Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bellflower (2011) - ActionFest Buffet 2.0: Plate #7

On the Menu:

Ingredients: Evan Glodell, Tyler Dawson, Jessie Wiseman, Rebekah Brandes and Vincent Grashaw. Directed by Evan Glodell. Run time: 105 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: My original plan was to see the world premiere of A LONELY PLACE TO DIE at 9:45pm, but I didn't actually check my agenda before getting all of my tickets for the afternoon. So, I ended up seeing the 10pm regional premiere of BELLFLOWER instead of seeing it the following day.

All I needed to read was this movie was about two guys obsessed with Lord Humungus from THE ROAD WARRIOR, and they were building flamethrowers.

Woodrow (Glodell) and Aiden (Dawson) are best friends and pyros. They're slightly off-kilter, to put it mildly. Then, Woodrow meets a girl and it totally turns his world upside down.

Tough to Swallow: Some early scenes are blurry around the edges and have smudges of dirt on the lens.

When Woodrow takes Milly on the road trip he trades his car for a motorcycle. A short time later he's driving the car again. But, he makes it home on the bike.

Something to Chew On: None of the Medusa car in the film was faked; all parts, e.g., flamethrowers and security cameras, were/are functional.

Glodell and Wiseman actually ate live crickets in the scene where their characters meet (a cricket-eating contest).

Glodell also wrote the screenplay and built the flamethrowers and cars. He also, along with cinematographer Joel Hodge, created custom cameras.

The Medusa's 455 Chevy engine had to be replaced several times during filming. Production delays totaled about 8 months due to engine blowouts. had a nice piece on the car specifics.

Aftertaste: The movie starts out like it might be something strange, but then develops a love story. However, not long after that, it becomes something darker and more disturbing -- mostly because of Woodrow's accident. Obsessive love leads to brain damage.

It was really hard to like any of the characters in this movie (although Milly reminded me a little of Elisha Cuthbert), but it was Woodrow's movie and he was the most interesting.

Glodell definitely takes his character to a different level in the second half. The socially awkward Woodrow obviously has trouble expressing his emotions. Eventually, he takes his obsession with his favorite post-apocalyptic action film and merges it with his love life. In a sense, his breakup has become his apocalypse. The insanity level definitely gets bumped up a few notches.

I love the look of the film. The cinematography is great. There are some cool tilt-shift shots, plus a couple jump cuts to mess with your head a little more.

BELLFLOWER is a serious mind-f*ck of a movie. Not a lot of action (some sex and violence), but totally warped. Self-destruction at its finest. Lord Humungus would approve, I'm sure.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Bail Enforcers (2011) - ActionFest Buffet 2.0: Plate #6

On the Menu:

Trish Stratus, Boomer Phillips, Frank Zupancic, Christian Bako, Enrico DiFede and Andrea James Lui. Directed by Patrick McBrearty. Run time: 85 minutes. Rated: Not rated.

At First Bite: For the 7-7:30 time slot on Day 2, I had already seen MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED! and LITTLE BIG SOLDIER, and could always catch THE WRAITH on Hulu if I really wanted to see it. Plus, I found out on Twitter that the film's star Trish Stratus would be making an appearance (I would have known sooner had I read the film's synopsis in the program). I did procure two autographs and a photo with her after the movie.

Jules (Stratus) is a bounty hunter. Her team nabs an informant who has a huge price on his head. The problem with cashing in is that the mob has a vested interest in this guy. What we get is a showdown between the bounty hunters and the mob boss's assassins.

Tough to Swallow: There's a continuity problem in the fight at the brothel/massage parlor. Chase (Phillips) tackles a guy, but seconds later we see him standing up in the background.

There's an odd scene where Chase and Ridley (Zupancic) drive to a hospital and come to a stop behind an ambulance. Jules is put into the back, and the ambulance drives off. Ridley gets out of his vehicle and tries to chase the ambulance down on foot. Huh?

Some shots are blurry and the lighting is off at times.

Personally, I think there are way too many scenes with the characters talking on phones.

Something to Chew On: The movie made its world premiere at ActionFest 2011 on Saturday, April 9 at 7pm.

This is the feature film debut of Trish Stratus. She also co-produced.

It was independently produced and filmed in Toronto.

BAIL ENFORCERS is McBrearty's second feature film directing gig. His first film was PSYCHO WARD (2007).

There are outtakes during the closing credits.

The movie's status is listed as "Unknown" on, and you still can't rate it yet.

Aftertaste: The acting is hit-and-miss. Zupancic is pretty stiff. He reminded me of Jon Hamm without the acting chops. Phillips steals the movie as the comic relief. Unfortunately, Phillips was the lone star of BAIL ENFORCERS not to appear at the festival. Stratus is the main attraction, and the camera loves her. We get to see her in a schoolgirl outfit, and there's plenty of butt cleavage in the gym scene.

The story is so-so. Again, it's the action that makes the movie worth watching. Fight coordinator Riff Havok pulls off some nice-looking fights in close quarters, e.g., a restaurant bathroom and the back of an ambulance. The ambulance scene might be the most impressive.

The whole time I kept thinking of BARB WIRE: hot bounty hunter who also works at a strip club. Pam Anderson got naked though, which was really the only redeeming part of her movie. She ended up with a Razzy.

I hope Stratus will use this as a springboard into bigger roles, and I'd be interested in her next venture.


Bangkok Knockout (2010) - ActionFest Buffet 2.0: Plate #5

On the Menu:

Chatchapol Kulsiriwoottichai, Sarawoot Kumsorn, Sorapong Chatree, Gitabak Agohjit, Supakson Chaimongkol, Virat Kemgrad, Krittiya Lardphanna and Speedy Arnold. Directed by Panna Rittikrai. Run time: 107 minutes. Rated: Unrated.

At First Bite: For the first films of Day 3 of ActionFest 2011, I decided to choose this over the 1978 Burt Reynolds flick HOOPER. The other choice was LARGO WINCH, which I had seen the night before. The program mentioned it was the international premiere of the Thai film from director Rittikrai, who was the mentor of Tony Jaa (ONG BAK). I just knew there was going to be a lot of action in it.

A team of stuntmen win a challenge in order to go to Hollywood to star in a film. Well, that's what they were told anyway. During a night of celebration, they're drugged and taken to an area full of abandoned warehouses. Also, one of their girl companions has been kidnapped.

It's all part of the show though. They've become contestants in a game similar to THE RUNNING MAN set up by what appears to be an American. Basically, they end up fighting for their lives while rich people sit in the back of a truck taking bets.

Tough to Swallow: The acting all-around is pretty bad, especially from the group of bettors.

Something to Chew On: Rittikrai portrays the leader of the opposing fighters.

Aftertaste: The movie is chock full of awkward moments, flashbacks, crazy characters and broken English. As I mentioned before, the acting is pretty much horrible. Most of the audience I was with got a few good laughs in at the expense of the villains, e.g., the flamboyant fighting transvestite.

However, the reason to watch this movie is for the stunts. Period.

The wow factor increases with each stunt in the film. One scene includes a death-mobile and a masked man who just won't die (a la Jason Voorhees). You will definitely catch yourself watching this movie on the edge of your seat with your mouth hanging open. It's amazing these people didn't kill themselves trying to do some of this stuff.

I wouldn't necessarily seek it out unless you really love action films.