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December 30, 2014

Movie Review: New Year's Evil (1980)

The concept is cool. A maniacal killer plans on killing someone in a different time zone from California to New York at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, the concept is all New Year’s Evil has going for it. Except for the unintentional comedy, that is. Come with me, dear reader, and travel across this fine country of ours from the hypodermic needle-laden beaches of the Pacific Ocean all the way to the condom-infested shores of the Atlantic Ocean. We will see the country, the heartland, the major cities and the small towns… or maybe not. The whole while we will listen to Pinky Tuscadero’s punk rock New Year’s Slamdancing Eve Show and party to the sounds of mis-cast victims. Sing with me! May old acquaintance be forgot and hopefully this film, too!

Movie Review: Darkman (Blu-ray, 1990)

When Sam Raimi bursted on the horror scene in 1981 with the classic Evil Dead (1981), it was inevitable that respect for the talent of this young writer / director would bring Raimi a new level that would propel his career in the genre film ranks. The Evil Dead captivated horror fans all over the world and even caught the eye of the legendary Stephen King. Amazingly, it wasn’t until his 1987 sequel, Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn where he really started to get his career into top gear. Just a couple years later Raimi was able to direct his most ambitious project at the time, the superhero / Phantom of the Opera mash-up Darkman. After the success of Darkman, Raimi’s career was given a new life that would make him into box office gold with the Spiderman trilogy.

Scream Factory has been no stranger in grabbing the right to some of the finer genre films from the past few decades. Fans of Darkman will be happy to know that thanks to Scream Factory and Shout! Factory you can now see Darkman looking better than ever in the High-def format with all kinds of fun supplementary materials.

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.

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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..

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December 21, 2014

Movie Review: Silent Night (2012, Anchor Bay)

The Silent Night, Deadly Night series has been a pretty formidable franchise since the first movie debuted in 1984. The series has never been quite near the Halloween or the Friday the 13th series in box office receipts as most sequels went straight to video - but the killer Santa flicks accumulated a fan base worldwide. Naturally a remake was going to happen. Sure there are some good remakes but many of us horror geeks (especially over 30) hold our noses at the thought our movie’s legacies being tarnished. Director Steven C. Miller ( The Aggression Scale) and writer Jayson Rothwell take the challenge with their re-imagining Silent Night.

It's Christmas Eve and bodies seem to be piling up all over for a small town in Wisconsin. This maniac has certain targets in mind - fornicators, snotty kids, pornographers and lecherous priests are at the top of his list. Finding out just who is behind these brutal killings is up to a young officer named Audrey Bradimore (Jaime King, My Bloody Valentine and Mother's Day remakes). With the help of Sheriff Cooper (played by the incomparable, Malcolm McDowell) the duo scope out the town so the killer Santa Claus doesn't slaughter anymore victims.

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.

December 2, 2014

Movie Review: Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

Day 9 of the David Hayes 12 Days of Christmas Crap Review-a-Palooza and the weather outside is frightful… somewhere else. I’m in Arizona. Ha! Wow, this Palooza thing isn’t good for my mental health. Officially add ‘spiteful’ alongside ‘bitter’ on my chart, doctor.

On the ninth day of Christmas, the Head Cheese gave to me… a sucky sequel to a classic movie.

Good or bad, the intention of a sequel, at least in the horror genre, is supposed to expand on the themes and storyline of the original film. We’ve seen it done well, like Aliens and we’ve seen it done poorly, like Alien 3. Regardless, each of these films took the original idea and brought it to a different world on a grander scale. Look at the original Leprechaun, for example. Five films later and we’re in space. Not good, but bigger. That is the entire point. This is how sequels have worked ever since the concept was invented (with 1933’s The Son of Kong). This doesn’t apply, apparently, to Christmas slasher films. I love the original Silent Night, Deadly Night from 1984. It’s cheesy and dopey but the film had guts. A lot of other people liked it, too. Some of them, like Lee Harry, liked it so much he took a bunch of footage from the original, cut out the gore, added the brother of the original killer in a ‘grown up’ psychiatric interview and released it as Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. It’s like the Dradel Song, second verse same as the first

November 26, 2014

Movie Review: Carnal Haven (1976) and Her Last Fling (1977)

Directed by Carlos Tobalina (as Troy Benny and Bruce Van Buren, respectively)

