Enter the Serpent Arrives.

Enter the Serpent!! It’s here! It’s here!!

After all the build up and hype, The Heroic Melon Collective presents our season finale to the Awkward Again story. Early reactions and test screenings have been overwhelmingly positive on our end, and we are very excited to present to you this episode!

What happened to Steph?

CLICK HERE TO SEE Awkward Again – episode 05: Enter the Serpent!

Shooting for this project began in early April 2011, and continued on and off until shooting finally wrapped March of 2012, as I was away at school to complete my final year of university. Post-production began the day after my last day of classes, and I’ve been working on this project steadily everyday since. It’s been given a proper sound treatment, so I’m hoping that this episode will sound as good as it looks.

And the best part is that we’re presenting it to you UNCUT and UNINTERRUPTED through our new Awkward hub with VIMEO at the highest possible quality we can – along every other episode in the Awkward Compilation. No more annoying ads, no more split videos on Youtube. So, whether you’re a returning fan or a newcomer, you’ll be able to watch the entire Awkward Compilation to your hearts content, with convenient playlists available for viewing!

So where are we now?

It’s been a week since Jermaine’s attack on the Awkward kids in episode 04, and as a result, things in the house are pretty tense. Lester is hell bent on taking on Jermaine’s issued challenge despite Alex’s efforts to stop him, and its clear that things are looking to come to a head pretty soon. It’s anyone’s guess what willl happen next!

Enjoy the episode and let us know what you think in the comments!! In the mean time, I’ll be on my patio with a beer and my laptop.

- Les

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Film Army’s Addison Wylie weighs in on Awkward Again

Lester prepares for battle.

Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of having a brief chat Film Army’s Addison Wylie. Addison Wylie is the Film Army’s resident film critic, and apparently a fan of Heroic Melon’s work, so when I knew that I had a new episode of Awkward ready to be unleashed upon the world, Addison was one of the first people I contacted to weigh in his two cents on the Awkward Compilation’s second season – Awkward Again.

Addison provided some great feedback on the first 4 and a half episodes leading up to our season finale. While praising much the season, he also offered some interesting constructive feedback  - I found this commentary particularly useful, as there was some discussion on how to handle the character Jermaine, and I’m curious to see if this feedback will still stand when the season finale comes out! You can see the full video review here.

In addition to the season 02 review, we also recorded our interview where I talk to Addison about various things involved with the creative process when building something like an Awkward season. You can listen to the full interview here!

There’s some great stuff to be heard/read/viewed in the links above, so I’d strongly recommend you guys to take a look.

Special thanks to Addison for allowing this interview and review to happen in promotion for our upcoming finale! Be sure to subscribe to their twitter feeds @filmarmy and be sure to check out his Addiocommentary that goes live every Sunday.

Awkward Again – episode 05: Enter the Serpent premiers July 30th here and Vimeo at 6pm!
SUBSCRIBE to us on Twitter @heroicmelon and LIKE us on facebook.com/heroicmelon so you’ll be the first to know when our season finale hits the internet!

- Les

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Franchise Film Face-Off #1 – Alien

The Franchise Film Face-Off is a review on a specific series of movies and ranking them from best to worst installments. Enjoy.

With Prometheus just released in theatres this past weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to do the Alien series as the first triple F. Here we go.

* SPOILER WARNING

Alien (1979)

Directed by Ridley Scott. There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said about this film. On top of being one of the most praised, well-known, and influential science fiction films out there, anyone who’s a fan of the series would rank this as either #1 or #2. It earns automatic points for originality over the other films but I believe it really is the most well crafted. I was watching this once in a lounge and someone walked in and asked if this was a new movie. That proved to me that this film has aged well and that it does not look or feel dated. The production design, the effects, everything is in top form and still holds up. And most of all, it’s still scary.

 

Aliens (1986)

Directed by James Cameron. One of the best sequels ever made, almost everyone would agree. A good number of people prefer this over the first. For me it’s hard to compare the two because they’re two completely different films. The first film is a horror/mystery in space whereas this is an action/thriller with elements of a war film. So, for the things you can compare, let’s start with the returning heroine, Ripley. For sure, she has elevated to a total bad-ass and has a far more expanded performance. The aliens look great, sticking to showing as little as possible and when you do get glimpses it’s the best practical effects you can expect. One thing this film has that the first doesn’t is the great list of one-liners.

