Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: WTFU (2010) [Reviewed By Clifford Kiyabu]

Directed by: Allison Lane
Written by: Allison Lane & Chris Ritter
Genre: Short / Comedy
MPAA: Not Rated
Released: September 2010
Starring: Dan Brennan, Allison Lane, Wade Foster, Ed Cryer, Allison Mosier, Tom Miller, Erin Cronican, Rich Fromm

Plot: "The Producers" meets "Good Morning America" in this hilarious (and seriously wrong) 26 minute award winning comedy, based on the hit web series "The Morning Bitch"

Review: 7/10

The Story is about: based on the hit web series THE MORNING BITCH, WTFU is a hilarious short that focuses on a Long Island talk show producer (Brennan) stuck in a dead end job and wants to seek a more adventurous opportunity, but his boss, the president of the network, won’t let him out of his contract unless he pays back every cent he‘s ever earned from the network, so without many option left to his disposal, he finds a way to get himself fired but replacing the co-hosts of the network’s highly rated talk show and replace them with two rude, Obnoxious and racist individuals you’d ever imagine on morning television, but what happens when his plane begins to back fire on him?

My Thoughts: There’s nothing more undesirable than winding up in a dead end job. You know the type, one that allows little chance for new and existing creativity to happen (basically it‘s the SSDD routine). It’s a pain, having to wake up to such a feeling (or so I‘ve heard) and very often, the person going through it will from time to time question themselves: “Why do I do it?” Well that’s where this delightful indie short WTFU comes into play. WTFU is written by Allison Lane and Chris Ritter and is also directed by Allison Lane whom co-stars in it.

The film follows Dave Grayson (Played by Dan Brennan) a successful morning talk show producer for a Long Island based show called “The Morning Dish”. having worked this job day in, day out, for well over a decade, Dave wants something new, fresh and exciting in his life rather than the same old routine. And when he gets a job offer from a major international news agency, Dave doesn’t waste time contemplating over it and decides he’s going for it, only problem is, the contract he signed (Let this part of the story be a lesson for any one signing a contract, under no circumstances do you sign any contracts unless you and your lawyer has given it a thorough examination before you put pen to paper) with the job he’s currently with dictates that if there is a breach of contract on his end in any way he’ll have to pay back every penny with a percentage of interest added on. So being shit out of luck and jolly well F… well you get the idea, he comes up with the ultimate idea; if he can’t quite or convince the boss to release him of his contract, then maybe he can get himself fired by generating enough complaints into the station regarding the show he runs will be enough grounds to have him released of his contract. This of course leads to him changing his show “The Morning Dish” into “The Morning Bitch” (Yeah you read that last sentence right) and the end result is a slow of edgy humor that some might consider Taboo, but it works very well in this case.

While the film seriously lacks in run time (Sorry folks but it‘s a sort and only runs about 20-something minutes) it makes up for it with very acceptable acting and a slip of the tough sense of humor. This is of course all due to the talented writing by Allison Lane and Chris Ritter. The plot, though short due to run time, is very entertaining and relatable, but the real gem lies in the hilarious dialogue the film shovels out at you, and while the short doesn’t exactly serve as a prequel per se, it does set the viewer up for the source material that is also equally entertaining, as proof of this I had not seen any bit of “The Morning Bitch“ prior to viewing WTFU, but after viewing the short, I curiously enough decided to check out the webisodes which are available online for free and my conclusion is that though the film doesn’t feel like a full blown prequel, it does however, pay homage to the original source material and set’s the viewer up for the loads of shorts that await them online. WTFU may have its flaws, but it’s creativity and raunchy humor will have viewers laughing constantly at some of the most outrageous and edgy moments.

As for the acting: The acting was great, Dan Brennan as always did a fantastic job in his performance, he brought a real charismatic feel to the role that makes it incredibly hard to not like him, from the first frame, you’re already rooting for him. She can deny it all she wants, but it seems painfully obvious that Allison Lane is in fact the writer of this film seeing that her character had many of the best lines in the film, including some of the most memorable jokes I might add, one line in particular takes place in a coffee shop where she tells Grayson (Brennan) that her “Closest friends call me sugar t**s” her talented performance as Patty Foster was unbelievably funny and sometimes outrageous, and add that with her co-star Wade Foster as Hudson Lane and you good sir, have a charismatic duo who’s humor stand out great alone but is amplified tenfold when together on camera [Interesting fact: If you noticed, the last name to Lane‘s character is Foster, and Foster‘s character is Lane, which are the opposites of their real names vice versa]. Ed Cryer did a fine job as Sheamus Goldenblatt. Whats fascinating about Cryer, is that he has a natural presence about him that if comforting and brings a sense of wisdom to the character. Allison Mosier did very well in her supporting role as Shelly Tibbets, also in the supporting role that did extremely well is Jack Reiling who seemed to be the butt of a few sexual jokes in the film and as well as Chris Douros, Douros is no stranger to this film group as he has acted alongside both Brennan and Lane in various other projects which also includes “The Video Guys” and “Maggie Marvel”.

