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February 1, 2015

Movie Review: Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura

Starring Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao and Yukihide Benny

The sad reality of most movie-going experiences is the fact that you usually get a catchy title followed by an underachieving film. And then there is Tokyo Gore Police. A movie so gory, violent and outrageous that it completely defies description, (but I will do my best to convey the experience). Picture a film soaked in blood and covered in a thick coating of fleshy pieces and bone fragments. There are just not enough words in a thesaurus to describe what happens in this film. Think RoboCop meets Evil Dead meets Pans Labyrinth meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Enter The Dragon x 100 after 10 hits of really good acid and then your starting to get an idea of what this is about.

Buy Tokyo Gore Police on Blu-ray or DVD

January 31, 2015

Interracial Sex Havoc #8: 1980 - 1984



The Interracial Sex Havoc project is trying to catalog as many films as possible that contain at least one interracial sex scene. Not all films included here are pornographic, but they had to have at least one interracial sex scene in order to qualify. This chapter is about movies released from 1980 to 1984 and I present you a couple of musicals (one soft-core and one hardcore). So, enjoy!

Divine Emanuelle (1981)

I’m a big fan of Black Emanuelle, and I even published a short article covering most of them with short reviews (I don’t provide you with a link here because it’s in Greek). These were so successful that many other (mostly and usually) unrelated films featuring Laura Gemser were released or (mainly) re-released using the franchise’s name, which was an Emmanuelle rip-off to begin with anyway. That was pretty much the same story with the Django title. Such is also the case with the present film.

US Senator Benneman [Bob Burrows in his last film part] is landing in Cyprus along with his beautiful daughter [Simone Brahmann from La via della prostituzione (1978)]. Very soon she comes across and charmed by Dorian [writer/producer/composer/director Christian Anders] who is the leader of Children of Light, which is a hippie cult that resides at Camp of Love.

The people of this cult are preaching love, but they make their money by having their female members turning tricks for the locals. They call the money they receive “donations”, but last time I checked this is pretty much the same with a whorehouse. Well, I saw that coming because very early on in the film there is a shot of some old guy swearing anti-gay crap in Greek. Homophobia and misogynist horse-shit usually go together.

And, erm, the film is a musical. Okay, not exactly a musical, but there is a lot of singing, dancing, choreography, and on-tempo editing, so I don’t know what else to call it. There aren’t many songs in it though, so these few are repeated over and over again, so much that either your ears will bleed or you will be so efficiently brainwashed that you’ll probably end up believing that the soundtrack is actually good.

The cult believes in The Divine One [yes, you guessed it, Laura Gemser], and after a lot of waiting she finally decides to make an appearance, guarded by Tanga [Sascha Borysenko who is acting with his muscles]. The Divine One is preaching Gandhi and The Bible (why these two together or only these two is a mystery to me) but favors only those who are take part in group sex, if you are into monogamy then torture is the answer. But she’s also whipping herself too like many religious fundamentalists do…

As you have probably already guessed the whole thing is set up in a way that would justify the endless amounts of naked flesh parading the screen, and the various cuts to the standard soft-core fare. The interiors seem to be cheap sets, which make the attempt look like a stage-play with sex in it. Laura Gemser has sex with various white performers (both male and female) so there’s technically a lot of interracial sex here.

Driller (1984)

Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983) directed by John Landis is considered one of the greatest moments of music video history, but I have either only seen glimpses of it, or nothing at all, as I don’t remember too much about it, neither I’m interested in finding out as I’m not a big fan of either artist. Now that we got over that let’s talk a bit about its porn spoof.

“Where do you want it? In your tits? In your pussy? Or in your ass?”

The film kicks off with title cards letting us know that the producers want to spread the belief in supernatural and what we are about to see is parody of course. Other than that we see Hot Star [Mr. J] in concert (at what appears to be an underground adults-only club masquerading as a stage). Louise [Taija Rae] is having a crush with the singer and after she has a quickie with her nerd boyfriend she goes to sleep. Not for too long though, as a bunch of female dancers in torn black dresses will break into her bedroom and will soon be accompanied by the rock star that will turn into a werewolf. Said monster will take out his huge black dick which has the ability to spin around like a driller (hence the title – relevant sound effects are also provided) and penetrate her white vagina. He will then cum on her, and the colour of his sperm is black! This outrageous scene’s cinematography is great; courtesy of Sam Cosgrove. The film was produced and directed by Joyce James.

Then the action moves into a dungeon (the set design by Mark Preuss is actually brilliant) where several orgies take place (in effective ceremony-style manner), including some hot sex featuring the two aforementioned leads, but the real attraction is actress Cassandra Leigh who is gorgeous and has sex with a variety of guys. Also of note is Quasimodo who looks like the Toxic Avenger, and a few silly animation interludes.

