Thursday, October 31, 2013

Edwin J. Hill Productions Presents: The Red Menace!

Hey everybody, a quick Awesomeness update for you. The short film my production company made for this year's MOFA 3 Days OF Terror Competition is now available online. The genre we got was Period Horror, so, a horror movie set in a time period other than the present (we chose the 1950s). The required elements were an opening shot of a light source or feet (we chose the former), one or more of the weapons found in the board game Clue (we used all but the wrench), and a scream sound effect we added at about the half way mark. You can watch it HERE, because for some reason I can't embed at the moment.

MORE IMPORTANTLY! Go to the link below to download the full two and a half minute version of the film's theme song, the title of which I cannot say because it would spoil a key plot point of the film, and because its just that amazing. Enjoy


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Cinema File #266: "Baggage Claim" Review

Having somewhat inadvertently become an aficionado of Tyler Perry’s greater Madeaverse, I feel it is incumbent upon me to strive for fairness when it comes to judging lighthearted comedies featuring predominantly African American casts. I must always try to avoid the temptation to treat them all like, well, Temptation, so as to not view them through the same lens of disturbing religiosity and backwards morality just because they have one arbitrary thing in common. And yet, here we have Baggage Claim, a film that as far as I know Perry had nothing to do with, that nonetheless shares many of his most egregious and oddly specific cinematic sins, albeit in a mostly secular context. Admittedly, the producers of Baggage Claim would have had to try a lot harder to be as bad as even the least offensive Tyler Perry joint, but then not trying very hard might be the film’s biggest sin of all.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Cinema File #265: "Machete Kills" Review

Due to its somewhat predictably poor box office performance, we'll mostly likely never get a chance to see the promised threequel in the Machete Franchise, a bloody space adventure called Machete Kills Again...In Space. We'll have to settle for the insane Star Wars influenced trailer that bookends the second and probably last film in the series, the aptly titled Machete Kills. Then again, the fact that we even got a Machete movie at all, itself inspired by a fake trailer in the equally less than blockbuster film Grindhouse, let alone a sequel to it was pretty amazing, so who knows. Maybe Machete will return at some point. If there can be four Spy Kids movies, why not three Machete movies? I don't know. All I know is, if I had my say, we'd get one every Christmas, or at least riding the coattails of every increasingly redundant James Bond movie. Because I don't care what you say, this shit's awesome.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Cinema File #264: "Captain Phillips" Review

Between the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Pirates: Band Of Misfits, and the Movie and Music Industries' shared quixotic war against media piracy, I honestly can't remember the last time the concept of a pirate seemed like anything other than good clean fun, let alone a genuine threat. Oh wait, actually, now that I think about it, I do remember. It was back in 2009, when a small group of Somali pirates managed to seize a cargo ship and take its captain hostage for several days leading to a tense stand off with the U.S. Navy. Well, it took four years for this true life story of terror and survival to become a movie, and apparently in that time it has transformed from the story of a harrowing Navy rescue operation to the tale of one man's unbelievable struggle for freedom. Of course, I say unbelievable not to denote how amazing it is, but to imply that frankly, I don't believe any of this crap.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Unnecessary Retrospective: The Chucky Franchise (Part Three - Child's Play 3)

Child's Play 3 could be considered the last in the original Chucky Trilogy. It represents the end of Andy Barclay's story that began in the first film, was the last movie in the series until a reboot seven years later, and marks the end of the Child's Play series as a more traditional slasher franchise. After this movie, the series would take on a lighter, more self-referential tone and a new naming scheme reminiscent of the Frankenstein sequels beginning with Bride of Chucky. Writer Don Mancini famously claimed to be out of ideas when it came to the third installment and regards the film as his least favorite, which is a sentiment shared by many fans. I don't know if I'd quite go that far, but then we'll get to my least favorite eventually. Personally, I actually think there's still a lot to like about Child's Play 3, even if the original premise was getting a bit stretched thin by this point.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What The Hell Did We Just Watch!?! - Special "Sir Billi" Podcast! Now Available!!

Check out yet another episode of my Podcast spinoff What The Hell Did We Just Watch!?!, where my good friend and fellow podcaster Nate Zoebl discuss our immediate reactions to the film Sir Billi, the first Scottish CGI movie, and the last film to feature actor Sir Sean Connery prior to his recent retirement. Its...something, I guess...

Download directly HERE

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast! - Halloween Special! Part Two!! Now Available!!!

Check out the latest episode of my podcast Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast!, Part Two of our Halloween Special! This week we continue our discussion of our favorite and least favorite horror movies and struggle valiantly to fill another hour talking about a well-trodden topic. Enjoy.

