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The Fantastic Adventures of Cloudman

Sublimely Magical
"The Fantastic Adventures of Cloudman" seamlessly blends different styles of animation, hazy 8mm live action footage, and 8-bit video game tones to create an engrossing and one-of-a-kind trip. We start out in an animated world where a fighter pilot is about to meet his doom. An enemy blows up his aircraft and its remains are engulfed by an unsuspecting cloud. Our hero emerges from the cloud, reborn with a block-headed body and red longjohns, into a colorful world ruled by yellow-headed henchmen whose heads explode in firecracker bursts upon defeat.

Besides creating a genuinely interesting trip into childhood giddiness, director Phoebe Parsons has also achieved a perfectly dreamy tone. The innocence of her various animations provide a moody backdrop to what is essentially a cartoon kung fu story.

"Cloudman" is a sublimely magical and visually rich treat.


A Fun-Sized Futuristic Dirty Harry-Meets Suburban Commando-Meets Honey I Shrunk the Kids Anyone?
Only a director like Albert Pyun could handle material like this. The director of many B sci-fi/martial Arts projects (the "Nemesis" series, "Cyborg"), a teen video game adventure, and a post-apocalyptic musical, Mr. Pyun loves to combine genre tropes into stimulating, unique experiences. Pyun asked what many B-filmmakers did in the Tarrantino administration: why bother with new material when it has all been done so well before?

The 90s direct-to-video market thrived simultaneously with this era of genre hybrids; those movies that recycled old genre tropes, archetypes, and approaches into new material. In "Dollman" Pyun makes a tasty salad out of various conventions from "Dirty Harry", "Honey I shrunk the Kids", "Suburban Commando", "Time Cop", various gang films, and the action and sci-fi conventionality of its era.

Tim Thomerson plays recurring Pyun character Brick Bardo who, in this incarnation, is a futuristic bad-cop who is inter-dimensionally displaced via space ship into the Bronx with his his WMD-packing floating head nemesis Armbruiser. During their trip, the two are shrunken into action figure proportions. After Bardo's spaceship is abducted by a young boy, he must struggle against various domestic terrors (the family dog, a cockroach) while Armbruiser shops his WMD to a dangerous local gang headed by the dangerous Braxton Red (Jackie Earle Hayley in a hammy, vicious performance).

Fortunately "Dollman" delivers in every way you want it to. The shrunken person tropes are satisfying and realized; the action scenes are intense; and its science fiction backbone is always present. Pyun juggles these elements well and has fun with the formulas at play.

Although it suffers from Pyun's tendency toward awkward pacing, "Dollman" is one of his strongest and most controlled films.

Hallam Foe

Mackenzie Knows Better
David Mackenzie's follow-up to the brilliant Young Adam wants to be a feel-good underdog story of a lonely voyeur who is trying to confront some psycho-sexual issues with his dead mother. It wants to be gritty, realistic, and mysterious. At the same time, it wants to be funny and nonjudgmental of its disturbed lead as he establishes himself as an adult.

To meet this end, the film tries hard to be youthful. Its poster has hand-drawn letters looking like that of Juno. Its original soundtrack is comprised of fast-paced indie rock which tries to convince the audience that Hallam is OK; just a little misguided. But strangely the film is anything but youthful.

Like Young Adam this film's central mystery concerns a drowned woman- in this case Hallam's mother. Young Adam keeps its mystery quiet, contemplative, and paced well enough to hit you with the truths as they come. Hallam Foe does the opposite. It foregrounds its character's psychosis so clearly and so early that he never really does anything outside his expected parameters. The opening scene is Hallam in his treehouse watching his sister fooling around with her boyfriend. Hallam swiftly interrupts, asserting his presence in the household. Here we see everything that Hallam will do for the rest of the movie.

The mystery surrounding his mother's drowning is whether it was suicide or murder by his father's girlfriend. The audience can never really trust Hallam because, besides being creepy, we think his obsession has led him close to insanity. This hindered the mystery element for me because Hallam is too sporadic to be relatable. Right when he's found some clues that would support his claim he runs away from home, at first it appearing to be looking for the police. Then he gets extremely sidetracked by a girl who resembles his mother, which frustratingly leads the story away from the mystery element.

