Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Electric Boogaloo


The story of Cannon Films and its founders are examined in this documentary. Fast-paced, with tons of interviews and clips from Cannon's films, it's a very entertaining movie, with larger-than-life director/producers Menahem Golan and Yoran Globus the stars of the film.

Golan reportedly threatened a pilot with an uzi, and reportedly endangered his newborn son by giving him a part in a film, which involved the baby being unrestrained in the back of a moving wagon. He reportedly made plot lines up on the spot, and heavily promoted films which underperformed, including the legendarily awful Superman IV.



Electric Boogaloo was a humorous documentary, particularly the footage of a starlet from one of their films burning a VHS copy of the film she starred in.

I'm particularly intrigued by the film Ninja III: The Domination. I'm surprised I've never heard of it.


Demonically possessed female ninjas? Yes, please.




Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Legends Of Santa


The history of The Jolly Old Elf is examined in this documentary.

Xmas sucks. Now, don't get upset. I hate every holiday. I'm of the mind that believes that holidays were invented just to distract us just long enough to stop killing one another for a day to two, which is why they've become so omnipresent, and I'm looking at you, National Bubblewrap Appreciation Day (that's January 25). I think if you celebrate every day for no apparent reason whatsoever, you don't need a special day to do it. And if you celebrate every day, you'll eventually be good at it, and you won't be one of those amateur party douches that overcompensates and vomits into a potted plant at the holiday get-together on New Year's, and St. Patrick's Day, and July 4th, and Labor Day, and pretty much every holiday involving a six-pack, which is all of them.

Anyway, back to Claus. Don't get me started on that guy. We go way back. My second cousin Krampus works for him. BTW, there's a documentary about Krampus currently in theaters (I haven't seen it). That's neither here nor there. Speaking of there, you might already be aware that I hung out with Santa this summer, when I took a road trip to visit him. I wouldn't say we get along that well.

http://stabforddeathrage.blogspot.com/2015/07/what-stabford-did-on-his-summer-vacation.html

No, I didn't drive to the North Pole, that's where he keeps his sweatshop, where he underpays elves to makes cruddy plastic toys they sell at the dollar stores. What, did you think he was some master artisan? Did you really think he was hand-tooling ornately carved wooden rocking horses? HA! Hardly. He hasn't picked up a chisel since 1849. It's all outsourcing, baby. And plastics. He's in it for the cash. If he was so altruistic, he'd be flying around giving everyone vaccines. Anyway, he lives in Santa Claus, Indiana. I spent the night in his hotel, and then we had an epic kung fu battle in a thunderstorm. And there was pie.



That's not important right now. Legends Of Santa details Santa's first Kickstarter, where he threw a bag of coins through someone's window in Turkey during the 3rd century. Head up, Claus, that's not how Kickstarters work, and that's not how banks work, and I'm pretty sure flinging a sack full of pennies willy-nilly is how vandalism works. Then all the squares got really upset about Saturnalia, which is one big ancient and decadent party involving vandalism, and they then decide Christmas would be a much better holiday, and by "better" I mean "way more lame, but with just as much, if not more, binge drinking". Then Santa lands a very lucrative sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola, and it's all downhill from there, as Xmas creeps into stores at the end of July and doesn't leave until Valentine's Day, even though secretly everyone wishes it wouldn't.

Sorry, I can't seem to find a trailer for Legends Of Santa, but I didn't try very hard. All this holiday stuff is starting to press my nerves, and Xmas is already a holly-jolly nightmare. Here's a trailer for that documentary about my second cousin I was telling you about.





A Tale Of Two Thieves


The search for the men responsible for The Great Train Robbery is examined in this documentary. Nonchalant and matter-of-fact, Bruce Richard Reynolds felt destined for a life of crime. After being caught for one of his many crimes, he was whipped with the cat o' nine tails. In spite of this, he felt torture and prison wasn't a deterrent. In a startling onscreen revelation, he details the methods and dangers to blowing a safe, where he suffered a concussion. Along with 14 other men, he pulled Britain's largest robbery. Utilizing interviews, vintage film clips, recreations, and fantastic slang, A Tale Of Two Thieves is an intriguing story of a charismatic criminal.


Beltracchi: The Art Of Forgery


The career of the art forger is examined in this documentary. After buying ancient flea market paintings, Beltracchi removed the old paint from them, hand-mixed gorgeous pigments, and created new art on top of the old. After artificially aging it by baking it in an oven, he added dust to the inside of the back of the painting for authenticity. Because being wrong could jeopardize their careers, experts and dealers assumed the painting was authentic. Beltracchi created approximately 300 fakes, many hang in museums. Arrogant and talented, he was ultimately brought down by a tube of titanium white. Somewhat slow-moving, Beltrachhi: The Art Of Forgery felt overlong, but it was still an intriguing film.




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Twinsters


Twin sisters unknown to one another are reunited in this fresh, youthful documentary. Samantha, an actress in Los Angeles, is contacted by Anais, a fashion designer in Paris, because of the striking physical similarities she found after watching one of her acting performances. Somehow managing to make internetting look interesting on film, Twinsters uses Skype, texts, and emojis to forward the compelling narrative. Surprising, bittersweet, but a bit cloying in the middle, it's a fascinating film.




Tap World


The life stories of tap dancers are profiled in this entertaining documentary. Featuring dancers floating, sliding, leaping, and tapping, Tap World is a documentary about dance, community, and family, spoken in the language, rhythm, and music of tap. 'A seeing music and a hearing dance', the life-changing power of tap is shown through poignant stories, including a college student who busks on the subway, and a cancer survivor, now an amputee, who taps while wearing a prosthetic leg. The cultural influences that have molded modern tap are also shown, including gumboot dancers in South Africa who used tap to communicate in the mines, Indian barefoot kathak dancers, and Brazilians using tap to help kids get off the streets. Filled with talented and innovative performances, Tap World is an enlightening documentary.


Monday, December 21, 2015

From Caligari To Hitler


The link between the rise of expressionist cinema in the Weimar Republic and the connection to the rise of Nazism is examined in this documentary. Featuring clips from dozens of films, the premonition of war, tyranny, and conformity in Germany is shown through amazing images and breathtaking scenes from the cinema giants of the age, including M, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the Mabuse films, The Golem, Nosferatu, Faust, Metropolis, and many others. Thankfully, the film doesn't dwell so much on the politics of the era and the tragedies that ensue, but concentrates on the lustrous, shining film artistry that blossomed during the time period.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbDhsKl_U2E

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Avenging Fist


In a Blade Runner-like future, where the Pollution Index Rating is Black, and the UV Index Rating is also Black, people ride hover boards, use way too much hair gel, and make phone calls by holding two fingers up to their ears, so it's a lot like now. Amidst jump cuts, quick edits, and less-than impressive special effects, people fight and say, 'Woo-hoo!'. Utilizing wire work and acrobatics, people float, spin, levitate, glow, and kick each other. Things sometimes explode.

