Wednesday, July 22, 2009

bongo in the congo.

I've been putting it off for years but due to a few begging emails I've decided to rewatch and review this infamous shocked up exploitation crassic.

And please, no death threats this time, remember I only watch this shite so that you don't have to.

Addio zio Tom (AKA Goodbye Uncle Tom. 1971)
Dir: Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi.
Cast: Some fat, bad toothed Italians, some thin, bad toothed Italians, some black folk and a butchers dog.


We're gonna go back, way back in time to the groove-tastic year of 1971 and whilst we're enjoying Slade and Love Thy Neighbour our America cousins are caught up in a terrifying race war.

African Americans, tired of the evil white man and empowered by the words of Malcolm X (tho' luckily not Jason X) and LeRoi Jones, are rising up to make one final bloody stand for justice.

Or something like that, I'm assuming the film isn't entirely truthful.

Deciding to explore the origins of all this race fueled badness (and having nothing to do till the pubs open) a group of brave documentary filmmakers decide to travel back in time for a close-up look at the slave trade, its bosses and the slaves themselves.

In an totally non exploitative way of course.

Next stop....nineteenth century New Orleans!

Less Doctor Who, more
Doctor whatya talkin' about Willis?

Arriving at a convenient plantation and at a time when the place wasn't full of tragic Anne Rice fans, the crack camera crew happen across a huge dinner party hosted by none other than (the neither fat nor Italian) Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin (which scarily had a pub in my home town of Sedgley named after it, fact fans).

Sitting around a table eating veal and drinking cheap port, her guests enthusiastically defend the slave trade whilst tossing food scraps to a group of wee black boys hiding under the table.

After stuffing their faces with food (well this time travel lark is hungry work) and obviously bored with the after dinner entertainment (which involves watching one of the boys reading from the Bible whilst wearing a tie) our merry band decide to visit a slave ship fresh from the dark continent (Africa not Birmingham) and stuffed full of malnourished and abused soon to be slaves.

Hmmm....could this slavery thing be bad?

The crew still need convincing.

"Laugh now!"

Wandering around the docks and killing a few minutes shooting footage of big fat greasy Italian men licking their lips whilst eying up young boys as a lady in boots whips a black man with a riding group they soon come across (not literally but you never know, I mean she looks up for it) the local House Momma (not top comedy star Martin Laurence but a humongously breasted big black woman whose job it is to 'supervise' the slaves).

Genuinely intrigued as to what this entails (other than standing on a chair shouting 'Thomas!' by the look of her) she happily lets them follow her about for the afternoon as she physically and mentally abuses both her black and white charges (not to mention the viewer with her hellish voice) before sending off a group of bounty hunters to catch a few runaway slaves.

Still not entirely convinced they head off to visit the local doctor for a dose of much needed 'science'.

Using only a chalkboard, an eggcup and a handkerchief he explains (in simple terms) how black people don’t have any feelings and therefore it’s okay to make slaves out of them.

Phew, glad that's all sorted.

"Shite in mah big racist mooth!" and
yes that is the horse from Emanuelle in America.

Needing a break to get their heads round all the scientific 'facts' flying about our heroic news hounds head over to the local whorehouse just in time to see a gaggle of young black women dressed up in a variety of starched undies and bonnets being paraded around for the enjoyment of a group of overweight horny extras waving their (somewhat surprisingly) flaccid cocks around whilst leering in much the same way as your dad does when the papergirl arrives on Saturday morning.

The angle you always saw your local priest from.

And the film carries on in this vein for what seems like days, only stopping for the occasional quick glimpse of bush or copious amounts of close-ups of fat men eating with their mouths open.

Luckily, it has an ace up it's sleeve (and a neck of pure brass) when at the films climax we're 'treated' (if that's the right word) to a gore-rious modern day re-enactment of the story of Nat Turner.

For those of you not up to speed on your American history (tho' if you find books without pictures a challenge - which if you're here probably isn't surprising - there is a comic adaptation of the story by Kyle Baker available), Turner (no relation to Truck or Ted) infamously led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia that resulted in the slaughter of fifty five white people.

This is shown in the movie by having Turner sitting on a beach watching a nice, middle class family at play before he violently bursts the sons beach ball and slaughters the family in their kitchen whilst loud Wah Wah guitar music plays on the soundtrack.

"Leathery balls.........yesch!"

Art or complete and utter arse?

YOU decide!

Actually don't bother because if I'm honest it's complete and utter arse.

Goodbye Uncle Tom is the defining moment in the sleazy and sordid careers of those idiotic Italian ignoramuses of the mondo movie scene, Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi.
The universally derided duo that single (or is that double?) handedly kick started the cycle of 'mondo' shockumentaries of the sixties with the joyless (or is that Godless?) Mondo Cane.

Don't all thank them at once will you?

Knowing a good thing (and a fast buck) when they saw it, the pair followed this up with the (oh so slightly) contraversial Africa Addio, an allegedly hard-hitting look at life in Africa that seemed to consist only of gratuitous scenes of animal cruelty and a bunch of people getting violently killed (onscreen of course) in a variety of painful ways.

Worried that they were begining to be seen as talentless hacks pandering to the voyueristic tendencies of humanities baser elements Jacopetti and Prosperi decided the time was right to bring a big budget adaptation of Voltaire's Candide to the screen.

Unfortunately they only had about twenty Lire to their name so had to make do with unleashing Mondo Candido, the clap riddled whore of exploitation cinema on an unsuspecting public instead.

Which was very nice of them.

