Monthly Archives: April 2020

 

One of the great initiates that has started up during our pandemic lockdown is that Monster Pictures have re-started their Friday Night Frights but are doing it online. The film screening tonight is the deserved Australian cult classic SheBorg Massacre. We decided that was the perfect excuse to catch up with filmmaker Daniel Armstrong who since directing SheBorg Massacre has also released Tarnation and is currently in post-production for his latest film Nova Star.

“Hopefully it will help kick a few of the lockdown blues in the nuts,” says Armstrong laughing when we begin to talk about SheBorg Massacre being part of Friday Night Frights. “I only found out about a few days ago, but it should be pretty fun… it should be pretty cool. I checked out Cat Sick Blues when it was on the other week, it is a good thing to do when you are a stuck at home, let the internet entertain you.”

As our discussion goes on we start to think back to the early days of when SheBorg Massacre was still in its infancy. “That is going back to far,” he says laughing again. “I think we shot in 2015 so I probably would have written it back in early 2014. What I remember is coming up with a title – originally it was called SheBorg Prison Massacre. I thought ‘that is the best name for a film, I should write that.’ So I remember writing that and then we couldn’t find a prison or something that looked like a prison to shoot in, but we did know a guy that had a farm that looked like a puppy farm. They were actually old chicken coops but we thought it looked like a really dodgy puppy farm.”

“So then I changed the name to Sheborg Puppy Farm Massacre and then we dropped the Puppy Farm part because it offended too many people,” he says continuing. “Then it became SheBorg Massacre. But yeah it started with a title.”

Despite the film being made on a micro-budget the film does actually contain actual stunts. At one point a car is crashed into a tree and at another point actress Whitney Duff is left climbing on the side of a moving van. That led me to ask how Armstrong shot stunts like that while filming on such a low budget. “To drive into the tree we just had an insane person who was willing to drive a car into a tree,” he explains. “So we just did that for real, we actually drove the car into the tree. With the van stunt we actually got a stunt co-ordinator and we got him in for the day and Whitney is actually wired onto that car. She was talked to about how the best way to do it but otherwise the car is actually driving around with her hanging off the side and back of it. She has a harness connected to the back of the car somewhere so in theory she can’t fall off, and she didn’t fall off so I guess it all went well.”

One of the highlights of the film are the amazing performances of Whitney Duff and Daisy Masterman so I just had to ask Armstrong how he went about discovering both of them. “It is the chemistry between Whitney and Daisy that makes the film fun to watch,” admits Armstrong. “They become legitimately good friends during pre-production and that really shows. That energy really helps you enjoy the film.”

“Whitney just auditioned,” he says continuing. “I don’t know where she would have seen the casting call but she just auditioned and I wrote the part for Daisy. I had worked with Daisy on Murderdrome, she had a very, very small part in that but she was extremely funny and I thought we should put her in a bigger part. I always knew that she was going to be Eddie so Daisy came to all the auditions that people came to for the Dylan character which is the character that Whitney plays. Then we kind of just judged on which applicant had the best chemistry with Daisy on the spot.”

To finish up we let Daniel say something special for all of you out there who are going to tune into SheBorg Massacre tonight. “If you all enjoy the film as much as we did making it then we enjoyed making it twice as much as you,” he says. “Hopefully you just enjoy it, I think it is entertaining and I think it is fun. It obviously has its flaws but it does do some really cool stuff. I think it is just entertaining and fun to watch – it has a good heart.”

 

SheBorg Massacre screens tonight as part of Monster Picture’s Friday Night Frights series.

 

 

Bill Sage (American Psycho, “Power”) and Jeremy London (Mallrats, The Devil’s Dozen) star in writer-director Miles Doleac’s The Dinner Party, coming to theaters, DVD and Digital this June from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Renowned surgeon and culinary enthusiast, Carmine Braun, invites playwright, Jeffrey Duncan, and his wife to join his eccentric friends at their semi-annual dinner party, having promised to fund Duncan’s new play to Broadway. As the evening descends into madness, the group’s true intentions are revealed, along with an ancient secret that will change the Duncans’ lives and fortunes forever.

