Saturday, July 2, 2022

5th and Alameda (2011) Movie Review © 2022 Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod




Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. Across my desk today comes a film that actually was filmed a decade ago, but I actually knew very little about. Thanks to lead actress and Executive Producer Saye Yabandeh, I was given the opportunity to view this very powerful and thought provoking film. Although this film apparently is available to watch on Plex, I feel that the film is important enough to review and actually should enjoy a second resurgence in 2022 in light of the recent events.

 

---Image at Left: (C) 2011 Leo Entertainment, all rights reserved image used for promotional purposes only image not monetized.


Lead actress Sayé Yabandeh portrays a woman in crises, yet her situation gets far worse when she is (Minor Spoiler) raped and then eventually shot, these events happen early in the film but what 

happens next is a master class in character study on the possibilities of turning on your attacker or turning them in. The 122 minute film seems to run a trifle long, yet it weaves and intricate tale of what ifs. '5th and Alameda' was the address where she was shot and the robbery took place, yet her life and the back drop of a culture of the middle east that is severely limiting towards women, make for a purposeful and erudite production that will stay with the audience far after the final credits role.


Sayé Yabandeh's Sara is an empathetic character full of conflicting emotions. Throughout '5th & Alameda' we see her with shards of memory from the rape and shooting, but she never quite remembers everything, the physical and emotional pain stay with her throughout the film. Her acting is on point here, ranging from scared and demure to raging and fighting back, I really liked the change and her eventually standing up for herself. I hope in 2022, women stand up for themselves in November, and for the foreseeable future or more rights will probably be taken away, but that is not my place to comment, I am obviously not a women.


As an American citizen, I have no ideas the horrors someone like Sayé Yabandeh has faced being born in Iran, especially as a creative thoughtful person. Being a female producer is hard enough and '5th and Alameda' is a monumental achievement in important programming. Actor Corey Sevier as Derek and Mario Van Peebles as Trevor, are both well cast and have the emotional investment to handle a film such as this. Director Richard Friedman and writer Corey Druskin weave a solid tale and never allow the audience or the actors to stray far from the dire and sorrowful subject matter, '5th and Alameda' is not a happy film, yet maybe it will change people's mind about the creativity of Iranian artists.


Sara eventually turns on her attacker and the plot thickens so to say, and I will not spoil it. Saye the actress seems strong and self assured, so I am believing she could turn the tables on her attacker if need be! The attacker gives her the choice and she makes it, trust me watch the movie as it unfolds to see the results!


I enjoyed the various settings and camera work as well from '5th and Alameda' time was taken obviously to frame the shots, to have the actors either look angry, scared, remorseful, relieved,... Actually nearly every human emotion is on display in this film, much time was taken to learn about the characters thoughts and motivations even with the story being told through at times a series of flashbacks. This can be explained as only partial memory of the event from Saye's character is occurring.


Overall, because I watch many indie and foreign films, I am used to this, I rate the film a very strong 8.5 out of 10, a must watch for fans of foreign and indie thought provoking films. I am assuming the target audience is not 100million dollar USA summer block busters, with little plot, thus my rating is based on the scope and scale of an indie production. Respect to all involved, hopefully later in 2022 I can interview Saye and get her thoughts on this film and her humanitarian work.

 

For further information: Please go to the official Leo Entertainment Website @  http://www.leoentertainment.com/

IMDB for the film:  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1745651/

 http://sayeorg.com/  for humanitarian and children's aid projects.

 

 



Friday, July 1, 2022

The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus (2022) Movie Review © 2022 Dan's Movie Report- Danny Templegod

 

Above Image: The Prey Legend of Karnoctus official poster: All Rights reserved to the original owners, image used for promotional purposes only, not monetized.



Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. Across my desk today comes a thriller in the vein of Predator but has the claustrophobic fear of the original Alien film. Synopsis: Synopsis: In the Afghanistan desert, a group of mercenaries out for treasure complete their greatest heist. Seeking refuge from the hunting Taliban in a nearby cave, they are soon joined by retreating US soldiers, and both groups are trapped within by a rocket explosion at the cave’s entrance. The newly joined parties need to work together to find an escape through the labyrinth but soon realize they’re being tracked by a deadly beast that local legend calls Karnoctus; and they have become… the prey.



