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October 29, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Boardwalk Empire Finale

Kevin Moyers shares his thoughts on the ending of one of his favorite series.

This episode is loaded with spoilers, so don't listen if you don't want to hear it. Also, apologies for the hollow sounding audio.

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October 28, 2014

Movie Review: Neighbors (2014)

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Aside from horror movies, a Hollywood “crass comedy” is always a sure hit with this reviewer. People are amazed to discover that I adore and re-watch such disposable features such as Dodgeball and Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who saved Hollywood. At their best, go-for-broke comedies tear down the restrictions placed upon most cinema: everything goes in the Dumpster in the search for a quick, easy laugh.

Neighbors somehow slipped under this reviewer’s radar. Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) are a hip, young married couple who have sex and smoke dope. When their quiet suburban existence in a nice house is threatened by the college fraternity taking up residency next door, the Radners introduce themselves to the rowdy students that they, too have sex and smoke dope. The fraternity’s de facto leader Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) isn’t that impressed with them, and the nightly parties there quickly get out of control. The Radners are frustrated at every turn. The police won’t help them, the college turns a blind eye to their off-campus activities and the normally upright Radners must resort to questionable activities in order to dislodge the rowdy collegians.

Neighbors for this viewer was notoriously light on laughs. We have the likeable bad guys in the form of the college students going up against the virtuous Radners, but things fail to take off. Neighbors has a most unrealistic view of fraternity life, as the parties thrown in this film would break the bank of a Las Vegas casino. The fraternity parties this writer attended in his college days were lucky to have a keg of flat beer and some ragweed passed around. College students, even the ones from wealthy families, are notoriously broke. The wild wing-dings with mountains of drugs and booze and wild lighting effects as shown in this film are the ones thrown by drug gangs, not humble collegians eking out their existence with dwindling scholarship money and onerous student loans.

Movie Review: Mai Linn vs. Serena and Oriental Hawaii (both 1982)

Directed by Carlos Tobalina (under the name of Troy Benny)

Movie review by Greg Goodsell

Vinegar Syndrome strikes yet again with a double-shot of early 1980s hardcore porn. The very prolific Carlos Tobalina, here working under the pseudonym of Troy Benny ground these two out in 1982, the year when the skin trade left 35mm film altogether for the far less expensive shot-on-video route. Never fear: Carlos treats these celluloid epics as indifferently as anything shot on a family camcorder. Out-of-focus shots, improvised dialogue, ragged pans and zooms that would make Jesus Franco envious – ol’ Carlos just knew instinctively that the lonely guys at the grindhouse would settle for anything ol’ thing with pussies and dicks.

Mai Linn vs. Serena is simplicity in itself. The suave and more than slightly creepy Tobalina stars as himself to offer favorite nudie cuties Mai Linn and Serena with a most unusual wager. He will award either one of the girls the lead role in his next skin epic on the provision they perform the most unusual sex act they can imagine. Offering the winner $25,000 – probably the entire budget for this film, Mai Linn and Serena get busy. Tobalina isn’t around to witness the gals getting down and dirty, so we assume he’ll just have to go on their hearsay.

BEFORE THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, THERE WAS WANDA!!!


 
This brand new version is now available for pre-order on www.distribpix.com and will begin to ship on or before Monday Oct. 17, 2014.

October 20, 2014

Movie Review: I'll Follow You Down (2013)

I admit it. I loved The Sixth Sense. I loved that adorable little scamp, Haley Joel, as he muddled through his little life scared shitless of all the ghosts he could see. And though HJ has a TON of work on his resume, I’ve only seen him in 2 movies. Maybe my subconscious could see that he was basically a one-trick pony. 

I’ll Follow You Down is about Gabe, a scientist, with a loving wife, Marika, and an adoring son, Erol. Gabe heads out to Princeton for a conference but doesn’t return after the planned three days. Marika enlists the help of her father, Sal (another scientist), to find Gabe. Sal hacks into Gabe’s computer, investigates a secret research room filled with crates labeled “A. Einstein”, and discovers Gabe’s wallet and phone tucked away in a desk.

Not a good sign.

12 years later, Gabe is still gone. Erol is a young man studying theoretical physics in college and Marika is a fucking wreck. She’s never been able to ‘get over’ Gabe’s disappearance and barely makes it through each day. Sal, in all this time, has been studying Gabe’s notes and discovers something shocking: Gabe was working on time travel and may have actually succeeded in traveling back to 1946.