Final Say: WTFU was a highly enjoyable short and while the disappointing fact that it goes by way to quickly looms over it like fog over the surf of a lake, one could argue that it deserves a follow up or even dare I say, a full length adaptation to spring out of it someday. Either way it does execute its prime directive quite nicely, I won’t say it’s a masterpiece that rivals all other comedic short films out there, but it was no doubt a blast of a time to view and I recommend checking it out for what it is.
Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Clive Barker Slams Hellraiser: Revelations!

Normally I’m against studios’ doing remakes, re-imaginings and reboots to some of the horror genre‘s iconic slashers (With a few exceptions of course). But there comes a time in a franchise’s run where you’ve got to admit to yourself that it has run it’s course and is in dire need for a restart. Case in point; the Hellraiser franchise, which if you were alive during the 80s or 90’s then there’s no doubt that you’ve probably heard of Pinhead and his gang of Goth attire wearing Cenobites! After the first three films the franchise began to go down hill, though the fanboys will argue that it was after the second film since the third film lacked the same spirit as the previous two.

But anyway, you’re probably asking yourself what does this have to do with Clive Barker? Other then the fact he‘s the creator of the series of course. The film company Dimension Extreme whom is the current holder of the franchise is distributing a new edition to the Hell series’ called HELLRAISER: REVELATIONS, which is being heavily criticized by fans and critics alike for being produced on a ultra low budget and not having veteran actor Doug Bradley attached as the iconic S&M Demon Pinhead to say the least. But now adding fuel to the fire is Clive Barker weighing in by publicly voicing his own opinion about the new sequel via Twitter. This is what Barker had to say: “Hello, my friends. I want to put on record that the flick out there using the word Hellraiser IS NO FUCKIN' CHILD OF MINE! I have NOTHING to do with the fuckin' thing. If they claim its from the mind of Clive Barker, it's a lie. It's not even from my butt-hole.”

Wowzers! So it’s not even from his own a** huh? Now that is what I call some harsh words folks, then again I wouldn’t blame him for being so angry about what the film studios’ did to his pride and joy over the years, especially after seeing that some of it was outright blasphemy to the lore. But if you’d like to take a gander at what ticked him off so badly then take a look for yourself at the video below:

I don’t like to Judge a film before I’ve seen it in it’s entirety, but damn that looks painfully awful! The latest sequel is scheduled to be realest early September via VOD and hit DVD and Blu-Ray on October 18th. Meanwhile, there isn’t much news on when exactly production for the remake will actually begin, but the film is slated for a 2013 release with Barker attached as producer and will be supervising the production.

Tidbit: So do you think the remake has a shot at returning the franchise to it’s former glory?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Exclusive: Brand New Stills and Teaser Trailer of Indie Dark Drama WHAT THEY SAY

It’s been an awful long while since we’ve last posted anything regarding the dark drama “What They Say” on here, and I know for a fact there are some of you out there that are itching for some indie news. Especially one as gory as this project, so wait no further my gory maniacs because not only do I have word on the outlook of the project’s current statues (Yeah, I’ve got a man on the inside;)), but also some brand spanking new stills as well as a brand new trailer that just screams Yeah baby, yeah!
Alright now, on to business shall we? I’ve got an update on the current status of What They Say, and the word is it wrapped production in the end of May after filming over the previous month. Post-production is well underway, with a first edit and new trailer completed. Screenwriter, Kelsey Zukowski, says, “It was really amazing seeing Heather’s original vision and the script I had created come to life before me on set. With the extremely talented and dedicated group of individuals behind the film and the dark, disquieting, and phantasmagorical nature that emerged, I have the up most faith that What They Say will be just as powerful as we imagined it could be”. The film is set to premiere at the Chicago Horror Film Festival in September, which Dorff will be hosting. From there it will continue a 6 month festival run before it’s DVD release.

For those of you who’s stumbling across news of this project for the first time here at TCWReviews, What They Say is based on a short story written by first-time producer and star of the film, Heather Dorff. Dorff Says “There is no true way to verbalize what this project means to me. This has been a tough, scary, and draining process, but it was very much worth it. The end result will prove just how much the entire cast and crew have put into this film.”

Synapses: 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 obnoxious sister (Kelsey Zukowski) and her self-indulgent mother (Kitsie Duncan) 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?

Evil lies within. How long will it stay there?

What They Say is Directed by Justin R. Romine (Afraid of Sunrise), And is written by and stars up and coming actress Heather Dorff (Original Story by) and was adapted into a screenplay by TCWReviews’ columnist and resident film critic, Kelsey Zukowski, and will also star a supporting cast which includes: Kitsie Duncan, Tina Renee Grace, Jolene Aldus, and Tyler Klunick.

Side Note: Having known both Heather Dorff and Kelsey Zukowski, if there is even an ounce of the incredible talent that is Heather and Kelsey put into this film, then it will no doubt be a must see as either have proven to be a true class act to the independent genre.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Boondock Saints’ Troy Duffy Goes OFF THE BOULEVARD in New Documentary!

