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Men of War (1994)
Pretty decent action flick with plenty of trash.
I liked this movie! It reminds me of the action flicks I enjoyed so much in the 80's ("Missing In Action," "Predator," "Rambo" etc...) in that it is pretty straightforward with minimal 'chick' aspects. It focuses mainly on good old fashioned violence.
With a plot line that could probably be traced as far back as George Stevens' "Shane," a mysterious, quiet white man lands on a tropical island in the South Chine Sea with the intent to take it over. He soon becomes enchanted with the people and the culture, (and the native womanfolk) and has a change of heart. The mercenary-gone-gentleman, if you will.
The only thing that disturbed me about "Men of War" was the laughable, atrocious performance by the usually outstanding B.D. Wong (of "Oz" fame) as he attempts to pull of some pseudo-Chinese tribal accent. It was ridiculous. I can only guess that the director or producers tried to force him into this. Watching him try to sound like a true native made me wince.
I did enjoy the performance by Lundgren. He's underrated for sure. And the guy who played Keefer did a nice, over the top sexualized violent psycho. Though his performance could be seen from mainland China, it worked OK here.
7 out of 10,kids.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Beyond comedy- a movie for the ages.
I have to say "Dazed and Confused" is probably my favorite 'coming of age' movie besides the quintessential and BEST movie of this type, "Stand By Me." A hidden gem and highly underrated, this sleeper came out and I remember all the stoners (including me) loved it for one reason- it made us laugh our asses off while we were...having fun. But revisiting it years later (and NOT stoned) I found a truly inspired and humble tribute to life in the 1970's. The cars were real, the music rocked, the chicks were cool and the parties went all night long.
I don't know what exactly it is about this movie that I love so much. Maybe it's the fact that it never gets TOO serious, but it definitely moves you. Maybe it's the overall feel of the film; it's got a good heart. It's funny, but never stupid. It's patriotic, but it's not in your face about it. It's just cool. And of course there's Matthew McConahey's character; one of my favorites in any movie EVER.
I highly highly recommend this movie. 10 out of 10, kids.
Gli intoccabili (1969)
Cassavettes was awesome.
Let me start out by saying I think the main star in this flick, John Cassavettes is one of the most underrated actors of his time. I was expecting this movie to blow me out of the water. I'm a huge fan of euro action and gangster flicks. Maybe I've seen too many...or maybe "Machine Gun McCain" just wasn't trashy enough for me.
The plot is simple and straightforward. John is great as the quintessential old school tough guy. His son represents everything he isn't. I liked that part of the story- the relationship between Hank and his son.
This movie lacked the overall trashiness that I like to see in these Italian crime flicks. I prefer stuff like "Street Law" or Fulci's "Contraband," and recently I saw Deodato's "Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man" which is way more along the lines of the stuff I like (more violence, more shock, more trash)...I rented this movie and I doubt I'll purchase it for my collection.
However, I'd recommend it for fans of John Cassavettes. As I said, he really makes the movie. Look for a young Florinda Bolkan as Josie.
6 out of 10, kids.
Damned River (1989)
Somewhat predictable but well-shot outdoor action trash.
"Damned River" is like a mix between "Deliverance" and "Treasure of the Amazon." It has elements of Euor-trash and I happened to like that a lot. It also has some comic relief...which I didn't really like.
The main star is pretty convincing in his role, but slips a few times. The part is somewhat poorly written because he has this alter-ego as a rough around the edges 'hunk' and the movie suffers a little for this.
Perhaps the most impressive element to be found is the beautiful cinematography on the river and the surrounding African nation of Zimbabwe. This movie would make a nice travelogue of the region. I was impressed to say the least.
For fans of trashy 80's action adventure and perhaps jungle/cannibal/euro trash flicks, I think there is some fun to be had here.
7 out of 10, kids.
The Baby (1973)
Bizarre to say the least.
