Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Swordsman (2020) Movie Review © 2021 Dan's Movie Report - Danny Templegod

 





Above: Poster for 'the Swordsman' (C) 2020 All rights reserved, image poster on IMDB and image used for promotional purposes only not monetized

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers. Another rapid fire, spoiler free review! The good folks at  Trinity CineAsia have a treat releasing for action fans and on DVD May 17th, and Blu-ray May 24th! 'The Swordsman' delivers on the promise of action somewhat a straightforward story, yet surprisingly full of swerves and curves.


Actor Jang Hyuk plays a sword-fighter named Tae-yul who is going blind and is searching for his daughter. There are other swordsmen in the film of course, yet his story and fighting style, almost like a inhibited drunken yet controlled aggression makes for an entertaining watch. There is a particular scene in which there are so many fighters stacked against him, it is almost to 'Kill Bill' insanity.


Director Jae-Hoon Choi manages to keep the actors completely focused on camera. His handling of the emotional level of the characters keeps the audience engaged. It seems like he did longer takes for the action, thus not taking the two moves then stop and start again approach. I hope to see more of his work in the future.


All of the fighting in 'The Swordsman' is consistently crisp and tight. The camera work shows the action, and much of it is in the clear daylight. Seemingly in so many sword action dramas either the subjects are filmed at odd angles or too far away, or they are so poorly lit, it is hard to make out the sequences. This film also gets the distances from the camera to the fighters corrrect not so close we only see an eye or a tip of a blade, and not so far as to only see blurry shadows off in the distance. 


'The Swordsman' manages to avoid the bogging down of unneeded dialogue, in fact compared to the action there is not that much. This Korean film knows what the audience wants and delivers them in a sharp metal poking package! Musically the film flows along, and sounds great in headphones, even the clanking of the swords was realistic. As I stated before the cinematography is clear and easy to view. The costuming seemed a little bit plain, again though this is not a huge budget film, so excusable.


Overall, 'The Swordsman' is an action lover's heaven, epic battle sequences, big scope considering the budget and absolutely worthy of a rent or purchase! The film rates a 7 out of 10.


Social Media 
#TheSwordsman
Twitter @cineasiauk 
Facebook @cineasiauk 
Instagram @cineasiauk

IMDB page for 'The Swordsman': https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7035004/?ref_=tt_mv_close

Official U.K. Movie Trailer: 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kHjsQRt-TQ


Sunday, May 2, 2021

EXCLUSIVE! Director Russ Emanuel Interview © 2021 Dan's Movie Report - Danny Templegod

 

Above: A proud director, Russ shares his Nutrisytem journey. Photo (C) 4-6-21 Russ All rights reserved.

 

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. Today I unleash an interview 16 years in the making. I have known Russ Emanuel since 2004 when he released 'Girl With Gun' with Michelle Lee. I had a chance to meet him and I covered that film in Vengeance Magazine. Fast forward to 2016, and the Florida Supercon, Russ was here for his parallel universe film “Occupants”, I had the opportunity to be at the booth to assist them when they had a screening at the 2016 Florida Supercon, I had the opportunity to be a representative for Russ and producer Paul Hickman's action film “The Assassin's Apprentice”. Russ is one of the hardest working guys I know, a professional, and a man of honor and dignity. Russ is quite interesting to chat with and is a very personable gentleman, Russ is currently working on part 2 of “The Assassin's Apprentice” and “Staycation”. Russ chats in depth about independent film making and the art of raising money through Indiegogo and Kickstarter, and various people he has worked with. Live long and prosper while Dan's Movie Report beams down a new interview...ENERGIZE!


DMR: Chat about the concept for “Routine”, working with Paige, and the idea behind the comic book ending.


RE: During a mysterious pandemic, Cassie’s quarantine life has turned into a routine, day in and day out. Nothing new seems to happen, until she realizes she’s out of coffee. And she’s determined to get her cup of joe, even if she must face the horrors of the outside world. Because “she’d kill for a cup of coffee.”

This film is a test of our new 6K pixel resolution camera package which we happened to get right before the Covid-19 outbreak. We decided if we were going to do a test, we ought to create a meaningful film, one that fit in with the pandemic times.

Therefore, teaming up with my longtime film-making partner Emile Haris, along with our lead actress, newcomer Paige Laree Poucel (who was amazing to work with and she will reprise her role of “Cassie” in “Staycation”), we set about thinking about what life has become under quarantine – one of “routine”, but one where we thought artistically outside the box, and subverted expectations, even under the 5 minute length of this film.

