The Transfiguration (Review)

The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration
2016
Written and directed by Michael O’Shea
The Transfiguration
I got fists full of sweet, sweet cash and a break between classes and being sick to actually write, so it’s time to go to a bunch of films at the San Francisco International Film Festival! First up is the amazing vampire film, The Transfiguration!

The Transfiguration is about a disturbed teenager that is obsessed with vampires. Milo (Eric Ruffin) is not just obsessed, he lives and breathes vampires. Literally, as he’s started going out and stalking, killing, and drinking the blood of victims once a month. This isn’t a spoiler, he’s doing it in the opening scene. Exactly why he’s started doing this is slowly revealed as the film burns on. We learn more of Milo’s world view, his family tragedies and his harassment by local toughs.

There is no big bad vampire, the monsters are all in the mind, the demons that enslave us all. Milo lives with his adult brother, Lewis (Aaron Clifton Moten), both alone after their mother’s suicide. Lewis is perpetually on the couch watching television, not because he’s lazy but because he’s just been damaged by life. He used to roll with the gang, but left to go straight and spent time in the military in the Middle East, where he saw things that add to his haunting looks. He does care about his brother, but the only way he knows how to keep him out of trouble is dealing with the gang and the cops, and is completely in the dark about the blood drinking. Aaron Moten is amazing here, conveying someone with so much going on under the hood but still barely functioning because of all the past trauma.

Milo’s regular routine is thrown into a loop when Sophie (Chloe Levine) moves into the complex. Her parents are dead as well, and she’s living with an abusive grandfather. It’s damaged people finding themselves through each other. The more time Milo spends with Sophie, the less time he spends stalking prey and drinking their blood. But Milo knows he’s already gone to far, having a happy ending and normal life isn’t in the cards for him. But maybe he doesn’t have to be doomed to be all bad.
The Transfiguration
The film switches between the budding romantic film with Milo and Sophie and the dark and haunted world of Milo looking for prey, sometimes rapidly shifting gears in an uncomfortable manner. Milo is obviously uncomfortable about Sophie inserting herself into his life, but he also finds himself growing fond of her. And that begins to disturb him. The only topic that Milo is comfortable speaking about is the discussion of said vampire films. Milo rates the vampire films in term of how realistic they are, in that how accurate they are in depicting what he feels true, accurate vampires are. Sophie keeps trying to get him to read Twilight, and makes references to True Blood (which Milo dismisses as unrealistic!) Milo rattling on and on about them to Sophie begins to pull him out of what he is becoming.

Michael O’Shea’s vampire tale changes up the usual game. The vampires are just flavoring, Milo could be obsessed with any horror creature and acting out as them. The journey is Milo’s jump from embracing his vampire life to being offered a different path. The scenes of violence are brutal, but Milo finding himself gives a path of redemption. The Transfiguration is worth the buzz and worth checking out, just don’t expect the usual horror trapping.

(I’ll also put in a warning that they show real animals being killed in clips from the Faces of Death movies, so be warned if you are like me and not into that stuff!)

SFIFF 2017

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 26, 2017 at 9:52 pm

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Meow Brings a Giant Alien Cat Invasion!


New Hong Kong fantasy Meow features a family that adopts a giant cat, who just happens to be a vanguard of an invasion of Earth to turn people into pets. If this sounds ridiculous, you are correct, it is ridiculous. It’s also very very real! Emperor Motion Pictures is the production company behind Meow, and it’s directed by Benny Chan Muk-Sing (Gen-X Cops, New Police Story)

“There are very few fantasy films in Hong Kong and that’s precisely why we made this one,” said director Benny Chan. It was produced on a budget of over $14.5 million (RMB100 million).

Meow stars Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Mary Ma Li, Liu Chu-Tian, Louis Yuen Siu-Cheung, Wong Sing-Yuen, and Michelle Wai.

