Before I knew shit about Romero and the original Dead trilogy, there was only one sequel I knew to Night of the Living Dead, and that was Return of the Living Dead(1985). As I would come to find out further down the road, Return wasn't a real sequel as much as an homage or a piggybacking off of Romero's earlier zombie works, much like most of the Italian zombies works from the 70's and 80's. Even after hearing this news I still didn't give a fuck. Return of the Living Dead is still one of my favorite horror movies of all time, despite the camp, no matter how many horror purists chastise me for loving it.
It also has one of the best soundtracks of all time. Sure, it's not composed by Goblin and Morricone, but there aren't that many OST's out there that have such a great line-up of 80's "punk" royalty. The Cramps. TSOL. 45 Grave. Throw in some goth/death rock and a little weirdness from Roky Erickson and your good to go. You can't deny this is classic shit. And thanks to the power of Youtube, I am able to provide you, the general public, with the kick ass soundtrack to drown out an hour of work day sorrows.
(Bear with me.I'm trying to put this in the correct order as seen on the OST but I'm getting different listings from different sources)
1. Take a Walk - Tall Boys
2. Dead Beat Dance - The Damned
3. Burn the Flames - Roky Erickson(for some reason, Youtube doesn't have this song in it's entirety, dammit!!)
It's not very often I hear about action movies featuring Korea's national art, Taekwondo, especially in this day and age. I know they are out there, but considering the Asian action cinema world has been dickhard over Thailand and Malaysia, it's not suprising they slip under my radar. Well The Kick(2011) didn't, and with good reason. It's made and Thailand and directed by Ong Bak's Prachya Pinkaew, so technically Korea still isn't getting their day in the martial arts sun. Fuck it, they still have the horror market.
As far as I can tell, The Kick plays out out something like a Taekwondo Family Robinson. A family of Taekwondo experts moves to Bangkok for..um....bluer skies in hopes of setting up a gym. Some kind of treasured piece of art is stolen and it's up to "Robinsons" to solve the mystery and kick ass along the way. Exactly what I would expect from a Pinkaew film, just like the plot lines of his previous works. Seriously though, I don't usually watch martial arts films for storylines and plot devices any more than anybody else does. I watch them for the ass kicking and stunt work, something Pinkaew does well. And from what this trailer tells me, he is doing again.
Sunnyside, Queens is one of the few NYC neighborhoods, outside of Brooklyn, I would probably live in. That is, of course, if I wasn't financially strapped to Bushwick for FSM knows how long. Unlike most of the fauxhemian Brooklyn snobs, like myself, who make up a great portion of the outlander population flooding northern BK, I have no qualms with living outside of the cool zone. My girl's sister lives there, so I have a plenty of time to explore the nabe on my own. It has so many more amenities than Bushwick for one, the melting pot is so large that the local cuisine is so much more diversified than any hood in Hipsterville. Cheaper rents, safety, yada-yada...I could probably go on for quite some time. Truth be told, if I'm not staying in Bushwick or moving out to the Northwest in the next year, I'll probably end up in Sunnyside.
Sunnyside(1979) also happens to be the name, as well as the setting, of the 70's street gang movie I watched this morning, starring one Joey Stallone. Stallone plays Nicky, leader of the Nightcrawlers, one of three of the biggest gangs in Sunnyside. Unlike the other gangs, Nick's boys are more community organizers than career criminal. Sure they involve themselves in illegal activity, but nobody seems to get hurt but rival gangs. Nick happens to get fed up with the carny folk coming into his hood and ripping off the community so he plans on robbing them blind to teach a lesson. Unfortunately, the Nightcrawlers can't do it on their own, so they arrange a summit with the 2 other rival gangs to discuss a large group activity. Three rival gangs working together, what can possibly go wrong? Well, Nicky's bright idea ends up killing three, two being leadership of an opposing gang, all thanks to our friendly neighborhood, coked-out sociopath, Eddie Reaper. Now that Sunnyside is down a street gang, Reaper wants to make sure he can eliminate all the competition, especially the Nightcrawlers.
New York City is probably my favorite setting for genre films from 70's, bar none. There is just something about the grittiness of both the backdrop and the characters that you will find in no other city setting during this era of American film. I know it's been said time and time again, but NYC circa 70's is just a backdrop, it's actually a character. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten the same kick out of Sunnyside if it was filmed in LA or Detroit. There is just something about the Best City in the World that automatically adds points to any film I watch, an example being Joe's Apartment(pure garbage).
