Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fortress Movie Review

It has been a long while since I have witnessed a decent World War II film. Fortress follows a story based on true events of a squadron of B-17 bombers making strafing runs in Italy from Northern Africa.

Fortress opens with a fantastic air assault including several formations of planes making the bombing run, while axis forces, make machine gun passes across the formation in small planes. The focal plane is called the Lucky Lass and is hit with small arms fire, loses an engine and a couple of guys die inside, but the plane is landed safely.

For a low budget film I thought the aerial combat and filming were fantastic. I liked the sets, and it is obvious that some time was taken on the outfits, and items used during this time period. The attempt at the softer moments seemed a bit forced, but this was about the action. The story development, and humor was a decent try to establish the characters, but leaves one yearning for the flight sequences. The middle of the film drags a bit. There is some tension between the mechanics and airmen which is the highlight of the downtime between flying.

The final 15 minutes is a full on assault on the senses, a tense melodramatic ballet of bullets and bombs in mid-air. The action is tight and tense, and includes spinning and diving action. The inter-splicing of wide shots and close-ups added to the action by placing the viewer into all angles and stages of the combat.

The acting was consistent, no one person stealing the film, but no one detracting from it. Director Mike Phillips and writer Adam Klein obviously took their time to create this and I hope to see more of their work in the near future.

This film works on many levels, and shows how a lower budget production can be as good quality as a big budget theatrically released film. I rate this film a definite rent and a buy if you like war films. Fortress rates a 6.5 out of 10.

Ross Boyask Director Spotlight

Above photo: Ross from his Facebook page.

Hailing from the UK Ross Boyask has made his bloody mark on the action film world. He has several films to his credit including Left For Dead, FIXers, and Ten Dead Men. In 2001 he directed the short film Pure Vengeance, an early film in Scott Adkin's career.

IMDB links to a few of his earlier films:

10 Dead Men


Left For Dead

In addition to directing Ross a screenwriter, producer, writer. He has a couple of other guys working with him on several projects. The very talented Chris Regan wrote Ten Dead Men and Manor Hunt Ball. Left For Dead was written by a gifted chap named Adrian Foiadelli. Ross knows how to be a man of all trades, but also allows people who work for him and with him the creativity to make the project work.

2012 is set to be a banner year for Ross as he has several films in various stages of Development. First on the agenda is Warrioress, which is set to be ready for screening January 31st. Warrioress is the story of female warriors on a quest. He has completed the script for See You in Hell, he states that the film is "a high octane action horror - Die Hard meets Dawn Of The Dead". Ross is also in the early stages of pre-production of Manor Hunt Ball a film where the high class society folk hunt down the average Joe's for sport. Check IMDB link: The film is expecting a 2012 release.

Ross's IMDB page:

Ross has a couple of other films in the very early stages of development. Keep reading Dan's Movie Report in 2012 for additional info!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Actor Spolight

Above pic: Myself, Master Cary-Hiroyuki, and actress Stephanie Cheeva at H.I.M.A.S Banquet in 2003 Photo credit: Kelsey McNeal

Master Tagawa is a multi-faceted actor who has been in dozens of movies and TV shows. Perhaps his most widely recognized role is Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat. Most recently he can be seen on the hit TV series Hawaii 5-0 on CBS. In 2012 he will be featured in a few exciting new films.

Dual of Legends

Dual Of Legends film follows the story of a young boy, whose parents are killed,and was raised by a monk. He must fight to survive and find out who is behind the trafficking of young girls.

Mr. Tagawa is also starring in an epic 18th Century Samurai film called 47 Ronin. In this film a roving band of samurai set out on a quest to avenge the death of their master. Keanu Reeves also stars check IMDB for now, I will post official photos soon as the arrive.