January 30, 2015

Movie Review: "La Bamba" (1987; Columbia/Twilight Time)

...considering the historical events associated with the previous film, which this viewer partook of and reviewed, a while back, it is sort of ironic that the year 1959...closely associated anti-establishment movement, initiated by political warfare guerrilla Che Guavara...would also be the same year, which bore a headline of great tragedy, of equal precedence...media & headline-wise...and the subject of this viewer's next review...

...date line, circa 1959.....Cuban President Fulgencio Batista is forced from power, and in his place, Fidel Castro becomes the reigning Cuban Premier.....Television viewers were taken to strange, surreal and sometimes horrific places, which lay 'somewhere between the pit of man's fears, and the summit of his knowledge', with the premiere of "The Twilight Zone".....the Xerox company introduces their very first copier.....The epic film, "Ben Hur" holds it's star-studded gala premiere, in New York City.....And disaster strikes down a small, single-engined 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza plane, one fateful winter's evening, on the outskirts of Clear Lake, Iowa...the fiery crash, claiming the lives of famed rock-n-roll musicians Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson (...aka 'The Big Bopper'), and 17-year-old Richard Stevens Valenzuela, also known as Ritchie Valens.....
...Richard Valenzuela has dreams...dreams of one day, getting his mom out of the Southern California orange groves, picking and crating fruit for slaves wages, and into the home of her own dreams...dreams of getting together with his high school sweetheart, Donna, and one day, taking her away to the good life...dreams of seeing his (half) brother, Robert, find purpose in his life, despite an estranged marriage, as well as harboring and building of inner weaknesses, jealousies & securities...startlingly horrific, fearful and seemingly prophetic dreams of airplane disasters, stemming from one such air crash, which claimed the life of his best friend, in a schoolyard...but mostly, given Richard's dynamic vocal and instrumental talent, dreams that passionately cry out, a wildly unbridled love of rock 'n' roll music...
...and despite fateful intervention and momentary deterrence of such dreams, fulfilled or not, Richard finds it within himself to strive onward, despite any ensuing obstacles. Not dissuaded by Donna's father, who expresses a dislike in his daughter, forming a relationship with one of Richard's Hispanic persuasion and heritage. An elating, happenstance moment, when Richard is 'discovered' performing in a small venue, by record producer Bob Keane, of fledgling company Del-Fi records. A measure of career 'give & take', as Richard is persuaded to change his name...as he himself convinces his record-producing benefactor that a folk song, rich in Hispanic heritage, as well as accompanying Hispanic lyrics, can become a rock 'n' roll classic...and as Richard's, now dubbed 'Ritchie Valens' music career begins to skyrocket, he finds himself being forced to face the challenge of instant stardom, as well as his underlining fears, stemming from his childhood...the latter of which prophetically comes around to haunt him, one cold and wintery, fateful and tragic night on an airport runway, at the height of his career, when...at the loss of a coin toss, and wrought with a case of the flu...Ritchie is compelled to face his most dire fear, one final time.....
...and the rest?? Well, folks...the rest is rock 'n' roll legend, long since dubbed 'the night the music died' (...courtesy of folk musician Don McLean)...and boy, can Hollywood pick 'em, as far as latching onto true stories of controversy & tragedy, adding a good measure of Tinseltown fluff (...OK, so they change the facts, and embellish the truth...eh, just a tad), and grinding out a compelling, inspiring & heart-wrenching, cinematic re-enactment of history past...so heartfully and emotionally manipulating the viewing audience, often to the point of almost quite literally wringing the tears from them, like squeezing out water-soaked facial bath cloths. And of course, we all fall for this...and as such, blessed be the Hollywood writers...or at least, certain skilled ones...for doing this, for in the case of 1987's "La Bamba"...well, let's face it, my friends. It works.....
...and what makes "La Bamba" work, is far from limited to the standard 'small-town nobody becomes an overnight, sensational somebody' storyline...a standard which, ironically, was also used by Columbia Pictures, in telling the spectacular and dynamic 'rise to fame' story of musician Buddy Holly...yet another victim of that ill-fated plane crash...in "The Buddy Holly Story", from nine years earlier. Whereas, in that earlier film, one singular performance quite literally out-shined the whole movie's proceedings...affording actor Gary Busey, a well-deserved Oscar nomination...in "La Bamba", viewers relished multiple outstanding performances, not only drama-wise, but also, in the musical renderings...