Suddenly, people attempt drug-induced martial arts dancing, and Sammo Hung wears a shiny metal fedora. Then characters say, 'Hey!', 'Let's go!', and 'Your clothes look very tidy'. Then a fascist causes someone to fall into a pyramid cage containing a Pokemon, I think, and it tears him apart, and the fascist catches his eyeball. Two characters kiss while riding a overboard in front of an enormous moon to pop music accompaniment. Someone has a birthday party, and the cake is topped with a holographic stripper candle. Someone receives a toaster as a gift, and it contains a glove. People shoot each other with beams from the Forbidden Zone, and someone else can heat beverages with their hands.

More movie happens whether you want it to or not, and people shoot fire from their hands, wear neon clothing, call Sammo Hung fat repeatedly, and sometimes dissolve. The film ends with a terrific battle, and by 'terrific' I really mean 'confusing'. Lots and lots of stuff appeared to happen. What it was, I'm not sure.

The Avenging Fist has a nonsensical script, extravagant hair and costumes, mediocre martial arts, lackluster CGI, very little plot, and wire work where you can see the wire. It's recommended for people who like watching, but not playing, video games.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwJGTFONqVg

Pernicious


Three complaining young American women travel to Thailand to work as teachers, but find they've rented a haunted house in this gory horror film. After a drone shot of the temples at Angkor Wat, the women bicker amongst themselves as they unlock the padlock to the door of their rented home, and the boom mic makes a startling appearance, taking up approximately 10% of the left-hand side of the frame. They keep calling their new home 'creepy', and I think they're confusing the word 'creepy' with 'enormous, beautiful, gorgeously decorated, and much too nice for them'. They discover a gold statue of a child, and the cameraman is reflected in a 'creepy' wood and glass display case that probably cost a small fortune. I mean seriously, this house is incredible. Ornate wooden carvings, a lagoon instead of a yard, shining hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, a haunted ritual altar in the attic, you know, curb appeal.

Anyway, after some continuity-defying carpet and dizzying handheld camerawork, a glass breaks somewhere in this 'creepy' three-story home, and one of the women says, 'It must be the wind', and it's like they're reading from a script from Scooby Doo. Then one of the women says, 'We don't speak Thai', and then speaks Thai.

The women decide to go out on the town, so they head to a nightclub and drink booze from a fishbowl and dance to dubstep. It's very tedious. Three men hit on them, and then the women get roofied.

Here the film takes a really dark turn, and not a moment too soon. People are tortured, someone gets fed their own eyeball, and someone's toenails are ripped out. Teeth are extracted, someone bathes in arterial spray, and someone licks a bloody knife blade. A witch gets her head split open, revealing her twitching brain. Someone's entrails make an appearance, someone's tongue is removed, and there's bad dubbing.

The second half of the film is superior to the first, but it's probably because the first half is concerned with plot and character development. The second half barely succeeds because of the torture and screaming.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9lZ_Er-Wjg


Friday, December 11, 2015

The Happy House


A bickering couple vacations at a bed and breakfast, and the microphone strapped to the lead actor's lower back is briefly visible in this horror film. Joe and Wendy, two not-especially interesting New Yorkers, decide to try to salvage their sinking relationship, so Joe books them at a secluded B&B. Wisely, Wendy doesn't want to go.

Honestly, who could blame her? I've spent the night at several allegedly haunted hotels and at least one allegedly haunted mansion. I hang out in cemeteries for fun. I can say with all certainty that there's nothing more terrifying to me than the thought of staying at a B&B. The forced chit-chat, the communal activities, the proximity to strangers, the early morning hours, the quiet, the relaxation, the needlepoint, the doilies. I shudder at the thought.

I once spent the night at an allegedly haunted Shaker village. I guess you could say it was kind of a B&B. Did the ghosts frighten me? No. I almost ran screaming from the hotel foyer from the sight of several people sitting in Shaker rockers crocheting. Later that night, it was darker than any dark I've ever experienced, so quiet my tinnitus nearly deafened me, and I was a stone's throw from livestock. But it was the idyllic crocheting that nearly had me speeding away in a panic. I was hoping ghosts would wander around rattling their chains or whatever to break up the homespun monotony.

Anyway, I'm reviewing a movie. Upon arriving at the charming bed & breakfast, an impossibly cheerful woman named Hildie welcomes Joe and Wendy into her home, and they meet her ax-wielding son and a not-especially Swedish lepidopterist named Hverven. The house is decorated with an overabundance of cuckoo clocks, and they're presented with a lengthy list of House Rules. They're warned not to break the rules three times, because something bad will happen. There's no internet, there's no TV, and no loud music or snacking is allowed.

At this point, I would've fled the scene. I don't trust people who are aggressively polite and good natured. What's their angle? What are they hiding? I don't trust them. Also, I can't follow rules. I'll break every single one of them just to do it. Upon learning that snacking wasn't allowed, I would've driven back to the nearest convenience store for every snack known to mankind and gobbled them in bed out of spite. While I stayed at the Shaker village, the hotel restaurant was closed for the night because it was like, I don't know, either 7 p.m. or the 19th century, so I ate most of a contraband Derby pie in my room. Plus no internet, TV, or music? Might as well hit me over the head with a shovel and bury me out back, Hildie, because it's what you're planning all along anyway. Death by nostalgia. Or a shovel. Whatever. Anyway, I'm on to you, Hildie. Put me out of my internet-free misery.

Back to the review. After a bunch of B&B tedium, including needlepoint, checkers, reading, silence, cuckoo clocks, and blueberry muffins that have a secret ingredient that isn't mentioned in the film again, the police arrive to tell Hildie and the gang that a murderous mental patient has escaped the nearby asylum because of course it is, and he goes by the name of Desmond The Decapitator because of course he does. Seriously, all that peace and quiet would drive anyone crazy. Did I mention there's no TV or internet? For crying out loud. How can someone live that way? I mean, how do people in rural areas watch cat videos? Do they watch actual cats? No thanks. While I stayed at the haunted Shaker village with the crocheting, there was no phone reception, no TV, and it was so quiet I swear I could hear the clacking of those steel crochet needles echoing throughout the building.

