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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hologram Man (1995)

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This movie was thrust into my queue after I saw American Kickboxer 2 and wanted everything I could find with Evan Lurie in it. Of course, other things took precedence, from Dolph films, to getting more reviews for guys like Olivier Gruner and Gary Daniels, to our new Wild Card posts on Friday that spotlight mainstream films. Mr. Lurie, along with Hologram Man, was simply lost in the shuffle.

Hologram Man takes place in one of those futures that looks suspiciously like early 1990s LA, where John Amos and Joe Lara play cops after Evan Lurie's gang. In case you're wondering, Lurie's character is named Norman "Slash" Gallagher, and though a relation to the prop comic isn't explicitly mentioned, it's definitely apparent. Anyway, Slash is arrested by Lara after Lurie kills Amos, and Slash is sentenced to holographic detention, or something like that. His likeness is turned into a hologram, and an attempt is made to reprogram him. However many years later, a corporation has taken over LA, runs it like a dictatorship, and when Slash comes up for parole, they want nothing to do with letting him go. That's when the talking Daryl from Newhart turns Lurie into a walking hologram with special powers, and all hell breaks loose. Slash wants to start a revolution from the corporate dictatorship controlling LA, but Joe Lara knows that Slash's brand of government will be no utopia either.

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I loved this movie. And I know you'll like it too, at least I hope you will, because if you're reading this there's already an unsaid agreement that films that start with shootouts where John Amos blows away bad guys with exploding bullets, and then some vehicle reappropriated from the Mad Max lot cruises in and blows up cars too, are the most amazing films ever. And if we have that unsaid agreement, then when an Evan Lurie (who also wrote this gem) rocking braids appears in hologram form, it's understood that we both feel like life can't get any better for us at that point.

Bad movies, or really any movies for that matter, are like wines. The person with no experience drinking them can only discern the difference between red and white. The novice knows what makes a Pinot a Pinot, and a Cab Sav a Cab Sav. It's the person who loves wine that can tell you what makes a Russian River Pinot different from a Chilean one, can taste fruits when everyone else can only taste alcohol, and will get angry if you buy him or her a bottle of Yellow Tail for Christmas. I realized just how much I was that way with movies, when I found myself knowing subconsciously what made Hologram Man a distinctly PM Entertainment bad action movie, as opposed to one of the Golan-Globus variety. I could spend days boring you with the minutiae between the two major action producers, but let's just say that in 2010, I'll be exploring more of PM Entertainment's contribution to the world of DTV.

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Man we love us some Evan Lurie here at the DTVC. Again, it's a shame that he has such a small filmography. Who saw American Kickboxer 2 and didn't think this was one of the greatest men alive? imdb is very scant on details about him, so who knows if he's still alive, but he hasn't made a film since 1997's Operation Cobra. Seriously, Evan, if you're out there, and you're reading this, we love you. Get back in the game. Write Hologram Man 2 if you have to. Anyway, there are about 8 more films we can review from Mr. Lurie, so I guess I better do that before I go asking for more movies from him.

As much as Evan Lurie is awesome, Joe Lara really isn't. It is surprising that 400+ posts in, and this is the first time Mr. Lara has made an appearance. There are a few, like Armstrong, which I've been meaning to get to, so expect to see him a little more as 2010 rolls on. That may or may not be a good thing for everyone. You be the judge.

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I should say something quickly about the science behind the holograms that become people in this film-- it's hilarious. I'm sure if you went over all the other reviews we've done here at the DTVC, you'd find occasions where I read someone the riot act for how ridiculous whatever they were selling us in terms of how realistic or plausible it was. In this case, to do that would make me look stupider than the holograms dipped in a space age polymer so they became humans again were. Sometimes it's better to sit back, laugh, and enjoy it, instead of being critical.

I got this on Netflix, which is a huge score considering the quality of film it was. That this is on DVD at all is amazing, and I'd rent it while you can before it falls out of print, which isn't all that unfathomable. As Martha Stewart would say "It's a very good thing."

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113318/

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Max Havoc: Ring of Fire (2006)

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I found this on Watch Instantly, and since I'd already seen the Albert Pyun directed Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon, I figured I'd give it a try. This isn't directed by the DTVC Hall of Fame director, but does have a star studded cast, including Dean Cain, Rae Dawn Chong, and Martin Kove.

Max Havoc: Ring of Fire takes place I guess after Curse of the Dragon, but it's not really apparent. Anyway, Havoc is in a Seattle that doesn't look like Seattle, staying at a hotel owned by Dean Cain to take pictures of a tennis star who is on her comeback. He's still running from his past as a kickboxer who killed a guy in the ring, but he's been pressed into action after he tracks his stolen camera equipment to a mission in a poor district run by Rae Dawn Chong. The mission is attacked by some local toughs, Havoc beats them off, and finds out things are deeper than just gang violence. The more he digs, the more Dean Cain and police lieutenant Martin Kove look like they might be as innocent as they seem.

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I don't know how to play this one. It worked for me, but strictly in terms of bad action. There isn't much else to it. The dialog is atrocious and the plot is pretty standard, so you're really only in this for Mickey Hardt beating the crap out of people, which isn't bad. Based on the constant fade-outs at perfect commercial points and the way the credits didn't roll at the end, but rather appeared and disappeared the way they would on a TV show, I thought this may have had a previous life as a Made for TV Movie. I couldn't find any proof of that on imdb. The other thing I considered, based on the cast and pacing, was it might have been a pilot for a syndicated action show. Again, I found no proof of that. I guess in the grand scheme of things, the only reason to watch it is if you've seen all the bad action films you like too much already, and you just want to try something new.

I don't know what was up with the Dean Cain dye job. Wow. I don't know how I feel about him as a bad guy either. It's just not a good look, even more so than the bleached hair. He's one who does more Made for TV than Direct to Video movies, so we don't see him very often at the DTVC. According to imdb, among his 12 in-development projects, one is Abandoned, the last film Brittany Murphy was working on before she died.

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One actress that I really liked in this was Christina Cox. Usually when we see her, she's playing a tough woman, like a member of a mercenary team or something, so a glamorous tennis star was a change of pace. Her athletic build works better in dresses and painted on jeans than it does in army fatigues. I'm not saying army fatigues aren't hot too, just that it's good to mix it up once in a while.

