The first official trailer for Anthony Greene’s Thriller “THICK”/ Cast & Crew Photos at the 2013 R.I.F.E film Festival !
Official Trailer 2014
Be sure to visit my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Actor-Dominique-Spencer/104852579588294 to see the first official trailer for Anthony Greene’s Thriller “THICK” You can also see the trailer above as well ! You can check out the current theatrical poster “as seen above” for the film as well =) As always you can check back here for updates on the films production OR you can check in at the film’s Official Facebook Fan Page at: Please watch it, enjoy it, love it ! #THICK In the film you can see me in the role of “Marcel”
Im just playing catchup here and filling you guys in on what happened late last year! Well you all remember me blogging about AGreene’s Thriller “THICK”! Well it had its first screening at last years #RIFE film festival. For those who may not know what RIFE stands for, its short for “Reel Independent Film Extravaganza” ! Here numerous films are screened from all over the world, awards are given to films, and actors alike ! It is just a wonderful event that has been taken place for a number of years and is spearheaded by AGreenes production company “SkyRocket productions“! BUT theres more! The first screening of “THICK” was SOLDOUT as well as the Second Screening !! Frickin AWESOME !!I also have some pics of the cast/crew as well at the event(RIFE) for the films first screening ! Twas an awesome night and Im just thankful to have had the opportunity to be present !
Again #StayTuned for production updates regarding this film and check out some photos below of the cast and crew below !!
Dominique Antonio Spencer
*New trailer for Gary Ugarek’s feature length Crime Thriller [All In The Game]/Also the film now has distribution
Here is the new trailer for Gary Ugarek’s feature length Crime Thriller [All In The Game]. The film stars: Chris Clanton, Micaiah Jones, Kelvin Page, Daniel Ross, Michael McMullin. Along with myself, and many more! In the film I play the role of “Flash”.
The trailer has been revamped by our distributors at: EyesWideOpenFilms. Also a street date has been set for the release of the film: October 16th! The film will be sold at retailers such as: Best Buy, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and many more!! Hope you enjoy the new trailer and also purchase a copy of the film online or in stores when the film is released!
Director: Gary Ugarek
Ontario, Vince, Lucky and Littles, friends since birth, brothers till death. Coming from nothing they have begun to find themselves engaged in the ruthless Baltimore drug trade. They will stop at nothing to take control of it all, including taking out the most powerful mobster of the city – Michael Caprisci. As they systematically begin terminating the competition they have to engage a tangled yet simplistic plan to get Caprisci out of the game using of all people, his son Nicki, a slick, fast talker who prefers booze and women over his father’s lifestyle. In the end, Nicki’s drug problem will aid the group in bringing his father down. As the plan develops, Ontario finds out that some of his own rank and file are conducting business behind his back. He needs to send a message to let them know who is in charge, but when one of his closest allies ends up starting a war, he has to make a decision on what is more important, business or friendship. So as the war begins, who will win? Or in this game…is there really a winner? Thug Life is an in depth look into the world of street crime and those who rule the streets.
“Thug Life: All in the Game” is a very realistic and believable gangster film that keeps you at the edge of your seat the entire time. Most of us have no idea what it’s like to live the way these guys do and I’m sure we are grateful we don’t either but the film does a terrific job at showing us that way of life in a in your face and powerful way. The decision to shoot the film in black and white was a very good idea as it adds plenty of grit, mood and style to the story.
The story follows a “firm” on the streets of Baltimore as they attempt their way up the latter to claim more territory in a bold and brutal scheme. The film depicts these guys as relentless and without regard for human life, in some cases not even their own. Sadly what is shown is reality, it happens everyday in almost every city, it’s pretty scary to see the way some parts of society behaves.
Director, Gary Ugarek did a brilliant job in creating a believable gangster film and his cast did an amazing job playing their characters in a realistic and powerful way. There are several very memorable scenes in the film, it is a film that stays with you long after it’s over. I would like to see a sequel for this, there’s plenty of story to tell if they choose to do so. I am not a big fan of the genre but this is certainly one of the more realistic of it’s kind I have seen.
If you like the genre then I highly recommend picking this film up when it comes out on DVD October 16th, you can Pre-order it HERE
“Thug Life: All in the Game” is a brutal and honest look at life on the streets, it’s not pretty but it sure is effective. I really enjoyed it and look forward to seeing what this talented film-maker has coming out next.
Released by Open Your Eyes Films
ALL IN THE GAME TRAILER
(re) Search my Trash interview with director Gary Ugarek on his feature length Crime Thriller [All In The Game]
The good folks at (re) Search My Trash recently interviewed Filmmaker and good friend Gary Ugarek in regards to his feature length Urban Drama film [All In The Game]! Check out the interview below and a quote from the interviewer himself; Mike Habelfelner – ” Thug Life: All In The Game is beautifully filmed and wonderfully energetic movie about small fry crooks trying to make it big – in other words, exactly the kind of movie I like…
*To view the interview in its original written form PLEASE visit the site thru the link provided here at: http://www.searchmytrash.com/articles/garyugarek(7-12).shtml *
An Interview with Gary Ugarek, Director of Thug Life: All in the Game
July 2012Films directed by Gary Ugarek on (re)Search my Trash
Mike: Your new film Thug Life: All in the Game – in a few words, what is it about?
