Welcome to the next Adventures post! The last two weeks has been hectic to say the least. Oh boy, its hard to imagine we’re only a few days into the big festival here so its going to be quite a while before things get back to normal. Right now is still the transition phase or something in my mind. Either way, there’s some little updates and some changes in projects to talk about here.
Canada Day Tarts
I debated on putting up the recipe by memory but there’s no way that I can replicate this since I did it by trial and error and just my instincts with one taste in the middle to adjust. The ingredients I used here were the basic except I did add a drizzle of honey on the top before popping it in the oven on each tart. I think it helped balance the tartness a little. Overall success 🙂
Montreal Comiccon 2019
Montreal Comiccon has come and gone. It was a hectic weekend and one that felt like I finally found my rhythm and everything was done efficiently. Things became more flexible to work with and it just felt more prepared in general. You can check out all the posts below:
Fantasia Film Festival 2019
After a bit of a media pass delay, since it wasn’t ready on Day 1, I ended up skipping my first movie and started the festival on Day 2. However, things did have a nice turn in the end so the movies so far watched are the following:
1BR (Press screening…review up after world premiere)
I’ve never had the chance to make it to any press screenings in the past few years covering the festival so it was super awesome to do it, even if it was an early start to a Sunday morning but then I also got to check out the screening room and catch up on movies I didn’t get to see in their showings. Its definitely convenient especially since it opens up options to add some more movies to the already too long list.
Game Warp – Changes
Lots of changes these days. After some That Moment In change, Game Warp is only running on WordPress now. We have also decided to go to an audio format on Anchor. You can find us HERE.
We uploaded the last episode to go up for E3 Conference Recap. More episodes to come as we work out our schedule. Youtube will now be more of a supporting platform when gameplay is something we want to do or whatnot. While it won’t be as plentiful especially due to the festival season, I do still want to do some videos when I have time.
After this picture, I’ve been working on getting rid of some of the grass and weeds growing around the plants. However, the vegetable garden is doing pretty well.
As is the flower garden, which was taken last week so the campanulas are now in bloom and things are really filling in the spaces, making it look full.
Cute Kitty Pic
Thats it for this Adventures recap!
Are there any cool festivals going on near where you are?
The Whistler (2018)
Director (and writer): Jennifer Nicole Stang
Cast: Karis Cameron, Baya Ipatowicz, Nelson Leis, Alison Wandzura, John Emmet Tracy
Lindsey is forced to babysit her sister, Becky, one night, when, after innocently falling asleep, wakes up to find her sister gone. Someone has taken Becky and could be after her as well. – Blood in the Snow Festival
The Whistler is a short film that definitely feels very polished from the acting to the setting to the screenplay itself. While it only runs 11 minutes, the short film takes on quite a few memorable bits. One of the fun parts is its playful mentions of various iconic horror movies, for example a clever mention of Crystal Lake. The other one is having The Whistler start as a fairy tale or lore of sorts and build it from there, making us wonder on not only whether it is real or not but also how it ends.
As the movie brings in those elements of the fairy tale becoming a reality, the pieces fall into place and it all comes down to Lindsey who witnesses it all. The atmosphere and the music and sound effects here play a big part in making it all bring in a lot of the sinister feeling. Adding in some of the effects like how the eyes change and whatnot in the film that work just well enough for its purpose. At the same time, there keeps a creepy feeling that keeps us on the edge. At the same time, the cast of young actresses here do a great job in each of their roles.
There is still a sense of The Whistler being an indie film. However, whether we are talking about the acting and the cast or the story and the execution and all the effects, there is a lot to love here. It builds a nice atmosphere and its a fun little movie to watch. There is a nice twist of whether this is a fairy tale or the reality and the ending also brings in a bit of a question which can be interpreted from what was talked about previously in the film. Some of the bits here are slightly predictable but the sum of its parts definitely makes this one a short that I’d recommend.
The Whistler was a part of the Bloody Bits Showcase Part 2 at the Blood in the Snow Festival 2018.
Director (and writer): Tomas Street
Cast: Jack Foley, Laura Tremblay, Mike Donis, Kristen Da Silva, Michael Lipka, Evan Siemann
Amnesiac Malcolm struggles to put the pieces of his life back together and begins questioning those closest to him in this puzzle of memory and identity. – IMDB
Fugue might be one of the hardest ones to write about because of how easy it is to jump into spoiler territory. It also kight be the hardest to search up because to my surprise, there are a lot of movies released as Fugue this year. Not sure how the other ones are but this Fugue is one of the highlights of BITS 2018. There is a great level of craftmanship and execution and pacing that plays so well together along with a small enough cast for us to care and feel involved with. There are so many questions right from the start. At the same time, the timeline is a little scrambled but never confusing to follow and is all in the attentiveness of the details. It is those clues here and the questions there that build up this mystery and have all kinds of thrills.