Though this is the fifth Martin Kove film we've done at the DTVC, it's only the second since September of 2007. A travesty, really. I mean, this guy was a staple for me growing up in the 80s and 90s, and it's surprising that in three years he's not at least into double figures, let alone only half way there. It's not anything I did on purpose either, it just sort of happened that way. Hopefully now with the big names like Dolph, Seagal, and Van Damme having complete DTV filmographies reviewed here, we'll have more time to celebrate the greatness that is The Kove.

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I've only been to Seattle once in my life, for five days, one of which was spent in Portland, Oregon, so I don't know the city inside and out, but I'd seen enough of it to know immediately that this film wasn't shot there. It didn't take long to guess too that it was filmed in Vancouver, even though I'd never been there. What I don't understand is, why even say it's set in Seattle? If none of it has anything to do with famous aspects of Seattle, why not just set it in Vancouver? Or do like Highlander: The Series did, and set it in the fictitious city of Seacouver.

I can't recommend this because there's a good chance you'll watch it and say "what a useless sack of asscrack", which is fine. I kind of liked it, but in an acquired taste sort of way. That's not enough to recommend it. I like Mickey Hardt, and it's too bad these are the only two English language films he's done. It might be worth it if you're an action connoiseur to check this out for him, but that's a big might.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0403279/

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Way of War (2009)

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I watched this not long after I saw Wrong Turn at Tahoe, because I had it on Watch Instantly, and Netflix was removing it. I would've waited on it to put some space between my Cuba Gooding jr. DTV films, but when forced with the decision of whether to waste a DVD rental on it in the future, or get it out of the way now directly on my computer, I chose the latter. Maybe I should've just let it evaporate from my queue and never watched it-- ever.

The Way of War has Cuba Gooding jr. as an elite special forces guy sent on a secret mission that was bad and stuff. What follows is a mess of double crosses and people killing people related to this or that element. To say anything more would be to pretend this was somewhat decent.

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The first user review I saw of this on imdb was titled "CUBA, what were you THINKING !?!?" The only thing I could think was he did it for children who have trouble sleeping, because this snoozefest, if it wasn't for the violence, would work better than anything I could think of to put kids to sleep. Hell, it put me to sleep twice when I watched it. I'm not kidding. It's like Lunesta without the side effects like depression and thoughts of suicide. Pending FDA approval.

Hey Cuba, how has your stay been at the DTV Hotel? You need more towels? Oh, because you have to take so many showers to wash away the dirty you feel after making such a sack of asscrack as this. I guess looking at the Oscar on the mantel doesn't work anymore like it did with Snow Dogs and Daddy Day Camp. The reality is, if this is the best you can do in the DTV world, why not just stick to Boat Trip? Is it worth it that much to play a dark, brooding, cold-blooded killer, even if it's in a horribly written cinematic tranquilizer?

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For most people who find out that I have a blog that focuses on Direct to Video movies, when I mention Cuba Gooding jr.'s films they always say "Cuba Gooding jr. does [DTV]? Didn't he win an Oscar?" imdb is not very clear on what happened, so I went to Wikipedia to get the lowdown on him. All they could say was that after As Good as It Gets, his films were "inconsistently successful" and that he did some that were critically panned or did poorly in the box office. They also mention his bright spot recently in American Gangster. Maybe he just decided if the best he could do in Hollywood was Norbit, he'd try different roles in DTV. The Wikipedia article does say he trained in martial arts before becoming an actor, which I didn't know, so maybe Hollywood, based on his reputation as a good guy, would never let him be the action guy he wanted. The problem is, he's taking DTV roles that are complete crap. I guess the question is, again, is it worth it?

The dad from Juno is in this as well. He was one of the bright spots, and he and Cuba acted well together. The best way to look at his part is pretty much the dad from Juno as the head of an elite special forces unit, only without any of the great Oscar winning dialog. There's a reason why, on imdb, Cuba's name and his name are set apart from everyone else's. The only other talent was Clarence Williams III, or Link from The Mod Squad, and his name is buried near the bottom-- probably better than being at the top when dealing with a sack of asscrack like this.

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One thing that was kind of cool was the amount of Washington Redskins memorabilia. I do think they should change their name to something else, in part because the name's offensive, but more because it doesn't really fit the city. The Beltways or Traffic Jams is better, or maybe the Taxations without Representations. Anyway, I remember in the 80s and early 90s, the Redskins were good, and as a Patriots fan, I was jealous of how good they were. Boy do times change. One team gets a good owner, the other gets a shitty one, and the rest is history.

I don't know how much more explicitly I can say this: STAY AWAY! According to imdb it's airing on TMC on Tuesday December 29th. Again, STAY AWAY! If you're having trouble sleeping, watch the Weather Channel or drink some warm milk.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1133995/

Friday, December 25, 2009

Die Hard (1988)

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I'm often asked this time of year what my favorite Christmas movie is, and my response is the same every time: Die Hard. The response to that is always "I never really thought of that as a Christmas movie." Well, you motherfucking should. I couldn't give a shit less about families and kids and grumpy old men discovering the true meaning of Christmas-- the true meaning of Christmas is Bruce Willis in his bloody bare feet gunning down stuntmen with German accents. "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho."

Die Hard has Bruce Willis as cop John McClane, who comes out to LA from NYC to visit his wife on Christmas Eve. Problem is, German criminal mastermind Hans Gruber has decided to steal the $600 million worth of bonds locked away in a vault in the building his wife works at. While he's there changing into his party clothes, everyone she works with is taken hostage-- but he escapes. Now he's the fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench, the pain in the ass-- he's Hans' worst nightmare.

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As an action fan, there is before Die Hard and after Die Hard. The idea of having a guy in a building full of criminals and making him fight his way through them was born here, and no one, including the film's three sequels, were able to do it better. The mixture of action, explosions, great one-liners, and 80s excess, brought together with the amazing talents of Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman, makes this one of the best movies of all time, and, at the very least, my favorite Christmas movie ever.

According to imdb, Willis was the fifth choice for the role of McClane. It's funny to think at the time that that seemed right, because until then he'd only really been in Moonlighting and some other comedic roles. The idea of him as an action hero didn't make much sense, and maybe after it doesn't make much sense either, but in Die Hard he was so perfect. Just one of those things where the fates were in our favor, because anyone else and Die Hard wouldn't be Die Hard.

