Sunday, April 25, 2010

April Catch-Up

Well, April's come and gone and I've fallen way behind. I managed to get through a lot more unseen movies, though not as many as I would have liked. In my favor, at least, the only new movies added were from a set I didn't expect to actually ship, sending my bank account into the negative. And due to tight financial problems as well as having to shoot my senior film soon, I won't be adding anymore new movies for quite a while, giving me time to make some headway. I watched some of these movies quite a while ago so if the comments seem kind of light, that's why. I'm just trying to speed through them so I can get caught up and start posting some new features I'm wanting to work on. I'm still working on making this thing look good as well. I'm not really proficient on layouts and the coding involved or anything, it's just not my bag really. If anyone has any tips or improvements I can make just fire them my way. On to the drivel.

I'll be honest, there's not a lot that I remember from this at the moment. I do know that after coming off the high that was Black Belt Jones, this could only be seen as a disappointment so maybe it's not fair to really tear into it anyways. It does take place in China, to its credit, and it was nice seeing a change of locale, even if the story was pretty stock and it didn't carry the same fun-quotient as Black Belt. This is one I'll have to return to and watch again to give it a fair shake.
Sights within:
-"Hey brother, you believe in non-violence? Then you won't object while I take your car."
-Time tested "fall in love with one broad but then consoles himself with her twin when the original dies" plot device
-The world's largest amount of color coordinated henchmen.
-Jim Kelly riding a fucking elephant.
-The world's most boring tiger footage repeated ad-nauseum.
-Rhino, the world's most annoying character in a pre-CGI world.
-The world's most anticlimactic end battle other than Transformers 2.
Grade: D+


As far as blaxploitation movies go, this is the equivalent of Wolverine, Batman, and the Punisher teaming up. Or at least it should be. Problem is, they spend most of the movie doing their own thing, though they more than manage to hold their own separately. Still, one of the most alluring aspects of this was the inherently awesome concept of these actors teaming up. The few times they do meet up is a thing of beauty. The plot is ludicrous but also fits the tone of the movie perfectly. There are a few moments where the film drags due to excessive padding but it picks right back up each time. The one thing this film does right with no exceptions is present these actors as the biggest bad-asses in their field. There's one scene so good, it instantly qualifies for a spot on any "top ten badass moments in cinema history" list (also spoofed in I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka). A great time, but it could have been pushed even further to become the top of the genre.
Sights within:
-"Gonna set ME up?"
-The world's greatest fucking scene involving Jim Kelly vs. a slew of cops.
-Jim Brown's never ending ammunition.
-The world's only film where the idea of the white man isolating the black gene and creating a poison that specifically targets the race it wants to kill and leaking it into the water supply is played completely straight.
-Did you see that motherfucker get kicked onto the trunk of the car? Ow.
-The world's most friendly, polite and complacent hostages.
-Then he's just standing in the middle of the road having a conversation after laying out a dozen cops, probably killing a few.
-I'm sorry, I just can't get over that scene.
-The world needs more actors/heroes like the kind in this film. We've gone too soft in our action movies.
Grade: B


I watched the Mystery Science Theater version so this is more of a review of the episode rather than the movie. They do a good job of taking care of the movie itself anyway. The movie itself didn't seem too bad. If I had watched it as a kid, I could see myself getting some kind of dumb enjoyment out of it, no matter how technically deficient it is. The episode was one of the better ones and really enjoyed it. And...that's all I got.
Sights within:
-"Honest, Roxy, I believe you! I swear on my Elvis Presley LP."
-Jaws in a loincloth.
-That insufferable little toad Arch Hall and his podunk beachcomber.
-The world's most delicious sulfuric water.
Grade: B


