I has laughing so hard.

Huh, I deal with valet parking the same way.  Double tap.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Green Lantern

Welcome back folks. Let's talk comic book flicks!
Yeah I know, there have been quite a few of them in the last 18 years. We just had Black Panther (soo good), Thor: Ragnarok (highly enjoyable) and Avengers: Infinity War (No I haven't seen it).

With 3 days away from the release of DP2 (sounds dirty that way, right?) Ryan Reynolds is getting to ride the Fox X-Men/Fantastic Four high and hope for more box office records with the newest Deadpool installment. But before the red and black gimp suit, before looking like Freddy Kruger's ass double and before wielding twin ninjatos, Reynolds was on a bit of a comic book slump. First the rolling dumpster fire that was Blade: Trinity where he really didn't get to play Hannibal King: Undead P.I., some of these films like RIPD got the shaft from critics world over.

Yet I cannot fault the actor that is in these roles. If the story is poorly constructed and flimsy dialogue (A David Goyer specialty) then it may fall on its metaphoric ass. Today's film gets a lot of flack in spite of a decent attempt at an origin story and trying to compress villains and heroes of more than a 75 year story line. This is Green Lantern.

So no chimichangas then?

From the director of Bond films, GoldenEye, Casino Royale and The Mask of Zorro, Martin Campbell tackles a DC Comics book character with a rich history in comics, graphic novels and even cartoons. Sadly, this did not go over nearly as well as was hoped.

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a former Air Force pilot now private contracted test pilot with Ferris Air, a man known to be cocky, arrogant and fearless. You know, a fighter pilot. Whose charm and wit land him virtually any girl he may want but the one he loves. Awww...

He proceeds to be late getting a test flight underway tackling a new Ferris prototype remote fighter that can anticipate what a human could manage.

After embarrassing his boss Carl Ferris (Jay O. Sanders of V.I. Warshowski, Kiss the Girls, Edge of Darkness and Sneaky Pete) and his junior executive/test pilot/daughter Carol (Blake Lively of Gossip Girl, The Town, The Age of Adaline, The Shallows and All I See is You) Hal is in deep kimchi and proceeds to be misunderstood and grumpy bumpy. A few flashbacks of his father a test pilot for Ferris he gets to remember his dad bringing an experimental plane in safely and then...die.

Superhero movie, remember? Almost always means dead parents.


Meanwhile in space, a Green Lantern of said sector of space is combating a dangerous menace known only as Paralax. He crash lands on Earth and is mortally wounded. The ring chooses its successor for said Lantern Abin Sur (Termuera Morrison of The Island of Dr. Moreau, Once Were Warriors, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, The Barefoot Bandits and Moana) dragging Hal to his dying self, gives him vague notions that he is to be the next lantern in this very sector.

A tad daunting? To say the least. So off to intergalactic boot camp with aliens voiced by Geoffrey Rush and the late Michael Clarke Duncan as Tomar-Re and Boot Instructor Kilowog. Yup neither of these names mean a damn thing to the casual film goer. The comic book nerds are in awe and yet still not fully sold on the CGI glowy costumes.

Sinestro (Mark Strong of Blood, Zero Dark Thirty, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Day Hitler Died, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle) the finest and bravest of the lanterns, thinks very little of Hal and speaks to the founders of the Green Lantern Corps, the Guardians that they must have a greater weapon than the GL ring.

FYI, this ring creates energy constructs only limited to your imagination and willpower. Nothing permenant but dude, Mechas and Kajuis against bad guys, right?

But Paralax has a minion on Earth listening to his dark whispers and sets site on destroying the planet or simply laying so much waste to it, his toady could rule what's left of it.

Hal realizes he needs to nut up or shut up as this fight is for our blue and green marble.

Now I have read plenty of critics' and IMDB users' comments on this film. Honestly, I liked it. I felt it needed a bit more editing and the extended 123 minutes does fill in story better than the 114minute theatrical but the glowy suits were a bit painful and main they needed to tone down some of that fluorescent green.

You have solid veteran actors, a decent enough origin story called Emerald Dawn and honestly the only real problem was the rush to get it to theaters. Give the extended version a viewing.

