The Final Act of Joey Jumbler (Short 2018)

The Final Act of Joey Jumbler (Short 2018)

the final act of joey jumbler

Director (and writer): Harley Chamandy

A party clown must fight to keep his smile on. – IMDB

Have you ever wondered about the facades of the people you meet every single day? From the random passerby to the bus driver that you see everyday. Everyone greets and has all their polite moments, but the stories behind those smiles are sometimes the ones that we never expect. Its why we shouldn’t judge someone by what they do or who they are because everyone has hidden struggles that others do not know about. The Final Act of Joey Jumbler is exactly that. This short film takes us on a day in the life of Joey Jumbler as we see him start his day, go for his job as a clown/entertainer at a party and then back to his personal life, which is him trying to be happy and strong for his little girl.

There is a lot to love in The Final Act of Joey Jumbler. It runs at about 10 minutes and gives us appropriate pacing in telling this story. It hits some moments but never dwells on it for too long. In just a few locations and a few acts, we get the idea of the life and feelings that Joey Jumbler has. Part of this is for the main character, Alain Boucher as Joey Jumbler who delivers a great role. “In Memory Of” at the beginning of the credits also reveals that the story is inspired by Boucher’s real life story, who Chamandy previously worked with in his debut short, Mirage.  At the same time, the credit goes to this 18 year old young filmmaker, Harley Chamandy who directed and wrote this short film, as well as cinematographer, Stephanie Weber Biron, in their collaboration and knowing when to use close ups and frame the shots. Its delivers the emotions and struggles in a heartfelt way.

Everyone has their own story and no matter their profession, deserves their respect. That is one of the messages here. There are a variety of messages that Harley Chamandy’s short film is telling. Be it the difference of social ranking from the scene with Joey Jumbler ridiculed for doing his job but seemingly offending the rich adults of the party or the idea that having money doesn’t make you a better person as both the spoiled kids and the adults were obnoxious. If you look at Making Of this film, it talks about this scene relating to the divisive feelings and conflicts reflecting the Quebec Anglophone and Francophone community and the Quebec. While I do live in the community, perhaps I saw it more of a generalized view of the differences between just wealth and disrespect being the central issue. While that angle will give it more of a personal angle, it also creates a box for the audience it can reach because this is a more regional issue. Touchy issues are good to use however, in this case, Quebec Sovereignty and the obnoxious wealthy Anglophone only makes this movie pin a judgemental view of the two groups represented by only a few individuals. Living in Quebec personally, its one that is deeply rooted and deserves more than a simple one scene to reflect on, perhaps if this issue is one that holds so close to Chamandy’s heart, it is a potential next project but one to be treaded very carefully as with most political films.

At eighteen years old, Harley Chamandy shows a lot of promise in the storytelling depth. It will be interesting to see where this filmmaker will take his voice into a full-length film and what he will deliver next.

The Final Act of Joey Jumbler is currently available to view on Vimeo. Check it out HERE.

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Double Feature: Indiscretion (2016) & Bad Match (2017)

Let’s get into some of those seductive thrillers…kind of. At least that was the theme I seemed to be going for, but then Bad Match might not exactly match it, at least both are about scorned lovers.

Indiscretion (2016)

indiscretion 2016

Director (and co-writer): John Stewart Muller

Cast: Mira Sorvino, Christopher Backus, Cary Elwes, Katherine McNamara, LisaGay Hamilton, Melora Walters, Shane Callahan

A married woman’s affair comes back to haunt her when her obsessed lover infiltrates every part of her life. – IMDB