Download Directly HERE

Or Stream Below:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Cinema File #263: "Escape From Tomorrow" Review

Regardless of whatever else can be said about it, it must first and most emphatically be acknowledged that the people behind the new indie psychological thriller Escape From Tomorrow did something quite unique and literally never before seen, which is so rare in cinema today that to not point it out and applaud it without caveat would be hypocritical of anyone who has ever complained about the lack of ingenuity in Hollywood. Okay, now for the caveats. If you don't know what this thing is, Escape From Tomorrow is a film shot almost entirely at Disney World and Disneyland, without permission from the famously litigious company. With evil Epcot robots and a demonically possessed Small World ride. And Disney Princess whores. Trying to figure out how they got the shots they needed would be reason enough to watch the movie just as a technical curiosity, but on top of that, the film itself is a creepy little gem that despite some major but forgivable flaws, had me strangely hooked.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Cinema File #262: "Carrie" Review

Let's face it, nostalgia aside, the 1976 Brian De Palma film Carrie isn't exactly the classic horror thriller its so often remembered to be. Really, its two great central performances by Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, and two iconic scenes set in a school locker room and a Prom Night gone wrong, which bookend an otherwise pretty boring 70's drama. Even so, Carrie is a story that has been adapted and reworked more than any Stephen King book, remade for a back door pilot TV movie in 2002, a terrible sequel that in execution might as well have been a remake, and lest we ever forget, that beloved Broadway mainstay Carrie: The Musical. The latest iteration is probably the best attempt at rehashing this material if only by default, but despite a few novel twists here and there and the presence of one of the brightest young female actresses working today in the title role, it fails to live up even to the low standards of the original.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Cinema File #261: "Escape Plan" Review

Growing up in the 80's and 90's, the playful rivalry between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone over who could claim the mantle of Most Badass Action Star was perhaps more important to me as a prepubescent action buff than maybe it should have been. With all the silly references across their more meta-friendly movies and a lot of backstage drama between them, it seems strange in retrospect that we didn't actually see them together onscreen for the first time until a few years ago, starting with the first in the now gratuitous nostalgic orgasm known as The Expendables franchise. Because their first official pairing was in the midst of such an orgy of hasbeens, the new film Escape Plan (formerly Exit Plan, and before that The Tomb) feels like a more fitting debut for their unique chemistry, and while it may seem incredibly dickish of me to pan Gravity, a film widely regarded as the best of the year, and then turn around and applaud a big dumb action movie like this, well, fuck it, I had too much fun with this movie not to.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Cinema File #260: "The Bling Ring" Review

Earlier this year, director Harmony Korine unleashed Spring Breakers upon the world, a misguided attempt to bring a pretentious indie sensibility to crass exploitation cinema that in a bygone age might have been a much more entertaining Russ Meyer joint called something like "Bikini Babes, Boobs, and Bullets". The most offensive thing about the film was its stubborn insistence that the trials and tribulations of some of the most vacuous morons ever assembled was somehow the stuff of epic tragedy, so self evidently infused with importance that I must be some sort of philistine to be so bored and annoyed. Once the sole province of dumb comedies like The Hangover movies, the serious minded glorification of insufferable twits now seems to have grown into a genre all its own, so much so that actual half-decent directors are tackling it. And so we have Sophia Coppola's The Bling Ring, regrettably based on a true story that even more regrettably a whole crew of filmmakers thought was worth filming. For a shallow story about shallow people, its done about as well as it probably could be done, but in the end I have to ask, what's the point?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast - Halloween Special, Part One! Now Available

Sorry everybody, would have posted this yesterday, but I fell a bit ill (maybe I'm still space sick from watching Gravity). Anyway, here's the latest episode of one of my podcasts, Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast, part one of our technically two part but possibly as many as four part Halloween special. Yeah, we really get into this shit. This week we talk about some of our favorite horror movies and what makes us scared, as once again mom gets progressively drunker. Enjoy.

Download Direct HERE

Or Stream Below!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Cinema File #259: "Gravity" Review

In the past, I have been accused of indulging in cinematic contrarianism, specifically taking a negative position on beloved, critically acclaimed films purely for the novelty of it, or to maintain some sort of imagined curmudgeonly cache. Even in light of the fact that one of my first reviews was little more than a bile fueled rant against one of the highest grossing and highest rated superhero films of all time, I would still emphatically submit that this is untrue, and that the accusation in fact says more about the person making it than the person receiving it. To attack a critic's motives for not liking a film purely based on the assumption that said film's quality is self-evident is an appeal to emotion bordering on fanboyism. It belies a realization on the part of the devoted fan that the work they are so passionate about is otherwise indefensible, requiring an attack against the credibility of the critic rather than the substance of his or her critique. How does one adequately argue against the charge that they just love to argue for the sake of arguing? Anyway, here I am again, spitting in the face of a modern masterpiece that left me colder than the vacuum of space from whence it came, and I just can't help myself. Call me whatever you like, its not going to make Gravity live up to any of its outrageously unearned praise.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Some More Stuff I Did! Sketch Comedy I Wrote That You Can See Now With Your Faces

