Thursday, May 24, 2007

Just too happy

Today has been a fantastic day for me.

I got a phone call today informing me that one of my articles, dont know which one but I'm guessing an interview one, is in print starting today. This means nothing but great as all hell news for me. Not only personally, still cant stop smiling, but also professionaly. Having an article of yours in wide publication opens tons of doors and will allow me to finally start climbing the ladder and trying to achive some goals of mine.

So, make sure to pick up Bazuca Magazine if you bump into it at your local music store.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Police Story (1985, Jackie Chan)

"Jackie Chan is assigned to protect the secretary to an evil drugs lord who is to act as a witness to the prosecution. But is she being co-operative, or still in league with the gang?"

I love the old HK Jackie Chan films. I grew up renting and watching all of them way before he ever became famous over here due to Rush Hour because my video store owner was Chinese and was a huge fan of Chan. So, I have a lot of great memories of going through the HK Jackie Chan films and loving almost of all them. I do think that the man is a living legend and I do think that 30 years from now people will still be watching his films. I do however also think that he has burnt himself out a lot with his americian films but after watching his New Police Story a couple of months ago I still felt that certain element his earlier films had. What I am basically saying is that I am a fan of the man. I love his unique style and brand of humor. I just really dig the pre hollywood guy.

Having said all of that I was lucky enough to finally watch Police Story today. Police Story was an impossible thing for me to track down for many years and when I did find it, it was a vhs copy in horrilbe condition. Thanks to the new dvd though I was able to finally check it out for the first time and was not let down. The saying goes that Drunken Master made Jackie Chan a star, but Police Story made him a legend. The saying seems to be true.

Polcie Story has the typical "good cop vs bad guys" storyline and there is nothing really special about the plot. It's executed well enough, as well as everything else in the film. Everything is just great enough except for the stunts, which are just amazing once again. This is the film where Chan starting going all out and it clearly shows in every action scene. Everything holds no punches and everything is just violent. The stunts that go along with these scenes are also just too great and I now see why this movie is so highly regarded for it's stunt work.

Some people may not like the style of the movie or the comedy that comes and goes, but I like it. Well, I dont really like it and I find the comedy horrible but I "understand it" Always remember that these are the same people that find it beyond hilarious when a man dresses in drag. Knowing this fact makes all these random comedy scenes much more tolerable than they should be.

Not much more to write about this one. If you are a fan of Chan's stuff then you have already seen or are waiting to see it.

- ***1/2

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Dead Man's Shoes (2004, Shane Meadows)

"A disaffected soldier returns to his hometown to get even with the thugs who brutalized his mentally-challenged brother years ago."

I will admit that I didn't know anything about this movie. I just rented it because I always bumped into it while looking for something to rent and the DVD cover looked really cool. So, I couldn't find anything that interested me one night and just decided to take a chance and rent this film.

I was shocked to find out how unbelievably good this one is. I mean it's really,really,really good. I honestly can not find one single flaw with it. Sure, it might not be everyones cup of tea due to the directing style but anyone who has ever watched a film that doesn't rely on normal "Hollywood story telling techniques" will be quickly drawn to the film.

The movie in simple terms is a revenge tale. It's about a brother seeking revenge for the abuse his younger mentally challenged brother received from the local thugs. This is the very simple outline to the story but there is much more going on in this one. It's a very character driven and very inner film. It's also a film that has layers of depth going on. However it never shoves these layers of depth down your throat and instead leaves it up in the air for the audience to understand and "get" or to just ignore it and take it all as a simple revenge story.

While watching the movie I couldn't help but think that I was getting hints that the director was telling a very artistic story but I also felt that I was maybe over analyzing it all. Thanks to the power of DVD though I was able to see an interview with the director, who turns out to be one of the best British filmmakers out there right now, talking about the film and it does turn out that he did direct anything but a simple revenge story. I loved this film because of this.

I really did enjoy everything about this film, even the fact that I didn't enjoy it all because it's so brutal. The story and direction are solid and the acting from the whole cast is perfect and intense. The other thing worth pointing out is also the score and music selection which just works perfect. When I think back on the film there is nothing that I hated or anything that I felt was flawed. It's just a solid film all around and the ending is a great one that will leave the film in your mind for awhile.

