Review: War Horse

Warning: Spoilers

Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Kennedy and Tom Hiddleston (still from War Horse courtesy of

War Horse, directed by Spielberg and scripted by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis, faces the challenge of illustrating the horrors of war through a horse’s eyes. Adapted from Michael Morpurgo’s children’s book and subsequent theatrical adaptation, the film follows the titular horse, Joey from his birth in the Devon countryside, to the muddy trenches of the front lines in France.

It is a cinematically beautiful film, courtesy of longtime Spielberg cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, but there are too few moments when the audience truly feels like they’re seeing events through the horse’s eyes and the humans are too thinly or too stereotypically drawn to effectively provide a window into the WWI experience.

Unlike Spielberg’s previous war films, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, War Horse seems to gloss over the reality of war. WWI being the turning point from wars fought on horseback, to the industrialized warfare that carried on through the twentieth century, and now being replaced by an even more detached form of battle in the twenty-first with unmanned drones leveling attacks in faraway lands. It’s a family-friendly version of The Great War, where no one bleeds, and a boy and his horse will be reunited at the end.

Relying on the audience knowing just how doomed so many who fought were is the biggest error the film makes. While there is an admirable effort to show those affected: Young officers drawn from the upper-classes who made their charge, swords drawn and with God and Country in their hearts, never knowing they were literally outgunned by the German forces. The young conscripts who fled the fight. The civilians whose homes and farms were decimated by both battle and the constant pillaging to feed armies. The infantrymen in the trenches who had no personal investment in the war, but who fought and died anyway. The film offers fleeting glimpses, but never gives the characters a chance to be more than props to the message, “War is bad.”

The first forty-five minutes establish the relationship between Joey and Albert (Jeremy Irvine) but weigh the film down in a mawkish, bucolic atmosphere. The sub-plot of an alcoholic father (Peter Mullan) who recklessly purchases Joey, and the threat of losing the family farm to an arrogant landlord (David Thewlis) would have benefitted from a ruthless hand in the editing room and allowed for expansion of the more directly relevant scenes of the war. Emily Watson, as Albert’s long-suffering mother, is tragically wasted in the sequence.

Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and Joey (still courtesy of

Tasked with illustrating the blithe valor and nihilistic realism of a cavalry composed of men who were more used to playing polo than being at the sharp end of history, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch and Patrick Kennedy deliver lean, quiet performances that seem out of step with the rest of the film. For fifteen minutes, War Horse is a film about a war that nobody really won.

In one of the most economical sequences in the film, the English officers’ journey is shown as mundane tasks imbued with swaggering bravado, a rousing speech to, “Be Brave, fear God, honor the King,” and poignantly, the cavalry’s charge intercut with German soldiers at their guns, and riderless horses galloping into the forest. Unfortunately, it isn’t until the final reel, that we see that economy again. As Joey confronts a German tank, the change in the meaning of a cavalry division from horse to armored machinery is writ large, but the horse’s desperate run through the trenches and barbed wire of no-man’s land is beautifully brutal. The denouement of the film plays out much as the audience expects, even without a familiarity with the source material.

There is a sense of War Horse as paint-by-numbers filmmaking. All of the parts are well-made, but they don’t quite blend together. What should be a stirring homage to a generation of warriors that are all but forgotten, instead feels like a deliberate attempt to manipulate the audience. Instead of reining in the obvious emotional cues and trusting the gravitas of the narrative, Spielberg pulls out one too many tropes and cliché shots. With a final shot that is oversaturated in more ways than one, Spielberg undermines the homage and sense of historical significance he intended.

War Horse is a a beautiful film and successful Oscar bait, (judging by recent nominations) but it’s not the great film about The Great War, that it should be.

Available now on DVD!

Review: Merlin Season 3 DVD

Available now on DVD!

Just about everyone who comes to this site obsessively watches or at least knows about Doctor Who, Torchwood & Sherlock. But are you aware of the other equally as enjoyable shows from the BBC such as Primeval, Robin Hood (I strongly suggest you RUN and watch all three seasons to see how awesome Richard Armitage is to tide you over till The Hobbit comes out, or at least until the next trailer), and of course Merlin.

Official Synopsis: Merlin is back with even more magic, adventure and romance as the young wizard struggles to protect Prince Arthur in the perilous world of Camelot. While battling deadly assassins, mystical monsters and the most powerful sorcerers Camelot has ever seen, Merlin must work harder than ever to conceal his unique abilities while King Uther redoubles his war against magic. Featuring exciting new villains, white-knuckle stunt sequences, and spectacular CGI monsters, Merlin season three is more thrilling than ever.