Gary: Drugs, Violence, and Sex.
(You said a few words,)
Mike: With Thug Life: All in the Game being a gangster film, is that a genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?
Gary: I am a fan of many genres, zombie horror, action films, modern day gangster films and the gangster flicks of the 30’s and 40’s. I am actually more of a fan of the original 1930’s Scarface than the Pacino remake.
I can’t say it is my all time fave because my tastes and likes in film change based on my mood and many other factors, but it is a genre I do enjoy.
Mike: With the majority of your cast being Afro-American, did the blaxploitation films of the 1970’s at all serve as a template for your movie?
Gary: No, I know about them and enjoy them, but that was not a route I wanted to take.
Mike: (Other) sources of inspiration for Thug Life: All in the Game?
Gary: There are only 3 sources of inspiration for All in the Game, HBO’s The Wire (3 of my cast members were cast members on The Wire), Pulp Fiction (for the violence and torture carried out by Lucky). Reservoir Dogs was the final because of the consistent and quality wide shots, something we did try to emulate on All in the Game.
The inspiration that came from Pulp Fiction in regards to the character of Lucky was this simple question: What would Marsellus Wallace do?
Mike: You’ve shot your movie entirely in black and white – would you like to elaborate on this and other stylistic decisions?
Gary: I wanted to do and urban gangster film and a black and white film as part of my film career, and since money is very hard to come by, even for us indie guys, and trying to pull off a full movie on $1,700 (budget for All in the Game), I said I might as well make it in B&W, so I kill two birds with one stone.
I filtered some test footage before I made the final decision, and of course all the B&W is done in post with filtering, but the main reason was to get another check-off on my film career. I am not sure how many films I will be able to make in the future, and with each movie my next one is further and further out, so I try to wrap what I want to do all in one project if I can. But I will admit after doing the test footage in B&W I fell in love with it, so you could say it was an artistic choice if you want.
Mike: How would you describe your directorial approach to your subject at hand?
Gary: I have grown quite a bit as a filmmaker, so when directing my actors I try to find real world scenarios to describe what I am looking for, or use a movie they may have seen for reference. However, these are folks who act for a living, so I tell them some information when I give them the script and expect them to carry it out the best they can. On set I will tweak their performance within a take or two.
Mike: I think one of the aspects that make Thug Life: All in the Game so very much alive is its choice of wonderfully run-down locations. So what can you tell us about your locations?
Gary: The warehouse is the Street Light warehouse and was in use many years ago. It is Baltimore City property. That location makes numerous appearances onThe Wire as well. The bar the gang hangs out in is an actual bar owned by one of the castmembers. It is a very popular East Baltimore hang-out, and one of the first places in Maryland to assist African Americans with voting when they were allowed to vote. So the building has a lot of history behind it.
Mike: What can you tell us about your principal cast, and how did you find them?
Gary: Lucky and Vince are Micaiah Jones and Chris Clanton. They played Little Man and Savino Bratton on The Wire. I met Micaiah through Nelson Irizarry who plays the leader – Ontario Banks. I met Nelson and Kelvin (who plays Littles) on the set of a 100% improv zombie film called Zombie Doomsday, in which I have a small cameo. After working with them I said one day I would sit down and write something they could appear in… All in the Game was that film. Nelson introduced me to a lot of the actors, and since I knew them from watchingThe Wire, it was a no-brainer to cast them in the film.
The great thing about indie filmmaking, there is always someone who knows someone who worked on a popular TV show, had a decent role people remember, and they just love to act. Plus we all had a blast making the film.
Mike: You also play a small role in Thug Life: All in the Game. A few words about Gary Ugarek, the actor?
Gary: No comment… I just wanted to set someone on fire.
Mike: A few words about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
Gary: The film took 12 days to shoot. We re-shot day one footage on Day 12. The actors hadn’t quite gel’d yet so I said I will see how days 2-11 go, and if they get better we will reshoot all of day 1. We did and it works much better. On the self-DVD/Blu-Ray-release I actually include a lot of the Day One-footage that was scrapped, and you also get to see it in color. Once you see the film and re-watch the Day One-scenes you can see the differences.
The on-set atmosphere was a lot of dick jokes. We took the work seriously, but it was just day-in day-out of smart-assery, and someone always claiming they had a bigger dick than the next guy. Even race jokes flew around the set. We all became great friends and everyone knew where we stood as individuals, but it never stopped anyone from being called OUT ON THEIR HERITAGE. I didn’t care if I was called a Cracker, DP #1 Habib Awan probably got the worst of it. Habib, who was born in the USA, sounds every bit American as the rest of us, just was constantly being bombarded with jokes about him not possibly liking the film and plotting to blow us up at the premiere. (To note: this was in 2011, so way before The Dark Knight Rises-shooting.) To us saying and talking about race and origin takes the stigma off of it.
Mike: What can you tell us about critical and audience reception of your film so far?