I know I've seen bits of this before growing up in the glorious age before TNT and TBS became the epicenter for reruns of Friends and Law & Order, but I decided to count pretty much all of the Harryhausen as unseen movies (save for Clash of the Titans which I've seen about twenty times) since I've never really sat down and watched them from start to finish. This one in particular I don't recall ever watching save for about ten minutes once before school one day so I figured I start out with this one as I revisit them all. As a kid, Greek mythology was a huge interest to me and I was surprised how well I still knew this story, though that could have been helped by that awesome Ducktales retelling. What follows here is your average special effects laden adventure story. It's kind of funny how the same old formula still works even in today's summer movies. A group of men, with at least a few given their own unique personalities so you have someone to feel for when they're squished by the upcoming monsters, on a mission for some object/purpose while coming across scattered, almost random, challenges which are really just excuses for the special effects which bring in tickets. It's apparently worked for decades, so why stop now? The one thing that elevates this one is the effects of Ray Harryhausen, who somehow makes everyone of his creations memorable. They have a sense of character that probably only Willis O'Brien could match. Without them, I don't think any of these movies would be remembered as well as they are today.
Sights within:
-"You can growl away all you like, Zeus. I mean what I say."
-The world's manliest rock skipping contest.
-Hercules just can't keep his fucking hands off those treasures.
-A living metal statue brought down by the equivalent of stepping on a tack.
-Some old bastard tormented daily by screeching harpies.
-The world's biggest merman and his bathtub toys.
-The world's coolest sword fight sequence that obviously inspired Sam Raimi decades later.
Grade: B-


I have this as part of a twenty-movie set called Burnt Rubber which I picked up for five bucks at Wally World, usually a sign of generic crap delivered in VHS-quality transfers at best. Initially, I threw this on as some background noise while I worked on some writing as I didn't have any expectations for it. I ended up not getting any writing done as it turned out to be a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be. This film was cobbled together by crew members of the original Gone in 60 Seconds and one can tell the similarities. Both focus on extended car chases and keep the stunts as the central focus of the movie while still telling a fun, yet shallow story. Basically, a couple of cops (one sporting a wicked 'stache)decide to pick up some extra cash by working for a repo company. Booooyyy howdy, is there some egg on their faces when they find out all of them cars are stolen goods leading to some high-shootin' showdowns with the good ol' boys of the Southern California highway patrol before they set to gettin' even with the boss. Nothing in this film is especially mind-blowing but there are definitely worse ways to kill an hour and a half.
Sights within:
-Cops who decide that chasing a dune buggy isn't worth their sweet time.
-That buggy tore ass, though. I'll give them that.
-The world's most rockin' 'stache.
-A car chase which consists of a Pinto being followed by a cop car down a flight of stairs that aren't even as wide as a sidewalk.
-The world's long winded, convoluted, sorry-assed excuse for showing up late for a date, which somehow still works.
Grade: B-


This film probably has more racism within than the entire miniseries of Roots. William Sanderson (Larry of Newhart fame) plays what is probably one of the most vile characters ever to disgrace a screen. He, along with two other deranged convicts, escapes from the law and make a retreat into the countryside, blowing away a liquor store owner in front of his own infant daughter, eventually holing up inside the abode of a happy, moralistic African American family. What follows is roughly 50 minutes of degradation, murder, and abuse before the family fights back. This movie isn't the easiest film to watch and you'd be hard pressed to find sleazier characters in any movie, save for maybe one starring David Hess. By the time the family makes their stand, you're ready to see these bastards pay which I suppose means the film succeeds in what it's trying to do. It's a great film worth watching, but I'm not sure if it's one you'd want to revisit very often if you'd rather not see the more rotten side of humanity.
Sights within:
-"I'm running the show, Deputy Dawg!"
-For a few moments, you thought this movie was going to be about that pimp, didn't you?
-Probably one of the more ineffective cops I've seen in a movie.
-Never has dancing felt so humiliating.
-The world's most fucked up dinner party.
-No, little Timmy, nooo!!
-The world's most convenient time to get your sonar running. Talk about laying it all out.
-You mean the cover-art lied?!
Grade: B+

I'm going to end it here so I can actually get a post up and running. I've still got like thirty more flicks to write up so hopefully I can get caught up. Luckily, I've only managed to watch two movies in the entire month of May so far so I just might have a chance of getting up to speed. It's not like I have anything else to do for six damned hours every Wednesday. Hope to be back soon. Now on to the absolutely worthless totals.

