Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Back On 2011 [Written By Clifford Kiyabu]

I know many of you were hoping to see the annual “Best Of” top ten list this month, but unfortunately this will not be the case this time around; TCWReviews has cancelled this year’s top ten list. While I would like to say there was a definitive reason or excuse behind the decision to cancel this year’s top ten list… truth be told there isn’t, just a string of bad luck and multiple events that transpired (Some of which you will hear about in due time). And though most of you were looking forward to it, not everything goes as planned. Heck, if wishes were horses, we'd all be eatin' steak (props to Adam Baldwin).

Now with that being said, I figured that instead of a top ten list we’d do something unprecedented for TCWReviews. I would like to reflect on the year’s pass events and what they meant to the world, and also to me. Looking back at 2011, it sure was an eventful year filled with some of the most historic moments the world has seen in the last 10 years. From unspeakable devastations to surprising moments that had us later questioning our own moral fabric that defines who we are. For personal reasons regarding the subjects I mention, I will try to maintain a nonbiased opinion.

From earthshattering earthquakes and fractured nuclear power plants to a devastating tsunami, the nation of Japan has seen a great deal of disastrous events sent her way in 2011. That left countless thousands dead and millions without a home or job to go back to. The whole world stood in shock over this heart wrenching event. I personally hold a great respect now more than ever for the Japanese people for their honor, strength, courage and unity. They mourned the loss of loved ones and the life they once had, but was still proud enough to stand back up on their two feet, dust themselves off and begin the unthinkable; rebuilding what was once lost to the devastation of mother nature, for this they shall forever have my undying respect.

2011 was a year of revolution, from the streets of Cairo, Egypt to the battlefields of Libya. Change was certainly in the air for people in the Mideast, and no longer were they going to stand quietly by and do nothing. They rose up and toppled tyranny where it stood and in some cases, the people won the change they so desperately yearned for and earned their freedoms. Regimes as old as 30 and 40 years collapsed within the wake of revolution this year, and also led to the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. All that remains unseen is with destiny at the people’s doorsteps; will they be able to hold on to that which they fought and died for?

2011 was also the year of the protester. With our global economy in the gutter, job availability becoming more and more scarce and the security of one’s livelihood threatened each and every day, people all over the globe has risen up in protest to the way those in power are doing business. From its start in Zuccotti Park in New York, it expanded to the streets of France, Spain, and even across vast regions like Greece, Italy and Germany then back to the states in which it made its way across to places like downtown Chicago and even the island state of Hawaii. The protests grew in size and its voice was made much loader. No matter what your beliefs are or on what side you stand on the political spectrum, you cannot deny that the people’s voice was heard this year, and though change has not come to those standing in protest, they have shown their resilience by hanging in there for the long hall. I personally don’t agree with most of their message but I respect their dire need to stand up for what they believe in to whatever end.

2011 marked the 10 year anniversary to one of the most horrific terror attacks in modern US history which easily became ground zero for the world we live in today. But to a great many surprise, it was also the year when those responsible for one of the greatest attacks of our time finally met their ultimate fate, and for a moment the world cheered in celebration and for a split second the world around us felt a little safer. But with the death of Osama Bin Laden, reality set in and many began to wonder, and contemplate if the end justified the means? Did we receive the justice we were promised or were we forever robbed of that luxury? Either way, I personally hope those affected by the tragedy that occurred 10 years ago can finally find some piece of mind. And I hope those forever lost to us from the event can finally rest in peace.

2011 also saw the passing of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and the rise to power of his youngest son Kim Jong-Un. I personally knew his demise wouldn’t be too far off, but his sudden death just before the holidays was indeed a shocker and has left me wondering where the North will go from here in terms as a nation. Despite how you feel about Kim Jong-Il you cannot deny that watching Team America: World Police (2004) will never be the same again. LOL!

But it wasn’t all bad memories, as 2011 also saw the wedding event of our generation, the royal wedding of Prince William to his beloved bride, Kate Middleton. Not since the wedding of Charles and Princess Diana have we seen the world so fascinated by the union of two people. This event was seen by hundreds of millions all over the world, it also stood as a defining moment for the British monarch as it secured the future of their line of succession. And what does America have to show for? The 72 day marriage of Lady Kim Kardashian to Duke Chris Humphries, that’s what. Yeah America, that’s our f****** monarch right there.

Looking back at 2011, it was undoubtedly one for the books; the things mentioned here is merely the tip of the iceberg of events that transpired over 2011. And if this year has taught me anything, it’s that we must keep moving forward in life, even when life throws a few wrenches into our gears, we mustn’t falter or step back but rather keep our heads up high and keep moving forward in life. As the year comes to a close, we open the doorway to the year, 2012. What I hope for the New Year to bring is a more prosperous year for everyone, but most importantly a more prosperous New Year for everyone in The Critic’s Word’ family. Here’s to a new year of new beginnings and happy endings! Okay, maybe I added the happy endings for a little lol moment.

The Editor in Chief
Clifford Kiyabu.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Casting Call for New Indie Horror "The Hazed"

One of the worst things about joining a fraternity or sorority is the hazing that comes with the territory of pledging. Yeah it’s commonly known that hazing is highly unethical then alone illegal in today’s age, but just because something is deemed wrong doesn’t mean it stopped. But what if some took hazing to a whole new level of humiliation? What if some elevated it to a whole new level of horrors? From the creators of Echo Lake and Sick Flick Productions comes “The Hazed” a psychological thriller that explores the unforgiving and vindictive nature of sorority life. Once you’re in you’re in for life, and the only way to leave this sorority is through death!

The Hazed is set to begin filmming summer 2012 in the Chicago area. The film is written and produced and will also star Jonathan Moody and Kelsey Zukowski. The Hazed will also be Kelsey Zukowski’s directorial debut! Currently they doing a full casting call for both male and female actors and of various age brackets that range from age groups of 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. scroll down to read the synopsis and to get a full detail of the roles up for casting. And when you’re done be sure to drop by the official Hazed Facebook Page and click “Like” to keep up to date on all things regarding the project.