Gary: Critical has been good, I haven’t read any horrible reviews yet. Audience – it is definitely a crowd type film. I know at the Baltimore Screening when Nicky Caprisci makes his big announcement, a lot of folks got pretty emotional about it and cheered at his come-uppance. The film toes a fine line of PC and P-UC. This was not done for shock-and-awe factor, this is just how the real world is, even in 2011/2012, and when you shoot a film on this subject matter, you better expect anything and everything to come flying out.
Mike: Should need arise, will there ever be a Thug Life II?
Gary: There is a script for a spin-off film based on the character of Lucky, titledLucky, but it is still in early development. I also have a screenplay for All in the Game II that picks up right after the end of All in the Game 1. While they think they won the battle and won Caprisci’s territory, little did they know his only daughter has more balls than her bother and is 5 times more ruthless than her father. So the story picks up with the daughter getting wind and exacting revenge. When you’re in the drug trade. there is no end to the game. As it has been said, the game is rigged to get you to fail.
Also, the film is just titled ALL in the GAME, that is how I wrote it and directed it. The distributor changed the title and added Thug Life… I wasn’t crazy about it, but I said whatever, as long as All in the Game stays as a subtitle – so you will never here myself or a cast member call it Thug Life: All in the Game, we just call it All in the Game.
Gary: Go buy them… They are aweomse.
I was, but pushed it back until 2013. The film just needs a lot of money to be made, more than the normal budgets I work with. I actually discuss it in a YouTube video. It starts by me discussing the ending of Deadlands 2: Trapped, which is also on You Tube for free to watch, and a debate started up among viewers about the ending. I thought the ending was pretty obvious, but to some it was not so I ended up explaining it, then I touch upon Deadlands 3.
Mike: Why zombie movies, and your genre favourites?
Gary: Zombies are the only horror monster that scares the living shit out of me. Even at 41, I could have a terrifying-as-hell nightmare about zombies and still wake up in a sweat breathing heavy. I have some very vivid dreams. Deadlands 2: Trapped was based on a dream I had the combined Demons and The Return of the Living Dead, so that is how Deadlands 2: Trapped was born.
Plus I also look at it like, every zombie filmmaker is making their own survivalist training video based on the zombie apocalypse through their eyes. Mine is just another training film.
Mike: Any other films of yours you’d like to talk about, any other future projects?
Gary: Not really but thanks for asking. I just ask your readers check out my films and they can even leave comments on the IMDb page for the film or email me directly (through the official websites) to let me know their thoughts and opinions. I like reading feedback, especially those who have true feedback that can help me improve. What they like and didn’t like. I strive to make each film better, but how you do that is through feedback.
Mike: Directors who inspire you?
Gary: So many to list, but I do respect Tony Scott, he knows action. Richard Donner, Shane Black, George Romero for his contributions to zombie cinema. Sam Raimi, Dan O’ Bannon. And Luc Besson.
Mike: Your favourite movies?
Gary: Die Hard, Dawn of the Dead, The Return of the Living Dead, True Romance, Leon (aka The Professional),Pulp Fiction, Saturday Night Fever, Boogie Nights, Shooter, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood,Goodfellas, and many others.
Mike: … and of course, films you really deplored?
Gary: I have never really walked out of any movies except one. Collateral Damage with Arnold Schwarzenegger, that was bad, I just looked at my wife at the time and said I don’t know about you but I think this sucks and I am ready to head out. So we got up and left. I won’t say I deplored it, but I don’t care for The Dark Knight. When Heath Ledger was on screen the movie was dark sinister fun and entertaining, when he wasn’t it just seemed to meander looking for a purpose. I do deplore Avatar, not because it is a bad film, but because everyone thinks it is great film. It is really just a live action version of Ferngully, and while it looks great, it is only eye candy. Cameron has made better (Terminator 2, True Lies) and should be making even better films than those, not so-so flicks likeAvatar.
Mike: Your/your movie’s website, Facebook, whatever else?
Gary: Deadlands trilogy – www.playingwithdeadthings.com
All in the Game – www.allinthegamemovie.net
Myself – IMDb, Twitter @GaryUgarek, FBwww.facebook.com/DjfunkmasterG
Mike: Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Gary: I like Wonton soup.
Mike: Thanks for the interview!
Gary: Thanks for having me on, and glad you enjoyed the film.
Here is the new poster artwork for Gary Ugarek’s Independent feature length Crime Thriller [All In The Game] starring Nelson Irizarry, Chris Clanton, Micaiah Jones, and Kelvin “Drama” Page. Along with Mike McMullin, Daniel Ross, Joseph Durbin, myself, Vonn Harris and many more! So far the film has been selected into 3 Film festivals and the film is still making its rounds within the circuit! As you already know, any progress on the film will be noted and Ill be sure to tell you! As always, #StayTuned and #Enjoy
Gary Ugarek’s Independent Feature Length Crime Thriller [All In The Game] has been aquired for Distribution
Below is Barry Worthington’s Award Winning Independent Drama Short film [KIN] starring Barry Worthington, Delano Walters, and Heather Lasslett. Along with Tim Davis, Alex Tercero, myself, Mikhali Rakitin, and many more in its enitiety! [KIN] won at the Accolade Film Competition, was a Finalist in the 2012 Nashville, Tennenssee Film Festival, and showcased in the 2012 Lucerne International Film Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland! I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be cast alongside such a talented cast/crew who made this film possible! Man, my film really screened in Switzerland!! So without further ado allow me to present to you [KIN]. Feel free to comment and leave feedback below!
