Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Movies in May

Tuesday May 20th, 2008
Metropolis (1926/86) **** - I watched the 1986 re-scored version of this Fritz Lang classic that at that time caused quite a stir in the film world. This version was then the longest existing cut of the film, but then hot composer Georgio Moroder decided to score the film himself (as well as do the subtitled and inter titles too) and use modern musical acts such as Adam Ant, Loverboy, Billy Squire, Pat Benetar, Bonnie Tyler and others to augment the film. Basically it was considered a bastardization of a classic and important piece of cinema being turned into MTV. The film also was tinted and had some colorized special effects added as well. So basically it had something to piss off every film purist going. But I watched this version often as a kid (though I had seen the original, though much, much shorter version, before too) and loved it. Watching it now as an adult I can see how this was an ill advised thing to do, but some of it still works pretty well, the the things that don't work still don't diminish the power of what is a simply incredible film. For the few who have no experienced this masterwork, the film takes place in the distant future of 2026 where the world is dependent upon machines to run. the rich elite who live high on the hog are never even aware of the scores of working class that live below the city working 10 to 12 hour days running this huge lumbering machines, pushing their bodies past the point of human endurance. But the some of the richest man in the city sees a woman from below and is smitten. He follows her down and sees the unholy conditions of the workers and is horrified. he trades identities with one worker, thus working his shift to experience how the common lives. It almost does him in. He soon realizes that the woman, Maria, is trying to rally the workers to a better life, though through peaceful means. Meanwhile, a mad scientist has built a female robot to replace his lost love. Our hero's Father demands that the Robot be given the likeness of Maria to keep the workers in line. Instead it causes a revolt that almost destroys the city. The movie was a technical marvel in 1926 and most of that still is amazing now. The architecture, set design and general look of the movie has been influential to just about everything you can think of. Our very pop culture is deeply rooted in images from Metropolis. Everything from Star Wars to Music videos, TV Commercials and modern buildings have been influenced by this film. But for all the technical marvels on display it is an amazingly warm and heartfelt movie about how emotions have to mediate lives to make decisions. How the dreams of those on high cannot exploit those who can make it happen from below. The film is about how heartache can drive you to madness, and how the lust for a beautiful woman can drive men to insanity. And finally it is about people overcoming prejudice and class structure to come together to make change. In the 1986 cut that I watched tonight Moroder's score is surprisingly sparse and grinding, clearly inspired by the architecture of the movie and the British industrial musical scene of the late 70's early 80's. But the pop music used has a few moments of magic as well such as when the Evil Maria is preaching to the workers while Bonnie Tyler's "Here She Comes" plays or her seductive dances scene to Freddy Mercury's "Love Kills" that literally sets the men in her audience fighting and killing each other of committing suicide. I'm not sure if the songs were written and recorded for this new cut of the film, but the lyrics of several including those mentioned as well as the Pat Benetar, Billy Squier and Loverboy tunes all make me think they were. All in all Metropolis is a classic in any version (there is a DVD from KINO that is the longest version available that I have not seen but need to) and if you call yourself a film fan, you need to see it. Simple as that. This version is an interesting experiment that has some value, but not the end all be all version of the film. Seen this before.

Thursday May 22, 2008
Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983) ** - This fun and fairly decent Sci-Fi actioneer from the director of the cable favorite Hawk The Slayer is one of those I have fond memories of from my child hood. I remember it premiering on Showtime and hanging out at my friend Smitty's house and watching it with his crazy ass family. We all got a kick out of it, and I watched it multiple times on cable after that. The movie star's the original Battlestar Galactica's Richard Hatch and Kay Lenz as a couple of mis matched people who by pretty contrived circumstances get sucked into another dimension along with a crazy scientist. The other world looks pretty much like some national part outside of a few funky plants and some dorky yet amusing dime store monsters running around (the pygmies with light up eyes are great, and the zombies that you can see their blue jeans under their robes are another highlight). Kay Lenz gets kidnapped by the evil meanie play by a scenery chewing John Motherfuckin Saxon who intends to keep her as his bride because there are no blonds in this world! Along the Way Richard Hatch picks up some supporting players to help him out including a gentle giant, an annoying dwarf (who was in Hawk The Slayer playing the exact same character) and a guy painted blue, but in the movie everyone says he is green, who is super smart and looks like Nicholas Schrek's long lost alien brother. they have some surprisingly bloody fights with along the way until we find out that the scientist has been working with Saxon making guns and nitro for him to save his own skin, leading to an explosive finale. Basically this is Flash Gordon on a shoestring budget. If you can get into that idea there is plenty of fun to be had. Its cheesy as all get out, and moves at a herky jerky pace in places, and the effects are bad at times. But it is fun all the same. Richard Hatch makes for a fine hero, and Saxon is the villain you love to boo and hiss at. There is some off screen S+M too. All in a PG rated flick! this premiered on Showtime, but played theatrically in the rest of the world and was probably huge in someplace like Malaysia were they love goofball low rent shit like this! Seen this before.

