Saturday, October 10, 2020

Happy Birthdead – (2020) Short – Movie Review (Exclusive) - © 2020 Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod

Above Poster for Happy Birthdead A Dom Fred Film (C) 2020

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. I was asked and was able to remotely judge the IDTV Action Fest for 2020. Due to the pandemic, the films were screened virtually. My favorite short film of the lot was the French entry from the amazing Dom Fred entitled Happy Birthdead. The four minute blast got straight to the point and right into the action. The premise is a man is walking up to what looks like to be a small apartment or hotel, he is ominous and carrying a briefcase. The somber tone pas palpable as he was shot from behind.

Happy Birthdead is a sardonic yet powerful tale of mistaken identity and the dangers of strangers. Once entering the room the man sets the briefcase down and. Let me just say this hell erupts in the form of a very petite very angry lady. Actress Line Phi' is just damn amazing. The four minute film serves as a demo for her wide range of acting: scared, disappointing, angry, frustrated and finally remorseful. Dom Fred and his incredible team craft a masterpiece with minimal budget yet can serve as reminder to film makers to always create.

Everything about Happy Birthdead is great. The fact the film is not one of those staged fight short films where people kind of wait look menacing then begin. Words are exchanged in French, yep kiddies this is a French film,! OUI! Suddenly, instead of waiting to be attacked Line PHÉ - Actress decides to take matters in her own hands and jump on the back of her attacker, it is a dirty fight, but amazingly Dom Fred has essentially mastered the art of fighting without breaking things, I am sure this is part budgetary part the fact that since this is the home of the young lady she does not want to break the expensive TV or worse disturb the neighbors, hah!!! I am sure if Line wanted to disturb the neighbors she could! 

Above: Line PHÉ - Actress decides to attack first, the word of the day is OUCH! (C) 2020 Dom Fred Film - Dan's Movie Report screen capture and edit.

This is an action film infused with raw fighting, the most realistic way of small vs big. As amazing as polished fighting is, beautiful to watch, Dom Fred has a “dirty crisp” close fighting idea and the small yet nimble actress has the acting and flexibility to pull off the moves.

The entire cast and crew deserves credit: Text translated from YouTube

Unexpectedly, a woman receives a visit from a strange stranger on her birthday ...

A short film by Dom Fred, Michel Krzywanski and Jérémy Margallé

Screenplay: Jérémy Margallé
Framing: Krzywan Mick Michel Krzywanski
Editing: Michel Krzywanski and Dom Fred
Sound: Dom Fred and Michel Krzywanski
Choreography ? Jérémy Margallé
Stunt adjuster: DOM FRED FILM
Makeup ? Ohmyblush Bel
Plateau Photographer: Mervyn Be

Actors / Stuntmen: Jeremy Margallé Pro, Line Phé, Sophie D and Cookie le Chat ?

The film is excellent and was my recommendation as well and won best fight sequence at the 2020 IDTV Action Fest Film Fest. The entire film is online on YouTube @

Overall Happy Birthdead is one of the best short films in 2020 and rates a solid 8.5 out of 10. I sincerely hope that this extremely creative and talented team is given the opportunity by some intrepid and daring producer to produce a feature film with this element, or even choreograph an element of a feature!

Please subscribe and check out Dom Fred Films YouTube @

For Line PHÉ - Actress here is her latest Demo in French, she does speak English and Chinese as well, and is always looking for quality projects:

YouTube:  YouTube Channel


For the amazing Actor Jeremy, please check out his Official Website @

IDTV Action Fest:

Watch for more in 2021 From Dan's Movie Report, I am ready! Including interviews with Line and Dom!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Stunt and Action Community Call To Action- End The Practice of “Wigging” and Paint 'Downs' For Performers! © 2020 Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod


Above Photo: SAG-AFTRA Headquarters Photo Credit to Variety

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and Action readers. Actress and stunt professional Crystal Santos and I have in the past had discussions about the practice about hiring white stunt professionals for Latino and African-American people, and making them appear racially diverse. Sadly Crystal says still in late 2020 she tells me that this proactive is still going on.

In my opinion, with the wealth of performers available worldwide, there is no shortage of people willing and ready to travel to hone their craft. Yes this is a hard time for performers in all forms of entertainment, yet by not hiring diverse, competent talent in the long run the industry will suffer. Film and TV are global with the power of streaming services, why can't the stunt people and even the crew be as diverse as the global audience that consumes the programming. SAG-AFTRA and Producers all over the world need to come to a working agreement to end this practice.

