Saturday, August 2, 2014

Come and get your Marvel Love

Come and Get Your Marvel Love


Frank Tobin

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), AKA Star-Lord, is a child of the 80s; from his pop culture references, to his Walkman cassette player (containing a tape of some of the best 60s and 70s classics this side of an episode of Soul Train), to his brash, devil may care, childlike enthusiasm. His fully fleshed out character is the heralded gem (no pun intended) in the gauntlet (pun slightly intended) that is the cast of "Guardians of the Galaxy." 

Right from the jump we are immediately grounded in reality, as a young Quill, fresh from dealing with the death of his mother to the unrelenting bully that is cancer, is abducted into a wildly raucous space-faring adventure.

Rife with talking raccoons (don't call Rocket [voiced expertly, and charmingly, by Bradley Cooper] a vermin), a sentient tree (Vin Diesel, the show-stopper), who's only three words are "I am Groot", a green-skinned sexy assassin (Zoe Saldana [my celebrity crush]), and a muscle bound, takes-everything-you-say-literally badass thug (Dave Batista, following the same thespian path as another famous wrestler-turned-actor who likes people to smell what he's cooking), the audiences instantly needs to stay connected with the space opera weirdness. Hence the aforementioned glorious soundtrack, and every-man lead character.

Witty, joyful, vibrant, fun (remember when comic movies could be fun, Zack "The Hack" Snyder?) and delightfully eclectic, it was complete and utter frown failure for me during the film's two hour running time. But it wasn't just my inherent love for space adventure films of this ilk (this is this generation's Star Wars... until Episode VII releases next year) that kept me engaged. Quite in fact, this flick had "epic fail" written all over it. Which makes a certain character's cameo at the end of the credits even more ironic and hilarious (if you're old enough to understand who the hell it was anyway).

Yes, it would have been easy for this cinematic foray into the weird abyss about a rag-tag group of murderers and thieves to fall flat on its face. Enter the director, co-writer, and savior of Marvel Cosmic Universe's initial space walk into the world's earth-addled heroes, James Gunn.

Fun-facts about the Gunn-meister (him and I are cool like that [no we're not]): originating from the Troma school of horror schlock, the man's first real Hollywood gig was "Scooby Doo" in 2002. He also penned the "Dawn of the Dead" remake. But before all that, he wrote, produced and performed in a widely known, and popular critical darling (is that sarcasm dripping from my lips?) super hero comedy "The Specials". Haven't heard of it? Don't be ashamed, it had a budget of $1,000,000 and only grossed $13,000, even if it starred some actual known acting entities (Rob Lowe, Thomas Hayden Church, Jaime Kennedy, Melissa Joan Hart, and Judy Greer... they must have lost a bet). 

While not a cinematic masterpiece, if you look hard enough into the plot, or even a casual glance at the Wiki summary, "The Specials" laid the foundation for what would become Marvel's interest in Gunn for his participation in 'Guardians'.

You see, 'Specials' is a movie about 6th and 7th tiered superheroes on their day off. It's vulgar and cheesy, but actually kind of funny. Subtract the vulgarity, and... you see where I'm going with this. Then you pepper in cult faves like "Slither" and "Super", and you have the recipe for lightning in a bottle. Which 'Guardians' surely is. Marvel and Gunn are a match made in sloppy, incoherent, nonsensical, B-movie heaven.

Okay, now that I shot a fraction of my elation load all over this review, let me focus on some of the negatives (don't worry this won't take long). Even though every scene where you think a character is about to have their "Oscar Moment", something humorous always stomps on it in the most hilariously genius way. This movie is all about subverting your expectations. Which ultimately works in the film's favor. However, the weakest aspect of the film is in its selection of rogues, which, unfortunately, fails to live up to the lofty expectations we have thanks to Loki's scene-eating screen time in the earlier Marvel flicks. 

We glimpsed a galactic sized cock tease with Thanos at the end of "The Avengers", and as glorious as that reveal was, Thanos (now voiced by the venerable Josh Brolin) receives his Emperor Palpatine screen time in 'Guardians'. I know Marvel is setting up the Infinity Gauntlet story-line, clarified once and for all in this movie with expository dialogue provided by the Collector (Benicio Del Toro's character), but Thanos was sparsely utilized in this film. The gravity of his presence is enough for most ardent comic book fans to cream their Spidey undies (yes, I own a pair myself, don't judge me) but I was underwhelmed. And Ronan (Lee Pace, who stars in my newest AMC obsession "Halt and Catch Fire") was little more than a cosmic thug with delusions of grandeur. His lap dog, Nebula (Karen GIllan), the deadly, modified, crazy sexy (and crazy crazy) assassin sibling to Gamora (Saldana) served little purpose other than to be face-punch fodder for her sister.

