Archive for February, 2009

EVIL DEAD, Sam Raimi 1981

Posted in Horror with tags , , on February 16, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

evildeadultimate

 

And now, ladies and gentlemen another horror must see classic able to combine blood, demons and fun and whose success started a saga, Evil Dead. 

Remembering recent high profile titles directed by Sam Raimi such a Spider-Man, The Grudge or 30 Days of Night, seems somehow unbelievable this guy was responsible for creating a complete inspiring movie, a reference for many future films, with low budget and counting on his flatmate Bruce Campbell as the main character, Ash.

Five friends are about to spend the weekend in a cheap rented cabin in the middle of the woods almost isolated except for an old bridge in very bad conditions. When they arrive the common feeling is that the place is a dump and something strange surrounds the area but still they’re willing to enjoy nice time there. Nevertheless strange things start happening after nightfall only noticed by Cheryl.

When listening to weird noises downstairs Scott decides to check out the cellar, followed by scared Ash and eventually they find a tape recorder, a strange and sinister book with unidentifiable characters and awful pictures and a shotgun with ammo. 

The Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead

 

Once the group are accomodated by the hearth, Scott plays the tape recorder, owned by the former landlord of the cabin, in which the book is said to be the Book of Dead, covers made by human flesh and written with human blood. Apparently the professor had retired with his wife to the cabin in order to dedicate his investigations full time to the translation of the book. Cheryl, scared to death, asks Scott to shut the recorder down, but he insists on listening to a kind of spell which awakes the demons starting a downward spiral of blood, evil possesion and death nobody is allowed to scape from.

Cliché after cliché are to be found in this movie, gore, shocking and scary moments and those lovely subjective takes which help to create such enchanted atmosphere, beside the fog, the woods (Cheryl tied up by the roots and branches, attacked and “raped” by the woods is amazing), voices beyond the grave…and yet Bruce Campbell scared to death and paralysed, worried about his fiancee’s pendant, absurd enough to make you laugh…

 

Bruce Surviving

Bruce Surviving

 

When watching this movie, and many others, you realize innocence has flown away, horror in the 70’s-80’s is essential for all the fans of the genre no matter poor special effects, very low budgets and simple plots. You can become inmune to the effect they pretended to cause, still atmospheres created nowadays have nothing to do with classic movies, aesthetics are more important and remakes are the easiest sources to appeal to because unfortunately in this decade lack of creativity prevails.

Again, I’ve just read a remake is rumoured to be written and filmed by very same Sam Raimi…is it necessary? Mr. Raimi, haven’t you earned enough money with Evil Dead saga as to plan the remake yourself instead of squeezing you brains and create something else? Such things make me angry!

 

 

THE THING, John Carpenter 1982

Posted in Horror, Sci-Fi with tags , , on February 15, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

thing

Carpenter’s The Thing must be reckoned as one of the best sci-fi horror movies ever. The more I watch it the more I love it. It’s true is a remake, so it’s not so original, however Carpenter’s portrait is absolutely brilliant.

 

The action is settled in a small American scientific research base in the middle of Antarctica, in winter. The crew quiet routine is suddenly interrupted by a Norwegian helicopter trying to shoot to kill an apparent harmless dog for no apparent reason. Unfortunately no clue can be brought out for both Norwegians die. The dog starts coexisting with the staff at the base not raising any suspicion until  the animal is locked up with the rest of the dogs and becomes something monstrous and evil which seems to adapt to any living form for survival.

Who's the thing?

Who's the thing?

On the other hand, before a heavy snow storm starts and all the events caused by the arrival of the dog happen, Mac Ready (Kurt Russell), an experienced helicopter pilot, agrees to visit the Norwegian base in order to find out any clues on what was going on with the dog. Once they reach the place not only survivors are not found but a hybrid between man and monster is found burnt, but also they discover an ice block and the place it came from.

 

Once the thing starts attacking people and stealing identities to survive, all staff will not trust each other any longer and will try to find out who the thing is and destroy it before everybody gets killed.