Synopsis: When Kate tries to pledge a sorority, she learns that a mistake from years ago is still haunting her. The sorority sisters are completely unforgiving, deciding to have their fun with Kate by torturing her and the other girls to no ends. Kate is determined not to let her win. She has her friends, Tyler and Hailey by her side to help her stay strong. The deeper Kate gets in though the more she realizes that these are not your typical hazing pranks. There is something much darker that lies within these girls, setting up a brutal cycle of jealousy, revenge, and a very twisted perception of reality.

The Hazed Character Breakdown

Kate: Female (18-25). Independent, determined, and spunky. Kate has always been an outsider, but isn’t going to let that get in the way of what she wants. She made a mistake years ago that Melissa isn’t willing to let her forget. Kate refuses to be a weak person though and is ready to take everything she throws her way. Role requires nudity, limited or implied is negotiable.

Melissa: Female (18-25). The head sorority sister. She loves being in charge and is used to everything going her way, blaming her problems on others when they do arise. She’s unforgiving and has a very dark nature, far beyond the bitchy façade that lies on the outside. Role requires nudity, limited or implied is negotiable.

Courtney: Female (18-25). One of Melissa’s best friend’s, runs the sorority house under her.  She sticks by Melissa no matter how merciless the hazing becomes.

Kelly: Female (18-25). Melissa and Courtney’s other best friend. She is loyal to her sisters and is determined to get vengeance on Kate for Melissa’s sake.

Jenna: Female (18-25). The only reasonable sorority sister. She isn’t out to humiliate and torment the pledges and isn’t interested in getting revenge on Kate. She goes along with it to an extent, but she wants to just get through this year more than anything. She’s far more concerned with school and her long distance boyfriend who she hopes to be with when she goes to graduate school next year.

Brittany: Female (18-25). As she gets deeper in to the sorority and sees the consequence of Melissa’s jealousy her enthusiasm for the sorority quickly falls. She has a lot to deal with, but refuses to let Melissa and the other sisters run all over her. Limited clothing is required.

Lexy: Female (18-25). Almost connected at the hip to Anna. Both of the girls put all of their energy and hopes in to getting in to the sorority. They have more shallow reasons than the other girls. No matter how twisted things get the price is never too high to get what they want. Limited clothing is required.

Anna: Female (18-25). Lexy’s best friend. It quickly becomes them against the other girls. They intend to do whatever they can to get in to the sorority even when things turn morbid. It’s shocking to them at first, but they put their better judgment aside when their own desires blind them. Limited clothing is required.

Brad: Male (18-25). Head of one of the school’s fraternity’s. He treats woman horribly, especially his girlfriend, Melissa. He has been cheating on her for years and really has no qualms or guilt about it. He comes from a wealthy family in the same social circle as Melissa’s; part of the reason their parents want them to be together. Nudity is required.

Chase: Male (18-25). Sexist and objectifies woman. He’s Brad’s best friend and one of the brothers, but cannot stand Melissa. He’s a good friend to him regardless. Chase is one of the only people to really reject Melissa and show his interest elsewhere.

Chris: Male (18-25). School football star and one of Chase and Brad’s brothers. He’s crude and violent towards others.

Jennifer: Female (22-35) Jack’s wife. She loves her husband, but is going through a very hard time in her life. She hasn’t really been happy in a long time and acts on this unhappiness. She desperately wants to put that all behind them and learn to be happy with Jack again.

Jack: Male (25-40) Jennifer’s husband. She’s broken his heart and he can never be the same again. We begin to see him breaking before us, unable to hold on any longer.

Bryan: Male (20-30) Jenna’s long distance boyfriend. He is very caring and sincere, doing everything he can to try to be there for her. He tries to keep her rational and focused amongst all of the mayhem that ensues in the house.

Dr. Lucas: Male or Female (Min. age 25, but could preferably middle aged). The psychiatrist who tries to piece everything together in the aftermath. (S)he is desperate to reach his/her patient so they can accept what they’ve done and have hope for recovery so nothing like this ever happens again.

Lauren:  Female (20-30). Kate’s Resident Advisor. Once she realizes Kate is going through something serious she steps in.

Delivery Man: Male. (Min. age 20, but preferably middle aged) Once he’s in the house he lets his curiosity and imagination get the best of him. He never would have expected what lies within this house.

Waitress: (Min. 18, but can be any age). Waitress at a steak/seafood restaurant that serves Hailey and Tyler. 

Please email the character or characters you are interested in auditioning for to We will be accepting video auditions for desired roles. Filming is set for summer 2012.

Christopher Meloni Joins Cast of True Blood!

It’s been an awful long while since we’ve heard any news regarding HBO’s True Blood am I right? Well fear not Fangbangers and Trubies because I’ve got some True Blood news coming at ya! A few weeks back rumors hit the web that Law & Order star Christopher Meloni was set to join the cast of True Blood for its 5th season.

Well according to TV Line, an a deal has been made. And a few details were given away about Meloni's character, which was described as being a "powerful vampire."

According to the HBO series creator Alan Ball, Meloni will play an “ancient, powerful vampire who holds the fate of Bill and Eric in his hands.” Though there’s still not a lot of details regarding his character on the show or what exact plot he’ll play in the 5th season, one can assume he’ll play the part of a possible new big bad baddy in the series aside from the return of American Horror Story star Denis O'Hare in the role of Russell Edgington.

No official word as of yet when exactly the next season will begin but also joining the cast next season will be Scott Foley, Lucy Griffiths, Dale Dickey, Louis Herthum and Kelly Overton.

Side Tidbit: So how many seasons do you suspect the show will continue to go on for?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Casting Call for “TRAPPED” A New Kid Friendly Horror By Fathead Films!

