Author Archives: mistylayne
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! Hope it was super fabulous and delicious! As always, THANKSKILLING is an absolute *MUST* to follow up all that food, family, fun & dysfunction so ENJOY!
Stand Up Guy is a short crime thriller featuring a mafia-like organization (or “Family”, as they’re referred to). With only a handful of characters, the film keeps things nice, neat and concise, which works well in it’s favor, and the script is fairly tight. Things flow quickly with the end being reached before you know it, which is a shame in my opinion, as I could definitely watch more of this world and these characters.
Stand Up Guy starts with a federal agent coming to speak with the head of a Family at his “recording studio” about ratting out other people, then turns to a man freshly out of prison who seems to have a need for revenge with said Family head. The rest of the film is mostly dedicated to Roman (just out of prison guy) and Angelo’s (Family head guy) confrontation, with a small interlude that was there to…I’m actually not entirely sure why it was there. To show us how Angelo operates his business? There were definitely a couple of places where it felt like scenes could have been cut without affecting the Roman/Angelo storyline but doing so would have also left the film incredibly shortened – so I guess those scenes were there as filler. The only other scene like this was the scene with the agent at the beginning. Not having that scene wouldn’t have changed the main plot at all, in my opinion. These scenes neither detracted nor distracted; they just weren’t particularly necessary. I would have enjoyed seeing more about Roman (because he was obviously totes cray!) and finding out who Sarge (Serge??) was. For such a small film, I though both the acting and cinematography were top notch so kudos to the team for that.
Overall, it was highly enjoyable and I was a little sad to see it end. Go become a part of the Family and watch it, so you don’t end up swimming with the fishes (or something like that…)!
Ahhh, now THIS was a film I enjoyed! Total Performance was the total package, y’all. It had the right amount of comedy and drama; the acting was fab and I REALLY dug some of the camerawork, yo. So what’s it about? Well, that’s part of what makes it so fun…
The film is about Cori, an actress, but her main gig is a little bit different. She works for a company that employs actors to play opposite real people who want to rehearse a difficult conversation. A breakup, a firing, or even an embarrassing confession: the company that she works for provides a living, breathing ‘sparring dummy’ for their clients. Essentially, she gets paid to go around fighting with people. It’s awesome. There are some obvious pitfalls, of course, like with ANY job, but for reals, how easy is this gig?? We see Cori on a few jobs…we see her on a date…we see her on an actual audition…we see hope in the comedic yet oddly touching and sad ending. The film is under 20 minutes but as time flew by, it felt as if it was only 5 minutes.
I found Tory Berner (Cori) utterly fantastic. Her face is SO expressive and she has this almost wide-eyed naivete about her that’s completely charming. I would watch her in just about anything. My favorite shots were done during the date scene. They weren’t anything fancy but something in them resonated. In fact, I think you’ll find that the whole film resonates as it’s so easily relatable to all.
That said, you should head over to Facebook and give ’em some love, and to find out where you too can watch this stellar TOTAL PERFORMANCE!
Groundhog Day takes a wild, meth-induced bloody ride in Blood Punch (my new favorite movie), a horror comedy written by Ethan Pines. This film starts out hard and never lets up – bringing us hilarity and death, murder and mayhem, sex and blood, meth and peyote, carnage and deserts, snarkiness and more snark – this is indie horror filmmaking at its finest. Seriously. Why wasn’t I in this movie?? (Oh yeah. Current status: somewhere in the woods of Alabama, far from civilization…*sighs*) You guys are gonna LOVE this one though (specially you, E.!).
So what we have is this:
A young man is lured into a dangerous love triangle that begins to take a series of shocking and grisly supernatural turns.
