Film School Even For The Disadvantaged

One of my favorite things about the world of film is its availability to just about anyone. There are movies to entertain anyone, from small children to adults of all kinds. Film genres embrace horror, romance, comedy, drama, and many combinations of these. Whether you enjoy cutting edge drama, classic films, or a gentle romance, you can find a film to enjoy.

Almost anyone can get involved in the world of film, too. As long as you have the passion, the talent, and the work ethic, you can find a job in the film world. Obviously, acting roles are reserved for those who possess a certain in born talent for adopting fictional roles, but there are many other jobs out there. Stage hands, producers, directors, writers, prop assistants, makeup artists, cameramen, and more can be filled by people of all stripes who receive the right training and put in enough hard work.

The problem is that there are, at times, obstacles that prevent people who dream of entering the film world from receiving the training they need to excel in their chosen role. One of the most common of these obstacles is finances. For instance, if someone is unable to pay for cosmetology school, they will never be able to become a makeup artist for the next feature film. Or, if someone cannot afford to attend film school, they can never pursue a career in film production.

Single mothers, more than many other groups of people, face the financial pressures that make it difficult to pursue any career dream, including the dream of participating in the film world. These women must provide for their families without the support of another person who can contribute emotionally, physically, or financially to the operation of the household. Often, they are forced to take whatever job they can find just to make sure they can feed and clothe their children.

This is why financial assistance for single mothers, and scholarships for single moms, is so vitally important. In addition to help such as welfare, food stamps, or WIC, these single mothers often need financial assistance and scholarships that will help them to go to school to learn new skills and pursue jobs that will help them to support their families in a career that they enjoy.

This point was driven home to me when I met a woman named Jeanine while I was at film school. When she divorced from her husband, she had to move from being a stay at home mom to a working mother, and was only able to find a minimum wage job. Her move out of poverty only occurred five years later when she received a scholarship to attend film school, where she was preparing herself for a career making movies.
In my opinion, anyone, including single mothers, who has a passion and vision for film should be allowed to pursue their dreams. This is why I support and advocate for any program that offers the kind of assistance women need to make it possible for them to pursue their film dreams.

Depression’s Toll: Robin Williams’ Suicide

Obviously, I love film. I have spent the past decade studying, practicing, thinking about, and writing about film. Through the years, however, I have noticed that the film world is a microcosm for many of the troubles that plague the world in general. It seems as if the film world takes these problems and amplifies them so we can see, through the struggles of our favorite actors and actresses, how many other, non-famous people, struggle as well.

When Robin Williams took his own life in August, I was reminded yet again that depression is one of these struggles.  Consider, for instance, actors and actresses like Heath Ledger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Gwyneth Paltrow, who all battled depression at one time or another.  Robin Williams was only the latest, and perhaps most prominent, in a long line of men and women who have lost the battle against the darkness of depression.

Robin Williams’ struggle with depression was a long one that he endured since at least the 1970s and 80s. The darkness that led him to take his life may have been deepened by his diagnosis of Parkinson’s, but had existed at least since the death of a close friend in the 1970s.  It made itself known at other points in his life and film career, and resulted in a number of addictions in the 1970s and 1980s.

When I look at Robin Williams’ life and struggle with depression, I also see the connection that so often exists between depression and struggles with addiction.


I’ve written previously on this blog about the frequency with which actors and actresses seem to fall prey to addictions, like marijuana addiction, other drug addictions, or addictions to alcohol. The reasons that many film stars face addictions are varied. What I did not touch on was how often these addictions become intertwined with the presence of depression in their lives.

Robin Williams faced addiction throughout his life. These addictions included struggles with alcoholism and cocaine addiction.  In order to try to overcome his attachment to these substances, he entered rehab several times, most recently in 2014 for help with alcoholism. It is impossible for us to know exactly how his depression and addiction were linked, but it is clear that the struggles were powerful and deep and that his suicide was ultimately a tragic result of being unable to overcome these battles.

When faced with the darkness of depression, sometime it is easier for people to fall into addiction because that addiction can mask the pain that depression brings. It is also possible that addictions give rise to depression. Regardless, we can see through Robin Williams’ life and death that the link between the two is strong, and that although it can be easy to judge others because of their struggles with addiction and depression, we should remember that they are human beings, facing struggles that, unless we have experienced them ourselves, we can never truly understand.

Jurassic Park on Location: Understanding and Enjoying the Hawaiian Backdrop


Jurassic Park is a truly classic sci-fi movie. Who can forget the stunning natural views and that terrifying T. Rex? The heart and soul of this movie, however, comes from its stunning, mystical scenery. Set primarily on the Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Niihau, Maui, and Kaua’i, the filming locations serve as the perfect backdrop for the action packed film.

The scenery, of course, served as a compelling reason for Stephen Spielberg and crew to use the islands as film locations. Hawaii’s breathtaking waterfalls and lush vegetation are an ideal setting for a movie about dinosaurs. After all, we all think of dinosaurs roaming a wild, uninhabited rainforest-like environment, and Hawaii provides just such a location.

Interestingly enough, however, the locations were not only chosen for the views, and were not the setting of the events in the movie. If that were the case, the movie would have been filmed in Costa Rica, where the plot supposedly took place. Instead, the Hawaiian islands were chosen because they offered a more stable, and accessible, location for filming.

