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All reviews - DVDs (151)

sci-fi madmax-ish cheesy etc

Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 2 February 2012 01:56 (A review of Post Apocalyptic Survival Kit 3 Pack [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC])

post updated as watched:

2019 - After the Fall of New York: yet another Escape from New York wannabe film in ultra low budget. we have an unwilling man, parsifal, who is forced to go into manhattan to find and rescue the only fertile woman in existence after a nuclear fallout. the group who sent him is planning to take her and a select few to a new planet to repopulate the human race. they send two other men to help him succeed; one who knows the city, the other a strongman (eventually we learn he is a cyborg). the city is ruled by a race of futuristic horse riding knights?!?! ok sure. its also infested with all sorts of infected humans which for some reason have distinct groups. parsifal finds the woman in a group of rat hunting infected people and then is immediately captured by the knights. upon which we learn she may not be the right woman and in fact isn't. he escapes this and ends up finding two other groups of peole; one a group of neanderthals ruled by a huge man called "big ape" and the other group is a group of little people. the little people have a small part here but its one of them who leads them to the Professor and his sleeping beauty daughter...the real fertile woman who has been...sort've...cryogenic preserved.
its mildly notable what happens along the way and at the end, but honestly everything is a bit under developed and a bit dispassionate. its hard to really care. that is not to say that its difficult to watch or bad. it is to say however that, what could have been a decent movie is sort've left to be ho-hum.
acting isn't too bad mostly. filming is ok. story is too little for the whole film. action is weak...including a really boring death match driving scene which plays into a later need to drive the girl out of manhattan through booby trapped tunnels. an equally dull moment.
all in all like every film in this set its entertaining although fairly mindless. its not good, though not bad. watchable, vaguely memorable, and lighthearted.
i liked it although most people will likely not appreciate it.

1990 - The Bronx Warriors: often considered part 2 of The Warriors for its cartoonish gangs and New York setting. Really it lacks far too much of the cleverness of Warriors to hold up to the original. I guess thats not unusual for a part 2 though. in truth it has no connection to Warriors and has a bit more in common with Escape from New York as others have pointed out.
a girl runs away from becoming the head of the Manhattan Corporation she is to inherit. she finds herself in a post apocalyptic Bronx ruled by gangs with unusually distinct desires to differentiate themselves through comic styles...ie a biker gang, an old car top hat sorta gang, a tap dancing gang, etc. ala Warriors. the main character, named Trash, is the head of probably the least consistently stylized gang that seems to have some inner power struggles. he, and our heiress, immediately fall in love...the love connection is probably the least believable thing in this movie and thats saying a lot! she's captured by the "king of the bronx" Ogre. and then we have a seemingly old russian type spy guy who is sent in to capture the girl and bring her back to the Manhattan Corp.
none of this plot stuff really means anything. its merely a stage for the movie to exist. the acting is awful. the action is worse...although lets give them credit for a tap dancing fight scene...wow! there is really nothing great about the movie. theres also nothing entirely cringe worthy. its mindless cheesy entertainment and thats it. i'm sure its an aquired taste and most people will hat this. i found it mildly entertaining and never considered turning it off. i was captivated enough to watch it through and wonder what was going to happen. yeah...thats ok. maybe just ok, but ok. and i'd watch it again.

The New Barbarians: aka warriors of the wastland. the third, last, and apparently worst of the films here. so yes, of course, i watched it first. to be fair i happened to just watch this on streaming (where the sound was out of sync with the movie by about 3 seconds...and i still watched it all!). i figured if this is the worst i should like the other two because its hard to say its bad because its not like i expected it to be good. it was obviously quickly made grindhouse sort've thing. and i didn't mind it too much. i watched. it wasn't great, but it was watchable. fair enough.
the immediate known world is destroyed by nuclear bombs. the survivors are huddled together in little 'tribes' trying to find others or places that weren't destroyed. its almost a subplot to the main action. one 'tribe' the templars are not interested in helping each other out as they are a cult bent on killing everyone before they reach the afterlife. as best as i can tell...its not really clear why they'd want to send people to any afterlife when its their own goal to reach the afterlife...but who cares...its simply a setup for conflict aka killing. the templars have nifty "we heard about what storm troopers looked like and made these outfits to dress up like them but missed the mark pretty badly" and they drive totally nifty madmax local hardware store supply fitted go carts with guns, grenade throwers, spinning blades and other weapons mounted to them in ways that would make them very difficult to use unless you had someone perfectly positioned in their direction. and so they attack a caravan of survivors and enter our hero/heros to save the day. the hero is an ex-templar who we learn didn't want to be a part of what is apparently a homosexual cult. can you guess why?! well yeah, because he's gotta get the girl for the love story..duh. and for whatever reason han solo...oh wait hans wasn't black...well he is here....lets just say the hero needs help and his help is a bow and arrow with bombs using ultra cool guy who also gets his own girl! yeah! there's a young luke skywalker...i mean kid that knows how to repair things too. blah blah blah hero gets caught, friends help him out, he gets revenge, etc and end.
nothing profound for sure, but enough to carry a light story for some action to happen. really quite average of a film. (5/10)

the dvd set: honestly for such cheesy films its surprising they made it to their own releases on dvd (each of these in the set can be bought seperately too). and even more surprising is the quality of these transfers. for such bad movies they have great quality images and sound. the voices on all are dubbed without the ability to choose the original languages; thats disappointing though i can't imagine that these would be any better with it truthfully.