 

What an amazing movie! The story is absolutely terrific, it reminds me of a mix between Alien and The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and the key fact that they are in the middle of nowhere under extreme conditions creating that suffocating claustrophobic atmosphere is awesome.

 

Special effects may have become a bit old-fashioned but still whenever the thing appears it gives me the creeps.  

Tandem formed by Kurt Russell and Carpenter started with Escape from New York and reunited few more times successfully with The Thing, Escape from L.A and Big Trouble in Little China.  If this is not a good relationship now tell me what it is.  

John Carpenter is definitely one of the best horror directors, films such as Halloween, The Fog or They Live have been greatly acclaimed and in case of Halloween, become horror essential classics.  Still more modern films such as Ghosts from Mars or Vampires are worth seeing.

I’ve been told another remake is to be filmed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2004) director, Marcus Nispel, the very same who’s recently filmed the new Friday 13th movie. We’ll see…

 

I want a t-shirt with this logo!

I want a t-shirt with this logo!

 

 

PORKY’S, Bobby Clark 1981

Posted in Just Fun with tags , , , on February 8, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

porkys

One of the 1980’s classic comedies dealing with teenagers whose main target is getting laid. I’ve probably seen this movie around ten times and never get tired of it, always find something funny. Dialogues, characters  and situations have inspired many films and with Porky’s the era of high school and university comedies followed.

Action happens in Angel Beach, Florida, in 1954. Pee-Wee is trying to lose his virginity desperately, he’s the typical teenager to whom pussy is his constant worry 24/7 and wants to change his situation at any cost, something his friends approach to create hilarious moments such as when he and some others catch the bait and about to have their problems solved with Cherry Forever (Susan Clark) are scared to death by a huge and angry black man.  

Mike, the chief’s young brother, convinces the gang to pay a visit to Porky’s, for 30 bucks all their sexual problems will be relieved thanks to a Cuban female garment just arrived. However Porky, the owner of the club, will humiliate them and get their money, and Mike will try to take revenge several times unsuccessfully. 

As usual, argument is quite simple, and this is a movie of situations. The best has to do with Cherry Forever, but Honeywell’s Lassie moment (Kim Cattrall) and the relationship between Ballbricker and Turner are awesome. 

Somebody is peeping!

Somebody is peeping!

 

Porky’s has become a classic in Spain. It was broadcasted by a channel from time to time and we all kids watched, no matter it was rated. Hundreds of jokes are still in our minds.

Unfortunately the second part, Porky’s II: The Next Day is awful. Jokes are very bad, some political and religious issues are included (religious fanatics, KKK…) which I think keep the movie form being dynamic and fresh in jokes.  

Ay qué rico, billy!

Ay qué rico, billy!

MILLION DOLLAR BABY, Clint Eastwood 2004

Posted in Drama with tags , , , on February 1, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

million_dollar_baby

 

And now, some dose of drama, awarded by 4 Oscars, a box office hit everybody seemed to like. This fact made me feel distrustful and avoided watching it until last night.

 

Million Dollar Baby for me one feature enough to make it attractive: Clint Eastwood. I’ve always thought him to be a classic actor and love some his action movies however I have more doubts about the movies he’s directed. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was to hard to endure and didn’t like it much, and still Mystic River is pending to watch, but I feel too lazy at the moment.

 

This is a story of three main characters united by their passion for boxing.

 

Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), an established trainer and manager characterized for his bad temper and his concern for his fighters and their protection up to the point he doesn’t risk their status for the ambition of titles. Due to this reason, his latest apprentice has decided to change manager seeking for higher goals.

 

Maggie Fitzgerald (Hillary Swank), average low profile 31-year-old woman working as a waitress with nothing in her life but a pair of boxing gloves. Coming from a dysfunctional and poor family, she starts training at Dunn’s gym and is trying to convince the old trainer to coach her for at least have just an opportunity in her life.

 

Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (Morgan Freeman), the narrator, is a retired fighter who works for Dunn at the gym. He’s the one to encourage Maggie to fight and decissive when convincing Frankie to coach her.

