Tag Archives: film

Pet Sematary Review

On April 5th, the reboot of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary hit theaters, and reminded everyone why local pet cemeteries are generally a bad idea. The remake deviates from the original 1989 version of the film, offering viewers not just a modernization but a reinterpretation of the classic tale. With powerful performances from the main cast, some very impressive special effects, and a killer score, this film is definitely worth seeing if you’re up for a little fear.

For those unfamiliar with this film, Pet Sematary follows the Creed family as they settle into their supposedly idyllic new home in rural Maine. However, their new beginning is marked by hauntings and unease, and tragedy looms over them like a shadow. The film’s scares come mostly from suspense and a sense that something terrible is about to happen, even if you don’t know what exactly that terrible thing might be. The jump scares are minimal, but there’s plenty of gore and body horror to go around, and the film certainly earns its ‘R’ rating.

Is this film the scariest ever made? Probably not, though it certainly scared me. Sure, someone in the theater I was in very loudly spilled their popcorn no less than 30 seconds in, but that wasn’t really the film’s fault. However, fans of horror will likely still find the film entertaining, and it provides an interesting new take on King’s classic story. The film makes several nods to the original, though there are a few changes that serve to breathe new, horrifying life to this chilling tale. I would recommend this film to anyone looking to experience a feeling of deep sense of unease for an hour and 40 minutes, but to anyone who would actually like to go to Maine at some point, as I’d rather not be held responsible for any lingering fears of Maine’s beautiful wilderness that develop while watching this film.

Photo by Kerry Hayes/Paramount Pictures

Progress of Programs: The Rise of Small Productions

In the distant past of 1995, the first fully computer-generated animation film fell with style in to the laps of a generation; that movie was Toy Story.

This particular film was created in what Pixar referred to as their processor farm, because the machines would literally make animal noises when one finished a frame.

Just as with the rest of technology, we have progress very far in the 23 years since Toy Story.

What was once a process consuming hundreds of thousands of dollars and taking more man hours than fixing a city street, we can now do on tablets no bigger than a standard notebook.  

Two little words make this concept of computer animation for the every man possible: Open Source.

These programs, available online and often completely free, give creators the chance to stand among titans of production industry, like Disney and Pixar.

Truly this is the age of “where there’s a will there’s a way” for those with the will to create their own animation.

One program, however, is leading the charge for this movement: Blender, from the Blender Foundation, a dutch public-benefit corporation.  

You may be asking yourself, why Blender specifically? Surely there are other programs? But Blender has a couple of examples that really set it in the forefront of this movement.

The smaller of the two is a short film directed by Daniel M. Lara, and it is the 6th short film funded by the Blender Cloud. The beauty of this film is it shows off how even if your wanting to make 2D animation you can with this program.

Traditionally, most animation does need to be created nearly frame by frame. Often we allow for reusable resources like backgrounds or make minimal changes while leaving most of the frame static.

The main reason is consistency in as many aspects as we can, barring an artistic form of design or direction. Using a 3D animation setup, certain things like character orientation or spatial recognition within environments.  

While using Blender for 2D animation is very doable and has its advantages, the program was designed for 3D animation primarily.

The second film that shows us the tangible power of Blender on a few different levels is the film Next Gen created by a few studios hailing from China, Canada, and the U.S.A, but helmed by Netflix.

The reason this film is so important right now is that ninety-five percent of the animation used was Blender.

From a business standpoint that is super smart as getting Adobe Animate for a studio of around ten computers/tablets for animating would run you $2039.40 before tax.

Also that’s just the one program if you need others like Photoshop the costs begin to pile up quickly given the number of animators, foley artists, directors, musicians, and the numerous other employees you still need to pay.  

Next Gen is something to look towards as animators for seeing just how far you can get with this free program. Given some mid-grade hardware individuals can produce excellent quality films.

Though studios under Netflix do have an advantage over indie productions given that their animators get paid and have more time to devote strictly to production.

However, like I said at the beginning, where there is a will, there is a way. Remember, passion is the life blood of creation, and for those passionate enough the tools are before you. What will you create? 


On Toy Story: 






On Blender: 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKmSdY56VtY     Hero – made with blender’s grease pencil 




Best movies set to come out in the next year

The best part of a year is the new movies that are right on the horizon. 2016 holds a large array of movies that look incredibly promising. Here are just a few of those movies that I predict will make your 2016.

1) Finding Dory
Release Date: June 17, 2016

We’ve been waiting almost 13 years for the sequel to the fan favorite, “Finding Nemo”. Finally in the summer of 2016, we’re finally going to get to see the long awaited, “Finding Dory”. The story will revolve Dory’s attempts to find her family despite that minor problem she has with her short term memory.

