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3 Scream Queens (2014)
What A Disappointment!
David De Couteau who did so very good low budgeted made for video B movies in the 1980's and who did such cult classics such as CREEPAZOIDS, SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBOWL ROLLARAMA & most especially NIGHTMARE SISTERS comes up with a real crapper of a movie, if you want to call this atrocity a movie. Here DeCouteau reunites with the three most famous scream queens of the 1980's, Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer & Brinke Stevens all who appeared in both Sorority Babes & Nightmare Sisters(which were much better films made by DeCouteau) in a film with virtually no plot, looks like it was made in just one day(DeCouteau in his audio commentary says that he shot all scenes with his three leading ladies in just 6 hours in one Day!) and chock full of scenes from De Couteau's previous homo-erotic horror films made by his company Rapid Heart.The film is a total waste of time and it's even worse than DeCouteau's previous reunion movie with Quigley, Stevens & Bauer:1313 COUGAR CULT! The three stars are even filmed in HD Digital in a very unflattering manner that makes them look much older than the three of them really are!
Fury of the Dragon (1976)
Horrible Hodgepodge Edited Mess of a Classic 60's TV Seriues
FURY OF THE DRAGON is the second film compilation of the short lived but memorable 1960's TV series THE GREEN HORNET starring Van Williams as the Green Hornet and Bruce Lee as Kato. The first film compilation released in 1974,THE GREEN HORNET was a much better edited and carefully constructed film compilation of the TV series released by 20th Century Fox who chose rather carefully the best episodes of the series to make a slightly cohesive 90 minute feature film. Unfortunately,that is not the case for this second film compilation which was released by an independent film company and not by Fox and it definitely shows in it's shoddiness in editing the various episodes of the show just to showcase Lee's fighting scenes and not to try to establish some kind of story cohesiveness in the film itself. Some 15 episodes of the show are used in this compilation,even footage from the four episodes that was used for the first film compilation of The Green Hornet that was released in theaters two years earlier. As a result,the film makes little sense at all compared with the first film compilation of the Hornet TV series and for that reason,FURY OF THE DRAGON is much more exploitive of Bruce Lee in the way it was shoddily made and rushed in it's production compared with the more watchable first film compilation,THE GREEN HORNET.
The Green Hornet (1974)
Good Feature Film Rehash of 1960's Grean Hornet TV Series
In 1974,a year after Bruce Lee's sudden death at age 32 at the apex of his popularity from ENTER THE DRAGON,film producers around the world were scrounging for any existing footage starring Bruce Lee to release in films to capitalize after his death. 20th Century Fox who produced THE GREEN HORNET TV series during it's one year run back in 1966,decided to pick among the 26 TV episodes of the series,the best footage to re-edit them in a feature long film but with more emphasis on Lee who played Kato the sidekick to the Green Hornet. Four episodes of the show are featured in this 1974 feature film version: "The Hunters & The Hunted","Invasion From Outer Space Part I & II" and "The Preying Mantis" which features a classic but short kung fu battle between Lee & Mako. Even though the film doesn't have a coherent story line per se, but this film is at least better crafted that it's sequel,FURY OF THE DRAGON that is really a badly edited podgehodge of about 15 episodes of the TV series that is an absolute mess to watch. As it is this film is a great way to see Bruce Lee at the beginning of his stardom and in the role that he is most remembered for.
OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus (2009)
OK sequel to OSS 117:CAIRO NEST OF SPIES
I have just seen the recent French DVD release of OSS 117 LOST IN RIO this weekend and I found this second cinematic installment of the new OSS117 film series as good as the first one but not better either. Comparing this film to it;'s predecessor is like comparing IN LIKE FLINT to the superior OUR MAN FLINT. Of course Dujardin is still great in his very humorous and hilarious portrayal of Hubert Bonisseau De la Bath aka French Secret Agent 0SS117. I find that Dujardin's comedic style similar to Peter Sellers in which he plays OSS117 in the same way Sellers played Clouseau. I might even say Dujardin would make a better Inspector Clouseau than Steve Martin. Some of the jokes work while others feel labored and forced but Dujardin's amusing performance as well as the on location Brazilian cinematography is great. I especially liked the fact that the Nazi top villain Von Zimmel had two Mexican masked wrestlers named after Blue Demon and Santo, the famous masked wrestlers of 60's Mexican Cinema. Even with it's weak spots, this is a fun sequel to the original.
