A Bad Day To Die Hard


I have a huge love for the original Die Hard. The second movie has its moments as well. The McClane character was still intact at that point. Part three felt like a great follow up to the first. Part four was really the beginning of the end but performed well having been edited down to a PG-13 rating.

This time around John McClane is back in all his R rated glory. Or is he? The movie is about John going to Russia to find his estranged son. When he gets there he finds more than he bargained for when he barely steps of the plane and is involved in a car Chase through Russian streets while chasing Tue people chasing his son. The cavalier attitude Bruce Willis shows as McClane amidst all this destruction is seriously disconcerting. This is the man who didn’t even want to let Hans Gruber die at the end of the first movie. Now he’s driving around in a foreign country destroying cars and presumably injuring their drivers in the process.

This is the new jaded John McClane. And that is not an improvement. He used to be someone we rooted for, someone we could relate to, someone we could have a beer with. Now he’s this larger than life Superhero that doesn’t connect with the audience.

I will give writer Skip Woods a small bit of credit when it comes to the script. He tried to bring the feeling of the first film back by trying to add some heart to the story. It didn’t work but at least he tried. Willis didn’t seem like he was trying at all. He seemed morose and bored through most of it.

The story was also very weak, the directing was technically good but there seemed to be a disconnect there…and not in a good David Fincher sort of way. Even the action scenes were bad. At one point I actually said out loud in the theater “You HAVE GOT to be kidding me!”

This movie is my new least favorite Die Hard film. I feel bad for Jai Courtney who hopefully will recover from this and still get hired for movies in the future. He was the only real bright spot in a film that was bogged down with nods to the previous films but done in a such a manner that you wanted to punch Bruce Willis.

One last thing before I finish here – I have a bad feeling 20th Century Fox is going to look at lower returns and think it is due to the R rating and not because it sucked. So I just want to say this to Fox – this movie sucked. It would have suck just as bad, if not worse, if it had been PG-13. I know Bruce Willis wants to make another one. If you are dumb enough to let him at least get John McTiernan back to direct and give him full creative control because he seems to be the only who understands the John McClane character.

This movie should get no stars. Yes I really disliked it that much. But I fear it’s partially due to my feeling about the Dying Hard franchise. So I’m going against my better judgement and giving it 1 1/2 stars.

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Yet Another Production Update


I know I post a lot on here about this stuff. But it’s my blog. I can do what I want. If you don’t like it then start your own blog and make fun of me for all I care. I have a thick skin. I can take it. Just try to be clever. I don’t want a bunch of gay jokes and “your mama” jokes. They’re tired and make feel like I’m still in high school. And, for the record, I hated those kind of jokes even then. In fact, I actually kinda hated high school. Not to get too off topic here but I thought people would be different as adults. Instead I just see the same kind of stupid people with more grey hair.

Anyway, back to what I actually set out to write. Today something hit the net that was a bit of a surprise to me. There is a trailer for Scream Machine, the DVD anthology that Lepus is a part of. It showed up today on YouTube. I linked it to our official Facebook page.

As far as the rest of what I wanted to mention I was giving something some thought. Lepus was a fifteen minute short that is the first of a proposed trilogy. But what if it was just one long movie instead? Could it be stretched? I think so. Add in a few more characters and have A and B stories running simultaneously and the movie could be stretched to 80 minutes. Lepus cost us roughly $1000 and we could still keep the feature at around $100,000 or there about. I’m trying to decide if it should be lengthened or sequelized.

If I was to stretch the feature I could add in the characters we came up with for the sequels, bring in the ideas we started developing for the mythology of the characters, and make it a weird and funny movie. It seems like the type of film that would fit perfectly into the Troma family. It’s worth trying. I think I will try. The money could be raised through Kickstarter or IndieGoGo easily enough, especially since we have a short film to try and sell it already. The actors would all come back for the feature. That much I’m sure of. I’m gonna give writing the script a try. I have nothing to lose by doing so.

Wish me luck.