Below is a review for Gary Ugarek’s Independent feature length crime thriller [All In The Game]starring Nelson Irizarry, Chris Clanton, Micaiah Jones, and Kelvin Page. Along with Mike McMullin, Daniel Ross, Joseph Durbin, myself, and Vonn Harris as well. A great review and its just a blessing to have had the opportunity to work alongside such a taleneted cast and crew! As always #StayTuned and enjoy!
All in the Game
By: Will Santana, Posted: April 09, 2012
The Movie itself:
Independent director Gary Ugarek has pleased zombie fans not once, but twice since his directorial debut. Now Gary attempts to please fans in his second favored genre, urban gangster films. Not ever viewing Gary’s previous two films due to my lack of interest in zombies, I actually was ecstatic win he made an official announcement with his third movie All in the Game. I’m a sucker for the urban genre. Whether it’s a high budget production, an independent one or even a rapper attempting to make a motion picture. Now, I’m sure Gary doesn’t have any attentions of being compared to a rapper wanting to have an impact in Hollywood (cough! Master P), and intends to hit viewers hard and correct. Now that’s gangsta.
The streets of B-More (Baltimore) trafficking groups are under the radar battling for territory. Ontario Banks (Nelson Irizarry) leads his gang but wants more than the average thug life. He preaches to his crew to have more expectations than just money, clothes and hoes. His crew is supported by the tactical, Vince (Chris Clanton), the enforcer, Lucky (Micaiah Jones) and trigger happy, Littles (Kelvin Page). Ontario wants nothing but his crew to be low profile, but on the other hand wants to move in on B-More rival, Michael Caprisi’s territory. With his crew and some help from the streets, Ontario must be smart, tactical, and daring in order to make his new move. Now that the plan is in effect, the streets of B-More are now at war and no one is safe.
For Gary’s debut into the gangster genre, I was really impressed how well the storyline was developed, and for a small independent film, the acting was superb. The movie had a bit of a slow start and was similar to many films I’ve seen in the past, but if you just hang in there, the suspense tends to build up with the violence and strategic moves. I did like that it didn’t take long for the characters to develop, and it was pretty easy to identify which kind of role each actor would have. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad at all that they developed so fast as the movie’s actual plot was somewhat unpredictable. Outside the main actors, the acting was quite poor, too stereotypical or a few scenes seemed to be exaggerated.
I was really impressed how speeches of growth were entertaining, even though these scenes slowed the pace of the movie, it didn’t impact the flow at all. I also like the split screen shots instead of the usual cross cutting that Alfred Hitchcock perfected. I did think at times the split screen method was unnecessary when the two cameras were in the same exact location and were probably 2 feet away from each other. Nelson, Chris and Micaiah had great chemistry and it worked with them being on the same crew. Kelvin Page’s character was the least convincing to me even though I understood his role. I felt a little should have been added to Kelvin’s character progression.
As the story unfolds in All in the Game, the movie comes pretty hard. The torture scenes may lack the special effects of a major Hollywood blockbuster but still can make you cringe. Gary truly got his money worth from Micaiah Jones as the enforcer, he was 100% convincing in his role as Lucky. Micaiah brings fear, power, humor, and a grimey presence to the screen. Chris Clanton had a smooth swag I wish Gary would have captured more. He played my favorite personality but was very limited to screen time. Chris’ portrayal of Vince is the one you can see making something more of his life than trafficking and living the violent life.
All in the Game wasn’t a letdown one bit. The gangster torture film has a slow start, but if you give it a chance and hang around long enough, you will witness an independent movie that can entertain just as much as any major blockbuster. The special effects are lacking due to the budget but the storyline and acting are so up to par. I have yet to see Ugarek’s zombie films, but I hope to see more from the urban genre. A fun hip-hop soundtrack and a tour of B-More added some more spice to a movie that’s already fun to enjoy. I wish I could loan my copy out to friends but I know they will bootleg this movie in a heartbeat and I can’t take any part of that as I support the independent film movies.
Movie Rating: 7/10
All in the Game is presented in full 1080p via Mpeg-2 encode and framed at 2.35:1. The black and white film from Ugarek’s looks really damn good on Blu-ray. Although the film was shot in color, the post conversion to black and white was done extremely well. For a small budget, damn, the contrast and black levels were top notch in high-def. Man, if you ever wonder how to set your contrast up, this is the movie to tweak it around with. White levels tend to bleed a bit on daylight shots while in the neighborhood. Facial detail is fairly impressive as moles, scars and other blemishes are easy to detect. The movie has a bit of depth to it adding an extended dimension. Grain seems to come and go, on a few night shots grain was a tad heavier and bothered a little. The transition to new scenes went pretty smooth for the most part.
