The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Announcement

Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Zero Tolerance (1993)

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I don't really know how this ended up on my Netflix queue. Maybe I put something else on it that had either Miles O'Keefe or Robert Patrick, and they suggested it, and I thought it sounded good, so I just added it too. Suggestive selling really doesn't work with things like socks or warranties for Walkmans at BestBuy, but in terms of bad movies, they can just put anything on there and I'm like "He's in it? Sure, bump it to the top of my queue."

Zero Tolerance has Robert Patrick as an FBI agent sent to Mexico with two partners to pick up some baddie. They're ambushed on the way back, and only Patrick survives. Then the baddie hold his family hostage so Patrick will help him smuggle drugs from Mexico to Las Vegas. The family's killed, and Patrick's out for revenge. The baddie is one of five baddies who run a drug syndicate called The White Hand, and Patrick guns them down one-by-one. This movie also has Miles O'keefe as a drug kingpin with a heart.

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Not bad. Not bad at all. The plot was simple, there were plenty of explosions, the music was great, loads of stuntmen with ponytails and blazers toting machine guns getting blown away, and though sometimes the action was tedious and repetitive, it was more than adequate. This is definitely a "you get what you pay for" kind of deal, considering it's a 1994 revenge action film starring Robert Patrick and Miles O'Keefe, but on the other hand, it doesn't try to be what it's not, and that's refreshing. I had some problem with the scenes of the wife being beaten to death by the baddie's goons, because they were a bit gratuitous (her head getting smashed with a dinner plate might have been funnier under different circumstances), but they didn't go too far and show the kids being killed, which I appreciated.

Miles O'Keefe isn't in this too much, but when he's there, he makes his money. The Southern accent is great. So is the long mane of hair. When he cringes as two of his fellow baddies gun down a henchman for not doing a good job killing Patrick, it was pure beauty. I was hoping he'd have more scenes with Patrick, but that didn't happen. In fact, I don't think he had any. It was like Godfather 2, where you had two greats in one film, but they were never on the screen at the same time. Maybe my one complaint.

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Robert Patrick is almost as good in this as he is in Terminator 2. That's right, I said it. Okay, he's obviously not quite there, but he's really close to the ballpark, which I still think is a pretty bold statement. Other than Miles, I was totally rooting for him to take out each baddie. He plants one between the eyes of Mick Fleetwood, the head bad guy, to start his killing spree, and it's so awesome I had to watch it twice. Unlike his role in From Dusk 'Till Dawn 2, which was played a little tongue-and-cheek, here he's totally serious and I think that suits him better.

I saw this the same night I saw Pineapple Express, and I bring that up because of a discussion my roommate and I had about it. Pineapple Express devolves into this mess of an identity crisis where Seth Rogen and his fellow scriptwriter find themselves trapped in the action genre, and they're a total fish out of water. They do funny really well, and I was enjoying it up until that point. But in the action stuff I think they just didn't know how funny they wanted to be, how to be funny when doing bad action, and when was a good point to cut things off. It just didn't work for me, and I found myself screaming inside for the movie to end. My roommate thought the action stuff was great, and made a joke about the kind of crap I watch. I think Zero Tolerance drives home why she's wrong. First off, why do I want someone else making a movie making fun of bad action, when me and my friends can do it ourselves. Also, if I'm going into a movie looking for comedy, and the comedy's going well, why take a bad left turn and try doing tongue-and-cheek bad action? Having ten scenes of people pointing guns at people and someone else coming in out of nowhere to save someone isn't any easier to take when the people making it are doing it for a joke. In fact, it makes it worse. And Pineapple Express doesn't have Miles O'Keefe or Robert Patrick.

