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Friday, April 14, 2017

A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973)

A Spanish French thriller directed by Jesus Franco, starring Howard Vernon and Paul Muller.
A young woman goes to visit her crazy family for the reading of her father's will.
I have a feeling that Jesus Franco either did not want to make good movies or had a vastly different definition of "good" from mine. The little plot there was in this mostly didn't make sense. I could positively identify two characters. Maybe more if I really tried. The pacing dragged sluggishly through even the shortest scenes. Video was artsy, but not in a good way. It seemed very much a product of the time, a '70s film to only be viewed in the '70s. The audio was in English. Soundtrack music fit Jesus Franco's style, being similar to some Russ Meyer flicks and Cannibal Holocaust. The scene depicted above was a tease. That means no, she did not use this item for it's intended purpose. Overall, just like every other Jesus Franco film I've seen. I rate this poor.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Nemesis 2: Nebula (1995)

A Danish American science fiction action directed by Albert Pyun, starring Sue Price.
A genetic mutant's mother flees the future with her baby and travels back in time to 1980s Africa. The mother is killed, but the daughter is raised by an African tribe to be a warrior. A monster/cyborg from the future finds the mutant woman. Conflict ensues.
This was pretty crappy. The plot made almost no sense at all and was not communicated very clearly. Only the main character had a name. I think this illustrates how little character development there was. Sue Price had not reached the level of bodybuilding in which we see her in Nemesis 4, so she still looked female and not like He-Man. The video looked so bad that it was almost TROMA-esque and the audio was no better. The special effects were poorly done, but they included a ripple effect around the antagonist and a magic knife. The subtitles that I got were crap and this made a working knowledge of African language necessary to understand the first third of the film. Overall, you would really be better off watching something else. I rate this poor.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Music of Chance (1993)

An American drama directed by Philip Haas, starring James Spader, Mandy Patinkin, M. Emmet Walsh and Charles Durning.
A pair of strangers meet. One of them is a gambler and the other has money to bet. They go in together on a card game against millionaires who seem easy prey. When they lose, the gamblers agree to build a wall for the millionaires, but things don't seem quite right.
This was pretty cool. The plot definitely held my interest and the characters were developed amazingly well in a relatively short amount of time. I think the steady pace is what made all the difference. Events take place at regular intervals and the rise and fall of action and pacing is minimal. The video was expertly done to the point that, even with my editing experience and critical eye, it looked seamless. The audio was mostly good. There were a few sections of quieter dialogue and louder music, but not enough to cause a problem. The classical music soundtrack was definitely appreciated. Overall, quite a nice flick that I enjoyed watching. I rate it adequate.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (2005)

An American made for TV horror directed by William Butler and Aaron Strongoni, starring Cory Hardrict and Peter Coyote.
A group of high school students follow rumors of an injured friend being abducted by a chemical company. When they get to the factory, a zombie outbreak occurs.
This is where they lost the magic of the original. I didn't care about any of the stereotypical characters who barely had any back-story. The poorly constructed and underdeveloped plot did not hold my interest. The video looked made for TV and syfy channel all the way. Same with the audio that featured popular hard rock music of the time. Technically speaking, the audio and video were fine, but they were handled badly. The camera-work focused on fast editing cuts that are all too cliche of modern action films. Now that I've seen the whole series, I wish I hadn't. Only the first three films are worth watching. I rate this poor.

Troll 3 A.K.A. The Crawlers, Creepers, Contamination Point 7 (1993)

An Italian Canadian American horror directed by Joe D'Amato and Fabrizio Laurenti.
Because a nuclear power plant dumped toxic waste in a forest, the roots and vines have mutated and attack people.
I could accept Troll 2 having goblins. They may not have been trolls, but at least they were mythological humanoid characters. The acting and lighting were it's worst aspects. Camera-work followed closely behind. The only good thing in the whole film was Paula, the hooker. This movie was worse than Troll 2 because you can mock that easily, but this is more difficult to poke fun at because it's just bad. Overall, it's not worth watching at all for any reason. I rate this bad. DO NOT WATCH!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Room 237 (2012)

An American documentary directed by Rodney Ascher.
A group of enthusiasts explain their beliefs about the deeper meanings of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
This was pretty cool. I liked the depth and detail of analysis performed on the film, complete with maps, diagrams and side-by-side scene comparisons. The idea that there is no deep meaning to the film is negated by Kubrick's eye for detail. He would not have accidentally made things the way they were. Some people would say that the narrators of this are crazy. Be that as it may, they looked into this subject matter and proposed theories. Their detractors would just dismiss any of this with no research. Overall, a good film for fans of Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick, conspiracy theories and film in general. I rate this good.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Empire of the Dark A.K.A. Evil Night (1990)

An American fantasy adventure by Steve Barkett.
A man saves his child from an evil cult, but his wife is left behind. Years later, the evil cult returns with ninjas, magicians and a demon. He must fight them with the help of his son.
They really tried to make a good movie, but it was just beyond their price range and abilities. What we get is something less than good that is easy to mock by non-filmmakers. The plot is simplistic and the characters are poorly acted. I think that some bad writing went into this. The man not recognizing his son who looks just like him was not very convincing. There were definitely video problems. I saw a continuity issue/prop malfunction with a broken bridge repairing itself. The special effects were cheesy and the action scenes just did not stack up as I think they were intended to. The audio was not bad, with the soundtrack music actually being good. Overall, a budget flick trying to be more than it was capable of. I give them 100% for effort, but the end product is definitely lacking in a few categories. I rate this tolerable.