Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Sky Has Fallen (2009 – to Infinity and Beyond) Movie Review

Watching this movie it's striking to see how much can be done by one man with passion. While Hollywood cranks out ninety minutes of garbage at the cost of a billion dollars a gonzo filmmaker can produce ninety minutes of entertaining garbage for .00002 of a percentage of that. If Doug Roos makes 'Suicide Squirt' or 'Batdork vs Superlame' they might have made more sense. Seriously a billion f'ing dollars, a whole building of writers, thousands of comic books and no one could come up with a better way for two losers who can't get dates on a Friday night to become bros than 'let's form a my mommy's name is Marta club'? Or 'Susie pom Squad' lack of anything, script, bad guy, heroes, sense, continuity, anyone to care about, and the one big bad, The Joker, could have been taken by Milley Cyrus in Celebrity Deathmatch.

TSHF has a beautifully scored soundtrack, FX, a weirdly interesting story and many elements that predate 'The Walking Dead'. Numerous filmmakers get off track using fancy computer generated special effects instead of basic camera and makeup techniques. With green screens technology assessable to even amateur filmmakers it gets overused. Professional actors have a hard enough time trying to react, interact, or play off of something that isn't there (watch 'Birdemic' (2008), please don't it's really bad). So taking someone with no acting experience/skill/aptitude and throwing them in front of a green screen isn't going to work well. Using practical effect only helps wannabe actors be convincing to audiences.

OCD isn't a stranger to artists or creative types. Making short or full-length films in some ways is a resume for people working on them. Working on reshooting and re-editing the same film for ten plus years isn't a good representation of the level one's skills are at now. There are some really nice well shot scenes in this film but the cinematography of this film is at an overall lower level. After a decade the people working on this film are at a more advanced stage in their experience. Mr. Roos also does everything on this movie. Which shows off his considerable skills but leaves him little time to really focus on any one thing. Most films where one man does everything normally turn out badly. For every Terry Lofton, 'Nail Gun Massacre' (1985), there's a hundred Tommy Wiseau, 'The Room' (2003). This movie is much closer to 'Nail Gun Massacre' than 'The Room'. Not to mention the twenty-minute roll at the end listing a ridonkulous number of executive and associate producers watering down meaningful contributions of people who took a chance on a dream over a decade ago.

The big problem with this movie is the chronic camera hopping character to character. Watching this movie shows the viewer what it is like to have Popcorn Brain. Another issue is in a post-apocalyptic wasteland neither of the two survivors has any gear. Not a water bottle, backpack, fanny pack, sleeping bag, tactical vest, jacket, nothing! The main dude Lance is continually giving things to other people throughout the film, that he pulls out of mid-air. But at least it isn't 'Things' (1989) bad. Which had a budget of forty thousand dollars Canadian (adjusted for US dollars and inflation that's like $1,000,000)

Queen finally had to stop messing with Bohemian Rhapsody due to the tape being worn thin (in this digital age they would still be working on it). It is time to take the knowledge and experience gained from making this movie and pour that into a new project. Of Course if you're Sam Raimi you just remake the same movie you just spent the better part of a decade making (Someone explain this to me? Evil Dead one and two are the same damn movie. Making it worse, the first one is better!) When your film's website looks dated and it has been getting awards for a decade it might be time to move on to the next project.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Non-Transferable (2017) Movie Review

The first thing you'll notice is that Non-Transferable is not your run of the mill meet-cute - in fact, our two leads couldn't be more opposite. Amy (Ashley Clements), a self-proclaimed "global concierge", is a by-the-books woman who has a plan - for everything. Except getting dumped by her boyfriend on their anniversary right before they were supposed to embark on a two week, non-refundable vacation to Europe. Her two best friends, (Shanna Malcolm and Katie Wee) convince her to still go, just with a different guy - who has to have the same name as her ex. Enter Josh Merit (Brendan Bradley), a kindergarten teacher who not only doesn't follow life's rule book, he tears, burns, and scatters its ashes.

They're a mismatch from the start and they know it - there's no denying it after their hilarious "first fight" in front of a TSA agent that ends in a judgmental exchange ("Y'all are crazy." "We're in therapy.") After Josh's near-death experience during takeoff, they finally reach their destination - but the journeys just begun.

What follows is a crazy, endearing, butterflies in your stomach ride as Amy and Josh try to navigate their trip (after Josh loses their itinerary out the car window), not to mention their ''just met you off the internet', totally-not-awkward relationship. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Turkish landscape, both Amy and Josh discover there's so much more to a journey when you're brave enough to throw out the rule book.

