barnthebarn

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    2010 Oscars
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Reviews

Me Me Me
(2011)

He turned around and smiled at me, You get the picture?
Second film from music producer Jonathan King and political figure/filmmaker Paul Wiffen, another musical, wider appeal than their first.

Story focuses on newbie at Britain's biggest tabloid, The Moon. Geddit?

Jane Fellowes, played with gusto by Scarlett Emmanuelle, a sweet, naive student, is tasked by editor, Marshall Artes to 'smash' open a huge story about a rising street artist, BabyDraw, who paints large babies in a Banksy type manner on to open spaces. BabyDraw's pictures are daft but this is the very core of the film. Why and how are media sensations created and what for, or more importantly, who for?

Attractive Scarlett Emmanuelle is here made up more like a WAG than a journalist, presumably intended to be a slight on the tabloid fixation with 'fake' women. Daniel Jefferson's Artes is a timely conflict between authoritarian leader and a man without any real idea of what he is doing.

Jane finds 'BabyDraw', an art student, Johnny Bambino, played by Henry Stansall, who regardless of what has been said lacks the charisma of Robert Pattinson and does not resemble him or Daniel Radcliffe at all.

Despite that though Stansall is a fresh faced young man, out of his depth here with what could have been a slightly meatier role but more apt at his main career, the band 'Red Lights One' with his real life brother Rupert Stansall – here playing brother Jay Fratello.

Rupert also lacks real star quality as an actor but as a performing sibling duo the pair are a decent band and on the looks side have obvious appeal for, probably, largely teenage girls and gay men.

As Jane breaks the story Bambino becomes a huge media sensation with the BBB reaking (modelled on BBC but is 'reeking' intended as comment?) news seemingly reporting only on BabyDraw. The Moon feels some ownership leading Bambino to record producer Ben Volio, a star performance from Jonathan Benda.

Fantastically disinterested in his protégée, Volio muses on the benefits of fame with void eyes and a steady drone of a voice, a flawless performance. His secretary, played by Jane Tulett is also perfectly cast. These two inspired performances culminate in a wonderful singing and dancing sequence like something from a modern 'The Wizard of Oz' (which Tulett previously starred in on stage). With his awkward Tin Man dancing alongside a sexed up and frankly quite pretty Dorothy the scene is one of the film's best and most surreal moments.

Alongside Bambino's thrust in to fame is the romance between Jane and Bambino, a fairly unconvincing love story though tabloid friendly.

This is second though to the social commentary on the way the media leads our lives and how we are, even if we deny it, largely led by it. In the middle of all this Fratello is also falling in love with Jane's friend, Tabby (Olu Ubadike). Tabby is not a central character but manages to grab a short solo moment in a totally bizarre and not sure if it really works moment, idolising one of her own icons. Though rather out of place the scene in itself is amusing and Ubadike does a ridiculous song well.

The other two slightly random moments that keep cropping up are two other vocal groups. Aside from 'Red Lights One' who get to perform several tracks with Bambino singing and Fratello on instruments, the film also features a Goth band, 'Gogmagog' (played by real band 'Falling Red') who though perfectly good enough seem to have no real purpose in their couple of scenes and are quite disjointed from the general story.

The third band is 'The Sirens' a.k.a. 'The Angelettes' (three women, a kind of modern The Shangri-Las). The actresses Perry Kate Lambert (who also does the snippets of narration in the film); Suevia Perez-Castro and Ria Lopez star as Crystal Siren, Loud Siren and Baby Siren respectively and provide the film with a few 'fantasy' moments and it's most memorable song 'Don't Let Him Touch You'.

All three Sirens perform well but it is Ria Lopez, as weirdly the least used of the three, who has a screen presence combining a graceful aura with a subtle sexuality that allow her to become one of the best performances here. Her vocals are also spot on.

After a string of number one hits and with the media pimping his every move, Bambino decides to have one last attempt at creating the ultimate BabyDraw baby, his most controversial painting yet.

Thus the film takes perhaps a slightly surprising turn with a sudden short series of events that are unforeseen until now. After so many songs and so little drama it is no surprise however that the films' big finale is carried out at the speed of an express train with the viewer barely able to recollect what has happened previously before it is all over.