(Although for those more on the squeamish side, it’s really not as grisly as they make it sound. There’s tons of death but the majority of it isn’t graphic. That said, for those who enjoy blood soaked…um, bloodiness(?)…there’s a great scene featuring that which I particularly enjoyed. ;) )
Milton is this super smart dude who got busted cooking meth and is in drug court ordered rehab. There he meets Skyler (whom I now aspire to be like) – an incredibly snarky, kinda bitchy, but ultimately sexy gal – who desperately needs him to help her and her boyfriend out with a meth cooking job. A BIG one. If he agrees, he gets to break out of rehab that night and gets a sweet payday on top of it – all for a one day job. Tiny little catch…Skyler’s boyfriend is a psychopath. No really. Dude is the devil himself (as Skyler says). An entirely terrifying yet strangely charming (at times) psychopathic devil. Lemme tell you, Ari Boyland walks a very fine line here playing Russell, and he tiptoes across that edge like a BOSS. Since this IS a horror movie, Milton takes the gig only to find out just how truly sadistic Russell is and how caught up in Russell’s web Skyler is. And then from there, things just get…well, hilariously bad.
One of the great things about this film is HOW we’re seeing things play out – via flashback. Not just any ordinary flashback though. Nope, Milton wakes up one morning to find a video message from himself in the bathtub explaining the whole situation. It’s truly fabulous. As are the various ways that people get killed off in this film. I mean, if you live to die another day, again and again and again and again…like, really how many ways are there to kill someone? These guys are determined to find out and some ways are truly inventive. So to sum up – 3 kids (okay, college kids but still) trying to work out why they’re repeatedly dying, repeatedly killing each other, trying to escape, and all while sitting on one freaking HUGE pile of meth. Oh, and there might be a romantic squabble or two in there. Super easy sitch to control. It’ll be fine. They got this.
Milo Cawthorne as Milton is great. He’s the perfect blend of confused, edgy, pissed off, longing, scared that’s required here, and is funny as hell. He and Olivia Tennet as Skyler have excellent chemistry, playing off each other extremely well, with their quip delivery on fleek. SO MUCH SNARK. It was like I died and went to heaven. *sighs* Olivia also had the job of making a not so likable character, a sympathetic one, which she did with great aplomb. There were times I wanted to hate her but I could only just say, “You’re a jerk and I’m not talking to you right now. So there.” and then made up with her, like, two minutes later. That was REALLY annoying in that one part when she did that one thing that was just all UGH, you know? ;)
Random aside: Apparently, the majority of these actors were all on some Power Rangers show (RPM??). I’m too old to have gone through a Power Rangers phase but ya know, if you’re not old and decrepit like myself and were totes into PR, then you get the added bonus of nostalgia. Just FYI. :)
Guys, this movie is kickawesome. We need more well made, SMART movies like this one, especially in this genre. If you wanna check it out (and you know you wanna – right, E.?), the link’s up there at the top. You can also check ’em out on Facebook if you wanna get in touch. Ugh. So fucking good. I’d hate for you to miss out…
WOW. Yeah. Okay. So. Um…AIMY IN A CAGE is basically the love child of John Waters and Marc Caro/Jean-Pierre Jeunet (DELICATESSEN, THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN). That is the best way I know to describe this film. As the credits rolled, I just sat there, staring into space, asking myself, “What the f*ck did I just watch?” – but asking myself in the best way possible. Because this movie is mind-blowingly, amazingly, freakishly, insanely beautiful. In a really, really, really twisted way (and is there any better way?).
Summary – “A creative teenage girl is placed into a mind-altering procedure to civilise her, while news of a virus epidemic spreads throughout the world.” We might be in the future; we might be in the past – who the hell knows? Wherever we are, we have Aimy – a whimsical wisp of a girl who doesn’t exactly fit in with her family. Or society. Or anywhere. She likes to dance and they like money. She likes art and they like boring conversation. Honestly, it’s a bit more f*cked up than that but I just do NOT know how to describe it…Aimy is that one rare soul who isn’t a carbon copy of the materialistic, dull as dishwater, ORDINARY people around her. However, Aimy also isn’t necessarily likable. Not hateable but not entirely likable. But then NO ONE in this film is necessarily likable so perhaps that’s the one way Aimy IS similar to her surroundings?