I'm sorry it wasn't Batman Begins or Man of Steel. Boo hoo. Not every story needs to be these two characters and DC was trying to get the ball rolling with their lesser known characters.

This was the first time they took off the safety net and tried something ballsy in the same way Marvel did. Is it a failure? No. Is it a great film? Not really. A decent film? Yeah you can have popcorn to it but it fell under a fair movie not a compelling movie. It is also the building blocks to launch obscure characters like Suicide Squad. So yeah, DC has never been Marvel. That's not a bad thing.

Both franchises have tons of characters and I for one, look forward to more risks like Green Lantern in 2020, they're trying to do more GL so stay posted for that.

Damn. No Pornhub in this sector.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

An Interview with Tommie Vegas

Okay, today I sit down with a young actress delving into Indie Horror, mainstream films, models, hostess and in general, a girl with a mission.  This is Tommie Vegas.

So here's a shocker (No, not the Urban Dictionary type, you pervs), I talked her ear off for nearly three hours.   I was introduced to the workings of this young lady through her director, John Ward of Axmas Trilogy as she is Tara alongside Sarah (Ashley Campbell of Frames of Fear 2, Axemas, Unwritten, Axemas 2: Blood Slay) and apparently Interstellar War as well.

So I see you have worked with Sci-fi, Sci-fi Fantasy director Albert Pyun in Sorcerers but also in The Introgation of Cheryl Cooper and now Interstellar War: Shadows of the Empire she is one to keep an eye on, my readers.

Fun lovin' criminal?

She and Shane Ryan (Revenge of the Samurai Cop, Check Please!, 60 Seconds to Die)did a full two 60 minute takes and had no breaks and only one rehearsal using multiple camera work focusing so astounding that it was all one take as it created. She was terrified and amazed at the take and the love for it. Try as I might to disprove it, this constant filming was so damn amazing and Tommie and Shane have a huge gambit of emotions. Yes, go see it.  Also, they will be both working on Interstellar War so that should be a fun experience.

Some of you know I was supposed to review this next film but I was so burned out on horror slasher genre, I took a pass. Well I gave it the viewing last night and found out that some of my fellow critics are a bit hypercritical for no damn good reason.

Party Night was the typical slasher genre of young teens off to party the night away at a cabin far away from the immediate town during Prom Night to screw, get drunk and have fun. I couldn't get why people were having such a problem with this film until I looked at it from a technical stand point because the cast was great.
So our lady of the hour likes a game for this flick. "How big does Tommie's hair get?" because of throughout the flick, the heat of Texas in July, you can see it expand and contract. I laughed because I thought I noticed that as well. Potential drinking game at Tommie's place! 

A night on the set of Party Night.

I was really impressed with the performances, the wound SFX for makeup and the lighting and sound was solid. I was expecting micro-budget skimping and cheapy Strawberry Quik but no so really didn't understand the problem. Turns out it was just the blocking and camera zooms in practice that needed some fine tuning and understanding. Tracking shots that didn't have a stabilizer on it and focus dropped a couple of times in the beginning but Heather Benson (Party Night, Captured and Stirring) the FX girl was amazing.

You and Laurel Toupal (Smart Marks, Death Rhymes with Orange and Party Night)just stood out from the rest of the troop. Mind you I wanted to put Billy Brannigan's character Travis feet first in an industrial shredder. Proof the kid could bring the goods in my humble opinion.
Also most of the guys reviewing these slasher flicks are forgetting what teenagers sound like. Most are in their 30s and 40s, so they are no longer bombarded by the tsunami waves of hormones, snap judgement and defensive nature. Relax old fellas and go have some Ensure.

Shot in Vegas with guerilla shooting (Next to no permits) Christ returns remade cybernetic, comes the underground cult following of Neil Breen (Double Down, I Am Here... Now, Fateful Findings and Pass Thru).  Now there are plenty of critics, fans and folks that cannot fathom this dude and let me just say, I'm one of them.  Still got to admire a guy that just throws himself into his own work.  I couldn't help but recognize a young girl near a pickup truck as Robo-Jesus preaches.

