Thursday, March 23, 2017
Saw this Brian (Society, Bride of Re-Animator and The Dentist) Yuzna classic about 5 years ago and had totally forgotten about it till I came across it in the pound shop earlier today.
Never turning down a bargain (ask your mum) I excitedly paid my cash and hurried home.
Returning home I noticed that the original review had only been read by about 5 people so as a public service I decided to rewatch it and see if it had gotten any better.
And had it?
Amphibious 3D (2010 or is it 2012?....from the look of the whole thing I'll go for 1978).
Dir: Brian Yuzna.
Cast: Michael Paré, Janna Fassaert, Francis ("You're not taking Claire, Liam!") Magee, Monica Sayangbati, Francis Bosco, Verdi Solaiman, Timo Ottevanger and Elke Salverda in an ill fitting bikini.
|If indeed you are what you eat then this poor fucker must of gorged itself on clichés and cardboard.|
The oddly shaped - and even odder named - marine biologist Skylar Shane (Fassaert, an unholy hybrid of Uma Thurman and Noomi Rapace in a candyfloss wig) after drunkenly filling in her grant application realizes that if she hasn't proven the existence of giant shite encrusted sea scorpions by the end of the summer holidays she'll be sacked by the university and have to go back to tossing burgers (and old men off for coppers) in McDonalds.
I mean I really wasn't paying too much attention as I was still recovering from the sight of Elke (part-time actress cum traveler cum freelance writer and owner of Wander-
|"Put it in me!"|
Anyway, Skylar decides to hire salty sea man "handsome" Jack Bowman (an upsettingly bloated Paré, channeling Han Solo via a Fulham taxi cab driver) to aid her quest to find fossil samples and the like in the depths of the north Sumatran Sea.
Or the local public baths as we like to call it.
Bowman isn't all that he seems tho' and during the trip has to go visit a group of his fish smuggling, child kidnapping friends led by ex-Eastenders badboy Magee to whom he owes money.
Operating from a ramshackle wooden platform in the middle of the sea, Magee and co. spend their days drinking, smoking, beating children and disguising fish as tourists in order to get them past Indonesia's notoriously strict passport control.
I.E. They are very bad men.
On arrival at the fishing platform, Skylar is approach by a pretty lipped young orphan named Tamal (Scrabble scoring Sayangbati from Ghost Island, Obama anak menteng and the fantastic The Beetle Soldiers), who was sold to the smugglers by a mad uncle cum wizard.
Don't you just hate it when that happens?
It appears that due to a lack of facial hair, aforementioned kissy lips and obvious child bearing hips, Tamal is constantly picked on by the other crew members for being a bit gay, and upon meeting our heroine, begs Skylar to take him away.
Being an empathic kinda woman and still suffering nightmares due to the death of her daughter (I forgot to mention it earlier, sorry), Skylar is determined to help Tamal with or without Bowman's help.
Just not right now obviously as there's a gunfight and a bit of will they/wont they? romance to deal with first.
|"Shite in mah mooth!"|
Maybe, but it does give us time to return to the smuggler's den where Magee has drunkenly beaten Tamal's pal to death causing our tiny chum to mutter curses whilst holding a special scorpion shaped pendant donated by that mad uncle I mentioned earlier.
Could this be related to the inky black blob spotted jerkily moving under the water earlier?
We soon find out as without warning (well except for the ominous soundtrack and change in picture quality) a giant plasticine poo with legs emerges from the water to snatch one of the pirates from his perch and into a watery grave as Tamal watches silently from behind the chemical toilet.
|David Yip, up the casino, Margate, 1981...YESCH!|
It's the next day and our heroes are out searching for stuff when they come across the putrefying corpse (or a passable facsimile of) Magee's henchman bobbing alongside the boat like so much discarded (Natalie) Wood.
Bringing it aboard for Skylar to have a fiddle with (well it's either this or Bowman's salty man tits...which would you choose?) she soon deduces that his body is full of a nasty venom that turns human flesh into latex.
Sorry, I mean into mush.
Worried for Tamal's life (or fancying a bit of rough, you decide) Skylar persuades Bowman to head over to the platform to check everything is OK and excited at the thought of some exotic foreign arse (or at the very least a wee boy's embrace), he agrees to her request.