These days the horror genre is jacked full of films that take us to the extreme with testing the waters on what’s considered “Acceptable” and what’s seen as downright despicable. But people now days have easily become desensitized to these facts when we’re introduced to such torture porn films like “The Human Centipede” and  “Saw” on a regular bases, we forget that horror isn’t about how far one can go to gross their audience or leaving them beyond disturbed.
Sometimes it’s the little stories on a softer scale that can prove to be equally entertaining and a little terrifying. One of the best examples of soft-core horror that proved to be fun for all ages while still maintain a “scare factor” for viewers was none other than the mid 90’s with such shows like “Goosebumps” and “Are You Afraid of The Dark” just to name a few, these type of shows produced material that was enjoyed by viewers of all ages while not having to succumb to picking either the more graphic edgier rout or yielding to the overly demeaning rout with a high cheese factor. But I digress; it seems that a sense of this magnitude will be making its way to the indie screen with the the production company Fathead Films has announcing plans to film a project titled “Trapped.” A short film that is said to be a “Kid Friendly” horror, the project is slated to begin filming sometime in early 2012 in Illinois.

Trapped is being produced and directed by Keith Romine (Acceptance 2010) and written by The Critic’s Word very own Kelsey Zukowski (What They Say.) and is currently casting young actors between the ages of 8 to 18 all December. Read on below for more details regarding the project and how you can help out:

Fathead Films is proud to announce the filming of short film “Trapped” to be filmed in Belvidere/Rockford area early 2012.


Trapped is a scary but kid friendly short film currently in pre-production and slated to begin principal photography in the Belvidere, IL area early 2012. The film Produced/Directed by Keith Romine of Fathead Films, will primarily feature local Northern Illinois talent ages 8 to 18... And of course some adults to fill the roles of meddling parents, troublesome siblings and maybe even a villain or two.

The Concept:

Keith Romine began toying with the concept that has evolved into Trapped in late 2010. Keith's purpose was to bring a 'scary' but kid friendly film to his acting students and other young actors in the Northern Illinois region. Inspired by his young acting classes in the Belvidere and Rockford IL areas Keith commissioned Kelsey Zukowski (What They Say) of Chicago to write a short screenplay stating he wanted a scary movie that (unlike most of his work) his acting students could audition to be in and actually watch once finished!

The Team:

Kelsey exceeded expectations and after nearly a year of planning Trapped is nearly ready to begin production. Keith has teamed with Berdella Endress (That's My Girl) to Co-Produce and has also brought on Stuart Wahlin (Hand of Glory) as Director of Photography. Keith hopes to see many of his current and former students auditioning but notes that auditions will not be limited to Fathead Films students and to avoid bias Keith will rely heavily on the rest of his production team to assist in casting decisions. Auditions will be held early December in the Belvidere and Rockford, IL area.

How You Can Help:

Please help us to spread the word about our fundraising efforts! (”Trapped” Indiegogo Page.) Share with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, email and word of mouth. All of the funds raised will directly help bring this film to life covering a wide variety of expenses from providing on-set snacks and beverages, equipment, locations, props, extensive makeup and special effects in production to editing and effects in post-production and full festival run to follow. Also follow us on Facebook for up to date casting and all things Trapped.

Other Ways You Can Help:

Please help us to spread the word! Share with friends and family via Facebook, twitter, MySpace, email and word of mouth!

Side Tidbit: on a more personal note, aside from marking yet another big milestone for Ms. Zukowski as a writer, Trapped will also include The Critic’s Word new staffer Stuart R. Wahlin as Director of Photography. To which I say congrats to the both of you!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: Second Star (2011) [Reviewed By Kelsey Zukowski]

Starring: Stephanie Sylvester, Troy Zitzelberger, Brittany Collins, Heather Dorff

Directed By: Derek Quint

Grade: B

Second Star is a short film about a homeless woman on New Year’s Eve. We follow her throughout the night as the lines between reality, fantasy, and past are blurred. It was inspired by J.M. Barrie’s book, “Peter Pan” as well as old and modern ghost legends.

Director, Derek Quint, follows a guerilla film style for a very realistic opening. For someone living in Chicago, it’s something you witness nearly every day, but are rarely a part of the way it is shown to us here. Once the party begins I liked how drastically the tone and atmosphere changed. The noticeable difference takes us in to a surreal cycle of events. We can’t be completely sure what’s real and what’s not, much like our protagonist who is scared and lost in the world she finds herself in.

The exploration of fiction and reality is among my favorite themes that can be explored through film. It’s the perfect medium to do so since film itself could be considered the blurring of fiction and reality. It’s not real, but is encompassed around reality; part of the reason film exists as a intelligent art form. Second Star takes advantage of this exploration and experiments with this character’s psyche.

The director even says he isn’t completely sure what happens, how it ends, or what is reality and what is fiction. This really emphasis the importance of the experience of Second Star; it really doesn’t matter what happens because the film is about something much larger. It’s up to you to decide what that is.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: What They Say (2011) [Reviewed By Clifford Kiyabu]

Directed by: Justin R. Romine
Written by: Kelsey Zukowski, Heather Dorff (original story)
Genre: Short / Thriller
MPAA: Not Rated
Released: 25th September. 2011
Starring: Heather Dorff, Kelsey Zukowski, Tina Renée Grace, Kitsie Duncan, Kitsie Duncan, Dave Juehring, Tyler Klunick, Jolene M. Aldus.

They thought she had the perfect life; wealthy and privileged, an honor student with her whole life mapped out. What they didn’t know was what lied inside of her; pain and anguish; tearing at her until there was nothing left. Lost and alone, the young women (Heather Dorff), finds solace in the form of a glistening blade, splitting her skin deeply. Her self-indulgent mother and obnoxious sister (Kelsey Zukowski) are completely oblivious to her inner-turmoil. She has long since become numb to the world around her, getting that sensual release, as the razor cuts deeper, watching the blood drip, is all that matters. As soon as the last drop falls, the calm is stripped away from her with it. How far will she go to silence the hunger that now consumes her? Will she be able to regain control of her life, body, and sanity?