Alien 3 (1992)

Directed by David Fincher. This is where the series starts to lose love. Personally, I loved the third one and I’m happy to see more and more people giving it a second chance. It helps to watch the extended cut to see why some of the editing seemed off in the theatrical version. It also helps to know the story behind the production and how it was problematic from the very beginning. Not as good as the first two, but this film is the darkest, grittiest, and goriest of the three. It is uncompromising, has balls, breaks the rules, and it tries something different. Yes, the CGI alien sucked (thankfully there wasn’t too much of that) but apart from that nothing bothered me. It has more to offer than it appears. You get another powerful and slightly evolved performance by Sigourney Weaver, a kick-in-the-nuts opening scene, religious and sexual metaphors everywhere, an alien that you’ve never seen before, a return to the cat and mouse suspense of the first film, a situation where this time you have NO WEAPONS, excellent characters and a lot of time spent on their development, bleak but nonetheless beautiful cinematography, the exciting chase sequences from the alien’s POV, a haunting score, and a perfect ending to what was supposed to be a trilogy. This film deserves more credit and it’s finally getting it.

Alien Resurrection (1997)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Almost everybody hates this one, but I’m not one of them. The way I approached this film was “Hey, it’s the fourth one. We don’t need it, but it’ll be fun seeing more from this universe that I love.” I did not give it the expectations of the first three, so I wasn’t disappointed. I thought it might be like watching a special feature or a fan film. But I was pleasantly surprised. First of all, Joss Whedon penned the thing. He wasn’t as good back then as he is today, but he made that film entertaining as hell. First, I liked the story. It made sense and it brought everyone together naturally. From the cloning of Ripley to the revival and research on the aliens to the bounty hunters to the cargo to the spy/assassin and finally to the evolution of the alien life cycle. There’s a good assortment of characters, a lot of them there just to be killed but the ones who lasted made it interesting. Ron Pearlman is easily the show stealer. Winona Ryder is annoying as hell but it’s more her character is annoying (even to the other characters). It was cool to see a different Ripley and it was fun watching Sigourney Weaver go nuts on that role. Once again where things start to bother me is when the aliens go all CGI. Thankfully there were enough practical effects to balance it out. There are some really powerful scenes here too including the torching of the lab with the failed clones and the climax where the Newborn is killed. If you count the special edition of Aliens, this is technically the third time Ripley loses a daughter. Very tragic. The film has its own style and message. You can enjoy the action and the crazy kills (the chest to head burster comes to mind, classic) but there is a lot more going on if you pay attention. I say enjoy it for what it is, an above-average sci-fi adventure and an interesting continuation of the alien story. It is the worst of the four but the thought of it being the best of the four seems ridiculous to me.

Prometheus (2012)

Directed by Ridley Scott. I’m counting this because if you saw the film as I did, then you’d agree that it belongs on this list. I’m not going to say this is better than Alien, because it’s not, but it ranks very high if you decide to place it in this franchise. There are a lot of mixed reviews but overall people love the visuals but were expecting more otherwise. I was completely satisfied. I was pleasantly surprised at how thought-provoking and visceral the experience was. It didn’t feel like a typical science fiction film of today with “oohs” and “aahs”. It never gave into being a straight horror film or a spectacle film. It was a solid technical achievement that had the balls to focus on the things that make you think after the film as opposed to just answering questions and asking questions just for the sake of asking them. I think this is a film you can’t absorb in one sitting. It’s not Alien. It sets out to do more than that. It’s too early to say whether it succeeded or not. As for its relationship to the rest of the franchise, it is an amazing spin on the whole mythology and you cannot watch the other films in the same way ever again.

In case you’re wondering, NO I will not review the Alien vs. Predator films (I use the word “films” strictly as a technicality) because first of all that’s a merging of two franchises so I don’t really count those and second, because they’re abominations that make Resurrection look like Citizen Kane.

Ok, now onto the rankings.

#5. Alien Resurrection – Definitely the worst, but a fun time.

#4. Alien 3 – A strong entry, but nowhere near the first two.

#3. Prometheus – This may change in the future, but it has tough competition.

#2. Aliens – Could have been #1, but beaten by a nose.

