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Funny well made horror schlock
1 September 2008
Saw this on youtube some time ago. I recommend it to anyone who likes funny schlock horror to watch it.

Just run a search for the title horror brunch on www.youtube.com You wont regret it. The same directors other short "I dare you" is also on youtube and pretty good too. I think its very very difficult to actually do this brand of horror and the director and crew should be commended for their excellent work.

The fx are all excellent too and are of the same high quality as you would expect from a high budget john landis film from the 80s.

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The Sex Thief (1973)
Good fun movie
26 April 2008
This Brit Comedy stars David Warbeck as a masked thief whose dalliance with crime has more to do with fun and passion than robbery. He is a criminal by choice, not by necessity. As two policemen attempt to track him down--offering plenty of raunchy commentary along the way--THE SEX THIEF delivers one funny punch line after another.

This version entitled 'Her Family Jewels' dubiously resurfaced in the UK years later under the premise that semi-famous British thesps (Dianne Keen, Christopher Biggins) had once appeared in an X-rated movie. RADA trained Michael Armstrong who acts in the film as a breast obsessed cop and wrote the film under demonic alter ego 'Edward Hyde', is most familiar to exploitation fans for the much banned Mark of the Devil as well as the autobiographical Eskimo Nell. Viewers familiar with the latter will no doubt feel a sense of deja vu here as several characters and scenarios make premature appearances in The Sex Thief. Another discovery is actress Gloria Walker aka Gloria Maley who went from being worked over by Warbeck's buzzing 'simulator' to providing blood and guts effects for the gruesome Inseminoid (1980)- a more diverse career move is hard to imagine. The Sex Thief rises above the typical British sexpo thanks to some pointed raunchiness, a surprisingly subversive script and a charismatic leading man. Warbeck was once apparently the mysterious house breaking protagonist of the Milk Tray ads whilst director Martin Campbell recently made the big budget James Bond movie (and is linked to the remake of Alfred Hitchcocks stunning film 'The Birds') two things worth pondering while you watch The Sex Thief.
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Zombie Diarrhea
7 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There are rebels among us. They make films outside the system that stir our imagination and invoke the beauty of the human soul. Low budget filmmakers they are called. Gutsy people are these, that recognize that works of art are not made by consensus, but by the force of vision of the few or even one.

Every now and then a low budget masterpiece fights its way past the Hollywood cookie cutter to re awaken the love of cinema. They make us all sit up and take notice.

The Zombie Diaries made me get up and run to the toilet.

Never in my life has it taken me more than 1 sitting to watch one movie. I have sat through the Jurassic park rip off 'raptor' starring washed up TV actor corben bernsen. I agonized my way through the spaghetti ww2 action movie 'five from hell'. I snored my way through orson welles' the trial.

All in one go. Im quite proud of my feats of cinematic endurance. You could almost say Im the Cathy Freeman of cinema.

But this movie is one of those you can only handle in small doses. It took 6 sittings to watch this movie. That was over the course of 6 weeks. That was how bad it was. No the word 'bad' doesn't really do it justice. In fact linking the word 'bad' with this film, makes me feel immediately sorry for lowering the word 'bad' to such depths of ineptitude.

Lame Lame Lame Movie.
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much imitated - rarely equalled or bettered.
14 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Plot Synopsis

Wes Craven began his film career in 1971 co-directing Together, a soft core documentary with Sean S. Cunningham. Cunningham would later go on to produce and direct the original Friday The 13th in 1980. Craven made his feature film debut with the gruesome Last House On The Left, beginning a lasting affair with the horror genre. Craven then gained some morbid inspiration for his next film, The Hills Have Eyes.

The Hills Have Eyes is loosely based on the Scottish legend of the Sawney Beane family. They were a clan of cave dwelling cannibals, consisting of a wife, six daughters and eight sons. Later came eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters, all products of incest. In the early fourteen hundreds they robbed, murdered and devoured anyone that passed through their area in the East Lothian County. Their crimes continued for twenty five years until they were hunted down, captured and taken to Edinburgh. It was here that the family were all horrifically tortured and later executed.