Movies Watched: 6
-Hot Potato
-Three the Hard Way
-Jason and the Argonauts
-Double Nickels
-Fight for Your Life
New Movies Bought: 5
-Murders in the Zoo
-The Mad Doctor of Market Street
-The Strange Case of Doctor Rx
-The Mad Ghoul
-House of Horrors
Unseen DVDS: 3246
Unseen Blu-rays: 71
Unseen VHS: 119

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Opening Salvo

It's nice being able to give a decent sized update without having brought home any new movies, though it's not so nice having to worry about money again. Because of partaking in DVDTalk's first Exploitation/Drive-In/B-Movie Challenge, I've already gotten through a chunk of titles, though it also helps that I skipped a couple days of work in a vain attempt to extend my paltry spring break as long as I can. My movie watching's going to take a hit when I start going to work again regularly and the new school term starts (assuming my current enrollment problems get straightened out). So far, it's been a fun little challenge that leaves a lot of room for plenty of diversity amongst the films. I'm trying to avoid horror movies as much as I can because I plan on completely vegging out with them for the October challenge as part of my graduation/quitting my job celebration, which is also why you haven't really seen any blurbs about them so far on here. Out of the films watched so far, only one of them was a bore. In fact it's actually hard to grade these films as they're all pretty fun to watch even though they can't really be called good movies, so keep that in mind when reading.

This was probably Mario Bava's most commercial film, even at only $500,000, and it shows. The sets are amazing and shows how impressive physical locations can be, though admittedly they were married with matte-paintings though I couldn't even tell at first, rather than green-screening in a cartoon background. The action is outlandish with heists galore. It's obvious that this was Italy's attempt to create their own James Bond-like series but for some reason it never took off, despite Bava bringing it in for a fifth of the budget he was allotted. I think the biggest issue was Diabolik himself. He's supposed to be the main character you root for, but he alternates between being an asshole and a puppet the whole time. He kills completely innocent cops and cripples the nation because they piss him off. The rest of the time, his girlfriend is slipping him sleeping pills lest he begin to wwander in his off time and then ordering to steal her new jewelry. You actually think he deserves to be caught, even with his amazing eyebrows. I do think this was the perfect film to kick off the challenge since it has the perfect mixture of laughably bad moments coupled with the amazing ingenuity that comes along with truly great low-budget filmmakers.
Sights within:
-Probably the world's first metro-sexual.
-Use of both Exhilaration Capsules and Anti-Exhiliration Capsules.
-An opening sequence that could fill-in as a scene from the Spy Hunter video game.
-The world's largest revolving bed.
-Mobsters who have an enchanted Etch-A-Sketch.
-1 of 2 movies in the span of two days where a Polaroid has aided robbery attempts.
-The world's most annoying suction cups.
-A mid-air action sequence pre-dating Shoot 'Em Up.
-The old Tibetan-lama "I'm not really dead!" gag.
-An entire nation's tax records completely blown away, probably inspiring a young Tyler Durden.
-A man coated in gold, leaving him to look like someone's nasty #2.
-A tease for a sequel that some 32 years later, still hasn't happened.
-Ask Eva.
Grade: B

Probably the most famous of the now-seemingly ludicrous parental cautionary films (whew!), it holds some genuine laughs even for someone like me who doesn't care for the substance. The nation's constant mishandling of the drug from day one is chronicled in the great documentary Grass, so I'm not even going to bother going into that aspect when that film does it better than I ever could. The film itself is primarily made up of long stretches filled with scenes out of a Leave it to Beaver episode though with more wooden acting punctuated by hilarity when someone's all hopped up on the doobie. There's fun here, but you have to get through some bad stretches, even in its 67 minute running time.
Sights within:
-The world's most gentle hit and run.
-The world's most inept/lazy hit and run investigation.
-Issues of rape in a '30's movie where you expect everything filmed then to be all cuddly.
-A teenage kid being sentenced to a hanging.
-The world's cleanliest bullet hole.
-The fastest little piano diddy you ever did see.
Grade: B-

A much more entertaining film than the more well-known Reefer Madness, this movie is supposed to warn people against the evils of the "giggle-weed" but ends up showcasing the dangers of booze and heroin instead with pot playing more of a minor role here. Unlike Reefer Madness, this film seems to have been made with exploitation in mind with a ham-fisted plot and enough lurid moments to titillate the audience, even closing with a twist ending that wouldn't feel out of place in an old E.C Comics tale. The best of the triple feature disc I have.
Sights within:
-Attempted date rape which is completely forgiven literally 20 seconds later.
-Skinny dipping under the influence.
-A bunch of ogre-like giggling loons running around doing the aforementioned skinny dipping.
-One of the world's earliest "drug-deal-gone-wrong" scenes filmed.
-The main girl goes from scared do-goody to tough-talkin' dope dealer within one cut of film. Amazing.
-Apparently when you die in this film, piles of joints rain down in order the justify the film's message.
Grade: B

