Tribeca Film Festival

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2013 Tribeca Film Festival’s Deadbolt Program- Originally Published May, 12,2013

Tribeca Film Festival has officially closed up shop for this year and it was a hell of a time. One section of the festival that particularly stood out was the Dead Bolt Short Film Program. Not wanting to hog all that Tribeca had to offer I spread the wealth amongst my fellow Slack Jaws. Everyone was eager to watch the shorts until I dropped the bomb. The review had to be no longer than 3 sentences. Hence the name “Short Reviews For Short Films..”. This seemed like a great idea till I tried to write mine. What a pain in the ass..

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 The Exit Room

Directed By Todd Wiseman Jr

Reviewed by Nik

The Exit Room keeps you on your toes with the whole seconds from death opening and the nasty kennel like detention center. As the movie progresses and the main character makes his way to where ever he is going. You cant help but think of a couple cliché endings as he nears his destination. Just when you think you’ve figured the conclusion out you get just that: a tired and cliché ending.

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Root of the Problem

Directed by Ryan Spindell

Reviewed by Bryan

Root of the Problem is an effective film that makes you wonder what’s real and what’s imaginary during its short runtime. The set design made you feel like you were actually in a 50′s dentist office, but what struck me was the makeup effects and design. They were particularly impressive considering the budget, and Root of the Problem made for a fun genre short.
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Honeymoon Suite

Directed by Zao Wang

Reviewed by Bryan

Werewolves are typically done poorly more often than well, but Honeymoon Suite was definitely the latter. Honeymoon Suite does something a little different and makes the werewolf actually have feelings and self-control during his transformation which I thought was an interesting spin. By the end of the 12 minutes, I was genuinely interested in these characters and wanted to know more of their back story.
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Delicacy

Directed by Jason Mann

Reviewed by Pat

Delicacy takes the art of gastronomy to an outstanding new mythical level. A chef frustrated by his attempts to please a food critic offers him a hard to swallow yet orgasmic when accomplished appetizer made from unicorn. Well shot, written and acted they only unpalatable piece to this short is that it was a short; It was so good I wanted it to continue.
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Peanut Butter and Jelly

Directed by David Winkfield

Reviewed by Bub

A young girl is attacked by a creature after getting kicked out of her group home and heading to her drug dealing fathers flop pad. Sub par acting and lame SFX didn’t help this short being what it could have. Still an enjoyable watch that could have been better with a longer run time.

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AB –

Directed by Daniel Klein

Reviewed by Bub

After a horrific car accident our main character is assisted by paramedics who turn out to be not what we initially expected. This short felt less like a short and more a section of a featured film, but I’ll be damned if this didn’t grab my interest from the beginning.  Excellent acting and intriguing story left me with only one complaint: it was too short (guess that’s why they call um “shorts”).

MOVIE REVIEW: V/H/S/2 (Tribeca Film Festival Review)- Published April, 27th,2013

High on my list of must see horror films this year is V/H/S 2. I dug V/H/S, but couldn’t help but walk away from it feeling not so satisfied. Sure, it was a fun a ride with some segments stronger than others, but I needed…..more. Well, my friends if you felt the way I did V/H/S 2 gives you just that: More. More gore, mayhem and dismembered corpses than I could hope for. V/H/S 2 does not disappoint.

 

V/H/S 2 head on tackles that question that plagues all POV horror: “Why the hell don’t you drop the fucking camera and run!?!?”( Case in point: Cloverfield.). Until now it has been a question that horror fans have learned to accept as going unanswered. In each segment it is completely believable ( Well, as believable as a man having a retina implant that picks up ghosts can be) why the camera is still rolling. Be it a GoPro helmet cam or a button cam on a shirt, you never once ask yourselves why they are still holding the camera.
In Jason Eisener’s (Hobo With A Shotgun) segment “Alien Abduction Slumber Party” ( Think Signs meets Porky’s on crank), the camera is strapped to the back of the family dog. As the family is being chased, in one of the wildest alien abduction stories ever told on film, it feels natural that kids would go back for the dog.  Who the hell wouldn’t? Most of us love our pets more than our families… Okay, maybe that’s just me. My personal feelings on family does not take away from how much fun I had watching this segment. Surprisingly light on  gore ( If you’ve seen Eiseners’s Hobo With A Shotgun you’ll know why I was surprised), but once the gas pedal is hit AASP does not let up.

