Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Why Don't You Play With Me Anymore?

After getting some short film love planted in my brain by David Sandberg's recent appearance on the Shock Waves podcast (plus his recently released free audio commentary), I've been pondering some of my own short film work. 

David's short that brought him to international attention, Lights Out, was made as part of a competition for horror film group Bloody Cuts and, wouldn't you know it, I actually made and submitted a short myself. Obviously, the sucker didn't win, but there's a lot in it I still dig, a few years on. Disturbing dolls and creepy child paintings will always be classics! 

Check it out below.




Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

An Early Screening of LOGAN


So I got the opportunity to see a preview screening of Logan last night, and well, it is the perfect final outing for the Wolverine.

I'm going to keep this spoiler free, especially since there's a week before the film goes on general release, but it's worth sharing a few thoughts. If you've seen the trailer, you have a good sense of the tone and style of the film, and let me tell you, it's a shame it's taken so long for it to be executed like this, since the film is absolutely spot on for it. 




Moving away from the scifi aesthetic of the main series, Logan feels dusty and gritty, like the sun glaring in your eyes all the way. As for the violence? You'd better believe that is a hard R rating. This is the first X-Men film that pulls out all the stops and sheds the blood with vicious glee, drawing even me, a long-in-the-tooth gore hound, to go wide-eyed. 

Director James Mangold's last Wolverine-orientated film (though it could be argued most X-Men films are Wolverine-orientated) toed the line for a more serious style, and though it didn't quite hit with fans, I think this one will. This film is not for kids or those wanting the safe and colourful Marvel Universe films, which is one of it's strengths, bringing a lack of hand-holding. There's a lot of blanks to be filled in by the viewer in regards to the events that have passed leading up to this future setting, with more than enough satisfying clues left to fill in the harrowing details. 


The entire cast nails it, and enough cannot be said about Dafne Keen's Laura, but it is Hugh Jackman and Patrick Steward who will steal the show for the long-time fans, with Logan's caring of his old friend and mentor constantly drawing a tear to the eye. I'm not going to say more on this, but the entire film has a strong emotional core of regret, fear, and longing. What happens when the future doesn't turn out like you'd hoped, and all your work has been for nothing? Logan doesn't shy away from how emotionally crippling that can be.

There's a lot in this film to like, and it is definitely the Wolverine film fans have been clambering for all this time. There inevitably will be more X-Men films after this one, but this may be the final Wolverine one, and it acts as a perfect ending for either series. 


Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Friday, 17 February 2017

I May Have A Few Demons...

Well, I have been quite sick for the past few days, which is very unusual for me. Nothing too interesting to note. I slept funny. I couldn't concentrate well. I felt generally awful. The usual. 

However, the other day, my throat began making the strangest noises. No doubt, it's the usual clogging up with mucus (hello, ladies), but these noises ran through my head for a few days (including while I slept. Woo) and of course I had to record em and share em in a visual form.

What is below is an untreated recording of my breathing from the other morning. I have EQed it to remove the hiss from my phone and looped it, but the several voices you hear at once? All happened in the moment. I guess there is really only one answer here; I'm possessed.




Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Shed Some Light on Lights Out

I love me a good audio commentary, and Lights Out director David F. Sandberg has not disappointed.

The filmmaker was recently asked on Twitter about if there would ever be a commentary released for his debut feature, and came back just a few hours later with this beauty, all for free.

So sit back, chillax, and get your education on with Sandberg and star Lotta Losten.




I must admit that I am not a huge fan of the feature version of Lights Out, but was massively affected by the short film version, embedded below, and have become fascinated with Sandberg and his Vimeo channel. Well worth a watch for any filmmakers, especially those of the DIY variety. If you liked Lights Out, you MUST check out Closet Space and Attic Panic, and follow it up with the making of videos, where he shows you just how important Ikea can be to an indie moviemaker.




Enjoying reading what I'm writing? Wanna help a fella out? You can check out the film I produced right now as www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now!

