Showing posts from September, 2011

Vahsi Kan (aka Turkish First Blood)

Title: Vahsi Kan
Also Known As: Turkish First Blood
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Action (Comedy)
Starring: Cüneyt Arkin
Director: Çetin Inanç
Language: Turkish

I'm probably grossly misrepresenting the state of the Turkish film industry with what is now my second Turkish film I've seen, starring the same batshit insane karate king – and fast becoming one of my favourite action stars – and the director who proved that in 'Turkish Star Wars' he didn't have any problems stealing entire plots, soundtracks and footage from other films if it helped him keep his budget down a bit. Well he's back again, and whilst he may not outright steal footage from other directors this time around, this film is known as 'Turkish First Blood' for damn good reason, lifting almost in its entirety the plot from the first Rambo film, right down to the tiniest detail. Even specific memorable lines have been pilfered for this unofficial re-make, cut down to a 70min run time but removing…

Control Factor

Title: Control Factor
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Starring: Adam Baldwin, Elizabeth Berkley, Tony Todd
Director: Nelson McCormick

Well it's time for some good ol' fashioned SyFy cheese, and with three notable stars present this is one that could easily be one of the better releases; possibly the only Baldwin not related to Alec, and of Firefly/Serenity fame, that chick from Saved by the Bell (and Showgirls, a film I bet she rather hoped everyone would forget) and Tony Todd, the poor man's “Samuel L. Jackson” who has been in more films than I can count, ranging from the respectable to the... well to regularly appearing in SyFy flicks which says it all really. But no amount of acting talent – and certainly at least the two males in this flick held up their end as well as we could hope for – can compensate for the problems if the direction and script isn't up to scratch.

What starts as an ordinary day at the office for John Bishop quickly ends in a nigh…

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Title: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Sci Fi/Action/Drama
Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto
Director: Rupert Wyatt

So I know I'm late on this one, now on it's final theatre showing at my local cinema (but all that means is we get the place to ourselves), and whilst still adhering to a lot of classic Hollywood nuances that annoy me to no end, looked interesting enough to warrant a viewing. Firstly there's the fact that it's a prequel for a long loved and well respected film; a cash-in because Hollywood can't think of a new idea any more, albeit at least this isn't just another god-damn remake so it's scores points for not potentially destroying the memory of another classic. Then there's the small fact of the trailer, deliberately showing a high tension knife edge atmosphere and giving the strong impression that this is some sort of monkey equivalent of the Cold War. Except it's really not. For the first two acts…

Exte: Hair Extensions

Title: Exte: Hair Extensions
Original Title: Ekusute
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Chiaki Kuriyama, Ren Osugi, Miku Satô
Director: Sion Sono
Language: Japanese

Capping my marathon of a man I've been intending to watch more of for far too long already comes the film I couldn't not end on; now getting sufficiently dark outside that the atmosphere for a horror film feels appropriate, and starring the ever-welcome presence of Chiaki Kuriyama whose work constantly seems to find itself in my collection (albeit most, if not all, pre-date this blog), this infamous film sounds like it just has to be a comedy. When hair extensions start terrorising a small town, it's all the police can do to track down the culprit; a deranged hair obsessed maniac who stole a body from the morgue for her beautiful hair which mysteriously seems to constantly grow. He soon realises that she isn't quite dead but her hair still lives on, angry over the brutal manner in which she was killed, r…

Suicide Club (Suicide Circle)

Title: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle)
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror
Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Masatoshi Nagase, Mai Hosho
Director: Sion Sono
Language: Japanese

Continuing my day exploring the work of the man I currently consider the 'next Takeshi Miike' comes one of his earlier, and still best known works. Famous for it's opening, where we see a rather disconcerting and blood-laden scene of 54 happy go lucky high school girls, chatting, laughing, and jumping in front of trains. You heard me correctly; within in a few minutes you'll know precisely if you're too squeamish to deal with the contents of this low-budget flick – although the graphic scenes don't take precedence as in most horror films – as it treads its course of exploration of the little discussed subject. Following the police as they dig deeper into the mystery surrounding a suicide of this quantity and the ensuing chaos; copy cat 'clubs' following suit in this dangerous new fad swe…

Cold Fish

Title: Cold Fish
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Dark Drama/Thriller
Starring: Denden, Mitsuru Fukikoshi
Director: Sion Sono
Language: Japanese

In case you missed my review of Sion Sono's “Love Exposure,” it was one of the greatest discoveries I made last year (and let's be honest, at four hours long I wouldn't blame you) and so when I heard news he was following up with a two and a half hour lesson in the tropical fish trade, based on a true story (albeit loosely), I knew I needed get my hands on it. When Mitsuko, the daughter of the mild mannered tropical fish store owner Nobuyuki Syamoto and his wife Taeko, is caught shoplifting, it is fellow – albeit far more successful – tropical fish store owner Yukio Murata that convinces the owner of the store being robbed to let her off, and quickly his forceful nature results in the two men carving an uneasy rapport. Quietly agreeing to let Mitsuko work at Yukio's shop, he soon finds discussions beginning to arise of him being invited to …