Attention! Calling all Boondock Saints and Boondock Betties! There’s big news regarding Director Troy Duff coming down the wire! First and foremost ,I should clarify with you that it has nothing to do with a Boondock Saints sequel… still here? Alrighty then, on to business shell we.
While this might not be the Troy Duff news you’ve eagerly been awaiting, it’s still interesting news about the filmmaker that should interest a lot of his loyal fans, a new documentary produced by the man himself called “Off The Boulevard” a documentary that is said to contain an inside look into the struggle that is the entertainment business and give viewers a newfound respect for the heart and effort put into making the media we’ve come to love and respect over the years.
Los Angeles - Troy Duffy (Creator of The Boondock Saints franchise) announced the pre-sale availability for the launch of a documentary feature film, “Off The Boulevard,” he executive produced in partnership with Santo Films.

“It’s an interesting and educational behind-the-scenes look at the struggles fellow independent artists go through in pursuit of their dreams,” says Executive Producer Troy Duffy. “It gives us an inside look at the tough lives of some up-and-coming independent artists. As we watch them fight their way through the industries of music and film, we glean words of wisdom from successful veterans of the entertainment business.”

Off The Boulevard is a story of art and heart and the dedication it takes to achieve your dreams. It is an entertaining and informative documentary feature film about seven artists: two musicians (Nick Nicholson, Keith Jackson), two filmmakers (Troy Duffy, Jeff Santo), two actors (David Della Rocco, Sanel Budimlic), and one comedian (Bob Rubin), whose friendships are created through struggle and perseverance.
The film features industry insights from well-knowns such as: Peter Fonda (Easy Rider), Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds), Gilby Clarke (Guns N' Roses), Sonny Barger (Hell's Angels), Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams), and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam).

“Off The Boulevards follows seven artists on different paths but with the same goal- to fulfill their dreams,“ says Jeff Santo, Director. “This film transcends the world of entertainment and my hope is it will inspire all who strive to pave their own road.” Ain't It Cool News claims it’s "Phenomenal in every sense of the word. 4 stars." Detroit Metro Times writes it’s "Essential viewing for anyone getting ready to go up against a giant."

The documentary will also feature industry insights from Peter Fonda (Easy Rider), Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds), Gilby Clarke (Guns N' Roses), Sonny Barger (Hell's Angels), Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams), and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam).

Available now for pre-order exclusively at: and at an introductory rate of $14.99. (Autographed copies available for an additional fee.) (Pre-orders at this introductory rate are available through Sept. 7th) DVD begins shipping Sept. 7th, 2011.

Viewers can look forward to several intriguing bonus clips featuring highlights from the film such as celebrity interviews and Troy Duffy rehearsing with Boondock Saints II cast members.

Side Note: Interesting fact, this documentary is due out on September 7th which also just so happens to be a very special day for yours truly, awesome huh?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Critic Vs. Critic: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part I & II (2010 & 2011) [2/2]

Since the start of, we have prided ourselves with the notion that we present to our readers with critiques built on high standards with quality writing, presenting only honesty and an unbiased moral high ground. Though because we support freedom of speech among our writers, there’s always going to be a spin zone due to difference of opinions, and from time to time one or more critics here will voice their opinion in a completely different direction of the others. So in the sprite of outspoken voices we at TCWreviews would like to present a new exciting edition of Critic Vs. Critic!

Tonight TCWreviews’ Editor in Chief and Chief film critic Clifford Kiyabu sits down with fellow film critic, columnist and colleague Kelsey Zukowski. In this edition of Critic Vs. Critic: we talk about Warner Bros. Pictures’ final installment to the Harry Potter series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I & II Written by Steve Kloves (screenplay), and J.K. Rowling (novel). And Directed by David Yates.

Kelsey: I just got back from re-watching The Deathly Hallows Part II again. It was a different experience, but if anything it was even more interesting, knowing these characters better and going back to watch everything they did prior to the revelations. I feel like I really know them now and it’s refreshing and tremendous to hold these truths and to realize their full meaning. Upon writing this review, I decided to put in The Prisoner of Azkaban to continue that magical, uplifting high that Harry Potter gives you no matter how dark the particular film is. Once again, I have to disagree with you on the transition from the first two films to this one. It pushes the films forward, hinting at the darker material that the series is headed for, but I don’t think it is too big of a switch. It’s so quirky, colorful, and full of character, much like the first two.

Watching The Prisoner of Azkaban as I type this I can’t help but thinking how reflective it is on the Potter series as a whole, quite possibly more than any other film. Once again I am with you on Gambon not living up to Harris’ calm, patient, and wise performance as Dumbledore. It took me a film or two to get used to Gambon, but honestly now I don’t even think about the difference. In time he became Dumbledore. More importantly in Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry really defines himself, Ron and Hermione’s strengths and personalities we quickly fell in love with are even more dynamic. So much character is given to not just Hogwarts, but the entire magical world just aside of the Muggle’s world reach, with such celebration. There are darker things at work, but compared to those that follow it’s actually somewhat tame. As you said Sirius ends up being family rather than the threat he is thought to be. The death eaters are the biggest threat rather than Voldemort himself for once. Let’s not forget how the dementors are beaten and Harry is saved in the end.

