Redeemer


Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 90 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On Blu-ray, DVD and VOD September 1, 2015

Ahh, “Redeemer,” a vigilante movie where the martial arts fight scenes, or I guess I should say usually one-sided martial arts fight scenes are fun, the slow-motion sequences of blood-splattering are well done, and the end action sequence with the final kick to the head is rather fantastic. Sounds all well and good, but then there is the rest of the movie. Ugh.

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Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me


Rated: PG | Running Time: 116 Minutes
On Digital Download August 18, 2015 |On DVD and VOD September 1, 2015

The challenge: Make a documentary about a man facing Alzheimer’s disease in such a way that it ins’t “Oh, woe is me!”, “Feel sorry for me.”, or doesn’t paint things in a total, “You can have Alzheimer’s and all will be well!” kind of light. “Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me” simply shows many of the challenges Alzheimer’s patients, and their families, face, every day, seen in the world of Glen Campbell and his “Goodbye Tour.” Yes, the subject is sad because we know the eventual outcome, but even combined with the Alzheimer’s challenges, it is an awesome documentary on the musical brilliance that is Glen Campbell.

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Match


Rated: R | Running Time: 92 Minutes
On Digital Download and DVD August 11, 2015

I will always admit that as a fan of Star Trek, and more importantly for this  review, Star Trek: The Next Generation, the challenge for me in seeing Patrick Stewart in any other movie is to separate him from his role as Jean-Luc, Piccard that is, from The Next Generation franchise. It was not very difficult when the movie “Match” started, mostly because he was spouting advice to a bunch of ballet dancers, but oh, that Jean-Luc, I mean Patrick Stewart accent! It is so awesome, as is he, in being able to transform you instantly into the role he is in, and for this movie it’s a very good thing because two of the roles in the movie were perfect, while one character, okay, Matthew Lillard, maybe sidelined by the actual role he was playing, lagged a bit. Continue reading Match

The Salvation


Rated: R | Running Time: 92 Minutes
On Blu-Ray and DVD August 4th

Ahh, an homage to the classic western and revenge movie genres, which generally means there aren’t many surprises, and yet I found myself not multi-tasking while watching “The Salvation.” How did that happen? Well, I’m not really sure, especially since, at the beginning of the film, I was worried that somehow I missed in the press release that the movie was going to be in Danish with English subtitles because our lead character, Jon (Mads Mikkelsen), is greeting his wife and child at the train station, speaking in foreign tongue, and the subtitles started rolling. Luckily she and the boy get murdered by the bad guys, everyone is back to speaking English in the wild west, and the movie could get to the good stuff like sweeping, gorgeous landscape shots, townsfolk scared of the brutal thugs, and Jon doing what he does best, kill the bad people.

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Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf

 

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:36 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

The more I think about it, the more perfect “Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf” was, especially in the realm of the old-school, and I mean this with all due respect, cheesy, werewolf movie. First there is the title, or at least the “Night of the Lone Wolf” part. Sure there’s the solo werewolf at the start, but by the end there are multiple wolves. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the title and our hero is the lone wolf, but I just couldn’t get past the fact that our main werewolf all of a sudden decided to go on a biting spree and instantly we have a pack of werewolves.

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Believe Me

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:33 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

I know. I read the press release for “Believe Me.” And yes, I know the synopsis mentioned a group of college kids who figured out a great way to make a quick buck, namely by scamming Christians to donating money to their phony-baloney charity, and then said kids would realize the true meaning of being good people. And finally, I know that’s what the movie ends up being about, but I so wanted it to flip directions and be a full parody of Christian fundraising. Instead, yes, our foursome realized the error of their ways and became good people again, until, “I, um.”

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VANish

MPAA Rated – Not rated.
It’s 1:19 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

VANish
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Maiara Walsh, Danny Trejo, Tony Todd, Austin Abke, Bryan Bockbrader, Adam Guthrie
MPAA Rated: Not Rated.
Released By: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Kiddie Movie: Send them to bed. Lots of blod!
Date Movie: If she likes blood-splattering thrillers.
Gratuitous Sex: There is an attempted rape in the van, though it doesn’t turn out too well for the dude.
Gratuitous Violence: Headshots, shotgun blasts, machetes, and a handy little cutting saw help with the blood splatter.
Action: Not really much action.
Laughs: Some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Emma kicking the crap out of Shane.
Memorable Quote: “What kind of amateur bullshit is this?”
Directed By: Bryan Bockbrader
Extras on the Blu-Ray: The bloopers were decent enough, and I actually liked seeing the alternate endings.

The press release said: “three thugs viciously kidnap a drug cartel boss’ only daughter from her home in broad daylight.” With that I was a little confused at the opening scene of VANish as a dude and his lover were being abducted at night, in the California hills. Now let’s cut to the next scene of two dudes in a van, talking calmly amongst each other as dudes will talk, and I’m wondering where is the third dude? Is this the van? And what happened to those people in the first scene?

Little did I know the importance of the first abduction to the plot of the movie, to be explained during a later scene, and now I was being fully introduced to possibly the dumbest trio of kidnappers that there have ever been in a movie. That’s okay, though, because the trio of dopes really made VANish an entertaining film in the realm of blood-splattering thrillers.

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Kink

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:20 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Kink
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Peter Acworth, Maitress Madeline, Tomcat, Five Star, John Magnum
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Kiddie Movie: For the love of all things great and small, no. It’s got boobs, penises, bondage, flogging, and all kinds of fun for adults.
Date Movie: If she wants a look into the industry of making BDSM films.
Gratuitous Sex: There really isn’t any sex, except with machines.
Gratuitous Violence: Um, duh.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Learning how to step on a dick and not having it hurt too much.
Memorable Quote: My dream is to be a yoga teacher.
Directed By: Christina Voros

I liked “Kink.” There, I said it. Phew.

Now will my friends and relatives who read my site and think things like bondage and discipline, domination and submission, or sadism and masochicm (a.k.a. BDSM) are sick, disgusting, and the devil’s work, well, as one person says in the documentary, “just move on,” because it’s going to be hard to write this review without some risqué terms, and maybe a mention of a penis or boob.

Let’s get to it.

It’s not every documentary that has a line “Give me about five minutes. I’m putting together a glory hole,” but “Kink’ does. In the easiest way to put it this is a documentary about a website, kink.com, and it’s internet business of making movies for the BDSM crowd. As simple as that might be, it’s also a look at the personalities and people involved in the business, the seriousness in which they take their movie-making craft, and also a look into those that enjoy the BDSM lifestyle. It’s kind of like a “day in the life” look at what happens at kink.com, and let me tell you, a lot happens.

Opening up with a look around the offices of kink.com, we learn of its nondescript facade and how the building they took over, with it’s nooks, crannies, and various rooms, is pretty much perfect for all of the filming that goes on, and as we move along we are introduced to various directors, talent coordinators, and actors, or as they call them, models, in various stages of productions. There are the women who like the machines, and I’m not talking your run-of-the-mill vibrators, but picture an industrial type jig-saw fitted with a certain apparatus and set up so the woman can be tied up and, well, you get the picture. Then there are the dudes, looking to be dominated with the director telling the actress-model, “If you want to step on it…”, the dude saying “My dick?”, with the director’s quick retort “Of course.” Then she proceeds to show them both how it doesn’t hurt if you step on his penis a certain way.

The thing is as taboo as the topic of BDSM might be to some people, the documentary does show that this is a lifestyle for the people, one that translates into their business, and they don’t mess around because in the world of BDSM there are rules. You find out that in a twist of a thought the submissive is actually in charge of the dominating person because the “safe” word is the key. You find that there is a lot of coaching and maybe changing things on the fly if some of the models end up uncomfortable with certain scenarios, and even on the business side it’s all about statistics and sales because at their meeting we are finding that gang bang videos sales are up, but the machines are down quite a bit, and they want to figure out why because yes, for kink.com, it is a business and they want to keep their customers coming back.

Most of the scenes didn’t bother me, well, except a scene where I said “Ouch, she’s got his wang tied up in a rope!”, but what did start to turn me off about the movie was that most of the people kept justifying what they did and the lifestyle they enjoy. It seemed to get a little too preachy, and I think it would have been better had they toned that aspect down a bit, keeping most of it to what I mentioned before, “That if it isn’t for you, just move on.”, and get back to the filmmaking side.

If you don’t like seeing dudes with penises, and I’m not talking a lazy, boring, limp penis, but porn penises being teased or stepped on, or naked women, and sure, they might be naked, but they also probably have nipple clamps or are hanging upside-down by their ankles and chained with a collar with giant vibrator between her legs, well, this movie probably isn’t for you. However, if you want a pretty decent documentary about a company dedicated to BDSM movies, may I highly recommend “Kink.” Maybe get Howard Stern to do the on-screen interviews to really find what makes the people tick, and I could see this getting a solid 4 stars at the look into BDSM movie-making, but with too many stock answers of how they are good people and BDSM isn’t bad, I’ve got to drop it to 3 1/2 stars.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

The Overnighters

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:30 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

The Overnighters
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jay Reinke
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Drafthouse Films
Video Release Date: February 3, 2015
Kiddie Movie: Nah, it’s about a lot of down-and-out people.
Date Movie: If she’s interested in a good documentary and not something mushy.
Gratuitous Sex: Some talk of sex offenders, but nothing graphic.
Gratuitous Violence: Just one person trying to get the Reverend off of their property and threatening to shoot him.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Ehh.
Memorable Scene: The reveal by Rev. Jay of something from his past.
Memorable Quote: “A man with no teeth and living with his daughter calling other people trash.
Directed By: Jesse Moss
Cool things about the DVD: Some of the deleted scenes actually should have been left in the film, and the extended interview with Rev. Jay is actually interesting.

The OvernightersThe stories were out there: Move to North Dakota! There are tons of jobs, waitresses are making $15+ dollars an hour, and you can easily find a job making over $100k a year! While some of this may be true, when stories like this get published what happens? Tens of thousands of people, mostly out of work, consider moving to North Dakota to find work. Here’s the problem. While there are jobs, there aren’t that many, and it’s North Dakota. The fracking boom has come mostly to smaller towns that don’t have the resources to accommodate such a giant influx of folks, many of whom are down on their luck, have questionable pasts, and think that North Dakota, or in the case of the documentary “The Overnighters,” Williston, North Dakota, is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. “The Overnighters” focuses on these people, the ones not getting the jobs, as well as Rev. Jay Reinke, a pastor in Williston who opened his church to those who couldn’t find a place to say, much to the dismay of the town, especially when the questionable pasts of those seeking shelter came to light.

As the documentary opens we see the Reverend waking up the people he has sheltered for the night. Most of them are men, those who came by bus or train are sleeping throughout the complex, in hallways and rooms, while those with cars would sleep in the parking lot, and the documentary begins to key in on a few of them with Rev. Jay, trying to help them through the transition to find a job. He advises them to clean up, cut their hair, get a resume together, and keep trying, but challenges await most of them, especially as background checks reveal criminal records, but more importantly for the documentary, people on the sex offender list.

We see Rev. Jay’s family who is trying to do the Christian thing and help everyone they can, but you can see the strain the situation is placing on them as well. The key to this story is the town of Williston, torn by wanting to be good Christians, yet wanting to keep their small-town feel, worried about crime, and trying to keep their children safe.

Progressing through the documentary we learn that the Reverend is housing men with sex offender pasts, both in the church and in his home, and while some might be a blip on a record that follows them for life, others are not so seemingly insignificant, and when the local paper brings this to light, the blow-back for Reinke is insurmountable, especially as he is harboring some of his own secrets.

What I loved about this documentary was that it really showed the flip side to the stories of the boom of North Dakota. You see the people and some you root for, but many you question because at one instance they seem like people just trying to restart their lives, but then you see them slip into being assholes again. The thing is this even happens with Rev. Jay when one minute he seems like the great-natured guy, just trying to help, but, and sure every story has two sides, from the commentary by some of the people he helps, there are times even his motives seem questionable. There is an extra with a detailed follow-up interview with Reverend Jay when he addresses this, mostly in a manner consistent with his personality shown in the film.

There are a few times the documentary drags, but other than that “The Overnighters” is a fantastic look at the other side of the North Dakota story. Sure, those with a little bit of a better plan than the people just “showing up” and thinking millions await them probably have a decent chance of the good jobs, but it’s this other side people don’t hear about.

This documentary shows people doing a lot of soul-searching, losing even more, like their families, by even coming to North Dakota, and a Reverend who has his own demons that he can’t come to grips with. It’s a great look at the town reaction, those who don’t have it so easy, and the challenges faced when the “boomtown” event happens because not everyone is happy about it. It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “The Overnighters.” I guess I would have liked a few success stories on people who really made it, though there was the one dude who was excited because he was actually going to have someone to supervise. Other than the little blurb of “What is happening now,” a little more follow-up on some of the characters might have been nice. Also there is some “niceness” about the documentary, although one of the outtakes, “I Used to Stay Here,” really shows the flip-side and the volatility that can be there. I think I might have like to have seen a little more of that.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Cyber-Seniors

MPAA Rated – Not Rate
It’s 1:15 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Cyber-Seniors
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Shura Eadie, Ebert Hobbs, Henri Pelletier, Max Schellenberg
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Virgil Films
Release Date: January 27, 2015 – Online and VOD
Kiddie Movie: Not too young. It’s a documentary and there’s a lot of talking.
Date Movie: It’s cute enough for the two of you.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing that will make you blush.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: The seniors with no governor on some of the things they say.
Memorable Scene: Shura cooking the grilled cheese with an iron.
Memorable Quote: Annette says “I’m not eccentric.” and Henri the mentor just rolls his eyes.
Directed By: Saffron Cassaday

As I was watching Cyber-Seniors I couldn’t help but think of three people, my Mom, my Mom-in-Law, and my Dad-in-Law, and although a little older than all of the mentors in the documentary, my experience with each my seniors was pretty much the same as the mentors had with theirs. My Mom was an early adopter to the Internet though she passed away before Facebook hit it big which would have helped her re-connect with many more people she lost touch with than she had found just through email and Google searches. My Mom-in-Law’s adoption, especially on her iPhone, quickly accelerated once she hit Facebook, even to the point she has now discovered Snapchat as “GrandmaEleanor” and loves posting her “stories” while keeping in touch with the Grandkids. My Dad-in-Law stays away from social media, but loves finding any news site he can discover. Teaching all of them various aspects of the internet and social media takes a lot of patience, but as the mentors show in the movie, the patience pays off the minute you see the smile of the elder discovering the wonders of Skype, Facebook, and finding out that the younger generation swears too much in their Facebook postings.

As the documentary goes, Macaulee and Kasha Cassady had a high school project back in the late 2000’s after they witnessed their grandparents discovery of the Internet, and they started a program to help other seniors get online. They ended up setting up a group, recruited friends to help teach the seniors, and their sister, Director Saffron Cassaday, started filming the sessions. The documentary keys in on a few of the seniors, their mentors, the elder’s challenges in understanding the concept of the Internet with the youngin’s challenges in finding ways to help point the elders in the right directions, and the excitement of discovery as the elders realize their is another world out there beyond the walls of the retirement home by becoming part of their families everyday lives again.

The training progress showing everything from just turning on a laptop, to using webcams and Skype, even to online dating, while the movie concludes with a contest amongst the seniors, namely to see who can be the biggest “YouTube” star amongst them. Their worlds open up again, and it’s a joy to see.

The beauty in training seniors is that they rarely have a governor any longer, and some of the best moments in the documentary are times when the seniors don’t hold back about people’s looks and their opinions on life, and while some are a little hesitant at first, worrying that if they unfriend someone on Facebook that said “unfriend” will come and attack them, eventually, once they see the benefits, they love it.

All in all it’s a nice documentary about the youngins helping the oldins learn how to get online. There is a little bit of a side story as Macaulee and her grandfather came down with cancer during filming which kind of took the story off the rails a bit, and things dragged a tad as we came to the YouTube contest, but the touching commentary by Ebert Hobbs on having a purpose in life long past your retirement is both poignant and a nice ending to the movie.

A fun look at the old folks learning about technology and it’s 3 1/2 stars out of 5 for “Cyber-Seniors.” If you’ve ever tried to help an elder learn about technology you can relate to the patience the mentors have, but mostly you can relate to the joy when the senior finally “gets it.”

On a side note, if you are interested more about the movie, want to be a mentor or cyber-senior, be sure to check out the the Cyber-Seniors website.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!