Monday, June 30, 2008

More Movies for June

Monday June 23, 2008
D'Wild Weng Weng (1982)*** - If you don't know who Weng Weng is then you really shouldn't be reading this blog. Weng Weng is a god among men, or at least he was when the little guy was alive. He was barely 3 feet of caged karate fury with a bowl haircut who would whoop an ass without breaking a sweat. The ladies loved him, he wore leisure suits, had rocket jet packs and tons of other gadgets. He was cool as ice before the motherfucker Vanilla hijacked the phrase. This killa from Manilla was the toast of the Philipino movie industry in the early 80's and made a crap load of movies all based around the fact that he stood no higher than your thigh. But he was a screen presence to be reckoned with as all of us who sumbled upon For Y'ur Height Only in the bargain bins way back in the 90's will attest. Weng Weng changed lives man. So that brings me to this adventure, one of his more obscure flicks or it was until this print started making the rounds. Here the weng stars as a secret service agent along with his friend Mr. Gordon who are sent to Santa Monica(!) because the Mayor has been ruthlessly murdered by a bandito named Mr. Sbastian (everyone is Mr. someone in this movie). From there the dynamic duo basically just keep kicking the asses of Sabastian's men until the incredible climax. Along the way they make friends with a dude with his tongue cut out (his annoying screaching will give you a headache), a couple of babes, and a pigmy midget Indian Chief (played by the dude who played Mr. Giant in For Y'ur Height Only). Sights you will see include Weng practicing his karate shirtless, him in his mariachi outfit saradading outside a babe's window, Weng thrown like an Olyumpic football into the second story of a bad guy's lair, Weng stuffed into the monk robes of Mr. Gordon and carried around like a fetus, and Weng strung up like a turkey to bake in the sun. But the keeper are two action scenes; one about 45 minutes in and then the climax. The middle scene is simply just Weng Weng strolling along and every time he sees a group of bad guys he whips out his gun and kills them dead. Cold blooded Charles Bronson style! He's done fuckin around! He kills at least two dozen people in a ten minute period! For the climax I swear Sylvester Stallone had to have seen this movie before he wrote the latest Rambo film because the similarities in the climaxes as odd to say the least. Both films have the heroes surround on all sides by the bad guys, and both films have the hero manning a huge machine gun and mowing down the invading armies. Both films then have a native people rush in and help by fighting along side, in this case the Pygmy Indians (where did they find so many midgets?). Oh shit I forgot to talk about all the ninja's in this thing! Mr. Sabastian employs not only traditional "Mexican" banditos but a small army of ninja's too! While this movie is undeniably entertinaing it lacks the loopy, goof-ass charm of The Impossible Kid and For Y'ur height Only where things were clearly not being taken totally seriously. Here director Eddie Nicart seems to be wanting to blend the cheapjack Fillipino action film to something akin to a Peckinpah movie. Plus the dubbing is far too serious unlike the uprourious For Y'ur height Only. But still, this is a worth while cult addition and for Weng Weng completists it is a must have. First time seeing this.

Tuesday June 24, 2008
Dream No Evil (1972) **1/2 - Extremely low key and unusual horror drama was written about highly in the excellent and must have tome Nightmare USA: The Rise of the Exploitation Independents by Stephen Thrower. This movie is also the co-feature on the DVD set with Delinquent School Girls as part of the Psychotronica box set. The two films couldn't be more different and a worse double feature if you tried. Dream No Evil is really not even an exploitation movie at all, it is a quiet, slow moving treatise on loneliness and isolation driving one to madness. A little girl in an orphanage cries out for her daddy but is told, rather heartlessly, that her Daddy is dead. Cue years later and she is working with a preacher who has integrated her into his roadshow as a highfall artist to demonstrate how one can fall "straight to hell" from sins of the flesh! But she is still obsessed with finding her long lost father and has convinced herself that he is in the current town they are visiting. She finds him with the help of a sleazy pimp (who pimps obese old women to the elderly men in the old folks home) who doubles as the coroner. Seems her Father has died and is still on the morgue slab. Suddenly rises from the slab and kills the pimp and Father and Daughter are reunited. They move into a house that sometimes is a beautiful ranch home and sometimes a dilapidated, boarded up nightmare depending on where her mind is at. Then more people start dying. It doesn't take a genius to see what is going on in the movie, but it must of boggled the producer's mind at some point because there is this bogus narration that keeps popping up that just simply tells you that the lead gal is crazy, thus spoiling it for you. This happens about ten minutes into the movie and keeps coming back throughout and really hurts the poetic flow of the film. It clearly is not part of the original flick, or so it seems. But even without the narration it still isn't a big surprise when the climax arrives. To appreciate this movie you have to get into its bizarre groove of oddball characters, and weird situations. There aren't very many movies like Dream No Evil, its mostly melodrama, with a heavy dose of southern charm and slight psyechedelia, with a few drops of blood. Something like this would never be made now. The pace is too off, characters too weird and payoff too lopsided. While it is no great movie by a long shot, it is still to be appreciated for being different, and I do wish filmmakers would take these kinds of chances these days. The print is letterboxed and worn all to hell, clearly not remastered at all. And the one instance of nudity is censored! I have no idea if the old VHS is like that or not, and it looks like I've misplaced my old DVD-r of this for comparison. First time seeing this.

