Saturday, February 28, 2009

They’re probably knee-deep in whores by now

Bachelor Party (1984)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Max the Mule, Tawny Kitaen, Adrian Zmed

The Gist: Goofy Tom Hanks from the 1980s is getting married to Some Girl with huge hair. She and her hair command that there not be any hookers at his bachelor party. His friends and their hair disagree and, whoops, invite nothing but hookers to the party. I just checked the film on IMDB - yes, sometimes I do research - and the most recent news story was about how the actress (Tawny Kitaen) who plays Some Girl in this film is still good friends with the husband she once beat up with a stiletto. Gotta love that.

And then what happens?: Lots and lots of really non-boring things. This film might be insanely misogynist but it is laugh-out-loud funny and here’s a run-down of my favourite parts: the Some Girl’s mother getting her hand glued to a Chippendale’s penis at the bachelorette party, Hanks and his posse tying his naked crazy nemesis up in bedsheets and dangling him off the side of his father’s hotel, Max the Sexual Mule doing lines of coke at the bachelor party then keeling over dead, the girls at the bachelorette party (including the mother) posing as hookers to sneak into the bachelor party and getting locked inside another room with a group of horny Japanese businessmen in their underpants… and so on.

See it for: They put the dead mule in an elevator and each time the doors open to reveal his poor legs in the air is hilarious.

Level of Crazy: 8. Quick, get the hookers in a circle!

That Winslet, she was always a meshuga.

Maus Vol. 1 (1986)

Featuring: Mice as Jews, Cats as Nazis, Pigs as Poles, Flamingos as drag queens (not really)

The Gist: Art Spiegelman works out his issues with Vladek, his aging father by asking him to recount his experiences of Poland at the beginning of World War II. He then illustrates it all in a way that makes the events simultaneously easier to digest than if he’d drawn human characters but also more disturbing because your imagination will occasionally bring you to the actual scenes being described and soft-balled in your direction.

And then what happens?: If you’ve read anything like Craig Thompson’s Blankets or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis books, or even seen Waltz With Bashir, then you’ll be familiar with this kind of storytelling. There’ll be raving quotes on the side talking about how revolutionary it is and blah blah dee blah but at the root of all of those stories, and this one, is someone exorcising some very dark personal experiences as honestly as they possibly can. So skip the tastefully-nude-Kate-Winslet in The Reader, or the thousand other Nazi snorefests released this year, and read this instead.

Read it for: I really can’t get enough of how Vladek constructs his sentences. My fault it isn’t, I blame only Dr. Zoidberg.

Level of Crazy: 10. You want I should kick you?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh wait, now I have AIDs.

Degrassi High: Season Two (1989)

Bad Blood: Part Two

Starring: Condom machines, 80’s moustaches, Life lessons, Spike from Degrassi Junior High

The Gist: It’s SPIKE FROM DEGRASSI JUNIOR HIGH AND HER WAY-CUTE BABY! SHE’LL TEACH US ABOUT CONDOMS! Ahem. Sorry, Spike was the "Teen Pregnancy Bites" poster child of the first season and she’s here with her own stunning hair and a baby, talking about condoms. Dwayne is now waiting on the results from his blood test. He beats up a condom machine in a fit of rage. The machine defends itself by going back in time and giving him AIDs. Possibly. I’ll keep watching.

And then what happens?: Dwayne has HIV, not full-blown AIDs. BLT (right?) finally breaks up with Michelle, sadly without the use of his hair. They have a big fight in the cafeteria. Neither of them knows what the other is talking aboot. Dwayne and Joey have a fistfight in the bathroom. More fantastic clothes are worn by all. Kathleen suggests that condom machines in school are wrong cause when other people know you’re having sex it’s embarrassing. The condom machine defends itself by going back in time and making her mousey and annoying.

See it for: The end where Dwayne blackmails Joey not to tell anyone about his HIV. With $314. So now Joey can put a down-payment on that great white car. Everyone’s a winner at Degrassi.

Level of Crazy: 7. Less crowd shots = Less crazy outfits to enjoy.

I’m tired of hearing about AIDs already

Degrassi High: Season Two (1989)

Bad Blood: Part One

Starring: Canadian teens, amazing clothes, lots of posters for AIDs awareness

The Gist: Joey Jeremiah takes the very orthodox route of trying to raise money by streaking through the Degrassi cafeteria. Meanwhile Dwayne, the school bully, gets some bad news from his too-hot girlfriend whose name I can’t be bothered rewinding the DVD for. Anyway she’s HIV positive and now he’s got to get tested. Oh and this clingy girl is getting cheated on by Theo from The Cosby Show and his stunning hair, but she doesn’t know it yet. I’m not sure where this fits into the agenda of the episode but I’m hoping he breaks up with her in part two by shaving “Beat It Michelle” into his hair.