As a plus point tho' the movie did give it's name to a rather fine compilation CD of hip n' happening lounge Nu-Jazz and electronica tracks (with a fairly attractive lady on the cover) a few years back so I guess we should be kinda grateful.

She may look happy now but just
you wait till the dirty Gypsy fisting starts.

But all this fades into oblivion when compared to Goodbye Uncle Tom. Although some people will try to convince you that it's an unflinching look at the real horror of slavery (you can tell these folk, they're the ones who've never had to sit thru' it) both you and I know that this is utter bollocks because it's really just an excuse to watch a load of corpulent red faced old men chasing young black girls around a variety of hastily constructed sets before dribbling all over them whilst squeezing their breasts.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing (well I guess I am, sort of) but it'd be nice if they'd be honest about it.

I feel all dirty now, gonna haveta cleanse my soul with Porno Holocaust before bed....damn you Gualtiero and Franco.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Been away visiting the fatherland, hence no recent updates but whilst wallowing in the nectar-like taste of Banks' Bitter and dodging fried pork rinds I found this classic bio-pic on sale in the Aladdin's cave that is the Dudley branch of Cash Converters.

Under the circumstances it was a given that I had to purchase it...

And yes, it was complete shite from start to finish but I thought I'd better post something in case you all thought I'd died.

Man In The Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story (2004).
Dir: Allan Moyle.
Cast: Flex Alexander, Frederic Tucker, Krista Rae, William S. Taylor, Barbara Mamabolo, Samantha Kaine, Gerrick Winston, Eugene Clark, Lynne Cormack, Brennan Gademans, April Telek but surprisingly not Billy Dee Williams.

"Why can't you share your bed with someone?
The most loving thing you can
do is share your bed with someone".

God bless VH1, for their first foray into movie making what else could they choose but the fantastically freaky and lusciously lurid tale of the self proclaimed King of Pop Michael Jackson?

Well, if I'd have been them I'd have picked a subject better suited to the poverty row budget this production obviously had.

Welcome to Gary, Indiana (which is in America, near Canada for our European readers) where fuzz haired wonderboy Michael (Gademans, from the - believe it or not - unofficial Diff'rent Strokes bio-pic) lives with his freakish family and overbearing dad Joe - not the guy who sang Is She Really Going Out With Him- (Tucker so memorable in Vampire Cop).

Lenny Henry, up the casino
and covered in flour yesterday.

Luckily these 'poor but happy' shenanigans are glossed over fairly quickly, just giving us enough time to see Joe being strict, MJ's mum looking concerned and the production team to get their money's worth out of the pound shop afro's they've bought before jumping Back To The Future like to various points during the grown up Michael's (now played by Alexander, star of Snakes on a Plane and The Hills Have Eyes 2) life.

But obviously only the bits that can be filmed cheaply.

Cue ninety minutes of money, the price of fame (which by the budget of this movie is about eight quid) and sharing a bed with the wee boy from Home Alone.

Hang it out a window, wipe it's arse or shag it...
what's a guy to do?

Yup, the movie (quite rightly) spends very little time on MJ's most musically productive period, not even trying to restage the Thriller video (I'm sure John Landis would have turned up - via a helicopter obviously - to play himself) so as to spend more time on the important stuff like his slumping record sales, getting married to Lisa Marie Presley (the man-chinned Rae from a load of Sci-Fi channel stuff like Andromeda, dragged up like your dad dressed as Madonna) and Debbie Rowe (Telek, another Sci-Fi channel veteran, all frightening breasts and bleached blonde hair completely unlike the bulldog browed real Rowe) and those aforementioned pesky accusations of buggering wee boys.

Obviously there aren't any such sexual shennanigans on show but you can imagine them if you're so inclined.

She's all smiles now,
but just wait till the fucking starts.

Racing (well, hobbling) towards it's exciting climax we can all experience the pain of Michael's descent into freak-dom, culminating in his interview with Martin Bashir (not played by Dr. Bashir from Deep Space Nine but a guy from the new Stargate series) and his decision to face the music (as it were) and go to court to defend himself against the beasting charges.

And it's scenes like this that magically transform what could be a trite and cheap bio-pic designed to cash in on some poor sods troubles into a work of Pinter-esque genius and all thanks to such stunning dialogue as in the scene where his family are helping choose a good lawyer:

"Michael, Johnny Cochran is the best criminal defense atourney in the country"
"But I'm not a criminal!"
"That's just what they call it Michael"
"Well change it! It sounds ugly!"

"I'm shagging your weans!"

Yes indeedy readers, it's dialogue like this that raises The Man In The Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story above such lesser films like A Beautiful Mind and Walk The Line and although it's easy to slag off the producers for refusing to spend any cash on it (as I did earlier) you have to admire their gall.

Or blatant disrespect for the viewing public.

The casting is so random and out there that I'm surprised that they didn't bump into the Jupiter 2 at some point, Flex Alexanders portrayal of Jackson, decked out in a sailor suit and white face paint is either comedy gold or really offensive, I just can't decide whilst Frederic Tucker spends most of the film polishing an Uzi whilst shouting "This is mah house Michael!" at every given opportunity.

Of the other 'stars' Mamabolo as Janet Jackson and Cormack as Elizabeth Taylor appear to have been cast because they just happened to be passing by the studio on the day of shooting seeing as neither of them look or act anything like their real life counterparts, tho' to be fair, Krista Rae has Lisa Marie Presley's doe eyed look to a tee.

It's a pity then that it's staring out from such a big face.

Can I stop now?

Friday, July 10, 2009

eye hen.

In a change from drawing stuff for commissions and the like I thought I'd do a wee doodle of Christina Lindberg just for myself.