Anyway, back again to the review. Suddenly, a stranger knocks on the door. Hildie packs her .44 Magnum because of course she does. Then the movie takes a dark turn, and not a moment too soon, as the house is plunged into darkness, and the cast resorts to candles. They tie bedsheets together, and they unconvincingly scramble down them to escape the terror unfolding within the house, which isn't particularly terrifying, only to be involved in a low-speed chase from an ax-wielding maniac. It's more of a jog, really.

Disappointing as a mystery, and disappointing as a slasher, The Happy House seems like two films iced together like a mismatched layer cake, light and airy at the top, dark and dense below. Unfortunately, pastries are all that Hildie is serving, and something more substantial isn't on the menu.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG9IcEfnpxk

Dark Star: H. R. Giger's World



The career and home life of the late artist is examined in this documentary. Given a human skull at the tender age of 6, Giger would drag it behind him down the street by a string. I'm not certain if that had any influence on him at all. His album cover artwork with Dead Kennedys, Celtic Frost, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer is shown, including 1970s footage of the artist airbrushing one of his pieces. The ongoing battle to manage his paperwork and film royalties is compelling, and considering the state of his home, it seems like a monumental task. His cluttered, cobweb-filled, labyrinthine house, with its walls painted black and covered with floor-to-ceiling paintings of alchemical symbols and woman/machine hybrids, and a bathtub overflowing with books, it's really the star of the show. His shady garden of ivy, a miniature train running through it, is a close second.

Unfortunately there's no sign of his Oscar for Alien anywhere.






Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith


Action figures over-emote amidst a complicated script and complicated CGI in this cluttered prequel.

This film is terrible. First of all, the unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny dialogue. Second, the endless parade of alien creatures whose sole existence is to become a chunk of collectible plastic. And finally, the performances. Natalie Portman was sublime in Leon: The Professional, and won an Academy Award for Black Swan. I'm not sure what it is she's doing here, though.



Hayden Christensen. Whoa. He gives a wooden, cringe-inducing performance that boggles the mind.


Love, astonishment, anger, surprise, disappointment, Christensen's performance is one flat note throughout until the very end, and his demeanor finally changes, but it's only because he's on fire. From lava.

Ewan MacGregor does the best he can with the dialogue provided. But then again, he won a BAFTA for Trainspotting, where he climbed out of the worst toilet in all of Scotland.

The most compelling (and energetic) character is Yoda, who leaps and twirls and battles with a verve unseen in The Empire Strikes Back. It's arguably the best use of CGI in the prequels, and it's not enough to save this film. Although Yoda is 800 years old, he goes from Olympic gymnast in Sith to being carried around by Skywalker in Empire. I'm sure there's a logical explanation other than "That was Luke's training", he didn't take his Boniva, or just a crappy script. Don't tell me, I don't want to know. And don't say midi-chlorians.

George Lucas fills every square inch of the screen with stuff, as though he was afraid a pixel wouldn't blink, fly, explode, or say something stupid. Episode III should have been called Endlessly Twirling Light Sabers, because rarely is a scene not full of them, going so far as to have a Light Saber Helicopter at one point. The overuse of lightsabers is to distract you from noticing the terrible and convoluted script, and to move plastic replicas at Wal-Mart. It's definitely too much of a good thing.

I admit, I was excited in 1999 when George Lucas started making Star Wars films again after a lengthy absence, but in retrospect, he really shouldn't have. The three prequels are almost enough to destroy the memory of the original two Star Wars films (sorry, Return Of The Jedi isn't very good either, but it's the Godfather in comparison to the prequels), and I worry for the next installments by J.J. Abrams. Maybe he can pull the franchise out of the dumpster. It remains to be seen.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Blondie's New York And The Making Of Parallel Lines


The making of the classic album Parallel Lines is examined in this rockumentary. Featuring present-day interviews with the band, music videos, clips from Top Of The Pops, and vintage scenes of the gritty New York City of the 1970s, the highlight of the film is footage of band members and producer Mike Chapman breaking down songs from the album into their nuts-and-bolts. Isolating guitar parts, drum fills, and vocal lines, the construction of the songs from the ground up highlights what makes the album timeless. The fascinating metamorphosis of a pop/reggae track no one knew what to do with to an iconic #1 hit single was particularly interesting.



Criminally short at only 49 minutes, I could have watched Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, and Clem Burke for hours.

The Great Museum



The restoration of the Kunstkammer Rooms at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Austria is examined in this documentary. With little dialogue, the majority of sound being the ambient noises of the vast, echoing museum, it's a quiet film. Cleaning crews, workmen, and restorers go about their business of ripping up wallpaper, chipping away paint, and tearing out flooring in an effort to prepare for a new installation. The painstaking attention required in caring for centuries-old, priceless works of art is shown, as enormous canvasses are wheeled about, statuary is vacuumed, and velvet-lined cases for jewel-encrusted treasures are dusted out. The mundane, behind-the-scenes activities of budgetary discussions and promotional campaigns carry an unexpected tension, where word choices become the stuff of a tense battle, and a font is removed for being 'too aggressive'. In order to get from one storage area to another, one enterprising employee wheels about on a Razor Scooter. With rubber gloves, face masks, and lab coats, minuscule insects are removed from oil paintings and examined under microscopes. A fascinating, academic documentary, The Great Museum is probably too boring for the casual viewer, but would appeal to activists, art lovers, and museum enthusiasts. Since I'm hardly a casual viewer or easily bored, I liked it a lot. Stay for the gorgeous final shot of the completed rooms in all their gilded glory.




The Wolfpack


Six brothers live in their Lower East Side apartment with their odd, reclusive parents and rarely leave, the only way they know the outside world is through the movies they watch. Utilizing handwritten, illustrated scripts they recreated from watching DVDs of films such as Reservoir Dogs and Blue Velvet, the boys stage the films in their apartment, brandishing handmade prop weapons. The accuracy and attention to detail in these film recreations was quite stunning. I particularly enjoyed the scene featuring a remarkable Halloween celebration, the boys wearing homemade costumes of Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, they danced around a burning straw effigy, again, in their apartment, which probably wasn't the safest idea. With loose, handheld camerawork, interviews in closeup, and clips from home movies, The Wolfpack is a fascinating look at isolated individuals in one of the most densely populated cities in the country. The footage of their parents is chilling, as both mother and father are seemingly unable to control the events that caused them all to be prisoners in their home. The Wolfpack is a mind-boggling documentary examining reclusion and the life-changing power of film.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Kill Zombie!