Late Fee (2009)
Really Bad, Unscary and Unfunny Anthology Horror Film
I just came from the world premiere at NYC's Kraine Theater of this Anthology Horror Film called LATE FEE produced by video company Media Blasters/Shriek Show, John Sirabella and co-directed and written and co-directed by John Carcietta & Carl Morano. Unfortunately this indie horror film can't hold a candle either acting-wise, production-wise and even direction-wise to similar anthology horror films like the recent TRICK OR TREAT & TRAILER PARK OF TERROR. The film in itself has a basic good premise in which two twenty somethings go to a video store to rent horror films on Halloween night but the seedy & weird owner of the video store warns the couple to return the DVDs before 12 midnight or literally there will be hell to pay since the video store has an unusual way to get payment for late fees. But the two films the couple see which are THE PICK UP & DAMNATION which are the 2 stories of this anthology film, promise more than they really deliver, since the stories are predictable, unfunny and not scary at all! Especially when the acting is so over the top and amateurish & even the gore and makeup effects in the film are not up to par with the kind of films Media Blasters usually releases on DVD. On the production side, the film looks so cheap that it looks like it was virtually filmed in Media Blasters' backyard in New Jersey where the company is located and even the company's video store Rare Flix in NJ doubles for the ominous video store of the film. In my opinion after seeing this tepid film, Media Blasters/Shriek Show should quit making their own movies and keep on releasing Italian , Japanese and Spanish genre films like they were doing in the first place, since LATE FEE, which will be soon released on DVD in October 2009, is not even worth a video rental.
Angel of Death (2009)
Imitation "Alias"/"La Femme Nikita" vehicle for Zoe Bell
I have just seen the Unrated & (so called)Unedited DVD version of ANGEL OF DEATH starring stunt actress Zoe Bell in her first starring lead acting role, since Ms. Bell basically played "herself" in the Quintin Tarentino mini movie, DEATH PROOF, as part of the GRINDHOUSE double feature of 2007. While I consider Ms. Bell as the best stunt actress alive, her acting talents are still quite limited and is still a work in progress. The film which is really a compilation of mini episodes shown on the Internet based on a script by comic book writer, Ed Brubaker(Marvel Comic's Captain America)lacks a cohesive plot with credible and believable characters, especially the main female lead that remains as cyphers thruout the film, which really lasts only 78 minutes. The plot as it is, a combination of TV's ALIAS and LA FEMME NIKITA, has Bell as a hit woman working for a crime syndicate, who suffers an almost fatal blow in the head by a knife during a botched assassination attempt and then because of that blow, she suffers a change of heart in her profession and then decides to go after her bosses. The action scenes, especially with Ms Bell herself doing her own stunts & fight scenes, are quite good, but every time Ms Bell tries to act in the film with scripted dialogue, the film goes downhill, since she is obviously out of her league, especially acting with pros like Lucy Lawless(ZENA), Ted Raimi and Doug Jones(HELLBOY). Ms Bell here commits the same error as another favorite stunt actress/ martial artist Cynthia Rothrock,who is also great in her own fight scenes but can't act or deliver dialogue convincingly. It also streches credibility when the lead character suffers a knife blow to the skull with a seven inch knife, but suffers no serious motor trauma to the brain, except for some minor seizures. The film as directed as such, has a TV movie, made for video quality to it and doesn't work as a theatrical feature. The film just ends when it's reaching it's climax and leaves the door wide open for a sequel, but unlike Tarentino's KILL BILL, which this film unsuccessfully tries to emulate, the viewer doesn't have enough sympathy for Zoe Bell's character in the same way audiences felt for Uma Thurman's character or Anne Parillaud's character in NIKITA or Jennifer Garner's character in ALIAS. My sincere advice to Zoe Bell is to continue doing bit parts in film and TV to be able to fully develop her acting skills before trying another lead role in a film again or her career will end up just like Cynthia Rothrock and Mimi Lesseos doing Grade Z action flicks released straight to video.