But what happened to him? Why didn’t he make it back home? After joining his grandfather in cracking the time travel code, Erol realizes he must follow his father back to 1946 and set the time line right. You see, since his father’s disappearance, everyone affected by it has been living in an altered time line. And it’s not all candy canes and Skittles-shitting unicorns.

October 18, 2014

Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions Collector Blu-Ray 12/16

SCREAM FACTORY PRESENTS CLIVE BARKER’S 
LORD OF ILLUSIONS COLLECTOR’S EDITION
Starring Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O’Connor, Famke Janssen and Daniel Von Bargen

2-DISC BLU-RAY SET FEATURES CLIVE BARKER’S DIRECTOR’S CUT
 AND THEATRICAL VERSION OF THE MOVIE, PLUS ALL NEW EXTRAS!

ARRIVING ON HOME ENTERTAINMENT SHELVES EVERYWHERE
ON DECEMBER 16, 2014 FROM SCREAM FACTORY

“It’s creepy to the extreme! No other filmmaker gets under the skin the way Clive Barker does”
– Quentin Tarantino

In the world where magic is real, death is the ultimate illusion.  From best-selling author and celebrated director Clive Barker comes a supernatural thriller that rips apart the boundaries between sanity and madness, and between the art of illusion and the terrifying forces of magic. Written and directed by Clive Barker (Nightbreed) and based on his popular short story, The Last Illusion (from Books of Blood Vol. 6), the 1995 cult film classic LORD OF ILLUSIONS stars Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap), Kevin J. O’Connor (The Mummy), Famke Janssen (X-Men, Taken, Hemlock Grove) and Daniel Von Bargen (Crimson Tide, The Faculty).

October 14, 2014

Movie Review: Tropic of Desire (1979) and Fantasy World (1979)

Directed by Bob Chinn

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Vinegar Syndrome cleans up and presents a pair of vintage pornographic features by the legendary director Bob Chinn. Both Tropic of Desire and Fantasy World look especially great: bright and eye-poppingly colorful. But are the films really any good? We shall see …

Tropic of Desire is set in a Hawaiian brothel in the final days of World War II. Porno veteran Georgina Spelvin, who looks great – she usually played matronly figures beginning with The Devil in Miss Jones (1974), plays Frances the Madame. As expected, there's little to no plot. The brothel's favorite girl, Rita (Kitty Shayne) has lost her fiancĂ© to battle, and she tearfully heads off to San Francisco to start life anew. Various serviceman stop by and are very disappointed that Rita has hit the road – but that doesn't stop them giving the other girls the ol' heave-ho. The high point of the film is a silent black-and-white stag film screened at an orgy where a guy loses his wristwatch in a most interesting way along with a girl indulges in some quick nicotine in an even MORE interesting way …

Movie Review: Swelter (2013)

Directed by Keith Parmer

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Smeary, shot-on-video photography. Internationally acclaimed martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme not lifting a finger. Situations that call for action being talked away. Yes, we're in the world of straight-to-disc low-budget action adventure films where, true to form, there's actually very little action. Those things cost money!

To whit: Bishop (Lennie James) is just a guy making an honest living as a sheriff in a Nevada small town hell hole called Baker. His memory is wiped clean due to a gunshot injury to the head. The town's boozy sawbones (Alfred Molina) warns Bishop that he may not have long to live, as one of the fragments could move inside his brain and render him a vegetable. What Bishop has forgotten, on account of his brain injury, was he was part of a hotshot group of professional criminals who raided a nearby Las Vegas casino 10 years prior to the tune of $10 million (the DVD sleeve SAYS $100 million, but this reviewer digresses). The big news is that said group, led by Van Damme has been sprung from prison and are on the way to reclaim the missing millions.