#1. Alien – At the end of the day, the first has something the second doesn’t, originality.

Thanks for reading, if you have a different ranking of these films or if you have a suggestion for the next franchise to tackle, let us know below! Until next time.

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BRAND NEW !! Alex battles Lester yet again in “13″

A lot can happen in 5 years.

For us, it’s been about that long since our last test fight sequence. We’ve spent the last while experimenting with other genres, but it was really because of martial arts action sequences that Alex and I had met more than 7 years ago, during our first year of university.

Our first test fight was shot in a Winter’s Residence hallway back in 2005 during Frosh Week. We were quite young then, but even at that ripe age, Alex and I had a unique bond over all sorts of action movies, from the Bruce Lee classics to even more obscure films like “Only the Strong”.

7 years later, our equipment and experience has taught us more about crafting the perfect fight scene, and this little sequence “13″ is not only our first foray back into shooting a series of action sequences, but yet another step in our continuing journey.

What have we learned? A 5 year break can make a big difference.

Enjoy this video, and tell us what you think.

- Les

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Anatomy Of A Fight

Here it is, the behind-the-scenes look at the making of the climactic fight scene from Process Of Elimination (watch here). Following up on Lester’s rendition of the opening scene, I thought I’d finally release the long awaited special feature from my last film. You’ll get to see all of the work, pain, and fun that went into the scene. Enjoy.

* There were some issues uploading it onto youtube so here’s the vimeo link for now and we will update you with the new youtube link. Stick around.

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UPCOMING: Awkward Again season finale progress report

Here’s some fresh stills off my editing bay for the upcoming Awkward Again season finale!
For our hardcore fans, I hope this is enough to get some saliva build up in the corners of your mouths.

Lester prepares for battle.

If you’ve been keeping up with our twitter feed @heroicmelon, you may be aware that I’ve been working pretty steady on the final entry to our Awkward Again season finale episode. If you’re a dedicated Heroic Melon fan, you’ll also know that its been quite some time since our last episode “Turnabout Kevin”, which went live almost a year ago.

What happened to Steph?

So what’s been taking so long? A number of things really. Awkward had a year-long hiatus, mostly due to the fact that I had to devote much of my time to completing my final year at York University’s Film and Video Production program. That said, whenever I had enough free time (and my schedule lined up with everyone else’s), we went out and shot as much of the finale as possible throughout the year, but due to my heavy workload, did not have the time to work on cutting all the footage we had shot until about the last week of April.

Alex's mysterious stalker revealed.

With my newly acquired skills, I’ve been putting this finale episode into a much more rigorous post-production treatment than usual, spending a substantial amount of time sound editing with Pro Tools 10. I am hoping my work on this project sounds fantastic to your ears, and I hope you look forward to it. To date, I think I might have logged over 300 + hours (and counting) on this piece alone, making this the most robust and resource heavy Awkward episode to date. I suppose that’s fitting for a season finale, no?

Sadly, I am not prepared to give you an official release date. However, I am confident that you can expect this new episode to hit Vimeo and Youtube sometime in early June.

Time for a little one-on-one.

Excited? Curious? Questions? Sound off in our comments section and let us know how you feel.

- Les

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My Top Ten Movie Moments (At The Movies)

SPOILER ALERT, if there’s a film listed here that you have not seen, you may skip to the next title. There are no pictures for the scenes I mentioned so just skip the text until you get to a film you have seen or do not care about being spoiled. That said, enjoy!

Watching a movie in theatres can be unpleasant: People talking during the movie, talking on the phone, obstructing your view, etc. But I’d like to talk about the moments that remind us why watching a movie with a big crowd can also be fun. When the energy in the audience is perfect. Everyone’s in sync with suspension of disbelief, investment in the story, and overall respect for the film. From laughing at comic relief to screaming at jump scares, these are the moments I love.

#10. Let The Right One In – Swimming Pool

I was sitting in the theatre thinking “Wow, this is a really well-done vampire film. But nothing that blew me away,” and then this scene happened. The execution of the carnage is what does it. Everyone in the audience had their mouths wide open when that head splashed into the water. Moral of the story: Do not mess with Eli.

