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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Nighthawks in Bangkok Movie Review

Above Picture: Poster for Nighthawks In Bangkok (C) 2013

Hard to believe that it was 3 short years ago, that I had the fortune of interviewing Krystal Vee for my website. Krystal has made the big move from Thailand to the U.S. pursue her acting dreams, all the while working on her craft and remaining grounded.

Nighthawks in Bangkok is a story about a restaurant waitress Proy who works with her family who feels empathy for a lonely man, a drifter, played by   who hangs out at the restaurant only ordering one beer. Shogen has dozens of lines of dialogue in the film and pulls them off expertly. Watch for him, currently he is in the amazing Streetfighter: Assassin's Fist.

The 22 minute film, expertly written and directed by essentially is a chance meeting, of a man who wants to tell the story of his life, and a person who is willing to listen, and not judge. The story undulates with emotion, and displays many trials and tribulations of real life.

He tells the complete story of his past relationship, why it changed, how it ended. All the while under a listening ear, not offering any additional commentary. More often than not, films rely on a diatribe to initiate some sort of conflict, Nighthawks In Bangkok, displays the conflict inside the mind of a troubled young man, and rather offer ways to help, at times, what is needed is just a good listener. Incidentally, he speaks the majority of dialogue in a language she does not understand, do not worry there are English subtitles.

Nighthawks In Bangkok is not just about the words, it is also about the emotions Both leads are excellent. There is an air of pensive sadness, to the drifter character, but towards the end of his description it appears to become evident, that he has affected Proy, although she does not speak, her body language is strong with empathy, but her work calls her back.

Short films are a powerful tool in an actor's arsenal. Although she is from Thailand Krystal Vee speaks very clear, proper, and erudite English, yet in Nighthawks in Bangkok, she speaks English in a Thai dialogue that is exactly like a typical worker in a Thai restaurant, complete with staccato  vocal inflections, and the chopped English. Krystal is constantly honing her craft, and learning all she can about various aspects of acting and Nighthawks In Bangkok is an important step in that evolution. Hopefully she can continue to obtain more dramatic roles.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Nighthawks in Bangkok is the ending. While totally ambiguous, I can see Nighthawks In Bangkok as a short film, actually being the beginning to a feature length film. What happens after their chance meeting, how would the drifter change his life, how would Proy change her life, would the encounter have an impact on other people in there life? Many questions left unanswered, yet many answers, without questions. Nighthawks in Bangkok displays a perpetual conundrum in the circle of life, death, and relationships.

I strongly recommend Nighthawks In Bangkok, and rate the short film a 9 out of 10. No explosion, no fighting, no car chases, just a person telling a story, and what a tale he weaves!

Check out the full film on Vimeo @ http://vimeo.com/44146050

Facebook for Shogen @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shogen/200856046603764?fref=nf&pnref=story

Krystal Vee @ https://www.facebook.com/veekrystal

Monday, December 1, 2014

Producer/Director Uwe Boll gears up for Rampage 3- No Mercy! Indiegogo campaign.

Above Video: Uwe chats about his ideas for Rampage 3: No Mercy.

Uwe Boll is a true innovator in indie film. Throughout his career he has managed to secure financing for over 30 feature films, including established actors including Sir Ben Kingsley and Jason Statham. He has specific ideas to indie film making, although he has garnered a bit of controversy, he always sees projects to fruition.  His Rampage series of films is a departure from typical B movie fare in that it depicts a harsh, all be it over the top sardonic reality. For Rampage 2 he took his message to the masses holding clever theater discussions with the audience and not shying away from questions.

Check out my review of Rampage 2 and interview with Uwe @ http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2014/08/director-uwe-boll-interview-exclusive-c.html

Review of Rampage 2 @ http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2014/08/rampage-capital-punishment-movie-review.html

Uwe is now launching a campaign for crowd funding for Rampage 3. I am very careful of supporting Indigogo or any crowd funding effort, unless the person has a distinct and proven track record.  Uwe has not only proved himself, but he does not bend to the will of the big companies, making movies on his terms.

The Indigogo campaign has a variety level perks, all the way from 1 dollar to 4,000 where you get to be in the film, and get shit by Bill Williamson!  in addition to exclusive DVD footage, mention in the credits, and autographs etc....

Uwe has set a goal of 100,000 US, but with Indigogo it is flexible financing, the money will be used!

The link to the Indiegogo site is @
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rampage-3-no-mercy

Fist Of The Dragon Movie Review

Above Photo: Thai release of Fist of The Dragon (C) 2014

Fist of the Dragon is Roger Corman's first production in Asia concentrating exclusively on a martial arts theme. Director Antony Szeto crafts a full force action film on a limited budget. Reminiscent of a 90s HK martial arts showcase, with enough modern elements to bring new viewers aboard.