The film has a killer opening scene, then pans to a firefight. I kind of hoped the pace of the film would stay rapid, Actually 'The Prey' just ends up as a cat and mouse game between the soldiers and a monster in very dim light. Here is the issue I had, we see the monster far too early in my opinion to establish fear, more like gore scenes, if that is your thing. The soldiers have hallucinations as well, although I am not entirely sure how and why they came from and not everyone has them.


Incidentally the acting itself is decent enough, no one is just phoning it in, and the actors seem to show genuine fear when the monster is near. Since they are in a cave lighting is not the best, and that is to be expected, when we see the views from the vision of the monster it is more like a visual representation of heat, which separates it from the view the soldiers have. Costuming is sandy, distressed military, so that base is covered, again, nothing to detract. Respectable behind the camera work, given the limited budget.


Musically though I am not a fan of rap music which is prevalent, I thought that the music and sounds used when the monster was approaching set the tone. I probably should not even comment on the music in the film, but I feel that if you do like rap, you will like it more. OK, enough about that, the dialogue though is quite clear and easy to understand, the actors project their voice fine, and if ADR was used it is barely noticeable.


The soldiers move through the cave as the original opening was caved in by an explosion. The middle hour of the film is kind of slow, but the last 15 minutes are full of action, Almost makes up for the slow parts, actually would have been cool not to see the monster until the end, but I guess the filmmakers wanted to establish that the monster, which looks like a big-foot, is actually chasing the soldiers.


Just be warned, although Danny Trejo is in the film it is nothing more than a very small opening cameo. That said, if anyone in my reading audience likes low budget monster films, 'The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus' is not that bad, campy and they tried their best. Directors Cire Hensman and Matthew Hensman do their best with the limited budget, and they even tease that a second film is coming, so perhaps with a higher budget things will take off. Overall, though I wanted to like 'The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus', the film is average though, perhaps a rating of 5.5 out of 10. I did like the ending trailer showing some behind the scenes, including some story-boarding, so obviously with a bigger budget, they are ready for a part two, I will state that I am looking forward to what the Hensmans come up with next!

Trailer:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EZMjyNtU-E&t=1s


IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2357423/


Film is available beginning July 7th on various digital platforms, including iTunes, Prime Video, Vudu, and Google Play. The action-adventure monster movie is now available nationwide on all major Cable, Satellite and Telco platforms, including Comcast, Charter, DirecTV, Cox, Verizon Fios, Dish, Sling and AT&T U-verse.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Hot Seat (2022) Movie Review © 2022 Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod

 

Above Image: Poster for 'Hot Seat' (C) 2022 LIONSGATE All rights reserved, image not monetized

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers, across my desk comes a new thriller from LIONSGATE entitled 'Hot Seat'. The title explains the movie as a computer hacker is trapped in his office chair with a bomb under his seat. He has to hack into a secure vault area for a deranged madman who is basically just a voice over a loudspeaker, growling instructions and threatening his family.


'Hot Seat' is a taught cyber thriller, never wavering much from the central plot of a hacker and his manipulator going through the various tasks that he is supposed to perform. Slight of hand and a mis direction play a big part in this film, but to be honest, I had a suspicion what was going on, yet it was well disguised. No spoilers, but the ending is quite entertaining. Unlike the Sandra Bullock mess 'The Net', this film has teeth, and actions have real consequences!


Veteran actor Mel Gibson plays an aging bomb tech named Wallace Reed, although not very agile, has his mental prowess in tact. His partner is is young, always challenging him, yet has respect for him. Although 30 years passed his Lethal Weapon days, Mel is always quite engaging to watch on screen, sardonic, sarcastic and seemingly always ready for action.


Actress Shannen Doherty plays a chief of police named Pam Connelly. Actually it is very cool to see her acting, as going through cancer treatments and health challenges is so hard. She did what she could in a limited, non action role.


The other acting is decent, yet I did not care much for actress Katy Katzman as Ava, actually I do not think it is her fault. The writers made her like the dumb blonde, which is really unbelievable considering she works in the management of a building with security clearance. In my opinion her character is superfluous to the main story even though she is kind of inserted into the room with the chair bomb. She does help somewhat, so all is not lost, but I kind of wish the writers just made her with above average intellect, rather than a stereo type..


