Contagion Reel Review

After a business trip to Hong Kong Beth Emhoff’s(Gwyneth Paltrow) health quickly starts to decline. Fever, cough, and waves of light headed nausea are consuming her body. Her husband, Mitch Emhoff(Matt Damon), is not only concerned for her but also their children, Clark(Griffin Kane) and Jory(Anna Jacoby-Heron). What Mitch doesn’t realize is that his wife is patient zero in what is to become a global pandemic. With the sickness starting to spread at an alarming rate the director of the CDC, Dr. Ellis Cheever(Laurence Fishburne), begins emergency preparations. He contacts CDC coworker and Epidemiologist Dr. Erin Mears(Kate Winslet) to help him in what is to become one of the largest outbreaks of disease the world has ever met.

Contagion is a 2011 medical thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z. Burns. Soderbergh does an impressive job creating a sense of scale to the pandemic and Burns explains the plot in a way that doesn’t turn away the viewer. The sheer amount of characters in Contagion is staggering and their stories are all happening simultaneously throughout the globe. To juggle these storylines and fit them into an hour and forty-five minutes is an impressive feat of editing. The script is written and delivered in a way that uses the correct terminology and protocols that would actually happen in an emergency such as this. It gives the film an authenticity that would be appreciated by anybody from medical experts to the common moviegoer.

While I appreciated the scale and details put into the script and plot, these are also some of the problems that I had with Contagion. The scale of the film caused some characters and their storylines to get lost in the chaos. A plot line involving a kidnapped doctor near the beginning of the film comes back near the end. By the time they continued, I had some memory searching to do to get myself back into that plot thread. I also had to watch this movie twice for this review. While it’s valued that they are not dumbing down the material, it is on the borderline of being too technical. 

Despite some plot lines that are questionably broken up and my ability to understand some of the medical language used, I thoroughly enjoyed Contagion. The talent to weave so many stories and stick most of the landings is incredible. Also, it’s accessible for everyone and is a great rewatch if you didn’t pick up some of the minor details. I recommend Contagion to any one who enjoys their thrillers tense,realistic, and emotional.

I give Contagion 5 out of 6 reels.

Quarantine Filmmaking Competition Showcase

Over the last 7 days CinemaSlice has received over 30 films entries for the #QuarantineFilmmaking competition.

We’re truly humbled to have encouraged so many filmmakers to be creative and make a short film over the course of a week.

On Friday, March 27th, 2020 at 8PM EDT, CinemaSlice has the honor of showcasing all film submissions via live-stream watch party at the official FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/229348808259773/

You don’t want to miss this showcase of short indy films from around the world! Our official awards will be handed out to the winning films immediately following the live-stream watch party!

#QuarantineFilmmaking #StaySafe #MakeMovies #SliceThePlanet

Suds – CANCELLED

It is with heavy hearts that CinemaSlice must announce that we’re canceling SUDS & CINEMA – Knoxville.

After discussing the topic with our festival team, we’ve decided that we’d prefer not risk holding a film showcase during these uncertain times. As a matter of fact, the awesome pub (BRICKYARD) is currently mandated to be CLOSED. As of NOW they’re scheduled to re-open before the SUDS & CINEMA event date in August 2020– but details seem to be changing each day.

All thing considered, we’ve selected to follow the president, the governor, and the CDC to cancel our event at this time.

We very much intend on re-scheduling our event after this whole thing blows over…

Stay safe during these challenging times.

#SliceThePlanet

Claymation Zombies: The Dr. Molder Chronicles – Reel Review

(Message to readers: Claymation Zombies: The Dr. Molder Chronicles is a prequel to Claymation Zombies. In writing these reviews I watched them in chronological order and the opinions in the reviews reflect the order in which I watched them.)

Abigail(Kenna Coy) has a special set of powers. After being brought to Dr. Molder’s(Jim Gloyd) research facility she begins a series of tests. Dr. Molder is a leader in the field of telekinesis and believes that he can help Abigail reach her full potential. Unfortunately for Abigail, Dr. Molders latest experiments haven’t gone as planned and he needs funding to continue his research. Emilio Andswarth(Gabriel Kirk) is now bankrolling Dr. Molder’s work and is especially interested in the Chromatron Conductor, a device that, in theory, should focus an individual’s telekinetic powers. The device’s results have proven disastrous in human trails but Emilio Andswarth isn’t concerned. If left unchecked, Emilio might cause an outbreak of claymation zombies.

