Bailiwick Reel Review

Bailiwick is the story of John, a lonely, quiet man who is given a gift that changes his life. Do you believe in magic?

Bailiwick
Length: 1Hour 36Mins
Written and Directed by Tonia L. Carrier

John is a middle-aged man who lives a simple life. His day starts with your usual morning fare: shower, breakfast, etc. He then goes to his office job, which comes complete with a disagreeable boss and coworkers who mostly ignore him. John caps off the night by preparing for another day, identical to the last. During one of these mundane days John attends a magic show. At the show John receives a strange book, filled with detailed instructions for magic tricks. The magician hands the ancient book off and John eagerly accepted the gift. Little does John know that his life is about to change in many exciting and dangerous ways as he slowly masters the magic tricks one by one.

Bailiwick is an independent full length feature film directed by Tonia Carrier. In Bailiwick you’ll find mystery, drama, action, horror, fantasy, and comedy. It’s hard to pin down a specific genre because this film truly has a bit of everything and mostly succeeds in all the genres it attempts. I would say the creativeness of tackling so many genres is one of my favorite elements of the film and helped keep me continually interested in the story. The main character John, played by Dan Gerics, does an outstanding job. It’s impressive to watch an actor navigate these shifting genres and make it seem so effortless. I also enjoy a good narrative build up in a film and Bailiwick doesn’t disappoint. It’s very satisfying to go from that first uneventful day in John’s life which leads to the events that ensue at the end.

While I commend the creativeness of the multi genre approach to Bailiwick, it is also where some of my criticisms lay. Personally, I would have liked some smoother transitions from genre to genre. Most of these problems occur during the third act of the film. Without spoilers, I’ll just say that some of these genre transitions made me question Johns motivations. These criticisms, while a bit jarring, didn’t detract from the creativeness of the film.

Bailiwick is a wildly inventive film.

While this inventiveness sometimes messes with the pacing and flow of the narrative, it is still a fantastic film. If you’re into indie cinema that isn’t afraid to take risks, then give this film a shot. Go to YouTube where Bailiwick is available to stream now.

I give Bailiwick 4 out of 6 reels.

“An Hour to Kill” – Reel Review

GENRE: Horror / Comedy / Action

SYNOPSIS: Two assassins have an hour to kill (so to speak) before their next hit. To help pass the time, they entertain themselves by sharing horror stories to one another. With bizarre titles such as “Valkyrie’s Bunker” “Assacre” and “Hog Hunters” – which hit-man’s story will be deemed most disturbing when all is said and done?

TAGLINE: Before they make the hit, these gangsters shoot the sh!t

RUN TIME: 96 min

COMPANY: Rotten Productions

DIRECTED BY: Aaron K. Carter

WRITTEN BY: Aaron K. Carter / Ronnie Jimenez

PRODUCED BY: Aaron K. Carter / Jacob Harlow

STARRING:

  • Mel Novak (Game Of Death, An Eye For An Eye, Syndicate Smasher)
  • Frankie Pozos (LA 143)
  • Aaron Guerrero (Dead Kansas)
  • Amanda Rau (Living Among Us)  
  • Joe McQueen (Confessions Of A SuperHero)
  • Veronica Ricci (Treasure Chest Of Horrors II / Bloody Mary 3D)  
  • Brendan Mitchell (WetMovie1 / YouTube Personality)
  • Gabriel Mercado (Dysmorphia)
  • Luna Meow (Things 4)
  • Arash Dibazar (seduction artist)
  • Vince Kelvin (seduction artist)

Imagine this, a group of young women visit an abandoned hideout in search of a rumored weed stash. A champion competitive eater and video blogger prank a YouTuber by giving him a mysterious gift. A bowling team gets more than they expect when visiting a farm that contains some interesting farm animals. These stories may seem very strange, made even stranger when considering who is telling the tales. An exuberant rookie hitman who is in more danger than what he is aware of.

An Hour to Kill is a compendium of grindhouse inspired short films directed by Aaron K. Carter. The movie ranges in genre from action to horror/exploitation, done similarly in style to films like Creepshow, Trick rTreat, andV/H/S. I, personally, am a fan of strange and creepy anthologies and An Hour to Kill did not disappoint.

Pacing is important in a film like this, and An Hour to Kill does an outstanding job. Considering the short time allowed for each segment, the storytelling and character development are great. Plenty of movies can’t achieve these heights, even within a two hour runtime. The writing is also consistently funny and believable considering the wacky scenarios. Also, I have to mention the great acting of Frankie Pozos. He plays hitman Frankie and was a standout in the film.