Sirius Black and Severus Snape are two of the series most compelling characters. Neither are at all what they seem to be, carrying so many heavy secrets that truly define them to those that know their true nature. Thinking about their relationship to Harry, makes their characters all the more interesting. Both Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman to an astounding job of bringing such truth to their characters, all of the very complicated dynamics. The best and worst in them are equally convincing, making us question the true nature of them, and finally once it is uncovered, what we see of them is actually quite moving. Draco Malfoy is another very interesting character. Even between Prisoner of Azkaban and Deathly Hallows he has changed so much, he’s barely the same character. He used to be hateful and antagonistic, and even now feels a need to keep up appearances, but even in the last few films the difference was clear. He was wavering from what was expected. So to say his “allegiance has changed”. The growth is remarkable and Tom Felton is another who was able to show how dynamic his character is over time.

I do agree that Harry Potter is the Star Wars of our generation. Science-fiction movies aren’t my favorite films, so I never got in to the series, but I can view the similarities in the epic nature, complex relationships, and just how mind blowing it is to audiences experiencing it for the first time. Harry Potter is the same way. Every film, but especially The Deathly Hallows Part II, is such an amazing theater experience; uplifting, powerful, and really feels like something out of this world. It takes us out of our daily lives and takes us to the magical world where hope, belief, and persistence in fighting evil is the most powerful weapon; a better place than we live in. We grew up with these films, but there’s so much more there than just nostalgia.

I really liked the ending of Deathly Hallows Part II. It was the perfect ending and we were given even further closure on the series being tied up with seeing the characters 19 years later. Honestly, I think they would have been better off using actors that resembled the main cast rather than having them portray the older versions of themselves. A few of them looked like they had aged a little, but none of them were really that believable in the age they were meant to be. Ginny still looked like she was about 14, not much older than her children were supposed to be. It was easy enough to look past though and enjoy the cycle of Potters, Weasleys, and Malfoys continuing their journey through Hogwarts. It seemed fitting for it to end in a full circle from when we first joined the characters upon their acceptance to Hogwarts, their lives never being the same again once they met.

Clifford: I couldn’t agree more with you on the notion of a second viewing being inaudibly different. I myself have yet to view it for a second time, but feel as you do about it in a manner of speaking. Any fan who’s seen the final film for the first time will no doubt feel a heavy sense of sadness, a surrealism will rain over them, because knowing that once the curtain is called it will be for the last time. There simply won’t be another epic journey like it in the world of Harry Potter. As the poster reads; “It All Ends”. Which, I think only draws more anxiety within the fans as they know the end truly is nigh. And well, that’s precisely what happens, so for anyone who’s stuck by the series as loyally as you have, I and the hordes of fans have, there will no doubt be a great deal of conflicting emotions running through us that only a fan of the series could possibly comprehend. I also can understand and respect your love for the third film, Prisoner of Azkaban, because it is as you’ve said a nudge in the right direction in terms of tone. Though I still retain my stance about the film despite this debate. Though I will say this, I have only ever seen the theatrical cut to all the films, and have yet to dive into the extended cuts that were recently released, and even though I own all but the ultimate editions of The Deathly Hallows Part I and II, I’ve vowed to not watch any of them until I’ve completed my collection, so I feel obligated to retain myself from any further talk of Prisoner of Azkaban until I’ve had a better understanding with the film by watching the extended cut. So until then our little conversation on the matter will no doubt be put on hold for a later date. And who knows how I’ll feel towards that film after my viewing of it, perhaps even a slight chance of coming out with a slightly more positive view towards the film.

And yes I agree, Draco Malfoy has probably gone through the biggest transformation over the course of the films than anyone else. When we first come across him in The Sorcerer's Stone, he was a pack leader among the first year students in the house Slytherin and quickly becomes one of Harry’s adversaries. This is further developed into something much more around the time of Chamber of Secrets, it left us wanting to see these two lock heads in battle one day. But by the time Prisoner of Azkaban came around he became more of a simple bully trying to prove he was better. But over the course of the other films that followed we see him change so dramatically to someone we barely recognize. The biggest change in the character came around Half Blood Prince where he is noticeably conflicted emotionally to the point that we see it surface on his complexion, his character carried a dreary gloom on his shoulder that was clearly heavy. But this also goes for many of the other characters too, as much of them displayed a clear sign of feeling the drain the 7 years bestowed upon them, the misery, the lost of allies and friends, the tough decisions set before them and ultimately, the overbearing sense that hope was lost looming over them. And with Draco one could go a bit further and argue that this showed that he was indeed fighting a war within himself. The growth of this character is indeed quite remarkable and Tom Felton is mostly responsible for this fantastic transition through his delivery as Draco. Mark my words, Felton is going places after everything is said and done with this series.

All and all, looking back at all the Potter films as a whole, it really was the “perfect” series that came to an almost perfect end. In most cases, a film adaptation never truly lives up to the source material that it’s based off of, but in such a rare case as this, the films really did carry a unique flavor of it’s own that can’t really be compared to it’s literary counterpart. I think you and I will agree here that the book to any franchise will always rain superior over it’s inferior cinematic companion, but for the Potter series, the films and books will rain as equals in their own right as they each stand proudly on their own.