And then what happens?: This is just the first part so no one has learned any lessons yet. That’s wonderful. I remember Degrassi Junior High from reruns they put on Nickelodeon in the mid-nineties, in between marathons of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Ready or Not. Do you remember Ready or Not? These two Canadian girls went through the ups and downs of adolescence: boys, betches, anorexia, being called a “wop”, you name it. Anyway, both of these shows taught me the important lesson that Canadian people have hilarious clothes.

See it for: A scene at the beginning when one of the girls is filming a tape for LD, a girl who’s out of school for medical reasons. She asks the other girls if they’ve heard about how LD’s doing and one says, right on the tape: “Oh no, more cancer?”.

Level of Crazy: 8. Will Dwayne learn that hot girls have AIDs?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sweet Zombie Jesus

Wild Zero (2000)

Starring: Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf & Drum Wolf as Themselves, Masashi Endo, Kwancharu Shitichai, Makoto Inamiya

The Gist: Deep breath: Aliens are attacking the Earth and turning people into zombies. You never see this happen, or any aliens for that matter, but it’s going down and the only things that will protect you are Guitar Wolf and his Morrissey sidekicks, rock ‘n’ roll, magic rape whistles, fainting a lot and having a secret penis, a Burberry unitard and rock ‘n’ roll (it bears repeating).

And then what happens?: The usual things you might expect from “Japan’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Zombie Horror Classic”. Which is anything. Our hero is Ace, a major groupie for Guitar Wolf and his band. He saves them getting their heads exploded by the milk-drinking, short-short-sporting villain and gains a mystical protective whistle in the process. He falls in love with a girl. Zombies attack. The girl reveals her penis. Wackiness ensues. Guitar Wolf has amazing electro-shock guitar picks that can neutralise the enemy. He teaches Ace (and us) that “Love has no boundaries, nationalities or genders”. So it’s ultimately a love story. A tranny zombie love story.

See it for: The last twenty minutes where they obviously blew all their money. Explosions, spaceships, more explosions - even the Morrisseys get some nice twinkly lights for their car. And a bazooka. Then there’s the part where Guitar Wolf destroys the mothership using his… oh, I can’t spoil it for you.

Level of Crazy: 10. The majority of objects shoot fire as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


When A Stranger Calls (1979)

Starring: Carol Kane, Charles Durning, Colleen Dewhurst, Tony Beckley

The Gist: Long ago, in a land not so far away, people didn’t have cell phones with SMS capabilities and Caller ID. This was a golden age for creepy British-accented psychopaths as they could call young girls played by older girls (Kane) while they were babysitting and scare them up something fierce. Also actors like Charles Durning could wander around the somewhat pointless middle hour of this film, fat-as-you-like, and make it vaguely watchable.

And then what happens?: About that middle hour: it really has no reason to be here, besides acting as filler between the actually quite scary “Have you checked the children?” beginning and the “You can’t see me, but I had to come back” ending. There’s still fun to be had with the gravel-voiced Colleen Dewhurst as a weathered old drunk the killer becomes fixated on and also the “where the hell is this going?” impression you’ll have when we’re following the homeless killer around for an hour as his crazy-pills wear off. And think about how much easier it was to prank people back then. “THOSE IM’s ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE. WTF?” really doesn’t have the same ring to it.

See it for: The hours of laughs and strange looks you’ll get when you become addicted to saying “Have you checked the children?” in a creepy British accent. I’m doing it right now and there’s no one else in the room. Anymore. Guys?

Level of Crazy: 6. P.S. When Durning tells his partner he’s going to kill the psycho with a sewing needle or something, his response is “You’re straining our friendship, Cliff”. Ah, the 70’s.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pas Plus Vous M'apportez Des Fleurs, Salaud!

Water Drops On Burning Rocks (1999)

Starring: Bernard Giraudeau, Malik Zidi, Ludivine Sagnier, Anna Levine

The Gist: A curious young chap with a mop of red hair gets picked up by a vain old gay (complete with jaunty cravat!) on his way to see his fiancé. Which kind of rhymes. They end up moving in together and create a dynamic where the older guy treats him like the husbands treat their wives on Mad Men and the younger one lounges around the house ready to cook dinner in a lovely pair of lederhosen. And not kinky lederhosen either, if that’s even possible.

And then what happens?: They cultivate a really unhealthy relationship where they bicker constantly and bitch and moan about every-little-thing. The guy’s ex-wife/former lover stops by the house every so often which is fun cause the director has decided that she should resemble a fragile old drag queen. Like how Angelina Jolie will look in about five years. It’s divided into acts and my computer decided to eat the disc as the third one was ending. The fiancé had just shown up and gotten crotchy with the redhead while Mr Cravat was away on business. Which means I’ve probably missed lots of catty French people screaming at eachother. Sad face.

