Monday, January 31, 2011

Funeral noodles?

"I'm a killer. Alright."

This is why I prefer dubbed Kung Fu films to subtitled ones. The crazy, inappropriate dubbing is half the charm.

"Should I take my pants off too?"

Head over to José E. Felix's youtube page and webpage for more fun with dubbing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One by one an A to Z trip through my dvd collection

11:14 (2003)

I've been putting off writing this since December. Simply for the fact that 11:14 deals with something that hit a little too close to home after seeing it. Actually the day after seeing it. The randomness of life can be both whimsical and tragic. Sometimes in close secession.

11:14 deals with the multiple events and viewpoints of one summer evening that lead up to what happened on a rural roadside near the small town of Middleton at 11:14. Unlike other films like this, 11:14 doesn't deal with one event told from different viewpoints but a bunch of different events that are reveled to be all intertwined. By the end of the film we learn the significance of a phone call at the beginning and who was on the other side of that call and why. Why there's a bowling ball in the graveyard. And why there's a severed penis on the road. The characters are all very flawed in one way or another. There's no happy ending for any of the characters here. Whether they deserve one or not. We're not giving a larger picture of these people's fates (Except for two.) after the events of the movie. Save that every one of the character's lives are changed for the worst and for a couple their lives are ended.

Across the board the performances in 11:14 are topnotch. From young stars like Colin Hanks, Shawn Hatosy and the always hot Rachael Leigh Cook. To vets like the late, great Patrick Swayze and Hilary Swank. There's also turns by the not yet famous Ben Foster and Jason Segel in a small role.

First-time director Greg Marcks's has fashioned a tightly constructed dark comedy. Small details are given a larger meaning by the film's end. Many of the characters (One in particular.) are seen in a different light as we learn more about them, when the film changes perspectives. Much like The Coens' Blood Simple (According to Marcks a major influence.) when something bad happens in 11:14 things get messy as characters try (Badly) to fix things. Many times this is were the black comedy comes into play. On the commentary track Marcks states that his intention was to show how random and meaningless life can be and to show us how it effects a handful of characters in one night. But this aim is also what hurts the film in that we don't really get to care or connect with these characters or learn much about what drives them. Marcks displays a clear talent and passion as a filmmaker. And 11:14 moves at a brisk pace, is tightly constructed and there's a couple of scenes that you'll definitely remember. For a low budget film from a first-time director it's a great start. I'm curious to see were Mr. Marcks career goes from here.

Up next...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How Megaweapon ruined my year: The Top Ten worst films I watched in 2010

I should have known that 2010 would suck. I should have known because the first film I watched after the clock struck twelve was Warrior of the Lost World! What a way to welcome the new year. So I wasn't intending to do a worst of list for 2010. But after thinking about it and realizing I had watched some complete stinkers in 2010, well here we are. The worst of the worst. Now I love bad movies generally when they bring something special to the table. An entertaining story or character can elevate even a bad film. Or maybe an interesting plot that you wouldn't see in a normal A-list picture. Or perhaps it's just so bad it makes your sides hurt with laughter. But these films are different because they had potential, but the commit the worst sin in film imaginable...they're trite or just plain painful to behold. So, here are the worst of 2010. Enjoy my year in pain.

Dishonorable mentions:

The Clown at Midnight (1998)
Mother of Tears (2007)
Blood Sabbath (1972)
The Devil (1981)
Drive Thru (2007)
Search for the Beast (1997)
Wolf Wolff's Beast Within (2008)

10-Death Tunnel (2005)

I purchased Death Tunnel for the whopping price of three dollars. One week later I traded the sucker in. Thus is the true curse of Death Tunnel. Much like one of those haunted antiques that Lewis Vendredi pawned of on unsuspecting dupes at Curious Goods. That used copy of Death Tunnel is more then likely destroying someone else's evening as I write this. It's out there and it's waiting. Waiting for you!

9-Black Candles (1982)

How could a film so loaded with sleazy sex and satanism be so freaking boring? The film follows this pattern. Boring talk. Boring sex scene. Over and over till you want to ram your head into the wall. And then, to make sure you haven't fallen asleep or died from sheer boredom the film throws a goat into the mix. How? Well you get to see a woman have sex with a goat. Great. That's an image I can't unsee. Thanks Black Candles! You could double bill this with Italian poop/snooze fest L'anticristo (1974) and make it a night of satanic goat banging. I wonder if that goat sought counselling afterwards. I know I needed some.

8-Zontar: The Thing from Venus (1966)

Zontar's nefarious invasion plan involves putting the viewer into a coma. Thus with everyone comatose his plan for world domination could come to fruition. It's too bad for him only about five people ended up seeing this cinematic sleeping pill. Once in awhile during the restful nap that Zontar brought, I'd wake to laugh at these flying alien lobster/bats that Zontar used to control people. And at one point our hero of the film John Agar realizes his wife is being controlled by old Zontar. Does he declare that there may be someway to save her? That he won't rest until she's not under alien control? Nope. He just gives her a hug and blam. Divorce with a revolver. No more wife to worry about. Just thinking about this film makes me sleepy.