Review: 9/10

My Thoughts: Over the course of 2011, I’ve covered the Fathead Films project “What They Say” in multiple articles throughout the spring and summer, though much of the plot has always remained vague to you, the reader and I, there was always a sense of what’s to be expected from a film such as this. From the eerie tone the movie stills displayed, to the darkly themed synapses, everything regarding this project including the gory details shown in its teaser trailer called out a darkness that was equally compelling as was seriously disturbing. But to speak completely frank here, there was no way of preparing me for what was to come next when I actually screened WTS. To try and describe what I had seen during the screening without giving away any specific details or spoilers for that matter, would be calling it twistedly delighted. Its gory visuals are bloodstained yet oddly beautiful, setting an atmospheric narrative that captivates you in a cloud of physical and emotional pain. The film’s plot is indeed astonishingly unsettling and yet weirdly enough calming with beauty.

Within the first few minutes of viewing the film it becomes perfectly clear that WTS’s plot is deeply personal from the heart and mind of the writer, the story carried such a level of remarkable storytelling that it felt rich with raw emotion, that its essence was captured from a dark place in their life. Or at least that’s what I got out of the experience itself. That’s another thing I found so compelling and deeply fascinating with “What They Say”, is that it’s hardly something that one can summed up in words. Like an emotion, it must be felt and experienced firsthand to get a full detailed understanding of the experience itself and to fully comprehend its message. Some will argue that WTS is a horror with dramatic themes, while others will say it’s a dark drama themed with horror elements. I however, would classify it as neither. The way I saw WTS play out, or at least in my opinion, was more in line of a character study into the human soul and the darkness that dwells within. A dark passenger if you will, that lurks within us all. For many that darkness is always kept at bay never seeing the light of day, but for some that darkness is always just beneath the suffice trying to scratch and claw its way out. The question this film left me thinking with by the time it was over was; what happens when that darkness suffices?

As for the acting: the acting here is quite impressive. Heather Dorff delivered an outstanding performance in the lead. Her delivery is so well done and on mark that it felt less like a role and more like the character was living through her; the way she handled herself was dignifying and graceful to say the least. Her performance expands beyond the role itself, but rather on a deeper level that brings a certain aspect to the role that one could argue was as intimately personal to a role that any actor playing a character could get. Kelsey Zukowski gave a stellar performance as a co-star alongside MS. Dorff, showing a remarkable performance for someone still fairly new to the acting scene. Aside from her astonishing writing as a screen writer and columnist, Kelsey displayed another talent to add to her résumé with acting, making her the ultimate scream queen to look out for in the near future. Tina Renée Grace also did a fine job in her performance. Though my first encounter with her work as an actress was just earlier this year with the indie short “Love is Not Enough” I ‘m very impressed with her thus far and would even consider her as one to watch!

Final Say: What They Say managed to live up the hype and so much more, in my opinion. If there’s anything I take away from watching this film, it’s that it will take you on a personal journey to the edge of insanity and show you that it’s only through the darkness that we see truth. If there’s any indie short to see this year, What They Say is it! I highly recommend it!

Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved

Exclusive Interview with Director Alvin Gray!

TCW Reviews’ Administrator and Editor in chief, Clifford Kiyabu, sits down with Writer and Director Alvin Gray for an exclusive interview! Over the last few years we at The Critic’s Word have made it our priority to notice and invest time in the new up and comers in the independent scene. From writers and directors, to producers and actors, we’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with some pretty talented folks in the independent film industry or as we like to call it, your day in our chair. Today is no exception as we have a very special guest taking a seat in our virtual chair! He’s a rising new comer based in Baltimore and gaining some serious notary in the indie film scene with his new exciting project. So without further ado sit back in your chair and get nice and comfy as Alvin and I have a nice chitchat talking about topics that range from his upcoming movie, to topics regarding the mainstream industry and its current course taking by those in charge with 3D films.

Clifford: First off, I’d like to thank you for dropping by our little neck of the web. It’s always a pleasure having a talent such as you drop by.

Clifford: For my readers, who have yet to see some of your work, tell us little bit about yourself?

Alvin: I am movie/music video director. I’m 25 years old, and I’m from Baltimore MD, born and raised here.

Clifford: How long have you been behind the camera, Alvin?

Alvin: Since the age of 15 I've been making movies, so looking back now, I guess you would say over a decade [Laughs,] I've been doing this for a long time, but it seems like each movie is a whole new experience.

Clifford: As a filmmaker, do you think you’ll ever lose that “new experience” feeling?
Alvin: I don't think I'll ever lose that new experience feeling because, i never repeat myself, that makes each experience new to me. I mean, now I more comfortable when it comes to directing a scene, I'm not on edge anymore, but it’s still new every time.

Clifford: As a filmmaker, what influenced you into wanting to pursue filmmaking?
Alvin: I never was a big fan of my life, I always wanted to escape, even as a child I always played with action figures, making up my own scenarios for them. Finally when I got to high school I was introduced to multimedia class which let me explore my creativity with cameras, writing, speaking, and becoming a better director.

Clifford: Were there any specific genre in general were eyeing when you first got into filmmaking?

Alvin: Funny story, I always LOVED scary movies, my grandmother and I would always watch different scary movies, Childs Play, Poltergeist, Children of corn, etc... But my first movie was called Senior Cut Day "02" which was gonna be an adaptation of Ferris Bulers Day Off, but somewhere along the lines, I found this creepy mask on set, and decided from that mask, that I wanted to make my movie a thriller and not a comedy .

Clifford: What was the initial reaction to the changes by those involved with the project?

Alvin: The cast/friends that were a part of the movie, just went with the flow, nobody knew what they were doing, we all just wanted to be a part of something. And we kept moving forward.

Clifford: The Indie genre seems to be the main hub for original ideas these days, as a filmmaker do you foresee the mainstream industry openly embracing the indie genre in the near future?

