End of June This ‘n’ That

Amazon Prime* Woohoo! Season three of Downton Abbey is now streaming free on Amazon Prime. Knowing that it was coming we waited. Unfortunately some friends on Facebook spoiled one of the pivotal events but I’m really looking forward to watching this ASAP.

* The fight for children’s viewership has begun. Amazon Prime has exclusive rights to many Nickelodeon properties such as Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, and Blue’s Clues.

Netflix* Netflix has an exclusive deal with Dreamworks to develop new material based on their properties. First up is a series based on Turbo, an upcoming Dreamworks movie about a racing snail. Besides their own works, Dreamworks also owns the rights to Waldo, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and Casper the Friendly Ghost. The Netflix Turbo series will premiere next year.

* Alert reader Tony umm alerted us to the fact that ALL Lego titles have been pulled from instant Netflix. Not sure why but may do a search later.

Hulu Plus* DirecTV is supposedly in serious talks to purchase Hulu for just a little over a billion dollars. I’m not sure what this will mean for Hulu. It would certainly be nice to get CBS on board but as long as I’m wishing – how about a freestanding HBO GO?

* I use an Xbox 360 for TV watching in the living room and a first generation Roku in the computer room. For those of you using Apple TV, it now does HBO Go and WatchESPN (still no Amazon Prime though).

White House Birthday Down

Well, I spent Father’s Day enjoying a wonderful meal at Papa’s and Beer with my wife, eldest daughter, and granddaughter. I had spicy bean dip, carnitas (pork) fajitas, and flan for dessert. I enjoyed it so much that I expect to do it again this weekend for my birthday. Besides the quality of the food, my favorite thing about Papa’s is the quantity. I always have leftovers for lunch the next day. Yum!

White House Down

Father’s Day, I also went and saw the very disappointing Man of Steel with a FREE ticket. This time around it is White House Down (also FREE – thank you Amazon!). I don’t expect much from it – the trailer doesn’t look as good as Olympus Has Fallen and that wasn’t very good at all. The film I would have liked to have seen for my birthday doesn’t start for a couple of weeks.

Pacific RimGuillermo del Toro – I expect you to rescue me from this year’s humdrum (The Not-So-Great Gatsby, Iron Man 3 – Now with Less Iron!, Fast & Spurious 6, This is the (Offensive) End) summer movies. Only Star Trek impressed me and that had huge logic gaps.

Last of the June Netflix Movies

Boy it looks like Netflix saved their big guns for the end of the month.

The Avengers

Action: The Avengers, Soldiers of Fortune, Killer Mountain

Comedy: Family Weekend, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked, The Happy Poet, Supporting Characters

Documentary: Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Drama: Clandestine Childhood, An Insignificant Harvey, Any Day Now

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Family: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, Mulan, Mulan II, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Atlantis: Milo’s Return

Erica Summers’ Mister White – The Review

I finally had the opportunity to see my daughter’s hard work on the big screen (and of course the hard work of many, many others). This is as unbiased a review as I can manage. Here my daughter is applying makeup to a cast member while her loving husband looks on.

moiramisterwhiteMister White (2013) – Not Rated (but generally ‘R’ material for violence and language) – DVDs available for sale here.

Mister White

“When a motley group of college freshmen choose bizarre Tyler Rooney as the new target for their juvenile pranks, Tyler calls upon hoodoo-cursed Mister White to exact a violent and bloody revenge.”

First off, I cannot believe that this movie was made for a mere $5,000. Admittedly it helps when one person is not just the writer and director but also producer, editor, cinematographer, sound mixer, and special effects artist. Erica Summers manages to do all of that and still avoid many of the pitfalls of microbudgeting. The opening titles, like the rest of the movie, show a mastery of pacing. The music and sound effects were sparingly used and very effective.

Mister White takes a hoary horror trope – a group of attractive twenty-somethings make a terrible mistake and are hunted down for it – and puts a fresh spin on it. Erica firmly and deftly incorporates the currently trendy topic of bullying throughout the film and one particular peer pressure scene was rather difficult to watch, due to its authenticity.

Plotting is intricate with many fascinating reveals along the way. Erica did a fantastic job of knowing exactly when to reveal the titular Mister White. We get a sense of his presence early on as Tyler talks to himself but we don’t get our first good look until we reach the asylum and even then he is kept in the background. Mister White continues to be teased in dribs and drabs, lurking around corners and in the distance until the killing starts.