Let’s just start by saying Indiscretion is exactly a bad movie. Actually there are some elements and parts that work well enough but its just a little been there done that. You can’t fault the film for jumping straight to the point and getting the affair/weekend fling over with fairly quickly at the beginning of the movie. Its probably so that the crazy young love or crazy in love lover can spiral out of control and fall out the hinges completely as he does some pretty shady stuff. To be honest, there shouldn’t be any problems with this movie, except I just didn’t find it very thrilling. Its a common problem with thrillers. Indiscretion has Mira Sorvino and her real life husband Christopher Backus playing the married woman and the discarded artist lover respectively. They had mad chemistry especially during their weekend fling moments and the sexy moments. Rightfully so, of course. Christopher Backus does have that creepy lover feeling down fairly well. Then we have Cary Elwes in here and I can’t, for the life of me, understand why he is involved in this because I find him a really impressive actor and he is in this one dimensional role as the husband who is too busy working on his political campaign.

Indiscretion was set up in an interview format with Mira Sorvino’s character which leads us to already make conclusions as to what happened to certain people and that the outcome probably wasn’t too good if you noticed the grammatical tenses they spoke in. Those moments jumped by to the reality of the situation. I say this because you probably need to really dig deep to see how the twist is going to happen. I think the twist was the most clever part of the film but it also did somewhat feel like it came out of nowhere when it first happened. For those who want to watch the film, this is spoiler free so I won’t dive into that. Just know to listen carefully to the film because I thought back and realized that it did drop some hints throughout but then, Indiscretion lacks the immersive and intrigue I needed to be that concentrated to care.

Some good and some bad, Indiscretion falls below average with an ending that pulls it a little higher in the clever twist department but the execution of the film throughout could definitely have been better. I get the back and forth in the timeline thing and recounting pieces make for a puzzle to put together. Its a risky move that I’m not sure completely paid off.

Bad Match (2017)

bad match

Director (and writer): David Chirchirillo

Cast: Jack Cutmore-Scott, Lili Simmons, Noureen DeWulf, Brandon Scott

An internet-dating playboy’s life spirals out of control after meeting a woman online. – IMDB

After a string of a fairly lackluster thrillers, Bad Match definitely was a pretty good one. Surprisingly good because its hard to really like a thriller where you don’t really care about the guy that is being targeted because he is a playboy. However, there are some convincing roles here. Jack Cutmore-Scott and Lili Simmons are great at delivering through their roles. Plus, it helps that the camera work here takes some predictable moves like peeking from somewhere from afar however never revealing who is behind it making it feel both creepy and suspenseful.

The underlying fear here is honestly behind the whole online privacy issue that is quite obviously around nowadays. It happens when we don’t remember to put up our defenses and change the privacy settings on social media. It happens when we treat these online dating services without the caution it needs because it does have its dangers. And of course, it even spans into relationships you build in online friends that you have never met. It gets a little judgmental with some of the victims here however, the message Bad Match potentially delivers is an important one.

Whats really nice is the pacing they use in Bad Match. It ramps things up gradually and then it just goes out of control as you watch Harris, Jack Cutmore-Scott’s character, spiral as the events keep getting worse. At the same time, Lili Simmons also keeps it a mystery for us because she has this intensity of being someone who is at a different place on her views of what she expects with her encounter. The two characters are written well to keep everyone guessing especially Lili Simmons character to wonder whether to trust her or not.

I’m going to stop here with Bad Match because I don’t want to go into any spoilers accidentally. I love it when I find a thriller that surprises me as it seems like a generic film but actually delivers something really different and that ending was just awesome. This is a pretty decent one!

Double Feature: Varsity Blues (1999) & A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits (2016)

It feels like quite a while since I did a double feature but that might be because I’ve been taking a little movie watching break and binging some more TV that I never happen to write about (but I will, I promise). A bit of a mixed bag here although you could call this a young adult/adolescent pairing? I don’t know when A Cinderella Story for this one takes place. Its usually around the high school phase as well.

