Stephen Amell And Robbie Amell Break Records, Raise $1.7 Million For Their ‘Code 8’ Movie!

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We have another crowdfunding success story. Actor Stephen Amell, best known for his role in the ‘Arrow‘ TV series, and his cousin Robbie Amell will be able to create their sci-fi feature ‘Code 8,’ thanks to over 20,000 backers on their Indiegogo campaign.

Their original goal was $200,000, but they quickly passed that and ended up with a shocking total of $1,722,409. It’s the highest-crowdfunded film of 2016 on any platform, according to Indiegogo. The successful campaign included a 10-minute short film, which certainly helped convince people to contribute.

But the synopsis might have been enough by itself…

“Instead of being billionaire superheroes, most ‘specials’ live in poverty and resort to crime, forcing the police to become more militarized. The story follows a young man with special powers (Robbie Amell) struggling to find work as a day laborer. After a dispute over payment, he finds himself in a confrontation with a police officer (Sung Kang) and the autonomous robots backing him up.”

The movie is scheduled to begin filming early next year. It’ll star both Robbie and Stephen, Aaron Abrams and Chad Donella. Jeff Chan will direct from a script he wrote with Chris Pare.

Some of the special offers on the Indiegogo page included an executive producer credit for $50,000 and a ticket for one of the premieres for $1,250.

Movie Review: Max (2015) – Jarring, Disorienting and Surprisingly Violent

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When it comes to dog movies, my standard is Marley & Me. It’s the perfect blend of humor and sentimentality that most dog lovers can enjoy. However, it’s easy to go wrong with dog movies, especially when people try to cram too much into the plot.

That’s kind of what happened with Max.

The premise is this. A bomb sniffing dog named Max is adopted by his grieving handler’s family after he’s killed in action. It’s earnestly patriotic and clearly aimed at conservative Christian audiences. If you need the plot, take an entire season of Lassie, significantly increase the violence and you have Max.

There is a lot of violence. A surprising amount of violence for a PG movie. It was almost a bit too much for me and this probably isn’t a movie I’d consider bringing my kid to. And I brought my kid to Ted.

That’s because it’s harsh and hard to watch, not to mention stuffed full of clichés. We have the younger brother in the shadow of his more successful and impressive older brother, who gets attention from their distant father by acting out. Of course, when given the opportunity to chat with his older brother, he turns it down and instead plays video games.

So of course the older brother is going to buy it a few minutes later. This leaves his trusty canine companion with nowhere to go and in danger of being euthanized.

So the family adopts him and he bonds with the little brother. It’s a good redemption movie that would have been fine on its own. It wouldn’t have been a Marley & Me, but it wouldn’t have turned into a train wreck either.

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Then, suddenly, for no reason at all, we’re plunged into some kind of side plot where another army guy is up to something nefarious, with the help of a bunch of drooling, angry Rottweilers that Max fights more than a few times. I don’t know if they thought the movie needed more action, but it actually got a bit ridiculous.

If they’d left it alone and stuck with the simple story, it might have worked. But really, this sentimental coming of age story becomes something ugly and dark. You know what it feels like? It feels like what would happen if someone asked Quinton Tarantino to write an episode of the Veggie Tales. It just got weird, and filled with violent intrigue. It really was like two completely different movies slapped together. On their own, each could have been a passable effort.

But slapped together, it’s just jarring and disorienting.

I will say the movie has its strong points. I particularly liked the scene where Max is pacing around nervously during a Fourth of July celebration, because he’s a bomb dog with PTSD. Is it weird that the dog was one of the best actors in the movie?

For dog lovers, it’s a decent movie, but the dog fight scenes were a bit too much and the entire secondary plot was very confusing. All in all, it’s not terrible but it’s just not cohesive, which makes it hard to watch.

And it’s sure no Marley & Me.

WE GAVE IT : 3 STARS! Watch the Official Trailer and See the Official Movie Poster below

stars

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Movie Review: The Duff – failure to follow the book leaves watered down results

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In case you’re as curious as I was, a ‘duff’ is a designated ugly fat friend. According to the tag line, you either know one, you have one, or you are one. While you might be expecting a “Mean Girls” you’ll find this movie far more similar to “Easy-A”.

We start out the movie meeting Bianca, (Mae Whitman) a happy high school senior who is perfectly happy being the tomboy among her prettier friends (Skyler Samuels & Bianca Santos). That is until she learns she’s been designated the Duff by popular mean girl Madison (Bella Throne) and the name is sticking. So, after ignoring the advice of her high school principal (Ken Jeong) she partners up with Wesley (Robbie Amell), a slick jock, to help her win the heart of her crush Toby (Nick Eversman) and leave her Duff label behind.

Despite the fact that these kids don’t look like anyone I went to high school with, I have to say the casting director did an excellent job. Mae Whitman has a special kind of quirky chemistry, the kind that brings me back to Helen Page in Juno, and she slides into the roll easily, playing a character you root for. Robbie Amell is another huge talent, as he feels a lot like a boy just about every girl went to high school with (though a bit handsomer). This whole cast had a lot of chemistry and was a lot of fun to watch.

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The thing that will keep this movie from being an instant classic was its fear to ‘go there”. Too many films leave too much out in the interest of making it to that PG-13 rating and a lot of stuff in the book didn’t make it to the film adaptation, which was a shame. After all, the book was written by a girl in her senior year of high school. If anyone knows what it’s like, the author did. But failure to follow the book enough turns this film into a watered down version that could have been a lot harder hitting.

Because of that, the whole film’s message about inner beauty becomes almost half hearted and the movie rings shallow more than once. On top of that, almost constant references to current pop culture things like Snapchat and such, are going to make this movie feel dated pretty quickly. It’s not going to make it to teen comedy classic, that’s for sure.

I think ever single generation gets their own “She’s All That.” It’s that nerdy girl gets a makeover and becomes beautiful film that isn’t quite a classic, but is loved among its given generation. The Duff may well be this generation’s version.

A strong cast (if you can get over the fact that a bunch of 20 year olds are playing teenagers) and clever dialog make this movie watchable, and even enjoyable. Where it kind of falls apart is the message. In that case, it looks like the studio made the decision to go commercial over groundbreaking, and that’s a shame, because they had everything they needed to make it powerful.

Regardless, it’s still worth the watch, thought less tech savvy viewers might find themselves confused by all the app references.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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