Autopsy 1 & 2 ***1/2 - Excellent HBO Series about Forensic pathologists and how they are integral to solving crimes. The first show is all about the Coroner from the New York area and the various things he's done over the years including investigating the deaths in the Attica riots, a husband who strangled his wife and put her in the trunk of their care for 10 ten days and most horrifyingly a mother who killed nine of her babies before someone figured out she was doing this. The second show opens up to several different pathologists and includes stories of a lower torso found in the Mississippi river that was dismembered with a chainsaw, a little boy that was beaten to death and how the mother who gave him up for adoption as a baby discovered his case fourteen years after the fact and still managed to get his case tried and a conviction, and a corpse found in a carnival funhouse as part of the attraction! This is a great show but only for those with strong constitution as it is pretty graphic stuff. First time seeing this.

Thursday June 26th, 2008
Exorcism (1975) *1/2 - Pretty weak Paul Naschy possession flick really suffers from coming out after The Exorcist. Apparently this was conceived prior to that hit, based on some real possession cases, but not okayed for production until the Warner's film was a huge success all over the world. Problem is that Friedkin's film clearly is an influence on this one to the point that it eclipses what ever nuances this may have. The story starts out very different with a college age girl at a witches sabbet. They are partying down, dancing naked, drinking blood and worshiping Satan as well as smoking drugs. On her way back from that shindig there is a car accident which causes her to be bedridden at her families estate. The local priest is called in (played by Naschy) because she is cursing the family and claiming she is"evil". Soon people are bing found dead with their heads twisted all the way around (sound familiar?). Before too long she's a mess; drooling, forming scars with nasty contact lenses and soon the priest has to do that old hocus pocus to run the devil out. The largest problem with this film is the pacing. It is languidly paced, taking its sweet ass time to get anywhere and when the climax finally arrives it is too short to really satisfy. Everything is overly familiar, though if it had really punched it home that could be forgiven. But instead it it relatively tame except for a lot of nudity during the couple of Satan worshiping scenes (which have great music by the way). The film is lensed quite well, and the acting is fine, but it just doesn't go anywhere, or do it in any kind of a hurry. Probably the weakest of the Naschy efforts I have seen so far. First time seeing this.

Friday June 27 2008
Psychos In Love (1986) *** - A real rarity, a horror comedy that works. I remember watching this as a teenager and thinking it was hilarious. What a surprise to revisit it as an adult and find that it still holds up as a clever and sweet natured splatter comedy that is both witty and gross, never sacrificing either element. The leads played by Carmine Capobianco and the very cute Debi Thibeault are a pair of murderous psychopaths who kill people who annoy them, mainly folks who cross them over their hatred of grapes. They bond over their murderous behaviors and fall in love. Meanwhile a local plumber is also a killer, but he is doing it simply to satiate his cannibalistic urges. The movie is filled with tons of in jokes to other movies such as the Hitchcock inspired gag where a victim refuses to die and the couple's decision to stop killing and only watch splatter movies. Also the director choses to break the fourth wall from the very opening scene and unlike other more pretentious movies like say , Funny Games, this ends up becoming rather charming and never comes off as cloying or grating. The leads are incredibly likable and there are some great supporting players too such as the Chinese karate guy who hangs out at the strip club, or the senile priest who marries them. The movie isn't a ground-breaker or anything, but it is just a well made and fun flick that is really worth the time. Seen this before obviously.