Season 3 of Merlin is when everything changes. We finally get to see why Katie McGrath was cast as Morgana. Up to this point there has been something a little off in her performance. My sister couldn’t stand her at all. I have always put it down to the fact that she is Irish, doing an English accent that sounds more like an American one. Also that they kind of left her in this “pretty pampered princess” box, when what she is clearly excellent at is being BAD ASS EVIL witch princess out for revenge.  She truly begins to shine in this season and I just love it.



I also absolutely adore Emilia Fox as Morgause, the equally bad ass evil witch, sister to Morgana. I know they are supposed to be evil; they do some pretty evil bad girl stuff. But along with that, they truly love one another.  Ultimately Morgause just wants to see her sister in her rightful place and Morgana has lived her life terrified that she had magic and what would happen to her if Uther ever found out.

We also see the relationship between Merlin and Arthur progress, while Merlin is still Arthur’s servant they are developing the friendship that anyone familiar with Arthurian legends has been waiting on. Their comedic timing is so perfect, and it lightens up the heavier aspects of some of the story lines.

The special features disc has some real gems. Along with the typical “behind the scenes” and “deleted scenes” features there is also footage of the 2010 SDCC panel moderated by Jenna Busch, including both the full blooper reel that was shown to the panel as well as a second one not shown before. I was in tears from laughing so hard. Seeing Anthony Head losing his shit over and over again on different scenes is worth buying the DVDs
alone.  But when you factor in that Bradley James (Arthur) is a complete spazzy goofball it’s double the fun.

So if you haven’t already started watching Merlin I suggest you do so and get season 3 while you are at it.

New Hunger Games Trailer

What do you think? Have you read the books? What do you think of the obvious changes that are shown here?



News: Damon Lindelof confirms Benedict Cumberbatch cast in Star Trek sequel

Benedict Cumberbatch as spy Peter Guillam

Coming hard on the heels of Variety’s reporting that Doctor Who alumni, actor/writer/director Noel Clarke has been cast in an undisclosed role, Star Trek and Lost Producer Damon Lindelof followed up on this cryptic tweet by retweeting Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood article stating that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has joined the cast. Cumberbatch is well known in the US for his role in the modernization of Sherlock Holmes broadcast by BBC One in the UK and Masterpiece PBS Mystery in the US. With recent roles in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar contender War Horse and indie spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, as well as his upcoming role as Smaug with Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, Cumberbatch has had a full year. The actor, garnering acclaim onstage in a revival of Terrance Rattigan’s After the Dance and Danny Boyle’s sold-out production of Frankenstein seems poised to reach for the stars in every medium.

NT Live Frankenstein Trailer with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller


Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

As a complete stranger to the world-famous works of Hergé, I went into The Adventure of Tintin with no expectations, but a lot of curiosity. I’ve been hearing about this huge undertaking for years because of the top-notch talent involved. Directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Peter Jackson and written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, I would have been shocked had the film not turned out to be amazing.

Any fears I had over the film vanished within a few minutes, although I was surprised by the playful tone of the opening credits which were an homage to the original cartoons and a basic, silent introduction to the main character. Tintin, as we quickly learn, is a young reporter who is intelligent, resourceful and successful. The audience receives no real backstory on this character and somehow, I didn’t really mind.

I was mildly curious as to how this young man come to live alone in such a grand house, but I figured that this knowledge was a gift to loyal readers of the comic. The film was a roller coaster from beginning to end. There was very little downtime to dwell on character development, but the exquisite animation of Tintin made me feel an instant connection to the characters. This was the first time I have seen a motion capture animated film where a human character felt so real that I didn’t stop and think, there’s something not quite right here. You could see the soul behind his eyes and I wanted to go on an exciting journey with him.

While I could imagine the story being filmed with real actors, the animation allowed them to honor the original comic style and to produce some truly spectacular set pieces. I can’t imagine the mind-blowing scene with the two pirate ships done with CG. I found my mouth gaping at the action sequences many a time during the short 107 minute runtime. There was humor, adventure, mystery, action galore and even some low-brow jokes for the kids in the audience.

