Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Disturbing Behavior - 1998

I had the rare opportunity to watch Disturbing Behavior last night on 35mm in a fucking theater with other weirdos like myself who would go out to see a early 90's thriller-ish movie on a Tuesday night.  It had a short intro where I won the trivia contest, and it was all in all pretty "rad".  See, I can say rad because the movie was from the 90's.

Disturbing Behavior was a post-Scream entry into the horror thriller genre.  I have been talking a lot about horror as a genre with my horror buff friend recently.  We were talking about exactly how much Scream redefined the entire genre, the entire concept of horror.  As die hard horror fans, we both agree that in a way, as fucking stellar and groundbreaking as Scream was, it basically ruined horror movies forever.  It brought every problem, every ridiculous idea up, and it brought it front and center so we'd see it every time.  Of course, die hard fans like us can still enjoy a horror movie, but in the mainstream eye I think Scream really made people re-examine how much they truly enjoyed the genre as a whole.  In short, Scream was amazing.

So, post-Scream, they were still gonna make horror films, but how would they do it?  Disturbing Behavior did it by crossing genres with thriller and drama, coming of age, and big doses of reality coming through.  The whole film is an allegory about conformity and being oneself.  And it did all of this with huge 90's charm, ridiculous music of the era, and great actors.

Disturbing Behavior jumps into the action with Nick Stahl as Gavin witnessing a murder.  Some asshole jock is out with his girlfriend, randomly breaks her neck and kills a police officer.  However, the jock is let off by the cops who were there, and so now we know the cops are in on it.  Meanwhile James Marsden as Steve is a newcomer to the town, an outsider who doesn't fit in but is befriended by Gavin and his group which includes Katie Holmes as Rachel.  They are the outcasts of the school, the punky druggie dudes who don't care about school and just wanna chillax. Anyways, cutting all this short, Gavin is convinced there is a large conspiracy at hand that's changing the students into zombies, and he begins trying to convince Steve of this.  And then one day Gavin himself changes.

It's a extremely fast paced, gripping, and electric movie.  The cast sells the shit out of their characters, and Katie Holmes looks bomb as fuck as the main girl.  The threat feels real, and the story this movie tells is one that likely we could all relate to.  Feeling out of place in a school, in a society, feeling that pressure to conform is a very real feeling which I know I've felt most of my life.

There's some awesome death scenes, some great action, and everything falls right into place.  The end was typical, and satisfying.  All in all, I was not expecting a ton from this movie, and I really fucking liked it!  If I remember the plots and the every detail, if I remember character names, if I remember individual scenes the next day, it's pretty much a guarantee I liked the film.  I wasn't sure about the blog aspect of the film, but since I never update the site these days (hehehe) I figured whatev.

I give it....5 90's stars.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Wraith - 1986

I feel like I go through phases with this blog.  I have seen countless movies that could have fit into this blog.  I even rewatched I'ts Alive, my favorite mosasaurus film, and I made my friend watch it.  I've been revisiting serious films as well, and suffice to say I haven't really felt like blogging about all this crap I do.

I may have mentioned at some point that I was listening to How Did This Get Made, the podcast about bad movies.  I enjoy it, and I like watching the movies they feature on it.  When they featured The Wraith, and then when The Wraith was available free on Netflix, a small part of me celebrated.  I hate how a lot of these films they do are not available for free online.  I refuse to spend money right now.  I'm ultra-cheap.

The Wraith is a surprisingly high production car racing movie from the 80's.  It continues my 1986 marathon, about 2 years after I initially started my 1986 marathon.  Wow, that's fucking weird dude, I remember startling this marathon like it was yesterday.  I'm getting old man, time is passing faster and faster.  I also had a bad thought when I signed onto the Blogspot site today.  I had an inevitable feeling like this blog was over.  I hope it's not, I hope I continue, but somehow....I don't think it's destined to live much longer.

But let's not live in the future, let's live in the now.  In the now, 31 years ago, Charlie Sheen, Randy Quaid, Sharilyn Fenn, and Nick Cassavetes starred in The Wraith.  The Wraith is about an alien force that comes to town in Arizona, in the form of a sleek black roadster car.  The evil gang of baddies see the car and want it.  They challenge the wraith to a race, the loser gives up their car.  The Wraith starts to kill all the members of the gang in these races, forcing them off the road in crashes.  This is all pursued by Randy Quaid as the local police.  Charlie Sheen is a seemingly unconnected drifter who starts wooing the girl of the leader of the street gang.

The movie consists of pretty well done, highly produced race scenes.  Crazy songs play in the background, either established classics or songs that missed the mark I guess and faded into 80s obscurity.  There's tons of race scenes, and the cars are very cool.  The titular Wraith is a concept car, a Dodge from the 80's.  I tried to upload a photo but fucking blogspot is being a bitch.  Google it.

