wolfen films

Cursing, Axes, and MacBook Pros: Fist Fight (2017) Review

We’ve all gotten into a fight after school, sometimes with a bully. And that’s when we truly learned to stick up for our damn selves… or just got our asses beat into the ground like the chickens we were. That’s the concept on the whole film. Standing up for your damn self.

A high school teacher (Charlie Day) is accused of getting his fellow teacher (Ice Cube) fired because he was acting all crazy towards the students. This of course prompts the crazy teacher to challenge him to a fist fight after school. You know, because he’s just that nuts.

This is, at it’s core a remake of the (I guess) classic 3 O’clock high. But instead of the a kid trying to avoid the fight at all costs, we have an adult doing it. That’s where the MacBook Pro comes in. But I don’t wanna spoil anything for you.

When the fight DOES occur, you’ll be treated to one of the best fight sequences I’ve seen in many many many many years. All while the laughs keep coming.

It’s also worth noting that Tracy Morgan is finally back on screen and still hilarious as always. Good to see he’s getting better and hasn’t really lost a step in his time off.

Come for the fist fight. Stay for the Big Sean song. It’s worth the price of a ticket alone.

And as an added bonus, there was a Q&A with Charlie Day and director Richie Keen. Got a picture with Charlie, it’s on my twitter.

But yeah, give this movie your support. They talked about what they would do for a sequel. So please go see this so it’ll happen.

9/10. I came out of it smiling. That’s rare for me these days.

 

 

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Is it the Shoes? Kicks (2016) Review

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It’s just like the time I went searching for the perfect DDR shoe.
Except it’s not like that at all.

What we do have is Justin Tipping’s first big foray into the wide world of features (welcome yo).

I’ll keep this spoiler free as always.

The movie follows 15 year old Brandon. He’s not that special a kid. He’s really small and he doesn’t have the nicest shoes. He and his two friends hang out everyday, doing the same thing a lot of us high school kids did. Go to the corner store, smoke, play ball. That shit.

But a chance encounter gets him a pair of red Jordans. Yes, the originals (Being from Chicago, I know them well.) And people start to notice him finally. That is, until he gets robbed by a thug named Flaco and his goons. So after feeling sorry for himself, he decides to go find his shoes and get them back. Setting him on the most epic adventure your average 15 year old can get.

On the way, he learns about what really matters, friends and just doing the right thing. Not continuing the violent cycle.

The film really spoke to me not only because I was a nothing special kind of kid. I’m a nothing special kind of adult to many. We have this greatness inside of us all the time that we know is there. It’s just a matter of getting someone else to see it as well. And that’s what Brandon does, even if he’s not feeling the results of the matter.

At the end of the day, it’s one of the things I like best. Just a modest story, told on a modest budget. That’s where the real human stories are.

Check it out on demand right now. Or you can come to my house and watch it if you want. But I’m kidding, don’t come to my house.

Can’t wait to see how Lowriders comes out, and hire me. Please. lol.

Hey, our 48 Hour Film Festival Short is Up. You should be cool as hell and go watch it and stuff.

There can’t be enough cool movies to watch. But hey, here’s one.We did it for the 48 Hour Film Festival Chicago and it’s… something. We’re always trying to get something new going, keep it fresh.

 

But enjoy it’s cheesy glory.

 

I honestly didn’t know where this whole thing was going. Just kinda winged it.

My Time at the Arcade These Days.

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I spent my better teenage years… and twenties years… going to the arcade a few times a week. And I can mostly thank dancing games for that. Riding my bike over to Brunswick Zone to play DDR Extreme, Maximum Tune, and Soul Calibur II. Or going the 5 miles to Odyssey Fun World to play Pump, DDR, ITG, and Marvel. Maybe some Tekken as well.