Frat House (1998) ** - Todd Phillips the director of the acclaimed documentary Hated about GG Allin made this HBO documentary about the pledging process and hazing rituals that plague college campuses all over the United States. The problem was that HBO discovered that Phillips faked a large portion of the footage and therefore shelved it. He still got his large payday and laughed his ass all the way to huge Hollywood directing gigs doing lame ass comedies. This doc starts off strong with Phillips and his partner Andrew Gurland finding a Frat run by a certified psycho who calls himself "blossom". This dude likes to do things for fun like beat up wooden skids with his bare hands. They get to watch a group of pledges start their ten week hazing, but after a few nights of relatively harmless stuff, Blossom and the boys get nervous about the cameras catching the truly horrible stuff they are about to do and run Phillips and his boys out of town. This stuff feels real and is probably the legit stuff they shot. Then Phillips and Gurland find an unnamed Frat at an unnamed school and decide to pledge themselves and run the gauntlet of torture, physical pain and humiliation. I'm pretty sure from this point on it is bullshit. These guys don't look like typical frat guys, though they do act like it. And frankly I don't believe Phillips would put himself through it without some sort of safety net. The stuff they show is grueling, but they never get under the skin of why anyone would WANT to do this. So its almost like a mondo movie in some ways. Its faked, its shock value, and its puddle deep. Don't get me wrong, it is compelling viewing, Phillips knows how to lead you in and keep your attention. But at the end you've not learned much of anything, unless you are shocked easily. The only thing I learned is that I'm glad I would never, ever want to be part of a Frat in the first place. Seen this before.

Saturday June 27th 2008
The Brown Bunny (2003) ***1/2 - Vincent Gallo's second directorial effort was torn apart when it premiered at Cannes in a much longer apparently more self indulgent cut where Roger Ebert called it completely unwatchable. Gallo went in and cut it down to 93 minutes, yet still people refused to talk about the actual movie. Instead focusing on the climactic hard core blow job sequence performed between him and Cloe Sevigny. What audiences missed is the fact that this is a heart wrenching, challenging, and yes self indulgent, existential head first dive into the heart of darkness. The movie is one long trip into one man's pain and torture of loneliness and refusal to forgive himself for his past.What trips people up is that much of the first hour of the movie is languid, but beautifully photographed, sequences of Vincent Gallo's character driving across country. The scenes are clearly meant to put us directly in his shoes as he isolates himself further and further. Throughout the movie he makes attempts to reach out to the opposite sex, usually at first with ease. But as soon as it requires him to give, even an tiny bit, of himself he abandons the effort and returns to the isolation of the road. By the time he finally reaches a L.A. hotel room and is reunited with his lost love the torture of his past is almost unbearable. The scenes between Sevigny and Gallo and painful and fraught with honest emotions and pain. Once the infamous blow job happens it could be argued that it is shock value, but the fact there is important dialogue going on that relates to what is happening plays out that it is not so. The final reveal of the movie is a bit on the heavy handed side and maybe is more than this otherwise beautifully crafted tone poem needed. But it is undeniably affecting. It hits you like a ton of bricks weather it is needed or not. Anyone who has ever felt abandoned, alone, or ashamed should be able to relate to this movie in some way. But then few will have the patience it requires to tune in to its unique and offbeat rhythms. By the way, once the 93 minute cut was released Roger Ebert came around and gave it three stars. First time seeing this.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Movies so far in June