With additional voice talents of Alan Courtright and Bill Victor Arucan, as well as working again my longtime composer Vasilis Milesis, employing a wonderful song “The Moon and Back” sung by Ana Maria Escobar, along with DC/Marvel Comics Artist Dave Beaty who literally draws the “third act” of the film, we hope the audience will enjoy this brief yet poignant story that reflects our present realities.

We drew the third act of the film because of the Covid-19 restrictions which took place in Los Angeles around the time we filmed (April 2020). We couldn’t film outside so we had to think outside the box. Hence, the employment of Dave Beaty our wonderful comic book artist.

 

Above Image: Poster for the 2020 short film "Routine" (C) 2020 Russem Productions, all rights reserved image not monetized
 


DMR: Always difficult to adjust to shoot with Covid restrictions. Chat about the 'Staycation” feature, obviously no spoilers, chat about working and filming during the pandemic, did you have to alter some scenes?


RE: “Staycation” is a midquel of sorts to 'Routine' where the three main characters of the latter film make a comeback in “Staycation” (Paige Laree Poucel as “Cassie”, Alan Courtight as the “News Anchor” and Bill Victor Arucan as “Rob Peterson”).

Staycation” expands on the storyline created in “Routine” but in a feature film version. We decided that because of the success of “Routine” at various film festivals including getting into one of the top genre festivals in the United States, FilmQuest, we ought to see if there was demand among potential investors for a feature version. And thankfully there was.

We raised enough money to film the B-storyline during November 2020 in Burbank, California with “Star Wars” actress Olivia d’Abo and “Star Trek” actor Sean Kenney, with further pickups in December 2020 with Tracee Lee Cocco also of “Star Trek” and Eileen Dietz of “The Exorcist”.

Filming during the pandemic was really tough because there were many Covid restrictions put into place which dramatically increased our budget and we unfortunately ran out of money after filming. Due to this, we decided to do an Indiegogo Campaign to raise finishing funds which we were too successful (at 201% raised) and now have an additional 50 actors to film. The film also has expanded by around 30 pages. We will be filming these actors in May and June 2021 and two notable name actors include Kelli Maroney of “Night of the Comet” and Laurene Landon of “Maniac Cop”.


I think many people outside the business do not even realize how much additional work and money has to go into proper covid protocol, I know many productions have to hire a dedicated Covid Complience Officer. Shifting gears, Russ you are extremely experienced in the art of raising money through Indiegogo and Kickstarter, as a writer, I am always interested to listen to some of the good and bad things from these sites. Do you feel more pressure, and does your sense of honor and quest for perfection often make you lose sight?


It was only out of necessity we used crowdfunding to raise monies. To be honest, it is really stressful and if I could have avoided it, I would have. But that said, a lot of good people including yourself became a part of our campaign and for that I am truly grateful.

 

Above: Poster for "Staycation"  scheduled for release in 2022 (C) 2021 Russem Productions, all rights reserved image not monetized.
 


DMR: Thank you for the insight to the Covid filming issues and intricacies of raising money. On a happier note, chat about some of the incredible work you have done, do you have one feature film and perhaps one short film you can say, wow, I am thrilled this happened. Perhaps share some highlights.


RE: By this point in my career, I have been fortunate to be able to have directed five feature films with “Staycation” being my sixth and also directed some amazing short films including “Girl With Gun” way back in 2004 which was instrumental in my being able to direct my first feature film “P.J.” (now called “Heaven’s Messenger”) and met my producing partner Howard Nash who produced all five of my feature films that are out.

I would say the feature film that stands out for me is “Occupants” which was my fourth feature film and is a sci-fi thriller starring Robert Picardo of “Star Trek: Voyager”. As for a short film of mine that stands out, it’s either “Girl With Gun” or “The Assassin’s Apprentice”. Both are action films and the latter stars some more “Star Trek” actors including Robert Picardo (again) and Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation”).

 

 

Above: Girl With Gun Poster 
Photo by Nick Smirnoff, Jorge Nuno - © 2006 Russem Productions

DMR: Russ I think you are a great action director, hope to see more of it. When you look back on your earlier work such as Girl With Gun, what advice would you give yourself now and perhaps discus some techniques you have learned throughout the years of making films.


RE: I would say learn to trust others under your crew to carry out their responsibilities. I was very tight gripped back in my 20s and I hopefully have mellowed out some since then.

