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Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô: Gozu

Can I get those 124 minutes back?
Had this one on the TV whilst on the exercise bike, the benefit of which is I'm a bit more reluctant to halt a bad movie and toss another one in.

Brief description, Minami, a gangster who rides the short bus into work enters a bizarre world when he takes his boss to another city to be killed. There's nothing remotely scary, little is humorous, but there's a lot of 'what the hell is supposed to be happening now'? One of those movies that's on the borderline of grabbing the remote and fast forwarding until something interesting appears to be happening on screen, but the problem there is there's no obvious point when something interesting is happening.

If you have a taste for oddball Japanese cinema you might enjoy this, but I couldn't wait for it to end.

Batman XXX: A Porn Parody

Wild and wonderfully weird
What can one say? It's a porn. People have sex. A lot of sex. But the producers of this film paid a lot of attention to churning out the best damn 1960's-type Batman porn ever. The actors look great, the costumes are fantastic, and the whole production has the feel of the original. Except for the genitalia -- Adam West never whipped his out. I couldn't stop giggling through the whole production. Sadly, the whole question of whether or not Robin is gay is left unanswered, but his bisexuality has yet to be explored. Perhaps in a sequel?

A worthy addition to any college frat DVD library or a lover of the truly bizarre. Give it a look.


Not bad, let's see where it goes
I wanted to give this a 7.5, but I'll round up to an 8 as I can't do fractions.

So far I like the Timothy Olyphant character, Deputy Raylan Givens. The story lines are interesting, but not outstanding, but with any new series, you need to give it some time to get on its feet. On the other hand, it's treading in well worn theme and will have to work hard to show that it's different than all the other cop shows out there.

I'm interested in seeing where the series goes over the next few months. With the characters and the locale, the show does have the potential to go somewhere.

The Slaughter

Almost works
Caught this at the "Another Hole in the Head" festival in San Francisco. The director and cast appeared after the show talked about the film. Jay Lee, the director, stated that he wanted to create a horror/comedy to separate his film from all the other cheap horror films being made. Well, he almost did it.

Unfortunately, much of the humor is poorly timed or is over the top, and for every moment that works there's two or three that fall flat as the director does everything short of standing on screen shouting, "Look! Isn't this funny?" In spite of this I think the film does have potential, and Jay Lee can use this film as lessons learned for his next project. The main weakness was in the writing, but I liked the concept and the camera-work was good. Next time Jay Lee needs to let his script go through another draft review before he shoots.

Tie jin gang da po zi yang guan

Probably better if you're stoned...
As a fan of bad movies (and MST3K, and a member of MFT3K), I must say I've seen my share of them. But geez! Even the worst I've seen at least had a soundtrack. As George Lazenby stiffly wanders around Hong Kong, doing who knows what, you can guarantee that you won't be distracted by any of that background music that fills todays cinema. Or any of that music that fills elevators. I don't think anyone in this film even hums.

Now, this isn't entirely true -- there *is* a sound track. if you listen closely, you will hear it chime in about a half-dozen times through the course of the film. Of course, the timing will be entirely inappropriate, and it doesn't last very long, but something that could be classified as "music" does occur. Your best bet, though, is to sit your toddler armed with a wooden spoon down in front of the TV with a collection of pots and pans while you watch. The rhythm and flow would be better than anything the film offers.

Keep an eye out for Sammo Hung as a minor villian in this film. Aren't we all glad he found Jackie Chan to work with?

The Thing

Like the scares and paranoia, but it peters out to the end
I first say this movie on a projection screen at a Take 1 arcade in the early 80's. Can't believe I saw it uncut, either. Perhaps the owners felt the sound from Battlezone and Pac Man would drown out the profanity from young ears.

At the time, I certainly found it frightening, but with time, and repeated viewings, I have to wonder about some of the director's choices. Could someone *please* explain to me why a civilian research station is heavily armed with firearms, not to mention flamethrowers? I mean, c'mon, I can understand maybe a shotgun, but flamethrowers? Were penguins that much of a threat to their survival?