Acting is generally good if a little uneven. The leads are in good hands. Andy Salgado’s tiny frame, delicate features, and odd mannerisms mark his Tyler Rooney for bullying almost immediately. The beautiful Amber Watson shows a good bit of range as our confused, sensitive protagonist who seems prone to making bad but believable choices, Summer Mills.The other young people have no favors done to them by having to play vile, vapid characters but acquit themselves well. One of the young gentleman appears to have been hired for his very serious six-pack.

Carl Summers and the prosthetics make for quite a menacing Mister White. I love knowing how some of the shots were done from my one day on set. Still my favorite performance has to be that of John Salamone, seen in flashbacks as the evil Benjamin White. He was really scary without any of the prosthetics. The death scenes are carefully managed, with some seriously good special effects.

I really enjoyed Mister White and thought it was a quite well done low-budget movie. Honestly, I was blown away by how much Erica was able to accomplish on that budget. My only nitpick was that I didn’t feel that there was enough done with the chess motif featured in the film and some of the posters. It felt like there was perhaps a scene cut somewhere and it seemed to undercut the strength of a later scene.

Look for Mister White at a horror festival near you or better still support Erica and my daughter by purchasing a copy of the DVD here. Honestly I’ll stop shilling now though I intend to review Erica’s earlier film, Loverboy sometime next week.

 

 

Marion Theater – Ocala, Florida

On my trip to Florida for my daughter’s movie premiere, I got to visit the Marion theater in historic downtown Ocala. I’m sorry that I couldn’t come down earlier. For the premiere of World War Z, they had an awesome zombie block party. They did zombie makeup starting at 4 and then had a zombie walk followed by a zombie block party from 6-7:30. They then had a triple feature for just $15 – World War Z, Zombieland, and Dawn of the Dead (1978). Now that’s my kind of theater.

Marion Theater

The Marion Theater still has one of the old-time theater facades, which is gorgeous. Every Tuesday is customer appreciation day – buy a ticket, get FREE popcorn and a drink. Their summer kids program is $2 but includes drink, popcorn, and the movie. Normal ticket prices are a reasonable $6-$8.

Marion TheaterThe red carpet premiere of Mister White went wonderfully. The film was quite enjoyable (I’m hoping to have a review up tomorrow) and mixing with the cast and crew afterwards was a blast. DVDs and Blu-Rays of Erica Summers’ Mister White are available here. The Marion Theater personnel were helpful and professional, especially one young lady who hung out with us until the last of us left at about 11 o’clock.

Mister White Theatrical Premiere and My Daughter

Mister WhiteSunday June 23rd was the theatrical premiere for Erica Summers’ Mister White. I flew down to Florida to walk beside my daughter on the red carpet. Moira was the makeup artist for Mister White (among other jobs) and appears briefly as a student (my son-in-law Brian has a split-second cameo as a bystander). The director was even gracious enough to allow me to help the day I visited the set, thus giving me an imdb credit.

Moira - Mister WhiteMister White Red CarpetThe premiere was a wonderful success and I believe Erica filled all 300+ seats of the main Marion Theater. Erica introduced the film and thanked everyone. She called three people onstage to thank personally for their over and above the call of duty assistance. One of those was my wonderful daughter. She even (unnecessarily but incredibly graciously) thanked me and gave me one of the three latex Mister White heads used in the film. I’m not posting a picture of it as the Mister White reveal is a highlight of the film. Suffice to say that it now has a place of honor in my movie room.

Erica

After the movie, DVDs, posters, props, and Blu-Rays were sold in the lobby with cast and crew onhand for autographs. For those of you who missed out, the DVD can be purchased online. A couple hours after the film, cast and crew began saying their goodbyes and drifting off. The final remaining people (Brian, Moira, Erica, Carl (Erica’s husband), Jessica (another makeup artist), Ray, Sarsaparilla, and I) departed for a late night Denny’s run.

All in all an absolutely magical night. Kudos to everyone involved, including the extremely helpful young lady from Marion Theater whose name I didn’t catch.

