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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again (2016)

An American musical remake directed by Kenny Ortega, starring Tim Curry.
You remember the 1970s original, right? Brad and Janet meet a mad scientist with Russian hands and Roman fingers. All of his friends dance the time warp.
This was one of the worst things to ever cross my screen. Now... I hate musicals and I hate remakes. Just take that into account. That being said, there are lips made for singing and lips made for sucking dicks. None of the former were in this film. It started out overdone enough in the '70s version. Just over the top enough to be kind of cool and kind of cheesy to attract a cult following. Then Fox TV got hold of it and smashed it into the ground like a cigarette butt. Every fucking scene got screwed up horribly. Most of the camera-work, staging, sets, casting, etc that made the original so unique were thrown out. I got to the point where Frank (who is female now) gets lowered on a crane (instead of in a creepy old elevator) with no boot stomping closeup. That tore it. I rate this shit and am stopping now because no amount of derision will ever be enough. DO NOT WATCH!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

A New Zealand adventure written and directed by Taika Waititi, starring Sam Neill.
A misbehaving boy is adopted by a man and woman living in the mountains. Just as he is becoming comfortable with them, the woman dies. Child services states that they will be picking up the boy and the man is going to live in the forest. The boy tries to fake his own death by burning down a barn and gets lost in the forest. The man finds him and they try to live together. They then find that they are being hunted by child services.
Plot and characters with a sense of humor. The plot held my attention and was very clearly communicated. The characters were likeable and deep. The humor was mostly dry, with deadpan delivery, but with an absurdist flavor that suited me quite nicely. The video was done very well. There were some special effects, but they were part of the story, showing what the characters were thinking or doing clearer than it could without effects. The audio suffered from too large a dynamic range. I turned it up to hear the dialogue, but the music was far too loud. Overall, this is the type of thing that I look forward to watching. Unfortunately, that happens very rarely. It had a very similar style to the other Taika Waititi film that I reviwed, What We Do in the Shadows. I rate this awesome. WATCH IT!!!

Monday, February 13, 2017

99 Women A.K.A. Der heiße Tod (1969)

A Liechtenstein West German Spanish Italian British erotic adventure directed by Jesus Franco, starring Maria Schell, Mercedes McCambridge, Luciana Paluzzi and Herbert Lom.
Women are kept in a prison where the warden and governor abuse them. A man from a male prison on the same island contacts one of the women and organizes an escape attempt.
Sex on sex. Prison sex, jungle sex, etc... The plot was interesting and held my attention around the sex scenes. The characters were a little shallow, but easily identifiable. The sex was graphic, showing closeups of penetration. It involved heterosexual intercourse as well as lesbian scenes. The video was done quite well. There was a good mix of straight forward storytelling and artsy shots, even if some of these were prurient. The audio of the version that I watched was French, but the English subtitles were correct and on time. There was a variety of soundtrack music from classical to psychedelic rock. Overall, a decent flick if you like closeups of copulation. I rate it o.k.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

A New Zealand American mockumentary directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi.
A group of vampires who live together have a documentary crew follow them. Their interactions with humans, werewolves and other vampires are shown.
This was really funny. The plot was like a reality TV show, but with vampires. There were arguments and dramatic situations revolving around interactions between groups and within the main group. The characters were comical and very likeable. The video looked like a documentary or reality TV show with special effects. These effects were done quite well. We had vampires flying and turning into bats, werewolves transforming and some amazing shots with mirror tricks. Because the vampires do not reflect in mirrors, they actually ended up playing with this for comic effect. The audio had audible dialogue and appropriate soundtrack music. The music was along the lines of Gogol Bordello. Overall, a good mockumentary comedy for fans of horror films. I rate this awesome. WATCH IT!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fitzcarraldo (1982)

A West German adventure written, directed and produced by Werner Herzog, starring Klaus Kinski.
A business man who loves opera has a plan to transport a steam ship over a mountain between two rivers in order to access rubber trees that were previously blocked.
This was weirder than it needed to be. The plot was eventful and held my attention very well. The characters were somewhat deep and very likeable. Video is where the oddity begins. Among the straight forward storytelling, we have long, artsy shots at strange times. Views of the mountainside, skies and closeups of ropes on the ship demonstrated what was going on, but were held for longer than necessary. That could be said for almost any shot in the film. The drunken cook lets his glass slide down the tilted table more times than are necessary to get the point across. They did actually drag a ship up a hill. I was wondering while watching if it was miniatures or a trick, but it was real. The audio featured only diegetic music. This lead to some eerily silent scenes that increased tension. Some of these when the native tribe is gathering around the ship worked out very well. Overall, another triumph for Herzog and Kinski. I rate this good.

Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (2005)

An American horror directed by Ellroy Elkayem, starring Peter Coyote.
Interpol agents are looking for barrels of trioxin and the man who has some is killed when they test to see if it is real. His nephew is a college student who finds the other barrels that belonged to his uncle and brings them to a friend to find out what they are. The friend makes pills out of the substance and sells them to the local drug dealer. College students begin taking the pills and are on their way to a big Halloween party.
This was indeed not as good as the first few films. The plot was far more stereotypical and predictable. The characters were shallow, but this was a direct sequel to #4, which I could not get, so they may have been developed in that film. The video was generically stereotypical of crappy, new horror films as well. There was a strobe light scene at the end which typified this. The audio was also of inferior quality. I could hear the dialogue, but the soundtrack included terrible nu metal like Powerman 5000 and worse. Overall, you might as well skip watching this. I rate it poor.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)

An American horror romance directed by Brian Yuzna.
A young man's father works at a secret army base that is testing zombie gas (trioxin). He steals his father's key card and brings his girlfriend to spy on the father's work. When they get into a motorcycle accident, he brings her to the army base and resurrects her with the gas.
This was so different from the first two films! The plot was actually substantial. The characters had back-stories and were more than just survivors of a zombie apocalypse. They were also acted quite well. The video was pretty standard of the time. Although much of it was dark, it didn't look underexposed because of proper lighting to balance the darkness. The special effects were pretty cool. The girlfriend pierces her skin with many objects and the Latino gang all get horribly mutilated. The zombies from the barrels were over the top in this installment as well. The audio was good. I could hear all of the dialogue. Although this did not feature the punk/metal soundtrack of the two previous films, the background music fit the scenes. Humor was completely left out of this as well. Overall, those watching through the series in order will get a surprise here. I rate this adequate.