World War Z Review

Cover of "World War Z: An Oral History of...

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The next pandemic will come, as all experts have agreed. The only thing they cannot agree upon is when and what the pandemic will be. Maybe it won’t be as comparatively harmless as the bird flu or swine flu. Then again, German-Swiss director Marc Forster has placed a certain twist on things. His new movie “World War Z“, a spectacular blockbuster that takes up the theme of an apocalyptic action-packed construct, has raging zombies at the pinnacle of the next pandemic. Blair Stover has more on this bloody, flesh-eating flick below.

Forster manages to create an incredibly intense and gripping thriller whose narrative shortcomings are filled with 3D action-storms. This zombie blockbuster is more of a massacre-human rather than a movie that can be considered fun for the whole family (13 and above).

After the outbreak of a zombie pandemic, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), a field-proven former investigator of the United Nations, is hell-bent on getting his family to safety. His former boss Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) offers to help. Together with his wife, Karen (Mireille Enos) and their two children, Constance (Sterling Jerins) and Rachel (Abigail Hargrove), the family makes their way from Philadelphia to New York.

Things rapidly grow out of control and before the U.S. knows it, three billion are infected. Gerry teams up with researcher Dr. Andrew Barrel Bach (Elyes fork) and a SWAT team in South Korea to find an antidote. If you want plenty of action and special effects, you got it. But it lacks in plenty of other areas.

Conclusion: Narrative shortcomings diminish the pleasure of the global scavenger hunt as well as the family-friendly option of the movie. But the adrenaline-soaked zombie action-thriller “World War Z” has grandiose values and that makes it a decent summer blockbuster.

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What’s Ado About ‘Much Ado’

Joss Whedon at the 2009 Comic Con in San Diego.

Joss Whedon at the 2009 Comic Con in San Diego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the successful filming of Avengers, Director Joss Whedon decided to turn his attention to Shakespeare for a couple of weeks, quite literally?

His adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing took a mere 12 days to complete in Santa Monica, reveals Bellwether Films, the company Whedon and his wife Kai Cole designed.

The director chose several of his closest friends to help him make the movie, something of which is unprecedented. Alex Denisof and Amy Acker are teaming up once again (Buffy the Vampire Slayer series) as Benedict and Beatrice, Firefly hero Nathan Fillion plays Dogberry and Clark Gregg plays Leonato. Fran Kranz, Tom Lenk, Sean Maher and Jillian Morgese also have roles.

Whedon, who directed the Avengers, is best known for his series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. No one was expecting a Shakespeare classic to come from the famous director, especially in such a short amount of time

The play combines tragedy with comedy and walks the fine line of humor and sadness. Whedon, with years of experience, uses his personal relationships with his friends to ensure that this movie is one that will stand the test of time.

Kenneth Branagh, a good friend of Whedon, also made an adaptation of the same Shakespearean play in 1993 and received some excellent tips from the famous actor and director. Even though this “home movie” by Whedon was shot in such a short amount of time, critics are calling it one of the best-filmed Shakespeare comedies ever.

We’ll be looking for this in theaters ourselves here at Blair Stover Films. Will you be seeking out this rendition, or is Shakespeare not your thing?

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Star Trek: Into Darkness Review

Zachary Quinto

Zachary Quinto (Photo credit: Digitas Photos)

The layer of dust that the “Star Trek” franchise had accumulated over the years ended when JJ Abrams decided to bring it back with his first motion picture of Star Trek in 2009. It had done so well that Abrams decided to go back for more and this time it left nothing to chance.

As fans of the original series, we’re excited by the new film and have compiled a brief overlook (mostly spoiler free!) of the new movie here on Blair Stover Film Review.

Star Trek: Into  Darkness catapulted itself into blockbuster status as soon as it hit the big screen. The movie is in the guise of a monstrous-sized superhero epic, but kept the majority of the hardcore trekkers at bay with technological perfection.

It is an emotionally charged, highly modern terrorism drama and a tremendously fast-paced 3D sci-fi action film with bombastic show values.

English: Chris Pine poses for a photograph at ...

English: Chris Pine poses for a photograph at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait following a screening of Star Trek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The crew, headed by Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) violates the Prime Directive of the Federation: non-interference in the affairs of other cultures and species. This is one of the basis on which the movie is made.

Kirk’s mentor, played by Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood), deprives him of the command of the “Enterprise” and puts him back to the rank of first lieutenant. But the turmoil of a devastating terrorist attack, changes everything.