On arrival Skylar sneaks aboard the platform whilst Bowman drags that dead blokes body around whilst shouting "I never done it! T'was a big boy what done it and ran away!"
Unfortunately no-one gives a fuck, so it's not long before the shooting contest starts up again giving the heroic Bowman no other choice than to leg it back to his boat and sail away.
Leaving poor Skylar at the mercy of a cut-throat band of horny smugglers and, most disturbingly in a scene that would probably give Kenneth Clarke nightmares, a filthy twelve year old Indonesian boy who keeps rubbing his crotch and winking.
|Janna Fassaert: Dirtier than your mum.|
With Magee drunkenly preparing to kiss Skylar on the lips against her will his fat pal Bruno attempts to pull Tamal from the relative safety of the mumsy marine biologists arms but only manages to tear Tamal's shirt revealing that him is really a her.
And that's not all.
It seems that the creepy scorpion pendant given to her by the mad wizard bloke seems to control the mysterious creature, killing anyone who even thinks about harming Tamal.
Oh and that unrelated couple from the start obviously.
|I wouldn't want one of them swimming up my arse.|
And when the beast finally makes an appearance it's heralds an even stranger connection between itself and Tamal.
Alongside a sense of crushing disappointment obviously.
Will our erstwhile heroine and pudgy hero be able to unravel the mystery and kill the best?
Or will everything ended with a ludicrously illogical ending with no other reason than to set up a sequel?
Fucking hell Brian that was rough.
Not content with giving us a plot so rehashed and recycled that it could barely stand unaided, the once cult favourite heartlessly throws in the largest group of wooden actors this side of builders yard stranding them on a flimsy water-based shed and leaving them to the mercy of criminally cack handed editing and a CGI beast that appears to be rendered in shite.
Apart from that tho' it's not too bad.
By that I mean it's a damn sight better than his previous two efforts; the Paul Naschy starrer Rottweiler back in 2004 and the waterlogged - in more ways than one - Beneath Still Waters in 2005.
|Inside Jimmy Savile's mind.|
And when the only good thing you can say about a movie is that it stars the fish-lipped star of Dagon, the charisma free yet smooth of thighed Raquel Meroño then you know you're onto plumbs.
But as much as I'd like to see every copy of this abomination burned every time I go to slag it off I just see poor Brian's face pleading to me.
A conscience can be a bad thing in this line of work.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Picked this up for a pound in a charity shop last week (alongside a working Big Trak for £1.75) and thought to myself it's got Laurence Fishburne and the late great Bill Paxton in it, how bad can it be?
The Colony (2013).
Dir: Jeff Renfroe.
Cast: Kevin Zegers, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan, Dru Viergever, Atticus Mitchell, John Trench, Lisa Berry, Julian Richings and Sir Laurence of Fishburne.
|"You know you're screwed when even the rabbits won't fuck."|
It's the year 2045 and - thanks to climate change and global warming - the Earth's climate is controlled by giant painted machines haphazardly matted onto CGI-ed cityscapes.
As is the way with such technology one day this fantastic technology breaks down causing it to snow.
Humanity, bored with constant snowball fights and building snowmen, retreats underground to live in giant bunkers where life becomes a constant struggle against, lack of food, disease and trying to fight against an ever more clichéd dystopian SF background.
Albeit one that looks like it's been painted by a hook handed child.
|"Try shite-in in mah mooth now ya frosty bastard!"|
Leading this motley band of survivors are two ex-soldiers, Johnny Briggs (Fishburne) and Perry Mason (Paxton) - former colleges who now clash over the smallest things.
Tho' their arguments probably aren't as bad as the ones that they're having with their agents over why they're appearing in such shite.
The colonies days of cataloging seeds, shooting flu sufferers and trying to make bobble hats look fashionable are rudely interrupted however when the nearby Colony 5 transmits a distress call.
Being a nice caring guy Briggs - along with the handsome hero Sam (Josh Framm from the Air Bud film series himself Zegers) and the marked for death chubster Larry Graydon (My Babysitter's a Vampire star Mitchell) decides to head over to see what's occurring.
Leaving Sam's mop haired girlfriend Kai (Sullivan but not the one from the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team) in charge whilst they're away the heroic trio head off into the snow.
Or in this case a computer generated approximation of it.
