C47Houston Flix Review:

"25 Hill"




Two lost souls find each other and have two things in common, the death of a loved one and the Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio in this 2011 feature motion picture by Actor and Director Corbin Bernsen.

Written by Mr. Bernsen, “25 Hill” tells the story of Trey Caldwell (played by Nathan Gamble), a young boy who is having problems adjusting to the death of his father (played by Tim Omundson), killed in Afghanistan. Before he is deployed, and for Christmas, he gives his son a built-it-yourself soapbox derby racer that they will both build and race, something he has always wanted to do as a child and at his son’s age but never got the chance. Not knowing what a soapbox racer is or its history, Trey gleefully accepts this wonderful gift from his father. When his father is killed in action, Trey falls apart and his life seems to spiral out of control. Seeing falling grades and lethargic responses, the principle of the school, Mrs. Banner (played by Rolonda Watts) suggests that Trey seek out and talk to her good friend Roy Gibbs (played by Corbin Bernsen), a local firefighter who lost his son at the twin towers in New York City on September 11th.  Not wanting to have anything to do with Mrs. Banner’s attempt to ease the emotional pain Roy is experiencing; he dismisses Trey on their first meeting. Computer literate, Trey “Google’s” Roy Gibbs and finds out that Roy was a several time champion soapbox derby racer at the Akron, Ohio’s national championship raceway. Here is his chance to build the racer he got for Christmas. Wanting to fulfill his father’s dream, Trey seeks out Roy’s friendship and persuades him to help him build his racer and hopefully find peace in their lives. They practice on 25 Hill Street in California, a hill that has a similar grade as the Ohio raceway. Both Roy and Trey find friendship, build the racer and are winning races on the local level, but there is only one thing standing in their way…The Soapbox Derby in Ohio is falling on hard times and the bank is about to sell it out. A movie about traditions, perseverance and faith, “25 Hill” is a feature movie that will inspire you, entertain you and put you in the seat of a soapbox racer. Who will win the race and friendships?

Inspired by a true story, this is one of only a few feature movies directed by Corbin Bernsen. He premiered and attended the screening of his new movie “25 Hill” December 11, 2011 at the Studio Movie Grill-CityCentre in Houston Texas along with Producer Chris Aronoff.

Personally, I am not sure what the message was in this feature movie. I couldn’t figure out if it was about keeping traditions alive, moving on with life, patriotism, helping others, keeping dreams alive, never stop trying or don’t listen to your parents.  But, what I did see was an inspiring movie about soapbox racing and one kid’s adventure in soapbox racing.

Corbin Bernsen’s performance as Roy Gibbs was outstanding. Rough but with a kind heart, his character was identifiable and believable. At no time in the viewing of this feature motion picture did I think Mr. Bernsen’s character, Roy, was overstepping his character or moving toward a different character as the movie progressed, which typically happens in a lot of movies. His character and acting was consistent throughout the movie, something I would expect from a professional with a huge list of credits.

On the other hand, we were thrown a curve with the Trey Caldwell character played by Nathan Gamble. Nathan did an excellent job in his acting and performance. However, we didn’t care for the character he was playing.  Initially, the Trey character typifies what one would think a 12-year old kid of his age would act like. But, then we get exposed to a typical, what I call, know-it-all character of a kid. This is the type of character that thinks like an adult, is too mature for his age, basically has no experience in life but can opinionate and deliver witty and rhetorical anecdotes but, at the same time converts back to a child and childish ways when things get complicated. That kind of character just rubs the wrong way. Only when this character is allowed to exemplify a young boy of his age does the “Trey” character work on the screen, otherwise, it made for a very uncharacteristic personality.

Technically, “25 Hill” is a very well made feature movie. Shot by Cinematographer T.J. Hellmuth the camera work on this movie was outstanding, consistent and in par with what you would think a movie would look like and feel like. Shots were impressive and composed. The use of camera movements, angles, lighting and following the action were typical of experience behind the camera.  Lighting was consistent, sound was consistent, foley was excellent and music was not overbearing and complimented the movie.

We have to admit that there were some slow parts to the movie that could have been a little tighter for pace, but over all “25 Hill” was a very good movie to watch. It was inspiring and most of all it was entertaining. Nice job. Judge for yourself, pick up the DVD. Be a producer and support independent movies.

The TSIRS Rating: We gave this movie a strong 4.6 out of 5 on the TSIRS scale

C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine was at the Houston screening and took some pictures, you can see those pictures on our FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2856823939221.2156282.1218281768&type=1&l=3f0865c342

C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine was also able to grab the attending producer Chris Aronoff who spoke about the movie. You can see that video on our YouTube channel at: http://youtu.be/yVsMV620KYs

C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine was giving the chance to talk to Director/writer and actor Corbin Bernsen, who talked about this movie. You can see that video on our YouTube Channel at: http://youtu.be/GN70S9FuqTk (The video is blurry and fuzzy…sorry folks, I blame it on technical difficulties associated with my camera)

Production Company: Home Theater Films, 25 Hill Akron Filmworks, Team Cherokee Productions

Running time: 108-minutes

Released: July 2011

Director: Corbin Bernsen

Writer: Corbin Bernsen

Houston Premiere Screening: December 11, 2011 at the Studio Movie Grill-CityCentre, Houston TX.

Executive Producer: Mary Ethridge

Producers: Chris Aronoff, Corbin Bernsen, James Greilick

Associate Producers: Sean Beck, Kelleigh Miller

Line Producer: William Baker

Music by: Lee Strauss, Third Day and Brandon Heath

Edited by: Bradley Golowin, Ethan Hozman,

MUA: Susan R. Prosser, Liz Duchez

Casting:  Nathan Gamble, Timothy Omundson, Maureen Flannigan, Rolanda Watts, Corbin Bernsen, Meg Foster, Baliee Madison, Brad Raider, Jim Clark, Michael Tucker, Don Marshall, Ray Horner,  Ralph Waite.










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