'JUNESPLOITATION! LEASE EXPIRING, EVERYTHING MUST GO' REVIEW PALOOZA!Lucio Fulci's THE DEVIL'S HONEY (1986, 83 min.) on Blu-ray for the first time.Was going to review this for Fulci's birthday bash day, but the disc didn't get to me on time. Sexy saxophone player Johnny (that's what Stefano Madia's character does for a living: play the same sexy saxophone tune over and over) brings girlfriend Carol (Corinne Cléry) to orgasm by blowing his instrument into her visible naughty bits. And that's just the first five minutes! Most of "The Devil's Honey" actually revolves around a middle-aged doctor (Brett Halsey) with a particular sexual fetish he seeks out in prostitutes. Circumstances conspire to bring Dr. Simpson and Carol together on the same middle-of-nowhere house where the attractive young woman and her sax-playing beau made love with the same passion with which they argued/fought (or their dog Blaze barked at them from behind the front door... and yes, that's an important plot point).Despite delving into "9 1/2 Weeks"-style sexual games (Cléry is naked for almost the entire movie) it's clear to me that Fulci is doing his own version of Franco Zeffirelli's "Endless Love," an early 80's critical failure/commercial hit about a young couple whose obsession with one another ends up dooming their relation. Neither the director nor the actors have the skills to pull off convincing sexual psychosis, resulting in a pointless parade of bad behavior. For hardcore Fulci completists only, the type that can tolerate this uncensored print looking like it was found under someone's mattress.INTO THE BLUE (2005, 110 min.) on Netflix Instant for the first time.It's almost comforting to know that back in the aughts a $50 million Hollywood production with underwater photography, stunt teams and on-location crews could be sold on the simple hook of watching Jessica Biel and Paul Walker's sexy bodies. Even the movie's poster is just these two in their swimsuits. It might be 'PG-13' but I felt dirty watching "Into the Blues'" camera locking into Biel's ass (and to a lesser extent Ashley Scott's) and Walker's abbs (so sorry Scott Caan :-P), as if the clue to find the buried treasure they're after is tattooed somewhere in their bods, ala "Waterworld." Josh Brolin and James Frain show up to do the bad guy thing, but even young Thanos is no match for the power of love binding together Biel, Walker and... Caan? :-O Sorry, Ashley Scott, you might as well be shark bait. :-DLuc Besson's ANNA (2019, 119 min.) in theaters for the first time.What do you do after your last expensive movie ("Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets") underperforms? Go back to the formula that worked for you before. Luc Besson throws everything from his own 'reluctant young woman assassin' catalogue ("La Femme Nikita," "Lucy," etc.) and recent flicks he's seen ("Red Sparrow," "Atomic Blonde," etc.) into "Anna" hoping you won't notice that you've seen it all before. Sasha Luss is a gorgeous woman who has screen presence, but as an actress or action star she's got quite a ways to go. Besson surrounds Miss Luss with acting muscle (Luke Evans, Helen Mirren, Cillian Murphy), but that only highlights how out of her depth Sasha is.Maybe if "Anna" had come out before "Atomic Blonde" its late 80's/early 90's Cold War era-set story might have felt fresh instead of Charlize Theron's sloppy seconds. Aside from a few decent shoot-outs and Helen Mirren impersonating Linda Hunt with a Russian accent, "Anna" is only memorable for having such a convoluted timeline ('5 Years Later,' '2 Months Ago,' '1 Week Later,' '3 Weeks Ago') me and the theater audience were openly mocking the title cards by the end. A rental at best.
When you say Biel, do you mean Alba? Or am I mixing something up?
It's Alba. I'm a dumbass writing movie reviews at 2AM, WTF do I know? :'(
Shaft (2019)It's fine. Regina Hall riffing in the mirror is worth the price of admission, or more accuratley my Netflix subscription.