Interesting but flawed miniseries biography of childstar Marisol
Being myself a fan of famed Spanish 60's childstar singer/actress Marisol and having seen all her films during my youth living in Puerto Rico, I was naturally interested in seeing the Antena 3 Spanish TV 2 part miniseries of Marisol/Pepa Flores(her real name)based on the biographical book by Javier Barriero. After seeing this miniseries on DVD, I was somewhat disappointed with it, because the three actresses casted as Marisol/Pepa Flores in her three stages of stardom(child-teenager-young adult)don't resemble the real Marisol at all, except the teenage version that kinda looks like her and the child version of her that does sing like her. But the miniseries plays free and loose with the important facts of Marisol's career, although it does put emphasis on the abusive and exploitive relationship of Marisol's producer/manager, Manuel J. Goyanes with the childstar and the loss of childhood and family relationships Marisol experienced in her career. The first part of the miniseries works best in the most part while the second part is too melodramatic with a bit much nudity and coarse language for this kind of biography and there is very few musical numbers performed by Marisol in the film. Hopefully someone in Spain will do a better theatrical film version of Marisol's life, especially if it's based on the much recent & better biographical book on Marisol by Jose Aguilar & Miguel Losada that had the consent & cooperation of Marisol/Pepa Flores herself.
Expose Me, Lovely (1976)
Great XXX Film Noir Porn Film of the mid 1970's
EXPOSE ME, LOVELY is a porn movie version of the 1941 film,LADY IN THE LAKE in which Ras Kean plays private eye Harry "Frosty" Knight,a NYC private eye in the tradition of Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe and Mike Hammer,who must find a missing young man who is heir to a fortune from his politician father, but Kean finds out soon enough that the missing person case is more than that,since he finds himself framed for murder. Of course being a 70's porn film, the plot is secondary to the explicit sex scenes, but director Armond Weston who also wrote the script, directs both the plot which has many scenes from the point of view of the private eye(just like LADY IN THE LAKE) with flashbacks and the many sex scenes in a very artsy film noir manner that makes this film in my opinion,an almost perfect adult film for couples and not only for horny males. If you expect a wall to wall sex film or a Johnny Wadd type film, you'll be disappointed but if you want some good plotting with decent acting(except for Kean) with your sex,then this film is right up your alley. The best sex scene is Kean with porn legend Jennifer Welles(the original MILF) whose scene also reveals the answer to the mystery. Other porn stars in the film are Annie Sprinkles, Jody Maxwell(the Singing Fellatrix), Catherine Burgess( here as Cary Lacy), Bobby Astyr and 70's transsexual star Eve Adams. In my opinion, this is Weston's best XXX 70's film and don't believe the bad review given by the first reviewer on this board, who obviously likes the kind of wall to wall raunchy XXX sex films that are being made today. Do yourself a favor and take a chance in seeing this porn classic from the Golden Age of Porn.
I Was a Teenage Mummy (1992)
Great Idea but really bad execution of teenage monster films
I Was A Teenage Mummy has the genesis of a great idea:the spoofing/homage of the popular 1950's teenage monster movie cycle started by AIP's I Was A Teenage Werewolf & I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, but the final product is a dismal mess and something of a disappointment, both as horror film and a spoof. The acting of all the participants in the film is abysmal and so is the script, nonexistent editing, camera-work and direction. The only good thing in the film is the 50's type of rock and roll music performed by the A-Bones and the makeup of the female Teenage Mummy and thankfully the movie isn't more than 48 minutes. There was another independent film version of I Was A Teenage Mummy made in 1962 with a male Teenage Mummy and that film has got to be much better than this mess of a film! Another poster on this board said that this film is better than The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, but in my honest opinion, I sincerely digress. since Cadavra is a much more enjoyable homage to 50's horror films than "Teenage Mummy" and it succeeds in what it sets out to do, even with it's small budget, while the other film doesn't.
SOS Conspiracion Bikini (1967)
Mexican Style James Bond Film
Back in the 1960's most of the countries in the world had their own Film version of James Bond 007 during the mid 1960's Spy Spoof Film Craze and Mexico was no exception. Down South of the Border, there were various Spanish spy spoof movies made in the 007 mode. One was the Santos(the Mexican Masked Wrestler) and Jorge Rivero spy films, Operation 67 and The Treasure of Moctezuma. But the other Mexican spy films were the "Alex Dinamo" films staring Julio Aleman as the Mexican version of 007. The first one was S.O.S. Comspiracion Bikini made in Ecuador with Aleman and a beautiful bevy of Mexican female stars(dressed in bikinis of course!) There's lots of spy action done with tongue in cheek humor, similar to the Matt Helm and Flint films. There was a sequel to this film which was "Peligro! Mujeres En Accion!" also starring Aleman as Alex Dinamo.