Demonica (2014)

Demonica

Directors: “Insane” Mike Saunders, Jason Bolinger  Assistant: Chris Simmons
Written By: “Insane” Mike Saunders, Chris Simmons
Production Company: Prescribed Films       !!FOLLOW THEM HERE!!
Stars: Linnea Quigley, Joseph Roark, Katie Lynn McDowell, Daniel Hampel, Alicia Bricker, Sam Garles, Cassie Heller, Elizabeth DehneNick Zmuda, Rachel Russell

Genre: Horror, Comedy

What It’s About: A group of kids in the 1980s get stuck in a skating rink overnight, and are killed off one by one by demons.

How I Watched It: The movie’s premiere event!  In a theater with over 100 people.

Thoughts: Okay.  I’m gonna do my best to not be biased, because I personally know the fellas that put this together.  Also, let it be known that this movie is much more home-grown than the titles I’ve done so far.  Small budget–but lots of heart.

The movie starts in a tavern, sometime in the past.  We see splendid performances from Keokuk’s own Nalani Proctor and Dustin Neill. There’s a dark figure in the corner who is wearing an amulet and turns out to be a demon.  Nalani is the first to bite the dust in the movie, the first of many.  The demon starts attacking everyone and turning them into demon minions, and then in comes a gypsy to save the day!

Then fast forward to the 1980s. Some kids walk into a shop which is owned by an old gypsy played by none other than scream queen Linnea Quigley!  Sweet. Always fun to have famous cameos. Then this fella Richard (Joseph Roark) eyeballs this fancy necklace on the counter….OH SHIT!!  Is that the demon amulet!!??  Of course it is…and of course he steals it.  XD  Awesome setup.  You already know that shit’s. goin’. down.

Then we shoot over to the skating rink which is just FULL of loopy characters.  We see Terri (Leah Morrissey) at the register and Walter Paisley (Justin Beahm) at the skate counter.  Hilarious characters.  Then there’s John (Daniel Hempel) the lonely janitor. What a scene-stealer. And….let’s not forget the side-story of the two roller derby girls (Cassie Heller and Elizabeth Dehne) that sneak into basement of the rink to try and steal a derby trophy that they wrongfully lost.

Anyway, in walks Richard–turns out this place is owned by his father (Mark Burk).  He goes to try and scam his dad out of some booze money, and in turn is forced to stay in and close up the rink because pops is off with his new lady, played by the lovely Jill Emmert. Then Richard calls his over-bearing girlfriend Laura (Katie Lynn McDowell). When she hears that he can’t go to the party they had originally planned, she is not happy. So…Richard comes up with the plan to send the staff home early so him and his friends can party after-hours at the rink. The party-goers consist of Richard, Laura, Laura’s sister Monica (Alicia Bricker), David (Sam Garles), Vicky (Rachel Russell), and Tim (Nick Zmuda).

Okay.  Phew!  Now, that’s the general setup before shit starts hitting the fan.  I don’t wanna get into any spoilers, so yeaaaaaah. Now, performances.  I love the acting in this movie. Really well done, and so full of heart. I’ll try not to be too long-winded here and just highlight a few of my favorite characters:

Daniel Hampel’s portrayal of John the janitor is hard to not love.  This guys face is just…priceless.  He is oh, so animated and entertaining to watch.  Some of the best physicality I’ve seen from an actor in a long time.  He just steals every scene that he’s in.

Sam Garles plays David, one of the kids who comes to party at the rink.  He takes the role of “party animal” and 5th wheel (even though Laura brings Monica along).  Such a comedian.  Again, much like Daniel, stealer of all the scenes!

Cassie Heller kicks some ass as Sara, one of the roller derby chicks.  The banter back and forth between her and Elizabeth Dehne (Wendy) is a lot of fun to watch.  “Fuckin’ A, Wendy!”

Big nod to Jill Emmert for her work in the costumes–they looked great!  Totally 80s.  And another nod to Matthew Clay for composing the music.  Sounded great.  One of my favorite moments is a slow-motion walk later in the movie, and his music just makes that moment golden.  Also a BIG kudos to Steven “Flyboy” Tracy for his work on the effects in this movie.  Some really outstanding gore effects in this movie.  So much punching through….and biting!…..and…..oh.  I can’t tell you.  😉

My rating:  Huzzah!

If you’re not a fan of low-budget horror movies, this might not be the flick for you.  I, however, love low-budget horror.  I adore this film.  And getting a behind-the-scenes look into all of the hard work and love that went into it makes me love it even more. Great job ladies and gents.

This one’s not available on DVD just yet, but hopefully you’ll be able to get your hands on it eventually.  If you follow the Prescribed Films Blog you can stay up-to-date on that process.  I’m sure that I’ll be spreading the word when it happens.  🙂

American Hustle (2013)

american-hustle-poster

Director: David O. Russell
Written By: Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence

Production Company: Columbia Pictures, Annapurna Pictures, Atlas Entertainment

What It’s About: A con man and his partner are forced to work with the FBI in exchange for their freedom.

