Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow (1993)


Director: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

Starring: Jim Rose, Bebe the Circus Queen, Matt 'The Tube' Crowley, The Amazing Mr. Lifto, The Enigma, The Torture King

More Info: IMDB

Plot: February 5, 1993, in front of a standing room-only-crowd at Seattle's Moore Theatre, impresario Jim Rose performs his own odd tricks - putting a screwdriver up his nose, pounding a nail into his head, and pushing his face into broken glass. He also introduces and provides a running commentary on four other sideshow performers: Mr. Lifto, who can lift and swing heavy objects from various body piercings, the Torture King, who turns himself into a human pincushion, the Enigma, who swallows worms, crickets, and swords, and Matt "The Tube" Crowley, who ingests various things into his nose, mouth, and stomach and bring them back out. The crowd goes wild.

My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Does vomit-inducing freak show acts sound like a great night for a first date? You betcha!

This is some train-wreck sick shit and it's fucking awesome. I mean come on; a guy, through a tube, has all kinds of stuff poured down his throat, throws it back up and audience members are encouraged to come on stage and drink some. AND THEY DO! It's bloody fucking disgusting. Stomach-churning at least. Woof. It's really amazing what these people do, showing us some extremes in what the human body can endure. It's pre-Jackass Jackassicity. It's definitely something that should be thrown on the tube when the party starts to fade and you're left with the diehards. Even at only 35 minutes, it could easily clear the room. And if your girlfriend or boyfriend stick it out with you then you know it's love.

Here's the entire show in 6 parts:











Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Commando (1985)


Director: Mark L. Lester

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells, Bill Duke, David Patrick Kelly

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Somewhere... somehow... someone's going to pay!

Plot: A retired elite commando has only a few hours to find and rescue his daughter from an exiled dictator.



My Rating: 6/10

Would I watch it again? Maybe in another twenty years

This was easily one of my favorite 80s action movies for a long time. That was until, after about a dozen years, I saw it again. It's still fun but it hasn't held up as well as some others. It's the perfect Arnold vehicle. This movie's got more of his cheesy one-liners that are memorable than any other. Savor these:

[Matrix has thrown a pipe through Bennett]
Matrix: Let off some steam, Bennett.

Matrix: Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?
Sully: That's right, Matrix! You did!
Matrix: I lied.
[Matrix releases Sully, who falls to his demise]

Cindy: What happened to Sully?
Matrix: I let him go.

Matrix: [after killing a man in the plane] Don't disturb my friend, he's dead tired.

Gen. Kirby: Leave anything for us?
Matrix: Just bodies.

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)


Director: George P. Cosmatos

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: What most people call hell, he calls home.

Plot: Former Green Beret John Rambo is serving time in a federal prison. When the US military hears of American soldiers missing in action from the Vietnam war possibly still being alive and held captive, Colonel Trautman is authorized to send Rambo in to rescue them.



My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Does Mongo like candy?

Probably two years ago I FINALLY saw FIRST BLOOD and loved it. I watched this one the night before RAMBO opened in January. I LOVED that one. FB sets up the character but he's there to survive, not kill which is what he's best at. In R:FBP2 he gets to kill, kill and kill. So it's basically giving us what we wanted after the first one.

I can't believe I'm just now seeing these movies more than twenty years after their release. This one's not the greatest but it is a lot of fun. You won't find any awards for acting but if there was one for excessive cheese, it'd be in the running. This movie is loaded with stuff that's associated with 80s action movies. It seems to me, after looking up other movies, that this was the movie that ushered in these cliche's which means it wasn't cliched then. It was fresh. This movie is essentially the poster child for the 80s action flick. It's fun.

Massacre Mafia Style (aka The Executioner) (1978)


Director: Duke Mitchell

Starring: Duke Mitchell

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: You're IN... or... you're IN THE WAY!

Plot: Mimi (Mitchell) is the son of a mob boss who wants revenge on the American Mafia for exiling his old man 16 years earlier. In the States, he teams up with his buddy, Vic, to finish the job and to take a big piece of the action for himself.



My Rating: 9/10

Would I watch it again? Fuck,yeah!

WOW! Here's a hidden gem if there ever was one. It's easily on of the best mafia movies ever. It's in the same company as THE GODFATHER and GOODFELLAS. It just has no budget compared to those two.

I first heard about Duke Mitchell when I saw a trailer for BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA (1952) where he was paired up with Sammy Petrillo, a spittin' image of Jerry Lewis. It turns out these two guys did a Martin & Lewis act for a time.

Mitchell was a lounge singer in Vegas in his later years. Frank Sinatra, a good friend of Mitchell's, once said that Duke Mitchell was the best singer he ever heard. And I seem to recall that Sinatra was one of many big names at his funeral.

MMS is low budget, realistically written and acted by many real, regular people which adds to the realism. It's mind-blowing that this movie isn't well know. Did you watch the above trailer yet? Not enough for you? Here's the first four minutes then:



How 'bout THEM apples? The whole picture's like this. Brutal as fuck and funny.

Duke followed this up with another mafia film called, GONE WITH THE POPE. He completed it but died before it was edited. It's been rumored for years that it's finally going to be released but I'm still waiting. Enjoy this beautiful piece of cinema:



This is at the very top of films I'm dying to see. I can only hope that they will release it soon and release MMS in it's proper scope. Until then, this Dutch VHS copy I have will have to do. If you can't find it let me know. I want everybody to see this and I'll do what I can.

Bubba Ho-tep (2002)


Director: Don Coscarelli

Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: You don't fuck with the king.

Plot: Elvis and JFK, both alive and in nursing homes, fight for the souls of their fellow residents as they battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Are deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches a healthy way to start your day? Yes.