American Courtesans


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Over the past weekend at The Bloody Hero International Film Festival I had the opportunity to see some films that weren’t part of what I had to watch on the jury. American Courtesans was the first one I sat down to watch on Friday. It’s a documentary about the sex industry from insiders in the trade. It was something Kristen DiAngelo, the film’s star, writer and producer, felt very passionately about. She wanted to show what the mainstream media sensationalize with honesty, good or bad. She wanted to interview men and women and let them just talk without fear.

When I first sat down to watch the film I got the distinct impression this was a movie made to sensationalize the sex trade and push for it’s legalization. In fact, that impression stuck with for a while during the film. It really wasn’t until a day later as I reflected on the film that I came to the realization that it wasn’t a propaganda film about legalizing prostitution. It was just a simply a film where these people in the business could open up and share their feelings about the business they’d chosen for themselves, good or bad. 

The film shows women in the industry from all walks of life. One woman who was a real estate agent in Florida and chose this life after the market collapsed and she could no longer support herself in the trade she had originally chosen. Another woman ended up in the life after her husband had introduced her to it. One woman did it in order to support her son. The son was also interviewed. It was an incredibly moving moment watching this man talk about his love for his mother and the sacrifices she made in order to raise him. 

Whether you agree with the lifestyle or not doesn’t matter when watching this film. It’s all about getting caught up in watching these women telling their stories, many of which are heartbreaking. It is definitely worth seeing. It is a more honest look at women in this trade than anything else I have ever seen. 

This movie is a sold 4 out of 5 stars. The women are at times funny, sad and always engaging. 

For more on this film you can see my interview with Kristen DiAngelo soon on YouTube and hear the audio interview later today on my podcast – The Gorram Nerd Hour.

Some Guy Who Kills People


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Some Guy Who Kills People – Written by Ryan Levin, Directed by Jack Perez and starring Kevin Corrigan, Lucy Davis, Karen Black, Barry Bostwick, Leo Fitzpatrick and Ariel Gade.

This was another of the movies I got to watch thanks to my time on the jury for The Bloody Hero International Film Festival in Phoenix, AZ. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this movie. Sure, I loved the cast but that doesn’t always make for a good movie. Thankfully the script and direction were both just as solid. 

The story is about a man who was the type of guy that was picked on all through high school. It had gotten so bad that he attempted suicide and got locked up in a mental institution. Years later he’s out and working at an ice cream parlor and living with his mom. Soon, we discover that the all the people who picked on him in high school are turning up dead. And, to top it off, he has a woman who’s interested in him and starts to form a relationship with his daughter that his ex never let him know. It must be difficult to juggle a relationship with a woman, family, work and murder. But Corrigan does an expert job of creating a character you root for throughout the movie. You consistantly hope throughout that he is not actually the killer. 

The rest of the cast is amazing. I absolutely loved Barry Bostwick and Karen Black. Not only did they both do an amazing job in their solo scenes but they were amazing together. There is a scene toward the end of the film where they’re sitting at the dining table together talking that is among my favorites from this little gem of a film. 

Leo Fitzpatrick and Lucy Davis were also absolutely perfect in their roles in the film. They brought a certain heart to a movie you’d expect to just be a goofy horror comedy. But the real star of this film is Ariel Gade as Corrigan’s daughter. For such a young girl she has a crazy amount of talent. Her performance was blended with sarcastic humor, genuine sadness and a certain joy that even seasoned actors couldn’t pull off. She was a true find. We awarded her Best Supporting Actress at The Bloody Hero International Film Festival because she was better than the rest by a mile.

The movie itself was a bit predictable but I don’t say that as a fault to the film. This is one of those movies where it’s not about the twist, it’s about the journey getting there that really makes you love it. The script was smart and funny. The directing was solid and his decision to use only practical effects really worked for the film. It’s no wonder John Landis agreed to Executive Produce this film.

This movie deserves 4 and 1/2 stars. It’s a smart, well crafted horror comedy that any fan of the genre will love.

Matt’s Chance – An Early Review


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Before I get into the proper review of this movie I want to talk about my experience meeting the director and his co-writer/supporting actor over the weekend at The Bloody Hero International Film Festival. Nicholas Gyeney (co-writer/director) and Edi Zanidache (co-writer/”Daddy Dave”) both came to Phoenix this past weekend to support their movie, Matt’s Chance starring Edward Furlong, Gary Busey, Lee Majors and Margot Kidder. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a sit down interview with either of them during our time there. They didn’t come back on Sunday when we were recording our podcast. But I did have a chance to talk to both of them.