I can't say definitively that the villains were a wasted opportunity though, because the movie wasn't about them. It's just more of a struggling obligation on my part to provide some cons in this review to fool you into thinking I'm actually objective (which, when it comes to this genre, I'm clearly not). 

Truth be told, I've been starved, famished, for a quality space adventure film. Not since the greatest blue balls in cinematic history (the Star Wars prequels... I just threw up in my throat at the mere mention of those still-births) has the genre been front and center. But now we have it. A glorious return to the strange, weird, jovial, operatic outer space gallivanting adventures of a rag-tag group of would-be heroes

And honestly, I couldn't be happier. This movie is pure love; uncut adventurous greatness, wrapped in indie sensibilities. What are you doing wasting time reading this poorly written review? GO SEE THE DAMN MOVIE. Rocket the Raccoon will thank you... but only after tearing you a new one with his charming, razor sharp wit (I'm so buying a plush toy of that adorable little bastard).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mekanism - Bring The Sun Back Music Video

Meka Nism's debut music video for 'Bring the Sun Back' from the EP, 'The Dance at the End of the World'- available on iTunes-

CD Baby-
Official Website-

Copyright © 2013 All of the Above Entertainment, LLC
All Rights Reserved

Directed by: Vincent Demarco
Produced by: Dark Elf Films / DeMarco Films
Producers: Valensky Sylvain, Robert Keller, Vincent DeMarco, Manuel Cortinas, Jeremy Wood, Sam Sylvain
Edited by: Lorena Abreu
Video Special Effects by: David Coalter

Makeup and Special Effects by Miss Williams' Blood & Gore Boutique, Inc.
Heather Williams - Makeup design, makeup artist, and special effects
T-Bone - Assistant makeup artist, assistant special effects
Melissa Feyereisen - Assistant makeup artist
Tracy Purple - Assistant makeup artist
Megan Hogarth - Assistant to makeup and effects department
Director of Photography & Camera A - Navid Namazi
Gaffer & Camera B - Manuel Cortinas
Camera C - Joey Garcia
Production Designer - Chrissy Rosatone
Production Coordinator - Angie Allison
PA's - Belen McCormick, Jarred



Bobby "The Ripper"
Reed "Freedom" Tyack
Alvin Bauer

Dancers & Audience:

Riz O
A.J. Cabigao
Hai "Dizzykid" Duong
Grae Marino
Michael Sloan
Aubrey Beinkampen
Belen McCormick
Julie Norris
Maya Norris
Nicholas Orthodox
Morgo Chapman

Cluster Duck Dark Elf Blog movie review - Sushi Girl

Sushi Girl Review by Frank Tobin aka Cluster Duck

About 3 years ago I saw a trailer for a movie. I had no idea what the
plot was, who wrote it, or who directed it. It sorta just coalesced
out of the indie film ether. A patchwork amalgamation of niche genres
and indie tropes. It mesmerized me...

The song is perfect. The visuals are strikingly grind-house. The girl
is exquisite... and, wait, was that... Luke Fucking Skywalker?! And
Candyman? And Machete? Dwayne Hicks?! What is this nerdgasm,
physically manifested on my video-sharing website of choice? It
appears to ape, at least in spirit, Reservoir Dogs, and 70's
exploitation flicks, and the kind of gritty crime dramas made
mainstream by the likes of Tarantino himself.

Must. Watch. Now.

Fast forward ahead 3 years... A lot of shit happened, horrible movie
schlock was watched, and... that one cool looking indie grind-house
flick, what was it called, fuck, Fish Lady? Salmon Female? Erin

Well whatever it was called, I completely forgot about it. Shit, it
took them a dog's age, it seems, to even get a limited release. So I
start digging...

After the movie was filmed, the director Kern Saxton and his
production crew raised the money for a premiere on Kickstarter.
And was met with mixed reviews. But, seeing as I consider myself, at
least, a tourist in genre subversive independent film peeping, I
decided to finally give it a whirl.