While Jamie Bell does bring out some very endearing traits in his lost character, he was limited by the obviousness of his psychological needs. This movie is in no way mysterious, yet it is not blunt either. It tries to be realistic in dealing with such issues, but it adds a very self-conscious spunk which registers itself as quite the opposite. It goes for a soundtrack-heavy, Trainspotting attitude to help the audience root for a protagonist who scales buildings, picks locks, and camps out for the sake of voyeurism. These urban peeping tom adventures Hallam engages in are way too difficult for an inward-drawn country boy to engage in and they are not sexy, giddy, or pleasant. They are more neutral than anything; not propelling the character or story. Mackenzie makes you understand Hallam, yet he fails to build common ground.

He expects you to enjoy Hallam's trials and tribulations without much ideological justification. The film hinges on its audience's perspective on voyeurism/the kind of person who engages in it. Obviously, most people would be disgusted by it. And Hallam Foe realizes that, but it does not let us see Hallam weigh the morality of his decisions. He goes from person to person, trying to fill his deep void. There is a particularly disturbing line from Hallam's love interest Kate where she drunkenly says "I love creepy boys," perhaps asking the audience to do the same. The line tries to foreshadow her understanding of him (her motivation remains vague throughout) and tries to further us from judging him. It's not hard to like Hallam, but it is very hard to participate in his adventure- if it is even an adventure at all. All the while, the film tries to use its flamboyant soundtrack to mask its indecisive mood.

Great performances are weighed down by a film with a weak third act, muddy development, and needlessly ambiguous direction from Mackenzie. Recently this film was re-named for a US release, and for what reason? Not only is it more unappealing, but the hard truth is that the Hallam character never earns the title 'mister.'

Secrets of Sex

Genius Psychedelia
A challenging collage of psychedelic scenarios which push the viewer closer and closer (even though it most often feels further and further) from its ultimate revelation of the secret of sex.

Highly thematic, "Bizarre" transcends its exploitation by fusing ideas of life, death, and afterlife with a pulpy and extremely weird stories and scenarios. As far as 70s Britsploitation goes, you can't get a more distinct trip than this (obviously it has to be viewed with an appreciation for the genre).

It is also a likely inspiration for "Tales From the Crypt" as its narrator (Valentine Dyall) is a talking British mummy; a hilariously-campy but extremely well-executed idea.

Radioactive Dreams

Weird, Lacking / Weirdly Lacking
Pyun's ambitious effort is well-made but extremely lacking in plot and character development. Essentially, it is a half-baked post-apocalyptic comedy about two Hardy Boys-esquire young guys (John Stockwell and Michael Dudikoff) who see the world for the first time. They run into various zombies, 80s bondage/biker chicks, a genuinely creepy butcher, and several other zany and morally ambiguous characters as they search for their father.

Like a lot of Pyun's films, it doesn't take any effort to level the ground for the audience. It has flashy ideas and camera maneuvers and some decent action, but it was hard to understand what was going on. Or maybe it was hard to understand that the movie WAS going on without any real plot lying underneath its surface. By the end I was giving up on it because there was no interesting conclusions or character accomplishments. If it were trippier and filled with more complex weirdness it could have been more watchable, but it still needed better characters and more fun.

There is a dance number at the end that is pretty amazing though . . .

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

So-So Sequel
I'm lenient on horror sequels, and when you compare "Hellbound" to every other "Hellraiser" film, it's moderately enjoyable.

The production design is good (the labyrinth looks great!) the creature and gore fx are top-notch, and the story tries its best to keep fresh (As much as I enjoyed the insight into Pinhead's past, I just wish it could have been elaborated on a little further.) The acting is bad, though, and the story isn't as tight a narrative as the first one. It also gets a little redundant considering the first film (the idea of Clare Higgins having to rejuvenate off of human bodies is oh-so-predictable).

Overall though, it's a pretty gritty descent into hell. It may not invoke Dante, but it's still a chilling sequel. My favorite scene is Kirsty's reunion with Uncle Frank -- I wish the whole movie had that kind of Dante-esquire feeling of Hell's bizarre tortures. Unfortunately, the series was all downhill from here.

Weekend War

Standard Procedure
I enjoy watching this movie for only two reasons: because of its unabashed 80s giddiness and Daniel Stern, who is really the anchor of this film about army reservists deployed to Honduras to protect the construction of a bridge.