See it for: The last half an hour so you can let me know how it ends. I’m rooting for the older guy cause he’s such a total arse.

Level of Crazy: 8. Look at the poster. Bottoms, teehee.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Like Will Tear Us Apart

Reprise (2006)

Anders Danielson Lie, Espen Kloumon-Hoiner, Viktoria Winge, Henrik Elvestad

The Gist: Two aspiring young writers (Lie and Kloumon-Hoiner) mail their manuscripts off to a publisher at the exact same time. One gets rejected; the other has his book picked up for publication and becomes a minor literary celebrity. He goes slightly crazy and winds up in a psychiatric unit. We meet all their friends, including the disbanded members of a punk rock group called Kommune who had songs with titles like “Fingerfucked by the Prime Minister”. Indeed.

And then what happens?: It mutates into this unpredictable and entertaining mission statement about freeing yourself from the friends you had while you were growing up cause if you don’t they’ll basically destroy you. You’ll never properly mature and you’ll find yourself living up to their expectations of you for the rest of your life. Everything is interspersed with these weird little character asides which don’t necessarily add to the plot but make it all feel much more significant than it probably is. It actually sits quite comfortably next to the recent man-centric comedies like Knocked Up and Pineapple Express, except it throws up references to Heidegger and made up authors like Stein Egil Dahl instead of shout-outs to Eric Bana and Godspeed You Black Emperor.

See it for: The constant sense of unease you feel in the presence of the Phillip character. You think he’s on the verge of a splattery suicide at pretty much every moment.

Level of Crazy: 7. Like biting into a candy-coated lemon.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dark! Gripping! Other words!

Stray Bullets Vol. 1 (2005)

Featuring: A wonderful cast of characters including sexually disturbed petty criminals, violent thugs and charismatic politician-paedophiles.

The Gist: A collection of short graphic novels about some horrible things. Criminal shenanigans; drug deals going wildly wrong; bad men in power being bad with their power. That kind of thing. These horrible things sometimes happen to horrible people, but also to some innocent idiots and little children who just get caught in the cross-fire. I’ve highlighted the criminal element but there’s also mundane suburban stuff where parents are just mean and negligent leading their kids to be awful and violent to eachother. Happy-fun-smile-time!

And then what happens?: You feel bad for enjoying things like Sin City and Reservoir Dogs. A lot of it is reminiscent of something Quentin Tarantino might come up with, but with the very important difference that he presents violence and depravity as entertainment, as something slightly ridiculous; Stray Bullets reminds you that it’s part of human behaviour, it’s mostly banal and everyday. I read it all the way through because I felt like I had to, so it’s not like I can “recommend” it as such, but it definitely has a can’t-look-away quality. But then so does that YouTube clip of Miss South Carolina talking about The I-raq. It’s your call really.

Read it for: Well it’s pulp fiction at the end of the day, it just doesn’t wash off by the time the commercials come on like with Law & Order: SUV. That’s the one I made up where soccer moms and little blondes from Laguna Beach go wild and stabby in totally rad shiny Range Rovers every week then sob out their confessions even though all the evidence is completely wafer-thin and circumstantial. Ah, justice!

Level of Crazy: 9. Lots of no feelings.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

All the women who independent

1. Stop writing films that hate women like The Women.

2. Stop starring in films that hate women like The Women.

3. Stop going to see toxic films like 27 Dresses just because they wrap them up in a pretty bow and use the same font as Love, Actually. And don’t get me started on that pile of felch.

Kate Hudson is not the girl-next-door, she’s not like you and she doesn’t care about you. All she cares about is money and killing Owen Wilson. There, I said it.

Don’t look down on people like Betsey Rue from My Bloody Valentine 3D. She may be very naked but she’s clearly got more balls than anyone in Bride Wars.

Remember that feminism is not just being a bitch and making men appear foolish. Thought that might bear repeating after so many years of “he’s a sexist pig? EMBARRASS HIM PUBLICLY” style messages of empowerment.

Stop playing the same age as Robert Downey Jr when he’s clearly twenty years older than you. You’ll have long enough fishing for scraps and bit-parts in Nip/Tuck after you turn 40, don’t help speed up the process.

You don’t necessarily have to decide between babies and a career and I’m surprised at Tina Fey for telling you that.

In reality if Anna Wintour had ever watched The Devil Wears Prada, she’d have the power to reach through the screen into the film, grab Anne Hathaway and explain that she’s no one’s cautionary tale. She’s just getting things done.