I have had the opportunity to interview several culturally diverse stunt women in my writing career: Angela Meryl, Ming Qiu, Tamiko Brownlee, Yessenia Cossio, and of course writing about Crystal and her thoughts. Just because a person is of a different race, creed, or background does not mean they wont work just as hard as their white counterparts. All they want is to be given the opportunity to work and or audition for the casting.

Crystal Santos sent me a press release detailing several performers who have witnessed this racially bias and unattractive situation and have actively written letters to the SAG-AFTRA Union

Crystal States the following in her lengthy letter:

It is my hope that our union will meet the expanded competitive needs of the entertainment industry’s goals for diversity and inclusion; and that we as performers will have our union’s solid support to implement diversity and inclusion throughout the industry and within our union."

" It can be stated, that our Union and the Studios and Producers have let us down, they have never truly protected and provided equal opportunity for performers of color. They simply rebranded and relabeled BlackFace, BrownFace, RedFace, YellowFace with the term paintdowns. As long as this word paintdowns remains in our SAG-AFTRA and Entertainement industry language giving the illusion of authorizing the entertainment industry the use of paintdowns, we stunt performers of color will never receive equal opportunity. This problem bleeds into every sector of the union affecting actors, background, stand-ins etc. Paintdowns need to stop if we are really ever going to achieve equality."


There are two excellent articles written on the subject by Variety and Deadline written on the subject rather than paraphrasing please refer to the links below.


The Deadline article has statements about this practice:

Recently SAG-AFTRA has issued a statement on the matter, hopefully this will be the start of more inclusion measures on into 2021 and beyond

There is a petition to sign, but of also importance is to support by paying to watch films and shows that celebrate diversity.

As a final comment, I challenge all my other writers in the action film genre to write and speak about this to people you know in the business, this will also work to change the narrative on this practice.

An online petition has begun for a call to action:

I urge all of my readers to sign the petition and share on your own personal pages.

The following SAG-AFTRA members have signed this historical Call to Action for Diversity and Inclusion in Stunts:

Crystal Santos (LA), Jwaundace Candece (Atlanta), LaFaye Baker (LA), Geo Corvera (LA), Melissa Tracy (LA), John Kreng (LA), Janeshia Adams-Ginyard (LA), Dino Dos Santos (Atlanta), Erik Betts (LA), April Weeden (LA),Anita Clay (LA), Diana Lee Inosanto (LA), Ron Balicki (LA), Robert Samuels (NY),Robert Redfeather (LA), Laura Cordova (LA), Edwin Garcia (LA),Shawn Balentine(LA), Manny Ayala (NY), Keisha Tucker (LA), Mikal Kartvedt(LA),Wayne King Jr.(LA), Henry Priest (LA), Demetrius Angelo(NY), Jason Crow (LA), Carrie AnnieBernans (LA), Hymnson Chan (LA), Evan Copage (LA), C.C. Taylor (LA), ArnoldChon (Atlanta), Darlene Ava Williams(Miami), Kathy Jarvis (LA) ONE VOICE FOR CHANGE!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Acting Spotlight: Leigh Barwell - A Talent On The Rise! © 2020 Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod


Above: photo Credit: Maria Gold


Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and readers, I had the opportunity to view English Dogs in Bangkok prior to its USA release November 3rd. The film is full of action and intrigue, and stars Byron Gibson and Ron Smoorenburg among other action stars! Leigh Barwell stars as Tracey in the film, and is a lady who I have not had the pleasure of an interview or spotlighted on my site, Leigh Barwell caught my eye as a complex character in the film and a damn good actress, angry and convincing! I had to find out more.

Above: English Dogs Behind the scenes- Image Credit: Brent Zillwood


According to Byron Gibson, Leigh impressed him so much, that she will be co-starring with him in Bet Dead Casino and possibly a second English dogs.

Above: Leigh in Bet Dead Casino

I always strive to spotlight people who have skill in multiple areas. The London based Leigh checks the boxes of being an actress, dancer, and choreographer. Training professionally in New York and London with Jack Waltzer. Her training shows, the thing that benefits many in acting is the nuanced expressions that more often than not do not naturally occur.

Above: Leigh in The Singapore Grip  (C) 2020 ITV

Leigh has done several films in her career, along with TV shows including The Singapore Grip.

Leigh has the flair and style that will fit right in in any production, she is personable, respectful and talented, willing to work hard at her craft to ease production.


Watch for an interview later in 2020, for English Dogs in Bangkok, plus planning to ask her about upcoming and past projects, including Kate, a Netflix project she is in along with Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Woody Harrelson. Check out this plot “A female assassin has 24 hours to get vengeance on her murderer before she dies. “ Leigh has many projects coming out, and I look forward to discuss them!  Also of note though the film was ultimately cancelled She had a small part in A Man Will Rise starring Tony Jaa and Dolph Lundgren, check out this sultry pic below showing a more wild side! 