Although its subject is very unique, the film never does anything unexpected. It's all fairly typical military yarn, but does have great performances and an intense conclusion. Unfortunately, it does little to develop the characters or hold any sense of gravity.

Filmmaking-wise it has a boyscout's by-the-books competency, but it does not transcend its TV movie expectations.

Tales from the Hood

"This ain't no funeral parlor. This ain't the terrordome. Welcome to HELL mothaf*#%@!" In not too many words I want to express my respect for one of the most underrated horror movies of the 90s. Like The Twilight Zone it is a segmented film (although all directed by Rusty Cundieff) that spans across a good variety of horror genres. The real horrorshow here, though, is the domestic/racial issues against the black community. Cleverly (and without being preachy or offensive to white people), Cundieff disguised his agenda with rich characters and a bone chilling conclusion.

The HIGHPOINT of this movie for me is the film's proverbial ringleader- a funeral parlor director. The man, brilliantly and hilariously underplayed by a bug-eyed Clarence Williams III, finds a stack of drugs he wants to sell to three young hoods. As you watch you begin to wonder what eerie agenda he really has in store. These scenes tie all the vignettes together.

Also, the final segment is a very profound statement on gang violence (although beware, this is the preachiest segment). I like to call it A Clockwork Black because it applies Anthony Burgress's idea of reversing violence onto the offender onto a gang leader called Krazy K. Those K's in his name aren't a mistake either! Cundieff underlines a necessary argument about between black-on-black violence by comparing K to a neo nazi.

Like any memorable work of horror, Tales remembers to keep its monsters metaphorical. Police brutality, domestic violence, racial profiling, and gang violence are the most hideous creatures found here. I complement Rusty Cundieff on a job well done there. Excessive campiness and at-times generic camera work keep this from being great, but nothing stops its relevance in the genre.

STAR RATING: *** out of 4.

Man in the Chair

well-crafted but cripplingly indecisive.
I saw this screened at the Dallas AFI International Film Fest. It was one of the big buzz movies at the fest and it was disappointing -- despite Christopher Plummber's awesome performance

This film suffers from an inappropriate dichotomy: a good-natured family feel married to an F-bomb familiar script. This makes the film come across as indecisive and, as it will probably prove later, unmarketable. Michael Schroeder, who is not necessarily a bad director, crafts a tale of young Cameron Kincade's aspiration to win a student film competition. Also established from the beginning is this crusty old character Flash (played brilliantly by Christopher Plummber) moseying his way through life, taunting old-time actors during classic film screenings. We later find out that Flash is upset because he has been left behind twofold: by Hollywood (he was a former gaffer) and by his family. Kincaid works out an agreement that if Flash helps him win the competition, he will buy him booze and cigars (tough supplies for a 17 year old to buy -- but I won't nitpick).

The shots are beautiful and the performances are tender, but the problem lies within the film's "man in the chair". Michael Schroeder can't decide what he wants to do with this film. The film's indecisiveness comes across in an obvious way: is it a family film? It seems that way because the protagonist is "mischievious"/morally ambiguous (like a mild John Connor) but his crimes are not taken seriously. He is never punished nor has to appear in court (?!). Likewise, a very warm-hearted series of relationships bud between Kincaid and his elderly friends (showing that this kid is goodhearted -- even though he's a bada**). So now you see how it delves into family genre.

Foul language throws a monkey wrench into this because now the script tries to be realistic and 'non-fluffy'. Big mistake: if your film is fluffy, IT'S FLUFFY-- you can't disguise it. If Schroeder thinks a non-Hollywood ending (which is actually becoming Hollywood if you think about it --think the end of "Little Miss Sunshine" if you've seen it) can save this movie from fluff, he's way off. An example of teen issues being dealt with realistically can be found in "L.I.E." or any Larry Clark film. The kids are mischievous and there are CONSEQUENCES from that. Those films aren't fluffy, they are authentic observations of life. "Man in the Chair" is not authentic -- it's Cinema Paradiso light. It treats BIG ISSUES like grand theft auto as petty mischief which is simply NOT realistic. It's more like a character you'd see in a movie like "Jack Frost" -- the Michael Keaton one.

