It's nice to be able to count on AMC to provide me with the right kind of entertainment a guy like me needs when he's sitting at a dive bar drinking whiskey shots and Pabst Blue Ribbon. No, I'm not speaking of The Walking Dead or Mad Men, although I was quite impressed with the former(and zombies do go with said whiskey and cheap beer indulgence). If you've been paying attention at all this week, then you would have noticed the AMC is running a Death Wish marathon. Yeah you heard me correctly, a Death Wish marathon. So while you were out enjoying "weather" and talking about useless Brits getting married, I was watching Paul Kersey take down punks with over-sized weapons while fueling myself with Wings and booze.......America!!!
A couple of months ago I covered Death Wish 2 after having watched it back-to-back with the original. I have held a special place in my heart for Charles Bronson for a while now, but it was only recently that I had screened the Death Wish series. Hearing that the first two were the best, I decided to take my time with the third to avoid disappointment so quickly after seeing the second. Three months later and I finally got my turn or the Bronson-mobile, and I didn't even have to pay for it. I just happened to be lucky enough to catch Death Wish 3 on AMC last night after my afternoon 90210. For all of you people out there that told me the first two were really the only ones worth watching, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Death Wish 3 was by far my favorite of the series, and I saw part of the fourth, so I know it doesn't get better from there on out.
If you've haven't seen it, I should probably summarize it for you:
Everyone's favorite vigilante and World's Unluckiest Man, Paul Kersey, makes his way back to NYC, to visit his war buddy after living in "Exile" out in Los Angeles for the last several years. As we all know from the first two movies, death and sadness follow Kersey around like a venereal disease. Paul just happens to get to get to his friends apartment as he and his wife were slaughtered by the neighborhood hoodlums....go figure. This unfortunately leads to Paul being taken into custody(more bad luck). The Department Head, who's name I can't remember or even care to, remembers the name Kersey being associated with the vigilante justice that lowered Manhattan's crime-rate, even if it was temporary, just a few years before. Since then, said Department Head has been given the duty of an area of Brooklyn known affectionately as East New York, and he can't seem to keep to piece. You see, East New York is rundown and overrun with gang violence that would make Somalian ghettos look like the suburbs. Since Department Head doesn't feel that he, nor his squadron, can really do anything to help out the pathetic vestiges of good residents left in the area, he conscripts Kersey to help clean up. And Kersey only knows one way to deal with punks, or in this case, creeps.......superior firepower!
The Third installment of Death Wish got a bunch of shit from the critics for being to unrealistic and over the top. From what I've read, even Bronson was embarrassed by the direction it took. Bully for them, because everything that was hated about Death Wish 3 was what kept my eyes glued to the screen. Non-stop violence, big guns, Kersey's ability to bed a women by the second date...it was all here. Best of all were the roving gangs of punks, and you know how much I love that shit. Yes, I agree the plots of the first two films were better scripted, but who needs a fucking storyline with this much action. By the third installment, I would just expect Kersey to have a free pass to smoke punks anywhere he went in the world and I would have been happy and Three actually gave me that, even though it was restricted to an area of Brooklyn that is still one of the worst neighborhoods in America.
I agree with the "unrealistic" criticism people give it, but that's the kind of shit that makes a great action/revenge movie. People don't watch these type of films to relate whole-heartedly, they do it to live that kind of fantastic lifestyle, even if it is just for 90 minutes. Death Wish 3 was just to good to limit to a review and one blog entry. I think I'm going to have to give it further thought tomorrow. I don't rate movies very often, but in this case, it's a 5 of 5 bar none.
I can't believe I almost forgot about this event. Vacations will do that to a man, no matter how dedicated he is to a silly cinema blog. Oh Well. Anyway, If you're a fan of the comical, ultra-gore that has been working it's way out of Japan recently (like Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police), I would suggest heading up to midtown this evening for a screening of Helldriver(2010).
The Japan Society says -"With director Yoshihiro Nishimura and actress Eihi Shiina in person.
Japan Cuts/NYAFF "Be a Zombie" after-party!
Your one chance to see the original director's cut of the film, with more action... and more gore!
The screening is also a very special launch event for our 5th Festival of Contemporary Japanese Film (July 7–July 18): Japan Cuts and for the New York Asian Film Festival 2011. It will be followed by a party for ye undead and proud, special announcements will be made revealing titles in this year's festivals, and prizes will be given away.
