Reviews written by registered user
|222 reviews in total|
Having seen many films on the subject of prostitution, I can honestly
say that "She Beast Market" is one of the most harrowing and bleak
examinations of the subject. Sordid and sleazy, but somehow never
exploitative, "Beast Market" focuses on 2 young women involved in the
life of street prostitution. One girl is rather new to the scene, and
therefore has retained a kind of naive innocence, while the second girl
is much more jaded, and hardened by the life. One girl maintains hope
that she will escape her brutal reality, while the second girl is
completely resigned to this life. We also are witness to one of the
most extreme cases of 'mother/daughter' competition, as the one girl's
mother is also a prostitute, who is quite bitter and jealous of her
daughter's youth and beauty. The two women despise each other and make
no secret of the fact.
This movie covers it all; sadomasochistic johns, incest, back alley abortions, mental illness, and ultimately death for one tortured soul. The reason the production never seems exploitative is the fact that the sexual content, is so unpleasant, and the subject matter so incredibly grim..I can't imagine anyone being titillated by what is happening on screen, even though the sex is quite graphic at times. The most impressive thing about "Beast Market" is probably it's starkly beautiful black & white photography, which perfectly compliments the bleak storyline and landscape. Seedy apartments, sleazy bars and shadowy alleys come to life when photographed with this gritty black & white film stock. This is also a very sad movie, and I didn't expect to become so involved in the stories of these character. Certainly a masterpiece of it's genre, this is a very rare and obscure title, that should be seen by any fan of art house cinema, if the opportunity comes their way. Highly recommended.
Another one of those misunderstood films, that received a bunch of criticism, for all the wrong reasons. John Derek's "Tarzan, the Ape Man" was never meant to be a typical entry in the Tarzan genre, but rather this is pure erotic fantasy, from a woman's perspective. Rather than focus on Tarzan, this version of the tale focuses on Jane, her fears, and her desires. Beautifully photographed on location in Sri Lanka and the Seychelles, and featuring one of the most classically beautiful women of all time, Bo Derek, this film is a real treat for the senses. Leave your brain at the door, because "Tarzan, the Ape Man" isn't exactly an intellectual tour de force. What John Derek has created here, is the ultimate piece of escapist cinema. Much like his "Bolero," also featuring wife Bo Derek, this movie is very similar to the romantic novels written by women, for women, years ago. This is reminiscent of the classic romance novel "The Sheik," as it deals with a naive but adventurous woman, who is swept away by a man who society considers a "dangerous savage," a man who should repel, but instead fascinates. The problem with these films, is that they seldom find their right audience; men will flock to a movie like this, wanting to see a naked, beautiful woman in sexual situations, but they see the romance as silly and unrealistic. And of course, modern women might easily be offended by the portrayal of a heroine that is weak, and dependant on a man. Even though Jane is hardly weak, and for a woman from 1910, she really goes after her own dream, with unbridled passion. This movie is worth a look for it's sheer visual beauty, and to witness the on screen coupling of what is perhaps, the most physically perfect woman and man to ever grace the silver screen. Highly recommended for fans of erotic and escapist fantasy. As far as the classic Tarzan novels that this material is based on, this movie stays surprisingly faithful to the source material in many ways.
Seeing as how "Once Upon A Time In Shanghai" is a remake of my all-time favorite martial arts movie, "Boxer From Shantung," of course I held this one up against high standards. Well for the most part it succeeds, with it's many elegant, artistic touches. Here we have a visually impressive period piece, about a poor laborer who comes to the big city to find his fortune. What he finds is friendship, corruption, and ultimately betrayal. Here martial artist Philip Ng replaces the legendary Chen Kuan Tai in the role of Ma Yongzhen, the immensely likable peasant who yearns for power, but despises corruption. Ng is a great choice to play Ma, as he is a charismatic and handsome actor. It's not easy to compare to Chen Kuan Tai, but Philip Ng comes close. The fight scenes are fast and furious, and very well-staged, and for once we have a good story to compliment the action. The sets and the period costumes are beautiful and detailed as well, although I wasn't so crazy about the digital video look of this film. The colors are very washed out, and the film almost looks like it was shot in black and white. Still I highly recommend this remake, as there are so few good martial arts films being produced today. Fans of the classic 70's stuff should really appreciate this. I also strongly recommend searching out the original "Boxer From Shantung" from 1972. It is a true masterpiece of the genre, and surpasses this film in quality and artistry..