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

It's the Seventies – in San Francisco – and porno workhorse Carlos Tobalina has gathered the usual gang of idiots in order to make skin flicks! Tobalina is so proud in his part of this sexual revolution for profit that he hid behind not one, but two pseudonyms to rush these features to the Adults Only movie houses. Suddenly, the prospect of an evening of washing dishes and dusting bookshelves seems more enticing …

Under his nom de porn Troy Benny, Tobalina gives us Carnal Haven. In a lengthy introduction told in title cards, Benny/Tobalina says his negligible flesh feature will change our lives for the better! How, we don't know. We are introduced to some married couples in the Baghdad by the Bay, doing what married couples do best, i.e. kvetching about money. “Blacks tend to have larger families. Does this mean they are happier?” asks the voice-over narration. We are then introduced to sex therapists who tend to the couples' mounting sexual frustration with group orgies. “Shell,” the actress playing the female therapist does a fairly good job laying down a good pseudo-scientific line of patter on sexual positions, in spite of her filthy, disheveled hair. Ken Scudder, who played the lovable doofus hitchhiker in Curt McDowell's Thundercrack! (1975) doesn't quite cut it as the male half of the therapeutic duo. The film's raison d'arte is indifferently filmed orgy scenes, which gobble up (pun intended) the majority of the film's running time.

November 25, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Brooks and The Boz

Kevin Moyers does a documentary double feature of Mel Brooks: Make a Noise and the 30 for 30 profile of Brian Bosworth, Brian and the Boz.

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November 23, 2014

Movie Review: Rage (2014)

Directed by Paco Cabezas

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

“This whole mess stinks,” weary Irish Mafia hit man Danny (Michael McGrady) sighs at one point. You're telling me. It was with deep dread that this DVD was submitted to ye humble reviewer, Nicolas Cage's distorted mug prominently featured on the cover. Sure, Cage previously turned in some good performances in halfway decent movies before such as Raising Arizona and Vampire's Kiss, but those days are long past. Cage last starred in the Christian rapture film Left Behind (2014), itself a remake of a 14-year-old film in the role Kirk Cameron played in! Let that sink in for a moment.

Yes, Cage's acting career has long gone down the porcelain convenience by this point, but just before he signed on to Left Behind he found time to star in the violent actioner Rage, released sans rating by the MPAA. Cage stars as Paul Maguire, a successful businessman with a highly shady past in the Irish mob. Fixing to host his lovely daughter Caitlin's Sweet Sixteen party at his former colleagues' dive bar (Max Ryan and McGrady), these plans are put on ice when after she's abducted in a break-in burglary and kidnapping at home with two male friends. After she turns up dead with a gunshot wound to the head, Cage vows vengeance on those responsible. Rallying his buddies, Cage begins the methodical thinning out of the local Russian Mafia. His friend the police commissioner (Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon series – not looking so good these days) advises him to let justice take its course. There are some good car chase scenes and a shock, surprise ending – due to some shoddy detective work on the part of the police in this film! If anything, Cage's character was justified in taking the law into his own hands.

November 21, 2014

Movie Review: Companeros (1970)

Directed by Sergio Corbucci

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Franco Nero is a most unlikely Swedish arms dealer named Yodlaf Peterson out to make easy money in revolutionary 19th Century Mexico. Franco's English track voice has a defiantly Italian accent – of no consequence, it just adds to the fun). Eurotrash favorite Tomas Milian plays a Mexican bandito out to have good time, and give Yodladf a hard time along the way. Both are recruited by the local warlord to retrieve a pacifist college Professor Xantos(Fernando Rey) who holds the combination to a safe that holds gold bullion to fund the ongoing revolution. Nero and Milian trek great distances to Texas in order to spring the professor, playing a series of practical jokes on each other along the way. Jack Palance, as a one-armed villain with faithful pet falcon – he could have walked off the set of the “Batman” TV series – is out to get both of them.

Many have cited Companeros as their favorite “spaghetti western.” It's an easy film to like: very light on plot, powered by the charisma of its two male leads. Both Nero and Milian thwart disaster at the last minute at every turn, but make no mistake: director Sergio Corbucci was the mastermind behind the brutally nihilistic The Great Silence (1968). Companeros has a moral that many would disagree with, that violence is frequently necessary to protect the good and innocent. But fear not, as the film is not intended as a sermon, but as an undemanding popcorn muncher.

