Short Film Movie Review: THE MEGA PLUSH (4min, USA, Animation/Action)

THE MEGA PLUSH was the winner of Best Film at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in January 2016. 

  MOVIE POSTERTHE MEGA PLUSH, 4min, USA, Animation/Action
Directed by Matt Burniston

Set in the shadows of a gritty underworld, a war is brewing. The Mega Plush, a group of four plush toy vigilantes, are struggling against the uprising of the SOC (Society of Chimps) army. Good vs evil. Bear vs sock monkey. The question is “who has the stuffing to survive?”

http://www.themegaplush.com/

Movie Review by Amanda Lomonaco:

Badass gangsters, a suspenseful chase scene, cute plush stuffed animals, what’s not to like? Matt Burnison has definitely hit gold mine territory in my book. After so many predictable Marvel films coming out its beyond refreshing to see an original action hero story coming from independent cinema, once again reminding me what Hollywood could achieve if it listened to new voices.

Perhaps the best part of Burnison’s short is that he kind of leaves you guessing who the bad guys and the good guys are. Though there seemed to be some sort of concensus in the audience that the monkeys were the ‘goodies’, the look of his compatriots in the final scene make me beg to differ. Nevertheless, this ambiguity was a comforting change to the traditional “good vs bad” dichotomy that we’re all too accustomed to these days. We all know that in real life things aren’t quite so simple, and I appreciate that Burnison didn’t force his own bias on his audience.

In any case no philosophical discussion of the originilaity of The Mega Plush could do the film itself justice. The sountrack, lighting, compositing, story-telling and directing of the film were all top quality. In fact I was incredibly surprised when, during mediation, I noticed two people who shook their heads at every positive comment, and seemed to really dislike the film. Of course every film will have supporters and so called “haters”, but I couldn’t help but feel surprised that any one would dislike this film.

I suppose I have made my bias for this film a litl emore than obvious. I’m sure there will be those of you out there who won’t enjoy this short, as there are many people out there who don’t enjoy many popular films. When you’re investing 2 hours of your time for a Hollywood blockbuster that everyone is raving about, but you just don’t happen to like, I completely understand that you might be annoyed. But if you have a free four minutes to spare, check out Burnison’s website for The Mega Plush project, best case scenario; you just watched a great short film. Worst case… well I doubt that will even happen.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK Festival of the Short Film:

 

 

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Short Film Movie Review: YO SOY PEDRO (10min, France, Sci-Fi/Comedy)

YO SOY PEDRO was the winner of Best Musical Score at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in January 2016. 

  MOVIE POSTERYO SOY PEDRO, 10min, France, Sci-Fi/Comedy
Directed by Jordan Inconstant

1977. Mackenzie and Banks are two Americans cops who encounter an alien that has just crashed. The police take him for a film actor and decide to bring it back to Hollywood studios. 

Movie Review by Amanda Lomonaco:

Yo Soy Pedro is one of the most unique films I have seen in a while, and it took me a little discussion with other audience members in order to truly appreciate it in all its glory. I guess that just serves as all the more proof of how misunderstood the science fiction genre can be. Nevertheless once I got a better handle on it, I realized how great of an example this film was that science fiction doesn’t need complex story-lines or super expensive production values to create quality entertainment.

Jordan Inconstant’s short film could not embody the director’s own name more. A Hollywood based film, spoken almost entirely in French, with extremely obvious, not-so-special effects Yo Soy Pedro manages to embrace two different genres while still making a political statement. Tired of watching numerous films based in different countries where everyone speaks English, Inconstant decided to create one in the United States, where everyone speaks French. Moreover, he adds to his critique of Holywood cinema by very poorly dubbing the only supposedly Spanish speaking actor in the film. In fact, despite my fluency with the language I could barely tell it was even Spanish that he was speaking – thank goodness for subtitles.

It’s impossible not to appreciate the cleverness of Inconstant’s creation, through everything from his plotline, to his production values, to his intricate use of language. Inconstant proves that he is able to laugh at himself, and at the film industry as a whole, while still embracing it with all its flaws. He not only seizes at Hollywood’s cheesiest cliches, he subverts them so cleverly that you could watch his film repeatedly and discover a new facet each time.

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to declare this film is for everyone, but it certainly has a strong appeal to a well-informed cinemaphile. In fact, for fans of Tim Burton, I have to admit some aspects of this film reminded me quite a bit of Ed Wood.Anyone who’s seen Burton’s infamous flop will quickly understand why Yo Soy Pedro might incite equally mixed reactions. If you’re a fan of clever, self-reflexive Hollywood comedy, give Inconstant’s film a shot. If he doesn’t have you on the floor laughing, he’ll at the very least be able to force our an involuntary smile from you.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK Festival of the Short Film:

Movie Review: TRIPLE 9 (2016) ****

triple_9.jpgTRIPLE 9 (USA/UK 2015) ****
Directed by John Hillocoat

Starring: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Gal Godot, Kate Winset, Aaron Paul, Teresa Palmer, Michael Kenneth Williams

Review by Gilbert Seah

No stranger to violent films, director John Hillcoat’s (LAWLESS, THE ROAD and his best film THE PROPOSITION) latest entry into gangster genre proves himself apt at serious comic book sensibility. TRIPLE 9, the code for ‘officer down’, plays like a ‘real’ serious adult comic book version of DEADPOOL.