Tues June 3rd 2008
The Devils (1971) **** - Ken Russell's masterpiece based on the book The Devils of Loudon by Aldous Huxley is a terrifying and thrilling piece of cinema that is still shocking today. Hence why it is still not on legit DVD and censored in all existing prints. The story of a priest, who cannot help himself to the pleasures of the flesh because as he puts it, he has a thirst to get to God quicker, finds himself forced into a position of defence as Loudon comes under attack from the crown. Meanwhile a nun that is infatuated with him is used being against him to topple his authority. This causes the entire convent to be accused of being possessed resulting in mass hysteria and a trial for witchcraft and heresy. The film is rife with imagery that is blasphemous and horrifying such as the purification of the nuns through enema's, the scene where the nun imagines the priest as Christ coming off the cross as she licks his wounds and fellates him as well as the only reinstated in the bootleg cuts, infamous "Rape of Christ" scene where the insane nuns pull a huge statue of Jesus down and literally fuck it. But the movie is about so much more than ballistic theatrics. It is about a man who finds God when he least expects to. About a time when corruption reigns supreme both in church and state and about when those two things intertwine to the point of pure strangulation. It is about how of love and sexuality should not excluded from loving the lord, and how those things can be perverted for political ends. Truly it is an amazing work for audiences that can take the risk.I have seen this many times before.

Saturday June 7th 2008
Werewolf In A Womans Prison (2007) ** - This shot on Hi Def video splatter/ Women in Prison/ Monster mash certainly tries very hard to please, and truthfully if drive-ins and grindhouses still existed to show exploitation movies this is the kind of thing they would show. So on that level it succeeds. A woman is bit by a werewolf while camping with her boyfriend in Mexico. Her boyfriend dies and she is imprisoned for his death in a brutal woman's prison where they use the prison's population for soft core porno. Soon she is seeing her dead boyfriend's ghost who warns her that under the ful moon she will change into the werewolf herself. After a prison yard dust up where she breaks arms and busts heads, she finds herself turning beastly and wrecking extremely bloody havoc. There is tons of boobs bared (some very impressive), gallons of blood and creative gore and a real attempt to throwback to the days of yore. The problem is that the acting is from acceptable to bad, the effects are only okay (with really poor digital work), and the story line lifts way too much from An American Werewolf in London for comfort. So it all just levels out as just an okay time waster at best. If your looking for gore and boobs this will fit your bill, but it could have easily gave us much more. First time seeing this.

The Sinful Dwarf (1973) **1/2 - This is one grimy little movie! I guess this was supposed to be a sex movie but what it ends up being is a twisted, grotesque little peep into a perverse world that is so fucked up you almost have to appreciate it just for the sheer repellent factor. The story is about a dwarf named Olaf and his Mother (a former actress) who own a boarding house. But in the attic they keep a room full of chained naked women that are hooked on heroin that they pimp out to particularly disgusting men looking for a lay. When a down on their luck newly wed couple rent a room Olaf and Mommy set their sights on the new voluptuous gal to add spice to the midnight playpen. Olaf is played by a dwarf actor named Torben who apparently was a children's show host in Denmark. He's a frickin force of nature with his gravel voice, insane laugh and penchant for playing with toys. Whenever he is on screen the movie is locked in for the kill. You can't take your filthy eyes off of it. Mommy has a penchant for reliving her glory days by doing sad renditions of Carmen Miranda numbers complete with full on costumes and smeared liptick. These are some of the most frightening moments in the film and are sure to send chills up your spine. The whole movie is dark, brooding and looks like it was dipped in piss, right down to the set design and props. Nothing is clean in this movie and you will feel dirty for watching it. But for some reason I find that to be a reason to recommend it. Seen this before. BTW the DVD that is floating around from over seas is NOT remastered. Severin DVD is planning a new release. Check out this bit from You Tube about that upcoming release. Its hilarious!

Wed June 11, 2008
Dream Deceivers:The Story behind The Judas Priest Trial (1992)***
- Very engrossing hour long documentary about the whole backmasking hootanany that almost took down the band Judas Priest in the mid 80's because a couple of Midwestern teens decided to blow their brains out. One of them lived after shotgunning off his face and claimed that it was the music of Judas Priest that led him to do it. His Christian conservative parents sued the band claiming that the song "Better By You, Better Than Me" contained subliminal messages and hidden phrases including the words "do it". This documentary includes a lot of interview footage with the band, James Vance the boy who blew his face off (now severely deformed) and his family. Much of the trial is shown as well. Many experts are brought in to analyze the music in which they find lots of little messages, many of which "could" be something. Yet it seems more likely the power of suggestion is at play. More important is the discourse of Vance himself who openly admits to doing drugs and seems intent on hanging his misery on the music instead of his home life. He's a sad figure who was clearly depressed and probably mentally ill. His abusive stepfather who admits to beating him in the documentary but lies about in the trial probably didn't help matters. All in all its clear that the band is totally innocent of any wrong doing and that the family is at fault but totally running from their demons. Ironically enough, a theme in much of Judas Priests music. First time seeing this. Watched it on Google video.