Lindsay Anne Williams, Mike Mayhall, Alli Hart, Ritchie Montgomery and Miles Doleac also star.

The Dinner Party will hit theaters June 5 (TBC), be available on DVD and Digital from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Fandango Now, Xbox, Dish Network, Direct TV and through local cable providers.

 

Guitarist Gus G (born Konstantinos Karamitroudis) has made a name for himself as a guitarist playing with some of the greats in the industry including Ozzy Osbourne, Kamelot and Arch Enemy. Outside of that though he has been the guitarist for his own band – Firewind – for twenty-two years. Now after a dramatic line-up change the band are back with a brand new album – titled Firewind – so we thought it was time to sit down and have a chat with Gus G himself.

When we talk to Gus he has been in lockdown for a over a month and he says he has been using the time to write but also refresh. “I wrote some stuff,” he says. “But I haven’t been writing religiously every day. Lately I have been caught up with a lot of press over the past two weeks, maybe even three weeks. So yeah a lot of press and a lot of time on the phone. Then all these live streams came up and all these people started asking about live streams. It’s okay but I can’t imagine spending my life doing live streams.”

That leads me to ask how the lockdown has affected their brand new album being released. “You are right about that a lot of artists have been scared about that,” he says when I mention that some artists have decided to hold off releasing albums while their fans are in lockdown. “I did ask AFM Records about this and they thought we should continue. My idea was maybe that we should wait a little bit but they said let’s continue.”

“For me though the big problem is not about us putting out an album and then not being able to tour,” he explains. “For me the big issue is are people who want them able to go out and get physical copies of the album. I mean can you ship stuff overseas at the moment? Can you ship records to Australia? Can you ship records to America? So yeah that has been my main question, or even in Europe, will shops be open? But they are confident that it is going to work out by mid-May. So I really just play ball with them.”

The virus aside though I started to talk to Gus about the things that were inspiring him when he first started to put this album together. “I literally just started writing,” he says. “Like normal I just started to write. I have this folder where I just stockpile riffs and I’ll go through that and find things that are just a few months old and then I just re-work them. That is how I have been writing the last few years.”

“I just started working on the material and I thought that there was some pretty cool stuff on there,” he goes onto explain. “I knew it was a little bit different to the last album, there was some hard rock stuff there and there was some classic metal stuff and the traditional power metal stuff but there were all these other elements there as well. I wasn’t sceptical but I knew that with material this diverse that we would need to have really good vocals that would tie it all together so we could have a cohesive album.”

That leads me to ask about Gus bringing in new members to Firewind – largely brand new vocalist Herbie Langhans. “It was stressful,” says Gus when he starts to recount how the changes came about. “I did not think it was going to happen in the middle of production. We had already recorded the music and then we went on tour with Queensryche in Europe and I realised in the middle of all that that there was something wrong. I realised that things were not going to work out and when I came back from the tour I had to make some big decisions.”

“First of all our keyboard player was not up to touring anymore,” he continues. “So I said maybe he should stay home more and he said he wanted to start his own studio and stuff. That gave me a chance to really re-imagine the band and this was the chance to do what I saw. With our singer he had some health issues and he was not sure about future touring, of course that was totally opposite to the plans I had for the band. And I get that, that is life but I had to continue.”

That shifts our conversation around to Herbie Langhans. “Herbie I didn’t know before,” admits Gus. “So he is the new guy and we are kind of finding out about each other as we go along. The first thing we had to work out was if there was a work chemistry between us and whether he could commit to the recording the tour plans. Basically we went from there because you won’t really know someone until you go on a tour bus together or fly around the world for eighteen months together, then you know what kind of person they are like.”

 

Firewind is out through AFM Records on May 15th.

 

 

 

For Canberra rockers Biilmann 2020 is turning into a really big year. The band kicked off 2020 with the release of their powerful debut single “Bad Man/Good Intentions” that was quickly picked up by over fifty radio stations including Triple M. Now the band are about to release their debut EP so I sat down and had a chat with frontman Jack Biilmann to find out a little more about the band that everybody is talking about.