Craven's loose adaptation of the legend takes place in modern day America. The Carter family are a typical American family making their way through the desert, enroute to California. They are Bob and Ethel Carter (Russ Grieve and Virginia Vincent) together with their adult children, Bobby (Robert Houston), Brenda (Susan Lanier), Lynne (Dee Wallace-Stone), her husband Doug (Martin Speer) and their baby daughter.

The family stops for fuel at a run down service station, run by a nervous old man, Fred (John Steadman). Fred is exceptionally anxious about something and is in the process of abandoning his business when they pull in. He tells the Carter family to stay on the main road and not to visit the old abandoned silver mine, as they had planned to do.

Of course, the Carters don't take Fred's advice and end up running off the road. With the added weight of their caravan, the rear axle on the car snaps and leaves the family isolated and vulnerable in the barren landscape.

As the family embark on an action plan to get help, they are totally unaware that the nearby hills have eyes. The stranded travellers are being watched by a family of savage outcasts who have an agenda of extreme violence and cannibalism.

This tribe of rouges is led by the imposing father, Jupiter (James Whitworth). Mars (Lance Gordon) and Pluto (Michael Berryman) are the twisted and evil sons, hell-bent on causing mayhem and death. The adult daughter of the clan is the only shining light amongst them. Ruby (Janus Blythe) sees the evil and despair of living with the family and plans to escape. The film's producer, Peter Locke (credited as Arthur King), plays the small role of Mercury, another of the clan's evil offspring.

The horror of the situation is soon apparent to the Carters as the primal fury of the clan is unleashed upon them. But this average family from suburbia can only take so much and plan their fight back. However, their fight for survival will require them to transform their homely personas into that of their attackers and use the same primitive cunning and savage violence to defeat them.

We live in an era where seemingly no popular film from the past can escape the dreaded Hollywood re-make. A new film version of the The Hills Have Eyes is due for cinema release in March 2006. This new version is directed by Alexandre Aja, with Wes Craven and Peter Locke thankfully taking on roles as Producers.

Wes Craven wrote and directed a sequel to The Hills Have Eyes in 1985, however The Hills Have Eyes - Part 2 failed to gain an enthusiastic audience and is far superior to the recent remake. 7/10
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Short documentary on the themes in Sergio Leone's westerns
20 November 2005
Something to do with death.

Sergio Leone was famous for bringing the 'man with no name' character type to life in his westerns, a character he explored in more than a few films - the fistful of dollars trilogy and in his western masterpiece, in my opinion the best western ever made, once upon a time in the west. In once upon a time in the west, Jason Robards character (cheyenne) refers to Charles Bronsons character as containing "something to do with death" in him. Cheyenne is the leader of an outlawed band of cut throats who wear the symbolic earthy orange-red dusters (as seen on the DVD cover). Cheyennes character has seen a lot of death in his time and has dealt out enough too to know exactly what he is talking about. This short documentary explores that concept through the themes and characters in Leones masterpiece.
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See Dick Die (1999)
Film Threat Magazine Review
6 August 2005
One can't help getting the feeling that director Elvis Restaino gave his lead character the name "Richard" just so he could use the title "See Dick Die." Clever. Especially since this isn't the Dick and Jane we remember from those grade school readers.

They weren't dying of inoperable cancer, for one thing; an affliction Richard faces in this provocative video. Confronted with the prospect of a slow and painful withering away, a process that could take anywhere from three months to three years, Richard decides to enlist the services of the mysterious Dr. Schrek. As Richard's attractive girlfriend Karen discovers when the not-so-kindly doctor knocks on their door, the notorious, intensely soft-spoken, creepy-looking Dr. Kevorkian type is as likely to frighten his prospective clients to death as he is to fulfill his commitment to helping the terminally ill commit suicide. Though Karen clearly no longer loves Richard, her passionate anti-assisted suicide beliefs at first lead her to vehemently oppose Richard's plan on principal. Only at the very end, when Schrek arrives to spirit his visibly emasculated patient away in his van does she haltingly come around to accepting his wishes.