I went into this one totally blind- I was actually expecting a cheeseball, low budget ripoff of "Rosemary's Baby." Boy was I mistaken.
This movie is totally strange and uniquely disturbing; and I mean that in a good way. The image of the baby playing ball and trying to stand up will be forever burned into my psyche. The day after viewing, I found myself thinking of his awkward movements and his upsetting cries.
Nice little twist at the end- not on the level of some flicks today. but hey for '73, it definitely impressed me.
Recommended for fans of early John Waters, 70's TV horror movies, etc. Would make a good double feature with "Bad Boy Bubby." 8 out of 10, kids.
Il grande racket (1976)
Castellari's career home run.
A brilliant addition to the Italian crime genre and sure to capture the heart of any sleaze lover, "The Big Racket" is definitely one of the best in it's class.
Fabio Testi is a knockout as the protagonist, a renegade cop who is out for blood and justice, assembling a team of outcasts to punish the wicked. Plenty of blood and violence adorn this flick, and I recommend a couple of cold Peroni's and a plate to spaghetti for the perfect evening.
All in all, probably my second favorite Castellari effort, second only to "The Inglourious Bastards" but I think "The Big Racket" is technically a BETTER film. No complaints at all here.
10 out of 10, kids.
The Other Guys (2010)
More retard fare for the brainwashed, mouthbreathing masses.
This movie has one good thing going for it and that is Mark Wahlberg. The question is- why the hell did Mark do this movie? It sucks. It is hardly funny. It's the kind of humor that a 10 year old might appreciate. Some raunchy jokes and windowlicker slapstick.
Idiot Farrell (Hollywood's biggest jerk) gets paired with tough guy bully Wahlberg in cop world. The two are the precinct's 'odd couple' (how many times can Hollywood regurgitate THAT theme...?) and they try to crack a big case.
I don't know what else to say, I guess I should turn back the clock to 1994 and start smokin weed again, maybe I'd appreciate this drivel.
2 out of 10, kids.
Chi sei? (1974)
Another lost gem released by Code Red
In all fairness, this movie is a ripoff. However, if you know what it's gonna be and you're cool with that, it is damn entertaining.
From the get-go with the kids cussing and the bizarre antics of the parents, you know you're in for an Italian trash treat. It just gets better and better. By the end, you'll be loving life, if you're anything like me.
Recommended for fans of Fulci, Argento, D'Amato, etc. It was a little more old school than I thought it was gonna be, but I'm good with that. It is definitely more early 70's than late 70's. I like that Bava used the same kid in "Shock" aka "Beyond the Door 2." 6 out of 10, kids.
Sick, swanky, hippie crime trash from the 70's.
Long haired, outcast hippie guy gets out of jail and is victimized by the mob. I love it. Somehow, some way, it took me years to see this one and it's ashame because it's definitely worthy of a spot on any Italian horror/crime fan's DVD shelf.
Music is swanky, clothes are hippie, dubbing is atrocious. Castration scene near the end is especially sickening, definitely stands out as the 'gross out' moment in the movie. It surprised me; was not expecting it as it kind of comes out of nowhere...sure there's plenty of fighting and goofy kung fu prior in the film, but nothing like that! I loved it.
Fans of Castellari or Fulci should enjoy this one! 5 out of 10, kids.
Chauvinistic and nihilistic cop movie.
I can say that I have not seen a Deodato movie that I haven't liked. I enjoy his style and the way he takes on each 'genre' rather than just taking on a script or a film.
With "Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man" he really tackled the Italian cop/crime thriller genre head-on and makes no apologies. These guys shoot first and put the handcuffs on later. They are competing with each other the whole film over who's gonna get the chicks. It's hilarious and bad ass all at the same time.
Written by Fernando Di Leo (Fulci's "Massacre Time") and brilliantly acted and directed, it's hard to find anything wrong here. Euro-sleaze buffs can safely purchase this one for the collection.
8 out of 10, kids.
