1st Grand indiewise Convention

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Hunted: Feature Film (2016) Movie Review (C) 2016 Dan's Movie Report




Greetings Dan's Movie Report valued readers, time to veer away from the serious and the mundane to the tongue and cheek vampire film 'The Hunted', Director Robert Chapin, who also stars in the film as "Bob" spins a tale of righteous vampire slayers all in a mission to film a movie, all the while searching for "The Chosen One".




Watch for Monique Ganderton as Susan. She is of course a good girl, we learn later (minor spoiler) she is a slayer. Monique makes the transition from stunts to lead actress material with ease. In a comedy such as 'The Hunted' it is important to have comedic timing and she does.

Eventually our story leads to training a ragtag band of misfits and untrained fighters to battle Dragos (Gary Kasper). Watch for copious lines from various movies and poems ranging from 'Scarface', 'Independence Day' to 'Shakespeare'. The put downs and silliness ensues, along with a vast library of action and even a amazing high fall, in a sparse, yet special outfit! HA!

Oh I loved the politically incorrect insults and dialogue. Example when trying to escape from an explosion a particularly brave character who does not want to go down the garbage chute Star Wars style says "Screw it, I would rather take my chances with the bimbo." On the other side of the door, Lauren Kim, who is a very cute, petite and crazy vampire yells "I heard that" and bursts through the door, with evil red eyes, dressed in black. Sexy Vampire slayer Michelle C. Lee is given the classic line "So you have returned for more sex.?" Bob responds "No just looking for my wallet"  Finally last line I have to mention is the creature they are hunting is and I quote: "1/2 human 1/2 vampire and the other 1/2 an armadillo". Ok that is the type of dialogue you can expect, and if you like your sarcasm like I do, it is hysterical.



With many of the actors in 'The Hunted' mainly stunt people, the action is fast and furious, at times over the top, but always brought back home with clever dialogue. Tara Macken, with her character Wendy dressed like an alternating striped mix of Harley Quinn and a crazy school girl from 'Battle Royale' has loads of action. Her preferred method of attack is to jump into the victims arms and writhe around sexually. Not sure how this is dangerous, but I guess you could throw out your back if not expecting it, but Tara is pretty light. In fact it must have been hard for her to pretend not to kick ass, like biting your tongue when someone is insulting you.

There is of course oddities like a 12 step program meeting for vampires and a guy who is almost as crazy as me! This distinguished gentleman has a straining bowl stuck to his head, complete with a pizza cutter, and wire wisk glued on, I see so much of myself in that character, I envy the guy. Actually he is used by the team for information gathering and his on the street knowledge. Perhaps strained through his head with the holes in the bowl, and the pizza cutter extracts the useless material?

 I noticed they filmed a bit on the street by the Chinese Theater where people dress up, and charge for pictures, and the characters poke fun at that. Obviously this was a fun project, and a culmination of years of Chapin's The Hunted series on Youtube. The accoutrements of 'The Hunted' lighting, sound, were high quality, and with Chapin working on VFX for big films, the special effects were pretty cool for a total indie.

As a side comment, and with all of my action oriented reviews I throw my hat in the ring and #Standupforstunts and firmly believe that this needs to be included in The Academy Awards. Support stunt people worldwide, they take the hits, hard falls, with a minuscule amount of screen time and recognition. Quite frankly, they have some of the most interesting stories to tell. Lauren Mary Kim is a top notch action lady now, as she doubles Elodie Yung as Elektra, check her out here as the Sexy Shadow Vamp!



Well there you have it! Is "The Hunted' high art, why yes, a bong is used apparently filled with spice! Is 'The Hunted' full of cliche phrases?  There can be only one! Who is the 'Chosen One'? Director Robert Chapin mentioned to me about a drinking game where every time the words "The chosen one" are said you have to do a shot. Trust me if one does this, the only bottle you will see is an IV in 'General Hospital'. Overall I rate this slick, sexy, slice of RED camera mayhem, a 7.5 out of 10. For the lovely  ladies; Monique, Michelle, Tara and soon to be Lauren who I have already interviewed, well played, keep up the humor. For Tara, your outfit alone had me in stitches, keep on jumping on people, someone will eventually fall over hahah!

The film is available for purchase now on Vimeo @ https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thehunted
Follow the crazy indie story online at https://thehuntedtv.wordpress.com/category/internet-epic/?order=asc


Join us! Create your own episode and win $1000 - http://www.thehunted.tv/frameset_affiliate.htm

FB group @  https://www.facebook.com/groups/thehunted.tv/

Finally please check out Dan's Movie Report lovely ladies of 'The Hunted' interviews, actually they took place prior. @  

Monique Ganderton:  http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2012/01/monique-ganderton-interview-c-2012-dans.html
Tara Macken: http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2013/04/tara-macken-interview-exclusive-dans.html
Michelle C. Lee:  http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2013/09/michelle-lee-interview-exclusive-mortal.html


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Daredevil Season 2 Review (C) 2016 Dan's Movie Report (New Photos!)