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My favorite set of lines comes when Hans' men shoot rockets at the armored vehicle the cops send in to take them down. It goes something like "Hans you motherfucker you made your point, let them pull back!" "Okay Mr. Cowboy, I'll take it under advisement. Hit it again." I remember Jim Rome on his show quoted it as a metaphor for a Florida beatdown of Georgia, I think. There are so many other ones to choose from, though. Another one my friends and I used to do as a joke was "And the quarterback is toast!" That had to be like the geekiest cheesiest line ever. Thank you Clarence Gilyard jr. Also, if you're in for making your own one-liners, the terrorist who takes over the front desk looked a lot like Huey Lewis, so you could pretty much insert any Huey Lewis and the News title in when you see him.

What better Scrooge to have than Alan Rickman. I know he's playing a German, but the Brits always make the best baddies. Maybe it is that tradition of having one of the ultimate baddies, Mr. Scrooge, as a part of their legacy. Speaking of Brits, I wonder if anyone's made a Boxing Day movie. That would be awesome to have Rickman be a bad guy in that too. Seeing this again made me remember that I still need to see Snow Cake, which stars him and Sigourney Weaver. I just put it in my queue and realized it came out in 2006. Funny how a movie can be pushed aside for years like that without me even knowing it had been that long.

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Before I wrap this up, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the comedic interplay between two great actors, Reginald VelJohnson and Paul Gleason. RVJ you may be familiar with from the Perfect Strangers spin-off Family Matters, where he essentially plays the same character he played in Die Hard. Paul Gleason, of course, is Principle Vernon in The Breakfast Club. How can you not love both of these guys? The only thing that would've made this pairing better would've been if RVJ asked Gleason if "Barry Manilow knew [he] raided his wardrobe."

And there you have it, my favorite Christmas movie of all time. I don't call it the best, because I know some people prefer horror, sci-fi, or comedies, so there are probably films out there that they would enjoy more. For me, though, it just isn't Christmas without John McClane saying "Yippee ky-ay motherfucker!" So, I'd like to extend my own warmest yippee ky-ay motherfucker to you and yours this holiday season.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095016/

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Night Train (2009)

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I was trying to find a third film for our Christmas celebration and saw that Night Train, with Leelee Sobieski and Danny Glover, was coming out on Tuesday, and it took place on Christmas. I just wasn't sure I'd get it in time to review it, so I didn't announce it on Monday, but here it is, so here we go.

Night Train is a Noir-ish type thriller about a guy who boards a train and dies with a mysterious package. In the same car as him is med student Sobieski and drunk salesman Steve Zahn. When conductor Danny Glover shows up and sees the body, they convince him to dump it in the river and keep what's in his box-- what we think are diamonds. Turns out the box isn't what it appears, and has mystical powers which can curse anyone who sees inside of it, leading to his or her death. At that point, the film devolves into a massacre where everyone kills everyone else.

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There are three types of films: the ones that start out great and end great; the ones that start out great and end poorly; and the ones that you can tell from the start that it's going to be a rough 90 minutes. Night Train was definitely the third type, but around the 40 minute mark it looked like it might make a turn for the better with the introduction of new characters, especially a one Mr. Gutman (named for Sydney Greenstreet's character in the Film Noir classic The Maltese Falcon). That lasted 8 minutes, before Gutman was killed, and it turned out the box wasn't just diamonds, but some mystical device with supernatural powers. Then the film devolved into the mess I described above. Beyond that, a lot of the scenes were poorly written too. Suspense was replaced by bad plot devices to keep information from us: you can't see what the characters see until we want you to; or the train is big so it takes forever for someone to get to the dead body they need to find. It was extremely tedious.

And that's too bad, because with a better written Film Noir, Glover, Zahn, and Sobieski would've been great. Glover might not have been a Bogart type, but definitely a Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity type, and he played that role really well. Zahn had the job of the Peter Lorre character, and he did his part just was well. And Sobieski was really great as the Film Noir black widow. Had the film kept the diamonds real and not devolved into a silly shoot out, it could've pretty decent, especially when the Gutman character came in. Instead it just sucked.

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Danny Glover was as good as you'd imagine him. As I said, he felt more like Fred MacMurray than Bogart, but his motives were totally different than MacMurray's were in Double Indemnity. Here he was doing all of this for his sick wife, and it was a constant struggle for him, as ramifications of the situation would escalate, to see whether or not the money was still worth it, or as the realization hit him that he couldn't turn back. The problem was, he was dealing with such a bad story, it made it hard for him to take that character to the level he should've been at. By the way, my all time favorite Danny Glover film is Predator 2.

Leelee Sobieski was really good as the Film Noir black widow. Again, it's too bad that based on the story her behavior was derived from some mythical box, as opposed to her just being a psychopath. She had all the elements: the sexiness, the art of manipulation, and the ability to become a cold-blooded killer when the need arose. I'd like to see her in more films like this-- preferably ones that are better written.

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I haven't gotten to the Christmas aspect, so I'll do that now. Though the film was set at Christmas time on this train, Christmas didn't play an overt role in the story, but was rather the backdrop. One could see the film as a metaphor for the need for wealth that consumes our society-- a need that's exacerbated during the holidays. You could almost say that this is in Film Noir form what the crime spree Arnold Schwarzengger goes on in Jingle All the Way was in bad comedy form. Again, had the box been real diamonds and not some mythical thing, it would've been a much better message, and much more believable, especially with the Glover angle and the need to care for his sick wife. To Night Train's credit though, they didn't have James Belushi and Sinbad, so they were better off there.

Throw out the box having mythical powers, and you still have a pretty poorly written story, even if the overall plot would've been better, but I think the box having mythical powers made this film unbearable. That sucks, because after Wrong Turn at Tahoe, we now have two consecutive bad new release Film Noirs in a row. I would say if you want some good, new Film Noir, check out Assassination of a High School President, if you haven't already.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1020055/

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Make the Yuletide Gay (2009)

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The title to this film caught my eye immediately, and I figured, what better movie to have during Christmas week. I didn't have great expectations, but the inclusion of Gates McFadden was a selling point. So, let's Make the Yuletide Gay. Let's.

