The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam is a surreal, colorful, and somewhat fantastical short film. The official description hails it as a “desert Steampunk fantasy,” but I wouldn’t really call it Steampunk. Still, it’s very visually striking and mesmerizing to watch all the way through.  

Odd Brodsky is a film for anyone who has ever wistfully dreamed of Hollywood greatness. At its screening at Dances With Films on Saturday night, writer/director Cindy Baer admitted that the movie comes at least somewhat from her own experiences—but that this wasn’t entirely intentional. They’re the experiences of a person trying to pursue a career in Hollywood against greater odds, and, for anyone who has done so, those experiences tend to be universal.

What is God? Does he exist as an actual entity or merely as a concept in religious doctrine? And, if God does exist, then why do bad things happen to good people? These are just a few of the questions raised by Frank vs. God, which premiered at Dances With Films on Friday night.

Most adults have heard the famous General Sherman quote on war being hell, but we have no measuring stick to judge its veracity. Director Tom Petch attempts to give us one through his film, The Patrol, which examines the lives of British troops in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, as they fulfill their role as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. It’s a war film for a modern world, where viewers have become weary of fighting other nations’ wars and trying to police the international community.

Tara Cardinal’s official IMDB synopsis for her female-led action movie, Legend of the Red Reaper, is:

“It's been 100 years since The Red Reaper, half human, half demon was traded to the demons by the Teller Witch - her own mother. Rescued by the Reapers, a sacred clan of human/demon warriors, they raised her as their own, even though she was more demon than the rest of them. Abandoned by her mother, at odds with her Reaper family, struggling with her Reaper training, and in love with one man she couldn't have - nothing was going right for the Red Reaper. She was untrained, untested, and shared none of her mother's magical abilities. She couldn't even see the future, her mother's greatest gift. Until the day she did. And, it changed the world forever.”

Part fantasy adventure, part autobiographical, Cardinal’s Legend of the Red Reaper definitely shows that a female lead can carry an action movie, but, at the same time, it contains small flaws that prevent it from being truly great.

The FFOW! series takes a look at that vast library created by the proud and the passionate: fan films. Whether the budget and talent is astronomical or amateur, FFOW! celebrates the filmmakers whose love of comics, books, movies, video games, and TV shows inspires them to join the great conversation with their own homemade masterpieces.

For the first FFOW! of 2014, let’s look at one of the first big fan films to hit the web this year, Vincent Tran’s Girl of Steel.

It’s that time of year again. I am very lucky to say I’ll be attending Sundance for the 4th time! Every year I have been able to attend, there have been surprises.  Whether it’s a film with an unknown director and cast breaking out, as in Beasts of the Southern Wild, or Kevin Smith picketing his own movie when Red State premiered, and everything in-between, indie movies have the chance to light up Park City with unexpected buzz. New filmmakers and actors have a chance to step into the spotlight, and movies that would otherwise never make it to a wide audience have a chance to obtain distribution, whether that’s through traditional markets or newer markets, such as Netflix.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, inspired by the 1939 short story of the same name by James Thurber, tells the story of a bored New York daydreamer who finds himself forced to take on a real-life adventure. Ben Stiller, who also directs this adaptation, plays Walter. He works as a “Negative Assets Manager” at LIFE magazine, and the movie takes place as LIFE closes down its print division and transitions to a digital-only platform.

Kill Your Darlings stars Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as Lucien Carr, Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) as William Burroughs, and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as Jack Kerouac. The film examines the lives of these leading figures that spawned the Beat Generation, zeroing in on a murder that entangled them all and left an indelible scar on their movement.

*Please note that this article is an opinion-editorial.


This past summer, the second rebooted Star Trek film came out, after much hype and speculation concerning the plot and characters of that feature.  As an ardent Trekkie, I was excited, especially given how the first film was able to tie in the already established timeline shown in the previous films and television shows without it being ludicrous, but I was unprepared for just how much of the classic, original aspects of former Star Trek continuity was taken for the plot.  It isn’t as though I’m against reusing previous plot points and characters in a rebooted fashion—DC’s done it for their New 52 reboot, though some of the success on that is still up for consideration—but the sheer amount of information recycled into the remade galaxy is staggering.  Into Darkness blatantly steals elements from four of the original Trek films, but not all of them are for the better.

MAJOR STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS SPOILERS BELOW

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