This movie rocks. It's so outrageous. It moves slowly so don't go in thinking it's going to be rock & roll, break-neck speed batshit nuts. It is batshit nuts, though. Bruce Campbell should be in everything. He's hysterical as Elvis and Davis is a riot as JFK. Inspired casting.

There are so many great lines in this it's hard to pick my favorite but I'll give it a shot.

Elvis: That's it? I mean, we're investigating a scuttling in the hall, trying to figure out who attacked you last night, and you bring me here
to look at stick pictures on the shit house wall, man?

or

JFK: He had me on the floor. I had his mouth over my asshole!
Elvis: A shiteater?
JFK: I don't think so. He was after my soul. Now you can get that out of any major orifice of a person's body. I read about it.
Elvis: Oh, yeah? Where, man? Hustler?

or

Elvis: But what do I care? I got a growth on my pecker.

or

Elvis: [to Bubba Ho-Tep] Come and get it, you undead sack of shit.

or

Elvis: Even a big bitch cockroach like you should know... never, but never, fuck with the King.

or

Elvis: It'd been two presidential elections since I'd had a boner like that.

or

Elvis: Ask not what your rest home can do for you. Ask what you can do for your rest home.
JFK: Hey, you're copying my best lines!
Elvis: Then let me paraphrase one of my own. Let's take care of business.
JFK: Just what are you getting at, Elvis?
Elvis: I think you know what I'm gettin' at Mr. President. We're gonna kill us a mummy.

Are you sold yet? It's a great little movie that most people have probably never heard of but it deserves to be seen. By the time you've reached the end you're ready for BUBBA NOSFERATU! Bring it.

The Running Man (1987)


Director: Paul Michael Glaser

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura, and RICHARD "FUCKING" DAWSON!!!

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: The year is 2019. The finest men in America don't run for President. They run for their lives.

Plot: A wrongly-convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a TV game show.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Does free pizza at 4:20 sound like a good idea?

Man, I'd forgotten how much I love this film. All you really need to know is that RICHARD "FUCKING" DAWSON is in it. He's terrific. He's hysterical. He's perfect for this. It's too bad he didn't act more. Lots of fun.

Arnold's doing what Arnold does best. Lots of action and awfully cheesy one-liners fill this one up and then some. I find this picture much more enjoyable than TOTAL RECALL (1990).

Blade Runner (1982)


Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M.Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Man Has Made His Match... Now It's His Problem

Plot: In a cyberpunk vision of the future, man has developed the technology to create replicants, human clones used to serve in the colonies outside Earth but with fixed lifespans. In Los Angeles, 2019, Deckard is a Blade Runner, a cop who specialises in terminating replicants. Originally in retirement, he is forced to re-enter the force when six replicants escape from an offworld colony to Earth.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Yes

#48 on SCI-FI TRAILERS VOLUME 9 & 10 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

I've got this on Blu-ray. You should, too. It's absolutely beautiful. I remember watching this on VHS twenty something odd years ago and falling asleep on it then. Now with the stunning Blu-ray disc I'm able to sit through the whole thing and stay awake. Yeah, it's a slow moving film, but with Scott, it's all about atmosphere.

It really is a great film but the pacing hurts it for most people. I really like the changes made in the Final Cut version eliminating the narration. I always hated that. It's the Final Cut of the film that I will be watching from now on. The second disc of the set features a 214 minute documentary on every aspect you'd want to know about the film. It's absorbing and exhausting...just like the movie.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)


Director: John Cameron

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert patrick

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: It's nothing personal.

Plot: The cyborg who once tried to kill Sarah Connor must now protect her teenager son, John Connor, from an even more powerful and advanced cyborg.



My Rating: 6/10

Would I watch it again? Does a French whore shave her armpits?

Obviously, you know next to nothing about French whores. No.

I'm going to be brief. I don't need to see this again. I haven't seen it in 15 years; long enough to have forgotten how fucking awful Furlong is as Sarah's kid and long enough to have forgotten how many shitty lines of dialogue Arnold has. "Hasta la vista, baby"? I mean come the fuck ON. Then there's him saying, "No problemo.", "Chill out, dickwad" and "I need a vacation." The first Terminator movie was amazing. He was a badass. And now that character has turned into a cartoon character. Not unlike the difference between Han Solo from EMPIRE and Han Solo in JEDI. It breaks my heart. I feel sad and now I must drink.

NOTE TO FUTURE SELF: What you remember of T2 are only the good bits but you will inevitably forget about the stupid shit. You'll remember this as a decent movie that had potential. What you'll forget is they made a mistake in the advertising by letting people know Arnold is now a good Terminator. I'm letting you know now that I'm spending a few minutes typing this to save you (me) from spending over two hours watching this again and getting pissed.

Auto Focus (2002)


Director: Paul Schrader

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Rita Wilson, Maria Bello

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: A day without sex is a day wasted.

Plot: Capitalizing on his fame as the star of "Hogan's Heroes," Bob Crane(Greg Kinnear) dove into the freewheeling spirit of the 60s and 70s with relish, having affairs with numerous women. Eventually, Crane teamed up with video technician John Carpenter to document his exploits, an association that may very well have led to his murder in a Scottsdale,Arizona motel room in 1978, which remains officially unsolved to this day.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? After a few drinks and a handful of Hoagan's Heroes episodes...and sex

As a kid in the 70s I watched a lot of TV. My two favorite shows were THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW and HOGAN'S HEROES. As far as I was concerned those were it. So, naturally, when a movie comes out about Bob Crane with actors I dig, I was all over it. This is my second viewing.