Make the Yuletide Gay is a Romantic Comedy about a college student, Olaf, who is very out and proud at the university he attends. At home it's a different story, and his Midwestern parents still don't know he's gay. For the holidays, his boyfriend, Nate, was planning on flying home to see his own parents, but when they ditch him for a cruise, he decides to surprise Olaf at home, having no idea that Olaf is still in the closet. What follows is a series of double entendres, funny moments of misunderstandings, and the message that, while you can choose your lovers or your friends, you can't choose your sexuality or your family, and if you have one that's understanding and accepting, you should be thankful.

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Wow, I really liked this. I usually hate Romantic Comedies, but this was great. The jokes were all funny, and though they were often sexual in nature, none of them were tasteless. This isn't your Brokeback movie about gay people, it's much more light-hearted, while never forgetting what a tough decision it is for any gay person to come out to his or her family, no matter how understanding and liberal that family may seem. Where Santa's Slay beat all that holiday sappiness into a bloody pulp, Make the Yuletide Gay kind of made me like it again.

Of all the major cinematic genres out there, I think there might be none I despise more than the Romantic Comedy. Perhaps the sub-genre of the Holiday Romantic Comedy. It's just the themes and the stories are so contrived and so absurd that it's beyond nauseating. Not only that, but they send bad messages to men in society, because often the male lead resorts to stalking tactics to get the girl, and he's often rewarded for it with what he wants, instead of a restraining order and a court date, like he should get. I think where this one worked was how the tension in Nate and Olaf's relationship felt real, not contrived. There was no girl with a guy she didn't belong with, we had two men trying to cope with one's decision to not come out to his family. And the resolution involved no stalking, no one being left at the altar, and was actually nice, well written, and well acted. Maybe it wasn't the Romantic Comedy I hated, but how they were made by mainstream Hollywood.

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Gates McFadden is a favorite at the DTVC, in part because of her work on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but more due to my buddy Ian and I, when we watched National Treasure, our running joke throughout the film was to say "McFadden" every time someone said Cage's character's name, "Gates". It never got old, as it shouldn't. She's barely in this as Nate's mom, which is okay by me. She was always hotter on Star Trek in that formfitting uniform.

The dad in this was a former hippie that had fried most of his brains on pot, and often had no idea what he was doing. The best of his scenes was one where he was trying to do a crossword puzzle, and asks "what is the deal with all these nine-letter words?" His wife explains that he's doing a Sudoku, which he forgets a few minutes later when he says "I need a nine-letter word that ends in a '4'." It was probably my favorite nonsexual joke in the whole film.

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When making sexual jokes, there's a thin line between obnoxious and gross, and really funny, and this film did a great job of staying as far in the latter as possible. I know if I tried to recite some of them, I'd fail and end up in the former. What's interesting about how well the jokes are done, is that one could watch the film with children, and they probably wouldn't get them, but any adult would catch them immediately. It's a level creativity-- almost class-- that you wouldn't expect when listening to constant jokes about sex.

I would recommend this film very much. As of right now it's available on Netflix's Watch Instantly, which is a great way to see it with very little monetary risk. It really is a much better way to make a Romantic Comedy than the usual paradigm, and I hope Hollywood will catch on, though I doubt it, considering how popular the current Romantic Comedy format is. Also better than almost any holiday family film I've ever seen.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1305714/

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa's Slay (2005)

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We're starting off our DTVC celebration of Christmas in style with Santa's Slay. What's better than an enormous Jew that was a former champion pro wrestler playing a murderous Viking version of Santa? Really, the better question is, what's more DTVC?

Santa's Slay has Bill Goldberg as an evil Santa Claus who was only nice to kids because an angel tricked him into a losing a bet on a curling match. To pay his end of the wager, he's had to spend the last 1000 years giving presents to kids, instead of killing them. Now the 1000 years are up, so he's headed to Hell Township in the Northern US to wreak some havoc. He's got a score to settle, and he'll take pleasure in killing anyone in his way. Now it's up to one high school kid, his girlfriend, and his grandfather, played by Robert Culp, to stop him.

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This is pretty sweet. The cover leads one to believe it's a horror film, but really it's more of an action film with horror elements. The beginning is great too. It's your classic bad Christmas comedy film with a family that doesn't get along, and they even have cameos from actors and actresses like Fran Drescher, Christ Kattan, and an uncredited James Caan. Then Goldberg comes down the chimney, and kills them all, letting us know we're watching a different kind of Christmas movie. Everything from that point on is a joke, and I liked a lot of them, especially Santa and the angel curling. Everything you think of in a Christmas movie is turned into violence-- which is just how we like it.

My friends and I used to love watching WCW wrestling when I was in college, especially Monday Night Nitro. It was hilarious, between the characters and the NWO and all that. That being said, I was never much of a Goldberg fan. I don't know, Hollywood Hulk Hogan just worked better for me. Maybe if I was taking it seriously Goldberg would've been my man, but seeing how good he was here as an evil Santa, I realize him being serious as a wrestler was the real missed opportunity, because he would've made a great Hollywood Hulk Hogan type. I haven't seen Half Past Dead 2 yet, but I have a feeling he isn't as good in that as he is in this.

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Robert Culp is great. We last saw him in the Olivier Gruner flick Mercenary, and he was great there too. His work has slowed somewhat over the past few years, with the bulk of his work after Santa's Slay being the less arduous voice work for video games, but that can be expected considering he'll be 80 next summer. Still, no matter what role he does, no matter how poor or how silly the film, he always brings his A game.

I'm not a big fan of Christmas, just so you know, and I didn't even want to do a week of Christmas films until the end of last week, when I just decided to go for it. I don't know, it's just the way this country is held hostage for one month every year, between the atrocious music, the crowds at stores, and the stupid Christmas specials on TV. Am I coming off too cantankerous? Perhaps, but I'm not sorry for it. Anyway, this movie let me watch as all the things I hate about Christmas are beaten into a bloody pulp by Bill Goldberg, and now I feel a lot better.