Alvin: Right now I feel like the mainstream industry is threatened by the indie genre as well as they should be, I mean......for years, they had the power of deciding who was the star, who’s story should be seen, and what worlds did they want to show. But now, it's not about what Hollywood thinks, it's about the people and how well the director can connect with them. Mainstream will always try to avoid us, because they want the money to themselves; take note, as soon as EVERYBODY started making HD quality movies, the mainstream started to push 3D heavily on people, to set themselves aside from indie film makers. And when we adapt to 3D, they'll put out "smell a vision"

Clifford: Speaking of 3D, do you believe 3D is here to stay, or will be just another fad to fade within the coming years?

Alvin: 3D is just a new way to re-invent the wheel, to let all the indie film makers know who's boss, [Laughs,] but I don't think 3D will disappear but maybe upgrade to 4D, smell, touch, feel, and see movies.

Clifford: When you’re in the process of making a film, do you have a routine that you run through in order to get yourself into the moment, so to speak, and if so, would you like to share it with us?

Alvin: I honestly don’t have a process; I just close my eyes and jump in.

Clifford: Alright, you’ve got a film called “Senior Cut Day.” coming out soon. Care to tell us a little bit about it?

Alvin: Senior Cut Day (2011) is about a group of kids that car breaks down in the woods, on their way to the cabins for senior cut day. Not paying attention to their surroundings, they decided to camp out and have fun in the woods that night, Getting drunk and partying all night, they find themselves separated in the morning, and one by one being killed off by homeless scavengers that live in the woods.

Clifford: SCD sounds like it pays homage to classic horror films of the 80‘s, was that the intended goal?

Alvin: My intended goal for SCD is to be a thriller that teens will follow every year for their senior cut day. When I was younger and even now, on EVERY Halloween, I make sure I watch at least one Michael Myers movie. It's just tradition. I want kids around the world to say "let’s cut school on senior cut day and watch Senior Cut Day" [Laughs].

Clifford: Where did principle filming take place?

Alvin: Mostly on a private farm which is a haunted hay ride in the fall, called Legends of the Fog.
Clifford: How long did the filming process last?

Alvin: all together, I would say 5 months.

Clifford: During filming, did you run into any unscheduled problems or conflicts?

Alvin: Man, this whole production was an unscheduled conflict smh :/

Clifford: Okay now this next question is TCWreviews’ signature question so don’t feel alarmed, you’re not the only one [Laughter]

Clifford: The term ‘For The Sake of Art’ has always been coined in the entertainment industry for how far an actor/actress would be willing to go for, well… the sake of art. So my question to you is; How far are you willing to go for the sake of art in this industry?

Alvin: A true artist never has a line, we shouldn't be afraid to push the envelope to explore all options, that’s what makes us different, that’s what helps us discover new things to share.

Clifford: As part of a recently established tradition here at TCWreviews, we allow one anonymous reader a chance to ask our celebrity guests a question, but don’t worry we’ve filtered out any nasty obscenities [Laughs]. A reader asks “What are the most stressful aspects of directing, and what are the most rewarding?”

Alvin: The most stressful part of the aspect of directing working with ACTORS AND ACTRESSES, they're just weird and turn into babies on the set. But like all parents, i love my babies........I guess. But the most rewarding part is the fans with benefits ;) "If you know what I mean" hahahahaha

And that concludes my interview with Alvin Gray the director of Senior Cut Day: The Movie (2011). Interviewing Alvin was as insightful as it was a pleasure. Though he’s just starting to get his feet wet in this industry, from my personal opinion on him, Alvin has a bright chip on his shoulder, and as long as he stays the course he’s on I can see him achieving great things in the film industry. Alvin Gray is defiantly one to watch. Keep a look out for his upcoming film Senior Cut Day, which is scheduled to make its official premiere on Thursday December 8, 2011. To learn more about the premiere visit GoldenTiger Productions to find out where to see it and how the buy tickets. Also learn more about the film by visiting the official website at and its official Facebook Page

Sunday, November 20, 2011

True Blood Gets New Blood Next Season!

If you’ve ever heard the phrase Fangbanger or have the overwhelming urge to say “You are mine” in a deep seductive southern accent, then it’s most likely you’re a fan of author Charlaine Harris’ The Southern Vampire Mysteries AKA The Sookie Stackhouse Novels AKA True Blood (wow that a lot of AKA’s.) and most likely an even bigger fan of the hit HBO series. With that being said, one could argue that True Blood played a huge part to the recent successes of vampire lore being a popular topic in all forms of media today. And with the series being at an all-time high in ratings and popularity what could possibly make the show even more interesting? Well how about some new faces added to the cast for the next season? Yep that’s right, Deadline reports that two new actors have been cast for the 5th season of True Blood. At the moment the creators have been mum on anything regarding the production of next season including what direction the general plot will be taking next year. However, with that being said, Deadline acquired an expulsive regarding the two new additions to the cast. Actress Kelly Overton and actor Louis Herthum will be joining the cast next year with each getting a 6 to 7 episode story arc next season.

Overton, will play a dirty, beautiful werewolf named Rikki who demands to know what’s become of the pack leader.

Herthum, will play a particularly large Marine-type werewolf who refuses to bow down before the new pack leader.

Meanwhile there is still no official word by the creators or not if season 5 will in fact be the shows last season or not. As hinted by the creators early this year, there have been some hints at the possibility that season 5th may or may not be the last season for the hit HBO show. For now Trubies will just have to wait it out until official word on the subject does come down the wire, If and when word does arise you can bet we will report it.

Side Tidbit: I’m probably going to get some heat from this but I honestly don’t care, if you think Twilight is what Vampires are, then you know nothing about vampires and don’t deserve to call yourself a fan of the lore.

Dexter Gets Renewed for 2 More Seasons!