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But anyway, that was some major digression. You want to know about Zero Tolerance, and that's what I'm here to tell you. If you can get it for a buck or two, it's really not that bad. If it's on TV after midnight, there's probably a lot worse you could be watching. I wouldn't spend crazy amounts of money on it, or make it the focal point of a bad movie night, but it's not some atrocious pain ride either.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111825/

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004)

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I tried to watch this when it first came out, and didn't make it past the first nine minutes. I mean that, I turned it off and called it quits because it seemed so bad. Now that I have The Direct to Video Connoisseur, I feel I have a responsibility to treat these movies a little more seriously, and at least give them the decency of a full viewing. The question is do they deserve that?

Starship Troopers 2 is a DTV sequel to the Paul Verhoeven-- should I say classic?-- film, directed by Oscar winning visual effects guru Phil Tippett. In this one, a group of soldiers are pinned down in a base, and Richard Burgi saves them after he's released from his jail cell in the incinerator for killing his colonel. As they wait for transport to save them, a general shows up with three people he found out in the desert. Little does he know these people are going to turn this film from Starship Troopers into the Kurt Russell film The Thing.

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The first nine minutes were right. This hurt. For like the first hour, the film is just a series of things going wrong for the heroes, and someone fixing the problems, and the general saying "we owe that man our sincerest gratitude", and people clapping. Then in the last hour the film loses it's identity, and it becomes a bad horror film, and instead of being scary or funny, it just seems like it's gross for no reason. I guess it didn't matter how poorly made this film was, because people like me were going to rent it regardless just because it was the sequel to Starship Troopers.

The hero was played by Richard Burgi, who you may remember from the syndicated series The Sentinel, or his more popular stints on shows like Desperate Housewives. He's actually not bad in this, but it's not like he has a lot of room to be. Just be the brooding hero, how hard is that for a beefy dude with salt-n-pepper hair? I think I'll always like him best on One West Waikiki with Cheryl Ladd. He was great as her off beat yet serious sidekick.

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Phil Tippett directed this, and you can see that he's not a great director: it looked like the film was shot on a studio lot, as opposed to some planet far away. When the psychic characters have visions, they look like a NIN video. This whole thing felt like a Colombo episode where he had to investigate a guy who made bad Sci-Fi movies for a murder, and we were watching the movie being shot from behind the scenes.

The General was played by Ed Lauter. Name not familiar? It wasn't to me either, until I looked this up on imdb. Ed Lauter is one of the most prolific That Guys in history. You name it, he's guest starred. BJ and the Bear, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Father Dowling Mysteries, The A-Team, Magnum PI, Simon and Simon-- if it was on TV, he's done it. In the That Guy Pantheon, he owns a vaunted perch.

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Sue Ellen Mischke from Seinfeld is in this. You must remember her as the woman who wore only a bra down the street. When watching this movie with other people, I mentioned that, and they said "that's where she's from? I knew she was from somewhere." She's never dressed like that here, and in fact is very manish. Another interesting fact: she was in the first Starship Troopers, but played a different character.

This is a no-go for me. Bad sci-fi that turns into even worse horror, that isn't funny in either case, and just plain boring. If you want to watch a better version of this, try the first one, followed by The Thing: a great double feature of two classics, and though more expensive, much less painful than this sack-of-asscrack.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367093/

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nirvana (1997)

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The only reason to check this out was Lambert on the cover. They gotta know when they sign a dude like him on that people like me will give anything a shot if it has him in it. If Bridget Jones' Diary 3 has Lambert in it, I may queue up to the theater to watch it. All right, I'd wait for it to come out on video. Okay, I'd fast forward until the scenes with Lambert showed up. But I'd still get it!

Nirvana takes place in the future, where Lambert is a genius computer programmer whose wife left him. Anyway, he designs this game where the lead character is sentient, and pleads with Lambert to delete him so he doesn't have to continue his false existence. Lambert just can't do that, though. He has to hack into the company he works for's whatever and delete it there, before it's duplicated a million times. The ensuing adventure is the most forced action plot ever.

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I fell asleep during this and had to rewind it. It was pretty boring. There was no plot to speak of. The concept could be a great short story or something, but shoving an action plot between the beginning and end didn't work, and with nothing really cool happening from that action, it was pretty much just Lambert counting sheep for me from my TV. But it worked for the film makers, because his being on the cover made me rent it.

