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Friday, March 28, 2014

Toxin Movie Review



More indie madness from Canada, Toxin skirts the Zombie/poisoned human line with a ultra low budget yarn about a secluded Island, that is "above top secret" and home to a poison to turn people against each other.
The film opens frantically as soldiers are being pursued on the island by "infected" people of a mythical toxin wrapped up in what looks like bricks that cocaine would be wrapped up in. In a style like the film Predator,  the humans are displayed from the point of the infected through a fish eye type of lens, as they pursue the uninfected. Regarding the toxin. It seems to create hieghtened combat skills, aggression, strength, but is never fully explained. The people move, and pounce almost catlike on their prey.

After the opening sequence, a group of adventure seeking tourists are shown boarding a plane and at the last minute a mysterious man appears, he commandeers the plan and turns out he wants to go to the island to find out the truth and recover the toxin and destroy it.

Perhaps due to the uninteresting story line, lack of explanation to how the poison was developed, and lackluster directing in Toxin, the acting, for the most part is relatively uninspiring and dull. Veteran stuntman Douglas Chapman plays LT John Paxton. He does a decent job of portraying the military bad-ass. Helix actress  (Carla Frye) plays the tough and rugged adventure tour leader, she tries to do what she can with the tepid source material. Obviously these two tried to make the 72 minute, yes, I said one hour and twelve minute film work. Another nod goes to actress  as Theresa, she is one of the first to be infected and gets crazy, girls gone wild zombie style!

As Toxin progresses, more action ensues, mainly because the older corrupt military commander wants to incinerate the island when he finds out that LT Paxton is on it. As the passengers are infected they turn on each other etc.. More military bad guys are sent to the island to root out and kill the survivors.

There has been far more dull films than this, but the story coupled with the cop-out way the infected are barely shown after they are turned, Toxin never turns into much excitement. It almost felt like a\ short film that was stretched just to make a feature. The two redeeming quality are the lush landscape where it was filmed full of beautiful ferns and the action toward the end, at least it was not boring. The ending is open to a possible sequel. 

Overall I give the film a 4 out of 10, Toxin is worth a Netflix subscription rent or it comes on cable for free, it is barely longer than a one hour TV show, and you can watch a cute blonde girl turn into a maniacal enraged animal.

Click on the Link for Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/toxin3d




Thursday, March 27, 2014

Actress Helene Leclerc Interview (Exclusive!!) (Man Of Tai Chi) (C) 2014 Dan's Movie Report

As a writer I enjoy searching for new and diverse talent to interview. Helene Leclerc caught my eye as the announcer in Man of Tai Chi. Her beauty and grace on screen are enchanting. I researched the web and found virtually no information on her. Thanks to the far reaching tentacles of Facebook, I contacted Helene and found her to be a highly intelligent, and lady with a dynamic personality. Enough of my babbling, time to enjoy Helene, her beauty, and brains with the EXCLUSIVE photos from Olivier Yoan  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Olivier-Yoan-Photography/145108345524239. Helene has a brand new website 2014 with videos, photos and new contact info @ http://siwanhelene.wix.com/helenesleclerc

With your diverse background, I noticed you speak five languages: English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish: give my readers more info about your upbringing, study background, etc...

I grew up in Hong Kong which is a Cantonese and English speaking city. I lived with my french speaking dad and studied a french curriculum at the French International School. On weekends I would visit my Cantonese speaking mom. As for English, I studied it at school 7 hours a week and had an English speaking nanny. I basically grew up speaking 3 languages and by the time i was 11. I started studying Mandarin intensely at school then took up Spanish when I was 13. At school I was always more interested in arts, languages, and philosophy, so it was natural for me that I chose a literary curriculum in senior high. I graduated with a french literary baccalaureate with a major in English and mandarin and took Art for extra credit. After high school I started studying translation and interpretation through a long distance course with a university in France. However just before i was 21 I realized that interpretation was not something I wanted to do despite the fact that languages was my forte and dropped out. Between that apathy and the dropping out, I was filming Man of Tai Chi.

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Mastering the linguistic aspect of each language, much like an interpreter, what are some of the challenges?

I don't really see many challenges in Mastering those languages. First of all I only mastered French and English. I speak the other three, but i'm not a 100% fluent. As for learning them, at first I used to mix up some words in Mandarin and Spanish as I was learning them simultaneously. But afterwards I didn't really feel like I was making efforts to learn words as I took a real interest in the language i was getting familiar with, and that included movies and music, I would even start thinking in that language. Since I grew up speaking 3 completely different languages, i guess my brain isn't formatted to just one. I know a lot of people translate in their head before speaking the foreign language… I just think. I guess learning a language academically was difficult for me, with the grammar and the rules but when I left school my language skills greatly improved as i was learning by just talking to say Spanish or Chinese people, much like learning my first three languages.