Going back to the story, complaints aside, did grab my attention especially the final 30 minutes. Simple story, basic office backdrop, nothing too far out of the ordinary, but an astute eye will kind of see what is going on. The film hits a breakneck pace with a twist, especially when the action finally moves outside the office, again no spoilers.


The behind the scenes aspects of the film are solid, well lit, decent tense music, creative camera angles make this a slightly above average thriller. Worthy of a streaming watch, 'Hot Seat' drops on various platforms on July 1st. I am on the fence about rating, the ending bumps it up to a 7 out of 10 though.

Trailer from LIONSGATE MOVIES: 


For further information please visit the official LIONSGATE site for the film @ https://www.lionsgate.com/movies/hot-seat

'Hot Seat' comes to DVD and Blu-Ray August 9th 2022

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Green Ghost and the Masters of The Stone (2021) Movie Review © 2022 Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod

 

Above Image: Official Poster (C) 2022 Gravitas Ventures All Rights Reserved, image not monetized


Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. Across my desk today comes 'Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone'. Thanks to Marko Zaror, I heard about this film. 'Green Ghost' as I will call it for the remainder of my review has a quite interesting plot: In a Texas border town, car salesman Charlie Clark, plays 'Charlie Clark'  and he moonlights as masked Lucha libre wrestler 'Green Ghost' When assailants arrive seeking an otherworldly emerald, Charlie discovers that he has super powers that he must harness to save humanity. (Source: IMDB)


In the wake of the copious amount of superhero movies and TV shows over the past few years 'Green Ghost' takes aim at the indie market and a humorous vibe. Make no mistake 'Green Ghost' is a low budget film, but has some quite entertaining action and humor. Danny Trejo plays a drunken master named 'Master Gin' hahaha! Nice to see a superhero film not taking itself seriously. Although much of the action and dialogue is lighthearted, the movie has copious amounts of action, fights and intrigue.


Marko plays a legendary master named Drake, constantly training and envisioning the power he possesses. He has a quest to squire the Emerald. On the light side is Charlie we see a training montage in which a Spanish Language cover of 'Eye of the Tiger' is played.


Marko's Drake character of course has some evil Hench people! The talented Arnold Chon, who serves as the film's stunt coordinator plays Kwan Tak. He is ultra fast and diabolical hell bent on serving Drake. Talented and stunning Michelle C. Lee plays Song Shijin, in addition to her cat like martial arts prowess she has supreme mental abilities, ahh just like in real life! Nice to see villains who have real skill not just dumb henchmen or women!


The amazing Danny Trejo. He has a fun quote “The power is like alcohol, 'drink it angry you fight' 'drink it happy, you make love' hah! Everything he is in has an instant watch fun factor, as he puts heart into his roles whatever the size and scope. Trejo's drunk character works well here, “Machete I don't need no stinkin Machete” he says about 2/3 into the movie!


Andy Cheng who is quite an accomplished stunt artist and fight coordinator, plays Master Hung, he has a great fight with Marko. Speaking of Marko, he also serves as the film's fight coordinator along with Arnold Chon. Make no mistake about 'Green Ghost' this is a top notch fighting flick.


Of course the quest turns into a massive multiple attacker fight near the end here, and it is spectacular. They do cut back and forth between the action of the three main fights but enough time is spent on each one to have the impact necessary to see and feel the action.


Literally the final 20 minutes of 'Green ghost' is one massive action fight sequence, including regular fighting and super powers. The fights are precise and the action is rapid and punches and kicks never seem to be weak. The action is well lit, and well filmed, no shaky camera, a few slow-motion scenes are for added dramatic effect, but never seems to get in the way of the action. My favorite fight outside of the massive final fight with three vs Marko's Drake character is the fight between Michelle Lee and Sophie Pernas hey the girls really get down and brutal!


Special effects and other behind the scenes aspects of 'Green Ghost' are on par with high quality indie films. Fun flick all the way around. Director Michael D. Olmos son of Edward James Olmos does an excellent job of wrangling the talented martial arts oriented cast, getting them acting and action focused.