IMDB Link for 47 Ronin:

Watch Dan's Movie Report for future news, photos, and interview with Mr. Tagawa in 2012, in the meantime check out his cool official site @

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol Movie Review

Just got back from the 9:01 Pm IMAX showing of Ghost Protocol. My ears are still ringing from the Batman trailer attached at the beginning. Be ready for a new more ominous villain, and some damn loud stunts and action.

Ghost Protocol is a thrill ride that rarely slows down, but the fact that this Mission has a true team effort makes the film thoroughly enjoyable to watch. After the pre-title sequence the film opens with Ethan Hunt (Cruise) in a Russian prison, with the aid of his cohorts he escapes, the very hard way out.

The team is formally introduced and includes Simon Pegg as Benji, Jeremy Renner as Brandt and a very ravishing excruciatingly lethal Paula Patton as Jane. We later find out the connection between team members, but as soon as the action shifts to Dubai, there is no time for pleasantries save for some wisecracks between the team members.

The stunts are jaw dropping in IMAX. The Burg tower is so tall it dwarfs the other structures around it makes for a fitting series of action sequences.

Paula Patton is fun to watch and she matched Mr. Cruise in intensity and intrepidity. Her fight training made it look like she could mix it up with the boys. Her sexiness also became a weapon, the dresses she wears covers several nice non-electronic pieces of equipment haha.

Why should they guys have all the fun! Photo by David James – © 2011 Paramount Pictures.

The film's final act takes place in India, more exotic locations, maniacal action, and a two million dollar prototype BMW. Quite often it was hard to catch my breath, but there was enough talking parts, and futuristic gadgets malfunctioning to keep the story moving even if the plot at times got lost in the action.

The cast all did a solid job with their characters, coming off as natural, not forced. The interplay between the team, the humor, and intensity kept the film flowing. It was nice to see Michael Nyqvist as Hendricks. He is a fantastic actor, and deserves roles in big budget films.

The IMAX production was interesting in that only portions of the film were filmed in the IMAX format, the screen altered in size when IMAX was being used and back to standard size when not. This was very subtle, and did not detract from the continuity and presentation of Ghost Protocol.

Overall I liked it. I think the IMAX format suits an action movie of this magnitude and am glad they chose NOT to do it in 3D. I rate Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol an 8 out of 10. I recommend this in a theater. The film opens December 21st, but is already playing at selected IMAX theaters.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hostel : Part III Movie Review

All I can say is wow. I had rather low expectations for this direct to video feature of Hostel. This is the first film in the series not directed by Eli Roth, and although it had a much lower budget it really delivered, on the intensity.

The movie opens innocently enough with a nerdy college type kid wandering into a hotel room that was rented by a couple. I won't spoil it but lets just say things are never what they seem in Hostel III.

The main story begins with four friends meeting up in Las Vegas for the bachelor party to end all bachelor parties. The guys are partying, gambling drinking etc. The atmosphere, mood, and settings are all typical. Things start to turn south in a hurry when they are escorted to a place way off the strip.

Hostel III is one of those films you do not want to spoil even a bit, as one thing leads to another, all building to a crescendo at the conclusion. The actors and actresses move through the scenes and their actions have direct correlation to what happens next.

Not all of the girls in Hostel have good intentions!

I will say that this film focuses more on relationship and betrayal rather than the torture, there is some truly terrible slicing and dicing, going on but that is not the main focus of Hostel III. That is what makes this film provocative and fresh.

As a side comment kudos go to the filmmakers for finding the hottest ladies to be in this film. Not to sound sexist here, but there is something for everyone, and some of them even are garment challenged haha. Ladies, don't worry lots of big burly scary men are there as well.

Evelina Oboza as Anka, she does a great job in Hostel III, and is pleasant to look at.

We learn about the characters on the fly but that is fine as the story unfolds. This film had such a well thought out story and the concept behind the torture makes Hostel III stand out in the series.

This film is a must watch. I give Hostel III a 7 out of 10. It is available on DVD Amazon for pre-order and ships Dec 27th.