The 5 Things Wrong With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter


Let me begin by saying I was quite the fan of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and have been an avid follower of the entire franchise, only missing the OG RE back in the day because it wasn't in any convenient cinemas for my fragile wee brain. The latest release is a massive step up and fun cinematic experience, hitting the right note with fans of the films, to be sure.

With that said, this purported 'final' chapter in the franchise certainly left a lot to be desired (not as much as the previous Revelations chapter, but that's for another day). So, strap on in, and let's have a look at the 5 Things Wrong With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

Spoilers from here on.

5. Recap Editing

This may be the editor side of me talking here, but man, the editing of this film was abysmal. I mean, it told the story and things were understandable, but it was like someone looked at the two hour version of the film and decided 'Hey, we need this to go faster. Gimme back 15 minutes of screen time by taking any beats, pauses or moments out of the film'. It's like someone in charge was worried an audience wouldn't follow the film if it wasn't cut like an over-caffinated YouTube blogger. 

Pretty much the entire film lacks beats for the audience to soak in the characters or the moments, which is a problem other films like The Dark Knight Rises and X-Men: Days of Future Past suffer from (so at least it is in good company). The information to make the film is there, so technically it should all be fine, but it is most comparable to the recap you see at the beginning of a TV show. You know, the 'previously on...' bit. Case in point; Alice being tended to by Claire. The words and looks were there, but you can feel the filmmakers trying to move as quickly as they can back to the action scenes. Emotional depth? Pfwah! Gimme explosions and severed limbs, you wuss!



4. WTF Logic

Ok, a Resident Evil film has exactly been the poster child for logical actions, but this film takes the cake. Why the heck don't we get even a glimpse of what happened in Washington? The Red Queen implores Alice to get to Raccoon City quick to aid her, but doesn't provide her with a helicopter, or even disable a motorbikes security functions so her journey is a little less perilous. The shocking return of Dr. Isaacs is considerably less shocking when Alice blows off the who reveal with 'Well, I guess it was a clone I killed'. When Alice arrives at Raccoon City, why does the gang and her bother going on the offensive instead of simply heading straight for the Hive and using the time to their advantage? Why does Isaacs let Alice et all execute their defensive maneuvers, destroying a tank and nearly wrecking his plan when he could easily have fired upon them immediately? Why does the Hive have lighting in its airshafts? And random hatches that drop into caverns? And why does it so badly utilise it's space?! And why does Claire Redfield sit outside the laser room and not in any way help Alice when she is about to become shish kabab? How does Isaacs get up to the surface so quick? Why does old Alice's explosion seem to hit her last, even though she's right beside it? Ugh, there's so much more...

I mean, it's a fun dumb film, but come on. At least half of these questions could have been easily addressed!



3. No tomandandy?!

Paul Haslinger's score is absolutely fine, and will probably be some people's favourite, but come on, tomandandy!!! I mean, this:




2. But What About Everyone Else?!


Retribution had a lot of problems with it, but one thing it did do was introduce a lot of new characters who actually didn't suck; Ada, Leon, Jill Valentine and Becky. So what happened to them? Did they all die in some epic siege at the White House? Did Wesker double-cross them? Are they taking a well-earned holiday in the Bahamas? Or are they preparing to appear in sequels or side stories? That last one might sound a bit snarky, but we all left the theatre hit big by this last one...


1. The Lack of Closure

Following in the fine tradition of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, and Friday The 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (oh God, those words have no meaning anymore...) is as much the final chapter as my promises to run a marathon; completely hollow. It really doesn't shock me that though it would be a nice cap to the series to end here, the door is left wide open for another sequel that has real potential to happen since this installment seems to have reinvigorated the interest in Umbrella's undead. 

It is such a shame because the film was almost brave enough to end on an emotionally hard-hitting moment of sacrifice of our lead protagonist (though it must be said, a hit soften by the emotionally-devoid editing mention above), but pulls back at the last moment to have Alice 'saved'. I guess it was too much to expect some real finality or gravitas in the film. I know these aren't made to tug at people's emotions as I might like, but still, the film was this close to giving itself the weight and importance of being the closing installment of the series. 

