Posted in Slashley Reviews by Neal at 16:37, Oct 19 2022
Amityville review – the people approve…
Film Review by Ashley Turner
Recently I was given the privilege of screening the upcoming extended short film proof-of-concept Amityville: The People of New York vs Ronald DeFeo Jr., written and directed by Rob Levinson. What made this exclusive experience even more unique, was having the opportunity to screen it alongside Rob himself.
Synopsis: “Maneuvering his way into being assigned the most infamous murder trial in Long Island’s history, Assistant District Attorney Gerard Sullivan could not prepare himself for what was around the corner. In 1975, Ronald J DeFeo Jr. would stand trial for the murders of six of his family members in Amityville, New York. Sullivan, along with a host of Suffolk County’s finest, painstakingly piece together this complicated case that captivated this sleepy hollow community.”
The beginning of the film opens on credits while listening to a 9-1-1 call placed reporting the DeFeo family murders in 1974. The audience is immediately invested, as we listen to the frustrating experience the neighbor experiences trying to report the grim circumstances. We are quickly introduced to the investigators of the case and the casting choices were absolutely spot on. With the charismatic (and dare-I-say strong resemblance to Sam Rockwell) delivery of Donnie Francis as Detective Napolitano, along with his endearing rapport with Detectives Gozaloff and Randazzo, one can’t help but smile even amidst such brutal circumstances.
The overall casting choices are strong in every character presented, each person bringing their own style and energy to their roles. Not one character feels forced or one-note. In fact, the casting of Ethan Rodgers as Ronald DeFeo Jr. is spot on. Ethan’s almost-exact likeness to DeFeo is a bit unnerving…and I like it. There is an immediate and strong dynamic between Gerard Sullivan (Eddie Nason) and Betty Jane Sullivan (Amy Thomason) and I immediately feel a sense of foreboding and dread the impact the case is going to have on their connection. Interestingly enough, Amy Thomason visually reminded me of Margot Kidder from the original Amityville (1979). Perhaps incidental, but felt like a fun little nod in my horror-fan head nonetheless.
I love that the filmmakers chose to take the perspective of the prosecutor versus DeFeo’s perspective. Anyone that has researched the events knows that DeFeo was a highly unreliable and untrustworthy individual whose story was constantly changing. His lack of credibility and outrageous explanations constantly shifting between interviews would make any attempt at making sense of his position a maddening attempt. We often-times forget in such chaotic circumstances that the damage-zone created by such vicious individuals is much larger than we can ever know. Choosing to provide the trial through the lens of the lead prosecutor and the impact it had on his relationships, family, and career is a smart and creative move by Levinson. It is important to note this is a narrative and not a documentary; a tale inspired by horrifying true events.
What makes a proof-of-concept film different from short films, is that you are getting pieces of the overall concept for the larger production, whether it be a feature film or television series. A proof-of-concept has to be able to enthrall the audience so that they want to see the expanded and complete world that is being presented to them. This film does precisely that. From art direction, casting, editing, and scene selection choices; the audience is captivated and anticipating more.
CHECK OUT 3HAUNTED PODCAST Special Guest: Rob Levinson
In July 2021, Out of Time Pictures released an eight minute proof-of-concept for Indescribable Urgencies! Writer/director Rob Levinson penned the feature-length script, which was eleven years in the making.
Production stills from Indescribable Urgencies
Bad Boy Scott Stroud is in for one hell of a night, if he can survive
the madness. A life of pushing it to the edge has finally caught up with
Stroud, leaving him with just his fragmented mind and a bloody knife.
What do a dead strip club waitress, a dwarf, and a demented Gulf War
veteran have in common? Step inside this seedy motel room to find out
what the other side of life is all about.
Out of Time Pictures, Inc. announced in November 2020 that pre-production was in full-force for their first feature-film, the horror/noir Indescribable Urgencies.
Written and directed by award-winning Rob Levinson, Indescribable Urgencies weaves familiar shades of film noir with a modern grit, crafting a brooding and sullen snapshot of revenge, peppered with failed redemption. Indescribable Urgencies is set to be a hyper-violent meditation on the power of the past and the struggle for salvation.
Levinson has teamed up with co-producer Nick Gordon, to bring this turbulent tale to the screen.
Recently, Levinson wrote, directed and produced the dramatic thriller “A World of Hurt.” While Gordon is launching season three of his web-series show, “Legalese.”
Once again, I was unbelievably fortunate to work with a wide array of talented people, both behind and in front of the camera, on the set of A World of Hurt.
Production took place in Dayton and Bellbrook, Ohio in July of 2020. Filming during the time of a global pandemic presented some challenges, though it didn’t hinder what we achieved during the shoot. I can only attribute this to the enormous amount of professionalism each person brought to the set.
Meet the Crew
Cinematographer Eric Andresen is a seasoned DP with decades of experience and his keen eye is evident in each frame of this film. Eric additionally served as co-producer and editor.
Assistant Director Tiffanie Green kept our set running on time and also utilized her art designing skills to create our gripping official poster.
The talented Rachel Wiseman served as our Camera Operator and Reese Girard as the First Assistant Camera Operator .
Our grips included Charlie Jiin, Jesse Kennedy, and Chris Skomra. Chris generously gave of his time in between all of his other duties and provided an invaluable service as our resident (behind the scenes) still-photographer.
Tanner Segbers was our sound mixer/recordist and boom operator. His level of professionalism is beyond his years.
Janean Phillips was our script supervisor, Covid-19 set-chief and props master and much more.
Once again Carrie Levinson served as our Craft specialist and also dished out her calming smile when needed. My sets are always better because of her presence.