Varsity Blues (1999)

varsity blues

Director: Brian Robbins

Cast: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Paul Walker, Ron Lester, Scott Caan, Amy Smart, Eliel Swinton, Ali Larter

A back-up quarterback is chosen to lead a Texas football team to victory after the star quarterback is injured. – IMDB

Those who know me know that I’m a huge fan of Paul Walker, as a human being and truly do miss his presence since he had done some fantastic work in Fast and the Furious as well as other movies. I’m sure that I’ll be doing something in the Sunday Lists very soon. With that said, I haven’t seen Varsity Blues before where he plays the supporting role of Lance Harbor, the injured star quarterback mentioned in the plot summary above. The main character here is played by James Van Der Beek. Going into Varsity Blues blind did give me quite the shock because it is quite an intense film especially in the sense, of how Jon Voight’s character as the coach of the team.

Varsity Blues is quite generic in the coming of age sports film but it shines in its performances and the cast member. The movie also has some pacing issues particularly in the beginning however the second half of the film does redeem itself quite a bit as that is where I was truly invested into the movies. It touches a lot on say the future of the dreams but also brings into other realities of say race and prejudices as well as unreasonable ambitions and doing/fighting for what is right and following your heart instead of what others perceive as your future or the path you should take.

I was a little underwhelmed by the film as its fairly average but the decent performances does make it worth a watch.

A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits (2016)

a cinderella story if the shoe fits

Director: Michelle Johnston

Cast: Sofia Carson, Jennifer Tilly, Amy Louise Wilson, Jazzara Jaslyn, Thomas Law, David Ury, Sven Ruygrok

A contemporary musical version of the classic Cinderella story in which the servant step daughter hope to compete in a musical competition for a famous pop star. – IMDB

I have no idea how these A Cinderella Story is still going on. I think I’m missing like the third one if this one is the fourth one. I do like the Hillary Duff one with Chad Michael Murray which started it all. Its one I watch every once in a while for the obvious reasons that the cast is spectacular with Jennifer Coolidge as the absurd mean stepmother role. The next one after that was Another Cinderella Story with Selena Gomez which I didn’t love but enjoyed since it had some cute moments and lovely dancing and singing moments. I didn’t bother with the third one since I figured this stuff wasn’t worth my spending money on it so to fill up some background noise and uninvested movie viewing, I put this on because I saw it on Netflix. I know no one in this one and its all quite rinse and repeat. There’s some dancing and the opening thing of singing and dancing seems like this female replica of Grease’s Grease Lightning part. However, this one is just bad. The humor is not funny. The acting is meh. The singing and dancing is okay. The story is generic.

It was something of a waste of time but then I mean, as background noise, I guess it fit the bill but I wouldn’t watch it again.

They Remain (2018)

*Screener*

They Remain (2018)

They Remain

Director: Philip Gelatt

Cast: William Jackson Harper, Rebecca Henderson

Based on the 2010 short story, 30- by award-winning author Laird Barron, They Remain follows two scientists, Keith (William Jackson Harper) and Jessica (Rebecca Henderson) who are sent out by a huge corporation  to investigate abnormal animal behaviors occurring in a previous remote area that had some horrible killings happen in the past. Their mission has a month in duration and they are offered high tech surveillance material and a lab to research initial findings. With Keith as their boy scout who goes on according to schedule every day in different districts they’ve established to observe and Jessica to stay back at the camp to do any analysis, the dynamic and relationship of these two people start to evolve over the next days we follow their progress.

they remain

They Remain starts off the story on the right foot. All the right elements are placed into action, just like Keith’s surveillance system and schedule. Things work well in the “no news is good news” sort of deal. We literally watch a lot of walking around and checking surveillance cameras and replacing some gadget in it and Jessica moving around in the lab working on this and that and they talk about trust and human relationships and leak information about what happened in this area years ago and what this mission means for each of them. Quite like a normal indie film, the scale is small so we get to learn about Keith and Jessica as they are primarily the only two people in this film with a small cameo by one other person. There is nothing wrong with this angle actually it is a smart move. William Jackson Harper and Rebecca Henderson both do a great job in  delivering a very good performance with what they are given here.