Kiss The Abyss Movie Review

Good thing she is chained up! Image (C) RISEN PICTURES

Before I start this review,which will be brief, I have to comment how much I love the title. Unfortunately the film falls rather flat in the execution. The premise is not new, bringing back a loved one from the dead to ghastly results, and in Kiss the Abyss the sweet young lady Lesley brought back turns into a (((Spoiler))) rather blood thirsty savage.

The idea was pretty good, but the acting was kind of wooden and I just could not become engaged in the characters. The lead actress who played Lesley seemed to lack direction, just not full on into the character.

The locations used were very basic, but effective for this type of movie and budget. Although too much time was sent on some locations, like the drawn out beginning, and not enough time on developing other characters, in the context of the scene.

I did like the make-up, prosthetic work, and some crazy aspects during the end of the film. While most of the film's acting falls flat I have to give particular kudos and mention to the ravishing actress who played the feral type creature at the end of the film, cute in a frighting, running away sort of way haha. If everyone gave that intense of a performance in Kiss The Abyss the film would be way more entertaining to watch. See top photo!

I am sure this film will find an audience, however, I just could not get into this film as the acting for the most part bogged it down. I give it a 4 out of 10.

For More information sharpen your fanged browsers to:

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol U.K. Premiere from The Big Picture

Above image: (C) 2011 The Big Picture from U.K. Ghost Protocol Premiere

Woke up this morning and had a pleasant surprise in my e-mail in-box. The good folks at The Big Picture send this cool 3 minute blast from the UK premiere of MI:GP. They also produce a 10 minute monthly feature which previews theatrically released films during that time frame.

For more info like them on Facebook @

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rock of Ages News (C) 2011 Danny Shamon

Rock of Ages Concert sequence (c) 2011 Warner bros. Pictures (Check me out in the bottom left of the pic when click on it and blow it up full sized!)

Rock Of Ages Set Exclusive set report July 18th 2011 © 2011 Danny Shamon

The casting call said to be at Sunlife Stadium in Miami Gardens at 1pm wear all black and dress in 80s style hair and make-up for girls etc. This was an open call, which means anyone could attend. Only hard core fans would go to the stadium on a Monday afternoon in 95 degree weather! They wanted true metal and hard rock fans. I arrived about 12:40pm.

They had a pavilion set up I saw and several school buses lined up. I knew this was going to be a secret private shoot. I was instructed to leave all transmitting electronics in the car and I got to the booth and we were given a raffle ticket, for prizes, and a Black wristband on my right arm.

I was patted down, metal wand searched, and hand searched. Then it was on the bus off to the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fl! I was ready to rock 80s style!

Buses arrived in order and the earlier you got to the arena the more of the filming you were able to either be a part of or observe. I arrived at the Hard Rock at 1pm.

We were instructed to sit in a certain section, as I entered the arena I was transported back to the 80s as the entire set was massive, huge, thousands of lights and all using 80s technology! It was time to Rock! It was the largest stage I have ever seen at the Hard Rock!

The first sequence was with Julianne Hough and Tom Cruise and they were shooting the singing for Don't Stop Believing by Journey. All aspects of the song were shot different angles.

I moved very close to the stage for this part of the filming. I got my on camera moment when they replaced my obscure 80s band t-shirt with a cool Arsenal, Rock of Ages T-Shirt! I wanted to observe all parts of the set including the second unit groupie shoot so this will be my only on cam moment. Cruise and Hough were smiling throughout all of the takes, I especially liked what Julianne had to say after shooting she said "you guys make me feel what it was like to be a live singer and alive in the 80s and experience it" She kept thanking the audience. This was more than a job it was fun for them. The musical director from Glee Adam Anders was instructing us in the sing along parts. He was very upbeat and honest guy. Liked his style, see why the show is a big hit. He also offered a role on Glee to the one who could scream the loudest at one point later in the shoot.