In a land where half of the population has become not-so-sexy flesh eaters and the economy gently withers away, all hope seems lost for Japan... until Kika (Yumiko Hara) arrives. A stunning high school girl armed with an artificial heart-powered chainsaw sword, she leads a motley crew of desperados on a secret mission into the zombie-infected wilds to exterminate zombie queen Rikka (Eihi Shiina from Audition and Tokyo Gore Police) and put an end to the plague of the living dead.
But the road is fraught with a thriving zombie culture that, with its own designs on the living half of Japan, refuses to just lay down and die.
Visionary filmmaker Yoshihiro Nishimura's first solo directorial effort since Tokyo Gore Police is an epic, apocalyptic road movie featuring non-stop, over-the-top splatter action. The long-awaited realization of his dreams, Helldriver is Nishimura's bid to create the ultimate zombie film.
The showdown for the future of Japan is at hand and no one, living or dead, may survive to see it!"
Ticket prices are $12/9 for members and 50% of all ticket sales will go to Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund.
Thursday, April 28th 7:30 PM @ Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, at 47th Street and First Avenue
Not only is Spectacle Theater giving the genre-cinema community one great night of Midnite, but the Saturday screening is quite awesome as well. As I stated yesterday, this is the first weekend of Spectacle's Midnite Screenings in which I am incredibly familiar with both films. In fact, I find both films to be influential in feeding my obsession with international horror, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Tomorrow night, Spectacle brings to Brooklyn the cutting edge French horror Martyrs(2008), a movie I would refer to as the pinnacle piece of the New Wave of French Horror. If you are one of the few who have never heard of it I only ask "were you in a coma during 2009?". Before this movie was given a DVD release in the US, horror bloggers and podcasters alike were scrambling to find a copy of this film by any means necessary, and with good reason. With French films like Inside and Frontier(s) making all the US horror releases, at that time, look like Disney films, most of us were craving the next big thing. And it was well worth it on so many levels.
IMDB says -"Fifteen years after a horrifying experience of abduction and prolonged torture, Lucie embarks on a bloody quest for revenge against her oppressors. Along with her childhood friend, Anna, who also suffered abuse, she quickly descends, without hope, into madness and her own delusions. Anna, left on her own begins to re-experience what Lucie did when she was only twelve years old."
That blurb doesn't even do the movie justice. Then again, I don't think anything less than 2000 words really can, it is that good.
Saturday, April 16th at Midnight @ Spectacle 124 S. 3rd St., (at Bedford Ave.)Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Most of the time I post these Big Screen in the Big Apple entries it is typically for cult movies I have never seen. Not only do I do this to try to advertise the cinematic awesomeness that is going on in the NYC nightlife, but I also have a genuine interest in seeing the film. Whether I do or not is another story, depending on what my financial and social situation look like at the moment, even if I have every intention. After months of reporting the happenings going on over at Spectacle Theater on the weekend, I can honestly say I am familiar with both films films screening this weekend.
Suicide Club(2001) was the movie that introduced me to modern Asian cinema. Before that, everything I knew of the Far East came to me in the form of Kaiju and Kung-Fu. If it wasn't for this decade-old gore-tastic classic, I probably never would have developed an obsession with everything from classic Chambara to silly Japanese body horror. I owe a large part of my movie collection, and even the existence of this blog to this film. If you haven't seen Suicide Club, I urge you to lay off the PBR for a couple of hours and head into Williamsburg on Friday Night.
IMDB says -"54 high school girls throw themselves in front of a subway train. This appears to be only the beginning of a string of suicides around the country. Does the new all-girl group Desert have anything to do with it? Detective Kuroda tries to find the answer, which isn't as simple as one could hope."
Friday, April 15th at Midnight @ Spectacle 124 S. 3rd St., (at Bedford Ave.)Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Hey Fangstaz, I would have put this up earlier if I had actually known about it. I just learned over from the amazing film nerds over at Subway Cinema News that there is going to be a free screening tonight of the "Fully-loaded, bloody-knuckled, post-apocalyptic, non-sparkle vampire movie getting a theatrical release later this month." I've read some really good reviews of Stake Land(2010) from festival circuit news, and am actually going to make an effort to get over there this evening if the rain actually lets up.