Just as this storyline winds down, Restaino introduces a second, seemingly unrelated tale involving Karen and Monica, a sexy lesbian and recovering heroin addict whom Karen almost runs down on a rainy night. Yet, with Karen on the verge of recovering Richard's life insurance money, Dr. Schrek not-so-coincidentally re-enters the picture when Monica mysteriously backslides into using again.

"See Dick Die" is really nothing like the staid TV movie the above synopsis may make it sound like. The synopsis, for instance, can't begin to convey the video's sheer nihilistic attitude. This visually provocative piece manages to push the right buttons on its way to conveying its pro-assisted suicide, anti-drug message without being too preachy about it. It also manages to convey a palpably erotic lesbian undercurrent without being blatantly exploitative about it.

Still, the film is a muddled mess; the coherency of its plot(s) obscured by its visual slickness. "See Dick Die" is, like so many films that try to push the visual parameters, a spectacularly gaudy near miss that's as visually impressive as it is confusing. The one thing that's for certain is that no one will mistake this intensely gloomy video for the screen adaptation of the relentlessly cheerful grade school readers.
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The best western ever made !
10 May 2005
Much like many masterpieces, it is demanding. This film has been accused of being a little slow in parts. I have shown this to film students in a film class I have taught and I noticed many of the class members were getting a little fidgety throughout and a little bored. But during the last 30 minutes they were on the edge of their seats, shouting at the screen and clapping when it ended. They were all blown away. Even the young girl who thought she was sure to hate it and complained throughout the film, by the end became its most vocal admirer.

This film may be a tad slow but that's only because the brilliant grande finale is build up slowly throughout and the mounting tension is released explosively at the end. The best opening to a film ever and the best closing shot ! What more could you want !!! Brilliant 10/10.
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Old School (2003)
Ferrel & Vaughan shine in this bland unfunny turkey
28 March 2005
I like Will Ferrel and Vince Vaughan is an excellent actor (watch him in swingers he is awesome). Unfortunately they are wasted in this movie, a very bland attempt at re hashing tired clichés for other movies (fightclub, animal house, porkys, van wilder, American pie, billy Madison).

Todd Philips directs very amateurishly. The camera work is very sloppy with no sense of rhythm which is incredibly important in a comedy to underpin the flow of the jokes. It is badly edited spoiling what jokes there are (And there are some good ones). Some of them however are incredibly pathetic and predictable - for instance the re-occurrence of the toaster gift. When Vince Vaughans son receives a gift you just know what it s going to be based on its size. Its sits there for about 20 seconds before its revealed - thats bad camera work, a good director would hide its size until the last moment thus adding an affectation of surprise to the albeit obvious punch line. Not to mention the fact that this is the third time someone receives it as a gift - Just to make sure we really really had no chance of seeing that one coming. A joke is good once, three times it just starts to get old.

Todd Philips isn't that great a writer of comedy either. What writer with any ability has to bilk jokes and scenes from other films ?

For instance there's the painfully bad homage to fight club with the waiter and colleague wanting to be part of the fraternity and then toward the end of the film it descends into an exact copy of the last 30 minutes of billy Madison - IE. hero has to prove oneself before the academic community in adebate/sporting/qu iz type scenario before villain self-destructs. If that wasn't bad enough just before the final credits roll we see the old man 'blue' dressed as an angel singing at a piano just like we saw carl weathers do it at the end of 'happy gilmore'.

Then you have Juliette Lewis who's performance at the start was so badly acted you realize why she was so good at playing trailer trash whores - because thats what comes naturally, but even here she fails.

A Message to Todd Philips. 2 things.

1) Next time let Vince Vaughan and Will Ferrel write and direct. 2) Sit back, pay attention and LEARN how real talented people operate.

