Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Science Team

9 of 9 viewers "Liked" "Science Team" (2014, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

The Great Hornito - "Science Team is a mixture of over the top humor and over the top gore that surprisingly worked out great. It had the feel of an extremely gory Wes Anderson movie. This is definitely a movie you should watch with a group of friends." - 4 Stars

Dabbles - "What did I just watch? All around ridiculousness and it's awesome. Practical effects and random dialogue are my cup of tea. I just have to say people owe it to themselves to watch Science Team." - 5 Stars

Math Mage - "Mad men screaming, interspersed with meaningless brutal violence, framed with bombastic spy vs alien tropes (the kind you'd think of when you think of these types of things* but that don't actually happen). *Venture Brothers + Metalocolypse." - 4 Stars

Speed Demon - "Man this is definitely not for everyone only a few people you could probably recommend this film to. Honestly this was super entertaining and incredibly off the F'n hook crazy. I laughed so much my brain hurt. All the FX were extremely well done. Vito Trigo Rules!" - 3.5 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "Science Team is one of the best things that's ever happened to science, even though there's no real science in it at all and real scientists would probably hate it (but I'm pretty sure science grad students would adore it). If I were a more banal bear I'd call this a Wes Anderson style Gore-Core comedy, but since we are a digital publication of refinement and taste, and the Blazer ain't no basic bitch, I'll say that this is an exuberantly violent and slightly offensive absurdist gonzo sci-fi caper whose hyperbolic performances are somehow satisfying when they should be absolute cringe. We have a cast that knows how to play the screamingly arrogant secret agent characters and rampaging, bereaved and murderous sons that populate this world. The agency that is Science Team is a big part of the magic here, and the scenes of pink-clad scientists running around with VCRs attached to hair dryers scanning rooms are perhaps some of the greatest shots ever to grace comedy cinema. Sure, in many ways ST is adult-level juvenile humor, but as our fine readers know it's all about the execution, and Science Team happens to be steered by a mightily steady hand. Belly laughs are yours if you just jump in. If there is an issue I have with ST, it's that occasionally it opts for the easy way out with its comedy stereotypes, but nonetheless this film is brimming with originality and gusto, and they also have a great looking alien. Go science team!" - 4 Stars

KillDozer - "Drew Bolduc's Science Team is a gift to those who appreciate not having their genre easily categorized. This film puts elements of science fiction, horror, drama, comedy and indie in a blender, then proceeds to throw it in your face all at once. I can honestly say it's an odd journey but well worth the experience. Everything is played out straight and wacky in equal measure. The synth soundtrack and 80's/70's visuals only add to the "I don't know what's happening but I'm having a good time" vibe. I highly recommending leaving your ego and expectations at the door with this one because it can't be simplified. A highlight is the show stealing performance by Vito Trigo who, in a better world, would receive numerous awards for this role. All together a highly enjoyable Troma meets Tim and Eric work of art." - Indie Rating 4 Stars (and worth sharing with those looking for something fun and original)

Lord Battle - "Horror/comedies are not something Lord Battle seeks out, especially because 80% of them are terrible. But every now and then a good one will pop up (Santa's Slay, Dead Snow 2, Final Girls) and make me forget my disdain for comedies. Science Team is a mean spirited, violent, and gory horror/comedy fueled by misplaced energy and a stylized humor that commonly fails in a plethora of films but somehow works beautifully here." - 5 Stars

Huntress - "I don't think I would change anything about Science Team; it handles eccentric, dry, and ridiculous moments with careful attention to detail and timing, but everything seems to come together so naturally, it feels almost as if the film making process was an effortless breeze. I think the last time I laughed as hard was during What We Do In The Shadows, so not too many movies have that effect. And you don't need to know anything about the art of comedy or current affairs or science to appreciate Science Team. You just need to watch the insanity unfold and have some kind of appreciation for aliens, sci-fi, and gore, which I definitely do!" - 4.5 Stars

Captured by the Beast - "I always wondered what happened to all of our out dated electronics, glad to hear our scientists are putting them to good use. Loved all the sarcasm and how awkwardly funny all the scientists were. Overall a great movie." - 4 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

The creatures seem to agree that Science Team was a strange and strangely enjoyable experience, but one that eludes category. So, rather than try to force one, we unleashed KillDozer on writer/director, Drew Bolduc.

KillDozer: How did the dream that would become Science Team start?

Drew: A crazy guy fighting a bunch of people in pink uniforms in a bedroom. I think that was the first image that came to mind.

KillDozer: Does being a writer/director mean that you are able to create an authentic version of you wanted on screen?

Drew: To a degree, but you are also limited by the resources you have. Since you are collaborating with many people, the film also organically becomes something else as you go through the process. It becomes bigger than any one person.

KillDozer: How do you even begin to classify a film like Science Team? How did you explain it to people when find raising and casting?

Drew: It is a tough one. It is genre-less in a way, or more of a mash up of several different ones. Mostly horror and sci-fi. Comedy too. It was always a pretty strange sell. A movie about a psychic alien, people being idiots, and exploding heads.

KillDozer: Did your film play festivals? Were you able to see it with an audience? If so what were the reactions?

Drew: Yeah, it did quite a few. Tromadance went over really well, people went crazy for it. We'd also have screenings where people would just sit there in total stunned silence. It's one of those films that either works for people or they just can't understand it. It's fairly decisive.

KillDozer: What do you hope the audience receives from a screening of Science Team? What were your influences?