Saturday May 24th 2008
Run & Kill aka Woo Sue (1993) *** - This incredibly vicious category III Hong Kong roughie is a near classic among the genre. Only hampered by some black comedy near the end and a sense of Terminator like false endings. Fatty Cheung is a slob who's day keeps getting worse and worse. He loses his job only to come home to find his sexy wife cheating on him. So he goes out on the town and gets shitfaced drunk. While drunk he spends the last of his money paying a gal and some low life hustler to have his wife killed. But he's so drunk he has no idea what he is doing and really doesn't want this to happen. Naturally they do ahead and do it and once its done want the other $800,000 he drunkenly promised. Instead of paying up he tries to get some local street gangs to help him out causing a small scale riot in a porn theater (a great action scene) that ends with him, the girl who organized the whole thing and the guy who set up the kill all being taken hostage by those who want the money higher up. They are done playing games you see. What they don't realize is the dude who set up the initial kill has a psycho killer brother, played by Hong Kong favorite Simon Yam, who has tracked them down. But once he gets there his brother has pretty much bled to death. Yam promises Fatty that if his brother dies he will take it out on Fatty's remaining Family. Well, his brother dies and the remandier of the film is Yams horrifying revenge on Fatty and his family. And boy does it ever get ugly. This movie goes where most movies fear to tread in the last reel. ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** Once Yam has Fatty's Mom and daughter hostage he goes about killing them. He pushes Mom (who is an old lady) out a window. But the most horrifying moment is when he burns Fatty's six year old daughter alive. even worse her charred, blackened corpse plays a major role in the rest of the movie! I remember showing this movie to my college sweetheart who was a very gentile gal. I have no idea what I was thinking (or how she stood watching it!). This new DVD is a German release and looks amazing. Totally cleaned up and uncut this is miles above that abortion Hong Kong release from a few years back that was just a port of the horrid VHS. This has new subs (still a few mistakes in the English translation though) and a great picture. As a bonus is another Hong Kong Category III flick also Starring Simon Yam called Intruder which is a pretty cool movie too if memory serves me. This is a non region disc, but I'm pretty sure it is a PAL, so make sure your player can play it. I got mine from Tony at the BEST place to get this kind of thing. seen this before.

BoardingHouse (1982) *** - Totally retarded and fun eighties horror/splatter (supposedly comedy but I'm not convinced it is intentional) that has been rescued by the new (sort of) company Code Red. There is simply no other movie quite like this one. I've been a fan for a number of years since I bought the VHS at a going out of business sale at Castle Video in West Dayton (Man do I miss that place!), but I'm glad to see people buying into it's bizarre ass charms. the story barely makes any sense; A house that had some sort of incest driven murders occur sixteen years earlier is bought by a dude who only wears pastel colors and leopard print bikini briefs. He decides he will make it a boarding house only open to hot chicks and himself. Somehow the ploy works and a gaggle of babes immediately move in. so when he isn't working on his telekinesis by making shit fly around the room, he's getting group run downs (did I mention he is played by the writer/director John Wintergate?) and banging all the babes. He teaches one of the babes to control her mental powers and make shit move with her mind too. she torments the other girls out of jealously with her new powers instead. Meanwhile some unseen person or force is making bad things happen, like spontaneous bleedings, knives hurling out of cu bards or babes fall on ice picks. There's a pretty juicy disembowelment early on and all the girls get nekkid at some point, or at least down to skimpy lingerie. The director's wife, Kalasu plays the main babe with the new mental powers who also happens to be the lead singer of a band called 33 1/3. Naturally they sing a song. Add to all this more bad fashions, jacuzzi seductions, more of the dude in his briefs, the funniest love scene ever, a cop with a giant afro, eyeballs in the tapioca pudding, the drunk who finds the eyeballs and talks to them, and the climax of mind against demon and you go one of the weirdest, stooooopidest movies ever. Its fucking great! I also failed to mention that it is shot in "horror-vision" which means that they shot it on video tape. which now is no big deal, but in 1982 that was a new and exciting (and cheap) way to make a movie. And they managed to get the thing released into theaters too! This was the second film to entirely be shot on video and released theatrically (The first being Frank Zappa's 200 Motels). The new DVD from Code Red looks as good as something like this can. The color still shifts around and there is an occasional glitch of static, but it is a huge improvement over the old Paragon tapes. They also did a really nice job on fixing up the soundtrack with some cool separations. I haven't listened to the commentary track, but I looked at the on camera interview with the director and his wife and i have to say this is the most shittily shot extra I have ever seen on a DVD. Its like they just grabbed a crackhead off the street to run the camera. People are cut half out of the frame, the thing zooms in and out, they are not professionally miked, the camera jiggles and shakes. I seriously hope they didn't pay the guy for his work. Wintergate and Kalasu look oddly the same 25 years later. Their daughter appears on screen as they plug the script for a BoardingHouse 2. I'm not sure the world is ready... Seen this before.