 


 Above Photo:

The Assassin's Apprentice: Silbadores of the Canary Islands 

(C) 2021  Innomagic Productions all rights reserved, image not monetized



DMR: Very important to delegate and not hover over those you trust. Chat about working on short films vs features, obviously much more work goes into a feature, but a short film can lead to a feature, do you approach short films a bit different than features, if no perhaps tell me some of your techniques in pre-production etc...


RE: I look at short films as the beginnings of a feature film. So for instance, the first “The Assassin’s Apprentice” is Act 1, and the second “The Assassin’s Apprentice” which is currently in post-production is Act 2. I am discussing with my producer/writer of those films Paul Hickman about a potential Part 3 thereby completing the trilogy.

 

Above: Russ in red working on pick up shots for TAA2! April, 2021 Photo credit: Bill Victor Arucan - All rights reserved, image not monetized.
 


DMR: That is a great way of thinking about it, eventually if you do a third TAA film together length wise you have a feature. OK I have to say it, you know we are both HUGE 'Star Trek' fans, and you had the opportunity to cast a few Trek universe actors in your films, name a few you would love to cast and why, for me hands down is Nana Visitor! She is the real deal, complex and humble.


RE: It would be amazing to work with Nana Visitor. I enjoyed her acting on “Deep Space Nine”. Some other fine actors would be Sir Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, Jeri Ryan, Scott Bakula, to name a few.

 

Above: The side by side weight loss- 11-8-19 to 4-12-21! (C) 2019 and 2021 Russ, all rights reserved, image not monetized.
 


DMR: Bakula, good thinking! I know you have been knee deep in work, but someone I see has lost 50 pounds, spill your secrets, so hard in the pandemic!


RE: Thank you for asking. So because of Covid, the gyms had shut down and I was running a very tough Indiegogo Campaign for “Staycation” causing my weight to skyrocket to 200 pounds which for a 5 feet 9 inch guy, that put me in the overweight category. Once the campaign ended in late January 2021, I knew I would have time until we filmed in May/June 2021 to do something about it. So I decided to try NutriSystem for 2-3 months and I am very relieved to say it worked. I lost 50 pounds in 51 days. Basically I just stuck to the diet plan and through thick and thin, I persisted, persevered and prevailed. I am very grateful at my age of 43 I was able to accomplish this.


DMR: Russ, think of it as a lifestyle change not a diet! Chat about TAA2 are you still on track for a 2022 release, I am sure you are going to want to wait until live film fests open again.


RE: Yes “The Assassin’s Apprentice 2” is very much on track for a 2022 release. We are doing final pickups on April 25, ADR sessions on May 15 and are knee deep in the scoring, sound design, and visual effects part of the post-production process.

Above: Russ on location during pick up shoots for TAA2 April - 2021. Photo Credit Eric D. Brown. All rights reserved, image not monetized.
 


DMR: Wrapping up, advice you young directors, if you could go back to your 18 yr old self and impart words of wisdom, what would they be?


RE: Just stick to your guns and never veer from your goals.


DMR: Thank you Russ for this insightful, illuminating, and honest interview. We will do a Jen Psaki when The Assassin's Apprentice is ready for viewing!


For further information on Russ and all of his endeavors point your browsers to:


http://russem.com/

 

https://vimeo.com/173995490


Above Link: Russ 2021 Director Reel

For "The Assassin's Apprentice" check out the official Facebook Page @ https://www.facebook.com/taamovie


IMDB page for Russ: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1479322/







Saturday, May 1, 2021

Honorable Sins (2019) Movie Review © 2021 Dan's Movie Report - Danny Templegod

 

Above poster: (C) 2021 Infraction Media. All rights reserved, image not monetized.

Greetings valuable Dan's Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers. Thanks to producer/director/writer Susan (Suza) Singh I was given the opportunity at an early review for her kidnapping/human trafficking film 'Honorable Sins' I decided to watch the movie prior to reading any of the coverage or watching the trailer.


I must say, Ms Singh took her time really telling a story and developing the characters. The movie has a 'slow burn', and focuses on the character development of the tortured soul portrayed by Sunny Singh. Singh's character is shown drunk, stumbling around, and unkempt. Sonny really gets into the tormented mind of someone who has lost a child, as his own daughter was kidnapped in the past. Sunny's character fought in the past, but now has to be kind of forced to fight again this time not in a ring.


'Honorable Sins' is based off of a true story sadly, and unlike typical Hollywood or even Bollywood material, manages to feel almost like a sordid well planned out documentary, or a reenactment of actual events. The acting for all the cast is honest and forthright. Actress Asha Annais really shines as Evie. Evie is tormented at various points in the movie by potential captors yet always manages to stand her ground, no spoilers, of course! Asha handles her dialogue in 'Honorable Sins' well portraying partially scared, frustrated, and eventually angry.