As the title suggests, Swelter tries to cash in on its modern-day western setting by conjuring up a sweaty, claustrophobic atmosphere. It just doesn't get there. All of the bad guys insist on wearing heavy, black suits in the manner of Reservoir Dogs and kvetching about the heat. (Those familiar with Southern California landscapes will see signs in the background that the film was shot in the winter time.) Characters roam from one shabby interior setting to the next, the extensive dialogue not furthering the plot …

Movie Review: Don't Know Yet (2014)

Written, produced and directed by Terry Lineham

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Rarely has a film been so aptly named. Don't Know Yet is the type of film reviewers dread: a cheerful, upbeat independent film that depicts a sunny and untroubled vision of America that in the end is all rather pointless. If one would attempt criticism, the filmmakers are certain to dismiss the press as cynical Scrooges that wholly rejects anything that hints at goodness and redemption. Heavy sigh …

Taylor (James Kyson) travels the United States, meandering country roads picking up hitch hikers and taking them wherever they want to go. The America on display in this film is one where people give complete strangers money out of their pockets and instant acquaintances take people on hot air balloon rides. Sugary and unrealistic, Taylor goes from one sweet, feckless adventure to the next. He eventually meets a free-spirited beauty named Autumn (Lisa Goldstein Kirsch) and falls in love. The catch? She already has a boyfriend! Dumping Taylor with rancor, he attempts to win back Autumn's hand.

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Dracula Untold (2014)

Peggy Christie reviews the latest Dracula story to hit the big screen.

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October 8, 2014

Movie Review: Heaven Knows Mr. Allison (1957; 20th Century Fox/Twlight Time)

...there's no denying that the literary concept of the 'odd couple', has made for countless interesting and intriguing motion pictures, since...well, since the onset of the motion picture, itself. Two characters...polar opposite of each other...different worlds...forced to exist, at least for the moment, within the same circle...sometimes enemies, often just indifferent of each other...frustrated over each other's differences, and yet, out of irony, managing to find common ground to work with, out of their similarities. But then, considering those ideals and observations, let's break it down to specifics...not just merely two different people. How about man and woman?? More specific, you say?? How about one of dutiful spirituality, and the other, of spiritual indifference?? We've all see this type of thing before, as well...'63's "Lilies of the Field", '75's "Rooster Cogburn" and '51's "African Queen", just to name a few. But then, "The African Queen"...with oddly, though ideally matched Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn as the film's dueling protagonists...wouldn't be the first time that grizzled and seasoned filmmaker John Huston touched upon the classic 'odd couple' concept of one character being dedicatedly pious, and the other...well, to read the opposite side of the coin, one much more opposingly and conflictingly impious...with the result, invariably quite compelling and moving...

October 7, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: The Podcast! #140 - Full of Piss and Vinegar Syndrome

Kevin and Jeff are together this week to talk about Boss, Trailer Park Boys, a bunch of Vinegar Syndrome goodies and much more in the first full length podcast in awhile.

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October 5, 2014

Movie Review: The Protector 2 (2013; Magnet Releasing/Magnolia Home Entertainment)

...OK, I'll admit it. As much as this ardent fan of the martial arts genre claims to have seen just about everything, from old-school chop socky flicks, to the past two or three decades of the new breed of cinematic martial arts dynamics, as well as the varied and eclectic martial arts superstars, associated with those eras, I...uh, I had yet to formally initiate myself with the reportedly powerhouse presence of the new kid on the block, Thailand's martial arts superstar, Tony Jaa. Granted, for the most part, having always had my ear to the rail, cinematically, I haven't found myself so out of the loop, that I had not heard of the lad, and in fact, considering his impact on the genre...in a relative short time, no less...it has been rather difficult to avoid the varied revelry of his skills and performances, movie-wise. To his credit...early, lesser known roles led to his initial showcase appearance in the first "Ong Bak" film; soon after, having impressed producer/director Quentin Tarantino, Tony impactedly hit the mainstream, with 2005's Tarantino-presented "The Protector". Further reportedly dynamic performances in the continuing "Ong Bak" franchise followed, thus cementing Tony's respectable place in the martial arts genre...

October 4, 2014

The Dirty Harry Films: Do you feel lucky punk?


I was recently reading Robert Greysmith’s books on the Zodiac killings [Zodiac & Zodiac Unmasked] and got so fascinated by the story that I watched Zodiac (2007), even though I don’t like David Fincher’s movies (and this was not an exception). Anyway, the meat of the story was that this person was killing just for the hell of it!

A few years ago I had seen The Zodiac Killer (1971). I still have the Something Weird DVD, but I didn’t revisit it, as I don’t remember it being particularly special. But I read that Dirty Harry (1971) was based on the real life murderer and chief investigator, and since it is one of those films that you have to see (because everybody has), I decided to not only give it a go, but review the entire franchise that was build on the success of the first movie. After all I love Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s westerns, so how wrong could I go?