The Director Adam Shankman proclaimed "He was just a gay Jewish man from L.A. living his dream to ROCK!"

Part 2:
For this segment I decided to step out of the box. During a re-shoot of the main explosive sequence, I decided not to go back into the arena, and saw a small green screen backdrop set with a couple of different sized ladders with cameras attached to each one. Three Cameras in all, at a variety of angles. Also a guy with an ipod cam from a distance.

A group of four or five young groupie girls were screaming at the top of their lungs and moving in different angles. The costumes were perfect, and they hired women of all sizes. This shoot had to be rushed as they were shooting the main sequence inside the arena. The second unit folks were telling the girls to look into this cam that cam and scream and cheer.

It was quite funny, but I kept my distance and observed. The garbage workers at the Hard Rock have seen it all, but even a few of them stopped in their tracks with their little cart for a bit to watch. All of the ladies were smokin' hot, young and just screaming although they were screaming to playback of 80s tunes. Actually it did remind me of the 80s rock scene, being in my 40s I remember it all! A tall blond in thigh high red and white leggings and skin tight mini shorts was stumbling around after her portion of the shoot and damn near fell into me, not the worst thing that could happen, but already have a lady. I was like are you OK? She said she had lost part of her heel, and she quickly stumbled off. After that I had to go, my ears hurt from all the screaming and I was about ready to laugh.

I have to thank my buddies Kantz and Chyna for this tip on the second unit filming!

Part: 3

The massive stage had so many lights, all were original from the 80s. I spoke with lighting director Robert Piecuch and asked him how many. He was like "I have no idea but it took us 18 hours to set up!" His crew deserve credit for this difficult sequence, as this was an epic event. The stage was a bit like the stage from the David Lee Roth Eat Em and Smile tour with the lights rows upon rows. With four huge lighting pods that spelled out the letters Rock of Ages.

The back line of amps were of course a massive wall double stacked of Marshall Amplifiers and cabinets . Everything was original 80s. There was even old school fog machines simulating smoke in the arena.

The crew filmed huge explosions, loud booming noises, smoke, and raining fire from the top of the lighting rig. The explosive aspect slightly misfired first time around. While I was watching the second unit filming (outside the main arena) a I heard a thunderous boom and the doors opened and people poured out while a billowing cloud of smoke arose from the now I felt I was transported back to the 80s where I went to see concerts back at a place called the Hollywood Sportatorium. During the whole shoot smoke detectors in the arena were turned off, the fire engines were ready and we had to exit using the fire doors for safety during the explosive sequence!

Extras were given lighters for some scenes, beer cups with for others. This was 80s rock all the way! This enhanced the shoot, even fog machines in the stands to simulate smoke, as in the 80s you could smoke in all arenas. This was well planned out concert event and I cannot wait to see how it shows on film!

Part 4:

In addition to the camera shots, for added reality the audience was asked to sing parts of the songs for the movie. I thought this was a nice touch rather than can in some recording. Wanted dead or Alive was recorded near the end of the shoot and some of the close-ups of Tom Cruise were filmed, as they brought the dolly cam at an angle that knifed through the crowd, although there were no crowd shots.

I was standing outside the taped area (area of camera path), but they moved (the camera) in even closer and was polity asked to move in towards the center, unfortunately behind the one guy in the crowd taller than me, no matter this was about the audio! The upfront crowd sang the lyrics, and did some screaming. I enjoyed this aspect of the production! A live taping of vocals, now that was cool! Tom Cruise was smiling throughout. He was basking in the glow of being a rock star!

Part 5:

Nearing 50 Tom Cruise seems to be fitter than ever. He had to film a difficult sequence of jumping off the drum riser and landing on a particular spot for the camera to film. Seems easy but with a rather high riser, and the accuracy, needless to see he had to do it several times. Also saw that this was a safe shoot with medics at the ready in case the shirtless Cruise crash landed.