Thursday June 12, 2008
Sylvia (1976) **1/2 - Entertaining and goofy porno that is enlivened by surprisingly high production values and an energetic performance one time performer Joanne Bell. The movie is a take off on the popular (and recently remade) 70's mental illness drama SYBIL in which a woman who has multiple personality disorder from some sexual experience in her past starts fragmenting in her adult life. In this movie Sylvia acts out sexually and dons several personalities such as Mona who ravishes a vacuum cleaner salesman (played by Marc "10 1/2" Stevens) or a bullish lesbian. Frankly all her personalities seem the same though as they all shed their clothes, are aggressive, leer hysterically and perform analingus on the surprised dudes she is shagging. The most hilarious scene has her defrocking a pastor after terrorizing him with a giant crucifix she has torn off the wall. There is an impromtu exorcism scene too that is a riot. Directed by one Peter Savage aka Armand Peters who was a "made man" in the New York film scene and friends with the boxing legend Jake LeMotta. He basically helped write the book that Raging Bull was based on. The movie is kookily directed with lots of off kilter cutaways and loving melodrama that makes it feel like you have tuned into a a hardcore soap opera from another planet. But it is impressively shot with slick camera work, nice music and decent production values making it a unique movie both for its genre and vintage. But the real reason to buy this disc is the outstanding, must listen, commentary from assistant director and genre legend Bill Lustig (director of Maniac and Blue Underground head honcho, like you needed to know that). He is a great story teller and filled with dozens from the era, not just of the hardcore industry. He's hilarious, but so informative making the track outstanding. This is seriously one of the best commentary tracks ever. His tales of dealing with Joanne Bell, (though his hatred of her is a bit much), are enough for the price alone! A decent movie made a must for the commentary. First time seeing this.

The Zodiac Rapist (1971) *1/2 - Ultra no budget xxx that sought to capitalize on then hot news topic of the Zodiac Killer. Uh, yeah when I want to get hot and bothered the first thing I want to think of is the current serial killer on the loose! This has got to be one of the most wrong headed ideas for a porno ever. John Holmes stars as the title dude but don't take it too literally as the women he goes after are hardly what you would call victims. This is pure goofiness and while there is nonstop sex, no one is ever really "assaulted" as they see Holmes and his huge member and immediately want him to do his stuff. Only in the porno world... Immediately we know we are in no budget lunacy from the get go as we watch a girl planting flowers with no pants or underwear. In a tasteless close up we see that she has the hairiest, dirties butt in porno history. But John Holmes just happens to be hiding in the bushes and turned on by this nasty brown eye. He's Naked and masturbating. When she sticks the rake handle into her nether regions he decides he'd be better suited and they go to town. All the sound is post dubbed and doesn't match. I mean at all. Mouths are closed but moans are loud and furious. Later we meet Sam Dobbs the hero of the story, a clean cut, kinda chubby, perpetually naked detective on the case of the Zodiac Rapist. If only because the rapist keeps calling and pestering him. Dobbs is doing his secretary who is wearing this intensely scary nursing bra in which her nipples stick out of like horrifiying flesh torpedoes. Dobbs tells her in a dubbed over voice " I don't mind being sucked by you, but I hate being fucked by the Zodiac!" He's interrupted by an applicant for another secretary whom he proceeds to screw as a test to see if she could lure the Zodiac out of hiding. Later when she goes home the Zodiac climbs a tree to see her in her room and masturbates while in the tree. It's kind of impressive. He breaks into the house where her and another girl are sleeping on the bed together and announces "I'm the Zodiac Rapist" and a huge blast of guitar feedback shoots through the soundtrack as his theme. They both let him ravish them until Dobbs shows up. Holmes jumps off the balcony, doing his own impressive stunts. Later we see Holmes driving around looking for new victims and he is masturbating even while driving! Finally Dobbs gets help from a dominatrix Police woman who will help him catch the Zodiac but for some reason Dobbs has a real hard time getting it up for her (even though shes the cutest girl in the movie). This thing is nuts. Its terrible, the sex is unappealing for the most part (one girl's vagina looks like uncooked pot roast) but there is enough hilarity, especially the dubbed over dialogue to make it worth it at times. Holmes is clearly having a blast doing stunts and whacking off in public. This is way before the coke starting ravaging him. Too goofy to ignore. There is another Sam Dobbs adventure in this DVD package I have yet to watch. First time seeing this.