We at The Critic’s Word are rather huge fans and supporters of Showtime’s Dexter and have been watching the show’s production quite closely throughout the years. And despite the show reaching a record breaking high in ratings for the network, the show has suffered some pretty big controversies as of recent that has, dare I say it, jeopardized the show’s stability. First there was news of the show’s star, actor Michael C. Hall undergoing treatment for a treatable form of Hodgkin's lymphoma which had fans wondering if he would pull through. Then there announcement that his wife and co-star, Jennifer Carpenter filed for divorce from Hall. Once again fans wondered if the two would be able to their differences aside to continue working together. But the biggest hit for the show was during the summer when it was announced that Hall was at odds with the network over a contract dispute. Word on the street was that Showtime wanted to lock Hall in for at least two more seasons of Dexter for 20 million (10 million per season) but Hall’s camp wanted 12 mill per season (24 million for 2 seasons in total). This little hiccup put the future of the show in jeopardy as there seemed to be no nudge by either side’s camp.

However, it seems that America’s favorite serial killer has proven to have nine lives after all as Showtime has decided to lock Hall in for at least two more seasons granting him a pay raise of 12 million per season and 24 million in total. David Nevins, president of entertainment at Showtime. Had this to say about the decision to keep Dexter around a bit longer. “Dexter's enormous success is a real tribute to the great achievements of its cast, producers, and the powerhouse performance of Michael C. Hall,” Nevins then went on to say “The series is bigger than it’s ever been in its sixth season, both in terms of audience and its impact on the cultural landscape. Together with Michael, the creative team on the show has a very clear sense of where they intend to take the show over the next two seasons and, as a huge fan, I’m excited to watch the story of Dexter Morgan play out.” Well then, I guess this means Dex is here to stay for the time being, the only question remains now is if the creators can pull off ending the show on a high note, and where will the next two seasons take our favorite serial killer.

Side Tidbit: I know I’ve probably said this before, but I cannot foresee this show ending on a positive note for Dexter Morgan.


There’s a lot to be thankful for these days, especially if you’re a fan of the “Boondock Saints” films. It seems like there isn’t a month that goes by these days that word comes out from the Duffy camp regarding Boondock Saints goodness. And to think there was a time where there was little to nothing regarding the series. But if that’s not enough, there will be an entirely new reason to be thankful this holiday season especially if you live in the Los Angeles area. On Monday, November 21st. Troy Duffy and his skilled comic team will be making a special appearance at the Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles for a book signing and also giving away special goodies to the first 200 people who show up and an additional special goodie to only the first 100 people who arrive there first! Now before you drop what you’re doing to secure a place in line, I must stress that you first read the details below before making any hasty decisions. So read on fellow movie buffs!

TROY DUFFY and J.B. LOVE - the writers behind The BOONDOCK SAINTS' initial foray into comics will be signing the collected GRAPHIC NOVEL edition at BARNES & NOBLE in LOS ANGELES and they’re bringing DAVID DELLA ROCCO as well!

TROY DUFFY’s original BOONDOCK SAINTS film is one of the most successful independent movies of all time, with a fiercely devoted fan base - with nearly 5 million online followers of the franchise. With the hit comic series "IN NOMINE PATRIS", creator/writer/director TROY DUFFY launched the first "Saints" story to take place outside the iconic films. Written by Duffy and comic scribe J.B. LOVE, the comic series is the perfect companion to the films.

The story masterfully interweaves the events of the BOONDOCK SAINTS II: ALL SAINTS DAY with brand new material to reveal the secret history of the original saint, NOAH MACMANUS (IL DUCE) as he wages a bloody war against 1960's New York's Underground Crime world. The storyline is intercut with brand new adventures of the BROTHERS MACMANUS (The Boondock Saints) doing what they do best; doling out their special brand of justice to those that deserve it. "In Nomine Patris" brings a new chapter of the Saints saga to life while revealing the family legacy that created this trio of "Shepherds".

Featuring a forward by Connor MacManus himself - actor, SEAN PATRICK FLANERY - Join Troy Duffy and his comics team in this thrilling new Saints Adventure by pre-ordering the collected edition. This special trade paperback collects all six comic issues, never before seen art, a cover gallery, behind the scenes sketches and more. This is the collection the fans have been waiting for!

BARNES & NOBLE will HOST the first signing of the Graphic Novel before it’s available in stores! The FIRST 200 Guests will Receive a FREE COPY of the Exclusive Comic, “THE LOST GIG” starring fan favorite, ROCCO. The FIRST 100 GUESTS will also receive a FREE BOONDOCK SAINTS POSTER.

The Signing is November 21st at 7pm at the BARNES & NOBLE at THE GROVE at Farmers Market (189 Grove Drive Suite K 30, Los Angeles, CA 90036. The Store Phone Number is 323-525-0270.) For Additional Event Information please visit

Side Tidbit: I wonder if someone will be lucky enough to get him to commit to making a 3rd Boondock Saints film within the next 3 to 5 years. If someone does they’ll no doubt earn The Critic’s Word’s undying respect! [Laughs]

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: The Reef (2010) [Reviewed by Stuart Wahlin]