Once he fell really hard on his butt, but he popped right back up and said "I am going to do this again, hopefully I won't fall on my ass this time!" The crowd was cheering and he jumped off a couple of more times just for good measure.

My musician friend Javi had an interesting observation, that many movie stars desired the rock star life, or were musicians who were unsuccessful. I agree with him. The live performer gets the immediate gratification, groupies, tours etc... Tom Cruise fell hard but just kept smiling. At 49 he was living the music of his youth.

Up Next Tom Cruise special fan performance and final thoughts on the 11 hour Rock of Ages Set.

Part 6:

After nearly 10 hours at the Hard Rock live, the crowd had dwindled a bit, but were still enthusiastic. The director yelled that's a wrap but Tom Cruise was still standing on stage with a beer in his hand talking to some folks.

I was about ready to walk out the door and wait for the buses home when someone on the mike announced that MR. Cruise would like to thank you all for coming out, by turning off the cameras and singing a live performance of Def Leopard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" especially for the fans who stayed through the night.

To bad this was not for the camera, as he put out maximum effort and the band sounded great. He was moving on stage like a natural. Cannot believe he had this much energy after a long day of shooting. At the end of his performance he tossed his glass beer in the crowd old school style and the guy next to me caught it! A true memory of the 80s!

Throughout the day the production staff were giving away ipods, ipads, itouchs and Rock of Ages t-shirts, but at the end of the night after Tom's final performance, the big payoff an entire cast autographed guitar, actually two were given away! Tom was still onstage smiling when perhaps the oldest rocker guy in the room won it and came up the stage to claim his prize. Memorable night all the way around, thanks to the entire cast and crew.

Part 7:

For my final report on Rock of Ages I will point out some of the good and bad parts of being on the movie set for nearly 11 hours. This was a long shoot, and originally called for a 1pm to 8pm call, by 10pm the crowds were dwindling and not as enthusiastic as earlier in the day. For organizational purposes the day should have began earlier say 10 or 11 am, this would have allowed for over runs in time. I did later find out that the were shooting non audience segments earlier, so possibly this was the time they had. During the explosive segment that misfired, being that I was in the top area of the arena, my group and I were lead down the fire escape and out the back. I applauded their safety, however, there should have been some chairs or something makeshift set up outside in case this did happen. It was hot, humid very uncomfortable, and there was no where to site except on pallets, forklifts etc. Small stuff, but I had to point these things out.

Those minor negatives aside this was an amazing experience. An eye-popping jaw- dropping spectacle of 80s hard rock! The production used probably a dozen cameras and a massive street sized boom camera situated right in the center floor of the arena sweeping the crowd and stage. Since we all had wristbands we were free to move about the arena and the entire hard rock area, though it seems like few people took this initiative. The freedom allowed me to write about all aspects of the production and for that I am grateful. I have a new appreciation for the hard work and effort it takes to put on a huge movie like this. Finally the friendliness of the cast and crew was refreshing and fun and made the time go by much faster. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch a behind the scenes private shoot of a movie, and the memories and images will last in my mind forever.

(c) 2011 Danny Shamon Dan's Movie Report

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rock of Ages Trailer drops online! Danny onscreen! Shameless Plug 2!

Image (C) 2011 Warner Bros. Pictures.

Yes Yes that is me click on the pick to enlarge then right click view photo, and use your mouse to supersize it! Blast your browsers to Youtube and F#$K You to the haters!

Another pic, a bit brighter is Below. My face is directly to the left of the text, the arms are of the person behind me. Screen Cap (C)2011 Warner Bros. Pictures-

Link to the official site with synopsis and additional info:

Blast your browsers to This site to watch it in Itunes!

G.I. Joe:Retaliation trailer online!