In addition, they provided familiarity for Stephen Spielberg, who had worked there in the past and who was therefore familiar with the terrain and filming challenges. The island of Oahu served as a filming location for some scenes because of one of these filming challenges: A tropical storm that made filming on the original location of Kaua’i impossible. In fact, the only truly on location spot for the entire movie was Red Rock Canyon in Montana, where some dig scenes were supposed to have taken place in the movie.

Fortunately for fans of Jurassic Park, you can still visit the filming locations in Hawaii. These locations are truly stunning, with thriving vegetation, breathtaking mountains, and gorgeous trees, and beautiful waterfalls.  When visiting these sites, therefore, plan to have your breath taken away by unmatched beauty, and definitely bring your camera. What you saw in the movie was only a taste of the raw beauty you will encounter when visiting these filming locations in person.

Try not to get your hopes up too high, however, about actually seeing remnants of the film. In addition to a decided lack of dinosaurs, you will also not see much of the film sets left. For instance, the entry gates in the movie are only tall metal poles now, and the helicopter landing area isn’t even available for viewing except by plane.

While you can research your favorite scenes and arrange your own stops at their filming locations, you may find it easier, and more fun, to take a movie tour instead. These tours cover major filming sites not only for Jurassic Park, but also for many other movies. Whatever you decide, however, just make sure you take the time to really enjoy standing in the same spots that you have seen in the movie. Imagine yourself in the middle of a park full of dinosaurs, facing down that crazy Tyrannosaurus Rex, or participating in any of your favorite scenes. The movie will undoubtedly become more alive to you as you stand in the places where it was created and give you an even deeper appreciation for a film you already love.

Horror Movies should be more like Creepypastas

I love horror movies. I feel like horror movies combine the best and worst of film making – the best thing about movies is how much they can affect you emotionally, and horror movies provide that in spades. The worst thing about movies is that there are so many cheap ways to provoke a reaction in the audience – a reaction that isn’t earned. Horror films are constantly guilty of this.

The thing is, even the worst horror films can be scary in parts. Human beings are programmed by evolution to react with fear in certain situations. Surprise a person with a sudden loud noise or sudden movement, and it’s in their DNA to respond with fear – that’s why we have the term ‘Fight-or-flight’. This type of fear is cheap, and the horror films that use jump scares are often complete trash from a filmmaking perspective.
The very best horror movies are those that linger with you for days afterwards – the ones that make you think. If a movie can ‘incept’ itself into your head – that’s when I think a horror movie has been successful. To me, it’s easy to get people scared in the cinema. The difference between a run-of-the-mill horror film and a good horror film is that the good horror film keeps you up at night, or makes you leave the lights on when you go to bed.

There have only been a handful of half decent horror films in the past couple of years. One movie that garnered a lot of attention was The Babadook – and while I enjoyed that film, I honestly didn’t think it was that scary.

I think Hollywood should draw inspiration from the hugely popular ‘creepypastas’ that are floating around the internet these days. For those of you who don’t know, a creepypasta is basically a viral horror short story. They get started on places like 4chan or reddit, and then they the successful ones tend to spread rapidly and within a couple of months everybody who uses the internet knows about the story. Ever heard of slender man? That was originally a creepypasta.

The thing that these stories do really well is they’re unsettling. It’s not really possible to produce cheap jump-scares in the written form, so you actually have to craft a genuinely creepy and sinister narrative. This is probably how a lot of scary urban legends got started as well – things like the Bloody Mary game or the idea of a Oujia Board – these were essentially stories that went viral pre-internet.

I’m not saying that Hollywood should just take these stories and make movies out of them – I’m suggesting that the film industry should draw inspiration from the tone and narrative style of these kinds of viral horror short stories. Forget the cheap thrills – horror films should strike at the core of a person, and linger in their thoughts for at least a couple of nights afterwards.

Anyways, that’s all from me. If you want to read a whole bunch of these creepypastas, go to reddit’s no sleep subreddit. If you want to read more about urban legends, one of my favorite horror sites, Play With Death, recently did a rundown of the 10 scariest urban legends. They also have reasonably good reviews of horror films/video games (and books, but I don’t really read horror books).

A Case for the Black Widow

There has been a lot of discussion about The Ghost in the Shell since it was announced that Scarlett Johanssen would star in the cult anime classic. There are those who say that with her portrayal of action heroes in the movies Iron Man and The Avengers (where she played the Black Widow), and in the 2014 hit Lucy, that she is a good fit for the role of the Major. The other camp, however disagree with the choice because it should go to someone who is Japanese, of Japanese descent, or at the very least, Asian. Let’s leave the discussion right there. There are other things, which are more important, like why Marvel should make a Black Widow movie.

This was the big question ever since Marvel released their lineup of movies, which would be in production within the next six years. DC/Warner had also released their own lineup of superhero movies for the next six years. Fox and Sony has also followed suit and released their own respective calendars. Sadly, there is no solo vehicle for Black Widow even if it takes a lot of lawyers like those from

The main point of contention against these movies is that there is not enough solo movies about women superheroes. There is the Wonder Woman movie from DC/Warner, and Marvel will have Captain Marvel, and that is it. There is not going to be a Wasp, Storm, Canary, Batgirl, or Supergirl movie. At least, there won’t be in the foreseeable future. The calendars fielded by the studios are full, and with the way movies are made, it would take a miracle to shoehorn another female-lead movie before 2025.