At a time when most of the movies out in theatres are dark Oscar bait or adult action flicks, I think The Adventures of Tintin is the perfect movie to see with the whole family this holiday season. Kids will love the visuals and the belching humor and adults will crack up at hilarious cameos and gawk at the fight sequences. I sincerely hope that American audiences will support this European phenomena so that we can all receive the second two parts of this planned trilogy.

One final word on what format to see the film in. I went all out and viewed it in spectacular 3D IMAX. The 3D is subtle, but the animation stayed crisp and beautiful and it added a lot to my viewing pleasure. There was a mild distortion from the glasses if I didn’t look head-on the whole time, but it was some of the better 3D that I’ve seen out there and I would definitely recommend it if it’s available to you. Enjoy everyone!

Own it on Blu-Ray Today!

Holiday Classics from Warner Bros!

In case you’re looking for some additional fun, classic cartoons to share with your geek kids this holiday season, Warner Bros Entertainment has a handful of great holiday short features available.  I vaguely remember seeing most of these when I was little but, as I grew up, I forgot how enjoyable these holiday classics could be around this time of year.

Own it on Blu-Ray Today!

The first is ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray]. The official synopsis:

A holiday sourpuss brings Santa to the rescue of a small town’s Christmas. For some unexplained reason, letters to Santa Claus are being returned to the children of Junctionville. It seems some resident has angered St. Nick, calling Christmas ‘a fraudulent myth!’ Skeptical Albert Mouse has to be brought to his senses and let up a little on the wonder why. How Albert is persuaded to change his tune paves the way for Santa’s jolly return to town and the joyous finale of the animated fable inspired by Clement Moore’s poem and produced by the merrymaking conjurers of Rankin/Bass Studios. The voice talents of Joel Grey, Tammy Grimes, John McGiver and George Gobel make this festive fable even more fun.

The voice work on this movie is top notch and the story as a whole is very cute.  I think it is hilarious that the skeptic also happens to be the nerd of the family/village.  I suppose it’s accurate that the book-ish one would also be the one least likely to believe in Santa Claus, but I also happen to know quite a few nerds (this one included) who love fantasy and wouldn’t mind believing that someone like Santa Claus is real.  Regardless, this tiny nitpick doesn’t effect the enjoyability of the story nor does it change the fact that this is a fun movie for any little kid to watch.  The songs are a little cheesy but fun nevertheless and the mice are just ridiculously adorable.  Plus, Joel Grey is awesome.

Own it Today on DVD!

Second up is The Smurfs Holiday Celebration.  Honestly, this was easily my favorite of the three, but I’m also a sucker for these little blue guys (in their original animated form, not necessarily the recent movie).  Official synopsis:

Deck the halls with Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Jokey and all the other true blue friends in these absosmurfly charming animated specials from The Smurfs TV series. In ‘Tis the Season to be Smurfy,’ young Sassette Smurf discovers the true meaning of the season when the Smurfs befriend an elderly human couple who have no money to celebrate Christmas. Then, in The Smurfs Christmas Special, the wicked Gargamel plots to ruin Christmas for the Smurfs and with the help of an evil stranger, he destroys the Smurf’s village. But even with no Christmas decorations or holiday feast, the Smurfs still have a smurfy song in their hearts. Will Gargamel feel the Christmas spirit this year? Dash through the snow to give your family the smurfiest gift of the season!

Of the two Smurf features on this DVD, my favorite was by far The Smurfs Christmas Special.  It is the older of the two and, as a result, has far fewer Smurf characters (just the originals, ie only one female) and a much less sophisticated animation style.  It has a fairly unique team-up between Gargamel and another villain, which I don’t remember seeing very often in the original Smurf cartoons.  Additionally, it has possibly one of the catchiest, most well-intentioned Smurf songs I’ve ever heard.  I can’t say that I loved it personally, but I think it’s the perfect song for any young kid to hear around this time of year.  These two specials serve as nice reminders for children that Christmas is not all about Santa and snow and presents, but also about giving and sharing with others less fortunate than us.  Yes, I know that sounds a little preachy/canned, but isn’t the cheese-factor one of the best parts of all holiday films?

Own it Today on DVD!

Last but certainly not least we have Frosty’s Winter Wonderland.  Official Synopsis:

From beloved song to animated holiday classic: Frosty meets his match in a glistening Remastered Deluxe Edition! Andy Griffith, Shelley Winters and Jackie Vernon lend their voices to this captivating cartoon about the Snowman’s winter return to the children of a small town for a winter season of fun and games. But he’s lonely at night when left by himself. So the grateful kids build him a beautiful snowlady companion. Jealous of the attention given Frosty, Jack Frost blows up a blizzard and swipes Frosty’s magical, life-giving hat. Only true love can bring Frosty back to his old fun-loving self. Two songs that have proven to be enduring seasonal favorites highlight the soundtrack: Frosty the Snowman and Winter Wonderland.