How I Watched It: Alone in my room. Evening.

Thoughts: First thing I liked about this movie was the line “Some of these things actually happened.”  Kind of left it up to my imagination to decide how much of this crazy story was actually true.  Fun.

The story.  At first I was trying to deduce exactly who was conning who, but I gave up and just enjoyed the ride.  The interactions between all of the different characters was entertaining to watch.  Especially considering how much the relationships fluctuate in the movie. I’ll save the spoilers for you.  But yeah, just relax and watch this one.  Don’t try to figure everything out–you might give yourself a headache.

Okay. Holy comb-over, Batman!  Get it?  Because….Christian Bale was Batman.  **crickets**  I really enjoyed seeing Mr. Bale in something new and exciting.  He’s always been favorite of mine since seeing American Psycho. He plays slimeball con man very well.  But he makes it so…likable.  I just loved the character of Irving Rosenfeld.  Lots of dimensions.

Amy Adams was SMOKIN’ hot. Holy wow. Again–another favorite of mine.  I really love Irving’s character, but of all the performances in this movie, this one takes the cake. Definitely the more dramatic role of the two. I just…man.  She plays such a strong female role. I don’t even know what to say.  She left me speechless.

Bradley Cooper had a pretty fun character.  I loved all of his interactions with Louis C.K., who played his boss. Some of my favorite scenes.  At first Cooper’s hair scared me, but it grew on me by the end of the movie.

Great performances by the other supporting cast members. I wasn’t a huge fan of Jennifer Lawrence in this movie until a scene toward the end between her and Bale.  She’s fucking nutty.  OH WAIT.  The scene where she’s rocking out to “Live and Let Die” was pretty awesome.

Okay. Enough about the acting.  Everyone was fantastic. No one stuck out to me too much–they all blended really well as an ensemble.

Now on to the REAL star of the film: Costumes and Set Design.  I want to live in those places and wear those clothes. I felt like I was in that time period. Fucking. Beautiful.  And while there were several flashy costumes (befitting of the era), nothing seemed out of place. And let’s not neglect all of the amazing hair in this movie–I’m jealous.  Oh, and kudos to Amy Adams for looking so bomb-diggity in those crazy low-cut, bra-less dresses. I mean….I’m a straight woman, but damn girl.

The music. Danny Elfman is brilliant as always. And all of the music from the time period that was utilized just worked so well.  Really enhanced the story for me.  Loved the use of the Duke Ellington song as a bit of a running tune.

My Rating: Huzzah!

I was just completely absorbed into this movie. Looks beautiful, has a great story portrayed by great actors.  Just a really well-made film.

12 Years A Slave (2013)

12 Years A Slave

Director: Steve McQueen
Written by: John Ridley (screenplay); Solomon Northup (based on his autobiography “Twelve Years a Slave”)
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, and OODLES of other awesome actors
Production Company: Regency Enterprises, River Road Entertainment, Plan B Entertainment, New Regency Pictures, Film4

What It’s About: In the years before the Civil War, a free black man is kidnapped and sold into slavery.

How I watched it: Alone in my room. Late night.

Thoughts: Okay.  First of all: it’s a great story, and I’m a sucker for anything based on a true story.  So, it has that going for it right off the bat.  Visually, it’s really nice looking–great set and costume designs.

The acting is just superb.  While the lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is solid…his supporting cast is what really sells it.  Fantastic performances by Cumberbatch and Fassbender as slave owners on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cumberbatch plays that slave owner who is “oh so nice” to the slaves…but he’s still a slave owner…so he walks that fine line really well.  Fassbender plays such a good creep/asshole.

Other notable performances:
Lupita Nyong’o is wonderful. Such a sad role, yet she plays it with such grace. I’ll have to research the other Supporting Actress nominees to really say that she was deserving of her win, but solid all around.  There are several just…heartbreaking scenes that involve her.

Paul Dano is easily one of my favorite character actors. He takes the role of a weasel-y slave driver. A small role, but a memorable one.

My rating: Huzzah!

At first I was a little hesitant, because it got off to a bit of a slow start for me, but I was really invested in the story by the end. Solid, solid acting all around.  I enjoyed myself.

Hello!

Hey there!

My name’s Teri, and I love movies.  This blog is just something fun I started to document my movie-watching experiences.  Feel free to disagree with my opinions, and to share your own! I’ll do my best to not post spoilers, unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary.  If I do, I’ll be sure to give plenty of warning.

I’ll make this pretty simple.  I’m not a huge fan of rating things on a number-based system, so I’ve created a straightforward rating system:

Huzzah! : I loved it!

Meh. : One of those middle-of-the-road sort of movies.

Boo! Hiss! : Hated it.

Easy enough?  Alright.  Let’s watch some movies!