The problem with Black Widow is her back story. She does not have a likeable back story, being a spy. However, this also happens to be the strength of the role. A strong woman, who is intelligent, and unafraid should work. The Marvel Universe, as set forth by Stan Lee, is full of “real” people. These are flawed superheroes, full of angst, insecurities, and a lot of good intentions with bad results. In most storylines, it is the antagonist who presents the politically correct point of view. This character is a dream come true for lawyers like

For the Black Widow, the first question is: Why trust her? Fan boys would remember her betrayal of other superheroes in The Ultimate Avengers. This is ingrained in the character of the role. From the point of view of marketing, the Black Widow is a character at the right place at the right time. The first solo comics title for Black Widow appeared in 2014.

On the flipside of marketing, Scarlett Johanssen has shown that she can carry a movie, even with half a story. Of course, it was a Luc Besson story, and some of the logic was discarded along the wayside. In which case, the success of the movie can solely be blamed on Scarlett. This is one movie, which has proven that she is a legitimate Hollywood star.
Scarlett is Black Widow. She has proven that she can essay the role. She has also proven that she is a box-office draw. The Black Widow movie with Scarlett is a sure hit but it has to happen soon.

Upcoming Movie: Jurassic World

There’s nothing I love doing more than watching a newly released movie at a state of the art theater with surround sound, comfortable seating and enough refreshments to last the entire movie. There’s also nothing I hate doing more than waiting on an installer to show up at my house! I’ve recently ordered a new managed phone system to complement my growing business. The installer said he would be at my house between 12:00PM – 2:00PM and he showed up at 2:30PM! I was ALMOST late for the movie! I wasn’t thank goodness but it really put me in a rushed mood for the rest of the day.

The movie I had planned all week to see was the new Spielberg directed movie, Jurassic World. The Jurassic World trailer showed us a considerable amount of footage, but one thing we didn’t get to see was the series’ famous and signature dinosaur, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Following up to the trailer release, the movie’s official website has now been launched, and with the launch comes a first look at the movies T-rex. So why wasn’t it in the trailer? Granted, it kind of looks like a T-rex but it’s not confirmed. And what we can see is just a pair of CG renders of the dinosaur. I guess that’s better than nothing at all! Fortunate for Jurassic World fans, director Mr. Colin Trevorrow has provided a little segment of commentary on the trailer. He can be heard explaining a few various points which will certainly be of interest to fans of the series and those who have questions about the new movie. Let’s just hope this movie isn’t going to be full of all the typical cliches of the original. Escaped dinosaurs, power shortages, crippling 4×4 scenes and pure destruction. Am I asking too much?

Via Empire, I have some comments straight from director Colin Trevorrow himself, about the trailer release and the movie.

The Gyrosphere

Where on earth did the gyrosphere concept come from? “Steven Spielberg is a huge fan of theme park rides”, Trevorrow explained. “He wanted to develop a way for visitors to get up close with the dinosaurs, to make it a self-driving method of transport, which is also a free roaming experience. The gyrosphere loads on a track similar to the old vehicles in the series, but once you’re out in the wild, you can actually navigate around the valley. I can’t see it going wrong.”

Trevorrow’s last line is, (if you’ve seen the trailer will know), is meant to be sarcasm.

The Aquatic Feeding

For those who have seen the trailer will have seen the scene above as a sneaky nod to Jaws. But unfortunately that was not the point, it was certainly not intended in that way.
The concept came out in one of Trevorrow’s first meetings with Spielberg. Trevorrow’s didn’t know if Steven of Frank Marshall had come up with an underwater reptile, so Trevorrow pitched the mosasaurus and rolled with the idea.He thought it would be impressive if the movie had this large animal and the dinosaur park used one of our most feared modern predators (great white shark) as food.

Genetically-Modified Dinosaur

Maybe the element of the new movie trailer that generated the most commentary is the scene that highlights a genetically-modified dinosaur, that will be a significant part of the movie. Public reactions have span from “did they even see the first movie?” to “why don’t they use other cool dinosaurs?”.

Trevorrow began by stating that there is certainly no shortage of incredible dinosaurs. The producers could have populated the entire story with a variety of new species that haven’t yet been featured in any of the movies. But this new concept is what gave a reason to tell another story. The Jurassic World producers are always craving the next big thing. The focus groups for the movie wanted something bigger than the favourable T-Rex. And that’s what they got . However this genetic dinosaur isn’t the only danger in the movie, it’s (she’s) far from it.

Riding With Raptors

The most breathtaking footage from the movie trailer sees Chris Pratt’s character roaming through the leafy jungle on a motorcycle, while being flanked by velociraptors. They all seem to be working together. As the raptors are not seen attacking Pratt, it makes us question what’s going on there?

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead Movie Review

Joe Cross came from Australia and was a very sick man, taking medications for his illnesses and sicknesses for nearly 9 years. He made the decision to handle this problem and focus on his health. He started off 100 pounds overweight and was able to reach his weight loss goals and become totally healthy without having to depend on the medications to keep him alive.

