Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ashley Park Interview (C) 2015 Dan's Movie Report

Actress Ashley Park is fresh off of winning a Miss Asia USA pageant and sits down to chat with Dan's Movie Report about her recent projects, pageant win, and upcoming films in 2016.

I read in your great interview in Search My Trash website that you were very athletic when you were younger. What were some of the sports you participated in?
Yes, I was a competitive athlete for many years. I ran cross country and track for my high school. I won multiple state championships and set some records in both cross country and track. I was also on my high school swim team. I went on to run cross country and track on a scholarship at the University of Oklahoma before I transferred to the University of Arkansas to compete as a Lady Razorback.

I saw recently you have been doing beauty pageants. Perhaps share some behind the scenes stories from the beauty pageant world.
Miss Asia USA is actually my first pageant! I was scouted to apply for the pageant, and seeing what a great opportunity it was, I decided to accept the honor and challenge. I was then designated the title of Miss Korea USA 2015, and I was fortunate enough to win the title of Miss Asia USA this past Saturday. It was a great honor for me to have represented Korea. I have to say that participating in this pageant was one of the best experiences of my life, and I have made some wonderful new friends in the process.
What are some of the pressures you have being a contestant in a pageant? 
Competing in anything is going to demand a certain amount of determination, discipline and dedication. There is more to competing in a pageant than meets the eye. Being a contestant reminded me not only of my previous athletic and academic competitions, but also the ever-competitive Hollywood industry. 

You mentioned you are analytical about characters you play in films. Do you ever read a script and adjust the character in your mind before filming?
Yes, I am a very analytical person, so naturally, that translates into every area of my life. In order to take on a character truthfully, every actor has to look for clues in the script that help define the character. Then you have to make choices that work for you while remaining true to the circumstances of the story. It’s important to already have made your choices when you show up to set, but I think it’s equally as important to be flexible so that you can react and be present in each moment of every scene. And the director and other actors may throw you a curveball at times! You have to be ready for that.
Share a story from the set of 'All American Bikini Car Wash'.
We had such a great time on set! The chemistry of the cast was amazing, and we all had a blast shooting this film in Las Vegas. Having the opportunity to travel together was such a great bonding experience. While the weather was generally mild and sunny, we had a rather unfortunate day while shooting the car wash scenes outdoors. It was incredibly cold that day, with no sun and a random thunderstorm that blew through our set. In between takes, we were all huddled around a tiny heater in the corner in a rather sad attempt to stay warm. When it was time to shoot, we’d stay wrapped in robes and blankets until the very moment the cameras turned on. Now that I look back on it, we must have been quite a funny sight to behold!
What are your thoughts on nudity in film, if given the chance to play a complex character and as part of the story she had to disrobe, would that be in tune with your ideas?
Nudity can be a part of a complex character in a film, especially when it’s included as an integral part of the story. As the reigning Miss Asia USA and a proud representative of Korea, I take my responsibility as a role model for young women seriously, so nudity is not in the cards for me.

When is Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter going to be released? Looks like a cool project. Can you shed a bit more light on your character Rhianna? Is she a fighter?
Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter will be released in early 2016. It stars talented actress Tracey Birdsall, who is also the producer. Neil Johnson is the director, and I was fortunate enough to be cast to play the integral role of Rhianna. Yes, I would definitely say that Rhianna is a fighter and a survivor, using every tool known to man (and artificial intelligence!) to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic world.
Back to the beauty pageant world. Is there some camaraderie in the pageant world or is it more everyone for themselves?
It’s a competitive environment, for sure. However, I found that many of the women I have met while participating in Miss Asia USA are not only gorgeous, but also kindhearted, intelligent women who radiate with beauty from the inside out. I have definitely made a few friends for life.
How about new projects after Rogue Warrior? What is on the horizon for 2016?
I am preparing to shoot a new sci-fi film in late January. I am very excited about this project, and will be taking on the role of Kat. As soon as I read the script, I knew I had to get the part. The film is called Trapdoor, and it’s a desert sci-fi that blends elements of action, horror and adventure. Another feature film I was in is being released in early 2016, called Day for Night. It’s a film noir starring many wonderful actors, including Peter Bogdanovich, Lin Shaye and Sally Kirkland. I am currently working on multiple projects, and am preparing to shoot three web series in early 2016 as well.
What charitable organizations do you support?
I worked alongside my mother for over a decade helping to hand out food to the homeless every Saturday. It's an area that is very near and dear to my heart. I am also a big fan of Mercy For Animals, and have worked with them quite a few times over the years.

Wrapping up, what advice for young aspiring models and actresses, is there something you wish someone in the biz would have told you before you started that you can think of to tell people just getting started?

My advice for young people would be to study. Study everything, and become a master of your craft in every way. I was so anxious to get started before I was ready, and it really shows in some of my projects. So many people told me to go learn on set, and to take any project that comes along as a learning experience. I really don’t recommend that, because you have to live with that footage for the rest of your life. It won’t go away. I think that the classroom is the best place to hone your skills, and that actors should wait until they’re truly ready to step onto a set.

Check out Ashley on her IMDB page @

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pharaoh Movie Review 2015 (Short Film)

Greetings Dan's Movie Report readers. As you all know from time to time I review short films that I feel represent an achievement in film making and interpret a budding creator's dream to achieve his or her goals.

Thanks to Tamiko Brownlee, who plays Doctor Ramos, I became aware of a new film called 'Pharaoh'. Created by Tim Storms, directed by Fabian Garcia and Lohan Buson, the 6 minute short follows Tim Storms as the 'Pharaoh' who is lead away in cuffs. He wants his weapon, a staff and an Ankhe, with a crystal eye.

'Pharaoh' is a collaborative effort between Creative Action Development and Z Team Films. The feel is a bit like the original 'Mummy' film only darker with more of an action feel. Tim Storms did a solid job as the deap voiced Pharaoh, combining a menacing attitude, and backing it up with some crafty, lightning quick moves.