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awe inspiring

Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 31 January 2012 09:12 (A review of The Secret of Kells)

i'm not sure i'd say this film is perfect, but its simply one of the best things i've seen in a while. it looks different, its a unique story, its all very well done, and it should be as entertaining to adults as it is to children without pander to either. it simply deserves all the credit it can get, and it deserves to be seen.

a monastery is fortifying itself in fear of attack from vikings. its abbot is single minded in this pursuit to defend his people.
his nephew, a young monk, becomes involved in aiding a new comer, an elderly if gleeful and perhaps a bit mad old monk, who has brought with him a glorious book he has been working on...the book of kells. the boy has to overcome his fears and defy the rules to help the monk. along the way he gets help from a fairy who helps him see the beauty and art in nature. he himself is becoming an apprentice and will ultimately be charged with finishing the book.

if it was me, i'd do some things different. however, its about as perfect of a movie as it can be. i true gem like the book that inspired it.

watch watch watch and watch again. its every bit worth it.


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Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 31 January 2012 08:53 (A review of Deathwatch)

this movie is not likely to win any awards. it is however entertaining enough, well acted, and well filmed. most importantly, there are a few scenes of real creepy/scary moments. something which most horror films fail at entirely.

as far as the script is concerted, the dialog is almost entirely believable and what little doesn't meet muster is hardly worth hanging on. the problem i had with this film and its script, the ending left a lot to be desired. in fact it all built up creepily and violently to what felt like pandering to a positive message. unfortunately it doesn't suit the rest of the film and worse it jumbles the effectiveness of its message by essentially undermining itself. basically, its an anti violence/war message but the only survivor is let loose only after he becomes, himself, a killer. essentially making the case that its ok as long as you kill the right people.

the whole of the story is also a bit annoying. i never like the whole "this is all a dream" or "we were actually dead already the whole time but didn't know it". its rarely done well and this film is no exception. as well, the start-over ending reused a bit of film to the point of being confusing.

in short: a group of soldiers in WWII find themselves in a labyrinth of a trench that they take over from a few remaining enemy soldiers. determined to hold the trench until help arrives they find themselves instead cut off from help and worse something is present in the trenches with them. fearing its enemy soldiers at first, but then it becomes clear something is driving them to turn on each other. their one captured enemy warns them of "evil", but they can't get a plan together to do anything else before they do in fact turn on each other to murderous results. except for the kid, a 16 year old who enlisted as 19, who is too scared to fight and then tries to hold them together.

its not perfect but i guess its worth a watch. i fear most people will be let down enough by the end that i can't recommend it at all.


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in a glance

Posted : 6 years, 6 months ago on 17 January 2012 02:27 (A review of Edward Hopper: A National Gallery of Art Presentation)

this is a fine documentary on the artist giving a bit of insight into the periods that he worked and how he was likewise regarded. albeit, this film, at 30mins, is far too short to be thorough. therefore it ultimately leaves much to be desired. its a shame, since there is plenty of story to be told. here everything is done in "quick mention and move on to something else" style like an art appreciation class that is trying to cover the whole history of art, it skims and never develops into anything of much note.

worth watching but not owning. there is simply nothing to come back to see again. even the extras on this disc are slim; a gallery of his paintings in movie format (no control over switching from one to the next) with plain music.


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the ny art scene is made

Posted : 6 years, 6 months ago on 13 January 2012 08:50 (A review of Painters Painting)

essentially a straight forward look at ny artists during the 1940's to 1970's. interviewed directly talking about the scene and their own work and methods. as well, this include important people involved in that scene; eg dealers and buyers.

i am by no means a fan of these artists nor their work, but this is an essential film for artists to see. if they are working in the same or similar ideology, this will likely be more poignant and enlightening. for those of us who do not, there is still plenty to be gleaned from them.

it is by no means in depth but rather more "in the moment" which is decidedly fitting. some figures come out looking better than others as is expected, though there is no clear attempt at making this happen. rather it is the individual character of the painter.

my only real complaint about the dvd is that the extra material is slim and not especially good: a pdf file of an essay about the film and an interview with the director. the interview is actually decent although you have to sit through a good portion of scenes you just watched in the film to get a few minutes of interview. i would've preferred just to see the interview. (i'm sure it was made that way as a way of "previewing" the film but it seems unnecessary here.)

it definitely should be noted that this is not a film that people outside the art world will enjoy. its tedious. i wouldn't even go so far as to think a class of students would sit through this without getting bored. however, this is not to say its bad by any means, it simply a acquired taste sort've thing.

i honestly wish more documentaries about artists where this frank. too many go too far to sell the "greatness" and skimp largely on the real. of course, as i suggest, there is little market for that sort've thing.