7-City Ninja (1985)

The film started with some WWII set prologue about a missing necklace that had etched into it, the number to a Swiss bank account. Okay. Fine. Then we flash forward to "modern" times were we meet two different martial artists involved with Chinese and Korean gangsters all seeking the necklace. For most of the film I thought that these two would never meet. The footage seems to be from two different films. Then just to prove me wrong they meet up and fight. Everyone in City Ninja is a complete shit. Out for their own gain. With no one to root for all we can do is enjoy the numerous fight scenes. Inbetween all the fights we're treated to some of the sleaziest sex scenes ever filmed. My personal "favorite" scene in which a couple are having sex in a boxing ring and then on a rowing machine! Classy. Twenty showers and a painful scrub brush encounter later and I still felt dirty from watching City Ninja.

6-Hard Ride to Hell (2010)

Take Race With The Devil and sprinkle in some Satan's Sadists and you have Hard Ride to Hell. The only things going for this crapfest are Miguel Ferrer (Who must have had bills to pay.) playing a former student of Alistair Crowley turned evil biker dude! And the always hot Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) as one of the potential victims. The plot is ridiculous! Jefé (Ferrer) and his band of outlaws are flesh eating biker immortals. He’s looking for a woman to knock up to bear him a heir. There's also some bullshit magic amulet that turns up, then is forgotten until the end of the film were it plays as a big fat deus ex machina. Also there's an ex-commando dude turned knife salesman named Bob. Bob turns into the closest thing the film has to a hero character. The plot was most likely concocted by putting a bunch of random elements written on post-it notes on a dart board and using the ones that got hit by darts. Hell I think they even used the ones they missed.

Here's the best shot in all of Hard Ride to Hell. Custody of Miss Katherine Isabelle.

Thanks Katherine!

5-Hitcher In The Dark (1989)

Umberto Lenzi. When I see that name in the credits of a film, I'm never sure what to expect. He did Spasmo, a decent enough giallo. He also brought us the naval contemplating horror of Black Demons. The Cannibal films, Eaten Alive and Cannibal Ferox. And his masterpiece of cheesy fun...Nightmare City. I was very curious to see how Hitcher In The Dark would stack up against his other films. Well Lenzi directs the film with almost no style. The suspense in nil. Acting? What acting? There's very little blood and gore. There's some awful nudity and mullets galore. A truly terrable dance number and a wet t-shirt contest! In the interview included on the disc Lenzi seems to be under the pretense he's delving into the mind of a troubled killer. But what we get is a Lifetime movie with mullets, boobs (in front and behind the camera.) and late 80's synthesizer cheese. The box proclaims it to be a giallo. I think not!

4-Maniac (1934)

To say that Maniac is a terrible film does not even begin to sum up the unique awfulness of it. The whole cast overacts with such zeal, I sworn they where doing cocaine and redbulls between shots. Really until you see this film, there is no describing it. It's so bizarre and just plain bad at the same time. Director Dwain Esper is both inept and strangely ahead of his time. Maniac is exhibitionist sleaze pretending to be an educational film about mental disorders. There's some shots in the film that are certainly well done. But for everything that's done right we get bizzaro crap like a catfight between two women that ends with clothes being ripped off. People acting like they're William Shatner on speed. And lots of random shots of cats and rats. The cinematographer William C. Thompson would later go on to be Ed Wood's cinematographer!

3-Night Train to Terror (1985)

Someone, somewhere had the bright idea to throw two films together with another unfinished one, make a crummy wrap around involving God and Satan on a train full of Solid Gold dancers and call it an anthology film. The various segments appear to have been edited together by a blind monkey strung out on crack. They jump about from one scene to the next with no concern for making sense. Now one of the films here I've actually seen in it's entirety, The Nightmare Never Ends. I can honestly say it made a lot more sense in it's complete form and did not contain any of those ridiculous claymation monsters that are randomly inserted here. Oh that band on the train is so bad. The film randomly jumps back to them at various times thought the film. Every time we see them they're prancing about singing the same damn song and appear to be filming a music video on the train. Night Train to Terror is filled with bad hair, bad music and terrible fashion choices. One big piece of mind numbing '80's trash.

2-Warrior of the Lost World (1985)

Well this was...something. This really, really hurt. From the bargain basement effects to well everything! Everything sucked! The Warrior is a bit of a whinny Whitney. He bitches and moans about anything and everything! And worse still he does it in a low mumble. That's right, our hero is a low talker. Then there's his sidekick, Einstein. A talking motorcycle who likes to not only use outdated slang but repeat everything he says. Such delightful phases as "Bad Mothers", "Tubular" and "Beep Bop A Loola" are used till your ears bleed. Very few movies have ever made me consider jumping out a window to escape the pain like this one did. Was there anything I liked in this mess? That it ended. Oh and Megaweapon, he should get his own film. Speaking of that, the film ends with a cliffhanger ending threating us with further adventures. Glad that didn't happen. This film hurts you like no other. Save for the film at number one.

1-The Guy from Harlem (1977)

Ever wanted to go in your backyard and film your own Blaxploitation/Kung Fu flick? It's probably not a good idea unless your father is "Daddy" Warbucks or Steven Spielberg. But lack of money and talent didn't stop the makers Guy from Harlem. No sir! Playing more like something made by Senior Spielbergo from The Simpsons. You'll marvel at the sets that are '70's porn quality bad. Hell, the sets in this film make the ones in a porno film look epic in comparison. And the acting? I've seen coma patients with more range. Don't even get me started on the "martial arts" on display. Rudy Ray Moore in Dolemite looks like Bruce Lee compared to this shit! If you have a friendship you want to end, make 'em watch The Guy from Harlem. I guarantee they will never, ever talk to you again.

So there they are. You could call be a glutton for punishment because come 2012 I'm sure I'll be writing about more ten more films that hurt me. I'll never learn because...

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