Movie Review: Forever's End (2013)

Directed by JC Schroeder

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Sarah White (Charity Farrel) lives on a bucolic farm in the middle of nowhere where it is eternally springtime six years after an unspecified apocalypse has left her the last person on Earth. She whiles away her days doing housework and harvesting organic vegetables, occasionally drifting into reveries about a terrible tragedy involving herself and her father in an urban alleyway. One day her sister Lily (Lili Reinhart) shows up on her doorstep during a rainstorm. She refuses to tell Sarah where's she's been but drops ominous hints … “You really don't remember what happened, do you?” A male figure comes snooping around the farmhouse late one night and Sarah shoots him dead, stashing the body in the barn.  A tall, dark stranger named Ryan then appears, who assures Sarah that the world didn't end, and that they're people and cities a few days walking distance away. Lily isn't keen on Ryan; like her, he's playing mind games with our heroine: “You don't remember who I am, do you?” Tensions arise among the various personalities involved, and the aforementioned traumatic past event comes colliding into the dream-like present. Sarah learns the real reason behind her isolation – for better or worse. 

Movie Review: In the House of the Flies (2013)

Directed by Gabriel Carrer

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Steve (Ryan Kotack) and Heather (Lindsay Smith) are a young couple out for a night of fun when they return to their car. Their booby-trapped vehicle is permeated with knockout gas, and the two lovebirds pass out unconscious to awake into a nightmare scenario: A filthy cellar made of gray cinder blocks without a means of escape. Left with a wastebasket to hold their bodily wastes, Steve and Heather are then subjected to a series of tests by an unseen madman (Ryan Barrett) who communicates with them through an old dial telephone sans its dial. Starved and denied water, Steve and Heather are commanded into a series of degrading tests in order to live another day. Things get worse and worse and worse until Heather drops a bomb on Steve: She's carrying his child. What do you suppose happens next? It does …

In the House of the Flies is an especially grueling horror film, devoid of any aesthetic beauty and a story that can only go from bad to worse to even worse. The film is an endurance test for the viewer, which, as these types of projects usually are, dares the audience to see what happens next. Grisly and relentless, it must be noted, however that since the couple's ordeal goes into weeks, that Heather's hair remains fluffy clean and Steve's beard barely goes past the two-day stubble phase. A story with a starkly simple premise makes these little inconsistencies stand out.

November 15, 2014

Movie Review: The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

Directed by Steve Rash

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

It’s a good thing that Buddy Holly (Gary Busey) – real name, Charles Hardin Holley was one of the first rock and rollers as he went directly against everything we presume about rock and rollers. Long and gangly, sporting nerd spex and white socks, Holly loved his parents, was a hard worker, went to church, loved his wife, didn’t do drugs and most importantly – wasn’t afraid to use his fists to defend his artistic integrity. All of the above flies in the face of most rock musicians, in particular those who under the advice of impresarios are told to stop doing the type of music they want to play in order to court the recent, popular trends in popular music. Holly wrote the book on what today passes for rock music, and he was persecuted and misunderstood for doing so in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas. 

Holly truly broke down borders – both musical and racial with his rock and roll. A Nashville recording session where Holly’s hits are given a country-swing arrangement, the record producer telling Holly “We don’t do nigra music here” ending in fisticuffs. Buddy Holly and the Crickets were the first white band to play Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, where an initially dismayed audience quickly learned his brand of boogie. Marrying a Puerto Rican woman, Maria Elena (Maria Richwine) Holly would have the wind knocked out of him when his bandmates Ray Bob (Charles Martin Smith) and  Jesse (Don Stroud) head back to Texas, leaving him without backup in New York City. Encouraged to tour, Buddy has a fateful plane flight, ending his life and career at the impossibly young age of 22.

November 11, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - 30 for 30: Elway to Marino

Kevin Moyers is in a football mood, and he reviews a documentary about the famous 1983 NFL draft.

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Movie Review: Beneath the Harvest Sky (2013)

Directed by Aron Gaudet and Kavita Pullapilly

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Casper (Emory Cohen) and Dominic (Callan McAuliffe) are best buds since forever. Counting the days they graduate or drop out of high school, the two burnouts do the best that they can in their rural Maine town across from the Canadian border: Make out with girls, chug beer, chase moose and deal a little drugs on the side. They dream of saving up enough money to move to Boston in order to see the Red Sox play. Dominic’s dad Clayton, (Aidan Gillen from “Game of Thrones”) has a somewhat lucrative illegal prescription drug business on the side, and he’s intent on schooling his son on the ways of this world, or in his words, being “spokes in a fucked-up wheel.” In the meantime, Dominic’s creepy uncle “Badger” (Timm Sharp) is working with law enforcement authorities to send Clayton up the river. Casper and Dominic have their hopes and dreams, but good things never come out of these types of scenarios. It all comes crashing down violently – who will live to see another day?