2) The BFG
Release Date: July 1, 2016

One of your favorite childhood books is becoming larger than life by hitting theaters in July 2016. That’s right, the Roald Dahl classic, “The BFG,” a story about a young girl who befriends a “Big Friendly Giant” will transport you back to your childhood this summer.

3) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Release Date: November 18, 2016

This one, I personally, am a little nervous about. As a huge “Harry Potter” fan, the idea of  spin off makes me extremely nervous. That being said, I will still be in theaters on its premiere night, wand in hand, hoping to get back some of that magic that was stolen from me back during 2010 when the series had officially “ended” with all of its books and movies having been released. The movie will take place seventy years before the original series began, revolving around a young man, Newt Scamander (a name you might recognize from the original books and from the cover of the book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”- a fictitious copy of Harry’s famous textbook published by J.K. Rowling herself in 2001) and his adventures prior to writing the book so frequently mentioned throughout the “Harry Potter” books. Scamander will be played by none other than Eddie Redmayne who played the role of Marius in the 2012 film adaption of “Les Miserables” and more recently, Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.

4) Jumanji
Release Date: December 25, 2016

This reboot of the 1995 classic, “Jumanji” is scheduled to be released Christmas 2016. Described as “a ‘re-imagining’ of the 1995 film” according to its IMDB page, little is known so far about the movie. Whether this remake makes you nervous or excited, Christmas 2016 is sure to be a crowded day at the theater as a new generation experiences the thrills of “Jumanji” on the big screen.

“The story will revolve Dory’s attempts to find her family.”

5) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Release Date: December 25, 2016

Based on the popular, if not slightly unsettling young adult book published in 2011, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is sure to be a must see. The story follows a teenaged boy named Jacob when he accidently finds himself on an island that is the home to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The children in question all possess special powers. Given the book’s surreal, dark, and incredibly creepy feel, it seems fitting that none other than Tim Burton is set to direct the movie adaption. While the film is to be released on Christmas Day, I’d wait until after the holidays to take my family to this particular movie as it’s not exactly the cheery, family feel you may want.

6) Tarzan
Release Date: July 1, 2016

The Disney fan favorite, “Tarzan”, is finally getting its long overdue real life movie. Starring Alexander Skarsgard (best known in the U.S. for his role as Eric on the hit TV series, “True Blood”) as Tarzan, the young man raised by gorillas after his parents are tragically killed and Margot Robbie as Jane Porter, the storyline will take place after the original movie left off with Tarzan having moved to England with his new wife, Jane. Lured back to the Congo under false pretenses, it may be up to Tarzan to once again save the jungle.

7) The Jungle Book
Release Date: April 15, 2016

Unlike “Tarzan”, this real life adaption of the “The Jungle Book” will mirror the exact storyline of the original Disney movie. The movie will feature the famous voices of Scarlett Johansson (as “Kaa”), Christopher Walken (as “King Louie”), and Bill Murray (as “Baloo”). One thing is for certain, 2016 is going to be a great year for Disney lovers.

Make sure to get your tickets in advance. These shows are going to sell out fast.

“Divergent” brings a popular dystopian series to the big screen

The Regal Cinema in Christiansburg, Va. was packed March 20 for the premiere of the highly-anticipated movie “Divergent.” Fans were filling up seats over two hours in advance to the 8 p.m. showing. By the time the film started, nearly every seat in the house was filled by an anxious fan waiting to see his or her favorite book become realized on the big screen. Continue reading “Divergent” brings a popular dystopian series to the big screen

Documentarian David Sutherland gives inside look at industry

Longtime filmmaker David Sutherland recently came to Radford University. He spoke to a directing and world cinema class, as well as at the COBE center reception. Sutherland has worked as a filmmaker for several decades. He obtained a degree in film making from University of South Carolina and has had a steady grip on the industry ever since. He mainly works on documentary films, although he refers to himself as a portraitist. Part of being a filmmaker requires Sutherland to serve as a writer, producer, director and editor. Continue reading Documentarian David Sutherland gives inside look at industry

“Evil Dead” vs “Evil Dead”: Remake or original?

To anyone who has read one of my previous articles, you know how much of a Sam Raimi fanboy I am. On April 5, the remake of the 1981 cult classic “Evil Dead” was released and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. This comparison may have some slight spoilers, but nothing so detrimental that it will ruin the film. Continue reading “Evil Dead” vs “Evil Dead”: Remake or original?

