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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Salute Your Shorts: Liberator (2012)

Liberator 2012

Once the country’s most beloved superhero, Al Migliocetti aka “Liberator” (Lou Ferrigno) has really hit rock bottom. After being set up by the government for a crime he did not commit -- which resulted in a lengthy prison sentence -- Al is ready to set the record straight and finally get his life back together. As wonderful as this all sounds, Al has one major roadblock in his road to redemption, and that is the very people who set him up to take the fall. This gives Al only one option, and that’s to dust off his old costume and make a return as Liberator!

Directed by Aaron Pope, Liberator is less of a short film and, in true comic book nature, more of a first installment. The film is bookended by comic book panel sequences that help to give some exposition as well as fill in certain aspects that are well out of budgetary reach for such a modest project. Despite being a low-budget affair, however, Liberator is quite ambitious, featuring some moderately admirable special effects.  

There are moments where the filmmaking is a tad amateurish, specifically with some staging. On the other hand, however, there are also a handful of wonderfully crafted action sequences featuring impressive continuous shots and solid editing, which help to create a smooth and comprehensive flow of action that is quite exciting to watch. Some of the performances are awkward at times, and this includes Lou Ferrigno himself. Though, in the case of Ferrigno, his less than perfect performance is balanced out by a genuine level of sympathy and sincerity that the ever massive man brings to the table.

Liberator ends on a To Be Continued… note, which comes just as Al is going back to his Liberator roots to face off against his enemies, leaving the viewer with an exciting cliffhanger and a reason to look forward to a future installment. Regardless of whether or not that ever comes, Liberator works as a fairly entertaining comic book inspired short that is worth twenty minutes of your time, so long as you are a fan of such subject matter. If not, maybe the Don “The Dragon” Wilson cameo will be enough to sell you on the project.

If you’d like to check it out, you can rent or purchase Liberator on Amazon for $2.99.

Salute Your Shorts 3

Saturday, July 19, 2014

‘Torment’ (2013) Invades With Much Predictability

Torment 2013

Home invasion movies are as common as a cold, and while there is much versatility to be found within the genre, there are plenty of entries that follow a very specific and just as familiar formula. This would come to be the case with Jordan Baker’s Torment (2013), a Canadian lensed home invasion film that follows newlyweds Cory and Sarah (Robin Dunne and Katharine Isabelle) as they head to a secluded vacation home deep within the woods. With Cory’s 7-year-old son Liam (Peter DaCunha) in tow, the couple hope to break the tension between Sarah and the young Liam, who is struggling with the idea of his father being remarried after the death of his biological mother.   

This is the first time that Cory and Liam are visiting their old vacation home since Liam’s mother’s passing. This immediately brings about a lot of emotional problems for Liam, which he all too easily takes out on Sarah in a fashion that is offensively obnoxious. While dealing with an emotionally unstable child is more than enough for both Cory and Sarah to deal with, things get all the more complicated once it is discovered that squatters have been staying in the house.

Torment 2013 movie 1

Such a discovery greatly upsets Sarah, who no longer feels safe staying in the house. However, after much persuasion by Cory and a visit from a local police officer, Sarah is reassured enough to spend a night in the house. As you’d expect, however, Sarah’s first instincts were correct, as soon their little getaway is turned upside down when Liam goes missing, and the couple comes under attack by a group of masked lunatics. What ensues is a night of true terror, as each family member is forced to face various horrific situations while fighting for their survival.

Once the home invasion begins, Torment presents a few good scares and moments of genuine tension, but that tension is never prolonged due to the overall predictability of the story. From moment one, it’s frustratingly clear where the film is going to next, as each beat is easy to spot well before it hits. Regardless of a handful of impressive performances (specifically from Katharine Isabelle), the characters and their familial issues reek of familiarity. Even the antagonists feel like cookie cutter home invasion killers, adorned with animal masks and an ambiguous motivation best described as pedestrian.

Torment 2013 movie

Outside of being technically well-crafted, one of the few aspects of Torment that makes it a tolerable watch is that it’s incredibly short, coming in at less than 80 minutes. Regardless, the film still feels a little drawn out at times, though this is clearly due to the fact that it’s just so damn predictable. Again, it’s the lack of originality that makes Torment such an uninteresting movie to watch and, for the sake of this review,  even write about. It’s tough to crap all over a movie that is, at the very least, serviceable, but on the other hand, there is nothing about Torment that inspires me to put too much effort into peeling back the layers, because they simply aren't there to peel.

Monday, July 14, 2014

‘The Purge: Anarchy’ Prize Pack Giveaway!

Purge anarchy prize pack

The sequel to everyone’s favorite romantic comedy The Purge hits theaters on July 18th, so what better way to celebrate than by hosting a contest?! I actually haven’t seen The Purge as of yet, but the sequel looks infinitely more interesting than the first film. However, that could be do to the absence of Ethan Hawk, which is always a good thing, if you ask me.  

In any event, I have a pretty nifty prize pack to give away to one lucky winner, which includes the following:
- The Purge: Anarchy Promo T-shirt (size L)
- The Purge: Anarchy Promo Flashlight

To enter, all you have to do is leave comment below explaining your weapon of choice if a purge were to occur in real life. Be sure to include your email address as well, so I can notify you if you are indeed the winner winner chicken dinner.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, and all entries must be submitted by midnight, Monday, July 21st, with the winner being announced shortly afterwards. Until then, you can keep yourself busy playing with these fancy The Purge: Anarchy gifs. Just be sure to clean up after yourself, you damned savage.  

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