This was a pretty random Lambert role. Computer programmer? Yet who can still handle himself in a fight? Really? Actually, I think that's pretty funny and one of the better aspects of the film, so I can't get on it too much. Lambert is one of the more fascinating members of the DTVC Hall of Fame. He's probably as big a star as the trio of Dolph, Van Damme, and Seagal, but not quite. Yet he's not as far down the totem pole as say a D "The D" Dubs, or Wings Hauser. By the same token, he's not the icon a Peter Weller or Rutger Hauer is. He stands alone, Christopher Lambert (pronounced "LAM-bear".)

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This film is Italian, so pretty much everyone is dubbed. Lambert, as I recall, is dubbed by himself. The others don't always fit, and it's like watching Iron Chef, only with Italian people. I wonder if Fellini ever considered using Lambert? Or Antonioni? Too bad Lambert was so young in the 50s, because he'd have been great in a Neorealist film about an Italian family struggling to survive the mean streets of Rome. Maybe someone should try to make that now. Or just Lucas him into Umberto D.

The music was interesting in this. It was pretty solid quality for a film of this caliber. That actually works against it, unfortunately. Bad synthesizer or electric guitar would have added a level of silliness this bad boy needed. Mullets would've helped too. You can never go wrong with mullets. And Lambert... well they had Lambert, so they just needed the bad music and mullets.

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One cool aspect of the movie was how the film took place in a city where three major Asian ethnicities: Arabs, Indians, and the Chinese, are represented by their own section. It's kind of a throwback to old Film Noir, where Asian communities represented mystery and seduction and danger, and the tension was palpable as our hero tried to negotiate the environment. The problem is, this wasn't good Film Noir, it was crummy DTV schlock from Italy that I only rented because it had Lambert in it.

Don't believe the hype. Don't let the Lambert on the cover fool you. This isn't good. See every other Lambert movie first. If you have your choice between this and Highlander 2, and you've already seen Highlander 2, still watch this second, when everyone's ready to go to bed. It's a real snoozefest.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119794/

Whacked! (2002)

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I have no idea where I first got wind of this. It's almost like it appeared out of no where. One day I was looking for something to watch, and there it was. I'm not sure why I watched it, or why I kept watching it after it started hurting. Maybe I knew I'd write a blog about this kind of thing someday.

Whacked! is about two adopted brothers: one a CIA agent, the other a mafia hit man. They come together when Judge Reinhold discovered some dude's been stealing money, and he fears for his life, so he goes to the CIA agent for help. When the brother shows up to kill him, all kinds of wackiness ensues. Carmen Electra is like their adopted sister too.

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This is so bad. I don't even know how to describe how bad. Really bad. So bad I went to the doctor, and guess what he told me, guess what he told me? He said girl you better try and have fun no matter what you do. But he's a fool. And this sucks. Boring as hell. And the tediousness is exacerbated by these annoying flashbacks. During the film, the two main characters would be talking, and then there'd be this forced piece of dialog that would say something along the lines of "Just like that time at so-and-so's", and instead of trusting us to take their word for it that what they were discussing happened, we're saddled with a ten-minute pain interlude. How movies like this are made is one question, but why people like me subject myself to them is another entirely.

Patrick Muldoon plays the CIA agent brother. You may remember him as either the stalker dude from Melrose, or the dude who got the crap beaten out of him by Richard Norton in Rage and Honor 2. Nothing happens in this film that is anywhere near as cool as Norton telling him to keep his hands up while punching him repeatedly on top of that crane thing. It brings up an interesting question: how would you feel if your crowning cinematic achievement was getting the snot beat out of you at the end of a film you were a baddie in? Since I don't have a crowning cinematic achievement, I'd have to say I'd be delighted.