Sunday June 15th 2008
The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) **1/2 - Decent enough Americanization of the Hong Kong fantasy/action films that characterized the Chinese output of the eighties. The plot is pure hokum and pretty disposable as an American kid finds a magic staff in a Chinese pawn shop and during a robbery by some young punks is whisked away into feudal China. There it turns out the staff belonged to the Monkey King, an always jovial, very hairy Kung Fu god who was turned to stone by an angry general 500 years before. Seems this kid is now the chosen sentry to take the staff back to the now concrete Monkey King so he can will be freed. But the General is still ruling since he is Immortal or magick or some shit, so it wont be an easy task. All of this information is related by Jackie Chan during one long flashback and dialogue sequence by the way. The kid befriends Jackie Chan who basically reprises his famous Drunken Master roll from the series he made famous. Along the way they pick up a vengeful and beautiful harp playing gal and a renegade monk played by Jet Li (who also plays the Monkey King). The movie moves at a brisk pace and the fight choreography is outstanding as to be expected. The big money fight between Jet Li and Jackie Chan in the middle of the movie is a ten minute long show stopping affair that is worth the price of admission alone. If you came to see those two titans battle it out with all the famous styles of Kung Fu, you will be satisfied. The fights are shot and edited like a Hong Kong flick too, so there is a noticable lack of fast editing and too close for comfort camera work to try and hide anything. The action is the reason to see the movie. Though it is also curiously un-exciting at times (save the Li/Chan fight) mainly because the movie is clearly aimed at families you never get the feeling there is real danger. Though there is some surprising violence now and again (the good guys kill a couple of people) it still feels kind of like going through the motions. Things are not helped by the lead character played by Michael Angaramo. I don't know if it was his performance, or the writing of the character, but the kid is a zero watt bulb. He's such a wuss that you want him to get his ass kicked throughout most of the movie just to teach him to man up a little bit. In fact, even though the plot hinges on him, you wish he'd just disappear and let the other character's lead, as they are out doing him charisma wise in every single shot. Another interesting thing about the movie is the amount of references to classic Hong Kong cinema. Numerous Bruce Lee nods abound, Jackie Chan doing the Drunken Master routine, Li playing the Monkey King from famous Monkey series, and there is a villainess who is clearly The Bride With White Hair (from part two though, after she became a man hating assassin). In fact they name check that movie just so you get it. The opening credits are a wonderful collage of poster images from classic Kung Fu movies. So over all its fun and diverting with one classic fight in the center. But it is the American elements (I.E. the kid, the flimsy script) that make it less than it could have been. First time seeing this.

The Machine Girl (2008) ** - Completely over the top Japanese splatter/Yakuza/comedy tries so hard to be hip that it almost hurts. While the movie at times is fun, and there is more than a few arresting images and moments, ultimately this has more in common with a video game than an actual movie. The plot is fairly simple, too simple actually. A college age girl's brother is killed by other similar age thugs, one of whom is part of a Yakuza/Ninja family. For reasons never explained, she has a lot of martial arts training and goes after these thugs and the Yakuza family. In the process she is caught, tortured and has her arm chopped off. She manages to escape and is taken in by the mechanic family of the other boy that was also killed. they create a gatlin gun replacement arm for her and she (as well as the mother of the boy) go and a killing spree of revenge. She also replaces her hand with a chainsaw at one point too just in case you weren't getting the Army Of Darkness reference. The movie is extremely over the top, with gallons of blood spilled in great geysers, even beyond the typical Japanese arterial spray found in the Baby Cart films. The gore in this movie has more in common with the early films of Peter Jackson than anything else. But while the gore is going over the top, the film itself tries to play everything completely straight, no matter how super-ludicrous it gets. Which SHOULD work, but most of the time doesn't. It takes a director with a special flare to pull this off. Takashi Miike has done it over and over such as in Ichi The Killer or Fudoh both of which this movie seems to want to be like (minus the sexuality, this movie is totally absent of sexuality). Yet director Noburo Iguchi doesn't seem to rise to the challenge. Instead the film feels forced and flat, only coming to life during the outrageous gore scenes and not even all of those work, hampered by some poor effects and situations that are so extreme you are taken out of the movie. In the Peter Jackson movies you were dealing with the supernatural so you could go overboard and make it work, here you are still sort of playing in the real world to an extent. So when a guy is having nails driving into his face over and over and doesn't die. You sort of are jsut left wondering why its happening. But what do I know? It is already becoming a huge cult hit and everyone seems to love it. I just felt like it was missing the mark and recycling stuff that other filmmakers have done better. First time seeing this.