...granted, we can always leave it to Hollywood to cast an outright 'pretty boy' in a dynamic, biographical role, such as this; however, with "La Bamba", we are afforded an equally dynamic performance, to go with the good looks. Star newcomer Lou Diamond Phillips, in his premiere role as Ritchie Valens, is compelling and electric, both in presence and performance...a performance that shot him well into a respectable, albeit limited period of 'flavor of the moment' stardom. And coupled with the rollicking, and equally flavorful & electric musical renderings of yet another '80's, pop-iconic institution...namely, the rock group known as Los Lobos, which Phillips was adeptly and seamlessly sync'd to, performing classic Ritchie staples, like "Donna", "Come On, Let's Go", and of course, the film's titular hit...the compelling dramatics and the legendary music proved more than complementary of each other...
...equally dynamic in the film's dramatic renderings, herein, actor Esai Morales shines, as Ritchie's angst and emotionally tortured half-brother, Bob Morales...portrayed as most tragic, in the midst of personal anguish, substance abuse, jealous as the result of his brother's rising stardom, and insecure in his ability to make his mark in the world...both professionally, and in matters of family & relationships. Elizabeth Pena and Rosanna Desoto prove dramatically crucial and engagingly adequate as Bob's abused wife, Rosie...and Bob's/Ritchie's mediating mother, Connie, respectively. Character actor Joe Pantoliano offers a great contributive and connective presence, as exploitative and sensationalist record producer Bob Keene, who in taking a chance on an impressive, albeit unknown act like Ritchie Valens, finds himself swept up in the unexpected runaway hurricane of Ritchie's fame, and finds himself taking chances, he never considered, not thought viable (...i.e., a classic folk song, called "La Bamba"...restructured into a rock 'n' roll phenomenon, and yet still keeping the Hispanic lyrics?? In his words...'It'll never work..."). Surprisingly enough, it genuinely didn't hit this reviewer, at engaging the film after so many years, that he'd seen actress Danielle Von Zerneck, previously...who herein plays Ritchie's girlfriend, Donna, a young and impressionable young woman, torn by her parent's adamant demands, with regards to her relationships, as well as her appreciative, albeit overwhelmed reaction to Ritchie's rising fame...the actress herself, having appeared in yet another '80's movie staple, from two years previous...namely the 1985 rollicking fantasy/comedy/adventure, "My Science Project"...
...the fine folks over at Twilight Time, has herein afforded us avid viewers and film collector's a great print of "La Bamba" (...once again, in a limited edition...a mere 3,000 copies)...exceptionally flawed, so to speak, in that the artful 'flaw' of the print, greatly serves to exude the overall arid and dusty aura, which exemplified and atmospherically emphasized the Southern California flavor, as well as of that of the more exotic, weathered and parched moments in south-of-the-border Tijuana, both of that particular time in history. To have de-emphasized that 'flaw', would have been akin to doing the film, a measure of injustice, setting-wise. But where the film really stands out, as should be expected, is the sound of the proceedings...especially in the music soundtrack, which reflects a dynamic clarity and engaging fluidity...making the dramatic proceedings and musical performances, all the more exciting and emotionally rousing...
...unique in it's ability to find applicable fervor in both the time period in which the film depicts, as well as an accented sense and feel of a film, most assuredly produced in the '80's, "La Bamba"...with it's engrossing storytelling, and compelling characterizations, remains quite an engagingly manipulative film, emotionally...without necessarily wringing those selfsame emotions from the viewer...and although the powers-that-be, as far as the able-bodied writers of the film, took the occasional liberty, story-wise...if at the very least, to further work up the drama...this exceptional film does exactly what a biographical film of this particular ilk...the classic and timeless 'nobody becomes somebody'...was meant to do: To make such historical characters, vibrant, embraceable, relatable and sympathetic...and leave us not forget, inspirational...
...with "La Bamba"...so damn easy to get caught up in the compelling story of this rock legend, and in the process, become so emotionally wracked at the ensuing tragedy, which ended the brief, albeit rocketing career of such a legend...well, one cannot help but take a cue from Ritchie's half-brother, Bob...proceed to that fateful bridge overpass, throw one's fisted arms back in anguish, and sadly cry out to the heavens..."...Ritchie!!!".....

January 20, 2015

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - To Be Takei

Kevin Moyers reviews a documentary about a pop culture icon.

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January 15, 2015

ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT AND AMPLIFY PRESENT VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE AVAILABLE ON DVD ON FEBRUARY 3rd

Executive Produced By Zach Braff, Video Games: The Movie Features Gamer And Geek Icons Chris Hardwick, Donald Faison, Wil Wheaton, And More!