10. Buy that dress, it looks great on you. You deserve it. And chocolate. Y’all like chocolate too right? That’s a sponsored message from the producers of Confessions of a Shopaholic. Credit cards are fun!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Salt Lake City Limits

Latter Days (2003)

Starring: Steve Sandvoss, Wes Ramsey, Rebekah Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (rarr), Jacqueline Bisset

The Gist: A completely conventional romantic comedy. You get star-crossed lovers that are totally wrong for eachother, kooky friends of various races and last minute dashes to the airport - all of it. The difference here is that Kate Hudson (Ramsey) is a big gay man-slut in LA and instead of Matthew McConnaughey (Sandvoss) not being able to date her cause he made some bet with his grandfather’s ghost, it’s because he’s a closeted Mormon missionary sent to convert people in the big bad city. And they don’t take too kindly to the gays back in Utah, even if they are adorable.

And then what happens?: Not many laughs if I’m honest, which means it’s even closer to most rom-coms than the synopsis above gives it credit for. But I’m perfectly content not laughing along to something heartfelt like this than not laughing to Kate Hudson cashing some cheques and setting feminism back to zero. I promised myself this wouldn’t turn into a Kate Hudson rant, so I’ll stop there. For now. Anyway, in terms of the real world spectrum of romantic comedies, where Before Sunset represents a ten and Failure To Launch is one, this is about a six. Bad things happen, people have actual conversations about stuff and it doesn’t all end when they both realise they’re meant to be together. Overall it’s kind of lame but it gets points for effort.

See it for: I’m not of the generation of gays that swoon at the sight of someone like Jacqueline Bisset but I think I remember her from trashy Danielle Steele adaptations my mother watched when I was growing up. So it was nice to see her swanning about this film, clearly injecting the homosexual adulation straight into her veins. This is as the world should be, given that for the most-part gay writers are the only ones who realise that actresses still exist after the age of 35.

Level of Crazy: 1. 10 if you’re Mormon. But if you are then what are you doing watching this sinful filth Elder?!

Monday, February 16, 2009

You could kiss my rebel coochie.

Black Snake Moan (2006)

Starring: Christina Ricci, Samuel L. Jackson, Justin Timberlake, A big ole chain

The Gist: Once upon a time there was a girl (Ricci) in a small white-trash town in the Deep South. The girl was in love with a quite-slow version of Justin Timberlake, until he stupidly enlisted in the army and got posted to "The I-raq". Then the girl went hog wild and started getting drunk and having sex with everyone. One night J Tizzle’s friend is mean to her face with his fists and leaves her battered and bruised on the side of the road. Fear not, children, for a kindly religious man takes her into his home. And wraps a big metal chain around her waist and ties it to his radiator.

And then what happens?:
The nice man sets about curing the girl of her “fever” which manifests itself in Ricci writhing about all sweaty in a bra and some underpants then hopping on any man who happens to wander into the house. The initial chain shenanigans are the highlight of the film, with plenty of angry “Git this chain offa me mister/Hell I will” style exchanges. Then we get to the banal “Mah daddy didn’t treat me no good/My wife done up and died” root of the problem, people learn life lessons and bla bla dee bla bla bla. Yes it was fun while it lasted, but you can’t have everything.

See it for:
Ricci. She’s one of few actresses who could pull off this kind of character and be even halfway believable. There’s this bug-eyed quality to her where you honestly don’t know what she’ll do next.

Level of Crazy: 6. Get yo ass back in my house!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shark attack in Bondi! Aw, no one killed.

Australian Network TV News (Ongoing)

Starring: Tits McGee and lots of stupid Australians

The Gist: I only have access to four TV channels in Melbourne, and the internet here is awful, so the majority of my news coverage for the past few months has been provided by Channels Ten, Nine and Seven. Yes, those are the names. So imagine if Fox News in America and Channel 5 News in the UK got together and had a big drug-fuelled orgy. Network news in Australia would be their brain-damaged crack-baby.

And then what happens?: You get weeks where the leading story is “Back To School”. They talk about how all the kids are back in school. They interview the parents. They have shots of children going to school. This went on for a whole week. Lower down you get things like “Olivia Newton-John’s former lover may not be dead”. I’m not making that up, I’m not that talented. My favourite series of stories so far was when there were some shark attacks around the coast. Surfers were getting bitten, and one or two people were killed. The general formula for the coverage went like this:

Reporter with microphone: How did you feel when you saw the shark?
Bandaged idiot on crutches: Aw, pretty scared, eh?

Back to studio!

See it for: The coverage of the fires for the past few weeks has been pure gold. One presenter after another trying to win the "Solemn Face, Grave Voice" Award. I’m quite sure there’s been some rubbing of charcoal on those Solemn Faces as well. One woman was going around the ruined towns in a fireman’s outfit and delivered this line: “The levels of asbestos in the air are very dangerous. In fact, we probably shouldn’t even be here”. I hope she still is.

