Reviews written by registered user
|50 reviews in total|
I was given a free ticket to this film; so I can't complain that I was ripped off (except in that some 90 minutes of my life were irretrievably stolen from me). These sort of movies (Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans) haven't been funny for some time now but "Disaster Movie" has reached a new low. There wasn't one real laugh anywhere in the film, and most of the alleged "jokes" were actually painful. (There was a considerable amount of childish, mean-spirited stuff in the form of racist, sexist, and especially homophobic, garbage present, along with ample helpings of juvenile gross-outs.) None of the actors were even bothering to put up any pretense of acting. There is nothing hip, clever, or even mildly intelligent going on here. The entire film is from beginning to end crass, vulgar, irrational, and utterly humorless in any human sense. I know that in the past these sort of trash has made enough money to keep Seltzer et al., grinding them out but "Disaster Movie" may just be the downfall of the franchise. The utter contempt that Seltzer and his collaborators have for their audience is finally beginning to show through clearly. If this one fails (and from what I saw in the almost empty theater there is a good chance of it), Seltzer will have to go back to the drawing board, stop making these lazy catastrophes, and finally develop a real sense of humor. This movie is an unfunny piece of puke - stay away from it.
Anyone who knows my opinions knows exactly what I think of Herschell Lewis's films in general. I would have passed on writing any more reviews of them until I and a few friends spent (and I mean "spent" in the sense of "exhausted", "used up", "wasted") an evening watching "The Wizard of Gore". Naturally, I had seen it before, but my attention was always focused on the extremely inept (yet still revolting) gore effects. Then, one of my friends watching pointed out just how dull the bits in between the gore scene were. Quite true. Even the lead-ins to the supposed shock scenes crept along at a snail's pace, completely dissipating any tension there might have been. It is almost impossible for anyone to pay attention to this film because for most of the film, nothing happens. Then, when the gore scenes come, you haven't been engaged by the film in any way. You really just don't care about what happens next. The Lewis cult people should give it up. Lewis is incompetent as a director and his movies are not innovative - just dull, repulsive little cinematic abortions.
I taped this film off of a cable TV broadcast, apparently a rare occurrence. The film doesn't seem to get any air time at all, and as far as I know it is not available commercially on VHS or DVD. As much as one would want to corroborate other people's opinions of less-well-known films, I cannot recommend William Castle's "Project X". I found the film wildly over-plotted and very much derivative of other, better films. Where it tries to present something different, I found it just confused. The acting is at its best moments routine, and occasionally goes way over the top. The special effects do not impress; the film eventually resorts to using animation and not very stylish animation at that. But give a gander to the cast and you'll see why. William Castle is most widely known as a showman and promoter. There isn't anything here like that, so the film has to stand on its own. It can't.
It is really easy to find out whether or not people will like "Across the Universe". Just put two questions to them: "do you like Beatles music?" and "did you like 'Moulin Rouge'?". If the answer is "yes" to both, then they will; if either is "no" they will doubtless hate it. The film is not very original, a very severe criticism to direct at a director like Julie Taymor. I kept flashing on movies I've seen before - Milos Forman's "Hair", "Apocalypse Now", the Monkey's movie "Head", Taymor's "Titus", and of course "Moulin Rouge". (Fortunately, when "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band" came to mind, it was only to note that this film was WAY better than that notorious stink bomb.) We haven't gone very far afield from those films here. There could have been some invention on display, and its lack is disappointing. But the film does not deserve the gripes, voiced here, that it is no more than a glorified music video, or is some kind of festival of self-indulgence. To the extent that the film captures, visually as well as thematically, at least the mythology of what the 60s were supposedly about, it can be put down as a success. Just not an enormous one.
Let's see now - this is a movie about Queen Elizabeth I in confrontation with the Spanish circa 1585. So where are the important players? Where's Leicester? Where's Sir William Cecil? Where's Drake? Where's Essex? Oh, yeah, in the first movie they said that the Earl of Leicester turned traitor against Elizabeth and participated in a plot to assassinate her. Cecil was real old and retired/fired by Elizabeth early on. Essex did't exist and Drake just kept in the shadows and did nothing important. Hmmmm.... Some peculiar history that Kapur has going on there. Just how are we to regard the relationship of this made-up faux Elizabeth to the real one? There were serious historical problems with the first movie that have only been made worse in this one. (They couldn't even leave the Tilbury speech alone; they just had to mangle it, too.) And yes, facts matter. Or would you accept a film biography where Lincoln went to Ford's Theater but left at the intermission? The only thing this film has going for it is Cate Blanchett, and it's not very kind even to her. She is basically there just to bellow in a "regal" fashion, flash a little eroticism here and there, and wear extravagant (and in some cases wildly inappropriate) costumes. The rest of the cast throws it away. Clive Owen in particular should be embarrassed at trying to create a Raleigh that should more properly be propped up as set decor for the next "Pirates of the Caribbean" film. Geoffery Rush obviously just took the money and ran, giving nothing of the original performance as Walsingham in return. On the whole - don't bother. Wait 'till it's on cable.....