Sunday June 22, 2008
Sole Survivor (1983) *** - Solid, atmospheric and fairly scary flick that has recently been released on DVD from Code Red is a little diamond in the rough waiting to be rediscovered. The plot is fairly similar to the Final Destination movies, so much so that the director of this movie tried to initiate legal proceedings at one point. A young woman mysteriously survives a plane crash only to start having creepy people following her everywhere. A washed up actress dreamed about her situation before it happened and is trying to warn her about the impending doom that is oncoming. Seems that these figures are something much more deadly. The plot devices here aren't that hard to figure out and owe a pretty big debt to Carnival of Souls (no she is not already dead though). But what makes this movie sing is that it takes it time to build up realistic characters and a real sense of dread. Beautiful camera work and a slow, careful direction really crawls under your skin so when the well timed scares happen they are immensely effective. There is a bit of jumble in the midsection where the movie tries to through in some exploitation elements to try and appease the grindhouse crowds (Brinke Stevens makes an appearance and takes off her shirt for no good reason at all), but the film gets on track pretty quickly for a rousing climax. Though I found the epilogue to be a bit unsatisfying. But otherwise this is highly recommended. First time seeing this.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Time Warner starts Bandwidth Cap on subscribers

http://news. yahoo. com/s/nf/20080603/bs_nf/60098

Read that news story. Yep the war has begun. Now the major conglomerate that you are already paying is now telling you how much you can use the internet. If this is allowed the consequences will not be pretty folks.

Speak up and tell TIME WARNER that if they institute this new plan that you will switch to another provider. It is a simple as that. you will not have your internet usage capped and controlled. They need to be told NOW before this is put in place everywhere that their business will suffer if they do it.

Here is the page of Contact info for TIME WARNER. Start hitting them with emails and phone calls NOW.

http://www. timewarner. com/corp/contacts_support. html


Before we all are paying out the ass because we've been capped out of our usage of the net and only the most rich and elite can afford to use it.

Here are Phone Numbers you can call at Time Warner to tell them of your displeasure and intent to go to another company if they are going with this plan.

Contact Info:
Time Warner Cable Corporate Communications
Mark Harrad
(203) 328-0613

Maureen Huff
(203) 328-4807

Time Warner Cable Investor Relations
Tom Robey
(203) 351-2015

My NIN Video GHOSTS Project

These are my videos for the NIN GHOSTS project. The first video in a trilogy I call Spirits at the Dark River. This Segment is the the first track on GHOSTS I.

All the footage comes from an abandoned experimental film I shot well over a year and a half ago. Now it is essentially the same movie, but with a NIN soundtrack...

