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Showing posts from June, 2010

Nocturnal Butcher

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Title: Nocturnal Butcher (2010)
Rating: 1/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Bob Macabre, “John Doe”
Director: Bob Macabre
Duration: 38 mins

It’s Christmas time and Beer Guy and Pizza Guy (yes, those are really the characters’ names) are planning a party with CDs and everything! But lo! A masked killer, a “nocturnal butcher” if you will, is stalking the premises with murder and mayhem on his mind. One by one, all two partiers fall victim to this deviant’s fowl Yuletide carnage. Only bloody horror awaits them under the unholy full moon!

Don’t I make it sound good? In reality folks, Nocturnal Butcher lowers the bar for terrible shot-on-video shenanigans. A little background on our Pennsylvania-based auteur Bob Macabre: he is the sole member of more than a dozen one-man death metal/grindcore bands including Chainsaw Dissection, Psychotic Homicidal Dismemberment, and Goat Bleeder. His work is heavily horror-themed, so it makes sense that he try his hand at low-budget horror filmmaking. In fact, th…

Milk

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Title: Milk
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Drama, Biography
Starring: Sean Penn, Emile Hursch
Director: Gus Van Sant

Van Sant is one of those few directors who not only takes his stories from the real world, but often doesn't do a bad job of it; if not amongst the best I have nothing but respect for the manner in which he deals with his subject matter. Even when broaching the most delicate topics he never creates an unjust portrayal of the characters, always remaining as faithful to the actual events with a minimum of embellishment, using stories that are inherently turbulent enough so as to be powerful enough in their own right. Following the story of Harvey Milk, a homosexual man who's mid life crisis sends him hurtling into a world of political activism, he becomes elected as the first openly homosexual man in public office, and being set in San Francisco during the 1970s its not much of a leap to see just how controversial this was at the time.

Sadly it feels incomplete and muddled,…

Baise-Moi

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Title: Baise-Moi
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Starring: Karen Lancaume, Raffaëla Anderson
Director: Virginie Despentes
Language: French

With my desire for gratuity not yet satisfied I turn to my shelf where this little known indie film awaits my viewing. Initially released with a '16' rating, it offended the French in the manner that it unfolded (so you can imagine international reactions), blurring previously distinct lines between pornography and violence in order to tell their tale, eventually resulting in its permanent removal from cinemas. With all attempts to get it rated as pornography to facilitate its release squandered by the violence, its not surprising that it has remained a fairly well kept secret from much of the world, but in truth this is a rare breed of film that dares do what few others would.

Following the tale of Nadine and Manu; the former deeply involved in drugs, becoming a small time prostitute to be abused in order to feed her lifestyle, and the…

Gantz

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Title: Gantz
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Anime, Action, Horror
Duration: 25mins (26 Episodes)
Language: Japanese

The next on my list of animé to get through; a list that seems to grow quicker than I can keep track of, and with many decent reviews and promise of 'adult' themes, I hoped to leave behind the childish notion the plagued my last foray into the genre. This wasn't to be the case; the themes are adult but without any trace of intelligence, which comes as a particular shame given the strong initial premise. Following the tale of Kei and Kato, two recently recently re-united childhood friends who don't get long to reminisce before being struck by a train and transported to the room by the mysterious black ball known as “Gantz.” Emerging to discover an entire room of recently deceased, they all begin to question why they are there, but before long Gantz issues his orders, handing them their weapons and armour that will be needed for the upcoming battles.