Although light-hearted in tone for the first third of the picture (and tries to hold onto that vibe in pieces throughout) the viewer is sucked into Bob's world. As he starts his descent from stardom and family man,we are taken with him. The worse off he is, the worse we feel until finally, with his eventual murder, we're drained. Ya kinda feel like a shower afterwards to clean the past two hours off ya. That's the best way I can describe it.

Kinnear is outstanding as the charismatic, charming Crane. Dafoe is superb as Crane's creepy-as-fuck friend. The way Schrader plays with the tempo of the film works really well and there are some nice scenes where Crane starts to slowly lose it and question everything. If you'd like a trip to the gutter and you want to take your time getting there, then this movie is ripe for you.

Lady in the Water (2006)


Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban, Bill Irwin

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Time is running out for a happy ending.

Plot: Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep rescues what he thinks is a young woman from the pool he maintains. When he discovers that she is actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the journey back to her home, he works with his tenants to protect
his new friend from the creatures that are determined to keep her in our world.



My Rating: 9/10

Would I watch it again? Yes, yes, yes

I've absolutely loved every film M. Night has put out until this year's THE HAPPENING (2008). See my review. It was hideous. But before that, LADY IN THE WATER happened. I was sorry not to have caught this in the theater. I didn't see it until I went over to Blu-ray. I avoid any spoilers to his films and I won't give anything away here. But,there is one thing I must say that will keep you from misunderstanding this film.

It's a fairy tale and you must treat it as such.

If you're looking for some SIXTH SENSE creepiness, you're not going to find it. If you're looking for a horror film, it's not here. What is here is a beautiful film that will, if you allow yourself to be a part of it, reinforce your love for movies. It's funny, creepy at times, sad and rewarding. M. Night's acting is the best it's been so far and everyone else is top notch. Bryce is a beauty (eh) and Giamatti is an acting Mo-Fo. I think you're better off coming into this film without any pre-conceived notions. I did and I think that the film was much better for it.

Le Doulos (1962)


Director: Jean-Pierre Melville

Starring: Jean-Paul Belmondo

More Info: IMDB

Plot: Burglar Maurice Faugel has just finished his sentence. He murders Gilbert Vanovre, a receiver, and steals the loot of a break-in. He is also preparing a house-breaking, and his friend Silien brings him the needed equipment. But Silien is a police informer ...



My Rating: 9/10

Would I watch it again? Does a French whore like wine?

I'll give the French this much: they my be fighting for last place in countries that think soap is a good idea but they damn well knew how to make crime movies back in the 1960s! When it comes to crime pictures of the 60s, Jean-Pierre Melville was king. That's all he did. From '56 to'72 he did ten films, all but two are crime stories. So far I've seen four and they're all excellent. At some point I'm going to revisit them and get to the ones I haven't seen yet.

Melville said once that this is a movie where "all characters are two-faced, all characters are false." The cinematography is simply stunning. The composition of each shot is magnificent. The beautiful B&W photography, the shadows, the darkness, the shifting light are all characters in their own right. Criterion put out a smashing DVD of this amazing work of art. Find it.

MoH 106: Homecoming (2005)


Director: Joe Dante

Starring: Jon Tenney, Thea Gill

More Info: IMDB

Plot: A publicity official for the U.S. Army finds that he might have to be working a lot more than he imagined, when the deceased soldiers of the war come back to life, looking for a few good men.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Is Amy Poehler HOT?

Joe Dante is an old favorite. PIRANHA (1978) was a great, fun JAWS rip-off, the GREMLINS pictures were great, MATINEE (1993) was lots of fun and he directed one of my all-time favorite movies, THE 'BURBS (1989). I love this guy's cinematic sense of humor. HOMECOMING isn't any different. It's a great political black comedy horror film. Because it's a MOH film, it's just under an hour. I had a special movie night on July 4th this year (see how far behind I am in these damn things?) and I wanted to show UNCLE SAM (1997) but that didn't arrive in time so I settled on this one. I'm glad I did. Everyone busted a gut on it. It's hysterical. Highly recommended.

Man on Fire (2004)


Director: Tony Scott

Starring: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Marc Anthony, Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: A Promise To Protect. A Vow To Avenge

Plot: In Mexico City, a former assassin swears vengeance on those who committed an unspeakable act against the family he was hired to protect.



My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Sure

Here's another "I've done bad things in the past. I'm a drunk because of my actions. I'm worthless but maybe there's a chance I might be able to redeem myself by doing this one thing" kind of movie. The difference is that it's directed by the most capable Tony Scott and it stars Denzel Washington.

I liked it. every once in a while I'd start bitching at the the TV because they were setting up cliches. Fortunately, the film makers heard my advice while I was watching it and they didn't go in some directions I thought they were. Thanks for turning a cliche on its end just for me. Hahaha.

The action's great, the setting is great and it's a very good film overall. Surprisingly singer Marc Anthony isn't that bad of an actor. He still needs work but it's a good start. Fanning is good but not THAT great like everyone says. She's definitely better than most every child actor out there now. It's good to see Walken doing something a little different. He gets some great lines including this one:

Rayburn (Walken): A man can be an artist... in anything, food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Creasey's art is death. He's about to paint his masterpiece.

The 13the Warrior (1999)


Director: John McTiernan

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Omar Sharif, Vladimir Kulich

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Prey for the living.

Plot: In the early years of the 10th century, an exiled Arabian nobleman falls in with a band of Vikings. Disgusted by their poor hygiene and their barbaric ways, he nevertheless reluctantly agrees to accompany them to a distant kingdom, where an unspeakable menace terrorizes the land.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? YES!