Director Paul Wiffen does a commendable job of linking the song performances with spoken script, rarely, indeed barely, does the film feel disjointed - even the rather irrelevant moments are never particularly laborious. Writer and Producer Jonathan King, who also features briefly in a rather cool religious parody scene, does a grand job of creating a daft but purposeful story with real vigour and some - though not all - brilliant songs. Meanwhile the comical miming of the songs works well as the comment that it is on the superficiality of it all but there is a slight yearning for a 'live' performed version, perhaps in the vein of 'Jerry Springer: The Opera'.

Overall, a highly inventive film with a wonderful array and diversity of creative people. None bad. Most good. Some exceptional. Put aside your prejudices - helped by the fact that this is free to view online - and watch this rainbow of a film.

So, there is my movie poster quote, 'Me Me Me', "A rainbow of a film".

Micmacs à tire-larigot
(2009)

Visually grand, mentally transfixing
When you think of revenge movies you generally picture a guy with a gun taking a swift and direct action against everyone who has ever wronged him. Guns are a theme here but not because our lead character, Bazil, uses one to fight injustice but because two prominent French arms dealers are responsible for his predicament. Bazil's father was killed by a landmine and Bazil himself is unwittingly shot by a stray bullet during a drive by shooting. Though he survives, the bullet remains in his brain causing him regular discomfort and meaning that he might die at any moment. This adds an underlying tension to the fairly subtle story as Bazil, out of work with nowhere to live, finds comfort with a group of fascinating sideshow style vagabonds who eventually become his allies in his battle against the greed, murder and manipulation of powerful arms dealers.

Aside from a truly riveting series of sly, witty and purposeful acts by this band of revengers, the film is also striking in its beauty with every scene presenting an intense array of colours fusing with incredibly intricate and detailed backdrops. These prevail particularly with the 'sideshow' who recycle scrap in to wonderful creations fresh from a fifties cartoon short. At one point Bazil sees a segment of an old cartoon where a character shoots another in the head. This depicts the correlation between the real world here and an animated fantasy-land with the epic and extremely clever revenge plan played out in much the same way that Sylvester chases Tweetie Pie or Wyle E.Coyote stalks Road Runner.

The films only fault is that sometimes is all almost too imaginative, barely allowing the mind to recollect what has happened before twenty or so other things occur, each steeped in a tranquil haze teasing the viewer's eyes like a mirrored tunnel encompassing a silent disco. Wonderfully indulgent movie, a treat for the eyes, ears, nose and mind.

Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust
(2008)

Sweet Tooth...
Regularly amusing and well made horror spoof with Charles Band and some Full Moon Productions buddies in ultimate 'taking the mickey' out of themselves mode. Stand-up comedian K-Von is suitably selfish as a kind of Charles Band head -of-studio who has inherited his father's love of low budget horror films and his studio (cue Albert Band's influence for his son). The Gingerdead Man accidentally finds his way to the studio and causes havoc as would be expected. It is difficult to say much about the film without giving the main jokes away, but for those familiar with Full Moon's output and Band's reputation then this is a hoot. Brother Richard Band provides a good score and some of the most talented Full Moon bunch are involved (think writer William Butler). I suspect that director Sylvia St. Croux is really Band himself and further testament to the sense that he knows how bad he can be (e.g. not paying staff). Ricardio Gill is great in a brief Phil Fondacaro spoof scene (clue: Phil swears about Band a lot). Older British actor Jacob Witkin is almost as good as the similar and great Pupper Master Guy Rolfe (Witkin was actually in 'Puppet Master Legacy'). Kelsey Sanders is an attractive female lead, one-to-watch.

Subspecies: The Awakening
(1998)

Blood Cyclone
The lovely Michelle (Denise Duff) has escaped from master vampire Radu and is taken to a hospital by a Ana, a woman who discovers a poorly Michelle. A doctor claims he can cure Michelle of her Vampire tendencies and is face with the danger of Radu - fresh to Bucharest to find his true love. Meanwhile Ash and his helper Serena join forces with Ana and the doctor to destroy Radu.