Kelsey: The “It All Ends” tagline on the poster really was completely fitting. The series is coming to an end, everything we have seen before leading to this last epic battle that will determine everything. Even more so though, Harry Potter’s life could very well be coming to an end; “the boy who lived” and the boy so many fans have lived through in experiencing every Harry Potter adventure. The magical and muggle worlds could be coming to an end if Potter’s blood is spilled. If this happens the muggle world would surely be shattered in the flick of a wand. If the magical world still existed it would exist in such a pitiful, domineering way full of slaughtering and cruelty. Either way it is all ending with this film, the only question is what kind of world we will be left remembering.

You make a good point about not only Draco but all of the characters in the series. They have all been touched by death, either nearly escaping it or losing loved ones to it. In this case it’s more than death, Voldemort and all he represents is more vindictive, torturous, and obliterating than death. We really can’t even comprehend what characters such as Neville are going through, looking in to the face of pure darkness, the coming of all hope lost, and essentially spitting in its face yet doing it with such dignity. He refuses to give up, as do nearly all of the characters. Their faith goes beyond Harry, proving this at the end. No matter what happens and no matter how grim their chances seem they have to fight against the darkness when light radiates through them.

The books are the original source material. They are what created everything we have come to love about Harry Potter. There is more detail, depth, and understanding in the books, but the films have achieved a rare feat in bringing such life to them, which is rarely done in adaptations. Films seldom get better with sequels, but Harry Potter only got deeper in to the things, more mature and dark, complex and thematically showing the line between the light and darkness. It ended up developing in to something so all-encompassing and astonishing that it’s completely beautiful and powerful. Seeing things that have been in the works for so long and only now truly understanding them makes the entire series seem much more important and awe inspiring. There are so many layers there and every single one of them is a little piece of the magic behind Harry Potter.

And that concludes this edition of Critic Vs. Critic with myself and Kelsey! While Kelsey and I generally had positive things to say about the series in general and greatly appreciated the final installment, we obviously had our differences on certain aspects of the series, most notably the third installment, Prisoner of Azkaban, which she adored as one of her favorite films in the series as where I did not. Like Yin and Yang, the past C vs. C’s have shown that we’ve rarely agreed on things in Co-reviews but still hold a respect for the other’s opinion, but on such a rare case as this one, Kelsey and myself stand almost completely in agreement that the final installment to the HP films was the best in the series and served as the perfect send off to one of the most important series’ of our generation.

However despite what you’ve read here between us it’s still up to you, the reader, to decide if you agree or disagree with any of the opinions laid out here, and if you’re still not sure then by all means I implore you to take the leap of faith and find out for yourself. I want to thanks Kelsey Zukowski for taking the time to sit down and have this little chit-chat about one of the most iconic franchises to come out of the film industry within the lat 10 years. We invite you to join Kelsey and I again as we debate it out like maniacs in the next edition of CRITIC VS. CRITIC! Coming Soon.


Critic Vs. Critic: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part I & II (2010 & 2011) [1/2]

Since the start of, we have prided ourselves with the notion that we present to our readers with critiques built on high standards with quality writing, presenting only honesty and an unbiased moral high ground. Though because we support freedom of speech among our writers, there’s always going to be a spin zone due to difference of opinions, and from time to time one or more critics here will voice their opinion in a completely different direction of the others. So in the sprite of outspoken voices we at TCWreviews would like to present a new exciting edition of Critic Vs. Critic!

Tonight TCWreviews’ Editor in Chief and Chief film critic Clifford Kiyabu sits down with fellow film critic, columnist and colleague Kelsey Zukowski. In this edition of Critic Vs. Critic: we talk about Warner Bros. Pictures’ final installment to the Harry Potter series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I & II Written by Steve Kloves (screenplay), and J.K. Rowling (novel). And Directed by David Yates.

Clifford: Before we go into breaking down what we’ve seen in the final chapter of this magical series, I think we really must make note of the fact that this final chapter coming to a close truly is the end of an era. It feels a bit surreal realizing that it’s been a decade since we began this marvelous journey into the cinematic world of Harry Potter and all it‘s companions with whom we‘ve come to love and hate along the way. From the Sorcerer's Stone to the Deathly Hallows, we’ve invited these young individuals into our lives and watched them over the years grow into the people we’ve come to know today, from the characters they play on-screen, to the talented individuals we’ve come to know them as off-screen. Daniel, Rupert and Emma have been our beloved companions along this journey from beginning to sweet end, and for all fans true to the series, this last chapter is a bittersweet celebration, because it will be the last time we’ll experience this magical tale on the big screen in a crowded room filled with complete strangers with whom we share a common bond with.