Excellent thriller from Luigi Cozzi
I loved this movie. First and foremost, in my opinion, this is NOT a giallo. I'd classify it more as a crime/thriller...or even a drama or a black comedy.
You know who the killer is from the beginning, so there isn't much mystery to it...but unlike many other 'similar movies' there is a double dose of tension and suspense which genuinely gets under your skin.
Masterfully directed by Luigi Cozzi ("Contamination"). I was impressed with the guy who plays the killer, I thought he was superb and creepy, and even though we get up close and personal with him, he remains creepy until the end.
Necessary viewing for lovers of Italian horror.
8 out of 10, kids.
Combat Shock (1984)
Grimy and filthy and awesome.
This one really struck me. I can't think of a more downright grimy movie than "Combat Shock." The plot is simple and effective. A guy comes back from 'Nam and is completely distant from everything and everyone. His life is awful and beyond upsetting.
This film hardly has a redeeming quality to it; it's mostly just shocking and upsetting. The cover art is very deceptive, doesn't show at all what this movie is all about.
I was pretty depressed after viewing this one, but I'm still glad I saw it, and I might even watch it again. This movie definitely does what it sets out to do on a minimal budget. It's one of those films where having a low budget adds to the overall effectiveness of the picture.
Recommended for fans of films like "Deadbeat At Dawn," "Eraserhead" and "Nekromantik." 8 out of 10, kids.
Lived up to the expectation.
There are certain movies out there that, for me, are just hard to sit through. They are disgusting and shocking, sure, but they are not at all entertaining. "NEKRomantik" was not one of them. I found it to be sick and disturbing, but somehow I still enjoyed it.
The most disturbing part for me was the farmer killing the rabbit, which was I thought was unnecessary. It was obviously real. I know Bugs was probably killed for food, and I eat meat so who am I to judge, but I feel that showing that kind of stuff in a movie like this is kind of cheap. It didn't add anything to the overall show and shock. I find that in the jungle cannibal movies, that sort of National Geographic footage adds something to the savagery of the film. Here, I was just scratching my head.
The body was nasty. I have to admit I felt a little nauseous in the first "love" scene with that thing. Yuck.
As has been stated, the music is amazing. I'd say as good as anything Goblin ever did aside from "Suspiria." If I had to sum up this movie in a nutshell I'd say it is most like Joe D'Amato's "Buio Omega" but a heck of a lot more graphic. Still watchable though.
9 out of 10, kids.
The Road (2009)
In a word- depressing.
Watched "The Road" the other night on-demand. I heard a lot about this film and the book which it is based on, written by the same guy who wrote "No Country For Old Men." I was surprised at how 'well' this movie was done, production-wise; appears from the outside to be indie greatness, but upon further inspection, is a big budget Hollywood garbage flick. It leaves a lot to the viewers' imagination in terms of 'how did we get to this point,' but it does manage to answer a few questions (even if said answers make no sense) via these little flashbacks.
The tale is quite grim and definitely not for children. I'd classify this as a realistic horror flick of the gloomiest kind. It shows the dark and evil nature of humanity the same way "No Country" did but with sort of an action-like spin on things.
Viggo Mortensen shines as usual in a starring role that will make your heart melt. The kid was great and the cameos by Duvall and Pearce are fantastic.
Set in a world which is imaginable, but hopefully not coming our way EVER, "The Road" is a scary, thrilling romp but ultimately a little too nihilistic in it's approach to the human spirit.
Now that I've pointed out some good things, here comes the bad. The writing. The writing. The writing. The father, a whiny, sappy, wuss does everything he can to shelter his son from this evil world which the boy has been brought into, and we can't help but want to kill this man for doing so, as he is doing this kid the largest disservice he could possibly do. Even later, when he attempts to 'teach his son a hard lesson,' he makes the wrong decision by disrobing a man and leaving him to die because he is a thief. At least the kid still has a heart. When father and son stumble upon a miraculously untouched bomb shelter stocked full of food and supplies, they LEAVE within a few days. Why? Instead of leaving their cabin in the woods, the family stayed for what appears to be years until the mother commits suicide and the father and son are basically FORCED to take to the road. Why didn't they leave sooner?
