Being Tailored to be President of the United States ist sehr Böse! “Der Bunker” review!

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Seeking the luxuries of peace and quiet in order to fulfill the work of an important academic theory, a young student rents out the basement of an old bunker converted into a family home. Surrounded by the solitude of snow and trees, the bunker is the perfect place for the student to concentrate on his work. Until the couple renting the bunker basement decides the student must continue the unorthodox home-schooling of their eight-year-old son to put him on the path of becoming the President of the United States. The student becomes mixed up in a peculiar family’s ambitious affair twisted far from normalcy and teetering on the borderline on insanity.
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“Der Bunker” is the first feature film from writer-director Nikias Chryssos and Chryssos delivers an artistically abstract film about the modernistic conventional ways of growing up through childhood told through an obsolete perspective. Produced in Germany, the film makes light of how parents raise and shelter their children, especially their sole child. The home setting is literally a bunker, a fallout shelter from the age of war. “Der Bunker” particularly points out the American child raising culture with Klaus, the eight-year-old son of mother and father, going through semi-strict tutoring of memorizing the every nation’s capitals in efforts of becoming, one day, the President of the United States. Chryssos overkills the symbolism column with continuously displaying the staleness of a stuck-in-routine in over-parenting from the outdated 1950’s style of the clothes and retrofitted bunker to the eight-year-old Klaus being depicted by a 30-something actor Daniel Fripan.
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Fripan is one of four cast members to star in Chryssos film and the only actor portraying a named character with Klaus, leaving all others generically labeled with father, mother, and the student; however, Klaus and the Student are essentially the same person, a dual presence who start off polar opposites that are trapped inside the bunker and looking to break free from it’s buried confines when their individual identities begin to blur. Fripan’s key to “Der Bunker” working conceptually as the ‘man-child’ with Fripan’s attributed short stature, innocently mature face, and a well-performed immature persona that solidifies the Klaus role as nothing more than child forced to grow externally, but not internally. Pit Bukowski’s more of an automaton when we first meet him wondering through the snowy terrain in search of the bunker. His Student character starts to dwindle as he literally becomes a fixture of the bunker as Klaus starts to shine and thrive in not only his studies but in his maturity, confronting his Mother’s will. Bukowski’s internal switch goes dynamically well with Fripan even though their physical façades remains intact. Mother and Father are portrayed by Oona von Maydell, daughter of “Das Boot’s” Claude-Oliver Rudolph, and David Scheller and both compliment each other by donning an opposite reversal of roles where Mother is the stern, firm hand of the family and Father stays home to clean and be a teacher for Klaus.
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Chryssos’ telling of the family and the Student’s psychosexual relationship between the story’s bookends goes above and beyond the Oedipus complex. Oona von Maydell’s Mother has a power fastening all the male characters in an intriguing way despite her minor, yet undesirable, physical deformity plaguing as a patch on her right leg and also despite that her rational stemming from a grave voice, connected to her deformity, comes from beyond their world. As if destined to play the part, Maydell acts the lead as the family’s matriarch while also being subtly coy and provocative to bluntly upfront about her sexuality as a means of control; Maydell seemed very comfortable with her onscreen upper torso nudity in some awkward and uncomfortable scenes. Her onscreen husband, David Scheller, deems himself an academic, an educated man with knowledge more vast than that of the outside world because of this thirst for literature. Yet, Scheller plays a scattered Father whose torn between being a literal mentor, the punisher, and the glue to keep the bunker from being engulfed by giving into Mother’s symbiotic celestial being. Father copes with heavy medication that literally warps his mind when he can’t seem to control everything from the Student’s appetite to his convincing of the Student to take on the tutoring role for Klaus, even if it’s not plainly displayed. Scheller does a remarkable performance breaking down his character to a crumbling lame duck.
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“Der Bunker” and the bizarre go hand-in-hand. Only a unique mindset with skewed vision could have pulled together such a twisted dark comedy tale of the mortal coil in holding your children to your hopes and dreams for them. Colorfully unapologetic, “Der Bunker” canisters another world sluggishly revolving through multiple levels of layers of psychosexual and frustrating concepts that flaunts a conventional cinema defiance attitude to establish bold filmmaking possibilities. In short, director Nikias Chryssos shoots high and doesn’t miss with his first run. The Artsploitation Blu-ray release features a vividly clear anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 presentation of the Kataskop Film Production. Audio options include a Dolby Digital German 5.1 Surround sound with very detailed optional English subtitles. An abundant of bonus material is hard to pass up, especially with a director’s commentary and deleted scenes that expand more about the character’s traits and backgrounds. Rounding the extras are outtakes and trailers from Artsploitation film arsenal. This Blu-ray release is meticulously thought out to deliver a high caliber video and sound quality for such as odd German film concerning one youngish boy’s progressional path of self-reliance from a sheltered life style.