Now Kelsey, I know you want to jump right into dissecting the last chapter but I think we really must look at this final installment not as part 1 and part 2 individually, but as a whole film as it was intended, because it was after all adapted from a single book. So with that being said, let me say this: Chapter 1 (or, the first half) was great, but not as great as some claimed it to be. I mean I thought it was on par with some of the previous sequels and I enjoyed it just the same, but I felt it was a little to slow paced than usual and at times felt almost as if it was coming to a screeching halt. It certainly didn’t feel like any other Potter film that came before it. To steal a quote from you; “The Deathly Hallows Part I is practically void of any light; darkness nearly filling it whole. In many ways it doesn’t feel like a Potter film”. Granted each of the Potter films have their own uniqueness about them that makes each film/book stand out on it’s own, but the first chapter felt extremely out of place, at times it felt as though I was watching a non-HP film which just so happen to feature the characters from the series. the first chapter was my least favorite part of the potter series next to Prisoner of Azkaban, but my dislike to Prisoner of Azkaban mostly steams from the fact it was the first film Michael Gambon took over the role of Dumbledore from the late Richard Harris, whom I feel played a much better Dumbledore then Gambon.

But with that being said chapter 2 really does pick up the slack for the first chapter and really serves up the showdown we’ve waited nearly a decade for. Unlike chapter 1, the film managed to be ever so dark, but maintained that radiant glow that always made the potter films so magical even in the darkest of parts, which is something the first chapter was missing, the first chapter showed us a dark void in which there was no hope of light at the end of the tunnel, as where chapter 2 showed us that it’s always darkest before the dawn.

Kelsey: That’s exactly why it’s so hard to believe that we have really seen the last Harry Potter film. I was 13 when the first film came out, around the age most of the main actors were. I grew up watching these films and I grew with the cast, characters, and this magical world they had brought to life. The last film was bittersweet, but honestly I couldn’t have wished for more. It oozed epicness, was full of non-stop world changing action, and had so many mind blowing revelations about characters we thought we know so well. In many cases, we find out that the last decade was really all about what we were able to experience with The Deathly Hallows Part II. This is what it has always been about; a reality the audience and so many of the characters were blind to until now.

I understand that The Deathly Hallows is essentially one chapter of the Harry Potter series, but I have an extremely hard time grouping Part I and Part II together. They are such completely different films; day and night. Although, part II still has plenty of darkness seeping through. Part I doesn’t feel like a Potter film at all. While it isn’t one of my favorites for that reason, I do like that it’s different from the others. Harry and his friends were always the underdogs. They were going up against one of the most powerful dark wizards of all time. Especially towards the beginning, they were young, inexperienced wizards. They were always in over their heads, but somehow they managed to beat the odds and defeat Voldemort time and time again. They could only get so lucky for so long. Yes, they are talented and strong individuals, but things couldn’t go there way forever.

The Deathly Hallows Part I brings them to the reality that their luck has run out. All hope is lost. The Harry Potter series was always about hope, possibilities, and escaping to a place where anything was possible, where good prevailed even in the increasingly dark times. All of that is gone in The Deathly Hallows Part I. Our protagonists are in way over their heads. Their entire world is utter chaos. On the defensive, running for their lives when they are the last hope for both the muggle and wizarding world. For most of the film they aren’t even getting anywhere close to stopping Voldemort or weakening his power, but they keep on going, keep on trying, nearly being driven mad in the process. Why? Because they have no other choice. They have to at least try even if it makes them hopeless fugitives. Honestly, if you think about it that is almost more heroic than any other film; fighting the darkness when there are no delusions of thinking it won’t consume you whole.

I have to disagree with you on Prisoner of Azkaban. I’m actually a little shocked by your stance as it’s one of my favorite films of the series, behind Deathly Hallows Part II and The Order of the Phoenix. Out of the first four books that I read, it was my favorite one. I really see it as a step in the right direction for the series. The darker the films got, the more intriguing they got. The first two feel much more innocent. I love them for creating the world of Hogwarts and everything that was established through them, but in comparison the first two films aren’t nearly as compelling as the Prisoner of Azkaban or later ones that followed its lead. It was also the first that showed that some people are not what they seem to be, a component that is reoccurring throughout the series. Prisoner of Azkaban did this through Sirius Black, one of my favorite characters of the series. Ron, Hermione, and Harry are clearly growing up and are stepping things up a notch. Harry grows a tremendous amount in this film from mentally what he has to go through in what he thinks is the reality of Sirius selling out his parents and causing him to relive the memory of their untimely deaths to realizing Sirius is the only real family he has left, the very person his parents would have wanted to raise him. I do agree that switching Dumbledores felt unnatural and it was a difficult transition. It was some time before Gambon really felt like Dumbledore, but it was a necessary change.

The Deathly Hallows Part II has it all. That glow is what put it over the top, so charged of energy, rich story and characters, and such an intense showdown, but the thing is Part I wasn’t supposed to have that. Part II was a better movie for it, but it would have taken away the dreary state that defined Part I and made the revival of Part II so exhilarating.