Too many questions, too much Hollywood typicality, too much weeping and crying, too many holes, and most of all not enough balls for a movie of this type.
4 out of 10, kids.
The House of the Devil (2009)
It's ashame they don't make em like this anymore...oh wait they just did.
It's almost unfair to call this one a new horror movie, because it is obviously meant to look old, in fashion, set, music and even the way it is directed. It's no secret this is a throwback tribute to early 80's horror and slasher films.
That being said, "House of the Devil" stands well on its own two feet in terms of plot and acting. It's not simply a 'retro horror flick...' College chick takes babysitting job because she's desperate for money. Turns out to be a creepy couple looking for someone to take care of their elderly mother. Chick's friend warns her not to take job. She takes it anyway and the results of her ignorance are horrible.
What I like about this flick is that there is no torture porn, there are a few genuine creep-out scenes and it uses no cheese-ball CGI or any other modern crap like that.
For those of you who enjoyed "The Devil's Rejects," "House of 1000 Corpses," "Suspiria," and "Rosemary's Baby," this is definitely a must-see.
9 out of 10, kids.
Amazing, awesome, disturbing and disgusting.
Damiano Damiani, who is better known for his spaghetti westerns, directs this prequel to "The Amityville Horror" which I found wildly entertaining and genuinely creepy.
It's exploitation at it's finest: child abuse, spousal abuse, possession, brother-sister incest and gore are the shocking elements used here to show what a demon REALLY does to a family living in this house built on an ancient burial ground.
Is it cheesy at times? Of course. What sequel isn't? If you like Italian horror, see this one, you won't be disappointed. Just try not to compare it too much to the first one and you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
7 out of 10, kids.
Eden Lake (2008)
Pointless and stupid, not worthy of a watch. Waste of time.
The first movie of this kind was H.G. Lewis' "2000 Maniacs" which came out in the 1960's, and to this day remains entertaining. It's funny and rewarding in the end. A more modern example of this kind of film would be Wes Craven's 1972 "Last House on the Left," which was later copied in Deodato's "House on the Edge of the Park," and the extremely entertaining "Last House on the Beach." Nowadays, we get movies like "Wolf Creek," "The Strangers" and this piece of absolute drivel, "Eden Lake," in which the viewers are treated to an unrealistic onslaught of violence and cruelty performed by the most unimaginable villains. I suppose that's creative on some level, but it fails to entertain. The viewer is left with no sense of anything, just wasted time.
I'll sum it up for you: extremely unlucky and stupid British couple get harassed and killed by a group of children who were raised by irresponsible parents.
For a WAY better film of this type, check out "Who Can Kill a Child?" Now that's a good one.
Maybe you have to be British to 'get' this one, but I found it laughably bad and not in a good way. Awful, horrible, if you have a brain, avoid.
One or two scenes of decent gore.
2 out of 10, kids.
Ice Cream Man (1995)
Definitely more comedy than horror.
Anyone who rags on this movie too much is kind of an idiot. I mean, you can tell from one look at the cover that it's meant to be funny. That's not to say it's pure comedy, but it's definitely hilarious through most of it.
Clint Howard appears ultra creepy as the jolly bringer of frozen treats. I thought maybe this movie was going to be about a child molester after the first ten minutes. He pulls it off well. However, as the movie progresses, we realize that he is simply psychotic and bumping anyone and everyone off. The police are portrayed as bumbling fools as they press the ice cream man for info on missing children. They destroy his shop and forget to search his truck! All in all, I enjoyed the heck outta this movie. Definitely a good flick to buy some beer and watch while you're a little tipsy.