Is it social commentary on nursing home abuse? No. More of a public service announcement. Because it deals with elderly neglect, this film takes on a (1990s-ish) sense of importance. But this is negated because the issue isn't graphically explored within the context of the story or its characters (with the exception of one elderly character's apartment being infested). In fact, the issue is insulted by having characters literally list statistics off Google. High school English essays and PSAs do that, not R-rated films. It's not about nursing home abuse SO DON'T ADD IT INTO THE SCRIPT AND CALL IT SOCIAL CRITICISM. That is called taking the easy way out.

is it an R-rated comedy for adults? No. It's a feel-good film that does not have a realistic tone, realistic situations, or realistic characters. That makes them too two dimensional for an adult movie. Let's face it, these characters belong in "Blank Check"!

There's too many elements being tampered with! What does this film want to be, You pick! The director didn't!

Also, an unfaithful cameo by "Orson Welles" (played by Jodi Ashworth who does a more faithful job sounding like Ben Stiller in "Dodgeball" than he does Welles) and an overall moral ambiguity weigh down this film's potential.

I'd give it a 3 out of ten for technical reasons and effort.

The Last Wave

Awesome directorial style, little thrills.
I just watched "The Last Wave" in my school's fine arts library. It's intriguing, like all Peter Weir's stuff, but it's not always as attention-holding as I would have liked. I found myself fascinated by the ideas being thrown at me (because they are very well handled by the film's director Weir)but at the same time I was not stimulated enough by them. AKA I got a little bored in spots.

The plot surrounds an Aussie lawyer who becomes obsessed with certain dreams he has which link him to an Aborigone group he is defending.

It starts out with an intense weather sequence and has some very awesome mood effects throughout (most notably the bizarre, "belching" sound design)and strong direction; but it just didn't entertain me like Weir's later films do. I might just need to watch it again though.

Good film about obsession and mystery. Because, in the end, the mystery that exists between the whites and the Aboriginies offers some very severe consequences.

God bless Peter Weir, though. For him alone this film is worth watching ... very organic director. Like an Aussie response Malick! I'd give it a 7 because it's got enough great ideas to overcome its boring moments.

The Flash: Pilot
Episode 0, Season 1

Batman Meets Dick Tracy (with a little bit of Demolition Man on the side)
Not bad. "The Flash" is a fun TV movie with production values which range far beyond any of my expectations (Central City, the Flash's beloved hometown, looks like a cross between Demolition Man and Dick Tracy).

John Wesley Shipp plays Barry Allen, a man who is struck by lightning and doused with chemicals to become a speedy superhero. He is charismatic and not-too-hammy as the hero . . . the perfect Flash. With his love life up in the air and eventually his family life, he and a STAR labs scientist begin to find a perfect outlet for it all: crimefighting.

It is goofy and at times the adequate direction slips (for example, there's an overly-goofy scene where he and his dog first discover his power in the park), its special effects, although stylish, leave more to be desired, and its general tone is given little emphasis.

But that doesn't ruin the film. The action is good and the production design is GREAT (note especially Pike's biker hideout looking like the Foot Clans' in the first Ninja Turtles movie and the nighttime police station and prison exteriors -- looking like Dick Tracy).

The climactic ending is awesome. It centers around a standoff between a biker gang and the Central City police, The Flash serving as intermediary. It is a classic superhero scene, and looks oddly enough a lot like the Arkham standoff in "Batman Begins".

Rent "The Flash" because it entertains and dazzles at times.

Destiny Turns on the Radio

A Highlight of the Magical Desert Genre, Class of 95-98
"Destiny Turns on the Radio" is an extremely fun trip into a weird mythological netherworld of Las Vegas. It is a film that implements a purposefully corny magical realism to tell a story of an escaped convict rediscovering his destiny.

And magical it is. This film is in a class of a few other 90's films (all of which never really found an audience outside the late-night-Cinemax crowd) that capture a magically bright, giddy, and surreal atmosphere -- this one in a gleeful Las Vegas setting. Its classmates include "Box of Moonlight" and "Mojave Moon".