Clifford: So true, just about anyone who is a true fan can easily recall their first encounter with the Potter films. I was 15 when the Sorcerer’s Stone was released in theaters, and I remember at the time I had known zilch about any of the potter books or the series itself for that matter. If I remember correctly, I had no interest whatsoever to watch the film or read any of the books as it did not intrigue me at that current period of my teenage years, I only went to see it because it was a free movie ticket (and only a idiot turns down the chance of a free movie). But after my first viewing I left that theater room and began my delightful journey into reading the books because that was the kind of impact the film had on me, to which the series itself made me a lifelong fan. The finale of this series, although bittersweet, was as you put it, worth every minute. From the nonstop action and beautifully captured cinematic battles, to the powerful revelations revealed in this final installment, every single thing about chapter 2 was beyond epic and fully lived up to the hype and standards set before it from the previous films. And even though we had known good and well all along what was awaiting us, we were still very much surprised and emotionally moved by it. Which is something I can honestly say few films in the history of cinema can stand out for.

One could even go a notch further and argue that the HP series was this generation’s Star Wars (Original trilogy of course). Sure we’ve all enjoyed those films and basked in it’s glory, but neither you nor me can honestly know what it felt like to experience the original trilogy in it’s entirety on the big screen for the first time like those who saw it in the late 70’s and early 80’s. And in a rare case like this one before us, this is what the HP films have done for our generation, no one old enough to remember or yet alive from this moment on will get to experience what we felt growing up watching these films on the big screen for the very first time, this is our cinematic moment, or in other words, our epic journey that no other future generation will get to experience from this series.

As for my stance on Prisoner of Azkaban, I’d thought you might be a little surprised by it seeing, that you‘ve never made it a secret about your love for the film and the book. But don’t get me wrong, Prisoner of Azkaban is a very good film as is all the films in the Potter series. I just felt that the cinematic atmosphere in PoA was a little too dark from the last two previous films, and granted the book is equally dark, but to go from a more lighter tone with 1 and 2 to an extremely dark setting in PoA felt a tad bit out of place for me. Maybe it’s just me but that’s how I feel about it, I agree it was a step in the right direction for the series, but I would have preferred it much better had they gradually made it darker rather then take a leap forward like that. But I won’t lie that a major part of my liking this film the least still falls flat on Michael Gambon coming in to take over the role of Albus Dumbledore, because when I envisioned Dumbledore in the books, I pictured him as reserved and wise. He might seem weak because of his age and appearance, but proves to be the most powerful Wizard in the wizarding world when need be. If you remember in the book the Order of the Phoenix, when Dumbledore faced off against Voldemort he was patient and wise in his actions in the fight and retained a calm mood and a cool head that angered Voldemort as well as made him fear Dumbledore. This is not what I felt while watching Gambon’s performance as Dumbledore. I also feel that had Richard Harris lived to continue in the role, Dumbledore’s death in The Half Blood Prince would have been much more emotional and moving.

But I will say that the one truly magnificent thing that I am grateful towards Prisoner of Azkaban was that it serves as the gateway for Gary Oldman’s entry into the series as Sirius Black. Oldman’s performance as Black and Alan Rickman’s performances as Severus Snape alone makes Prisoner of Azkaban and every film to follow it worth watching, Black may have appeared to be the villain in the start of Prisoner of Azkaban which lead Harry to hating him, but his revealing to be one of the good guys, and proving to be the only family Harry truly has left was indeed brilliant and touching. And Rickman’s performance as Snape was probably one of the most moving in the series, because he brought to these films a delightful touch of class only a veteran actor of the theater arts such as himself could. And his breath taking performance in Chapter 2 only amplifies it, which further validates my argument that Rickman brings to these films a touch of brilliance and grace that grants credibility to both the character and the series that no other actor could have done had they been placed in this same role. In short, Rickman was born to play the role of Severus Snape. he only thing that I was a little skeptical about seeing prior to seeing chapter 2 was the 19 years later part, because I was a bit worried that the transition from paper to screen would come off feeling a little cheesy having Daniel, Rupert, Emma , Bonnie and Tom portray their characters in the 19 years later scene. But shockingly enough it worked extremely well, and if either of them look anything like they did when they reach their late 30’s then it will be something to see I tell you what.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

First Look at Anne Hathaway as Catwoman!

First there was the unbelievably awesome pictures that surfaced of Tom Hardy as Bane earlier this week (Or last week depending what part of the world you’re currently on right now) and I guess a higher power heard my pleas for help as my prayers were obviously answered! Yes boys and girls, that’s right I’m talking about the newly released photo by Warner Bros. of the starlet Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman gear for next summer’s blockbuster hit THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. But there might be a motive behind the decision to release this photo in the first place, when you think about it, the magnitude of entertainment sites covering this film’s production is insanely ridiculous, and it’s making it ever more increasingly difficult to avoid being caught by members of the media with cameras, the photos below of miss Hathaway doing what appears to be, jacking Batman’s ride, the Batpod, is a perfect example to what I’m talking about and one cannot help but wonder if WB felt compelled to beat all these fellow bloggers to the punch with the spoilers for a change. Know that before you begin to venture down this post there might be some spoilers in the pics (especially the candid ones) so know that you’ve been warned [SPOILERS AHEAD]

There is a slight debate among Batfans right now over the costume and argue that this might not be her official costume as there might be an entirely different one she’ll wear in the film, much in the same theme of Heath Ledger’s Joker who spotted a jean suit in the beginning of the film The Dark Knight that resembled noting to his official costume later in the film. But to counteract that argument is the fact that Badass Digest did an article about the suit back in June where an ‘insider’ gave a cryptic description of the suit and described it as more of a “Tactical” look then previous incarnations: "Anne's outfit is more tactical, like the comic book, than the previous Batman movies. She will definitely be wearing the goggles and it's going to be less sexy than Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman costumes. She's going to look more like a robber." since the photos have surfaced the web has blown up over it, both in support of the new look and in utter outrage due to a serious lack in catlike features such as missing a tail and or ears to say the least.