Above Picture: Full character Poster of the Daredevil universe (C) 2016 Netflix

Blasting into Netflix on March 18th Daredevil season 2 ramps up the intensity with two additional main characters Punisher and Elektra. My odd method of watching,: a total binge all 13 at once, however I actually started with episode 5 because that is the real moment Elektra is in play. Thus I watched 1-4 after 5-13. The review contains minor spoilers but will not reveal any major plot points.

Developing two new major characters in a series in one season can often prove tricky. Especially when furthering the development of the existing characters in a series. The best part of the Elektra development, is a (Minor spoiler) we see a young Elektra training. The development of character is not linear; but organic, a bit like a cause and effect. Going further into Elektra, she is given vulnerability, but we also see her cold assassin side, she actually is the most brutal character. Here is how I see it. Daredevil, aims to not kill, Wilson Fist AKA Kingpin kills for power and money, Punisher Kills for revenge for those who killed his family and sweet Elektra kills and had her first kill at 12 because she enjoys it! Any questions talk to THE HAND hahaahah!

Above Pic: It is the dark end of the street if you cross paths with Elektra! (C) 2016 Netflix!

Elektra is portrayed with dichotomous emotional diversity by Elodie Yung. There is
a bunch of meat to chew on in her story arc and trust me, if she wants you dead, you will be. My favorite scene is when she meets with a perspective french assassin, of course the dialogue is in her native French, and he tries to seduce her and she figures out he is sent to kill her and smiles “let's get on with it”. She has copious fight scenes, and credit given to her and her stunt double Lauren Mary Kim, for putting on an expert display of action in a wide variety of Martial Art styles. Watch for a future interview with Lauren on Dan's Movie Report! Because Elodie has a martial arts background in karate, and extensive training from 'G.I. Joe: retaliation' she is well suited for the action. Elodie's dramatic skills are put to full use when in romantic interludes with Matt Murdock, and when she is injured she shows almost a childlike face when being carried to bed. Elodie was one of the 3 finalists for the Wonder Woman job, but this role suits her to a T, and allows her to delve deeper into a complex character.

The Punisher is also a nice addition, throughout most season two the writers keep the Punisher and Elektra stories separate. Obviously the creators set up characters to grow and do not look for comic book style costumes at the outset.
The audience gets an extensive background look inside the Punisher. Jon Bernthal really has nailed all of the conflicted iterations of the Punisher character in his performance far surpassing anyone else tackling the role. The Punisher needs depth and Bernthal respect for the source material

Another improvement is the furthering development of the Foggy character, He is forced to work alone on the Punisher trial because Daredevil is pre occupied with the sultry and mentally unstable Elektra. Add a sprinkling of Rosario Dawson's soul full (Claire Temple) again, not as promanent as season one.

Check out this shot of The Kingpin
(C) 2016 Netflix! Now that is how to go BIG in character!

With regards to the fighting the actors and stunt doubles follow a brutal fight path layed out expertly by stunt and fight coordinator Philip J Silvera The action is virtually seamless from transition stunt double to actor and back again. One of my favorite fights is Elecktra vs one of Stitch's assassins in an airplane hanger, at the end of episode 10. check out this Capoeira inspired bad assery! Like I said am an not going to spoil the outcome but will point my readers to some highlights.

Complaints aside from people that feel that the story is setting up the next series, but of course it is DUH! People are complaining on IMDB that Elektra is interrupting the Punisher story arc, this is Daredevil, in fact Elektra is more intertwined in his past than Punisher is! If you want simple, watch Supergirl, basic network fluff.

This is a series not for kids under 15, to be honest, the concepts and violence are very dark, and intellectually Daredevil forces the viewer to be engaged in the minute details of the characters. 

The entire season feels like one long 13 hour film, as one episode ends in a cliff hanger and the next one begins exactly where they left off no recap needed as the entire series drops at once. As a viewer in my this is the best way to see if you are going to like a show, you do not have to wait 3 or four weeks, you watch a few episodes over the weekend or anytime, if you do not like it on to the next. Networks rely on ratings, but they put their shows online so you can just wait till the season ends and binge watch. Watch for: some cool prison scenes with Kingpin, crazy ninjas, and general mayhem throughout season 2. 

 

This is probably the most violent original program on Netflix at the moment, blood and guts wise, as The Hand is a violent subversive organization, obviously when the rest of the marvel series ties in we will see. Prob a stand alone Punisher series in 2018, perhaps a 2 Elektra Movie rather than 13 hours of a series, so many possibilities, just have to watch. I enjoyed season 2 far more than the first season, characters grew, we meet some new ones, and a strong female character like Elektra is in Daredevil's life and she is there to torment and delight. 

Above Photo: Elektra exacts some wicked ass kickary on a French assassin! (C) 2016 Netflix
 

Before I close this review I will make a statement and a commitment to offer firm support to the entire stunt community, as this is a category that is NOT represented in the Academy Awards in any way. Please point your browsers to the Stand Up For Stunts community on FB https://www.facebook.com/Stand-Up-For-Stunts-714286178593690/ and support these fine performers. Here at Dan's Movie Report I feel that this is an under appreciated area of the press, thus in the coming weeks look for interviews with Elektra's Stunt double and all around awesome ass kicker Lauren Mary Kim https://twitter.com/LaurenMaryKim , and Stunt and Fight Coordinator Philip J Silvera!