Knowing all of those languages must open many doors in the modelling business. On a tangent, how did you get into modeling? Was it a planned goal, or something that happened by chance?

I met one of my best friends when i was 16 and she was modeling part time. Eventually she became full-time and would take me out with them to "model parties". That is when i discovered modeling, before that models were like the Lochness Monster for me, not quite real. By the time I was 17 and in need of financial independence, I joined my first agency.


Posing in front of the camera, nerve-wracking exciting, exhilarating? Maybe describe some of your emotions.

Haha, first time I did a photo shoot i was transformed. I knew right there and then that thats what i wanted to do. I had never felt so comfortable and self confident. In life i'm much more of an introvert. You wouldn't normally catch me being a social butterfly. But with a camera, its like talking to a deaf mute friend, you can say so much with no words. It is even better if I am working with an artistic photographer. It is like we speak the same language and get in sync.


With regards to your preference in your modeling photos, do you have a favorite style, mysterious, playful etc?

I really love doing quirky High Fashion and Natural nymph like styles.


Man of Tai Chi, what was the process for you to become involved with such a fantastic film? Auditions? How long was the rehearsal?

I did two casting videos before being flown to Beijing to meet Mr Reeves, On that same trip I did a camera test. I went home and a few weeks later my manager called me with the good news! I didn't see any of it coming, it was like being swept of my feet and transported to one amazing situation and then an another. I was dumbfounded most of the way, expecting at any moment to wake up. The only rehearsals I would do was just before filming, with the camera and everything.


Being 'The Announcer' requires a great speaking voice, in addition you beautiful appearance, maybe describe your portion of the filming of the announcing scene, and how many days if you remember were you on the film set?

I was on location for 2 months in Beijing and on set only 20 days. Everything on set would be ready before I got there. Once I was there all made up and dressed up, I would be given instructions on where to walk and Mr Reeves would tell me what he wanted from me, i would suggest some things i wanted to try and then voila, I would do the scenes. Most of the time I would do the scene over and over again like it is to be expected. I did once get a scene on the first take… that was cool, especially since I thought it was rehearsal. But then I heard "it's a wrap!"… I got so confused.


How about nerves, describe your process for learning lines for Man of Tai Chi.

I knew the lines already by doing the audition videos. I must have done each video something like 20 times before one of them was chosen to be sent. It would be nerve wracking though on set filming and i would forget one word. But despite some moments of being very nervous, i pulled though.





Was it difficult making the transition from model to actress, especially for that role?

Not at all, at least not for this role. Modeling is a type of performance, at least it is for me. That is why I like it. I don't just pose, i'm acting out an expression, a feeling, a moment. I am someone different in each shoot.


Bad girl roles, vs good girl roles, do you have a preference?

No, bad girl or good girl for me its the same. They are both human with a background and certain emotions and a train of though. I think I would like to do both. The one thing though is I find that good girl character are given more depth. That is something that I would much prefer.

More about Helene L. I noticed in your modeling pictures you have words tattooed around your left breast, what do they say? Meaning?

"Amato omens, Fidito nemini" is Latin for "Love all, Trust in no one".


Definitely words to live by, switching gears, chat about some of your favorite films and actors.

I don't know if I have a favorite group of actors, i have actors I like and others I don't. My favorite movies have to be The Devil's advocate, The Matrix, Good morning Vietnam, The Intouchables, the Fifth Element, Dangerous Liaisons, The Beloved, The Inglorious Bastards, A Monster in Paris, Amelie Poulain, La Vie En Rose, Good Will Hunting, City of God… to list a few…

Rock Climbing is listed as a past time, what are some of your other hobbies?

I recently took up photo editing. Swimming I guess you can say is a hobby of mine. But mostly when i'm not working, i'm surfing the internet or watching movies and TV series, or out with friends and family. Test shooting is also a hobby of mine. I like to collaborate with talented photographers like my good friend Olivier Yoan Passebecq, and do art.




Wrapping up, talk about some of your short term and long term goals? More modeling, acting?

I think I would like to model until my youth gives up on me. But right now i would like to extend to acting and performance in general. I would really like to have the opportunity to play a deeper role than Female Announcer, play more with emotions and interactions, possibly even physical feats. Right now I am looking into acting classes and workshops to develop, play, and gain self-assurance, so I will probably be moving out of Hong Kong this year… maybe Paris...

Thank you for taking time out for the interview Helene, and for my valued readers be on the lookout for more on Dan's Movie Report!