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The mafia hit man brother is played by some beefy, Play-Doh-y faced dude. I was going to crack on him unmercifully here in this space, until I read his bio on imdb, and found out he's lost both parents, a brother, and a sister. That's rough. He also doesn't look as beefy or Play-Doh-y in his picture there. Just the same, in Whacked!, he looks like a Muppet or something. I just can't figure it out. It was kind of disturbing.

But no where near as disturbing as Judge Reinhold was in this. He had this gross ponytail, and he hooks up with this really hot chick, and when he does, we get to see his pasty white body in a pair of tighty-whities. Eww. The scene where the chick's eyeball is cut off as it hangs from her face in Hostel thinks that's disgusting. You're going to give this an R rating, but Bad Lieutenant an NC-17? Where's the logic in that?

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I'm not really sure what Carmen Electra was doing in this. I'm probably less sure what she was doing in this, then the ten seconds she was in Max Havoc. Now she's doing films like Meet the Spartans, which I didn't think was that bad. Hopefully there will be enough movies out there to make fun of that the people who make those other kinds of movie will keep her employed so she'll never have to do a movie like this again. We at the DTVC are pullin' for you Carmen.

Like the plague. That's how you want to avoid this. Like it might kill one-third of Europe. It'll at least hurt enough. I just don't know how something this void of redeemable qualities is ever made. And I love really bad films, don't get me wrong. This just had too much blah and not enough fun.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289616/

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008)

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I was definitely curious to catch this the moment I got wind of it. I was all the more interested after the episode on The Two Coreys dealt with it. Then, when it showed up on Netflix, and it listed Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, I was stoked. This is like a Direct to Video Connoisseur's dream-- potentially.

Lost Boys: The Tribe takes place in the current, where a disgraced surfer and his sister move out to Cali to start a new life. They meet up with some vampires and Corey Feldman, reprising his role as Edgar Frog. The sister drank some blood from the head vampire, and the only way to keep her from being a vampire is to kill the head vamp before she feeds. Not an easy task, but the surfer dude wants to save his sister, and Feldman can't stand vampires, so they get down to business to take care of things. Haim is only in it in a short scene during the credits, and two deleted scenes.

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You know, this wasn't half bad. Okay, the first thirty minutes kind of sucked. Then Feldman shows up, talking in a fake, tongue-in-cheek, gruff voice, and the movie changes from there. Tons of blood, which I loved. A fair amount of Feldman, which was good. And the film seemed to have a sense of humor, which worked. If you can make it through the first thirty, then next hour's not bad.

Feldman was good in this. It takes a second to realize the gruff voice is a put-on. I can understand, though, if someone is annoyed by it, so proceed at your own peril. On The Two Coreys, he made it sound like he was only offered a cameo, but he's in it a fair amount. Haim, on the other hand, is pretty much not in it, and I'm not so sure that's a bad thing. In the two deleted scenes that have him, his acting is pretty bad. He's like an athlete hosting Saturday Night Live. That's kind of disappointing. Hopefully he'll be better in the future.

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The head bad guy was Angus Sutherland, Donald's son, and Kiefer's half brother. I'm not sure if they used him because of the connection with the earlier film, but he was horrible. When he talked, I thought maybe he was French or something, and English was his second language. I read nothing on imdb to suggest that, though, so that just means he sounded like a moron. His speech was kind of slurred and the words all ran together, like he might have been a glue sniffer at one time. What kind of a head bad guy is that?

The hero was played by some dude that was Stiffler's brother in one of the American Pie direct to video sequels. His little sister is played by the girl that replaced the main girl on The OC. One thing that's interesting is that she's like a year older than him, but is supposed to be younger and needing his protection. As a main protagonist, he wasn't that great, and it begs the question: why was he cast at all? It didn't seem like Haim and Feldman were that busy.

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And that brings me to my final point. Sure, this movie was fun after it got going at the 30 minute mark, but after it was all over, I found myself wondering why it was ever made. This was the same feeling I had after leaving the theater when Star Wars I came out. I mean, I understand wanting to trade on the Lost Boys name to make some cash in the DTV market, but you had Feldman and Haim right there, why not make a real sequel? I guess there's supposed to be a third one that rectifies that issue, so I don't know.