Movie Review: Locked In (2010)

Directed by Suri Krishnamma

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

“The story moves through the lives of two fragile yet determined people and maps a private geography of love, loss and ultimate redemption. Josh leaves his advertising career at its peak, everyone wants either to be him or to have him. Then he walks away from it all, the money, recognition and the life. A car accident will leave his daughter in a strange coma and when everyone has given up she starts communicating with him, or is he going mad?”

Pfffffft. Not even close!

In a recent pile of goodness sent to this reviewer by the fine folks at Cinema Head Cheese, the DVD for Locked In stood out. Artless, banal cover graphic. Lead actor Ben Barnes staring into space without emotion. A movie from 2010 now just getting a release in the final months of 2014. Could this be … something remarkably horrible? One that would stop the viewer in its tracks with its ineptitude in the manner of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003)?

Seventy-nine minutes later, the answer was yup, yup, yup, yup, but this doesn’t make it a good thing.

Movie Review: Dead Within (2014)

“You do what you gotta do for your family.”

That line, right there, tells me that this is going to get ugly. Predictable, but ugly.

Dead Within is about Kim and Mike. They are the only two people, that they know of, who have survived some kind of viral outbreak. After boarding themselves up in a remote cabin for six months, they are running low on food. Every day Mike goes out into the infected world, leaving Kim behind, and comes back with fewer supplies than the day before.

As their situation becomes desperate, Kim still hangs on to some shred of hope that there are others out there, survivors like them. She continually tries a walkie talkie, calling out each day, but without success. And each day, Kim seems to become more and more disconnected with reality. Is it the stress? The lack of food? Survivor’s guilt?

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.

November 1, 2014

Interracial Sex Havoc #7: 1979

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 in 1979 and I wrote about a Donald Pleasence film, and a Russ Meyer flick. So, enjoy!

Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979)

This story takes place in Kansas, 1954, and it is about the title’s young white woman [Anne Heywood from The Nun of Monza (1969)] who is a teacher; a great one at that. She is also very supportive of the rights of the black community. But one day, a young black man [John Lafayette from Jackie Brown (1997)] rapes her. She is shocked of course, but the next time she sees him, she starts wanting him and they have passionate sex. Then another time he is forcing her to kneel down and beg him for his services. Soon the couple will get caught by two white students and the affair will become public. The next day the young teacher finds a piece of paper glued on the classroom’s door, saying Miss Wyckoff Fucks N...

This is a social drama directed by Marvin Chomsky, and if it wasn’t for the generous amounts of nudity it offers, it would seem more like a TV movie rather than the art-house film it wants to be.  There are many interesting comments about race prejudice to be found here, but the whole thing is utterly boring as most of it takes place in interiors where actors talk. But I had to buy it because both Robert Vaughn and Donald Pleasence play doctors; the later simply sitting on a chair talking.

Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979)

The second movie in this chapter is the more entertaining of the pair and it was made by true auteur Russ Meyer (who produced, shot, cut, and directed it, and he even co-wrote it with Roger Ebert). It is a collage of sketches as usual, mainly involving Kitten Natividad (such an angelic face).

A piano player [Henry Rowland from Supervixens (1975)] is listening to a song from Germany’s Nazi era, then wears a Ku-Klux-Klan like uniform, and has sex in a coffin; another man is taking a crap, but his friend is collecting the shit with a shovel and throws it away without being seen, and then the first man says “no shit”; and even the narrator is seeing his son fucking his wife. What is of interest to ISH readers is the plenty of interracial sex scenes involving a fat black woman and several white men.
There are so many shots here, excellently photographed, and cut to the tempo of a machine gun at war, but you are here for the big tits, right? Plenty you’ll get...

October 31, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Halloween Fare

Jeff Dolniak shares some Halloween recommendations for the holiday weekend.

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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.


This brand new version is now available for pre-order on 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

Starring Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O’Connor, Famke Janssen and Daniel Von Bargen



“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 fiancé 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 a relative short time, no 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 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 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 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.