Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Curse Of The Man Who Sees UFOs

The tale of the man who devotes his life to videotaping sightings of UFOs is examined in this quirky paranormal documentary. A story of tragedy and misfortune set in the odd underbelly of Monterey, California, Curse Of The Man Who Sees UFOs tells the story of affable, eccentric, and slightly exhausting musician and film maker Christo Roppolo, who inexplicably manages to capture images of and allegedly communicates with unidentified flying objects. A highlight of the film occurs as Roppolo recounts the tale of a man who set himself on fire at a golf course restroom, and how chasing a flying red orb caused Roppolo to crap behind a tree in said golf course. Less about flying saucers and more about the unfortunate artist haunted by them, Curse Of The Man Who Sees UFOs still entertains and fascinates.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return

A brand new season of the film critique program for the people who like other people talking during movies, featuring bad special effects, bad sets, and bad puppetry, and I haven't even started talking about the film yet. The film is terrible, which is exactly what fans of the show would expect. There is a Luxembourg joke, a spleen joke, a mother joke, a Murray Head joke, and a joke about foley artistry and exposition.

There's also a Blazing Saddles reference, various instances of mockery, a few callbacks, other science facts, and yes, you can see the strings. A welcome return, although to be honest, I only watched the first episode. I don't have time for television programs. It takes time away from constantly refreshing my Twitter feed.

For those who missed it, I held a Twitter poll to see which terrible horror film I'll review next over at Cultured Vultures. It was a narrow victory, but the winner was Halloweed, although I use the term 'winner' very loosely. Don't fret, I'll hold another poll very soon because it was an awful lot of fun, but what I consider fun is very different from what others would consider fun. In case you're wondering, my twitter handle is SDeathrage@twitter.com. I'm the one wearing the mask.

Speaking of Cultured Vultures, I recently reviewed the Argentinian horror film Ataud Blanco. You should check it out. I didn't have very many nice things to say about it.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Lovers & The Despot

The unbelievable true story of how Kim Jong-Il kidnapped two filmmakers to create a North Korean Hollywood is told in this fascinating documentary. Utilizing interviews, vintage film clips, and recreations, the sinister scheme unfolds. Imprisoned for 5 years, the husband and wife make 17 films in 2 and a half years, enduring constant surveillance, brainwashing, and 'emotional dictatorship'. As they worked for Kim Jong-Il, rumors swirled around their disappearance. After being accused of defecting to the North, clandestine audio tapes make it to the West, simultaneously providing proof of their ordeal and the very first audio recordings of Kim Kong-Il's voice. Ending in a dramatic run for the US Embassy, The Lovers & The Despot is a gripping documentary.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Double Down

A mercenary attempts to shut down the Las Vegas strip for some reason in this incomprehensibly bad espionage film written, directed, produced, starring, and catered by Neil Breen.

While wearing rubber gloves, a decorated military man turned mercenary for hire uses his multiple cell phones and laptops in the desert because of all the wi-fi. After some stock NASA footage and the unexplained appearance of random human bones by the side of the highway, he's ordered by an unnamed foreign government to shut down the Vegas strip. I'm not sure why. After a smidge of voiceover narration which comprises about 95% of the film, the mercenary says he only kills white collar criminals because I assume killing blue collar criminals would be unethical. Reflecting on his career, he says 'he's just a simple person'. Then he eats tuna out of the can while driving erratically and whining about being lonely.

After some stock nature footage, the mercenary says 'everything I need is always with me: a satellite dish, 5 laptops, 6 cellphones, and bioterror'. Warning against 'very dangerous wars', which are probably the very worst kind of wars, he claims he invented a force shield that causes death, and even though there's footage of a disposable extra unconvincingly dying from it I'm still not entirely sure what that means. He stumbles upon an unexpectedly writhing, inexplicably zipped sleeping bag which might or might not contain the ghost of his dead childhood girlfriend. Then there's the Breen trademark closeups of shoes.

18 minutes into the film we finally get some dialogue during an awkwardly nude poolside wedding proposal and assassination resulting in a dual nude deadman float. It's fine.