The movie proceeds, it's very simple and yet never boring.  Seriously this movie just flew right by, and I liked it a lot.  Very well done, lots of deaths and explosions.  There's a sense of mystery to this thing, and we're not sure what exactly is The Wraith or anything for quite a long time.  In the end, some things are explained, but some are wisely left as a mystery and never explained fully.  I think the basic idea is fine though:  we're left with a dim idea of what happened and why, and I think it's a near flawless 80s romp.

Four classic action sci fi stars.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Megaforce - 1982

Golden Harvest is a Chinese production company that has been around a long time and (I think) is still going strong.  They've brought us Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Sammo Hung and other great stars.  In the 80's they decided to infiltrate the US market with a few American made and American style films, such as Megaforce.  This was a big deal for them.  They threw $20 million at a sci fi actioner film called Megaforce, and hoped that it would massively succeed enough for them to successfully gain a foothold in the American market.

Megaforce is by and large a extremely 80's sci fi action flick that is easy to watch, but not so much on the great side of the scale.  It feels extremely high production, and it's easy to see where the 20 million went, however is the film "good"....?  Well, no, I am going to say it's not.  Not for your typical array of reasons, but simply because it's not entertaining.

Barry Bostwick stars as a generic commander of an elite group of special soldiers known as the Megaforce.  The Megaforce is introduced in the beginning when a stiff British general comes to meet the commander, and the general is put off by Megaforce's apparent lack of adoption of regular military style.  They have no uniforms, they don't care about rank, and they don't worry about the image like other military people would.

Along with the general is Persis Khambatta, of Star Trek and She Wolves of the Wasteland fame.  She is sort of a blank woman creation made to be the love interest of Barry Bostwick's commander dude.  I don't remember exactly why she was with the general to begin with, but suffice to say she's there to be eye candy and the sole female in this entire flick.  She is hot as fuck in case you haven't noticed, so I'm not complaining or anything.  Megaforce gets their mission, and she tries to join the Megaforce, but Boswick won't let her because "he can't, or he won't?" type reasons which are fairly stupid.

The mission involves the usual stuff, blowing up countless things, shooting lots of guns, and motorcycles.  It's all fun to watch, but it plays a lot like a tired kung fu or bland action film where you feel nothing for the hero or villain and don't really care what will happen in the end.  Also, there is never a single moment where you actually think the good guy will lose or even get a scratch on them, so it makes for a bland, pretty lame cinema experience.  I watched it while drunk on Irish coffee on my sick day.

Not sure what else to say about it.  The production, actors, the look, the style, the pacing, it's all there.  This has the ingredients of a classic bad action film from the 80's, but somehow I wasn't very interested in it.  Couldn't say exactly why.  Perhaps it's just not for me.  I'll still give it 3 stars.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Moonraker - 1979

Wow, what the fuck is this blog?!  I am going to review the 11th installment of James goddamn Bond?!  Yes, I am.  Fuck it.  Fuck it!  I'm feeling buzzy from coffee, I'm horny as fuck, I'm reviewing James goddamn Bond, and life is good.

I was always interested in James Bond as a kid.  I have always liked the idea of these really long series of films that have tons of sequels, and there's always an obscure 2-3 out there that you can't find for some dumbass reason.  I remember being absolutely obsessed with Godzilla, Zatoichi, The Twilight Zone, and other types of really long series that didn't used to be online (Twilight Zone is mostly available online right now, though it's still not the whole show).  I'm not sure exactly why this was, but I am sort of a completionist / obsessive compulsive about these sorts of things.

I remember going to Peters Video, in Calistoga California with my brother and my dad in the 90's and early 2000's, and renting random ass James Bond movies.  How I got into the series, who knows.  It's very possible I saw Goldeneye in theaters in 1995 (age 9), or when it was a new release, and that would about make sense if that was when I got into the Bond series.  Anyhow, we'd rent all the back catalog of Bond films.  I remember liking Roger Moore films the best, because they were zany and dumb, fitting perfectly with my pre-teen mentality.  Second I liked Timothy Dalton, then Pierce Brosnan.  Then Connery, then Lazenby, then Daniel Craig if you're curious.

The Roger Moore films took a turn for the weird very early on.  That is not to say some of the Connery films weren't weird, but I feel like Connery turning Japanese and fighting Oddjob was still not as weird as Bond going to space, Jaws, and using a special Golden Gun on a desert island.  Although my favorite Bond villain was Donald Pleasence as Blofeld, that's purely because I am a Pleasence fanatic.

Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me were two of my standout favorites from the series even early on.  I loved Jaws, he was my second favorite villain, and to this day is the only Bond henchman to appear in two Bond films.  Richard Kiel was stunning as Jaws, certainly looks the part, and it helped that he was an unlockable character in the Nintendo 64 Goldeneye video game.