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Brilliant Macabre and violent drama
23 March 2005
Thomas Keneally's THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH novel works on so many levels - a period piece, as a biting satire and as a wonderfully composed drama. This film of the same name attempts to capture the poignancy and strength of the original classic novel. It achieves this wonderfully. The film is excellently acted and the violence is both well shot and vibrantly enacted. The score is great too. Also the Australian landscape - not to mention its social underbelly, was never shot with as much insight.

An excellent starting point to understand such great Aussie films like the tracker and rabbit proof fence.

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Donnie Darko (2001)
An impressive coming of age story
22 March 2005
In my opinion there are two types of writing. Controlled Writing where the superego controls the pen. The other is where the imagination (the id) takes over. This was id writing. Uncontrolled, wild and chaotic.

In many instances this type of writing doesn't work - its energetic and vibrant, but without focus it just winds up a mess.

This film makes it work however for the following reasons.

This is the tale of a young man, a 'coming of age' story, and the story of most young men are tinged with wildness and chaos. Thus the premise and themes fit perfectly with the wildly imaginative way in which the story was told.

It speaks to young men in the way a good 'coming of age' story is meant to. Its rare, I can only think of a few films that do it well: Good will hunting, fight club, star wars and now donnie darko. I'm in my mid 20s and looking back, the fear, distress and sheer confusion of teenage life is always a brilliantly painful experience. But this distress (the movie fight club refers to it as the "great depression") is incredibly heightened in this film due to the sense of impending doom that Donnie feels throughout. Thus i ask you :

Is this not the way all of us were feeling post 9/11 ?

Its timing was perfect. A simple message powerfully expressed to me is the height of great writing. Everyone understands a simple point and everyone (no matter their education/literacy) can be moved by it.

Now here are the Cons:

OK so he stole the rabbit from alice in wonderland/the matrix and the time travel discussion is pretty juvenile, but then what talk amongst teenagers isn't? If they spoke like college professors

a) the characters don't seem like realistic teens

b) you lose your target audience

The director's cut honestly sucked major ass. It showed that the director is a little clueless about effective ways of film-making. they took out some of the great songs that made the original really gel and replaced them with a classical score in parts that clearly didn't work. Also some weird kiddy kaleidoscope images were thrown in that were a fake ass attempt to look like the closing images of 2001 a space odyssey. The directors cut was a travesty that should not have been allowed. An obvious attempt to make some quick cash based on this film being a huge hit at the video rentals arena (it didn't do any business on the screen 1st time around). I think the directors cut version should be burned.

But hes still young and allowed to make mistakes. As are we all. I'm looking forward to his future work. This film may be a "one hit wonder", or it might not. But no pun intended - only time will tell.
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Fingers (1978)
Much better than taxi driver !
29 January 2005
Martin Scorsese' "Taxi Driver" is often touted as the great film to go into the mind of a disturbed and violent new yorker on the verge of psychosis. I believed that until i saw James Toback's "fingers".

Honestly fingers does what taxi driver tried to do, but in a much much better fashion ! Fingers is far more textured than taxi driver. The characters are more 3 dimensional and its a far more acute representation of a man on the edge. Harvey Keitels interpretation of such a character makes de niros interpretation of travis bickle look shallow, insipid and flat.

In terms of cinematography Fingers looks better, is edited better, is shot better and the acting is much more believable. fingers just has a lot more 'substance' to it - that great abstract thing that great films have.

Unbelievable that this film scores only a 6.6 at this website. I voted it a 9/10.
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a wonderful slice of life
8 July 2004
Gone are the days when films were about human beings. Now most of them are either explosive action pieces with 5 cuts per second, Or films that make fun of the human spirit and degrade it. This film is uplifting. Don't believe the idiots who voted this a 1. There is a lesbian sex scene so I'm guessing that they were turned off by that. I'm not but even if you are you have to give this a go. Trust me its worth the price of a rental.

All in all a great work.