Level of Crazy: 9. I just had a look at the Channel 7 News website. They misspelled “accused” in the leading headline.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I don't trust you, weird leprechaun creature.

Fimfárum (2002)

Starring: The voices of Ota Jirak and Jana Wericha

The Gist: A collection of short stop-motion animated fairytales from the Czech Republic. I know, I’m surprised you haven’t seen it already. Anyway, you know when stories like The Pied Piper were being read to you as a child? Remember thinking wow this is kind of dark and scary and I’ll be sure to steer clear of pipers from now on? And then when you went back and read the original versions of Grimm’s fairytales and discovered they were much darker than your parents let you in on? Fimfárum is like that. Except it made me laugh out loud several times.

And then what happens?: It’s always good to get a refresher course on the life lessons people tried to impart on you from a young age. Simple things like don’t be mean and miserly, don’t cheat on your nice husband, and above all be wary of whether the weird magical leprechaun creature down by the river really has your best interests at heart. Perhaps the leprechaun guy represents the free market economy? Discuss. In between that you get funny little animated characters being mean to eachother, the meanest of whom ultimately get their comeuppance. I don’t know about you but that’s comforting every once in a while.

See it for: There’s a scene in the story called Mean Barbara, about this nasty old woman who won’t help out the village school by donating some of her money. One night the schoolmaster thinks he’s accidentally killed her and tries to dispose of the body. Then other people find the body and try to do the same. After several switches this hunter guy winds up carrying the bag with Barbara in it instead of the deer he killed. The part where he proudly presents the kill to his wife by dropping Barbara out of the bag still makes me giggle to this day.

Level of Crazy: 7. Oh, be nice.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2008 is the Horny Teen Age, apparently

Southland Tales (2006)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake, Amy Sedaris, Miranda Richardson

The Gist: Summarising this film is like someone coming up to you and saying “You know that show Lost? I’ve never seen it, what’s it about? Oh I only have time for you to say four words though cause then I have to go down this mysterious hatch.” But here’s my gold star answer for what Lost and Southland Tales are really about: lots of confusing nothing. The reason I bring up Lost is because around the time this film came out I read an article about the JJ Abrams-isation of popular culture. It basically spoke about how films and TV shows can’t be just that single entity anymore, they need layers of extraneous mythology whether it’s graphic novels or secret websites or whatever. The amount of interest I had in reading the surrounding graphic novels after seeing this pile of “huh?” doesn’t need any extra anything though cause it’s absolute zero.

And then what happens?: Many many things. Parts of the US have been exploded. The Rock is a missing veteran who is engaged to Mandy Moore, but he’s got amnesia/is being kept prisoner (maybe) by Sarah Michelle Gellar. She’s Krista Now, a former porn star turned-revolutionary who’s starting a pop career, trying to get production for some film and also launching an energy drink. Meanwhile you’ve got two Stiflers running around competing in a “who-looks-more-confused-to-be-here” contest. Then they get on a big zeppelin and The Rock, Moore and Gellar sing a song. In the end I think a flying ice-cream truck explodes them all.

See it for: If I had to pick a moment it would be the panel show that Gellar hosts with some other porn stars where they talk about current affairs. And her single “Teen Horniness is Not a Crime” (listen to that here). It contains the following lyrics: An overcrowded nation/Leads to sex frustration/All your legislation/Can’t stop teens’ masturbation. In fact all the parts with her are good, which makes it that much more frustrating that the rest of the film lets her down.

Other insane lyric I wanted to headline this review with: Teen horniness is not a crime/Observe the nerds who shot up Columbine.

Level of Crazy: 10. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still bonkers, so watch it. Then we can talk about it.


My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

Starring: Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Jensen Ackles, Betsey Rue, Kevin Tighe

The Gist: There was some very fast exposition in the 3D (3-effing-D!) credit sequence that explained something about a mine collapsing and killing lots of people but then no, it was really a crazy miner killing lots of people with a pick-axe to the face. Then it’s a few years later and this bunch of kids played by actors in their early 30’s get pick-axes in the face. Then it’s ten years later and the actors in their early 30’s are now actually playing people in their early 30’s getting pick-axes in the face.

And then what happens?: This film is in 3D and honestly there’s no other reason to see it. That being said, this film is in 3D and you totally have to see it. If you like hilarious slasher films with insane amounts of gore and some gratuitous nudity (see below) then you really need to see one where all of it flies out at your face. Pick-axes, rifles, pick-axes, gloopy organs, pick-axes, severed limbs. In addition you’ve also got grizzled sheriffs looking at bodies delivering lines like “Happy f*cking Valentine’s Day” straight-to-camera and several people (including that guy who used to be gay on Dawson’s Creek) appearing from behind curtains and in doorways in the middle of conversations and basically going “Ah-ha! I am here, and you didn’t know that and now here’s what I have to say!”.