 

I'm gonna knock you out!

I'm gonna knock you out!

Once Dunn and Maggie reach a commitment, she will follow advices and commands from her boss and will become such a good fighter, he will accept her to fight for the female world title, obviously not knowing the consequences of the fight which will change their lives completely. And at this point the drama starts.

 

This movie seems created to go straight to Oscar Awards, c’mon!  It’s remarkable Swank’s work and how fit she got for her role, but I don’t think that’s reason enough to be awarded.

 

The film can be separated into 3 parts: first takes long to get Maggie and Frankie working together and is already trying to feel mercy for the girl, super poor, apparently too old to fight, in other words, a real loser. The second part and the most dynamic deals with the training and the raising of her career, although at the end, her crappy family are portrayed and the relationship trainer-apprentice becomes a more father-daughter one. And the third part, after her most important fight is designed for audience starting to cry, with moral concerns, and to be acclaimed a masterpiece. The whole movie is very extent and the last part seems never ending and so extreme as to make me feel uncomfortable.

 

At this point I got a question in my mind: why all these movies about fighters or wrestlers have to be so so dramatic and have to deal with poverty and decadent surroundings? Rocky saga is the first example. Another awarded boxing movie, The Champ (Franco Zefirelli), Ragging Bull (Martin Scorsese)…and nowadays The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky). It’s ok that boxing world is decadent and corrupt, but same pattern is used once and once again until is tiring to watch a boxing movie, for the feeling I have is that they’re all the same.

 

I realize I don’t trust very successful and promoted movies, and sometimes I find out why. Why a high budget movie cannot tell a good story without being so much influenced by Hollywood standards?

 

Dear Clint, I prefer you making my day as Dirty Harry rather than trying to get me depressed with super sad stories twisted so much as to cause an effect on the audience’s bellies. I didn’t understand Scary Movie 4 jokes in the ring…now I do. Too excessive, maaaan!

  

FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! Russ Meyer 1965

Posted in Action!, Just Fun with tags , , , on February 1, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

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Russ Meyer has been always a B-movies icon and everybody relates his movies with sexy and voluptuous women. I’ve always fancies the promo posters for his films and the titles are quite suggestive.

 

We wanted to see his first film Faster, Pussycat! Kill, Kill! acclaimed as masterpiece so maybe our expectations were quite high, for we got a bit disappointed.

 

This is a story of three sexy and voluptuous lap dancers very fond of racing sport cars at amazing high speed during their spare time. They love competing among themselves and challenge any outsider just to demonstrate they are the best. With their two powerful  reasons they’re able to sneak gas and obtain anything they want, so NO is not admitted in their vocabulary.

 

During one of their rides they meet a young couple and Varla (Tura Satana), the leader, decides to compete against the guy, eventually murdering him, once the game is not fun at all. In order to protect themselves from being prosecuted they force the young girl in bikini to stay with them, keeping her as a hostage and even drug her to turn harmless.

 

Let's have some fun!

Let's have some fun!

 

 

Next target is a ranch owned by a crippled old man said to hide huge amount of money, who lives with his two sons, one of them a muscled man but apparently retarded. While the girls throw the lure by asking for some water to get refreshed so they can seduce and distract the men, the old man has also made some plans for them.

 

The plot well told is not so bad, although the way is developed during the film is bit chaos and not much clear. Dialogues are ridiculous and it’s a constant titty show, Meyer focuses on the exotic ladies and doesn’t care much about the rest.

 

It’s ok if you take it as a joke, but cannot be considered a masterpiece at all. It contains very cool features: music, cars and girls but still I thought it better. I had a laugh anyway and found it very impudent for the time it was filmed. Nobody could dream about such a movie in Spain!

 

At least I could see mythic Tura Satana in action and really she’s amazing, specially when fighting, hahaha!

 

I’ve read Tarantino is responsible for filming a remake in 2010. Let’s see what happens with the golden boy, but I feel scared for the actresses suggested: Britney Spears, Eva Mendes…What the hell??