Side Note: So what say you Boy and Girls, is Miss Hathaway everything you imagined she’d be as the sexy feline thief?

Extra Side Note: The previous set of photos of TDKR has left me with the conclusion that Lucius Fox better have a damn well good explanation as to why Bane and his goons have soooo many tumblers in their possession or else Bruce Wayne better fire his ass.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Remember how well received GREEN LANTERN was? Remember how much moolah it took to the bank? No??? oh yeah that’s right, it was blasted with quite the array of negative reviews, and is considered one of the biggest financial disappointments of the 2011 summer movie season… yet apparently the big wigs over at Warner Bros. thinks otherwise. Despite bombing at the box office domestically and opening on less then desired numbers (the production costs are allegedly estimated around $200 million and opened at $53,1 million), Warner film group president Jeff Robinov talked with the LA Times about a GL sequel in the works and being tracked for a release within the coming years. “We had a decent opening so we learned there is an audience,” said Robinov telling the LA Times.

He also went on to say this: “To go forward we need to make it a little edgier and darker with more emphasis on action… And we have to find a way to balance the time the movie spends in space versus on Earth.”

Now I’ve yet to get around to seeing Green Lantern like most folks, so I can’t judge it in any way… yet. But looking at it from a Business prospective: if the film bombed in theaters and was poorly received on an extreme level by critics and moviegoers alike, is it really wise to attempt to have another go at it? Plus, despite my not seeing the film just yet, I find it incredibly hard to see Ryan Reynolds doing dark and edgy. He just doesn’t seem to carry that aspect in the roles he steps into. Though I have been wrong before…

On another note, despite Robinov’s optimistic view point of a sequel in the works, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes feels less optimistic about a sequel while sitting down with The Hollywood Reporter in a interview having this to say regarding a sequel: "It did not live up to expectations - fell fairly far short of those," said Bewkes expressing disappointment on the lackluster performance at the box office, he also went on to say "We will be deciding that in due course,". Though he did not entirely rule out the possibility of a sequel happening in the near future, it is for the moment, uncertain. Meanwhile IMDB has a Green Lantern 2 listed down for a 2013 release, though the odds of that actually being concrete is all speculative for the time being.

Side Note: For those of you who’ve already seen Green Lantern, what say you, Yea or Nay on a sequel?

On-Set Photos of Dark Knight Rises Stars Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway and Marion Cotillard!

2008 was definitely the year for Batman fans everywhere. Though, it was stricken hard with the lost of one of the franchise’s greatest stars to ever grace the role of the caped crusader’s arch nemesis, the Joker, the film was easily dubbed the Batman movie that fans had waited decades for.

Now it’s no secret that we don’t cover all news bits that hit the web on a daily basis (mostly due to being understaffed), but when news such as this hits the interweb, you’d have to be utterly insane to remain quiet about it. Christopher Nolan’s epic conclusion to his Batman saga is still almost a year away, and fans are clamoring more than ever for any piece of news regarding THE DARK KNIGHT RISES that they can get their little hands on, since Nolan surprised everyone with the teaser trailer to the next Batman installment earlier last month. If you don‘t want to read any spoilers I highly suggest you stop reading this post now. [WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD] Well can you imagine the look on my face when I stumbled upon Joblo this morning and came across full onset photos of actor Tom Hardy in full Bane gear kicking Batman’s ass in broad daylight!

Yep that’s right, the pictures above display what appears to be Batman (Bale) getting his ass beat downed by none other then Bane (Hardy) in broad daylight in what appears to be a riot of some kind, and what even further boggles the mind is that we see not 1, not 2, but 3 camouflaged variations of the prototype military vehicle known as “the Tumbler” AKA The Batmobile in the last photo which can only conclude that these camouflaged variations don’t belong to the caped crusader but in fact belongs to Bane and his henchmen. But that’s still yet to be seen though, at least until the good people over at Warner Bros. confirms this little piece of news for us.

Meanwhile MovieWeb has on-set photos of actress Anne Hathaway NOT in uniform (I know how you feel) as well as photos of Marion Cotillard. Not sure when we’ll get a chance to see miss Hathaway in full outfit glory, but I’m willing to bet it’ll no doubt be before the year is over. The Dark Knight Rises will be due out in theaters July 20th, 2012 and stars Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film will be director Christopher Nolan’s last Batman film, as it will conclude his epic Bat-Trilogy.

Side Note: I don’t know about any of you, but this is probably the first Batman film where my anticipation is not to see the villain in action, but rather seeing Anne Hathaway in full Catwoman gear. I mean, come on!