Claymation Zombies: The Dr. Molder Chronicles is a comedy/sci-fi horror short directed by Jake Jolley. Wildly inventive and original, CZ: The Dr. Molder Chronicles really shines in being consistently captivating due to Jake Jolley’s imagination. The deadpan comedy is a star of the film as we get combinations of wacky and serious characters that play off of each other beautifully. A scene with a special investigation officer taking long sips off her absurdly large water thermos is a great example of this humor. Gabriel Kirk is a standout in the film and does a fantastic job as the bumbling antagonist Emilio Andswarth. The claymation effects also deserve some recognition as they are hard to pull off and commendable when attempted in any film.

A criticism I have with CZ: The Dr. Molder Chronicles is with the overly complex story. It feels as if to many elements were chaotically packed into the short runtime. During a first watch I had only a vague idea what was going on. I was more interested in the character portrayals then I was in what they were doing. Upon a second and third viewing I started to piece together what was going on, but still was pretty confused. I realize this is a comedy and the plot is purposely wacky on a certain level. However, among the craziness, I would also like clear motivations and reasons for when things happen which I feel the film could have worked on.

Overall, Claymation Zombies: The Dr. Molder Chronicles was a decent comedy/sci-fi horror short. While the plot was confusing I did appreciate the work put into the character development, the comedic performances of each actor, and the claymation animation put into the film. I would recommend CZ: The Dr. Molder Chronicles to anyone who enjoys B movies that have a creative take on the zombie sub genre.

I give Claymation Zombies: The Dr. Molder Chronicles 3 out of 6 reels.

Claymation Zombies – Reel Review

(Message to readers: Claymation Zombies: The Dr. Molder Chronicles is a prequel to Claymation Zombies. In writing these reviews I watched them in chronological order and the opinions in the reviews reflect the order in which I watched them.)

Dr. Molder(Jim Gloyd) wants to expose the dangers of his experiments. While his intentions where good, the negatives far exceeded the positives. During a meeting with local reporter Ted(Bill Jolley) an accident occurs and a claymation zombie outbreak starts to spread. Meanwhile, at a nearby comic shop, Jack(Jake Jolley) is handing out free comics. He runs into his buddy Cassidy(Justin Little) who is running from the zombie hoard. They soon meet up with Sheriff Locke(David Ogrodowski) and his small band of survivors. Together they must travel through the woods to the sheriffs pickup truck and hopefully escape the claymation monstrosities.

Director Jake Jolley is back with another installment of his apocalyptic claymation tale. Claymation Zombies is a survival comedy/horror short that continues the exploits of Dr. Molder and his ill-fated experiments. This short takes everything from CZ: The Dr. Molder Chronicles and shapes it into a more coherent whole. It accomplishes this without losing any of the imagination and creativity of the first film. The comedy is still deadpan and funny, with everyone delivering great lines during the absurd situations they are in. Sheriff Locke, portrayed by David Ogrodowski, is a standout being consistently funny throughout. The claymation effects are back and more prevalent than ever as zombies explode across the screen in showers of blood and clay.

A criticism that I had with CZ: The Dr. Molder Chronicles was the complicated plot that was hard to follow. Claymation Zombies sticks to a simpler story that focuses mostly on the survival of the characters as they make their way to the sheriff’s truck. This plot structure works for me better, as I would rather focus on the comedy and claymation elements of the film. At the end of the day, Claymation Zombies is still a low-budget B movie comedy horror. These types of films are quite polarizing with audiences. Simply put, you either love them or hate them. Claymation Zombies, while being creative and imaginative, doesn’t really break any new ground and is still for a specific type of audience.

Claymation Zombies is a quality entry in the Dr. Molder storyline. It simplifies the plot while maintaining the laughs and absurd moments from the prequel. Claymation Zombies is for a specific type of audience, however, with opinions of the short being divided. I recommend Claymation Zombies for anyone who enjoys a funny apocalyptic zombie flick filled with great clay animation.

I give Claymation Zombies 4 out of 6 reels.

Quarantine Filmmaking Competition

These are wild times to be alive!

As creators, we’re constantly making new content. Don’t let a little pandemic get in the way of your creativity! MAKE A SHORT FILM!

If you’re a filmmaker, you’re invited to fight the urge to go stir crazy– and MAKE A FILM for the Quarantine Filmmaking Competition!
A ONE WEEK MULTI-GENRE FILMMAKING COMPETITION!


You’re welcome to produce a film in ANY genre— but MUST stick to the following rules:
Opening text over 5sec black: “Made for 2020 Quarantine Film Competition”

  • Film must be UNDER 5 mins (this includes credits)
  • Post your film live on FaceBook or YouTube
  • Tag @CinemaSlicers and include #QuarantineFilming and #SliceThePlanet
  • Share you submission with CinemaSlice to be considered for awards
  • DEADLINE: before 3/26 at 10PM
  • Must include a brush/comb (of any kind!!)
INCLUDE A BRUSH!!