Sure, I will probably watch future films should they come, but it would really have been something to have seen Alice go from confused and powerless amnesiac in a claustrophobic underground complex to superhuman sacrifice in the post-apocalypse while mass hordes of zombies as far as the eye can see strike. Her death would have meant something, not just another plot contrivance to get us to our next 'cool hero' cliché moment.



So there you have it. My nitpicking of a film I did genuinely enjoy, but by God, these things just irked me. What say you? Did these things draw your eye? What did you not like about the film? Or what about it made it the best installment in the franchise for you? Comment on!


In cinemas now.


Enjoying reading what I'm writing? Wanna help a fella out? You can check out the film I produced right now as www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Boy With The Mannequin Hand

You already know I shamelessly shill out all the things I work on (hey, I'm proud of the work and want people to see it. Sue me!), but did you know I write press releases that I send around to promo the stuff? Here's one for The Boy With The Mannequin Hand, the album I just released. The soundtrack for a film which doesn't exist. You can stream the sucker for free HERE right now.




The debut release of Irish dark ambient artist SL-88, The Boy With The Mannequin Hand, is now available.

Inspired by the work of Irish artist James Devlin (https://www.jamesdevlinnewworks.com/), the album is a unique blend of a score for an unmade film, a concept album and a twisted fairy-tale. It bears tonal similarities to the work of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Coil, and Charlie Clouser.

Hailing from Wicklow, artist SL-88 is a regular contributor to feature film scores and has a back catalog of work with short form media. This marks his first album release after 12 years of working under different monikers. 

His words on the album:

"The Boy With The Mannequin Hand is something I think is quite unique. I was inspired by James Devlin's artwork and used what I found tonally suitable to create this piece that would be the score for a film that didn't exist. I like the idea of the listener hearing the music and finding their own storyline to follow. What I had in my head as I made it may not be what they see as they listen to it. There's a lot of dynamics at play, and I can't wait to hear what story people find".

The album can be streamed in full and purchased from https://sl-88.bandcamp.com/

Tracklist:
1. Witch's Hug
2. This Is Where The Creatures Go To Die
3. Does That Give You A Reason?
4. Wasted Cat Life, Restart
5. Those Little Things I Regret
6. Just Let Me Sleep
7. All Good Things Must Come To An End
8. No Strings
9. From That Day, I Was A Monster

Two music videos have been released to tie-in with the album.

- Those Little Things I Regret

- All Good Things Must Come To An End




Enjoying reading what I'm writing? Wanna help a fella out? You can check out the film I produced right now as www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now!

Horses For Moths

You already know I shamelessly shill out all the things I work on (hey, I'm proud of the work and want people to see it. Sue me!), but did you know I write press releases that I send around to promo the stuff? Here's one for Horses For Moths, which you can stream for free on Amazon Prime right now!



Horses for Moths: The Making of Sodium Party

Weird Pretty Pictures are proud to announce the VOD release of Horses for Moths: The Making of Sodium Party.

Go behind the scenes of one of the most unique films to ever come out of Ireland and discover what it takes to make a low budget film outside of Hollywood. The documentary recollects the production of the experimental thriller Sodium Party, as seen through the eyes of director Michael McCudden and producers Alison Scarff and Richard Waters. The surreal 2013 film starred Slaine Kelly (Rise of the Footsoldier 2, The Tudors) and James Corscadden (Brooklyn).

Horses for Moths exposes the harsh realities of making a non-Hollywood film on a shoestring budget, going through all the cut corners, the run-ins with the authorities, the blood and stitches, hangings, horses, the months (or in Sodium Party’s case, years) of hard work to finish the film, only to have it be rejected on its initial run, and the eventual aligning of stars for the film to premiere, hit the festival circuit, and win awards.