In a few weeks, I'll be able to debut the latest short film I co-wrote and produced with my amateur production company Edwin J. Hill Productions. It's called The Red Menace, and the only hold up is awaiting the festival premiere to pass. Anyway, all this preparation for that reminded me that I never posted the sketches I wrote that represented some of my first (semi) professional work before all this movie making started. Not sure why I never showcased these, but here they are now, on Youtube for your viewing pleasure:

This first one is called Profit Motive.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Idiot Box: American Horror Story - Coven - "Bitchcraft" Review

This is the first time I've ever had the occasion to talk about American Horror Story on this blog, since the first season aired before the site existed, and the second aired before I decided to expand into television reviews. Its strange to think I haven't been compelled to give my thoughts on the series until now, considering just how passionate I am about it. That's not to say I'm a devoted fan mind you. In fact, I'd say my love hate relationship with the show is directly proportional to the relationship I have with its creator Ryan Murphy, who brought us the entertainingly excessive Nip Tuck, and then Glee, which I can't watch without fighting the urge to vomit. On any given day, my opinion of American Horror Story vacillates between one of these two extremes as it constantly shifts between addictive must see television and unwatchable garbage. Luckily, the latest witch-centric season Coven seems to be on the former track, at least for now anyway.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Briefest, Slightest of Personal Updates...

Hey, remember this thing? We just turned in our completed movie, The Red Menace, fully produced and on time. Still can't say much about it until I'm able to post the full movie on Oct. 28th after the screening, but I do want to make special note of the closing song.

I can't even give you the title of it without spoiling the movie, but I assure you, this is one awesome fucking song. We had nothing to do with it, it was commissioned from a friend of one of our actors who I'm not sure wants to be named officially (he's credited only as Senior Gabe in the finished film). I'll try to release the MP3 along with the video, because you are going to want to have this on your IPod.

Anyway, back to normal blogging starting tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Coming Soon - "The Red Menace" - A New Short Film From Edwin J. Hill Productions.

My film making collective Edwin J. Hill Productions took part in the Mid-Ohio Filmmaker's Association's annual Three Days Of Terror short film competition this weekend (technically we're still taking part, as the turn in deadline is tomorrow at 7pm). The goal is to create a 5 to 10 minute horror themed short film in three days or less, Friday to Sunday, with randomly selected requirements to ensure that all work takes place within the time frame.

You can see our previous work for the similar 48 Hour Film Festival (2012 and 2013) HERE.

Our entry this year is an insane movie that I can't describe and don't want to spoil, except with the new poster, which you can see below. The film itself will be released on this blog sometime after the Oct. 27th festival premiere at Studio 35 (if you're in the Columbus OH area, you may want to save the date).

Check This Shit Out:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Intercourse The Penguin - Episode 4 - Now Available!.

Hey everybody, check out the latest episode of one of my many podcasts, Intercourse The Penguin, where my mother and I discuss the television renaissance we currently find ourselves in. This week we take a look at two new pilots, The Blacklist and Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Also, we yell at each other a lot.

Click HERE to Download...

Or Stream Below

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

From The Idea Hole: Star Trek - Strange Frontier (Part Three Or Three: Series Breakdown)

If you don't know what this is, check here for PART ONE, and here for PART TWO to catch up. Frankly, I must commend you for lasting this long, if indeed anyone is still reading this thing at this point. If you are, I'm closing out this little adventure in nerdity with my loosely constructed breakdown of how I envision this series would go, even though as I've already pointed out many times, it will never exist anywhere outside of my head and this blog. I planned it out for seven seasons, as that is the typical length for Star Trek spin-offs when they don't get unceremoniously cancelled.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Random Observations About Life, Television, Politics, and 80's Movies Starring C. Thomas Howell

Nothing much to post today, except for a few random observations:

1: Two TV shows I predicted we're just too stupidly entertaining to survive cancellation have in fact proven to be hits and have already received second season commitments. Both Sleepy Hollow and The Blacklist will be given enough time to prove whether or not their ridiculous concepts are sustainable in the long term. Also Marvel's underwhelming superhero thing is apparently doing okay too.

