The Muppets or: How to Re-Vamp a Franchise in an Original and Funny Way

Before you try to tell yourself that you won’t enjoy this film because you aren’t a Muppets fan, take a step back and breathe easy, because you don’t have to be.

Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller (writers of Forgetting Sarah Marshall & Get Him to the Greek) took the Muppets brand and put such an original and hilarious spin on it, you can’t help but find yourself smiling the entire time.

When an oil tycoon, Tex Richman (played by Chris Cooper in a great comedic turn) obtains the rights to the Muppet’s studio with the plans to destroy it and drill underneath it in search for oil, it’s up to three small town Muppets fans to stop him. But the three fans know they can’t do it alone, so they enlist the help of Kermit, Ms. Piggy, Gonzo and the rest of the gang to put on one last show to raise the funds to stop Tex Richman, and what ensues is a fun and entertaining ride.

‘The Muppets’ follows suit from other Muppet films, including catchy musical show tunes, and cameos by everyone from Jack Black and John Krasinski to Zach Galifiankis and Neil Patrick Harris. This is a film that will be loved by both kids and adults, and is a great film to see this holiday season, whether you’re a Muppet fan or not.

I give ‘The Muppets’

 4 ½ out of 5 Scorsese’s


Training Course Review: Video Business 101

As an aspiring filmmaker that could only tolerate a single semester of film school and no previous experience in marketing, investing in some online video training didn’t sound like a bad idea. I felt like I had a moderate idea of the steps I had to take, but for the most part, I am going into a world of video production blindly(though free of debt). I stumbled upon a course created from the very helpful guys at NextwaveDV, called Video Business 101. I’ve been keeping up with NextwaveDV for a while now, learning a lot about HDSLR rigs and actually led me to find one of my now favorite blogs, nofilmschool. So, deciding to make this purchase wasn’t all that difficult.

Video Business 101 gives you the very basic principles to what starting/running a video production company is all about, although over all, I feel like they skimmed only so much of the surface, Video Business 075 would probably be a more appropriate title. The course covers a lot of areas of business including, the legal sides, marking your clients, marketing yourself, etc., which I felt they did pretty well over all. The thing is, I couldn’t help but feel there’s a lot more they could have added to live up to the value. They cover a lot of topics, but didn’t dwell into the topics individually enough for me to really consider it much of a course then an informative conversation. For example, Tony tells you how important having a business card is, but doesn’t let us in on what makes a good business card, or what are some do’s and don’t’s of designing one. If having a business card is so important, shouldn’t these aspects be addressed? There are a couple other points throughout the video that they only generally speak of where I felt a better in-depth effort would have been helpful. Fortunately, where Video Business 101 falls short in explaining content, it actually makes up for it in its layout and organization of information.

Tony pretty much covers every kind of production you could be dealing with and lays them out for you, to see your options, and understand the route you wish to partake. You see this leading into the second half of the course, which is where you’ll find the true value of it. Tony goes deep into what I felt was great advice about being innovative, and other important ideas. He also brings on a guest, Jim Degroot, a Marketing Director, who demonstrates a great understanding of what branding really is, and gives you some great guidelines on how to get the most out of a client. Jim also leads you towards some good resources while seeming knowledgeable enough for you to trust him.

The heart of this course are the key ideas and theory’s it shares about how you should approach your productions and advertising. I can’t give them away, but I genuinely found them helpful and insightful. Video Business 101 pretty much covers enough areas for you to start. I feel like I can start my business adventure and know what to expect. The set Tony built(by himself) for the video could’ve been better, it kind of looks like he’s teaching the course from a barn. I probably would have painted the ply wood planks a dark chocolate-brown color or something, but I digress. Ultimately the course is very rudimentary, if you took a business class or went to school, don’t expect to learn anything, but for people in my situation, I found the contents very valuable. Is it worth the $44 I paid thanks to the nofilmschool discount code? I say yes. Although I can’t say the same when the sale is over and the price shoots back up to a whopping $75.

I give Video Business 101:

3 out of 5

Martha Marcy May Marlene or: How a Brainwashed Woman Isn’t the Best Guest For a Family Vacation

Martha Macy May Marlene

Before you ask yourself, “wait, there’s another Olsen sister who acts?” know that yes there is, and yes, she is phenomenal as a paranoid and mentally damaged woman from a former cult in first-time director Sean Durkin’s ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene.’

The film tells the story of Martha (Elizabeth Olsen), a young woman who seeks retreat from her small cult by spending a few weeks with her estranged sister and her husband on a lakeside manor in Connecticut. The film, which cuts between Martha’s initiation and time spent in a small rural cult, to her present struggles with her sister, as Martha battles painful memories from her previous home.

Although the backbone of the film are the strong performances by Olsen and her sadistic cult leader, played by John Hawkes, there is also much praise that should be given towards the screenplay.  The dynamics in which Durkin’s script are able to parallel Martha’s time spent with the cult to her present day paranoia is very well done. However, the film seems to be building upon a big climax, but seemingly never gets there, and by the end it leaves the viewer with a few more questions that should’ve been touched upon.  Although the ending of the film isn’t as strong as the rest of it, this is still a great film, which should be seen by lovers of independent cinema as well as those who enjoy a good psychological drama.