Over the course of the weekend I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Edi. He was a very funny and engaging guy. We talked a little about his performance as Daddy Dave in the movie, a role he won Best Supporting Actor for at the festival. He said that he and Nicholas have been friends for years and he never imagined he would be acting. It was something that he just sort of fell into. I’m glad he did. He was hilarious in the film, one he helped write. The subject rarely stayed on the topic of the movie, though. Instead he was asking me about the whole podcast thing and how he’d like to do that himself. He also told me about a series of sketches he’d like to do and post on the internet. I won’t tell you what they were because I don’t want anyone stealing his ideas because of me.

Nick was a really nice guy as well. Unfortunately, I had less time with him. Most of what I heard from him was the Q&A after the Saturday screening of the movie. He talked about the funding a bit…which is a very interesting story. He had made one film and his mother had a movie poster of it in her office at work. A Chinese man came in to have some repairs done on his car and asked her about the poster. They got to talking and then Nick said he got a call from his mom telling him to get down there right away. Nick went there and met with the man. He said they talked for about two hours. Shortly after he was signing contracts with a billionaire Chinese family for a ten picture deal. Unfortunately we can’t all be that lucky. But it goes to show that you never know when or where your break will come.

On to the movie itself – Matt’s Chance is the story of Matt, a down on his luck loser who discovers his girlfriend screwing another man in their bed while she’s pregnant with Matt’s baby. He then meets a mobster…excuse me…an Eastern European Businessman, and is asked to dress like a bunny for a children’s birthday party at the EEB’s house. Things just go from bad to worse from there.

Overall, this movie was quick and funny. I loved Matt’s best friend Daddy Dave. He was the funniest part of the film. The small roles filled by Majors, Busey and Kidder were all great as well. One thing I noticed as I was watching the film was that Gyeney seemed to have a good eye for composition through about half of the film and the other half looked very low budget. I don’t know if it was an issue of money or if a director of photography just wasn’t working out. It’s hard to say. Either way it takes nothing away from the movie itself.

I have to give this movie 4 out 5 stars. Smart dialogue, fun characters and really messed up situations make this movie a must see for fans of crime comedies.

Bloody Hero Film Festival Recap


The weekend has come and gone. It was a long long one but a lot of fun. Chris Martin, the festival director, was awesome about letting Brian Smith and myself be on the jury and doing our little podcast from the event. We can’t than him enough. As far as the festival itself I have to say I was very impressed with the movies and shorts that were shown there. There were so many talented people that submitted it almost made me think I should get out before I have truly begun. But I won’t. Even if I’m the next Ed Wood I have to stick it out. It’s in my blood.

I am going to start by listing off some of my personal favorite movies I got to see while I was there or got to screen in advance. These will be in no particular order. I really enjoyed Matt’s Chance. I thought it was quite funny and I loved meeting the director and his co-writer/supporting actor over the weekend. They were great guys and I look forward to seeing what they do in the future. American Courtesans, a documentary from Kristen DiAngelo that is a very honest look inside the world of the sex industry. She was a very warm and smart woman and I wish her and her film success. Some Guy Who Kills People, a movie starring Kevin Corrigan and Barry Bostwick. This movie was funny, sweet, bloody, dark and just plain good. It already has distribution and will be available soon on DVD and Blu-Ray. I watched so many movies over the weekend everything is such a blur but I do want to mention some of the great movies from other countries – Agon, Crawl and Beyond The Grave. All of these films are worth looking for. Agon was filled with some amazing performances. 

I also want to take a moment to apologize to Tom Weston, director of The Wind That Blows, for not having a chance to see his documentary. I had a great time talking with him last night. He’s a great guy and I hope he can get distribution soon so I can watch it along with the rest of the world. 