Malcolm (Jack Foley) is an intriguing character and it has to do with a contrast that is presented to us in the first and second acts which is where the questions come up. Then the character remains a mystery because of all the questions surrounding him. Jack Foley was a supporting character in Lifechanger (review) at Fantasia Festival and delivered a great role but there is no denying that he has a lot more to offer especially after seeing Fugue. Malcolm is a role with a very big contrast in just the first two acts and he is able to handle it convincingly. The cast here is small but they all grasp their role really well. Its hard to dive into each character without spoiling the movie.
Fugue benefits from a lot other than its characters and its puzzling mystery plot. It uses an isolated one location setting. Its smart because it gives it a much more narrow scope. It never needs to share unnecessary information of its characters, keeping them simple but never feeling like they lack depth either. Its a true challenge that not a lot of films are able to achieve and this one does a great job at executing it. I highly recommend this one.
Director: Jesse Thomas Cook
Cast: Liv Collins (co-writer), Adam Seybold, Ry Barrett
A man with partial blindness and a young pregnant police officer must work together to escape from a deadly virus that has spread across Grey County. – IMDB
Zombie movies are a dime a dozen these days. So many of them pop up and disappear but then every once in a while, we see some that add their own twist either with their characters or their plot. Deadsight takes the route of having two rather weaker protagonists who end up meeting and fighting for survival together. Its a refreshing idea not only for choosing not really less competent characters but characters both with physical weaknesses or hindrances to their health temporarily to have to fight together but also the fact that the reason behind why all this happened and how this deadly virus has caused this zombie apocalypse of sorts.
With that said, its important to take a look at these two main characters. Ben (Adam Seybold) who is partially blind gives the fear because the audience can see his attackers before he can, creating a lot of fast-paced tense moments. On the other hand, Mara (Liv Collins) who is pregnant has the obvious disadvantage of having less physical capacity as she obviously has because she is a police officer and that makes her a strong character because she is quite resourceful. As much as these two have their weaknesses, they also never dwell on them and because stronger and more capable roles because of it. Another nice part here that cuts out a lot of any drama is making these two strictly staying in line with surviving, and what makes this executed well is that while we never learn too much about these character’s backgrounds, it is their actions during this situation they are thrown in and crafts their true nature and personality and makes us want them to make it out of this ordeal alive.
Aside from well-crafted characters, Deadsight also is well-paced. That is linked to a previous comment about keeping it less about drama and more about survival which a lot of horror films forget about. At the same time, there might not be a whole lot of dialogue between the characters but there is a decent bit of zombie attacks, escapes and encounters to make it an intense and fast-paced work. A part of this has to do with the camera work and how it delivers each of these scenes and the other part has to do with having an impressive soundtrack that is subtle but also creates the proper atmosphere. Not to mention the zombies are also designed really well.
If there is one little thing to criticize about Deadsight, it would have to be that all the characters have this incredible desire to throw out their weapons after one use. That doesn’t mean guns but rather axes or things that can be used over and over again. However, that can be overlooked since many films do happen to do that. One thing that lift this film is its camaraderie between the characters despite being strangers, especially in the final at when they complement each other’s weaknesses to be a stronger team. The whole movie is done well but the final act has some great elements as it works itself to end on an intense note. Deadsight is a well-executed zombie film that you should watch.
Deadsight is screening its world premiere on November 25th at 4:30pm at The Royal Cinema for Blood in the Snow Festival.
Hammer of the Gods (2018)
Director (and writer): Nick Szostakiwskyj
Cast: Rob Raco, Josh Collins, Samantha Carly, Parmiss Sehat
Hammer of the Gods is the story of falling-from-grace rock group half a decade after the release of their hit single, as they travel deep into the Canadian wilderness on a spirit journey. – IMDB
Horror films set in the wilderness is fairly underused. The Canadian wilderness is a vast and intriguing location to choose. Hammer of the Gods sets their story in the Canadian wilderness starting right away to show off the vast nature surrounding where this starts on a big area of water, a lake that leads into a water system to start their adventure for a one time wonder rock band, Sled Dog out to find inspiration for their future music. Being a horror thriller, this one takes its story through an acid trip journey while following some specific rules set on the first night by this band for the three members and a groupie they picked up at the beginning of the trip. Hammer of the Gods is set up for success in its premise. However, in the actual execution, this is where it starts to fall apart slightly.
One of the main issues with the film is how it takes a long and dragged out first act to get to its climax point. However, once it gets there, it also has the issue of whether the reveal was slightly too early before it got to the grand finale where everything unravels to a certain point. The first act which lasts almost the first half of the film is full of very small things. There is somewhat of a Predator sort of idea where there’s these moments of something lurking in the forest observing and following. There’s the big question of whether they are hallucinations from the drug and that is the assumption that is expected to be drawn but of course, there is something more. However, after many scenes of these moments that feel somewhat disjointed but seem to also escalate a little more from one to the next, it still is done well however at one point overstays its welcome slightly. When the turning point comes and we have the first reveal of sorts, it becomes this appreciated moment but then it also seems like its still a little too abrupt and makes us wonder how much farther this story can go. What happens as it goes to the end does work but at some point, the reveal of the true nature of what lurks in this journey, how real this all is as well as the true intention of this journey (because why wouldn’t it not have another layer), turns into this dramatic point for its band members that feel already too late and inappropriate to be dealing with this when survival is the more important part of the equation.