WOW! If you haven't seen this and 10th century adventure stories are right up your alley, then you need this, and badly. Banderas is the big name in the picture but he's not the real star of the film. That belongs more to Kulich (as Buliwyf (Beowulf)) than any other. Sure, Banderas is all through it but he's not the real hero. He's just along for the ride; and what a ride it is.

There's tons of action, gore and whatnot but it's the care and quality of it all that McTiernan put into it. He's taking it seriously and it shows. You want to know what else is great? THEY ACTUALLY HIRED ACTORS FROM NORWAY, DENMARK, SWEDEN, EASTERN EUROPE!!! It gave it a more realistic sense of time and place with actors that naturally look the part and sound the part. I get so pissed when you see a film and it's a bunch of pretty boys from California trying to be something they're not - MEN. These guys are hardcore badasses.

Great score by Jerry Goldsmith and location shooting. Oh, and there's the language barrier of Banderas' character (who spoke Arabic, not Norse(or whatever)) begins to learn the language over a series of campfire discussions by the men. He picks up a word here and there (they are not speaking English yet) in English and eventually is able to piece together some conversation. When one of them talks trash about Banderas, he shoots back in their tongue, thereby gaining the much-needed respect of the group.

Skeld the Superstitious: Blow-hards the both of you. She probably was some smoke-colored camp girl. Looked like that one's mother.

[Laughter]

Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan (Banderas): My mother was a pure woman from a noble family. And I, at least, know who my father is, you pig-eating son of a whore!

In the Navy (1941)


Director: Arthur Lubin

Starring: Abbott & Costello, Dick Powell, Claire Dodd, The Andrews Sisters, Shemp Howard

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: THE FLEET'S ALL IN...Since Those Riotous "Buck Privates" Abbott and Costello Joined Up!

Plot: Famous radio-crooner Russ Raymond is tired of it all and enlists in the Navy under his true-name, Tommy Halstead, and boards an airplane for San Diego. There he is tentatively identified as the missing-singer by Dorothy Roberts, newspaper camerawoman. To get past the sentries, Dorothy escorts the Andrews Sisters, booked for an appearance at the San Diego Naval Training Station, and takes up Raymond's trail. She runs into Smoky Adams, an electrician's mate, Pomeroy Watson, a pastry cook, and "Dynamite" Dugan, a hard-boiled chief petty officer. Dorothy learns that Raymond has been assigned to the U.S.S. Alabama, and she boards the ship on visitor's day and stows away in a locker with the intention of taking a photograph of Raymond. Smoky and Pomeroy find her after the ship has sailed for Honolulu.



My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? You betcha

I love A&C. As a little kid I'd run around yelling, "Heeeyyyyy Abbooooottt!" Now, I'm not sayin' that everything they did was gold but they had some great moments. This is one of them. They always played their stage personas. Nothing ever really changed THAT much with their characters. They're very likable and fun to watch.

They almost always had at least one routine that probably originated in their stage routines. There was the "lemon shell game", the "Sons of Neptune" initiation on the battleship, and the best of all, the scene where Costello tries to prove to Abbott that 7x13 = 28. I was howling.



And then there's some GREAT lines like:

Bud (as Smokey): Did you ever to to school, stupid?
Lou (as Pomeroy): Yeah, and I come out the same way.

Great stuff. The picture's full lines like that. Then you've got Dick Powell. This guy's a scream. If you're not familiar with him he's like Carey Grant but funnier. He directed quite a bit, too. And then there's The Andrews Sisters. It's neat to see them act (even better to see them perform). It's obvious that acting wasn't their forte but it works well enough for what this is.

If you've never seen an A&C movie I'd suggest starting with BUCK PRIVATES (1941) or ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948). If you're sold on them at that point then give IN THE NAVY a try. You'll love it.

Total Recall (1990)


Director: Paul Verhoeven

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: They stole his mind, now he wants it back.

Plot: When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he?



My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Yeah, when I'm 64

I dig Arnold. I really do. The guy's a marketing genius. He's a great movie star, not an actor. What I don't like sometimes is that his movies are "Arnold" movies so they have to have a good deal of cornball one-liners. If you've been reading this blog you know I LOVE a good sci-fi film. Sci-fi and horror fans are very forgiving sometimes if a film in these genres has a good story but it misses the mark usually due to budget constraints. My big issue with this great mind-fuck of a movie is that it's got way too much of Arnold's crappy jokes and macho bullshit. Other than that, it's fun.

If this movie had a good actor in the Arnold role, a fraction of the budget AND had been treated seriously, it probably could have been one of the great sci-fi films of the past 30 years.Most people remember it as the movie that has the chick with three boobs. Get over it, people, they're fake. At least the one on the far right is.

Too many notes. Just cut a few.

The Ruins (2008)


Director: Carter Smith

Starring: People I've never heard of

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Terror has evolved.

Plot: A group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins.



My Rating: 5/10

Would I watch it again? No.

I try and stay away from a good deal of "pop" horror films like this. There's a reason and I'll spell it out.

1 - They usually have not-so-good, too "typically" pretty and too young actors and actresses.

2 - The premise is the equivalent to a one-joke movie

3 - If the premise is actually a good, sound one, they usually fuck up the execution.

4 - If 3 works then they totally fuck up the ending leaving you to wonder what you could have gotten somewhere else for that 20 bucks you just blew on a movie, corn & coke.

With THE RUINS, the actors are actually pretty decent, the premise has some potential (not much), the location is great, the execution is weaker than I would have liked it with a bit too many "cheap" scares (the inside of the mound was neat - I wanted more of that), and, even though I cool with the final shot, the ending is preposterous. I've heard the ending of the book is better. Fine, but I'm watching the movie, not reading the book. If I wanted to do that I'd have to learn to read first. Baby steps.