This fifth film (originally a planned Trilogy) follows 'Vampire Journals' which was an off-kilter fourth instalment. Though Ted Nicolaou continues to write and direct it feels here like 'Vampire Journals' might have sent him off course with the sense of originality and gripping drama replaced by a slightly tedious and by now becoming tired battle between Radu and Ash. Ash, here played by British actor Jonathan Morris has never been better and with such fine leads it is a true shame that the film, here, lets them down.

Vampire Journals
(1997)

Like Angel to Buffy...
Odd fourth entry in the Subspecies series of films. This time there is little mention of Radu, instead focusing on a new character Zachery. Zachery wants to seek revenge on the vampire that killed his beloved Rebecca. Thus he befriends a concert musician, Sofia and uses her to find Ash, performing as much graphic vampire violence as he can on his crusade. In itself this is a superbly well acted and filmed addition to the series, though the lack of Radu is noted and at times problematic for the tension. A grand fable though and David Gunn and Kirsten Cerre, as Zachery and Sofia make a grand 'couple'. Incidentally Cerre attended acting school with Gunn and admits that everyone found him very scary as he is so serious and intense - though actually he is a lovely guy apparently. Jonathan Morris plays Ash again to maximum effect and one can only wish that all three leads were in either every film made or at least hundreds more vampire legacies. Grand.

Curse of the Puppet Master
(1998)

Cursed...
A little random entry in the Puppet Master series with a 'gentle giant' gas station attendant Robert 'Tank' being offered a job for Dr. Magrew mirroring the work of Andre Toulon. George Peck who plays Magrew is fairly similar to the original Puppet Master (William Hickey). Anyway, Magrew daughter, pretty Jane (Emily Harrison) falls in love with Tank while Magrew wants to use him not only in recreating the dolls of Toulon but also more literally in his quest to create a range of 'perfect human puppets'. Of course Jane wouldn't want Tank to be used in this way and perhaps neither do our lovable puppet friends...

Well made film, directed by David DeCoteau. Fairly tame (except for a few scenes of Tunneller) but fun and a pleasant aside from the main series tale of Toulon's plight and his puppets adventures. Entertaining.

Bloodlust: Subspecies III
(1994)

Blood Must
Conclusion to the planned trilogy directed by Ted Nicolaou this third film ends rather openly suggesting that Full Moon Productions were already sizing up future instalments. This time Radu kidnaps Michelle and takes her to the castle that he shares with his mother, a Sorceress. He teaches her to master her vampire powers, willing to sacrifice everything to empower his true love when Michelle's sister Rebecca attacks his stronghold.

The trilogy is weakening here with little original storyline and little excitement. However the series still - at this point - remains highly unique and still fantastically riveting. Once again the acting is of a high standard, the Romanian locations breathtaking and the script, score and direction, even in this 'weaker hour' surpass many larger budget films. Stable stuff.

Bloodstone: Subspecies II
(1993)

Blood loan
Straight-forward sequel to Subspecies, this time Michelle - now a fully fledged vampire - attempts to escape the evil Radu who wants her as his very own love mate. Thus she steals the ancient bloodstone and forces Radu to pursue her for both reasons. Meanwhile her obsessive sister Rebecca (Melanie Shatner, William Shatener's daughter) travels to Rome enlisting the help of a local Police lieutenant.

Denice Duff in her debut as Michelle is exceptional, a grand actress and attractive too. The casting generally is very effective and Anders Hove as Radu - though perhaps less sinister than in the first film - is fitting more comfortably in to the character. Another fine effort from Ted Nicolaou and as riveting as fans might expect. Fine.

