Osku(Niko Hill) and Raimo(Tapio Kauma) are best friends. Sure, Raimo can be annoying, stubborn, and a huge asshole but the man sure knows how to party. That’s why Osku invites Raimo out to his uncle’s cabin in the middle of nowhere for the weekend. Just Osku and Raimo, drinking and having fun. Absolutely no worries. That’s until some strange creatures start to arrive and ruin Osku and Raimo’s good time. Raimo is having none of this, however. Raimo will defend his territory. Raimo is The KingMan.
Written and directed by Tapio Kauma, Kuningasmies (The KingMan) is a action horror/comedy similar to films like Army of Darkness and Zombie Land. The film follows Osku and Raimo as the try to find a way out of their absurd situation. The pair play off of each other nicely as their contrasting personalities lend to most of the laughs during the film. Tapio does an exceptional job in character building. Each person introduced is as quirky and hilarious as the last. The jokes are well written and excellent in complementing the unique qualities of each character. The practical effects are also amazing. They’re over the top and bloody in a way that’s quite hilarious.
One criticism I have with Kuningasmies (The KingMan) is a lack of frightening scenes. Most of the horror relies on blood and gore and it would be amusing to see Osku and Raimo in situations where they appeared more scared. The story also leaves too many unanswered questions for my taste, but is a minor complaint as this genre of film doesn’t need too many things explained. This also leaves open the possibility for more stories in the Kuningasmies (The KingMan) universe, which would be enjoyable.
Overall, Kuningasmies (The KingMan) is an excellent action horror/comedy. It’s light on the scares, but the copious blood and gore more than make up for this. The character and world building is wacky and delightfully absurd. I recommend Kuningasmies (The KingMan) to people who enjoy horror/comedies that lean heavily on the laughs. You can watch Kuningasmies (The KingMan) on YouTube and maybe we’ll see a prequel or sequel set in this universe in the years to come.
I give Kuningasmies (The KingMan) 5 out of 6 reels.
During the Vietnam War a group of American soldiers are given the task of retrieving gold bars from a downed C-47 CIA plane. Soon after arriving at the site, their helicopter crashes. Utilizing the situation the soldiers decide to bury the gold and tell their superiors that the mission was a failure. Decades later Paul(Delroy Lindo), Otis(Clarke Peters), Eddie(Norm Lewis), and Melvin(Isiah Whitlock Jr.) reunite and return to Vietnam. They hope to retrieve the buried treasure and recover the remains of their fallen squad leader, Norman(Chadwick Boseman). Paul’s son David(Jonathan Majors) shows up at the last-minute and the men begin a journey that turns into something more poignant and impactful than simply finding lost gold.
Da 5 Bloods is the next film from critically acclaimed writer and director Spike Lee. A follow-up to 2018’s BlacKkKlansman, Da 5 Bloods continues Spike Lee’s history of making films that deliver a powerful message during important times in our country. While BlacKkKlansman was a dark comedic crime drama, Da 5 Bloods takes a more action oriented approach. It’s also a drama and succeeds tremendously in this area. All 5 of the Bloods are nuanced individuals who came from varied walks of life and led different lives as they’ve gotten older. They are funny, emotional, courageous and flawed humans that share a common bond, being a black regiment of soldiers who served during the Vietnam war. Delroy Lindo’s portrayal of Paul is especially heartbreaking as he effectively displays the devastating effects of PTSD. Spike Lee does a great job pulling no punches in delivering his message while also creating a fantastic action drama.
A minor criticism that I had with Da 5 Bloods is with the slow and somewhat predictable first hour of the film. When compared with the action packed and powerfully emotional last half of film, the first half is left in the shadows. The build up for a film is important but I feel it needed bit more balancing. Also, not a criticism but it would be interesting to get a Vietnamese American’s perspective on the film. The Vietnam war was a turbulent time and hearing different opinions would be rewarding, which makes Da 5 Bloods important as a discussion starter.
Overall, I think Da 5 Bloods is an excellent piece of cinema. Spike Lee’s passion for his message and filmmaking shows in his films and Da 5 Bloods is no exception. The pacing was off due to the action heavy and emotionally powerful last half of the movie, but that doesn’t ruin the experience. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys action, emotional performances, and films that continue to progress society.
When US army officer General Billy Ford(Morgan Freeman) learns of a sickness spreading throughout a small village in Zaire he sends in one of his best men, virologist Sam Daniels(Dustin Hoffman), to investigate. Upon his return from Zaire Sam warns Billy about the rapidly spreading, deadly virus. Billy and his superior, General Donald McClintock(Donald Sutherland), dismiss the issue as an isolated incident. The virus comes stateside, however, when a monkey smuggled from Zaire arrives in the small community of Cedar Creek, CA. The race is on as Sam and CDC scientist Robby Keough(Rene Russo) fight not only the disease but also a mysterious government coverup that dates back to the late 60s.