And since Robin Williams is not alive to sue her for stealing his "Mrs. Doubtfire" routine, Regina got away with it. :-P
I dug out my Russ Meyer bootlegs to create a special double feature. I have been a Meyer fan for a long time. He was a filmmaker with a distinct style and a true pioneer of independent cinema, doing everything his own way. Meyer was thought of highly enough to work for a major Hollywood studio, leading the creation of his classic BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL, KILL remains his most famous independent production. Watching his work in the light of contemporary culture, there are certainly aspects of the films and Meyer’s obsessions that are problematic. The films are journeys back to a time when there were few standards of political correctness. VIXEN (1968) – A softcore classic from Meyer that is a first-time watch. (I have owned it for five years, though.) Vixen is the name of the main character, a young woman whose husband runs a wilderness cottage in British Columbia. In this isolated spot she lets her desires run rampant on everybody around her. And I mean everybody. Vixen is buxom, feisty, and unwilling to take anybody’s crap. She is also a raving racist throughout much of the film, an irreverent shot at the politics of the day. Politics also pops us during the conclusion, which it is also treated in a humorous manner. Vixen is an important film in Meyer’s career because its success led to the creation of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. The style of that film is already evident in Vixen, too. SUPERVIXENS (1975) – This is a hard one to write about. It just may be the ultimate Russ Meyer film. It looks like he brought together elements from every kind of movie he every made to create this 100-minute exploitation epic. The action centers around Clint Ramsey, a rather nondescript character who goes on the run and has some unusual sexual misadventures. Filled with insecurities, the male characters are the weakest ones in the film. This where the great paradox of Supervixens lies, however. It is because the women are generally stronger and more confident that they have to brought down a notch. This aspect is most disturbing in the misogynistic murder of Clint’s wife, who is portrayed as a vicious nag always mocking male sexual failure. Though I can give Meyer’s excesses a pass in other films (like BVD), I cannot with Supervixens. It is too mean-spirited.
The Devil's Express (1976)I really liked Warhawk Tanzania's character and performance in this. However, I felt that the film as a whole was lacking something. The bizarre plot almost worked, it just needed something to push it over into being a fun movie. As it is, I'm not sure I will rewatch this. Maybe for Kung Fu! day, if it returns next June.
Toy Story 4: Well, I cried prettyuch the whole way through that!
Light the Fuse... Sartana is Coming (1970)A fittingly batshit conclusion to the original Sartana series. If you like insane spaghetti westerns, you'll dig this. I've never seen a pipe organ used to mow down enemies, but now I have.
The King of the Kickboxers (1990, dir. Lucas Lowe)Jake (Loren Avedon) is a martial arts expert and a loose cannon NYPD undercover cop who doesn't play by anybody's rules. Interpol sends him to Thailand to bust some filmmakers making "illegal movies" (because of course you need an NYPD cop for that), and one of the actors just happens to be Khan (Billy Blanks), the man who killed Jake's older brother years earlier. But before he's ready to confront Khan, Jake must be trained by an eccentric master and his unorthodox teaching techniques.A highly enjoyable mix of overplayed clichés, terrible dialogue and acting, okay fights and one surprizing gore gag. One of the month's best!A sample of the dialogue:- You're a fucking cop!- Nah, I'm just a regular cop. Fucking has nothing to do with it.Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018, dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman)My favorite movie of last year is either this or Revenge, I'm not sure. As a big Marvel and Spider-Man fan, this movie just warms my heart. Was supposed to watch something more sploitation-y, but got this Blu-ray yesterday and couldn't resist rewatching it (almost) right away.
Colossal (2016)Movies are so cool, you guys. I mean, I grew up watching Godzilla movies (though not as many as Mac McEntire has been watching this month, that dude is crushing it like he’s stomping Tokyo, loving those reviews Mac!) and I never imagined I’d see a movie that combines the tropes of a giant monster movie with those of a person-is-forced-to-move-back-to-their-hometown-to-rebuild-their-life-after-living-in-the-big-city movie, yet here we are. And the best part? It’s really, really good. The person in question is Anne Hathaway, a flighty party girl who moves back to her upstate NY hometown to attempt get her life back together after boyfriend Dan Stevens has had enough and kicks her out. She runs into an old friend (Jason Sudeikis in an incredibly multilayered performance) and goes to work for him in his bar and oh yeah, she also finds out that she has a psychic connection with a kaiju that’s been wreaking havoc in Seoul. There’s an obvious metaphor for alcoholism in the destruction the creature causes, but the movie has a lot more on its mind than just that. It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s unique, it’s a little heartbreaking...it’s one of those movies that reminds me why I love movies. So glad I finally caught up with it.
Thanks! And Colossal is terrific.
Ernest Goes to Camp (1987, dir. John Cherry)Joe Bob brought this up as an example of Rednecksploitation with Erika and I saw him a few weeks back. I wanted to introduce the kids to it. They weren't interested. I'm a sucker for a summer camp movie so I'm totally in.