I love, love, love the opening shots of Baltimore. With most movie’s settings taking place in New York, Atlanta or California, it was quite a treat to get a quick tour around a different environment. I also enjoyed the shots in Ontario’s crew base with the window. The camera focuses on dialogue from Kelvin and Chris but they’re in the background of the glass and you can still catch a glimpse of Nelson. My favorite shot was of Micaiah coming out of a hallway hitting a light bulb and all the shadows flashing, which also illustrates the greatness of the black levels.
Even with a killer score and soundtrack, the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track was the most disappointing section of the disc. The first minute of the movie audio has a glitch that really doesn’t affect the rest of the movie. Dialogue for the most part is clean and crisp but suffers with echoing at times, wind blowing and random street cars driving by. Inside of buildings the dynamic range really impressed and the musical soundtrack provided a fun lifting moment. I personally will need to contact Gary with a few of the hip-hop tracks that were in the movie. Rear speakers are used quite often and with a few background noises but were also disturbing on occasions. The hip-hop track uplifts the bass usage for sub-woofer fans. I’m sure the budget could have had an impact with the audio track, so it was still good enough for me overall.
Video Rating: 7/10, Audio Rating: 5/10
All in the Game has a lot to offer in the way of extras. You won’t be disappointed with these High-def features.
- Audio Commentary
- Saint Anger’s-You Heard Me: Music Video (HD 4 min)
- Teaser Trailer (HD 1 min)
- Original Day 1 Footage (with Deleted Scene) (HD 1 min)
- More Day 1 Footage (Deleted/Reshoots) (HD 4 min)
- Original Cut-The Three Amigos Torture Scene (HD 4 min)
- Fund Raising Promo (HD 2 min)
- In the Hot Seat (Cast Interviews) (HD 12 min)
- Bloopers- By the Balls (HD 2 min)
Extras Rating: 8/10
For his first film in the gangster genre, director Gary Ugarek has an extra base hit if you ask me. For the price I paid for my disc and the budget of the film, I feel I came out dead even. All in the Game will find a nice spot in my Blu-ray collection with my urban movie cases. Will Gary go back to his true passion of zombies or stay here? I hope he stays here as I will purchase his next film without any hesitation. A solid video transfer and blasting hip-hop soundtrack makes this a bonus from what I was expecting. Chris Clanton and Micaiah Jones were absolutely entertaining to watch and hope the two can team up some more on screen.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Gary Ugarek’s Independent Feature Length Crime Thriller [All In The Game] has been selected to screen at the Fright Night Film Fest + Fandom Fest June 29-July 1,2012 Louisville,Ky
Gary Ugarek’s Independent Feature Length Crime Thriller [All In The Game] starring Nelson Irizarry, Chris Clanton, Micaiah Jones, and Kelvin Drama. Along with Mike McMullin, Daniel Ross, Dominique Spencer, and Vonn Harris has been selected to screen at the Fright Night Film Fest + Fandom Fest June 29-July 1,2012 Louisville,Ky! This is excellent news for the cast/crew that worked their asses off to make moments like this happen! As always #StayTuned for more news on this production!
I present to you below Gary Ugarek’s Independent Feature length Crime-Thriller [All In The Game] starring: Nelson Irizarry, Chris Clanton, Micaiah Jones, Kelvin Drama(Kelvin Page), Mike McMullin, and Daniel Ross. With Joseph Durbin, Dominique Spencer, and Vonn Harris. The film screened in Washington, D.C at the ARC Theater as well as Baltimore, MD at the Landmark Theater. I hope you enjoy and feel free to comment!
[ALL IN THE GAME]
Below is the High Def Digest Film Review for Gary Ugarek’s Crime Thriller [All In The Game] starring Nelson Irizarry, Chris Clanton, Micaiah Jones, Kelvin Drama, Mike McMullin, Daniel Ross, and along with yours truly in the role of “Flash”. As always #StayTuned and #Enjoy
All in the Game (2011) (Blu-ray)
Self distributed disc / 2011 / Unrated
Street Date: December 27, 2011
List Price: $25.00 (Order direct from director Gary Ugarek!)
(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
|The Movie Itself|
|HD Video Quality|
|HD Audio Quality|
|Bottom Line||Worth a Look|
Reviewed by Nate Boss
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
After two ‘Deadlands’ films, writer/director Gary Ugarek takes a stab at a different genre with the crime drama ‘All in the Game.’ Made on a micro-budget of under two grand, this black and white flick feature is another noticeable step forward in terms of final product from the up and comer. While growing pains may still be visible from time to time, this first step away from flesh-eating fare is a tightly spun yarn that picks up plenty of steam as it barrels towards its finale.
Set on the streets of Baltimore, ‘All in the Game’ captures the the workings of a tightly nit group of drug dealers (Micaiah Jones and Chris Clanton from HBO’s ‘The Wire,’ Nelson Irizarry and Kelvin Page) as they begin their ascent to the big time. As they eliminate the competition, they soon find themselves up against Michael Caprisci (Mike McMullin), the top dog who isn’t quite ready to relinquish his crown. The bloody little war being waged behind closed doors is about to reach its apex, and there’s no telling who will be standing when the last bullet is fired.