Drew: For me it became mainly about this weird energy in the film and the performances. The performances just kept getting bigger and bigger. I encouraged them to become more crazy. I thought it was hilarious at the time. Indie movie characters are always so quiet and passive. I wanted a movie where people were constantly freaking out and losing their minds.

I remember being inspired by the original Ultraman. The team was called Science Patrol, but they never did any science. They only killed aliens. They never once studied an alien. They were pretty much fascists. There is one episode where they actually genocide an entire alien race. I thought there was something profound in the irony.

KillDozer: Lloyd Kaufman has a cameo in the picture and from what I understand you have worked with him a few times. Has working with Lloyd Kaufman influenced your work? If so in what way? How did that relationship begin?

Drew: I learned many things working on Return to Nuke 'em High. More about life than making films. I learned how to deal with a pressure that I hadn't had to deal with on my first film and working with a bigger crew. I met Lloyd when Troma acquired The Taint. He really is one of the elder statesmen of insane independent film.

KillDozer: Vito Trigo, who plays Chip in the film, gives a mind blowing performance with incredible energy. Were you responsible for that casting? What's it like to direct someone so dedicated to the role?

Drew: I met Vito on Return to Nuke 'em High as well. He was the only one who auditioned that got anger right. I would basically tell him to do a scene at a 10. Then maybe tell him to do it again at 11. Then after that I'd tell him to do a crazy take. It would just get out of control. He made that role his own. No one else would have played the character that way. I just thought Chip freaking out was hilarious.

KillDozer: The film goes from incredibly funny to "bat shit crazy" to dramatic and back again which makes for an amazingly fun viewing experience. Was the film written to incorporate all these elements or did they happen organically during production? What were the toughest moments to both write and direct?

Drew: I didn't know it at the time, but the movie is pretty much about Borderline Personality Disorder. It's where someone has these insanely high emotional reactions to almost nothing. The manic anxiety is super high and then they go down to these crushing depressive lows. The movie kind of plays that way, like the film has it itself. A lot of it was written, but something happened with the performances and improvising that took the swings in tone to a whole new level. It is a hard movie to understand for a lot of people because most movies just have one constant tone. This one is a bit schizophrenic. The hand-job scene was at least the weirdest, most awkward scene to direct. I took it out in one draft of the script, but Vito was like "what happened to the hand-job?" So I put it back in.

KillDozer: The "scientific equipment" and team were completely over the top and perfect. Were you responsible for the look of the science team and the tools they used? Where did the inspiration for those come from?

Drew: Seager Dixon was the art director and Michele Lombardi did production design. There was a really great art department. I stole the pink suits from an image from the film Samsara. We basically went to thrift stores and found old devices that looked cool and built from there. The found objects inspired a lot of the designs.

KillDozer: The fight scenes were so well put together. Did you have professional choreography?

Drew: Vito Trigo and Richard Spencer choreographed their own fight scene together. All the credit goes to them. We just filmed it. It wasn't that epic in the script.

KillDozer: I was lucky enough to see your film through Amazon Prime but recently noticed that this title like many others is on a list of films that may be "pulled" or no longer allowed on streaming. The more I dig, the more I find out that Amazon has been doing this a lot lately and they have clever ways of flying under the radar. Were you aware of the changes they are making? Did they contact you?

Drew: They sent me an email saying the film was getting taken down on March 1st due to "sexual content". It didn't surprise me too much, but then I started hearing about how it happened to a bunch of low-budget films. The issue is there seems to be a lot of studio films with equally sexual content that aren't getting taken down. If they want the low budget stuff out because they think it sucks, that's one thing, but to make it a content issue that only takes down indie films seems like a strange move.

KillDozer: Do you feel as though this is a financial move or blatant censorship?

Drew: I don't really think it is censorship, but they are likely doing it because the films aren't making enough and they want the highly-visible prime videos to be of a higher and/or different quality. It always surprised me that they were so open to the indies, but it seems like that window might be closing a bit.

KillDozer: How does something like this effect independent film makers like yourself?

Drew: It shouldn't change what we do, but what sort of does make it about censorship is that I have talked to indie filmmakers that have gotten their stuff banned who have said they are going to cut scenes out of their films and resubmit to Amazon. I totally disagree with doing that. The ban is changing how people view their work. If you have investors to please, you have to cut what you have to cut, but I really want to encourage filmmakers to not edit their own work and censor themselves if they don't have to. It's how business people think and we really need artists pushing insane art into the world right now. Combat the corporate$$$gods. Stop making crappy mainstream offerings to them.

KillDozer: A lot of genre fans are deleting their accounts, do you think this will get the point across? What do you think can be done in situations like this?

Drew: People can definitely boycott, spread the word, and ask Amazon was is going on. The story is still new and I am still waiting to see if Amazon responds. Filmmakers should definitely look into other alternative methods of distribution.

KillDozer: Do you have any projects in the works? How can people follow you and your work?

Drew: Yeah, there is a new movie we made coming soon called Assassinaut. It is about a group of kids that get stranded on an alien planet and is like if David Lynch made a children's movie. The Facebook page is here:

They can see the other movies still on VHX:

KillDozer: Who would win in a fight, E.T., Mac from Mac and Me, or ALF?

Drew: Mac for sure

KillDozer: Has anything evil ever come from science?

Drew: Yes, especially robots.

KillDozer: What is your favorite science fiction film?

Drew: Akira or maybe The Thing.

KillDozer: If you could have given an academy award to any film for best picture and any actor for best actor who would you give them to?--

Drew: Funky Forest: The First Contact. John C. Reilly for Steve Brule


The Overlook Theatre materialized in a residence for a screening on  3/2/2017
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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