After what seems like a decade of heart-rending background chat and clumsy attempts at character development our merry band arrive at Colony 5 only to find the place deserted and the walls covered in blood and shit.
Which given the Aliens vibe so far isn't that surprising if I'm honest.
Deciding that a grue covered base isn't a sign to just fuck off home they decide to explore further, eventually coming across (you take your pleasure when you can) a locked door from behind which they can faintly hear sobbing and shuffling - noises usually associated with extreme stress or tearful Pot Noodle-based masturbation.
Sam manages to pick the lock (tho' not alas a ring) and find the mad as a bag of spanners Leland Palmer cowering in a corner whilst blabbing about transmissions and terrifying things.
|A realistic post apocalyptic background yesterday.|
Giving him a hug and a Cuppasoup the rescue party listen as Leland regails them (and us) with his tale of woe.
It appears that the colony received a transmission from a nearby group who'd managed to get the weather machines working causing the snow to thaw, unfortunately in their haste to set up a survival camp they'd forgotten to pack any seeds so are desperate to offer aid and shelter to anyone who has some spare.
Leland excitedly shows them where the signal came from but puts a fairly large damper on the situation by adding that when a Colony 5 expedition attempted to find the source of the transmission they attracted the attentions of a marauding band of crazy cannibals who followed them back and killed everyone.
Deciding that things are maybe a wee bit too scary to stay Briggs, Sam, and Graydon offer to take Leland back with them to Colony 7 but he violently pushes them out of his cupboard and locks himself back in.
As they head toward the exit Graydon notices the smell of freshly cooked bacon in the distance and - being a greedy fuck - runs off to investigate only to find a group of gypsy-types cutting up members of the colony whilst messily feasting on human remains.
|Is your hair the only thing you let down at the weekend?|
Being a portly fucker Grayden is quickly dispatched leaving Briggs and Sam plenty of time to make it to the exit ladder and out of the colony before destroying the shaft with a handy stick of dynamite they found earlier.
And with that the pair begin the long(ish) walk home unaware that the cannibal clan have survived and are even now tracking their footprints.
Which strangely enough haven't been covered by the constant snowfall.
Briggs realizing that the movie is in dire need of an action sequence save it falling into an unrecoverable coma suggests that they blow up the bridge they're crossing with dynamite (after the pair have crossed it obviously) but due to high winds and a need for tension the dynamite fuse blows out giving Briggs a chance to run back and relight it - sacrificing himself in the process.
Obviously he was needed back on the Hannibal set the next day.
Cold, grumpy and shocked at the fact that given the choice 'tween Fishburne and Paxton the director appears to have chosen a large piece of (albeit pretty) wood to act as the films emotional centre Sam slowly limps back to Colony 7.
Luckily the film has a fairly short running time so it's not long before Sam has reached his destination stumbling drunkenly into an argument between Kai and Mason.
Mason it seems wants to shoot everyone who has a cold whilst Kai wants to let them wander off into the snow and into the arms of a slow agonizing death due hypothermia because she thinks this is more humane.
Sam's stumbling puts an end to the chat as Kai runs over to help him giving Mason the opportunity to knock the pair out with his rifle butt and lock them up.
Which is a blessed relief if I'm honest as the coast is now clear for Paxton to do his Hudson shtick as the base is overrun by cannibals.
But alas there's a wee bit more talking to do before this will happen.
As the clock to the films climax counts down and the fearsome flesheaters draw ever closer (probably) will Sam be able to convince Mason to take a chance at finding the sunny settlement over the hill or will Mason poo-poo the idea as even more unbelievable that the base will soon be under attack by savages obsessed with eating him?
Competently made, nicely acted (from Paxton and Fishburne at least) and fairly pretty to look at The Colony is so professionally produced and safe as to make it instantly forgettable.
Devoid of originality, charm or even any notable novelty value it's a movie you've seen a hundred (or maybe a hundred and three) times before tho' usually not played this earnestly.
Scarily it took four writers - including director Jeff Renfroe - to come up with this, riffing everything from The Hills Have Eyes (for the lead cannibals look), The Thing, Alien 3 and even the Doctor Who story Utopia along the way - maybe they each took it in turns to strangle the joy out of everything they paid homage to or maybe it takes a special kind of talent to produce a script so lacking in character?