Eduardo Sanchez ( Lovely Molly) and Gregg Hale’s “A Ride In The Park” is the first zombie POV film from the perspective of the zombie. The whole segment being a product of a zombie bite while wearing a GoPro camera helmet. This of course allows for close-ups of all the gory goodness. Which is a lot. Seeing in first person a zombie disembowel someone then enjoy breakfast was a highlight in my life. I didn’t think it could get any better, then the zombies stumble on to a child’s birthday party.  This segment could have easily been a featured length movie and that’s not to take anything away from it this segment was damn fun.

Gareth Evans (The Raid: Redemption) and Timo Tjaohjanto’s “Safe Haven” a crew of filmmakers documenting an eccentric cult leader inside his compound. Each crew member is equipped with a spy-cam in their shirt buttons. When all hell breaks loose and the demonic shit hits the fan, the cameras are rolling and we are front seat for this ride. With out any hyperbole or exaggeration Evan’s and Tjaohjanto have filmed the best 30 minutes ( give or take) of any horror film I have ever witnessed.  Everything from the structure down to the editing flows so perfect you almost forget you’re watching a horror movie and feel as if you’ve actually stumbled on to lost footage.

Adam Wingard’s ( A Horrible Way To Die) segment “Clinical Trails” starts off with a guy ( played by Wingard) who just got a robotic retina implant that allows him to see ghosts. This segment starts off pretty standard but quickly takes a turn for interesting when we are introduced to a beautiful character that can hear the ghosts.  My hats off to Wingard for coming up with one of the most interesting ways to film the segment. Not to mention a truly cringe worthy ending.
The biggest gripe I had with V/H/S 1 was how vague and unresolved the “framing” segment was. Well, that’s not a problem here. Simon Barrett (writer turned director) does an excellent job of building on what was left wide open in the first film. A PI and his assistant ( I got the feeling it was his girlfriend) are hired to find a missing student and of course end up watching the tapes. Barrett handles this with much more clarity that leads to a creepy ending. I dug it more than the first and Barrett was able to create a mythos of sorts that I’m sure will start to come into play in the sequels to come.

The production team behind the V/H/S movies have been reading my horror diary. Once again they brought together my dream team of directors. After V/H/S 1, I didn’t think it was possible to top that crew, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t. Sanchez, Eisener and Evans alone should be enough to draw in the most cynical of horror fans. And these boys brought their A game and slapped it down on the table.  I don’t know if these guys were told to amp it up or they made it a personal goal to out do the first film, but they succeeded. Man, did they.

In the world of horror films, sequels rarely out “scare” the original. Normally, they are nothing more than cheaply made cash grabs, that have little to do with the predecessors plot. Now with any rule there are exceptions: Aliens, Evil Dead 2 (yes, it’s a sequel not a remake) and Devil’s Rejects are movies that not only continue what was started, but build on the original story to help further expand and drive the plot to new heights. V/H/S 2 does just that. By rounding up another gaggle of seasoned genre directors, V/H/S 2 is able to not just add to the story but take this shit to a whole new level.

MOVIE REVIEW: FRANKSTEIN”S ARMY ( Tribeca Film Festival Review) Published April, 25th, 2013

Well it was bound to happen. I mean eventually some one was going to mash-up three of the most over saturated sub genres: World War II, Zombie and Found Footage. I, for one, never thought I wanted to see such a film. Hell the idea never crossed my mind. Only a complete lunatic would attempt to pull something of this magnitude off. Fortunately for horror fans, Richard Raaphorst is crazy enough to attempt such a feat. Now for the real question: Is he able to pull it off? Hell Yeah!

Now the basic structure of Frankenstein’s Army is simple: A small band of Russian soldiers are pushing through Eastern Germany at the end of World War II. A few days in, they receive a distress call requesting back up to a small town. Take a guess whose really there waiting for them? As if the pile of charred and smoldering nuns weren’t enough of a warning sign, the boys forge forward right into a mad scientist’s back yard. This scientist just so happens to be working for Hilter in a last-ditch effort to win the war. Working off Dr.Frankenstein’s ( Yeah, that Frankenstein) personal journals to build an army of leather clad, swastika peppered zombots. AND, it just so happens that this particular band of soldiers is accompanied by a camera man filming a propaganda movie. Man, does his camera take a beating.  I didn’t know that cameras in the 40′s were so damn durable.  Or that they had microphone’s attached to them back then. Somehow it’s easier to believe Frankenstein’s grandson stitching together an army of robot zombie Nazis.

While all the actors do a descent enough job, the real star is the zombots (a term used throughout all the press releases but never once used in the movie). The movie moves along a tad to slow at first, but once these bad boys show up on-screen, it’s a nonstop onslaught of gory goodness. Raaphorst (who designed all the zombots himself) has really come up with some disturbing creatures. Creating all these different types of zombots leads to some damn cool kills. Where most directors might pull back Raaphorst zooms in for the money shots. This is a gore hounds wet dream. The mayhem plays like a mash-up of Hellraiser  meets Blair Witch. So people who are prone to motion sickness best wait till DVD.