 's portrayal of a scared and frazzled Dr. Ramos is spot on. She looked the part. Tamiko is really talented and it is great to hear her speak on film. Often stuntwork is a job in the shadows of film. If the performers are doing thier job to perfection they often go unnoticed. In 'Pharoah' the stunt performers are all deservedly noticed. Hopefully Tamiko and the others will land some meaty speaking roles in 2016 and beyond.

The technical aspects of 'Pharaoh' are very professional, definitely could be used as the basis for a film or series. The dark surroundings added to the mystery of the location. The audience is actually thrust into the middle of the story, and as we watch Dr. Ramos walking 'Pharaoh' through an entrance way near the end, a swirling realm of possibilities could transpire.

With the rise of Netflix and Amazon original programming, new potential series creaters have increased outlets to display their craft. Creative Action Development and Z Team Stunts have the tools prepared for the next step. 'Pharaoh' rates an 8.5 out of 10, a must watch.

The entire film is available to watch on Youtube @
Definitely subscribe to Z Team Films @
and Creative Action Development @

Facebook like Creative Action Development @
Z Team Films @

For more info on Tamiko Brownlee check out her exclusive interview on Dan's Movie Report @

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Black Salt Movie Review (2015) (Short Film)

Above Photo: Black Salt Poster (C) 2015 Ratti Entertainment (Used for promotional purposes)
Feature film was provided by Owen for Dan's Movie Report for review purposes only.

'Black Salt' proves the power of Indiegogo and the short film. Producer Owen Ratliff and Director Ben Ramsey ('Blood and Bone') bring the full force action short 'Black Salt' to the festival circuit after a successful crowdfunding and marketing campaign. The screenplay written by features as Samuel Lincoln Tharpe, a man searching for answers. He was raised in Asia and has to return to locate this WMD called The Exterminatus.

Skirting the line between drama and action the 30 minute short forms a solid stepping off point to a story which can progress in any number of directions. As a short film 'Black Salt' is a table setter, there is enough action and story to begin a series on cable or broadcast TV. As a series of films, 'Black Salt' could follow the back story of the various characters, and flesh out some of the secondary characters and how they intersect with the WMD.

Many mysterious characters permeate 'Black Salt'. Sultry plays Li Jing. Her character has informational map tattooed on her back detailing the Exterminatus, location and how to activate it. Li Jing is shrouded in mystery and the audience is never given a chance to learn more about the 'sect' she mentions she would be betraying if she divulged the information. Action actress and all around adorable bad-ass plays Horse Ripper. Apparently her character lives in the ether, a realm cloaked in shadows. In 'Black Salt' Michelle's character, fights with Tharpe, but it is an enigma, an internal mental fight.

The action in 'Black Salt' is creative, each fight is a tightly choreographed ballet of punches and kicks. Some fights use weapons, and obviously each fight is tailored to the skill of the actors involved. The fight Michelle has with Kinyumba at the end is not only entertaining to watch, it is creatively filmed, artistically lit, and has perhaps the coolest theme song playing in the background "When the World is Blind" an original tune written for the film.

Above Photo: (C) 2015 Ratti Entertainment Michelle Lee and bring the action to 'Black Salt'

The film ends in mystery, leaving the viewer wanting more. Fresh off the "Black Salt' win at 'Urban Action Showcase' in NYC, watch for more from the cast and crew of "Black Salt'. In a recent phone conversation with Owen, he told me some of the creative ideas he has for a feature film and how he wants to market the film. 'Black Salt' director Ben Ramsey knows how to direct an action feature and just released his director's cut of 'Blood and Bone'. His direction on 'Black Salt' is tight , but never heavy handed, he lets the events unfold and the viewer maintain engagement throughout.

'Black Salt' represents the proper way to market a short film and tie in all aspects of marketing, Owen is a master marketer, he knows how to keep the audience wanting more. With a comic book tie in, clothing line, and over 35,000 FB likes 'Black Salt' is positioned for a monetary jolt from a network.

Overall this is a great stepping off point for all involved, I am actually curious how a big budget 'Black Salt' feature film would be received nationally. The superhero interest seems to be at an all time high, and the lack of new action heroes is actually quite staggering. "Black Salt' is a modern hero, steeped in the past tradition, and should play well with teens and adults who enjoy the comic genre. 'Black Salt is the culmination more than a half decade of hard work from creator Owen, and his team, and rates a 9 out of 10, my top short film of 2015. 

For more information on 'Black Salt' check out the official Facebook Page @
For the official site kick your browsers to:

Sound Cloud for 'When the World is Blind'
Video for 'When the World is Blind' @
Watch for more on the film in 2016 on the number one home for action exclusives on the web: Dan's Movie Report.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

All American Bikini Car Wash Movie Review

At times it is good to just sit back and watch a good irreverant comedy that takes the mind off of the daily struggles of life. 'All American Bikini Car Wash' which I will refer to as "AA Bikini Car Wash' is a surprisingly good throwback to the old school 80s fun romp sexy comedies. The film is shot in Vegas and follows the exploits of student Jack and him failing his final and having to run the professor's car wash company for a week at a profit to pass the class.

This 'leave your kids in the other room comedy' is chalked full of nudity and bad language, and that is what makes it enjoyable to watch. Characters Jack and Vex  and are best buds, and they come up with a scheme to run the business. Of course what would a bikini car wash company be without bikini clad sexy women, enter Kelly and Tracy. I was pleasantly surprised how cool the acting was by the ladies of the film as Kelly and as Kayla had some fun lines and were a bigger part of the movie than in most sexy comedies, which was a great thing as both are very pleasing to gaze at and have clear speaking voices.

Of course other ladies graced the screen, most notable, was current Miss Korea as Brittany, she played a video-grapher wanting to document the happenings at the car wash for her film school project. Her character had a pretty major part in the film, she was flirtatious and fun. Ashley has the girl next door fun quality in her acting, I hope to see more of her in future films. What 'AA Bikini Car Wash' does better than most sex comedies is have some entertaining characters, thus keeping the viewer interest throughout the film.

Aesthetically the film print is clean and clear, the sexy shots are well lit, and I feel the need to pull my car into this 'All American Bikini Car Wash' for a shiny new clean! Seriously, this film is definitely worth a rent or buy if one needs to escape life for awhile, especially as it is getting cold in many parts of the world.