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Entertainment and Amplify present Jeremy Snead’s VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE, the fascinating chronicle of the meteoric rise of video games from nerd niche to multi-billion dollar industry.  Executive produced by Zach Braff (Garden State, “Scrubs”) and narrated by Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), the documentary features in-depth interviews with some of the industry’s biggest gamer and geek icons.  A celebration of gaming from Atari to Xbox, as well as an eye-opening look at what lies ahead, VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE will be available on DVD on February 3, 2015 for an SRP of $22.98.



VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE features interviews with the godfathers who started it all, the icons of game design, and the geek gurus who are leading us into the future, including Nolan Bushnell (Atari, Inc.), Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist Podcast), Donald Faison (Kick-Ass 2, “Scrubs”), Cliff Bleszinski (“Gears of War,” “Unreal”), Warren Spector (“Deus Ex,” “System Shock”), Hiroyuki Kobayashi (“Resident Evil”), Clare Grant (Danger Maiden Productions, Team Unicorn), Doug Tennapel (“Earthworm Jim”), Palmer Luckey (Oculus Rift), Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”), and Alison Haislip (“Attack of the Show”).  The documentary made its way to the big screen via a successfully-funded Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $100,000 in just 35 days.

January 14, 2015

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

Peggy Christie reviews of one of the more boring horror films she's ever seen.

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Movie Review: "Che!" (1969; 20th Century Fox/Twilight Time)

...now, admittedly and...well, more than a little embarrassingly (...considering that I often make claim to being a respectably knowledgeable history buff), in going into this film for the very first time, recently, this reviewer quite literally knew nothing about the main protagonist herein...this (...squinting through reading glasses, at the disc's film's capsule synopsis) Che Guevara...though I do recall his artistically poignant impact on pop culture visuals, as well as his subsequent impact on the establishment-bashing youth of the time, without really knowing who he was. If anything, at that very young age, I was...at the very least...dimly aware of, and inundated with the media inklings and breaking news broadcasts of what was happening, as well as what had happened, in Cuba's rather torrent and controversial history, from the early sixties, up through the dawn of the '70's decade; at least I had something to go on...something, in an attempt to match the historical person depicted, with the history associated with him...

...and so, in preparing to examine the film, presented before this reviewer...first things, first. And as a certain other pop culture icon recently 'suggested', albeit a humorously diabolical one..."...git' yourself a Trapper Keeper and some loose leaf, 'cause you're about to get schooled, son!!"
...spinning short, the history of Che Guevara...that is, as it is herein presented in the particular filmed rendition of the story, which we are gathered here for...as opposed to than the rather extensive textbook reflection on the person (...as anyone venturing the pages of an 'every-man' contributing Wikipedia, might be well prepared to encounter), here's the short-form 'skinny': In the warfare-violent throes of the Cuban Revolution, circa mid-to-late '50's, Che Guevara, a young and ambitious Argentine field doctor quickly and charismatically finds himself thrust up through the ranks of the warfare campaign, and as such, gains the respect of not only the fighters of his assigned patrol, but eventually, the attention of Fidel Castro, himself, who in having been impressed with Che's charisma, sense of discipline and suggestive tactics, unprecedentedly makes him his chief military advisor...
...driven by ever-increasing, egotistic ambition and vision, Che manages to effect influential, behind-the-scenes tactics, in Castro's determined campaign towards the defeat and overthrow of Fulgencio Batista, the then-reigning president of Cuba. So influential and charismatic was Che's effect, during the on-going Revolution, that Castro himself, often times, found himself almost dependent upon Che. And in considering this dependence, coupled with a sense of inner paranoia and a growing sense that such dependence would be construed as weakness, Castro instills a measure of disillusionment in Che, who in turn chooses to leave Cuba, after Castro makes the monumental decision to back down on his posture, during the famed Cuban Missile Crisis...
...making his way to Bolivia, amidst his disillusionment...convinced that Castro had become a way-too easily wielded 'puppet' of the Soviet Union...Che, believing that his influence would be better applied to that of directing blind visionary, world-wide peasant revolt, instead finds his power waning, in the light of those whom progressively refuse to fight and die for his 'cause'...a cause which in Che's eyes, they had failed to see, though in truth, all they wanted to be, is left alone. And defiant to the last...quite literally...Che is driven from his self-imposed post, and pursued into exile, by the Bolivian forces, whom he had hoped to influence...

