Author Archives: mistylayne

The Girl in the Woods

The Girl In The Woods

Now THIS was a short film I liked. Intriguing, compelling, mysterious with just an edge of chilling, “The Girl in the Woods” hit all my sweet spots. I’m fairly certain this was my first Turkish film experience and it definitely made a good impression. I’m interested to see more of what Turkey and writer/director, Tofiq Rzayev, have to offer.

The story is simple (and yet complex – multi-layered if you will). Ceren’s fiance is missing after a huge fight. They’ve been having some issues for awhile with him not wanting to settle on a wedding date but him just vanishing takes the cake. Except…did he vanish of his own free will? The only clue Ceren and their good friend, Mert, have to go on is a text that Mert received reading “Find me”. Hmmm…my, but that’s rather cryptic, eh? So what gives? Mert heads out to see if he can find Mr. Fiance but after several days all he’s managed to find is a mystery girl in the woods. He grows rather fond of talking and hanging out with her (cause ya know, you can always trust those mystery forest girls!…), which is cool because Girl in the Woods (no name cause that’s how she rolls) is kind of lonely and she’s had some major heartbreak and wants to be alone. But not alone (see?? What did I say about trusting those girls in the woods?? That is NOT normal behaviour!). However, what happens next causes a downward spiral that changes all of their lives in different ways.

First off, I liked the characters. They were well fleshed out for such a short film and believable. Ceren was ready to equally kill AND hug to death her fiance when he came back and the way she said that was so real. I found myself just as engaged with the actors (Deniz Aslim – Mert; Gizem Aybike Shahin – Ceren; Mehmet Samer – Cem; and Cevahir Cashgir as The Girl in the Woods). The story started as a “slice of life” mini-mystery but quickly became a beautiful and insightful look at mankind’s push and pull towards one another, so absolutely no complaints there. And Azerbaijan, the location where this was filmed, is absolutely lovely.

Really, the only complaint I had was that in some places the picture was a little fuzzy, if you know what I mean. Not so that you couldn’t see what was going on but just not very sharp in the way that home videos look fuzzy compared to movies in the cinema. Not a huge thing, just noticeable.

This is on my “Highly Recommended” list. There’s nothing better than a great short and nothing beats a fabulous foreign film (well, to me anyway!) so combining the two equals pure magic. Want to see why I think YOU should see it? You can get more reviews and info on IMDB. Hurry, go! There’s probably some mysterious girl waiting for you…

Pink Moon

You guys know how I LOVE well-made short films, right? Like, I have a hard-on for that shit. Particularly thought-provoking ones that tackle difficult issues. Pink Moon is totally in that category. TOTES.

Pink Moon is the story of a boy and girl living in a society where heterosexuals are persecuted. As if having to hide their relationship wasn’t enough, the girl gets pregnant (oh, did I mention abortion is forbidden?). It’s a pretty simplistic description for a film that evokes such complex emotion. While the overly-obvious plot device of twisting certain civil rights issues on their heads might be cause for some initial concern, in reality you’ve got a relevant-to-us-all story that needs to be told.

And Pink Moon tells this story with a quiet kind of aplomb. It’s not overbearing in its story-telling, never heavy handed as it could have been in lesser hands than Sal Bardo’s. Brandon Tyler Harris and Cole Johnston as the teenage couple are breathtaking; their chemistry amazing and deeply affecting. The raw honesty here has the potential to shift viewpoints. Beautiful is really the best way to sum up watching this.

My only issue with the film was confusion on my part on how/why people can still have/are having children when heterosexuals aren’t meant to be together. Is it all accidental pregnancies? Insemination? Are there specified “breeders”? I realize there are different ways this could be done but the unclearness here, especially in the hospital scene, drug me out of the story for a moment. That was it though. Apparently a full length version of this movie is being made right now or in the near future (which I cannot WAIT to see!) so I’m hoping things are made a bit more clear in it.

My recommendation is that this be required viewing but since it’s a *free* world, I’ll just highly suggest it instead. ;) Links to the website are above and Facebook links are in the photos and the movie is online and free. Approximately 17 minutes can give you a helluva lot to ponder.

ScareFest Film Festival 8 (2015)

sf8-banner

Hey guys & gals! What’s the haps? :) Hope everyone had a good 4th and there were no fireworks mishaps (looking at you, E…). Wanted to share something for my filmmaker friends out there –

ScareFest Film Festival 8, hosted by Izzy’s Little Creepers (which is an AWESOME name), is happening September 11-13 in Lexington, KY, and they’re still accepting submissions for the festival. It’s a great way to get your work out there (we all know how the festival runs go!) and, obviously, it’s totally suited to you horror & gore creators. :) It looks pretty fun and I’m sad I don’t have any projects that fit into the theme here.