Overall this is a solid effort into the adult comedy genre, 'All American Bikini Car Wash' rates a 7 out of 10. Respect to all involved for taking me back to the 80s, style of film comedies!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Narcos (2015-) (Season One)- Review (C) 2015 Dan's Movie Report

Above Photo credit: IMDB poster of Narcos. All screenshots are (C) 2015 Netflix. The Screens are for promotional use only for review purposes.

In all my four decades of TV viewing, I have never witnessed a show so detailed and focused about one character in history and the people he surrounds himself with, and crushingly realistic. 'Narcos' is a "tour of force", no pun intended, the first season comprises of 10 fifty minute episodes and it is so riveting it is hard to look away.

This is the world of Pablo Escobar, famous drug kingpin of the 80s and early 90s in Columbia. Netflix is to be commended for pulling out all the stops and actually filming the series in Columbia. The first season is not just centered around Escobar, but his entire outreach network of drug kingpin counterparts and the world they live in. Including actor as the crazy violent José Rodríguez Gacha. That guy is just scary and will not think twice about wiping out an entire bunch of people just to get one person he is looking for. Watch also for the M19 group of crazies. Actress portrays Elisa Alvero, a woman on the edge of M19, a cool character, no spoilers!

The only way this could have been presented is in unadulterated, unabashed, brutal realism. This is the world of expensive tastes, over the top lifestyles and horrible atrocities, all in the name of greed, and power, and the shipment of drugs to the U.S,. This is a series meant for adults and, nothing is taboo, the sex, violence is over the top and paints the picture into the life of Escobar and his world.

and his portrayal of Escobar has such a distinct and nuanced character. In the beginning he always wanted to make people happy and actually cared about the well being of people who worked for him. His descent to paranoia toward the end of season one is palpable, and the reasons being he was learning not to trust anyone. A hard role to play, he lives a dichotomous life, caring for his wife Tata,    and family. In business he was ruthless, and had to show his horrible side, trying to maintain control. Quite an amazing performance.

Chasing after him are two DEA agents, with the reluctant help of the US government. as Steve Murphy, tells the tale from a 'Gringo's' point of view with short narrative dialogue. His beautiful wife Connie, () is like a duck caught in the crossfire, as she has to live with him in Columbia, chasing Escobar. as Javier uses some really unscrupulous means to get information, salacious and violent, his motto seems to be "By any means necessary!"

Being a writer, I have to give special mention to the amazing portrayal of Valeria Valez by Stephanie Sigman. She was always looking for an angle with Escobar. She needed to fuel her desire for exclusive stories by making sure she was first on the scene. Valeria, was a sexy vixen and she used her womenly wiles to make Escobar tell her the story, and in return she painted him in a postive light. She has a fued with another journalist, but that story I will not spoil. Stephanie is a really great actress, and makes the audience hate her as she is so sleazy in the show, but trust me, you will feel sorry for her character's pathetic life towards the end of season one. 

Everything about 'Narcos' is top notch, the scenery, writing, editing, tie ins to actual events, and character emotion. This is a documentary style series with the some of the names changed. Perhaps this is one of the fantastic ways to tell a detailed story, by expanding it to a series. Netflix gets it right. They do not have to bend to the will of advertisers, as their subscribers drive content. Be prepared to brush up on your bad language Spanish with 'Narcos', but seriously this is a subtitled show, so even a Gringo like me can enjoy. Haha, All I can say is I am so excited for season two! Watch for more exclusive 'Narcos' material in 2016 on Dan's Movie Report, your #1 home for independent exclusive content on the web!

Overall, I recommend a binge watch of 'Narcos' at least a couple of times. 'Narcos' rates a 9.5 out of 10. Narcos is that good. The show blows away the rest of the competition, literally.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Oblivious Signal Rocks Kreepy Tiki Halloween! (C) 2015 Dan's Movie Report

Above Pic: (C) 2015 Dan's Movie Report Oblivious Signal Live @ Kreepy Tiki!

Greetings fellow movie lovers, Ok I know what you are thinking hey, this is a movie site, well, occasionally I do blast out some music coverage!

The stage was set for a great Halloween show sponserd by The O.M.E.N. Productions  Oblivious Signal
was the headliner.  2 support bands RMNTX and Naked Vengeance rocked, at the show which required a mask to get in!

Below is a photo of Oblivious Signal at their merch booth!

This was Halloween of the finest order; Good crowd, friendly staff at Kreepy Tiki, and bands played in a timely matter, with decent sound. The idea of making people have at least a mask on to enter was fun. Yes, this old man played along! Below is me, my buddy and Christina (middle), all mugging for the camera!

Some highlights of the Kreepy Tiki show were a massive 8 minute cover of Master Of Puppets, and the sheer amount of crazy costumes, including a guy dressed as Bob Ross (the painter from PBS with the afro). Oblivious Signal headlined and lead vocalist Christina made the fans come close and crowd near the stage to enjoy their blend of rock. A final hysterical highlight was Christina, daring a young man to take his shirt off and him obliging, like I said this was a wild show!

For more information where Oblivious Signal plays next, and to buy their music and Merch go to

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Curve Movie Review (2015)

 Above Photo and all photos (C) 2015 Universal Pictures, used for promotion only

Greetings Dan's Movie Report fans! Today it is Halloween! What better way to blast off the insanity thank throw you a 'Curve', seriously! A tour of madness from the twisted writers , takes the adorable 'Dancing with the Stars' Judge and 'Rock of Ages' star to a new career direction. and her portrayal of Mallory Rutledge is a break out of the sweet girl next door image to the I will kick your ass if you mess with me image.

Basically you have a story where Mallory is on a long road trip, burrowing her boyfriends car,  she breaks down and is helped by a mysterious stranger, Christian Laughton (). Apparently Christian wants more than just a ride, and the entire 80 minute film is just one crazy turn after another. This is a true ultra-violent, keep the kiddies far away from film, but, 'Curve' is perfect for an adult Halloween!

