Friday, July 20, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman Review

Comic book movies have witnessed tremendous metamorphoses over the last decade. In the genre's infancy at the start of this century, comic book films were simply vehicles for action and dazzling effects. Thematically, they retained a light and aloof tone, often cheerful and positive in their output.  However, that all changed in the middle of the decade with the arrival of Christopher Nolan's "Batman" series; essentially a philosophical essay on the nature of the hero. Not only did the thematic profundity of Nolan's saga push the genre's expectations in new directions, but so did its tone. Gone were the days of lightness and camp; comic book movies needed to be dark, moody, profound. From that arise "V for Vendetta," "Watchmen," and most recently the "X-men" reboot and the upcoming Superman reboot. For the full review click here:

The Dark Knight Rises Review

Our critic David Salazar has reviewed the film through Latinos Post. Here is a snippet

The era of the blockbuster trilogy has consistently met with a similar fate and a daunting question in its wake: Why is Part three always a failure? The Star Wars series reached a high point of maturity and tragedy with "Empire Strikes Back" before reverting to juvenile fiction in hopes of tempering the darkness and ending the trilogy on a lighter tone. The Lord of Rings' final piece found itself unable to end comfortably and dragged long after the story had been concluded. In the realm of comic book movies, the third Spiderman movie never found an identity the way its two immediate predecessors could, leading to a lackluster ending.

Now comes Christopher Nolan's much anticipated conclusion to the most successful franchise of the last decade and that question naturally reasserts itself with a vengeance and in a twofold manner. Is "The Dark Knight Rises" a satisfying ending to the Batman trilogy? But the most prevalent aspect of that question is: Is this film better than its genre-defining predecessor? For the full review click here:

12 dead after Mass shooting

Century 16 Theater

After such an exciting night seeing the Dark Knight Rises, I woke up to the sad news of the shooting. Our prayers go out to the Families.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Today was the last day of films at LIIFE. Thankfully I was able to catch two blocks where I was able to see some wonderful films. Here are the five films that I most enjoyed.

5. Excuse me for Living-Ric Klass's new film Excuse Me For Living premiered its trailer. The trailer let us see that it will be a diverting and fun movie that I really want to check out when it hits the festival circuit or DVD.

The Darkest Game
4. The Darkest Game-Paul Connor has devised a film that is both satirical and serious in tone dealing with addiction. He tells the story of a man who becomes addicted to Yahtzee and ruins his life. The metaphor is brilliant, and ultimately powerful.

3. Peace Acqua-The film by Joesph Sguera tells the story of two estranged brothers. Walter sets out to make peace with his sister Sloane but when he tries to fix everything, it's too late. The end is one of the most surprising finales to any film I have seen in this festival. It is an unforgettable and cathartic film.

2.Jambo Jumbo-A documentary about ten complete strangers head off to Kenya to transform a run down school. In just ten days they discover more than the joy of giving back to humanity, they rediscover themselves. It is an uplifting journey that shows how a small group of people can make a difference and chance the life of hundreds of children. It is also very inspirational and it is a film that should definitely be seen. 

1.#Whilewewatch-Whilewewatch is a gripping look at the Occupy Wall Street movement. The images are powerful, raw and riveting and it shows the brutality these people went through during the protest. The film is 40 minutes and while I enjoyed it thoroughly I would have liked to know more about what these protesters were looking for and what their ultimate goal was. Still the film is a tour de force.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Today our film Conciliation finally premiered. Before the premiere we were interviewed by Channel 2 and we were asked about our film making process and about our film. After the premiere Dave and I went up for a Q and A where the audience had the opportunity to comment and ask many questions. We were really happy with the positive response and greatly appreciate all those who attended.

Here are couple of pictures during the Q and A:

During our screening a couple of films were also screened.

The one film that really impressed me was Busted (Mevuasim) an Isreali film that takes place entirely on a bus. The film tells the story of the Simchon family whose car is foreclosed and is forced to take the bus to school and work every day. Yecheskel, the director combines both animation and live action to great success making for a highly entertaining, comic and provoking film. It is one that ever day people can relate to making universal in many aspects. It is without a doubt one of the best films I have seen this year at the Festival.

Here are links to the previous days

Monday, July 16, 2012


Today was the fifth day of the film festival and I was able to go to two blocks watching a series of short films and a feature film. The following are the five films I most enjoyed from today.

5. One Night stand and Consequences-The film by Sylvain Giannetto tells the story of Nicolas who has a one night stand with Nina and then must confront her father. The film is frightening as Giannetto never reveals anything about the parents but shows them in extremely awkward and compromising situations. Giannetto sets  out to show the consequences of unsafe sex and brings it  to a conclusion that is unexpected.

4. Scraps-The film tells the story of a man who survives an earthquake. The film is visually stunning with very fine performances.

3. In Tune with you- The film tells the story of a distraught woman who can longer love her husband the same way. The film is heartbreaking and moving, yet positive in the long run. Unconditional love is the main theme and is so well brought into the film.

2. Transference Love-Upon reuniting with her estranged dad, Larisa becomes attracted to his new girlfriend. The film becomes sexually charged between the two women, breaking Larisa and her dads relationship for good.  

1. My Mother- The film by Sandra Seeling is a fun and comic yet emotionally compelling film which tells the story of a woman who must accept her mother the way she is. Sandra Seeling is a wonderful actress as well as a refreshing director bringing some vivid images and color to her story.