Anyway, apparently there are (or were?) a few other people like Aimy (or EVERYONE used to be like Aimy) because there’s a procedure you can have done so that you too can be a mindless, materialistic robot! Yay! Aimy is forced into this procedure, which looks a little like this:
Aimy is all kinds of hardcore though so the procedure doesn’t exactly take the first time and is done again – this time with some…modifications in the form of psychological torture. Oh, and while this is all going on, there’s a virus making it’s way through the country that nobody seems particularly worried about (until they ARE worried about it). If this all sounds confusing, well, that’s because it is. But when you actually SEE it, it will all make sense. Plus you’ll get the many layers of the film (obvis it’s not REALLY about some chick in a head cage).
The only thing that bothered me about this film was all the SCREAMING. Holy wow, no one in this film can communicate in any other way except screaming. And it didn’t bother me in the way you might think – it bothered me because with the force/intensity/volume these actors were screaming, I just kept wondering how many times they lost their voices and had to halt filming. Did they have an every other day schedule? Realistically, how long can one scream like that without going hoarse? Do you see what I mean? I kept wandering away from the movie to wonder about the consequences of long-term screaming, lol. So be forewarned – do NOT have your volume turned up for this one or your eardrums will be BLOWN.
So yeah. Kinda (totally) dug this film. Wickedly brilliant, beautiful in a most f*cked up way and right up there with some of my favorite filmmakers (mentioned wayyyy up there in the first paragraph), AIMY IN A CAGE is a wild ride you should DEFINITELY take.
This past weekend I was out of town for a few days for my niece’s 6th birthday (hence why no posts still). Now, my niece Tay is a riot. This is the girl who told one of her grandmothers that she should dye her hair pink when said grandmother wanted to cover up the grey (that may or may not have been my influence, I really can’t say…) and the same girl who recently used “selfie” in a sentence (that one was ALL me – you’re welcome, world, heh). She’s also a total sweetheart; a reading rockstar and pretty much the light of my life (well her AND her little bro, can’t play faves!). This past weekend, however, we had THIS conversation that I thought you all would appreciate:
I have a bottle cap necklace I got at Horror Hound that says “I Love Bruce Campbell”. My Tay is learning to read and she’s pretty damn good at it.
Tay (reading my necklace as she and G’man -her little bro- examine it closely): I love…(tries to sound it out and gives up)…what does that say, Auntie Misty?
Me: Bruce Campbell. I love Bruce Campbell.
G’man: What’s a Bruce Campbell?
Me: Well, he’s a who, not a what and he’s an actor.
(G’man totally loses interest at this point.)
Tay: In what?
Me: (wondering just how badly her mother will kill me if I try to explain THE EVIL DEAD to the 6 year old in very watered down tones…figure it will be A LOT) In movies…and TV…boring grown up stuff though, you’d hate it.
Tay: Oh. Okay.
SEVERAL MINUTES LATER…(a cookie for you if you get that reference)
Tay (reading necklace again): I love Bruce…what was his name again, Auntie Misty?
Me: Bruce Campbell.
Tay: And you love him?
Me: Um…well, yeah, I like him a lot. He’s a good actor. (Easiest explanation to go with anyway)
Tay: What does he look like?
Me: Hang on, let me get a pic up on my phone. (Googles BC and finds a non-EVIL DEAD pic to show her) Here.
Tay: (looks at photo…looks at me…looks at photo) THAT’S Bruce Campbell?
Me: Uh, yeah?
Tay: (looks at me with a raised eyebrow) Really, Auntie Misty? (eye roll, sigh and shake of her head) Really?
Sorry, Bruce Campbell, but the 6 year old is NOT impressed. *giggles* God, I love that girl.
And from here, just a note to say I finally seem to be caught up (mostly) on stuff and I’m not going out of town again for at least a couple of weeks and I HAVE been movie watching (AIMY IN A CAGE for one!) so reviews are coming and blog reading will actually be happening. And perhaps one day I’ll sleep as well…Catch ya on the flipside!