The story is twisted, but not entirely a new formula, of torment turns to torment, for the attacker. What sets 'Curve' apart is the acting from the two leads, and the shear amount of salacious and truculent dialogue throughout. There is no beating around the bush or over turned Ford Bronco in this film. Seriously this is one film where the dialogue IS actually more shocking than the crazy violence.

Above Photo: Hough is trapped upside down! (C) 2015 Universal Pictures Promotional use only.

Watch for torture, bear traps, and a very bloody, adorable, yet extremely pissed off, and frightened Julianne Hough. She has to go through hell, and even has to eat something that is not on a normal diet! Ugh! This is a real departure for the normally sweet and cheerful Hough. Nice to see her angry side, at least in the movies! Hough worked very hard in this indie film, and it shows.

'Curve' is a must watch, the DVD has an alternative storyline, so perhaps for horror fans a must buy! 'Curve' rates a bloody 8 out of 10!

Amazon had the DVD at this link, currently it is out of stock, Curve is making the festival rounds now.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sonny Sison Interview (Get into the action!) (C) 2015 Dan's Movie Report

Above Photo: (C) Kent Vives Photography

Sonny Sison has enjoyed a two decade career in action on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. From working with Shannon Lee way back in 1997  film 'High Voltage' to his current project 'Showdown in Manilla' Sonny has worked on a huge variety of projects with a diverse budget range. Sonny takes time out of his busy schedule to conduct this thought provoking interview on your home for exclusives, Dan's Movie Report.

 With a nearly 20 yr career in action and stunts, How has the stunt work changed from your observations?

I'd say with the coming about of "The Matrix" and regarding fights, a lot more wirework has been used from then to present.  While there was a select few who were using it prior, it wasn't heavily applied in Hollywood productions.  Since then, it has become the norm for the professional stuntman to have some basic knowledge about it, whether it be as a person having to ride the wire or riggers who put the stuntmen in them.  You'd be hard fetched to find a highfall over 60+ ft that doesn't use a descender assist these days.  In other countries where the technology is too expensive for their budgets, they still do practical stunts. 

Regarding fight choreography itself, there has been a lot more exposure to other cultural martial arts outside of Kung Fu and Karate that were given exposure like Aikido, Kenpo, etc.  FMA (Filipino Martial Arts-Arnis, Escrima, Kali) has gotten very popular due to the likes of choreographers Jeff Imada and Jon Eusabio, who have been in charge of the fights from the Bourne movies to Book Of Eli and others.  And of course w/ the popularity of MMA, Jiujitsu and other grappling arts are being used in fight choreography as well.

Lastly, technological advances...cameras, editing programs, SFX, etc...have made filming stunts a totally different game.  CGI is everywhere!

I also agree the CGI alone has changed the way action is filmed. Chat about your work on Showdown in Manilla. Any crazy set stories?What is different about filming in the Philippines than the US?

SIM was a very challenging film.  Given the shooting schedule, which was roughly 3-4 weeks, I was amazed we were able to get the action/fight shots needed.  I give a lot of respect to director Mark Dacascos for holding it all together.  Our ongoing mantra was "Grace Under Fire".  Logistics can be a problem here if everything isn't in place.  That falls into the difference of filming in the Philippines from the US.  Pre-production and principal shooting is a lot tighter, again a budget constraint, which we don't have the luxury of in comparison to mainstream US/Studio-produced films.  But there are some game changers here who understand that when they hire me, I have requirements that I need to do to make their films better for looks and saving time and money, namely previsualization (previz) and rehearsals.  It's quite common here to make up the action/fights on the spot then shoot, which eats into the shooting time for the scene rather than knowing what camera angles/movements and choreography/action to do.  That, to me, makes a huge difference!
Regarding the action genre in the Philippines, unless it's an international co-production, not many action films are shot here.  It fizzled out some time in the late '90s when the major networks figured it was a lot easier and more profitable to make inexpensive comedies and dramas, then rehash them in later films and tv series w/ the same storylines but different titles and actors.  Because of that, in my experience w/ a lot of stunt people here, they're stuck in a time warp of what stunts and fights were like in the '80s and '90s.  That's not through any fault of their own but some are hard pressed to catch up with the quality and methods of performing stunts/fights with the rest of the international action film world.  At the same time, there are those who share my vision in bringing the action genre back.  They just don't know how and that's where my experience of working in Hollywood and with very good fight choreographers and DP's comes in.  In my opinion, there is absolutely no reason why Thailand and Indonesia should be ahead of the Philippines in the action genre when there are actors, stunt people, and local stories that are just as entertaining and talented.  There's the argument that action is expensive to do and no one wants to see them.  For the first reason, there is truth to it.  Action does cost but if well-made makes its money back and profits.  The second is not a valid reason.  Hollywood action movies do very well here as I've witnessed lines around the malls waiting to see them.

When is the release if you know of Showdown In Manilla ?

That I do not know aside from the trailer mentioning 2016.   Mark (Dacascos) has messaged me saying that things are looking great as they put the finishing touches on ADR, Coloring, Sound FX, Score, etc in post edit.

We can chat more on that film after the trailer comes out, shifting gears,  I noticed you worked on Hawaii 5-0 Share some set stories from that show.

Can't say enough how much I love working on Five-0!  I grew up in Hawaii doing my elementary school years and to be back there working on an iconic tv series is heaven!  From the cast, to crew, to production staff...everything and everyone is top notch.  And with Jeff Cadiente stunt coordinating (and occasionally directing episodes), he makes it even more a pleasure to work on the show.  Jeff is a fantastic person to work with, not just for his experience and expertise as a coordinator, but because he really embraces the Aloha Spirit.  And of course there's all the local brothers and sisters I get to work with.  We're all friends and hang out w/ each other when not on set. Even when a mainlander comes onto set, whether they're actors or stunts, they are immediately embraced and taken in.  That is Ohana... Family, and a very important aspect of why I love working on Five-0.  I'll share one funny experience.  During a running chase scene in one episode, crash mats were laid down for a stunt double to take a clothesline reaction to the ground.  That action was taken from two angles.  When the episode aired, the angle used showed the mats on the ground for a few seconds!  But unless someone is experienced in what to look for, you wouldn't know what it was. 