When I hit college, I didn’t have the time to be running around the suburbs where I lived, because school and all that. So it was ESPN Zone for me and some of the other Chicago peeps. This was my favorite place ever to play Pump. And to make it better, the employees were quite supportive of the repeat customers and the machine was always in decent shape. Not like Pump machines require a TON of work, but still. It was a rarity to have a machine that nice in public and after ESPN Zone closed, that was pretty much it. Dave and Busters isn’t an option for Dancing Games and never seriously has been.

But after my return to Chicago a few months back, I was trying to jump back into the game. And of course I didn’t want to drive all the hell out to Round 1 (as awesome as that place is.) and I was working downtown now. But hey… what’s this FTW place?

Being a movie guy obviously, I’ve been to River East a million times in my day, and even played DDR there after movies. But now, there’s an arcade? Yay!

I’m frequently there alone for my Pump it Up sessions but sometimes a few of the other city folk show up. All and all, I’m able to get my fill in.20160806_190904

I’m not really into the “community” and the “scene” so much these days. Maybe it’s because I’m old. But I just enjoy playing the game and pretty much that’s it. For the amount of time I sit, it keeps me from getting fat, so that’s good.

To be honest, as big as a gamer as am, there’s really not much I want to play except Pump. That Batman game is legit, it just seems to be missing something. Maybe I missed a multiplayer option, I’ll have to give it another spin.

But, it’s a great place to play Pump and that’s what I’m there for. The pads are still good as of this writing.

The more I look at it. FTW and Round 1 are all too similar. Both have Bowling and Pool and stuff (I’m counting Lucky Strike in with FTW). Foodstuffs, and an arcade. I think FTW’s only issue is that it really doesn’t know what it wants to be. Does it want to be a arcade, a beercade, or just a restaurant. It does all those things pretty well but could really do a lot better.

But I could only talk about the better on the arcade side of things. FTW is missing a core part of any arcade. A fighter and a shooter… a real shooter. I’m sure something like Tekken would be poppin’ in there. But the point of arcades is to bring people unique experiences they can’t have at home. So maybe a game like Pokken or even Crossbeats would be a hit. I see people love the touchscreen games anyway.

But that’s all just me thinking out loud.

 

Anyway, I have a lot of things to do… so I’ll see you all around. Maybe I can get a bigger group with me at FTW, doubt it, but hey… more Pump for me.

 

 

C2E2 happened. Twas Cool. Nuff Said.

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And another one of these is over. We got pictures going up on the Facebook page and yadda yadda yadda.

 

But one thing I have to say first off is how great the staff was. The lines were organized goin gin and out, and everyone seemed cool and didn’t have a look of death on there faces. So mad shoutouts to the crew.

 

Secondly, I think they  widened the aisles just a smidgen this year. I could be wrong, but I didn’t have much of an issue getting around.

 

Third of all, good to see video games are back. Hope to see some arcade games soon. Maybe give them just a little more space. They could fit some fun stuff in there.

I couldn’t hit as many panels as I wanted… due to being at work until 3 every day. But I did love it how I parked there at 6am and then took the train to work like the giant nerd I am.

Bottom line. Great con like every year. Just keep on expanding and people are gonna keep coming. It’s gonna be a good bunch of years.

And we may just have a booth next year. Stay tuned.

 

Hey, roller derby! Series and stuff! Yay!

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You see, I made a funny.

It’s movie time again. But we’re doing something a little different this time around. Like I said before I’m moving away for those full blown features because they’re a pain in the ass that I really don’t want to deal with right now. As you can see from past events, you can’t really blame me at this moment. We’re moving over towards shorts and web series. And this is what I hope to actually be our first web series.

It still doesn’t have an actual title (I’m hoping someone will help me out with that) but it’s basically about the darker side of the sports we play (I’ll argue all day, derby is a sport.)

But then again, some of you already know my flair. We have these stories about death and inner/other destruction. Insane twists and normally logical situations, and always in the most ridiculous way. But unlike other times, this one has some far more serious undertones and a group of fresh faces (well mostly, I’m picking one of mine for Chicago because the part was written for her, you all know who I’m talking about.) And doing this as a web series will give me the flexibility as a writer to actually improve things as I go along. Features generally don’t have that luxury without things going haywire.

