JunkHead

Posted by terry flemings | Ballin' Movies, Movies

I personally didn’t get to see too many films at this years Fantastic Fest, but this film is one of the best I’ve seen since 2012. Before I begin, Ballers, you must first understand the amount of work that was put into this film. Takahide Hori has spent nearly 7 years creating this stop-motion animated masterpiece with little to no help. The visuals alone look as though he had backing from some big production company, but he did it all himself. That alone is an impressive feat but that’s not what makes this film fantastic. Hori first hooks us with a juicy sci-fi plot, humans achieved near immortality but lost the ability to procreate, so clones were created to help with menial tasks. Eventually, the clones rebel and move underground. Pretty good so far, then he skips us to 1300 years in the future, humans are dying and need to go underground to see how the clones have managed to survive and evolve. Reading that description in the fantastic fest program had me hooked. Once the film began I did have some reservations about the stop motion being clunky but was surprised at how well animated and smooth the characters and creatures moved. Not only did the visuals keep me interested but the soundtrack used was top notch, especially the action scenes. The story was paced pretty well and was able to provide a good backstory to important characters with out making the film drag on. Without going into spoilers, I’ll say the film had everything: thrills, chills, action, adventure, comedy and even a scene that had me tear up a bit. As of now, JunkHead doesn’t have a distributor. But Takahide has the 30 minutes know as Junk Head part 1 on youtube. Check it out here.

See You on the Other Side

Posted by Traci Marie Mondragon | Movies, TV

A Spoiler-Free Review of Stranger Things

by Traci Mondragon

From the synth beats that made my heart burst, to the superb acting by a group of very talented children… Stranger Things is everything I never knew I needed in a Netflix series.

StrangerThings2

Set in 1980’s small town Indiana, this eerie tale of missing children and monsters takes its viewers on a roller coaster ride of nostalgia and fright. I loved every second of this show and cried as I watched the finale. As a child of the 80’s, I, like so many others, fully embraced the awesome clothes, and am SALIVATING over the announcement of the release of a soundtrack. Which, by the way, was composed by Austin’s own S U R V I V E. But beyond all the feels we got from the incredibly detailed 80’s vibe of Stranger Things, this show was about monsters. Those we fight against for freedom, those we fight in the Upside Down, and those we fight within ourselves.

It all begins with the disappearance of Will Byers (Noah Schnapp). His mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), will stop at nothing to save him, because although most of the town believes he’s dead, she knows in her heart (and with the help of some strategically placed Christmas lights) that he’s very much alive. Raise your hand if you had flashbacks to “summoning spirits” with the Ouija Board in your older cousin’s living room when your parents were out for the night! I know I did. Joyce teams up with Sherriff Hopper, a man fighting his own inner demons, and his investigative prowess leads to many discoveries.

Will’s friends Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) know he’s alive too, and they devise a plan of their own to rescue him. It is on their first late-night mission that they discover a young girl named Eleven, played by the outstanding Millie Bobby Brown, who ends up being the key to the mystery in so many ways. And completely steals my heart.

When another local kid goes missing (the ever-stylish Barb, played by Shannon Purser), her best friend Nancy (Mia Sara look-alike Natalia Dyer) teams up with local loner and brother of the missing Will, Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) to find out the truth. As they uncover pieces of the puzzle themselves, this dynamic duo decides to wage an all-out war against the monster.

The audience nervously watches as these three dream teams, each in its own way, discovers more and more about the place where Will and Barb are taken, and how to get them back. We anxiously wait for them all to figure out that the others are also searching for the same things, and you long for them to join forces to defeat the monster, the evil Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine), and their own insecurities. Each of these characters, in one way or another, feel like outsiders in their small-town world. But they all turn into heroes as we see the plot unfold and reach its climax.

From the first frame, we are sucked into this strange world, and we can’t help but see every single Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and Wes Craven reference thrown in to bring to light one of THE most entertaining series of the decade. The crazy talented and imaginative Duffer Brothers have taken us all on an incredibly chilling journey. And I can’t wait to be sucked in again and again.

StrangerThings

Artwork by Kyle Lambert