Yes, the original "Thing" from 1951 may not have the gore and body count, but you can't beat the fact that they were lightly armed, even for military personnel, and had to use what was at hand to battle the creature. Here, whatever they need is thrown their way. It's hard to beat the orignal folks fighting off the creature with buckets of kerosene and flare guns in a confined space.

If Carpenter really wanted to impress me, he would have done away with the firepower and focused more on a group of lightly/unarmed scientists improvising their survival as in the earlier film.

Resident Evil

*spoiler* Bigger scares in House Party II
I recently read a first draft for this movie by George Romero, and I can't understand why they discarded what he put together. A much better script, with a genuine sense of drama and hopelessness. Probably why they didn't use it.

Now, I have never played the game (and that should not be a requirement. If it is, you need to hire another writer) so I cannot say if it's true to the game or not. But then I don't really care if it does or not. I'm interested in what sort of movie the studio produced. Is it scary? Can folks act? Does it make sense? Is the ending a standard movie cliche? Resident Evil fails on all these points.

I won't bother going into the errors with their bio-toxin lab. (If you can't figure out on your own that the lab would NOT run off the same air ducts as the rest of the facility, then you won't understand the rest of the movie's problems. Go watch Ghosts of Mars and brace yourself for the surprise ending you'll never ever see coming. Honest.) The scene continuity is terrible. Folks are surrounded by zombies with no way out, then next scene they're safely out of the way. What happened? How'd they get out? Guess Paul Anderson wrote himself into a corner. Frankly, he does that a lot. Getting in and out of the lab appears so darn easy you have to wonder why they didn't send in the janitor to reboot the system while he's mopping the floor.

The biggest hole is why the computer simply didn't TELL someone that the virus had escaped, why this is a Very Bad Thing. But since there's an antidote, it's not really that bad, is it? How about shutting down the facility entrances, notifying folks in charge, and then giving them a shout of the green stuff before you go killing everyone? Must be a software error. Darn that Windows 2000!

Aren't we all getting tired of spotting the survivors when the movie starts? Could we at least have someone else survive for a change? Would really be so difficult to not film the ending of `Guess what-it's not over yet! Bet you didn't see THAT coming!' Umm, yes, we did. About an hour ago. It's such a standard ending now you'd think they teach it to film students.

Not much to see here, and very little to get excited about. Standard pulp fare for the masses.

Invasion from Inner Earth

Not much of an invasion. Not much of a movie, either.
The box art for this movie says it all. On the cover are two people (who are not in the movie) in ski gear (which is never seen) looking up at a pink model of the Starship Enterprise (do I *really* need to comment on this?).

The movie is a slogging morass of nonacting that has no real plot, coherence, or semblance of intelligence. Not quite as action-packed as _Manos: The Hands of Fate_, the movie centers around a group of people in a remote cabin who don't know what to do when they get word of some sort of plague (FX supplied by Red Devil red smokeballs) striking the rest of the planet. oddly, the rest of the planet deals with this plague with an odd sort of indifference, punctuated by people running down a street with smoke pots going off around them.

Stuck in the cabin, the people wonder what to do, talk to a mysterious voice on the radio, and disappear one by one. At last, two remain, and stagger into the now-abandoned snow-covered town, and are replaced by two scantily-clad children walking through a spring field.

Now you know what the movie's about, there's no need to suffer through it.

The Wide World of Mystery: The Werewolf of Woodstock

The werewolf movie by which to compare all others
In order to be "above-average", you must first establish "average". To establish "average", you must have a range of films of variable quality to set the scale. This, folks, firmly cements the lower end of the scale, easily identifying other werewolf films as "above average". Well, better than this one, at least.

A man cleaning up a stage after woodstock is struck by lightning, with the consequence that, as per the ancient legends, he turns into a werewolf every night. Stalking the local populace, he terrorizes few, and after a car chase, is cornered at a refinery where he falls to his death. He may have been shot first - I don't remember for sure, and let's face it, by this point I wasn't paying much attention.

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