IMDB says -"Stake Land is a dark vision of a post-apocalyptic America that stands out in a sea of formulaic look-alikes. In director Jim Mickle's world, creatures who blur the line between vampires and zombies are creeping northward toward the Canadian border and eating everyone in their path. This is no typical genre film, though, as the real story unfolds slowly and deliberately with surprises at every turn.
Nick Damici is "Mister," vampire hunter and mentor to orphaned teen Martin (Connor Paolo) as they fight "the vamps" on their trek to New Eden, a monster-free zone where humanity has staked a claim. But darkness is the real enemy here, as they only come out at night, of course. Then there are the cult groups who see the plague as a golden opportunity to spread their own unique brands of oppression."
Tuesday, April 12 at 8pm, Free Screening, the School of Visual Arts Theater at 333 W 23rd St between 8th and 9th Avenues.
Since falling in love with the doc Not Quite Hollywood the other day, I have become obsessed with the idea of tracking down as many of the movies covered as I can. As I explained in that review, I'm not well versed in Ozploitation, but I sure as hell want to be. With so much to choose from, I wanted to start off my obsessive sequence of Aussie reviews with the movie that grabbed at me the most, and also because it was one of the last films covered. According to the industry specialists, it is also considered the last big Ozploitation film before the movements death at the hands of the straight-to-video industry. If you've seen the documentary, or read the title of this blog entry, you most likely know that I am talking about Dead End Drive-In(1986).
Dead End Drive-In takes place in a bleak future, I guess some people might refer to it as "Dystopian", although the only "planned and structured society" seems to take place in small, controlled areas, namely drive-in theaters. This isn't common knowledge though, as we can see from the ignorance of our hero, Jimmy, known affectionately as Crabs. It's hard to tell if crabs is an idiot, or just a really good guy. Society is crumbling around him, but he spends most of the time jogging and boxing. Despite the fact that he can't go anywhere in Sydney to deliver pies without run-ins with the punker gangs, known as carboys. Carboys are your typical muscle-car bullies. When they aren't harassing people on foot or in compact cars, they can be seen scavenging parts from wrecks and abandoned cars. Not exactly the friendliest of people.
After a couple of run-ins with the carboys, Crabs decides taking his girlfriend, Carmen, on a date to the drive-in is a good idea, even though society is crumbling around him. In order to impress his runaway girlfriend, Crabs steals his brother's '56 Chevy. Being typical hormonally-driven teens, the two kids ditch paying attention to the flick and move straight into bumping uglies in the back seat. Wrong move. Just as things started getting heavy, both back tires are stolen, rendering the Chevy incapable of movement. Must be the carboys again, right? Wrong, it looks like the cops are trying to get a piece of the scavenging action too, but not for the same reasons. When Crabs wakes up in the morning, he discovers that he's not the only one stuck at the drive-in. There are close to 200 youngsters living in the theater parking lot like it was some kind of permanent Phish lot, and none of them seem to want to escape. Crabs doesn't get it, and keeps up living a healthy lifestyle despite the punk rock parking lot party that is a constant around him. At this point everybody, including Carmen, has come to except that watching movies and eating junk food is their future, no matter how concentration-like there new life is. Crabs ain't going out like that though, and will do whatever it takes to get out, even kill.
Despite his clean living, I felt the Crabs must have been one of the biggest, fucking idiot I've seen in a movie. Despite being told time-and-time again he wasn't going anywhere, he didn't get it, and I don't think it was just blind determination. I really think his IQ was somewhere in the lower, yet functional, double-digits. No matter how many times he was told, even by his girlfriend, to "relax and have fun, you're not going anywhere" he refused. I think he genuinely believed if he had tires and gas, the drive-in prison actually had an open door policy. Besides, why would he ever want to leave? Society is crumbling on the outside, and he can live of life of junk food, drugs, and drive-in movies. This doesn't sound too bad to me. It actually sounds like the perfect way to spend my time as society goes apocalyptic. Granted, I don't think I could ever go all white power when the Asians are all bussed in, like everybody else did, even the black prisoners(?), but these things happen. That's why it's best to stay out of politics when shit hits the fan.