Waking next to his car, he finds someone has scrawled the phrase 'Help me' in blood. Since his car is filled with empty tuna cans, I'm assuming this is a cry for help for his addiction to tuna. It's unclear. The mercenary then says, 'I've continuously changed my identity', but he ironically rarely changes his tank top. Suddenly, he changes his tank top, then he breaks the 180-degree rule in an odd discussion about a terrorist. Breaking up the voiceover monotony, various clips of Vegas-style debauchery are shown, which is the most interesting part of the film. It's very brief. Then it's back to the tank top.

While climbing a steep desert hill which probably should have called for the use of a stunt double, the mercenary trips over a branch. He encounters a hermit who unconvincingly cracks his head open on a rock, which results in a continuity-defying bloody gash. It appears in one scene, disappears in the next, and reappears again, sort of like the tank top. Bald eagles and pigeons make cameos, and wind roars in the mic.

Suddenly, the mercenary encounters the ghost of his mother and father. They walk cautiously in the banks of a lake as the sound cuts out.

Suddenly, the mercenary is having an inexplicable dinner like a normal person with some never-before-seen and unexplained characters. He asks a little girl for a some water although his glass is partially full, and she brings back the glass with the exact same amount of liquid in it. Then there are clips of the White House, various cacti, landing jets, and footage of the mercenary sleeping in his car.

Suddenly, someone drops their anthrax, but it's probably just a sac of powdered sugar wrapped in duct tape, so there's no cause for alarm. Then someone unconvincingly runs their shopping cart into the mercenary's car, but instead of freaking out the mercenary unconvincingly says, 'It's OK, no damage'. Someone nearby videotaping the mercenary is unconvincingly shot in the head. Are they really nearby? Where are they? It's hard to tell.

The mercenary pays a valet $200 to borrow someone's Rolls Royce, because he needs to drive to one of those Vegas quickie-marriage chapels to pick up his next hit. He offers the newlyweds some champagne and drugged strawberries amidst sound inconsistencies and intermittent traffic noise. It's hardly creepy or suspicious at all. The bride awakens from her drugged stupor, and the mercenary convinces her that he married her. The mercenary gives the bride a quickie divorce by screaming, 'Get out, the marriage is over' at her, which is often how divorce works. He then stumbles upon an unconvincing lakeside murder/suicide, and sleeps in his car.

The mercenary finally enacts his dubious plan, which consists of walking around Vegas wiping anthrax on unsuspecting people while wearing continuity-defying gloves, which kills 'instantly on contact in 5 minutes'. Meanwhile, an unseen woman's voiceover breaks up the mercenary's voiceover monotony. After stealing a Ferrari, the mercenary picks up a guy wearing an obviously phony beard and mustache disguise.

Suddenly, I forgot I was watching a movie. Meanwhile, some 'anthrax dealers' show up and the cast ominous looks at each other for a while. Someone drops a suspiciously familiar duct-taped bag of anthrax, and everyone scatters. Then the mercenary says to the ghost of his dead girlfriend, 'Our love will never die, even in death it will go on'. In an abrupt non sequitur, the mercenary says, 'Didn't mean to disturb your lunch'. I'm not sure why. Then he attaches two satellite dishes to the back of his car, removes them again, and dumps out boxes of empty tuna cans from his trunk.

After a lengthy existential crisis which takes practically forever, the mercenary runs up a hill and does something with a ram's skull, and I'm pretty sure he gave the ram's skull a cameo in his third film. Then someone says, 'I want to welcome you to Las Vegas, there's nothing to worry about', which doesn't sound like a glowing endorsement for The Entertainment Capitol Of The World.

Suddenly, I forgot I was watching a movie again as the mercenary dumps more tuna cans from his trunk. The film ends several times for about 15 minutes, and then it finally ends and not a moment too soon.

Featuring terrible editing, terrible acting, terrible windswept sound, and a terrible script, Double Down also has awkwardly-paced dialogue, a maudlin, repetitive soundtrack, and at least one tank top in need of a wash. Sets seem to consist of the desert or the back of a BMW. Costumes consist of a tank top. Props consist of empty tuna cans. Director Neil Breen is a master of the use of stock footage, rivaling Ed Wood, so it's got that going for it. For Breen fans, don't worry, laptops were smashed. Double Down is a lol-worthy, incoherent, metaphysical mess that was probably shot in one day. Nearly all the credits are Neil Breen, except for lighting and hair and makeup, which are credited as none. Neil Breen catered the film, and it probably consisted of lots of tuna sandwiches. Double Down is enthusiastically recommended if you like stuff that sucks.