He had tried juicing before but didn’t stick with it. He stayed in and around NY for the first 30 days and then the last 30 days he traveled across America. While traveling across the US he stopped at various fruit and veggie stores and then would juice in the back of his car. He visited numerous locations and tried his hardest to promote his adventure to others. As an example, he juiced on Thanksgiving at a fruit and veggie stand in Arkansas, sharing his new-found knowledge of juicing.

While traveling across the US he found another man at a truck stop who suffered from the same illness as he had. This was the first time he had ever met anyone who had the same health issue as him. Joes offered his help and became determined to help his friend he met at a truck stop through his difficulties. He helped his friend wean off the medications and lose weight through juicing.

The film is 1hr and 36min in duration. Joe Cross has garnered much attention (replete with tweets and facebook posts) from people who have started juice fasting thanks to his documentary. Many of his followers post pictures of when they were obese saying that Joe inspired them to become healthier. Further, some claim to be free from everything that held them back before. It gives people hope that there is a solution to their problem of obesity that they have been suffering from for such a long time. He made this film in an effort to help others lead a healthier life style. Whether or not you need to lose weight, the film does make some good points and it worth watching.

The film is very biased towards the Breville Juicer and since the release of the film there has been an increase in the number of Breville juicers being sold. Joe landed a deal with the company and it makes one wonder if he had that planned at the outset of the film. Otherwise, he might have gone with a superior juicer, such as a masticating juicer, which retains more nutrients than the Breville which is considered cut-rate by the big names in juicing.

This film gives for a great story and chronology of Joe’s mission to get his health and survival back. It’s like you’re traveling along with him in the journey across America in the road trip. He has a way of being able to include you in the movie even though you’re not physically there with him.

But all in all this is an amazing story and adventure of how Joe overcame his weight problems while also running into and helping a friend he met on his journey through similar circumstances. Now Joe is off his pills and leading a healthy lifestyle. You should watch the film and find out for yourself how Joe overcame his obesity and helped a trucker who weighed 429 pounds get back in shape and on his own journey to get off his meds as well. You will get to travel with Joe as he meets and talks to complete strangers about health and related issues. It’s quite an amazing story and fun to watch. Even if you’re not obese I found that it inspired me to lead a healthier life style even if it means just taking a juice every once in a while.

The films of Renée Zellweger

There’s been a lot of talk in the news recently about whether Renée Zellweger has had plastic surgery. Most plastic surgeons who have been asked about it, seem to think that she has had work done, probably a face lift and a brow lift.It certainly looks to me like she has had plastic surgery done, I wouldn’t have recognised that it was her. She may or may not have had it done because of her problems with rosacea, which is a skin condition similar to acne. But for me her health and skin problems are not something that people should be concentrating on, we should be looking at her films and her acting, and in my opinion she is a really good actress.

I’ve liked Renée ever since she first came to the public’s attention in Jerry Maguire, where she played Tom Cruise’s love interest. However it was for her portrayal of Bridget Jones, the character created in a novel by Helen Fielding in 1996, that she is most famous. A lot of people were sceptical about her being given the role, it was felt she was too thin and too American. However Zellweger proved them all very wrong by firstly gaining a lot of weight (20 pounds) for the role, apparently she ate a lot of doughuts, and secondly by learning to speak with a British accent by having voice coaching lessons. The results were amazing and in Bridget Jones she both looked and sounded perfect. Showing her dedication, she also spent 3 weeks working in a London publishing firm to get fully immersed in the role. It was a great film, really funny, and for me one of the best comedy films ever. Both Hugh Grant and Colin Firth were pretty good in it, but for me it was Renée Zellweger who stole the show. She was rewarded for her great performance with an academy award nomination for best actress.

Her next big role after this was in Chicago in which she played the main character, Roxie Hart, and produced another great performance. The film won the academy award for best picture, although this time Rene didn’t even get a nomination, which seemed a little unfair. However she made up for this in her next film Cold Mountain in 2003 by winning her first academy award as best supporting actress. The following year Renée again gained weight to play Bridget Jones in the sequel The Edge of Reason. Although it was quite an amusing film, and Renée was again very good, sadly the film wasn’t as good as the original, sequels are very rarely any better are they.

In 2006 Renée moved into production for the film Miss Potter, which was all about the novelist Beatrix Potter, she was also in the film. I really enjoyed the film, although I know some people who did not like it too much. In the following few years Renée starred in various other films including Leatherheads, New in Town, My one and Only and Case 39. Following her 2010 film My Own Love Song, she took a five year break from acting. But she has returned with My Whole Truth which is coming out next year. It’s an interesting looking thriller in which she stars alongside Keanu Reeves. I’m hoping that such a great actress continues getting decent roles for many years to come, hopefully all this coverage over her alleged plastic surgery won’t affect her career at all.

Duplicity Film Review: Fast-Paced Thriller or Underwhelming Dud?

While it’s currently Halloween season, the most recent DVD I decided to rent for my Friday-night watch-a-thon wasn’t a scary movie, but instead Duplicity, an spy film with a relatively complex storyline, an injection or romance, and starring two big Hollywood stars. In this review, I’ll give you a glimpse of what’s it’s all about and whether it’s worth a couple of hours of your time.