Monday May 26, 2008
Reality Bleed Through (2008) *** - Extremely ambitious, thoughtful and well done experimental low budget horror film that has more on its mind that a dozen movie in its peer group combined. Trying to encapsulate the plot of this is a difficult thing since there is so much going on, but I'll try. Ethan is pretty much trapped in his house. It seems since the war broke out the outside world has descended into chaos. The sun has grown hot to the point that exposure will melt your skin, a religious cult has taken over that are addicted to hallucinogenic pills that make them see God. Worst of all the Government, to fund the war, called in everyone's debt at once. So if you owed a mortgage, car payment or student loan it was time to pay up. If you couldn't you had two choices. The military or forced experimental research as a lab rat. Ethan took the lab rat route which has left him where he is at now. trapped in his house having hallucinations, with a constant stream of self dialogue in his head. He watches the static on TV because he remembers that he is supposed too, but cannot remember why. Meanwhile in the outside world a soldier and his two buddies come home to find the soldier's wife fucking his best friend. A murder later the wife and the friends are on the run. Also on the run is a woman and her plague stricken brother. None of the houses have running water due to some inexplicable government shutdown (something the soldier was trying to help fix when he came home). They meet one of the religious fanatics along the way and they all end up at Ethan's house to escape the rising sun. Soon soon everything will rise to a crescendo of bloodshed and violence and a lot of talk of the existence and importance of god. Now that is the linear plot. What this movie is REALLY concerned about is the various dialogues about god, the need for god, how people create god, recreate god, deal with their gods in a time of crisis etc. This is a full on theological deconstruction of the various viewpoints on existence and the need for something greater than ourselves. the salvation complex if you will. Heady themes for a shot on video project that largely takes place in one house. But you know what? Write/Director Jimmy Creamer pulls it off. The movie is a non-linear assault on the senses that never really stops long enough to allow you to notice things like the low budget or at times weak acting. Instead focusing on the strong editing, and terrific digital effects (yes I did just say what I said, terrific digital effects, used wisely for once) that add dimension and surrealism to the project. All of this has an accumulative effect to pull you into the nightmare at hand. By the time you get to the last reel (where it helps if you know a little Aleister Crowley to keep up) it has become a tripped out nightmare with some truly startling imagery. But all this would be visual masturbation if they movie was not engaging or going someplace interesting. But it does. far too many low budgeters are playing it safe by making zombie comedies, or slasher movies, or those awful jizm and barf filled freakshows. This movie actually goes someplace you have not seen before. A true treat for the eyes and mind. And a breath of fresh air for the no budget arena. Is it flawless? Not a chance. There is some ropey acting along the way (though some very good too), and the make up effects aren't so hot. There are also a couple of camera set ups that are clunky. But all of this is small change when looking at the bigger picture which is that Reality Bleed Through is an original and bold piece of Indy filmmaking. A must see! first time seeing this.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If you want my body

