Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ern's Monthly Visual Victuals (June 2010 / Part 1)


I know, I know. Once again its near the end of the month and I finally got around to writing my movie reviews. But I watched so many movies again last month that it seemed best to split the posts into two parts again. Actually, I haven't gotten around to writing the reviews for the last nine or ten films (and don't even ask me about my book reviews yet!). Also, after tomorrow, I will be on vacation for a week, so there won't be any new posts at all for at least a week. I will try to post part 2 as soon as possible. Cheers and enjoy the show:

FORBIDDEN WORLD (1982) – Originally released “Mutant” but then again as “Forbidden World”, which is not to be confused with “Forbidden Planet” and is a low-budget sci-fi flick that seems to be a blend of “The Fly” and “Alien”. One of the freebies I received my friend. Being a low-budget flick, of course there is your nude scene with unknown actresses as well. And don't be taken in by the package as the silver looking stormtrooper is nothing more than a helper robot with a tiny part. Wait a minute, this is "Road Warrior" on the planet Xavier! I could not in good conscience recommend this to anybody.

BIZARRE FOODS WITH ANDREW ZIMMERN COLLECTION 2 (2007) – Zimmern is back with another batch of bizarre foods for us to ponder. First we get a highlight of the foods he’s eaten from the first season. On disc 1 of this collection he travels to Iceland for some rotten shark, St. Petersburg, Russia eating cured pork fat and pickled lamprey, then it’s off to his backyard in Minnesota for some deep-fried stuff and some other local fare, and ends with Guangzhou, China where almost anything that “swims, crawls, or flies is put on a plate”. Then for disc 2, we are introduced to Beijing, China eating stuff like cicadas, grasshoppers, and seahorse and also tries the penis of a donkey! Next, it’s off to Bolivia for some spuds you mash with your feet, then Chile for some bull testicles (we get to see the process of castration as well, eeuuwww). Followed by a trip to Delhi, India for dishes made with cow brains and lamb brains and whatnot. Ending disc 2 is a trip to Phuket, Thailand for squid jerky, stomach sauce, and forest lizards. As Julia Child would say, “Bon Appetit!”

I FRATI ROSSI (1998) -
My B-movie festival continues with another Lucio Fulci film, also known as [The Red Monks]. Rich dude who owns a large villa in a small village in Italy is charmed by local woman. But the house doesn’t really belong to him. It belongs to a secret sect of monks (who seems to dressed up like the KKK in red hoods. And there seems to be some secret chamber in the house and one strange lady who also takes care of the place and doesn’t seem to like the new bride. But the bride has a secret of her own.

CLASS OF NUKE’ EM HIGH (1986) – You definitely need to be really drunk or stoned out of your mind to enjoy one of these Troma Productions. There so bad, they’re not even funny. They should have just quit with the first “Toxic Avenger” movie. But then again, I wouldn’t mind playing in one of these low budget trash flicks. High school built near nuclear power plant has strange effect on its students. Honor students go punk, weed is grown and sold from dudes at the plant on contaminated soil. Some critter mutates into giant monster and goes on a killing spree. But if you couldn't get enough "Toxic Avenger" with Parts 2 and 3 then maybe this is the film for you. Really, really bad acting and totally mindless plot. If you want a funny and good weed movie, go rent yourself some "Cheech and Chong" flicks! Need I say more?

LO SQUARTATORE DI NEW YORK (1982) - The final DVD in my small Lucio Fulci Collection. This is also known as "The Ripper of New York". Low-budget horror of a serial killer in New York City who talks like Donald Duck! No, I didn’t make that part up, it really is part of the story. Wacko dude talks to his victims in a Donald Duck voice. Oh but the gruesome acts of violence and the way Lucio Fulci gets it on film is worth watching. Before I was given all these DVDs, I didn't even know who Lucio Fulci was but now that I do, I may have to seek out any other films that he produced. These flicks would have been great fodder for "Nightmare Theater" and I'm sure Elvira would have loved to have presented them as well. Gotta love the artwork on the Japanese packages though. They would make great posters!