Ronald F.T. Bettis portrays Adrian, one of the bad guys, and himself a conflicted soul, obviously he is manipulated as well. Giving away what happens in the final 20 minutes of the 100 minute movie is not my thing but the seemingly lugubrious pace is elevated to 100mph!


The scenery and cinematography in 'Honorable Sins' are beautiful, shot in Alberta, Canada, most likely partially during the Winter or Fall. The stark contrast of the environment conveys what would happen if a child was kidnapped in that remote land. Parts of the film are dark, yet during a capture scene it is obvious warranted, Suza and her crew make sure to light the actors' faces even if the background is devoid of light, all to create a mood.


Musically and dialogue wise, the film sounds great in headphones, people speak in relationship to their location on camera, a nice touch for an independent film. The music builds the suspense, layer upon layer, with a thumping drum beat near the end.

Above photo: Sunny Singh behind the action on 'Honorable Sins' (C( 2021 Infraction Media, all rights reserved image not monetized.


The Action in 'Honorable Sins' is not the main focal point, yet there are a few scenes expertly crafted by Sunny Singh who serves as the fight coordinator. I liked the fact they chose the realism rout not to beautifully frame and pose the combatants.


'Honorable Sins' was shot long before pandemic, and now the time is right to have a wide release and film festival run. 'Honorable Sins' is tailor made for film festivals, as the movie should have people discussing it long after final credits crawl.


Overall, 'Honorable Sins' is very good, remember though this is a truly indie film, made with a small budget, a labor of love. When I review films that have a smaller budget I rate them against movies that have the close to the same monetary expenditures. 'Honorable Sins' is one of those stick with it and you will be rewarded films, watch it without distractions, and rates a solid 8 out of 10.


Honorable Sins is available now to rent now only $4.99 or buy $6.99 on www.infractionmedia.com


Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HonorableSins/


The film is starting to garner awards and much festival attention! Hopefully as theaters open up people will be able to attend more film festivals and support indie movies!


Film Trailer:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bG6OYCloY0





'Honorable Sins' movie based on human trafficking and true story. Thanks for your support.

Director Susan Singh, Actor's Sunny Singh,

Asha Annais

,

Marika Gosick

, Andrea,

Ronald Bettis

Nice to see Jeff

Jeff B. Wilkie

.




Friday, April 30, 2021

Atomic Eden (2015) Movie Review and 2021 Worldwide Release Information (C) 2021 Dan's Movie Report- Danny Templegod

 

Above: Poster for 'Atomic Eden' (C) 2021 Generation X Group, all rights reserved, image not monetized.

 

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers. I just spoke with the director of 'Atomic Eden' starring Fred Williamson, Mike Möller and Hazuki Kato. He has informed me that the film is now available to stream on multiple outlets even free on the TUBI platform for a limited time. 

'Atomic Eden is a non-stop action film, A small band of elite fighters take on a seemingly endless amount of hazmat suit bad guys in a balls to the wall violent affair set in the backdrop of the Chernobyl ruins.  Normally I would be hyper critical of a film with a very sparse plot and limited dialogue, but in this case the fighting, gun play and action are the main focus.

Fred Williamson plays Stoker - The Leader. Stoker is a ruff and hard man with bad intentions, killing fools all the while with a cigar in his mouth. He has seen it all, and Williamson seems to be at home in this sort of role.  Far more than a cameo, Williamson chews up the screen same as his stogies!

A few of other interesting characters including Möller's David - The Fighter. David is the de-facto in charge go to man for the hand to hand arts. Never shying away from a fight. Sultry Hazuki Kato plays reiko - The Samurai, with vim and vigor, splashing her outgoing personality along with vicious action on screen. Wolfgang Riehm plays Heinrich - The Priest. A man with a sordid past trying to move past it by wrapping himself in biblical attire and scriptures. He and Williamson have a well acted dialogue scene in a church, kind of setting the stage for things to come.

The action of Atomic Eden is clear to view and well filmed, we see the fights, no fast edits or odd camera angles. Bigger budget films could  learn a thing or two on how to position the camera during fights.With Mike Möller stunt coordinating, the cast seemed to be working as hard as they could on their action sequences, and the fights were set up to use their strengths. I liked the fact that even though the fights were not super long they were creative and varied.