I give ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’

3 ½ out of 5 Scorsese’s

Zombie in a Penguin Suit – Short Film Review

Watch this first:

“Zombie in a Penguin Suit” is a beautiful, extremely well done, zombie film. I hate zombie films. Honestly I feel like trying to put out any sort of horror/survival zombie flick is one of the most redundant things a filmmaker could do these days. It’s every students first feature, there’s hardly anything ever original about them, the genre has been exhausted ten times over, and I am just sick and tired of seeing them continue to pop up. Not even George Romero can pull them off anymore. However, for director Chris Russell, this is not the case. In fact I wouldn’t even call “Zombie in a Penguin Suit” a zombie film. I would say its a toss-up between either a twisted dark comedy or a modern zombie-esque noir film.

The short film is pretty much just a moment in time when a poor soul gets infected by your run of the mill zombie horde, all the while he is wearing this ridiculous penguin suit. It is insane the amount of character and depth that is added due to the zombie wearing this suit. It’s hilariously twisted, but also very solemn at some times. Especially the very first sequence, where all you see is the subtle transition from the human eye full of life, to the deathly zombie eye full of… death. I felt the sadness of it without even seeing the characters face first, it was awesome. Then immediately after, it is revealed that this poor victim has died in a humiliating penguin costume. From that point on, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the shots you see of this penguin man gnaw into the leg of a soldier, tackle some one on a stairway, and waddle his way through the wake of devastation.

I must also point out the beautiful imagery and cinematography put into this short film. The shots in the church, the crosses, and the field of flowers shots were just stunning. Speaking of the church scene, wow. I thought it was a very well done emotional turn around in the story, and showed me a whole new part of this zombie afflicted world I could’ve swore I’d known inside-out.

Afterwards, our penguin fiend waddles a little longer until he finds himself twice as decayed, and some how in the middle of a newborn suburban neighborhood(which I’m interpreting as society building a new home for themselves away from the infection?). It’s very interesting to me, what Russell does here. It obviously implies our penguin hero is about to be shot in the head, but instead of just showing it happen(like how a million and one typical film students would have done it), he lets it linger, ending the film with an eerie, sad, uncomfortable stare contest between you and Mr. Undead Happyfeet. It’s also notable that when you see him enter this area, half of his brain is showing and his hood is down, which was a great way to show that the character we knew before is now totally absent, and at the end of his road. The zombie in a penguin suit gives you one last gaze and roll credits.

It was a very cool experience to watch, and established in only 7 minutes! The team even managed to create a sense of nostalgia, rolling what seemed to be home movie footage of the zombie during his time of living. The music was also pretty good, it fit well, giving you the common ingredients of piano, cello, and some pizzicato, put together to sound like what I felt I’ve heard before in almost every other silent indie film I’ve ever seen. Nonetheless, the short film was very well done, the entire crew pulled it off, and most importantly, it was able to make me feel a connection with the story. So I say a tip of the hat to Chris Russell, and their whole production team. For more information, check out their facebook, and they also have a website.

I give Zombie in a Penguin Suit:

3.5 out of 5

Paranormal Activity 3 or: How They Did the Same Thing Again Yet Managed to Pull it Off

Aside from the praise I give this franchise for starting out with a groundbreaking first film, which was made on a shoe-string budget, it’s already in my good graces because it’s my favorite genre of horror: the psychological thriller.
Now, this third film in the franchise is a prequel to the first two films, taking place almost two decades before them. Shot in a way to mimic pro-grade camcorders from the 1980’s, viewers aren’t given the crisp HD picture or the nice resolution of a home security camera in which we saw in the first two films. However, this turned out to be one of the thing’s that was most enjoyable about the flick. The grainy texture from the mock-video tapes that the events of the movie were shot on adds an element of realism and helps boost some of the tense and scary scenes.
Another thing that was done well was the overall simplicity; it took some of the main elements from a good psychological thriller and weaved them in to fit with their plot. Now a lot of people across the interwebs are griping about the big climax and the last 20 minutes of the film. And it’s understandable how it could be a love it or hate it ending, but for what it’s worth, the last 20 or so minutes are by far the scariest in all of the first 3 films.
If you haven’t seen Paranormal Activity or Paranormal Activity 2, you won’t be completely lost, as ‘3’ works as a nicely plotted horror flick, but if you have seen the first two, it will leave you with less questions at the end, and works as a great tie in for this initial trilogy. However, with the way this film ends, and the fact that this franchise will continue to rake in money, I don’t see this being the end to Paranormal Activity.
Here’s to hoping they can pull it off a few more times.

I give Paranormal Activity 3

3 out of 5 Scorsese’s

Jon’s Introduction

I’m an independent filmmaker and one of the founders of Young Folks Comedy Productions. I love being behind the camera as well as acting in front of it. I have a wide taste in film and an even broader taste in music. I’ll also throw in a sports rant here or there, so stay tuned.

The New Slang Blog – The Beginning

Thanks for visiting the newslangblog: a site for two aspiring filmmakers to post their reviews and opinions on the music and media we are given today. If you’re a filmmaker, artist, blogger, musician, entrepreneur, or every day citizen — or more than one of these — I hope you’ll find the upcoming content useful.  With that I’ll just say again that these are just our personal reviews and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions or likeness of any others that may be mentioned on the site.

You’re probably asking yourself, “what do you mean ‘we’? You’re not just one guy?”.  That is correct.  We are in fact not one but two people.  I, whose words you are reading at this moment, am Eric Brown(Eric Brown Cinematography, Siravo, Young Folks Comedy).  I am an aspiring filmmaker, freshly starting off a production company, and in the hobbies of making music.  NewSlangBlog frontman number 2 would be Jonathan Carmelia(Young Folks Comedy, nohaven).  I’ll let him indulge in himself when he writes his post later on.

newslangblog will feature new posts as often as things come out, to stay in the know, subscribe to RSS, or find me on Twitter or Facebook.