Fist of the Dragon opens with lead actor and MMA star   as Damon meeting up with Meili played by  (Check Interview with Juju @ http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2014/08/actress-juju-chan-interview-exclusive-c.html ) Because the two met online, there first meeting was at a restaurant. Meili is a shy quiet demure lady in Fist Of The Dragon, Damon is a MMA fighter who lost his last fight just wanting to start over with a new life. 

At the same restaurant the two are in, a shady deal is going down to smuggle weapon triggers in of all things, Mooncakes! No this is not a spoiler, the Mooncakes are totally the main focus in Fist Of The Dragon. No not the crappy US knock offs, but the real ones, check Wiki for reference @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mooncake . The action in Fist Of The Dragon. begins when the over zealous waiter inadvertently gives Damon the Mooncakes to bring to Meili at her apartment


In Fist Of The Dragon, one never knows who to trust. Even the cops in the film are on the take, they too are out for the Mooncakes. Twists and turns, fights, and more fights, Fist of The Dragon delivers exactly what is promised, a full force action film with diverse characters who are as colorful as the action!


Josh Thompson is amazing as a fighter, and seems to be integrating some of his newly minted acting skills into the fold. His character Damon plays like the reluctant hero, never wanting to really get involved, but once in the fray he seems to dive in full force to get results. 



Above Pic: villain Maria Tran as 'Zhen' is ready to um, er, ah, torture, yeah I will go with torture, sweet 'Meili' Juju Chan. Not sure what is more deadly, the blue flip phone, knife or tongue, yeah I went there!

Juju Chan plays the damsel in distress, and this is truly literal. she is quiet, reserved, and very shy. Obviously to have a long career, it is important  to stretch your acting range, portray characters exactly opposite of your persona. Meili is a simple office worker, who is caught up in the action as a hostage, when the Mooncakes are stolen. Juju is an action force whirlwind, but in Fist The Dragon, her acting chops are tested further that her actual chops.  Juju also serves as the film's associate producer and casting person.


Maria Tran, plays a bad girl, with extreme zeal, hurling vituperates, and flailing fists at the drop of a hat. Maria is a natural. Her facial expressions and emotions seethe with energy, and never appear forced. Her portrayal of Zhen ranges from controlled quiet, when she is posing as a maid, to extreme maniacal violence, when she has to fight. Maria has intellect, and creativity in all aspects of film making and production, check out my review of her short film Hit Girls @ http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2014/07/hit-girls-movie-review-short-film.html


Newcomer  plays Cassie. Her role is pivotal to the story, so no spoilers! Ellary is a good actress, and gets a bit in on the action, watch for her character later in the film.



Above Pic: Ellary and Juju look a bit tired after a tussle. Quick off to hair and make-up haha! (C) 2013 New Horizons Pictures 

Finally, and most importantly, director Antony Szeto and fight choreographer Trung Ly weave an entertaining, edge of the rail action film. Everything is relative, judging a 100 million dollar action film on the same scale as a Corman film is obviously not realistic, but Fist Of The Dragon makes the most of the settings, cast, and fight locations. In Asia, action is more of a priority that in the US film market. In addition, Fist Of The Dragon compares to Hong Kong films of the 90s more than anything else. Antony wears many hats in Fist of The Dragon, ranging from acting to editing, as often the case in lower budget films. Anthony is given much creative control. Not many Corman films come in without nudity, and this fact allows Fist Of The Dragon to never slow down pace wise from the very beginning. 



Above Pic: The Chef played by veteran action star  prepares to do unthinkable things with a deli meat slicer and various knives haha! (C) 2013 New Horizons Pictures

My only minor gripe is that the film is a tad to short, at under 85 minutes from beginning to credits close. I am sure that this is a necessary budget constraint. Fist of The Dragon would definitely benefit from more of a set up do to the copious amount of bad guys, and a bit of the background on the main protagonist characters. Even 5-7 more minutes would not only flesh out the story, but help the audience feel connected to the participants. 



Above Pic: Josh Thomson as Damon never wants a fight, but seems to find many in Fist Of The Dragon. (C) 2013 New Horizons Pictures.

Ending on a positive note, the fight scenes in Fist Of The Dragon are creative and entertaining. Paying homage to classic HK films and Don "The Dragon" Wilson work of the 90s' while adding innovation, Trung Ly  and Antony, know the angles to not only do the fight scenes, but to properly light them, and film them, and edit them, so the audience is engaged, and not left out of the action. The close quarter action sequences remind me of some of sequences in 'The Bourne Identity' films.


As a lover of off the wall, bat $h*t crazy action, I give Fist Of The Dragon a rousing 8.5 out of 10. I must say, finally, I will probably be leery of trusting a hotel maid again HAHA!, thanks Maria Tran, you are a spirited yet adorable violent one!


For more information on Fist Of The Dragon go to the official FB page: @ https://www.facebook.com/fistofthedragonmovie

Order the film from Thailand @ http://www.ethaicd.com/show.php?pid=80125