Trancers (1985)


Director: Charles Band

Starring: Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Jack Deth is back... and he's never even been here before!

Plot: Jack Deth is a kind of cop/bounty hunter in the bleak Los Angeles of the future. He's become obsessed with chasing Whistler - an evil criminal who uses powerful hypnotic powers to convert people into zombie like creatures known as trancers. Whistler has managed to escape through time travel and is loose in 1980s L.A. but Deth is on his trail.



My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Damn, straight!

This is great low budget, sci-fi, TERMINATOR knock-off, 80s fun. Like I mentioned in my review of DOLLMAN (1991), Tim Thomerson kicks ass and makes a great action hero. In TRANCERS, he's got that 40s detective dialogue and straight-face down pat. And he's from the future. The script is lean and quick and that patented humor of Thomerson's is scattered throughout. The small budget only hurts in the special effects department, but if you're used to that early-to-mid 80s brand of effects then it's nothing new for you. It really helps the film because nothing in this film is trying to be Oscar-worthy; it's just trying to be a lot of fun and it succeeds with flying colors.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)


Director: W.D. Richter

Starring: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Clancy Brown, Vincent Schiavelli

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Beings from Another Dimension have invaded your world.

Plot: Buckaroo Banzai is a rock-star/brain-surgeon/comic-book-hero/samurai/ etc who along with his group, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop evil creatures from the 8th dimension
(all named John) who are trying to conquer our dimension. He is helped by Penny Pretty, who is a dead ringer for his late wife, and some good extra-dimensional beings who look and talk like they are from Jamaica.



My Rating: 6/10

Would I watch it again? Maybe in another twenty years or so

I haven't seen this since the 80s. I remember liking it OK back then and I still have the same feelings about it. I especially like the bizarre, quirky, unorthodox route that the film takes. The characters are outrageous and often funny. But after a while the film starts to lose steam and it feels like it goes on too long. It's a very special kind of film with some truly wacky, crazy shit going on and it's easy to see why it has such rabid fans. While I dug it, it's not as consistent as it needs to be to sustain its 103 minute run time.

BigbooTAY!

Kill Bill (all of it) (2003)


Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Parks, and a shitload of others

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Here comes the bride

Plot: The Bride wakes up after a long coma. The baby that she carried before entering the coma is gone. The only thing on her mind is to have revenge on the assassination team that betrayed her - a team she was once part of.

Kill Bill 1 Trailer:



Kill Bill 2 Trailer:



My Rating: 10/10

Would I watch it again? Duh

I love Tarantino's films. In interviews he's a pompous, conceited egomaniac, but his films kick all kinds of ass. I saw both parts of KB four times each in the theater. I couldn't get enough. Everything about it is magnificent. The dialogue, music, story. Everything. Tarantino gets, often times, the absolute best performances out of his actors. I've never seen Uma better, and I don't recall seeing Carradine better than he is here.

Michael Parks is a character acting genius. To see him as Earl McGraw in part one and then have him turn up UNRECOGNIZABLE in part two as Esteban Vihaio and give an amazing performance in two completely different types of rolls is just...amazing.

Then there's the anti-climactic ending bothers an awful lot of people.

PULP SPOILERS

Bill is clearly advancing in his age. He does have some fight in him but he's past his prime and probably hasn't engaged in massive close combat like he's about to with Uma. He's certainly in no condition to match her considering that she's taken on dozens of highly skilled killers and beaten or killed them on her way to get to Bill. She's going to win if it came down to it. He knows it and she knows it. He has his Q&A time with Uma and starts drinking. They take the conversation outside. He's tipsy and ready to die. In a matter of four or so seconds she complies and kills him. So there's no big fight. Bill chose that death rather than fight it. He accepted his fate for wronging Uma. He deserved it and he knew it. End of story. Up to this point we had been treated to one fantastic fight after another and to have the film end this way, with the opportunity to catch our breath and absorb, was a ballsy choice and the right choice.

END OF SPOILERS...YARRRRRR!

People claim that this is Tarantino's Spaghetti Western. Where? How? He makes great use of some SW music from other films, there is a location in the American desert and this has a revenge theme but it's not a SW. Maybe someone can explain it to me. I have over 300 Spaghetti Westerns and I've watched a fair share. I don't see it.

I do have to comment on the obvious greedy bastards at Mirimax that are responsible for the release of this film on DVD. It's outrageously over-priced and the lame extras of literally fluff just don't cut it. They just released both films on Blu-ray with a list price of $35 each! Outrageous. So essentially the MSRP is 70 bucks for one film. Granted, you can get them cheaper but even at 45 for the whole thing it's just wrong. Bastards!

The Silencers (1966)

Director: Phil Karlson

Starring: Dean Martin, Stella Stevens, Victor Buono, James Gregory

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Follow Matt Helm secret agent from bedroom to bedlam with guns, girls and dynamite!

Plot: In this, the first Matt Helm movie, we see Matt Helm coaxed out of semi-retirement by an attractive ex-partner. It seems that the evil Big O organization has a nefarious plan called "Operation: Fallout." If this plan comes to fruition, Big O will explode an atomic bomb over Alamagordo, NM, and start WWIII. Only Matt Helm can stop them.



My Rating: 6/10

Would I watch it again? I'd rather make a martini and remember the good times...

I love Dean Martin. I...LOVE...Dean Martin. He was "The Man". No one was as natural and smooth as a performer on screen or stage as Dean. He always looks like he's having fun and when he's in something lighthearted like this it's even better. He's clearly having a good time. I just wish I could have as much fun watching this as he had making it. But then a 6-figure paycheck at the end would have helped me a bit.

