“Old Mexico” Film Review

“Old Mexico”

Dir; Keith Macintosh.  Starring; Tom Chism, Raymond Sandoval, Samien Byrd.  2017.  Unrated.  Color.  8 min.

“Old Mexico” is a short that is worth a watch.  A desolate hitchhiker gets picked up, then is forced to play a concert for his life.  Dia De Los Muertos women show and put on one hell of a dance concert.

This is pure enjoyment cinema.  DP David Schweitzer plays with light as well as his camera.  An excellent music video that you will enjoy, and my indie film of the week.

Suck Factor: out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism. Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS! So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS! If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message! & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“A Love Story” Film Review

A Love Story

“A Love Story”

Dir; Alexander Paul, Jazmin Siguenza.  Starring; Myste Wright, Jazmin Siguenza, Gritsitory, Stephanie Delgado.  2013.  Unrated.  Color.  20 min.

There are things that we sweep under the rug, things we don’t talk about.  Pornography, drug addiction, gambling, prostitution.  They’re basic concepts that we see on a show like “Game of Thrones” but are too embarrassed to address in our daily lives.  “A Love Story” makes a topic we don’t want to talk about human.

The film opens with a girl in a random bathroom wiping away her tears.  She is so ashamed with what just took place, and that is her life.  Her pimp controls every move she makes.  There is a surreal sequence in a strip club where men grope these beautiful women to no end.  Alcohol flows like a water fountain.  They are slaves, and if they ever have an opinion they will get a gun to their throat.  That is the dreamlike feeling that directors Alexander Paul and Jazmin Siguenza have created here.  They are not commenting on the lives of prostitutes, they are observing them.

We see one moment of happiness.  Our two main protagonists have a beautifully constructed sex scene together.  They aren’t actually in love with each other, it’s simply the only moment of honest sexuality they can experience in between being raped on a daily basis.  That is the power of “A Love Story”.  It dares you to care about innocent girls that you wouldn’t give a second thought to when you see them on the street corner at midnight.  I cannot explain to you the plot of this film, that would be meaningless.  I can only ask that you watch and witness that these are human beings just like you and me.

Suck Factor: out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

Watch “A Love Story” live on Vimeo!

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism.  Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS!  So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS!  If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.  

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message!  & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“Secondhand Sunset” Film Review

"Secondhand Sunset" movie poster

“Secondhand Sunset”

Secondhand Sunset main character

Dir; Andy Kastelic.  Starring; Sarah Minnich, Bob Jesser, Marc Comstock.  2016.  Unrated.  Color.  7 min.

Everybody dreams of making it big in the world.  “Secondhand Sunset”, the latest indie film from Director Andy Kastelic, is focused squarely on that dream.  On the surface, it’s simply a tale of a girl who leaves her family in hopes of fame and fortune.  When you dig deeper, it’s a human story about losing everything you care most about in life.

Stella wants to be an actress.  The glitz and glamour of Hollywood drive her so much that rehearsing for a role comes before the farm she’s known all her life.  Her father disapproves, not because he’s an asshole, but because he can’t imagine living without his daughter.  The deaf farm hand and her best friend both say go for it!  She must make a choice, her life or the life of her family.

The strength of this picture is it’s simplicity.  A father is forced to let go of his baby girl.  Having to live after that is unbearable.  These are genuine human ideas that the audience can relate to instantly.

“Secondhand Sunset” is also beautiful to look at.  Cinematographer Jannis Schelenz sees the best in things.  The only fault I can find is making our lead actress look too pretty, and I don’t mean that sarcastically.  At one point she recites her lines for a part she’s auditioning for.  Actress Sarah Minnich is great, but why do we need an orange glow on her face from the sunset?  Guys I get it, she’s got Hollywood in her eyes and it’s a beautiful looking shot.  Don’t use cheesy tricks to dumb down an already excellent character piece, let the film speak for itself.  However, this is a small criticism.  Overall, it’s a movie I did’t think would be as strong as it is.  A lot of indies get caught up with how awesome it’s gonna look instead of caring about the story first.  “Secondhand Sunset” has heart, and at its core is about three average people simply living life.

Suck Factor: 1 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

Watch the film now! Click here.

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism.  Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS!  So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS!  If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.  

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message!  & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“The Last Transmission” Film Review

The Last Transmission Header

“The Last Transmission”

The Last Transmission Poster

Dir; Stephen Turselli.  Starring; Brendan Fehr, Dale O’Malley, Steven Michael Quezada.  2016.  Unrated.  Color.  19 min.

The key to the success of “The Last Transmission” is the fact that writer/director Stephen Turselli chooses the perfect story for a short film.  Based on actual events, the film is about the last radio transmission received from a young Cessna pilot before he and his plane mysteriously went missing over Roswell, New Mexico in 1978.  Other filmmakers would see this strange true story as the basis of a feature film starring Chris Pratt, or even a television series coming this fall on NBC.  Turselli keeps it simple, focusing squarely on the pilot and his radio communication with two air traffic controllers.