This film was the one I remembered the least out of the three.  Of course I remembered the first Frosty movie, but I only vaguely remembered Frosty’s wedding and “Crystal”.  This movie has all of the classic songs and voices, but is the least like a ‘morality’ tale of the three cartoons mentioned here.  I love the animated Andy Griffith, and even I have to admit that the wedding between Frosty & Crystal was kind of cute (although I don’t particularly love that she is wearing an apron).  Now if only I could build snowmen/women as quickly and effectively as the children in this village…

Of course, all of these films are intended for children, but that doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy them.  They have old-fashioned Christmas morals/lessons, memorable characters, and catchy songs.  They’ve also made me want to go track down my other favorite Christmas cartoons from when I was little.  Do you have any suggestions? What were some of your favorites?

Happiness Is...Peanuts: Snow Days - Own it on DVD Today!

Happiness Is…Peanuts: Snow Days

Happiness Is...Peanuts: Snow Days - Own it on DVD Today!

I have a little nerd confession for you: I am obsessed with Peanuts.  I know it is slightly old-school but I can’t help it.  I’ve always loved Snoopy and will forever be a sucker for any new DVD that highlights that adorably awesome dog.

Around this time of year I always love watching A Charlie Brown Christmas.  This year, however, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Warner Bros’ Happiness Is…Peanuts: Snow Days.  Snow Days is not centered on any specific holiday, but instead features a TV special and an episode from The Charlie Brown & Snoopy Show.  From the official press release for this DVD:

Everyone’s favorite Peanuts gang is at it again in Happiness is…Peanuts: Snow Days. Follow Snoopy and gang in an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show and the newly remastered classic She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown TV special all on one DVD! 

Only the first of these two ‘features’ includes a story specifically set around Christmas, thus making this DVD a perfect watch for any time during the winter season.  In the episode from The Charlie Brown & Snoopy Show, there are three short stories: one featuring a Christmas play, one featuring a Valentine’s Day story, and a third that focuses entirely on the fun qualities of Snoopy (via an essay from Peppermint Patty).  In the short film, She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty practices for a figure skating competition with the help of her ‘pro coach,’ Snoopy.

Obviously the animation is nothing like the realistic-looking, computer animated films that we have grown accustomed to over the last decade.  The characters and backgrounds are animated in a simple, 2D style.  Additionally, the plots are far from intricate and rarely involve more than one story-line.  Nevertheless, there is something wonderfully timeless about the Peanuts (at least for me).  Snoopy’s personality and wide variety of ‘skills’ makes him the perfect dog and best friend to all of the Peanuts characters.  When he is yelling at Patty in a nonsensical stream of grunts and screams in She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown, you can’t help but want to hug him.  Furthermore, you can’t help but smile at the doom-and-gloom of Charlie Brown, or the semi-snarky humor of Marcy.  Each Peanut character embodies personality traits that can be found in people at any age, which makes them easy to (loosely) identify with at different points in each story.

Again, I know this DVD is likely to be met with some hesitation by children nowadays given it’s out-dated animation style and simplicity of humor.  Regardless, I think every little kid should watch at least one Peanuts cartoon, if for no other reason than to experience the awesomeness that is Snoopy.

In the meantime, here is a little sneak peak of She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown:


The Muppets (2011)


The Muppets (2011)



Why are there so many songs about rainbows? More importantly, why is it that sentence can always make me tear up?

On May 20, 2011 a trailer dropped for a movie billed as “Green With Envy”. It seemed like every hacky romantic comedy that I have seen so many times. I was moderately angry that Chris Hardwick had even tweeted about it. The moment the cast cards came up and I heard “Kermit the… Frog?” I started bouncing in my seat.

I had loved the Muppet Studios videos that they had been posting up on YouTube. Especially watching my friend’s little girl see Animal for the first time. The Muppets were such an integral part of my childhood, it didn’t click that there were kids that might not know about it.

That is actually talked about in the movie. The story is not from Kermit’s point of view. The story comes from the perspective of Walter, a Smalltown Muppet who never felt like he belonged unless he was watching the Muppet Show. His brother Gary (Jason Segel) surprises him with a ticket to go to Los Angeles with Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to check out Muppet Studios.

