Suds & Cinema – Grove City – Mini Reel Reviews – Part 1 of 2

Following CinemaSlice’s first ever Suds & Cinema event in Grove City, OH, we just had to write up mini reviews for each official selection that screened! Without further ado, let’s get into these REEL REVIEWS!

Alive

directed by Naim David

A woman(Mary K. Riestenberg) begins to clean up after the gruesome murder of another woman(Celeste Blandon). She quickly finds that there are more important things to worry about than her blood soaked hands.

A very effective horror short in terms of setting and characters. In the short runtime it is well established that something terrifying has happened. The actors do a tremendous job with their movements and mannerisms to help flesh out this feeling of dread. I could have used a more in terms of plot but I understand that this was probably a purposeful choice.

4 out of 6 Reels

Clowns vs. Corn 4 Gold

directed by Matthew MCR Ellison II

The psychedelic trip of a clown whose drink of choice is Corn 4 Gold.

An animated short done in a very unique and creative style. As a piece of art this is a captivating look into a mad alternate universe where everything pulses with a fast and frenetic energy. Looking at it as a film, I would say it’s lacking in plot with no real narrative thread to speak of.

3 out of 6 Reels

Fear, Itself

directed by Alex Caperton

A girl(Rachel Hass) is having a fun and relaxing night eating junk food and playing video games. Fun and relaxing until she hears a sound coming from outside her bedroom window.

This horror short has a nice advancement of creeping dread from beginning to end. I enjoyed the use of video gaming in the film. As a video gamer I use the hobby as a relaxer and can imagine how the girl may have felt before the creepy events begin. Personally, the ending left me on a bit of a cliffhanger and I would have liked to have seen more. A very effective thriller nonetheless.

4 out of 6 Reels 

Haunted House

directed by Michael DeSanto

Amanda(Kenzie Phillips) and Ryan(Charles Wetzel Jr.) have just purchased a new home. Hilarity ensues when they find that the house is very lonely and would like some special favors done in return.

Enjoyable horror comedy that has fun characters and writing that is consistently funny. The writing is effective in that each character is specifically written for. This makes the characters distinctive and they don’t share the same jokes and personalities. I also have to mention the special effects, which were stellar for a low-budget film. My only minor criticism is that the story, while still very funny, was a bit disjointed and felt like we were just moving from scene to scene without much substance. Still a very funny and crowd pleasing film.

5 out of 6 Reels

Jilted Ex

directed by Christian Blackthorne

Sometimes breaking off a relationship can lead to some very dire consequences.

This very short horror clip definitely succeeded in setting a very dark and grim tone right from the start. A very unsettling visual accompanied by a gritty atmosphere made for a nightmarish combo. It seemed to play more like a trailer, however, and I was left wanting more. It would be very interesting to see this idea expanded upon in the future to give the viewer more to sink their teeth into.

3 out of 6 Reels

Not From Around Here

directed by Eric Mishne

Connie(Rachel Luther) and Parker(Colin Luther) are traveling the United States with dreams of traveling the world. Their plans hit a snag when their car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road. They are not concerned until a stranger(Chris Johnson) in a pickup truck pulls up behind them.

This short was awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, the characters and especially the film’s conclusion. The plot is straightforward, putting us in a believable scenario that many enjoy doing, traveling the world. It then establishes characters that we can see ourselves as and puts them in a scenario that we all hate, our car breaking down. It wraps up brilliantly with an ending that I won’t give away, but I will say to go back and give this a second watch. Little details will emerge that go unnoticed on the first viewing and the experience will become that much more enjoyable.

6 out of 6 Reels

That’s it for PART1!!! Tune in next time for the mini reel review of the remaining films featured at SUDS & CINEMA – Grove City!

Laakekoe (Medicated) Reel Review

Korppainen(Tapio Kauma) is a pretty quirky person. With hobbies that include random shadow boxing, science fiction literature, and chess matches against himself it’s hard not to consider Korppainen unique. However, the cause of Korppainens new problem maybe his odd behavior. Nearby, a doctor named Niklas(Heikki Kauma) is on the verge of unleashing a very dark and powerful entity. An entity that requires a unique individual, just like Korppainen, to arrive on earth. When Korppainens brother, Karsta(Tapio Kauma), asks him to take part in a strange medical experiment, we soon find out how destructive this entity is.

Laakekoe(Medicated) is a sci-fi action adventure directed by Tapio Kauma and Ville Viasanen. For me Laakekoe(Medicated) excelled in a few key areas: awesome special effects and telling a compelling, well paced story. The effects in this movie are extremely well done. The supernatural beings that inhabit the film are dark and ominous. You feel a real sense of danger when Korppainen is going up against them. I have to give Ville Viasanen an applause for a job well done. 