Buy “Der Bunker” on Amazon.com! A Psychosexual experience!

Evil. On Repeat! “Blood Punch” review!

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Milton was a mild mannered, bright young man with a promising future in chemistry until he was busted for conducting a meth kitchen on campus grounds and ordered to attend a drug rehabilitation center. With a little over four months left on his sentenced term, a fast-talking, drug-selling beauty Skylar walks into his life and offers a get-rich-quick scheme to Milton that involves partnering up with her and her psychotic boyfriend Russell. The challenge is to cook up a large amount of Meth within 24 hour window for an all around bad guy named Archer. Before lovestruck Milton can make choice in the matter, he’s dragged into the precarious undertaking located at an isolated cabin in the woods where the trio’s fate takes a turn toward an endless course plotted for blood, death, and various treachery.
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Finally, a B-movie horror with a novelty story that continuously inflicts old school thrills, gratuitous violence, and black comedy. A sheer guessing game for the character outcomes from the beginning to the rolling of the end credits, which, in this loop-upon-loop story, covers possibly every single last fate that could be bestowed upon them. “Blood Punch” stands as this generations’ even darker version of “Groundhog Day.”
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The cast and crew deliver on both sides of the spectrum. The lead actors are all native New Zealanders, who have previously worked on prior projects together, embodying vibrantly into their roles with precision and passion. Milo Cawthorne as Milton has a persona similar, in physicality and in acting, to Jesse Eisenberg; a slender built and facetious individual whose smarts can and will obtain devious potential in order to come out on top. I prefer Cawthorne over Esienberg because Milo is well less pompous. Milton’s chemistry with Skylar is of a stellar black and white origin. Skylar portrayed by “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” child star Olivia Tennet embarks on the daunting task of being chain-smoking wench whose had to grow up quick from, at least, the age of 12. To round out the dynamic cast and to add a contrast character to Milo is the muscular and handsome Ari Boyland as the loquacious and psychotic Russell; Boyland’s frighteningly impulsive and insane, making him a great adversary to the logical Milton.
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The person who wrote these characters and the person who directed these characters would assumably be well versed in the horror or dark comedy frame work. The overall intrinsic mayhem of “Blood Punch” is synonymous to a genre experienced writer and director. However, “Blood Punch” is oddly unique and not just on bonded paper but also for whom the director and writer are and their attributed credits. Director Madellaine Paxson and writer Eddie Guzalian are experienced, long time writers of children television series and films. Yes, at the helm is a crew that wrote and directed a bloody, foul-mouthed, carnage-soaked film also worked on projects like “Kim Possible,” “Power Rangers R.P.M.,” and “Lilo & Stitch: The Series.” “Blood Punch” is their first horror film together and completely knocked it out of the park; perhaps, due in part to their creative imagination when the majority of theirr work is animation where basically anything goes – just ask Wild E. Coyote. Paxson has such an eye for the littlest details that almost every scene, which were well edited together, stood on their own without any support or exposition. The ongoing debate about time and time warps will be an agonizing one, but Paxon and Guzalian wrap our characters’ timelines in a detailed manner, which nearly through me for a loop – no pun intended.
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Even if being a film released from 2013, “Blood Punch” lands near the top at being one of my favorite movies released this year on DVD courtesy of Midnight Releasing. The 16:9 Widescreen presentation is near amazing with a flawless, colorful picture, comparing well against a Hi-Def release. The stereo 5.0 mix works well with the soundtrack and ambiance tracks, but can overcome the dialogue track only by a little. Extras include deleted scenes, outtakes, and test footage. “Blood Punch” is 107 minutes of pure, unadulterated roller-coaster thrills where there’s no waiting in line to jump right back on.

The Mold Knows Evil. The Mold Knows! “Motivational Growth” review!