ROBOT WARS (1993) – More low budget fare. It’s the near future and you can take tours to see the remnants of an old city in what used to be somewhere in Arizona or California or somewhere. Oh yeah, and although there are these robot tours going on, there is also a war going as well. But the opponents are talking truce and trading robot secrets. But of course that’s only a ploy to get the plans for the new improve robot and so the war continues…or does it. But hey, this is one of the better low-budget flicks from mountain of bad movies that were given me.

LEGION OF THE DEAD (2001) – I thought this was going to be another low budget horror flick but I was wrong. This was one damn entertaining horror comedy from Germany! Released as “Zompire” in Japan. You know, zombie and vampires. Two guys get picked up by some psychopath who tells them he’s going to kill them, yet they end up in this small nowhere town where the locals seem to be a little strange. That’s because some major bad dude is out looking for souls to collect so he can have his own dark army and take over the world. Too funny!

ATTACK OF THE 60 FOOT CENTERFOLDS (1995) – This makes you long for the days of Linnea Quigly. Well, Michele Bauer does make an appearance in this flick but it’s so bad, it takes an effort to watch the entire thing. Bad acting, ridiculous dialogue, and those actresses really need to take more than just acting lessons. Three women join some magazine magnate as finalists for cover girl of whatever. One is determined to win by taking some weird supplements given to her by her plastic surgeon. But being so determined to win, she takes more than the recommended dosage. The next day, what d’ya know, she is now a 60 foot model! Other model wants to know her secret, finds the supplements and BAM! Now you have two 60 foot centerfolds and they're having a catfight in the middle of the city. But hey, Doc is on the job creating an antidote. Bleah!

PAUL BLART : MALL COP (2009) – I suppose it could have been funnier but it was fairly entertaining. Paul Blart wants to be a cop. Unfortunately, he failed the physical test. He is now a mall security guard. As Blart temporarily watches a video store, the mall has been taken over by a bunch of baddies who plan to rob all of the days sales. As the baddies shut down the mall (with Blart still messing around in the video store), it is now up to Blart to save the day! And to also save the babe that he currently has his eye on. It’s “Die Hard” for the underdog. But the funniest part of the film is some old dude singing his heart out to tunes by REO Speedwagon and Bon Jovi! The preview I saw also used Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" but it doesn't look like it was used in the movie itself. One-man "S.W.A.T." in a mall? But what really makes this flick fun is the girl who play Blart's daughter.

ウルトラミラクルラブストーリー [Ultra Miracle Love Story] (2009) - Okay, I only rented this because the director and all the actors in this film use the Aomori dialect (hometown of my wife). Weird story though. Released with the international English title of "Bare Essence of Life". Protagonist seems to be one can short of six-pack. Although he is a little weird, when a new day care teacher, Machiko sensei, from Tokyo comes to town, he immediately falls in love with her. Dude grows veggies to sell at the local market. One day, as he’s playin’ with some neighborhood kid, he accidently has pesticide poured over him. Which somehow makes him smarter. Now he pours pesticide on himself as a daily ritual. But one day, his heart just stops ticking. And yet, the very next day he’s out in his field growing his vegetables. He continues to pursue the Machiko sensei who says she will be with him which makes him really happy that he runs through the woods, gets mistaken for a bear by a hunter, gets and shot and dies for a second time. Yeah, I know, WTF? And to make things even more bizarre, in his last will and testament he leaves his brain to Machiko sensei who in the end feeds it to a bear! I really don’t get that ending!!

THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1991) – Lance Henrikson seems to be having a great time overacting as the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada of the Spanish Inquisition. From the title alone, you should know that this is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story of the same name. Except I don’t think the original story had anything to do with the Spanish Inquisition. I don’t know, I could be wrong, I can’t remember. In this flick, good ole Torquemada thinks of many different kinds of ways to torture heretics and blasphemers to make them confess to their crimes. His latest endeavor was to creat the "pit and the pendulum" and watch his victims die a slow painful death while the victim is forced to watch the pendulum swing back and forth.