So I went to see the BODIES Exhibition today. This is the art/medical exhibit where actual human cadavers have been plasticized and flayed open to reveal to various organs, muscles, circulatory systems, nerves, etc. The process was developed by a German Anatomist/artist named Gunther von Hagens (who receives absolutely no credit at this exhibit I saw today, but more on that in a moment). They dry out the corpses in Acetone to remove all the water from the body then pump silicone into the various parts they want to "plasticize". then they use a type of solvent to eat away the parts they do not want to be seen; So say they only want the circulatory system to be visible; they plasticize that, then dissolve the muscles, organs, flesh and bones away leaving a perfectly human shaped form of veins and arteries in its place which are then put on display. Mostly they specimens in display were corpses with the muscles peeled and stretched so you could see how they worked in tandem with each other or other body parts. Each room focused on a different system of the body such as reproductive or digestive. It was all endlessly fascinating and educational. And while I'm sure some people found it disturbing or gross I found it all quite interesting and even beautiful in some cases. the only time I was grossed out was at a couple of the diseased pieces on display. The opened kidney literally filled with stones about did me in. I thought kidney stones only got to be the size of sand, or tiny pebbles, but this poor guy had dozens in there that were the size of small rocks. In fact they were small rocks as big as dimes or pennies. I felt faint looking at those because I've had kidney stones (very small ones) and those hurt like a bitch, I can't imagine what the pain this poor son of a bitch went through. There were some nasty cancer tumors too. I freaked out a poor teenage girl that was standing within ear shot when we were looking at the halved cross section of the male anatomy too. I was explaining to my friend Rick how male porn stars have their penises enlarged by cutting the actual meat of the penis away from the bone inside and showing him where it happens. This girl was disgusted and very freaked out! she'll probably never be able to watch porn again! Another interesting thing for me was how so much of the it looked accurate to the special effects I've been involved with. I've been working off and on this week assisting on effects for the film TRUE NATURE and the effects there have been using silicone. So these bodies and the effects looks eerily similar. I also have my own secret recipe that I use to make intestines (which I did not have time for to make this week for the movie unfortunately) and they looked exactly like the ones in the human bodies on display. That was a nice thing to see.

There has been some controversy around this display. Naturally a few religious groups have been pissed off about it saying that it denigrates the human form to have it on display like this, and that it isn't educational but an art display. Some have gone as far as to call it pornographic. All I know is that I learned a lot looking at all the bodies and didn't feel like it was violating anything. there is also a rumor that the actual bodies were Chinese prisoners of war given without question for the exhibit and there for without consent. this rumor actually dates back to when this process was invented by Gunther von Hagens and the right wing and fundamentalists were attacking him for doing this. But he ONLY used people that had willed their bodies to be used for this purpose and left written consent. the rumor has persisted it seems. But after reading the Wikipedia page on this topic it seems the controversy runs a bit deeper in that here in the United States a number of off shoot art displays using the Plasticization process, including the BODIES EXHIBIT, do not have the same sort of cataloging system that say a medical school has to adhere to. A medical school has to account for where they got their specimens, how they got them and weather or not those specimens were willed to be used as donor corpses. Seems that these new Exhibition situations are not being regulated in the same way and are not being forced to follow the same protocol and that is causing a tremendous amount of strife and concern about were the bodies are coming from. As well as causing medical schools concern about a possible shortage of bodies for their schools as well. So knowing that gives one pause about the whole prisoner of war thing. And with that in mind I did notice that most of the bodies were clearly Asian.

The other thing that strikes me is that this Exhibit though truly amazing and awe inspiring, lacked the artistic merit of Gunther von Hagens work. His BODY WORLDS show, that I've only seen pictures of, and the brief moments of in the film CASINO ROYALE is the same sort of thing, but taken to the next level because he approaches it from not only a scholarly way, but with an artist eye as well. And his pieces are indeend incredible works of art. So where in the exhibit today tried to be artistic (the man who had his skeleton outside his empty body for example was impressive) von Hagen's look out of this world. One day I hope to see his work in person.

But even with all the controversy, and potential knock off of a brilliant artist, I am very glad I spent the money to go. It is not every day you get to see the inner workings of the human body, literally inches from your face.

More movies to groove upon..