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80's style far too late

Posted : 6 years, 7 months ago on 6 December 2011 10:22 (A review of Dead Hate the Living [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC])

this horror is what you expect from full moon. cheesy and a bit tongue in cheek. what is unusual about it is that its done much later than you'd expect by the looks of it. its heavily embedded in the 80's yet they make references to 90's movies and you begin to realize that something else is afoot.

story wise its another "filmmakers become a part of their story in real life" sort've horror. which is always a bit hard to stomach. the amateurish joking around here, the hanging out ala 80's highschool chums, and the weird sibling plot is awkward and a bit annoying. the main ghoul is campy (i almost expected him to break out in a musical number ala rocky horror) but the others are more fulci type zombies crossed with hellraiser demon beasties. you're never really sure here if its suppose to be scary or silly. from the interviews on the dvd i think they were actually going for scary....well that didn't really happen in print. oh well.

i guess its watchable. its overly slow, a bit of a mess plotwise, and no where near essential viewing. the acting isn't half bad except for one of the main characters, who is also the main joker in the film.

its a "i've seen everything else and this is on my shelf" sort've movie. can't say i was enamored by it.

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maybe, maybe not

Posted : 6 years, 7 months ago on 22 November 2011 09:04 (A review of Death and the Compass)

i don't know on this one. i give it a lot of credit for being stylistically unique and not that bad of a story but lets be honest and say its difficult to sit through. its long, slow, and confusing. the acting is rough, the sound is awful, its hard to tell if this is purposeful or mistakes. take for instance the cutting of the scenes with main narrator character; his scenes of after the fact narration to the viewer are so choppy literally at times from one word to the next and to the next is 3 cuts laid next to each other. its visible. i have to assume that was intentional, it happens no where else in the movie. but to be honest again, it seems poorly done rather than stylish.

the story is hampered by confusion. psuedo-mytho-religious babble that is leading this detective drama. so heavily stylish that for 3/4th the movie i thought it was suppose to be a sci-fi with aliens but instead its a revenge killer in costume ala the joker. everything in fact leads up to the ending which for some people will strike them as a "ah-ha" moment and the rest of us will be left thinking "you mean all that was nothing...what?!!"

proceed with caution. if you want something unique and fairly good...go for it. for most people i'd have to say avoid it.


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feild of evil

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 11 November 2011 09:53 (A review of Children of the Corn (Midnight Madness Series))

i'm pretty sure my copy of this dvd is actually a bootleg....so no comment about the quality of it here.

the movie is a classic. creepy, evil, engaging good story telling.

basic premise: a town is changed forever by the sudden mass murder of all the adults by their children. the children then develop a sort've cult where the worship "he who walks behind the rows" of corn and it demands sacrifices. this cult is lead by isaac and seemingly kept in line by his enforcer malachai. the kids in fact seem to fear malachai more than isaac which can be a bit confusing in parts of the movie. most of the movie is about a couple who end up 'lost' in this town while the kids are trying to kill them (and a set of siblings, who are seemingly less involved in the cult, help them out a bit). its also about the power struggle inherent in beliefs and religions.
whatever the case its well worth watching.

i have to say that although this film does earn legendary status, there are many people who do not think it lives up to it. its not perfect, but i do think its worthy. i also have to admit that my relationship with the premise may in part be because i grew up in a house that was literally surrounded by corn fields. thus, there is for me a palpable connection with the mystery of these spaces. it may not resonate with everyone the way it has for me. i do still believe it to be a good horror movie, if nothing else.


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oh, dear

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 10 November 2011 11:02 (A review of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Widescreen Edition))

if you haven't already seen it, you must see it.
is it good...well yes and no. its hideously campy and...well...thats why you'll watch it and like it.

in truth its a bit slow and a bit dull at times. it hardly makes any sense and what sense you do make of it you can't really be sure why it is that its interesting. its more mesmerizing than good to be honest. a bit like a train wreck in drag.

but the greatest thing about this film is that it got made at all. theres just nothing like it at all. truly a legendary and unique film.

i guess you should avoid this if you're morally strict or offended by anything out of the puritanical norm. then again if you're either of those why the hell are you even reading about this film....go away!

its not perfect. its 101% guilty orgasmic pleasure.


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more than a box for people, more than a documentry

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 10 November 2011 09:37 (A review of Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack)

this is essential viewing for any artist. whether or not you like gehry's style his approach to making architecture is groundbreaking (the soul naysayer in the film does more to disprove himself than make an effective critique). he is an artist, a sculptor, that happens to finish his designs as functional buildings.

sydney pollack does an excellent job here showing us the working origin of the process and adding a effective portrait of gehry's portfolio and the man himself. you can't learn how the buildings get made; that part, thankfully, is left off. mostly you see him playing with initial designs and giving some background into his thinking and the biographical development of his career.

this is not just for architects. while i have interest in architecture, i doubt i'd watch a whole lot of films about their architects. this however should be seen by any young artist and for that matter any artist. while it may not resonate with everyone, there is much to be gained here.

gehry's description of how Hieronymus Bosch's "christ mocked" painting floored him and eventually informed a design for a building! wow!

highly recomended.

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