For about the first thirty minutes of this 73 minute flick, I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely impressed or fully hooked. The characters weren’t quite clicking, nor did they do much to differentiate themselves from each other, and I started to wonder if the film would be like a zombie survival tale, in that we really don’t need much characterization, just a setup in which to tell the story. While some of the longer scenes, centered around a speech or two, were really well written and fun to listen to, they dragged the film’s pace down to a crawl, and needless to say, some of the acting proved to be a little uneven, especially in moments where one performer would sell the character and scene, while the other seemed to have a little trouble getting the right words out. A few mis-framed shots drew the eye, while the use of split-screen seemed a little excessive in its repetitiveness.
The thing about “All in the Game’ is that it ultimately overcomes these obstacles and provides a pretty darned fulfilling, enjoyable movie experience. It’s not like a switch is suddenly flipped, and we’re on to a new experience, but the bugs seem to work themselves out, the characters start to stand out better, and once we get to some torture scenes, we get to the real grit and grime that sells the game being played. The dialogue, which is always very natural feeling, starts to sound less forced, the action starts to feel like it matters, and the events that unfold start to connect the dots in a way that wasn’t all too clear in the beginning.
‘All in the Game’ operates at peak performance when we see the crew (led by Irizarry’s Ontario character) take it straight to the Caprisci family. When the former associates turned rivals face off, the stakes are raised significantly, and so is the drama and the brutality, with a number of memorable little sequences that pack a fun punch. The violence isn’t quite cartoonish (even with the budget limiting the possible effects, making for some very soft gun pops and cutaways to the recently departed), but it also isn’t quite brutal enough to make viewers uncomfortable with the content. The language on the other hand may not make many friends, as the racial tensions do lead to some words being said that may offend.
This third effort from Ugarek definitely impressed me, even with the aforementioned shortcomings. There is more change from his previous works here than just the lack of zombies and color, as this is his first film without a proper score, instead featuring a soundtrack. This is also the first Ugarek didn’t personally edit. On top of that, it’s also the first to feature recognizable faces. What is captured here for less money than I spend annually on Blu-rays definitely provides a solid payoff. I can only imagine if this film had a slightly bigger budget the small things that would have helped it be a little less noticeably independent…those little quirks that remind you that you’re watching someone putting his all into a film and letting the end result speak for itself.
‘All in the Game’ isn’t as viable as, say, the found footage features that took similar budgets and made hundreds of millions, but really…aren’t we tired of those damn films, anyways? This original crime story is definitely one that will grow on you…if you have the patience to get past the first act.
The Disc: Vital Stats
‘All in the Game’ is not found in any stores. Ugarek is currently selling the title on his website (www.wetnwildradio.com) on Blu-ray, DVD, and HD DVD for $25.00, shipped in the United States, and also has listings on eBay for the Blu-ray and DVD editions. The Blu-ray release is a limited edition of 100 copies, signed and numbered, and features cover art designed by HDD forum member Torrente! Like the pressings of the ‘Deadlands’ films, this title is highly likely to sell out fairly fast!
The disc itself is a Region A/B/C BD25 (BD-R), that has no-pre-menu content. The menu itself features a tab for extras, and a tab for the movie itself, though loading the extras page makes it function slow like a DVD. While there are three audio options, pressing the play button instructs you that you can access them through the alternate audio buttons on your Blu-ray remote. The packaging features information that was relevant to the HD DVD disc, concerning a second disc which wasn’t quite necessary on this Blu-ray to get all the content, so ignore the portion that states there is a second disc, as Ugarek has confirmed this is a typo.
Be sure to stay through the trailers for one extra scene. It’s a little bit of an anti-climax. Also, some of the images for this review were taken from the press kit for the film. There is not a single color scene in the film.
‘All in the Game’ comes to Blu-ray in 1080p using the MPEG-2 encode. The black and white film (made in color, with no obvious off colors to create b&w contrast, though some tweaking was admittedly done in post) honestly looks pretty damn good. I was fighting for a while between the score featured in this review, and a half star higher, and only aimed low because some of the nagging problems ultimately added up.
This disc defines inky black. I mean, spill a jar of ink all over your screen, rub against it like some kind of pervert, and you still won’t come close to the level of deep, obsidian awesomeness that this disc boasts. Detail levels fluctuate, but in may shots, there’s a wealth of detail in the characters, their skin and hair. It’s a little hit or miss, but when it’s on, it’s really something! Midrange shots can also look pretty damned solid.
Yes, this disc has some artifacting visible, including a few shots with a really bad banding effect (view the skies when the soundtrack gets a credit in the opening for an example). Sure, there’s some jaggies in diagonals here and there, like a sharp rail or a zipper, but for the most part, this issue is kept to a minimum. Grain levels jump back and forth a little bit, including times inside scenes with no lighting change, which is a little frustrating. The two biggest issues are the whites that are so bright that they’re borderline blown out, and the obvious fact that some shots, even after the tweaking to make the film look better in black and white, really don’t lend themselves to the two tone color palette. Trees and brick walls should not fuse, but this is not the fault of the disc. Another small issue I had was the sometimes shaky camera work that made it tougher to focus on some shots, but, again, not the disc’s fault.
