Saturday, February 6, 2016

Full Moon Features Movie Reviews: Puppet Master 4(Available Now)

Having received these some time ago from Full Moon Features I have to apologize to Bob and the rest of the staff at Full Moon for the delay in getting these reviews out for them.

 Now he was kind enough to send me the Restored & Remastered Blu-Ray that you see above, so very thankful for that.
The restoration worked very nicely we have a crisp ,clean look to the film and the sound comes nicely through the speakers.

This is of course the series that launched Full Moon and has some iconic creatures and stars of the films. Think Chucky , smaller and about as deadly. 

 We have our regular puppets(Left to Right)--Blade, Tunneler  & Pinhead --standing only about two feet tall this time they are on our side.Which is good as there are a group of demons called Totems(below)that are on a killing spree.

They arrive in little crates and terrorize and kill their victims they are sent to.Some great animated scenes of terror , even though this is 1993 here it is still campy fun to watch, more so than some of the modern films.

The cast helps this story move along and in the Behind The Scenes part of the bonus features which they called Videozone back then, they tell us the director shot parts 4 & 5 back to back. 

The real story here is the young people have found the secret that the Puppet Master has been keeping a secret for years and the evil Egyptian demon Sutekh(below) has sent them to find it and kill anyone, or anything in their path.
Some reviews I have read just trash this movie but if you like and can appreciate campy fun filled movies then check out Puppet Master 4.
Thank you for reading this 
Anthony Nadeau

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Movie Review: Backcountry(Available Now) Fella Films

I was sent a private link for this film was sent it from the studio.

This story is about as chilling a tale as long as I can remember.
A young couple wanting to get away decide to take a secluded venture out into the beautiful Canadian woods of Ontario.
 Alex(Jeff Roop) & Jenn(Missy Peregrym) are eager to get on their way but still wanting that last selfie.This is a nice start to the film.
Upon reaching their destination they make it to the park station and the park ranger warns them Blackfoot Trail is closed because of people that have somewhat damaged the area. They set out by canoe and come across an area that allows camping so they set up for the night. The brilliant thing here with this film is once night sets so do our eyes , there are no studio lights to set the scene we are in darkness with our characters, cannot see a thing.
 The story is fresh and original, yes there have been many stories of people getting lost but this one just works on so many levels as we are expecting the same old tried and true plot twists and bumps in the night. This has some of that but works on a more intelligent level in the fact the writer/director feels the audience is clever enough to get what he is getting at.
 They are joined one evening by Brad(Eric Balfour--right)he has fish , they have dinner together and Brad heads off on his own again into the night air.
The difference maker there too is the real conversations that are had between the actors here in this scene, really helps create a uncomfortable feeling. That night while Alex & Jenn are sleeping our bear is heard--only heard outside of their tent , then sniffing the tent. Some great build up here.
 There is a real bear being used in this film, not a cgi graphic  and a caribou as well they give credit to the wranglers as well. There is an intense scene when Alex opens the tent and the bear is only meters away from them--the build up of this one scene is masterful and found myself not breathing too heavy along with the actors. That scene alone was one of the best shot scenes of any film I have seen recently.
If you like realistic films that spend more time on character development and real dialogue with real shots of Ontario landscapes this is one I would highly recommend. If you want a fast paced story this is not for you as it takes a while before anything happens which makes it all more intense when things do happen as we have grown with the people we are watching and are concerned for their safety , makes it all more personal--some great classic story building and character development in this film am pleased to have watched it.

I am so thankful for being allowed to watch this film one of the better horror/thriller films in recent memory.

Thank you for reading this 
Anthony Nadeau

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Press Release: Vancouver Short Film Festival Awards for Jan--29 & 30th

I had the pleasure of attending the Saturday night's event courtesy of Kristyn Stilling, Festival Director of The Vancouver  Short Film Festival. I had arrived a bit late but was greeted so warmly by the volunteers at the door. Found my tickets for the evening and wished me happy viewing of the films.
I had seen all the films prior to arriving at the festival as this being my second year been given the honor to review all the films prior to the festival , they have no idea what a thrill it is for me to do that.