The last feature on the disc sure didn't end things well. There wasn't a lot of fun to be had here. The film comes across a lot more serious than the other two and alternates between being dull and depressing. A girl goes from country bumpkin to gangster's moll in the span of five minutes with her brother going out to find her only to end up becoming addicted to the smack her husband peddles. It's the same kind of plot every other one of these films have, except without one iota of the campy fun.
Sights within:
-A gangster holding a gun on a waitress as she serves two cops in order to hide him, thinking he's the good guy the whole time.
-The saddest, most hopeful mother you'll probably ever see.
-Quite liberal use of "headache powder."
-Wallpaper adorned with dead rats.
-The world's most depressing 1930's expectant-mother suicide.
-Drugs are bad. m'kay?
Grade: C-

We had watched Cannibal Holocaust (I had already seen it before so I'm not doing the full write-up here) and it had left my wife so disturbed that I put this on to help her feel better. I had never seen any of these before, save for the reunion movie from the late 80's, so it was nice finally being able to sit down with one. I was actually surprised at how genuinely funny it was. The writing had a lot of clever lines and all of the characters were pretty enjoyable. Paul Lynde was a great smart-ass and it was cool seeing Don Rickles insult everyone like only he can. I can see why these movies were popular back when they were made as they make for nice, breezy fun.
Sights within:
-Peppermint airplanes.
-The ol' mermaid plot device.
-I have no idea how anyone thought Paul Lynde wasn't gay.
-See a young Don Rickles, who still looked fucking old!
-Young lads feeding weenies to each other.
-Nazi bikers used to comedic effect!
-The world's most unexpected buzzsaw torture sequence.
-The world's most missing justification for having "Bingo" in the title and trailer.
Grade: B+

80's sleaze, the kind I grew up with. It sets itself up as a revenge movie, but I have to say that the whole movie was just too fun to really feel pumped up for it. It's bad, it's campy, it's overwrought, it's exploitative, but it never felt boring, save for a stretch at the very end. Linda Blair somehow thinks she's a badass, even though she has the face of a Disney chipmunk, and spends the majority of the film trying to prove it. The whole movie is shot slick as a whip with perfect camera moves and a style that makes it feel more expensive than it really is. The only real issue the movie had was that by the time it got to the actual revenge, it felt a little too passive, with Blair suddenly losing all of her street act to become a standard slasher heroine.
Sights within:
-Linda Blair suited in leather brandishing a crossbow. Nope, it doesn't sell.
-The world's most low-budget night club.
-Howard Vernon becoming the coolest character in the movie.
-"Go fuck an iceberg."
-The world's ugliest high school jock.
-A deaf mute Linnea Quigley, automatically making it her best performance.
-Gratuitous bathtub shot for ABSOLUTELY.NO.GODDAMN.REASON.
-The world's most spiteful science teacher.
Grade: B+

Thus far, this was easily the funnest of all the films I've watched for the challenge. Full of great one-liners, great fight scenes, and tons of those little off-hand moments that adds to the character of the movie. In fact, I'd go so far to say that this is my favorite blaxploitation film thus far. Jim Kelly has a charisma that sells the film right away and you get the feeling that everyone was out to just have a good time. A must see and you can even get it in a set with three other pretty good blaxploitation films for only about ten bucks.
Sights within:
-A fight ended by shooting a man in the ass.
-The world's most awesome scene where Scatman Crothers performs kung-fu!
-The second film where-in a Polaroid aids and abets a robbery.
-The world's two biggest assholes terrorizing an entire beach in the name of foreplay.
-Pinky, the world's most entertaining villain.
-A car chase wherein a pair of panties has its own subplot.
-The world record for number of guys having their heads kicked through train windows.
-Jim Kelly performing the karate shuffle just to hit an elevator button.
-The world's longest fight taking place in a mountainous pile of soap suds.
Grade: A

There's a few more movies I've seen but I'm going to have to take a powder. This has already run long enough and I'm sure most people have tuned out by now so I'm going to leave this as a "to be continued." Now on to the stats which are completely useless and uninteresting to everyone else but me.

Movies Watched: 7
- Danger:Diabolik
- Reefer Madness
- Marihuana
- The Cocaine Fiends
- Beach Blanket Bingo
- Savage Streets
- Black Belt Jones
New Movies Bought: 0 (Achievement Unlocked!)
Unseen DVDS: 3247
Unseen Blu-rays: 71
Unseen VHS: 119