Sunday, April 26, 2009

Crank: High Voltage.

Holy shit! How do I start this off?! I LOVE bad movies. If I were to list a top five I would probably get this site shut down. I love such bad movies that STEVE even invited me to write for him. Steve likes TRASH and apparently I embarrass HIM to the point where I was Bullied into writing. I have been long awaiting the best opportunity to take up this task have finally found a reason to do so. However I don't believe I will ever have a way to adequately convey through the format of words the awesome cinematic experience I have just gone through.

Crank 2 is epic. I would try and bring up a previous experience in YOUR own life that could come close to or even eclipse the movie I just saw by bringing you back to your first real ROCK AND FUCKING ROLL SHOW, but for all I kno you are into some pussy ass bird-watching music about tree-houses. Naw. If your reading this you are most definitely a connoisseur of depravity its forms and view any daintiness something to be spit upon.

This shit was so fucking belligerent. I have had those experiences. Those foam at the lips on your face with your hands in the AIR while you get your ribs punched and elbowed green an yellow. Those wake up with bruises mornings where all you can do is start drinking coffee in the hopes of getting as amped for sunlight today as you were for fucking STARDOM the night before!!! DESTROY!!!

My Great GODS ABOVE!!! I would punch this review into not just keyboards or walls or cars or bricks or your very own fucking face!!! I was so fucking riled up when I got home that I could have punched this review into a mountain instead of typing it into the night like some kind of quiet person.

I often times find myself trying to create a stir in public. If you walk (or better yet RUN) around screaming SEX AND VIOLENCE it gets a great reaction. Crank Two is more than that. Not just a frenzied shouting of said phrase but the actions contained therein in a most brutal manner! I have never been so close to FUCKING SHIT UP in a public place! I lived in Dens of sin where that shit is a requirement. I have been in PITS in theatres but never before was I tempted to WRECK in a CINEMA! This movie really could only benefit by a live band. I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen down the line. Fuck. I would play that music and jump out of the screen with lightning shooting out of my AWESOME COCK and that movie would not falter one fucking step. Even if I for some reason don't get to do this, this movie does have a really good soundtrack. Mike Patton did a good fucking job on the film score, and whoever chose the music besides got it down just right.

On a more serious note, it was an awesome movie. It made Shoot-Em'-Up look like a Connery Bond movie. It was totally non-stop. The small amount of character development/love interest/melodrama that did happen was put forth in such a ludicrous and outlandish manner that they in no way take away from the pacing of the film. I had a good solid 32 oz. of beer in me by the 45 minute mark and was REALLY pressed to find a suitable time to get up for a piss. You never know when Statham is gonna go flying out of a window or someone is gonna get a gun put to their head. Chev Chellios (Statham) is basically a living GTA. Except crazier. He runs around this movie like a crazed lunatic. He makes NICO Bellic look like Rain Man. To pull a quote from the movie itself, Chellios is "The Sickest most wickedest motherfucker to ever vaporize a motherfucker in cold blood".

The more kinetic moments of Tsukomoto's Tetsuo or Sogo Iishi's Burst city were brought to mind during Chellios' supercharge power ups. That being said, there are tons of other references to hectic pop culture as well. Looking at the fact that he has to power up or die, we see video games as a source for the entire plot. When he is all juiced up he often just runs wherever he needs to go. His fucking feet barely even touch the ground, like Sonic the Hedgehog. He powers up to kill badguys like Pacman. Fuck, at the beginning of the movie he even had a Life-bar. Turtles gotta eat pizza slices, Chevs gotta get juiced too. It got taken in a somewhat more sado-masochistic direction that pizza power this time, but it got my attention.

Horrible bootleg HK action cinema is also referenced by a totally gross Asian hooker that Chellios gets stuck with early on. She talks in broken english that is subtitled and I couldn't help but be reminded of all the terrible fan-subs I have watched.

In any case, I could go on about all types of crazy shit that happens in this movie. There is a strip club shootout that would make Robert Rodriguez puke in his pants. Full body Tourettes, Tatoos, Sushi, TITS! Its all there. The only reason to not be watching this movie is if you are watching the first one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Podcast Killed the Radio Star

It's been awhile, but I go through short stretches of not watching
movies especially when I'm trying to catch up on two seasons of Lost.
During these periods of time I try not to fully disassociate myself
from cinema. Lately, to pass the time during my commute and work
itself, I've found that I have enjoyed listening to genre-related
podcasts, several in fact. I guess I would relate this behavior to
talk-radio for a new generation. Not that I was ever one of those
assholes that listened to NPR on there portable radio 24-7, but I've
discovered the older I get the more I can appreciate talking rather
than music to fill in those hours of social isolation in my office.
What makes the podcast superior over talk radio is that you can
actually listen to whatever the fuck you walk, rather than some
asshole keeping you updated on Somalian pirates when you want to hear
about teabaggers. I don't really think radio will become obsolete
anytime soon, but the days a re numbered.