Weekly Time Wasters: Time travel and manliness


Running out of things to help you procrastinate? Here are some more time wasters to get you through the week:

Wal-Mart is the watering hole of the college apartment dweller. This is due to the fact that they have anything you could possibly need. The downside (and sometimes it turns out upside) of this is that I never know which Wal-Mart, or Great Value brand foods, are good and which are going to make we wish I could get my money back. Well, Good Mythical Morning has a solution to this problem.

http://blip.tv/goodmythicalmorning/walmart-taste-test-the-game-6525235 Continue reading Weekly Time Wasters: Time travel and manliness

Weekly Time Wasters: The end of the world and twerking

Independent short films are one of the greatest perks of the Internet (besides porn of course). This one, while a little preachy at the end, is nevertheless very well done. Every time I see one of these, it convinces me that I need to learn how to do CGI, but then I go and look at pictures of cats on Reddit. Maybe one day. Continue reading Weekly Time Wasters: The end of the world and twerking

Sean Doyle: Through the lens

Sean Doyle ready for his close-up! Photo from Facebook.

When he was in middle school, Sean Doyle became fascinated with films. His favorite genres were action, drama, martial arts and sci-fi. The impressive graphics, detailed choreography and gripping storylines drew him into places where creativity knows no limits. Eventually, they inspired him to create worlds of his own.

Today, at 24, he is a media and film student at Radford University, and is set to graduate in spring 2011. He has already created three short films and launched a YouTube channel with 144 video clips. In addition to acting, he also has experience with writing scripts, directing and editing.

“I get kind of nervous sometimes,” Sean said. “I might stumble because, as you may have heard, I have a bit of a speech impediment.” He refers to a slight stutter that made itself almost scarce about five minutes into our conversation. “I’ve learned ways of controlling it. It also depends on the way I talk. Occasionally I don’t really trip on my words at all.”

He changes his expression slightly, raises one eyebrow, and speaks with perfect clarity. “I talk like this, see? Let’s get down to business right now. Talk things over. Do it nice and easy. No game now, right?”

His ability to emulate various personalities is evident whenever he is in front of the camera. His YouTube channel, Chosenviper, is made up of a variety of topics, including discussions about his projects, reviews of different types of media, and funny character impersonations.

“I impersonated Doug Walker. He has a YouTube series called ‘That Guy with the Glasses.’ Viewers ask him questions and he gives hilarious answers,”Sean Doyle said before launching himself into character mode. “What should you do if you are kidnapped by aliens? Absolutely nothing. Just let them take you.”

Humor is not the only thing Sean brings character to. His newest film project, “Daring Intervention,” was completed in 2011, and a sequel is already in the works. The plot follows an FBI agent who finds himself in the midst of a dangerous game. A former partner that he’s previously fired plants a flash drive with codes that have the ability to prevent a missile from launching and hitting the governor’s mansion.

“People might nitpick about it,” Sean said. “It’s not perfect, but I’m trying to get a better feel for what film is like.”

His education in filmmaking began long before he came to Radford University.

“My brother Devon and I started doing theatre in high school,” Sean said. “We were in two plays, ‘What Use Are Flowers’ and ‘An Italian Straw Hat.’”

Sean with his brother, Devon. Photo from Facebook.

That same year, both brothers got to work as extras on the pilot episode of “Commander in Chief,” a drama series on ABC.

“The thing is, I think our scenes were deleted because when the show finally aired, we didn’t really see ourselves,” Sean said.

They did show up onscreen later in the HBO miniseries “John Adams” as Redcoat soldiers in the Boston Massacre scene.

In 2006 and 2007, Sean and Devon attended Southern Mystique Film Camp where they made two films, “A Beautiful Murder” and “Fish Story.”

Devon, recalls his enthusiasm for “Fish Story,” which he directed.

“I was passionate about making a fresh and fun movie for the camp,” Devon reminisced.

Since then, Devon has created an equally impressive resumé, such as working as a videographer with pro wrestling organization UPWA, making a demo reel for the Landfall 2010 Golf Tournament in Wilmington, N.C., and making a short documentary called “Squeak Etoys.”

“Sean and I, along with another friend, are now in the writing process of a possible TV pilot episode about a high school for students who wish to face the supernatural,” Devon said.

Devon is proud of Sean’s accomplishments at Radford University, and points out the strengths that he appreciates when the two of them work together.

“Sean is the type of student and film maker who appreciates the little details in what he does and is one who knows how to use the camera to help tell the story.”

Dr. Joe Flickinger, a media studies professor, has been one of Sean’s greatest supporters at RU. He has taken two classes with Flickinger, and has impressed him with his talents with editing.

“I think he learns better visually than he does from a written standpoint,” Flickinger said. “I think that ties in with the films that he’s making. He can see what he’s doing in the films and he can start to apply what he’s doing. I know I’m one of those learners, too.”

After graduation, Sean wants to move to North Carolina to be closer to his brother. He plans to apply to companies that work with news, television or film, such as Screen Gems or Warner Brothers.

Whatever he winds up doing, Sean made it clear that it was important that he do what he loves and that fame was only secondary.

“I doubt it will lead to fame or anything like that, but who knows?” Sean said.