PLEASE PUNISH ME, is a super cute comedy about a guy getting his ass whipped. Yeah, I realize that the words “ass whipped” and “cute” aren’t typically used together but really, trust me on this one, guys. It’s the story of a businessman who is so overly blessed, that he seeks to be “punished” for his curse. Thus entering the “Punish Me Palace” in the above photo. Cute S&M, who knew?
PLEASE PUNISH ME is just under 15 minutes but it gets its job done well. The characters were more well-rounded than some I’ve seen in recent “features”, and while the film doesn’t necessarily take us anywhere new or special, that’s totally fine because you’ll be enjoying the ride nonetheless. The businessman is a fabulous character – love the actor (David Sackal, I believe) – who is just so miserably unhappy because of his neverending happiness. It’s a fun concept to play around with, for sure. Then there were the secondary characters of the “Punish Me Palace’s” receptionist and (I guess) head dominatrix (?), who were both equally funny and stole their scenes. You’ve also got some REALLY nice camera work going on here. I absolutely LOVED the closing shot of the businessman’s dominatrix laying her mask down on the bed. It doesn’t sound like much, I realize, but it was beautiful. And you can never go wrong with whippings. Just sayin’. ;)
Kudos to writer, Tom Paolino, and director, Chris Esper, on an incredibly well-made (and funny) short. Keep up the awesome work guys!
I *poofed* again. This time with good reason though. My best friend of the past 25 years got married this past Saturday and so this past week was crazy busy. I wish I could post a photo of her because she was absolutely gorgeous but suffice it to say, despite the fact that I loathe weddings with a fiery passion, it was a beautiful one and incredibly happy-making. :)
I just have a couple of more work things to catch up on and I’ll be good to go on jumping back into the Portland Film Fest films and my usual indies (and I’ve even watched a few things like THE BABADOOK here recently!). AND I’ll start making my rounds again (seriously guys, how do you manage to blog and read all those blogs and do everything else?? How did I used to do this? It’s insanity!). ;) I am also determined to fit in watching MAD MAX: FURY ROAD this week b/c dammit, I’m the only one who hasn’t seen it!!! Grrr-bunnies…
I’m hoping to fit in at least 3 films this week (*fingers crossed*) b/c I have a VERY important FROZEN themed birthday party to attend for my niece this weekend, so I will once again be busy.
Till then, though I’m sure you’ve already seen it, since I think this is totes amazeballs, I leave you with this brilliant editing job. Enjoy and happy Labor Day, guys! :)
*This one’s a little long but bear with me guy’s ’cause this festival is totally worth it!*
Okay, if any of y’all are near the Portland area September 1-7, I am going to have to HIGHLY recommend that you hit up the Portland Film Fest. How can this little ole Southern Belle recommend something so far off? Cause I’ve seen the line up and guys, it looks AWESOME. In fact, I’ll be covering festival films right here in the coming days!
It’s not JUST the films though – there’s so much more. There are special tributes to visionaries in certain fields:
1) Will Vinton – Will is receiving a lifetime achievement aware for his innovative contributions to the history of animation. He’s a world renowned Claymation® pioneer and Academy Award winner – you might recognize the name from his legendary stop-motion classic, THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN (which will be having it’s 30th anniversary screening at the festival along with his Academy Award winning short, CLOSED MONDAYS). I have to admit I’m not totally familiar with the guy but we all know I love my stop-motion animation (mostly in the form of Jan Svankmajer but whatevs) so this sounds pretty cool to me.
2) Wendy Froud – An American doll-artist, creature sculptor, and puppet-maker, Wendy Froud is a profound contributor to the history of pop culture and cinema. She is best known for being a member of the fabrication team of the iconic character Yoda for the 1980 film “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” and also fabricated timeless creatures for the Jim Henson films “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth”. In appreciation of her work, LucasFilms will generously share unique behind the scenes archival images from her Star Wars work, and Wendy will be honored with a lifetime achievement award. GUYS, she helped build Yoda!!! And she worked on LABYRINTH!!! I die. Seriously. I want to go to here SO much.