See it for: The extended scene where Rue plays the Nakedest Person Ever. She deserves some kind of award for sheer whatever-ness. It starts out with her having sex with this trucker (naked), then she chases after him with a gun (naked), then she screams when he gets a pick-axe in the face (naked), then she gets chased by the crazy guy in the mining costume (naked), and so on. And I haven’t even mentioned that poor midget.

Level of Crazy: 8. Why aren’t you seeing it right now? 3D naked!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Revolution is My Boyfriend

The Raspberry Reich (2004)

Starring: Susanne Sachsse, Dean Stathis, Daniel Batscher, Andreas Rupprecht, Anton Z. Risan

The Gist: Pfft. Em, Gudrun (Sachsse) is a ker-azy socialist revolutionary trying to bring about a “homosexual intifada” by getting her boyfriend to have sex with any other man in the vicinity. She believes that “there cannot be revolution without homosexual revolution”. But she’s really just a stand-in for director Bruce La Bruce so it’s more likely to be his agenda. Or not, I mostly think that this whole mess means absolutely nothing despite containing more philosophical and political soliloquies than any film you’ve ever seen. And then there’s all the sex…

And then what happens?: La Bruce’s other films include No Skin Off My Ass, The Post Queer Tour and Give Piece of Ass a Chance. So you know you’re in good hands. About an hour in, the other guys I watched it with had this exchange:

Guy A: German people are hot.
Guy B: Well yeah, they’re all German porn stars.
Guy A: What?!

That made me laugh, mainly cause there really is so much sex in this film but all you’ll remember are the long epilepsy-inducing montages and monologues of people spouting socialist rhetoric. It’s kind of hypnotic. Brainwashy even.

See it for: There’s an early scene where this guy makes out with a rifle in front of a giant print of that iconic Che Guevara photo by Alberto Korda. The film later got banned for not clearing the image rights for use. Which is ironic cause now I’ll think of this film every time I see it graffiti-ed on a wall or on some stupid t-shirt or while I'm occasionally bored watching that very long Stephen Soderbergh film.

Level of Crazy: 8. Bugged out and funny. And then there's all the sex...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Top of the World, Ma!

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987)

Starring: Rod LaBelle, Gwen Kraus, Bruce Tuthill, Barbies

The Gist: Dirty and pared down Barbie dolls tell the tale of Karen Carpenter: her rise to fame, the seeming lack of control over her own life, her battle with anorexia and subsequent death as a result of the condition. A laugh riot then.

And then what happens?: I saw this Joss Stone promo video last night that was filmed in between the release of her first and second albums. She would have been about seventeen at the time. I don’t know if things have changed now that she’s come out of the bonkers closet but in this clip her eyes were cold and dead, almost black in fact. Which is odd cause that’s kind of how I feel about her voice. It’s a vague approximation of something she knows nothing about, being a normal person with a soul that is. She’s kind of like the fake soul-singing equivalent of Tom Cruise. Karen Carpenter’s voice on the other hand sounded like a deep, mournful dose of sadness even when she was singing the happy-clappy crap her creepy brother wrote for her. So yeah you kind of hope her life wasn’t as bad as all this, but no matter how you look at it it’s still depressing that she died.

See it for: The lack of subtlety is quite funny, in an extremely dark way. The scene where Karen and Richard go to A & M for a contract is edited like a horror film and ends with a blood-curdling scream and Holocaust footage of a woman’s body being thrown into a mass grave. Makes me wonder if maybe Joss Stone should see this. Britney Spears definitely should. Also it’s always good to see montages of dolls walking and driving about against old-school Hollywood rear projections.

Level of Crazy: 9. But it’s boo-hoo, not ha-ha so approach with caution.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What did I miss? Oh, more oily boredom.

Dante’s Cove: Season One (2005)

Starring: Lots of dreadful actors covered in oil

The Gist: It’s a few hundred years ago and this slightly-too-old woman and a way-too-oily guy are about to get married or something. They speak in stilted olde style English some of the time, but tend to drift in and out of it as they please. Some completely out of place rock music comes on. The woman goes for a walk and melts a girl with her wrinkles. Meanwhile the butler comes in with gayface that could break down walls and starts having man-fun with the oily guy. The woman goes back to the house cause she’s forgotten her Olay Regenerist and catches the dirty gays. She melts the butler guy and puts a curse on Oily McShine. He is cursed to look occasionally old when viewed in a mirror. ‘Whatever’, said the producers, ‘here’s some more naked’.