Spock (Zachary Quinto) is back as Kirk’s first officer and he finds himself in some tight situations throughout the movie. And Leonard Nimoy is back for his cameo appearance, but it is a smaller appearance than before. For those fans, which are waiting for a William Shatner appearance, you are going to have to wait a little longer as he isn’t in this Star Trek movie.

Star Trek: Into Darkness is as modern and as enormous a crashing blockbuster as any movie can be. While some die-hard fans may take issue with some finer plot points, for more casual fans and those who love a great sci-fi film, this one is for you.




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‘Mama’ Film Review

‘Mama’ is a creepy horror film that follows the life of two abandoned daughters and the ‘Mama’ that stuck with them even after they were found. Blair Stover has the spooky details below.

The film begins when a man kills three people in his office, goes home to grab his daughters and then takes off on an icy mountain road. Their car slips off the side of a cliff, completely wrecking the vehicle. The three of them stumble out and find a creepy shed out in the woods.

The father abandons the girls in the woods where they stayed for five years until their uncle Lucas found them. The girls were frightened and feral, screeching on all fours.

It turns out that the two girls were raised in the shed by a ghost they called Mama. Mama would float in and out of walls, always flitting around the edge of the screen. The girls had a diet of cherries and moths during their time in the shed.

Mama was a creepy character who was extremely maternal and protective over the two girls. The more we learn about Mama, the more we find out that she is very malnourished and misunderstood.

While ‘Mama’ is a spooky film, it definitely has its flaws. The scenes leading up to the climax are rushed, the editing is choppy, but the ending of the film has some extreme power.

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Tips for Creating Short Films

Short films can be a fun way to experiment and a great way to gain experience. Be creative but make sure to hit all the major beats of a film.

Blair Stover has put together a list of tips to help you create short films.

  1.  Choose a popular genre- The best genres to film are horror, comedy, and musicals- all genres that provoke an emotional response from the audience.
  2. Keep it short- A shorter running film has a greater chance of getting into film festivals. Two to five minutes is preferred, ten minutes at the very most.
  3. Imagery is key- When shooting your film, limit the number of shots and special effects. Focus your energy on fewer shots to make them more impressive.
  4. Make sure you’re remembered- Make the audience laugh out loud or jump out of their seats. Do something to make them remember you the next day.
  5. Write, don’t act- Do not act in your own film, find other people to do the acting for you. Only cast friends or significant others if they are absolutely right for the part.
  6. It’s ok to make a niche film- You can pick what audience that you want to serve. Explore your own interests and cultural background. This may be the only time in your career where you aren’t restricted to certain rules.
  7. Keep it simple- Make sure your film contains a simple sequence of events with an immediate problem that evokes some kind of emotion from the audience.

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8 Low-Budget Filmmaking Tips

If you’re looking to break into the filmmaking business but do not have the budget, follow these tips that Blair Stover has put together.

  1.  Get feedback- When beginning to write, it’s important to get feedback. Send your draft to multiple; friends family, and try to find a professional writer.
  2. Simple is key- For your first film, keep everything simple. Try to keep it in one location and have just a few actors. To keep with your budget, don’t use any special effects or crazy stunts.
  3. Create a plan- Make a list of everything you need to keep under your budget. Use friends as actors or find people on film forums to help. Keep the location simple; use your own home or neighborhood. Create a schedule to keep things organized.
  4. Equipment- Be creative when looking for equipment. Borrow or beg if you have to. Use a home camera, household lamps and other items around the house to help.
  5. Good sound is a MUST- Bad sound can ruin a good film. Hire a decent boom mic.
  6. Keep your crew happy- Provide your cast and crew with food and beverages. A happy cast and crew will make your job much easier.
  7. Post production- You don’t need fancy editing equipment to create your film. Use iMovie or Movie Maker on your own computer. Once a rough cut is created, invite friends and family to view it.
  8. Viewing your film- Try to find other filmmakers who are trying to get their film viewed. Chip in and hire a cinema to show all your films. Everyone will invite friends and family so you will have an instant audience.
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‘Gangster Squad’ Film Review

‘Gangster Squad’ is a film that takes place in the 1940’s in postwar Hollywood. The movie is inspired by a video game, which was inspired by a book that is based on real events. Blair Stover has the film details below.