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen and written by Laurence Dworet and Robert Roy Pool, Outbreak is a 1995 action/adventure thriller. Similar to other films in the mid nineties Outbreak takes a factual subject, in this case a viral outbreak, and creates thrilling over the top scenarios that go with the plot. Films like Twister and Jurassic Park are some comparisons that come to mind. Outbreak does an exceptional job in keeping the viewer riveted. The story moves at a brisk pace and the odds are constantly stacked against the heroic leads, Sam and Robby. The acting accelerates the action by creating characters that are unique and easily distinguishable. The actors do a phenomenal job establishing the relationships they are in and making us believe in their interactions.
In the same way that the action helps to keep the viewer intrigued, it also gives the plot a few “How could this possibly happen?” moments. The action/adventure genre can sometimes be bloated with questionable decisions and unlikely timing and Outbreak is no exception. Without spoilers, all I can say is that there were moments I questioned if certain events would have happened practically or if they were solely put in to heighten the tension. With a story that revolves around a realistic event, I expect some sensible actions and motivations. In this area, Outbreak dropped the ball more than a few times.
Despite some of the convenient timing and unrealistic choices, I thought Outbreak was a decent film. It’s quick pace, thrilling set pieces, and great acting were more than enough for me to give this film a solid recommendation. This is a perfect rental or streaming option for anyone who enjoys an exciting plot that doesn’t get bogged down in the details.
Bio-Engineered Research Ventures has made a monumental discovery in the world of transplantation. In developing their Eternal Life Tech they have found a way to transplant a person’s mind into an entirely different body. In order to further experimentation the board is looking to merge with another company, Intragenetica.
Against this decision is Bio-Engineered’s CEO, Bridget Pellegrini(Erika Hoveland). She recognizes Intragenetica’s shady intentions and doesn’t want her company’s research being used to “play God”. It’s this decision, however, that puts her, her husband Mark(Billy Wirth), and her daughter Miranda(Angelina Danielle Cama) in immediate danger.
A fellow high-ranking employee, Oliver(Richard Tyson), is willing to do anything to make sure Bridget sees things his way. This includes blackmailing, kidnapping, and even murder. It’s then that homeless war veteran Corey(Damien Chinappi) steps in to help the Pellegrini’s. Corey will do anything to stop Oliver from putting Eternal Life Tech into dangerous hands.
Directed by Harley Wallen, Eternal Code is an action thriller similar in tone to films like Die Hard and Taken. Following in the footsteps of these classics you have all the elements of a great action movie in a world destroying dilemma, a family in peril, a diabolical villain, and a hardened badass hero. Eternal Code takes a while to get going with the first half hour being a little slow. Soon enough the film picks up and brings plenty of high stake scenes that are action packed and full of dramatic tension. The Pellegrini family(Erika Hoveland, Billy Wirth, and Angelina Danielle Cama) does an effective job in making you feel the danger they are in and Richard Tyson turns in an amazing performance as the slimy main antagonist, Oliver.
The first 30 minutes of Eternal Code is where the film falters somewhat. The “science gone wrong” plot gets explained well enough, but our main protagonist Chris’s(Damien Chinappi) character development felt a little lackluster. He forms a bond with the daughter of the Pellegrini’s by her giving him money and baked goods because of his homelessness. These scenarios felt somewhat forced and unrealistic, even for a film about mind transplantation. Confusion over Chris’s character development continues near the end of the film where he seems to jump from a hardened personality to caring at the drop of a hat, with very little blending in between.
Overall, Eternal Code is an entertaining take on the kick ass action films of the past. The sci-fi plot line is fun and engaging, while the main villain is dangerously menacing. The hero’s motives and his relationships with others are confusing at times, but that doesn’t distract much from the film. Eternal Code is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys good action movies with high stakes and tense, thrilling moments.
American Craft: What Beer Can Teach Us About Well-Crafted Laws
This documentary short gives us a look into the world of American craft beer. We see the ups and downs over the years as laws have shaped how we produce and distribute craft beer to the public. From its fledgling beginnings to becoming a thriving creative subculture, American craft beer is here to stay.
American Craft is an enjoyable and informative short film. Directed by Matt Wood, American Craft achieves two goals that are important to any documentary. First, it attracts newcomers to the world of craft brewing without alienating them. It’s short and stylish enough to just dip your toes into and enjoy, while not being overwhelmed by an ocean of information. Secondly, the content is entertaining and educational. Veterans of the craft brewing scene will appreciate that American Craft is not watered down in any way.
I give American Craft 6 out of 6 reels.
Happy Bath Day
Follow along as a dog takes a trip to the pet store. Once at the store she gets a little TLC with a bath given to her by her friend in the blue shoes.
Delightfully simple and full of heart Happy Bath Day, directed by Meka Butler, is a pleasure to watch. If you’re looking for an intense story with multiple plot twists, look elsewhere. If you’re a pet lover looking for a relaxing movie with an excellent acoustic soundtrack, Happy Bath Day is for you. Also, it’s worth noting that Jada the dog does an amazing acting job.
I give Happy Bath Day 3 out of 6 reels.
My Plastic Buddha
In My Plastic Buddha we get some insight into a mans ideas on the value and importance we put on specific objects in our everyday lives.