As director, writer, co-producer, and co-star of Non-Transferable, Bradley was hyper-focused on every aspect of the film, from production to distribution. "A question I always asked myself," he says, "is how can we bring together advertisers and artists to share the risk and reward of original storytelling?" For Bradley, that vision became reality. Co-financed by the country of Turkey, a remarkable mutual filmmaking relationship ensued. The entire film team supported and featured the country's travel brands and famous destinations in a collaborative effort to produce an international love story.

What sets Non-Transferable apart from most other rom-coms is how it successfully pulls the heart strings without losing its laughs. It's overflowing with hilarious moments from start to finish. A sincere marriage proposal one second, and the next somebody's gulping down lead-laden water from a millennium-old fountain to get moisturizing lotion out of their mouth because they- (no spoilers - you have to watch the film).

Even better, you know those scenes in every rom-com? The last-ditch running through the airport, the "just broke up" montage with muffled Michelle Branch playing in the background? Non-Transferable brings those nostalgic moments back - but with a twist. As our couple hurries towards their departing ferry, we expect they'll make it on board with little problem and then share a calm, beautiful boat ride. Instead, jumping off the pier, missing their ferry by inches and falling into the ocean (and subsequently drenching all their luggage) becomes the most romantic gesture in the world.

Moving behind the camera, Non-Transferable boasts another trailblazing aspect as being part of the new breed of film that's instrumental in rewriting modern movie language. It's a style of communication that's adapting to our technological advances and culture at breakneck speed - evident in the characters' rapid-fire dialogue of social media terms, such as the number of Instagram notifications, online dating, and having "four million followers on vine", etc,. Non-Transferable succeeds where few others have: walking the thin line between it's unique, "millennial" language being interesting enough to not lose its older audience, and being genuine enough to engage the entire younger demographic.

In an "epidemic of content", Bradley says he's trying to get back to the age when stories were about "bad timing, not bad people." To him, the genuine, uplifting romantic comedies of today get glossed over because "in the last decade we’ve shifted to mean-spirited characters and R-rated comedy." Not that he doesn't enjoy a 'Superbad'-esque movie as much as the rest of us, but his vision with Non-Transferable was a welcome "return to the 90’s formula using today’s social media pacing and personalities." It's safe to say after seeing Non-Transferable that his vision has succeeded, blending trans-media promotion and a modern technological language to achieve the best of both worlds. **


About Brendan Bradley:

After getting his start in the harsh New York independent theater and film scene, Bradley ventured into a variety of creative projects: starring in PBS Digitals Frankenstein MD, developing his first series 'Squatters' for DailyMotion Originals, Video Game Reunion for Comedy Central's Online Hub, and even earning casting as 'The Staples Guy' on dozens of television and radio commercials worldwide.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Border Brothers (2017) Movie Review

 It's a film about the grown up son of “Dude” from The Big Lebowski. It has some great cameos from John Goodman and Jeff Bridges. The young Dude decides to pass the J and get off the couch, making a sticky icky run to Mexico, where he mistakenly brings back two brothers named Joel and Ethan. And if you believe that Rickey Bird Jr. would like to talk to you about an investment opportunity in a movie called MachineGun Baby being produced by Menahem Golan.

Border Brothers Trailer YouTube

No, seriously, Brian (not the son of the sultan of slack, though he could be) runs a pool service. His life sucks, on the wrong side of life, dating an Oildale Debutante who is sleeping with his worse, and one of his last, customers. While Brian is fishing out used condoms of 'El Negro Diablo's' pool he is serenaded by his tube top wearing, huffy riding, sleeve job giving girlfriend's moans of 'demasiado grande de fierro'. At the same time, his competitor is heckling him and stealing all his customers, including dear old mom. The life of Brian takes a series of events to become the Messiah drug pimp of Bakersfield.

Oildale debutante checking her leaky pipes YouTube

Written, directed and produced by the Hectic Films cartel out of Bakersfield CA (if you have been paying attention, every time Hollywood needs a town to make fun of, hello Bakersfield). If you watch a Korn video, you can see Rickey's house. The Bakersfield film mafia has been making hazy brown cloud movie magic for over a decade. Spoiler alert they don't film in Tijuana, the town and air is much clearer than Bakersfield. If people in Tijuana were given a choice of staying there or moving to Bakersfield with papers but having to live in Bakersfield for the rest of their lives, they would choose to stay in Mexico. They don't leave Oildale to film except to get a clip on the 101.

