Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Name Is Bruce (2008)


Bruce is back, with what some critics are calling a "vanity piece". I doubt they actually watched the movie, because anyone that finds MNIB vain has a very weird sense of the word.

My Name Is Bruce stars legendary cult and B-movie hero Bruce Campbell as himself... sort of. He plays a drunk, washed up, miserable version of himself. When a mega-fan unwittingly unleashes Guan-Di, the Chinese god of war (and bean curd), he can only think of one man to save his small town of Gold Lick, of course that is Bruce. What we get is everything any fan could hope for. Fun, campy action, angry rednecks and of course fantastic one-liners such as "If you're lucky you can play with my boom stick later". Not to be forgotten is multiple appearances by every one's favorite Shemp- Ted Raimi.

This movie was made for the fans, by the man. Its as simple as that. Its fun, that's all its meant to be, you won't find any message on life, and you won't see this winning an Academy Award. The critics will rip it apart because its not a great film and won't set the standard for expert direction and writing. But do we really want Bruce Campbell vs. The Chinese God of War & Bean Curd to be understood? No, we want to sit back, laugh and have a good time. We will leave the thinking for another day.

9/10 for another classic from Bruce.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Massacre In Dinosaur Valley


Yet another entry into the Italian's cannibal films, and aside from very minimal cannibal moments, Massacre is better than expected. Michael Sopkiw plays a bad ass Paleontologist who hitches a ride into the Dinosaur Valley with a plane full of others. The area is supposedly cursed and without fail the plane crashes. Now stranded the need to survive kicks in for the survivors, who aren't all best fit (or dressed) for the situation. Dealing with deadly animals, cannibal natives, and slave drivers who need a quick fix of pretty women, they trudge through the Amazon.

Sopkiw is great in his role, the story flows well, never straying from fun or action for too long. The scenes with the natives are pretty good except that they are possibly the worst archers or spear-hurlers to ever grace film. The showdown between Sopkiw and the slave driver was awesome, and a great climax.

Nothing new, no surprises, just good trashy fun straight from the jungle.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)

Full Review:
There is nothing more frustrating then seeing something that should have been great, but simply fell short. That is the case with this film. It had its upsides, great action through out the duration, some amazing set pieces that combine the wild west and ancient Japan into beautiful buildings that look like they would be in 1100 Tokyo, Nevada. Along with the fact that the movie itself looks awesome. There is a slight yellow tint on the film that really adds to the atmosphere.

But it seemed like for every one great thing about the film there were two or three downsides to cancel it out. The whole film was very disjointed, we are introduced to rival gangs The Genji (whites) and the weaker Heike (reds) who are in battling over control of a mountain town in order to find the buried treasure hidden underneath. There is just so much other stuff going on that its almost difficult to follow. The decision by Miike to have his entire Japanese cast (with the exception of Quentin Tarantino) speak English, didn't aid the difficulty of following the story. Japanese with sub-titles would have been a better choice. The best choice of all would have been to not cast Tarantino who manages to single handedly kill every scene he's in with his horrendous acting.

The rest of the actors don't exactly turn in Oscar worthy performances either, though it seems the script, that can't seem to make up its mind whether to have a serious and somber tone or an almost comic book style, isn't aiding them in how to act. There are few moments when you can settle in to the movie and get any sort of continuous vibe from it.

Thats not to say the movie is a total let down. The action scenes were great, though when they strayed from the action the movie did become sluggish. And even some of the comedy was good, it just didn't know when to stop and let it add to the movie instead of hurt it. The serious side of this film was above average, it evoked some real emotion and really got you caring. But it was simply overshadowed by the constant attempt at comedy and how jumpy the whole thing was.

I will add that the last scene, was really great. It defiantly made me feel that sitting through the movie was totally worth it, even if it was average.

There is definate influence from all of the famous spaghetti westerns. Including a Japanese rendition of the Django theme.

Some moments of greatness were scattered among many more moments that had me asking "why?". And when are people going to realize that Quentin Tarantino cannot act?!?


Monday, November 10, 2008

PIECES (1981)

Pieces is a classic piece of exploitation trash. It is very light on plot and heavy on blood. Most characters do things that make absolutely no sense, and that is why I love it. There are no surprises with this movie, you go into it and know what you're getting.

We start with a young boy in 1942 Massachusetts, he is putting together a "nudie" jigsaw puzzle when his mother walks in and loses her mind. She starts destroying the boys entire bedroom, when he comes in with an axe and kills her. The rest of the movie is just as absurd as that sounds.

I could go into great detail explaining this whole movie scene by scene, kill by kill, but that would take the magic out of it. Most horror fans and exploitationphiles already know what goodness this movie holds. But to anyone interested in letting your brain rest for 85 minutes, and having fun, go get drunk and watch Pieces. You wont be sorry.

As for the DVD- we finally get a good transfer! That alone is worth the cost of the DVD, because all previous transfers I had seen were like watching the movie through a screen door. Packed with extras including an option to watch the movie with the original Spanish soundtrack and an option to watch the film with audience reaction from a recent screening at the Vine Theater in Hollywood. Also includes never before seen interviews with the director, and your usual image galleries.