Hatfields Ring Bag of McCoys Fire Bones

When I was a kid, I loved miniseries. Of course when I was a kid there was no HBO, no VCRs, and you could play any TV series out of order as, other than soap operas, there was no sequential storytelling. How fares the TV miniseries now? Apart from the BBC and Ken Burns (both of whom do miniseries exceedingly well), we have:

Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire (2012) – Not Rated

Stemming from a small town, a volcanic eruption triggered by an oil rig ignites a domino effect of eruptions that extends across the world, dooming all of humanity if the devastating string of explosions can’t be stopped.

Ring of Fire isn’t awful. That’s about all I can say for it. They wisely hide their budgetary limitations but shying away from CGI as much as possible. Characters often talk of events that would be shown in a big budget blockbuster. Acting is better than an Asylum movie but not by much.

If they jettisoned a few unnecessary subplots, Ring of Fire would have easily fit in a single movie slot. Also, a note to filmmakers, you don’t have to make your catastrophe global if ALL of the action is local, it comes off very silly. Shaky cam is DEAD, please let it stay that way.

Hatfields & McCoys

Hatfields & McCoys (2012) – TV-14

Close friends Devil Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy return to their neighboring homes after the Civil War — Hatfield in West Virginia, McCoy across the river in Kentucky — to building tensions and resentments that soon explode into warfare.”

Hatfields & McCoys is a very good miniseries covering the highlights of the infamous feud. The Hatfields come off as the clear aggressors in the early stages but later the McCoys are unable to put the feud behind them, mostly because they don’t feel as though they’ve gotten even.

The general storyline is fairly factual though the miniseries does up the actual body count during several of the more celebrated incidents. Hatfields & McCoys does succeed at evoking rural life in the late nineteenth century, interfamily relations, and ultimately the pointlessness of the feud.

Bag of Bones

Bag of Bones (2011) – TV-14

Reeling from the sudden death of his wife, author Mike Noonan moves into his backwoods writing retreat, only to be swept up in a supernatural conspiracy that involves a custody battle over a young girl and a vengeful ghost that haunts his house.”

Although the miniseries is often the ideal format for Stephen King adaptations (It, The Stand), Bag of Bones does not work very well. It is not a bad miniseries and Pierce Brosnan is always welcome but there is not much here to recommend. Bag of Bones merely hits the highlights of the novel and we never get invested in the characters. It either needed to be three parts or have portions of the story trimmed and altered to make it more cohesive and coherent.

Saints&Sinners

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Johnny Strong: I was touring for an album and I got this script I thought they wanted me to do the music. I read it and wanted to be in it. I contacted (director) and we agreed we both wanted me to star on it. … World’s most dangerous cast of say. … There are lots of people who wake up daily and deal with things no one else in the room wants to deal with. … My character kills a lot of people in the movie which is kind of questionable ( laughter).

 

Director Kaufman: there’s no way to tell someone how to raise money for a movie. It’s all happenstance. The cash in for production was $658,000. … Most of the mercenaries in the film were, had been, contractors, which added to the realism.

 

Tom Berenger: I do prefer (ensemble work). I did Hatfields & McCoys which is 75 actors and I love it. A lot of my big staff is all ensemble work. With all those extra characters the plots just get richer.

ActionFest 2012 – Tom Berenger, Cung Le and the Rest of the Movies!

Yay! The rest of the ActionFest lineup has been announced!

* In addition to previously announced guests Gina Carano, J.J. Perry, and Mickey Gilbert, Tom Berenger, MMA Superstar Cung Le, Aaron Norris and Jack Gill will be attending.

* Previously announced movies premiering at ActionFest: Solomon Kane, Wu Xia, Bad Ass, The Aggression Scale, The Lost Bladesman, The Day, Headhunters, Goon, and God Bless America. There will also be a showing of Raid: The Redemption especially for badgeholders.

The rest of the movie lineup:

Transit (2012) – Directed by Antonio Negret and starring Jim Caviezel, Harold Perrineau, and Elisabeth Rohm.

“The camping trip was meant to reunite the Sidwell family. When they are hunted and terrorized by violent bank robbers, their very survival will depend on working together.”

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines! (2012) – Documentary directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan.

“Feature documentary exploring the concept of heroic women from the birth of the superhero in the 1940s to the TV and big screen action blockbusters of today…Featuring Gloria Steinem, actors Lynda Carter and Lindsey Wagner, and a colorful cast of scholars, writers, and fans, the film challenges pop culture’s gender biases by looking at how Wonder Woman’s storyline changed over time while considering how women are rarely depicted as heroic, powerful, or world-changing.”

Sinners and Saints (2010) – Directed by William Kaufman and starring Johnny Strong, Costas Mandylor, and Tom Berenger.