‘All in the Game’ is a marked improvement over the previous two discs released by Ugarek on Blu-ray. Taking all things into consideration, it’s really an appreciable disc!
The audio for ‘All in the Game’ is the one area in which I was dissatisfied. There are two audio options, with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track being the default for the disc. I’ll admit, there’s some nice separation at times, and pretty darn good dynamics, but that’s about all the niceties I can offer. For one, the disc is amazingly quiet, requiring me to crank up the levels on my receiver to get much volume coming out of the speakers. Dialogue and other elements sometimes blend, creating prioritization issues, while words can be a little difficult already. There are some audio sync issues, like the end of the three amigos torture scene, as his dialogue was way off in a number of shots, probably ones used from other takes to make a back and forth conversation using a single take’s verbal performance. There’s a good amount of breath on mics, and an entire scene that sounds like there’s not only a geiger counter nearby, but also some serious radiation to set it off. I’d say going into this release with no expectations for the sound may be the best thing.
Discs pressed after the copy I’m reviewing include an extra bonus teaser trailer, introducing the Littles character, similar to the teaser found here that spotlights the Lucky character.
Not every extra found here is also on the HD DVD disc, and said additions are noted.
- Audio Commentary – With director Gary Ugarek. This track is found by pressing the alternate audio button. G-Man discusses the change of pace, his casting coups, the N word and the discomfort of it all, legalities, projectile bats, and more. Ugarek is pretty open and honest about criticizing his own work. One of my complaints, the split screen, Ugarek doesn’t take credit for, so that helps me think higher of his work on the film! An informative track that doesn’t miss a beat, with a mix of anecdote and depth delving.
- Music Video (HD, 4 min) – Saint Anger’s You Heard Me. I’m proud that I was able to make it a minute into this one. HD DVD buyers did not get this extra. Tragedy, that.
- Teaser Trailer (HD, 1 min) – A redband trailer that sells Lucky in a Bear Jew kind of way.
- Original Day 1 Footage (with deleted scene) (HD, 1 min) – As Ugarek explains in the commentary, this footage was axed due to the actors not quite clicking with each other yet, reshot at the end of the shoot. This color footage makes for an interesting glimpse on what the film could have looked like sans filtering.
- More Day 1 Footage (deleted/reshoots) (HD, 4 min) – Four more minutes worth of axed first day footage, this portion not available on the HD DVD release. This is more alternate footage than anything else, but, again, color.
- The Three Amigo’s Torture Scene – Original Cut (HD, 4 min) – A different take on a scene in the film.
- Fund Raising Promo (HD, 2 min) – A promo explaining the film, obviously to raise some green.
- In the Hot Seat (Cast Interviews) (HD, 12 min) – Cast and crew talk about the film. Actors butcher Ugarek’s name and talk up the typecasting they’re stuck in before we get into the nitty gritty. We hear the origins of this film (some repetition from the commentary), comments about the shoot and shooting environment. Some non-PC stuff.
- Bloopers – By the Balls (HD, 2 min) – One scene, fucked up many times, in many different ways. Pretty funny at one point before it falls into “laugh inappropriately” territory.
If any content above is not found on the DVD release, it will be moved here.
No easter eggs reported for ‘All in the Game (2011)’ yet. Found an egg? Please use our tips form to let us know, and we’ll credit you with the find.
Gary Ugarek’s third film, and first outside the zombie sub-genre, is his best to date. It starts slow, but gathers plenty of steam to provide a solid payoff. Fans of urban power struggle dramas should definitely check this one out. It’s not overly violent due to budget obvious constraints, and isn’t a glossy, perfect little film, but it has enough going for it to get at least one thumb up. This self-made Blu-ray release has good but occasionally problematic video, though the audio left much to be desired. A fun oddity or obscurity to have, which supports a great cause in helping the director make more films. As such, it’s worth a look.
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Hello everyone- The director from the film Bite The Hand (Dylan Hintz) let go of 2 screen grabs from the film (featuring myself) and now Im bringing those screenshots over to “Fixated Fascination” 🙂 Featured in these screenshots are: Jay Saunders [Red], Delano Walters [Thug 1], Dominique Spencer [Thug 2], and Kwame Head [Thug 3]. #sidebar Jay Saunders and Delano Walters were both cast in the Feature length Pyshological/Thriller Soulmate as well along with myself. Enjoy the screenshots everyone and stay tuned as details from this film progress. More information on the film can be found at the film’s facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/bitethehandmovie #staytuned #enjoy
The Independent Feature Length Crime/Thriller All In The Game will be screening at the Landmark Theater on October 27th
Hello all! I have great news! The Independent Feature length Crime/Thriller All In The Game from Writer/DirectLandmor Gary Ugarek will now be screening at the Landmark Theater on October 27th from 8pm until 10pm! Tickets for the screening will be $15.00 per person. We look forward to seeing you there! Here some information on the establishment known as the Landmark Theater
After reading the “About Us” on Landmark Theatres you will understand why this is a grand moment for all of us involved in the production of All In The Game!
