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Death Race 2050 (2017)
"Death Race 2000" is without a doubt one of the greatest, if not the greatest, B-movie ever made. It was funny, clever, had some good subtle points, and full of action and beautiful girls. Of course, it was directed by the late great Paul Bartel, who is still sorely missed.
"Death Race 2050" however, is without a doubt one of the worst pieces of garbage that has been filmed in at least the past twenty or so years, maybe much longer.
There is absolutely nothing here that is in the least bit clever, interesting, or even good in the least. As far as the basics go, the acting horrendous, the cars ridiculous-looking, the FX abysmal, the characters annoying, it's all just a complete mess.
Even when the cars "race" they are going so slow and look so bad, they resemble a warped bumper car attraction at the local fair more than anything.
And my goodness, Malcolm McDowell, what happened, what happened. Did he really need the money that badly?
The very most I can say about this movie that doesn't completely tear it apart, is if you are into miniatures, watch for some scenes where they're used, they're probably the best things about this movie.
This isn't even as funny and clever as "Hardware Wars" was to "Star Wars" if you can possibly believe that.
This truly is such a poor blight on the original classic, it's a complete disgrace that this garbage was ever even considered to be filmed, let alone made. If you really, really must see this movie, torrent it, do not buy it, do not waste your money on it, do not pay a dime to see this movie.
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
Boring comedy is short on laughs
After sitting through the torture of the first comedy in the series, "Paranormal Activity," I'm not sure why I sat through this one as well. I guess I figured there had to be something decent about the series, since they keep making these movies, kind of like how the "Police Academy" movies kept being made for a while.
So I watched "Paranormal Activity 3" hoping it would be as funny as the first, and I'm not sure it was, but it was at least just as boring.
There were some laughs though in this dull comedy. The wife runs out of the kitchen area in terror when the furniture and more hilariously drops from the ceiling (after the ghost lured her out of the room with a well-timed doorbell ring (an old but gold prank), the ghost pulls the hair of a little girl and she just hangs in thin air (I hate laughing at a little girl, but it was pretty funny), and there's even an impressive scene in a bathroom with one of the little girls and a friend of the family which got some good laughs, and the actors get to show their comedy chops a bit.
There's also some of the typical "people dragging" that reminded me of Chris Farley being dragged around in some of his comedies. But mostly it's a very dull show in between the comedy bits. Like the first movie, you can condense this movie in a 20-minute short. Maybe tightening it up would highlight the comedy bits more.
Perhaps I'll check out the others in the series I missed. If you are willing to wait a while, often a long while, in between the laughs, maybe these Paranormal Activity comedies will be worth sitting through to you.
The Good Son (1993)
Not bad as a funny cult film
Macaulay Culkin was a darned good child actor, and I was looking forward to finally seeing this film after years of hearing about it. He plays a bad seed son, and his cousin warns people but no one believes him.
I didn't really find this to be a good film, since it feels there's about a half hour or so missing. Culkin's mom gets suspicious without enough evidence really, and his parents never really have it sink in (the father remains clueless the entire film).
However, if you view this film to see Culkin act like a very disturbing kid, and to see him say lines like "don't f**k with me," it's a pretty funny movie. When he casually takes out a cigarette and starts puffing, what can I say, it was hilarious. Watching him play dumb and dead-pan his way through situations to avoid being suspected of wrongdoing makes for great laughs.
Even Elijah Wood has his share of funny scenes, with his bulging eyes and acting crazy (the "food massacre" scene is great). And his trading barbs with Culkin's Henry is decent.
They do a good job, it's just that the film again, really isn't good so you have to enjoy it for what it turned out to be, an unintentionally hilarious romp for Culkin.
Taylor Wayne's World (1992)
I get a kick out of the "parody" adult films, a genre which is immensely popular today. Some may not realize though that parodies were always made, and there's plenty to be found from the 80's and 90's.
While I certainly don't expect the older ones to be as elaborate as some of today's parodies (like the superhero ones, or "Star Wars"), "Taylor Wayne's World" is one of the worst I've seen. The girls are pretty, and the story virtually non-existent, but this is one of the worst shot adult films you will ever see. I mean, it's literally like someone mentally incompetent did the camera-work. Absolutely horrendous.