Overall I really enjoyed 'Green Ghost', the film rates a strong 8 out of 10, quite entertaining way to spend 81 fast moving minutes! Well worth a rent or purchase to support indie film!


The film is available on AMAZON Prime now as a rent or own! https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/amzn1.dv.gti.63f5dccb-2a14-473d-a51b-222b45f362ba?ref_=imdbref_tt_wbr_pvt_aiv&tag=imdbtag_tt_wbr_pvt_aiv-20


Official Trailer from Gravitas Ventures:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG-JhXv78T8

 

Official Website:  https://www.greenghostmovie.com/

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Scarlett Cross: Agents of D.E.A.T.H. (2022) Movie Review © 2022 Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod

 

Above Image: 'Scarlett Cross: Agents Of D.E.A.T.H. banner (C) 2022 Pentagram Pictures Production

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers, FINALLY 'Scarlett Cross: Agents of D.E.A.T.H. Is on the cusp of releasing through 'Troma Now'!! Troma Now is a service available on the website and as apps in Apple, Amazon Prime, Google Play Store, and Roku. The service costs $4.99 per month with the first 30 days free. https://watch.troma.com/ is the main website and it can be watched anywhere  by the month or $50 dollars per year, saving 10 dollars after the first free month.



'Scarlett Cross' opens rather salaciously with a truly bizarre, literally titillating, yet oddly engaging fight sequence, not for the children. In fact this movie if rated would probably be an NC:17, lots of violence and copious opening nudity. Notwithstanding is the creativeness of Writer/Director Dean Meadows in combining a horror, action, and thriller film all in 90 minutes. Actually Scarlett Cross is broken down into four distinct parts yet by the end they merge together at some point.



Focusing on chapter 2, 'Asylum 13' which opens with actress Tayah Kansik as Joanna Smyth, the bodyguard! We see three men chasing one man in the Forrest and the action flails out from there. Kansik gets the intensity and acting down, along with extreme action. She has a sequence with a daytime Ninja, yeah they do exist haha! I liked that the choreography on her fight was clear and easy to see in broad daylight, and the moves were fluid and entertaining. More action and fights ensue when she takes the professor back to the safe house, again no spoilers!



Actress Kat Clatworthy as Jennifer Stone has a short but fun fight with actress Hannah Farmer as Sakura Nagasawa. Sword play and blood, what is not to like haha! Seriously though the indie movie moves along at a decent pace, never a dull moment.



The sheer variety of kills in 'Scarlett Cross' make it one for slasher fans as well. For example there is a particularly brutal scene with a nun in a church, no spoilers, but let us just say things are not as they seem. Other parts of the film have sword kills, gun kills and even some other surprises! Dean Williams as stunt coordinator worked with the actors to make the majority of the action seamless.



Dean Meadows in addition to writing and directing 'Scarlett Cross' pulls quadruple duty as Cinematographer and Editor for the film! Often a first feature length film sees the director handle multiple roles, here is hoping by dipping his feet in all aspects of 'Scarlett Cross', that Meadows' career will ascend to higher levels beyond 2022.



The technical aspects of the film are solid, some minor audio issues with regards to ADR, but overall a solid effort. The camera work by Kevin McDonagh captures the essence of action in 'Scarlett Cross'. The musical score is appropriate for the story and never obtrusive, always enhancing the action and laying the foundation for the drama, in 'Scarlett Cross'. Lighting on the film made it very easy to see the action as the subjects were well lit for their fight sequences. Given the tight budget, 'Scarlett Cross; was pretty entertaining.

Overall, this is an ultra low budget film, virtually made for a Troma type audience. Perhaps it means that regular action viewers or thriller viewers may find some of the subject matter a bit off-putting. For me however, I quite liked what Dean Meadows and his crew were going for here and rate 'Scarlett Cross: Agents of D.E.A.T.H. A solid 8 out of 10. 

Troma App in various stores:

Apple:  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/troma-now/id1568473401

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tromanow&hl=en_US&gl=US

Roku:  https://channelstore.roku.com/details/92f533debe53ae5b6fbcdec244e7103c/troma-now

 

Watch for interviews with Dean Meadows and Actress Tayah Kansik later in 2022, on your home for exclusive content, Dan's Movie Report!