Despite a few technical flaws (the sound's iffy and so is some blocking -- and I'd lose Tarrantino if this was my film), the movie just works in an odd sort of way. The cast seems to be having a great time (note especially Tracey Walter and James Legros' father-son's-best-friend bonding scenes), the locations and cinematography are dazzling, and it provides an intangible escape into a weird cinematic netherworld. It's as if some portal opened up to these filmmakers in this specific class of the mid-90s and enlightened them all with late-night-Cinemax charm. More, please!

Three Exits

very, very touching
Salena Chang provides a short film that proves a point can be made strongly, however subtle, in 11 minutes. The film follows an anxious-to-hasten-the-aging-process young girl, Theresa, on a road trip with her folks. It is evident that she has just begun her quest of adolescent self-discovery, as she, say, takes her time eating breakfast, or smokes a cigarette outside a restaurant to escape her parents' goofy public dancing.

Theresa is an incredibly likable lead ... this is not easy to achieve in an 11-minute time slot. You feel for her quest and you feel a strong want that she finds her way.

Another reason this movie is so great is that it can be labeled an Asian-American film, but the word Asian could realistically be taken from that label. What Chang presents with this film is a universal tale of adolescent awakening, and the Asian family presented breaks all stereotypes (for example: her parents aren't the root of Theresa's rebellion, like one would expect when thinking about typical Asian up-bringing). Theresa is in no way the Asian girl that mainstream American films often portray (the confident but vulnerable perfectionist, or the competitive, quiet genius).

Good piece all around! I especially liked the relaxed pacing.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Though Cool, Still Loses Cameron's Grit and Suspense
There's a scene in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines where the `good terminator,' played vitally low-key by Arnold Schwarzeneggar, carries the man he is protecting in a coffin through a cemetery as he is ambushed by the police. This scene is undoubtedly the most important in depicting the nature of the runty third installment in The Terminator saga: The future `Judgement Day' that has been manifested throughout these films is soon to come. That known, it is easy to understand this film's plot. The end is near and John Connor (Played by Nick Stahl, but previously Edward Furlong in 1991's T2: Judgement Day), the man who is to lead the revolt against the machines that will take over humanity, is found by a futuristic killing machine sent to protect him. What this terminator is up against is a new breed of Terminator: a femme fatale who matches brawn with beauty as she seductively kills her way to John Connor and his future spouse and co-leader Kate Brewster (Claire Danes). Her mission: to terminate John, his spouse, and their future military force team. This certainly is a summer for movie sequels, including X2: X-Men United, Matrix Reloaded, and Tomb Raider: Cradle Of Life. So far I have not been let down, nor am I growing tired of seeing sequels. T3, although disappointing, is exciting as it is true to the previous films. It gives lots of interesting explanation to the events that were discussed and feared. This film does suffer, however, from a general tameness. One problem with this movie is the character of John Connor. Although given a suitable performance by Stahl, the character does not seem like a matured version of the irritable thirteen year-old we last saw in T2. He seems to lose his delinquent edge as he leads an `off-the-grid' life to evade any terminators. Personally, I was looking forward to seeing maturity in his testy side as well. I think it is necessary for the character. Another reason this movie does not live up to its predecessors is that it does not have the dark and creepy vision. This is, obviously, because of the switch in direction. This film, directed by Jonathan Mostow (U-571), is much more surface with its scares. We do not see the trademark build-up of tension that the director of the first two, James Cameron, masterfully delivers in some now-classic scenes. An example of this is in the first film. John's mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton) hides from Arnold Schwarzeneggar's `bad Terminator' under a desk. It is a scene that lets us put ourselves under that desk and `feel' the terror of an unstoppable force coming looking for us. Rise of the Machines relies on immediate action for thrills, which truly is less exciting for the audience. Arnold does another great job as the robot with a slight hint of humor, and something struck me as I was watching T3: how close to home the story is for him. Arnold truly has something in common with his Terminator character in this one: they have both become obsolete in a way. Arnold is no longer on top of the action scene as films like The Matrix are outdoing his popularity. He needs to reclaim his status as a top action hero. The terminator he plays in T3 needs to prove he can still take on the modernization of new and advanced robots that pose a serious threat. Coincidence? This summer's newest sequel is exciting as we are taken into a world that is hours away from a foretold apocalypse, but is nonetheless tame in comparison to the vision of the originals.