It's not even a matter of production values - it's just a matter of aiming the camera correctly, and you'd swear this was shot by a three-year-old. If you want to see what this one is all about because you like "Wayne's World" and/or Taylor Wayne, try to download it somewhere for free first.
Fantastic Four (2015)
Shameful horrendous film disrespects a great comic, but not a bad "bad" film
I should start this off by saying I am a lifelong Fantastic Four fan - they're my favorite comic, so much so that I managed to possess almost all the original series run. The Thing has been my favorite superhero since I was ten years old.
As a big fan of superhero flicks in general, I was always disappointed that a great FF film seemingly could never be made. The Corman '94 version is still the best one as far as keeping close to the classic material. The "Alba" movies are horrendous. Then I heard this was coming out.
Let me get this out of the way - there's been all this complaining about the black Human Torch, and let's be clear, it has absolutely nothing to do with "racism." Again, this has been my comic since I was ten - speaking for myself, I simply want to see the source material respected, and the characters that now have been part of the American Fabric for 54 years (again, I repeat...54 years!) to simply be who they are. The race change was a very obvious politically correct pander to get a black audience - but last time I checked, many blacks have always been big comic fans, of the black AND white heroes. And the Torch is a classic hero - one of Marvel's very first, if you count the "golden-age" Torch of the 40s and 50s. Change simply for the sake of change does absolutely no one any good at all. There was no need for a Torch race change and that part of the film is simply ridiculous.
There will still some that will say that's "racist" - well, go cry me a river, because you're wrong. I'd say the exact same thing, being a comics fan, if they made Luke Cage white in his movie. And they will make it...and guess what race he'll be? That out of the way, obviously other liberties have been taken and changed - the characters are all younger, the origin has been drastically changed, the backgrounds of the main four have all changed....it's a mess, really, and all unnecessary.
The best way to watch this flick is to think of it as a movie version of the old "What If?" Marvel comic series, where they would take some heroes and change something about them and/or their story. So this would be like, "What If the Human Torch was black? What If Sue was adopted? What if the FF got their powers in a vastly different way?" And so on.
But the "What If?" comic was not part of the "Marvel Comics Universe" and they made that clear. This film, however, is presented obviously as "real" and all the changes again, are extremely disappointing to fans like myself, so you have to watch the film as if it really doesn't "count." (Not paying to see it also helps a bit.) With that mindset, it's actually something of an enjoyable B-flick, which kind of runs like an older sci-fi film, with lots of metallic hardware, scummy government guys that want to "help" and other typical stuff like other dimensions and the like. The friendship between Reed and Ben is kind of touching (though not nearly explored enough, again, it's a B-movie) and the Sue actress is pretty.
But really, there's no doubt that the film is bad. There's only a few minutes of actual "superhero-ing" in the entire film, near the end, with the supposed "big battle" with Doom. So the movie is virtually action-free. There's so many holes it's like celluloid swiss cheese. And just when the four establish themselves as a team, bang! The movie ends.
The Fantastic Four, again, has been part of the lexicon for almost six decades, and even vague superhero fans know what should be there. The film has almost none of what makes the FF great. The heroes are never named, so we don't hear the familiar names we know and love. Heck, the film doesn't even ever say "Fantastic Four" in the dialogue. There's no costumes. There's no Fantasticar. There's no classic Human Torch (blond haired/blue eyed handsome hot head) to draw the girls into the theater. There's no relationship ever established between Reed and Sue. No "cosmic rays in space" in the origin. No "Latveria" for Dr. Doom. And the incredible charm and humanity that made the FF comic usher in a new age of comics, it's all gone. Augh, I could go on.
Something else that is greatly missed is New York City. Sure, NYC is where the Baxter Building is, but the city was always a huge part of the Marvel Universe, a character all its own. The FF, The Thing especially, who in the comics was a Lower East Side tough guy who grew up in poverty with a hard edge, but in the film now resides in Oyster Bay, Long Island (!), are "New York" but you'd never know that here.