A small criticism I do have with the film is that nothing really ties the stories together. These anthologies really reach true greatness, in my opinion, when all the plots are brought together in a cohesive fashion. The previously mentioned Trick rTreat would be a good example.

STREAM THE FULL FILM ON AMAZON

An Hour to Kill was an excellent film. The entertaining stories and characters were fun to watch throughout despite an overall lack of cohesion between the individual shorts. I would highly recommend this to lovers of action, horror, and comedy. An overall fantastic movie viewing experience.

5 out of 6 stars.

Escape Room Reel Review

6 individuals receive an elaborate puzzle cube that acts as an invitation to participate in an escape room challenge. The premise sounds simple. Find your way through a maze of different rooms. Solve an environmental puzzle to escape each locale and you will receive the grand prize: 10,000 dollars. The participants begin to arrive, although some are reluctant. What transpires next is a descent into madness as the contestants realize this game has higher stakes then what they previously envisioned.

Escape Room is a 2019 film directed by Adam Robitel. Although labeled by some as a horror movie, I would classify this into the thriller/mystery genre. It is similar to past films like Cube, Saw, and Final Destination. In these films there are extreme situations, in which the main characters have to survive. Unlike these films, however, Escape Room leans farther away from the gory and torturous elements.

I enjoyed Escape Room for what it was, an extremely fun and thrilling experience. It offered interesting and varied locations with characters that you genuinely want to see succeed or fail. The story is engaging and easy to follow unlike more cerebral and thought provoking fare such as Hereditary and Suspiria(2018). Just be warned, set your expectations before watching. If you’re the type that enjoys a good dark stout beer and refuses to drink Miller Lite, this movie may not be for you. Escape Room is is definitely horror lite. 

So, maybe you’re looking for a good introduction to horror for some of your friends who refuse to give the genre a shot. Maybe you are a parent that wants to upgrade your children from watching Goosebumps or The House with a Clock in its Walls. Or maybe you just want to watch an exciting thriller without all the gore. If any of these scenarios apply then Escape Room is for you.

4 out of 6 reels.

Paradise Fear Reel Review

Hello, Slicers! Here we go with another Reel Review and this time we’ll be looking at the short film Paradise Fear. Written and directed by “Zach Deering”, Paradise Fear is a sci-fi, action adventure short. It sticks to the same tense and frantic fun that we’ve come to expect from a Zach Deering original. CinemaSlice.coms Indie Film Spotlight featured two of Zach’s previous films, SAM and Nano Addiction. Both were highly entertaining. You can check out previous Reel Reviews covering SAM and Nano Addiction at CinemaSlice.com.

Two bounty hunters, played by “Michaela Romain” and “Anastasiia Greca”, are exploring the mysterious planet Paradise Sphere. Known only as a vacation destination, the planet is rumored to have some hidden secrets. As the bounty hunters are walking they observe a ship crash land onto Paradise Sphere. Paradise Sphere gunned down the ship. They begin to look for the surviving members of the wreckage. The plan is to capture the ships survivors and receive a huge payday for their bounty’s. They soon end up uncovering the secrets of Paradise Sphere that could affect the universe forever.

Continue reading “Paradise Fear Reel Review”

The Monster with 21 Faces Reel Review

Hello, Slicers!

Mark Kelly here and I’m back with another Reel Review. I’ll be reviewing the crime documentary The Monster with 21 Faces (かい人21面相) , directed by Michael Welborn. The film recently had its world premiere at CinemaSlice.coms A Slice of Fright film festival. The movie is part one of an in depth look at the real life incidents surrounding a wealthy Japanese businessman. It details the attack on his career, friends, and family by an unknown assailant calling himself the monster with 21 faces.

In Japan during the spring of 1984 president of Hashiba Homegoods, Sotara Hashiba(Bruce Falcon), is taking a shower at his home one evening. Unbeknownst to him, 3 individuals dressed in dark clothes and white masks have broke into his residence. They have tied up his wife and daughter and are planning to kidnap Hashiba himself. What follows is a decent into mayhem and mystery. Hashiba struggles to protect everything and everyone he holds dear against multiple unknown attacks.

Continue reading “The Monster with 21 Faces Reel Review”

Halloween(2018) Reel Review

Happy Halloween, Slicers.