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It's time for me to make a big confession: I have a thing for Fran Drescher. I know, the voice is an issue for some people, but I don't think she talks like that in real life, and if she does, it's still not an issue for me. I just thought she was so hot on The Nanny, even if the show itself did nothing for me and I've never watched a full episode of it. I was very disappointed when Goldberg killed her at the beginning of Santa's Slay. Also I thought I'd mention that the hero's girlfriend, played by Emilie de Ravin. People might know her from Lost, but she was also on the amazing syndicated show BeastMaster. Any chance I can get to bring up BeastMaster on this blog is goo. Oh, and don't get me started on why I think BeastMaster was a better show than Lost.

I better wrap this up before I get on a huge tangent. If you're looking for some off-beat Christmas viewing, this is a great place to start. It's not too long, very few dead moments, and a lot of fun to boot. A great way to kick off our holiday celebration.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0393685/

Friday, December 18, 2009

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

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This is another film that the box office bomb slot was made for. Until the new Hulk film was released in 2003 (can you believe Ang Lee directed that? Almost as bad as Gavin Hood directing X-Men Origins: Ben Vereen), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was regarded as the gold standard for bad comic book movies. Okay, there was also Batman and Robin. But this was up there.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is the Golan-Globus entry in the Man of Steel saga. While a corporate tycoon is taking over the Daily Planet and turning it into a tabloid rag, a boy tells Superman he wants him to rid the world of nuclear weapons, so that's what he does. Only Lex Luthor has his own plan, and he uses a strand of Superman's hair to create a person as powerful as Superman, which he installs in one of the nuclear bombs Superman is destroying. Did I mention Superman is throwing the bombs at the sun? Anyway, Nuclear Man is born from the sun and a nuclear bomb, and now Superman has to do everything he can to stop him.

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At the time it came out I thought this movie was crap, and though I'm not saying it isn't completely, I can see what they were going for... at least I hope. If this was a serious attempt at serious film, then it's crap; but what I saw was a send up of screwball comedies from the 40s and 50s, an homage to the old Batman series and Godzilla movies, and an overall attempt to have fun with it. If that's the case, then I have to get behind it, because I certainly had fun.

At the same time, one can't watch this and not see the connection between it and Tim Burton's Batman which came out a couple years later. He totally turned the comic book movie on its ear, and Jack Nicholson gave us a comic book villain like none we'd ever seen, in a way influencing the actual comic book upon which it was based, because writers and artists changed their own interpretation of Batman and the Joker after. I mean, I have to feel that that Batman was at least in part a reaction to this Superman. For me, I think both films have their place. Sure, The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2 were better films than Superman IV, but there's nothing wrong with getting a little goofy with it. Unlike Ang Lee's Hulk, which was trying to be serious and was just bad, I think this one did take a page from the old Batman of the 60s-- Superman being fluent in Italian and Russian, his speech about the safety of the public transit system after he saves a runaway subway train-- it all just worked on that level for me. Comparing The Dark Knight and Superman IV at first seems easy, but in reality, it's more apples and oranges than one might think.

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The end battle between Superman and Nuclear Man was amazing. It was a perfect Godzilla style showdown, right down to Nuclear Man's growling and the look on Superman's face when he blew his ice breath-- his eyes had that same vacant look that Godzilla's always did. Again, if this wasn't done on purpose, then it came off as crappy, but if it was, then it was perfect. Also, in making Nuclear Man, the film does a great job paying tribute to the old Frankenstein movie, which we discussed some at length here on Halloween. I guess it's all in how you see this stuff, it's either an homage, or a rip-off.

One thing that should be pointed out is no matter how silly this was on purpose, it was packaged to us as a serious film by Golan-Globus, and in the end, when it didn't do well, it cost them quite a bit. The reality is, for us American Ninja fans, seeing a silly send up of Superman movies works, but the vast majority of the viewing audience isn't into that. Scenes of Superman flying that are pretty much Conan O'Brien driving-his-desk-around-the-world quality images are funny, but if you're paying good money to see this in a theater and are expecting good special effects, you may not be laughing as much, and you're probably telling your friends to avoid it at all costs. 12 years later it's easy for me to see this for what it was, but at the time the focus was on what it wasn't, and I don't blame anyone for that.

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My last paragraph is on the late Christopher Reeves and Margot Kidder. These were the pop culture embodiments of Superman and Lois Lane, and for us who grew up in the 80s, they still are. Reeves just had it in spades, and no one since has been able to pull off that combination of geeky Clark Kent and heroic Superman. I think here he showed just how talented he was as an actor beyond Superman, by doing the tongue-and-cheek bits so well. He would've been great playing a Gary Grant part in a screwball comedy, or taking over Adam West's role in a similar TV version of Superman. Because we pigeon-holed him as Superman, we didn't realize how much we lost when he had his tragic accident. This movie also reaffirmed for me why Margot Kidder was better than Teri Hatcher for the role of Lois. She always gave the role this Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story quality that I really liked; and I understand that Teri Hatcher was given the task of modernizing Lois Lane, but I'm not sure something like that should've been modernized. Kidder in her outfits that were feminine takes on masculine office attire and her take charge attitude toward being a reporter at the Daily Planet, blended seamlessly with her giddiness and nervousness at the prospect of cooking for Superman. It would be interesting to see if anyone could pull that off today.

If you haven't seen this in a while, you may want to give it a spin for the fun of it. You can currently see it on Netflix's Watch Instantly, so if you have that, it's a cheap and easy way to make it happen. I'm not sure it's worth buying, but if I saw it in someone's collection, I'd totally respect it-- if they thought it was funny too, of course.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094074/

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Samurai Cop (1989)

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I felt I needed to make up for what I saw as the Robert Z'Dar debacle last week by featuring a film where his face was out in center. I realize at this point that perhaps I am the only one with an issue with a film using Robert Z'Dar and hacking up his face. I want everyone to know that that will not keep me from reviewing the other two Maniac Cops at the DTVC, considering those are probably the films he is best known for... even if that's hard for me to admit.

Samurai Cop is about a gang called The Kitana that are trying to take over LA. The LAPD won't have that, so they call in a Samurai Cop, who is really just guy who looks like a reject from a Nelson video with a thick mane of hair and a penchant for sleeping with or discussing sexual relations with every woman he sees. The Kitana are ready for this Samurai Cop with a samurai of their own, the bulbous-headed Robert Z'Dar. Now it's war, and only one man will be left standing.