One wonders how Bill Rebane every raised money to make films over and over again, after his first disastrous attempt with "Monster A Go-Go!", a film he could only partly finish before putting it up for sale. It is quite telling that the buyer was Herschel G. Lewis. But I digress... Someone has indeed given money to Bill Rebane for film-making and I am grateful for it. What would the world of cinema be without "Giant Spider Invasion", "Demons of Ludlow", "Invasion from Inner Earth", and this, arguably Rebane's "opus magnum"? Never mind that it was partly ripped off from the "Knightrider" concept. Never mind that the acting, writing, editing, etc., are sub par even for failing students at the worst community college film class in the country. Never mind that the only way an ordinary movie goer could possibly sit through such witless trash is to be drunk or stoned out of their mind. Never mind that the film stands as the ultimate proof that Bill Rebane is, indeed, crazy as an outhouse rat. Just consider how much duller life would be. Then go ahead, pop "Twister's Revenge!" in the DVD player, open the first of several fermented malt beverages, and revel in the experience. Try not to puke too many times....
I had heard that Herk Harvey, director of the curious seminal 60s horror film "Carnival of Souls", had only done the one feature film, and had spent his career in film doing educational and promotional shorts, but this was the first time I had actually come across any of his work along these lines. Here he is working for Centron, a company responsible for a whole truck load of shorts made for classroom use on virtually every subject imaginable, from patriotism to tooth decay. Obviously, the subject this time around is juvenile delinquency, and frankly, it would take longer than the film's 10 minute running time to describe the curious goings on here. Broadly, without detailing things, the film attempts to put the shoe on the other foot as a high school gang member learns his club brothers have unknowingly attacked his own dad. The film ends, as Centron films often do, with some kind of jumping off point for classroom discussion. Whether this attack is serious enough to generate the kind of hysteria that ensues in the film, or would produce the kind of "teachable moment" the originators are looking for, is questionable. The bright side here is that the Mystery Science Theater crew got ahold of this and used it for one of their notorious shorts prior to their skewering of a feature film, 1963's wretched "Atomic Brain". Their commentary is very funny and makes this run of the mill classroom filmstrip almost watchable.
The comments posted for this film so far are rather confusing to me. I thought I had already seen "Rejuvenatrix". It was immediately and consistently trashy, bordering on the comic. Yet the other reviewers seem to have watched a different film that may have had vague plot similarities but may have been a good film in their eyes. I'm joking of course. I'm perfectly well aware of what I have seen. It is lying around my film consciousness, shoved somewhere between "The Leech Woman" and "Sunset Boulevard". In fact if you put those two movies in a blender together, covered them with catsup, and pushed the "puree" button, you'd get a reasonably good facsimile of "Rejuvenatrix". Oh, and you better put about a pound of ham in the blender too, so people can get the overall flavor of the acting in this trashy mediocrity. It's just another 80's car wreck of a horror film - nothing' to see here, folks, move along.....
"Young Man's Fancy" is getting slammed by the other reviewers, and unjustly it seems to me, for being unrealistic and poorly acted. Judgment over the acting is a matter of taste I suppose; so all I can say is that the performances aren't really all that different than anything else I've seen in the average range from that time period. They are generally credible, given the situation as it has been created by its authors, if a bit over the top. And as for the situation itself being "preposterous" as one reviewer put it, let's look at that. A young girl is attracted to a visiting young man but is having trouble catching his attention. In order to finally break through she resorts to feigning interest in one of the young man's hobbies. Is such a scenario really so outlandish? The only thing about that I found difficult to accept is the constant references to the miracle of electric appliances. That might have been the way people would have reacted twenty years earlier, but did anyone in America really need to be convinced of the value of an electric dishwasher or range in 1952? Yes, I know MST3K had a field day with this short; but if you're looking for outlandish propositions, try another short they skewered, "Out of This World", where a demon and an angel fight for the soul of a bread delivery man. Now that's preposterous, in spades!
I am prepared to concede one point here - if H. G. Lewis ever made a
good film, this would be it. Having said THAT... the rest of this old
I was paging through the comments on this film, for god knows what reason, and was thoroughly appalled. I can't believe what I'm reading. Nowhere does anyone seem to grasp what is immediately obvious to any person of intelligence or taste - that Herschel G. Lewis is an incompetent hack who never directed anything even close to a good film in any genre. He is one of the most immoral filmmakers ever to set foot behind a camera. His "plots", if they can be called such, remind me of a Christmas tree. With a Christmas tree, one chops down and kills a fine, beautiful piece of nature's wonder and drags it into one's house for the sole purpose of hanging tacky, tasteless garbage on it for a brief time. And so it is with Lewis. His movies are nothing more than poorly crafted frameworks that exist to justify the depiction of various mutilations and murders that have no point and explain or illuminate nothing about the characters involved. They represent an immoral exploitation of various graphic forms of human suffering without point or purpose. There is no tension in a Lewis movie because he is congenitally incapable as a director of creating a character than a viewer would care about. They are just meat to be butchered. I have never been frightened by this or any other Lewis movie for just this reason. Yet there are people who praise this kind of immoral nonsense to the skies, because they think it representative of some kind of counterculture trash aesthetic. The only way I can explain Lewis's following is to remind myself that he is an acknowledged master of salesmanship, the apparent inventor of "direct marketing". Now, "direct marketing" is better known to people as "junk mail", and Lewis's involvement in selling junk is apparent in his films. They represent the height of mass marketing to the gullible - he wraps up garbage, not in a pretty new package, but in an ugly, immoral one, and sells it as "art". The only moral to the saga of Lewis is a reiteration of Barnum's dictum about what kind of person gets born every minute. Stay away from "Two Thousand Maniacs" and every other of Lewis's insults to the human soul as well.
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