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.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Woyzeck (1979)

A West German drama written, directed and produced by Werner Herzog, starring Klaus Kinski.
A manual labor worker in a small German town has had an illegitimate child with a woman and is participating as an experimental subject for a scientist. He eats nothing but peas for a month and has mental issues while his girlfriend has an affair with another man.
This was all WTF? moment, all the way through. The plot barely made any sense, but the craziness of it sort of held my attention. The characters were not likeable. In fact, most of them disgusted me. However, this seemed intentional. The video was pro-level, but definitely uninspired. Turns out, this is because it was filmed immediately after Nosferatu the Vampyre. The audio was an abomination, a sin against all that is holy. The dialogue was in German, but I'm not berating that aspect because I had accurate subtitles. The soundtrack sounded to me as if it were performed by a group of novice musicians with just enough skill to remember the parts, but not enough to play in tune or on time. This also seemed intentional. Overall, if I were trying to make a bad movie, it would be a lot like this. I rate this poor because it seems like it was supposed to be bad, and it is, but in an almost entertaining manner.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)

An American horror comedy directed by Ken Wiederhorn, starring James Karen.
A child bully opens a barrel of zombie gas. The boy who is being bullied teams up with his older sister, the cable guy, a doctor and a pair of grave robbers to survive the zombie attack.
This was very much like the first film of the series. There was a little more plot in this one and the characters were more developed. Although stereotypical, the characters are no longer just some punk kid, but identifiable people with relationships to other characters.  This also means that they have back-story. The video was not quite as good as the first film. Nothing can beat the Tarman in the doorway scene. This one had more zombie jokes like falling apart and the zombies speaking. My favorite conversation happened on a walkie talkie: "Doc Mandell here, who's this?" "Brains!". The audio featured similar music to the first film, with Anthrax taking top spot with two songs. Overall, if you liked the first one, this is more of that. It's funnier, but not as surprising. I rate it adequate.

The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

An American horror directed by Dan O'Bannon, starring Clu Gulager, james Karen and Don Calfa.
A warehouse worker accidentally releases a zombie gas. The mortician across the street and a group of punks are caught in the aftermath.
This was actually cool. I watched it with and without director's commentary. The plot was relatively simple, but that tends to work for horror films of the zombie sub-genre. The characters were varying degrees of shallow, but were acted decently. Female anatomy points for the naked punk girl. The main thing is video. How do we make half a dog? The Tarman (picture), the torso and head corpse that speaks, etc... Special effects were done quite well. I was amazed to find that the Tarman was a person in a costume. The limbs looked so thin and skeletal! The audio featured audible dialogue and a soundtrack of rock, punk and metal tracks from the time. Overall, a fun horror flick that only gets better when you hear the director tell how everything was done. I rate this good.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Nemesis 4: Death Angel A.K.A. Cry of Angels (1996)

A Danish American science fiction drama directed by Albert Pyun, starring Sue Price.
A female body-builder has conversations with guys that have stuff stuck to their faces.
This was horrid! Plotless rambling with talking heads the whole time. The plot was so sparse as to be non-existent. The conversations were drawn out so long and then there was a little bit of action before the next conversation. The characters are accurately described in my plot summary. Imagine He-Man with boobs. That's the main character and she is not shy about naked scenes. Then add a regular, average looking guy who has paint, sequins and "cyborg parts" (A.K.A. bits of plastic) on his face. The video could have been done better by a child with an iPhone. At least they would have gotten better shot variety by mistake. The audio had clear dialogue... Overall, I think I've torn this a new one just about enough. I turned it off somewhere around the 50 minute mark. I rate this shit. NEVER EVER WATCH IT!!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Nemesis (1992)

An American science fiction action film directed by Albert Pyun, starring Olivier Gruner, Tim Thomerson and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.
A cyborg cop is damaged on a dangerous mission and rebuilt. He is told that a bomb has been implanted in him and he must find a man named Jared who has important information that the cop bosses want.
This was lack-luster at best. The plot was a little desultory and not very clear. The basic problem was that it did not hold my attention. The characters were not developed and the viewer does not even get to know the main character. The video was pretty standard for 1992. The robot and cyborg special effects were actually not too bad. There was a convincing scene in which the main character has his cyborg eye pulled out of his head. There were some really good shots and scenes mixed in, but most of it was jumbled garbage. The main character running with and burying his wolf/dog were some amazing shots. The audio was also standard. The dialogue and music seemed to be mixed correctly. Overall, too much shooting and a confusing amount of who is on whose side, why are we here, what is going on plot murkiness. I rate this tolerable.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)

A British American fantasy adventure directed by Val Guest, starring Patrick Allen and Patrick Holt.
A blonde cave woman is victimized by a tribe with dark hair. One of the men of the dark haired tribe falls in love with her. Dinosaurs attack throughout.
Akita! This was the most frequently used word in the fictional language of this prehistoric culture. It may have even surpassed "Grandma!" in The Witches (1990) and "Fuck" in Casino (1995). The plot was nearly incoherent and did not present a very cohesive story line. I took it as an examination of the normative function of primitive society. The dark haired tribes felt threatened by the main character's blonde hair because of lack of understanding. Even the ever-present threat of dinosaur attacks could not overpower their thoughts that a slight difference of appearance creates a foe. The characters were extremely shallow, mostly because there was no actual dialogue. The video was grain and blur all the way. Through this primitive haze, special effects become easier to make convincing. The stop-motion dinosaurs were done very well. These were combined into the scenes through forced perspective and compositing. The audio was of inferior quality. The treble-biased symphonic soundtrack was most prominent, with uneven vocal levels being of minimal concern. Overall, a film for those who like to watch cavemen and dinosaurs, but do not require a compelling story. I rate this adequate because I like to watch stop-motion dinosaurs.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

When Harry Met Sally... (1988)

An American romantic comedy directed by Rob Reiner, starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.
A man meets a woman who gives him a ride and they argue the whole way. He keeps meeting this same woman in other situations, later in life.
Guh. Standard Hollywood bullshit. The plot was so predictable that it was like watching The Story of Us (1999) in reverse. The characters were not developed at all. Even the two main characters remained a mystery throughout the duration. Compared to The Story of Us, we actually see the important memories being made instead of just remembered. The video was straight forward storytelling with no frills or artsy-fartsy in any way. The audio featured dialogue mixed at the correct level and overplayed pop songs. This is standard of romantic comedy soundtracks. Overall, a Hollywood bullshit chick flick for the dumbed down masses. I rate this bad because it sucks.