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Raptor (2001 Video)
deliciously 'stoopid'
5 July 2004
Most of the IMDb users have rated this film as pretty bad junk. Out of 32 users who have posted comments most rated raptor pretty low. However i have a question. If it is so bad why so many opinions ? 32 opinions are a lot. Most movies that are bad (particularly recent ones like raptor) generally have very few people bothering to comment on them at all. So why so many comments for this film ? Because it was deliciously bad. This is the kind of film Tarantino probably has a poster of on his wall, next to 'ride the whirlwind' and 'the blair wench project'. Sure Raptor is an obvious rip off of the Carnosaur series and the poster of raptor looks suspiciously like the poster for jurassic park. The effects are terrible, the acting is only average, the screams are canned and the raptor itself looks like a two dollar finger puppet but hey I though this movie was entertaining in terms of the often misunderstood "its-so-bad-its-actually-good" category.

Don't take it too seriously and you can have a good laugh at how bad it all is and besides it will make you appreciate other great film-making.

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Every series has a weak episode - this is it
17 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler im going to bring up some points on phantom menace and why i thought it was a boring flat and tired film. please feel free to disagree. Debate is the corner stone of democracy :)

1) the question of heroicism. the jedi as hero vs darth maul as the evil threat.

I ve read on this site people arguing whether or not maul is a good baddy. by definition a "good baddy" is someone who challenges the main character (or the hero) to ever higher of heroicism either characterised by wit, physical stamina, agility, fighting ability etc. The main characters must be tested and pushed to the absolute limit of their endurance, forced to rally at the darkest hour feats of unimaginable heroicism So when they win out in the end its incredibly moving and triumphant. The jedis in this film werent pushed very much at all, their intellect was not challenged, no intricate puzzle to unsolve (as in the sixth sense, the usual suspects etc) and since there was very little character development I wasnt very moved at all when liam neesons character died in the end. This detracted from an otherwise exhilarating fight sequence. The killing of maul by obi wan is basically a revenge killing (quite a passionate and exciting motive as characterised by many films) but its not that triumphant a killing cos we dont care much about its justification. Compare his Qui Gonns death scene to the one in Leon: the professional. Or William Wallaces death in braveheart. breaker Morant, Gallipoli, Old Yella, the yearling, The death of bambis mother. Qui Gonn is just some guy telling Obi Wan what to do. We care when Obi Wan dies in star wars because he fulfils a nice paternal role for luke something that Qui gonn doesnt even come close to. Obi wan later in life is the perfect image of everything a grandfather should be old, wise, patient and loving; A guide in a tumultuous life, a patient friend in a chaotic evil galaxy. Qui gonn is neither.

The fact that this movie is a prequel ruins the tension. We know Obi wan will not die and since Qui Gonn does not appear in the later films we can presume that he will be the one to die. Obi Wans character was flat. I recall references by Yoda and Ben himself saying that he - obi wan, was a hothead and a brilliant military general. Im still waiting to see that unfold and the third and last of the prequels is upon us. When Qui Gonn says to Yoda in phantom menace he is a hot head but he is ready to be tested to become a fully fledged jedi knight it is a false statement. Where have we seen to be a rebellious hothead ?? or heroic. Much like darth maul himself he is but a pawn to do his masters bidding. The most of the lines he says has the words "Yes master", "no master". The phrase "three bags full" would not have sounded out of place..... In lucas defence he sets up a a brilliant opportunity for these two jedis to really interact like butch cassidy and the sundance kid or the guys from reservoir dogs or Die hard 3 or pulp fiction or any number of brilliant buddy movies but unfortunately the promise goes unfulfilled. There could have been real tension between master and apprentice. Think of the brilliant scenes in fantasia where mickey mouse goes behind the back of his master and unleashes a technicolour hell upon the world, the whole baby with a gun theme with the master desperately trying to temper the youthful exuberance of his pupil. Lucas had an endless array of opportunity to enliven the film with the trial and error of youth vs the well trained master but absolutely nothing in the way of that happens !! Obi wan is boring pawn. Compare his role to the feats of heroicism of bruce willis "Die Hard" (1988), character john mcClane. Where he is sitting in the bathroom his feet cut and bleeding. He can bleed like us. There is a connection between us and him. Here he is fragile. he is human. theres a great chance that he may not survive. So when he finally wins out in the end it is all the more triumphant. Theres no real tension between the bad guys and the jedis. For most of the movie they dont even interact !! The trade federation leader being the middle man who communicates for both groups.Darth Maul was flat. He is just a walk on baddy. It is not enough to stand around in the periphery looking menacing and ugly as darth maul did. He wasnt a heroic bad guy cos simply he was palpatines lap dog ever willing to do his masters bidding. That is not a heroic bad guy that is a pawn. The first rule to making a story exciting to have tension between interesting characters and to dramatize this tension in an exciting dramatic way. sorry George you failed. A good guy is only as exciting as the bad guy is. allow me to repeat myself. A good guy is only as exciting as the bad guy is. Why ? because the human drama that is the lives and objectives of these two divergent groups are intrinsically bound. if a bad guy is a push over can the main character be considered heroic ? If the main character uses luck (as annakin does) to win out in the end is he heroic ?