Meet the Cast
Kentucky native, Jeff Armstrong plays Wyatt Estridge. Jeff brings the authenticity of the “every man” quality to the character of “Wyatt Estridge.” “I knew casting this role was going to require finding an actor who could grasp the subtext of Wyatt. There’s so many conflicting emotions circulating in Wyatt’s mind that finding the right actor would be challenging, or at least I thought.” – Director, Rob Levinson
Ohio native, Michelle Snyder plays Addison Estridge. Michelle is one of the loveliest people you could ever hope to work with in a film. “Michelle’s understanding of her character and her easy-going nature made each take effortless.” – Director, Rob Levinson
The stars aligned and sent A World of Hurt, Christ McConnell. This YouTube and Facebook music sensation flashed by like Halley’s Comet and delivered an unnerving performance, in the part of Travis Matix. “Out of all the available roles that actors auditioned for, without question it was for the role of “Travis.” I found this intriguing because the only description of the character that was offered was… “A misfit of life.” – Director, Rob Levinson
To describe Hickory Taylor, I think I can sum it up with one word… “Legendary.” Taylor is a retired United States law enforcement officer serving on both the State & Federal level. After nearly a 38 year career, Hickory turned his sights towards acting. Hickory was born to play the no-nonsence rancher, Jebediah. Like with his previous career, Hickory continues to put his heart into his acting, appearing in commercials and big budget films. Starting out in an unreleased James Franco Movie (The Long Home), spending numerous days on the set of Emilio Estevez’s film (The Public) as a homeless man and most recently as a Chef in The Robert Redford’s last movie, (Old Man and a Gun).
The youngest cast member, Brenden Edgar is a newcomer to acting. We enjoyed the opportunity to work with Brenden and watch him discover the playfulness that goes into creating a performance. Brenden plays Dillen Estridge.
Still frames from the film A World of Hurt.
Actor Jeff Armstrong on the cover of MMM!
Jeff discusses his career and the film “A World of Hurt.”
All Ages Male Modeling Issue 2020
WHERE WERE YOU wins Audience Choice Award!
Where Were You
It’s with the utmost gratitude to announce that WHERE WERE YOU has won the Audience Choice Award! Thank you to the Mystic Film Festival for another season of insightful films and documentaries. It was an honor to sit among so many talented writers, directors and actors.
Where Were You Review “The Independent Critic” – Richard Propes
“Rob Levinson has crafted a cinematic experience that powerfully captures the experiences that so many of us had that day while, perhaps, also reminding us that the lessons we learned remain as relevant today as they were 20 years ago.”
Where Were You Screened at 2019 Mystic Film Festival
Out of Time Pictures Receives Placement for Second Consecutive Year
Mystic, Connecticut — Sunday, October 6, 2019 — Out of Time Pictures is pleased to announce that the 2nd Annual Mystic Film Festival selected the independent short film WHERE WERE YOU for screening on Sunday, October 6 at 1pm in Mystic, CT. “We are thrilled about our selection,” said Rob Levinson, Writer/Director of the new film.
The latest film by Levinson is a dramatic story about one woman’s fight for survival, and the challenge of a self-absorbed radio host to make a pivotal change – one which may cost him everything. What unravels in real time are the visceral reactions to the events that unfolded within a New York minute.
Second Consecutive Year
In 2018, OUTLAW (about the notorious Jesse James) by Out of Time Pictures was shown at the very first Mystic Film Festival. Director of Photography Ben Grant and Levinson collaborated on both movies. The latest production features actors John Campeau, Amy Thomason, Tom McCormick, Solange Elkallassi and Greg Genatossio.
A companion EP, Where Were You Soundtrack, is available from Akubot Records via online music stores and streaming services (see https://akubot.com/music).
Behind the scenes of Where Were You
The Culture*Park Short Plays Marathon serves an important function for playwrights, allowing them the opportunity to hear their plays before an audience.
Over 300 plays have been presented over the past 16 Marathons. Plays are by award-winning writers, playwrights and poets, alongside works by new writers and students. Plays presented at past Marathons have found further development and full productions.
Playwright Rob Levinson presented a scene from his two-act play; “An Unspoken Truth.” This was the third scene presented at Culture *Park from his two-act drama. Levinson decided on the title “Reach” for the scene presentations to symbolize the struggle of all Holocaust victims.
Bergen Belsen Camp – February, 1944
A simple barrack with five bunks and a wood stove.
The saga continues for young Abraham as he navigates the horrors of Bergen Belsen, but with the help of a Rabbi, a professor, a brave soldier, and a kind childlike soul, he will learn that humanity exists even under the worst of
Click the link below to watch the performance.
Outlaw is an official selection of the 2018 Mystic Film Festival.
The 1st Annual Mystic Film Festival will take place from October 18 to October 21, 2018 in the beautiful New England coastal town of Mystic, Connecticut, located midway between New York and Boston.
Cable Car Cinema
April 8, 2018
Writer/Director, Rob Levinson at Outlaw premiere.
The premiere of “Outlaw” had a smash opening, with an array of talented artists. Our very own Jesse James, AKA Tom McCormick, Steve Howland and Natalie Turchetta opened with an a capella verse from the STYX song “Renegade.” This trio set the tone for the evening’s events! Next came the fun and catchy song written by Dan Layus called “Dangerous Things,” performed by Natalie with Steve on acoustic guitar. At only 14, Natalie has a natural powerful ability, along with a sassyness to her voice. For those of you who love country from the 60s will notice that Natalie’s voice is reminiscent of the late Patsy Cline. And finally… the star of “Outlaw,” Tom McCormick brought down the house with the Skynyrd song, “Simple Man.” Tom belted out this poignant hit, which captured the underlying theme of “Outlaw.”
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