Sat May 10, 2008
[REC] (2007) *** - Jaume Balaguero who directed the fantastic film The Nameless enters the now very popular "hand held camera" horror sub genre that was made popular with The Blair Witch Project and more recently Cloverfield. Except he has made a film that easily trumps both of those turkeys in sheer scariness and effectiveness. The story follows a young TV show host and her cameraman as they do a reality show on a fire-station in Spain. They go with the fireman out on a call to an apartment building where there were noises and yelling from an old ladies apartment. ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** As the firemen and a couple of policemen enter the apartment they find an old lady covered in blood who promptly attacks the cop and bites his neck. They manage to get the cop out of there and back down to the lobby where the inhabitants of the building have all been told to gather by the police previously only to find that the doors have been locked from the outside. The authorities on the outside are telling them that they have to stay in there until help arrives. The reporter and her camera man race to an upstairs window to find that the building is now being encased in plastic. They are being quarantined as there is something loose in the building causing people to get sick go nuts... What makes this work is the sheer adrenaline it achieves. Once it takes off there is not a moment to catch your breath. This is a short movie, barely 75 minutes and it never lets up. Sure it is derivative of other films from 28 Days Later to Romero's The Crazies, but it moves with such force that you really don't have time to feel it. The images on display are actually scary for one too. The last ten minutes of this movie are incredibly frightening with a figure we couldn't figure out if it was CGI or just a really fucked up actor, but either way it was scary as hell. This suffers from the same problem many of this "Hand held" movies do, which is that it is unrealistic for the characters to continue filming once the main horrors get so intense. Survival instinct would dictate to drop the fucking camera because your life depends on it. This movie makes some effort to address that, but at times it still is problematic. It also has the lead actress saying fuck too much which makes you wonder if they let her ad lib a certain amount of dialogue. But small complaints aside this is powerful and scary stuff and highly recommended. As per usual this Spanish language movie is being remade by Hollywood under the title Quarantine and I guarantee they will not be able to top the climax. First time seeing this.

Walking Tall Part 2 (1975) **1/2 - This sequel is kind of like the first film but cleaned up. It takes up right where the first movie left off with Bufford Pusser recuperating in a secret hospital from his gunshot wounds from the first film. Pusser is played this time by Bo Svenson and it takes some getting used to , to see someone else playing the roll besides Joe Don Baker. Svenson takes a very different approach to the Character playing him as a gentle giant. A sensitive man carrying a big stick. It is a solid performance, just a very different one from the first film. Once Pusser is out of the hospital he goes right back to work as the sheriff and the old enemies put a bounty on his head. First a race car driver tries to run him off the road after messing with his tires. Then several other guys try to blow up his car, and then they tamper with his brakes and fuck up his steering column which end up getting his Black Deputy killed. Here in lies the problem with this movie; the first film was a fireball of viciousness that kept upping the stakes of the movie went along. Here that violence is replaced with car chases and small time situations in which our hero outsmarts the bad guys. Now according to Svenson in an interview this is more true to Pusser's life, and the opening credit crawl shows a police report and claims this is the true story with only a few names changed. But compared to the first film it leaves a little to be desired. This is well acted and certainly has a lot of natural Tennessee flavor, but it lacks the raw edge that made the first film great. Angel Tomkins is along for the ride as a con woman who tries to woo Pusser into a situation where he will be killed and shows her amazing melons along the way as well as her world class gams, so thats a plus, and Brooke Mills as bad guy girl Ruby Ann almost steals the show towards the end too. First time seeing this.

Sunday May 11, 2008
I Know Who Killed Me (2007) ** - Average thriller enlivened by some gory set pieces and a surprisingly okay performance by Linsay Lohan in the lead role. A big to do was made about her taking on this dark "torture porn" movie where she plays a stripper but she never really drops her clothes. But boy does she look the part of a haggered hard living girl of the streets. Even when she is playing the good girl next door in the first part of the movie she still looks like a few miles of rough road. This girl is like a poster for what hard living will do to you. She's what like 21 or 22 and looks like she's my age! The plot is about a high school senior who is abducted by a serial killer and tortured. He saws off her fingers and more. Then she is mysteriously found on the side of the road, except when she comes too she claims she is not the same girl, but a hard bitten stripper. The movie takes some odd turns that requires, of all things, Art Bell to come on and give a speech to explain things to make it make sense. It almost pulls it off except it really confuses things in the last reel with the reveal of the killer and his motives and how they find him. The director made the low budget film The Lost which I complained was too over directed and flashy for its own good. This is more of the same in that department. An okay time waster. First time seeing this.