During his visit, he learns of a nefarious plot by greedy oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to destroy the old studio. With the help of Gary, Mary, and Walter, The Muppets must reunite to save their old theater with a benefit concert.

When they say “star-studded”, they aren’t kidding. Besides the leads, there is an outpouring of recognizable talent that pops in at the funniest of times. Alan Arkin, Rashida Jones, Bill Cobbs, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Jim Parsons, Eddie Pepitone, Kristen Schaal, Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, Emily Blunt, James Carville, Feist, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Judd Hirsh, John Krasinski, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey Rooney, and Jack Black pack into a film that I’m guessing EVERYONE wanted in on.

I completely enjoyed this movie and am not ashamed to admit that I shed a few happy tears to see the characters I love so much from my childhood on the big screen again. The new songs were so very Muppet. They were both catchy and endearing and I find myself itching to learn “Life’s a Happy Song” on my ukulele. “Pictures in my Head” had me bawling in the theater. I kind of want to hug Christophe Beck (who had done a few scores for Buffy and Angel in addition to the Hangover), Bret McKenzie (from Flight of the Conchords) and everyone in the music department.

One thing I do suggest is that you see the movie before you spend time with the Soundtrack. There are a lot of things that would be less of a surprise if you were to listen to the recordings before seeing how well the visual gags hit. I am also very happy that not a lot of new chart topping songs were thrown into the mix. It jumped back to the timelessness of it all.

I had heard that during a Q&A in one of the various convention panels, a fan asked “What can we do to get the Muppets back on TV” and the cheeky reply was “Go see the movie three times!” If that is the case, I have almost done my part. I actually have plans to see it two more times while it’s still in the theater.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be in the Muppets. Walter and I are similar, except he’s already got the felt thing going for him.


Review: Dawn of the Dragonslayer

Dawn of the Dragonslayer tells the story of Will (Richard McWilliams), a shepherd’s son whose land is ravaged by a dragon. After his flock is destroyed he takes his father’s advice to look for a better life. He is encouraged to approach Baron Sterling (Ian Cullen) to cash in a debt owed to his father.

Under the impression that he is meant to be a bondsman training to be a knight, his thoughts of a better life are extinguished when he recognizes that the Baron is suffering a financial windfall. He is initially sent away until he reveals a sealed document from his father. The Baron reluctantly agrees to employ him, but the Baron’s servants immediately delegate the less tasteful jobs to Will.

Although the experience wasn’t quite what he expected, he took note of the Baron’s lovely daughter, Kate (Nicola Posener). As sparks start between them, a young nobleman named Rogan (Philip Brodie) arrives with a request for Kate’s hand.

During these deliciously awkward moments, the dragon migrates to the Baron’s lands. The Baron, hungry for glory and gold leaves with Rogan to take down the monster. While they are away, Kate reveals a book that helps Will learn the lessons of a knight. Before he is ready to avenge his homeland, the dragon attacks the castle and Will manages to wound it.

Through faith in himself and his feelings for Kate, he sets off to finish what had started on his farm.

I have to admit that even though I had a bit of a setback*, I was a little hesitant to watch an independent film about dragons. I’m one of those people that loves the idea of being immersed in a movie, and if the budget isn’t high there are areas that tend to be shaved down.

I KICKED MYSELF once I started watching it. The special effects and underscoring were incredibly impressive. The dragon itself looked phenomenal and the magical moments were accentuated without distracting you from the actors, and their performances were compelling.

Richard McWilliams and Nicola Posener have a chemistry on screen that feels naïve but intense. The romance novel nerd in me squeed when there were slight facial clues of the character’s developing feelings. It was very well played in a training montage. Yes… That’s right. A montage. As Kate and Will are learning the ways of the Knight, there are stolen glances and tender moments.

One of my favorite characters is Lady Spriggs (Maggie Daniels), Kate’s Aunt who initially appears to be a minor character. When the Baron leaves to battle the dragon, however, she steps into a far more inspirational role to Will than the Baron could ever be.

As of right now, Dawn of the Dragonslayer is only available through UK distribution, and they are currently speaking with US distributors. If you “like” their facebook fanpage they can keep you abreast with the latest updates.