All the Small Things
(2009)

All the SMALL things
Utter tripe TV series from UK BBC service. The acting is okay though the characters are dull, cumbersome and entirely irritating (like the sweetcorn in your teeth that you can't get out). The main characters' son is obsessed with the lead singer of American band Blink 182 (hence the title 'All the Small Things'). This means that we have endless renditions of this song - even at a choral contest where the lad singing this to rock guitars wins the contest (as a choir?!) against serious vocal harmony choirs (okay, yes some of the cast are humming vocals in the background but that does not a choir make). There is a bunch of malicious Christians (terribly scapegoat here, Christians that is), a vulnerable, mentally challenged man (who is also the show's only real ethic minority character (seriously!?!), siblings who act like more like school peers that fancy each other and don't know where to go next, motherly mentality (yet unfit mothers they are), rubbish script...and of course Tom - the lead singer of Blink 182. He is not in it but I'm sure he must have paid the BBC a great amount of money to make the show. I don't mind Blink 182, Tom has a good voice. However a prime time show (watched mainly - I imagine - by people who read 'The Daily Mail' or 'The Sun' - UK's best selling tabloid newspapers) with endless Wikipedia style snippets about Tom's life is at least bizarre and at worst (especially for a publicly funded, non-advertising broadcaster) completely ridiculous. All this show is good for is as a pointless, dumb and ill founded criticism of Christianity and an advertisement for the recent "let's hang out together again and maybe release an album" standing of Blink 182. Poor.

Subspecies
(1991)

Silent species
Frightfully original and bewilderingly entertaining tale of Radu, an evil vampire played by Greenland (in the Kingdom of Denmark) actor Anders Hove. Radu desperately craves the ancient relic of the Bloodstone, a stone that actually drips the blood of saints. Three visiting American women get caught up in an ancient vampire feud. Radu has slain his father (Scrimm) thus resulting in the wrath of his good vampire brother Stefan ('General Hospital's' Michael Watson).

Truly original story and sharp direction by Full Moon regular Ted Nicolaou (who admits that when Charles Band asked him to direct, in Romania, he thought it was some kind of scam). Speaking of Romania, the post Communist country still in a state of post war fear - hotels riddled with bullets and protest marches through the streets over loss of jobs and the terrifying economy - is a superb setting with grand ruins, beautiful woodland and excited locals in supporting roles. This was one of the first films made in Romania after the fall of Communism and the cast and crew overcame huge odds to produce an original, scary, bloodthirsty and fun film. Laura Tate as Michele is good as are the other leads but Denise Duff (in the sequels) makes Michele more appealing and gives her real heart. Horror actor Angus Scrimm merely rehashes previous roles he has played but is still fun to watch. Eerie music score and cruel Minions (small red creatures that help Radu - originally played by real local people but they were so passionate in the roles that it didn't work and David Allen's fantastical animation had to be used instead) make this an all round entertaining film.

Retro Puppet Master
(1999)

Puppet Laster
David DeCoteau directed 'Curse of the Puppet Master' (the sixth Puppet Master movie) as Victoria Sloan and here directs the seventh as Joseph Tennent. Not sure why a director of some of the most ridiculous movies ever made would replace their name on their more credible work but there we go. This seventh instalment is well made and excellently acted with the last actual performance of Guy Rolfe, not just as Andre Toulon, but ever. Rolfe is without doubt one of the world's greatest actors and as Andre Toulon the most fantastical performer of Full Moon Productions' entire catalogue. This film travels back to early 20th century Paris to find the origins of the Puppets, there are a few extra puppets here that - as yet unexplained - do not appear in other films. Our favourites here, such as Pinhead; Torch and Tunneler are more traditional wooden puppets, not yet fully developed and very low on personality and colour - their oak finish makes them seem far more sinister though. For the first time Richard Band's amazing Puppet theme does not appear and is ultimately the only major error of judgement in a fun and fantastically produced addition to the series. Watch the dead homeless man on the steps though (who first gives his 'life' to the puppets) - though dead and looking almost like a puppet himself he can't help blinking in full camera shot. The film is old fashioned and almost Sunday afternoon family fun (like an old detective drama or something). Surprising.