Three Trials (2006) ** - Extremely well shot and pretty to look at but emotionally empty S+M fantasy that seems to be in love with the imagery, but also the degradation on display as well. The plot follows a young nun who has narcalepsy who witnesses a sexual transgression between the grotesquely obese Father superior and the head nun. For her sin of seeing this she is sent on a mysterious quest of three trials. She is whisked away in a car while blind folded, taken to an abandoned factory (that on screen we are told is another church) stripped down (oddly enough she is wearing a fishnet body stocking with the crotch and boobs cut out under her gown!) put on a leash and forced to crawl through the halls while lightly whipped. She is put into a confessional on her hands and knees and while confessing fucked from one of her captors, but her narcalypsy forces her to pass out... The movie travels through surreal vignette after vignette with small tissue connecting them, all of it being a way to get the very attractive leading lady into some sort of fetishistic situation. Most of them S+M based. There's an obligatory lesbian/mutual masturbation scene and a scene where she is sewn into fox pelts and then fucks a were-monster for all the furries freaks out there. The monster turns into a man and becomes her slave master forcing her into degrading situation after another, each on worse and worse with her wanting him more and more. I began to wonder if this is supposed to be some journey for the main character or just a way to put her through these paces for the director's fantasies to be played out on screen. Either way it all rings really hollow as we never emotionally connect to her or any other character at all. It is all window dressing to the situations on screen. Everything looks fantastic, but it never rises about that to become more. The whose who of the L.A. art scene are all over the place in this movie if you watch for them, mostly in a dinner sequence. But I spotted my friend the Reverend Tommy Gunn during a piercing at the club scene. First time seeing this.

Sunday May 18th 2008
I Was A teenage Strangler (1998) ** - Super trashy, ultra disgusting shot on video gunk that is important to smut fans because it is the debut of Misty Mundea (billed here as Lil' Erin DeWright!). But in truth she is barely in the movie until the last ten minutes or so and then she plays the typical last victim to the slasher movie conventions. So celebrity skin fans will be disappointed. The real star is her sister Chelsea (here billed as Daisey DeWright) who does things on screen I'm sure you've not seen before, or at least very, very rarely. The loose as a goose's ass plot revolves around a goofball who is having a party even though he knows no one in town. But everyone agrees to come because he is rich and lives in a nice house. He has a brother who is horribly burned on his face and has a rage problem that leads him to choke people. You can pretty much see where this is going. But in the interim there is as much bad taste thrown in as possible with a dude hypnotized into eating the shit out of Daisey's ass (huge mushy turds with peanuts in it) as she commands "Eat my turds, don't waste any of my precious turds!". (In the supplement it is explained the poo is made from brownie mix, so everyone can relax. It is gross though). There is a really nasty rape scene where the rapist has an awful unwiped butt (this time that looks real) and it climaxes with a real blow job after the poor girl has been punched and is spitting out blood. Real nice guys... Naturally this girl ends up pregnant and has to have an abortion, so Daisey (who I was unclear is her mother or lesbian lover?) performs a coat hanger job, were they jam a real hanger into this poor girls real vagina. They used gummi worms for the fetus, which I wont even go into what they do with that... The rest of the movie is just one strangling scene or lesbian grope fest (one that is actually kinda hot) after another. But the amazing thing is that all of this madness actually hangs together and builds to little bit of a plot by the end. This was a HUGE step up for director William Hellfire and his crew after the abysmal Caress of the Vampire 2 as this is actually fairly well put together. Though I'm thinking that it has been re-edited and scored for this DVD release as it seems very professionally done. This is still Shot On Video schlock but as far as that stuff goes this pushes the envelope a lot further than most and strives to have more going on. There is a lot of reference happening to seventies roughies and grindhouse movies and at times it almost gets that feel going. Not terrible if your in the mood for this kind of ultra bad taste, gross out, super-offensive trash. All else probably should avoid this like the plague. The DVD has trailers for a crapload of other Factory 2000 (Bill Hellfire's early "company") movies many of which look even more extreme. But those are the only extras. First time seeing this.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Erotic Werewolf in London