Okay, so the plot reads like a bad SyFy channel feature, but I would be lying to you if I said I did not have a hell of a time with this one. Raaphorst was able to take such an off-the-wall premise and make it into a hell of a good time. While the movie wasn’t without its faults (ie: All the character’s speaking English with Russian accents was lame),  it is still without a doubt one of the most original takes on the found footage genre I have ever seen.

Tribeca Film Festival 2013 Wrap Up! Published May 2nd, 2013

The Tribeca Film Festival wrapped this past Sunday and I was lucky enough to be able to attend. Spending most of my time-consuming as many horror flicks as I could, I was able to sneak in a couple of non-genre flicks and work a couple of red carpet events. Having a hell of a time running the streets of NYC, here’s a few of the highlights of my time at TFF 2013.

 

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Kick-Ass Press Lounge

Going into Tribeca Film Festival I had no idea what to expect. Being my first trip to NYC, I felt a bit like a fish out of water, but after stepping foot in the Tribeca Press Lounge I was right at home. Such a cool laid back place to network and just chill. Besides the awesome leather couches and cool computers the fine folks at Tribeca offered free ice cream. If not for my over whelming love of movies, I may have never left. Damn this website! It’s sad how quickly I’m willing to sell out my passions for a scoop of frozen sugar.

 

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Deadbolt Short Program

One of my favorite aspects of TFF 2013 was the genre heavy Deadbolt Short Program. I had completely overlooked this prior to arriving at TFF and almost missed it entirely. God bless that program guide I received at check in. I’ve always felt horror works best in short bursts and Tribeca has chosen some damn nice titles here. Stay tuned later this week for SJP’s reviews of the Deadbolt program.

 

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Drunk Bro Fight

Now before I begin this tale I have to preference it by saying that the folks involved are in no way connected to Tribeca or the festival. Disclaimer over, now on with the story. After a hard day of watching movies (Yeah that is work for me!) I decided to roam around and see what NYC had to offer. Finding my way to the legendary Ace Hotel I stopped in for a drink. This would lead to one of the best/worse 30 minutes of my life. Quickly realizing I was out of my element at the Ace I stepped out for some fresh air. There I encountered a pair of frost tipped, artificially tanned “bros” in a heated debated. Bro #1 was yelling at Bro #2 to “LET ME FINISH MY THOUGHT!”. Bro #2 would then quiet down long enough for Bro #1 one to yell “COCKSUCKER!” and “YOU SHOULD OF HAD MY BACK!”. Bro #2 would try to defend himself, but was quickly cut off by Bro #1 yelling “LET ME FINISH MY THOUGHT!”. This cycle would go on to repeat itself for 30 mins. I don’t know what’s sadder Bro #2 letting his friend call him a cocksucker for 30 minutes and not decking him or me standing there watching the entire time..

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Lil Bub & Friends

Now, I know we rarely cover documentaries on the site. I can also say with out a shadow of a doubt that we have never covered one about a cute internet meme cat. To be honest I hate cats and since I’m being honest I have to say I LOVE LIL BUB. After hearing great things about this movie, I put my cat prejudice aside and took in this flick. I never understood “cat people” and I still don’t, but after watching this movie I became the proud owner of a Lil’ Bub tee-shirt.

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 The Tribeca Film Festival

Now I’ve attended many of film festivals ( Yes, watching all the Die Hard movies in my basement with Jake and Thom counts as “festival”), but never have been to one as big as TFF.  It’s no secret that I am a die-hard horror film junkie and TFF had a horror fans movie line up. Just with V/H/S/2 ( CLICK HERE to check out my full review) and Frankenstein’s Army they had my ass parked in a seat, but then they went on to include so many awesome flicks. Hell even the now genre films like Greetings From Tim Buckley were worth the price of admission. Then the powers that be went on to include such cool events like the Tribeca Film Drive In ( which screened the Tim Burton Classic Beetlejuice) and The Family Festival Street Fair ( Being a new dad this one stuck out to me).  What the hell else could I ask for?

Overall I had a blast at the TFF this year. Running the streets of NYC ( O.K., not so much running as slowly trudging) was cool enough. This festival was a blast.  Be it badass horror flicks, Bros throwing down in the streets or insanely cute cats TFF 2013 was a hell of a time. I can’t imagine what 2014 has in store for us.

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