About Landmark Theatres
Landmark Theatres is a recognized leader in the industry for providing to its customers consistently diverse and entertaining film products in a sophisticated adult-oriented atmosphere. Our theatres showcase a wide variety of films — ranging from Independent and Foreign film to 3-D movies and smart films from Hollywood. Landmark Theatres is the nation’s largest theatre chain dedicated to exhibiting and marketing independent film.
Since its founding in 1974, Landmark has grown to 55 theatres, 245 screens in 21 markets. Landmark is known for both its award-winning historic theatres, such as the Tivoli in St. Louis, the Inwood in Dallas and the Oriental in Milwaukee, and its more contemporary theatres, including our flagship theatre, The Landmark in Los Angeles, the Sunshine Cinema in New York City, E Street Cinema in Washington, DC, and The Landmark Theatre Greenwood Village in Denver’s flourishing Tech Center.
With our many Avant-garde films, Landmark is at the forefront of independent exhibition. We provide our filmgoers with numerous amenities, including digital projection, a selection of gourmet concession items, in-theatre sales of DVDs, books and CDs as well as Landmark’s signature brand of customer service. Innovative Screening Lounges can be found in our Berkeley, Dallas and Los Angeles theatres which includes a comfortable, unique seating experience featuring couches and love seats. In honor of Earth Day 2010, Landmark Theatres launched new EcoSelect popcorn bags in all of its theatres across the country.
Landmark Theatres is part of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban that also includesHome entertainment distribution companyMagnolia Pictures, production company 2929 Productions, and high definition cable networks HDNet and HDNet Movies.
Now that your familiar with the venue in which the film will be screening allow me(if you havent already read) the synopsis for the film via its Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/All-in-the-Game-2011/200246853323038?sk=info
The Film stars: Nelson Irizarry, Daniel Ross, Chris Clanton, Miciaih Jones, Mike McMullin KelvinIndePage
An East Baltimore drug kingpin sets his sights on taking over the entire drug trade of the city, but he has to eliminate all of his competition… one at a time.
Again, we hope to see you there as this will be a grand night! Until then Stay Tuned-
I know its been awhile but for good reason 🙂 But onto the post!
As I told you all before my hiatus, I was cast as a Featured Extra “Thug #2” in the Short Crime Thriller Bite The Hand alongside the homie/talented actor Delano Walters http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4009865/, who plays the Featured role of “Thug #1” in the film, along with MakeUp Artist Kwame Head, who plays Thug #3. The shoot went extremely well. Even though what was slated as a 4 hour shoot turned into a grueling 8-9 hour shoot (Rule #1, In film, you will never start/end on time, remember that!,lol), I wouldn’t have changed anything! From Guerilla style filming allday, jumping from illegal location to illegal location, choreographing 1-4 minute fight scenes on the spot and executing them with everything we had, and a more than solid performance by the lead actor in the film by Jay Saunders http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4132989/, what more could I have asked for on an Independent film! Not to mention Director Dylan Hintz http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3396171/ and DP Habib Awan http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4135121/ were on top of their game all day on set! The shots they got were incredible and I promise you as soon as I can get my hands on a new phone with a stronger camera or a nice digital camera, I promise Ill start taking more on set production photos 🙂 Cant wait to see the finished product. For updates on this production check out the film’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/bitethehandmovie
Hello everyone, next Saturday I have an audition for the Independent Feature length Crime Thriller [The Henchman’s War]. Im looking forward to this audition because of the plot synopsis (which can be found here) http://www.dragonukconnects.com/jobpost/9603/ (DragonukConnects) and here as well http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Henchmans-War/192858100750664 (The Henchman’s War Facebook Page) and also the character I’ll be reading for is really intriguing, and would be a hell of a role for me to land ROOK who I’ll be reading for. Not to mention I’ll more than likely be reading up against some talented Union and Non-Union Talent as well. I love competition and since I plan to take that next step in film I need these opportunities while Im still in Maryland! All of the information on the film. audition, and location can be found on that link! I will update progress on this film as it calls for it! #StayTuned!
The other day myself, Dominique Spencer [Fang][ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959381/] , Kelvin Page [ALL IN THE GAME][http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1830479/], and Delano Walters [River Haven][http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1748183/] have all been cast in the Independent Short Crime Thriller [Bite the Hand] as [Hired Guns] which is headed by actor/director Dylan Hintz [Investigation Discovery: Ep. Nightmares Next Door]. The film stars: Paul Siebler [Ninjas vs. Vampires][http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1748134/], Jay Saunders [Ninjas vs Vampires][http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1748134/], John C. Bailey [Garden of Hedon][http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1737794/], and Daniel Mascarello [Ninjas vs. Vampires][http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1748134/].
More information on the film can be found at these sites: http://www.indiegogo.com/Bite-the-Hand-Movie (indie go-go) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bite-the-Hand-Official-Movie-Page/100966779994044 (Official Facebook Movie Page) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bite-the-Hand-MOVIE/167431423309682 (Bite The Hand Movie Page) #StayTuned for Updates on this project!