In the Media - Reviews
The Stand at Paxton County
The Stand at Paxton County, an independently produced drama now streaming on Netflix, has a surprisingly straightforward message: Our freedoms and property rights are at risk when dogmatic special interests use the legislative process to achieve their goals. Moreover, poorly designed legislation opens the door to corruption.
The movie, produced by Forrest Films (founded by entrepreneurs Forrest and Charlotte Lucas), does something else unusual for contemporary films: It raises awareness and makes relevant the plight of ranchers and farmers under a gun from political activists. Many of these advocates know little, or don’t seem to care, about this industry, its culture, and its values.
The Black Tulip
Afghanistan's Official Academy Award Entry - Best Foreign Film
Black Tulip Opens at BOSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
By Player5150 /
March 12, 2015
THE BLACK TULIP 120 MIN
After the Taliban is routed from Afghanistan in early
2001, the Mansouri family seizes the new window of
freedom by opening a restaurant called ‘The Poet’s
Corner,’ with an open microphone and an inviting
platform for all to read poetry and tell their stories.
This newfound hope proves to be fleeting as they
struggle to maintain their lifestyle when encountering
very real threats from lingering factions of the
Taliban. ‘Black Tulip’ is a modern portrait of
Afghanistan that captures the current plight and
resilience of its people. Cole decided to make the
film in hopes of giving voice to the voiceless people
of her home country by telling a story through the
eyes of an everyday Afghan family who remains
hopeful despite constant struggle and tragedy.
Screenplay by David M. O'Neill
Afghanistan pics ‘Tulip’ for Oscar
March 12, 2015
SEPTEMBER 29, 2010 | 02:21PM PT
Nassery Cole’s first pic vies for Academy attention Helmer Sonia Nassery Cole’s and screenwriter, David M. O'Neill's “The Black Tulip” is Afghanistan’s entry for a nomination in Oscar’s foreign language category.
Based on a true story, the film follows the a family in Kabul who open a restaurant after the ousting of the Taliban in 2001. The restaurant’s open mike policy that invites all to read poetry and tell their stories attracts the ire of lingering factions of the Taliban.
Academy’s Best Foreign Film – Screenwriting and Hiding out in Concord (David Michael O’Neill)
By Player5150 /
March 12, 2015
Arts & Entertainment – Concord Screenwriter Film Offers Hope Amidst Despair
Concordian screenwriter David Michael O’Neill has the satisfaction of co-writing a film that has already received much acclaim even before its general release. The film, “The Black Tulip” chronicles the search for hope for an Afghan family in Kabul in the grip of Taliban control…
March 12, 2015
SLASHFILMS – Blogging the Reel News Posted on Thursday, December 30th, 2010 by Germain Lussier We know you were losing sleep over it, so we’re happy to be the first to tell you that...
March 12, 2015
SALENTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALSeptember 2 -11, 2011 The Black Tulip – by Sonia Nassery Cole After the Taliban is routed from Afghanistan in early 2001, the Mansouri family seizes the new window of freedom by opening a restaurant called “The Poet’s Corner”, with an open microphone and an inviting platform for all to read poetry,
Rex Reed – New York Observer
Full Bloom: A Light Shines Through as The Black Tulip Blossoms Amidst Harsh Censorship and Brutal Rule by the Taliban
David M. O'Neill's screenplay "The Black Tulip" tells the story of the Taliban's retreat after 30 years of war. Kabul is liberated and ready to savor freedom at last. A vital, arresting portrait of a modern city emerges, replete with pollution and gridlock traffic, but leavened by the fact that it is a place where a child can still laugh while flying a kite. The Mansouri family, guided by a matriarchal force named Farishta (beautifully played by director Cole) and her strong, devoted husband Hadar, will do anything to keep their two children from ever going back to a refugee camp. Afghanistan has no film industry, which makes a new movie called The Black Tulip, about good people seeking some kind of normal life in modern Kabul despite the constant threat of violence, destruction and despair, doubly dangerous to have made and inestimably valuable to watch. Filmed entirely in a country where women’s rights are still tested daily and cameras are so verboten that even a tourist’s throwaway Instamatic is an invitation to trouble - this is a gripping experience as politically enlightening and emotionally involving as it is educational and beautiful to look at.
The Black Tulip is not a war picture. It’s about the resilience of admirable people in a changing world. Girls still gossip and flirt. Students still wear burkas but they also carry backpacks ordered on the internet. Boys still play the centuries-old game of Buzkashi on horseback like the ancient Afghan tribes, but they do it in tight blue jeans.