And then what happens?: Suddenly it’s the modern day, except it’s modern day by softcore porn standards so everyone’s fashion sense got stuck on 1995. Two oily guys we don’t care about are in love. And in waistcoats with no shirt underneath. They go to Dante’s Cove which is either a hotel or an apartment block, it’s really never made clear which, and meet a collection of oily men and women we don’t care about. People have oily sex with eachother. The women get a lot of not-very-much to do. By now you’re asleep and you wake up to the original oily guy walking around a lighthouse in leather pants. He powers the beam with a combination of oil and gayface. Then you realise there’s still another hour to go and that the trailer you saw on YouTube lied when it said that this was “America’s Number One Guilty Pleasure”. If that’s the case then America needs some lessons on proper trash.

See it for: The clothes, especially the crap that gets sprayed onto the girls. With each new scene you start to believe that they’ve been losing at drinking games to the costume department after each day of filming. Either that or they keep getting mauled by rhinestone-covered cats on their way home from the Lycra factory outlet.

Level of Crazy: 2. How something this dumb, trashy, supernatural, oily and naked could be so boring is truly a mystery for our times.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ten things I learned from effed up movies this month. Special Guests: Sally Kern & Christian Bale

1. If you fall in love with a mermaid be sure to wear a cute sailor suit and also carry some condoms in case you bump into an octopus rapist.

2. Smushing your hand in a waffle iron is a legitimate means of preventing your super-heart from exploding.

3. Try to avoid being turned lesbian, as your aspiring career as a scientist will suffer. Even your ability to see weird science-related things right in front of you will be affected.

4. Don’t go to remote places for a romantic anniversary weekend with your adorable partner. No matter how many times I learn this one, I still have trouble.

5. I would really like to watch The Living End and The Raspberry Reich with Sally Kern. I’d set up a camera and film her reactions. Youtube was made for that stuff.

6. I wouldn’t want to see Christian Bale at the point just after he wakes up from his nap and then gets handed his juice box by a trembling PA.

7. Pay no heed to supernatural serial-killers as Alfred Molina will come save you in the nick of time.

8. Too many Tilda Swinton’s can indeed spoil the broth.

9. Blasphemy is only worth it if you can sell some Big Macs.

10. Always double-check that Dr Freedom has given you a big enough bomb in case you potentially have to blow up France.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Temptress from the sea… loving… killing!

Night Tide (1961)

Starring: Dennis Hopper, Linda Lawson, Gavin Muir, Marjorie Cameron

The Gist: Dennis Hopper is an off-duty sailor wandering about a jazzy seaport town all dopey and wide-eyed and ready to have his innocence taken away by Mora the Mermaid (Lawson). She’s a saucy minx who lives in a merry-go-round. She may or may not be an actual mermaid and may or may not be responsible for the watery deaths of her last two boyfriends. If you’re anything like me you won’t care, you’ll be way too fascinated with how Hopper went from the cute as a button kid here to the Blue Velvet monstrosity we all know and love.

And then what happens?: This and that. Hopper meets the locals; Capt. Murdock, the old British drunk who asks a masseur to give him “a good pounding”, tee hee; the Irish merry-go-round operator who speaks of the fine Bavarian craftsmanship of the wooden horses, for no real reason; Madame Romanovitch, the fortune teller who wears distracting hats and pronounces words in surprising ways, like “clahr-voy-YONT”. He also sees the Water Witch here and there, and her appearances are the only thing that in any way suggests this film is supposed to be scary. And for the brief moments she’s given, she does a very good job of it too.

See it for: That adorable Hopper (in his widdle sailor suit!) takes a nap on Mora’s couch while she’s having a bath. He has a dream where he’s kissing her passionately. He looks down and she has a mermaid tail, and then he looks back up and he’s basically being raped by an octopus. Maybe that’s what happened to him after all...

Level of Crazy: 6. I zoned out so maybe the ending isn’t as confusing as it was to me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Think of the dumbest thing you've ever seen. Now imagine it going faster.

Crank (2006)

Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez

The Gist: Statham wakes up to video game noises and a Cuban guy on his TV telling him that if his heartbeat drops below a certain speed he’ll die. By sexy explosion probably. So he needs to keep his adrenaline up or no more Transporter movies. Sadly this doesn’t encourage him to just walk around shirtless in a gay sauna for a while, which is fairness would probably do it, but fun and frolics are had nonetheless.

And then what happens?: Purely for the fact that Jason Statham is British, I feel like he has a profound awareness of the ridiculous, a deep spiritual bond even. As such I see no guilt in watching and enjoying this kind of trash. Particularly when you’ve got cars driving sideways up escalators, hot guys in hospital gowns sailing motorcycles down freeways with huge erections, butt cheeks flapping in the wind, and lines like “Urinary sphincter? Check!” buzzing past you like mosquitoes on ecstasy.