It was also nice to see that the movie was actually filmed on location in Sunnyside and not in Jersey City or Brooklyn(see Bronx Warrior). There is just something about seeing that Greenpoint Avenue sign that got me excited. Being a 32 year old movie, the street signs were the most recognizable things. If I ever watch it again, I will be sure that it's with someone who actually grew up in the area so I can get a better idea of the filming locations.
As I said before, I probably wouldn't have liked this film as much if NYC wasn't the setting. It wasn't a bad movie per se, but you can tell that this was a start out role for most of the actors. It was also a bit too serious for my taste. I like my street gang movies to be quite a bit less believable, Like the Warriors or Class of 1984. The trashier and more ridiculous the better.
For those of you who love 70's films set in NYC, or are actually born and raised in the Big Apple, this is something you might want to check out. For those of you who know nothing of the gritty character of 70's New York, you're probably not going to enjoy it as much.
Over the years my tolerance for low-budget indie horror has risen to epic proportions. There used to be a time when even newer Troma releases bugged the shit out of me. But over time, I have become a heluva lot more excepting of the new kids on the block working with a video camera. It probably has something to do with working programming on film festival a couple years back. Since then, I have actually had the desire to see amateur films, no matter how low the budget.
VS(2011) makes it's big screen debut October 26th at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival . If you take the time to watch the trailer, you can see what I mean by part Saw/Part Kick Ass, but that's the first impression I got. I have made it known time-and-time again about how much I'm not a fan of the Saw films, but I also grew up a rabid collector of all things X-Men. So all you have to do is throw the protagonists in some capes and tights and I'm good to go. Wait....the didn't sound so good.
Besides that, the Director, Jason Trost, wears an eye patch and developed his own martial art. That information alone is enough for me to want to see every movie he's ever made, no matter how low the budget.
Soccer season. Though I am a new found fan of the world's most popular sport, having discovered my love during the 2010 World Cup, coupled with Fall it makes for the most perfect of moods. It has also given me the excuse to ignore my movie-watching process, and a piss-poor excuse at that. Years before I was a fan of the sport, I found myself drawn to some of the folklore surrounding it. By this I speak of Football Hooliganism, an area of interest I've had for a long time stemming from my obsession with British subcultures of the past. It's not behavior I support, mind you, but the Ultra subculture behind The English Disease is something I have always found somewhat fascinating. It's because of this that I've taken come to enjoy such films Green Street Hooligans and I.D. in the past, and as of this morning, The Firm(1989), starring one Gary Oldman.
Oldman plays the slightly yuppy-ish Bix Bissell, real estate agent by day, mustached gang leader by night. Bix and his crew, Inter City Crew, are rabid supporters of West Ham United, one of London's most popular Football Clubs who's real-life supporters happen to be notorious. The England National Team is about to head to mainland Europe for the European Championship, and Bix has big plans of leading a team of hooligans comprised of several other firms. Unfortunately, the other firm bigwigs aren't fond of this idea unless the ICC can beat the other gangs fair and square the only way they know how..through sheer brutality. Just how far is Bix willing to go to lead his envisioned super crew in Europe?
At a very short 67 minutes, it's no surprise that The Firm is a made-for-tv movie. What is surprising though, is how much of a full- length event the director was able to fit into a little over an hour. I'm guessing it had a lot do do with the quality of the actors present, something most of the movies I review don't really have. Even though most of the actors, with the exception of Oldman are no-names in the USA, there is definitely something to be said for the quality you get on the BBC.
I can honestly say I was expecting more a gang of skinheads than one of ultra-violent yuppies before I started this movie, knowing both the history of the director and similar roles Oldman had played during this time period. It was a pleasant surprise though that was tied up in a 10-second news blurb while the gang were watching the telly, a scene I'm sure was purposely thrown in the mix because I probably wasn't the only one thinking these thoughts. Again my obsession with British subculture getting ahead of me. It makes sense though, seeing as the hooligan movement starting taking a more "casual" approach to dress in 70's to avoid altercations with the authorities.
Thanks to The Firm, I will be spending the next couple of days, or weeks even, indulging my obsessions with all things football and skinhead related, so don't be surprised if the next couple of reviews are related. At that, if you're able to procure a copy of the Firm, covet it, because it will in no way be a wasted expense.
Not wanting to cut this short, but I've got a 2:00 Shamrock Rovers match to watch.