A Russian Satellite crashes into a building, starting a zombie apocalypse in this silly horror/comedy.

A guy gets fired, threatened at a pool party, and thrown in jail. After fireballs crash to Earth, the guy, his brother, and the two threatening fellows escape jail, only to find ravenous zombies are shuffling through town. A girl he went on one date with is in danger and keeps calling him asking for help, so needless to say he fights his way back to town to save her.

Borrowing from Shawn Of The Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Die Hard, The Matrix, and Aliens, there's lots of blood, green goo, mangled body parts, severed heads, and a cake and a half. One scene is supposed to be taking place at an abandoned gas station, but cars are visibly traveling on a nearby highway, and the cameraman realizes too late and gets it in the shot, however it could be argued that those are supposed to be people fleeing the city as instead of a continuity error. Speaking of continuity errors, the camera crew and equipment are sometimes visible in reflective surfaces. The zombies featured aren't especially scary, they're more of the average by-stander covered in fake blood type.

Fun fact: trypophobics should avoid Kill Zombie, as there's lots of holes. What's trypophobia, you ask? I wasn't sure myself, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. While not recognized by the DSM, it's the fear of holes, usually on skin, often in irregular patterns or clusters, but sometimes people fear lotus seeds, too.



I was skeptical, and in fact one psychologist said it could come from priming or conditioning. I can honestly say I doubt I've ever been conditioned to feel anxious at the sight of holes. So, I looked it up on Google Images, and that was a mistake. I wouldn't say I'm fearful of these images, but I was surprised by the amount of fascination and revulsion I felt, even with all the photoshop.




I was going to be a real joker and post some of the more cringe-inducing trypophobia photos, but I decided against it. Knowing a little bit about human nature and being very, very lazy, the curiosity will be too much for you, and you'll end up Googling it yourself, so it saves me a bit of time.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Famous Nathan


The founder of the Coney Island hot dog stand is examined in this documentary. Featuring footage of Coney Island, old photos, home movies of family members, and interviews with former workers, I had a difficult time remembering who was mad at whom. Family members were often reluctant to speak on the record about Nathan Handwerker, sometimes making contradictory statements to the previously interviewed person, rendering it difficult to get a reading on the chain's founder. One former worker talked about working the line while on LSD, and recounted a legend where it was alleged that someone laced the mustard pots with acid, which forced the stand to replace the old wooded sticks meant to smear the dogs with condiments to the now-ubiquitous plastic packets.

A couple of years ago, I went to Coney Island for the Coney Island Film Festival, and almost missed my screening because I waited in line for a half and hour for some soggy, lackluster Nathan's fries. I'm not particularly sorry I stopped at Nathan's, but watching the documentary made me nostalgic for the lightning-quick, old-fashioned hot dog stand experience that must have awed Coney Island visitors at the original Nathan's.

Anyway, after selling 500 million dogs, the company went through changes, and suffered a decline that mirrored the one that plagued Coney Island itself. Famous Nathan felt overlong, probably due to the abundance of interviews that became confusing. Still, it was nice to see vintage footage of the stand and Coney Island during its heyday.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ejecta



After a coronal mass ejection, a man is tortured and interrogated by a mysterious agency about his abduction by aliens 40 years prior in this intriguing sic-fi film from the writer of Pontypool. Featuring night vision camera footage, shaky cam, transmission feed breakups, and other effects from the 'found footage' genre, Ejecta ultimately raises some interesting questions about torture, control, the act of forgetting, and a thought-provoking, frightening notion of alien-assisted immortality. Although some of the special effects are limited by the film's low budget, there's plenty of alien goo, dissections, gore, and metallic alien torture devices. While not as effective as the zombie film Pontypool, I still ended up enjoying it, and being a little haunted by the final scene.






Friday, November 6, 2015

The Woman Eater


A mad scientist feeds women to an unconvincing plant-creature in this boring horror film.

A man wearing a loincloth plays bongos in a dungeon laboratory because why not, and a woman sways as though hypnotized while standing before a shaggy, leafy surfboard with rubber gloves for hands. The bongo guy shoves her into the clutches of the plant-like surfboard creature, which seems fine.



Suddenly, there's stock footage of the Amazon and the various flora and fauna that dwells there, then explorers chop through foliage that's definitely not in the Amazon but probably a soundstage in England. Then with very little warning, there's more bongos. The explorers stumble upon a strange jungle ritual, and by "strange" I really mean "boring and exploitative", and then there's even more bongos.

The bongo guy trades in his loincloth for a lab coat, and he helps inject a partially submerged and striated heart with a syringe, but the heart looks a little like the meat on a slowly turning spit you might find at a shawarma restaurant, and the scientist is unimpressed with the way it's pulsating. I don't know a lot about injecting pulsating hearts with plant fluid, but I do enjoy a good shawarma sandwich, and I really don't find it very appetizing when my sandwich is pulsating.



My life has been in complete turmoil since my favorite shawarma restaurant closed down a couple of years ago, and probably also since becoming vegetarian. I can't be certain that one didn't cause the other, but that's not important right now. The restaurant was dusty, and it was attached to a market filled with many expired food items. In fact, you had to blow a layer of dust off the canned goods just to find the expiration date. I'm not certain when the grill was cleaned last. The atmosphere was filled with the aroma of an unknown vegetable that has fallen behind something and liquefied, and no one has been able to find it. However, the most disturbing aspect of all was the enormous photograph of the owner, blown up to 6-foot by 6-foot in size, which hung directly over the owner's desk, which sat inexplicably near where you ordered your sandwiches. It was a little startling to see this huge, unnerving photo of a guy, who you would guess to be some mustached poet from the 1970s, but he's sitting directly underneath it, blinking at you while you're trying to order lunch, sometimes entering numbers on an adding machine. But in spite of all this, the sandwich they made was sublime, with the canned pickles, and the creamy garlic sauce, and the spicy hot sauce. In fact, I'm filled with rage that it doesn't exist anymore, and since it was made from chicken, I can't eat it either.