*sighs* So yeah, not just amazeballs films but ya know, STAR WARS awesomeness too. BUT it is a film fest and the films ARE important and SO many of them look SO good, it was hard to pick out which ones I wanted to see. Here’s some samples from the lineup that I’m excited about!
1) Aimy in a Cage/ U.S. A creative teenage girl is placed into a mind-altering procedure to civilize her, while news of a virus epidemic spreads throughout the world. (Um, YES. Apparently they made a movie about my hometown… ;) )
2) Touched with Fire/ U.S. Two manic depressives meet in a psychiatric hospital and begin a romance that brings out all of the beauty and horror of their condition. (Cannot WAIT to see this. Also Katie Holmes, y’all. Katie Holmes. I don’t care what anyone says, girl is talented, and I for one would really love to see her come back from that whole Cruise debacle.)
3) Audition/ U.S. A romance is portrayed by one hundred actors who compete for two lead roles and a chance to perform the final terrifying scene. (As if I WOULDN’T watch this one…)
4) Kings of Kallstadt/ Germany, U.S. A humorous documentary about German small village life and its famous American relatives: Donald Trump and Heinz Ketchup. (Okay, not entirely sure about this one but c’mon…you’ve gotta be a little curious… ;) )
5) Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around The World/ U.S. The Make-A-Wish Foundation and the city of San Francisco join forces to grant a five-year-old boy’s wish to become Batman for a day, drawing worldwide attention. (Remember Batkid??)
6) Dude Bro Party Massacre III/ U.S. A hysterical and bloody twist on 80’s slasher flicks, in which a dorky loner must infiltrate a party-centric fraternity to solve the murder of his twin brother. (Um, do you SEE that title? BEST title in the history of titles EVER. TOTES.)
AND…there are a TON more (80 feature films and 134 short films to be exact). But that’s not all! (I know right? You’d need, like, an extra 5 hours a day to fit everything in!) There’s also 75 Master Classes going on (if I was there it would seriously be a dilemma between going to the classes or going to see films, I kid you not, because the classes look really awesome!) so my peeps in the industry, I suggest you get y’alls selves over there. At the least, go take a class for me and then come back and report on it? Please and thank you? :)
AND…oh I’ve been saving the best for last…AND on Labor Day…a special all day and night event will set a Guinness Book of World Records for “most extras in a short film”. Director George Cameron Romero, son of iconic horror director George A. Romero, will direct. Award-winning makeup artists will oversee effects for an anticipated cast of thousands. Event will also include a nighttime surprise zombie film screening. You read that correctly, friends, there is indeed a ZOMBIE DAY!!! With a Romero, nonetheless! *squee* STAR WARS and zombies all in the same festival? Be still my heart…*sighs*
Okay, I’ll wrap this up now with a little “About” portion on the Portland Film Festival and links for the schedule and tix, but in all seriousness – somebody go take pictures of stuff for me!!! ;) If you do go, have an absolute blast and please do come back to this post and tell us all about it because we’d love to hear. And for those not in the area, never fear, you’ll be catching part of the lineup right here at CinemaSchminema. It’s gonna be fun, guys. Mwah!
“Established in 2013, The Portland Film Festival is Oregon’s largest film festival, and was named “one of the coolest film festivals in the world,” by MovieMaker Magazine in 2014. It is a non-profit, year round organization dedicated to nurturing filmmakers and audiences, and to celebrating the power of a good story. The festival focuses on the people, ideas, technology, skills and artistry behind filmmaking and provides both entertaining and educational opportunities for the public.
Screenings take place across the city at seven venues, including some of the oldest historic theaters in Oregon, and includes outdoor screenings as well – offering its filmmakers some of the largest audiences available on the West Coast.