Saying that tho' some of the shots looked quite pretty and it's pretty obvious that most of the imagination and skill onboard where used for the end credits which are pretty cool.
Just a pity no-one told them that it's the 90 odd minutes that proceed them that are important.
The cinematic equivalent of watching badly xeroxed paint dry whilst drinking warm (but not too warm mind - you might burn your lip) milk.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Mondo Cannibale (AKA Cannibals, Barbarian Goddess and White Cannibal Queen amongst others. 1980)
Dir: Jess Franco.
Cast: Al Cliver, Sabrina Siani, Lina Romay, Robert Foster, Shirley Knight, Pamela Stanford and Olivier Mathot.
Famous researcher of 'things' Dr. Jeremy Taylor (Euro-god Cliver, unfortunately for him being out-acted by his trademark beard), his scrummy wife Elisabeth (Stanford sans son) and his young, pug faced daughter Lana (that wee girl from Zombie Lake!) are traveling along a treacherous stretch of the Amazon River (played in this instance by the coast of Spain) said to be inhabited by a tribe of bloodthirsty cannibals (fantastically essayed by a squad of tubby, bequiffed Frenchmen in kiddies facepaint).
No sooner has the salty boat captain finished spinning a lurid tale about these savages when a group of them sneak aboard his vessel and start slaughtering the crew before turning their lustful gaze toward Taylor's missis.
After a valium-tastic slo-mo feeding frenzy in which Cliver gazes into the distance manfully as the brutish savages eat his wife we suddenly find ourselves on the banks of a tiny garden fish pond where Taylor's daughter is lying unconscious.
But still with a pug face obviously.
Scooping her into his arms like a rickety old dumper truck the toothless tribal chief (who looks uncannily like Max Wall) takes the young girl home and declares her a sacred white goddess before adopting her into the tribe.
Which is pretty lucky considering the alternative.
Taylor on the other hand is less fortunate seeing as he's quickly captured, has one of his arms chopped off and eaten in front of him before finally being trussed up like a sexily skinny (bearded) pig.
Before the tribe can get to work on the rest of him tho' he manages to escape into the undergrowth and is soon rescued by a couple of blokes in obscenely tight jeans driving a jeep.
Ending up in a New York hospital with amnesia (and no shirts that sit right), he is nursed back to health by the buxom, bouncy lipped Ana (Romay billed here as Candy Coster which going by the amount of shite she's appeared in under her own name shows how truly awful this film is) a foxy doc who has spent the last 10 years sitting at his bedside trimming his beard occasionally.
Feeling much better (but unfortunately unable to return all the pairs of gloves that well-wishers have sent him), Taylor heads off to the world famous Shelton Foundation, funders of the original expedition in the hope of securing backing for a second trip into the jungle to find his daughter.
Unluckily for our hero it turns out that the foundations head Barbara (Knight) and her camp British boyfriend Charles ( Mathot, bless you) are more interested in taking the piss out of Taylor, accusing him of hiding his arm behind his back (hmmm...they have a point) and wearing a stick on beard.
Taylor leaving the office with a loud 'fuck you' decides to go to the Amazon anyway and with Ana in tow, goes about securing the services of a guide, however seeing as they only have about 60 pence to their name this proves a wee bit difficult.
Life is cheap down south but not that cheap.
Just as Taylor is about to give up and go home he runs into Charles and Barbara, who've come to South America with a group of posh pals in the hope of finding the one armed doc, you see they want to apologize for all their nastiness and have decided to bankroll his trip, provided their group of friends get to join in the fun.
A grimly serious Taylor warns them that it'll be a dangerous journey into uncharted cannibal country, waving his stump around as proof but the drunken toffs just giggle and start packing their swimming trunks, wide brimmed hats and sunblock.
Heading out into the jungle (well, the local park) the party come across the folk (bits of them anyway) that rescued Taylor in the movies opening.
Now you or I may see this as a sign to turn back, but not Taylor and co. who continue further into the unknown, stopping only to adjust their lip gloss.
It's not too long tho' (thank Christ) before the members of the expedition are being picked off and butchered one by one in particularly gruesome ways (well in slow motion whilst members of the crew throw offal around) by the bloodthirsty savages till only Taylor Ana and some disposable young guy (whose name escapes me) are left.