“This is a new band that my brother and I hatched a few years ago,” says Biilmann when we begin our chat by talking about how the band started out. “We played around with the idea for awhile because I play as a singer/songwriter and have another side to my career and I have always done that. But I have always wanted to rock out and I have that beast inside of me and I had done a lot of solo touring and I just felt like I needed a break from all of that. I also needed a new exciting project to inspire me.”

“At the same time I had been writing a lot of rock & roll riffs,” he says continuing. “My brother listens to predominantly heavy music – stuff like Parkway Drive – and we are not as heavy as that but anything heave he kind of thrives on so we got together and just started to write these heavy riffs. Then Toddy who plays bass with my solo project he is really into rock as well so he came on board and then we decided we wanted to thicken it up so we brought in another guitarist and then suddenly we had this four piece rock band.”

With the band members all seeming to like different kinds of music I asked Biilmann what it was like the first few times they all got together and tried to find a sound for the band. “Yeah we all do have different musical backgrounds,” he admits. “But we had all kind of agreed that we wanted to just play something really heavy. We wanted really heavy, tight riffs that created that really heavy rock sound. Basically with all that in mind we just all brought our influences along so the band just took off with the rest of the stuff. We were all on the same page with what we wanted to achieve and we were all strictly going for the one thing and we just all brought it together with all the boys from the different backgrounds.”

When it comes to the lyric writing for the band though everything falls on Biilmann himself. “I do all the lyric writing,” he says. “Usually with my solo stuff over the years I have written about common things, things that are happening in my life and telling stories, as a singer/songwriter that is kind of the road that you go down, but with this this felt like I wanted to create a little more mystery in the minds of the listener. There are a couple of songs that have that story telling element but that is always going to shine through with anything I do I think, but I think really I just wanted to put things out there and the listener could have their own take rather than it just being a black and white story.”

With the band in lockdown at the moment they have had to cancel their upcoming shows but help them out by buying a copy of the EP and a merch pack from their Facebook page.

 

Sink Like A Stone EP is out now.

 

 

When delving into the history of Scandinavian metal it is hard to go past the name Mercyful Fate. Led by King Diamond on vocals and the amazing Hank Shermann on guitars the band has been mixing prog metal with elements of black metal from the early 1980s. There are been some breaks in-between but the band are still going strong and are about to celebrate the re-release of some their early albums.

I was lucky enough to chat to Shermann who was in partial lockdown in Denmark at the time and we had a lengthy discussion not only about the re-releases but about the band’s history in general.

“The slogan for these are ‘back to the originals’,” says Shermann with a laugh when we begin to talk about the new re-issues that Metal Blade Records are about to bring out. “That means that these release are untouched. We were so lucky to be able to get hold of the original production that was sent to the record label back in ’82, ’83 and ’84. Those have been acquired from Warner Bros. They had them all in a vault and Metal Blade have been able to buy our back catalogue from them and these master tapes were all part of the deal.”

“So we have just decided to let them be as they were,” he explains. “That was how they were intended to be back then, so the only thing that has been done is that they have been digitised and then they are going to be released on CD and also on vinyl. All the album artwork is going to be exactly as it was back then. So I know these albums have been released before but that was more from Roadrunner who wanted to cash-in a little bit with some special digi-packing and they totally destroyed it in the mastering so it sounded awful. For that reason this time we just wanted to do it the right way – keeping it totally original.”

Shermann also admits that when they were able to sit down and listen to the original recordings it was a time to reminisce about the band’s history. “Yeah it was, it was like we were only children when we started our career,” he says honestly. “It was a good time, we were actually in our early twenties when we started our career. We did the mini-album and then Melissa and Don’t Break The Oath a year after. You know I listened to them because I have been preparing to play them live and I have been carefully listening to them so I don’t miss any note. I recently found out that I played one note slightly differently and it was on all the versions that I heard recorded so I finally corrected that little detail. But yeah you do get a kick out of listening to your own songs thirty-five years later It is all pretty cool.”