"The Beast" as it's called in English, is a stylishly filmed tale about a soldier who discovers that his innocent sister has been kidnapped by sex traffickers. The girl has ended up on a web cam sex site, and it becomes her brother's mission to find her, before it is too late. This theme has been dealt with many times before, and in a more effective way, so "Beast" won't earn any points for originality. And despite the subject matter, there is actually no sex or nudity in this movie. Still, it is a very decent, and entertaining thriller, with some impressive fight scenes. The photography has a certain cold, grey look, which somehow suits the story. The buildings, the clothing, the hairstyles, are all very modern and industrial, and the main actor is very extreme-looking, with nice, angular features and icy, emotionless eyes. This is not art, but it's better than most action films coming out of Hollywood these days..worth a watch.
It's sad that this obscure martial arts film from Thailand gets
confused with a different film, from Shaw Brothers that shares the same
name, "King Boxer." This movie, released a year before that more
well-known title, is actually the better film. Unlike Shaw productions,
we have a film that utilizes real location shooting, rather than fake
sets with artificial landscapes. So we are treated to quite a tour of
beautiful Thailand, with some unforgettable imagery. In this way, "The
King Boxer" becomes a kind of 'love letter' to Thailand and it's
A Chinese man is visiting Thailand, hoping to get a closer look, and possibly a lesson in Muay Thai, the sport of Thai kick boxing. a beautiful Thai girl introduces him to her brother, who is a professional fighter, and the two become fast friends. The man known as "the King boxer" within Thailand, and internationally, becomes teacher to the young Chinese visitor. Of course King Boxer is soon challenged by a rather nasty Japanese martial artist, who is determined to rob the king of his title. And then it becomes personal, when his sister rejects the Japanese thug's advances. Some great, well choreographed fighting follows, culminating into quite a bloody revenge epic.
This film is unique in that it is very well-made, with a decent budget. Also the Thai angle is something different for a martial arts film. There aren't nearly enough Muay Thai films out there to compete with the countless Kung Fu movies that were produced at this time. "The King Boxers" is a very hard film to track down, but it is worth the effort..
There is something about this Z grade martial arts flick that might make you want to take a shower after you watch it. A seedy, sleazy feel pervades every frame, and if you know about the LA scene of the 70's, and what was going on at the time, it feels even sleazier. Iconic martial arts master, and the "King of Cool," Jim Kelly made a handful of these movies, after his appearance in the very successful "Enter the Dragon," starring Bruce Lee. A lot of fans were disappointed that Kelly's ultra-cool character is killed off so early into that film, because we wanted more of this guy. And movies like "Death Dimension" give Jim Kelly a chance to show his stuff. Among these films, all of which are memorable and great in their own way, "Death Dimension" stands out as one of the cheapest of the lot. Filmed in the Nevada desert, and the glitzy Reno casino strip, on a very small budget, the movie still manages to be atmospheric and entertaining. Featuring a cast of cheap looking women who look like they were borrowed from a hardcore porn movie, as well as some truly mean looking men. There is an evil Haitian thug with a scarred face that will make your skin crawl. He likes to beat women and slice people's throats with his razor-like pinky ring. And the king pin scumbag is just called "The Pig," and he is truly a pig, in his skin tight polyester shirts bursting under the strain of his sweaty, big body. when Jim Kelly is on screen though, everything comes together, and we are reminded just why we are watching. Kelly's martial arts skills are finely tuned and hyper-energetic; the man is truly incredible to watch. Here he is partnered with Myron Lee, a Chinese undercover agent, and the two work very well off each other, kind of like the pairing of Conan and Subotai in "Conan the Barbaian." Some highlights include scenes of Jim Kelly walking around the neon-saturated Reno strip at night. The man is just so cool in everything he does. As far as the plot goes, well it concerns some evil bastards trying to get their hands on a machine that can freeze the weather in a concentrated area. It sounds a bit like the plot from "Black Samurai," another Kelly film that is actually better than this film. Anyway we don't watch these films for their brilliant story lines, do we? I recommend this movie for fans of exploit cinema and martial arts movies of the 1970's. It's good, sleazy fun.