It's just a great film and one that needs more attention.

- ***1/2

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's on.

This Tuesday there willl be a loving tribute to Bob Clark at the New Beverly Cinema. They will be showing a double feature of Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things and Deathdream along with some special guests and family members of Bob Clark It will also double as their Grindhouse Festival for this month.

I simply can not wait. It will be epic.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006, Scott Glosserman)

"The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he plans his reign of terror over the sleepy town of Glen Echo, all the while deconstructing the conventions and archetypes of the horror genre for them."

I don't know where to begin with this one. I have very mixed feeling towards it but when I think back on it, I really love it. Yet, I know I was hating parts of it while watching it. I guess the good parts cancel out the bad parts over time and leave a nice "yeah, that movie was great" memory for you.

Behind the Mask can only be compared to Man Bites Dog. I feel that anyone who even knows about Man Bites Dog was quick to hate on this film as soon as the premise was known. You would expect that two mockumentaries about a documentary crew following a serial killer would be very similar but luckily Behind the Mask was smart enough to know that people would make comparisons and it is quick to separate itself from Man Bites Dog.

The film takes place in an alternate universe. The best way of thinking of this universe is "the movie universe" in which people like Freddy, Jason, Myers, and Chucky actually exist and everything that we saw happen in those movies actually did happen in this world. After a quick intro scene which explains this world we are treated to this documentary crew as they follow Leslie Vernon. Vernon is the next serial killing bogeyman who is planning his first killing spree. Ok, right here is where the parts that I hated started to happen.

The documentary crew follows Vernon as he begins to plan out things. Everything is always clever and always self conscious. It does however always seem fake. I hated this because given that we are supposed to be watching a documentary everyone, except the actor playing Vernon, come off as actors. Maybe its because of the budget or maybe its because of poor casting decisions but these actors can't even play straight, Everything feels phony and everything just feels way too pre planned. I was ready to hate the rest of the film until around the 50 minute mark.

From this point on this film is fantastic. It makes you believe it is going in one direction and completely flips the plot on you, as well as the perspective, where you are immediately glued to the screen. I have to admitt that I absolutely loved the 2nd half of the film. The cleverness, which starts to get annoying, becomes extremely smart. What I also loved about this 2nd half is that it actually manages to make the 1st half great.

Saying anymore would spoil the movie. All I can say is that this film was never given the chance that it deserved. It really is one of the best horror movies I have seen in a long time and even with all it's flaws it's still a great movie, at least in my opinion. I can see why some people will hate it but I also think that these people should always remember that this is a low budget independent film. In terms of true indies, this one is a great one.

- ***

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Coffy (1973, Jack Hill)

"Coffy is a nurse whose younger sister gets involved in drugs and is severely injured by contaminated heroin. Coffy sets out on a mission of vengeance and vigilante justice, killing drug dealers, pimps, and mobsters who cross her path."

Quentin Tarantino once said in an interview that Coffy was his 2nd favorite revenge movie of all time and that he could watch it at any time and get really into it. Now after finally getting around to watching it, I can see what he means.

Although Coffy is far from flawless it is tons of trashy fun. I don't know if it's because the movie was made without much supervision from the studio or if it's because of Jack Hill's direction and writing but Coffy turns out to be a gritty,brutal, and above all sexy revenge story. While watching the film you can't help but get really into the story and begin to cheer for Coffy.

I also think this is because of it's exploitation nature. The thing I have learned to love from all these exploitation films are the freedom they can have with their characters and plots meanwhile still delivering a solid story...sometimes. For example in a Hollywood film a bad guy can be a really big evil character but there is always some reason behind it, or he can just be over the top and be a bad guy for no reason. However when he is just bad for no reason he comes off as over the top and silly. Now in these exploitation films every bad guy is over the top and just evil but given how crazy the plots tend to be the over the top bad buys just fit right in with the story. It's because of these evil characters that you can't help but cheer for Coffy.

These villains are so evil in this movie that it's incredible. These dope pushers are taking over the city and are even selling smack to little kids, the youngest being 9 years old! That's right, 9 year old kids shooting up. Not only are they selling it to kids, but they are also selling contaminated heroin to them which is causing the children hospitals to be filled with kids. Coffy's 11 year old sister is one of those kids and after the dope pushers also send Coffy's guy friend to the hospital it's up to her and her shotgun to clean out the city. From this moment on the movie's action never stops and it's just great scene after great scene after great scene. In other words, it's just pure fun to watch.