Much like any recent indie films, They Remain is a slow paced film which starts off with the very mysterious location with a history set in the vast and mysterious open nature. It gives us time to know their two leads and their relationship while sprinkling some findings throughout related to animal behavior such as a dog which seems made a reference to a wolf at one point and abnormal wasps and ant activities. They make great use of this material and setting and have visually appealing shots and cinematography. All of the beautiful visuals are paired up with an off putting and creepy background score that creates an eerie and mysterious atmosphere. There are horror imagery such as red skies and expected jumpscares that always deliver and a mystery cloaked man. These all help build the suspense and atmosphere.

they remain

There is a lot of potential to be a fantastic horror thriller here but where it falls apart is in its script or perhaps the execution of the script. Many adaptations have the same issue of not correctly interpreting what the source material wants to portray well enough. I haven’t read the source material so there is no comparison so I can only give it the benefit of the doubt. They Remain does a lot of atmosphere building but essentially always delivers on its jumpscares rendering it predictable. The first few times the score gives it a boost and some scare factor but as the film goes on, the slow paced paired with predictable jumpscares and an expected development for Keith and Jessica’s relationship all make for a fairly flat experience. What does try to make it more suspenseful is the distortion of reality and illusion that lies in the central question of what is going on here. Keith will keep seeing these different sequences that amp up in intensity and then get cut back to what we would expect is reality and it brings in the question of whether it is actually real or are they merely nightmares. The suspense is present but sadly, there never seems to be a great payoff for all this build-up but rather a not so surprising twist for the ending.

Overall, They Remain delivers on many of the aspects, whether its characters, visuals, setting and music and does it very well but matched up with the pacing and the execution of the script, it just seems to be lacking and not worth all the build-up in the grand finale.

Available On Demand and Special Edition Blu-ray Tuesday, May 29 (US & CANADA)

On all major VOD platforms including: iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Xbox/ Microsoft Store, PlayStation, Vimeo, Vudu, Fandango Now, Kanopy. Also on Movies onDemand via Comcast, Spectrum, Cox and other cable operators

Double Feature: Honey 2 (2011) & Perfect Girl (2014)

This Double Feature is a bit of a mix and mash although I guess you could say they are both fairly VOD features. I wanted some easy to pass the time while I was editing videos so I put on these two films. I watched Honey a really long time ago and it is hard to imagine that it took quite a few years for a sequel to come out which worked kind of like Step Up where it used the background of the first movie but with an entirely different cast. More on that in the review portion. As for Perfect Girl, I believe this is a Singapore film. Its pretty much a romantic comedy. I don’t watch a lot of rom-coms of late so let’s see how this one is going to be.

Honey 2 (2011)

honey 2

Director: Billie Woodruff

Cast: Kat Graham, Randy Wayne, Christophe Shazar, Gerry Bednob, Seychelle Gabriel

Recently released from juvenile detention, talented dancer Maria Bennett finds an outlet for her passion with a new dance crew. – IMDB

I watched Honey a long time ago. The only thing I remember from it was that Jessica Alba was in it and it had a lot of dancing. It wasn’t half bad but then these dance films always are a little generic. But then I like the Step Up franchise so who am I to talk, right? Anyways, I was roaming around Netflix and found Honey 2 starring Kat Graham. Being an avid fan of The Vampire Diaries (well, used to since I need to watch 2 or 3 seasons), Kat Graham being in this peaked my interest. I didn’t have much hopes for it being good or unique but it could have surprised me, right? Point is, it didn’t. In fact, it was packed with very predictable dialogue. The dancing in some parts and the soundtrack was okay but then, it still hits a lot of the generic bits and there wasn’t much to love about the characters since they felt so empty. Maybe its because Kat Graham is such a good girl that its hard to imagine her pulling her serious tough face and then I’m thinking that it looks a little forced.