The story is essentially a fast-paced thriller with at its core a gripping tale of corporate espionage sprinkled with the Hollywood prerequisite of romance. The film stars Clive Owen and Julia Roberts, who are two former spies working in the private sector. They hold a secret that is worth billions of dollars and each is looking to sell the formula to the highest bidder.

The formula is actually a cure to a cosmetic ‘disease’ that afflicts men of all ages: the dreaded male pattern baldness. As someone who’s been personally afflicted by hair loss, Duplicity piqued my interest right from the minute I heard about the premise. What’s really interesting about the film is that it gives the viewer an insight into the murky world of pharmaceuticals and the less-than-moral practices of those at the head of these firms.

The two leading stars have chemistry and their interactions are well acted. Now, I’m not a huge Julia Roberts fan (to say the least), but I made a desperate attempt to not let that skew my judgment of this film. And I’m going to have to be honest: she successfully protected her reputation of being a formidable actress who can master both butt-kicking spy and romantic lead all wrapped into one characters. Bravo!

The thing that really sets the film apart from similar stories/ideas is that they successfully achieve the idea of duplicity throughout. You’re never completely sure what each of them wants and is looking to achieve, nor is the ending predictable. And that’s exactly what the filmmakers want you to be throughout the ride.

So, any negatives? Well, it’s not a classic. It’s the type of film that’s exciting as you wait for the mystery to unfold, but the ending doesn’t quite do it for me. You also never truly care about a single character one way or another – maybe that’s because you’re always guessing who the good guys are. The person you want to cheer for only becomes apparent at the very end of the tale, by which point you’re a bit too far along to truly care.

For those of you expecting a cheesy romantic comedy, Duplicity is definitely not for you. While it has a couple of cringe moments, it’s not anywhere near a production such as The Notebook. Instead, you’re going to get an exciting thriller with a few twists and turns to keep that noggin churning along trying to keep up with what’s happening Tip: don’t watch this with someone who gets confused when watching movies or it’ll be annoying questions galore!

Overall, Duplicity is an enjoyable film that won’t necessarily go into my pile of classic bits of cinema but it’s nevertheless a worthy addition to a lazy Friday night line-up. It’s entertaining, has a good dosage of intrigue, and the cinematography is top notch.

10 Best Archery Movies Of All Time

If archery makes your heart soar, then scenes in cinema that involve archery will be particularly meaningful to you. And although guns and automatic weapons seem to be the weapon of choice in the movies, there are still plenty of film that feature archers and the art of archery. Here’s a list of some favorites.



Robin Hood

. This nobleman-outlaw, skilled beyond measure in accurate shooting of the long bow, has appealed to the imagination for centuries. There are a number of films that depict Robin’s skill with the bow. Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), despite its irreverent approach, still contains some exciting archery scenes, not to mention the silly poster featuring Cary Elwes shooting six arrows at once. Errol Flynn’s classic Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) deserves a look, as does Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (1991), fiery arrow and all.



Hunger Games (2012)

. Katniss’ resourceful and plucky use of the bow to feed and defend her family has helped make archery a sexy sport in the eyes of young people. In the Hunger Games sequence, archery takes on connotations of freedom and national identity.



Avatar (2009)

. The weaponry of the Na’vi people and their skills in its use during the great battle scene against the corrupt earthlings are sure to spark the imagination of anyone who loves archery.



Henry V (1989)

. Kenneth Branagh’s version of Shakespeare’s greatest history plays features some amazing archery sequences during the Battle of Agincourt, where the British longbow is pitted against the French compound.



Lord of the Rings (2001-2003):

Lovers of archery will adore the fantasy gear used by both men and elves of Middle Earth. Legolas proves to be the greatest wielder of the long elven bow, and his ability to hit the mark under the most trying circumstances will amaze and delight the viewer.


King Arthur (2004)

. We’ve become quite used to King Arthur and his Round Table as proper fairy-tale folk. But in this novel remake of the classic story, they have become Roman-Celtic renegades struggling to maintain order during troubled times. Queen Guinevere turns out to be among the most rugged, being amazingly adept at archery as well as other battle skills.


Dukes of Hazzard (2005)

. In this film version of the life and times of the Duke clan of Hazzard County, Bo and Duke prove their skill at using hunting bows, hitting their targets even when their arrows are weighted with dynamite.



(2007). Who can forget those floods of arrows that blocked the sun, or the final scene with the Spartans turned into human hedgehogs? Too bad the good guys didn’t do archery, though.



Hard Target (1993)

. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays Chance Boudreaux, who finds himself caught up in a nasty human-hunt in which the crossbow is the weapon of choice.


Seven Samura

i (1954). In the great battle finale in Kurosawa’s superb adventure film, one can view scenes of yabusame, Japanese mounted archery.
Whether the archery depicted is a thing of fantasy or something we can readily identify with in everyday life, cinematic versions of the art of the bow can both inspire and amaze

Boxtrolls 3D movie review

Boxtrolls represents another entry into the glorious pantheon that is Laika Productions . Laika is the animation/stop motion company behind such wonderful films as Coraline and ParaNorman. So it was understandable that fans would expect great things from their newest release. Did the film live up to expectations? Did Boxtrolls sufficiently entertain the young adult market that Laika was aiming for? Let’s dive in and find out!