Do you like to work on series or films more, do you have a preference or is it a case by case basis.

I just love to work!  Or is that play? lol  It's a dream career!  Perhaps I might lean toward film more because there's more travel involved.  And I absolutely dig going to other countries and experiencing the local culture.

Cannot deny that the more experiences on film the better! Chat about filming short fight scenes, like Assassin Interrogation, with Andrea, how do you approach fighting and action with a martial artist who has not done film fighting before?

I try to work w/ the actor's abilities.  Andrea has a tae-kwon-do background and has been training w/ a local stunt group.  She had yet to experience how it was to work w/ me up to filming "Assassin Interrogation" so the necessary skill needed to bring the best out in her was to give her the proper direction.  Not just in what the moves were, but also the reasons for the transitions and filling each moment w/ emotional content. 

What is some advice for up and coming fighters? Transitioning from actual Martial Arts to film fighting?

Take acting classes.  Take up other arts outside of what you know.  Learn the art of filmmaking.  Read, read, read...any piece of material or book about the industry.  Hang out with filmmakers...directors, DP's, etc.  Ask them questions!  Be open-minded and stay humble!!!

The last sentence is the most important in my book! What is next for Sonny, new projects etc?

Several films are slated for 2016 in which I will coordinate/choreograph.  But more importantly for me, I will produce and/or direct.  It will give me more say in who I can bring on.  There's so many talented actors and choreographers who just don't get the exposure and break to showcase their stuff.  I'd like to help them do that.  A US co-production for a tv series is also in the works so I'm very excited for that.

Looking forward to chatting in 2016 about your latest projects, thanks for the interview!
For more info on Sonny hit is IMDB page @

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cinematographer Carmen Cabana Interview (Part 1) "The Chemist" Exclusive! (C) 2015 Dan's Movie Report

 Above Photo: Carmen behind the camera!

Greetings my esteemed readers, Dan's Movie Report, your home for detailed exclusive interviews, takes a behind the lens approach today with a insightful and informative interview from talented director of photography Carmen Cabana. Carmen's latest project is 'The Chemist' and this is actually part one of an interview, the second will post when her latest project comes out of the shadows, trust me Carmen is one to watch, enough of my babbling on, time to get the full picture with Carmen!

How were you approached to be the DP of The Chemist?
I had worked previously with producer Al Bravo on a feature film called '2 Bedroom 1 Bath' which we shot in New Orleans. Al was now co producing the Chemist and he introduced me to director Art Camacho. When I met him we immediately clicked. Art has a tremendous presence and a very positive attitude plus he is a very respected figure in the martial arts community so I was very excited to work with him on The Chemist.

What were some of your other duties on the production?

Like in any indie film one has a tittle but we all switch hats and help in every way possible to make the best film. I provided some of the props from my own home and I purchased the specific type of flash lights that I needed to get the right exposure in the opening sequence. Ha! Now that I am thinking about it some of the wardrobe in the Blue Club sequence including the dancing girls outfits and some of the patrons dresses were mine. 
I think a film is a collective effort and if we can all contribute even with the smallest things it makes for a better film and that is a collective victory.
Now that you were able to see the finished product, curious as to your thoughts.
I was very excited to see it all put together. I love the vast amount of action sequences in the film and of course the characters and the story. I think the editor Hector did a great job and he complemented very well Art's vision. My biggest fear is always post. That is the area where a film can be made or destroyed. Fortunately in this case the film in my opinion works and flows like it should be.

Of course there were many limitations given the budget and time but I think the end result displays everyone's effort and passion for this film and that very much is attributed to the love that Art and the producers poured on the film. I enjoyed particularly the great respect that the stunt team had for Art and their willingness and eager attitude to do just about anything blew me away. What a great team of people!

One of my favorite scenes is the chase that ends up with one character dangling over the side of the building. Describe how you formulated the scene in your mind and worked it out on camera, was there a few takes, did you make it a point to show the audience the smaller nuances as well as the big picture?
During a location scout I saw the big pile of junk by the side of the building and then it occurred to me that it would be the perfect background to enhance the threatening circumstance that the junkie boy was facing and it matched his own character environment very well. Even though his role was small we wanted to tell as much about him visually as we could so we carefully crafted what his apartment would be like. The actor himself was working on the art department and he really immersed himself in the role.

I think there are many small stories within a story-line and we wanted each character's environment to tell the audience something. One of my favorite sets was Trinidad's apartment because it reflected her edginess and playful nature.

As you see I talk a lot about Production Design because for a cinematographer that is a key aspect of all the visuals and that is also what helps create the illusion of a world that is not there. Unfortunately that is also the department that suffers the most the budgetary restrictions. For instance none of the clubs or bars we shot in the film were actual clubs and that was the biggest challenge for everybody and for me particularly the blue club was the most difficult because we had to hide so much to make it look like an actual venue and we had the longest and most complex flight sequences and shootout.
That is where we decided to use color gels to give each bar a particular feel and to hide the fact that most of them where white and near empty spaces.

Working with the actors, and Art, describe some of the challenges in shooting the fight sequences and some of the action in The Chemist.

I have to be honest, both the talent and the director had plenty of passion and disposition to perform the sequences. Particularly actresses Nina and Stephanie would practice every chance they had and they both trained very hard. I rarely see actors be as passionate as those two were and it was a great joy to film them and work with them.

In the Chemist there are many action sequences and each one is very different and therefore the challenges of each were unique. I particularly enjoyed the Dojo sequence the most because I grew up watching Chinese Martial arts films and I always wanted to film an Asian style fight. Master Eric Lee was incredible, very proficient and fast in performing the sequences that Art Camacho and Stunt Coordinator Mario Rocha created. Master Samuel Kwok was also a great asset and being a fan of Ip Man I loved his fighting style.