Title: Gutterballs
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Starring: Alastair Gamble, Mihola Terzic, Nathan Witte
Director: Ryan Nicholson

Continuing my days interest in B-Movies is a slasher constructed on a mere $250K that sets to take everything to a new extreme in every aspect imaginable. Whilst slasher's aren't usually my style of choice, this is one that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see; is there nudity? You can bet your bare ass there's no shortage of that here; male? Female? Bloody? Clean? It's got the lot. Is there gore? At a kill every ten minutes, each more gory and inventive than the last, there sure as hell ain't no shortage of blood as victims are maimed, tortured, maimed a bit more, given a shiny wax coating and then put on show. And don't think it lets up on the swearing either, with a reputed 500+ f-bombs during the course of the film, that's an average of one swear word every 11 seconds, this is a film set out to offend in every way…


Title: Plaguers
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror
Starring: Steve Railsback, Alexis Zibolis, Bobby James, Noelle Perris
Director: Brad Sykes

“In Space, Nothing Stay's Dead Forever”

It's a strange feeling when you realise your film watching mood is swinging towards the 'bad' category; is it some form of morbid curiosity at how bad a film really can be? Maybe a sort of challenge to succeed in making your way through from beginning to end? Certainly there is some love for the hilarity involved in the terrible acting and cheap special effects, but whatever the reason, in 'Plaguers' I thought I'd found a real corker. Whatever the name doesn't tell you, and the cliché cover image doesn't indicate, the first ten minutes or so of the film will; it's set in space, there are mutant zombies that want to tear you apart for no apparent reason, and apparently the future is largely populated by attractive women and lazy men who have difficulty keeping their dick …

The Devil's Rock

Title: The Devil's Rock
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Drama, Horror
Starring: Craig Hall, Matthew Sunderland, Gina Varela
Director: Paul Campion

The more low-budget films I watch – particularly horrors, though this could be simply because there seems to be so many of them being made these days – the more I seem to find evidence to support what is fast becoming my golden rule for the genre: Keep it simple stupid. The more complex a film on a tight budget tries to be, the more sets are needed, the more characters need to be properly introduced and the less detailed the outcome becomes. This flick, released just a couple of months ago from the small island nation of New Zealand, is about as simple as it comes with only one set, three characters, and a car-full of gory props that have gone into its making. And whilst it may carry a plot that is a far cry from anything original, it is in its dramatic execution that it finds it's strength, constantly providing a sense of claustrophobia in it…

Star Wars 4 ½: The Holiday Special

Title: Star Wars 4 ½: The Holiday Special
Rating: 1/5
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Starring: Mickey Morton, Art Carney, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew
Director: Steve Binder
Producer: George Lucas

In celebration that Star Wars has finally made it blu-ray (even if it comes butchered once again), I thought it was time for me to reveal the much coveted 'seventh film,' though calling it a film might be a little bit of a stretch. Released a year after the original Episode IV, it features all your favourite characters; Solo, Chewie, Luke, Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2 all make appearances, along with plenty of celebrity appearances from people at the time I largely have no idea about. Following the story of Chewie and Han's quest to get to Chewie's home and family on Kashyyyk and celebrate life day, they fall under attack by the Imperal Empire. Much of the story, however, actually takes place on their forest homeworld with Chewies family trying to while away the time and not focus on their …

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

Title: Tucker and Dale vs Evil
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden
Director: Eli Craig

Whilst there are a few directors whose previous consistency has meant I constantly keep an eye on their works, the list of actors and actresses that fit the bill seem to be far smaller, but making the cut comes the cast of Firefly/Serenity. My curiosity at what they have next lined up has seen me getting through the mediocre “Sarah Conner Chronicles” for Summer Glau, and attempting to watch pieces of “Desperate Housewives” because Nathan Fillion joined the cast (THAT was horrendous), so the prospect of a cast member – Alan Tudyk in this case (Wash from Firefly) – doing something more in tune with my tastes is something I couldn't pass up. Things only get better when you notice co-starring is the infamous face of Tyler Labine, perhaps better known as the only reason to watch “Reaper,” and together they form the terrible duo known as Tucker and Dale…

Planeta Bur

Title: Planeta Bur
Translated Title: Planet of Storms
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure
Starring: Vladimir Yemelyanov, Georgi Zhzhyonov, Gennadi Vernov
Director: Pavel Klushantsev
Language: Russian
Release Date: 1962

One of those films that has been on my list to watch for far too long – in fact this one can even be timed to the date I first reviewed “The Star Dreamer” and discovered Klushantsev's genius – and my interest is all down to how the film is constructed. It wasn't only the Americans that were dreaming of space during the cold war, and this man's work became widely known and hugely successful in the USSR, but knowledge of him outside his home country often seemed limited to only a select few. Called inspirational by the special effects wizards that would make both 'Alien' and 'Predator;' techniques developed here would be used again to great effect by Kubrick's '2001;' entire scenes stolen by B-Movies to come; this film is an integr…