That leads me to ask that if somebody had said to the band back then that forty years later they would be still together and recording new music what would they said back. “I don’t think any band back at that time knew that a rock band could last so long,” he says after stopping to think for a moment. “So now here we are forty years later and we have The Rolling Stones still going strong. And then we you come to heavier bands you have Judas Priest and you have Black Sabbath just saying goodbye, so of course from today’s perspective we have some hope that we can continue this new beginning for at least another five years or more. But back then we were living in the right now, we were living in the present not in the past or the future, we were never thinking too far ahead, everything was in the right now. That was just the way it was then.”

As Shermann continues to look back to the past I asked him how it felt for them when they got there first recording contract. “Back then it was all about getting that contract,” he says. “That made you feel like you had made it. We made our first demo recording in April 1981, then later in that year we did three or four more demo tapes and those tapes were floating around in Holland and in San Francisco for some reason. Then eventually we got approached by a Dutch record label who offered for us to record a four song EP, we signed the contract and then we felt like ‘wow we have made it.’ That was just the way it was back then!”

 

The Mercyful Fate re-issues will be released by Metal Blade Records over the following months so please keep an eye out for them.

 

 

Summary: An over-the-hill hitman faces off against a younger clone of himself.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: 10th October 2019

Thailand Cinema Release Date: 16th November 2019

Australian Home Entertainment Release Date: 22nd January 2020

Country: United States, China

Director: Ang Lee

Screenwriter: David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke

Cast: E.J. Bonilla (Marino), Justin James Boykin (Connor), Ralph Brown (Del Patterson), Marc Demeter (Agent Demeter), Christopher T. Elliott (John), Linda Emond (Janet Lassiter), Douglas Hodge (Jack Willis), Clive Owen (Clay Verris), Will Smith (Henry Brogan/Junior), Igor Szasz (Valery Dormov), Ilia Volok (Yuri Kovacs), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Danny Zakarewski), Benedict Wong (Baron)

Running Time: 117 mins

Classification: M (Australia) 15 (Thailand)

 

 

OUR GEMINI MAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths Review:

Know your limits! It is the kind of thing that would expect to say to a first time director who wants to bury themselves in an overly-ambitious cinematic project that is destined to fail. It is hardly the kind of thing that you would think a studio or producer would have to tell an experienced, Oscar winning director like Ang Lee.

As far as filmmaking goes Lee has always been someone that has never been afraid to push the envelope. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon saw him bring Asian cinema to the American mainstream, while Brokeback Mountain tackled taboo topics in such a way it once again showed why cinema plays an important part in opening up discussions in society. Then there was Life Of Pi   – a film which used CGI in a way that no other director had ever dared to imagine.

Therefore it probably shouldn’t have been a surprise when it was announced that Lee’s new film Gemini Man would once again attempt to use cutting edge technology to bring its audience something new and fresh. The technology that Lee decided to use saw the film shot digitally at an extra-high frame rate of 120 frames per second and then modified to 3D. Lee thought the finished product would make audiences feel like they were standing right there amongst the action, instead what has been delivered is a film that is such a terrible cinematic experience it is on par with M. Night Shyamalan’s fall with grace when he helmed the ill-fated The Last Airbender.

When it comes to plot Gemini Man is made up of a story that action heroes like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger would have fallen over themselves to be involved with back in the 1990s. Will Smith plays Henry Brogan one of the Government’s top hitmen. After a hit becomes too close for comfort for Brogan he decides to retire but when he learns a painful secret about his career he suddenly finds another agent, Danny Zakarweski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), is sent to kill him. Then after explaining to her that she is mistaken an even deadlier enemy arrives to finish off the job –a clone of Brogan’s younger self.