Captured and bound they're taken before the tribes whitey-hating leader Jeff Yakaké (Foster) and his harsh faced yet surprisingly pale skinned wife (Siani, 'star' of Fulci's Conquest).
Could this be Taylor's missing daughter?
Whilst Ana is dragged off by the cannibals (sounds painful) Taylor has the idea of asking his daughter to untie him and his mate so that they can escape.
Her expression is one of either faint recollection or boredom but either way she sneaks out of her hut that night to free her dad who promptly slings her over his shoulder and legs it into the trees speedily pursued by his irate son in law and his pals.
Will Taylor, his pal and his daughter manage to escape from this tropical hell or will they be forced to partake in a post pub style fisticuffs match in a small stream?
Will Taylor shed even one solitary tear over Ana's death?
And will Siani ever change her slightly bemused expression?
hopefuls go thru' their paces.
Casting cult idol and not to mention dirt cheap Cliver (with whom Franco would go on to make the classic 1980 film The Devil Hunter with) and his own missis should have meant that Franco had more cash left to put towards some breath taking special effects and lush locations but unfortunately (due in part to Lesoeur only managing to raise a budget of £75.81) this wasn't to be.
The usually top drawer Cliver sleepwalks thru' the movie, his 'severed' arm obviously hidden down his shirt as he struggles to hide his embarrassment as he is poked and prodded by the most bizarre ethnic mix of cannibals ever committed to celluloid. Chubby, pasty faced Frenchmen, slick haired Latinos and even a couple of Japanese folk fill out the tribes numbers, forced to jump about in tiny leather thongs and blackface.
But not even that can prepare you for the sight of a wooden topped Sabrina Siani, her face smeared in blue gloss paint, her nipples (only just) covered by her blonde mane and her (albeit) peachy arse exposed for all the world to see uncomfortably jerking from scene to scene like an anorexic Bambi on amphetamines.
Yes it really is a performance to remember.
The films one saving grace tho' is the always reliable Lina Romay in a role that actually allows her to act for a change as opposed to standing around with her kit off showing her frighteningly furry 70s bush to the world.
Which is one reason to see it I guess.
Nothing like damning with faint praise is there?
Saturday, March 4, 2017
People are often emailing me to complain that there isn't enough sport featured on this blog.
Or girls with massive chins.
So to all of you who said this....enjoy.
Sing gum zhook kao (AKA Sexy Soccer, 2004)
Dir: Sik Hok Min (Yup, that's right - THE Sik Hok Min)
Cast: Au Yeung, Carmen Yeung and lots of other people but I've discovered that no-one actually reads the cast list bit, they go straight to the movie poster that's usually right below.
Professional sleazy guy Terry Rolando (Yeung, probably) is having a wee bit of bad luck culminating with a run in with the local loan shark.
You see he'd made a huge bet on his fave team winning the football championship cup (or something....as you can probably tell, I'm not really the sporty type) but guess what?
Yup, they lost.
Feeling generous the loan shark decides against cutting his throat and instead offers him one last chance to come up with the cash.
With no idea as to what he could do to raise the money Rolando decides to go watch a football match to get a wee bit of inspiration.
It's there that whilst enjoying the game his eyes are draw to a brash n' busty jogger bouncing by him at half time.
Rolando sees this as a message from God telling him to form an all female football team (named Friendly Balls) to compete against the all male squads, with the ladies uses their 'sexy bodies' to distract the testosterone fueled male players.
How this would work is never fully explained (much the same way as the loan shark storyline never re-appears) but, we've been promised scantily clad and sexy girls playing football so let's stick with it and see if it delivers.
|Same shit....different smell.|
Anyway back to the plot (which I will cover quickly so I can eradicate any memory of this film from my head), everything starts swimmingly with much training footage of girls jogging in tiny shorts and shots of sweaty ladies jumping on the spot as Rolando's plan seems to be foolproof enough for him to actually have a chance of winning whatever he's meant to win (I don't really care).
Unfortunately his arch rival Dennis gets wind of his plan and has a secret weapon of his own....
You see, he's secretly been training a team of homosexualists to play against the ladies in the final.
When all seems lost tho' our hero comes up with his greatest plan yet.
Remembering that 'the gays' like arse he gets all the ladies to flash their bum cheeks at them, instantly curing them of their gayness and thus enabling the girls to win.