How bad could it really be? Well... I was underwhelmed, to say the
least. It's hardly a cinematic abortion *cough, all Adam Sandler
films, cough* but the overly derivative nature of the narrative kept
it from reaching god-tier.

Let me explain; as is the case with any film, there's a right way, and
a wrong way to tell a story. And any story can be interesting, it just
boils down to execution. In the case of SUSHI GIRL (finally remembered
the damn name), the lurid, seductive, visually entrancing, memorable
opening pulls you in better than any indie flick I've seen in a while.
I mean, it's got Sonny Chiba chopping up raw fish and placing it on a
chart-topping unknown sex-exuding vixen (READ: the actual sushi girl).

The perfect curves of her naked flesh laying on a table, centered
amidst a Japanese themed hole-in-the-wall (which Mark Hamill's
character, Crow, sarcastically points out is more Ming Dynasty in its
design), effectively sets the mood for what's to come. It's a
fantastic opening sequence... but then the characters start talking.

Tarantino perfected gangster speak in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction
in such a fashion that, even though his characters are vile, mostly
immoral, scumbags, you actually enjoy hearing their diatribes. It's
one of the highlights of his films. Here, it just plays like a
hackneyed imitation, devoid of any genuine thought or cleverness.
Clunky is a good word for it.

Continuing with that theme, as the plot chugs along, and you start to
understand why these characters are meeting in a dive, partaking of
the delicious spread, you realize what you're in for... Now, if I
weren't dead inside already, I'd call the torture scenes graphic,
gory, and ultimately unnerving. But alas, my imagination, and ability
to suspend my disbelief, is so shot to shit that nothing grosses me
out or unsettles me (unless I'm looking in a mirror... GET A TAN, FOR
FUCK SAKE). Horror movies bore me, unless they're hilariously gory.
Torture porn is a big yawn. But thankfully the story is written in a
way that, as you piece together where it's all going, the twist ending
actually slaps you in the genitals. You forgot about the bad jokes,
and forced genre dialogue. It was so memorable and out of left field,
I honestly want to watch it again.

Great music, pointless, albeit appropriate, cameos by horror and
grind-house regulars, excellent cinematography, subpar performances,
with a few bright-spots here and there, and an unexpected twist, Fish
Lady (pretty sure that's what it was called) was a surprising treat
that unfortunately wasn't necessarily worth how long I waited to see
it. But then again, that was my own dumbass fault. I recommend it.

Now if I could only eat some SUSHI off a beautiful GIRL...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Soul Switch - SAVING ME Music Video

Zero Dark Cinema and Dark Elf Films presents

Soul Switch "Saving Me" Music Video

Starring: Tom Huestis, Cameron Gagne, Ali Roberts, and Soul Switch

Directed by Adam Arnali:

Produced by: Valensky Sylvain -

Associate Producer: Kevin Welch

Director of Photography: Brandt Hackney

Production Designer: Elyssa Bloom

Make up & Hair: Whitney Costner and Rachel King

Grip & Electric: Navid John Namazi & Samuel Fontanez

PA's: Amanda Blake Sutter & Emile Gerne

Monday, February 11, 2013

Casting call for Justice


Dark Elf Films/August Moon/Demarco Films Production presents…Justice


Casting for:
1) John - early 50s, male, gruff, bald, beard, race undetermined.

2) Heidi - early 20s, female, needs tremendous emotional range.

3) Beckley - 30s, male, Spanish, Euro trash, slick backed hair.

4) Bartender - 20s, male, Mohawk, skinny, multiple piercings, cocksure.

5) Two Bricks - 20s/30s, male, physically fit, able to take a punch and give one out, bouncers.

6) Young Heidi - 10 years old.

7) Heidi's Mother - 30s, female, needs to be okay with rape scene.

8) Extras - male, female, socialites, bar sluts, druggies, trashy VIP lounge dwellers.

Casting Dates:
Feb 17th, 2013. 12 pm to 5 pm
(By Appointment)

Shooting Dates:
End of February

4401 S Orange Ave
Unit 103
Orlando, Fl 32806

Please send head shot and resume:
Please include role and film that you are auditioning for in the subject

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cinematic Haiku Hard Malice Syllable 1: Geeks

Dark Elf Films & Detour Entertainment Presents

Cinematic Haiku Hard Malice

Syllable 1:



 A day in the life of two seemingly harmless video game nerds and their take on how the gaming industry has influenced society.


Directed by Chris Greene

Written by Frank Tobin