Honest Effort but Lacks Involvement
If you ever have read a work by JG Ballard (Author of 'Crash', 'Empire of the Sun', and several science fiction novels from the 60's) you will notice something trademark and reoccuring: Ballard's characters. They are mostly shallow, empty, and unlikeable. That makes him a tough author to adapt to film. Here's why: as you can see in David Cronenberg's film, his direction attempts to take off into a twisted world of a cult's arousal from means violent and vehicular. Problem is, it's depicted without particular detail of character.

The characters all seem lost in their own worlds, which complements Ballard's style, but are not followed through by Cronenberg. They are unmistakably original and interesting twisted characters that need development to explain why they act the way they do. Take for example, James Spader plays the lead, and he is drawn into this mysterious world. I didn't come across any trace of an attempt by the usually brilliant filmaker David Cronenberg to immerse himself into this character and eventually explain this attraction into a cult that shares the interest. Spader is almost like a robot as he goes through this world.

I really don't think Cronenberg is to blame however. The fault is the material he chose to adapt. Yes, Ballard's fiction works are fascinating and haunting, but his methods of character development are in the world of his stories and really cannot be portrayed in film. His characters are inexplicably empty, to be portrayed they would look, as I said earlier, like robots functioning in a way unexplained; when really his characters have a signifigant amount of depth, while continuing a shallow existance at the same time. That is what makes Ballard brilliant, but the film "Crash" a misfire.

Another problem is that the film does not involve it's audience nor interest them in what is going on. Scenes of gratuitous sex, although not unnessicary, are actually the least exciting in the movie, which is not surprising when looking at this film. Ballard's brilliant devices are seen here as boring and intangible.

The effort is understandable, but Cronenberg really doesn't seem to know how to complement Ballard in a way that satisfies the balance of the film. To do so he would have needed to create his own version and not try to stick so close to the novel so he himself could be creative with it. Ballard's a difficult one to adapt and a filmaker would need to take on their own understanding of his characters and the way they are developed before establishing their project.


No Game will ever again Match the Style or Grace of Konami's CONTRA!
I was born in 1987. Contra was released by the Konami Company in 1988. It was meant to be. All through my youth, Contra served me as an entertainment source for countless hours. Humming along with the awesome soundtrack and whipping out my spreadgun, lazer-gun, ect, I magically wasted time in 8-Bit heaven with Konami's Contra. Now I have grown up. I'm almost 16 now. I currently own a Playstation 2 and have owned other systems since my NES, and I can more than safetly say that no game has matched the Run'N'Gun magic this game packed.

Konami, thank you for CONTRA. I will never forget being 5 and sitting next to the TV with my brothers taking turns playing together.


Downey Shines When Film Doesn't
Forget what you may have heard about 1992's "Chaplin" being a tabloid approach to the life of Charles Spencer Chaplin's. It does not focus on Chaplin's body of work as much as his turbulent personal and love life, which seems to turn most viewers off. Fortunately, its lead extracts nothing but magic from the material.

Robert Downey, Jr. gives an Acadamy Award-nominated performance with spot-on physical pantomime. He gracefully handles the difficult task of recreating Chaplin's physical art from his adolescence through his elderly exile in Switzerland. He plays him as a tortured bad boy and somehow makes the audience (like the film's director) turn a blind eye to the more scandalous aspects of Chaplin.

Downey skillfully navigates director Richard Attenborough's loving yet ambivalent handling of Chaplin's scandals. Attenborough was lucky enough to have also a brilliant score by John Barry and a brawny supporting cast, because the script is undeniably overwrought and unfocused. Downey Jr. makes a shallow handling of the Chaplin story into a highly-watchable experience. With a better script this could have been gold.

Ultimate Love Games

Mediocre, but Memorable
The late night scene on Cinemax is definatley at a high. LOVE GAMES, I suppose, could contribute to this high. The girls are hot and the plot is decent, which makes for a very mediocre adult film. But what makes this one stand out is the low-budget horror atmosphere that surrounds it. It makes for a medicore, yet a highly entertaining premise. Horror and porn? Do they mix? Mostly no. This, however, makes an exception.

This is how it starts out: we see two couples making love to eachother in their houses. We next find out that they are all friends. They go to dinner one night and "The Devil" aproaches them. He offers a game, a love game if you will, that is like a mechanical spin the bottle game of sex. This is how it works. A player places his or her hand on a small platform and it points to who they make love to. This all seems like fun and games...until it turns deadly.