Machinima has posted the new G.I. Joe: Retaliation trailer online on youtube @

The new film Opens June 29th 2012 and stars Bruce Willis and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Stuntwoman Ming Qiu doubles Elodie Yung. Judging from the balls out trailer there will be many bullets, major ass kicking, slicing swordplay, and one very large, bulky Rock to contend with haha. Watch for Ming interview in 2012! This film looks to kick some serious bottom.

All screen captured images (C) MGM Paramount Pictures 2011

Mercenaries Movie Review

The film Mercenaries is the story of a non military group sent into a hostile Balkan territory to rescue an ambassador, his aid, and capture the war criminal responsible for the crimes against humanity. The military is not allowed to help the group, only monitor and retrieve them at the rendezvous point.

This movie starts off a bit slow. The group of four is soon diverted off course by there conscious while they witness a group of prisoners digging their own graves at gunpoint. A firefight ensues, and one of the group is gunned down.

The remaining remaining three reach the encampment about 30 minutes into the film and that is where the action heats up. There are copious amounts of bullets flying in this film from all angles making every conceivable sound. The director was thinking hey, like, I got a special deal on 10,000 rounds of ammo to make this movie, and I am gonna use all of them!

The scenery in the film was lush. The forest that the group was running through was full of tall thin trees, fall leaves, and green ferns. By shooting much of the film outside the crew was able to make good use of available lighting, and landscape.

Kirsty Mitchell as Beatrice she can shoot and she looks good. HAHA

The bad guys don't speak English, so they need subtitles. The dialogue in the film for the most part is very minor compared to the action. The acting is average, Billy Zane as Colonel Torida is decent, but certainly not one of his standout roles. Kirsty Mitchell as Beatrice the aide gives a good performance and pulls her weight by the end of the film, by killing a few bad guys.

To all of the negative comments, please keep them coming, as long as you are reading, joke's on you ROTFL!

Overall this is an decent film, not great, but worth a rent. I give Mercenaries a 5.5 out of 10

Monday, December 12, 2011

Warrioress film ready on January 31st 2012, cast and crew screening first.

Cecily Fay photo from her facebook page.

Producer and actress Cecily Fay has informed me that her film Warrioress, which was directed by Ross Boyask is complete and will be ready by January 31st. First up wil be a cast and crew screening. Warrioress has tantalizing, sexy sword action, and should prove a delight to sword fans world wide.

Look for full review on Dan's Movie Report some time in February 2012!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stuntwoman Ming Qiu has an official site!

Above pic: Alluring and Dangerous Ming Qiu at the 2009 Taurus Awards Show from her official site.

Above pic: Ming and I from the final Dragonfest in November of 2004.

I interviewed Ming For Vengeance Magazine almost 8 years ago! She is an amazing lady with a diverse body of work including several stunt awards and nominations. I spoke with her this evening, she is working on several big movies in 2012 so, guess what, another interview is in the works for 2012!

Ming doubled Lucy Liu in Kill Bill, did the hard hits and falls in the Die Hard 4 (Live Free Die Hard) as the stunt double for Maggie Q, and trained Milla to use a sword for Ultraviolet. Stunt people breath life and make the movies as exciting as they can be. Ming has several decades of martial arts experience and a unique perspective on the industry. She is extremely professional and makes an excellent addition to any project.

Slice your Browsers to her official site @

Rock of Ages Trailer attached to Sherlock Holmes! Shameless Danny plug!

Yeah I worked on Rock of Ages back in the Summer, don't get too excited, I was an uncredited extra haha, but the movie is gonna kick ass! If you like 80s rock, Bon Jovi, Journey etc.. I loved my film experience, helps me understand the process behind the scenes of movie making. My full account of the experience is @ Scroll down the report follows the news of the wrapping of production!

Rock of Ages opens June 1st 2012, which incidentally is the same Day Snow White and the Huntsman opens. Actress and supporter of Dan' Movie Report is in that film. Please move one, someone flinch and move a date forward or backward! I do not want to have to fight Cecily, I will lose cause she is lethal! HAHA