It takes a while for the film to settle on its bearings. The script by first time writer, Matt Cook is clever enough not to reveal all the plot points, but keeps the audience always one step behind what is happening. An example is the bank heist. Who are the robbers working for? What is their aim? One point is a bank officer removing a safety deposit box from the vault. As far as I now, it requires two keys, one from the officer and the other from the customer to open a box. It is a good tactic. For example, the audience is aware that one officer is going down, but never sure which one or for what reason. The characters are also individually distinct and eccentric all aided by superlative performances from a eclectic cast.

The key performance comes from Casey Effleck (brother of Ben) who has proven his acting mettle in previous films like THE TOWN. His character is the only uncorrupt one, and the key one that puts the whole story into prospective. The good must always prevail. The script contains a few too many close calls for his character. As for the ambiguous baddies, there are too many too count. Interesting enough, many do good for the wrong reasons. The true baddie appears to be the Russian moll, Irina played by Kate Winslet , complete with Russian accent and is barely recognizable in her makeup.. She is also doing bad for a good reason, to aid her crooked husband escape.

Hillcoat keeps the action and fury fast and furious and nonstop. Be prepared to be glued to your seats! The film alternates between highly charged action and drama sequences. For the action segments, the bank heist at the film’s start is hard to beat. The robbers show no mercy and show they mean business. They do not shout warnings. They fire and beat up the victims, and talk later. All this makes the heist even more gripping. Hillcoat also realizes that the devil is in the details. On the highway, a robber points his rifle at a car, only to have it rammed from behind and the robber moving backwards to avoid being hit. The camerawork is excellent, the best example being the one where the camera pulls back during a car chase showing where each in on the maze of highways in the city.

Hillcoat does not skimp on the violence as evident by showing a bag of bloodied teeth at another point in the film. The characters are always angry, screaming at each other but not without reason. Every character is desperate. Every character is ready to kill.

Stay for the end credits. The 1980’s song ‘Pigs” (called so for obvious reasons) by Cypress Hill is inventive, catchy, hilarious and totally appropriate. The song can also be played on YouTube.

Watch MAFIA Stories from the Writing and Film Festival

Watch winning stories and movies showcased at the Writing and Film Festival in the MAFIA, MOB, and GANGSTER genre: Short, Feature, TV Screenplays. Short Stories. Novels. Stage Plays. Poems. Stories from festival made into movies: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/mafia_stories.html

SHORT SCRIPT – CAGEY
June 2014 Reading
Written by JJ Hillard

SYNOPSIS:

Anticipating a severe reprimand for a failed drug deal, two criminal operatives in a safe house await a phone call from their mysterious boss, but instead get a surprise directive that may have deadly consequences for one of them.

    * * * * *

1ST SCENE SCRIPT – 66 WEST
December 2013 Reading
Written by Christopher Willis

SYNOPSIS:

In 1934, a fourteen-year-old girl dreams of the riches and lifestyle of Hollywood. When her pitiful dustbowl life is destroyed by a tornado, she follows her dream west on Route 66. Two men chase after her: a retired sheriff who believes in her innocence and a brutal gangster determined to even the score with her for killing his brother. With a little help from friends made along the way, she reaches Hollywood and finds out that her real life is much richer than the one she dreams about.

    * * * * *

TV PILOT – ERASER
February 2015 Reading
Written by Kim Godfrey

SYNOPSIS:

Two psychology students practice an illegal form of hypnotherapy that allows for the erasure of traumatic memories. Driven by opposing motivations, their ambitions lead them into a violent and exploitative criminal underworld. As they spiral down, one man struggles to maintain his sense of morality while the other struggles to maintain sanity.

    * * * * *

Feature Script – BESA
March 2015 Reading
Written by Michael Miceli

SYNOPSIS:

Besa is the story of a loyal Italian father, forced to defend his son who has inadvertently sparked a New York mob war between Sicilian and Albanian crime families.

    * * * * *

Feature SCRIPT – BROWNIE AND FRAN
July 2015 Reading
Written by Arthur S Brown & Rory Leahy

SYNOPSIS:

Brooklyn, NY 1948. The cold war is heating up, and mob entrenchment is at its peak. The U.S. is running a victory lap. Returning veterans want their share of the pie, and they’re willing to strike for it. Two young idealists meet, fall in love, and set out to save the world – while not getting corrupted doing it.