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This could've been awesome. This could've been one of the greatest. There was one thing that held it back: a scene where scream queen Melissa Moore is tortured by having hot bacon grease poured on her torso. Why? I mean, you had this one nailed. The lines were ridiculous, Robert Z'Dar's face was in full effect, the hero's hair was at times replaced by a wig that made him look ridiculous-- and then you had to blow it with the bacon grease scene.

But that's okay, though. Again, that's my own personal issue, and other than that, the rest of this film is one of the most amazing things ever done in cinema. One of my favorite lines was from their police chief, who said "I feel like someone shoved a club up my ass... and it hurts!" Who says that? Why would you say that? And the hero was so amazing. The hair, the lines. Oh, and the Speedo, did I forget to mention that? Yep, he rocks a Speedo while wooing a broad on the beach. So maybe it's not a ten, but it's a nine in my book.

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One cool addition to the DVD is the Robert Z'Dar interview. He actually seems kind of affable. His face has also swelled quite a bit since this film was made. You almost wouldn't recognize him. Joe Bob Briggs, in his intro to the film, referred to Z'Dar as "The Face", but because "he has only one expression throughout the film." Um... Joe Bob... I think he's known as "The Face" because of the size of it, not the expressions on it. This is the first of many Z'Dar films we'll be showing this year, so get ready.

And yes, I did mention a Joe Bob Briggs intro in the previous paragraph. He not only has an introduction to the movie, but he does commentary too, which I listened to a little bit. Man do we all miss him. I understand that TNT makes out much better with New Classics like Ransom and The Family Man, but what about the children, huh? What about us? We loved having Joe Bob there screening real New Classics like Virtual Assassin and Voodoo. Here's to you, Joe Bob Briggs, you are one of the good ones.

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I'm sure you know MTV has a new show called The Jersey Shore, which is pretty much The Real World set at the Jersey Shore with a bunch of Guidos and Guidettes. It got me thinking, I wish I had an ethnic identity like that that I could relate too, that had horrible stereotypes that I could take ownership of. So I tried to think of what silly things the worst French Canadians do, and the only thing that came to mind was how they invaded the Maine beaches every summer, rocking their Speedos. No way I'm doing that. But our hero did. And why wouldn't he? And he's not even French Canadian.

So if you can handle a little of what Joe Bob affectionately referred to as "Bacon Grease-Foo", you'll love this movie. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's ridiculous, but I can safely say you won't feel like someone shoved a club up your ass afterward.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0130236/

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No Retreat, No Surrender (1986)

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This is it for our Jean-Claude Van Damme DTV films. He now joins Dolph and Seagal as an actor with his entire DTV oeuvre reviewed here at the DTVC. It's a very cool moment, even if this film is a straight up sack-of-asscrack.

No Retreat, No Surrender is about this toolbag Osmond reject whose dad moves him and his mom to Seattle after the family dojo is taken over by organized crime bosses, and the bosses' hachetman, Van Damme, breaks the dad's leg. In Seattle, the kid struggles to fit in when a fat kid at the local dojo with a grudge tells an a-hole sensei there that the kid thinks LA is cool and Seattle drools. Now it turns into a Karate Kid rip-off, as the ghost of Bruse Lee visits the kid in his imagination and trains him to be a better martial artist, and worlds collide as Van Damme and the baddies return to take over the dojo from the local tool bags that stomped him earlier in the film.

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This was excruciating. Sure it was ridiculous and hilarious and so good to make fun of, but the Karate Kid plot is hard to sit through, because we know everything that's going to happen, and when the only curve ball to the paradigm we can get is the ghost of Bruce Lee teaching this moron of a kid, it's funny for like a minute, before we realize we still have 50 minutes worth of story to get through where we already know what's going to happen. I'm not sure if I'd call it amazing 80s action cheese, especially after the Golan-Globus week we did around Thanksgiving, where we really did celebrate quality 80s action cheese.

We've had a couple discussions here at the DTVC about why Van Damme doesn't play bad guys in bigger movies today instead of take some of the poorer roles in bad Romanian DTV films like he does. If any movie gives insight into why he chooses the films he does, it has to be this one. It must have hurt his soul to have to pretend on screen that this Osmond family reject was kicking his ass. I bet when he became famous, he said "I will never let that happen again!" The next Van Damme film to be released will actually be the next Dolph film as well, Universal Soldier: Regeneration. It's coming, February of 2010. Can't wait.

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One twist on the Karate Kid paradigm was the ending, where, instead of confronting the tools at the local dojo that stomped him, our hero watched Van Damme beat the crap out of them, and then our hero takes down Van Damme. Who came up with that? Who do we root for when Van Damme is crushing these toolbags? I rooted for him to beat the snot out of them. And I understand that the Osmond reject had a score to settle with Van Damme for breaking his dad's leg, but the sense was he was doing it for a girl and the respect of the locals. The proper way this should've been handled, was our hero goes to the dojo after training under the imaginary ghost of Bruce Lee, kicks those guys' asses, and then they need him to fight Van Damme, because they can't handle him, and the Osmond reject can line up all his ducks in a row, getting revenge on everybody who made his life difficult.

The reason why the ending was the way it was, though, was because of the amount of montages in the middle. There were multiple ones, and the music for each was stellar, whether it was the synthesizer, or the Survivor cover bad performing original work for the first time, it all worked for me. Sure, the film and story were excruciating, but the music was the balm on my wounds that made it easier to handle.

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Though this film took place in Seattle, it looked like it was filmed in LA or some place further south. Is that right? I mean, if there are palm trees in Seattle, I didn't see them. Also, at no point did it rain. And there were no Seattle sports teams featured. It was like a name as opposed to the real city, like Biloxi, or Poughkeepsie. What was the point of even going to Seattle then? Oh, footage of the Space Needle when they entered the city at the beginning, and Bruce Lee was buried there. That's right.

This is another film not available on DVD yet, and I'm not sure if it will ever be, especially if Van Damme has any say in the matter. I bet if he had his way, he'd beat the crap out of all the Osmonds, just because the kid who beats him in this movie looks like he could've been one. Can you see Donny pleading for Van Damme to leave him and his family alone, completely clueless as to why the Muscles From Brussels has broken into his house and is practicing his kickboxing moves on his face.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089695/

Monday, December 14, 2009

Enter the Ninja (1981)

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If you want to look for the genesis of the ninja in American pop culture in the 80s, this is a great place to start, even though this film itself is a little light on the Japanese assassin. It really was the American Ninjas and the ninja films later in this series that started the boom, but that doesn't mean this is any less worthy of a review.