...and as compelling, as well as interesting as this character study presents itself as, the overall affect of the film, is surprisingly enough, one of exceptional lacking, and at the same time, that of pure and unadulterated exploitation. For the former, considering the renowned pedigree of writer's prowess involved...namely that of screenplay writer Michael Wilson, of "The Bridge on the River Kwai", "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Sandpiper" fame...it is discerning to see the life of such a charismatic and influential character, such as Che Guevara, covered so lightly, so matter-of-fact, and so fleeting. Most assuredly, an interesting character in world history, one can't help, upon viewing this incarnation of history, in wanting ever-so-much to know more about him; most viewers may well find themselves very much short-changed, in this respect, and ultimately would have to wait just short of 40 years, for an even more compelling, complex and thorough telling of Che's story (...circa, director Steven Soderbergh's 2008's "Che", starring Benicio del Toro in the title role)...

...however, where this particular "Che!" seems to succeed foremost, is in the unconventional reveling and exploitation of the character, which at the time of the film's release, such uplifting of character, might not have been so unconventionally marked, as the mid-to-late '90's was replant with a social embrace...especially that of impressionable youth...of anti-heroic characters and symbols, who historically had managed to stand out in the sense that they were rebelliously bucking the 'system' or 'establishment, who was alternately determined to demonize the man...a reciprocative concept that is wholly reflected in "Che!", by the titular character. And as often happens with such embraceably charismatic and compellingly outspoken persons, such as Che Guevara, such revelry of character becomes indelibly stamped in social and pop culture. And as prevalent as such imagery appeared...especially with the splashy-colored, Warhol-ish, pop art visage of Che, which was damn near inescapable, at the time...the film itself, with opportunist fervor, gleefully capitalized on the social appeal of the character, with this film...
...and said opportunist approach to the film, clearly seems to make it's mark, even in the film's casting...especially for the role of Che, as portrayed by actor Omar Sharif...whose uncanny resemblance to to the character appears more than coincidental...to the point of being almost gimmicky. Unfortunately, given the character's embarrassingly spoken retory...very much unbecoming of someone, the caliber of actor Sharif...it only in appearance, where the sense of similarity comes to...well, not so much a screeching halt, but enough to instill into viewers, moments of "...wh-wh-what??" Not that the spoken dialogue doesn't necessarily associate with the characters; it is the actual interaction between characters, which elicits sometimes campy, sometimes offensive, and often times chuckle-inducing un-realism...especially when Che engages conversation with the unusually restrained Jack Palance's mis-interpretation of Castro (...for a high profile character like this, you want to see the character, not the actor playing the character...in this case, one doesn't see Castro, but instead sees Jack Palance AS Castro)...the whole of which is reduced to, and equates to something not unlike that of a Hispanic 'Odd Couple'...not unlike that of a constantly bickering married couple...

...as with many of director Richard Fliescher's productions (...Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", "Soylent Green", "Fantastic Voyage" and "The Jazz Singer" hardly begins to list his renowned work), , the film is very rich and thick in scenic atmosphere and land-sweeping visuals; the harshness, intensity and instability of the Cuban Revolution conflict is strikingly envisioned, herein...though admittedly, at time, more than a bit cliched and stereotyped. This observation couldn't possibly be more evident, with the addition of brief eyewitness moments, proceeding each beat-by-choreographed-beat of Che's contributrive events in the Revolution conflict...some, praising him...some, hatefully critical...some, with indifference...but often, appearing as 'fake' as the typical forced-smiling used car salesman...
...despite how compellingly negligible "Che!" might well be perceived and almost forgotten, Twilight Time still manages to procure a rather beautiful print of the film...exuding the bravura intent and feel of the film's moment in time, alas which ultimately proved for naught, in what culminated into a rather embarrassing depiction of political history, as seen by critics and general audiences alike, upon initial release. Playing up the more exploitative aspects of the film, a behind-the-scenes short, as well as a provided movie trailer totes Che Guevara as alternately, the anti-hero and a sort of 'establishment'-monikered 'gangster', who's juxstapositioned place in history, had him subsequently marked with sole responsibility for the anti-war revelry, which pretty much ran parallel during the time of the Cuban Revolution, as well as the simultaneous Vietnam War...
...in engaging and reflecting upon "Che!", this viewer cannot help but be reminded of a poignant line spoken by actor Christopher Walken, in 1993's "True Romance", where he says, "...what we got here is a little game of show and tell. You don't wanna tell me nothin', but you're showin' me everything..." Reaching back to a reminiscent lump in the back of my head, I also fondly recall the countless times my high school teacher thunked me resoundly, back there, after finding out that I had 'cheated' on some literature, by reading the Cliff Notes, rather than the actual, much more extensive and informative literary work. "Che!" seems to work a lot like that, in the sense that it shows a lot...the scenery, the atmosphere, the characters...but it really doesn't say much, in the long run...basically, an example of the bare-bones-basic cinematic equivalent of Cliff Notes...and for such a compellingly stand-out, anti-heroic, charismatic, though self-misguided character, such as Che Guevara...well, let's just say that after viewing 1969's "Che!", most people will find that the character is assuredly deserving of more than this, that the dramatic proceedings are rather lacking, and as such, leave most wanting more. However, as an exercise in the type of exploitation, which was beginning to assume prevalence, around this time, "Che!" definitely satisfies, in that respect...