If the giant orange cat doing things looks vaguely familiar, it might be because of the Mannings Cat advertising campaign that started in 2011, where a cat searches for a magic herb to heal its master, only to be defeated by the herb wilting and then just buying a cure from Mannings:

Obviously very inspired. Meow looks ridiculous and I hope it does well just to help fund other ridiculous stuff, but I honestly don’t have that much confidence. Still, how many movies have giant alien cats shooting laser eyes? Avengers, eat your heart out!

Meow Laser Eyes

via AsianFilmStrike, Variety

Meow Poster

Meow Poster

Meow Poster

Meow Poster

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm

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Justice League Dark (Review)

Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark
2017
Story by J.M. DeMatteis and Ernie Altbacker
Screenplay by Ernie Altbacker
Directed by Jay Oliva

Justice League Dark
The animated world is in danger once again (stupid world, stop being in danger!) and only the Justice League can save them. No, not the normal Justice League, this is Justice League Dark! And Batman for some reason. That reason is money. Keep in mind this is Justice League Dark, not Justice League After Dark, that’s the porn version debuting on Cinemax next year! Just kidding. Or am I? Yes.

Now let’s get to an actual review and not string of consciousness awful jokes. Justice League Dark follows the loose continuity the animated films have had since they got rebooted with Flashpoint/Justice League: War, including voices (and Matt Ryan from the Constantine tv series voices John Constantine here!) This time the team isn’t able to handle the threat, as the threat is supernatural in nature, so we need a different kind of hero. Supernatural heroes for a supernatural threat. Mainly John Constantine (of Keanu Reeves movie fame) and Zatanna, the magician lady I’m vaguely familiar with. There are others heroes like Deadman, who I hadn’t really known much about, but a ghost as a super hero does make a certain amount of sense. Maybe Casper should stop being so friendly and start taking down crime syndicates! This time, the ghosts are busting YOU!
Justice League Dark
I enjoyed the change of focus of heroes despite Batman being included so he could grunt every time something spooky happens. (And he does, Gotham City must be showing a lot of Home Improvement reruns) Usually movies like this have a regular guy character who all the characters that are steeped into the universe can explain things too (and thus explain to the audience!), but as Batman already knows a lot of things, he doesn’t really fit that well in the role.
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 23, 2017 at 7:53 am

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The Bride He Bought Online (Review)

The Bride He Bought Online

aka Flirting with Madness
The Bride He Bought Online Lifetime
2015
Written and directed by Christine Conradt

The Bride He Bought Online Lifetime

Good thing he never turned around to notice he was obviously being filmed


PRANKED!!! You got so pranked!

Lifetime brings us an amazing tale of pranking gone wrong, internet danger, guy who goes nuts, and teen girls stuffed in trunks! The Bride He Bought Online is pure, concentrated Lifetime amazement that raises the bar for their original movies. It’s not really that much of a surprise, for not only is this a Lifetime movies superstar writer Christine Conradt script, she also directs it! Conradt clearly knew she had to up her game, and blasted past that goal and then some! We can only hope this is the beginning of a new level of awesome flicks!

The Bride He Bought Online Lifetime

How dare you have a basic sense of human decency, what’s wrong with you???


It’s high school, and our trio of main girls are concerned with what everyone in high school is concerned with, views on their secret pranking website! Wait, huh? We’ve entered the world of internet prank videos, a genre that has flourished on YouTube despite the fact most of them are terrible and/or totally fake. But, sure, whatever you want to watch is your business, TarsTarkas.NET can’t really judge based on some of the films we’ve reviewed!

Avery Lindstrom (Anne Winters) is the nice girl who is so done with pranking and is thinking about her future, she also serves as a bookend narrator. Mandy Kim (Lauren Gaw) once was overweight and unpopular, but is now part of the cool squad and desperately wants to stay there. She is starting to have some moral objections to the non-stop pranks, but let’s Kaley push her around. Kaley Mack (Annalisa Cochrane) is attractive, popular, and is the driving force behind the secret prank website. She’s the reason the other two are popular at school, and schemes up the latest and greatest pranks in her quest for social media love.