The plot, as it wo…

Anvil: The Story of Anvil

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Title: Anvil: The Story of Anvil
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Documentary
Director: Sacha Gervasi

“It stands as a prime example of what an industry — particularly the music industry — can put an artist through. Now we're getting praise for never selling out and sticking to our guns. We got our notoriety on our own terms. We've done what we want. Not what someone told us to do.” - Lips

I was naturally apprehensive to watch this after the sadly mediocre efforts put out on the subject in the past; the way “Some kind of Monster” felt like a schoolyard scrap between adults, or the unsatisfactory manner Dunn always managed to scratch the surface of a topic but never dig any deeper, coming across detached and void of emotion in his style of filming. This was not to be the case here. The characters on show here are real, and not just pieces of a puzzle too large to put together; not egotistical men childishly complaining about what they have left to lose but of sheer determination to follow the…

King of the Zombies

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Title: King of the Zombies (1941)
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Starring: John Archer, Mantan Moreland, Joan Woodbury
Director: Jean Yarbrough
Duration: 67 mins

“I do declare… imagine us havin’ a white zombie for dinner!”

While flying over the Caribbean during a storm, Mac the pilot, Bill his passenger, and Bill’s valet, Jeff, decide to make an emergency landing on a small island where they believe they heard a radio signal. They end up crash landing in a clearing that happens to be a graveyard outside of an eerie old mansion inhabited by Dr. Sangre, his family, and his servants who invite them to stay there until the next ship comes in. Slowly they realize that Dr. Sangre has a horde of zombies under his spell and a military admiral held captive who is in possession of secret government information of interest to the mad “king of the zombies.” After Mac is zombified, Bill and Jeff must devise a plan to stop Dr. Sangre before they too fall under his evil voodoo hypnotism.

King of t…

Goblin

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Title: Goblin (1993)
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Bobby Westrick, Jenny Admire, Kim Alber
Director: Todd Sheets
Duration: 74 mins

While sitting around watching horror movies, eating pizza, and talking about old times at a housewarming party, a group of headbangers discover that they are being targeted by a bloodthirsty goblin summoned by the previous owner of their residence. Carnage ensues.

I tried to stretch out the plot summary as much as I could, but don’t worry, I have PLENTY to talk about here. Chances are, you’ve never heard of shot-on-video auteur Todd Sheets or his $10 movies. His early 90’s effort Goblin is easily one of his best to date. However, shooting on video with an obviously miniscule budget usually brings along some technical problems. In the case of this splatter fest, a whole boatload of technical problems.

I really don’t know where to begin, so I’ll simply start with our antagonist: the goblin, which reminds me of The Beast in La Belle et la Bête sporting …

.Hack//Sign

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Title: .Hack//Sign
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Animé, Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, Drama
Duration: 25mins (26 episodes + 2 OVA)
Language: Japanese

I have no hesitation in admitting that I was quickly enticed into this concept; I'm sure this isn't the first time I've mentioned the web-based comedy “The Guild,” focussing on the real lives of a handful of MMO players with a certain comical accuracy that only the niche audience of other MMO gamers, or at the least those – like myself – who have in the past become infatuated within a fictitious world would be able to comprehend. This mystery that promises of maturity in its subject matter, delving into the world of Tsukasa, the wavemaster who becomes 'absorbed' into the game, not in front of a computer screen nor an NPC but a living entity whose consciousness exists entirely within this fabricated world. With the ability to question the divide between whether it is still merely a game for one who lives, loves, feels pain and pl…

Slashed Dreams

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Title: Slashed Dreams (aka Sunburst) (1975)
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Starring: Peter Hooten, Kathrine Baumann, Robert Englund
Director: James Polakof
Duration: 78 mins

After breaking up with her fratboy boyfriend, Jenny and her new love interest Robert take to the mountains to visit a mutual friend who left college to live amongst nature. As one might expect, when the two free-spirited students ask an eccentric old man for directions he warns them that the woods are a very dangerous place where people go missing. Jenny and Robert of course disregard the old man's honest concern and trek on up the mountain for about two days worth of frolicking and skinny dipping. Eventually they cross paths with two of the clumsiest backwoods rapists one could imagine, who subsequently assault Jenny. When they finally meet up with their friend, Michael, they have to decide how to logically respond to such a terrifying ordeal.

Dispite misleading the viewer by being marketed as a horror/rap…