Arcade
(1993)

Game chance
Original (excludng Disney's actually inferior hit 'Tron') Full Moon picture whereby a group of slightly irritating youngsters get wrapped in a game called 'Arcade' down at the local bargain basement, ummm, arcade. The cast is a staggering one considering the low budget (though at the time they were largely unknown). Lead Megan Ward (also in Full Moon's 'Crash and Burn'; 'Trancers 2/3') is a fantastic actress and the now successful director/producer/writer/actor Peter Billingsley, A.J. Langer and Seth Green are among the other teens. To give the film some Sci-Fi credibility we have Star Trek's John de Lancie. The effects, though good considering budget and scope are too adventurous for their own success and frequently characters sucked in to the game look like they are not in the game at all merely wearing tight all-in-one swimsuits and pretending to touch or hold game components (which in reality they are). Megan Ward is an unlikely heroine which adds to the credibility (not all hero/heroine types are built for the role) and the cast have striking chemistry. Put any understanding of big budget CGI and your own knowledge of computer graphics aside to really appreciate this film and you may be pleasantly surprised. Writer David S. Goyer who wrote a few Full Moon films including 'Demonic Toys' has achieved great mainstream Hollywood success since and this is probably significant on his path there (as it was for stars Ward, Green and Langer). Director Albert Pyun is generally pretty poor and this is - without doubt - his best work. Good, (and except for some pointless bad language) clean, fun.

Shadowzone
(1990)

SleepowZone
Sleep inducing movie ironically about dream therapy and experiments. One of the few Full Moon releases to feature a selection of real animals including a cute monkey. Louise Fletcher is an older doctor, ex Baywatch star Shawn Weatherly (she was eaten by a Shark in Baywatch as her breasts weren't big enough or something!) is a young doctor and various men including David Beecroft (as Nasa captain) and James Hong is a male doctor. That is it really, they hang out in a science laboratory where attractive blonde Maureen Flaherty lies completely naked in a sealed dome. Beecroft is sent to investigate the 'Shadowzone' project as someone has been killed. Director J.S. Cardone in one of his two Full Moon outings (the other 'Crash and Burn') has always preferred TV movie style sex and nudity to actual proper storytelling and though this is potentially a strong science fiction tale he manages to make it as bland as perhaps only he could. Watchable thanks largely to the fine cast, but truly average.

Bad Channels
(1992)

Mad Channels
Utterly bonkers movie regarding a 'shock jock' at the local radio station finding himself in danger (like the girl who cried fire to get attention then burnt to death) because aliens invade the radio studios and start collecting women (including busty waitress Cookie played by once-upon-a-time Full Moon favourite Charlie Spradling) in conical vases. Ted Nicolaou, a veteran of Full Moon films including some of their best really screws this up with lazy-haphazard and purposeless direction while the script by Charles Band and Jackson Barr (probably not a real person) is certainly among the formers' worst efforts. Tim Thomerson's Dollman character is credited and I was confused how I had missed his cameo but stay tuned until the credits finish for a relatively amusing brief Dollman extra scene. The aliens are ridiculous, one a scale covered monster, another a small tin robot that looks like it was a reject from the acclaimed Smash Potato Mix adverts. Truly rubbish film but intriguing and amusingly painful in equal measures.

Doll Graveyard
(2005)

Doll Saveyard
Tame but amusing further foray in to killer puppets for Charles Band and Full Moon. Short on action and on death scenes (though those included are fairly gory) this is watchable mainly because of the cast of hammy young actors and the barely over an hour length. Story begins with 12-year old Sophia (a bewitching Hannah Marks) playing with her only friends, some ugly dolls. Her father shouts at her about everything and anything (more extreme abuse is suggested but never shown) and demands she dig a shallow grave for her puppet friends as he is fed up with them cluttering up her life. She digs the hole and then as he helps her out she falls and breaks her neck. Thus Sophia and her friends are buried 'alive' together.

Fast forward a few decades and another lonely child, this time a boy called Guy (Jared Kusnitz) moves in with his single dad and brat induced older sister. Dad pops out for a date and sister is forced to stay home and watch Guy. However she invites her two friends around (one a blonde slut, the other a very sensible, studious girl). Two dumb lads invade the house to play sex with the girls. They bully Guy and make their moves on the girls. Nice friend Terri is not impressed and joins Guy upstairs admitting that her heart melts when he strolls by. They both have a passion for puppet models and meanwhile Guy has dug up some dolls from the shallow grave out back. The dolls talk to him and take revenge on his tormentors. Can Guy break free from his new friends to save the girl who loves him? Shot on digital video the movie looks good, dolls are superb and well animated. Music is heavily criticised in other reviews but it never intrudes on the story and therefore merely acts as a backdrop to what is going on rather than - as with certain Puppet Master films - being vital to create tension. The closing song sounds very much like Charles Band's musician son Alex (from band 'The Calling') though apparently it is not him...but then writer August White is not Charles Band either ;-0