I can go on, but you get the drift. Really, all the liberties and changes they made to such a classic team are, to put it mildly, simply disgusting. Given the ending, which obviously assumes a sequel will be made, I am glad this disaster bombed and the planned sequel seems on hold (which usually means it'll never be made).
So yes, you really have to watch this (for free if you can) with the expectation that you will be watching a severe and wretched entry in the superhero movie world, and enjoy it on a "Plan 9" level. One day, one day, maybe someone will actually make a decent FF film.
I'm giving this a "3" because despite it being garbage, as a car chase fanatic, I have to acknowledge that there are a few decent car crashes.
But man, is this true tripe. From what I gather, this was rushed into the cinema to beat out "The Car" by making a film about their own killer car, namely a classic driverless Camaro convertible. Oh yeah sure, there's a silly revenge plot mixed in there somewhere that is supposed to be "horror" (wife with strange powers vs. ex-husband) but will scare absolutely no one over two years old, but it's the car action we all want to see.
Frankly, the car crashes are really weird, because it's obvious they only had one of these Camaros and didn't want to put nary a scratch on the one they had (until the final scenes), so they made sure it barely touches other cars.
For instance, the Camaro smashes through a police roadblock, but we don't actually "see" it smash through - convenient explosions go up right at the time we should see it, blocking our view, and the Camaro zooms on through, without a scratch.
The film does have some decent crashes though, even though many of these have those "invisible ramps" that make cars go flying through the air.
It all comes down to the finale, the proverbial Big Battle - demon Camaro vs... an old guy in a wheelchair. Yes, you read that right. Who will win? This film is so poor, at one point a little over the hour mark, it decides to kill some running time by replaying all the previous crashes we've seen! When that's done, we get some new crashes, and the aforementioned Camaro/wheelchair battle.
If you can get a hold of this one, do yourself a favor, and just FF to all the road scenes. You will thank me. Oddly enough, the best part of the DVD is a rare 30-second clip of John, David and Keith Carradine fooling around.
Wet Wilderness (1976)
I guess "Wild Wilderness" is a classic in certain circles for its daring themes (violence, racism, etc), but truthfully, this is a pretty dull outing.
I enjoy checking out the very early "grindhouse" porn, not so much for the sex (which often is quite dull, like here), but for the DIY filmmaking, locales (especially the NYC ones) and basic genuine sleaze factor you cannot find nowadays.
The plot is simple - yellow-masked manic with a machete makes a mom and her daughter and son perform sex acts on him, and each other (after killing a friend of theirs). A random black guy tied to a tree (for "days" but looking quite energetic and awake) is forced to join in the action, as the maniac seems to like watching as much, if not more, than participating. It all comes down to an abrupt ending where we have to assume what happened next (is there a version out there that shows it? I saw the supposed "uncut" Alpha-Blue version).
And yes, this runs like a cheap 70's home movie where the "actors" can't act (and frankly, seem like they can't wait for it to be over) and it's shot in some backyard woods. One bit of hilariousness is that most of the close-up shots of the maniac's face/mask have a bright-green background, obviously shot in some kind of room, when he's supposed to be outside in the woods. The stolen "Psycho" music is loud, and the girls are pretty but yes, bored as heck, like the viewing audience.
A much superior similar film would be "The Farmer's Daughters" from the same year, about an abused farmhand who gets his revenge on a family, as well as three escaped convicts. "Wet Wilderness" looks like it was shot by some who picked up a camera for the first time. Even the supposed "racism" is so mild, you can't even get any big laughs out of it (like, say, in "Fight For Your Life").
Is "Wet Wilderness" worth watching? Yes, as long as you FF through the boring sex scenes, and make sure you catch all the maniac's funny comments, easily the best part of the movie.
Vigilante Force (1976)
70's redneck action
If anyone is wondering if "Vigilante Force" is going to be worth a viewing, just look at three things: 1) Jan Michael-Vincent; 2) Kris Kristofferson, and 3) made in 1976. Now that is the formula for a great time! The plot is simple: Kris and his war buddies are recruited by the town to clean it up, but then rule it with an iron fist (and guns, and even a bazooka). His bro Jan doesn't take kindly to this, and it all leads up the the proverbial Big Showdown.