I rate season 2 of Daredevil a must watch, 10 out of 10. Elektra I rate lovely dangerous, and fun, and she does not have to break into my house to find me, I will leave the door open haha!! Elodie and Lauren kill it! 

All of the main stars of the cast kick ass and are very active on social media.

Rosario Dawson
 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny Movie Review (2016)

Above Photo: (C) 2016 Netflix from official FB page.


Greetings action movie fans, was really on the fence about this film from the Netflix universe. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny is the latest offering from action legend Woo-Ping Yuen. I really wanted to fully enjoy the long awaited sequel, but sadly many elements were under utilized and the story was lacking, with the short running time many characters underdeveloped. For the purposes of balance, I will say that the film has some excellent action sequences and a story lacking the depth and breadth of the orginal.

Detailing the story, it boils down to the protection of a sword called The Green Destiny, 'CTHD: Sword of Destiny' pits Hades Dao (Jason Scot Lee) against Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yoeh). Hades Dao wants to get the sword to rule. My main issue is that many additional important characters are introduced including a young warrior Snow Vase () Wei Fang () who are like friends and enemy's combined. and another character set of the furies, a rogue warrior set that includes actress Juju Chan as Silver Dart Shi. none are given the necessary screen time in the 96 minute film to warrant audience engagement. As a viewer, I would deem necessary to a short 2 to 3 minute backstory on each character, this would only add bout 15 or so minutes to the film and allow the audience and insight to the areas they originate from.. Perhaps prior to the scene where they meet in an outside pub, show each character separate, so that when we see them in the pub, They had the potental to become engaging characters. Silver Dart Shi is a great character idea in context (a woman who can hurl darts from her cape, protects her villiage, fights for honor), and she mentions where she is from at the pub, lets see a bit of her village, her life etc.. Sadly we do not. Snow Vase is given time to train with Yu Shu Lien, as in the first Crouching Tiger with Zhang Ziyi, but again there is just not enough meaningful information on her character, especially given she is the lead.

I do not blame the actors, in fact the entire film felt a bit rushed. Some films can work at 90 minutes, however, with historical sweeping action films at least a 2 hour minimum is necessary to properly tell a story, and introduce engaging characters. The story does not have to be linear, just developed. I actually enjoyed the idea of Hades Dai and Blind Enchantress as protagonists. Their dangerous characters were only explored through fighting, just not enough dialogue to flesh them out.
 
My other issue is the quick cuts between fight, i.e. two fights occurring at the same time, and just as I am getting into the fight we are cutting away to someone else fighting. The signature fight on the frozen lake was great, but it was over an hour into the film, and by then the impact was less, because the buildup was limited.

Getting to the positive elements: The scenery and settings used in New Zealand and China are fantastic. There are many bright clear outside locations with lush vegetation. The scenes were technically slick, and when the action was going on, the camera brought the audience into the fighting. There is a bunch of action, and that is where Sword of Destiny" shines. I am hoping and am sure that an eventual DVD release will have more story and an extended cut so will of course add in to the review if necessary.

Donnie Yen is amazing in action. His fight in the outside pub is fast imaginative and tight. The fight sequences he works on and the fight between Michelle Yeoh and Eugenia Yuan, take this film up in intensity and grace. The fact that Yuan was a blind sorcerer character, was cool, and she had  two very angry eyes even if she could not see out of them!

I liked the acting portrayals Michelle Yeoh, was wonderful and her character conveyed emotion and empathy. Juju Chan's wry smile and action prowess and Eugenia Yuan's  menacing looks were good given the limited character development, both also can obviously handle the action. for her first acting gig was pretty good.Everyone in the film could have used a few more moments of dialogue. For more info about actress Juju Chan check out her detailed interview @ http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2014/08/actress-juju-chan-interview-exclusive-c.html
Producer Bey Logan chats about his films and a bit on Sword of Destiny @  http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2015/04/bey-logan-interview-exclusive-c-2015.html

A small soapbox comment about the release; I kind of hoped that Sword Of Destiny would at least see a limited theatrical run in the U.S, not 10 IMAX screens! Perhaps a couple hundred total screens. I am sure in every decent sized city there are enough indie theaters to screen it even if the big theaters are boycotting. It is a fine line building a film for the U.s audience, and releasing it in English language first and not showing in theaters seems a waste, might as well play it for the Chinese audiences, and then do English later, if that is successful Off soapbox.

I watched the film a few times, I kept searching for more, sadly like many of the fury characters, by the end I was in the prone position. If you have Netflix already, of course watch it, but as for a purchase I have to say probably not, unless you are like me and like extra material, or are a fight action fan. I really applaud the Weinstien Company and Neflix for giving the sequel a chance and to give the opportunity for the 71 year old legend Woo Ping an opportunity to direct, however a better script was needed, thus' Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny' rates a 6 out of 10.