Trancers 5: Sudden Deth
(1994)

Wooden Deth
David Nutter directs this TV style fifth movie directly after his own fourth instalment. Seems Charles Band and Full Moon handed over the responsibility to a load of people unfamiliar with the series and told them to make a movie (well, two actually). Cast try their best, script is lifeless and the wooden, dull and additive Deth is here simply too drained to really work. Like the fourth movie this is a strange hybrid of Robin Hood (seems to be set in Sherwood Forest at times), Shakespeare plays and The Three Musketeers (though of course this is The One Musketeer!). This (and Trancers 4) were filmed at Charles Band's family castle in Romania and though an exceptionally striking place and one used to fabulous results in other films, here is is merely an option for cheapness. Unbelievably Trancers 6 (made several years later and virtually unrelated - something about a daughter) is even more obscure than the fourth and fifth instalments combined - and, Yes, they probably should be.

Trancers 4: Jack of Swords
(1994)

Jack of boreds
Weird diversion for super Trancer hunter Jack Deth in this fourth movie. Director David Nutter is better known for his catalogue of TV drama episodes (such as 'Roswell') and thus effectively produces an attractive, slow and very television suited instalment for this series of films. Of course there is the usual Deth comical and ironic lines but these are not as strong as they previously were. The film has swearing and a little soft action (perhaps to justify its' direct to video origin). Cast do their best and a couple of now regular TV stars (like Lochlyn Munro) appear. Deth has no wives to deal with this time which should have led to a more action focused addition but somehow he spends most of the film having rather dull conversations with his co-stars. Filmed back to back with Trancers 5.

Trancers III
(1992)

Jack is back...
Lacklustre third Trancer film from Full Moon. C. Courtney Joyner's direction really needs tightening up and the script here lacks the wit of the earlier films. Megan Ward and Helen Hunt both return as Deth's former wives and this time Megan Ward (who was due to be killed in upon returning home) has become one of the top characters there and is now part of the team ordering Deth around. There is a large mutant, Shark, a crystal powered cyborg actually who befriends Deth and helps him enter the heart of Trancerdom and rid the world of the evil blighter's. However this new addition simply rubbishes the story rather than enhancing it. Shame.

Trancers II
(1991)

"This ham is stuffed like a turkey"
Frequently exceptional script for Trancers 2 so kudos to Jackson Barr. This sequel to Trancers is indeed 'ham'my but far from a turkey and (excuse the minute spoiler) never a bomb! The cast here is excellent with most of the original team repeating their roles and with Jack Deth's future wife played by Megan Ward an exceptional addition as is Richard Lynch as a troublesome environmentalist. Several cameos from Charles Band's father (Albert), mother (Jackie), mother-in-law (then wife Debra Dion's mother) and Helen Hunt's brother and Richard Lynch's son (Christopher) and Tim Thomerson's father and brother.

Re-Animator team Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton also have small roles.

Possibly better than the enjoyable first film this is a great sequel to - what at this point - looked like a fantastic film series.

Killjoy 2: Deliverance from Evil
(2002)

Killjoy, yeah, Killjoy 2
There is a fantastic song in Killjoy 2 that goes on about how clowns are usually really nice and fun but Killjoy is a killer. I don't recall the song in the first movie but when singer Olimpia Fernandez sings 'Killjoy, yeah Killjoy 2' is sounds like the 2 may have been added in for this dire sequel. The film is much worse than the first movie and that was really bad. This time the cast, including the usually excellent Debbie Rochon have given up trying and director Tammi Sutton creates no tension and presents merely a dull and steady film. Full Moon pictures produced this during their 'Urban' phase, none of which was very good but none so bad as here.