If you’re in the area and just wanna go hang out, the guest line-up includes Sid Haig, Sal Lizard, a bunch of people from this past season of American Horror Story, a bunch of people from Phantasm…there’s several people from older stuff (like The Munsters – is that what that show was called??) and I think that’s pretty cool, anyway. ;)

So check it out, filmmakers, and if you’ve got something to enter – ENTER IT! – so people can watch it and it can win awards and shit! The website has the submission form and all the nitty-gritty but if you wanna screw the deets, I’m including the submission form right here so it’s handy!

Have fun, guys! Let us know if you’re entering something, so we can share the news and rant & rave about the awesomeness of your film and the like. :)

Cheers!

ScareFest

River City Heroes: Ascendance

Title

*FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION*

From writer/directors Jeremy Scoggins and Matthew Hibbs and Executive Producer P.J. Starks (Volumes of Blood) comes the next generation of super heroes.

River City Heroes 3

The Trio: Knightmare, Dreamcatcher, and Anarchy-X, three ordinary people, called upon to be the vigilante heroes of a city wrought with dark secrets. Plagued with their own personal demons, they bring it upon themselves to become the saviors in a thankless city. Under the watchful eye of their mentor Chronos, who harbors a past of darkness himself, the Trio wages a war on the villains of the city. The sadistic drug lord Animus holds grip on the underworld, while Persephone Masters, a crafty and powerful politician, sits on high in the city and hires the cold and calculating assassin, Strife, to eliminate anyone who stands in her way. The villains play River City like their own personal chess game with the veiled and mysterious Cryofire corporate power quietly plotting all the moves. With the Trio holding on to what justice there is left in the city, they are faced with unexpected challenges both within themselves and throughout the streets as they set about hunting down the men and women who have corrupted their city.

River City Heroes 1

In a city where crime seeps from its pores, the victims must become the answer to their own prayers.

River City Heroes 2

Production Company: Hive Mind Studios

Starring: Jeremy Scoggins, Louisa Torres, Derreck Fraser, Markus Porter, Kevin Arnold, Jeremiah Hinson, Jaron Scoggins.

You too can help stop evil by contributing to the cause!

Volumes of Blood

Are we all getting a little tired of anthologies by now? ABC’s of Death and V/H/S’s all over the place? Yeah? Well, screw them, watch this and have your faith in the anthology genre restored. Volumes of Blood doesn’t just wipe the floor with those two, it wipes the floor with blood (and brains…and guts…and stuff…) and remains wickedly funny throughout.

Volumes of Blood is a super indie collaborative effort out of Kentucky that involved almost 150 people (I believe – correct me if I’m wrong, P.j.!), which is pretty amazing in and of itself. MY last indie project, I was acting, co-directing, holding a boom AND getting coffee, lol. Ah….movie making….I can’t remember the last time I saw an indie look this good though, particularly a lo-budget one. “Misty! Stop talking about behind the scene crap and tell us what happens ON screen!” Yeah, yeah, I hear you…

One badass mofo

One badass mofo

Urban legends is what we have here, guys and gals. But not those silly old boring urban legends we’ve all heard a MILLION times before (no Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary here!). No, we get new urban legends, entirely made up as the film progresses. I have to admit to being a sucker for urban legends because really they’re nothing more than modern fairy tales and my fascination & study of fairy tales is a lifelong thing (that I’m going to refrain from babbling on about – see I can be good). And the legends here have some unique modern spins indeed. From demonic energy drinks to learning lessons about playing pranks to satanic encyclopedias (c’mon, this NEVER ends well!) to ghostly visitors who like to tease…you’ll have a blast from beginning to end.

What’s more is that all the effects are PRACTICAL effects which absolutely makes me shiver with delight. It’s that absolutely brilliant old-school style with just a hint of a lovely Troma-esque influence….*sighs*…..Especially the end….oh the end…There should have been more blood and gore. Yeah. Maybe that’s my one complaint. MORE of this, please!! So those of you who are into that too will def get a kick out of this one.

Blood, blood, blood, yay!

Blood, blood, blood, yay!

There’s also some really good acting going on here. Not gonna lie – sometimes grabbing your friends up to make a movie means not so wonderful acting. Just the truth. But here? Nah. These guys are GOOD. There were a couple of people who only had a line here or there that were a little stiff but all the characters that were essential held my attention and sold it. TOTES. This is even better when you know that a good portion of things were improv.

And ya know what? If I STILL haven’t managed to convince you, I’ll just let my favorite line of the movie do it.

“Learn how to die or start making Christian films!”

P.S. Check ’em out on Facebook!

April Rogue is Here!

ROGUE

The latest issue of Rogue Cinema is here and you KNOW you’re dying to read it…so what are you waiting for? An engraved invitation?? Sorry, I don’t have any of those. I can give you a preview of the issue though! Inside this month, you’ll find great articles on awesome films like these (and TONS more)!