“In the gritty New Orleans underbelly, beleaguered Detective Sean Riley is trying to cope with the death of his young son and his failed marriage. Facing a probable suspension from the department, Riley is teamed with a young homicide Detective, Will Ganz, to help solve a series of brutal murders that have plunged the city into a major gang war. The two quickly realize there is something much bigger and far more sinister going on than either could have ever imagined.”

Tom Berenger will be hosting this one.

ManBorg (2011) – Directed by Steven Kostanski.

“A soldier, brought back to life as a cyborg, fights alongside a band of adventurers against demon hordes in a dystopian future. “

A Gang Story (aka Les Lyonnais 2011) – Directed by Olivier Marchal and starring Tcheky Karyo.

“After growing up in a poor gypsy camp, Edmond Vidal, aka Momon, has retained a sense of family, unfailing loyalty and pride in his origins. Most of all, he has remained friends with Serge Suttel, with whom he first discovered prison life – for stealing cherries. The two of them inevitably got involved in organized crime. The team they formed, the Ganf Des Lyonnais, made them the most notorious armed robbers of the early 1970s. Their irresistible rise ended in 1974 with a spectacular arrest. Today, as he nears 60, Momon would like to forget that part of his life. He has found peace by retiring from the “business”. He tends to his wife Janou, who suffered so in the past, and to his children and grandchildren, all of whom have great respect for this man of simple and universal values, so clear-headed and full of kindness. But then Serge Suttel, who has disowned nothing of his past, comes back into the picture.”

Dragon Eyes (2012) – Directed by John Hyams and starring Cung Le, Peter Weller, and Jean Claude Van Damme.

“In St. Jude, drug dealers and corrupt cops have destroyed an urban neighborhood. But newcomer, Hong, has the fighting skills and moral vision to save this town from itself. “

Presumably star Cung Le will be in attendance.

True Romance (1993) – Directed by Tony Scott, written by Quentin Tarantino and starring Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, and Christopher Walken.

Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it. “

Gina Carano will be introducing this, her favorite film.

The Wild Bunch (1969) – Directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Robert Ryan.

“An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the “traditional” American West is disappearing around them. “

Mickey Gilbert, a stuntman on this film, will be hosting this screening.

Comin’ At Ya’ (1981) and Trailer War

Alamo Drafthouse and Drafthouse Films bring us the newly restored 1981 3-D funfest Comin’ At Ya!, and Trailer War, 120 minutes of non-stop action movie trailers.

Sidekicks (1992) – Directed by Aaron Norris and starring Chuck Norris and Beau Bridges.

“Barry is an asthmatic kid having trouble in life. He lives with his father, a computer programmer, in Texas. Barry is struggling to get by in life, dealing with his rough school life, bullies, as well as his health. Barry’s only source of enjoyment is fantasizing that he is with Chuck Norris. Barry becomes sick of getting picked on by the bigger guys, and decides to learn karate, in hopes of one day meeting the great Chuck Norris. “

Director and ActionFest co-founder Aaron Norris will be hosting this.

I Declare War (2012) – Directed by Jason LaPeyre.

“Bang, bang, you’re dead. No, really dead. A group of twelve year old kids play war in a forest but the audience views the action through their eyes. They fire real machine guns, hear mortars exploding around them, and dodge bloody shrapnel from grenades. I Declare War is a movie for young and adult audiences alike, featuring twelve to thirteen year old actors in the tradition of Stand By Me. With overtones of Lord of the Flies, I Declare War is a parable for not only events broadcast nightly on newscasts throughout the world, but a chilling depiction of the capacity for youth and man to take charge and to win at all costs. “

This is a Work in Progress screening so you get a chance to catch a movie before it’s even finished.

Two more movies

One new and one classic to be announced later.

** Don’t miss the live Stunt Show. It’s always a highlight of ActionFest and this year will be no exception. It’s scheduled for 2 pm on Saturday April 14th.

Two Panels (the panels are always fascinating and worth missing a movie for):

* Whapp! The Art of Fight on Film
Learn the ins-and-outs of depicting effective and realistic fisticuffs for the camera in this exciting panel discussion that includes ActionFest Fight Director of the Year J.J. Perry (Warrior, Haywire), “Chick” Norris Female Action Star Gina Carano (Haywire) and Rising Star Cung Le (Dragon Eyes).

* Trailblazing Stuntmen: Mickey Gilbert & Jack Gill
Veterans Gilbert and Gill have done remarkable things in their journeys as stuntmen and stunt coordinators, from leaping from exploding fireballs, to turning cars into airborne missiles. Now they’ll be tackling the questions from the audience in an up close and personal discussion, along with clips of some of their thrilling career highlights.