...going in, it all depends upon what one is looking for, herein...the harsh reality, or the pure and unadulterated sensationalism. For the former, one would probably be best in checking out the 2008 Soderbergh production, instead (...or perhaps, even the acclaimed 2004 production, "The Motorcycle Diaries"); for the latter, however...well, how about that?? You, my friends, just happen to be in the right place.....

January 13, 2015

Movie Review: Under Fire (1983)

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell


Nicaragua, 1979: The populace is under the iron-fisted rule of President Anastasio Somoza. Photographer Russell Price (Nick Nolte) is on the scene to capture scenes of the burgeoning civil war for the American mainstream media. It’s not all work and no play. Price has his eye on the gorgeous journalist Claire (Joanna Cassidy) who’s in the process of breaking up with the egotistical Alex Grazier (Gene Hackman), indifferent to the death and upheaval around him as he plots his career as a news anchor. The trio is pulled into the conflict when it becomes obvious that they can’t remain neutral to the fascistic forces of Somoza and the Sandinista rebels. Throwing their purported, professional objectivity into bold relief are the actions of cheerfully amoral mercenary soldier Oates (George Romero discovery Ed Harris), who guns down unarmed civilians for quick cash. Using his photographic skills to prolong the rebel’s efforts, Price and his friends face an even bigger quandary: Are they merely unseating the old boss, who in the words of The Who, “is same as the old boss?”

January 12, 2015

Best MST3K Episodes to Fall Asleep To

mst3kHulu
by Andy Ladewski

Welcome o' Tims of the Internet! Many of you don't know this about me, but I have problems sleeping. Since the advent of the streaming TV service I have been experimenting with different television programs and movies to find the perfect ones to fall asleep to. First off let me introduce you to the sleep gradient.

Sleep GradientAs you can see the sleep gradient shows "Too interesting" on one side and "Too boring" on the other with the sweet spot just right of center. Here is my reasoning. If the program is too interesting you want to stay awake to watch it, completely defeating the purpose of watching to begin with. If the program is too boring you will tune it out and think about all the various things in the real world that keep you awake at night. So the sweet spot is just interesting enough to make you forget your problems, and just boring enough to slowly lull you into a comfortable sleep. Mystery Science Theater 3000 or MST3K was a show in the late 80s and most of the 90s where a guy (Joel or Mike) Watched bad movies with a couple of puppet robots making wiseass remarks all throughout. Because they got some of the worst films in cinema history, its a great program to probe for the perfect falling asleep program! One thing to note, I like the Mike Nelson episodes of MST3K better than the Joel episodes. I haven't watched all the Joel episodes yet and this will most likely be another list. I just watched "Manos: The Hands of Fate" yesterday, It will most likely make the top 5!  

January 11, 2015

Movie Review: The Crown and the Dragon (2013)

I love a good dragon movie! Except when it’s about slaying dragons. Then I’m all ‘WTF, a-holes?’ I don’t get many fantasy movies in my CHC care packages so it’s a refreshing change of pace from the usual rubber guts and cheap CGI and poorly written scripts.

Well, at least this one didn’t have the rubber guts.

The Crown and the Dragon has a three-week voice over in the beginning, explaining the terrible Trelanis or Vitalians who decided to conquer nearby lands filled with Dagons or Derins (honestly, I heard every possible pronunciation of these people and I STILL don’t know what the fuck they are all called). Let’s just call them The Douchevanians and The Lameites.

January 2, 2015

Movie Review: The Vanishing (1993)

Directed by George Sluizer

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

The 1988 Dutch original, Spoorloos: Rex (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia (Johanna ter Steege) are on vacation when they have a spat. Stopping at a roadside convenience store, Saskia mysteriously disappears. Rex searches and searches but Saskia has seemingly vanished off the face of the Earth. Years later, local academic Raymond (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) telephones Rex saying that he knows what happened to Saskia contacts him. After a mysterious car ride with the apprehensive Rex and the coolly evil Raymond, the academic says that her disappearance was an experiment in evil he undertook after his daughter proclaimed him a “hero” after saving a drowning child. Rex finds out what happened to Saskia – and the audience stumbles out of the theater as if kicked in the stomach. 