Above: Leigh Barwell in A Man Will Rise

Here is the trailer to English Dogs in Bangkok from Green Apple Distribution, please adjust your browsers to desktop mode!



In the meantime, please like and follow Leigh on her official pages:




2020 Acting Reel:

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Secret Society of Second Born Royals - Movie Review (C) 2020 Dan's Movie Report - Danny Templegod


Above Image copyright 2020 Disney+, used for promotional purposes only.

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and readers. Disney+ has begun to really up their content, there I said it. With all of the Marvel Products and Star Wars stories under their belt, it is nice to see an original movie, not directly related to those properties on the service. Secret Society pf the Second Born Royals creates a new realm, yet burrows from many old themes. Disney probably is aiming this film at more of the 11 to 15 year old market.

For the purposes of the review I will refer to the film as Second Born Royals, in fact at one point in the film a character makes a joke about the name being too long hah. Subtle humor yet dealing with very serious issues as in one character is contemplating suicide.

Essentially what we have here is a coming of age story, with superpowers, think X-Men: First Class, yet the back story is slightly different, they are already outcasts in their families because they caused harm to others with powers they did not know they had. One character caused a fire to kill many people in the mine where he and his father worked. Some others have their powers revealed later in the film.

All of the subjects in the institution go through constant monitoring, and are seemingly tried to be reintegrated into society, yet something sinister is going on in the big picture. Second Born Royals assumes there are 'good mutants' already living in the world and these kids need their skills honed.

Many cultures are explored, which thankfully is the norm in 2020. A particular Native American character has nightmares and psyonic energy and visions of many things from powerful storms to a giant bear, no spoilers it all ties together in the end.

No secret here, the main reason I watched this one was Elodie Yung, she takes on the motherly role of queen, and (Spoiler) the leader of The Secret Society of Second Born Royals! After her brutal take as Elektra, Elodie, who is a new mom herself steps into a leadership and mentor ship role. I enjoyed her character, just wish more screen time was given as a build up to her reveal as the leader, Queen Cathrine.


Above: Elodie Yung, gets ready to reveal her power! BACK OFF! Image (C) 2020 Disney+ used for promotional purposes only

I was wondering if Second Born Royals would work better as a 8 episode series, thus allowing more explanation and backstory. Disney movies, by their nature are inherently short for the most part, at 90 minutes Second Born Royals rushes through the characters back story, yes the original X-Men film 21 years ago is short, but we saw a pretty solid back story of Magneto and Rogue, plus being that they are already comics, people that read the comics know the characters. Director Anna Mastro who also serves as one of the Executive Producers discusses the possibility of sequels with Collider @

On to the action, Second Born Royals has a style melding mental powers and physical fighting, one character has a super-powered arm and wields it not unlike Psylocke of the X-Men. It is PG rated so nothing too crazy, but some pretty cool stunts. Again these are kids just learning their power, yet it does get more aggressive towards the end. The amazing Matt Mullins is one of the stunt coordinators, his work is legendary, having coordinated The Defenders series and season 2 of Luke Cage. The ultra talented Alicia Turner, who has worked on various projects ranging from the new Nancy Drew show, back to Nikita brings a wealth of knowledge to the young stars, building up their confidence in action! Again #StandupforStunts! Kudos and credit to Variety for their article on the stunts! Nice to see stunt professionals having an article in a well read and respected magazine!

The lighting, camera work, sets and CGI are all very good and up to Disney standards. The budget is not 200 mil so expect a slightly lower tier, would have been nice to see this on a theater screen. The music fits the movie, ramping up the tension and anxiety towards the end.

Is the story original, not really which may be a bit off putting, as it burrows several elements from many other films and shows, yet intrinsically the film has a quality that is enjoyable. Now many services are creating their own properties like Amazon's The Boys and Netflix'a Umbrella Academy which are both squarely aimed at adults, Disney at least in the USA seems to adhere to children first policy yet overseas has dipped their hand at releasing or distributing R rated content. That is their niche, the happiest place on Earth, in Second Born Royals, many things are not so happy haha!

Even though I wanted more back story and length, the acting from the young stars is pretty good and kind of hope for a second film. Elodie needs her moment to get into the action, not just look amazing in sexy and regal outfits giving sage advice! Secret Society of Second Born Royals rates a 7 out of 10.

Secret Society of Second Born Royals is now streaming on Disney+ at no additional charge.