Anyway, back to the movie. Suddenly there's a funfair with carnival rides, a slightly important to the plot shooting gallery game, and a very important to the plot dancing girl. Blogger's autocorrect attempted to change "funfair" to "unfair", and I agree that it's very unfair I can't go the the funfair or get that shawarma sandwich since I'm now obsessed with the memory of it, but to be fair, I'm often obsessed by the thought of funfairs or sandwiches of some type or another.

Anyway, the story develops for a while, with a mechanic love interest, and a jealous housekeeper, and terrible draperies, and it's not very interesting. Very few women get eaten, but several get hugged.

The Woman Eater bores whenever The Woman Eater isn't onscreen, which is 90% of the movie. They probably should have called the film, "A Guy Dressed As A Fuzzy Surfboard Hugs Women To Bongo Accompaniment, But For Only About 10 Minutes Or So, Which Is Kind Of A Rip-Off Considering The Run-Time", but while technically correct, that title is probably too long for a marquee.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cave Of The Living Dead


An inspector from Interpol investigates strange deaths in a German village in this boring horror film. Featuring kettles cooking something over open fires, accordions, and whittling, very few caves appear until the 35-minute mark. Almost no "living dead" appear, unless you call bouffant-wearing chicks lying very still with their eyes open counting as "living dead", and then there's a few of those, but it's nothing really to write home about. Turns out the living dead chicks are vampires, and it's very confusing when one of the living dead vampire chicks crushes a guy by throwing a papier-mache boulder at him, which is probably the first time I've ever seen a vampire do that. I mean, I could understand if she was trying to make him into a smoothie, but she didn't even try to drink his blood.

At this point, I was going to insert an Orange Julius commercial, but I can't seem to find one, although I didn't try very hard.


Anyway since it's nearly Halloween, here's a vintage commercial for the Thingmaker Creepy Crawlers toy from the 60s for no reason whatsoever other than the fact that I would pay good money for a Thingmaker Creepy Crawler toy and an Orange Julius.



Anyway, I couldn't find a trailer for Cave Of The Living Dead, but here are some other trailers of interest.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Plastic Galaxy



The history of Star Wars toys is examined in this enlightening documentary. Discussing the early problems with manufacturing and distribution due to overwhelming demand, I had no idea the Kenner toy company sold an early figurine coupon, which shipped toys to consumers after the film was released but before the toys were actually manufactured. I enjoyed the scenes of grown men reminiscing about how they played with their toys, and showing precious, broken toys saved after 30 years. The scenes of prototypes, actual props from the film, vintage toy commercials, and blueprints for toy ideas that remained on the drawing board were also fascinating. Plastic Galaxy: The Story Of Star Wars Toys is a well-made, interesting look at the toys surrounding the iconic films.






Monday, October 19, 2015

The Stranger



A mysterious man, searching for an old friend, arrives in a town plagued by drugs, violence, and bad cops in this compelling, grim, and dramatic Chilean horror film. An update and modernization of the vampire mythos as though the Twilight series never happened, The Stranger is bloody, violent, and surprising. With many striking images, such as the moment after a teenage receives a savage beating, a ground-level shot looking up at his Molotov cocktail-wielding attackers, the sound of tinnitus ringing in his ears, a great scene as the stranger douses himself and a woman handcuffed to a rooftop fire escape with gasoline, a ground-level shot of gory corpse's jeans drenched in blood and covered in hay, and a grisly shot of crispy 3rd degree burns under bloody, oozing bandages, The Stranger is well-shot, with visually interesting cinematography.



Friday, October 16, 2015

The Cradle Of Shadows



A crew of French paranormal investigators investigates a vague haunting and walks slowly down the partially lit hallways of a sort-of abandoned bunker while carrying flashlights in this sort-of horror film. Featuring handheld nausea cam, the explorers come to a bunker where a worker has disappeared, and using their ghost-hunting equipment, find a bra. After walking around the labyrinthine bunker with their flashlights, they discover someone has destroyed their equipment. It's not very interesting. One of the team-members searches a flooded tunnel and decides to go for a swim. I'm not sure why. Finally, the crew sees an apparition at the 38-minute mark. Unfortunately, we the viewers don't get to see it, because the film-makers resort to the cliched cheat of going back to the handheld nausea cam to avoid showing us what the crew saw, which means that the camera shakes violently so the viewer can't see it's just a woman in a lacy dress with a long black wig. It's pretty derivative of Samara in Ringu, and it isn't very interesting. The crew discovers a Nazi laboratory, and the way everyone can tell it's a Nazi laboratory is because of the Adolf Hitler poster that's hung on the wall. The team realizes that the Nazis created mutants in the bunkers, and then something important happens because the handheld nausea cam shakes violently. What happened? I'm not sure. More footage of the cast walking down tunnels carrying flashlights happens for the rest of the movie, the camera shakes a lot, and the film enigmatically ends. There's a brief shot of dangling entrails, but it's nothing to write home about, and I'm not sure why anyone would write home about entrails. Featuring unconvincing acting, an incoherent script that can't decide if it's a story about a ghost or monsters, terrible cinematography, a generic nu-metal score, and a complete lack of scares or cradles,  The Cradle Of Shadows bores and confuses. Avoid it as if you're being chased by mutants.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Am Big Bird


The man inside the bird is profiled in this poignant, bittersweet documentary. The career of Caroll Spiney is outlined in great detail, from the beginning of his career on the Bozo show and throughout his iconic role of Big Bird on Sesame Street. The apparatus used to operate the Big Bird puppet is surprisingly complicated, as Spiney manipulates Big Bird's arms and mouth, walks about blind, all while watching the world outside the suit on a monitor strapped to his chest within the suit. It's amazing to watch.

Featuring many touching moments from Sesame Street, vintage clips shown include the classic episode when Big Bird has to process the death of Mr. Hooper, behind the scenes footage from the groundbreaking film Big Bird In China, and the funeral of Jim Henson, when Big Bird sings "It Isn't Easy Being Green".

Did you know that Big Bird was invited to ride on the Space Shuttle, and barely escaped death as he was too big to ride on the Challenger? Neither did I. Whoa.




Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Life And Crimes Of Doris Payne


The life of the notorious jewel thief is examined in this documentary. A compelling look at a brilliant female criminal whose mentality of 'I'm not giving it back', which she does not equate with stealing, gives her the persona of 'The Trickster', or someone who is breaking societal rules. Through sleight of hand and distraction, she has stolen expensive jewels around the world, and created for herself a very long rap sheet. In a trial versus Macy's, she vehemently denies involvement in a jewel heist in spite of incriminating video footage. Elegant, charming, funny, charismatic, and utterly convincing, if at least to herself, she smiles mischievously in the face of a long jail sentence. Having escaped prison once, she seems unimpressed by the threat. In the Monte Carlo Cartier Heist during the 1960s, she boldly claimed she was Otto Preminger's wife, walked out of prison, and was forced to go on the lam. The Life And Crimes Of Doris Payne is a fascinating look at a calculating, remorseless, and unforgettable career criminal.




Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hungry


The world of competitive eating is examined in this documentary. Featuring a guy who can eat a large pizza in under two minutes, and another guy who projectile vomits a gallon of water, and the legendary eater Kobayashi who once ate 55 cow brains, Hungry details the drama behind competitive eating contests. Many competitors must sign complicated contracts, and aren't allowed to compete in unauthorized contests. This severely limits their pay, and breaking their contracts often gets them banned from competition. The film also highlights some of the health risks associated with competitive eating, such as ruptures, aspirations, and the rarely discussed issue of purging. Hungry was an interesting documentary, but probably shouldn't be viewed on a full stomach.




The Search For General Tso


The hunt for the elusive namesake behind the ubiquitous dish is examined in this documentary. I like Chinese food, but I've actually never had this dish. I've always been a fan of noodle dishes, myself.  I'd always assumed that General Tso's was a spicier version of Sweet & Sour Chicken, which I've never cared for because of the ketchup. Unfortunately, The Search For General Tso could have been easily summed up in about 15 minutes, by explaining the story behind General Tso. I learned that the real General Tso, an actual 19th century Chinese general, would've found the Americanized dish surprising, as he wanted Western culture out of China, and Hunan cuisine rarely combines sweet and savory elements in a dish. The dish was invented by Chef T. T. Wang in 1972, and he prepared a simple Hunan chicken dish and added sugar to appeal to Western palates. There's the answer. Oops, sorry, Spoiler Alert. Anyway, The Search For General Tso was interesting and informative, but even at a mere 73 minutes felt padded and overlong.


An Honest Liar


The life and career of legendary magician and paranormal debunker The Amazing Randi is examined in this bittersweet documentary. Well-shot and edited, An Honest Liar illuminates Randi's life in unexpected ways, from footage of his exploits breaking Houdini's escape records to his same-sex relationship with an artist who isn't exactly who he says he is. Simultaneously touting openness while playing his cards close to the vest, Randi exposes the truth and tries to shove an ace up his sleeve.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Spawn Of The Slithis


A radioactive creature preys on winos and housepets in this 1970s low-budget horror film. After some children play some absurd slo-mo frisbee down by the creek, they stumble upon a mutilated dog.  Suddenly, Slithis, an absurd rubber-suited monster that looks like a calamari appetizer on two legs, goes for a breathy walk. It breaks through a screen door and attacks a bickering couple in their home in front of their print of Seurat's A Sunday On La Grande Jatte, and not a moment too soon, and then a cop eats a cough drop. Some dubious science ensues, as someone admires jars filled with dead things floating in murky liquids, and two people play backgammon while a man is attired in a chambray jumpsuit. Suddenly, the Slithis attacks a wino. It's not very interesting. Because the Slithis has graduated from killing housepets to art lovers to winos, the fuzz starts to shake down the local cultists in the area because why not. Then the guy in the chambray jumpsuit dons a straw fedora to discuss $5 wines with the local transients, and even the transients ridicule him. Then he talks with a guy with a melty face who lives in a geodesic dome because why not, then there's a bit of turtle racing. A comically overacting police lieutenant overacts, then a station wagon goes airborne. Spawn Of The Slithis bores, but it's slightly recommended if you like terrible fashion choices or stuff that sucks.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ghost Hunt: Paranormal Encounter At Burlington County Prison


A group of amateur ghost hunters investigates supposed paranormal activity at New Jersey's Burlington County Prison in this documentary reminiscent of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. Although they admit from the beginning of the film that they are neither professional paranormal investigators nor parapsychologists, Ghost Hunt: Paranormal Encounter At Burlington County Prison resembles pretty much every other ghost program, as they use infrared cameras, EMF detectors, and digital recorders to document supposed paranormal activity. An affable crew and prison museum caretakers recount a sordid past, which is standard in paranormal programs, and doesn't really allow Ghost Hunt: Paranormal Encounter At Burlington County Prison to stand out amongst its competitors. There's an intriguing, unexplained light anomaly and a threatening EVP, but Ghost Hunt: Paranormal Encounter At Burlington County Prison is marred by excessive downtime, which leadens the pace, murky camerawork, and its fair share of inconclusive evidence.




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Da Vinci's Darkest Secret


The tenuous connections between the Holy Grail, the Merovingians, the film The Matrix, and about a thousand other things is examined in exhaustive detail in this dull, convoluted, speculative documentary. After a lengthy drum solo which is totally fine, the film starts as if the narrator was in mid-thought. Amidst footage of sunsets and the sound of indistinct whispering, various historical etymologies are discussed at length, and Leonardo Da Vinci is barely even brought up. Bulls and snakes are mentioned quite a bit, and the film meanders about before pulling a Gotcha moment at the very end and telling the viewer *spoiler alert* the whole Da Vinci-Holy Grail-Merovingian-Matrix-connection thing was in your imagination. I'm going to let you in on a secret: Da Vinci's Darkest Secret is very, very boring and probably somewhat disappointing to conspiracy theorists.


The Vampire's Coffin


A vampire is accidentally awakened from his probably-not-made-from-real-stone crypt in this atmospheric Mexican horror film. Featuring misty cemeteries, lengthy shadows, barren trees, dramatic lighting, a crypt-like wax museum, a nearly empty hospital of some sort, and bats dangling from visible strings, a not-particularly-threatening vampire is unleashed after a thief removes the stake through his heart while trying to steal a very-important-to-the-plot medallion, and then there's two lackluster dance sequences. In spite of its low-budget, The Vampire's Coffin makes the most of lighting and atmosphere, and I was particularly impressed by the scene as the vampire is stalking a woman walking down a street, his cape billowing dramatically, as the lights cause his shadow to grow to enormous size, nearly engulfing her. The Vampire's Coffin is highly recommended if you like stuff that's kind of lousy.