The 1993 American remake, same director: Jeff (Kiefer Sutherland) and Diane (a young Sandra Bullock) are on vacation when they have a spat. Stopping at a roadside convenience store, Diane mysteriously disappears. Jeff searches and searches but Diane has seemingly vanished off the face of the Earth. Years later, local academic Barney (Jeff Bridges) telephones Jess saying he knows what happened to Diane. After a mysterious car ride with the apprehensive Jeff and the coolly evil Barney, the academic says that her disappearance was an experiment in evil he undertook after his daughter proclaimed him a “hero” after saving a drowning child. Jeff finds out what happened to Diane – but in the meantime, his hard-as-nails waitress girlfriend Rita (Nancy Travis) has followed Jeff’s tracks, and turns the tables on the professor. The film ends with laughter and smiles.

January 1, 2015

Secondhand Smut #3


Back in April 2014, I announced the closure of the Secondhand Smut column. But the truth is, you just can’t end bad habits. Believe me, I know because I’ve been chain-smoking for the past 16 years.

Now, I had plans for the third installment to cover my findings from May, June, and July 2014, but I simply couldn’t find anything worthy to include here. This changed on September 2014, when my friend Periklis took me to a flea market I wasn’t aware of. This was the kind of place I needed; one of the first things I noticed was a DVD of Hot Asian Girls next to the bible. I bought neither, but you get the point. The beast was unleashed.

3 pulp books I bought for only 2€

Carnal Marriage

Oh, I just love how this book smells like old pulp shit. This smell reminds me of seedy basements full of porn books that grandfathers used to read while grandmothers were unaware watching television. More than 20 years ago, I broke into such a basement and found a box full of Gérard de Villiers books.

Anyway, the back cover of Carnal Marriage lists some other books by the same publisher (Βιβλιοθήκη για Όλους – Library for All), and those include the works of Nietzsche, Frued, etc. Also, the first page tells us that the publisher faced charges for this book, but those were dropped.

December 30, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: The Podcast! #142 - End of the Beer 2014

Kevin and Jeff have a few beers and discuss their favorite movies of 2014. They also talk about a few events over the year in the entertainment world.

Click here to listen or right click and choose "Save Link As..." to download.

You can always email us at cinemaheadcheese@yahoo.com or tweet us @CinHeadCheese.

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December 27, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - The Interview

Kevin Moyers and Sam Poe talk about their Christmas Day viewing of the controversial comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco..

Click here to listen or right click and choose "Save Link As..." to download.

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December 26, 2014

Movie Review: Audrey Rose (1977)

Directed By Robert Wise

Movie review by Greg Goodsell

Bill and Janice Templeton (John Beck and Marsha Mason) are a wealthy New York City couple who live in their sumptuous apartment with their 13-year-old daughter Ivy (Susan Swift). Things are just great until a bearded stranger (Hannibal Lechter himself, Anthony Hopkins) begins shadowing Janice and Ivy at school and on the city streets. The man comes forward to the Templetons, says his name is Elliot Hoover, and in a roundabout way says that their Ivy is in fact the reincarnation of his daughter Audrey Rose who died along with her mother in a car wreck two minutes before Ivy's birth. In lieu of taking him out on the street and giving him a sound thrashing (macho actor John Beck was in Rollerball in 1975, after all), the seed of doubt is planted in the Templeton’s minds. Ivy has suffered from a series of night terrors from a very early age that have amazing fidelity to being burned alive in a car wreck. The reappearance of her former “father” only escalates Ivy’s convulsions, and slowly but surely Janice’s confidence in the rational begins to crack. The matter winds up in a courtroom – and it all ends rather badly for Ivy/Audrey.

December 22, 2014

Book Review: Christmas is Cancelled (2013, Splatterpunk)

I am a huge fan of twisted, irreverent holiday tales. Take institutions that have been around, sometimes for hundreds of years, and twist them until those institutions are absolutely unrecognizable. That, my friends, is true subversion. The fact that one would be willing to pervert the iconic ideas and imagery that many people hold dear is a testament to that artist’s desire to be a discordant voice, challenging the singsong of the majority who follow one another blindly, sheepishly, in a three part harmony of tradition. Christmas is Cancelled by Dan Henk, the first in a series of extreme horror chapbooks released by Splatterpunk in the UK, shoots straight for the heart of our highly-stylized Christmas traditions with a kill shot and, by all accounts, is mostly successful.

Buy Christmas is Cancelled HERE.