Starring: Adrienne Pickering, Zoe Naylor, Damien Walshe-Howling, Gyton Grantley, Kieran Darcy-Smith
Director/writer: Andrew Traucki
Grade: B+
Yes, I’m one of those folks who chomps at the bit 51 weeks out of the year, eagerly anticipating the arrival of Shark Week, which I watch from below a huge oil painting of a Great White stalking the depths, hung in a position of honor above the fireplace. The bar in my home, nautical in theme, is adorned with shark jaws and other maritime treasures. Hell, there’s even a baby shark in a jar. It’s fair to say I love sharks, man-eaters especially.
I thank Jaws for that, and Spielberg’s masterpiece is the standard by which all other shark films are judged. Despite how far the Jaws franchise has fallen since, the original film remains not only a horror classic, but a great film, period. It is one of those rare exceptions in that the film version is actually better than the novel. 
Naturally, I perk up every time I catch wind of a new shark movie hitting theaters or DVD. Subsequently, I’m always disappointed. One of the most popular and successful in recent memory, Deep Blue Sea, was just plain awful, in my opinion. Few things irk me more than CGI sharks. They don’t look real and they’re just not scary. If I wanted to watch cartoon sharks, I’d stick with Jabberjaw. Even Spielberg’s “Bruce,” the mechanical shark that never seemed to work during the filming of Jaws, was scary--because you could tell it was a tangible thing in the water with the actors.
Bruce’s lack of cooperation with the filmmakers resulted in what I call a fabulous disaster, though. As much as Bruce’s aversion to salt water made Spielberg question his future in movies, the result was seeing much less of the shark in the first hour of the film, thus heightening the suspense--that same suspense one might feel while treading water in the ocean, wondering what is lurking around you beneath the surface. Weave that with a little footage of real sharks, and you’re halfway to something that will scare people to the safety of hotel swimming pools, rather than playing Russian roulette with Mother Nature by venturing into the surf.
A 2010 Australian film called The Reef, apparently based on a true story, is about as close as anything has come to touching Jaws, and it’s worth watching. If you’re just looking for a recommendation, you’ve got it. Stop reading, and check it out. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
The Reef is director Andrew Traucki’s second feature film. Pleased with the job he’d done on his first, Black Water, an effective crocodile flick also based on true events, I suspected it would be worth seeing.
The story: Luke delivers sailboats for a living. Nice, huh? He and his first mate, Warren, are joined on a delivery cruise by three of Luke’s pals, Matt, Suzie and Kate, one of Luke’s old flames. Along the journey, Luke decides to impress his friends by taking the boat toward a reef for some snorkeling. 
A sense of foreboding belies the frolicking as schools of fish are seen to scatter. Meantime, the boat drifts dangerously close to disaster as the reef threatens to tear open its hull. The four friends hastily take their raft back to the boat. After some tense moments, Luke seems to have maneuvered the craft out of danger. But then, of course, they destroy their keel on some coral anyway, and quickly begin taking water, which capsizes the boat. Warren, knowing that large predators could be nearby, is quick to get out of the water. 
As the five ill-fated travelers collect their thoughts and supplies atop the capsized vessel, Luke determines that not only is the boat sinking, but that it’s drifting farther from land as it does so. He estimates they could reach an island after a 10-12-mile swim. The five must now decide whether to remain on the boat, hoping for rescue, or to swim for it. The sense of anxiety escalates as a large shadow is seen looming in the water.
Warren wastes little time deciding that he’ll take his chances on the boat. Meantime, Luke retrieves wetsuits from an air pocket inside the disabled boat. As the other four put them on and prepare for their long swim, Warren reminds them that the wetsuits make them look like seals, a favorite meal for Great White sharks. Still, the others are committed to swimming for land, and Warren and the boat disappear on the horizon behind them as they embark on their journey. According to an afterword, no trace of Warren was ever found.
The swimmers soon see a hump in the water. As they get closer, they realize it’s a large sea turtle. Approaching it, they discover the turtle has become a snack for Mr. White. Around this time, the group begins catching glimpses of something else in the water with them. They are being stalked, and start to get picked off, one by one. When the first victim’s leg is bitten off, Matt’s companions rush to his aid, but he urges Luke and the two girls to leave him to die, for their own safety. Not having to be told twice, the remaining three swim on as night begins to fall, but there are constant reminders that they are still being followed.
Hysterical and hopeless, the three somehow manage to fall asleep in the open water. When dawn arrives, Luke is the first to wake and notice an island on the horizon. With renewed hope, the three continue toward it. Between themselves and shore, several rocks can be seen jutting from the surface. 
They reach the first one and perch themselves atop it, taking a brief rest before heading for the next. The tension rebuilds as we see schools of fish scattering once again. Oh, yeah, there’s also a fin slicing through the water, but it turns out to be a dolphin. Just when the mood seems about the lighten, another fin appears, and the Suzie is savagely taken by the stalking shark. Luke and Kate, who’ve managed to rekindle their romance during all of this, make it safely to another rocky perch.
Before making one last dash for the nearby island, however, Luke opts to swim back to where their devoured comrade has left a floatation device. This is where everyone watching the film does a face-palm, but Luke safely retrieves it before they embark on the home stretch to land. Using his diving mask first, Luke surveys the sharp drop-off that lies between them and the rocky island. He sees only blackness.
More tense moments ensue as they struggle to climb the rock wall that stands between them and the safety of dry land. Long story, short here, she makes it, but Luke is devoured.

Final thoughts: Now, although this film is supposed to have been based on real events, I’m willing to bet liberties were taken with the story, because they always are. The climax works, but I prefer my own idea for an ending: As they make their way closer to the island, reaching the final rock standing above the surface of the water, they should have discovered the island is actually a seal colony, where Great Whites feed at will. So, instead of moving toward safety, they would learn they’ve actually been headed into even worse danger. That point of hopelessness, when they’d be left to decide between staying on that rock, or dashing for the island they’d assuredly be eaten before reaching, is where the film should end. Still, The Reef is good nail-biter I’m happy to recommend, especially to those who share my craving for stories of sharks with a taste for human flesh. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Boondock Fans Rejoice! "IN NOMINE PATRIS" Limited Edition Is Coming!

Since the release of the 1999 cult classic The Boondock Saints, director Troy Duffy’s stark tale of vigilance, guns and brotherly mayhem have been all the rage in many circles over the last decade and it’s audience continues to grow till this day. But what’s not mentioned here is the dreadful wait many of the fans and Boondock Betties alike had to go through before a sequel was finally produced. Fortunately for fans everywhere however, there won’t be much of a wait to dive back into the world of MacManus brothers, so to speak. No one knows when exactly we’ll get another sequel from Duffy and the gang (if any of the production crew is reading this, then PLEASE hurry up already!) but until that day does come, fans can always rejoice knowing that they’re beloved cult classic continues in a different media format… Comic books!