The film is a story about a vigilante ‘squad’ that is tasked by a cop, John O’Mara, to take down LA gangster Mickey Cohen and his men by busting his dope smuggling operation by any means possible. Instead of tailing the men taking off with the drugs, John’s squad engages them in a high speed car chase that is full of gunfire and explosions.

When the squad finally catches the men, O’Mara interrogates the criminals then shoots them in the back of the legs, before rolling them down a hill. The movie jumps back and forth from a comic book roller coaster to a gritty crime fiction which gives the film an uneven feel.

Due to the cast of the film, ‘Gangster Squad’ was never going to be a complete bust. While the movie gives it a good shot, it can never truly capture the spirit and intensity that the novel portrays.

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‘A Haunted House’ Film Review

The film ‘A Haunted House’ is an attempt to parody the genre of horror movies that use hand-held cameras and follow paranormal activity.

The film stars Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins who play a couple, Malcolm and Kisha that have decided to move in together. Malcolm is a happy-go-lucky homeowner who is very excited to open his home to his girlfriend. The two begin experiencing problems before Kisha even gets out of her car when she accidently runs over Malcolm’s dog.

It turns out that Kisha brought more than just her belongings to Malcolm’s house, she also brought along demons, ghosts, evil spirits, and herpes. Cedric the Entertainer shows up in the film as a priest who has come to the couple to perform an exorcism.

The film has an overabundance of immature jokes and offensive gags that were probably a lot funnier on paper and during the filming process than they were on screen. Blair Stover recommends saving your money and waiting for this film to come out on video.

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‘Django Unchained’ Film Review

‘Django Unchained’ is an extremely violent, provocative, and entertaining film that is nothing less than amazing. Blair Stover has the film details below.

The film is set two years before the Civil War and is meant to show the ugliness of racism and the pure horror of slavery. The film follows Django, an unshackled slave, and a bounty hunter named King Schultz. The two have run-ins with all sorts of Southern characters while catching “most wanted” bad guys and searching for Broomhilda, Django’s wife.

Tarantino yet again shows that he is a true artist with a passion for gory movies and filmmaking. ‘Django Unchained’ is the perfect portrayal of this with its blood-spurting shootouts, cheeky dialogue, and amazing soundtrack.

‘Django Unchained’ proves to be one of Tarantino’s best films with its unique characters, beautiful plantation set pieces, and well-staged action scenes.

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Best Movie Villains of 2012

In 2012 there were some great films that featured some amazing villains. Blair Stover Film Reviews has put together a list of the top 10 villains of 2012.

10.       Charlie Costello- Seven Psychopaths

Woody Harrelson plays Charlie Costello, a LA gangster who goes crazy after his beloved Shih Tazu is stolen by some dog-nappers. Harrelson’s performance provides the perfect amount of violent insanity, mixed with a touch of hilarity.

9.         The Evil Queen- Snow White and the Huntsman

Charlize Theron and her Evil Queen are the best thing about this film. The Evil Queen proves just how evil she can be with her desire to seek to be the fairest in the land.

8.         Killer Joe- Killer Joe

Matthew McConaughey’s character manipulates the family at the heart of the story to make sure that he continues as a Texas lawman who is completely absent of morals.

7.         Charlie Rakes- Lawless

Guy Pearce plays Charlie Rakes in Lawless, a dangerous lawman with no remorse. He will do whatever it takes to enforce the Prohibition laws which strikes fear in all those who cross his path.

6.         Javert- Les Miserables

Russell Crowe’s character uses maddening methods in the way he goes after Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean. Valjean did his time in jail for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family but for some reason, Javert wants to put this guy away for life.

5.         Calvin Candie- Django Unchained

Calvin Candie is played by Leonardo DiCaprio and is a heartless plantation owner who is doing whatever it takes to keep two lovers from being together.

4.         President Snow- The Hunger Games

President Snow ensures that the yearly kill-fest between youths from different districts goes on without any problems. Snow is cool, calm, and collected but is completely evil when dealing with the lives of children.

3.         Raoul Silva- Skyfall

Silva is calculated in his death dealing on his mission to seek revenge aimed at Judi Dench’s M.

2.         Loki- Avengers

Loki unleashes hell and is the reason that the team of superheroes come together. His only downfall is his enormous ego which eventually lands him in trouble.

1.      Bane- The Dark Knight Rises

Finding someone to follow in Heath Ledger’s shoes after his amazing performance as The Joker could have been a very difficult task. Bane seeks to start a revolution in the streets of Gotham and by doing so, sends Batman within inches of his death.

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