The Dirty Harry films are action cinema masterpieces and should be praised as such. They may seem a bit problematic today as the cop worshiping scenario looks occasionally cheesy or at least dated, but they work perfectly as escapism adventures.

The Dirty Harry films proved very successful at the box office (well, not the last flick in the franchise, but the first four). Every Dirty Harry flick was made by a different director. Those five were Don Siegel [Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)], Ted Post [Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)], James Fargo [Caravans (1978)], Buddy Van Horn [Pink Cadillac (1989)], and star Clint Eastwood.

October 2, 2014

Movie Review: The Battery (2012)

Directed by Jeremy Gardner

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Ben (director Jeremy Gardner), a bearded cynical baseball player has teamed up with his younger former teammate Mickey (Adam Cronheim) to roam post-zombie apocalypse New England. The two couldn’t be more dissimilar; Mickey years to return to the post-Apocalyptic past while Ben just wants to take advantage of life in the ruins. The two men share a traumatic background, spending three months holed up in a house surrounded by the undead, forced to do extreme things in order to survive. Driving aimlessly through the still—beautiful countryside, Mickey picks up a transmission on a radio one day. From fragments of a broken conversation, he learns that there is a survival camp called “The Orchard” and there are still women left. Mickey makes attempts to make contact with said female, Annie (Alana O’Brien) – but is rebuked and warned away. Both Mickey and Ben finally hookup with Annie, with disastrous results – plunging them into a days-long ordeal trapped in their car surrounded by hordes of the undead …

The Battery is garnering rave reviews and positive feedback for good reason. The filmmakers here realize that the best zombie films are never about zombies. For a film that shows little else than two baseball players reduced to slacker-dom – there is no baseball after the end of the world, after all – there is a lot The Battery’s plate. At heart it’s a classic “buddy” picture of two male friends who are threatened by the introduction of a female. The wistful and romantic Mickey yearns for some female companionship, and in a grotesque and hilarious scene, “makes do” when he finally sees a scantily clad zombie girl. The Battery also calls to mind other classic doomsday movies such as The World, The Flesh and the Devil (1959) where an emptied world throws the petty details of day-to-day life into broad relief. The film is funny, scary, and deeply sad and when it needs to be – blindly hopeful. This is especially true about the film’s last 40 minutes, that doesn’t stray from the inside of the heroes’ filthy car. There’s little question why this film has been a hit with audiences, and its release to digital will only make its following grow even further.

September 30, 2014

Movie Review: SX_Tape (2012; Well Go USA)

...the pursuit, and subsequent taking on of yet another entry, from a tired, repetitive, well-worn and now-way-too-often emulated sub-genre, seems...well, seems synonymously not unlike that of the tired meanderings and lamentations of a certain well-known commercial pastry proprietor...you remember this guy, right?? Up at the wee hours of the morning. dragging his feet out of the bedroom and into the bathroom...murmuring an unenthusiastic groan of "gotta make the donuts"...slowly slogging his way out the front door, and into his car..."gotta make the donuts"...a lethargic, waddling shuffle through the front door of the shop..."gotta make the donuts". Day in, and day out...same old, same old, right??...

...indeed, a comparative and poignant template, not that far removed from applicably describing the readied expectations and ho-hum routine one must endure, in going into yet another supernatural and/or paranormal-themed 'found footage' film production. We've seen them all, right?? Oh, heck...Mickey Mouse roll call, sound off now: ...the shaky, nausea-inducing camera work. The film's singularly assigned or assumed camera operator, barely seen in the film, but insistent upon having the camera affixed to his or her face, to catch every moment, whether important or trivial. The token complainer, often the aim and focus of the camera operator, whining incisively about "why do you have to film this??", "do you have to film everything", and yet, still insistent upon being the 'director', with a pointed finger, saying 'film this', 'film that', and the occasional slinky, sexy, sultry and revealing 'uh, film this'...not to mention the wayward 'did you see/hear that??', only to reveal that it's nothing...right before something does happen. The random inner-splicing of personal footage, amidst the 'discovered' footage of intent, suggesting that the camera operator just grabbed the nearest tape in a huff, little realizing that there was 'personal stuff' already on it (...what, no Radio Shack, on route to the ghostly scene?). And of course, the reveal of the nasty little invasive supernatural entity...playfully and mysteriously moving things, at first...then, progressively frustrated and angered, either materializing at the most impromptu moments, or possessing the nearest hapless person within reach, giving the cautious voyeurs a hard time, and rushing suddenly  & frighteningly face-first into the camera lens...all creeped out, ghastly-looking, unnervingly black-eyeballed and hideously toothsome. Uh, did we forget anything??...