Just a quick note: your submission will need to be made during the course of the competition (3/18-3/26).In order to prevent any submissions of films made prior to this event, each film must feature a common prop: a comb/brush of ANY kind! Be creative. Be cinematic. Stay safe!

OFFICIAL DETAILS AT CinemaSlice.com/Quarantine

#SupportIndependentCinema #SliceThePlanet

That Wasn’t Supposed To Happen! Reel Review

Former high school football great Zeke Sweet(Isiah Alexx) is stuck in a rut. He spends his days juggling between doing nothing and working sales at his dead-end lawn care job. With his class reunion fast approaching Zeke gets a call from his friend, Spazz McCraze(Manny Sandow). Spazz wants to get the crew back together just like the good old days. So Zeke, Spazz, Alan(Doc Less) and T-Rex(Nathan Niniisto) all head out for a normal night of class reunion fun. Enter Zeke’s former crush Aleezya(Kylie Cunningham), jealous girlfriends, church buses, and cross dressers and you get a night filled with hilarity that wasn’t supposed to happen!

That Wasn’t Supposed To Happen is a full length feature comedy directed by Tonia Carrier and written by Isiah Alexx. Snappy and fast paced That Wasn’t Supposed To Happen keeps the audience continuously captivated. A uniform combination of crude humor and heartfelt moments lead to the excellent pacing. The character development and plot are well executed, considering the large cast. Many scenarios are playing out simultaneously and never once get confusing. The actors do a great job of playing off one another and have back stories, for the most part, that flesh out their characters. Most importantly, the jokes are funny eliciting smiles and chuckles during the tender scenes and all out laughter during the absurd ones.

Some criticisms I have with That Wasn’t Supposed To Happen are the tone of some action scenes and one character that lacks a back story. At one point a group of women get beaten up by an envious girlfriend. The moment felt more heavy emotionally than intended. I felt concerned for the women’s situation when the hilarious nature of the scenario should have been the focus. The mysterious Mr. Frisky(Richard Pryor Jr.) was also a problem for me. Richard did an amazing comedic acting job but I was continually wondering why Mr. Frisky was popping up unexpectedly. Some answers to this character’s history could have cleared this up.

That Wasn’t Supposed To Happen is a breath of fresh air in our current climate that lacks edgy comedies. Work could be done to the tone of some action scenes and Mr. Frisky deserved a background story. Overall, however, the film was fantastically funny filled with great jokes, fun characters, hilarious scenarios, and heartfelt moments. I recommend this to anyone who wants to check out from the real world for a couple of hours and enjoy a hysterically funny comedy. 

I give That Wasn’t Supposed To Happen 4 out of 6 reels.

The Unwelcoming House 2 -Reel Review

Joe(Joe Covarrubias), his wife, son Landen(Landen Covarrubias), and family dog Bailey finally escaped the house that terrorized them for weeks. They believed that they had left behind the sadistic Larry Adams and his ever-present walking cane. Unfortunately, Joe slowly began to realize that this wasn’t the case. He saw Larry Adams everywhere he went, continually being haunted by his presence. When Bailey dies under mysterious circumstances Joe decides that he must go back. Deep down, he wants to go back. Joe has to learn more about Larry Adams and the demonic presence that seems to surround him. Once again Joe must enter the Unwelcoming House.

Joe Covarrubias, director of The Unwelcoming House, is back in this superbly creepy sequel, The Unwelcoming House 2. Done in the same found footage/documentary style as the first installment The Unwelcoming House 2 ups the ante in a few key areas. First off, the pacing of this film is better. Joe goes back to his earlier home for a week and the nights are clearly delineated for the viewer. This layout makes the move forward fun for the audience as the tension and scares build throughout the movie at a brisk pace. Secondly, the mystery surrounding the house and Larry Adams is better explained giving the viewer context as to what’s going on. The pacing and detailed back story lead to scares that would impress any fan of the found footage horror genre.

A couple of criticisms I have with The Unwelcoming House 2 are ones similar to that of the previous installment. Once again, the story has plot holes that could have been better explained. One is the fact that an entire house filled with valuable items is abandoned. This is barely addressed and no matter how scared Joe was it’s hard to believe he would never try to retrieve some of these items. Another unfortunate problem is with the ending. A tactic that Joe has previously used throughout the films now seems to get him results, without explanation. Because of this the final confrontation feels anticlimactic to a certain degree.

Overall, The Unwelcoming House 2 is a successful sequel in The Unwelcoming House saga. It’s better paced, delivering well crafted scares that range from unnerving to horrifying. Some plot holes still remain but are fewer than there were in the original. For these reasons I recommend The Unwelcoming House 2 for fans of the original film wondering what ever became of Joe and his son Landen.

I give The Unwelcoming House 2 5 out of 6 reels.