Some would dismiss this as just a porno, but it really is a little more than that. When this film lights up your TV screen late on a friday night on Cinemax, you are in for a treat (in my opinion of course!). A treat consisting of an entertaining and hot blend of adult film and horror.

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

A Half Above Horrible
In 1993's Jason Goes To Hell, we find the unstoppable Jason Voorhees at it again, only this time he is ambushed in a violent attack by the police. Jason's spirit comes alive through a morgue worker when he is forced to eat Mr. Voorhees's heart.

The plot is stupid as any of the Friday the 13th sequels. The acting and writing is every bit as lacking. Yet what is presented in this sequel is a violent and extremely amusing anthology of a lot of good little bits from many of the Friday the 13th films. Watching these slasher films is almost a guilty pleasure.

Although tasteless and poorly made, these are some of the most entertaining films to come out of the 1980's. Entertaining, yes, but the fact that there are 10 of these films can speak for itself. Final Friday has enough gore and violence to keep you interested, but that does not make up for how sleazy the film actually is. This is not at all a good film, don't take my mild complements the wrong way. Just considering how truly bad some of the Friday the 13th films are, this one is a step above (a ½ star above!). Sean S. Cunningham (director of the original) executive produced.

White Water Summer

More Than Just A Perfect 80s film for pre-teens and Bacon fans!
Shot in 1985, White Water Summer has some of the most beautiful nature scenery shot in that era. Thanks to the brilliant camera work by Stanley Kubrick cinematographer John Alcott.

Kevin Bacon plays Vick, a man who takes four teens into the rugged Sierras for a whitewater adventure to make men out of them. After the boys get on his nerves, he lets his job go to his head. It is, at times, a poignant young-men-against-nature film. And at other times it seems to appeal to only one crowd: boys in their early teens.

After relizing that his film was under 80 min., director Jeff Bleckner called the whole cast and crew back to shoot more scenes.

Really captures the late-80s with its rock soundtrack (including music from Bruce Hornsby and The Range, The Cult, and The Cutting Crew) and never stops the thrills. Although it never seems to be going in any one direction, White Water Summer keeps your attention.

Kevin Bacon delivers such a good performance, as an at-first likeable councellor turned strict and harsh.

When one of the boys rebel against Vick and cause him to become seriously injured, they need to act as a team and come up with a plan. You mostly follow Alan (Astin) a smart young man who doesn't fit in with the others. He learns friendship, fear, adventure, and survival tecniques. Although in some spots it may seem like a silly teen adventure film, it is more about rites of passage and growing up.

Depeche Mode: The Videos 86>98

Radiant Anthology by the World's Greatest Band
In 1998, Depeche Mode released a best hits album titled The Singles 1985-98. To complement these brilliant songs, they released a DVD with all of the videos and two short documentaries.

Out of all the directors, Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn shined. Especially in his "Policy Of Truth" video. In my opinion, POT is, if not, the best music video not only from DM...but of all time. I happened to catch it before school one morning once, and it hasn't left me.

Since that morning, I came across their outstanding Violator album and this DVD. In watching this DVD however, I discovered many other ground-breaking videos...many of which from collaborator Corbijn.

I highly recommennd this to any DM or music video fan out there. Although not all videos are great, "Policy Of Truth" shines brilliantly. Corbijn's rear-view-window shots are most affective and complement Mode's underlying driving theme. Very good overall.

Andromina: The Pleasure Planet

The Citizen Kane of late night adult film!
Andromina: The Pleasure Planet is a supriginly somewhat likeable late-night Cinemax film. The thing that caught my eye is how almost pop-culture it is. It is a fun, almost 1960s-style (note the cake throwing sex scene) skin flick with bodacious babes, so-unfunny-its-funny dialogue, and an entertaining storyline. The funniest thing about this is the social commentary on our male-dominated planet. What makes this so funny is how they show women in control...and having sex. Irony? Or just dumb soft-core porn?

Plot: three men search for girls for their party club on a women-ruled planet. What they don't relise is that the women despise men...but are more than willing to shag.

As far as adult film goes, this is the best one I have ever seen. Look out for rent or to watch on Cinemax...although don't get me wrong here, it still is just porn.

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