My Mother from Sandra Seeling on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Today I went to a Distribution panel hosted by Marc Jacobson that featured industry experts. They gave types to the filmmakers about the best strategies into making their first features. They gave some very good tips that will surely help filmmakers for the future.

After the Panel I went to Dimensions by Sloiane U'Ren. Sadly I missed the first film but  from ending of the film it looked like it was incredibly great.

Dimensions-The film by Sloane D'ren and written by her husband Anthony Neely tells the story of "Stephen is a brilliant young boy who lives in England, in what appears to be the 1920s – but nothing in Stephen’s life is quite as it seems.  His world turns upside down upon meeting a charismatic and inspirational professor at a garden party, who demonstrates to Stephen and his friends what life would be like if they themselves were merely one, or two, dimensional beings.  He then proceeds to explain that by manipulating other dimensions, time travel may actually be possible.
As Stephen’s life unfolds, events lead him to dedicate himself to turning the Professor’s theories of time travel into reality.  Jealousy, love, obsession, temptation and greed surround him, influencing his fragile mind and the direction of his work. " Dimensions is moving and riveting and leads to unexpected ending, one of the most refreshing I've seen in years. While the film is a period film, Neely's script mixes science fiction refreshing a genre that at times can be very repetitive. U'ren's art direction is top notch rivaling that of any big budget feature and Neely's score enhances and gives depth to the film. The cinematography and costumes are impressive. Finally the acting by the leads bring the film to another level. Each performance is nuanced with sentiment and emotional depth. Without a doubt Dimensions is one of the best festival films I have seen all year. 

I can't wait to see more great films tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Today LIIFE held its annual screenwriting panel and The good The bad and the ugly panel in which the filmmakers talked about their experiences working on their films. Filmmakers Sloane U'Ren, Alan Ginsberg, Stephen Marro, Kim Cummings and our very own David Salazar were featured int the panel. They diverted us with their story, and gave good advice to aspiring filmmakers. Mitchel Bard  hosted the panel.

Unfortunately we didn't get to watch any films do to professional obligations. Tomorrow though we're looking forward to seeing more films. Here are some pictures from the panel. 

Friday, July 13, 2012


Today was LIIFE's official opening day and they did it in a classy fashion. The celebrations began with a nice reception that gave the fillmmakers a chance to mingle with fellow filmmakers. They also gave out the technical awards in which films such as Frammenti and Broadway's Finest won numerous awards.

Additionally I was able to go to two film blocks which showed a wide range of films and provided good and thought provoking entertainment. Here I will share five of my favorites from today (in no particular order).

5. Deep Water- The music video made by Janice Villarosa and Vu Ngoc Phuong translates a Phillipino folk song to the English language. The video tells the story of the angel of death waiting for his love's death and reuniting with her by the end of the video as the two kiss underwater. The films cinematography is extraordinary and its locations are memorable. The video is one of the most intelligent music video's I have seen in a long time. 

4. Live Outside the Box- I saw this film in Pittsburgh a few months ago and once again I found it to be as entertaining and thought provoking as the first time. The film tells the story a workaholic who neglects the world outside his office and slowly finds the world around him growing smaller and smaller. The visuals dazzle as does the short but effective story.

live outside the box short film still 1

3. The Things my Father Never Taught Me-
An enthralling short about a father's journey to avoid his father's mistakes and teach his preschool son about the only thing he never got a fatherly education: girls. The story's main character not only learns more about his son during this journey, but also learns to appreciate his relationship with his father in a different light. Shot in gorgeous black and white, this is one of the stand out shorts at the festival thus far. 

2. Ordinary Joe-Carlo Gennarelli's  latest documentary tells the story of Joe Sciacca, a Vietnam veteran who travels to Vietnam every year and tries to help the poor by donating money to help with their illnesses and food. Sciacca's journey shows his self fulfillment as well the happiness he brings to those people and shows how one ordinary person can change a community of people. The film can be disturbing at times as it shows images of illness and poverty emphasizing the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Riveting and powerful, Ordinary Joe is an extraordinary story that should be seen by all.

1. Broadway's Finest- A feature detailing three actors attempting to create the play that will launch their careers. In the process, the three enter the world of crime as fake police officer. Gorgeous cinematography and strong performances from the three leads highlight a comedic thriller that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. A true audience pleaser. 

Read about Day 1 HERE.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Today was the first day of the Long Island International Film Expo. The film festival will run from today until next Thursday July 19th screening where more than 150 independent films. Today I was only able to catch one screening that I really enjoyed.

The Boyz of Summer-The film tells the story of three friends who spend their last summer before college and entering into the real world. The film features an ensemble of young talented actors led by a fine performance by Devin Harjes. The movie is touching and poignant at many points and features some beautiful images.

Unfortunately I did not get a chance to see the other two shorts in the block, but from this film, LIIFE looks to be a big hit this year.  

Films I recently saw on DVD!

This past week I had the opportunity to revisit the original Spiderman.

Spiderman-With the release of the reboot The Amazing Spiderman, I thought it was best to rewatch the original installment, a film that captivated audiences and was hailed as the Best comic movie ever made back in 2012. Ten years later, the film still holds up as it provides campyness, honesty, plenty of good laughs and thrilling action. The visual effects still dazzle as does Danny Elfman's unforgettable score. The cast made up of Tobey Maguire, Wilhem Dafoe and Kirsten Dunst are still refreshing and most importantly the film is still poignant and while it may not be the best comic movie ever made, it is one of the most memorable one. A-

------Francisco Salazar 

Our review of The Amazing Spiderman will be posted later today. 

Monday, July 9, 2012