DVD Talk Review: Player 5150 / First Look Studios
After watching the recent “21”, I’ve almost come to the conclusion that the best movies about gambling aren’t necessarily the biggest budget or the slickest ones. “21”, for example, didn’t focus enough on the game at hand and tried to amp up the card scenes with unnecessary sound effects. “Player 5150” succeeds in trusting itself to largely go back to basics and mine the drama from both the game itself and an exploration of the mentality and rush behind the gambler and gambling – on cards, stocks or anything, for that matter.
OPENGUYS Film Entertainment: “Player 5150? by David Michael O’Neill.
“A rare gem in the rough! By comparison to all the special-effect driven overblown-budget movies being released today, Player 5150 is a character-driven story that takes you through every range of emotion. Now added to the mix is Kelly Carlson. Kimber Henry, Dr. Troy’s former-model, porn star and drug addict girlfriend who has found God on Nip/Tuck. As an overall experience, I enjoyed watching the movie very much. It kept you constantly leaning forward in anticipation of what would happen next.
Director David O’Neill mines above-average performances from the cast, especially Embry as the gambling addict who finds himself on a downward spiral. McDonald, who’s largely been known for comedic roles, is surprisingly intimidating as the villain of the piece. Kathleen Robertson also provides a good performance as a wife horrified to find out about her husband’s activities.
For a movie that looks to have been done on no budget, the film remained engaging. I didn’t expect much and was pleasantly surprised.
Opinions Entertainment Review: Player 5150 / First Look Studios
Albeit Project 5150 seems relatively a low budget movie, the film flows very well. I found it to be well written and well-acted. I was also taken in by the easy to understand plot details along with the flow of the story itself. One might criticize the film for being a bit slightly too well balanced a story combining the heavy gambling losses involved with the winning that takes place.
Talking about luck is not something that I particularly entertain, though Joey’s luck consistently swings from being a somewhat successful stockbroker, and it combines his character role to varying emotional edges.His emotions when things are going well seem to be constantly subdued due to his obsession and being caught up in a compulsive gambling state of mind (an illness).
Having found that the overall messages contained within the movie were dramatized extremely well, it helped me to better understand the troubles of gambling in that it affects more than just the person winning and losing. If you like watching movies that have action, gambling, drugs, love-hate relationships then it’s highly recommended. I was certainly happy watching this movie as it brought a number of social issues together and made it into a nice story, which for me is better than leaving emotions to luck.
Five Aces - 20th Century Fox
South Florida Newspaper Network: Five Aces / 20th Century Fox
Four out of Four Stars… “An utter masterpiece at capturing the insecurities many men harbor towards the opposite sex. Starring Charlie Sheen, Chris McDonald and Tia Carrere, Five Aces details men’s dating and sexual hang-ups while having the ambition to explore the causes of some male’s nasty behavior. As a result, the basic yet complex psyches of a number of male’s personality types surface in the main characters. Director David M. O’Neill skillfully interweaves the unfolding plot with sharp camera work and top-notch performances.
Eyecrave Entertainment: Five Aces / 20th Century Fox.
This is a low-budget indie that was picked up by 20th Century Fox. It is, however, more than just a Charlie Sheen action/comedy. When you get to the end, you feel good about the time you’ve spent watching the story unfold. The film starts out very quickly, with the introduction of Sheen, his fiancée, her family and Sheen’s widower dad, all in the first three or four minutes of the movie, then when the friends show up, it just completely changes gears. As would be expected, Christopher McDonald carries the majority of the comedy here, but David Sherrill, who plays the esoteric, wilderness loving buddy with a cannon in his ‘yard’, provides a lot of laughs. All of the friends are likeable and sympathetic characters who remind you of your own childhood friends. Carrere plays Sean’s wife, who is leaving him after years of being second to his work.
Geoffrey Lewis, one of the all-time great character actors – most famous for co-starring with Clint Eastwood in everything from THUNDERBOLT & LIGHTFOOT through EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE to PINK CADILLAC – puts in a small but memorable performance.
The film gets into real issues that these five guys have with relationships and starts to explore the dynamics within their group and the script opens up and allows these characters to really connect with each other, this turns into a very touching and vulnerable film. By the end, it reminded me of BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, the late Ted Demme’s love and friendship ensemble piece, which I consider to be an overlooked gem of the 90’s. After sensitive revelations by all of the guys, Sheen finds himself and makes peace with his own demons and gets ready to take the long walk.