The only complaints I really do have with the movie is how it spends a little bit too much time with other characters and not Coffy. When you are watching a revenge movie you want to see the person getting their revenge as often as possible, not the bad guys planning out their business for the next couple of months.

The other flaw worth pointing out is Sid Haig's performance as a Russian goon. Haig gives one of the worst accents ever caught on screen along with Orson Welles' accent in Lady From Shanghai. This accent is horrible , but also hilarious. Just watch this movie to actually hear it.

Coffy lasts only 89 minutes and every single minute of it is fun to watch. You can't beat a movie where you can see half naked cat fights, a dope pusher getting his head blown off, or a black guy being dragged around on a rope by two evil Russian guys. It really is pure fun that deserves it's fan basis.

- ***1/2

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Peeping Tom

I bumped into this image from Peeping Tom and had to post it. Peeping Tom is an underseen masterpiece from Michael Powell, who is a director which I think doesn't get enough love. It's a one of a kind deranged film that has to be seen to be believed. I can't recommend it enough.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Frosty is a fellow film journalist that I have sort of befriended. He is one of the lead writers of (under links) and he has just gotten a lot of great exclusive footage from the red carpet and backstage of The Saturn Awards, which are most likely the geekiest film awards ever. I would have loved to have covered it but I still have many steps to go until I can come to that point

Anyways, I thought I would give him a shoutout and post a couple of things that I found interesting from his interviews. Frosty is a great interviewer and he was able to get such info as....

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari will come out on dvd on June 5th. - This is some awesome news. This is the green screen remake featuring Doug Jones. It looks fantastic.

Eli Roth is doing "Trailer Trash" which is just a movie made out of fake trailers. He will begin doing this before he does Stephen Kings Cell and will wrap it up after Cell. He also mentions that Edgar Wright and Rodriguez are interested in doing something in "Trailer Trash"

Danny Trejo says that he will be doing Machete with Rodriguez before Rodriguez does Sin City 2

There is a lot more stuff out there in those videos that Frosty did. I just thought I would post all of this because I found it refreshing to actually see footage of the press junkets, and the red carpet in this case, since we are always only allowed tape recorders. I don't know, I just loved being able to see the panic and rushed state of everything and being able to see both Frosty and the "stars" talking super fast in order to say everything. I also loved seeing the people interrupt him every now and then just as he is about to ask another question. Although this is not really how it's like during Press Junkets, it comes close to capturing the intensity and feeling of being rushed through everything.

Sorry for the rant, but check out the videos if you have time to kill. Frosty is one of the "good guys" Not one of the people that ask stupid as hell questions or stupid "gossip questions".

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Reno 911!: Miami (2007. Ben Garant)

"A rag-tag team of Reno cops are called in to save the day after a terrorist attack disrupts a national police convention in Miami Beach during spring break."

I can't say I am a big fan of the original series that it's based off of but I can say that I am a fan. By this I mean that I don't make plans to watch every episode or try to find out when it;s going to be on TV. Instead, if I bump into it while changing channels I will sit down and watch it until the end. I think it's hilarious at times when the gags work perfectly but I also feel that when the gag falls flat, the gag REALLY falls flat.

I would love to say that the movie is just like an extended version of a perfect episode but it's not. It is more like a pretty good episode with some funny parts here and there. When these funny parts do come, the movie is hilarious. Sadly, they come every so often with long pauses without a single gag delivering.

It's not that big of a problem though. With the movie only running 1 hour and 20 minutes there are enough laughs to not consider it a big waste of time. It's a fun time killer, as it should be, and if you are already a fan of the series you will have enough fun to not hate it. However, you might feel really disappointed that it didn't deliver as great as it should have given the potential it had.

- **

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Spider-Man 3 (2007, Sam Raimi)

I'm not going to write anything about this one. There are hundreds of reviews out there already. I will jsut say that I disagree a lot with most critics on this one. I felt that it was a bit messy and the flow felt odd at times. However, I still thought it was an insane amount of fun where you could tell that the cast, as well as the director, were having a lot of fun making it. It's everything and the kitchen sink and that all I wanted from the film.