There are quite a few out there in podworld, and I've tried out a
couple that just didn't work for me. The podcasts I enjoy, I listen to
on a regular basis, and I've compiled a list of my most enjoyable
downloads. If you know of a podcast I might have skipped, it's not
necessarily because I know it and don't like it, it's probably because
I haven't yet experienced it yet.

First off, check out Outside the
brought to you by Bill By Force and Mr. Chris. OTC is
updated weekly and is typically well over an hour long, something I'm
a huge fan of. Two movies are usually covered over this time, which seems to be the industry standard along with the last part of the show being for guest voice/email, much better than covering one movie. One of the things that separates them from the rest, besides there winning Boston-metro personalities, is the “Top 6 List” they start each podcast off with. These lists can range anywhere from “movies I would bring my mother to” to “film scores”. As far as filler is concerned, anyone that plays hardcore in between segments is gold to me. I love me some fuckin’ HC! Whatever the list is, it is typically a good topic to start the show with. OTC, along with a couple other podcasts that will be mentioned, are part of a larger media collective that goes by Pop Syndicate, who you should definitely check out. If you take the time to listen and enjoy Outside the Cinema, you should check out their sister show The Shinfo Show (short for Shitty Info). It’s very little like OTC but is a great way to get lost in your headphones for an hour or more.

When checking out Pop Syndicate, don’t forget to download the latest webisode of Gentlemens Guide to Midnite Cinema, GGTMC if the first is too much of a mouthful for you. Hosted from multiple international locations(USA and Canada), The Samurai and Large William typically run a double-feature review, and lately, sometimes a triple-play in the case of sequels. Like OTC, fan mail is typically read at the end of the show. What really separates this show from the others, besides being international and The Samurai’s smooth southern accent that I could listen to on a loop to fall asleep with like whale-songs, is the mini-review that is given in between segments. I can’t really remember names at this moment, but it just so happens to be family-friendly genre reviews put together by a father and daughter team. Typically I’m not a family-friendly kinda guy. But I got to hand it to GGTMC for encouraging genre to a wider audience, even though most of the show is really not, I repeat NOT, for children’s ears.

Last, but not least, in my favorite selections from the Pop Syndicate family is Cinema Diabolica. I like to consider Diabolica less of a podcast and more of a blooming empire. From what I understand, F13 and DZ are in the process of releasing material under the Cinema Diabolica name up to five times a week. Currently they have the review podcast and Diabolic Radio, which runs about a half hour and usually features a guest DJ from other podcast spinning there favorite tunes for the duration of the show. CD haven’t been updating recently, which has left me a shell of a man, but I’m sure when the expansion is finalized I’m going to have diabolic entertainment flowing out of my ass like a chocolate waterfall.

For the last two, I’m gonna hop across the pond to the Land Of Marmite and Rain…England!!! First off, we have Mondo Movie Podcast brought to you by two geezers from London who know what the fuck they are talking about. Mondo’s crowning achievement is their amazing ability to cover not two movies, but muthafuckin’ THREE in most shows, and still manage to cover the basics like fan mail, small talk, ect. I thought I was happy with two flicks, but three makes me warm in my funpants.

Last but not least, I bring you Goreboy Radio, a podcast I only recently started listening to and enjoy a great deal. Typically, I’m not a fan of the single person podcast, I find it to be the sonic equivalent of watching Terri Shiavo and a snail race. Not the case with Goreboy. He manages to keep me entertained for the entirety of his 2 hour podcast. It could be the fact that he can ramble like a pro or it could be the kick ass background music that is in constant play, like Goblin. And if you like Goblin you are probably a future friend, because I love that shit. The last show I listened to he brought it well into the 8th dimension with FIVE, count them, FIVE reviews. Holy Rotting Christ!! He also manages to spend the beginning of the show going over weird news, which keeps in away from being just another cult reviewer. This weeks new favorite.