Boxtrolls 3D is a stop motion animated film that stars the voice work of such Hollywood darlings as Simon Pegg, Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright. The screenplay is based off of the story ‘Here Be Monsters!’ by Alan Snow. The film was put together on a bloated $60 million dollar budget and definitely was feeling pressure to succeed when it hit theaters this past September. The film made a decent amount of money but was, by all accounts, not quite the blockbuster that Laika was hoping for. Disregarding the financial aspect of the film we can see it for exactly what it was: a special film with heart, style and substance despite its lukewarm financial success; Think of the release as a cheap form of escapism, as opposed to a full blown trip to some exotic locale, far away from everyday life.

Boxtrolls 3D is set in 1905 in the town of Cheesebridge. Rumors float around town that there is a group of trolls, living underground, kidnapping and murdering little kids. Pretty intense opening to a children’s movie, right? These trolls, called Boxtrolls, can only be dealt with in one way: via the pest exterminator by the name of Archibald Snatcher. Snatcher agrees to put an end to these trolls in exchange for a spot on the city council.

As it turns out the Boxtrolls are nowhere near the dangerous vagabonds that they are made out to be and are, instead, quite the fun and peaceful family. They have raised a young boy named Egg alongside of them and it is him who we follow throughout the rest of the film.

Boxtrolls works best when it isn’t trying too hard and instead chooses to rely upon its unique visual flair. The colors are vibrant, the set pieces extravagant, and the individual boxtrolls themselves look fantastic. It is easy to see why children could fall in love with the story. The voice actors do wonders with their lines and we quickly can lose ourselves in the story.

Many prospective viewers of Boxtrolls 3D have rightly been concerned as to how the stop motion style of animation would translate to the 3D cinema. The truth is, 3D works fantastically for this style of film. While Boxtrolls 3D avoids most of the ‘pop out’ gimmicky style of 3D there are still plenty of wonderful things to see. There are so many layers of detail and energy that each frame really seems to capture our complete concentration. The 3D version of Boxtrolls offers its audience the most detailed look into what is obviously a very detailed and well made film.

The story of Boxtrolls is hardly groundbreaking. We have our classic under dogs versus the over the top boisterous villain. The film wraps up in a semi-predictable fashion and you’ll leave feeling like you didn’t really learn anything. Be that as it may, Boxtrolls 3D is a wonderful way to spend an evening with your young movie going family.

Movie Review: Paintball

If you’re a paintball fanatic Paintball is the movie for you. The action thriller is designed to appeal to paintball fans. It was produced and released in 2009. It was directed by Daniel Benmayor and the script was written by Mario Schoendorff. The cast stars Brendan Mackey, Patrick Regis and Jennifer Matter. The film is eighty six minutes of action packed fun.

In brief

The story centers on a group of workaholic youths unknown to each other, who go away for a weekend of paintballing. The idea is to put some excitement into their stale lives and have some adventure. The idea of paintballing is to have fun playing war games without anyone getting hurt. The worst that can happen is getting covered in paint, or is it?

You can guess the adventure filled weekend soon all goes horribly wrong. The hunters turn into prey and soon the group becomes hunted down by live ammunition and guns instead of with paintballs and paintball equipment. The war is on and it’s no longer just a game.

The story

A truck pulls up with the group of youths sat in the open on a bench in the back blindfolded. None of the group knows each other but all have an appetite for adventure and are keen to get started. They are here for an action packed weekend of fun playing war games with paintball guns. The adrenalin filled kids have their blindfolds removed and they see ahead of them dense woodland for the first time.

Each youth is issued with enough supplies of food, paintball guns, and paintballs to survive the weekend. In addition they all have a map of the area and a set of instructions.

The game begins

The instructions are to complete a long winding trail along which are caves, obstacles and deep ravines. The youths are split into two opposing teams. The rules are simple, the winner is the team that wipes out the other and completes the trail.

Initially the game goes well but it isn’t long before things get a bit more sinister. Deep into the forest one of the groups is attacked. The fun begins and snipers rain down on them with paintballs. However, the fun soon stops, when one the group falls down in apparent agony. It is quickly realized the red isn’t paint but blood and the player dies before their eyes. Stunned and confused the remainder of the group asks who is shooting at them. They look about themselves in disbelief and quickly realize the game has changed. They are now the hunted and in amongst the heavy growth are deadly traps awaiting them.

The hunted

The young workaholics are now being hunted down like prey in a lethal struggle for survival. Can they survive against overwhelming odds and come through their ordeal alive?


I don’t want to spoil the plot for you; you’ll need to see or rent the movie. I can assure you you’ll be riveted to your seat as you discover how the group learn to survive the deadly threat.

5 Best Police Movies of All Time

My top 50 police movies of all time, What qualifes these movies as being a police movie? Any movie that features a private eye, police officer or just a modern day lawman as the lead character.  Comedies are also given its due, without Frank Drebin, police comedies wouldn’t be in existent  Feel free to leave a comment if you feel I have totally missed a movie that should be on this list. Without further adieu, my list of the top 5 police movies of all time.