Tuesday May 6th, 2008
An Erotic Werewolf in London (2008) **1/2 - When rating a seduction cinema flick you basically have to take into consideration if it does what the movie sets out to do, which is deliver lots of hot girls making out with each other with a little horror thrown into the mix for good measure. This one succeeds on that level in spades. Seduction cinema poster girl Misty Mundea actually shot this several years ago and it has been sitting on a shelf awaiting editing, which turned out to be good for the company since she isn't doing the soft core flicks anymore. But she isn't really the star of this one. Euro-beauty Anouska plays the werewolf of the title, a woman who becomes a beast upon orgasm. Right from the beginning we start with Misty getting down with my favorite Seduction Cinema girl Ruby La Rocca (who looks amazingly gorgeous here, not that she doesn't all the time, but damn!). They get busy, then Anouska comes in and gets busy with Misty as Ruby stomps off in a huff. this leaves our lyncanthrope there to bite misty thus turning her into a werewolf too. Then Anouska jets back to London and does and interview with a tabloid reporter explaining what it is like to be a werewolf in modern times. Eventually she allows the reporter to let her watch her seduce and bite a neighboring woman (played a by a very attractive model, who keeps staring off screen for direction). Our reporter goes to America to find the girl that was bitten there and warn her friends and does just that but it all ends with a downbeat and sudden ending. Basically in between all the plot I just described is wall to wall sex, all of which is a bit more graphic than the usual Seduction Cinema fodder. There are crotch shots, loads of masturbation and the sex seems a lot more enthusiastic than some of the other films. And no more than a few minutes go by before another scene comes along. All the repertory players are her including Darian Cain and Julian Welles too, but for my money the best scenes belong to Ruby. But thats just me talking. On the down side, the werewolf make up is cheesy as all get out, the editors got way too happy with the filter effects (too many scenes with weird visual effects that didn't need them) and the climax shouldn't have been the end of the movie, but the beginning of what could have been the actual climax (as in what happens to Anouska?). But overall its better than most stuff from the S.C. label and definitely one of William Hellfire's stronger efforts. Worth a look for fans. There is a really cool interview with Ruby as an extra were she looks back on her career in these films. She comes off super cool and it made me have an even bigger crush on her. She's awesome! First time seeing this.

Monday, May 5, 2008

What the Space program has wrought...

Movies so far in May

Friday May 2nd 2008
In Search of the Great Beast:666 (2006) ** - This British documentary really should have been better. I mean how can you take a rich subject like the life of Aleister Crowley and make it dull? But these filmmakers managed to do just that. it is not that the material or information imparted isn't interesting; it is. But it is the way the material is explored that sinks this ship. the entire movie is done through either narration or re-enactment with actors that simply sit in character and tell the stories as if remembering them. Interspersed is CGI photographs of Crowley from various stages of his life as well as places he may have lived. There is the occasional dramatic recreation of certain things like his initiation into the Golden Dawn or his fateful final mountain climbing expedition that left several people dead. But even those are clumsily handled at best. A great documentary (or even better docu-drama) about Crowley needs to be made. There is a wealth of interesting stories to be separated from fact and fiction. But this movie's snail's pace and poor presentation keeps it from being that great film. In fact it challenges you to stick with it. First time seeing this.

Saturday May 3rd, 2008
Iron Man (2008) *** - Very successful start off to the 2008 summer blockbuster season is a rare super-hero movie that works. This movie walks the fine line between keeping the edge on the material while still trying to deliver what the audience expects which is huge effects, some laughs, and lots of action. The movie succeeds for the most part. This of course is mostly the origin story dealing with Tony Stark a manufacturer mogul who happens to be an electronics genius. His company mostly sells newly designed weapons to the military. While in Afghanistan showing off a new breed of missiles he is captured by a group of terrorists (that the movie is very careful to give a fictional name to as to not invoke the specter of real life combat). They want him to build proto-types of these new missile's for them. Instead he builds an armored, robotic endo-skeleton and uses it to escape. But while he is there he comes to realize that the very arms he is selling are falling into the hands of the terrorists the US are supposed to be fighting. So once back in the US he goes about re-creating the suit and fighting the world's evil his way. Much of the success of the film lies in the casting of Robert Downy Jr. who is terrific in the lead role. He brings a charm and soul to the character that is endearing, even when he is being a prick (something I'm sure many would have said about Downey in real life for many years when he was an addict). But his change of heart that is at the film's center both figuratively and literally are sold completely with his performance. I've heard some grumbling that there is not enough action in the mid section of the film, and it truthfully could have used maybe one more scene of Iron Man going after the Terrorists to really make it sing, instead we get multiple scenes of Stark testing the suit which are reminiscent of the movie The Rocketeer on a few occasions. The movie hits a snag int he final third as it goes into well worn territory with the reveal of the villain (its who you think it is all along) and the big showdown which is effects heavy but still feels like you've seen it before. Though I give the filmmakers credit for working in the female lead into the climax in such a major way and NOT as just someone to save. The picture is very much a PG-13 with nor blood or gore but still some surprisingly strong war violence for a picture that is clearly being marketed to kids. Oh yeah, the use of music in the movie was pretty solid too. First time seeing this.