the script as such did not enable darth maul to fulfill the promise of a decent bad guy and nor did the script enable the two jedis to be very heroic. in the scene where we meet jar jar they run away for gods sake ! Also Jedi's to my mind are supposed to be intelligent and respectful "keepers of law and peace throughout the galaxy". These two jedis were rude arrogant and obnoxious arguing that jar jar was beneath them and sub human even though he was obviously sentient in that he could speak ( a point jar jar himself argues). As Qui Gonn says "the ability to speak does not make one intelligent" (or thereabouts i cant remember the exact quote). OH what a wise man indeed. This contradicts the beautiful poetic imagery of the jedi as being heroic gentleman knights as was illustrated in the first films. George has lost the plot- assuming he had one to begin with. this brings me to my next point -

2) the new generation vs the generation who saw the first films (like me)

I know that people are going to argue - the movie was meant for kids so lighten up. Ok well nuts to that and heres why. George Lucas showed us in the first three films that you can make a movie for kids that is also loved by adults as well. Kids can love the immediate pleasure of action and excitement and adults can understand the sensitive portrayal of the coming of age story of the teenager they once were (i.e. luke), and both can understand the themes of love, honour and betrayal, good and evil (and yes its proven that kids can understand these concepts at a relatively early age). He achieved this brilliantly in the first films. tha fact that he didnt even remotely attempt this let alone achieve it says loudly and clearly that in every conceivable way (except financially) phatom menace was a failure.

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Primal Fear (1996)
a boring pile of drivel
4 February 2004
I thought this movie was pretty ordinary and dull.

It dragged on and on and the twist at the end was both obvious and stupid. Why does hollywood have to continue making dumb movies about the split personality disorder when the truth be told the actual occurrence of such is incredibly rare.

i think this film was a blatant rip off of the usual suspects : The fact that we have the star witness doing a very bad job of acting innocent/guilty. Ed norton is a great actor but this would have to be easily his worst performance ever in a film that was average at best. And i found myself wondering if Richard gere was going to fall asleep, he was so lifeless in this movie. This film sucks and you people who like it are absolutely clueless.

I bet this is how the hollywood hacks who wrote it came up with the idea:

Idiotic hollywood exec 1: Well now the usual suspects is a great movie, how about we just do that and add a sordid sexual angle to it as well. THen well get an Ally Mcbeal look alike lawyer with half the attitude and double the body fat and have her go up against the main character x files style played by richard gere cos he plays the boring lifeless good looking guy role well almost as good as fox moulder.

Idiotic hollywood exec 2: ! Yeah. Itll be "the usual suspects" meets the "x files" meets "the client" ! yeah cool how can we lose.

Idiotic hollywood exec 3: Yeah ! cool guys ! Now...er...wheres the start button for the carbon copy cookie cutter machine ??

Usual Suspects 10/10 Primal Fear 3/10.

"I can count all the way up to six if I have to" - Once upon a time in the West.
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