MV5BMTI1MTY2OTIxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjQ4NjY3._V1._SY209_CR0,0,140,209_ (1)1. The Departed

A state cop who infiltrated the Irish gang and a mole within the police organization working for the same Irish mob, race to identify and track down each other before they are exposed to their enemies. ( 151 mins )

Director: Martin Scrosese

Stars: Matt Damon, Jack Nichalson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg

MV5BMTY5Nzg5OTIzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDI5NDA0MQ@@._V1._SY209_CR6,0,140,209_2. The French Connection

Two New York City police officers in the Narcotics Bureau stumble upon a drug sumggling ring with the French Connection. William Fredkin’s police drama depicts 2 tough NYC police officers trying to intercept a big heroin shipment that is coming out of France. ( 104 mins )

Director: William Fredkin

Stars: Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Gene Hackman, Tony Lo Bianco

 MV5BMTUyMTQ1NjA2OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQ1Njg3OA@@._V1._SX140_CR0,0,140,209_3. Chinatown

A private eye hired to to expose an adulterer finds himself in more trouble then he thought. Jake Gittes is a private eye who specialize in matrimonial cases. Hired by Evelyn Mulwray when she believes Hollis her husband, is cheating on her. Gittes tails him and where he photographs Hollis with a young girl and later finds out that he was hired by an impostor and not the real Evelyn Mulwray. When the real  Evelyn Mulway is found dead, Gittes is pushed into a web of lies, deceit and murder.  ( 130 mins )

Director: Roman Polasnki

Stars: Faye Dunaway, Jack Nicholson, John Huston

MV5BMjA5Njk3MjM4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTc5MTE1MQ@@._V1._SY209_CR1,0,140,209_4. No Country for Old Men

Mayhem and Outrage ensure after a drug deal went sour and more then 2 million dollars came up missing in Rio Grande.  In the tough part of Texas, hunter Llewelyn Moss found the remains of many drug traffickers who have killed each other in a drug exchange that has gone bad. Rather then telling the police, Llewelyn decides to take the 2 million he found at the scene of the crime himself. This puts, Anton Chigurh, the psychopathic killer right on his trials trying to retrieve his money. As Llewelyn tries to stay a step a head of Anton, his world starts to turn upside down as he puts his friends and family in danger ( 122 mins )

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Stars: Javier Badem, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelso

MV5BMTQwNzg2NDgyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDIxODIyMQ@@._V1._SY209_CR8,0,140,209_5. Dirty Harry

A mad man who calls himself the Scorpio Killer terrorist the city of San Francisco. Inspector Harry Callahan is put on the case to track down, and bring down this crazy menaic. The year is 1971, the city of San Francisco faces a maniac known as the Scorpio Killer who snipes at victims and then demands ransom though his notes that are left behind at the crime scene. Harry Callahan along side his partner Cico Gonzalez  is assigned to track down this mad man and stop him at any cost. ( 102 mins )

Director: Don Siegel

Stars: Andrew Robinson, Reni Santoni, Clint Eastwood

“Deliverance” Movie Review

The movie Deliverance, which is an adaptation of the extremely popular James Dickey novel, first hit the big screen in 1972. John Boorman, director of the film, takes a stab at recounting the grueling emotional and physical journey taken by the four main characters from Georgia. This movie offers some of extraordinary actors and helped to launch the careers of movie and television legends such as Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty.

Deliverance is not only a brilliantly acted and directed, film but also is sure to keep the viewers attention throughout. This story follows four businessmen, Lewis Medlock, Ed Gentry, Drew Ballinger and Bobby Trippe, who embark upon a canoeing trip down the wild and unbridled Cahulawassee River. These four men go onto face multiple situations where they either have to kill, or will be killed themselves. This movie is also not for the faint of heart as it does touch upon very serious real life situations such as sodomy, being held at gunpoint and other sexually related items which are not suited for younger viewers and many viewers today have found the movie to be “obscene.”

Regardless of if one agrees with the content of the film or not, there is no deny the film finds creative and clever ways to tackle taboo cultural items and addresses issues which are often shied away from.  One of the more poignant scenes of the movie occurs when the character of Bobby is sexually assaulted at gunpoint by a pair of wild mountain men. Lewis Medlock comes to his friends’ aid and is able to kill one of the mountain men with a single shot from his bow and arrow, while the other mountain men are able to run and escape. Bow hunting is a very consistent theme which can be found throughout the film and a lot of the archery training and equipment for the movie is credited to Fred Bear and Bear Archery. Bear Archery actually supplied the traditional bows, arrows and all of the archery accessories, as well as had a hand in the actual training and instruction given to Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight on how to properly use the archery equipment before product began.

As the story progresses and unfolds, it becomes clear there are a clash of personalities, egos and even cultures. The story is very well written and allows each character to shine and have his moment in the spotlight, all while displaying the true American culture of this time period. While this movie does portray the south in a negative light, it is important to remember this is a film, and while it does have some cultural and history accuracies, does not accurately portray all people from the south. The book, as well as the film, is simplistic, well written and incredibly evocative. Full of meaning and sure to have one guessing at what comes next, Deliverance is a movie worth seeing and of the well deserved recognition is has garnered throughout the years. This powerful, and well acted movie, still packs a powerful punch today and is a perfectly casted cinematography thriller.