Enter the Ninja is a Golan-Globus film with Franco Nero (from this point on, The Stash) as a Westerner who becomes a ninja, and visits his friend in the Philippines. Beyond the fact the friend looks like a smaller James Caan in The Godfather, he's also having trouble with a local strongman that wants him to sell his huge ranch. His wife loves the ranch, and doesn't want to sell, and The Stash thinks if his friend wants his ranch, that no strongman will take it from him, so he takes out wave upon wave of local toughs. Finally, the corporate dude funding the strongman decides he needs to hire his own ninja, so he employs Shô Kosugi, The Stash's rival from ninja school, to take him down. Do we really see that happening?

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This is pretty ridiculous. First off, Kosugi would've made a better lead, and this problem was corrected in Revenge of the Ninja. I agree that it was plenty believable that The Stash could take Kosugi, because everyone fears The Stash, I just would've preferred Kosugi as the hero. Second was the lack of actual ninjas. If you compare this to the American Ninja films, which were chock full of ninjas, it's a disappointment. Finally there's The Stash. How can you not love The Stash? I'd love him more if he was dressed as a ninja more often, or if he was fighting more ninjas, but I'm not sure how much you can blame Enter the Ninja for that, because they were just starting the ninja film paradigm, and they (Golan-Globus) certainly corrected those mistakes in subsequent films.

The Stash has done some other pictures since this one, most notably Die Hard 2. Actually, he's a pretty accomplished Italian actor, more than simply The Stash. Alas, no more ninja films though. As a Westerner donning the ninja gear, he would've totally sucked it it wasn't for that amazing patch of hair on his upper lip. He had nothing going for him compared to a Michael Dudikoff, who was an amazing Caucasian ninja. I would say, though, that he was much better than David Bradley, so he has that in his favor. Here's to you, The Stash.

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This has barely any Shô Kosugi, and we know from the beginning that it's only a matter of time before The Stash bests him. If you're someone, like myself, looking to get into more Kosugi, this is not a great place to start. Revenge of the Ninja is more like it. That doesn't mean Kosugi isn't great, just that he doesn't have a great role, which was a bad decision, in my mind, The Stash or no The Stash.

My friend at Movies in the Attic thought the female star, Susan George, was out of her element here, because she's more of a theatrical actress, but I'm not so sure. I thought she was hot, and somehow she eked out a fully rounded, complete character out of the scant material she had. She was at times a spitfire, feisty, hard nosed, and at others scared, emotional, and frustrated. Of course, in an action film, we often don't look for nuance, we want black and white-- if a woman starts out as feisty and tough, when she's kidnapped, bound and gagged, and held at gunpoint, we expect her to be just as defiant, as opposed to being scared, hoping The Stash would save her, which is probably more realistic, even if that realism was coming in that most realistic of mediums, the ninja film. Perhaps my colleague was more right than I originally thought.

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I don't really have much for a seventh paragraph, so I thought I'd discuss my favorite ninjas in pop culture, the Mortal Kombat ones. They were really only one ninja and ten color swaps, but they were still cool. They started with two, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, but if you knew what you were doing, you could fight Reptile, a green mix of the two, at the bottom of The Pit. In part two, they added Smoke and Noob Saibot (the last names of the creators spelled backwards). Again, it was all color swaps, and all Smoke and Noob Saibot were were versions of Scorpion. They also had female ninjas, Kitana, Mileena, and Jade. You gotta love female ninjas-- very hot. In the third one all bets were off, as they added robo-ninjas, classic and old versions of Sub-Zero, and more color swaps. I haven't really played anything after part III, though I tried my brother's DC vs. Mortal Kombat game, and the one thing that sucked was the lack of unlockable ninjas, which was for me what made the earlier games great. I think it had Scorpion and Sub-Zero, but that was it. If anyone can kick Superman's ass without Kryptonite, it's a ninja, and they dropped the ball by not including more.

Okay, that was a longer rant than I wanted, but I just got all nostalgic. This might be worth giving a looksee, but don't expect the ninja fest some of the later films were. Also, it's available on Hulu, which was annoying with the random ad insertions (on TV the ads come in natural spots, on Hulu you'd get one in the middle of a sentence), but for a movie like this, it wasn't so bad. Maybe catching this for free is the best option. Also, it's not out on DVD yet. Almost forgot to mention that, so it's either Hulu or VHS.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082332/

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Forbidden Dance (1990)

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I was always under the impression that there were two Lambada films that came out at the same time, but I could never remember what the other one's name was. I knew one was Lambada: The Forbidden Dance, and one was something else... well, I finally figured it out, as I was watching this one, what the two were named-- one was Lambada, and one was this, the Menahem Golan produced The Forbidden Dance, and over time, I just fused the two titles in my mind, yet still remembering that there were two distinct films. I think the reason why is we never just said one thing or the other, it was always "Lambada: The Forbidden Dance". Anyway, what I'm trying to say is this week's box office bomb is only as half as good as it should've been, though I have a feeling this is the funnier of the two films.

I never do this, but the Netflix synopsis is better than anything I could ever do: "An Amazon Indian princess (Laura Elena Harring) travels to America when a major corporation's plans threaten to destroy her rainforest homeland. When the company refuses to arrange a meeting with her, she and her boyfriend decide to raise her environmental message by dancing the Lambada on television. Trouble is, the corporate bigwigs have a lot at stake... and they'll do anything to keep the couple off the air."

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All right, maybe I could do a better synopsis. The Forbidden Dance is a story of worlds colliding as an Amazonian princess and her local witchdoctor head to the US to convince a corporation not to tear up their homeland. She's stonewalled, forced to work as a maid, then a dancer/almost hooker, and is saved by a lazy trust fund kid with a penchant for dancing and shopping at the Chessking. Together they dance the Lambada, get on a TV show, and tell the world about the damage destroying the rainforest is doing to the world.