Writer/Director/Producer Nico Sentner obviously worked hard to bring his vision to life. 'Atomic Eden' has elements of action and a small amount of near future science fiction. If you are into fighting films and gun play 'Atmoc Eden' is for you. Overall, even with a thin story and minimal plot developments, 'Atomic Eden' delivers a whirlwind of flailing fists and blood soaked bullet hits, more than enough for an evening's entertainment, and rates a 7 out of 10.

Watch for upcoming Dan's Movie Report interviews with director Nico Sentner and Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson later in 2021!

The movie is available on virtually every North American outlet, including, TUBI, Amazon, VUDU, Microsoft etc...

Official Facebook Page:  https://business.facebook.com/NicoSentnersAtomicEden/

IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2974726/

New Movie Trailer: 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JkOWteGt6M

The Official Press Release: 

This is what action fans have been waiting for: the Carpenteresque old school action thriller ATOMIC EDEN, which finally hits VOD widely in the United States and is now available on Amazon Video, Google Play, VUDU, Microsoft Movies, Xbox Video, YouTube, COMCAST, xfinity, INDEMAND and Tubi TV.

 

Starring American screen legend Fred “The Hammer” Williamson (“From Dusk till Dawn”, VFW), German martial arts sensation Mike Möller (“Arena of the Streefighter," "Ultimate Justice”) and Lorenzo Lamas (TV's “Renegade”)  shooting star Everett Ray Aponte (“The Hitman Agency”) Japanese Top Model Hazuki Kato (HBO's "Grisse", "In Full Bloom" “Falcon Rising”), Atomic Eden recalls the crackling pulp action of  The Expendables, Assault on Precinct 13, The Raid and VFW

 

Stoker – “The Leader” (Fred Williamson) is a mercenary with a mission. In order for him to complete this mission, he will have to assemble a team of not only the best in the business;he needs people he can trust. He calls in a few favors and assembles the toughest, most badass group of mercenaries loyalty can buy. With David – “The Fighter” (Mike Möller), Reiko – “The Samurai” (Hazuki Kato), Darwin – “The Texan” (Everett Ray Aponte), Heinrich – “The Priest” (Wolfgang Riehm), John – “The Sniper” (Nico Sentner), Brenner – “The Blade” (Dominik Stark) and Laurie – “The Rookie” (Josephine Hies) by his side, the mission should be a breeze. It quickly turns into an un-winnable battle with eight people battling against eight hundred, all vying for control of a doomsday device lost during World War II. With the odds stacked against them, they're ready to risk life and limb to save millions of lives. 


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Night of The Sicario (2021) Movie Review - © 2021 Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod

 

Above: Poster image for 'Night of the Sicario' (c) 2021 Saban Films, all rights reserved image not monetized

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers. Get ready for another 'Rapid Fire' review I promise this one will be spoiler free, quick and to the point. At the recommendation of a Facebook friend I went in blind to 'Night of the Sicario', not even viewing a trailer prior to watching. I had seen the other 'Sicario' films and honestly thought that this would be a loosely based sequel. I enjoy Natasha Henstridge's early work, yet have not followed her career much past the early 2000s.


Henstridge plays a nurse and owner of a large home based assisted living facility and she just happens to be in the path of a collision between drug runners and agents protecting a wife and child. The opening shows a chase and a shootout between agents and the drug runners. Seems promising, well sadly it is not. The movie devolves into a detailed character study of the senior citizens in the home and preaches about faith. Not that character studies and faith are not good topics, but in this setting, UGH.


Even in the beginning, which is con-texted to an oncoming hurricane, the bad guys flip over the car and they decide not to pursue after the father, daughter, and agents sneak off under an open garage and close it. The agents and the drug guys end up at Natasha's huge house, with an endless supply of doors and areas to hide. The little girl manages to find several of them.


There is somewhat of a cat and mouse game interspersed by various members of the nursing home either discussing the past or even attempting to stand up to the criminals. A very odd mix. 'Night of the Siciario' is just not intelligent enough to be a character study nor full of action and guile to be an entertaining 88 minutes. In addition, mixing faith based passages and a drug/DEA film completely devoid of swear words, made it seem like this was aimed at a church going crowd, but realistically it is just not enough of either. Do not get me wrong, there are very well written faith based and character study films, yet mish mashing all of these elements only frustrates the audience. I just kept looking at my watch and though I made it through the film, even the action at the end with Natasha getting kind of violent, did not move the meter much.


Overall, inspite of Natasha Henstridges really good performance given the source material, 'Night of the Sicario' is a hard pass and rates a 3 out of 10. I am going to watch 'Species' again this week, that should cleanse my soul of negative energy!


Saban Films has the release. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml_uPMRBnjs