Blood

Tiki War

Jilel: The Calling of the Shell

Jilel

Jilel: The Calling of the Shell is another original Marshallese by Microwave Films (you might remember Zori or The Sound of Crickets at Night from them, as they’ve been reviewed on Rogue Cinema in the past). Jilel has much in common with these former films – from similar camera shots to just a bit of over-preachiness – yet much like the previous two, it is also charming and heartwarming. Jilel is a sweet story that showcases the beauty and talents of the Marshall Islands and it’s people.

Jilel: The Calling of the Shell is the story of Molina, a young Marshallese girl who is confronted for the first time with the idea that her island—her beloved homeland—is vanishing because of the rising seas caused by world-wide global warming and how she turns the tide of doom. When Molina’s grandmother dies, Molina is left to take care of a jilel – a shell that is a family heirloom and said to hold great power. Not realizing it’s importance, her older brother takes the shell to sell it at a local store for cigarette money. However, once out of Molina’s hands, the jilel starts wreaking havoc not only on her brother’s life but also on anyone who comes in contact with. Will the jilel find it’s way home? Jilel: The Calling of the Shell is a global warming fairy tale about the importance of knowledge, respect and preservation.

The landscape of the film is stunning – from the ocean waves to the painted sky to the colorful shacks along the island. Jilel stars local people, who are (for the most part) surprisingly good. Samson in particular stood out as the comic relief. Yes, parts of the film temporarily take on the quality of a homemade video, but Jilel always picks itself back up from there. The story is it’s strongest aspect, however. Deceptively simple, it makes for a powerful allegory about respecting Mother Earth and the damage that’s been done to Her. Equally powerful is the spoken word at the end of the film by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner called “Tell Them” – as much as I enjoyed Jilel, “Tell Them” was my favorite part.

Jilel is highly recommended viewing – not just a fairy tale or cautionary tale, it showcases the beauty of a partially forgotten people and land. Ancient customs are woven throughout the film, creating their own kind of magic. And that’s what this film is – magic.

Volumes of Blood Premiere – Friday the 13th (cue scary music!!!)

Awhile back I did an interview with my friend P.j. about his upcoming horror anthology, Volumes of Blood, and lo and behold the premiere is finally upon us! I, for one, am super excited about this (even if I can’t go to the premiere because distance). I think the anthology is going to be pretty cool though and I’m excited to see it when it gets a wider release. P.j. sent me this teaser short to give you guys a taste of what’s to come, so enjoy!

“Kevin Smith has always been a huge inspiration for me, so I made the decision to create my own universe around Volumes of Blood. This is just the first online short in that mission. The Preylude shows you how one of the characters from the film gets into the situation we find her in, in the film. There’s no real pay off, because the conclusion follows through in the motion picture that releases on Friday the 13th this month at the Owensboro Convention Center. Tickets are only $5 and all proceeds go to a local charity. Doors open at 7 pm. It’s gonna be a great time for a good cause.” ~P.j. Starks

If you want to learn more, check out the Volumes of Blood Facebook page!

February Rogue is Here – You Know You’re Excited!

ROGUE

It’s that time of month! (Ew no, not THAT time of month…) I only had 3 films this month for Rogue but they were quite possibly the widest range of films I’ve ever had to review at one time – witch hunts to aliens to Lifetime on crack…it was an interesting (and sometimes confusing) time. Stop by and check it all out!

What happens in the life of a single park bench? A LOT, that's what!

What happens in the life of a single park bench? A LOT, that’s what!

 

This one explores the ghosts of the past and involves alcohol, ALL the alcohol.

This one explores the ghosts of the past and involves alcohol, ALL the alcohol.

 

Freaking awesome short film that really packs a punch - chocolate chip cookies are extra.

Freaking awesome short film that really packs a punch – chocolate chip cookies are extra.

Happy 2015, Y’all!

2015NY

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fun (and safe) night last night. :) I hung out with my cat and read and watched movies (because I’m old and boring like that). Still, I’m super happy to see 2014 go. It was a really rough year, kind of a non-stop downhill momentum. Lots of doctors, some hospitalizations and due to those things, I lost passion for some things, forgot what it is I love to do. That’s one thing I’m hoping for in 2015, is the ability to find those things again, whether they be old passions or new ones.

I don’t do resolutions – I’m terrible at things like that, lol. What I do is mottos. And I think my motto for 2015 is “It’s YOUR Life”. Kind of sounds silly but when you’ve been through a year of health issues with different doctors telling you what to take, what to do, how to do things, etc., it can feel like you don’t exactly have control over your life. So this motto means I’m taking back control, even as I continue on the path to healthy, and doing the things I want and creating a life worth living.

Whatever your motto or resolutions, I wish you the best of luck. Here’s to a kick ass year! :)

Serafina says "Happy New Year!" as well!

Serafina says “Happy New Year!” as well!

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