 

#9. The Raid: Redemption – End Of The End Fight

This movie had many moments that could easily make this list, but I have to choose just one. Definitely the big finish. The entire fight is one “Oh!” moment after another. When Mad Dog gets stabbed in the neck, you think it’s over but no! He keeps going. Right to the end when his entire neck is opened up and the audience claps for a fight well done. Moral: Do not mess with Mad Dog.

#8. There Will Be Blood – Final Confrontation

“I drank your milkshake!” This intense confrontation reaches its boiling point in the final scene and the audience loved every bit of it. Mr. Plainview just goes off like a psycho and we’re laughing at the whole thing. Right up until he beats Eli (not the vampire) to death with a bowling pin. That ain’t funny. Wait, it actually is. Moral: Don’t mess with Daniel Plainview.

#7. Watchmen – Locked In With Rorschach

It’s safe to say Rorschach stole every scene he was in. After he deep fries one of his fellow inmates, he announces to everyone within earshot “I’m not locked in here with you, YOU’RE LOCKED IN HERE WITH ME!” Cue the cheers from the crowd. Moral: Do not mess with Rorschach. Or Dr. Manhattan. Yeah, definitely not him either.

 

#6. Iron Man – After Credits Scene

There were many great moments including that tease with War Machine that left the audience whining. But the best moment actually occurs after the movie’s finished. The first and best scene that introduces the Avengers hype. It kind of dissipated over the next Marvel films but when this happened, the audience ignited with excitement.

#5. 300 – I Am Not Your Queen

This movie is bad to the bone, steel and stone, full of testosterone. But this moment involves a woman and her form of penetration. After being betrayed, raped, and humiliated in front of the council, she shanks the traitor of Sparta. The crowd went nuts every single time. Sorry, Rose. Spitting on a man may be disrespectful, but  this chick got her point across with a sword to the gut. Moral: Do not mess with Spartans, men or women.

#4. Borat – That Scene

You know what scene I’m talking about. I’ve never seen an entire movie theatre turn into a circus like that. People were literally out of their seats, rolling, crying, kicking, dropping popcorn and laughing uncontrollably. I was right there with them. It was impossible not to laugh. It was infectious. Moral: People can’t resist laughing at two grown (and hairy) men wrestling naked and runing wild in public wreaking havoc.

#3. The Dark Knight – Magic Trick

It was one of those moments where you’d miss the next few lines of dialogue because the audience is still reacting to what just happened. I saw this movie six times in theatres and every single time the Joker slammed that guy’s head into the pencil, people freaked the hell out. Moral: Don’t mess with magicians.

#2. Paranormal Activity – The Whole Thing

Yeah, I can’t pick a specific scene. The entire experience deserves a spot on this list. From start to finish, everyone was on the edge of their seats, collectively screaming at those key moments and all hating Micah for being such a @#$%! Before the film started, I told Philbert Lui it was real. I’m sorry, Phil. But it was funny. Moral: Don’t be Micah.

#1. Grindhouse (Planet Terror / Death Proof) – The Whole Thing

Again, it was the whole experience. It’s a shame it didn’t do well at the box office. But watching it opening day with people who loved movies. It was unreal. Starting with a trailer for Hobo With A Shotgun (for those who saw it in Canada) the laughter, screams, and cheers kicked off and didn’t stop till the very end. After Planet Terror ended, people were clapping and yelling for the next film to start. The fake trailers, the missing reel, the climax to Death Proof, all among the many highlights. Watching this with such a cool crowd made this #1 and it will be hard to top.

Let us know if there are any moments that stick out for you that are not on this list.

- Alex

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How My Fear of Bugs Made Me a Film Maker.

****Making videos takes a long time, and we feel that sometimes, we neglect to update our site with new content. So today, after a long talk, we’re going to try something new to engage you, our fans. Every week, we’re going to try to post something related to film that we find interesting. It could be a screening we went to, a personal anecdote, an experience we’ve had recently on a project, or even a simple observation about something we’ve read that we might find inspiring.****

And since today is our first step in this direction, I figured it was appropriate from me to share one of my first film-related experiences.