That's too bad. I introduced my kids (around same age as yours) to Ernest Saves Christmas last year, and it got a lot of laughs. I haven't seen Goes To Camp since I was a kid, but I remember loving it.
DAPHNE AND VELMA (2019) Prequel or reboot? Reboot or prequel? Who cares. Brainy introvert Velma and brainy extrovert Daphne become friends while solving a mystery at their high-tech school. The movie plays around with big ideas like corporations funding schools and social media run amok, but doesn’t really dwell on them in favor of girl-power comedy/mystery stuff. The running gag about Daphne’s dad secretly following her around making it look like she’s unnaturally lucky is kind of creepy, but other than that, this is light and inoffensive and a fine addition the increasingly sprawling Scooby franchise. Bonus #Godzillasploitation: SHIN GODZILLA (2016) The idea here is to examine what would happen if there really was a Godzilla attacking Tokyo. So we spend a lot of time with politicians debating what to do about the crisis. Is all this bureaucracy stuff meant to be an intense political drama, or is it a satire of government inefficiency? Nobody on the internet can agree. Also, we glimpse of some of Godzilla’s early forms, before he mutates into the big G we all know, and these are some broke-looking puppets. Fortunately, once Godzilla truly unleashes his fury, it’s a mind-blowing set piece, and makes the entire movie worth watching.
Googley eyed young Godzilla was unique, but I liked him quite a bit. Especially as he was all clumsy and tripping over buildings. I thought the whole movie was going to be with him, and was surprised they were going with such a unique take.
Really enjoyed watching the entire franchise vicariously through you this month! As a lifelong fan of the franchise I believe Shin Godzilla is the greatest kaiju movie ever made, even eclipsing the original Godzilla (1954).
Pulsebeat (1985)I always assume this gymsploitation gem will get some deluxe release or at least plop onto streaming, but it never happens. I'll start loaning out my vhs next year.
Double Team (1997)Buddy action movie with JCVD and Dennis Rodman. Basketball jokes-a-plenty! This is one of the dumber movies I’ve seen this month but I still enjoyed it. Highly recommend Roger Ebert’s review of this. He tears it apart pretty well, but also found some entertainment in it.
Casablanca (1942)Introduced some friends of my wife and I to this Nazisploitation classic.
Le Samouraï (1967) / Police Story (1985)Both bought at the B&N Criterion sale, both first-time viewings for me, both excellent.
Nightmare Cinema (2019)It's fine. Most of the segments are ok but a couple I thought were rough. Felt like a missed opportunity unfortunately.
47 Ronin (2013) - first watchI thought this was a historically accurate telling of the legendary Japanese tale. That was, until the giants, witches, six eyed monsters and mystical swordsmanship. I knew it wasn't a big hit, but was surprised afterwards to read just how badly critics had reviewed the movie. For my part, I found it very entertaining. The fantastical elements didn't add much to the story, but neither did they feel out of place. If anything, it went well with some of the sets/backgrounds/transitions which were stylized CGI.
Trancers (1984)This is actually one of the rare times that I wish a movie were longer. Everything seemed to happen in too short a span of time, and many of the set pieces should have been more developed. That said, I'm all on board for this series.
Superstar (1999)Molly Shannon sticks her fingers under her armpits when she is nervous. After that, she smells them. We all feel like doing that sometimes. It's what makes us human. Most humans have fingers and pits. We can all stick them where we want to because this is America. The point is the movie's fine.
Mandy (2018)Still like it.
Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)We have to go back to the beginning. Where it all started. When Anthony Perkins was Henry Thomas and his mother was Olivia Hussey. As far as part 4s go this is not bad. I don't hate any of the installments. Norman Bates doesn't want kids. Wouldn't ya know it but his wife does. What will Norman do? Probably kill.
Voices from Beyond (1991)I just gotta say that this has one of the craziest beginnings to a movie I've ever seen. The problem is there is really nothing else worthwhile in the rest of the movie. When you find out the reveal you are like, ok, I guess. Just remember kids, Lucio Fulci does not care if you live or die.
I had the same reaction to Voices from Beyond, Brent. It is a very generic film outside of a handful of scenes that are unmistakably Fulci. In the realm of genre cinema, making a bland film can be a bigger sin than making a bad film.