I remember seeing this a gazillion years ago and my opinion hasn't changed. There are some funny-ass moments (a bunch with one of my favorite character actors, James Gregory) but the few gems we get don't do enough to get me as comfortably through the 102 minute run time as I would have liked. He's just oozing with charisma that it's a shame he wasn't given more funny bits. Dean is a very relaxed performer and this is a very relaxed film. It's not really a bad film. It's just that it's not really a good one, either; not as good as it should have been and for a
film that spawned 3 sequels.

Great title song.

Sleepaway Camp (1983)


Director: Robert Hiltzik

Starring: Nobodys

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: ...you won't be coming home!

Plot: Slightly disturbed and painfully shy Angela Baker is sent away to summer camp with her cousin. Not long after Angela's arrival, things start to go horribly wrong for anyone with sinister or less than honorable intentions.



My Rating: 6/10

Would I watch it again? With the right company. Why not?

I'm not going to sugar-coat this and say it's a great movie. It's not. It's a product of its' time. There's nothing done here that hasn't been done before and since. The acting is pretty bad, sometimes, and the outfits are HYSTERICALLY bad. But I laughed my fucking ass off and had a great time. Naturally, it helps to watch this kind of cheese with friends and booze. Without that my rating and enjoyment would have probably been lower.

There is a great twist ending which is what I gather gave this film its notoriety. Unfortunately, that was the one thing I knew about the film going into it. I still had a good time playing along with the film maker's attempt to keep us guessing until the very end. I doubt the sequels are as innocent and fun as this but that's something I'm kind of looking forward to finding out for myself.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)


Director: Kerry Conran

Starring: Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: The Battle for Tomorrow is About to Begin...

Plot: After New York City receives a series of attacks from giant flying robots, a reporter teams up with a pilot in search of their origin, as well as the reason for the disappearances of famous scientists around the world.



My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Do the kids like to jump up and down on Angelina Jolie's lips?

I love serials of the 30s and 40s and this flick is right up my alley. It's got the look and feel for them. Fantastic. The score by Edward Shearmur is great, especially the rousing hero theme. The design of the giant robots are cool as hell. Law was a blast as the hero, Paltrow can sometimes get annoying with that pouty look (but not nearly as bad as Rene Zellwegger) and Jolie is good for a change. I think the eye patch helped a lot...less of her face is visible. And the payoff of Paltrow's obsession with her camera is tremendously funny making it easily one of the best, abrupt and original endings I've seen. I would have loved to have seen this in a theater back in the 70s as a kid. It's too bad they won't be revisiting these characters again. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Bank Job (2008)


Director: Roger Donaldson

Starring: Jason Statham

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: The true story of a heist gone wrong... in all the right ways.

Plot: Martine offers Terry a lead on a foolproof bank hit on London's Baker Street. She targets a roomful of safe deposit boxes worth millions in cash and jewelry. But Terry and his crew don't realize the boxes also contain a treasure trove of dirty secrets - secrets that will thrust them into a deadly web of corruption and illicit scandal.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? After some time has past

I dig a good heist film and it seems like a long time that I've seen one. Well, here it is. It even takes place in London in the early 70s. Even better. I dig it. It's a fun film but it might play a little more serious than some would want. I like the political aspect of it. The build-up and the execution are great but it's the aftermath that gets most of the screen time. It's pretty tense and, not knowing the outcome of the players this is based on, I had no idea what was going to happen to whom. Good stuff.

I know I often times will bring out something sexual to discuss in a film. It's largely for laughs if it isn't obvious. Well, I'm watching the film and there's a scene in a brothel where women are walking around completely nude. One girl serving drinks walks by pretty quickly but something was amiss. After asking everyone else if lower half looked odd no one could think of a reason. So I grab the remote and freeze that shot. Sure as shit, she's wearing a merkin, a pubic wig. Some of the actresses were shaven and that wasn't the style back then so they had to wear merkins. Classic. Chalk one up for 'ole eagle eyes.

THX 1138 (1971)


Director: George Lucas

Starring: Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Maggie McOmie, Sid Haig

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: The Future is here.

Plot: The human race has been relocated to a underground city located beneath the Earth's surface. In the underground city, the population are entertained by holographic TV which broadcasts sex and violence and robotic police force enforces the law. In the underground city, society controls all life, all citizens are drugged to control their emotions and their behavior and sex is a crime. Factory worker THX-1138 stops taking the drugs and he breaks the law when he finds himself falling in love with his room-mate LUH 3417 and is imprisoned when LUH 3417 is pregnant. Escaping from jail with illegal programmer SEN 5241 and a hologram named SRT, THX 1138 goes in search of LUH 3417 and escape to the surface, whilst being pursued by robotic policemen.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Has Luca$ completely lost his credibility in exchange for a giant throat pouch? HO HO HOOOO SOLO

This is back when the man had some great ideas and a solid vision. He lost that 12 years later with the introduction to those fucking teddy bears in JEDI. But here, this is pure futuristic, paranoid sci-fi. It's quite good; definitely not for everyon'e tastes. It's slow. It's start white throughout most of it. It's cold and it's a refreshing bit of sci-fi from the greatest decade for film. It's not quite masterpiece it deserves to be but it's still an important piece of work that needs to be seen.

The French Connection (1971)


Director: William Friedkin

Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: There are no rules and no holds barred when Popeye cuts loose!

Plot: Police partners Doyle and Russo put a candy store under surveillance based on a hunch that something fishy was going on. Eventually it turns out that the proprietors are involved in one of the biggest narcotics smuggling rings on either side of the Atlantic, and the cops go to work.