DINOSAUR ISLAND (1994) – The last of the low-budget films that was given me. To tell you the truth, I had already seen this one but how can you not like the Japanese title – “Jurassic Amazaness”? No good army grunts are being sent to prison but their plane crashes and the end up on a deserted island…or so they thought, because one of the guys swears he saw some awesome babe from the beach. The others of course think he’s probably had a bit of shock but they are in for another shock as well. The island if full of dinosaurs!! Or as the Japanese package distinctly puts it as a subtitle, “Big Busty Babes vs. Dinosaurs!” Being an island of just babes, they have no idea what sex is which the men are more than willing to teach them, of course. Gotta have some mindless sex before worrying about being fodder for hungry dinosaurs! Mindless fun!

陰日向に咲く陰日向に咲く 「Kagehinata ni Saku」 - This has the English title of “Flowers in the Shadows” and is based upon the bestselling book of the same name written by television talent and comedian Gekidan Hitori. The literal translation of the title would be “Blooming in the Shadows” but we won’t be picky. I didn’t read the book so wasn’t really familiar with the story. Apparently the book consists of five separate short stories and it seems the film tried to cram three of them into a two hour time. I couldn’t even tell you what the actual plot is, because I just don’t know. There was one guy being chased by loan sharks (played by Junichi Okada of the boy idol group V6), then there was some girl looking for a man who was her mother’s manzai partner, and….maybe I should just read the book instead.

JULIA & JULIA (2009) – Directed by Nora Ephron and starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Based on the book that was based on the blog created by Julie Powell. The movie actually blends Julia Child’s “My Life in France” along with Julie Powell’s “Julie & Julia” and makes for a heartwarming movie. Of course we all know who Julia Child is (if you don’t, you best go look her up on Wikipedia or something). Julie Powell is just a normal working girl working at a government job she hates, but does have a loving husband. As Julie wants something more out of life, something that might make her life more interesting, hubbie suggests writing a blog or something. The movie is just a tad different from the book as the book doesn’t include bits from Julia Child’s memoir. Anyway, Powell has an epiphany. She will start a blog. She will make all 500+ recipes from Julia Child’s most popular cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” within one year and write about on her blog. Cute and fun. Read the book as well. I must also seek out Julia Child’s “My Life in France” as well.

SURROGATES (2009) – Another movie based on a graphic novel (not to be confused with comics or video games). This isn’t a Marvel or DC production. It’s pre-Avatar and pre-I Robot. People can now purchase a surrogate to do all their biddings from shopping to travelling, while the controller never has to leave his/her house. But someone seems determined to destroy the surrogates by not only taking out the surrogate but their controller as well. Now long time cop and surrogate user Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) must set out in his own body to investigate the matter. Of course the makers of the surrogates say that their product is one of the safest things to use and that harm couldn't possibly come to any of their users.

X-MEN ORIGINS : WOLVERINE (2009) – Now, this of course is based on a Marvel character which has become a money-making franchise for Hollywood. As one who hasn’t read the original comics (there’s just too many storylines to follow), I couldn’t tell you which storyline this is based on or if it’s an original screenplay written specifically for the silver screen. This flick lets us know that Wolverine (Logan) had a brother named Victor and that they were born some 200 years ago as mutants and fought in a bunch of different wars. Having enough of that life, Logan quits, becomes a logger, falls in love with a local teacher and wants to settle down. Now, some colonel named Stryker is recruiting mutants as commandos and wants Logan to join him. When Logan refuses, Stryker sends Victor to change his mind and he won’t take no for an answer. Victor kills teacher and forces Logan’s hand. Then we get to learn how his mutant body becomes nearly invulnerable as he is forced to participate in some experiment. However, when Stryker says, “Erase his memory”, well, Logan doesn’t take too kindly to that.

PUSH (2009) – As I wrote on my Facebook page featuring extremely short movie reviews, I summed this one up to be an “X-Men without Costumes”. Really. Normal folk with some type of power. Dakota Fanning on growed up. Fanning sees the future, and she sees her death and the death of our hero Nick. Together, they’re supposed to look for some woman in Hong Kong who may have all the answers about a shadow government called “The Division”. Uh huh. Fanning’s character is supposed to be something like 12 but she looks like she’s in her teens (and is not as cute as she was in “Hide and Seek” or “Man on Fire” but that’s what growing up does I suppose). I am looking forward to seeing her in her next movie “The Runaways” as she will star as Cherie Currie! The rest like I say is X-Men without costumes. The two dudes who use their screeching voice to harm people were really annoying.

To be continued...

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