You can rent this. It's really not that bad. Feldman's good in it, so if you like him like I do, that's a decent reason. If you were really into the first one, you may not like this at all, though. It tries to tie things in, like the Sisters of Mercy song, which seems kind of forced to me, and might piss off a die-hard. I know this review sounds kind of wishy-washy, and I apologize for that. I guess I liked it, but I'm not sure I recommend it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1031254/

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jill Rips aka Jill the Ripper aka Tied Up (2000)

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I first tried to see this when my buddy TiVoed it on a Cinemax channel he was getting during a free preview. We'd hang out, go for some beers, come back, and a group of us would start it, only to succumb to the effects of the alcohol. Eventually it was erased, and the movie faded off as we watched other great Dolph Lundgren flicks. But it was at the local video store, so I decided to screen it for last year's Dolph Fest, giving it the viewing it deserved.

Despite what the box says, Jill the Ripper (my copy has that title) does not have Dolph as a cop named Murray Wilson from San Francisco, but rather a cop from Boston named Matt Sorenson. His brother's been murdered, and it's been set-up to look like a dominatrix did it. But something doesn't fit, and Dolph smells a rat, involving Boston organized crime and the building of a tunnel. As he digs and immerses himself in Boston's seedy underbelly, he goes toe-to-toe with some of Beantown's most depraved citizens. Will he solve the case before the undertow swallows him in?

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When looking this up on imdb, I noticed a user comment titled "SURPRISINGLY TOLERABLE". That probably sums this up perfectly. It's not great, by any stretch, but it's not that bad either. We had plenty to make fun of in it, and when it was all over, we all felt like we enjoyed ourselves. I'm sure part of that was the Dolph factor, and part of that was the Boston factor; but the movie itself was just bad enough without being too atrocious to make unbearable.

This was an interesting Dolph. He was still kicking ass in bars and whatnot, so you had that, but he was also going around like Spencer for Hire trying to make it happen and solve his brother's case, and then there was the whole dominatrix thing. Dolph tied up and hanging upside down was hilarious. As you may remember if you read my post on Jean Claude Van Damme's The Shepherd, the Muscles from Brussels found himself in a similar predicament. Unlike Van Damme, who seemed, at least to me, to look like Robert Downey jr. upside down, Dolph just looks like a sillier Dolph. You can see for yourself.

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I'm not going to make fun of or judge what people find sexually arousing: if tying each other up and beating each other makes a couple happy, that's cool with me. That being said, I had a big problem finding the dominatrix chick hot. Tight red leather outfit? Yes please. Red leather Mexican wrestler mask? Really, you're gonna wear that? I'm not sure what that's supposed to do for me. Is that bad? The S&M stuff is okay, but the Mexican wrestler mask is where I draw the line. Who's the weirdo here, me or them?

Though the movie's shot in Montreal, it takes place in Boston. Boston always holds a special place in my heart because it's the biggest city near where I grew up. One thing I appreciated was Dolph not attempting the Boston accent. You don't know how grating it is to hear that butchered. I don't want to say it worked as much as Harvey Keitel playing Judas with a Brooklyn accent, or Sean Connery playing a Spaniard or Russian with a Scottish one, but a Swedish Bostonian wasn't too bad.

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There's this one character who's like a mysterious bad guy that I guess holds some clues to solve the crime or whatever, and as far as the movie tells us, his name is Joe Kajavia. There is definitely a hard "K" sound in there somewhere. We wanted to find out how it was spelled, so we looked for it in the credits. Lo and behold, it's a "J". Joe Jujavia. I just don't get it. It makes zero sense. Joe Kajavia is spelled with a "J". On the other hand, however it's spelled, it's a hilarious name for a bad guy.