I honestly don’t have a lot to say about this. I watched it and it was okay. The contingency of this being okay is the fact that I tolerate a lot of dancing films. I like it for the energy and the generic inspiration story of following your dreams no matter the challenges. Its really as basic as that.

Perfect Girl (2014)

perfect girl

Director (and writer): Jason Chan

Cast: Jason Chan, Kahleila Hisham, Christian Lee

Stan and Jenny have been each other’s secret crush since high school. When they meet again years later, the fantasy of first love may keep them apart. – Netflix

Lets just get this out of the way before we begin. I love films with small cast and focus on characters and certain scenarios. With that Perfect Girl was a pretty quirky romance experience. It had a lot of inner monologues of the two characters, Stan and Jenny and their outlook on relationships and the fantasies they had of each other from high school and their fears and doubts of being together now. In fact, it actually is what makes the film more genuine. Think Flipped but a grown up version of it on a much smaller scale.

Both Stan and Jenny standout quite a bit. In fact, they feel very much in their element of wanting to be together. I do have to say that sometimes, the monologue feels like it has a bit of clunkiness to it but overall, the characters build a depth as we know them more. It tells us their back story from both of their point of views and their past crush intermittent to the reality now when they meet again. There’s some odd slides or whatnot that comes in talking about what a Perfect Girl is and that sort of thing which I didn’t particularly think it was necessary but it made it more of a chapter experience from one phase to the next which cut the film down. I love learning about how different people view love and this definitely fit the bill for me. Do I think that it’ll be for everyone? Probably not. There is a ton of finesse to it. There is a lot of inner monologue that could get on some people’s nerves. Honestly, this romantic comedy is about as indie as indie can get and yet the story reminds me of so many people in my life and even myself, not that I had such a memorable first love but the elements of the relationships made me connect to them.

With that said, Perfect Girl had its definite flaws but the story flowed well and it was a genuine experience with characters that I could connect with and it also made me laugh a few times so I’d say it did its job pretty well.

That’s it for this double feature!
A bit of the choices from inner world preferences of Kim right here.
Those choices always can be really good or really bad and I’m usually aware of it before the movie begins.

Have you seen Honey 2 and/or Perfect Girl? 

Sunday Lists: Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies, Ranked

With the sheer amount of MCU movies we get every year, they are now in so many different phases, it seems to be the right time to start ranking these films.

Compared with other superheroes, MCU is more or less complete in my viewing with only a few slots as this post goes up now but it will be updated with the remaining films in between that I have to catch up with. You will see the unseen movies at the bottom.

Let’s take it away!

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Review

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Review

Captain America Winter Soldier

3. Captain America: Civil War (2016) Review

Captain America Civil War

4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Review

Thor: Ragnarok

5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Review

guardians of the galaxy vol.2

6. Iron Man (2008)

iron man

7. The Avengers (2012) Review

avengers

8. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Review

9. Thor (2011)

Thor

10. Ant-Man (2015) Review

11. Thor: The Dark World (2013) Review

thor

12. Doctor Strange (2016)

doctor strange

13. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron

14. Iron Man 3 (2013) Review

iron man 3

15. Iron Man 2 (2010)

iron man 2

Not seen yet:

The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

That’s my list..to be updated as I catch up gradually!
What is your favorite MCU films? How would your ranking be different from mine?

Double Feature: Submerged (2016) & Eden Lake (2008)

Welcome to today’s double feature!

I’m trying out to have these themed double features every once in a while when I can. This time, we’re pairing two indie horror thrillers. The first I had never really heard anything of before and honestly watched it as a filler one night when I was working on other things and Eden Lake was one I had both recommendations and dislikes of it which has me intrigued as to how I would feel about it.