Also, this movie will feature the skaters themselves and I wouldn’t want to slap a 5 month long shoot on them. Those can be draining if you’re not completely used to them. And it’s hard to tell how anyone will do on camera. It might take some people a little time to adjust, and that’s normal. Personally, I’m bad on camera. That’s why I’m behind it.

I really want to keep this movie within derby mostly because there are some physically able human beings, and we need physically able people, that’s for damn sure.

I already have the first episode written and I have an arc for at least 7 more. Running production between Goshen, South Bend and Chicago. Maybe in between. It all depends on what type of support I get for this script and this production. Because the blessing of the skaters is going to be key in making this work. This is unlike anything I’ve seen roll out of sport. It’s a prime opportunity to make something completely original and that’s the stuff that excites me. And of course all the fresh faces and personalities and I’ll get to deal with. And I welcome everybody, the crazier the better.

It’s going to be an interesting time watching this one grow. Any comments or questions can go into the comments section that no one ever uses on WordPress. Or you can hit up the good ol’ facebook page. I’ll be around updating that more often. And last you can hit up Stream Monster Productions and talk to that guy over there. He knows a lot about the production as well. Until then, don’t do drugs and brush your teeth.

Story time: Why in the heck are you making a third movie anyway Joe?

 

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I think everyone has a moment in their life at a (somewhat young age when they have a good talk or something like that which really gets them towards what they want to and really should be doing.

 

Let’s talk about Barrett again. Yes, the one with that hat. Still love that hat. Money well spent. But he’s going to appear in the last of the series of movies we’ve been working on the past three years.

Those of you who have been following me know that I was actually filming some of this a year ago, when Barrett unfortunately passed on. I was left with the hard choice. Do I recast or do I rewrite? After talking to Alex and John about the issue, we decided to go ahead and write the character out. He was originally going to to be the main villain of this final film. But of course that couldn’t happen without him. And we came to the conclusion you just can’t replace a guy a like Barrett. It just wouldn’t have the same feel.

But let me tell you how we got there.

You may know about the problems we had filming Pump it Up: The Warrior’s Path. If you don’t, just read back a few posts and I’m sure I’ve discussed it at length and don’t want to get into that mess again. That’s like 5 pages worth of stuff. Tell em’ Sweet Brown.

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Anyway, after Pump it UP: TWP was all said and done, to say I was a little unhappy was quite an understatement. I actually felt like quitting this business all together, and who could actually blame me for that? I’m not really a guy who projects his problems and begs for sympathy. But Barrett gave me a call, he wanted to hang out. So we did just that. During which we were just shooting the same old shit we always had. But he brought up the movie, and was well aware of the goings on. And he told me something that I’ll never forget.
“You really shouldn’t beat yourself up because other people want to be stupid or assume you are. You’re going to be a pretty big deal those people will wish they never messed with you. Let’s just go out there and do it again. Make it bigger and better than before.”

He ended up writing a great deal of the story we’re filming right now. Lot’s of hilarious twists on his character that I really wish we could film.

We continued to talk and I have to say, I haven’t enjoyed a conversation more. We were both really similar, full of ideas. I guess we were just a couple of eccentrics. They’re always hard to understand but always have the coolest and have the best ideas. But again, eccentricity is another topic I should just cover another day.

This entire moment now is crucial. Why?

He was the only person to actually approach me and tell me he had my back. I can’t begin to tell you how good that made me feel then. Gave me the motivation I have now to not give up. It’s really not in my nature anyway. Barrett would have never wanted me to give up so I’m not going to. That, and people said I couldn’t. Which means I really can’t quit. If there’s anything Barrett taught is me is that people can surprise you. Think the best of them that you can and you’ll see their very best. I really don’t think that’s hard but whatever, I deal with humans.

See you all when  we finally get this released in the summer. It’s going to be great.