Previous and current festival partners include the City of Portland, Portland Parks & Recreation, Women in Film, Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA), Willamette Writers, SAG Aftra (Actor’s Guild/Union), Oregon Governor’s Office of Film (Oregon Film), I.A.T.S.E. (Film Union), Directed by Women, Digital Media Communications Department at Clackamas Community College and others.
Although the festival began in 2013, its history goes back to 2009, when the Portland Film Club was founded as a film club to bring film lovers together to view and discuss films. The club now boasts over 2300 members and is one of the largest movie clubs on the west coast. It screens typically one movie a week including new and independent features.”
*Sorry guys, I’m trying, I promise!! I’ll be ’round to visit soon!*
You guys remember how much I love well made short films that truly hit their mark, right? (I’m only mentioning it every single time I watch a short so how could you forget? Ha!) Here we have MESSIAH, which tells the story of Courtney, who comes home on a seemingly normal day. Upon returning, she has a mysterious visitor peddling a religious organization. Courtney’s day turns on end when she involuntarily finds herself in the middle of a dark and sinister secret. Sounds kinda cool, huh? Yeah…no…
MESSIAH, unfortunately, is not one of those shorts I adore so much. Coming in at just under 10 minutes, nothing happens till halfway through (an attempt to set the atmosphere, I’m sure, but one shouldn’t need 3-5 minutes to do so). The last half moves quickly but makes no damn sense. Okay, girl being stalked by weird, random religious people makes sense because horror (no actual reason needed there). But the girl’s boyfriend is introduced and THAT’S what doesn’t make sense. He’s apparently off in Spain or something gallivanting about and just after Courtney has let mystery religious visitor into her home, he FaceTimes her or whatever. Flash to him tied up in a chair with someone holding his phone in front of him, forcing him to stick to a script – someone with a religious tattoo. Oh no! They got him too! But wait! He’s being brave and telling Courtney to run and get out of the house in the hopes of saving her. Yay! And then comes the end, when BF here – who’s still on the phone and still tied to a chair – apologizes to Courtney for what’s happening. WAIT? WHAT? HE’S part of this? Did he set this up? But if he set this up, then why the hell is he freaking tied to a chair and being forced to talk to her while some scary person stands over him? Why did he tell her to run and then go “oops, sorry, Courts”. WTF? What is he apologizing for and why does this short play it like he’s part of this whole religious kidnapping scheme when nothing else in the entire thing goes along with that? Ugh. Bored now. This seems more like a trailer than anything else and if this was the aforementioned secret then, well, I’m just disappointed.
Another thing is the “messiah” of the title. Titles don’t necessarily have to fit in with the theme of the movie but with the religious overtures here, it seems at first glance as though MESSIAH would be a good name – except who/what/when/where is this messiah? Is Courtney the messiah? Is her BF the messiah? Do they need Courtney to bring forth a messiah? Or maybe an Antichrist figure? Just why the hell do they need Courtney?? Is mysterious visitor the messiah since she’s going around kidnapping people and somehow this is going to save this religious organization? SO MANY QUESTIONS!! This is the type of film where I don’t actually consider it to be leaving an open ending so much as leaving it up to the watcher to tell themselves the ENTIRE story after having been given what amounts to a one sentence summation. Plots can leave questions and be open-ended and all of that and I’ll love them. But just do…THIS…and it comes across as lazy.
Things I DID enjoy: 1) the music was fun. Totes melodramatic in that over the top, cheesy kind of way but it fit and THAT set the atmosphere. 2) Rachel Langdon as the “Mysterious Visitor” – she creeped me the hell out so props to her! 3) the dog – yay puppies!…Yes, I do realize this is a short list.
MESSIAH very much comes off as a beginner’s first film (and according to the website it is kind of that as it’s director/producer Mark Grabianowski’s first step into the horror genre, and writer Justin McCoy’s writing debut). Go back and add to the story and make it, well, a STORY and I think this could be something worth watching, I do. Until then though, this girl at least doesn’t understand what the goal of this was meant to be. However, if YOU’D like to check out MESSIAH for yourself or learn more about it, visit them on Facebook or the MESSIAH website!