Jeff Madzia stars and directs in My Plastic Buddha, an informative short that is both emotionally moving and effective. Never resorting to sounding to preachy, Jeff weaves us a short, but effective, cautionary tale. He tells us how he has extracted meaning and worth in objects that are objectively worthless. We are then allowed to form our own opinion from his message. We can then decide what in our own life may become our own plastic Buddha.
I give My Plastic Buddha 5 out of 6 reels.
Gauntlet Run: Origins
Tied up in a warehouse, a man answers questions for an unsavory group of people while being beaten. He isn’t giving any answers and when a rival member enters the scene an unlikely partnership forms and an epic beat down commences.
Directed by Garrett Atkinson, Gauntlet Run: Origins wears its influences on its sleeve. Those influences being high-octane action films. Movies such as The Raid and John Wick come to mind and Gauntlet Run does them proud. The action is impeccable and at times you may wonder if you’re watching a professionally choreographed action spectacle. The story is generic but with action scenes like this I’ll give Gauntlet Run a pass.
I give Gauntlet Run: Origins 5 out of 6 Reels.
He is at his barber, ready to get his haircut. Or is he with his girlfriend, at a restaurant ready to order. The choices are so confusing.
Intriguing, strange, and clever. These are some terms that come to mind when viewing the comedic short Haircut. Directed by George Massimillo, Haircut appears as one of two things. First, is this is a tale about life’s endless choices and the confusion that ensues while making them? Or, secondly, is this just an absurdist alternate reality, similar to Napoleon Dynamite or similar shows on Adult Swim? Or maybe it’s a bit of both. Either way it’s definitely worth a watch.
I give Haircut 3 out of 6 reels.
A brother and sister realize that the sister, who is in a vegetative like state, that they have taken care of for years has a special talent. She can predict the outcome of future lottery draws or other gambling endeavors. Will they use this talent for good or will they let the greed wash over their lives.
Story is the shining star in Lightning Strikes, directed by Camille Calvin. A well written script that combines multiple genres along with great acting are what make the plot captivating. Some of the genres sprinkled throughout are suspense, drama, and even some comedy. Irene, played by Camille Calvin, and Betty, played by Emanda Pimentel, navigate these genres expertly and are a joy to watch. The choices dealing with mental disabilities are sometimes questionable but for the most part don’t interfere with the overall quality.
I give Lightning Strikes 4 out of 6 reels.
Jaysons life isn’t going so well. His girlfriend left him, his college grades are failing, and his dreams of becoming a local superhero always end in injury. That is until he goes back home to get his childhood toy, a Macaulay Culkin doll that brings him good luck and comfort.
Extremely funny and charming the comedy short Macocky, directed by Ivon and Eyan Wuchina, excels on multiple levels. The comedy writing is excellent, mixing jokes that are both uproariously funny as well as more subdued leading to an even tone throughout. The story is nicely paced with moments of complete absurdity complemented by more relatable human moments. Luke Enzor also does a fantastic job in playing Jayson as a unique and quirky person while also remaining realistic. All of these elements make Macocky a must see.
Korppainen(TapioKauma) 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(HeikkiKauma) 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(TapioKauma), 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 TapioKauma and VilleViasanen. 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 VilleViasanen 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.
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.
Hello, Slicers! Here we go with another Reel Review and this time we’ll be looking at the short film ParadiseFear. Written and directed by “Zach Deering”, ParadiseFear 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 NanoAddiction. Both were highly entertaining. You can check out previous Reel Reviews covering SAM and NanoAddiction 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.
The first season of CinemaSlice.coms Indy Film Spotlight is in the books and we end this fantastic series of films with the wildly inventive action comedy “Tuesday Night Flamingo Fight”.
Written and directed by Josiah Wood, “Tuesday Night Flamingo Fight” begins with two young girls telling each other stories of prince and princesses in faraway lands. Well, at least one girl is telling a tale. When the other girl, who seems disinterested and extremely bored, gets a turn to tell her story we find out that she has very different interests then her friend. What we get next is a narrative that is equal parts entertaining, hilarious and disturbing.
CinemaSlice.com has launched a new series highlighting a new movie each month that embodies the spirit of great independent filmmaking.
The second movie that has been selected for the Indy Film Spotlight is the sci-fi action/adventure “Nano Addiction” by Zach Deering. Life gets very weird and more than a little dangerous when a drug addict, Ferric (James Hudson), inadvertently takes a strange substance known as Nanobots. Ferric quickly finds out after taking the Nanobots that his life may never be the same again.
This was an extremely well done, stylistic action flick.
I enjoy sci-fi that attempts to show a more realistic version of the genre by mixing elements of our real life everyday activities with the science fiction elements. Films like HER (2013) and THE MARTIAN (2015) are some examples. Although I am not an addict, the main character Ferric is written and acted so well that I felt his struggles and wanted to continue this journey with him through the film. The special effects were also a standout and they were clearly done with great care and thoughtfulness. They elevated the action scenes making them more tense and effective.