They just don't make movies like this anymore... because the Chessking is out of business I guess. Really, an SNL sketch couldn't write some of the jokes that weren't intended to be jokes, especially the big finale with the tribe's king in full garb and the witchdoctor coming to see the princess dance, only to find the hero has a horribly sprained leg from jumping out of a building after rescuing Laura Herring from the clutches of the evil Richard Lynch, only to have the witchdoctor, by using a python, heal the sprained ankle just in time for the hero and heroine to dance-- I've seen a lot of comedies that aren't anywhere near that funny. Just amazing.

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That's right, I said Richard Lynch. He's back and badder than ever. Burning down the rainforest-- have you no shame? Where's Chuck Norris when we need him? When he captures Laura Herring, he makes her dance the Lambada for him on some stage he has, and he comes up on stage with her, like he's going to dance too, and then the Chessking tool shows up to save her. If Richard Lynch had gone through with it, actually danced, I wouldn't have placed this in the box office bomb post, it would've been a best of all time post.

One of my friends said, rather smugly, "I'll let you watch that and I'll keep my hour and a half." And do what? When did we all suddenly become death row inmates, vigorously guarding every minute we don't spend sleeping or in traffic or waiting in line, to make sure we do the absolute best thing possible with it, only to find that best thing to be another baseball game on TV or back-to-back episodes of House on Fox. Is it really so bad to just say "I watched Lambada: The Forbidden Dance, and it was fucking hilarious!" People need to stop taking themselves so seriously.

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I gotta get in a little anthropology here. First, Harring's character is named Nisa, though Nisa was the famous !Kung woman, and the !Kung are from Africa, and the Amazon is in South America. Second, there is some truth to people like Richard Lynch going in with guns and forcing natives off the land to raise beef. What they don't talk about is how they kill the natives to make sure they stay off it, it isn't just about the rainforest being depleted. Also, the witchdoctor has special powers that even anthropologists would say are ridiculous-- no one can defy the laws of physics and makes explosions occur with the wave of a feather, or loud growling happen out of nowhere. Furthermore, if this witchdoctor had all these powers, why didn't he used them on the men trying to take their land? And there must be a few of these guys out there that could work together against a common enemy. Oh wait... did I just ask why The Forbidden Dance wasn't more realistic? Yes, you guys are right, why do people who write blogs reviewing Direct to Video movies take themselves so seriously?

This movie is hilarious. You thought Steel or Cool As Ice was hilarious-- well you were right, they were too-- but this is just as funny. If you're having a shitty time of it, I can't think of a better way to relax and laugh at the world; and unlike Steel and Cool as Ice, you can get this one at Netflix.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099595/

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Carriers (2009)

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I got lucky on this one, because I was a day late in getting my DVDs back to Netflix, and was a little concerned that, with this being a new release and all, by not getting in early enough I'd be put on the dreaded Very Long Wait list. I'm kind of curious who gets these movies that ends up bumping me down the pecking order. I get it with GI Joe, but Carriers or Death Warrior? Do people just have it set on Netflix that any new release is slapped on their queue in the number one position? If so, how do I get in on that, because I could use that kind of system.

Carriers stars Lou Taylor Pucci and Chris Pine as brothers seeking refuge from an extremely contagious and extremely deadly plague that is sweeping the globe. They have with them Pine's girlfriend, Piper Perabo, and a girl Pucci knows, Emily VanCamp. They have some pretty simple rules for survival: if you're infected, you're already dead; stay off the interstate; assume everything you come in contact with is infected; and trust no one. As they travel, they come across other people looking to escape too or trying to find a cure or just fortifying themselves to keep out the outside world. Everything goes fine, until one of them is infected.

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This was actually pretty good. Better than most movies released in the theater, I can say that. The trailers made me think it was a zombie flick, but it isn't-- no one come back to life or bites people or anything. I had trouble deciding what to tag it as, so I went with horror. I liked it better for that. Though it took place across the open road in various settings, the virus and the lack of basic provisions gave the film a very closed in, almost claustrophobic feeling, which was a cool juxtaposition. Also, the weather was always amazing, the towns and landscape always beautiful, and it made for a great backdrop to the chaos in the world around our characters. I really liked it.

I think what made it best was how little the film makers tried to do with it. You could see this as a two and a half hour blockbuster with a multi-million dollar ad campaign that's utter crap, but to strip it down to 84 minutes, have a limited but solid cast, and give us a few, real sets instead of green screens, and you have a good movie. Maybe it's not a classic, but it's also not a stinker, and I can appreciate that.

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One of my favorite movies of 2009 was the new Star Trek, and one of the reasons was Chris Pine. I think he's just as good here in a starring role that is much smaller in scope. His character is kind of an asshole, but he feels like he's doing what's best for him and his brother to get them to safety. It will be cool to see him in some other stuff, though probably won't be anything in the DTV world. His brother, played by Lou Taylor Pucci, was also good. I'd seen him in two other films: The Informers, and a small indie flick called Fifty Pills, and he was good in those two as well. He seems to do more lower budget films, so this may not be the last we see of him.

Piper Perabo as the girlfriend was a good casting choice too. She wasn't bad in Whiteboyz, even though I wasn't a fan of the rest of that film (I hated the ending), but then it seems like everything else she did, maybe because of Coyote Ugly, sucked. I didn't know how old she is either-- 33-- which made her the oldest of the four kids by four years, over Christ Pine who was born in 1980. It also makes her older than me by almost three years, which I didn't know. Still not as shocking as finding out John Cho, the guy from Harold and Kumar that wasn't Kumar, was born in 1972.

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All right, I have to dedicate this paragraph to Chris Meloni, and one of the best roles in a comedy ever, his part as the camp cook in Wet Hot American Summer. If you've only seen Meloni in a film like this or Law and Order SVU, then you haven't seen Meloni, because he's hilarious. And just when you think he can't get any funnier, he has this amazing montage where he teaches the guy who played Doug on The State "The Way." Wet Hot American Summer is a must. (Also, the alternate audio track that's just fart noises is great too.)

But we aren't talking about Wet Hot American Summer, we're talking about Carriers, and that's good too. I'm not sure, based on the short length, if it's worth new release money, but definitely put it on your Netflix queue. If anything, it was a great way to get the awful taste of Maniac Cop out of my mouth.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0806203/