Alien Encounter At Loch Ness


A story of an alien encounter with the Loch Ness Monster is recounted very briefly in this dull speculative documentary. Featuring lengthy sped-up nausea-cam footage of the loch from a motorboat, lengthy close-ups of handmade rock figurines of Nessie, interviews with eyewitnesses, and footage of sea turtles, jellyfish, cuttlefish, and moray eels (which I don't believe are native to Loch Ness, but whatever), there's very little footage of Nessie herself. Instead, the filmmakers discuss some of the more infamous footage of Nessie without showing any of it, and then spend several minutes interviewing crew members of a loch cruise ship with some really dodgy hand-held camerawork. Suddenly, an anonymous 'high-level' scientist is interviewed about the one time he sighted both a UFO and the Loch Ness Monster, but it's very brief and takes place during the last few minutes of the film.




Zombie Werewolves Attack!


Zombie werewolves attack partiers in Canada in this dialogue-heavy, slow-moving horror film, and by "partiers" I really mean "stoners sitting around playing video games" and by "zombie werewolves" I really mean "regular werewolves wearing bad werewolf masks".

The film opens as a man and woman battle werewolves on some playground equipment, but it turns out to only be a poorly mic'd dream sequence. Suddenly, some poorly recorded wind blows through the trees as a guy runs over another guy in his car. Then there's a very lengthy and tedious party where people explore their feelings and get high on a terrible couch for like forever, and then someone eats a bagel. Suddenly, werewolves attack again, but it isn't very interesting, but what is vaguely interesting for a minute is the distracting smudge on the camera lens.

Did you know that they sell ketchup flavored potato chips in Canada? Neither did I, but it sounds revolting.


Speaking of chips, I recently had a chance to try Cheeseburger Flavored Pringles. I had no idea such a thing existed, either.


Being a vegetarian and a vehement avoider of McDonald's, I haven't had a McDonald's cheeseburger in years. These chips taste nearly exactly like what I remember a McDonald's cheeseburger to taste like. It's the weirdest thing. Slightly cheesy, slightly ketchupy, slightly pickley, slightly smoky, I enjoyed them, though I'm not much of a chip eater. I have a tendency to binge on them, and it's best I'm not around them. In fact, as I've been writing this, I've gone back to the kitchen 3 times for more chips. I'm about to throw them out the window.

Anyway, after the werwolf attack, the survivors flee for the supermarket where the parking lot is littered with severed body parts, and by "littered" I really mean "there's an arm and a foot and the reflection of the cameraman in the supermarket's windows". Suddenly, there's another dream sequence. It isn't very interesting, although an attempt has been made to have the footage look like old scratchy film, and I don't know about you, but very few of my dreams look that way, although they probably should. Suddenly, a completely different guy starts killing werewolves with a silver axe amidst some dodgy editing, then the cast discusses time zones in the refrigerator case near the bottled iced tea, and then they start discussing Constantinople near the dried spaghetti.


Suddenly, there's a terrific battle against the increasing swarm of werewolves, and by "terrific" I really mean "the werewolves desperately try to hold their terrible werewolves masks on", and then the movie ends, and not a moment too soon. Talky, boring, and featuring very few zombies of any variety, Zombie Werewolves Attack! has one thing going for it, and that's its 70 minute runtime.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Dead Crossroads


A survival expert and a paranormal investigator spend the night in France's most haunted houses in this French TV series. Well-shot, with eerie images of the dark and dangerous interiors of crumbling, abandoned mansions, Dead Crossroads is very addictive, as episodes are only 15 minutes long. Functioning more as a show about illegal urban exploration, a few of the early episodes nothing paranormal seems to happen. Often the explorers have to deal with the living more than ghosts, where they sometimes have to hide from cops and prowlers.

The spooky stories combined with urban exploration makes an intriguing mix, which sets Dead Crossroads slightly apart from other paranormal shows. They use no technological tools like digital recorders or EMF detectors, it's just two dudes climbing through broken windows or trying not to fall through rotting floorboards. However, the program seems to be a mix of real footage enhanced with CGI-created special effects.


Yeti: The Last Witnesses


Utilizing interviews, drawings, and animations, this Russian documentary attempts to explain the many varied difficulties in locating a Yeti, postulating that it is due to the Yeti being capable of invisibility, mental telepathy, hypnosis, being able to stop time, whistling, riding in UFOs, giving people hangovers, and changing into stones or girls or trees or cats, none of which seems particularly likely. Thankfully, Yeti: The Last Witnesses is fairly brief, which is probably the only real positive I can think of for watching it other than unintentional LULZ.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a trailer, but the film is available to view on Amazon Prime.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Roboshark


A shark/UFO hybrid creature terrorizes Seattle or Bulgaria in this made-for-TV sci-fi film. After a tiny, unconvincingly animated UFO is eaten by an unconvincingly animated shark, it turns into an unconvincingly animated roboshark, and uses its whirling mechanical teeth to eat into the side of a submarine for some reason.

OK, I'm going to have to stop this review right here, because I already wrote in my notes for this film the phrase "<what's the point?>" with brackets and everything, because I was either giving up on life because of this film, or I could already tell that there were going to be gigantic plot holes that won't be satisfactorily explained, like why a UFO would come to Earth to be swallowed by a shark, because that seems like a really pointless way to take on the US Navy, but I'm pretty sure I just gave up on life.

Anyway, Roboshark heads to Seattle, and a military general makes the prescient observation that it was heading to Seattle because of Starbucks and Nirvana, because I've often noticed that Robosharks really like terrible corporate coffee and 90s grunge.


Then Roboshark eats a plane and goes viral, because I find that interplanetary travelers are often concerned about earthly click-through rates.

Suddenly, a barista gets a face-full of steam as Roboshark tunnels through the Earth and destroys a non-Starbucks coffeeshop, and a Go-Pro-clad bicycler gets eaten by Roboshark as he Wilhelm Screams.


A news weathergirl sent on assignment to do a spot on snow sees the whole ridiculous event, so she steals the news van and takes an unconvincingly green-screened trip to a waste treatment plant where Roboshark leaps out of the solids tank. Roboshark then heads for the mall, which is filled with suspicious stores named Authentic, More And More, and Home, and it destroys the mall as the military checks the mall map for Roboshark's location and as they shoot amidst unconvincingly fleeing bystanders. The mall Roboshark attack footage is uploaded to social media while a generic pop-rock soundtrack plays during a regular-people-internetting montage, and everyone retweets and likes it because I guess people will click on just about anything. Then an admiral crushes a can of energy drink in a threatening manner.

Suddenly, Bill Gates shows up, and someone mentions the phrase THX-1138. I'm not sure why.