See it for: Statham tracks down the girlfriend character and attempts to explain the shenanigans to her. His adrenaline is getting low so he tries to convince her to have sex with him right there in the middle of Chinatown, or he’ll die. She’s suitably hesitant but is soon berating his sexual prowess in front of the entire assembled crowd of applauding Asians.

Level of Crazy: 8. He also shoves his hand in a waffle iron.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

We know that it attacks you and you die

Splinter (2008)

Starring: Paulo Costanzo, Shea Whigham, Jill Wagner, Rachel Kerbs

The Gist: A young couple (Costanzo and Wagner) who are so cute and happy you could just die decide to camp out in some remote ancient woods for their anniversary. They laugh, they sing, they have no trouble putting up their tent and have a wonderful romantic weekend enjoying nature and looking up at the stars. At no point does anything go wrong like say, getting carjacked by a pair of crazed convicts (Whigham and Kerbs) and then being consistently attacked by the weirdest creature effects you’ve ever seen.

And then what happens?: But wait of course it does, cause young happy couples have to learn revolting, splattery lessons before they can be truly united. The gore and stuff can be a metaphor for whatever you want: marriage, modern America, Communism, the increasing popularity of Hannah Montana, Guantanamo – the creature here is zombie-esque so it can be applied to basically anything. And by zombie-esque I mean that it’s some kind of mould that craves blood so it attaches itself to the body parts of animals and people, “separates” those parts that it wants and sticks them all together to become a twitchy, bloody, bone-breaking mass of gloopy amazingness.

See it for: The survivors are hiding in the freezer of a gas station when one of them confesses that a splinter is infecting his arm. That baby has to go, and all they have is a box cutter and a cinder block. Lovely.

Level of Crazy: 7. Yay, disgusting.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My mom got killed by a garbage truck

The Living End (1992)

Starring: Mike Dytri, Craig Gilmore, Darcy Marta

The Gist: Jon (Gilmore) and Luke (Dytri) are big gays. Not in the flaming sense of the expression but they look like sullen Calvin Klein models from the late eighties/early nineties. Major gayface on both of them. Luke has a big dangly ear-ring and a rockin’ body. Jon has a little ear stud and a tape recorder. Oh, they’re both HIV positive, and not in that fake, "triumph of the human spirit" Philadelphia kind of way. They're mad as hell and all the Denzel's in the world won't change that.

And then what happens?: Wackiness. Luke is a bit crazy and pulls guns on people, places, ATM machines, all sorts really. Jon picks him up after he pistol whips a trio of gay-bashers and takes him home. They have the sex. Then they go on a mini road-trip that the description calls a “hedonistic, dangerous journey”. I suppose it kind of is, but this is also a Gregg Araki movie. He made Mysterious Skin and even though The Living End is a very early film of his you can still feel that same angry, desperately sad tone in this one.

See it for: Daisy and Fern, the pair of murderous lesbians that give Luke a ride at the beginning and then attempt to kill him. They give details of how Fern once shoved an ice-pick up some guy’s no place. And this was funded by the American Film Institute. How bout that. The cynical side of me thinks that maybe Araki put in the application when they were afraid to shoot down anything gay-themed whatsoever. Which is great. Well played, gays.

Level of Crazy: 4. Kind of a downer.

Good thing I go golfing with Doc Ock

Hideaway (1995)

Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Christine Lahti, Alicia Silverstone, Jeremy Sisto, Alfred Molina

The Gist: Goldblum plays Hatch Harrison (I know, right?), a guy who is pronounced dead after a car accident but then suddenly starts breathing again. All seems to be well until he discovers that HE BROUGHT SOMETHING BACK WITH HIM. His wife (Lahti) is concerned and his mid-nineties teenage daughter (Silverstone) is all “Gawd Dad, couldn’t you have just like died and stuff and not gotten in the way of my totally now Pearl Jam and flannel-shirt-wrapped-around-faded-jeans obsession?”.

And then what happens?: He starts having visions of all these crazy mid-nineties murders and believes he may be blacking out and committing them himself. Then he gets a vision of Silverstone humping the bar at some trashy mid-nineties club. Did I mention mid-nineties? Good. Silverstone reacts to all of it - herself and her family almost dying, her dad going crazy, this creepy guy (Sisto) in leather pants coming onto her, the creepy guy then kidnapping her and taking her to his mid-nineties murder-lair – with a facial expression my viewing companions and I labelled as “Guh” Face. I now use this to express displeasure in everyday life.

See it for: Besides Guh Face there’s an amazing moment in the final (terrible) CGI battle where Goldblum falls down from a high place and looks up to see Alfred Molina’s outstretched hand. His face at this point expresses only one thing: Alfred Molina?

Level of Crazy: 2. Only 2? Guh!