You also have to understand the speed at which we were working. Normally an action film would have weeks or months of rehearsals, often such rehearsals would be shot and edited so when the actual shoot day would come everyone would know what they will do and where exactly they will do it. Normally the cinematographer would have the opportunity to watch the rehearsals to understand the choreography and pick the right angles and movements.
In The Chemist, often we would see the action minutes or an hour (if we were lucky) before we had to film it. And we also had to light and shoot very fast and wrap a fight sequence in a matter of hours.

In situations like this is when one has to trust the director the most and Art was of great help in guiding everybody with precision as far as where they would have to be for a hit to sell. Of course with so many moving elements, things would change on the spot but for me it became an organic game of dancing with the actors and also "feeling the action". For instance on impact shots I felt the impulse to shake/push the camera forward and bounce it back like a character's head would do. Or on power punches I would leap forward as if the camera would continue the move. When you start to feel the adrenaline you just don't want the fun to stop. Kudos to Olivier, Steve, Nina, Stephanie and the stunt team for their stamina!!

Art has a great working method as well which is to shoot sectional Masters to establish the geography of a choreography and then breakup all the important hits into separate shots that would often be closeups.

But then again we had so many fight sequences that we didn't want to repeat ourselves so we would vary our approach. On the dojo for instance most of the Samuel Kwok fight was shot on a Portajib that I operated and moved very fast to follow the action. I liked that a lot because it gave us other perspectives and the ability to go from high to low very fast and fluidly.

On the Parking Lot sequence in which Olivier beats the rapist guys we saw the opportunity to capture it all and sell all the hits in a single take and flow. We liked that a lot and I found that to be the most fun because you are right there with the fight and you are part of the choreography itself. Timing and memory is everything in those situations. Even if in the edit that sequence was fragmented to match the fast paced choppy style of the whole film I still loved shooting it in that way.
In fact one of my goals as a cinematographer is to be able to perform much longer fluid masters in action sequences. I think that is a great way to make a sequence as realistic as possible and to get the audience to feel as if they are part of the action. Of course that will require the proper pre-production than on a larger budget we will be able to have. :)

Any scene stand out as particularly challenging?

Definitely the Blue Club sequence for the reasons listed above. When you are shooting an action sequence with so many characters doing simultaneous actions but with few extras and so many limitations as far as where you can point your camera because of the set then you have a problem that goes beyond selling the action but it also becomes a matter of selling the set.
That location in particular was also a problem for lighting because the ceiling was low and it didn't have rigging points and ideally on a multi character sequence you want to have your lighting to be as much off the ground as possible or to be practical.
Problem was that we also wanted to shoot a lot of the sequence in a 90 degree shutter angle and some of it in slo mo and we would loose a lot of stops. So the practical lighting was not enough.
I would have loved an additional day on that set but quite honestly now that I see it all put together  I think we pulled it off and that is a relief. 

We chatted about this before, not many women in the DP role, I hope that it changes, what are some ways to make that happen, in your opinion?

I am very surprised at the lack of female cinematographers and quite honestly I don't understand why it is that way when this is a job that involves creativity, technical knowledge and people managing skills and both men and women can do all those things equally.
The only interpretation I can find to this problem is that it is a direct result of the cultural work discrimination that existed towards women in the time of our parents especially in the film industry and therefore even though there has been great improvements in the matter of female rights and equality there is still a lot more than needs to happen.
Chatting about the dark side of filming, do you still feel discrimination in the business? Is it getting better?

I think it is getting better but discrimination is an individual problem. There are some folks that cannot accept the fact that women can do the same job as a man can. At the same time there are many folks that are pro-women. I think it depends on the individual and I personally hate generalizations. As far as I am concerned I have had a prosperous career as a female cinematographer and I have many people to thank for that including both men and women. Yes I have encountered an idiot or two in my path but that has never affected me or made me feel that I am in a disadvantage at all.

On to the happier subjects, favorite director, actor and actress, who would you like to work with in the future.

Not to kiss ass but I would love to work with Art and the producers of The Chemist again. They made me feel like I was part of a family and not just part of a production and that counts for lots. People like that are those that one is willing to dive in head first to help them accomplish just about anything.

I have a private wish list as far as directors I would love to work with in the future including Gareth Evans who directed The Raid and I am a big fan of Korean action thrillers so I must list Jeong Beom Lee (The Man from Nowhere) and of course Chan Wook Park (Oldboy) and Jee Woo Kim (I Saw the Devil). I would also love to have Donnie Yen and Byung Hun Lee in front of my lens!

Yes you would be great in Asia! Speaking of favorites, share some additional thoughts on working with Nina and Steph in The Chemist, must have been fun to watch the ladies mix it up? Especially from behind the Camera!

Those two are warriors and very committed to their craft. I love and respect them both tremendously. It is also amazing that they are both singers. They had great chemistry and endless energy. They always wanted to do more and they loved Art very much and so do I. If it was up to us we would have loved a six month shoot as long as we could work with Art everyday. :)

Actress Nina Bergman and I have also been working on pre-production of a fascinating subject action thriller based on her personal story and her fight for Animal Rights. I think she is a multi-talented individual and a beautiful person inside and out.Both Nina and Stephanie are actresses I would recommend with my eyes closed. 

To shift gears with regards to your thoughts on your craft, if offered a DP part in a huge film for gobs of money, at the same time, offered a cool indie project with a script and director you really wanted to work for, which project would you choose, or case by case.

Definitely a cool Indie Project with a script and team I can love. When you work under those parameters everyday is rewarding and full of joy and that is what life to me is about.
I am a people person. I love people, specially good hearted people. Films that mean something to special people are special films. Fortunately for me there have been people I have worked under those parameters and they are forever part of my family.
I have also worked on bigger productions like the one I am working on right now and when a production is so big the corporate rules, politics and limitations can be somewhat draining on the spirit.
Of course there are also many advantages and some really fantastic people like our stunt coordinator Markos Rounthwaite who is amazing and a very kind local crew, but I personally rather work in smaller productions in which I can have more involvement and you don't have to run an idea past 20 heads to get anything approved.

In fact my husband Eric St John and I started our own production company this year called Foxridge Films, LLC and we have acquired 3 action screenplays that we plan to produce in the near future. My husband is a great actor, a graduate of The Academy of Dramatic Arts NY and a talented and disciplined Martial Artist.