My first Aussie flick, after seeing Not Quite Hollywood, was completely worth the time I took away from Facebook and the boobtube. I had everything I expected(punks, car chases, sexytime and explosions) and even a little more I didn't expect(racism and heroic idiocy). This is definitely one of those movies I'm going to pass off to friends who have seen the documentary, and I'll probably even watch it with them.
....and it only took me two years to do it. When Not Quite Hollywood:The Wild,Untold Story of Ozploitation!(2008) first started hitting the festival circuit back in 2009, it seemed as if every genre blogger and podcaster had seen it and something to say, most of it being praise. Now that I think about it, I don't recall anyone writing anything negative about the doc at all, and I understand why. Thanks to the power of Netflix Instawatch, and too much free time on my hands during a rainy day, I finally put forth the effort to watch the highly regarded documentary. I must say it was time well spent.
Just in case you were unaware this film existed (I speak mainly of the friends of mine who click my Facebook Link), Not Quite Hollywood documents the rise of fall of Australian genre cinema, known affectionately in the cult movie community as Ozploitation. From it's beginnings in testing the censors with skin exposures, to it's apparent demise, not unlike the American Drive-thu and Grindhouse culture, with the rise of VHS, the doc outlines the history of the genre. As you would expect from any documentary about film, there are shitloads of interviews with filmmakers, actors, and stuntmen...too many to actually name with the exception of Quentin Tarantino. There are also film clips up the anus, again sounding like pretty standard doc garbage.
What sets this film apart from other docs, aside from subject matter, is the rock video editing that keeps one such as myself, who has the attention span of a cat, interested for close to two hours. Two hours with no bathroom or snack breaks is something that happens very rarely, especially with an informative film. Blurbs from interviewees never last more than 30 seconds before a movie clip, typically speaking over the clip. The director obviously knew that when making a doc about movies, people want to see clips of the actual movies rather than a bunch of old fuddy-duddies talking about filming. The only problem with this concept is these old fuddy-duddies are Ozzies,who happen to be pervy and quite crazy, so the stories that are actually being told are far from boring. Throw in a soundtrack of classic glam rock from Down Under, and you have the makings of a perfect documentary.
I was a bit disappointed in myself knowing very little about the genre, being a total dork when it comes to this shit. Out of the dozens of films covered, which I assume were a small part of the actual industry, I could only name 2 or 3 of the movies as flicks I have actually watched. On the flipside though, I took down the titles of most of the films covered for future viewing purposes. I may not know much about ozploitation right now, but by the end of the month I guarantee I'm going to have close to a dozen under my belt.
All together I can say the movie did what it was supposed to, expose the world to a lesser known film industry and make people want to seek these Australian rarities out. If you screen Not Quite Hollywood and don't immediately seek out a copy of The Man From Hong Kong or Patrick, there has got to be something wrong with you. Keep in mind that the director, Mark Hartley, currently has a new documentary on the festival circuit called Machete Maidens Unleashed! which explores the hotbed of exploitation filmmaking known as the Philipines. I've seen the trailers and read the reviews, hopefully it doesn't take me 2 years to take the time to watch it.
The first trailer for what some people are calling "the Bollywood Ironman", Ra-One, was released to the world yesterday during the India-Australia World Cup Match(I'm assuming this is cricket, since I like to fancy myself as a football fanboy). According to the rumors flying around the internets, Ra-One is being toted as the most expensive movie ever made in India. Considering the amount of filmage that comes out of Bollywood each year, I'm wondering how many productions were shot down to make room for this Hindi superpiece. I, for one, am wondering if the second trailer release is going to include a dance number, because you know there's going to be one.
From what I understand, the general Indian release of Ra-One is going to be sometime in October. Unless an American company picks it up for distro over here or it hits the film festival circuit, we are probably only going to be able to see it when it is released on DVD, which will be quite some time after October. Thankfully I live in a city with a large Indian population and several Bollywood theaters. If it's as much of a blockbuster over there as anticipated, it won't be very much longer for me seeing it on the big screen in Jackson Heights or Elmhurst.
As you can tell from my multiple postings on the subject, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the new Thundercats series. So when I gleened the second trailer release in the wee hours of the morning, I knew I would have to repost it for those who don't follow Beyond Hollywood as I do(there can't be that many of you). I didn't recall seeing much Mum-Ra in the first trailer release, and that left me feeling kind of empty. With this second trailer, we get a better idea of the storyline and plenty of Mum-Ra and his minions. My faith is restored!