This is a noticeably silly entrant in the Bond franchise.  Capitalizing off of the success of Star Wars like so many other films, this entry saw Bond take to space.  Although when I saw it in the mid 90's this seemed absolutely like a "jump the shark" moment in the series, I have to say that watching it now in 2017, it doesn't seem as unrealistic and far fetched.

There are several different theories as to which actor plays Bond at what age in his life.  It's basically regarded that Daniel Craig is Bond when he's youngest.  He's green, he's cocky, and Q and Moneypenny are young.  Then it would be Lazenby, in the film where Bond gets married.  Then Timothy Dalton as an angry, more violent Bond thereafter.  Then for me I feel like Connery and Brosnan are interchangeable for the most part in the timeline.  But it's pretty much agreed on by everyone that Roger Moore portrayed Bond at his oldest.  He's in the minimum amount of fights, he hardly kills anyone in most of his entries.  Moore was also the oldest actor to play Bond, and so this theory makes sense the most.

This is hardly a standard review, obviously.  But as a Bond entry, I found Moonraker to be pretty fun, and there's always a special place for it in my heart.  The stunts are cool, whether it's skydiving with no parachute, taking a gondola hovercraft onto land, or the tense action on the sky tram.  Moore is confident and slick as Bond, though I'd have to say that Moore also plays the least likable Bond in my book. He beds the ladies, he smarts and charms his way around everything.  This movie never saw a Bond car, didn't have much gadgets, and Bond only kills one person directly in the entire film.  It's an odd one, but it's very good in my book.

As an entry, it's most likely on the low spectrum for most people.  But I'm not most people, and my ratings are a whole WTF thing as I'm sure you'll notice.  I give this one 4 stars.  I like it!  The Spy Who Loved Me is better though.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Embryo - 1976

This movie, Embryo, is one that I've seen listed on multiple boxsets time and time again when I peruse Amazon and other sites for DVD boxes that might want to purchase.  I can't say exactly why, since it's not that old or not that bad, but I supposed those reasons alone are not enough to keep it out of the black hole that is the public domain.

Embryo would star an aging Rock Hudson, still good looking and in great shape, as a scientist who wants to create a way to save fetuses that are dying.  Rock Hudson plays Paul, who's a likable if somewhat naive scientist that just wants to do good, can't see anything beyond the good that his science will do.  He's pretty much the stereotype.

At first Paul tries out his experiment on a dog that he has in his lab.  The dog is not only born, but thrives and grows quicker, smarter, and better than any normal dog would.  Apparently.  So, then it's Paul thinking, "well shit maybe I should try this on a human!" and try it on a human he does.  He refuses to do things the amoral way, so he finds a 3 month old fetus that is going to die, he snags it, and he injects his growth hormone.

The baby girl continues to grow, grows up normal and quite fast, and is suddenly about the age of 24.  He takes her out of her capsule finally, and discovers she has super intelligence, the drug is no longer going to make her grow quickly, and she's eager to learn human customs.  Victoria as she's called, because she was a victory, is a genius, and despite not being mature emotionally, she quickly begins to master the more mathematical and scientific aspects of the human mind.  Then, much like every movie like this, she decides she must embrace the emotional side.  She fucks Rock Hudson, and soon begins to develop problems with the drugs used to grow her.  They seem to be turning her evil....

Sorry about the convoluted plot-line outlaid above.  This movie was one of those, like Frankenstein, where you could say "yeah it's about a dude who brings a monster back from the dead" or you could go into the details about the plot details.  The point is, this is Frankenstein but dressed up with a bit more character and a girl rather than a monster.  The girl is played by Barbara Carrera, who was decent enough in the role.  It's mostly her and Rocky Rock Hudson conversing most the flick, and they did seem to have some chemistry between them.

Looking at this from the recent angle I have of 1976 movies, I have to say this one was "better" as well.  I guessed 1978 when I was writing the year above, and in that way, I guess you could say it looks just a tiny bit "better" than the other two 76 movies I've seen recently.  The pacing was kind of slow, but it was also more of a drama / slow burn movie then a quick flashy actioner of a film.

Hm, what else.  Nothing much worth noting.  Roddy McDowall was in a small cameo.  No music worth remembering.  Decently shot and whatever.  Some nudity from Victoria, she has a nice body.  And, the ending was totally one you could see coming.  Basically once things take the turn and Rocky fucks Victoria, you can probably guess the rest of the movie, but it was still worth watching I'll argue.  It's was a basic "meh" of a movie, but that's still worth 2.5 stars.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Exterminator City - 2005

There's low budget and then there's no budget.  This blog has primarily dealt with low budget, but we'll take our first sort of foray into no budget here.  Now, I can't actually say no budget about this movie.  I don't know exactly how these things work, but it's my understanding that you'd have to pay a girl a decent amount of money to appear naked or topless in your film, and since every single girl in this is naked or topless, they must've had some money to pay them to appear that way.