Transforming From Andy Dwyer to Guardian of the Galaxy

This year there was a clear winner in the summer blockbuster competition – Guardians of the Galaxy. The latest entry in the Marvel universe ran was number 1 at the box office for most of the summer, proving to be far and away the people’s choice for their favourite hit of the year.

What made it even better was that the film wasn’t just a success in the public’s eyes, it was also getting top reviews from the critics too! Few films recently have walked the fine line between popcorn munching entertainment and intelligent, deliberate film-making. Guardians of the Galaxy achieved this and more! It recently overtook Iron Man to become Marvel’s 3rd highest grossing film of all time (2nd to Avengers and Iron Man 3). It also currently sits at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not bad at all!

The first 15 or 20 minutes are a roller-coaster of bizarre characters, fantastic new settings and the scene-setting for quite a ludicrous space adventure. It’s important to remember that you do not need to have seen any of the other Marvel films to understand and enjoy the film. There are some linking minor characters but nothing that impacts on the plot of this film.

It will be interesting to see how Marvel ties this film into the others in the next phase of the Marvel universe, primarily because it had a very different feel to the film. It is very self-aware, jokey and never takes itself too seriously. At times, it’s almost like watching a cartoon, and although you need to suspend your disbelief several times throughout, the whole thing is just so much fun that its worth it. From the second Redbone’s Come and Get Your Love plays as Pratt starts dancing around an alien planet, using local rodent life as a pretend microphone – you realise that this isn’t going to be super serious sci-fi fare.

But now to the main strength of the film – its star player, the Star Lord himself. How on Earth did Chris Pratt go from being lovable but chunky Andy Dwyer, fan favourite from Parks and Recreation to being super-ripped leading man of Guardians of the Galaxy. And more importantly – can a normal human achieve such change!? Pratt lost the belly and found those abs in just 6 months. It seems impossible to me!

The film is full of special effects, explosions, talking trees and humanoid racoons, but you’ll be surprised to hear that Chris Pratt’s abs are 100% genuine. Chris has done a few interviews with Men’s Fitness and other magazines, describing how he made the transformation. Needless to say, it sounds like a lot of work. We have done some of the work for you and assembled a short list of everything you will need.

1. 6 months with no other commitments (i.e. no work, no family)

2. No more beer or fatty food.

3. A personal trainer.

4. An extensive set of weights.

5. An elliptical training machine.

6. The pressure of being leading man in next summer’s biggest movie.

Hmm, that sounds like a lot of work. On second thought, I’ll just stick to being an audience member. More popcorn? Yes please!

Kim Kardashian’s Beauty “Secrets”

As you may know, Kim Kardashian has made a recent film debut with her supporting role in the 2013 movie “The Temptation”. I was watching the film and admiring Kim’s exceptional physique and skin, wondering what were the secrets to her beauty. Then I remembered: in this day and age, there are no secrets anymore! So I started Googling and watching re-runs of Keeping Up With the Kardashians to learn the truth. All was made clear after a few hours of research and terrible television.

As I learned on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, it turns out that one cosmetic procedure that Kim does regularly is laser hair removal. The show featured her and her sister, Khloe, attending one such session at the Laser Away clinic in Los Angeles, CA. They attended for a session of laser hair removal on the legs and bikini area. Though it was Khloe’s first laser hair removal treatment, her big sister Kim has a well-publicized history of using laser light to zap her unwanted hair.

“I am Armenian, so of course I am obsessed with laser hair removal! “Kim told Allure’s for its September 2010 issue. “Arms, bikini, legs, underarms– my entire body is hairless. ”

Most people wouldn’t ever consider having their laser hair removal treatments broadcasted on cable television, especially not their bikini area. But not Kim and Khloe! They bare all in the episode while offering interesting commentary on the state of affairs down below:

“You have a better, like, looking vagina than I thought, ” said Kim.

“What? What did you think my vagina was going to look like? ” Khloe responded.

“I don’t know, I never looked at your vagina, ” said Kim. “I thought it was, like, a shaved, rashy vagina. ”

Awkward conversation aside, laser hair removal seems to be working in getting Kim smooth and hairless! Seems pretty effective, definitely something to think about for those of us with unwanted hair.

As you might suspect, this episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians wasn’t the first time the sisters’ personal experiences with cosmetic treatments were aired for all to see, although it seems that it was Khloe’s first time under the laser. Kim’s blog back in 2008 featured a post on how she was undertaking a Velashape, which is a treatment which targets cellulite. Like the laser hair removal, her treatment was also featured on another episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Although not confirmed as the laser hair removal and Velashape treatments, Kim has been suspected of both butt and breast implants. Kim also featured the time she got Botox on her reality show, to which she got a very bad reaction. That didn’t stop her, and she openly admits to receiving regular Botox treatments to keep those wrinkles at bay.

So there you have it, we can make some definitive conclusions about Kim’s beauty, and it does seem as though she is getting some help with her looks! If you’re interested in seeing Kim’s facial evolution over time, there are tons of websites featuring the dramatic changes from before she came onto the scene as a celebrity to now, when she became the Kanye West’s wife. Here is one of my favs: Kim Kardashian’s changing face.