My Rating: 9/10

Would I watch it again? Does Paris Hilton like the blow?

I love gritty crime pictures and this one is one of the best. Hackman's a badass, though a flawed badass. The car chase is rightfully infamous. The film just ends. It feels like there's another half hour waiting but there isn't. Hackman's so focused on his obsession that he won't stop but we have to. That's where THE FRENCH CONNECTION II (1975) comes in. This is one of many great 70s American crime pictures. Check out also Roy Scheider in the not-too-shabby THE SEVEN-UPS (1973).

Maniac Cop (1988)


Director: William Lustig

Starring: Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree, William Smith and Robert Z'Dar

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: You have the right to remain silent. Forever.

Plot: In New York, people are slain and strangled to death brutally on the open street. All witnesses agree that the murderer was in a cop's uniform. Soon the police searches and finds a suspect in its own ranks: Jack Forrest, turned in by his own wife. To prove his innocence, he has to investigate on his own.



My Rating: 6/10

Would I watch it again? Is Bruce Campbell the Love Master? possibly

Neat little horror crime picture that doesn't take itself too serioiuly. It's nice to see Bruce in something against type. Atkins & Smith are always kick ass cool. Some great kills and gore but the story drags 2/3 of the way through and the shocker at the end isn't that shocking. But it's still worth a look. With a great tagline like that you can't help but warm up to the idea of checking it out.

Johnny Stecchino (1991)


Director: Roberto Benigni

Starring: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Sometimes a banana is just a banana!

Plot: Good hearted but not very worldly, Dante is happy driving the school bus for a group of mentally handicapped children, while feeling he is somehow missing out on life and love. So he is very excited when after nearly being knocked down by her car he meets Maria, who seems immediately enamoured of him. He is soon invited to her sumptuous Palermo villa, little suspecting that this is part of a plot. He bears an amazing likeness to Maria's stool-pigeon gangster husband and it would be convenient for them if the mobster, in the shape of Dante, was seen to be dead and buried.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Si

I LOVE Roberto Benigni and his films. My first experience with his work was with, like most people, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (1997). I caught it in the theater in Boston on it's initial release. Upon seeing it I told EVERYONE about it. For the first time I was watching myself (or at least how I viewed myself) on the screen in the personage of Benigni. I hadn't seen that before and it was astounding. THAT'S ME, that's me up there. It's an amazing film that hits me like no other. And it's a very misunderstood film. It's not a holocaust film, that's just the backdrop. It's a film about a man's love for his wife and child and the lengths he would go through to protect them and make them smile even in the most horrible of conditions. Benigni is a comic genius like we haven't seen in decades. He's a goofball with an amazing amount of energy that harkens back to Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.

STECCHINO is a riot. His character isn't too far off from his turn in LIB. He's a silly romantic with a universe of optimism. I can identify with that. I literally could write pages about this film but I've STILL got a stack of movies (about 30) that I'm behind on writing about. So, I'll just finish by saying if you remotely like this guy, you'll LOVE this movie. He's at his slapstick best here. It's romantic and it's hilarious. I don't think it's available here in the US. I've got a European widescreen copy in Italian with English subs (the only way to watch it - avoid any English dub as I'm sure it will kill it). It's the most successful film in Italy and it's easy to see why.

"Santa Cleopatra!"

Basket Case (1982)



Director: Frank Henenlotter

Starring: Kevin Van Hentenryk

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: The tenant in room 7 is very small, very twisted and very mad.

Plot: A young man carrying a big basket that contains his deformed Siamese-twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.


My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Shit, yeah

#221 on Drive-In Delirium Volume 2 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

I saw this as a teen in the mid 80s but the only thing I remember was the repeated line, "What's in the basket?". It's been more than 20 years and I feel it's a lot of years too long. This movie's fantastic. It's hysterical. There's very little budget and what Henenlotter does with it is absolutely remarkable.

The NYC 42nd street locations are a gas to see since it's completely different than it was 25 years ago. The acting is pretty bad but the story is great and the pacing doesn't let you down. What a gem of a low budget black comedy horror. I'm looking forward to seeing the sequel this month. I'm also going to revisit another Henenlotter classic, FRANKENHOOKER (1990).

"Wanna date?"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oldboy (2003)


Director: Chan-wook Park

Starring: Koreans

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: 15 years of imprisonment, five days of vengeance

Plot: An average man is kidnapped and imprisoned in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. He then is released, equipped with money, a cellphone and expensive clothes. As he strives to explain his imprisonment and get his revenge, he soon finds out that not only his kidnapper has still plans for him, but that those plans will serve as the even worse finale to 15 years of imprisonment.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Yep

Here's a great tale of revenge. It's a mind-fuck on us and the main character. The tagline says it all. This film is badass. Loved it. Bloody. Brilliant. Beautiful.

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)


Director: Gary Fleder

Starring: Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd, William Forsythe, Treat Williams, Jack Warden, Steve Buscemi, CHRISTOPHER FREAKIN' WALKEN

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: They can die quickly. They can die slowly. But they must die!

Plot: Five different criminals face imminent death after botching a job quite badly.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Yup

I first saw this at an art house theater in SLC back in '95. It kicked ass then and it kicks ass now. Great little gangster/crime story with a tremendous cast. Surprisingly, Garcia doesn't pull his weight as much as he should considering the talent he's surrounded by. He does a fine job but he's got that patented Garcia "aw shucks" thing going on that's a bit too much. But then you've got Lloyd doing something very different than the family crap we're used to seeing him do post-BACK TO THE FUTURE. Treat Williams is fucking hysterical and it's worth seeing the movie just for him.