Z is for Zombie, S is for Subtitle

World War ZMax Brooks’ World War Z is a very good book. The oral history concept is wonderful, allowing you to experience the zombie apocalypse from many different viewpoints. Previews for the movie version appear to focus on Brad Pitt so it would seem that World War Z the movie is not an adaptation of the book. Also the behavior of the zombies appears to be completely different. Because of this, I’m going to try and judge World War Z on its zombie and not literary merits.

Netflix is kind enough to provide an actual zombie category here. There are two lesser efforts from George Romero – Land of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Here are my zombie film picks on instant Netflix for your perusal (sorry for the subtitles):

Dead Snow

Dead Snow (2009) – Not rated

A group of Norwegian friends get the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway to the snowy town of Øksfjord, where the party is interrupted by throngs of Nazi zombies who once occupied the area. Armed with a machine-gun-equipped snowmobile, the gang fights for survival in director Tommy Wirkola’s quirky horror, shot on location in the mountains of Norway. The film had its U.S. premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.”

Rec 3

[REC] 3: Genesis (2012) – Rated R

The third chapter in the blood-chilling REC franchise begins with protagonists Koldo and Clara about to be wed, when several guests begin falling ill. The scene quickly turns ghoulish as those infected by a demonic virus begin to go lethally mad.”

Rammbock

Rammbock (2010) – Not Rated

“Hoping to reunite with his ex-girlfriend, a lovesick young man drops in to see her but instead finds a brash teen plumber — and before you can say “the undead,” the twosome must barricade the door against a legion of insatiable zombies.”

 

Proud of my Daughter – Mister White Theatrical Premiere

Mister WhiteNo post today as I am down in Florida attending the premiere of Erica Summers’ Mister White. My daughter was make-up artist for the movie and also worked on the set and special effects. She and my son-in-law Brian have cameos in the film as well.

Marion Theater

The theatrical premiere is tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Ocala’s Marion Theater

I am so proud of my daughters. My eldest works taking care of people and my youngest is a makeup artist on a film (and will soon be working on another movie). I just hope I don’t embarrass her on the red carpet. Shhhh!

More June Netflix Movies

Plenty more movies for you to watch on Netflix.

Action: This Girl is Badass

Man of the House

Comedy: John Hodgman: RAGNAROK, The Cookout, Divorce Invitation, Man of the House, Straight A’s

Katy Perry: Part of Me

Documentary: Katy Perry: Part of Me, I Am

Drama: Atlas Shrugged: Part II, The Playroom, A Late Quartet

Family: Little Bite in the Big City, Toys in the Attic

Foreign: Extinction, Let My People Go!

The ABC's of Death

Horror: The ABC’s of Death, Spiders

Television: New seasons of Heartland, Drop Dead Diva

Man of Cartoon Steel

Sadly, none of the five Superman movies (six if you count Supergirl) are available on instant Netflix or Amazon Prime. Neither are Smallville or Lois & Clark. Instant Netflix does have a number of animated adventures with our caped superhero.

All-Star Superman

All-Star Superman (2011) – Rated PG

“After Lex Luthor tricks Superman into prolonged exposure to radiation, the Man of Steel is left with only weeks to live, and his powers are waning. As he prepares for his demise, Superman has scores to settle and must stop Luthor’s diabolical scheme.”

Superman Cartoons (1942) – Rated TV-PG

“This collection of early Superman cartoons from the 1940s follows the iconic Man of Steel — and his bespectacled alter ego, Clark Kent — through an array of classic adventures and romantic run-ins with his lady love, Lois Lane. From his extraordinary boyhood in Smallville to his adult life as a seemingly ordinary newsman to his battles with a variety of villains, it’s animated escapism at its best.”

A sampling of the Fleischer classics.

Superman vs. The Elite

Superman vs. The Elite (2012) – Rated PG-13

Tensions between Superman and the Elite, a team of superpowered antiheros, finally culminate in a mass showdown on Jupiter’s moons, when Superman is forced to prove that violence is never the answer.”

Justice League (2001-3) – Rated TV-Y7

“Anything’s possible in this animated series when world-famous superheroes — including Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Batman and Robin — band together to fight crime as the Justice League of America.”

Justice League Unlimited (2004-5) – Rated TV-Y7

“As humanity faces threats from all kinds of new and vile villains, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and a dozens of other animated superheroes create a league from which they form small, specialized teams to combat each new menace.”