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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Movie Review: NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

NORTH BY NORTHWEST MOVIE POSTER
NORTH BY NORTHWEST, 1959
Classic Movie Review

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint
Review by Steven Painter

IMDB fan rating: 8.4/10

SYNOPSIS:

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

REVIEW:

In 1935 Alfred Hitchcock made a movie called The 39 Steps about a man who is falsely accused of murder and is chased throughout the Scottish countryside by the police and a group of spies before clearing his name. Nearly 25 years later, Hitchcock made a similar movie, this time based in America, called North by Northwest (1959).

What separates North by Northwest from the majority of Hitchcock’s wrong man accused movies is that there is a lot of humor here. The talented Cary Grant plays the lead role of Roger Thornhill. Grant had been a huge success in screwball comedies like Bringing Up Baby (1938) and His Girl Friday (1940). He had also been one of Hitchcock’s favorite actors to use.

Thornhill is an advertising executive who deals with the hustle and bustle of New York City the best way he can. He always seems to be on the move, but he makes sure he enjoys himself. On the way to lunch one day, he is stopped in a restaurant by some men. The men say they need to talk to him and then they kidnap Thornhill. He is taken out to the countryside where the kidnappers believe he is government agent named George Kaplan, a man who is supposed to be hot on their trail as the kidnappers are doing some spying on the U.S. government.

The spies are never specified as to their country of origin or really what the significance is of what they are after. Microfilm is what drives these spies, we find out. This is the largest McGuffin used in Hitchcock’s movies. It is merely a device to further the story, but matters little as the real story is about the relationships between the people in the movie.

Thornhill denies being Kaplan to no avail. The kidnappers decide to get him drunk and then set him loose on a drive through the countryside. This scene is similar to the one in Notorious (1946) where a drunken Ingrid Bergman takes a wild car ride with Cary Grant. Even the scene in To Catch a Thief (1955) with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant comes to mind. Grant seems to find himself in dangerous automobile situations when working with Hitchcock. He was even in a treacherous car ride in Suspicion (1941), just before Joan Fontaine gave her Oscar winning speech.

Getting back to the story, Grant ends up drunk in a police station and has to call his mother for help. The mother is a frequent character in Hitchcock movies. Thornhill’s mothers might be the most quirky of all Hitchcock ones. Anyway, Thornhill explains that he was kidnapped and the cops go with him to the countryside estate where the kidnappers are. At least that is where they were. No one knows what Thornhill is talking about. They say the house belongs to a man who is a part of the United Nations.

Embarrassed, Grant goes to the United Nations to find the man who owns the estate. This is an important scene in the movie and one that almost didn’t happen. The government would not allow Hitchcock to film on the UN property. So Hitch asked if he could go in to make measurements so they could rebuild some of the building in the studio. Hitch snuck a camera into the building and got some of the great shots used in the movie illegally.

Thornhill goes to the UN where the man he is looking for is killed. Stabbed in the back by someone. Thornhill is the only one around and he pulls the knife out of the man’s back. Being the UN, there are photographers around and Thornhill is captured while holding the knife over the dead man. He is obviously branded as the murderer. Now the situation is set up: Thornhill is on the run from the spy ring because they think he is Kaplan. He is also on the run from the police because they believe he killed the man in the UN.

At this point we cut away from Thornhill’s troubles and listen in to a meeting in Washington. Here it is explained by government officials that there is no man named Kaplan. He was just made-up to keep the spy ring occupied while the real secret agent infiltrates them. Since Thornhill has become the target of the spy ring, the government officials believe all is well. No sense in disrupting their good fortune by telling Thornhill that there is no Kaplan, although it would mean saving his life.

Thornhill makes his way onto a train headed toward Chicago, where Kaplan is supposed to be at this point. On the train he meets the cool blonde Eve Kendall, played by Eva Marie Saint. In a scene similar to that of The 39 Steps, Thornhill is on the run from the police and ends up “accidentally” stepping into the cabin of the cool blonde. Unlike in The 39 Steps, here Eve accepts the advances of Thornhill.

The train makes it to Chicago where Eve makes sure she handles all the details between Thornhill and Kaplan, as it would be a bad idea to have a wanted man picked up in a public phone booth. Eve says Kaplan will meet Thornhill at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere. So Thornhill gets on the bus and heads from the city to farmland.

The famous crop duster scene occurs here. Hitchcock took the typical cliché of being set up from the dark alleys of the major metropolitan area to the warm sunshiny cornfields of the Midwest. Film noir this is not, but it is suspenseful.

Getting chased by a crop duster would make anyone angry and Thornhill is just that as he makes it back to Chicago. He discovers that Eve has been playing him for a sap and vows vengeance on her as he discovers she has been palling around with Philip Vandamm, played by James Mason, the head of the spy ring.