Even though this biopic of the great Rudolph Valentino isn't always accurate in the retelling of his life, there is something about it that makes it a very enjoyable film to watch. Maybe it's the lead actor's close resemblance to Rudolph that makes it so fun. Leading man Anthony Dexter is the absolute image of Valentino, at least physically. Absent though, is the Italian accent that unfortunately, we are not really familiar with anyway, as Valentino is from the Silent Film era. The film begins with Rudy's voyage from Naples to New York city, traveling by ship with hundreds of other Italian immigrants, hopeful of a bright, promising future in America. Of course, in true Hollywood style, they have written in a fictional love story, that begins on the ship, and follows Valentino throughout his short life. Of course this isn't how things really happened, but I suppose the film makers felt they needed the injection of old fashioned romance to sell the film, as Rudy's actual life wasn't quite so 'romantic.' However once you get beyond the imagined romance, the rest of the tale is mostly accurate. We can see the film legend sleeping in the park upon his arrival to the city, as well as his early days as a dance hall gigolo, where he would work older, wealthy women for their money while romancing them on the dance floor. And the movie doesn't shy away from showing the resentment that other men had towards the Italian, whom they taunted with ethnic slurs as they questioned his character. Later Valentino's career is nicely documented as we see him land the coveted role of Julio, from "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," the huge hit that made Rudolph Valentino a star. Even his lesser known films are touched upon, and the viewer is treated to a nice look inside "Falcon's Lair," the actor's legendary mansion. Finally, Rudolph's early death is tastefully, and accurately handled as well. He died of quite ordinary, physical circumstances, and it happened quickly. I believe this is all so fascinating to watch, mainly because of Dexter's haunting resemblance to Valentino. At times we almost can believe we are looking at the real star, and to see him as he would have looked on Technicolor film, is the most fascinating at all. Filled with opulent settings and 1920's fashions, and much romance, this 1951 film really is a must-see for fans of the matinée idol. I don't believe this film has ever been properly restored, and the only version that exists is one with very faded colors. It's a shame, because I'm sure it looked beautiful when the print was new. I don't see a restored version being released any time soon, as this is quite an obscure title. But for fans of Rudolph Valentino, this is truly a film to seek out.
Who is cooler than Jim Kelly? And what film defines the genre 'grind
house' better than "Black Samurai?" This bizarre, James
Bond/Blaxploitation/martial arts hybrid has it all; impressive fight
scenes, gorgeous women, beautiful exotic cars, foreign settings, and
off the wall soundtrack, combined with a story so out there, you will
wonder if someone put a rufie in your drink. Acting and screen presence
are two different things, and Jim Kelly might not have been the
strongest actor, but this man certainly had an indescribable screen
presence. Here Kelly portrays Secret Agent Robert Sand, A karate expert
who becomes embroiled in an outrageous cat and mouse game, when his
girl, who happens to be the daughter of a far Eastern Ambassador, is
abducted by the eccentric and insane, terrorist-like 'Warlock,' an
inventor of a dangerous weapon called "the Freeze bomb." Warlock is of
course, also involved with a top drug cartel and human trafficking as a
way of funding his terrorist activities. Jim Kelly must battle midget
assassins, as well as voodoo ritual murders. This could easily be high
comedy..but the beauty of this film is that it is played serious
throughout, and you will find yourself absorbed in this bizarre action
For those who truly appreciate the grind house/exploit genre, this film is a shining example. It possesses this extreme nostalgic style and feel, and it looks beautiful. it has a way of taking the viewer back to his childhood, to another, forgotten time. The cinematography is gorgeous, and just riding around with Kelly in his purple Ferrari is going to make you feel like a better person just for having seen this diamond of a film. It's a bit sad to see that some people poke fun at this movie, and others like it. These people clearly have zero understanding of this underrated genre of film making. After seeing just a few Jim Kelly movies, I have placed him up there with Bruce Lee, as one of my all-time heroes. Unfortunately some truly unsavory characters have seen fit to butcher this iconic film for it's DVD release, by censoring it, and even more unforgivably, by adding stupid overdubs to some fight scenes, in an effort to make the movie look stupid. Presently I am searching for an uncensored VHS of "Black Samurai," which has got to be the Holy Grail for fans of exploitation cinema.