As a reviewer that films himself bashing or praising movies on YouTube, I have not a stone to throw but I just didn't get the guy.

Desperate to find a copy of The Trust, I found a dodgy Czechoslovakian site with about three different languages subtitled but it was the real deal.  Starring Elijah Wood and Nicolas Cage, two cops investigating a drug invasion stumble upon a mysterious bank vault.  Now because the copy I streamed was the foreign release, I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything

A cut with The Trust in the region of Czech Republic has Tommie Vegas in the film but not in the US release. She fast forward and rewound and not in the American release. Need to send that site to her but again, dodgy as Hell.

A shave and a haircut gag goes horribly wrong.

Our fear of zombies is funny after the remake of Dawn of the Dead and it creeped Tommie but good for a few weeks and of course, I tell her my zombie walk issue.  FYI, don't watch zombie films if the irrational fear kicks in.  I went for a six pack of soda, boom 80 people in a zombie walk in my neighborhood.   I hid in the Walgreens until they passed.  I perused the movies until they were gone and ironically I think one of the titles I bought was a Romero dead flick.

Allergic to far too much of the desert but she soldiers on and who can't relate, right?

We'd both love to see her play Claire Redfield for Resident Evil reboot, so c'mon fans let's back her on that. Maybe we can snag Shane Ryan for Leon Kennedy.

"I am content with acting, it is my happy spot. I want to try meatier roles, so close but beaten by a better known actor from CW snatched up the role."   She's not bitter, gang.   She just bid on a part and didn't get it.  She picks herself up, dusts herself off and gets back in the ring for other things.

"It's difficult explaining acting to friends and family about acting. She kind of just fell into it. She was so shy and was placed into baby pageants, did gymnastics, dance and acting was just the next step. She simply became it and it her."  She got her break ten years ago and just works her ass off is what I got from this.

She is a workhorse.  Yesterday looking at new projects to audition for.  Not caring about what she is doing but she likes being busy.  So she has a photo shoot and then in to shooting for a few days.

"Once you're done, you have to wait on editing and it's a lull. You want something else to do.  People are confused, not understanding the process of onto the next new thing."

It comes with the industry as you are a commodity, not a person.

"Not a huge fan of the superhero movies, not my viewing pleasure.  I'd rather star in them. Psychological thrillers and horror that take you somewhere else. Something that takes you to another world, immerse yourself and give you a full experience".

"Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman were fun but look at that ten year gap.  There are so many of these films it is hard to keep up with it."  Trust me Tommie, if it wasn't my gig, I'd have a helluva time keeping up with them.

"I had to turn down quite a few projects but Inverted looked amazing it is very comfortable as you see what the main characters go through as you deal with the present and past, establishing life experiences. Explains who they are, what they are and why they were chosen for this."

"Crowdfunding isn't horrible but there are folks that take advantage of people. The money allocated just raised for Inverted, it's all invested in SFX, camera, actors, working crew to be ready."

"They want people to be invested financially and emotionally to not be ruining it with a spoiler in the trailer."

"We had character introductions, our filmography and interaction about donating and loving on the show.   Personally messaged friends and emails that are going to be able to work with and reach out to show what we are doing and events to show off what the project really meant."

"Heart and soul went into your project and the fans we got heart and soul back. If you don't believe in your project, why do it?"

She goes on to tell what her goals were in five years.  "I'm taking it as it comes. Looking into new projects for a couple hours every other day and then see what my schedules are. With the talent I am, I am just waiting to unload on the world. Every new offer is another way for me to share my range with the world." She went on to tell me about how she helped with a bit of casting and getting the word out for Inverted on social media and sounded genuinely proud of the hard work that was done every day plugging the film, plugging the contacts and the project.

 "It is my hard work that is my strength but within the project. I know the script back and forth. I am prepared, ready to go.  I even know my fellow actors' lines.  Folks are talking and meeting and I am in the script to work.   Next week, I am shooting five pages and I have to work an accent and be introduced to the film viewers."

"Every job you go for, learn the script, filming, taking time to bring the emotional range, how they speak, upload and edit for an audition that you may not even get.  The next time you have two maybe three projects right then." 