I’m sure there are more out there that I didn’t touch upon. Feel free to recommend a podcast you think is great and I’ll give it a listen. Anything to keep me from withering up in a ball at work from the sounds of AM 70’s bullshit.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Black Sabbath/Tre volti della paura, I (1963)

On occasion, I run across a horror movie that actually keeps me on my toes, even spooks me a bit. I watch quite a few horrors, so more often than not I'm just sitting around looking for a good story or an incredible amount of gore. Of the movies that have actually scare the shite out of me, Stephen King's The Shining has always been on the top of the list, and probably will stay there. To this day, I won't ever reproduce just for the fear of having creepy, twin girls. Twins by themselves are creepy, ghost twins downright terrifying...but back to the review. I've been on a bit of Mario Bava kick lately, and last night I decided to watch a couple I've been waiting for, the second being Black Sabbath(1963). Known in Italy as the Three Faces of Fear, it is not one story, but three stories hosted by Boris Karloff who stars in one. All three were good and ran the gambit from spooky to keeping this guy on the edge of his seat. let me run down all the three

The Telephone A suspense thriller that was actually more of a mini-gialli than actual horror movie. After watching this, you can see how much piece-of-dogshit movies like Scream were just idiotic rip-offs of this original. Our main character, Rosy, is prepared to spend a quiet evening at home, But a mysterious voice at the other end of the receiver has different plans. The voice is apparently Rosy's ex-boyfriend who just escaped from prison, and he wants revenge. And according to his voice, Rosy isn't going to make it to see the sun rise. After many harassing phone calls, Rosy calls for the aid of her ex-lover, whom she had threatened never to see again. This women is more than happy to be at Rosy's side in her time of need, but, as with any good gialli, nothing is really as it seems.

I thought I knew what was going down the second I read the title of this first-of-three, so I just tried to sit back and relax, but by the end of The Telephone, I was actaully wishing I hadn't consumed so much caffeine. Bava's use of a ticking clock as background noise throughout is what really kept me anxiously waiting for Rosy's would-be killer. So anxious, in fact, that I actually jumped a little anytime the phone rang, and I've seen this story before. I was also quite surprised over the lesbian subtext that was very apparent. To have such a taboo subject matter in a film from the early sixties was typically verboten, so much in fact that it was actually cut from the AIP release in the Good Ole' U.S. of A. Ain't that a fuckin' surprise?

The Werdulak Boris Karloff stars as a vampire-huntin, family patriarch in this second installment obviously inspired by eastern european folklore. When Gorka(Karloff) leaves his family to hunt down a werdulak, a vampire that only feeds on loved ones, he informs them that if he is not back in 5 das he has probably been turned. In which case he should be slain if he does indeed return. The 5 days do pass, and Gorka returns within a couple of minutes after midnight with the head of the turkish werdulak. His family is unsure of whether to kill the wounded Gorka, or not. But the answer soon becomes clear when Gorka's youngest son is slain a he kidnaps his own grandchild.

I found this story the most surprising of the three, because classic vampire stories are typically more campy than spooky to me. But again, Bava's use of background sound combined with the nightmarish backdrop added a whole new level I have barely found in vampire movies from this era. The family-feeding dynamic is what really made this story move. Seriously, who wants to slay a loved one, especially if it's the man who raised you, or the 3 year-old son who passed who through your loins? Not exactly the easiest decision to make. Sure, it's a fairly common dynamic, but the psychology behind such a situation is hardly ever portrayed as accurately and believably as it is in the Werdulak. Last but not least, it has Boris Fuckin' Karloff. The guy practically invented horror movies, and that should be enough for anybody to own this movie.

The Drop of Water Is the final piece and was the most frightening in my opinion. A nurse is called in the middle of the night to take care of the freshly dead, corpse of her patient, a friendless medium who died in the middle of channeling spirits. The nurse, being a skeptic, believes the old crone was the victim of a hard attack, and in turn has no qualms about thieving from the dead. In this case, a very valuable-looking ring. Upon taking the ring, our untrustworthy friend the nurse is curse by some some terrifying occurrences almost instantaneously, including the sound of dripping water that just won't go way no matter how many hard she tightens the faucet. But the dripping is the least of her problems.

I've harped on enough about Bava's use of sound in the first two features, and it's apparent within the title that the same could be said for his final installment. I always find ghost stories to be the genre with the most consistency of keeping me anxiously entertained. I actually jumped a couple of times. A ghost story was the perfect way to end this movie, especially one directed so well. I could harp on like a fanboy about how amazing Bava's direction and camerawork is, but it's been said before and anybody who has seen his movies would agree.

Although I haven't experienced even half of Bava's body of work, movies like this leave me craving for more. As far has italian directors go, I find Bava's movies to be the most consistent. Argento and Fulci have both put out some gems, but I find those two directors to be slightly overrated and definitely inconsistent. Thankfully I was able to view the italian copy of this movie, considering I hear the AIP's copy is edited, and that just seems wrong to me.