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Texas Chainsaw Massacre - 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

Jeff gives his review of the blu-ray release of one of the most iconic horror films of all time.

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September 26, 2014

Movie Review: Caligula (1979)



I am not a Tinto Brass fan, but I always wanted to add this film of his in my collection. The problem was the shit quality and cut editions of it floating in the market. That was until the 4-DVD Imperial Edition (Region 2 - PAL) came out and I bought it immediately.

The first disc offers the uncut version which I saw when I bought the box-set; the second disc contains an alternative version which I haven’t seen as yet, the third disc offers the theatrical version which is the one I watched for the purpose of this review, and the fourth disc is full of extras.

Now, on with the theatrical version... It doesn’t contain all the excessive violence and the explicit sex, and with so many scenes missing the whole thing doesn’t make as much sense as the uncut version does. Anyway, the whole thing about the history behind the cuts of this troubled production has been studied extensively elsewhere, so here I would like to focus on the impression the film made to me.

September 25, 2014

Movie Review: Stress Position (2013)

Attacked by mop handles!
Directed by A. J. Bond

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Here’s the premise: Director A.J. Bond in a conversation with actor David Amito tells Amito that he wouldn’t be able to deal with the psychological stress as practiced in such places as Guantanamo Bay. Amito says that he could, and so Bond offers him a wager: Spend a week in a special detention facility with a special cash reward if he makes its out with his sanity intact. Bond, if nothing else, is especially enthusiastic about the project. He builds a sterile white-on-white torture chamber dominated by a modern art sculpture. With the aid of various aides-de-camps, Bond tortures Amito, records it all on video and has conferences with other interested parties on how to proceed.

Bond’s true intentions are revealed on the third day of torture, and should come as no surprise to the viewer. The problem? None of the psychological torment inflicted on the male lead leads to anything significant. In the film Martyrs (2008), the torture of young women was revealed as a means for discovering life after death. In Stress Position, the torture of Amito is hazy and ill-defined. At one point he is strapped to a playground whirligig until he reveals a long repressed secret. When Amito finally reveals the “secret,” it is something totally inconsequential.

September 24, 2014

"DOLLS" COLLECTOR’S EDITION INVADES HOME ENTERTAINMENT SHELVES EVERYWHERE ON NOVEMBER 11, 2014!!





SCREAM FACTORY™ PRESENTS

A Film by Stuart Gordon and Executive Produced by Charles Band

DOLLS COLLECTOR’S EDITION

Starring Stephen Lee, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason, Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon,

Cassie Stuart, Bunty Bailey and introducing Carrie Lorraine as Judy Bower

INVADES HOME ENTERTAINMENT SHELVES EVERYWHERE ON NOVEMBER 11, 2014

FROM SCREAM FACTORY™


Pre-Order This Must-Have Collector’s Edition Today!

Do you like handmade puppets, toy soldiers, ballerinas and dolls? Charming elderly toymaker Gabriel Hartwicke and his wife Hilary have the perfect play toys just for you!  From celebrated cult filmmaker Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), executive producer Charles Band, producer Brian Yuzna (Society) and screenwriter Ed Naha (Troll) comes a campy, horror cult classic that combines the pint-sized playmates of childhood with bone-chilling fun. The 1987 horror film DOLLS is a bloody good terror trap that delivers its frights, fun and fantastic effects in equal measure. The film stars Stephen Lee (The Pit and the Pendulum), Guy Rolfe (Puppet Master III, Mr. Sardonicus), Hilary Mason (Don’t Look Now), Ian Patrick Williams (Re-Animator), Carolyn Purdy-Gordon (From Beyond), Cassie Stuart (The Hunchback), Bunty Bailey (Spellcaster) and introducing Carrie Lorraine (Poltergeist II: The Other Side) as Judy Bower.