Friday, September 25, 2015

Street Dreams (2009)

An American action film directed by Chris Zamoscianyuk.
A young skateboarder practices with his friends while failing out of high school and having family problems. If he does well enough in contests and sending videos, he will be sponsored by a skateboard team.
I was hoping for more skating and less drama, but this wasn't bad. It included critical elements of the skateboarding scene such as displeased parents, shifting alliances with friends and cop trouble. The characters fit the story well and the plot was a little soap-opera, but alright. The pacing was good, with smooth transitions from slow parts to action scenes. The style was not too shabby, with some good editing and video effects here and there. The soundtrack was almost entirely aggressive rap music, which isn't my favorite genre, but fit the movie. I'm rating it o.k. because it was fine, but I wouldn't watch it again.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Magic Serpent A.K.A. The Mystic Dragons' Decisive Battle, Sea Serpent Wars, Kairyu daikessen (1966)

A Japanese samurai kaiju fantasy directed by Tetsuya Yamauchi.
A royal child is taken from his home by a kung fu and magic teacher when his parents are killed by a dragon that was summoned by a rival samurai. As an adult, he encounters adventures which lead him to return to his home and battle the evil samurai.
Great! This was cheesy and lo-fi, but that's why it's so good. The kaiju monsters were really cool. They appear at the beginning and end of the film, but the middle gets bogged down in politics and too many characters. There were also other special effects in the smaller scale action scenes scattered liberally throughout the duration. What we've got here is good style and special effects, but somewhat lacking in plot, characters and pacing. I rate it awesome because waiting for the monsters was worth it.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Curious Female A.K.A. Curious Females (1970)

An American erotic science fiction directed by Paul Rapp.
In a future controlled by a "Master Computer", morals are very different and sexuality is far more open. A group of people meet to view illegal old films.
This was more about the film being shown to the group than anything happening in this "future". There were momentary sections interspersed of the future group commenting on the film. What they watched was called 3 Virgins and followed the adventures of 3 young women in 1969 who were the only female virgins in their area. The style was definitely '60s and '70s psychedelic. The plot, characters and basically eveything else took a back seat to female anatomy points. The virgins did look pretty good. I'm rating this o.k. because I require more out of a film than just boobs. It wasn't bad, but was definitely not good.

The Boy God A.K.A. Roco, ang batang bato (1982)

A Phillipino fantasy directed by J. Erastheo Navoa, starring Nino Muhlach.
A boy is born and his parents are killed by a local gangster. Living with his grandmother, the boy finds that he has super strength. He uses his powers to fight vampires and werewolves in his home town and then goes on a mystic quest to reach the world of the gods.
This was very similar to kung fu of the time. The underexposed video with bad dubbing was exactly like kung fuvies. The beginning of the plot was slow to take off and the interesting middle section was over too quickly. The ending was extremely inconclusive as well. The characters were good and I liked the main character, Roco/Rocco. Overall, not a bad flick for fans of lo-fi kung fuvies. Anyone else will probably dislike it. I rate this adequate.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Adam and Eve A.K.A. Adamo ed Eva, la prima storia d'amore (1983)

An Italian adventure directed by Enzo Doria and Luigi Russo.
Adam and Eve are in the garden of Eden and eat the forbidden apple. Suddenly, things aren't so great anymore and they face countless difficulties.
This was not so great. The plot and characters were presented clearly, but I did not like them. The pacing was kind of jumpy, with slow sections between action sequences. The style reminded me of spaghetti westerns. My favorite part was the poorly made "running from the boulder" scene. I'm rating it o.k. because had it's lo-fi charm, but was not good.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Enter the Void (2000)

A French thriller directed by Gaspar Noe, starring Paz de la Huerta.
A drug dealer is shot when police try to bust him at a bar. What he experiences afterward is shown.
This has officially displaced all other contenders for "Worst Film Ever Made". In every one of the other films in the running, we get a clear view of something. Actors are visible, maybe we can see where they are, you get the idea. Some Kind of Monster may be grown men bickering and bitching for 3 hours, but at least we can see their faces. Not the case here. It looked like they hung the camera from the ceiling in an orbitron (human gyroscope) fair ride and just let it spin wherever it wanted. ALL of the shots are underexposed and too dark. EVERY light in the film blinks, flickers and flashes. Most of the time, the camera shots were out of focus. A good percentage of the video was pointless footage of walls, floors and other urban structures, but not good enough shots to see what these items were. The ENTIRE soundtrack consisted of electronic feedback with the sounds of human suffering over it. Although it does take skill to make a movie this bad, I'm going to have to rate it shit. Congrats, Gaspar. You have officially made "The Worst Film Ever"!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

An American adventure drama directed by Wes Anderson, starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman.
A trio of brothers reunite aboard a train in India. One of them has their trip planned out, with an itinerary and an assistant. As they travel, their lies are exposed and the truth comes to light that each of them is hiding things from the others.
I was looking forward to this because I liked Wes Anderson's other films. It was not disappointing, but also not as great as I had hoped it would be. The actual substance of the plot was quite sparse, but it was communicated well. I didn't like the characters and thought that Adrien Brody did not look like he was related to the other brothers (who don't look like they're related). They all had long noses and that is where the similarities end. They all seemed like lying jerks the entire time. The camera-work and some of the musical choices were the only things to identify this as a Wes Anderson film. It's possible that my idea of Anderson's filmmaking has been skewed by watching Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, but not his other work. Regardless, the sideways-trucking camera shots and almost Tim Burtonish music were the elements that linked this to the other films by this director. Though nowhere as good as the aformentioned films, this wasn't bad. I might watch it again at some point. I rate it adequate. You might want to consider seeing it.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

American Mary (2012)

A Canadian horror directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska, starring Katharine Isabelle.
A young woman is in school to become a surgeon and works at the local hospital as a nurse. She begins receiving strange phone calls before auditioning for a job as a stripper. At the interview, she is asked to save a man's life who has been mortally injured. Upon arriving home, the phone calls continue and she meets up with the caller, who wants body modification surgery. The main character quits medical school and takes up this new line of well paying work, but all is not well. Invited to a party with the doctors, her old professor rapes her. Things get weird and complex from there.
Is that Paz de la Huerta? NO! Possibly better: It's Bridget from the Ginger Snaps movies!!!! The characters are really good and I as a viewer felt instantly enamored with the main character. Her bodyguard was another cool character. The plot was definitely engaging and I was rooting for grown-up Bridget all the way through (although thinking that she was Paz de la Huerta). There were many convolutions and twists in the story that kept things interesting as it became more and more complex, but still easy to keep track of. The style reminded me of Nurse (2013) with dark settings and some hard lighting for night shots. Overall, this was absolutely brutal, gorey and fantastic all the way through. I rate it best! WATCH IT!!!