Here we are with the awards part of the release:

The VANCOUVER SHORT FILM FEST (VSFF) announces the Award Winners of their 6th annual festival that was held on January 29th and 30th, 2016, at Vancity Theatre.

23 short films were selected from over 180 submissions. After a careful selection by a jury of 3 established industry professionals: Aaron Bushkowsky, Nicholas Humphries, and Kat Montagu, 10 films brought home the following 12 awards: 

William F. White International Inc. Award for BEST SHORT FILM

Prize: $5000 in rentals at William F. White International Inc.

WINNER: The Blue Jet

Statement: The William F White Award for best short film goes to The Blue Jet, which is one of those rare short films that not only stands the test of time but gives us a sense of time – in a world where music and how you look – could determine your fate and freedom.  It’s well written and nicely directed with precise performances and a wonderful ending. This short film has the thematic density lacking in many feature films. It’s a treat to watch. 

Clairmont Camera Inc. Award for BEST STUDENT SHORT FILM

Prize: $5000 in rentals at Clairmont Camera Inc.


Statement: The winner for this year's Clairmont Camera Inc. Award for Best Student Short Film has an ambitious structure with three interwoven stories, which come together tragically at the end. It shows great strength in writing, acting, directing, cinematography and editing, so we are very proud to announce the best student short film: Arc.

Langara College Award for BEST DIRECTOR

Prize $500 cash

WINNER: Lawrence Le Lam for The Blue Jet

Statement: A good director shoots their vision. A great director also evokes the best performances not only from their cast, but from every member of their crew. Because of the quality of work from every department and execution of a singular, harmonious vision, we are proud to give The Langara College Award for Best Director to Lawrence Le Lam for The Blue Jet.

Women in Film and Television Award for BEST FEMALE DIRECTOR

Prize: 1 free entry into WIFTV Networking Breakfast, 1 WIFTV workshop admission, 2016 Women in Film Festival Pass.

 WINNER: Lantian Chen for My Least Favourite Person

Statement: The winner for Women in Film and Television's award for Best Female Director takes what feels like an intensely personal story - about a naturally heroic child bullied into submission by a teacher - and makes it universal. Lantian Chen's short film My Least Favourite Person revives the sense of outrage we all feel before the world around us dulls our natural sense of justice. We especially commend Chen's skill in directing child actors to give such naturalistic and moving performances.


Prize: $250 in rentals at Gearhouse Rentals, $100 gift certificate to Donnelly Group Pubs and dinner with award winning DOP Brendan Uegama

WINNER: Never Steady, Never Still

Statement: Great cinematography should show technical mastery, originality and innovation, and artistry and vision.  But like editing, cinematography should add to, not overshadow the content. For it’s subtle, emotionally motivated and personal approach, The VSFF Award for Best Cinematography goes to Never Steady, Never Still by Jeremy Cox and Ryan Flowers.


Prize: $250 cash donated by UBCP/ACTRA, Vancity Photography headshot session, Skoah fitskin facial

WINNER: Lee Meriwether in In Memory

Honourable Mention to Tina Hedman in Never Steady, Never Still

Statement: First we would like to give an honourable mention for Tina Hedman's beautiful supporting performance in Never Steady, Never Still. 

But the winner of this year's VSFF Award for Best Actor- Female  is Lee Meriwether. As the lead in the short sci fi film In Memory, which examines the outcome of potential future legislation about euthanasia, Meriwether elevates these thought-provoking scenes towards an emotional crescendo that makes her journey relatable and relevant for us all.


Prize: $250 cash donated by UBCP/ACTRA, Vancity Photography headshot session, Skoah fitskin facial

WINNER: Howie Lai in The Blue Jet

Statement: The VSFF award for Best Actor- Male goes to Howie Lai, whose performance in The Blue Jet shows nuance, depth and humour. In a very short time, Howie gave the audience an idea of time, place, and context in a world where freedom of choice was never an option. A memorable and interesting performance makes this character vivid and complex.