Then Bill Gates is eaten by Roboshark, but not before he utters the phrase, "It's full of stars". Why did he say that? Unknown.


Then someone says, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". I'm not sure why.


Then Roboshark gets a smiley face emoji on the internet, and it becomes a friendly Roboshark. I'm not sure why. Then Roboshark phones home.


Then the movie ends, and not a moment too soon.


Roboshark was pretty terrible, but I enjoyed the multiple film references. Unfortunately, I'm still not entirely sure what the point of the film was. Roboshark is mildly recommended if you like stuff that sucks or references to other, better movies not involving sharks.




James Batman


Batman, Robin, and some guy named James battle a vaguely communist threat from the nefarious CLAW organization in this Batman film from the Philippines. After a few moments of stock atomic bomb and post-typhoon footage, the leader of CLAW shoots gun-disabling finger beams at a guy and then disappears in a puff of smoke. Meanwhile in the Batcave, Batman and Robin smoke and drink coffee while discussing the possibility of meeting some chicks. Then Batman slides down the Batpole and eats rice from a briefcase and garnishes it with olives from his utility belt. He whips out his telescopic Batfork/Batcommunicator (which is an invention that's well overdue) and wipes his food-covered hands on Robin's cape.

Batman and Robin take a ride in their enormous Batmobile while the James Bond theme plays for some reason. Don't tell me it has something to do with this movie being a weird James Bond/Batman hybrid, because I refuse to believe it due to a plaid fedora, and if you haven't noticed, blatantly misunderstanding key elements of a film are kind of my thing. After being attacked by machine gun fire and threatened with a bomb, the Not-Exactly Dynamic Duo disappears in a puff of smoke and then fisticuffs ensue, but I'm unsure where all the guys with machine guns disappear to. Robin gets a beatdown, and then everyone discovers why capes aren't especially effective during hand-to-hand combat with members of an evil syndicate, because capes nearly always get wrapped around the heroes' heads as they escape. In a revealing sequence, Robin removes Batman's tights while they're dangling from a building, and it's revealed that Batman wears tighty-whiteys. During another dramatic escape sequence because it kind of seems like Batman and Robin spend most of their time escaping from stuff, the Batmobile squirts oil on the road and sets it alight, and Robin puts a lightbulb in his mouth and Batman calls him a freak.

Suddenly, James is involved in a gross, overly-plaid love sequence in extreme, blurry close-up, and it doesn't seem to involve Batman and Robin at all, for some reason. In an extended Batman-free sequence, a woman is punched in the crotch and someone else's pants smoke. I'm not sure why.

Suddenly, Joker, Penguin, and Catwoman sort of appear, but I'm not sure if the film-makers completely understand who these characters are, because Catwoman is called something else entirely even though it's pretty obvious she's supposed to be Catwoman, and Joker looks a little like he's in the Velvet Underground, and by "a little" I really mean "someone should hand him guitar because he's already wearing the cool shades".



Then someone crawls around underneath a palm frond.

Suddenly, Batman and Robin show up amidst a cool jazz soundtrack, and then a chick asks Batman out to dinner. Masked chicks with machine guns chase another chick wearing a bathing suit, and I don't really have anything negative to say about that. Then Batman, Robin, James, the bathing suit chick, and her mom and dad are captured by the machine gun chicks. The leader of CLAW blah-blah-blahs for nearly forever, then one of the masked chicks gets vaporized by a giant, metallic claw statue.

Suddenly, Johnny comes to the rescue! Who's that? I don't know. But it results in a lengthy fight sequence involving James, Johnny, Catwoman, Joker, and Penguin in some sort of factory. I'm not sure why. Then Robin inexplicably uses a gun, and then the movie ends and not a moment too soon.

Considering how little Batman and Robin actually appear in James Batman, it surprisingly has more Batman and Robin action than actual Batman movies, so go figure. James Batman is recommended if you like stuff that sucks.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Canada's Most Haunted


Canada's most haunted sites are investigated in this recreation-heavy documentary. Utilizing the old-fashioned technique of interviews and recreations instead of the modern ghost hunting technique of night-time investigations, Canada's Most Haunted tells the paranormal histories of some of the Great White North's spookiest locations. Unfortunately, there's a very sensible skeptic interviewed between each vignette discounting every single story, tossing a wet blanket over the entire proceedings, so Canada's Most Haunted is very, very boring. To make matters worse, they also investigate the Memphremagog Lake Monster, and while I don't have any problem with lake monsters per se, lake monsters aren't ghosts at all, but Memphremagog is a really interesting word, and it's fun to say. Thanks to Wikipedia, I just found out that Lake Memphremagog has a lighthouse named Witch Shoal Lighthouse, and while I don't know if it's haunted, I wouldn't mind visiting if there's the possibility of seeing a ghost, a witch, and a monster all at the same time.


Central State


Repetitive and gimmicky, Central State follows the paranormal history of the Central State Asylum For The Insane, and it's a lot like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, or Most Haunted, except shaky cam, distracting editing, voiceovers, and sound effects obscure any 'evidence' uncovered. A former patient is interviewed, but his features and voice is obscured, and it's a lot like the rest of the film, where any so-called proof of paranormal activity is hard to see or hear. If it's paranormal entertainment you're looking for, I would stick with the affable guys from Ghost Adventures and avoid Central State.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lknYvnlPYf0


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Patch Town


I'm very disappointed in Patch Town. Although well-shot, well-acted, and featuring good art direction, I believed it to be a horror film. It is not.

It's a musical.

It's a fantasy musical about a mystical Eastern Bloc American city where gooey infants are born in a cabbage patch and turned into dolls. One of these dolls grows up, and searches for his mother.



Yeah, I know, that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. But the kicker is the singing. Everybody sings, and I just can't handle it. I've never understood musicals, and I don't want to. If I wanted to see actors inexplicably burst into song, I'd watch a music video.


OK, I'll have you know I'll go to great lengths for comedy, and I watched every second of that video, and it nearly killed me. I deserve a medal of some sort.

Anyway, Patch Town starts pretty interestingly, where workers saw cabbages open with scalpels and pull drippy infants out of them, umbilical cords and all, but that's tossed aside for a character's search for the little girl who abandoned him when he was a doll. There's a few moments of absurd comedy from a henchman and a truck driver, but overall Patch Town is a musical letdown. If you're scared of musicals, avoid Patch Town.

Here's a remarkably song-free trailer: