Bliss

Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 87 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available in Theaters and VOD: September 27, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Just the other day I was saying to myself, “Self, whatever happened to George Wendt? You know, Norm from Cheers?” Sure, I could have Googled him, but it turns out I didn’t have to as it turns out Mr. Wendt was part of the cast for the horror flick, “Bliss.” I was excited to see where he fit in. As the movie is a horror film, I wish I could say things ended up well for “Norm,” I mean “Pops.”

Anywho, “Bliss” gives us Dezzy (Dora Madison). She is your basic starving artist, late on her rent, dropped by her agent, and fears she may have lost her painting mojo. Yup, she has painter’s block, and she likes to say every variation of “fuck” a lot.

What to do? Why go out for some drug-fueled partying, of course?

What should you have? Why, Bliss, of course?

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White Chamber


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 89 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
In Theaters and VOD: March 29, 2019
Get it via : iTunes

I get so mad at myself when I don’t see the plot twist coming. I also secretly applaud the film folks when they pull it off. And so I must applaud the film folks of “White Chamber” when the big reveal came towards the end of the movie because I just didn’t see it coming.

It was a wonderful “Ahhh!”

I won’t give this moment away, so let’s get to the story.

It appears the United Kingdom is in a civil war. Somehow the military has taken over, led by General Zakarian (Oded Fehr). Enter Ruth (Shauna Macdonald), or whatever the woman’s name is. She wakes up in this white room, a.k.a. chamber, completely lit up, and with a bump on her noggin.

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Level 16


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 94 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available in Theaters and VOD:  March 1, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Strange things are afoot at the secret lab. Girls are locked away hoping for one thing, to be adopted by a nice family. That sounds nice and all, but as we watch the girls and their training, it appears something else might be going on. Hmm? I’m thinking the good Dr. Miro (Peter Outerbridge) and his assistant Miss Brixil (Sara Canning), may be up to no good. Uh oh!

Now, the press materials for “Level 16” have a number of references to the Hulu phenomenon, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The problem for me? This means absolutely nothing. Most of my experience with said Tale is walking by the TV when my wife is watching it. Yes, it looks interesting enough, but I’ve got enough shows, I don’t need to get sucked into another one. Me, I’ll do my best to review the film without the comparisons.

Back to the girls in the “school.”

Continue reading Level 16

Pick of the Litter


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 81 Minutes
From: IFC Films
Available on DVD and Digital Platforms:  December 4, 2018
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Sure, you might notice them, guide dogs for the blind. And sure, you might marvel at how well-trained they are. What is easy to forget, though, is that they start as puppies, cute puppies, with various personalities that will hopefully lead them to being great, guide dogs.

“Pick of the Litter” tells the story of five puppies, Patriot, Potomac, Primrose, Poppet, and Phil, and their respective journeys to determine if they have what it takes to be the most trusted companion for the blind. It is a story filled with joy, struggle, and touches of sadness, oddly, when the destiny of a few of the puppies ends up that they just get to be dogs.

The documentary takes you through the entire guide dog cycle. It begins with the puppies being born, through the process of foster families who start the initial training and development of the puppies, and into the advanced training the little ones must go through to eventually graduate to their new life as a guide dog. Through the process the dogs, and the foster families, are observed and assessed sometimes with surprising evaluations and heartbreaking realities for the foster families, but the folks at Guide Dogs for the Blind (guidedogs.com) have their goals, to develop the best companions for the blind and find those dogs who might be better as breeding dogs rather than guide dogs, so tough decisions must be made.

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Victor Crowley


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 82 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available on DVD and Digital Platforms:  February 6, 2018
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Poor Sue (Kelly Vrooman). She was having the most wonderful of nights, and possibly the best reactions to a wedding proposal, ever. Then Victor Crowley had to show up. I don’t believe severed limbs and spraying blood is what she had in mind when she dreamt of being proposed to as a little girl. I suppose at least is was memorable for her!

It was also a fantastic way to open the movie “Victor Crowley.”

So, yea, the movie starts with exactly what one would want from a slasher film. First you get the bloodbath from many, many years ago, and then you get a quick summary of the history of said slasher, in our case, Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder).

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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!!

Mostly Entertainment: Things From the Past Week

It’s a Trailer for Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure
You either know ’em and love ’em because you are a fan of Ellen DeGeneres, or you will wonder where did these girls come from, but Sophia Grace and Rosie, two little girls who became famous for goofy dancing and being Ellen’s Red Carpet correspondents have a movie coming out. Yup, their fifteen minutes of fame have been parlayed into Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure, out on DVD and Blu-ray on May 20th. It does look cute, for the little girls at least, as Sophia Grace and Rosie become involved in helping a Princess become Queen material. Will they be “one and done” child stars, or did Ellen maybe find the next Mary Kate and Ashley?

DVD Releases from IFC Films
Coming April 8th for your movie player are two releases from IFC Films, Bastards and Everyday. Hopefully we’ll have a review of Everyday posted soon.

Malaysian Flight 370 – When Will We Forget?
The first weekend it was all over the news, the second weekend there are still a few stories, especially as a new report of debris being found pops up, but for the most part we are starting to forget about Malaysian Flight 370, and unless something major happens in the next few days, unless we are directly involved either through loved ones missing or helping to continue to search, it will just be a blip in our memories, a “Did they ever find that plane?” memory that might pop up in our heads at lunch with colleagues one day, . There are a ton of conspiracy theories, from Aliens to black holes, a story going around as the “Startling Simple Theory” was recently debunked, but blips in our memories are what most news stories become.