December 17, 2014

Movie Review: The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)

Directed by Stanley Kramer

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

The year is 1943 and fascist dictator Benito Mussolini has met his bullet-ridden fate. The Italian mountain town of Santa Vittoria has largely escaped the ravages of World War II. Bombolini (Anthony Quinn), the town drunk begins to erase his pro-Mussolini graffiti off the town water tower and has to be coaxed down. The town's fascist sympathizers, fearing bloody reprisals from the villagers, hastily make Bombolini the town's mayor, much to the chagrin of his overbearing fish wife Rosa (who else but Anna Magnani). The still drunken Bombolini surprisingly institutes much positive change in the town. Word reaches his ears that a Nazi contingent, led by Captain von Prum (Hardy Kruger) will arrive shortly, to confiscate the town's only asset, millions of bottles of wine. Bombolini convinces the villagers to transfer the countless bottles of wine to a nearby mountain stronghold by hand (lots of spectacular footage here). When the Nazis arrive, will the village give a united front that there is no more wine left in town …?

The Secret of Santa Vittoria is a most welcome surprise. Directed by Stanley Kramer, it's possibly the sunniest and most carefree movie ever involving Italy in the throes of World War II. (The definitive filmed retelling on the effects of fascist Italy on small town life remains Federico Fellini's Amacord (1975), but that's neither here nor there –) The emphasis on this film, in spite of its many scenes of spectacle in wide-screen photography, is Quinn's struggle to redeem himself. The elements driving the conflict at large are still there. The villainous fascists remain present, still trying to hold their influence on the townspeople. But as it has been noted elsewhere, the character of Captain von Krum is the nicest Nazi this side of TV's “Hogan's Heroes.” As played by Kruger, it appears that this soldier is very much aware that the Axis is rapidly disintegrating, and is chiefly there to quaff some regional spirits and chase some Italian skirt about. T must be noted that some of the fascists meet their comeuppance in an ironic way, but this is all kept off-screen.

December 16, 2014

Movie Review: Rosemary’s Baby (2014)

Trust me. If this remake hadn’t been included in my latest CHC package, I never would have watched it. It’s not necessarily a film that makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork previously used by a leper with herpes but it’s not something I would recommend anyone else watch. Ever.

Rosemary’s Baby, for those of you that don’t know, was a narrow book written by Ira Levin in 1967. It was originally adapted for the screen in 1968 starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, and directed by Roman Polanski. The basic premise of the story is as follows (again, for you newbs - spoilers ahead):

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into a high rise apartment building. Quickly befriended by an older couple, Minnie and Roman Castevet, who seem to be benefactors and meddlers at the same time. Guy is a struggling actor but things quickly fall into place for his success, mainly by the competition going inexplicably blind. Coincidence this happens AFTER Guy befriends the old couple? Wait and see, young viewer.

Guy and Rosemary decide to have a baby and on the night of conception, Rosemary is drugged and hallucinates being raped by a demon. Or does she? Now pregnant, her first few months are agony - constant pain, nausea, weight loss. Though her friends try to convince her to seek help, she trusts the advice of the doctor recommended by the Castevets. When her pregnancy improves, she seems to forget about all her previous worries.

December 10, 2014

Movie Review: Anna (2013)

“Memories can’t be trusted but it’s all the truth we have.” Based on a true story... Just kidding. This flick isn’t based on anything real. If it were, we’d all be so far up shit creek I can’t even think of a funny punchline.

Anna is a present day story but in this reality, the world has something called Memory Detectives. There are certain people who can enter the memories of others. This is particularly helpful when trying to solve crime. Granted, the found memories don’t hold a lot of weight in court (which they tell us a bazillion times) as DNA is truly the best evidence but they can play key roles in finding out hidden truths.

John is one of these detectives. His boss, Sebastian, brings him in on an old case involving a young girl named Anna. Sebastian treated her years ago, when she was just barely out of knickers (or whatever the female equivalent is of a boy from the 1920s) but could not help her. She’s now gone on a hunger strike and her parents are desperate.

December 4, 2014

Movie Review: Ashes of Eden (2014)

Truth is a rare thing at this level of feature film production. It is incredibly difficult to provide a product in a certain budget range, regardless of genre, that completely upholds the suspension of disbelief that is the contract between filmmaker and audience. This isn’t to say that no film can accomplish this, they can. It is just indicative of the time and care utilized in creating the film. This is exactly why writer/director Shane Hagedorn’s Ashes of Eden works… it feels honest and is a poignant tale of violence and redemption even with its modest budget.

Playing out like a gritty, urban and modern Les Miserables, Ashes of Eden tells the story of Red (Steven Sutherland), a troubled kid that is generally in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wants to do the right thing, but the world of this story is not black and white. In order to help his police officer mother (Melissa Anschutz) from financial disaster, Red makes the wrong choice to steal from ruthless drug dealers and gets wrapped up in the brutal world that two rival dealers (Carlucci Weylant and indie stalwart D. J. Perry) have created. Red’s life will never be the same.