Korn Oildale YouTube

They are a dedicated bunch no matter how many times they get shut down by break-ins, equipment thefts, brown clouds, valley fever, Oildale Royals, booze shortages, drug shortages, sand storms, strange new STD's and drive by’s (seriously who would live there, it's not a prison, anyone can leave and never go back, who in their right mind would stay in the central valley) they still just crank out good movies… even if Rickey has to force his son to work on these films (all little Rickey got out of it was a crappy sound tech credit)

Oildale Royals YouTube

It's a film that is more appreciated after watching Gods of Egypt. It’s a film with a budget of one hundred and forty million dollars and Rotten Tomatoes has it rated sixteen percent fresh. Someone must have slipped a bag of cash to get the rating that high. The movie is so bad and makes no sense. The chariot pulling fly things go from sixty miles an hour to a complete stop without slowing down, letting Geezer Butler step off the green screen, like me strolling out of the bathroom in the morning. After watching Gods of Egypt, I rate this Border Brothers movie a full bucket of popcorn! Border Brothers is a fun movie that will convince everyone that some people should stay behind the camera… well, for that matter some ideas shouldn't be made into films. A great film that would make PC Principal pop a blood vessel, Roger Ebert would call waste of film (screw him, he gave Deuce Bigalow, Joe Dirt, Dukes of Hazzard, Tommy Boy, Resident Evil, and The Water Boy all zero stars and it's all digital now anyways! Plus he wrote a Russ Meyer film), gives moviegoers a better option than Gods of Egypt. Plus your ticket purchase goes directly to supporting the crack addict that keeps stealing all of Hectic Films (or HF because abbreviating worked so well for KFC, maybe because after sixteen years there's no Hectic left in HF?) sound equipment. So, you could either donate money to Sally Struthers to feed.... well Sally Struthers or support struggling crack addicts. Your call.

Watch Border Brothers and other fine Hectic Films movies

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Pitching Tents (2017) Movie Review

This movie is an homage to classic 80's teen comedies, only better. Many of those movies did the same stereotypical cast, jokes, and gags repeatedly. They all had the Asian guy who was a tech wizard. The jock whose nickname was a thinly veiled reference to his junk. The stoner, the horn dog, the clueless parents that come around in the end, stupid adults the kids outsmart, sibling rivalry, horror-able sex acts, the holy grail quest to get laid, and lastly the sweet kid just trying to figure it out. Most think of Porky's or the John Hughes movies. As funny as Porky's was, it wasn't a very good movie in many ways, naked girls just to have naked girls, poor camera work, over the top raunchy script setting up studios to lose focus on cinematography and dialog for the rest of the decade. It wasn't until Kevin Smith's Clerks in 1994 that anyone spent time developing dialog again. Watching the John Hughes movies now, all the characters are one-dimensional and teens always win/figure life out in the end, type of boring. Not, that these movies weren't good at the time, but they don't hold up well. 

Pitching Tents is a good mixture of 'One Crazy Summer' (1986), 'Last American Virgin' (1982), and maybe 'Meatballs' (1979). The director Jacob Cooney has a George Millerian skill in communicating information to the viewer non-verbally. Which is the only way this movie would work. With a large cast of charterers, he is able to introduce them seamlessly without veering off course from the plot. While avoiding over redundant stereotypes that make many movies unwatchable/predicable. Jacob does a good job of showcasing the beautiful women in this movie. Made difficult by hideous 80's fashion. All the girls are way too beautiful to wear waist highpleatedacid-washed jeans. Not the typical 'have the girl jump up and down' gonzo directing so many teen films have. The steamy make-out scene in the woods is way hotter than the standard mandatory 'the movie needs this' nude scene. One of the hard things to secure for this movie had to be Grandpas mint condition boxy 80's boat. Image trying to pitch dear old pappy on letting his cherry vintage ride he has waxed twice a week for the last forty years to be used in a movie about a wild drug party in the woods with a side quest for Goddess Camp. A movie you never can let him watch due to the weird necrophilia-beastiality and drug use in his car. 

Pitching Tents YouTube Trailer

From start to finish this was a funny enjoyable movie to watch. Mister fast forward button wasn't needed once, the first or second viewing. The dialog does have many raunchy jokes, keeping with the feel of eighties teen comedies. Without being dependent on them. It has plenty of witty quick dialog, more in tune with a Joss Whedon vehicle than anything from forty years ago. Great period soundtrack with talented actors. Both Samantha Basalari and Micheal Grant should be in more movies in the future. Best eighties teen film since the eighties!