To give a quick recap of what happens, the officials in Washington step in to help Thornhill out as he has almost blown the cover of their secret agent, Eve, while trying to embarrass here at an auction. The officials take Thornhill to Mount Rushmore where he is briefed on the situation. A plan is executed, Thornhill is almost executed, and the movie ends with a harrowing trip around the monuments of Mount Rushmore. Like the UN building, Hitch was unable to film on the monuments — something about defacing them by having people run over the faces. It didn’t matter, as they were recreated in the studio.

North by Northwest is one of Hitchcock’s best movies. It is also one of his most beloved. This is because the movie is filled with plenty of suspense, plus an equal amount of comedy. Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint are a wonderful team on-screen and James Mason plays a wonderful bad guy. This is simply an enjoyable movie for people of all tastes.

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Watch the best of MOTHER/DAUGHTER Stories from the Writing & Film Festival

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

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch the best of MOTHER/DAUGHTER:

DAUGHTER
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK Video
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/daughter.html
USA, Drama

TV SPEC – MOM “Strip Poker and Guilt Trip
June 2014 Reading
Written by Micah Goldman and Griff Kohout
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/mom_tv_spec.html

TV SPEC – MODERN FAMILY “Chairity Case”
November 2014 Reading
Written by Josh Bressler
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/modern_family_chairity_case.html

ALEX
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK Video
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/alex.html
14min, Spain, Family/Drama

1st SCENE SCRIPT READING – PROMISES
October 2014 Reading
Written by Lee Forgang
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/promises.html

GREECE
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK Video
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/greece.html
16min, Canada, Drama

1ST SCENE SCRIPT – MINSAE: THE DARK KINGDOM
July 2014 Reading
Written by Jennifer Sparkman
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/minsae_the_dark_kingdom.html

FIXED
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/fixed.html
7min, Australia, Comedy/Family

The Hardest Good Bye by Sean Patrowich

Watch WEATHER STORIES from the Film and Writing Festival

Watch winning stories and movies showcased at the Writing and Film Festival with a weather plot or theme: Short, Feature, TV Screenplays. Short Stories. Novels. Stage Plays. Poems. Stories from festival made into movies.
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/weather_stories.html

DIAMOND AND THE FOSTERS
Full Movie
Watch the entire 5 chapter novel.
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/diamond_and_the_fosters.html

WIND
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK Video
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/wind.html
Germany, Animation

FEATURE SCRIPT – TO DIE IN TENNESSEE
February 2015 Reading
Written by Verlynn Kneifl & Laurie Larsen
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/feature_script_to_die_in_tennessee.html

Autumn Rose – Poetry Reading by June Helen Fleming

The Calm Before The Storm – Poetry Reading by Sasha Holden

Autumn in Connecticut – Poetry Reading by Debra Tammer

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Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

ALIEN Stories from the Writing and Film Festival

Watch winning stories and movies showcased at the Writing and Film Festival in the ALIEN Genre: Short, Feature, TV Screenplays. Short Stories. Novels. StALIEN Plays. Poems. Stories from festival made into movies: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/alien_stories.html

Watch the best of ALIEN Stories:

Feature Script: ORIGINS
May 2015 Reading
Written by Michael Panek & Guershon Moreno

SHORT – BATMAN/SUPERMAN FAN Script
March 2015 Reading
Written by Glenn Magas & Dale Fabrigar

Chapter 7 Novel: SURVIVAL YEAR
June 2015 Reading
Written by Jennifer Shearer French

TWITTER Short Story – To Boldly Go by Jonny Kratzel

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Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Watch FATHER/DAUGHTER Stories from the Writing and Film Festival

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

Watch the best of Father/Daughter from the Festival:

DIAMOND AND THE FOSTERS
Full Movie
Watch the entire 5 chapter novel.
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/diamond_and_the_fosters.html

DAUGHTER
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK Video
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/daughter.html
USA, Drama

FAMILIAR
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/familiar.html
Horror, Canada

CADAVER
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/cadaver.html
Animation / Adventure, USA

TV SPEC – PARENTHOOD “Don’t Give Up On Him Yet”
June 2014 Reading
Written by Cara Rothenberg
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/parenthood_tv_spec.html

TV SPEC – MODERN FAMILY “Chairity Case”
November 2014 Reading
Written by Josh Bressler
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/modern_family_chairity_case.html

FEATURE SCRIPT: THE FIREWORKS STAND
January 2015 Reading
Written by David M. Hyde
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/the_fireworks_stand.html

Novel Transcript – NOT TO TALK ABOUT UNTIL NOW
March 2015 Reading
Written by Kirsten Marie Wohlgemuth
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/not_to_talk_about_until_now.html

1st SCENE SCRIPT READING – PROMISES
October 2014 Reading
Written by Lee Forgang
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/promises.html

Watch Novel turned into Movie
Sandro’s Notebook
88min. movie
Written by Albert Russo
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/sandros_notebook.html

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Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.