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Ian Foliver is a pessimistic, depressed, and reclusive young man with a touch of agoraphobia. When his best friend, an old Commodore tube Television named Kent, bites the bullet with a busted boob-tube tube in his unkept apartment, Ian determines that life is no longer worth living because that television named Kent was his only friend, his only ray of daily sunshine and that life-worthy activity had just suddenly died. Feeling that life is no longer worth living, Ian gathers up household chemical products and decides to gas himself to death in his bathtub, but when trying to clog the bathroom air vent, he slips and falls landing on his head. When he wakes up, Ian is face-to-face with a growth of conversing mold. The Mold, as it refers to itself, wants to help Ian – clean up his apartment, shave and bathe, and attract the attention of his attractive next door neighbor who Ian stalks and ogles daily through his front door peephole. In return for this helpful motivation to live, The Mold demands that Ian follows The Mold’s precise instructions which might not be as helpful as Ian first thought.
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The Don Thacker directed dark comedy is a surreal voyage into the internal life struggle of Ian Folivar, played beautifully by Adrian DiGiovanni, who directs his own downward situation making the audience part of Ian’s life. Ian is a character that is aware of his flaws but can’t accept his life and his analysis is that “life is shit” and is dangerous so shutting himself in his small apartment fairs way better than living the conventional life. “Motivational Growth” shares commonalities with prior cult favorites; one of those favorites is the Peter Hyams directed and John Ritter starring film “Stay Tuned” to where Ian becomes sucked into eccentric television programs he was viewing before Kent blew a fuse. Also, another cult favorite film, Don Coscarelli’s “John Dies at the End,” which shares that wacky fantastics of dark and ironic situations. All three of these dark comedy romps are in a small, rare genre group that dares to be different and do well at it.
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The Mold is an unique, life-like creation of filth that can actually make you feel the fungi-filled griminess lying within between the nooks, crannies, and crevices of your body. A job well done by Thacker and his The Mold puppetry team led by special effects supervisor Steve Tolin of TolinFX. They really did an amazing job creating a practical effect living-being that works in sync with the iconic voice of Jeffrey Combs whose voice fits as The Mold’s persona – confident and inspirational with a hint of cynicism. The interactions between Ian and The Mold becomes symbiotic where Ian needs The Mold to rejuvenate his depressed life back to order and back to the land of the living while The Mold needs Ian to fulfill it’s inauspicious desires for Ian’s “well-being.” When Adrian DiGiovanni interacts with The Mold, he’s interacting with an actual character in the room and not a hokey-hapless effect. You have to hand it to DiGiovanni in forming a believable dialogue and relationship between himself and an inanimate object such as the lowest scum, excuse me – fungus, on Earth.
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What I adore about “Motivational Growth’s” plot is the mysterious time period that it’s set in as many references point to the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s with the video game imagery, the television personalities, and the hairdos and clothing lines of characters in Kent’s hosted top shows Ian mindlessly views. Ian, himself, is stuck in time not knowing what a Plasma TV was which would fall right in line with the time frame above since Plasma’s didn’t start rolling around until the mid 90’s. I also like the peculiar characters Ian encounters even though his setting his solely set in his cramped apartment. Box the Ox, played by the intimidating Pete Giovagnoli, pinpoints his character perfectly as a seemingly overbearing, yet somewhat absent and simple minded, landlord who threatens Ian with off-the-wall metaphors, thus making him fun to watch and see how Ian attempts to interact with Box until Box cuts him off all the time even if Ian is provoked with a question by Box the Ox. Ken Brown as Plasmoday is by far my favorite. With a creepy face and creepy mannerisms, Plasmoday had too short of a role and I thought he would make a return to Ian’s abode to lick his TV again, but in the character’s short amount of screen time, Brown is able to up-play the oddity that embodies Plasmoday with such passion that it’s hard not to love the character.

“Motivational Growth” molds itself into greatness amongst cult movies. The nitty-gritty portions are grossly stimulating and will sure to have you jump in the shower for a quick rinse. Whether or not Ian is suffering from brain trauma, purgatory, or just to awake to a nightmare scenario, the story is left open for interpretation, giving the audience a chance to determine the ending for themselves which is always fun in my little black book. The MVD Blu-ray is spectacular technically. Super clear with no disturbances in the transfer. The Hi-resolution downplays the obvious practical effects on The Mold but that only brings more charm to the film. The sound is clear and the extras are plentiful. I’d suggest “Motivational Growth” to anyone – even to a neat freak with cleanliness issues.