* Back in September, we posted an official press release for Dawn of the Dragonslayer’s World Premiere at Bleedfest 2011. In October, I managed to get my hands on a copy of the movie. Frankly, I love dragons. Can’t get enough of them. It was just my luck that the weekend I planned to watch it and write a review, Connecticut would have a freak snowstorm and leave 94% of the state without power for a week and a half. Guess which percentage I was a part of?

But there is still great news! ‎Dawn of the Dragonslayer was awarded Best Fantasy Film at Bleedfest 2011!


Kickstarter Project – The Case of the Missing Garden Gnome

Have you ever had a garden gnome go missing or know someone who has?  I have, my mom’s gnome went missing for a few weeks, a friend playing a prank.  Well what if there was something a bit more sinister going on?  That’s where “The Case of the Missing Garden Gnome” comes in; a clever, Film Noir take at the dangers that lie in wait for a garden gnome.

I had the pleasure of previewing the not quite ready short and when it’s finished it’s going to be a helluva short!  Supernatural fans may recognize Rob Benedict as Seamus Biggs, who frankly, is kind of a dick.  You see some pain and weariness in him which does make you want to help, even though you know there’s no point.  Marti Kass who plays Jill, Seamus’ daughter is a fantastic young actress who really steals the show.

But these great characters and entertaining story needs your help.  “The Case of the Missing Garden Gnome” is director Alberto Belli’s USC thesis film and he’s using Kickstarter to help fund the remaining post production.  They’re only $570 away from the $2,500 goal with 6 days left.  An achievable goal!

After watching the short, I was able to ask Alberto Belli some questions.  Did I mention he won an Emmy for a zombie musical?

Me: You started your schooling in Marketing & Computer Science and now you’re an Emmy-winning director.  When did you know you wanted to make films, have you always had an interest in film-making?

AB: When I was a kid, I saw Jurassic Park on the big screen and that completely blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that a world that only existed in my imagination felt so real. Then my dad showed me Star Wars and Indiana Jones and I was completely sold – I knew that I wanted be part of that magic. So growing up, I made a bunch of short films with my friends that were later screened at our high-school, but for college I decided to study Computer Science to have a back-up plan, with the intention to study a masters in filmmaking. I felt that studying Computer Science would help me understand what could be done behind the scenes plus both industries have become more and more depended of each other.


Me: What was the inspiration to make a film-noir around a missing garden gnome?  Fantastic idea and well executed why haven’t we* seen something like this before?  *if there are others out there I haven’t seen them

AB: Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad that you liked it! Joe Swanson, who is the writer of “Gnome” and has an incredible imagination, pitched me various scripts for my thesis film and I just felt in love with that one. It had an old school feeling of the movies I grew up with like Goonies and Back to The Future – fun adventures but always supported with great characters that we cared about. So it was a no brainer for me to pick-up that script as my thesis film. Funny enough, Joe and I ended up working on Zombo for an advance class at USC before we even got to start production on Gnome. Joe has the ability to write stories that are unique yet familiar so he gets all the credit for that. Did I mentioned he loves garden gnomes?


Me: You’re using Kickstarter to help fund the remaining post-production.  Is this your first experience with it?  What has it been like?

AB: It is my first time using Kickstarter and I’m having a great experience! Since the majority of my friends and family kindly donated during the production process – I was looking for way to connect with other film/art lovers who were interested in supporting smaller projects in need of help and Kickstarter was the perfect place to do that. Their community is so supportive that even though my friends are still helping out, the vast majority of the donors in the last phase of Gnome have been people I don’t even know but somehow have found out about the project. It has also given us the opportunity to reach a new audience that probably would have never heard of the project and not to mention is a very safe way to get donations.


Me: What can we expect from you tin the future?  More zombie musicals or detective films?

AB: My next project will hopefully be the feature version of “Gnome” (written again by Joe Swanson and adding Matt Zucker as his co-writer) same characters but a much darker case and a bigger father and daughter story. So detective films will be first but making a musical was a blast that I hope it won’t take too long before I go back to musicals.


Me: Anything else you’d like to add?

AB: Thanks a lot for giving me this opportunity and to share a little bit about “Gnome”. It has been a year of up and downs since we started this project and more than two hundred and fifty people have donated their talent and time in various departments to make it possible. So now that we are so close to the end, we hope we can reach our Kickstarter goal to finally finish it. Thanks!


You can watch the trailer for “The Case of the Missing Garden Gnome” or simply “Gnome” at the Kickstarter page, and while you’re there, donate a dollar or twenty!


You can also visit Alberto’s page for more information on the characters and past projects.


Go to Top