Mark Kelly here and I’m back with a Reel Review of Halloween(2018). Having enjoyed the Halloween franchise over the past 40 years I was beyond excited hearing about this new installment. Taking place directly after the events of Halloween(1978) this movie opts to forgo the lore built over the years. Although I have enjoyed the previous films it was nice to see some new life breathed into the franchise. So, without further ado, onto the Reel Review of Halloween(2018).

It’s been 40 years since the murder of 4 people occurred in Haddonfield, IL on Halloween. That night the serial killer Micheal Myers was apprehended and has been held in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium ever since. Even though Micheal is in captivity this has provided little comfort for Laurie Strode. That night two of her best friends were murdered. Over the years she has become increasingly paranoid and has developed Agoraphobia. Although this has affected her family and friends it has also made her prepared for if Micheal ever escapes again. Continue reading “Halloween(2018) Reel Review”

A Slice of Fright – Mini Reel Reviews (pt 2)

I’m back to review more short films from A Slice of Fright Film Festival!

*6 YEARS

directed by: Kamil Wojcik

Year by year, we see events play out in a mans life. As we go through each event things get progressively more disturbing and terrifying. 

An abstract telling of a series of horrifying and gory scenes, at first I thought this animated short would turn me off. After multiple viewings, however, I find myself constantly amazed at how many interpretations I have about the plot of this film. I’m more fascinated by this short with each and every viewing.

6 out of 6 reels.

*MEAT SACK

directed by: Wages of Cine

A detective and her partner come across a horrific crime scene. After the investigation she must track down the killer that committed the unspeakable act. 

This short is oozing with style. The extremely grainy film footage combined with the excellent practical gore effects makes this film have strange sense of realism. It feels as though you’re watching footage found directly at a real crime scene. Unfortunately, this film also suffers from a case of style over substance. It’s as if this film is missing a second act, something that could explain how we get from the murder to the apprehension.

3 out of 6 reels.

*PLAY WITH ME

directed by: Ash Hamilton 

A girl (Katie Schooley) finds that she and 3 other “strangers” are in a very dangerous situation. A skull-masked murderer is after them and their options for survival are quickly running out. 

I’m a big fan of movies that nail their surprise endings. Without giving anything away this film begins with a brutal “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” type feel, but ends in a completely different fashion. The two components complement each other without ruining the overall cohesiveness of the short. In my opinion things get a bit overly silly at times, especially near the end of the film. It was also very interesting to find out that this film also doubles as a clever advertisement.

5 out of 6 reels.

*AM I SCARY NOW

directed by: Jon David Leslie

After losing a Halloween pumpkin carving contest a boy decides to go out trick or treating. His pumpkin may have lost the contest but it may be more scarier than we previously thought. 

I loved this animated short. In starts off with a “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” feel, making it seem like you’re watching a children’s Halloween special. By the end I was surprised, to my delight, at the gruesome twist that it takes.

6 out of 6 reels.

*COMPENSATION

directed by: Chu-Yi Chen

A man (Ying-Hong Li) is shackled in a dark and dirty room. He has committed a crime, a crime with which a creative punishment is in store for him. 

In a sense this is a revenge film, and a good one at that. With most revenge films we see killing as the chosen course of action. In this film we see that idea being turned on its head. Although a bit more details about the plot could have been useful for clarification, it’s an excellent film nonetheless.

5 out of 6 reels.

*THE LAST CRY

directed by: Cynthia Bergen

After receiving reports of mysterious sounds coming from a abandoned warehouse a paranormal investigator looks into the situation. What she encounters within will haunt her dreams forever. 

At first I thought, “Oh no, not another one of these paranormal investigation films again.”. When this type of movie is done well, however, it can feature some of the creepiest imagery in all of the horror genre. This film is an example of getting it right. It’s the only short that gave me a nightmare in which the creepy old man standing next to the crib made an appearance. Super scary stuff.

6 out of 6 reels.

*ANGEL WATCHING OVER ME

directed by: Even Keel Productions

Kendra(Kendra Lodewyk) is being tucked into bed for the night by her mom(Kelly Fortier). Her grandmother has recently passed away and she confides to her mother that she can hear grandma calling to her every night. Every night at exactly midnight. 

Every element of this film was done fairly well. For me it borders on being a bit forgettable, but definitely deserves a watch for the likable characters and creepy villain at the end.

3 out of 6 reels.

*DETROIT EXPLOITATION ANIMATION BLOCK

directed by: Matthew MCR Ellison II

Disturbing animation and experimental music is abound in this collection of animated shorts. 