Submerged (2016)

Submerged

Director: Steven C. Miller

Cast: Jonathan Bennett, Talulah Riley, Rosa Salazar, Samuel Hunt, Cody Christian, Giles Matthey, Denzel Whitaker, Willa Ford, Mario Van Peebles

A young woman and her friends, who’ve been targeted by kidnappers, must do everything they can to survive after their limo is forced off the road and plunged into a canal. – IMDB

*sigh* I honestly don’t know how to write up this review right now. There is no extent of how indifferent I feel about Submerged. Its clear to say that at some point,  particularly the male lead of Mean Girls that Jonathan Bennett had a lovely peak in his career. Then he did some odd roles in other teen comedies like Love Wrecked (review) with Amanda Bynes for example, then he ended up with some Hallmark films like A Christmas Kiss II (review) & A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale (review). Its been a staple of my last two years of Christmas marathon, however as generic as those two were, they were never disappointing. Finally, we see Jonathan Bennett in a thriller so I was down to give it a chance and well, guess what, this one was disappointing. I can’t say that his character was disappointing but rather the thriller itself was not incredibly standout. The ending itself felt like it was out of nowhere a little and didn’t quite fit into the story as it was really to give the twist. Maybe there were hints along the way, but then it doesn’t give me that particular motivation to go rewatch it either.

Submerged

The story sets up itself in the trapped in the car concept, which is a good premise since we don’t seem to have a lot of substance to those parts. And then it alternates between the past to what leads to it. Fact is, the characters here doesn’t quite give us anyone to cheer for. Jonathan Bennett’s character has a little bit of development and back story however, at some point, it seems to want the viewers to believe in who is involved and then turn it around at the ending. As I mentioned, the twist is out of nowhere but then, somehow the lack of interest from the start to that point just wasn’t engaging enough to care about it.

Overall, Submerged is yet another disappointing thriller that takes a rather formulaic approach for a not too frequently used premise and yet never gives us engaging characters to make the out of nowhere final twist feel worth it.

Eden Lake (2008)

 

eden lake

Director (and writer): James Watkins

Cast: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Jack O’Connell, Jumayn Hunter, Thomas Turgoose, James Burrows

Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal consequences. – IMDB

Eden Lake is one of those films that are a little harder to review. Its one of the earlier Michael Fassbender films before he has the fame nowadays. In this horror thriller, it takes a slow beginning but ends up picking up the pace quite a bit as the story takes a turn for the worse with menacing kids lead by a kid who craves the violence. Him and his crew of other teens start chasing this couple down who first starts off with stealing their car and ends up chasing them and causing his dog to die, turning into something vengeful. The story does take many turns from bad to worse to completely intense. To be fair, Michael Fassbender’s character does play more of a supporting character role as Kelly Reilly takes on something of a stronger woman here as she tries to make her escape. In one way, I didn’t feel quite as immersed in the beginning however as the disturbing characters and events starting happening in quicker frequency, it definitely had me on the edge of my seat hoping that Kelly Reilly’s character would get out.

eden lake

On the other hand, while I do agree that the villainous teen leader, Brett definitely was convincing in his extremities that started out quite vengeful, it is also quite a terrifying thought as the days went by after I saw Eden Lake. Perhaps that is the terror here is that a vacation going array can be in this sort of everyday sort of situation. Kids are meant to be portrayed in horror/thrillers as innocent, defenseless or even annoying in some cases, however, these kids are out of the ordinary and we never quite get a reason why Brett acts that way throughout but we do see that the idea of peer pressure and wanting to belong in this alpha group makes these other kids who are doing things they don’t particularly want to out of fear. Its one of those movies that do have quite a lot of thought behind a normal survival horror story set in the middle of nowhere on vacation. And as I think about it more, the more I feel that it worked very well.

Overall, Eden Lake is a rather slow burn tension building horror thriller. For both the setting and the increasing extreme moments here, it sets a very psychological survival and escape experience that might start off feeling like not so much but definitely ends up being more than that in leaps and bounds. As an ending note, I’m not too sure how I feel about the ending but its one those things where you either like it or you don’t.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen Submerged and/or Eden Lake? Thoughts?