Writer/director Michael McCudden talks about what drove him to do the film the way he did:
“There's quite a standard way of doing things and what we set out to do was something different from that and to do something that didn't make sense but still felt like a cinema experience”.

Outlining what it was like trying to get a feature funded before and after the economic bubble burst:
“At that stage there was quite a lot of money around and everybody could afford to be quite indulgent. Maybe like, you know, a hundred thousand, and then all the money disappeared. And then you know... At least we could definitely maybe bring it in for twenty five thousand, and then that disappeared. There was one person who gave me advice; 'If you have little money, find people who are just in to the idea and that's all that will matter'. So we met (executive producer) Mick Berry (and) everything was sort of set up. And we lost a little more money”.

And the life-threatening accidents that can happen in pursuit of a film:
“Everybody watched in slow motion horror as Ally (Scarff, producer) eventually fell, and the shard of the broken cup went straight in to her artery and then she started pissing blood everywhere, but going 'I'm ok. I'm ok. I might need a little bit of hospital'”.

 “I ended up that day having to go to the Accident and Emergency because I split my wrist open quite violently”, Alison adds.

The official synopsis for the documentary:
What does it take to make a film? No, scratch that. What does it take to make one of the most inaccessible, out there films to ever come out of Ireland? And how do you do it with no money?! Well, sit back, strap in, and prepare for the near-impossible story of Sodium Party.
Horses for Moths: The Making of Sodium Party is available on Amazon VOD now. Sodium Party is available on various VOD worldwide.


L-R; Star Slaine Kelly, director Michael McCudden, producers Alison Scarff 
and Richard Waters. Photo credit: Jedrzej Niezgoda


Enjoying reading what I'm writing? Wanna help a fella out? You can check out the film I produced right now as www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now!

General Update

Geddit? I'm still hilarious. (Image: Warner Bros Pictures)

Sorry, I slept in there for a bit and missed posting for a few... Eh, lemme see how long... My last post was... APRIL 2014?! What the fuck?! 

Ok, well, from now on, I will keep the updates constant and- Ah, who the heck am I kidding? I shall post intermittent at best. Sorry. I want to annoy you with constant updates, but life outside the internet demands so much time and you will probably somehow manage to survive without my nonsense.

But that doesn't mean I won't try!

I still watch horror films a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Maybe more than when I was posting most back in the heyday. I come across some films that really strike me, and I want to get back in to spreading some love where it is due. In tandem with that, I do come across some turkeys that might be entertaining to rant about, but a big part of me doesn't want to be pushing myself in any sort of critical light. 

Don't get me wrong, I shall choose my battles and go to town on something when I think I might be able to tie it in to a point, but I won't pick on a film I don't like simply because I want to write something mean. Those days are behind me. In fact, I once wrote something kinda mean about Adam Green's Hatchet, and I still feel the guilts about it every now and again, because I generally love his films, listen to his podcast, and have met and had a fucking in depth conversation with the dude, not to mention I also own TWO copies of Hatchet now. Maybe it's the Catholic guilt setting in?

To kick things off, I shall give a quick rundown of some recent-ish events that have kept me busy in life (beyond the day work that keeps me busy from the events that keep me busy from writing that yadda yadda yadda). I make films, as outlined on the blog plenty of times, and have gone to town on the releasing of said films digitally. I have worked on shorts and music vids, mainly for my sanity in the massive gap that exists while trying to get money for another feature. I make music, and have recently released my first album (hope all 2 listeners enjoyed). I write a lot, but mainly scripts that I am doing my best to get made (this will be a running trend I shall keep returning to). I work in TV and have been making bits for that aside from my editing duties (oh yeah, I'm an editor). I've also been travelling a fair bit, which has been a change of pace and a nice experience. It's funny how the working life gives with one hand and takes with the other. 

This blog was something I was very proud of once upon a time, and my passion for the topics has not waned. Here's to hoping for some sort of revival!

Oh yeah, I've only started watching Breaking Bad, so I'll see you in 3 months.