With a plot a lot like that you could easily imagine a film that could well deliver an intense exploration of a topic like cloning while delivering all the suspense of a big action blockbuster, sadly though Gemini Man just doesn’t deliver at all. First of all it looks bad. You may remember that this type of extra-high frame rate film technique failed miserable when it was trialled on The Lord Of The Rings franchise and here it does exactly the same thing for exactly the same reason. The problem is it leaves the image way too clear, that results in a sun-drenched look that you would normally see on a television soap like The Bold And The Beautiful. And while some may say that yes that does make the audience feel part of the action that crystal clear vision also means that the filmmaker can no longer ‘hide’ all the magic of cinema. Suddenly fake blood is identifiable as fake blood and as we see here a stunt-man filling in for Will Smith is forced to cover his face in an absolutely ludicrous way so the audience can’t tell that he isn’t Smith. Yes, for the motorcycle sequence you will be gasping in wonder but for the rest of the film you will be groaning with disappointment.

If the visual aspects of Gemini Man doesn’t have you groaning I can guarantee that some of the cheesy lines and woeful dialogue certainly will. There is a scene in this film between Danny, Brogan and the clone where the dialogue is so bad that you would swear that it had been lifted from some terrible family soap opera. Then there is the cheesy dialogue throughout the film that feels like the screenwriter was desperate to try and deliver a catch-phrase but fails miserable. Hearing Brogan declare that he is from Philadelphia as he gives his life story does for once get the audience to laugh, but for all the wrong reasons as they recall the lyrics that Smith sang during the title credits of The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.

It is easy to see that what Ang Lee wanted to deliver with Gemini Man was an action film that went down in history for changing the face of cinema, what he has created though is a film so bad that it is likely to become a cult classic for the same reason The Room has become a must-see film – a film that shows young filmmakers how to make a film and has them laughing at the film from start to finish. Perhaps one day a filmmaker will take a look at something as serious as cloning in a way that can open up discussion for the audience but Gemini Man certainly isn’t that film. Like Ang Lee Will Smith rarely delivers a flop but somehow them working together has resulted in one of the worst films of the year.

 

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:

 

 

IMDB Rating:  Gemini Man (2019) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Gemini Man Reviews:

Our Gemini Man review that appeared in ‘The Phuket News’ can be read at this link – https://www.thephuketnews.com/double-trouble-will-smith-meets-will-smith-in-sci-fi-flop-gemini-man-73603.php

Trailer:

 

Stan today announced the highly anticipated premiere date for the brand new season of Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone, returning to Australia on Monday, 22 June only on Stan, same day as the U.S. – with new episodes weekly.

The third season of this acclaimed drama adds newcomer Josh Holloway (Lost) as Roarke Morris, a hedge fund manager with ambitious plans in Montana concerning the Dutton family.

Yellowstone was the most-watched 2019 summer series on U.S. cable TV. The series stars world-renowned actor and Oscar®-winner Kevin Costner as John Dutton, who controls the largest, contiguous ranch in the United States. Amid shifting alliances, unsolved murders, open wounds, and hard-earned respect; the ranch is in constant conflict with those it borders; an expanding town, an Indian reservation, and vicious business rivalries. Co-created by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) and John Linson (Sons of Anarchy), Yellowstone’s executive producers include John Linson, Art Linson, Taylor Sheridan, Kevin Costner, David C. Glasser, Bob Yari and Stephen Kay.

Yellowstone Season 3 premieres 22 June only on Stan, same day as the U.S. – with new episodes weekly.

 

Tiffani Fest, Felissa Rose and Dominique Swain star in director Jody Barton’s exceedingly clever FOR JENNIFER, available now On Demand from JB Films.

After a surprise horror themed birthday party, Jennifer gets a scare that leads to an accident. Jennifer is a horror blogger and huge horror movie fan. Her friends, to cheer her up after the accident, decide they could make a movie. They collect their gopro cameras and phones and begin to shoot. Soon, the discoveries of other low budget horror films similar to theirs begin to intersect with their own movie. This sends Jennifer on a journey to understand where these other “Jennifer” films came from. The journey leads to a discovery about the films she could never have imagined, and she realizes her participation has put her life, and the lives of her friends, in real danger. A danger they have to endure, whether by choice or not … if they want to make a good horror movie.

Lanett Tachel, Rich Finley and Nick Kekeris also star in the film. Nick Kekeris, James Cullen Bressack, Hunter Johnson and Frank Merle produce.