This isn't the best Dolph film, but it's far far from his worst. If you've seen all the other greats, and haven't seen this yet, give it a shot. Don't watch it alone, though. This is definitely a get the gang together and make fun of it. I'll be honest, my review might not have been as good had I seen it alone, and I wonder now if some of the other movies I killed could've benefited from a group screening. Let's not open that can of worms.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0199650/

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bad Lieutenant (1992)

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I first saw this film in high school. We were all still feeling the buzz from Pulp Fiction, and were looking for anything else that had anyone we liked from it. When someone came across this, starring Harvey Keitel, it was a sure bet, and became a quick hit amongst my friends.

Bad Lieutenant has Harvey Keitel as a cop living life on the edge. He's constantly strung out on drugs, is extremely crooked, and now is in it deep to a bookie after some bad baseball bets. As this is going on, a nun is raped inside her Catholic church. Keitel is assigned the case. We watch as a once talented police detective solves the case while his life disintegrates in front of us.

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This might be, bar none, the best film ever reviewed on the DTVC. It's kind of iffy as to whether or not it even belongs on here. Really, it's an indie flick that was passed up for mainstream success due to it's NC-17 rating. But it's popularity subsequently came when people picked it up in their local video stores. Most were probably like us, and saw Harvey Keitel on the cover after seeing Pulp Fiction and Reservoir of Dogs, and figured it would be cool. Maybe it doesn't fit with a Bridge of Dragons or Out for a Kill, but we don't make that decision, the movie industry does.

Watching this in high school, it was just awesome to watch Harvey Keitel do a bunch of drugs. Now that I'm older, I think I have a greater appreciation for this film. The overall feel is more French New Wave than early nineties US indie. The shots, the beats: I felt like I was watching Goddard. The other thing that made it more European was the explicit way sex was dealt with. The only time the violence matched the sexual intensity was when the nun was raped, which was very visceral. I think it's one thing American and Asian film makers can learn from their European counterparts: sex is not anything to shy away from. As far as I could tell, the sex was the biggest reason this film got an NC-17. Maybe Captivity could've been NC-17, and this rated R.

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Harvey Keitel is amazing in this. You may remember the only other film of his I reviewed on here: Star Knight with Klaus Kinski, where Keitel kept his Brooklyn accent only to mix in Shakespearian English to make himself more medieval. This film is nowhere near as comical, as you can imagine. Harvey Keitel's performance won him the Independent Spirit Award for best male lead, and it's apparent why. The raw emotion he brings to the role makes it as difficult to watch, yet impossible to turn away from, as I feel director Abel Ferrara intended. Al Pacino won his lifetime achievement best actor Oscar for Scent of a Woman in 1992, but I think anyone who's seen both pictures would've considered Keitel's performance superior. (As an aside, Pacino was nominated for best supporting actor that year for his role in Glengarry Glen Ross, which I thought was better than Hackman in Unforgiven. Of course, Alec Baldwin was better than Pacino in Glengarry... but I digress.)

The nun being raped was a very graphic scene, but it was also used as a means to introduce some real questions regarding faith and spirituality. Keitel in one moment is calling the Catholic church a racket, then later is begging Jesus to give him a direction. The nun refuses to cooperate in the investigation of her own rape, because she had forgiven the boys that perpetrated the crime, and feels that is what God wanted. Keitel tries to reason with her that she doesn't have that right, because arresting and punishing the boys could prevent other women from going through what she went through. It's interesting that religion would be debated in the midst of this depraved storyline, and yet fits organically.

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One interesting element of the plot in this is Keitel's gambling problem, which spirals out of control as he bets on a playoff series between the Dodgers and Mets. The series is made up for the movie, and part of it involves the Mets coming back from an 0-3 series deficit. As many of you may know, twelve years later, the Red Sox pulled that feat off in reality against the Yankees. I considered how that would play out if the movie was remade, and I think the use of the fictitious series works better. I could see Keitel maybe betting that the Yankees win game 4, after they shelled the Sox in game 3. But betting against Pedro in game 5, and then Shilling in game 6... no one in their right mind would do that. And a lot of baseball analysts at the time were saying if the Sox could get game 4, they were set up to push a game 7, and that's what they did.