Bleed
(2002)

Bleed? Ummm, yes please...
Odd slasher movie from Producer Charles Band. In the days of Full Moon's greatest success Band said that he would never make "real killer films" because he felt that little puppets and big monsters added a fantasy element that made the films better - people killing each other is thus real and less fun. A nice philosophy and a true shame that Band, having destroyed the Full Moon studio through possible shoddy business dealings became so desperate for home cinema profits that he started making exactly what the likes of Blockbuster wanted and therefore sacrificed creativity and originality. The team behind this one also worked on 'Delta Delta Die!' and 'Birth Rite' - both equally bland by Full Moon standards. Debbie Rochon is on usual top form here as a newbie to a gang of dudes and dudettes who decide to make up a story about a 'murder club'. She - as one would obviously - does all she can to join and then panic sets in because it was not a true story and silly Ms Rochon believed it and now everybody will have to run around getting covered in blood and maybe killing each other or maybe not. The choice is there's and with regard to this movie its yours...not recommended but not entirely bad either.

Kraa! The Sea Monster
(1998)

Kraa for Help...
Quite exceptional homage to the old Japanese Godzilla and Killer Beast style movies this family film from Full Moon contains unique humour and some great sets. Screenwriter Benjamin Carr (now a top Hollywood producer) provides a competent story and the cast do wonders with a tight budget and a frequently ludicrous stream of events. The movie seriously is good fun and is also notable for helping launch the career of acclaimed actress Alison Lohman. This was part of a short season of 'Monster' movies made by Charles Band and was originally intended to begin a successful sub-label of Full Moon though with the latter's financial trouble and sometimes dubious work ethics the 'Monster' label never really took off.

Beach Babes 2: Cave Girl Island
(1995)

To Beach or not to Beach...
Odd venture from David DeCoteau under the Full Moon (and then Torchlight banner). DeCoteau pretty much avoids the homo-erotic moments from virtually all his other films, the men are camp but generally very keen on ladies and every couple of minutes we are privy to another 'epic' scene of camera-centric sexual adventure. There is a plot about the 3 alien women coming to a random USA beach and a mad man on the island who wants to have them in his own money making theme park kind of attraction but generally the story is poor and the sex though nicely filmed and set to a funky score soon becomes tedious. Former porn star Sara Bellomo is the prettiest of the girls and actually a convincing performer in the non-sexual scenes. This was one of the first remotely erotic films I ever saw (on holiday no less) and because of this it holds a special place in my, ummm, heart. However if there is no 'emotional' tie it sadly, really is not very good.

Lolita 2000
(1998)

Lolita (Hot) 2000 (Minutes of your life gone or at least feels like it)
Cybil Richards directs another Full Moon/Surrender Cinema masterpiece of erotica. This time Jacqualine Lovell (dressed in rather fetching silver outfit) is tasked with destroying all evidence of sexual activity. However she can't resist watching the tapes and she kinda likes them. The sex scenes are well filmed and set to a superb soundtrack (at least for this sort of film). The cast are largely awful and mainly very average looking too. Jacqueline Lovell is her exceptionally attractive self and between viewing the sex files she manages to expose her chest and fumble a little down below. She also fits in a little lesbian activity. To be honest Lovell deserves so much better than this kind of fare. Here she looks great naked but actually is much more appealing in her silver attire narrating the 'drama'. Utterly rubbish movie with Lovell and soundtrack the only real redeeming features. Mediocre even for Surrender's output and clearly a new budget low for them also.

Puppet Master II
(1990)

Unholy blood...
Some paranormal research students decide to force their way in to Bodega Bay Inn to see what secrets it contains and of course fall foul of the terrifying little puppets who want to bring back Toulon from the grave. Andre Toulon features as a young man performing puppet shows in Cairo, Egypt and as a bandaged older one when resurrected from the dead. This film features some explanation of Toulon's initial ownership of the animation life secret and is a fitting sequel to the original film. Producer Charles Band's children Alex (now a rock star) and Taryn (now a fashion designer) feature in silent roles as children at a puppet show, though they seem to have been made up to look Egyptian. The real Pupper Master (as in the man who created the puppets) Dave Allen directs this film and does so well but perhaps struggles to take control of his amazing creations in a way aside from animating them. Gorier than the first film, we still have Richard Band's fantastical score to help the flow. the Puppet Master theme is undoubtedly one of the greatest pieces of film music ever, adding a sense of real hysteria to those most striking and fun puppets we kinda love.

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