- ***

Fong Sai Yuk/The Legend (1993, Corey Yuen)

"A martial arts expert's father is held hostage by the evil emperor and guess who has to save him before it's too late"

I have long been wanting to watch some of the old Jet Li films that made him a legend in China. The reason why I haven't is because of the bad word of mouth I have always heard of the only versions that are available here. the infamous "Jet Li Collection by Dimension Films" These were some of the first dvds that came out and on top of that it was a collection of all these "rare" Jet Li films that a lot of martial art fans have been wanting to watch. The catch was that Dimension Films bought all these movies, dubbed them over badly, edited out scenes, made a new musical score, and changed the titles.

I really don't have a problem with the dubbing. I have watched many badly dubbed martial art films when I was a kid, so this never made me not want to watch them.The editing of scenes is just horrible in my opinion and I refused to watch them because of this. However, I was very bored and wanted something that was a lot of fun to watch and decided to just suck it up and watch Fong Sai Yuk. Now renamed "The Legend"

The dubbing is horrible. The new musical score is good as far as I can tell and I cant really tell what was edited out. Having said all of this, the film is tons of fun. I can't really write much about the story or the characters since it really doesn't have much to write about. I hate saying that what matters are the fight scenes but this is the case and the fight scenes are beyond amazing.

I was in awe during each fight sequence and they really are some of the best I have yet to see. My favorite being the scene where the fight is fought while balancing on the heads of the people that are watching it. The other thing worth mentioning is the balance of serious drama and slapstick comedy. I normally hate these mixtures in martial art films, except for old HK Jackie Chan films, but in this case it works well enough to not be annoying.

I can't say that I applaud the film, because of all the edits and changes that dimension did, but what is there is a very fun and just down right awesome film. I have noticed that the dvd I rented is out of print now, as well as all the other Jet Li collection films, and I really hope this means that they were yanked out because they are planning a new collection. I really think that if I were to see the original cut with the original dialogue that I would put this high on my list of favorite martial art films As it stands now, it is still a great film of the genre.

- ***1/2

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Heavy Traffic (1973, Ralph Bakshi)

"Michael, a Jewish-Italian cartoonist with a black girlfriend tries to make it in New York City"

I was pretty blown away from this piece of art. That's right, art. Not cinema. I really think this one surpasses the term"cinema" and becomes an odd piece of personal art from the mind of Ralph Bakshi.

This film is about a troubled cartoonist who passes his time at the local arcade playing pinball. He imagines his life and world in his mind as being a living cartoon. In this cartoon he is still a struggling cartoonist who begins to date a black woman which upsets his whole family. Of course this is as much as I got from it.

This is a very surreal, demented, and often perverted piece of work. Cartoons blend with real life and real life blends with cartoons. There are random little "short films" that come and go and there also tons of shots of a pinball bouncing around a pinball machine. It all adds up to a very angry and inner piece of animation that never stops pouring it's angry angst into it's images.

This is the main reason why I loved it. It really feels like a very personal work of art. It feels like a showcase into a mans mind and it also feels as if Bakshi has just created his latest work of art and he is letting you watch it. He truly gives a sense of being a true artist. The only thing I can compare it to is a film by Lynch. Not as in terms of style or anything. They really have nothing in common in that sense. I just use this example because I feel the same way towards Lynch as I felt towards Bakshi with this film. I feel a sense of watching art from an artist. You can hate it or love it but you have to watch it in order to contemplate it.


Friday, May 4, 2007


I know it's been awhile since I last posted anything here. I just havn't had the time to watch anything lately because i have been busy trying to be a crtic/film journalist. It really isn't that easy of a job but I am loving every second of it.

The reviews and articles I do for the website/magazine will soon be posted here or at least a link to the reviews and articles will be here soon.

This blog will one day be picked up soon enough but first they have to do some more stuff.

My movie watching will return to it's normal state sometime during this weekend when I finish off somethings that I have to write up.

Also, Spider-Man 3 isn't that good? I have to admitt I am dissapointed but it won't stop me from watching it today. EDIT: nevermind every showing was sold out : (