I believe firmly that we will make some terrific films and that will be a great opportunity to collaborate with some of my favorite people from past productions. In the long term my goal is to be a Cinematographer/Producer so that I can find the script I want to shoot along with the right director and have more control over the final product. I am naturally good with numbers and logistics so I think this would be a good combination and I will be even happier choosing the material I want to shoot.

I agree with you, thus I run Dan's Movie Report myself, and I consult myself with regards on who to interview, occasionally over ruling myself, and admonishing myself. Seriously though, I try to pick the intellectual individuals in diverse areas of film who actually have something to say, and Carmen, you blew me away with your detailed answers. Any final thoughts, advice for people wanting to be a DP in the future?

Learn your craft, stay updated and most importantly understand that being a Dp represents being the right hand of a director and therefore you must be a chameleon and be able to adapt to any style, and also be receptive, and understand that when there is no budget for something that is just part of life and not something to cry over. This job is not about pleasing one's own aesthetics but it is about performing a very important service: to translate on camera what another person has in mind. Also work hard on developing people managing skills because this is a team effort and every crew member is crucial and finally Time Efficiency. In my world which is the Indie world time is what we least have and to me the biggest failure is an incomplete film.

I have done features in 7 days, 15, 18 and 28 days, and they have all been completed on time.

Of course I would have loved to have more time in all of them because time allows you to do higher quality things but ultimately the task is to tell a story in a complete form and to be able to sell it so in the larger scale individual shots are not the priority. To get a film to be out in the world and be seen by an audience, that is the goal and when the audience loves it that is the reward.

Thanks Carmen, kept it basic, we will discuss the other material when you come back to the states, for my valued readers, just wait till I unleash Carmen interview part 2 in 2016! Get ready for more on Carmen! For More info and to connect with Carmen for your film project go to her official website @
 Thank you Danny!!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Tournament Movie Review (2009)

Greetings Dan's Movie Report readers! In anticipation of Ms Kelly Hu's arrival to the Sunshine state at the amazing Magic City Con, I revisit this classic action film. For more info go to the official site @

Initially my review posted on the site but alas, that site is no more, so in the interest of my audience, enjoy! Keep reading Dan's Movie Report for more info, and exclusives! Kelly can also of course be seen on Arrow as China White, X Men as Deathstrike. and of course the action show Martial Law! THE TOURNAMENT is full of action, and crazy!

Languishing in development and production hell for what seems to be an eternity, Scott Mann's film THE TOURNAMENT finally gets a proper DVD release Oct 20th. The "combat death game" genre has been inundated with several films throughout the years such as BATTLE ROYAL, BLOODSPORT and THE ULTIMATE GAME. THE TOURNAMENT makes its mark by delivering a knockout punch with over the top action and enough plot twists to keep the viewer interested.

The story opens seven years ago with Ving Rhames character in a final bloodbath in a sordid meat packing company with two other assassins vying for the title of "World's Greatest Assassin". The scene is ultra sadistic, chaotic and bullets are flying like candy from an out of control mechanical Pez dispenser. As soon as Ving wins the battle, the environment rapidly shifts forward to the present day and the next tournament begins.

The present day battle, taking place in England, centers on 30 contestants all vying for a 10 million dollar prize and a chance to be hailed as the "World's Greatest Assassin". Each of the contestants is fitted with a two way tracking device which not only allows them to be seen by the game's ringleader, but also to be tracked by each other, on a blackberry type gadget. There are street cams, sat cams which are logged in with real time feeds to record the action for high stakes gamblers relaxing comfortably in front of jumbo screens surveying this game of death.

Each one of the devices contains a personal explosive as in the movie FORTRESS. The devises are heat sensitive and the tracking lights go out when either removed or the person expires. This is never fully explained, nor is it consistent. This fact is a major incongruity and contradiction, while also rather confusing. The relative ease as to which one of the contestants removes their device is bizarre. Probably the 10 million dollar prize would force people to want to stay in the game?

THE TOURNAMENT is a "story on the fly" auctioneer. The audience learns on the go about the characters, their faults, past history, and special skills while the action is occurring. There are several twists as the action unfolds and to divulge more about them would deter from the enjoyment of the fast paced, diversified story, which includes an unwilling participant who happens to be a priest. Revealing anything about him or why he is involved would deter from a plot complication which occurs quite early in the film.

Kelly Hu from "X-Men 2" and Martial Law plays a Chinese assassin named Lai Lai Zen with a strong set of hand to hand combat skills, combined with lightning fast reflexes. She has several interesting fights in the film. The filming style used when she is involved is like the Jason Bourne series, close up in your face action. The edits are sometimes a bit quick. This slightly deters from the action, but keeps the viewer engaged. The stunt martial duties are expertly performed by 3rd degree black belt Tea Kwon Do instructor, stuntwoman Kimberly Chiang. Ms Chiang recently completed a stint as fight coordinator on THE 100! For more information on her blast your browsers to my exclusive interview, which includes photo from THE TOURNAMENT!

Kelly Hu has astonishing onscreen presence in THE TOURNAMENT especially as her character is drugged to implant the chip. She has to go through a wide variety of emotions throughout the film and commands the screen with her intensity and fortitude. A lead part such as this might catapult her back into the action realm.
Ving Rhames plays Joshua Harlow the past winner of the contest and a grieving husband. The story unfolds revealing find out his wife was murdered by one of the contestants. Usually relegated to big scary guy in his films, Rhames plays the role with passion and perhaps delivers one of his most dominant performances in his career.

This movie is so unbelievably violent and the pace is astonishingly frantic almost in the style of SHOOT `EM UP. THE TOURNAMENT also contains a variety of elements to offend everyone. Not for the faint at heart, this movie includes nudity and violence in the same scene, as a strip club becomes a warzone. One of the characters, playing up his crazy cowboy mentality, kills people and dare I say an animal not even in the game just for fun. If these facts are bothersome by all means stay away, the audience has been warned.