2: We're in Day fuck all of the government shutdown, and I'm beginning to wonder at what point the willful disregard for constitutional order and wanton threat of world economic collapse constitutes actual treason in the legal sense. The best historical parallel I can see for a small band of reckless politicians trying to destroy the government and the country from within so baldly was the secession of the Confederacy, and I'm pretty sure that didn't end well for those guys.

3: Posts might continue to be light this week, as I and my fellow members of the film making collective Edwin J. Hill Productions will be participating in another short film competition, this one a horror themed 3-day event called Three Days Of Terror. Stay tuned for the fruits of our labor.

4: And finally, could someone do a little research and tell me if colleges are allowed to exclude people on the basis of race, or provide scholarships only to members of a specific race? I'm not trying to be controversial, I'm just beginning to wonder if the plot to Soul Man might just be a little bit contrived.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Let's Play Swamp Thing (NES) ...Badly

Hey gang, check this thing out. I'm experimenting with some new different kinds of content, specifically focusing on geeking out over old school video games. I did my first Let's Play, which in my case is more of a Let's Suck. It's for the classic NES shitfest Swamp Thing, based on the five episode long cartoon from the 90's you maybe had the toys from... 

Let's Play Swamp Thing ...Badly by f100003626804231

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Cinema File #258: "Prisoners" Review

If over a decade's worth of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit episodes have taught me anything, its that pedophiles, child kidnappers, and generally evil people who want to do bad things to kids are everywhere. Not being a father myself, I have no way of truly understanding the fear that every parent must feel, that one day their child might end up like the ones we see all too often on the news , missing, seemingly almost never to be found. The new thriller Prisoners attempts to capture the plight of two close knit families as they experience just such a traumatic event, exploring the moral boundaries decent people might cross when a small town community becomes a suspect pool. In its depiction of personal hardship and visceral emotional pain, it is incredibly effective. Unfortunately, once the central mystery begins to unravel, so does the story, and what could have been a powerful examination of a far too common tragedy instead becomes a convoluted mess of a movie that Detectives Benson and Stabler would probably find too hackneyed to bother with.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Dirty Sons Of Pitches: Director's Cut - Zack Snyder (Now Available!)

What's all this then? Two podcasts in as many days? That's just fucking amazing. Check out the latest episode of my other, other podcast, The Dirty Sons Of Pitches: Director's Cut, where my two co-hosts Nate, Eric, and myself tackle the short and not-so-sweet career of director/CGI Owl enthusiast Zach Snyder. Or Zack Snyder, I'm not really sure, and I'm too lazy to check. Man of Steel comes up, but FYI, this was recorded before the announcement of Batman Vs. Superman or Batfleck.

Download HERE

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast, Movie Special Part Three, Now Available!

Hey gents, check out another episode of my world famous podcast, Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast, Part Three of Three of our Movie Special Spectacular, where we talk movies, movies, and more movies, hint at a secret episode you'll never hear until we decide to randomly post it, and argue incessantly about nonsense. Enjoy

Download HERE

or Stream Below!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Unnecessary Retrospective: The Chucky Franchise (Part Two - Child's Play 2)

Welcome back to another foray into the Uncanny Valley of the Dolls where the diminutive little bugger stalking you in the dark looks just human enough to creep you the fuck out, otherwise known as The Chucky franchise. Last time we talked about Child's Play, the first film to feature the world's most famous killer hunk of plastic. We learned the rules and fell in love with the foul mouthed little monster just in time to watch him explode in a hail of gunfire, his heart destroyed in what based on the movie's own logic should have been his final hour. Of course, it wasn't, because this was the 80's, and when a horror movie made as much money as Child's Play did, no matter how ludicrous the concept or final the death scene, they always find a way to come back.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Cinema File #257: "CBGB" Review

Whenever a movie is purported to be based on a true story, even before you begin to ask yourself about the veracity of the claim, the first and most important question should always be "is this a story that needs to be told." It sounds harsh, especially when you're talking about biopics of real people who may or may not still be alive, as a part of us instinctively thinks everyone must have a life worth at least a 90 page script, as all of ours obviously are. Often they are deserving, as in the recent Lovelace, but sometimes there comes a point where we have to acknowledge that there's just not enough there to merit the effort. Earlier this year, Fruitvale Station listlessly detailed the last day in the life of a man who, no offense to his surviving friends and family, was only dramatically relevant for the harrowing few moments leading up to his death. One would think that Hilly Krystal, the subject of the new film CBGB who founded the titular club, might have had an impact on our culture substantial enough to qualify. And maybe he did. Maybe there's a great movie in this true story just waiting to be told, but you would never know it from watching the latest one trying to tell it.

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