This is a case where being a person who peruses the shelves at the local video store for anything with a recognizable person on the cover can lead to more than just a silly movie that everyone can laugh at and make fun of. This is the diamond in the rough (though the film is pretty rough on it's own), and it's a film of such a high quality that it'll amaze you that it wasn't released in more theaters. Again, Hollywood's loss is our gain.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103759/

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2002)

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I would've never considered this film if it didn't have Gary Busey and Stephen Baldwin in it. I wouldn't have given it a second look. I wouldn't've condescended to look at it funny. But it had them, so I needed to watch it. Ouch!

Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice was a poor sack of asscrack trading on the good name of the original Slap Shot. Stephen Baldwin is the player-coach of the Chiefs, and for some reason they've been sold to Gary Busey so he can have them be the Washington Generals to his Harlem Globetrotters hockey team. (Baldwin's character calls them the Washington Nationals, and I'd think it might be the writers making a joke about the state of DC's baseball club, except they were playing in Montreal when this was made, so the script writers were just dumb, and no one called them on it.) Baldwin gets them to play ball for a bit, then is given money by Busey to bounce because he's become a problem, then he can't stay away, so he brings the Hanson brothers with him to play Busey's team in a period of "real" hockey.

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My soul still hurts. It hurt from the moment the Hanson brothers rolled out onto the ice in an early scene, and Stephen Baldwin was like "you guys!" What hilarity! I could hardly contain myself! It just amazes me that the people who made this film want us to believe they even tried to do anything but use up 1 hour and 44 minutes of film and send it out with the Slap Shot name on it to move some units. It was that bad.

This is Gary Busey's eighth post on the DTVC, which is big considering not so long ago he only had five, and he was way behind non-hall of famers like Daniel Bernhardt and Ice-T. We can't have that, especially with someone as awesome as Gary Busey is. In this movie he plays a guy who's made billions off a family values movement he created. He's supposed to be the bad guy, but really, because he's Busey, he was the only one worth rooting for. When his assistant slugs him at the film's denouement, it's given to us as an applause moment, but no one's really applauding that. On the Abusive scale, I'd give it a 4.5.

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We like Stephen Baldwin here at the DTVC. Of course, in Cutaway, the other film of his we've reviewed, we saw his potential as a great actor in one scene where he sports a fake beard. Unfortunately, in that film, he never wears it again, and in this film he never wears it at all. The weak hockey cut mullet is supposed to be enough, but it so isn't. As far as his role went, he was supposed to be from Boston, but he was sporting a bad Canadian accent, so none of it worked. A huge disappointment.

Many Canadian's love Don Cherry, and I don't exactly blame them, but here in The States, we have a cat named Barry Melrose who holds it down for us hockey fans. His intermission reports back when ESPN did hockey were sometimes better viewing than the games they were covering, and that's saying a lot because I'm a huge hockey guy. He has a cameo in this where he comments that Busey's Harlem Globetrotters type hockey is an abomination. It was cool for a second, but then I realized that that meant he was in on this asinine movie. Why Barry, why?

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I'm also a huge basketball guy, which lends the question: why would this show be a travesty for hockey, but all right in basketball? Should I, as a basketball fan, be offended by the Globetrotters or the And-1 Mix-tape Tour? I don't really think so. And I'm not sure I'd be that offended if there really was a Harlem Globetrotters-type deal for hockey. I don't think I would watch it either, like the people in this movie were. It just wouldn't matter, like the Globetrotters don't matter. This movie was just stupid.

Don't go near this. Stay far, far away. I am not fucking with you. I am dead serious. You like hockey? Watch Mighty Ducks 3. You like Gary Busey? Watch Point Break. You like Stephen Baldwin? Watch Point Break. Just don't watch this, whatever you do. I had to sit with a cute little bunny rabbit and vent while petting him to erase the black mark this pain ride put on my soul.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0282171/