Part 2 and 3 will come soon


Spirits At The Dark River Pt 2 - Ghosts III - 23

Spirits at the Dark River Pt 3 The Final Chapter - Ghosts IV - 34

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Last Movies Watched in May

The Strangers (2007) *** - This new release has been sitting on a shelf for almost a year. probably because they weren't sure how audiences were going to react to this grim suspense yarn. Stripped down to almost a bare minimum this is film making at utter basics, but what it does with those basic tools is pretty effective. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play a couple who have come back to their home after a wedding reception. Seems that he has proposed to her and she has not accepted the proposal for reasons of her own, even though she clearly cares about him. their home is somewhat isolated a bit aways from the city or any neighbors. at 4:00 the get a knock at the door from a woman asking for for someone who does not live there. This woman seems disoriented but leaves. The man leaves the house to go for a drive because he is still emotionally distraught by the evening's turn of events and while he is gone the house is besieged by three people in masked who are trying to break in (on in a very creepy cloth sack mask clearly gets in but just stands around in the background in one very chilling scene). From here it is a cat and mouse of the highest order as this couple fight for their lives against these faceless, nameless killers. The killers never talk or really communicate except to write an occasional message on the windows. Otherwise their only emotions are violence and menace. We never see their actual faces, only the masks so they almost become supernatural, though they clearly are not. They movie is cleverly shot allowing the killers and their startling masks to arrive from shadows or doorways at opportune moments. Not for "jump" type scares, but for the type of scares that really count. That get under your skin and really creep you out. these scenes create a really strong frisson that stays with you well after the credits roll and were the images that featured so heavily in the trailer and posters. The performances in the film are surprisingly strong, as Speedman has been frankly terrible in the only other film s I've seen him in. But here he is actually terrific as the emotionally truncated boyfriend. he never becomes a stone faced hardass or superhero. he keeps his character very real and on several occasions adds some great little touches of humanity that other actors probably would have not wanted to do. Liv Tyler is a better actress than people give her credit for, though there is a few times were she resorts to just covering her mouth in horror, she still handles her self well. When this all comes to a head she is excellent. In fact the climactic scene, which I will not give away here is a tour de force in the acting dept for the both of them, and is also a real shocker.

The movie makes a couple of missteps along the way. There are a couple of scenes that are highly predictable as well as a moment or two when a character does something that you question the logic of their actions. But the biggest draw back is the final minute and a half of the movie. Once again I wont say what it is, but the movie is clearly over, it even fades out, and then it fades back up to a scene we've already seen (in fact the opening of the movie) but with a new twist extra moment. The scene doesn't work, and I'd be shocked to find out that it wasn't demanded by the studio or a test audience. But those things aside The Strangers is a winner. first time seeing this.

Shadow: Dead Riot (2006) ** - Pretty goofy, love letter to exploitation movies misses the mark more than it hits thanks to a script that is all over the place. Filled with in jokes and references with characters names after Jean Rollin, Jess Franco and Dyann Thorne you know their heart is in the right place. But the accumulative effect is way less than sum of the parts. Shadow is a hulking serial killer in a Maximum security prison in the 80's. He has sharpened teeth and has carved ancient unexplained symbols into his flesh. When he is put to death some kind of wacky mumbo jumbo happens and a riot ensues. A whole lot of prisoners are shotgunned and buried in the yard and the executioner steals a vile of Shadow's souped blood. Twenty years later it is now a experimental prison for women and a black gal named Solitaire is new on the block. A jaw dropping shower scene later and she is in a knock down drag out fight in the locker room over Erin Brown (who exits the movie way too early in my opinion). Solitaire ends up in Solitary confinement where she has visions of Shadow and his eminent return to life. Meanwhile the quack prison doctor is shooting people up with Shadows evil blood in some experiments to create immortality or some shit. But this just gives Solitaire Story of Ricky like super human strength. Which she will need when Shadow comes back from the dead with his army of zombies (which include Bill Hinzman, the bald fat one from Zombie and I think I saw Joey Smack from DUCK! the Carbine High Massacre in there too). There's also a totally retarded subplot about a pregnant inmates mutant baby that starts jumping around chewing people up. this is one of those movies where they just threw everything against the wall to see if it would stick. Kung fu fights? Check. Zombies? Check. HUGE breasted showers scenes? Check. Large amounts of splatter? Check. Nods to the blaxsploitation era? Check. All the Women in Prison cliche's? Check. Hell even the Media Blaster's DVD gets in on the fun vibe by making it a "grindhouse" experience by adding scratches and dust to the print and fucking up the sound from time to time. So this thing should be a lot more fun than it is. the problem is that so much is going on that it never hangs together. Its just isolated moments of mayhem, some fun, some really retarded. it doesn't help that the cast is all over the place and all trying to go over the top. Tony Todd is trying his best with the Shadow role but at times he feels like he's in a different movie. And his final demise doesn't make a damn bit of sense. My other favorite Seduction Cinema girl Ruby Larocca is in this too in a small part. Pretty goofy but I guess you could do a lot worse. First time seeing this.