I have inadvertently been watching a lot if revenge flicks over the last couple of months, and not those of the overcoming underdog variety where the geek gets the girl, although there have been a couple of those too. I'm talking about the down and dirty rapey variety with innocents being pushed over the edge. The ones where the victim becomes the aggressor, and makes her abuser pay tenfold for his crimes. Yes folks, I'm talking about some of the hardest exploitation films to watch, and not because they ate badly made. Within the last month I jar watched both I Spit On Your Grave(original and new release) and Last House On The Left. Two important genre films I had avoided for so long due to subject matter, but finally brought myself to watch lately due to a girlfriend's love of horror and to get it over with. Neither were as horrid as I had heard, and I'm kind of glad I got them out of they way just for conversation value in the future. That conversation is for another time and place because this post is about a movie I wandered upon without putting it into the same closet with the previous revenge flicks. I had been watching Grindhouse trailers on Youtube, as I do quite a bit, and came upon the exploitation/ruffie/revenge masterpiece They Call Her One Eye(1974) aka Thriller: A Cruel Picture, but I like the first title better. It just screams 70's trash. I can't really lump One Eye with the previous mentioned movie because even though it was similar in subject matter, stylistically and direction wise it blows the other two out of the water. It was actually a well made exploitation piece.
They Call Her One Eye is the story of Friga, a young, country girl who has a bit of an issue with her communication skills. You see, Friga is mute due to a traumatic encounter with a scary old bum 15 years previous. Her parents have spent their entire life and funds doing everything they could to help Friga get past the pain, but nothing seems to work, including regular therapy sessions in the city (I'm assuming it's Stockholm). When Friga misses the bus to therapy one day, she is picked up by a sharp-looking playboy who goes by the name of Tony. Upon arrival into the "City", our young lech has convinced the extremely silent Friga out to an expensive dinner and drinks, which lowers the trauma vitims shields to the point where she agrees to go back to his ultra-modern bachelor pad for a nightcap. What she doesn't know is that Tony's intentions aren't very good, as the mickeyed glass of wine he feeds her will attest. When Friga wakes up a couple days later, she is a bit angry to find out that Tony has not only been feeding her heroin, but also has big plans to force her into prostitution. Unfortunately for her first John, Friga isn't going down without a fight, and mangles the old pervert's face like a feral cat. Of course, this makes Pimp-In-Charge Tony a bit mad, so he takes out his frustration on her left eye, rendering her broken with an eye patch and no depth perception. On top of that, she has also been forced heroin so many times during the "breaking" process that she has become a junkie. How will she ever get out of this one?
Thankfully, all One Eye needs is saved cash tips and one day a week, over time, to train in Badassery. With a little judo, defensive driving and firearm instruction Tony and all her abusers are about to find out that you can only push someone so far before they come back at you with a sawed-off shotgun!
I got a lot more out of One Eye than I thought I was expecting. As I said before, it was actually a well made movie with a decent storyline and direction. The acting could have been better, but considering that most of the cast were sex filmed trained, it held up. I was especially impressed with the use of ambient and synthetic noise in the background used in place of actual dialog throughout most of the movie. Whoever scored this movie did a great job of portraying terror on film. I could actually feel myself getting anxious during the high tension scenes, and that doesn't happen very often.
One thing you have to remember is that this film is Swedish and from the 70's. If you don't know what that means I'll tell you in two words.....full penetration scenes. We're not talking about run-of-the-mill American exploitation overrun with breast and boob shots, we're talking full on fucking, even if a stunt dick and vagina were used. It was still the real thing, which is what Swedish Cinema in the 70's was known for. So if you get freaked out by real sex on film, They Call Her One Eye is not for you.
The film also could have saved itself 10 to 15 minutes on the duration if less slo-mo was used. I understand that the slow motion helped with dramatic impact and action sequences, but it got to be a little too much at times. It was like that long, drawn out joke in every episode of Family Guy. The joke that goes on for two more minutes than it needs to just to annoy the audience. This is how I felt through at least one action sequence.
All and all, I got something I wasn't expecting while watching One Eye, a good movie. If you crave something more from your exploitation than boobs, gore, and Pam Grier, I would recommend it in a second. If sex on film scares you, don't bother. If you love bad-ass women with eye patches, go for the gold!!