Everything else in this movie is obviously done by like 1-2 guys, and a budget of nothing.  There's hand built, seriously clunky looking robot hand puppets, very early MST3K looking contraptions that barely seem to function.  There's a lot of terrible dialogue by guys that obviously thought they were pretty genius for making a "comedic" script that featured robots calling each other words like "bitch".

The director Clive Cohen has zero other movies he's remotely connected with, and zero information on IMDb.  That's something I will now always miss about IMDb, the message board dialogue started on each page by various other movie viewers.  Inevitably on each lonely IMDb page there'd be someone else, like me (or maybe even it would be me) who would start a message board about someone like Clive Cohen.  They'd say something like "Where is he now?" or "What the heck?" and they'd be wondering if someone out there on the information superhighway knew any insider information on Cohen.  I miss those boards.

Exterminator City....well, I don't miss movies like this.  This is the kind of entertainment that I can't exactly tear apart from limb to limb, cause it obviously took creativity, talent, and artistry to make it.  It's not funny though, it's not interesting, and it's like watching something made by middle schoolers.  Trust me, I used to film shit with my friends, and half the stuff we made was about as good as this, not even fucking joking.

There's literally scenes of huge titted women walking around their homes topless and going about daily tasks, and we're supposed to what, accept it because "it's funny"?  Sorry, no.  Sorry, you don't get a pass just cause you intentionally made your movie campy and self aware.  I don't know.  This is the Charles Band type of shit where it's made specifically to pander to the high idiots and their drunkard friends as they sit in an induced stupor and snicker at the movie while daring each other to taste the bong water.

I don't have lots more to say to it.  It is relatively entertaining despite my roast up above, and there's certainly worse films out there.  It came on a circa 2005 DVD, and I haven't watched a DVD that poorly produced in a really long time.  I remember buying my first DVDs in about....2002, roughly 6 years after they existed from what the internet tells me.  At first they didn't have menus or anything, just jumped right into the movie.  This has one item on the menu, which is obviously home made.  You start the movie, and you have to watch trailers.  This is like VHS shit where the trailers are literally PART of the movie.

So, Exterminator City.  Hm, I don't know.  Strangely enough, after venting all this, I feel like giving it decent marks.  Perhaps it's the fact I put it on when I was tired, and I was still entertained to an extent.  Perhaps it's something else.  I'll never know.  But hey, Clive Cohen, good job wherever you are, you drunk son of a bitch.  2.5 stars.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Burnt Offerings - 1976

Two 1976 movies in one day?!  Oh my fucking god.  Goddamn.  I'm a little bit drunk, but I watched Burnt Offerings stone cold sober, so this is a drunk review of a sober movie basically.  Interesting huh?  Now you're reminded about why you read this dumbass blog.

Burnt Offerings is a Amityville inspired, super by-the-numbers haunted house movie.  Which is not to call it bad.  In fact, I might even take that bit back about it being a haunted house movie.  It's billed as a haunted house movie, when I would say it's more of a demonic possession and mystery film.  I dunno.  I'm a bit of a genre freak in case you haven't noticed.  I fucking hate when things are labelled as something other than what I would classify them as.  Get Out, the recent "horror" movie (which I give 5 stars) is labeled horror.  Yeah right!  That movie is a straight mystery thriller.  No fucking horror elements at all.

Burnt Offerings has Oliver Reed of Venom fame as the father figure of a family that moves into a huge dilapidated mansion which is actually located (in real life) in my current home town of Oakland California.  Bay Area, bro-han.  Oliver Reed, his hot wife Karen Black (drool) and their wormy son all live in this mansion which is practically given to them, and they have to take care of the weird old woman who lives in the top floor.

Pretty much right away it's established that the woman either is dead or doesn't exist at all, Karen Black develops an obsession with her, and Oliver Reed begins to be influenced by some sort of demonic force.  I'm obviously at the point where I don't give a shit about their character names.  Oliver Reed falls under evil influence and attacks the wormy son, tensions rise, and eventually they all decide they must leave the house.  But what about the old lady who lives in the place?

Basically, I was expecting a low level haunted house movie, and instead I got a bizarre mix of ghost film, demonic possession, and a mostly average flick in general.  I'm not really in the boat right now of "I have tons to say about this".  I fact, I can't really even say if I liked it or not.  It felt....basically like anything else one might watch.  Had it's good and bad.  The actors, good.  The plot, meh.  The scares, zero.

That would be one thing I'll say.  Zero scares, and one of those movies where I don't even know what would be considered scary in 1976.  I guess the father attacking the son is scary in concept, but I mean, seriously yo.  It was a right down the middle, meh experience, which I'd normally give a 2.5, but for whatever reason, I'll give this 3.  Maybe because Karen Black is hot.  Probably.