If your a fan of Italian horror,classic horror, giallo or just horror in general, you are really missing an important part of your life by not watching this movie. This is one of the best movies I've seen in the past couple of weeks, and despite the amount of films I watch a year, will always be remembered.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Big Screen in the Big Apple 4/3

Not a great deal going this weekend that would appeal to low brow interest like mine. i would go see Streets of fire tonight but it has only been a couple of months since my last viewing. it doesn't mean you shouldn't go

Streets of Fire(1984)9:00 PM, 92Y Tribeca 200 Hudson st at Canal St.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Howard the Duck(1986)

Every once in a while, I like to explore something that I remember providing me good memories in childhood. I’m sure I’m not alone with this behavior. Nostalgia is one of those things that keeps us from being detached from our youth the older we get. Something that I’m a huge fan of. I admit, I own the seasons of Fraggle Rock, Danger Mouse, and Masters of the Universe. Lately, when I want to take time off from watching movies, I’ve been watching The Muppet Show. And within the last week I put Ultraman on my Netflix cue. I could be just a little to much into nostalgia, but fuck it, it makes me happy. Sometimes I’ll be re-living my youth and say to myself, ”How the fuck did I like this?” It’s happened several times. In fact, it slightly happened the other night when I decided to watch Howard the Duck for the first time in 20 years. Howard the Duck is one of those movies I’ve been trying to get a hold onto for a couple of years, and it was just recently released on DVD. So I thought,”Fuck, lets give it a shot, I used to love that shit.

Let me stress the phrase “USED TO”.

I typically assume that most people in the Free World have seen such a fantastic piece of shit called Howard the Duck at least once in there lives. But just in case you grew up Mormon or something as equally as fucked up, I give you the rundown. Howard is your run-run-of-the-mill guy. After a long day of work, he likes to kick back with a brew, cigar, and a skinmag. Sounds pretty normal, right? Not so much. Howard just happens to have feathers and a bill. That’s right folks, Howard’s a fuckin’ duck if you couldn’t have already guessed that by the title of the movie. It just so happens that everyone on Howard’s “planet” is also a duck and monkeys still throw poo and masturbate without purpose. Not that a purpose is ever really needed, but anyway, Howard really doesn’t have that much excitement in his life. So it’s not surprising that he is not exactly comfortable when he is dragged out of his apartment, off of his world, and through the universe only to end up in Cleveland. Cleveland?!? Can you imagine any other place you would rather not be after being pulled across time and space? Upon his arrival in Cleveland, he is immediately thrown into several gritty, inner city situations which would leave a normal person shitting themselves, who knows what it would do to a duck? He encounters Beverly, the guitarist for Cherry Bomb and they seem to hit it off pretty well until Howard freaks out and tries to make it in the real world. When things don’t go so well on his own, Howard ends up back with Beverly and they try to find a way to get Howie back home. With the help of a scientist friend, Howard and Beverly figure out how the Duck arrived on Earth, but in the process of figuring out how to get him back, a new alien has arrived to our peaceful planet. But he’s not a duck and he doesn’t want to go home.

This movie obviously didn’t appeal to me as much as it did before I had pubic hair. First off, it was later in life that I actually started reading the comic book (yes, these posts always come back to comic books). The movie just doesn’t do the comic justice. First off, where the fuck is Man-thing? Man-thing was an important part of The Howard the Duck saga, and probably would have made this an interesting buddy film. Who needs Beverly the rocker when you get a shambling mound of swamp as your sidekick? I know the writers had to appeal to a wider audience, but I like my comic-based movies to be fairly close to the original storyline. This one came closer than most, but not much.

I also found the storyline to move much too fast. Seriously, Beverly and Howard hung out for one night together, and after a brief separation, she whines about how much she missed him. After one fuckin’ night? Come on, man. How can you develop a close relationship with anybody over one night, much less an obnoxious, duck-thing? The story itself seemed to have taken place over a couple of days or weeks. It made me feel as if the directors were just rushing to get to the last action-packed, rather than taking the time to get to know Howard and how the world deals with him, or he deals with a World-he-didn’t-create(zing!!). A couple of the action scenes were fairly entertaining, but I like a little substance over style in some cases, especially when it comes to the Marvel Universe, a place I know very much about.

The humor was something you would expect out of a PG kids movie: cheesy. Not exactly cheesy good, more of a cheesy bad. But it is a kids movie, so I’m not going to find it as entertaining as I might have in the past.

To wrap in up, I didn’t enjoy as much as I did decades ago, but we are also talking about a time I used to enjoy Garfield comics. You really can’t expect a pre-teen to have the best taste in movies. I was able to sit through the movie and did laugh a bit, but it was more out of embarrassment than humor appreciation. So what it comes down to is this: kids will most likely find this film entertaining because they have no taste. If you haven’t seen this movie since the 80’s, I urge you to watch it after a 6 pack to get the most bang for your buck. On that note, it would be a good background movie in a busy bar, with no sound of course.