Canadian Cinema Editors Award for BEST EDITING

Prize: $300 cash, 1 CCE membership

WINNER: Imperial

Statement: Editing is a complicated and intricate art form. An editor must not only have a grasp on an evolving technical workflow but like the director, are a key voice in the visual storytelling of a film. Because of his rhythm, minute attention to shot selection and seamless cross cutting between dreamscapes and reality, The Canadian Cinema Editors Award for Best Editing goes to Ian MacDonald for Imperial.


Prize: $500 cash


Statement: The Zoic VFX Award for Best Visual Effects goes to a film where digital imagery is a visible, essential, and integral part of the storytelling process. For its artistry and skill in the use of mixed media animation the winner is Michi by Kaho Yoshida.


Prize: 1 half day mix at [Root]Chord Sound 

WINNER: Hallow

Statement: Half of any film experience is sound but this is never more important than in horror.  For it’s dynamic, layered and creepy soundscape, the VSFF Award for Best Sound Design goes to Hallow.

Raindance Vancouver Award for UNDERDOG FILM

Prize: 1 Raindance membership, 1 Raindance workshop admission.

WINNER: Vehicular Romanticide

Raindance Vancouver is proud to once again be a Vancouver Short Film Festival Community Partner. This year, to show our continuous support for the budding talent in Vancouver's indie filmmaking community, we took our partnership one step further. With the support of the VSFF, we will celebrate a nominated filmmaker with "The Underdog Award," which includes a 1 year Raindance Premium membership and 1 free workshop (winner's choice) with Raindance Vancouver.

Our team picked the short that has demonstrated the most creative potential and touched our souls through its story. We're proud to present Andrew Rowe with "The Underdog Award" by Raindance Vancouver for his short Vehicular Romanticide. We are looking forward to seeing Rowe's future work.        


Prize: Treat Yourself Spa Package from Dona Lucia Aesthetics Salon, 2 tickets to the Crazy8s Film Gala

WINNER: Not A Stranger

After seeing the first bit of shorts through the night, they broke and asked everyone to exit for the next showing was of the more mature movies where children were not permitted. After the films the awards took place with the most awards going to the film The Blue Jet which one three awards for the night.
 I had the chance to talk to so many people through the night , congratulated so many and had the pleasure of meeting Lawrence Le Lam -The Blue Jet, who I had spoken to on Facebook ,but making the connection in person and being able to congratulate him on all of his wins of his film. I also got to meet Edward Andrews who directed Red Handed which I made comparisons to that of The Coen Brothers , great little film and pleasure to speak to him about the film.
Andrew Rowe and I had an hours plus conversation , even though the age difference is there his amount of love of film overall was cool and refreshing --the likes and  dislikes of directors and our total respect of Martin Scorsese was uncanny.
Also had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Kate Green and Colin Easton who I told him his story was inspiring being that I have suffered with depression myself , for him to get himself out of that shell that so many get themselves into he got out and went out and met up with complete strangers --even someone not suffering from it can find scary to talk to complete strangers.
Trevor Mack & Mathew Taylor Blais ,co-wrote and directed Clouds of Autumn a film of the schooling of Native children in public schools in the 70's and how it personally affected Trevor as his mother was taken away to public school. Told them after viewing it a few times I understood it more and also their Q&A with the audience after the nights showing helped shed some more light on it all.
I also got to meet Kelly Morris who is the president of The Canadian Cinema Editors, Kelly was there to present the CCE award for Best Editing. Had a nice chat with him and planned to meet in the future for some more conversation. Some things he had discussed with me and some others present are things I can maybe share at a later date with you all.This was after all the group I had written about for Cinema Editor Magazine in 2012, two articles were published on the group--here also with the hope to do more articles in future on them.
 Had a wonderful time at the event and thank all of the winners and the non-winners as well, found all your films interesting.

Thank you for reading this
Anthony Nadeau

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Vancouver Short Film Festival: Child's Play & Pursuit of Identity Saturday's Films Vancity Theater Jan 30th

The second night of the films are more of a family adventure as this night is all ages, more family appropriate for sure. This evening will feature the debut of 9 year old Maia Costea called "Behind The Rocks" which has already got her some press. She told Vancity Buzz this:

For award-winning director Maia Costea, age is just a number.