Anybody who watches this biopic about the legendary matinée idol,
Rudolph Valentino, would think director Ken Russell had a personal
vendetta against the guy. Russell is known for his grotesque, often
controversial films, and this movie is no exception. The clown-like
portrayal of Valentino is as offensive as the image of the white
serpent ripping the arm off Jesus on the cross, in "Lair of the White
Worm." This film plays like the cheapest gossip rag on the newsstand.
It would have the viewer believe that R. Valentino was a flaming,
super-feminine homosexual. And there is no way that the real Valentino
acted or behaved like this ridiculous portrayal at all. In fact it
would have been impossible in the 1920's. We basically witness endless
people calling Rudy a raging homosexual, right to his face. We have
people mocking him and throwing powder puffs at him! Ken Russell takes
an old, unfounded rumor about Rudolph's sexuality, and builds the
entire film around that one thing. It's a true character assassination
of a screen legend, that should offend every fan that sees it. Of
course it was usually Ken Russell's ultimate goal to offend his
Nothing against Nureyev, but i truly hated his interpretation of Valentino. I don't know if the man was just too feminine in real life to hide it, or if he was simply directed to mock Rudy, a man who really hated the doubts cast upon his manhood. It angered him to no end, being of the macho Italian culture. If he could see this movie he would roll over in his grave; he would despise it that much. Attacking the image of someone who has been dead 85 years, is just cowardly and disgraceful. Watching one of Valentino's films it is clear that he was a somewhat sensitive, even shy man. Not the freakshow that you see in this 1977 film. Anyway, Nureyev, although a very handsome guy, bears no resemblance at all to Rudolph, so it is unclear why he was cast at all.
If it wasn't for the movie's great production values, it would be a total waste of time; the sets and 1920's costumes are really amazing, and the film looks beautiful. In fact, technically speaking, this is a well-made film. It's just a shame that the director decided to make it an hysterical farce, and had everyone act like clowns. If not for those poor choices, this could have been great. I wondered why this has never been commercially released on DVD; now i understand.. There is, happily, another film on the life of Valentino, from 1951, that doesn't mock the actor, but takes the subject matter seriously. The actor also bears a haunting resemblance to Rudy as well. But this movie just made me angry and disgusted.
This 1989 re-telling of the life of Juan Gallardo, famed Matador, is actually the closest thing you will get to the book that it was based on. Of the three movies, this one has the deepest understanding of Spain's culture, and what the art of bullfighting means to the people of this land. It's also an incredibly sexy movie, filled with passion, violence and betrayal. Chris Rydell is perfectly cast as the young bullfighter, determined to make a name for himself in the arena, while following his dream. Things go well for him until Sol comes into his life. Played with typical erotic flair, Sharon Stone is the beautiful woman who enters Juan's life, threatening his marriage, as well as his career, for no other reason than her own personal pleasure. It's a heartbreaking love story as well, as Juan and his innocent wife are such likable characters. for this production, the story is adjusted so that it takes place in modern times. Surprisingly, that decision takes nothing away from the power of this wonderful film. Featuring gorgeous cinematography and a beautiful, capable cast, as well as an intoxicating score, this one should please fans of the 1922 original, starring Rudolph Valentino. Also featured are some impressive and sometimes bloody footage of Matadors and bulls in the arena. Scenes that were surprisingly heavily censored for the Spanish language video release. I'm not sure why this film is virtually unknown in North America, as it deserves attention. Perhaps it is due to the subject matter of bullfighting,, which holds little interest to most of the population, and the sport offends many animal rights activists as well. Still, for those with open minds, looking for an old fashioned tragic romance, "Blood and Sand" is worth tracking down. But be aware; you might need a cold shower afterwards.
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