This all being said, I wouldn't suggest showing this to children as there are several disturbing scenes throughout, and a lot of bad language. It's funny and all but it's definitely a SICK movie.
8 out of 10, kids.
Le lac des morts vivants (1981)
For Euro-trash lovers only.
Needless to say, "Zombie Lake" is no masterpiece of filmmaking.
It is, however, one hilariously bad Nazi-zombie flick with a few good points.
1. Decent atmosphere throughout; the French countryside makes a FINE place for a pond of undead National Socialists, don't you think?
2.Nice little romantic side-story, with the Nazi-dad and his little girl.
3. Plenty of athletically-built, scantily-clad chicks who seem to have little regard for decency as they regularly disrobe to take a dip in the pond.
Obviously you are not going to get the next "Dawn of the Dead" here, but "Zombie Lake" is plenty entertaining to sit around and swig a couple beers, relax and have a laugh at.
High points for me are the swimming pool ladders visible in some of the underwater scenes and the green makeup that even comes off onto one of the victims arms in a killing scene.
The only thing that really drags this movie down is a lack of gore. The zombie killings look more like vampires biting their victims...maybe they were supposed to be vamps? Lost in translation perhaps. (After all, the literal translation of the title is "Lake of the Dead." Maybe they were in fact vampires.)At any rate, if they had thrown some of that good ole raw meat and a little gut-munching, "Zombie Lake" would have scored higher for sure.
6 out of 10, kids.
Little Caesar (1931)
Edward G was the O.G.
Having been released in 1931, this movie has to be the first REAL on screen depiction of a gangster. Edward G. Robinson turned in a performance here that should definitely be seen by modern gangster movie fans. The way he dominates his competition and rises to the top is purely in his attitude and speech. He has a way of addressing people throughout the film that makes you cringe. You have no doubt about why they are intimidated. It's not mad like Pacino in "Scarface" or meek, like Brando in "The Godfather..." It's pushy, bold and cocky; something like Cagney in "White Heat." This is truly the predecessor of all gangster movies and, though a little predictable in plot, has a powerful story. Only problem is that it seems less powerful and more predictable now after having seen too many rip-offs.
8 out of 10, kids.
Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (1972)
One of the most amazing movies I've ever seen.
For sheer stunning production value and wow factor, "Aguirre The Wrath of God" has to be in the top ten 'best movies ever made' chart. From the opening scene, with it's powerful imagery of a brigade of Conquistadores descending a massive mountainside, along with the hair-raising opening music, this will strike any film lover right in the heart.
This intensity keeps up through the entire movie. I kept asking myself: 'how the hell did they DO that?' Considering this movie was made in 1972, I think the achievement speaks for itself here.
Klaus Kinski is in true form, maybe the best performance I've seen him in. He is truly mad. You get an uneasy feeling, like maybe this guy isn't really acting, that's just HIM.
Add to all these magnificent qualities an extremely poignant, insane mission that was the conquering of central America by the Europeans and what you have is a true masterpiece.
Funny, did anyone else notice that this film pretty much picks up where Mel Gibson's 2006 "Apocalypto" leaves off? I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but pretty cool nonetheless.
See it. 10 out of 10, kids.
Clay Pigeons (1998)
One of my all time favorites.
Can't believe I haven't reviewed this one yet. One of the best films of the 90's for sure. Pay no attention to the low rating on here; "Clay Pigeons" is a very innovative flick.
Joaquin Phoenix and Vince Vaughn work it so well together. The way Joaquin handles the woman in the bar...the way Vince steps in all creepy yet funny...lets you KNOW why these two guys made it as far as they can. A perfect mixture of humor and tension culminates into an interesting tale of psychotic obsession. Whether or not you think that Clay and Lester are the same person, or whether you see the film as straight forward are completely up for interpretation, but either way it's a damn entertaining and stylish thriller/comedy flick.