Effectively that's it as far as the movies plot goes, with half of the film being a shameful excuse to see a handful of fairly unattractive young ladies with bored looks on their faces (and one with a chin like an ironing board) prancing around in tight tops and tiny seventies style shorts wiggling and jiggling like they're have a stroke.
But not in a good way like when Helen Robinson had hers in Neighbours.
The remainder of this epic consists of endless scenes of Rolando (dressed like your dad) having sex with the team ( either in reality or 'hilarious' dream sequences) in the most disturbing scenes in cinema since Harvey Keitel cracked one off over that car door in The Bad Lieutenant'.
True there's and almost obscene amount of nudity (plus sex scenes that border on hardcore) but it's a bit like watching a video of your parents having sex.
In your bed.
And trust me on this when I tell you that's not a nice feeling.
|No idea if she's in the movie but this picture came up when I was searching for the poster so thought it'd be a shame if I didn't share it.|
Saying that tho' at least Harvey looked like he was enjoying himself (as did my folks), Yeung on the other hand keeps pulling comedy 'cum' faces whilst making grabbing actions toward the unfortunate actresses breasts.
For Minutes at a time we're subjected to this in extreme close-up, it's almost as if he's possessed your teevee and is desperately trying to escape to do bad things to you.
And your mum.
And your mum's dog.
I will admit that the film does have a few stand out moments, mainly showcasing the total ineptitude of those involved, including a fantastic bit in which one of the team actually stops speaking to look off-camera at the director for reassurance before continuing the scene.
Buy this film now and see how many you can spot.
It'd be much easier than trying to spot any of the films promised 'sexy' moments.
Market to us foreign devils as a kinky version of the classic Steven Chow comedy Shaolin Soccer, this is more Benny Hill than Jimmy Hill, replacing the formers knockabout comedy, musical numbers and martial arts mayhem with copious amounts of spotty arses, crap Cosby sweaters and a plethora of frankly arse numbing sexual shenanigans that only seem exist in order to pad out the movie's meager running time.
Worth it if you're bored to a point of suicide, find horse faced Chinese girls attractive or if you don't have a girlfriend.
Or like football obviously.
Friday, March 3, 2017
Noticed a distinct lack of cardigan wearing librarian types onscreen this year (unlike last time round where you couldn't move for sensible shoes) seeing as every female character seemed to be a bleach-haired bombshell with a gun.
Or a kidnapped schoolgirl drugged and chained to a bed obviously.
But fear not, in this celluloid sea of sassiness one woman bravely took a stand for A-line skirts and buffed up brogues.
And she fought a giant radioactive monster too.
It can only be Shin Godzilla's Mikako Ichikawa.
Saturday's Full day of frights kicked off with a movie that promised to do for sharks what Jimmy Savile did for children's dreams....
Cage Dive (Australia 2017)
Director: Gerald Rascionato.
Cast: Joel Hogan, Josh Potthoff, Megan Peta Hill, Suzanne Dervish-Ali and some sharks.....hang on, how can it have a cast list if it's meant to be real? THEY LIED TO US!
Deciding to film an audition tape for submission to an extreme reality game show three really fucking annoying Californians - Jeff (Wannabe real life He-Man toy Hogan), his brother Josh (Potthoff) and Jeff’s girlfriend Megan (the rabbit-like Peta Hill) travel to Australia in order to document themselves taking part in a wee bout of shark cage diving.
As well as film themselves getting pissed, having parties etc because we all know how enjoyable that is to watch.
But while on the dive, a catastrophic turn of events leaves them in baited water full of hungry Great White Sharks and turns there audition tape into a snotty nosed survival cum bitching diary.
|Shite in mah mooth....if only to brighten up this movie.|
Obviously the chance of being eaten by sharks at any moment isn't exciting enough so director Gerald Rascionato adds a heart condition and a two-timing fiancée to the mix.
As well as an incredibly hilarious scene where Megan attempts to warm up a fellow survivor with a rescue flare.
Because as we know girls are rubbish in stressful situations.
Frankly I feel sorry for the sharks that have to eat these narcissistic no marks.
But if you really must see Americans getting stuck in a cage whilst fighting sharks check out Johannes Roberts frankly fantastic In The Deep (AKA 47 Meters Down) instead.
If they ever decide to release it that is.
From found footage shocks to pretty frocks now with.....