This feature is comprised mostly of short bursts of chaotic scenes with deformed creatures being ripped apart and jarring distorted sounds. While I wouldn’t say that these would be for everyone, I also see the creativity and imagination that is put into the final product.

3 out 6 reels.

*LA ROI DE LA MORT

directed by: Jeremy Borden

Madame (Diana Moore) is excited to find that her ancient artifact has arrived. The artifact is soon revealed despite warnings of danger from the attending archaeologist (Jose Bastidas). 

A very enjoyable watch. It executed the classic silent film elements perfectly and had an old school monster movie feel. The costumes felt period accurate which was also a very nice touch. I story was fairly basic but was performed well enough that it complemented the overall esthetic. 

4 out of 6 reels.

*I’M HERE

directed by: James Pinson

A husband (Azhar Ali) has stayed over at work to catch up on some “extracurricular activities”. When he starts receiving texts he begins to realize that maybe this tryst wasn’t such a good idea after all.

The atmosphere of a darkened office coupled with the growing realization that this man is up to no good creates a setting that is perfect for tense thrilling moments. As the time of his rendezvous draws near you can actually feel the heightened apprehension that leads to the realization that he may have made a grave mistake.

5 out of 6 reels.

*CUT

directed by: Jeremy Allen

In a scene reminiscent of “Saw” we see a woman (Valerie Gilbert) and a man (Ian Beckroege) wake up in an abandoned hallway. Bloodied and beaten they both struggle to figure out what has happened. They soon find out that they are in a situation that is more dangerous then they could have ever imagined. 

I enjoy films that are able to borrow an idea and breathe new life into it. The “group of people trapped in a room” idea has been done before but never quite like this. I’d also be remiss not to mention the acting of Tommie Grabiec. He was phenomenal in “Par-A-Site” but arguably even better in this.

6 out of 6 reels.

A Slice of Fright – Mini Reel Reviews (Pt 1)

Sup, Slicers?

Mark Kelly here– I wasn’t able to attend the festival in person, so I’ve decided to write mini REEL REVIEWS of each film featured at A SLICE OF FRIGHT FILM FESTIVAL.

On Saturday the 13th, at The State Theatre in Bay City, MI, CinemaSlice hosted the first ever, A Slice of Fright Film Festival. Dedicated to the mad and macabre side of storytelling, A Slice of Fright Film Festival consisted of films ranging from the truly disturbing to the darkly hilarious. So strap in because we are coming at you with mini Reel Reviews of all the selections that were shown at the Fest.

ACNE

directed by: Arturo Uspango

A woman (Ashley Daniello) stands in front of her bathroom mirror fretting over her complexion. We soon find out the disturbing places she will go in order to fix her acne problem.

Continue reading “A Slice of Fright – Mini Reel Reviews (Pt 1)”

HHM Day 4

Hello, Slicers!

Bay City’s Hells Half Mile Fest wrapped about a week ago and I’m back with some coverage from the final day. The past couple of days I had attended movies that were more tension filled and suspenseful. On the last day I wanted a taste of something different so I ended up attending a comedy and a drama that I found particularly interesting. We’ll start off with “The Go-Getters”.

The Go-Getters”, directed by Jeremy Lalonde, is one of the most heartfelt, extremely vulgar, and entertaining comedies I have ever watched. The premise is simple, in order to fix up their extremely messed up lives Owen (Aaron Abrams),a drug addict, and Lacie(Tommie-Amber Pirie), a prostitute, must raise 98 dollars in order to buy two bus tickets out of town. Try as they might, this simple task proves to be an extremely impossible, dangerous, harmful and hilarious task in more ways than one. I found this movie immensely enjoyable. Although it isn’t for the easily offended, it was very charming similar to the tv series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. The characters are nasty and deplorable, but through good comedic acting, direction, and writing(Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall) you are rooting for them all the same. Continue reading “HHM Day 4”

Hell’s Half Mile 2018 – Day 2 & 3

What’s up, Slicers!

Mark Kelly here and I’m back with more Reel Reviews from the 13th annual Hells Half Mile in Bay City, MI.

The films we are looking at today were screened during the 2 and 3 days of the festival. They are selections that I felt ranged from challenging and thought provoking– to extremely fun and thrilling. We’ll start off first with “First Reformed”.

Continue reading “Hell’s Half Mile 2018 – Day 2 & 3”