There’s a Taxpayer Uproar, I Guess
The headline reads “Obama ladies touch down in China amid taxpayer uproar,” and as much as I try to stay up on current events, and did hear about the First Lady’s trip to China, I have yet to hear the uproar. With the Malaysian plane, March Madness, Russia taking over the world, and most people just caring about living their own lives, calling it an “Uproar” might be a little far-fetched. In any case, Michelle Obama and her girls are in China. Hopefully they have a good time, I guess.

Microsoft Office for iPad is Coming March 27th, Maybe
Always one to get their products to market with the latest technology, the story is that Microsoft is going to have a media event on March 27th where they are going to be launching Microsoft Office for the iPad, a mere four years after the first iPad was released, and a mere 3 years and 364 days after most people figured out a way to use their iPad without it. Good luck, Microsoft! Way to stay with the times!

Have You Been to an Opening Day?

Have you been to an opening day?

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Now that pitchers and catchers have duly reported, as well as the rest of the players, it’s that time of year when, unless your basketball team is great, or you are a hockey nut, your sport’s thoughts are probably drifting to baseball, because, as James Earl Jones says in “Field of Dreams,” – “The one constant through all the years… has been baseball.”

Yes, even if you are a casual fan there is hope, hope that this year your team might be a little bit better, that maybe, just maybe, this could be the year that they catch fire and actually become good, or that, God forbid, they might actually make it to the playoffs (Oh, wait, most everyone makes it to the playoffs nowadays – scratch that – The World Series).

Me, I have three teams that have my loyalty, the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and Chicago Cubs. The Indians are always near and dear to my heart because they are really my home-town team, the team I loved while growing up in Lorain, OH, even though they always sucked, and my first big-league game. The White Sox and Cubs are a result of my transplantation to Chicago for college, and my general sticking around here. Back in college we would go to the old Comisky Park quite a bit as it was right across a few streets from Illinois Institute of Technology, my college alma matter, and a trip to a Cubs game became a staple of Rush Week in our fraternity.

As the years progressed my core group of friends would generally score bleacher tickets to opening day for the Cubs, a little easier back in the day before the online ordering system became a cluster-f of “Waiting Room” delays, though lately, I’ve missed a few, although, for me, the bleacher experience has come and gone, preferring now the comfort of my own seat, with a little less of a “drunk” crowd around me.

In any case, opening day is coming soon, and though I’ll be missing it this year I will have hope for all of my teams, at least until probably the end of opening day, and I wonder: Have you been to an opening day?

That’s it for this one! I’m Andy!! L8R!!!

Did you even consider going to see “The Lone Ranger” this weekend?

The big movie news over the weekend was twofold. First there was joy in Universal-land with “Despicable Me 2” as it brought in some $142 million over the long 4th of July weekend, a new record for a an animated film over the long, 5-day opening. Hooray! And then there was “The Lone Ranger.” Yup. you know the movie, at least I’m thinking you’ve heard of it. The one with Johnny Depp. He plays Tonto. And there is something about a train over a bridge and it blowing up? Yea, that’s the one. Well, it appears people heard of it, but for the most part no one went to see it as the news for Disney was bad with the movie only making about $48.9 million. Now, that seems like a lot of money, but the budget rumors say the movie cost anywhere between $215 and $250 million to put together, and when all is said and done after worldwide stuff and video it might break even, but if there were Disney dreams of replacing the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise with something new, they seem to be squashed.

Me, I relaxed a bit this weekend, working on some long-term projects, so I have to say that I didn’t even think of going to see “The Lone Ranger.” Well, there was that and the fact that the movie just didn’t look that good in the trailers, but as this weekend is over, and we get back to our normal schedule, I’m plighting: Did you even consider going to see “The Lone Ranger” this weekend?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Do You Plan on Watching the Golden Globe Awards?

It’s award show season, and there is no more controversial award show than the Golden Globe Awards. There are many in the industry that consider it a joke, that the Hollywood Foreign Press is a joke, and that the award is really meaningless, but these are the same industry people who are praying for their movie, show, song, etc., to be named as the winner this year. Why? Publicity, and somehow the Golden Globes figured out how to market themselves as the “fun” award show. Yup, you get everyone seated at round tables instead of a stuffy auditorium, so it seems like a wedding reception, and then of course there is the flow of alcohol that sometimes loosens up either a presenter, or better yet, one of the award recipients. We like a train-wreck, and for the most part people aren’t tuning into the Golden Globes to see who won, nope, they are tuning in to see said train-wreck, and hope it might be an actor or actress we admire who is slightly over-served and trips on their way to the stage.

Okay, I don’t know if that’s why people are tuning in, but it’s one of the reasons I’ll be tuning in, that and the fact that this year Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hosting it and they can usually bring the funny. Hopefully they will be unleashed, hopefully the booze will be flowing, hopefully someone will be goofy, but you can bet there will be someone who gets up there proclaiming they didn’t have a speech written because they didn’t think they would win, people will gripe tomorrow, especially if a “darling” doesn’t win, that the awards are a joke, and in a few weeks once the Academy Awards hit no one will care who really won the Golden Globe. Except the winners.

I’ll be watching, but I wonder and I plight: Do you plan on watching the Golden Globe Awards?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!