Fashionista (USA 2016)
Dir: Simon Rumley.
Cast: Amanda Fuller, Ethan Embry, Alex Essoe and Eric Balfour.
|"I can see your house from here Peter!"|
After Red, White and Blue and Johnny Garrett’s Last Word comes mighty bearded director Simon Rumley’s third Austin, Texas based shocker.
A hypnotic and bracing exploration of identity, body image and transformation via the wacky world of vintage clothing where hipster shop owners April and Eric (Fuller and Embry) find their marriage on rocky ground when she begins to suspect her husband of having an affair.
When her suspicions are confirmed, April seeks sexual validation with the mysterious and kinky Randall setting off a chain reaction of stylish fever dream madness, fantasy role-playing and chic ultra-shriek that's less Blue Velvet more Blue Broderie Anglaise.
See what I did there?
Unfolding like a particularly complex origami ostrich, Rumley's most accomplished movie to date is a harrowing and heartbreaking homage to the genius of Nicholas Roeg, wearing it's obviously proud influences on its finely tailored sleeve.
Bloodlands (Australia/Albania 2016)
Dir: Steven Kastrissios.
Cast: Gëzim Rudi, Emiljano Palali, Alesia Xhemalaj and Suela Bako.
|The community centre stage version of Die Hard went down a storm with the under 12's.|
Shot on location in Abania - and in Albanian - and rooted in the very real phenomenon of blood feuds ( or ‘Kanun Lek’ laws) still plaguing the country (think Govan but with fewer pikeys), Bloodlands tells the tale of a struggling Albanian family led by local butcher Skender (Rudi), who struggling to to maintain order amongst his children - his daughter Iliriana (Xhemalaj) is planning to leave home for the bright lights of Italy and his son Artan (Emiljano Palali) is more interested in becoming a photographer than taking over his father’s shop - is thrust into a war with a family of forest-dwelling beggars , rumoured to be led by a vampiric witch.
Which is nice.
|Did a search for the Bloodlands cast on Google to illustrate the review and this came up. According to the caption it's actress Alesia Xhemalaj in a pretty frock. Fair enough then.|
Unfolding at a pace that could best be described as (very) leisurely Bloodlands blends domestic drama and supernatural scares in such a matter-of-fact way as to make it difficult to decipher to a viewer not totally au fait with Albanian culture, tho' that's not to say it isn't an enjoyable journey - just at times wee bit too meandering and alien to truly be affecting.
Tho' that probably says more about me than the film.
Still it's as intriguing as it is frustrating - fantastically played and utterly believable which bodes well for Kastrissios' next movie.
Plus Alesia Xhemalaj is very cute in a kinda homely way.
Detour (UK 2016)
Dir: Christopher Smith.
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen, Bel Powley and Stephen Moyer.
From Christopher (Creep, Severance, Black Death and Triangle) Smith, Detour finds law student Harper (Sheridan) suspecting his stepdad Vincent (Moyer) of causing the car crash that landed his mother in a coma so when a chance meeting with tough, tattooed redneck Johnny Ray and his girlfriend Cherry (pitch perfect performances from Cohen and Powley) gives him an opportunity to discover the truth our student pal begins a terrifying road trip of revenge and random violence.
Playing out like the evil sibling of 1998s Sliding Doors, Detour takes the basic premise of the classic Patricia Highsmith novel Strangers On A Train (I'm sure that would make a great film) Smith's perfectly plotted, sexily shot and smartly edited little thriller is a joy from start to finish.
Next up was Raw - the film that'd had everyone ranting, raving and salivating in anticipation, Julia Ducournau's coming of age tale of vets, vegetarianism and cute cannibals that - according to its PR people - had made folk faint in the aisles at Cannes.
Tho' that may have been the smell of all that garlic and onion.
I must admit I was intrigued and not just because the lead actress looked uncannily like Cécile Fournier*.
Raw (France/Belgium 2016)
Dir: Julia Ducournau.
Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf and Rabah Nait Oufella.
|Lest we (well I) forget.|
So, what's it all about then?
Justine (Marillier) a strict vegetarian, applies to vet school (which surprisingly isn't a brand new Channel 4 reality show) following on the family tradition started by her parents and her big (chinned) sister Alexia (Rumpf) but after being forced to eat a rabbit’s liver as part of a bizarre - yet very continental - initiation ceremony begins to develop a hunger for (human) flesh.