We begin with a hypnotic montage of two different men preparing for the day, our unnamed pilot (Brendan Fehr) and one of our air traffic control men Fred (Dale O’Malley).  They each mark off a day on their calendars before having breakfast and walking out the door.  Our pilot arrives at an airfield and preps his plane, caressing it like his one true love.  Fred drives down the highway listening to the radio with a huge smile on his face, as today is his last day of work before retirement.  Cinematographer Jesse Heidenfeld moves the camera at a dreamlike pace here, and the music gives us a sense of normalcy as the two men begin what they believe will be another typical day at work.

Fred arrives at the control tower and joins his long time colleague Val (Steven Michael Quezada of “Breaking Bad” fame).  Being an air traffic control man in a small town like Roswell is the kind of job where Val and Fred can celebrate on the job with a drink.  By the end of the night Val is trying to keep himself awake in between games of tossing playing cards into the trash can.  Fred is about to leave his post for the last time when a seemingly standard transmission comes over the radio.  He decides to take one last call and responds.  The pilot on the other end has encountered a strange ship hovering above his plane, and is radioing to find out if there are any military aircrafts in the area.  Fred responds with a simple no, and over the next five minutes these characters become increasingly nervous and frightened.  This scene plays brilliantly with both men being trapped in a literal box, one a cockpit and the other a small air traffic control tower.  They are powerless over what’s occurring, and Turselli wisely leaves the audience with no answers, keeping you thinking about the film long after its conclusion.

Shot locally in New Mexico, “The Last Transmission” doesn’t look at all like most low budget indie shorts.  It’s a film with great locations, real actors, and top notch camera work.  It genuinely feels like a million dollar movie.  My only issue with the film comes during the climactic last five minutes.  Turselli and his team take the term unidentified flying object a bit too literally.  What happened to this pilot is a mystery, and they should have kept it more mysterious instead of dumbing things down.  However, this does not take away from how well constructed this film is overall.  The skill portrayed by both Turselli and DP Jesse Heidenfeld in “The Last Transmission” is easy to recognize, and I look forward to seeing more of their work in the future.

Suck Factor: out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

Watch “The Last Transmission” streaming live now on vimeo!  Click HERE

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism.  Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS!  So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS!  If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message!  & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

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“Pareidolia” Film Review

photo still from pareidolia, local film, indie film, albuquerque, new mexico

“Pareidolia”

Dir; Erick Castillo.  Starring; Clint Obenchain, Andrea Saliaz, Brett Becker, Grace Ritchie.  2017.  Unrated.  Color.  30 min.

Pareidolia (/pærˈdliə/ parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon in which the mind responds to a stimulus, usually an image or a sound, by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists (e.g., in random data).  Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations, the man in the moon, the moon rabbit, hidden messages within recorded music played in reverse or at higher- or lower-than-normal speeds, and hearing indistinct voices in random noise such as that produced by air conditioners or fans.[1]

pareidolia, film, local film, film critic, movie still, screen capture

On the surface, “Pareidolia” is about a man haunted by the random images he sees in everyday objects, such as a tree, a cloud, or a rock.  It’s a psychological condition know as Pareidolia.  The film opens with our main character in his therapists office, trying to make sense of his “condition”.  By the time we reach the stories end, we have experienced the loss, pain, regret, and insanity that this man is coping with.  In the world of low budget independent filmmaking, director Erick Castillo has made a short film with genuine heart and humanity.

Our main character is Milo (Clint Obenchain), a lost soul.  Obenchain uses his face, his eyes, to bring sadness and confusion to the character. He is seeing a therapist, Dr. Walter Voss (Brett Becker), because Milo has a huge gap in his memory due to some tragic event.  Milo wanders, staring at mailboxes, or rocks, constantly seeing things that aren’t really there.  Random people seem to know him, but he doesn’t recognize their faces.  Milo hides for hours underneath a blanket in this strange house he is somehow drawn to.  A woman wearing a neck brace named Sam (a terrific Andrea Saliaz), seems to be following Milo as he wanders the city.  Milo is running, and we don’t know why.  I won’t reveal anymore, as this story is better to experience for yourself.

“Pareidolia” is a movie that invites you into Milo’s struggle at a very personal level.  When we reach the end we see how every character and every scene are connected.  Erick Castillo, serving as director and DP, is not afraid to construct a frame.  The camera moves only when it needs to.  There’s high angle drone shots, steadicam work, dolly movements, but not once do these elaborate camera movements distract the viewer from the story.  The score by Daniel Carlton is another standout, setting the perfect pace to mirror Milo’s internal struggle.  We’re always aware of the music, but it never overwhelms the audience.

Like any micro-budget film, “Pareidolia” has it’s indie movie issues.  A few jarring edits, a shot that’s not quite in focus here and there, sound buzzes.  But this stuff is all cosmetic.  Castillo uses his resources brilliantly and tells a story thats honest to its character.  A movie with a heavy heart, “Pareidolia” is a must watch for anyone who has experienced loss, and one of the best indie films of the year.

Suck Factor: 1 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

Written by Byrd

“Pareidolia” will be available for streaming online later this year.  Check back here at byrdmeetsgirl.com for more details!

*The Suck Factor! – How it Works

I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism.  Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS!  So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS!  If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.

For all other movie review requests, feel free to comment here, or send us a message!  & Don’t forget to sign up for updates in the sidebar to the right so you’ll never miss a review!

Follow on Bloglovin
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