Laakekoe(Medicated)s pacing also kept me engaged all throughout the film. Every scene kept the action moving and I feel that’s important for a movie in this genre. It also helped that each character was distinctive and entertaining. Due to the fast pace of the film it was very important to have impressive character development to avoid any further confusion in the storyline.

Laakekoe(Medicated) – IMDB

This leads me to my one criticism of Laakekoe(Medicated). The story was, for me, fairly confusing. During my first viewing I always felt a bit lost. The awesome characters and action packed pace kept me watching. A second viewing definitely helped to clarify a lot of the plot details that had me lost.

The whole film project took 7 years to complete. Majority of the effort was done by two guys: Tapio Kauma and Ville Väisänen. They had previously done several short movies together but this is the first feature length movie by them. They have not officially studied move making but have instead learned everything they know about film making by trial and error. And of course by watching lots of movies.
The duo have estimated that during the years they spend about 1 300 hours to complete the movie. The movie was done while the film makers studied and/or worked full time. The whole budget for the movie is less than 150 euros.

Laakekoe(Medicated) is a solid sci-fi action adventure. It has a great mix of special effects and interesting, distinctive characters. Also, it has the perfect amount of absurdity sprinkled throughout. Although you may have to give this a second watch to help understand some of the story details, Laakekoe(Medicated) is still a kick ass experience. Look it up on YouTube and give it a watch.

I give Laakekoe(Medicated) 4 out of 6 reels.

Brain Engagement Reel Review

Ben and Anna have been dating for two years and Ben is ready to pop the question. We see this very clearly within the first few moments of the short film Brain Engagement, a short romantic comedy directed by Patrick Neff. How Ben, played by Brennen Thompson, plans on accomplishing this goal is not so clear. Anna, played by Kristin Mellian, certainly seems interested in starting a life together. Ben can’t be for certain, however, until he finally asks “Will you marry me?”. He only has his heart and emotions to talk to. A heart and emotions that get angry, crack jokes, problem solve, and celebrate. It’s almost as if the emotions were real people themselves…

Brain Engagement was a joy to watch from start to finish. Being a Rom/Com this film had two aspects to focus on. It needs a relationship the viewer wants to root for and enjoyable, well written humor. Brain Engagement absolutely nails both. As Ben goes through his journey throughout the film you feel all the emotions that he is feeling, which makes the ending all the more meaningful. The moments of levity are also amazing with great jokes that are cleverly written and engaging to the story. Relatability and comedy combine together perfectly in Brain Engagement and that gives the film a lot of heart.

My one criticism of Brain Engagement is that, while it’s plot is perfect in execution, it’s lacking in originality. Not giving away any spoilers, I would have to say that I’ve seen this plot device used in comedy’s and animated features in the past. It’s a only minor criticism because of what Brain Engagement manages to do. In roughly 15 minutes Brain Engagement has more laughs, love, and charm then some other movies have with a full length runtime.

Brain Engagement does what I feel every short film should try to carry out. It gets the viewer excited about what they just watched, but also leaves them wanting more content in the same universe. More of the continued relationship between Ben and Anna, and more of Ben’s hilarious internal emotional struggles.

I give Brain Engagement 6 out of 6 reels.


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.

Holmes and Watson is a Good Movie?!

The film Holmes and Watson had a fun and new twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories.

Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 0% (Now up to 9%) despite it being a good film with impressive acting chops from both John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell. Not only is it funny but it’s an entertaining whodunnit style film that zigs right when you expect it to zag all the way throughout. There’s even a hysterical musical number thrown in without warning and I definitely appreciated it.

Homies

Sadly it is one of those comedies where you either enjoy the style or you don’t. Some reviews I’ve read compared it to Step Brothers which I’d agree with, the chemistry between John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell is undeniably perfect. They feed off one another in such a way that you’d think they were created for each other, like Laurel and Hardy.

In my book this film holds a 5 out of 6 reels.


And I’m excited to see more Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly collaborations regardless of what the critics say.

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”

Schlock du Jour: Haiku Reviews

It’s that time again!

I have culminated from my miscellaneous notes an all new edition of Haiku Reviews, that will hopefully make up for my recent neglect. Included in this entry are:
Day of the Reaper
Devotion
All Strippers Must die
American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice
Devil’s Weekend
Spoiler, I only really loved one of them.
And stay tuned as November is renamed SOVember. Coming soon. Without further ado, haiku.

Day of the Reaper (1984)

Continue reading “Schlock du Jour: Haiku Reviews”

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”