Merde dans ma bouche française parfaitement formée
Enjoyable enough but ultimately hollow and vacuous.
Unlike the aforementioned Ms Fournier obviously.
With a sad feeling of disappointment in my stomach (I'd only packed one packet of Quorn Cocktail Sausages for the whole day) I quickly headed outside for a sly fag in order to prepare myself for what promised to be the other killer movie of the weekend - Ben Young's pervy pedophile potboiler Hounds Of Love.
Excitement factor was high due to Australia presenting us with a couple of top quality frighteners over the last few years like the fantastic Wolf Creek, Rogue and The Loved One.
Saying that they foister the utter shite-cake that was The Babadook on us too so you can never too careful.
Hounds of Love (Australia 2016)
Dir: Ben Young.
Cast: Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry and Susie Porter.
"Troubled" teen (aren't they all?) Vicki (Home and Away's Cummings) after an argument with her recently divorced mum Maggie (Star Wars babe Hermione Bagwa herself Porter) sneaks out to attend a pals party one night when she's accosted on the way by the creepy John and Evelyn (Currie and Booth).
The pervy pair persuade Vicki to go home with them in order to buy some of 'the hash' but they have something else in mind, drugging the screwed-up schoolie before tying her to a bed and using her as their own personal fuck-monkey.
Which isn't that unexpected really given the films synopsis.
|We're Cortina trap.|
Cue 90 minutes of screaming, dodgy mustaches, dog kicking and long, pleading looks as Vicki goes from victim to victor as she attempts to expose the cracks in the couple’s relationship.
Neither as nasty or blackly comic as The Loved Ones or Wolf Creek, Hounds of Love comes across as a great idea marred by so-so execution and a simplistic script that has 'mah weak wimmin' under the thumb of an (even weaker) man.
Performances are OK but the under-developed almost panto style, one dimensional characterizations and lack of development hamper what should be an uncomfortable and grueling watch and when the most cringe-inducing scene is the totally inappropriately and irony free use of Joy Division's Atmosphere over the closing scenes then you know you have problems.
The cast do their best but bless 'em it's an uphill struggle.
Which is all the more disappointing when you realize that the film is based on a truly harrowing real-life case ( that of David and Catherine Birnie) that's ripe for a full 'In Cold Blood' style psychological retelling.
Plus it's difficult enough to lure young girls into cars without films like this getting made.
And how do you follow that? I hear you cry.
Well with a wee bit more forced sex and violent violation.
But it's OK as this time it's strictly for laughs.
Night of the Virgin (Spain 2016)
Dir: Roberto San Sebastián.
Cast: Javier Bódalo, Miriam Martín and Víctor Amilibia.
It's New Years Eve and the nerdy and naïve Nico (Bódalo) is out on the town and determined to lose his virginity.
He should have just hung about suburban Perth and looked out for John and Evelyn for tips seeing as his attempts at seduction ultimately end with him getting vomit covered shoes.
Despondent and desperate for a diddling he finally comes across (not in that way, well not yet) uber MiLF Medea (Martín) and before he knows what’s happening he’s back at her filthy flat surrounded by sinister Asian artifacts and crawling cockroaches as an ancient prophecy prepares to rear its ugly head.
And if that wasn't enough there's a rowdy party of homosexualists upstairs and a very jealous ex-boyfriend waiting in the wings.
Roberto San Sebastián’s feature debut is a slick, sick semen drenched, shit stained comedy of (t)errors that proudly vies for the title of most digustingly disturbing movie ever.
And there's something to be admired about a film that's so honest.
At 2 hours the film is oh-so slightly overlong, leaving the viewer as exhausted as poor Nico after his arse destroying birthing of a blackened beast of Hell but it's heart is in the right place and I'd rather a movie deliver too much that not enough.
Especially when the director is in attendance showering the screen with abuse and comedy asides.
To be honest every film could probably be improved by this.
In parts massively enjoyable and slightly frustrating Night of The Virgin bodes well for the teams next foray into body (fluid) horror and I for one will be at the front of the queue.
A perfect end to a wonderful weekend.
Same time next year guys?
*If you don't know this story already you can find out more here. I'll warn you tho' I'll probably keep on about this till she gets in touch.