Last year fans of the popular Boondock Saints’ series flocked to near by comic shops and book stores to collect the 12-Gauge Comics comic mini series “IN NOMINE PATRIS.” which was well received by both veteran fans and newcomers to the series as well as critics for it’s loyal dedication to the core material the comic is based on. And while it may not be the next live action installment in the franchise fans are eagerly awaiting more. It did serve as a satisfactory alternative to the films which would keep the fans busy until the next installment. However, if you haven’t picked up your copy of this vigilant tale of mayhem and rough justice or is just hearing about it now, then you might want to hold off just a bit longer before picking up a copy as 12-Gauge Comics is re-releasing the graphic novel “IN NOMINE PATRIS.” in two special limited collector’s editions just in time for the holidays!

The BOONDOCK SAINTS' initial foray into comics is expanding into two new LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITIONS - A DELUXE HARDCOVER with exclusive deleted scenes and an ultra-rare signed and numbered “BLACK LABEL EDITION”.

The HARDCOVER is LIMITED to 850 COPIES and includes 16 pages of never before released, new material and a brand new cover by series Producer, Eben Matthews. This new content brings fans behind the scenes of the comic series and reveals the alternate version of the comic series’ second issue including the full story of IL DUCE’S BETRAYAL by “The Roman” and how we come to find him in Prison during the first film.

The “BLACK LABEL EDITION” is designed for the ‘Psycho Boondock Fan’ and is the ultimate edition of the Graphic Novel. This package includes the Hardcover as well as an exclusive set of mini-posters showcasing all six comic covers by series cover artist extraordinaire, Chris Brunner. It is packaged in a gorgeous black on black museum quality clamshell case and debossed with the Saints’ Celtic cross and iconic “Veritas / Aequitas”. This edition is LIMITED to ONLY 150 COPIES and SIGNED AND NUMBERED by Franchise Creator / Writer / Director, TROY DUFFY.

“IN NOMINE PATRIS” is Troy Duffy’s first foray into comics and the first outing of the Boondock Saints in a whole new medium. While staying true to the characters and tone which has made The BOONDOCK SAINTS films among the most successful independent movies of all time, this brand new story written by Duffy and comic scribe, J.B. LOVE is the perfect companion to the films.

The hit comics series masterfully interweaves the events of the BOONDOCK SAINTS II: ALL SAINTS DAY with brand new material to reveal the secret history of the original saint, NOAH MACMANUS (IL DUCE) as he wages a bloody war against 1960's New York's Underground Crime world.  The storyline is intercut with brand new adventures of the BROTHERS MACMANUS  (The Boondock Saints) doing what they do best; dolling out their special brand of justice to those that deserve it.  "In Nomine Patris" brings a new chapter of the Saints saga to life while revealing the families LEGACY OF VENGENCE that created this trio of "Shepherds". 

Featuring a forward by Connor MacManus himself - actor, SEAN PATRICK FLANERY - Join Troy Duffy and his comics team in this thrilling new Saints Adventure by pre-ordering these deluxe collectors editions. In addition to the Hardcover’s exclusive content, the graphic novel collects all six comic issues, never before seen art, a cover gallery, behind the scenes sketches and more. This is the story that answers many of the questions raised by the two films, now packaged in two highly collectible editions sure to delight any hardcore Boondock Fan.

Both the Limited Edition Hardcover and Ultra-Rare “Black Label Edition” are AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER EXCLUSIVELY FROM THE OFFICIAL BOONDOCK STORE ( and will ship in time for the holidays.


Troy Duffy on the New BOONDOCK SAINTS GRAPHIC NOVEL : "In Nomine Patris"

As stated above, both collector’s editions are available for Pre-Order right now, the Limited Edition Hardcover will ship in mid November while the “Black Label Edition” is set to ship in mid December.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The End of Originality!

I think it‘s time I got back into the habit of writing again. It‘s been far too long since I last spoke my mind, and for good reason of course. I used to go places when I wrote, places that my readers really didn’t care for me to go, and always made it clear to me in their hate-mail. It’s not my fault I have a straightforward mind, and a no-dick assessment when it comes to the topic at hand. Though it is a little crude of me to tell my readers to go ‘f**k off’ when they strike back. Still, I’m here again, and this time the topic of choice is my favorite people to hate, back in my very crosshairs. Yup… HOLLYWOOD.

But not just anyone and everyone in Hollywood. I don’t hate the hardworking waiter that’s forced to serve those arrogant no talent hacks that call themselves celebrities. I don’t hate the underrated and underpaid assistants that’s forced to bend over backwards and take it up the ass by their overpaid and overrated executive bosses. And I don’t hate the maintenance workers, the street cleaners, the hardworking film crews, the meter maids or even the prostitutes and come out after dark. No, not even them. Because even the prostitutes earn their pay… yeah, I just went there. Deal with it.

So who do I hate? Well, sit back and let me open up and explain myself. I hate the executives. I hate the executives that allow, back, or force each and every single comic book adaptation, remake, reboot, re-imagination, sequel and prequel out into the world. I hate the writers. No, not all of them, clearly. I hate the writers who supports these ideas by helping to put pen-to-paper, or finger-to-keyboard over and over again. I hate the actors who give in to these pathetic excuses by first, agreeing to star in these films, thus giving them notary and recognition, and second by demanding such high paychecks, thus raising the budget of said films to such an extreme level that it almost never makes the box-office that it should.

I hate that great writers and great directors are only recognized by a small contingent compared to the masses that follow idiots like Michael Bay and other mainstream directors. I hate that great actors are only remembered for the mediocre films that they stared in, rather than the memorable pieces of art that they worked endlessly to accomplish. There is no more originality left in Hollywood. There is only movies to pass the time between true works of art, which is quickly becoming scarce and in-between.

I bow my head to the hardworking men and women who strive to keep originality alive. I bow my head to the chosen few (and I do me few) executives who supports the arts by giving original ideas a chance… And I bow my head to every single person that supports these films by paying to see them rather than illegally downloading them off the net. Thank you for your contribution to the cause. Keep up the good work.

Copyrighted © 2011 - CsK Article.