Inside (2008) *** - I expected this French horror movie to be something else entirely than what it turned out the be. I was expecting maybe a gorier more intelligent take on something like the old British shocker I Don't want To be Born, or something like that. Instead I got a very intense, extremely gory and violent maternally themed slasher film. That's not a bad thing mind you, just not what I expected. A young pregnant woman survives a car crash in the opening of the film, but her husband does not. the first image we see is a baby in utero that suddenly smashes its face against something hard, with blood smattering out into the amniotic fluid as it is stunned into silence. This is who we experience the car crash, from the baby's point of view. We will return into the womb many times throughout the movie to get the baby's point of view again. As we get into the film we realize that Sarah, the pregnant woman is going to have induced labor on Christmas day. She is at home Christmas even when a woman begins stalking her. the woman finds her way in while she is sleeping and starts to cut open her womb and so begins the fight for survival. Sarah manges to get into the bathroom where she will stay for a large portion of the movie as people wander into the home and meet this mysterious woman and the bodies start to pile up. This movie is brutal as hell. Blood flows in great gouts, spraying the walls, splattering people's faces, dropping out of wound by the gallons. The violence is painful, ugly and messy with no apology. If the site of a pregnant woman being abused is shocking to the you then this movie is not the one to see as Sarah takes a lot of abuse. In fact more than a person probably could take in real life. Especially a nine months pregnant woman. The movie starts to strain credibility in that department. it also has the old horror movie cliche.. of a person should leave, and could leave, but instead goes into a room and waits, which only serves to further the action but tries logic a bit too much. Then there's the business of a character springing back to life to beat the snot out of everyone for no good reason at all only except to supply some shock and violence. This scene effectively derails the movie long enough to make you almost lose track of the following scenes which is effectively the climax. The movie does an effective job of keeping suspenseful, but it is primarily about the violence and action which it delivers abundantly. There must be something going on with France as with this film and Frontier(s) both of which are insanely brutal and touch on French politics. This is a good horror film, but not a great one. First time seeing this.

Sunday May 4th 2008
Jesus camp (2007) *** - Frightening documentary about a Christian fundamentalist camp where kids are sent to learn how to be good little soldiers for Christ. Hey there's nothing wrong with having convictions in your faith and passing it down to your children. But when you start teaching then seperationist beliefs, that they are better than others, because they have been saved, and basically twisting religion and politics into a heady stew. Then brainwashing the children with it to basically be foot soldiers for the new millennium then there is indeed something wrong. This movie doesn't even pretend to be unbiased as it uses an Christian, yet liberal, radio host as a Greek chorus who keeps checking in to remind us of the realities of what the Christian right are really doing to the country. More upsetting is the actual footage of the kids at the camp practically having nervous breakdowns as they are preached at about being hypocrites and liars, about how Harry Potter should be killed, and the various Carrot Top-esque styles of props used to remind them to always fear God because he LOVES YOU. The most horrifying moment comes when the teachers/preachers drag out a human sized cut out of George Bush Jr. and have the kids gather round him and pray for the president to keep adding the right Republicans to congress so things like abortion can be abolished. Most of these kids are not old enough to really even understand what an abortion even is. One little boy comes up to admit his sins and admits he has trouble always believing in God and what the bible says. Throughout the rest of the film you can see him practically tearing himself apart emotionally. He is probably seven years old at best. You can just see personality disorders, drugs and probably suicide in his future. Its horrible and sad and really, really scary. I haven't even mentioned the hag like woman presiding over the camp who clearly is doing this for the glory it gives her. Anyone who ever spent time in a church (and I did for years until my teens) will remember that one lady who talked louder, prayed louder and SANG LOUDER than anyone else to prove she was God's chosen one. Well, put that bitch in charge of brow beating children for Christ and leading the soldier brigade for the second coming and you get this scary ass woman. This is a well made film, but I doubt I could sit through it again. First time seeing this.