Sassy in the Wasteland.

Albert Pyun is remastering his film while dealing with illnesses still doing it independent while his cast and crew has his back. This man is astonishing to me. Tommie's praise of what kind of director as well as man he is, makes me feel like I get to know his work and who he is even more.

I mean I got that from Cyborg oh so many years ago but alas, we are getting off subject. Back to the talented Ms. Vegas.

Casting couch is a big time no-no. Topless is not happening unless it has an artistic decency.
"A Skype encounter required me to be topless in that from a total stranger I did not know and just told them that was not going to happen."

Stereo-typically, he belittled with the nonsense of, "Well good luck in this industry, Honey." Yeah, this writer really wants to bury these kind of guys in the sand from the neck down, cover them in honey and unleash the fire ants.

So of course we had to ask the cliche' question, "What do you have to do to become an actor?"
Now keep in mind; Tommie is not plagued by this query, but it has been asked more than a few times and frankly I was impressed with her response.
"Expect rejection every time. Pour your heart and soul into every performance, every reading. Commit yourself to being this actor with every fiber of your being."

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4

Hey there, gang! Let's talk TV. Yeah yeah no huge fan fare for a change. So this time around I thought we would check back with those wacky kids of S.H.I.E.L.D. and see what they're up to.

Operating in the darkness as they did for two years, Coulson and crew are hard at work trying to re-credit S.H.I.E.L.D. as it is being viewed under a microscope. With new management and a few surprises that occurred our team has had some restructure. This is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4.

Not Nicolas Cage.

After the near devastating effects of Inhumans all over the planet, the loss of one she cared for, Daisy "Skye" Johnson ( Chloe Bennett of Nashville, The Birthday Boys, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast and Jake and the Never Land Pirates) is on the lam, investigating weird happenings and serial killings in her old stomping grounds of L.A. Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg of The Spanish Prisoner, Magnolia, State and Main, Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, Lego Marvel's Avengers and Thrilling Adventure Hour Live) steps down from being director of SHIELD as he is a "dead man" as far as public records are concerned and it might be a bit jarring having a man back from the dead due to an alien blood transfusion.

He and Mack (Henry Simmons of NYPD Blue, Taxi, No Good Deed, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) spend most of their downtime trying to locate Daisy and disprove she is the one slaughtering criminals of various background and level.

Agent May (Ming-An Wen of Street Fighter: The Movie, Spawn: The Animated Series, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Mulan, The Batman, SGU Stargate Universe, Eureka and April Rain) runs her own strike force, which means those boys and girls got even more vigorous training.

I'm so baked.

With new director Jeffery Mace (Jason O' Mara of Vegas, Son of Batman, Batman vs. Robin, Justice League: War, Sons of Liberty, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Infamous) being elected for the position of director of S.H.I.E.L.D., there are some that do not feel they can fully trust him yet. I agree. For one, he's mostly a D.C.and not a Marvel. With the Inhumans that have survived the onslaught of Lash's attacks, most are in hiding. A new threat emerges as everyone was just getting comfortable with the lulling peaces as the dangerous grimoire (spellbook of dark arts, necromancy and demonic incantations) known as the Darkhold is loose in the world of humanity once more.

As if that wasn't bad enough, rumors of a spirit of vengeance is roaming L.A.wiping gang bangers, drug dealers and anything else it deems evil. Yup a Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna of Bernie, Matador, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Patti and Marina, Rosewood and Dark/Web) is pretty predominant in this season so expect some decent effects and zero Nick Cage camera mugging.

With everything hanging in the balance once more, how will the agents deal with magic, sorcery and depths of Hell? Well thankfully this is a Whedon production so all these particular problems can easily be solved. Call in Buffy. Or you know, watch the season.

Visual effects wise, you can tell they poured in the money for just the Ghost Rider work alone, we have practical effects, explosions, gun play and some nifty gadgets as Coulson is a gadget guru.

Hydra appears to no longer be the bad guy of the week and frankly I think we all got a wee bit tired of hearing "Hail Hydra!" as often as we did.

Bad car accident or revenge of three bean salad?