Now let’s take a moment to talk about the short films. There were some really clever and funny ones, wonderfully dark ones, and great animated pieces that came through the festival. The first one I want to mention is a stop motion Lego animation by an eleven year old boy. It was called Parkour Race and it was very impressive. I always like to see when someone find that thing they love to do early in life. Pierre is a very gifted young man and I hope he keeps it up. Some of the other really cool shorts I got to see where Late Lunch, Time Out Of Mind, Whatever Happened To That Weird Kid?, Pride Of Caldwell, Paper People, Him Indoors, Kerry And Angie and Apartment 15. I hope I’m not forgetting anyone there. Several of the short filmmakers were at the festival as well. I loved meeting every single one of them and wish them success in everything they do.

I would like to apologize to Ryan Ondriezek for not having seen his short film before interviewing him yesterday. I hope I get a chance to see it soon.

Now I want to take a quick moment to talk about the people that made this festival so much fun for me. Randy Robinson and Rob Edwards – you guys are awesome. I can wait to get started on Ded Moroz so I can boss you around some more. Chris Martin – Brian and I can’t thank you enough for everything. Thanks for putting on the fest. And if you’re doing it again next year we will be there. Barbara Gresser – Thanks for everything you did all weekend. It seemed like anytime someone needed you there you were before they could even ask. Sylvie and Frank Cohen – You guys were awesome. Sylvie, I really want to see New World Order and I really want to get started on Ded Moroz to finally get to work with you properly and not just a quick gag on the podcast. Jai Yunae – thank you for coming out to do the podcast with us. You were awesome as always. Sorry we didn’t get to say goodbye before you left. Kevin Moyers – thanks for coming out, watching podcast, hanging out for lunch and just letting us do whatever we want on your network. Brian Smtih and David Sabal – I know you guys didn’t to spend as much time there as you would have liked but you were there when needed and did what had to be done. That’s why we’re friends. Kristen DiAngelo – It was a pleasure talking to you. Sorry we went to a gluten filled restaurant. If there’s ever a next time we know now. And last but not least Mr. Brian Burroughs – You made the long weekend so much easier. You were a lot of fun to talk to and I really loved your short film Shotrocity. 

Everyone go listen to The Gorram Nerd Hour on Wednesday for our show from the Festival.

The Bloody Hero International Film Festival


Hello out there. I’m coming to you live from The Bloody Hero International Film Festival. It started this morning. I have to say that I’m already exhausted. That’s not the fault of the fest. That’s my fault for working until 5am then coming here just 5 hours later.

Being on the jury I have already seen many of the movies showing over the weekend. Bit I didn’t see them all. I just sat through a documentary called American Courtesans about sex workers in the United States. I will hopefully be interviewing the woman behind the documentary for The Gorram Nerd Hour this weekend as she made a special trip to Phoenix just to be here. She seems like a fascinating woman.

Several of the movies have multiple screenings this weekend. If you’re in the area we would love for you to come and support the fest in its first year. There are some great movies being shown and we are very happy with the winners in each category.

I will be reporting back later this weekend with a recap. Tonight there is an industry mixer for all the local talent, guests and filmmakers that made the time come. I’m sure we will really he enjoying our time here for the rest of the weekend. And I can’t wait to unleash our little surprise of what’s to come for our podcast this weekend. We have something really crazy planned. If you can’t see it live make sure you check out the podcast on Wednesday.

Highlander, What Have You Ever Done For Me?


The Highlander movie and TV franchise has always been a mess. Always. But one thing I’ve noticed as I began re-watching Highlander: The Series on Netflix recently is that even the so called good immortals just tend to amass a small fortune and hide till it is time to take a head.

These people are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years old. And what do they do with all that time? Fight, hide, sleep with as many people as possible. The don’t spend their time trying to find ways to make the world a better place. Just because they’re immortal and therefore free of disease doesn’t mean that hundreds of years in the field of scientific research wouldn’t come in handy in curing cancer.

Maybe if these immortals weren’t so selfish a cure for polio would have been found sooner and FDR wouldn’t have been in a wheelchair. Maybe these immortals with brains working for so many hundreds of years could help figure out how to stop brain diseases.

In watching the series again I have noticed that the immortals shown on the series are as follows – good guys who hide on holy ground, good guys who try to keep a low profile, morally ambiguous thieves, downright grunting and gravelly voiced bad guy evil, and simpletons. Nowhere in there is an immortal who tries to change the world for the better.

What a waste of life.