I wasn’t always into film. In fact, at some point, I wanted to be an entomologist (scientist that studies bugs). There was a major problem though – I was afraid of insects. This may have stemmed from a brief cockroach infestation my home suffered from the neighbors next door. They had dogs (come to think of it, this might have been why my mom never wanted us to have pets in the house…) and didn’t do a very good job of cleaning up after them, and well…

Anyway, I was deeply fascinated by insects but too much of a chicken to get up close and personal. I tried desperately to lessen my fears by more exposure. More often than not, I’d try to pick up ants off the ground and throw them into spider webs to watch the arachnids I feared go to work like vampires. My favorite insect was the Praying Mantis. Being raised Catholic, perhaps I was immediately drawn to the only insect in the world that seemed to say “Grace” before he grabbed his meal and proceeded to eat it alive.
 One day, in the school yard, these kids were grouped together – they were looking at something. As I pushed through the crowd, I realized that these kids were both amazed and afraid of this tiny green creature. As fate would have it, it turned out I was staring at a Praying Mantis in the flesh.  Unlike the kids, I wasn’t afraid, and appreciated the beauty and complexity of this tiny creature.

Eventually, my house was fumigated and along with the cockroaches, my interest in bugs  dissipated.

So I got into film. To be fair, I sort of fell into it really – my Communications teacher from high school dumped a  miniDV camera in my hand and told me to figure out how to use it.

Like the bugs I so feared, I was initially afraid to touch the camera. It looked too fancy. When I pressed the eject button, the mechanisms inside would move and the tape would pop out like something from Robocop. The tapes themselves seemed far beyond the VHS tapes I was comfortable with (I was afraid of handling DVDs). Like bugs, they were small and delicate. Upon close examination, they seemed extremely complicated and compact in design. I even read the User’s manual, and I felt more afraid. But like many eager first-time filmmakers, I got ambitious and at the ripe age of 15, I attempted to shoot my first epic. I shot. And shot. And shot. Before I knew it, I had amassed 4 hours of footage, and all my friends were in it.

Impressed by my tenacity, my teacher pushed me further and helped facilitate my ‘film’. He convinced the head of the IT Department to lend me the mysterious Apple G4. Sure, it was ancient by today’s standards but it may as well have been sent from the future. It had a 70 GB (whoa!) media drive. And I was terrified of it. So I looked up everything I could to understand the beast, and when I felt capable, I cut. And cut. And cut. In retrospect, the film could’ve stood to be cut more but in the end, I was still proud of my 54 minute ‘masterpiece’.

I guess the point of this entry is to remind filmmakers to keep pushing themselves to do things we could never do before. Irrational fears built up from things we don’t understand can keep us from excelling. They should never be a brick wall, but merely an obstacle to learn about and conquer to reach a new plateau. We learn from experience, and experience informs and contributes to our output.

I’m not really afraid of bugs anymore. You can sure as hell bet though, that when I come across a really nasty little bugger, the first thing I do is look it up to figure out what I am up against. Then I decide whether to grab  the camera, the slipper, or a blow torch.

- Les

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It’s all about the Process.

Here’s a fun little project I did for my Acting / Directing II class during my last year at York University.

The assignment: interpret a 3 – 4 minute scene using an original or pre-written screenplay. I’ve always been ready to jump at a chance to direct something my good friend Alex Chung has written, so I took it upon myself to do a re-interpretation of his stellar opening sequence from his short film Process of Elimination using unfamiliar actors.

Silva, originally written for Heroic Melon regular Jermaine Carty, is played by 4th Year Theater student, Joshua Dolphin. Opposite Josh playing Terri, is the lovely Lina DiMaria, also a 4th Year Theater student.

During the work shop, after a few experiments with the dialogue, Josh and Lina seemed to default to the natural flow of Alex’s dialogue piece. I suppose its only natural that when the dialogue is good, the rest sort of takes care of itself.

Enjoy!

- Les

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New Season Of Random Antics Continues…

Lester and Alex are at it again in Donkey Punch Country – Random Antics (Vol.32)

Not as easy as we remember it.

Following our latest Zombie Walk video, Random Antics continues to kick it old school. In the tradition of Resident Oatmeal, we are tackling a video-game (this time, in actual co-op). Listen to us banter like children and watch us fail miserably (especially the mine cart level) in this simple yet hilarious installment of Random Antics.

Random Antics is now in its (technically) fourth season. We’re aiming to make it feel like the first season but better! Expect the unexpected, the random, and the hilarious with the new wave of episodes coming your way. Donkey Kong Country is merely the first of many old school games we’ll be visiting. Don’t miss out!

- Alex

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