The twelve million dollar budget was used to full effect with hand to hand combat, knife fights, gunfights, and a battle on a Double Decker bus! The action is nonstop for 90 straight minutes. Oddly there is a bizarre montage in the middle with the slowest music possible, bullets and bodies are flying. Perhaps this is some sort of an attempt of a dichotomous allegory or maybe simply budget or time constraints.
Watch also for talented and in this film crazy Rachel Grant as Lina Sofia! Rachel played 'Peaceful' in DIE ANOTHER DAY, but she is not so peaceful here! Win an autograph of Rachel on my site! Go to

Even with the incongruities, distractions, rather bad box art, and plot holes this is an unyielding, forceful, and memorable action film. THE TOURNAMENT features several blink and you miss it sequences and is worth repeat watching and should have had a theatrical run. The recommendation is a strong rent even a buy, especially if you liked SHOOT `EM UP or BATTLE ROYAL.
Watch for more on Kelly Hu coming in 2016, on your home for exclusives Dan's Movie Report!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Natassia Malthe Interview! '4Got10' (C) 2015 Dan's Movie Report Exclusive!

Greetings valued readers, time for another interview on your home for exclusives, Dan's Movie Report! Natassia Malthe's diverse career in the film world has taken several twists and turns. From playing Typhoid in the original 'Elektra', to Brynna in 'Vikingdom' , she has made her mark in action, and drama. Fast forward to 2015, Natassia brings passion, forcefulness, and verve to her latest character Christine, in '4Got10'. She plays a bad girl in this film and is brutally honest in her interview. Grab a cup of tea, while Ms Malthe, drops some knowledge....3-2-1. Go! Incidentally, if you have not read her two other interviews on Dan's Movie Report, kindly check those out as well!

2012 interview @

'Vikingdom'  interview @

How did you get the part of Christine in '4Got10'?

I got the part through my friend Michael Pare. I have done many movies with already. He vouched for me. Thank you Michael! I really appreciate it when actors support other actors, especially in such a self centered driven business.

Yes, it is always important to support others, that is cool, it is good at times to skip the arduous audition process. What attracted you to the script?

It felt like a gritty film that I could have fun with, which I did. The characters in '4Got10' seemed fun to play, and I had never done a character such as Christine before.

Yeah I noticed that your character haa a cunning, devious side, and very likable, hahaha. In addition, I noticed very cool indie people worked on the film, did you have a chance to chat with Dolph or Danny Trejo during the production?

I spoke a lot to Dolph because we have worked together before and laughed about our last experience together. We were both going through endings in relationships and we both looked older in our last film because of the personal stress we both had . I did terrible on that film and my acting was the worst . I was experimenting on something that did not work. Obviously, my break up at the time did not help my judgment of character.

I met Danny in a Mexican restaurant before shooting right by set. I was too shy to say hello and introduce myself, right then, but later that day I did. It was kind of dorky but I asked him for a picture of him and I and then forgot to get one . He was very nice.

I think you are a natural in films with the two of them. Any unusual stories on the set of 4Got10?

I brought my old boyfriend John Foo on set, and they gave him a job on the spot, right before he booked the new show Rush Hour. He was straight off the boat from Thailand broke so it gave him some pocket money while he was testing for Rush Hour. Obviously, John won't be in that position again. We were all very happy when he booked Jackie Chan's character in the new show.

Another story: This was my first movie as a mother. I had recently gave birth to my son William, and I was calling babysitters on my minutes off camera, stressed out of my mind. I barely had sleep while filming the movie and I think I felt pretty off with my body. I was very sick the day of the sex scene. I had food poisoning, great timing...

Wow, now that is a crazy story, and proves that you have to put aside issues, when the camera rolls.. How to be romantic, when doubling over in pain, Natassia, that was a great effort. Shifting gears a three part question, How much input did you have on your character? Were the director and producer open to your take on Christine? What did you think of your character, anything you would change?

I had a lot of input because a lot of it was improvised. I really like to do that. You don't have to feel restricted by text that way . The director Timothy was very helpful too. I really liked my character, if I would change something it would probably be my hair and make up and perhaps the out fits I chose to wear.. maybe it would've been even more fun if i played even more bratty. Bratty is funny to play.

You make a great brat! Natassia, I must ask, some more sexy scenes in '4Got10', is the prep any different than the salacious stuff in an Uwe film or, just go and get it over with? Do you prepare differently with each actor on each film?

I did not prepare for that scene. I was too busy worrying about food poisoning. I was however less worried about the scene then Uwe's sex scene in 'Bloodrayne: The Third Reich''. In that film I did the sex scene Uwe Boll made me do without my desire to do it, I called my agent, but he was sleeping on the other side of the world . I held up production freaking out, and I had a screaming match with Uwe about it. It got so tense on set. I caved in and eventually did it, as I was holding up production and could get sued. I don't know, but I wasn't happy about that scene.

Thanks for giving me the honesty, respect, let us end this interview on a positive note, What is next in the movie realm for Natassia, new films or projects?

My next movie is Four Towers I think. We are waiting for all the schedules to click. I am in Australia right now so auditioning is a little scarce.. I will know more about what to do with my career from Australia when I get better acquainted with the scene here...

Natassia, I can always count on you to be straight forwad and honest For my Dan's Movie Report readers, watch for more on Natassia, as each production she works on a new interview will appear!

Thanks Dan always good to hear from you:)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Roy Horan and daughter Celina Jade Share Insightful Wisdom Through 'Innovea' (New Videos!)

 Video! @

Greetings Dan's Movie Report readers, after interviewing Celina Jade in 2014, I changed my website to all exclusive. I have for the past 30 years been inspired by her father Roy Horan and his wisdom which transcends mere film and is an inspiration to life beyond mere existing, His new venture 'Innovea" seeks to form enlightenment and out of the box thinking. Please check out the new FB page @ The Hong Kong based company looks to partner with firms to engage, and energize new thoughts and ideas. As an independent writer, I am looking for new ideas, new ways to approach Dan's Movie Report.

For more on Celina Jade, please check out her exclusive interview on Dan's Movie Report @