As much as the execution as its issues, what does stand out in Hammer of the Gods is its use of its natural atmosphere and surrounds. The camerawork here works to the advantage as it helps to focus on the forest in each location. The canoe rides and the conversations all have a deeper meaning and the layout of events, although taking dragged out has a lot of atmospheric moments that create a decent level of tension. The second half of the film in that regards, aside from some dramatic moments which understandably is to give the characters some more substance, takes a turn in pace and propels quickly towards its ending. There is some tense moments and some shocking moments and some predictable moments where the character makes a desperate albeit dumb decision. There are some nicely crafted moments here but Hammer of the Gods just falls short of its potential.
Hammer of the Gods is screening at The Royal Cinema on November 24th at 4:30pm for Blood in the Snow Festival.
Director: Rob Grant
Cast: Thomas Cocquerel, Camille Stopps, Angus Macfadyen
A severely injured man and woman awake in an abandoned sanitarium only to discover that a sadistic caretaker holds the keys to their freedom and the horrific answers as to their real identity. – IMDB
Let’s face it. At this point in the horror film scene, a lot of plots have already been used. Alive’s plot absolutely looks familiar. One setting, sanitarium, amnesiac captives/patients, ominous unknown captor: been there, done that, right? What separates a familiar plot from the crowd is how it is executed and what twist it can add and especially for something set in one location, how engaging its characters are. Alive nails all these elements and successfully creates an impressive thrilling indie gem.
One of its best elements is its engaging characters. By keeping its cast small, it can also control the characters depth. The amnesiac patients/captives are one man and one woman who is credited only by Man Patient and Woman Patient and played respectfully by Thomas Cocquerel and Camille Stopps. There is a world to create with this blank slate and as small specks of their memories come back, the mystery doesn’t get any less especially when faced with their captor played by Angus Macfadyen, who takes his roles and runs with it. The instability and the suspense as well as the villainous nature of his character portrayed on point at every turn, making every scene with him an absolute tense delight. Even when he is off screen, his presence is lurking in the shadows. That, in itself defines such a well acted character. There is this unknown the whole way wondering whether there is always more to a scene to the next, at the same time, wondering what link these two captives have in common. The questions are endless but that is how it is meant to be to keep the intrigue alive throughout.
Alive is also done with multiple layers. It starts out with a suspense and torture porn sort of movie. Its blood streaked in every scene. However, there is also this psychological layer to it especially when it comes to who the captor is and his final motive. However, the film takes a turn of events as it progresses and the bloody moments turn around and become a cat and mouse sort of game in the final escape and the plot and motives unravel. The finale definitely takes the audience for a ride in an unexpected and surprising way.
However, Alive takes a step too many which is where it falls short. There are after credits scenes so do remember to stay to watch it. The unnecessary additions to a lot of horror is what drags this down. Its a pity that Alive decided to take such a cheap and expected route. It didn’t really need to because the entire film before it had done such a wonderfully executed horror thriller filled with tension and suspense.
Alive will be showing at the BITS Festival on November 23rd at 9pm at The Royal Cinema.
Director (and co-writer): Alex Moratto
Cast: Christian Malheiros, Tales Ordakji, Caio Martinez Pacheco, Rosane Paulo, Jayme Rodrigues
After his mother’s sudden death, Socrates, a 15-year-old living on the margins of São Paulo’s coast, must survive on his own while coming to terms with his grief. – IMDB
During the Q&A session afterwards, director Alex Moratto talked about this movie as being a movie personal to him in memory of his mother. At the same time, he also talked about the partnership with Unicef Brazil to get this project to represent the youths in the Sao Paulo and surrounding areas while also having the camerawork and cast done through 16 to 20 year olds in the community in their program. Both are honorable reasons for this project to come to life. As with many of these types of passion projects, there is always an uncertainty to how they deliver. Socrates delivers really well.
Its hard to pinpoint how it delivers well because it feels like an journey for the main character Socrates as he embraces the different sides of him and his life as he deals with his grief for the loss of his mother which is literally the first scene of the film. Talk about casting a gloomy cloud over the audience. To be honest, as poignant as each of the unfortunate events that Socrates goes through they never quite feel like it pieces together in the plot of coming to terms with his grief at times. Everyone has a different journey in how they deal with grief however, Socrates definitely does take us for a ride through his troubles and everything that seems to go wrong all at the time especially the amplified feeling after his tragic loss.
A lot of the credit here goes to the actors here especially Christian Malheiros who delivers an outstanding role as Socrates. There is a quiet yet raw feeling to his performance that truly helps in here. The second aspect very awesome are how the camera moves and how it focuses as well as choosing when to blur and focus the scenes as well as capturing the location of where this is set. There is such a beautiful attention to how each shot accentuates each moment but how it is approached.
Overall, Socrates is a poignant journey which has its main theme somewhat get lost in the events that happens. However, its filming style and the raw performance by young actor Christian Malheiros definitely makes this one well worth a watch.