Now, when a film starts off with goofy redneck music while scenes of violence are happening, you know it's the 70's and you know you're in for a good time. There's tons of gunfire and fighting as well as bar brawls and heck, even a rootin' tootin' cockfight.
The girls are absolutely gorgeous - Bernadette Peters and Victoria Principal are at their hottest.
As for the cast - this is a flick with tons of familiar 70's faces, just when you think you've seen them all, another one pops up. I mean heck, even Dick freaking Miller is in this for a few seconds! And plenty of others you don't know the names of but who you definitely will recognize.
Kristofferson is an actor of limited talent, playing every role he gets pretty much the exact same way, but it's all good because he's always fun to watch. Jan is always ready to mix it up, and is also a blast to watch. "Vigilante Force" is definitely a great movie to eat half a pizza to.
Wild Riders (1971)
Great 70's sleaze
Not so much a biker flick, as very little time is actually spend on bikes, as much as about a pair of two sleazy bikers who weasel their way into a rich woman's place, and terrorize her and her pretty guest to no end.
Pete and Stick (the always awesome Alex Rocco) seem friendly enough at first, but then it gets real as things get pretty violent, and there's the usual rape, slapping, destruction, etc. Pete is the leader, the good-looking guy who is protected by his "ape" Stick.
There's also a small bit of drama with their biker gang, and a fence Pete uses to ditch some stolen goods. Definitely good of its type, with some decent twists and turns, and even a few laughs. Very nice build-up to the expected violent ending.
The Pete actor actually has had a pretty decent career, and reminded me of the 70's porno actor Mike Ranger ("Taboo"). The main lessons here are never let strangers in your home, and never close your eyes to the music. Absolutely a very entertaining viewing for exploitation fans.
Sheriff Tom Vs. The Zombies (2013)
Bad. Unbelievably bad.
I'll probably make a few people angry at me for writing this, but I have to say this for my own benefit. At the time, I was in the band Ingrid and the Defectors, who have a few songs in this movie. I didn't write the songs, it's not my band, I just played the bass, but I know the band was happy about being included.
Anyway, after the Jersey premiere and after our performance there (arranged horribly, having the music acts after the movie instead of prior), we were asked to say a few words about the movie to some small film crew that went around.
Now, many may think I'm making a big deal out of nothing, but when we filmed our few words about the movie to that crew, I called this movie "great," which I didn't believe at all. The movie is absolutely horrible.
I'm a straight shooter, always have been, and I've always have told it like it is and have a rep for doing so...except that one, single time, and it has bothered me ever since. I'm not even sure why I lied like that, but it has really bugged me and still does, all this time later. It's the one single time I didn't tell the truth about something (as an adult anyway).
That's why I'm here, frankly, to correct that in a way, and give myself at least a little satisfaction knowing at least the truth is here.
And the truth is, this film is indeed very bad. And by "bad" I mean absolute garbage. I'm a huge zombie movie fan (especially the Italian imports) but my take has nothing to do with what kind of film this is, that doesn't matter. This is just a bad film, period. It's a huge mess. It's like someone threw a bunch of things into a blender and this is the result. The direction, the story, the entire execution is extremely poor. You won't believe what a mess this is.
This movie is way beyond the "so bad it's good" thing. You can't enjoy how bad it is. This isn't "Plan 9" where you can even laugh at it. It's just a complete waste of everyone's time, from the cast to the poor viewer.
Now, as for the cast, they do as best they can with what they have to work with. In such a bad film, they probably should have been a lot worse. They seem to be having fun, and seem to be trying hard, it's obvious they cared. The Sheriff Tom guy was good, and a nice guy off-screen. My take has nothing to do with the cast.
It's just horrific film making. And it just gets more messy as the film goes on. This is really an incomprehensible mess, maybe the worst independent film I've ever seen (granted, I haven't seen nearly as many as others have). As for the "cameos," it's obvious the film makers simply went to the Chiller Theatre Expo (or something similar) and got various guests (there to sign autographs for fans) to say a few sentences at their tables for the film.
Well, I guess that's about it. This simply was bothering me all this time and I had to get that out of my system.