Here he is in one of his many priceless scenes:



Then there's Buscemi playing a hit man called, Mister Shhh. And Jack Warden. I love this guy's work. He's not stretching as an actor here but he's just so great a being Jack Warden that you can't help but love the guy. He's one of the best character actors ever and it's always good to see him. Finally, there's Walken. He's doing something a little different here but he's always badass to the limit. Treat yourself to a flick you've probably never heard of and discover something nice.

May (2002)


Director: Lucky McKee

Starring: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Be Careful... She Just Might Take Your Heart.

Plot: Psychological horror about a lonely young woman traumatized by a difficult childhood, and her increasingly desperate attempts to connect with the people around her.

Here's the trailer but if you do not want spoilers DON'T WATCH IT!!!



My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Do I think crazy broads are hot? No. But I would like to see this again

Again, DO NOT WATCH THE TRAILER if you want to avoid a major spoiler. I only just now watched the trailer for the first time. I knew nothing going into the film except that it's disturbing. I'm glad I didn't know anything because what she does during the last twenty minutes caught me and my friends by complete surprise and it was a good thing.

It's slow going but it's interesting. We didn't see the final act coming until it was too late. The film shifts tonally at this point and it goes into "FUCK, YEAH" territory where it stays until the end of the picture. Great stuff. Don't watch it with someone you're trying to score with. At least someone who's unstable that you're trying to score with. That's most of us, I think.

The Machine Girl (2008)


Director: Noboru Iguchi

Starring: Minase Yashiro

More Info: IMDB

Plot: The life of a young, Japanese schoolgirl is destroyed when her family is killed by a Ninja-Yakuza family. Her hand cut off, she replaces it with various machines-of-death, and seeks revenge.



My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Definitely

Man, the Japanese sure do know how to exploit something and make it fun. Someone saw PLANET TERROR (2007) and thought they should make a movie about a chick who has a machine gun (and other accessories) for an arm. Fucking brilliant. Who cares that Rodriguez did it first but on a leg? As long as it's entertaining I'm up for it. This is definitely entertaining. The only thing that keeps it from being better is some of the drama/non-action bits.

Here's more:



This thing is campy and fun as hell. CGI blood spewing out in fountains, limbs being severed, it's beautiful. The violence is most gratuitous. There's a chick with a drill bra!!! A FUCKING DRILL BRA!! By now you've stopped reading this and you're frantically searching Al Gore's internet to find it. Do what you have to. YOU MUST SEE THIS. It will save your failing marriage. It will bring long lost relatives back together after decades of neglect or abuse. This movie will cure cancer. After I watched it my genital rash disappeared. It's back now. I'll have to watch it yet again.

Master of the Flying Guillotine (1975)


Director: Yu Wang

Staring: Yu Wang

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: It's A Mean Machine - Cuts Your Head Off Clean!

Plot: Fu Sing Wu Chi is the blind teacher of the two Ching assassins, Chow Lung and Chow Fu, killed by the One Armed Boxer a few years earlier. He also happens to be a master of the most deadly of all weapons, the flying guillotine. When Fu receives word of their death he immediately heads off to find Liu. Unfortunately, in the process he kills any one armed man in he comes in contact with. Aiding him in his search are a Thai boxer and an Indian fakir, who has the power of extending his arms. Also complicating matters is a Japanese karate expert, who has designs on the daughter of a martial arts teacher who also was killed by the vengeful Fu.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Hell, yeah!

This is some badass shit. Most of this movie is wall-to-wall fighting. Everyone has their own fighting style and they're very unique and cool. This is easily one of the best kung fu movies I've ever seen. It deserves repeat viewings. I'm going to shut up now. Watch the trailer. Go to YouTube and find more fight scenes. Find this movie and prepare to shit prematurely!

The Quick and the Dead (1995)


Director: Sam Raimi

Starring: Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobin Bell, Lance Henriksen, Pat Hingle, Gary Sinise

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: In this town, you're either one or the other

Plot: Lady avenger returns to western town owned by a ruthless gunslinger hosting an elimination tournament.



My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Is Gene Hackman pissed he didn't get to cross his legs without panties on? Sure

There are so many reasons to love this film. It's a western, a good western. The only way I can describe it is by calling it a Spaghetti Western Comic Book. It's fucked up. It's violent. There are tons of quick zooms, crazy angles and more of those vertigo-inducing zoom while pulling back shots to make Quentin Tarantino come off of that towering ego-laden forehead of his. And you don't just get lots of kills. You get creative kills like this...


And this...


That's all you really need to base your decision on whether or not you need to see this. If you still need convincing just look at the cast list. Stone's the only one who really brings it down a notch. This was just a couple of years after she became a hot property from BASIC INSTINCT. That explains why she's in it. BTW, this is rated "R" for western violence. Not western nudity or western suggestive drug use but western violence. You've been sufficiently warned.

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)


Director: John Carpenter

Starring: Austin Stoker

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: L.A.'s deadliest street gang just declared war on the cops.

Plot: The lone inhabitants of an abandoned police station are under attack by the overwhelming numbers of a seemingly unstoppable street gang.



My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Am I the only one who thought the title referred to someone going down on Madonna?

Here's another one that caught me by surprise. I feel like I led a sheltered life or something. I'd heard about it since I was a kid, it's just that I never got around to it until now. This is a great low budget, badass, violent movie. Carpenter doesn't pull any punches. For example, here's a controversial scene:

"I want a vanilla twist."




AWESOME!!!! I love kids, see, but it's so rare you get to see them killed with such style. Ahahahaha. If that, ahem, shot makes you smile then you're so going to dig this picture.