“We need content. Content equals followers.” – Mandy
“And followers equals?” -Avery
“Everything!” – Kaley

The Bride He Bought Online Lifetime

Look, I’m beyond pranks now that I’m wearing a beanie


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 20, 2017 at 7:58 am

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Double Mommy quadruples down on Lifetime!

Double Mommy lifetime

I searched #18rapist on Twitter and it had no hits as of time of this posting, but…


A small while ago, Lifetime hit us with the hilariously titled Double Daddy, about a guy who knocked up two girls, one of which was troubled but also the character you started cheering for even when she became a murderer. In that spirit they are back with Double Mommy, but, no, it’s not about a girl who knocks up two other girls, it’s about a girl who is pregnant with twins, except they each have a different dad. Also one of the dads raped her! Wait, what??? Also the clear his name of being a rapist, he’s going to kill the pregnant girl? This is ridiculous, this is crazy, this is Lifetime!

After taking a break for the summer before their senior year, Ryan and Jess rekindle their relationship, and find out that Jess is pregnant with twins. When Ryan’s mother demands a paternity test, they find out that Ryan is only the father of one baby… The other father is Ryan’s best friend Bryce, who Ryan discovers date raped Jess at a party over the summer. With college recruiters and an overbearing father looming over Bryce’s head, he will stop at nothing to make sure that he clears his name–even if it means getting rid of Jess and her babies!

Double Mommy stars Morgan Obenreder (Mormon for a Month), Mark Grossman (Break-Up Nightmare), Griffin Freeman (Sugar Daddies), David Starzyk (Bring It On: Fight to the Finish), Bruce Boxleitner (Snakehead Terror) It’s written by veteran double drama writer Barbara Kymlicka (Double Daddy!) and directed by Doug Campbell (Stalked by My Doctor)

Double Mommy premieres Saturday, March 18th on Lifetime!

via Lifetime

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 16, 2017 at 11:36 pm

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Mommy’s Little Boy takes more child drama to Lifetime!

Mommy's Little Boy Lifetime

I just wanted to love snow and talk about snow, and now I’m trapped in a Lifetime movie!


It’s Mommy Madness Marathon for Lifetime, with two movies with “Mommy” in the title for lots of Lifetime fun. Besides Mommy’s Little Boy, we also have Double Mommy (hence why they’re not calling it a Double Mommy Weekend!), and both of these films are sequels in spirit to prior Lifetime movies with similar titles and creative teams! Mommy’s Little Boy gets our interest because it’s written by Christine Conradt, who writes so many awesome Lifetime flicks that I can’t even begin to list them all! She’s the person we write about the most when it comes to Lifetime movies, and for good reason, because she’s awesome! This means Mommy’s Little Boy will be packed with all sorts of twists and turns and crazy craziness that makes Lifetime original movies so amazing and unique!

When ten-year-old Eric’s older brother Max drowns, Eric’s mother Briana takes the death of her favorite son especially hard and spirals into a dark depression. Eric, already haunted guilt over not saving Max and desperate for attention, begins spending time with the family of his baseball coach Michael. When, in a drunken rage, Briana commits a fatal crime, she decides to take Eric and hit the road. Discovering he’s about to be ripped away from his surrogate family, Eric takes a stand against his mother and enlists the help of the person he trusts most–Michael.

Mommy’s Little Boy stars Bree Williamson (Sins of the Preacher ), Peter DaCunha (Home Alone: The Holiday Heist), Paul Popowic (Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return), Sebastian Pigott (Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost), Natalie Lisinska (Sorority Surrogate), and Allison Graham (A Nanny’s Secret) It’s directed by Curtis Crawford (all the Lifetime _____ they Met Online movies)

Mommy’s Little Boy premieres Saturday, March 18th on Lifetime!

via Lifetime

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Posted by Tars Tarkas -  at 9:40 pm

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