Awesome alt-country soundtrack. Whiskeytown, Don Gibson, Old 97's. Introduced me to the Old 97's in fact. Shame those 97's went all pop on us. Look out for the super valuable vintage H Bar C shirts that Vince "Lester the Molester" Vaughn sports throughout the movie. They don't make em like that anymore you sumbitch.
9 out of 10, kids.
Waited ten years to see it...
As a huge horror fan, it seemed like a crime that I had never seen Takashi Miike's "Audition." I kept seeing it in Blockbuster and Best Buy. I own several of Miike's films including "Ichi the Killer," "Full Metal Yakuza" and "Imprint." I've seen a bunch more of his stuff and I have liked most of it.
I found "Audition" to be boring and jumbled, messy and incongruent, and ultimately a let-down.
The basic premise is a guy loses his wife and holds an audition to find a new one. A friend and colleague assists him in the process and the our protagonist is immediately drawn to one of the applications. As to why, I have no idea...but he passes over several 'normal' seeming women and manages to dig up the freak. He falls for the broad, and she ends up being a psycho. We are given a very vague indication as to WHY this broad is so crazy, but basically she was abused by a former dance teacher and possibly some family members. In the end, she ends up graphically torturing and maiming our protagonist, punishing his body and pummeling his psyche; destroying him and mauling him.
"Audition" plays like so many other J-horror flicks for the most part. I was expecting it to be a little more clear. It was murky and I still don't really understand the whole reason for the woman being such a nut.
I did think there was sufficient comedic value in this flick, as with most of Miike's work. The part where the son comes in and finds his dad missing a foot and looking like a pin cushion made me laugh. Maybe I'm sick!? It's easy to see why modern movie-goers are impressed with this kind of bland drivel when films like "Hostel" and "Saw" garner huge box office numbers and millions of dollars. But for me, I'd just as soon pass it up for some of Miike's way more inventive films, or better yet, something like "Oldboy" or "Ju-On" which offers a true STORY and not just another dose of torture porn. Maybe I've seen too many Italian and Japanese horror flicks.
4 out of 10, kids.
Les misérables (1934)
For those of us who have read the unabridged book.
Last summer (and fall...) I read the complete unabridged novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Needless to say, it had an impact on my life. I have since been on a quest to find a book that is its equal, but who knows if that book exists.
I made the mistake of watching the 1998 Hollywood butchery job and let's just say I was unimpressed. Somewhere I read that this 1934 French version was the most 'true-to-book' version of the novel out there. Well, after watching it, I'd have to agree! It is a long movie, but it covers pretty much every major part of the novel except for Jean and Cosette's experience living in the convent. It still works, though.
I wouldn't recommend anyone who has not read Hugo's amazing novel to sit through this movie: but if you want to reminisce a little, and recall some visions that you had while reading the book, this film should do the trick better than anything else out there.
Well done!!! 9 out of 10, kids.
Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
Brilliant, timeless and poignant film about friendship and redemption.
Without a doubt, "Angels With Dirty Faces" is one of the greatest films of all time.
The story of two hoodlum kids; one who gets caught, one who doesn't. The kid who gets caught ends up going through the justice system and ends up being killed by it. The kid who doesn't ends up being a priest. Those of us who grew up around crime will see this at worst as slightly extreme and at best as utterly realistic. Either way, it works well as a plot.
This is my favorite performance by James Cagney. Not for one second do we doubt him as the quintessential bad ass. As believable as Pacino in "Scarface," more rebellious than DeNiro in "Taxi Driver" and as likable as Slater in "True Romance." Up until the final scene, Cagney pulls it off perfectly. He is unphased and mean in the face of death.
I love the ending, when we see his shadow before he goes to the electric chair. His phony breakdown and his hands grasping to save himself. What a powerful message to have in a movie that came out over 70 years ago.
To say it was ahead of it's time would be a ridiculous understatement. It is STILL ahead of it's time. Try showing it to kids today and you'll see what I mean. Boy, how they have changed...I wonder if it's for the better.
10 out of 10, kids.