“I’ve been acting since I was five-years-old, and started filmmaking at age seven,” said Costea, nine-year-old writer and director of the short film Behind the Rocks. “It’s fun using your imagination to create your own story. And when you’re done, you feel proud.”

Now onto the films , once again I have been sent links to the films for early reviews of them.

                       CHILD'S PLAY 7 PM START TIME

Bite tells the story of a love story between a young boy and girl --she just happens to be dead is all, one of the living dead. Some shots of them at the playground at their school and on the steps for lunch has some interesting lunches each day she arrives.
He gives her his heart and they walk off into the sunset together hands holding hearts.

                               WILLA & THE WILLIS                                 

A young woman dances in her room to visions of ballerinas dancing on her wall with the help of a projector.
This then transform into the woods where she is dancing with some women almost representing angels? No dialogue here just music and dance.

                                 MY LEAST FAVORITE PERSON               

This film won the Jury Award at last years World Film Festival in Montreal and was part of the Official Selection of the 19th Asian Film Festival , also last year. This is also a Official Selection here in the festival.
The film tells a story of a young woman that has a fight with some of her classmates , only to defend another classmate --she thinks she is doing the right thing by standing up to them but is soon told she was wrong. Her teacher berates her telling her she is not a hero in the books she reads. Her mother also tells her she was wrong and makes her write an apology letter to the class and her teacher.
Good work her by all the actors. Directing is good pulls you into the story and really makes you care for our lead actress.


This film plays out more like a music video as there is a song throughout it with no narrative or dialogue. The visuals are interesting almost using the artwork in some of the books I remember reading as a child. 

                                       BEHIND THE ROCKS                       

Already making a name for herself just on the fact she is probably one of the youngest entrants into any festival. This is a great little imaginative film starring our director , her younger sister and another young woman. They find some magical rocks that transfers them through time and into a magical forest where they each have some powers. She has a great idea and look forward to what she makes next.


This is a fun little film as well.
Here we have people in a board room discussing things and such , in walks the messenger and tells everyone that Audrey(woman above)did not graduate Kindergarten and if she wants to continue with the company she will have to go back and repeat the class and their boss everyone on his team to have a complete education.


This film is exactly what it says it is, when younger the girl on the right wrote a letter to herself when she would turn 16. The letter arrives and she opens it. Upon reading the young girl to our right starts talking to her.
This has some helpful little segments between the young women.



This is a different story than the rest this is a tale of a man being a brute and a homophobic man also that beats up another man for being gay , or at least that is the thought as we open the film.
Throughout the film he tries to get the bigot words off of his car. Then late one night his house is also sprayed with paint, only at the end does he realize the impact he is having on his young son that wants to stay with him and not his mother that is a lesbian.


Not a stranger is a project totally done by one man , that man is Colin and he suffers from clinical depression. But what he has chosen to do with his life is simply amazing, he went out of his house every single day of 2014 , met a stranger and interviewed them about their lives and wrote it on his social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Inspiring film this is was a joy to watch him connect with people in which we are all able to do.


Here we start off with a young man wanting to use the restroom and his reluctance to do so, even knock on the door.
This is another film of acceptance and some different animation --the story has no narrative or dialogue well told though and something for the bullies of this world to see.


This film was accepted into 6 film festivals last year including the Vancouver Film Festival as well.
This tells the story of two native siblings and their adventures to the pond , until one day the older sister has to start going to school.
There is some very big pieces of worry and concern for the sister when at school as the other child is quite lost without her.


Telling the story through the lens and through the narrative from the surfer in the picture above. He shares with us the many reasons he loves to surf, his connection with the water that brings him food but also a connection with the sea as well.
A great little film and narrative piece.


This is easily my favorite short of the nights films. Tells many interlaced stories and the characters are so well developed and the performances are just great as well. The camera work and the story is what kept me interested and the history of these characters and the stories we don't know of their pasts and the little we find out in this small portion of their lives, makes us wanting more.
It has been a sincere pleasure to review these films for the festival and look forward to sharing some other news in a future article about the event as I am attending Saturday nights event.

Thank you for reading this
Anthony Nadeau