April 14th, 2009

DEATH MACHINES (1976) ***

An Oriental Dragon Lady sends out her "Death Machines" (three guys who can fuck shit up) to kill all her enemies so that she can be the number one crime boss in the city.  First, the Death Machines throw one dude off a building, then they take a rocket launcher to another guy.  Next, they run over a guy in a phone booth with a bulldozer and kill a dude while he's eating in his favorite Italian restaurant.  Then the Dragon Lady sends the Death Machines to kill everybody in a rival dojo but they drop the ball by leaving one guy alive who snitches to the cops.  (Even though they forgot to kill that guy, the Death Machines at least cut his hand off.)  When the Death Machines are no longer a vital part of the Dragon Lady's organization, she sends some dudes to kill them.  It's safe to say that the Death Machines don't like that very much.

 

Death Machines is one of those crazy ass movies that are right up my alley.  This flick has everything in it but the kitchen sink.  Besides slaughtering an entire karate school, The Death Machines also take on some dirty bikers in a greasy spoon, cut people's heads off, and blow up airplanes too.  The best scene of the flick doesn't even involve the Death Machines though.  That comes when our would-be one-handed hero takes his nurse girlfriend on a date to a titty bar where a no holds barred barroom brawl breaks out.  I also liked how the Dragon Lady villainess had to pronounce all of her dialogue phonetically too.

 

Death Machines isn't great or anything but at least it's consistently entertaining and features a lot of over the top violence and ludicrous moments.  There's enough general nuttiness here to make you wish they made a sequel.  In fact, the ending seems to set things up for a sequel as the Death Machines are seen boarding a plane and there's a badass freeze frame of the three dudes looking all kinds of tough.  And it's a freeze frame that lasts nearly a minute.  There are no closing credits, just the freeze frame.  You don't need the credits.  The Death Machines fucked a lot of people up and that's all you need to know.  C'mon Hollywood, where's Death Machines 2 for Christ's sake?

 

A sleazy Italian mobster gets the best line of the movie when he says, "You killed my driver so I killed your waiter!"

EXPOSED (1976) **

Christina (Thriller:  A Cruel Picture) Lindberg's massive mammaries ought to be named a national Swedish monument.  She shows off those immaculate puppies over a dozen times in this so-so Scandanavian skin flick.  If you're a fan of Christina, you'll definitely wanna check this flick out, if only to see her bare her beautiful breasts over and over again.

 

The plot has Christina playing this coy schoolgirl with a boring boyfriend named Jan.  Actually, the shy schoolgirl act is just a front for her more dubious activities.  In reality, she's a plaything for a rich sleazeball named Helge who makes her have sex with his swinging party guests.  When Christina tries to leave Helge and makes a fresh start with Jan, Helge shows up with some incriminating photos of her and threatens to put a damper on her promising future.

 

What totally pissed me off about this movie is that Christina will be doing something really kinky or dirty and then we find out it was all a daydream.  She'll be getting slapped around by her boyfriend or be getting raped while hitchhiking and just when it really starts getting good, Christina will snap out of it and go back to whatever it was she was doing.  (This is especially cruel during the scene where Helge skillfully ties her up and fucks her.)  This daydreaming bullshit eats up the entire first act of the film and it takes a half an hour for the whole blackmail "plot" to kick in. 

 

There was also a particularly WTF moment near the end of the film when Christina and Jan go to see a Tarzan movie.  For the next two minutes of screen time, we see a scene from the Tarzan movie in it's entirety.  Not just clips or a brief moment or two.  THE WHOLE FUCKING SCENE!  (Complete with Swedish subtitles!)  Way to pad the running time to the 90 minute mark!

 

Sure, I got a lot of complaints about this movie.  That's OK though because Christina gets naked a whole heck of a lot in it.  I don't care if she daydreamed the whole thing (which I'm pretty sure she did since the ending is one of those ambiguous deals), as long as Christina was showing off that dynamite figure of hers, the movie was at least doing SOMETHING right.

 

AKA:  The Depraved.  AKA:  Diary of a Rape.

CAT IN THE BRAIN (1990) ***

Cult Italian horror filmmaker Lucio Fulci stars as himself in this wildly uneven but entertaining flick.  It seems that all of the horrible guts and gore that Lucio has been putting into his movies has slowly started to drive him crazy, so Lucio goes to see a shrink to get his head straight.  As it turns out, the shrink is a deranged maniac who gets his jollies by murdering people.  He hypnotizes Fulci into thinking that he actually committed the crimes, which makes poor Lucio even more bananas.

 

Too much of this movie is filled with scenes where you don't know what is "reel" and what's "real".  That shit gets pretty irritating rather quick.  Luckily, Cat in the Brain is filled with so much gore and nudity that you just have to like it.  Numerous heads, eyes, tongues, hands, arms, legs, and guts get ripped off, cut off, or chopped up throughout the course of the film and lots of willing Italian babes show off their enormous assets too. 

 

Much of the film is made up of clips and footage from other Fulci movies (most notably Sodoma's Ghost).  Sure, it makes the flick seem like a hackneyed paste-up job (well... it is really), but if you're a fan of Fulci, all of these clips will all be more than welcome.  Although Cat in the Brain doesn't make a whole lot of sense, as movies about horror directors being haunted by their films go; it's a lot better than say, New Nightmare that's for damn sure.

 

The shrink gets the best line of the movie when he tells Lucio, "You have a fear of hamburgers and gardeners!"

 

AKA:  Nightmare Concert.

OBSERVE AND REPORT (2009) ***

Hollywood has a long tradition of making two flicks about the same exact thing.  In '93-''94, we got two Wyatt Earp movies.  In '97, there were dueling volcano movies.  Now in '09 we got two flicks about mall security guards.  First up this year was the PG rated Paul Blart:  Mall Cop.  Didn't catch it.  Now there's Seth Rogen's hardcore R rated comedy Observe and Report. 

 

Rogen plays Ronnie Barnhart, a tubby mall cop who has a bad attitude, an inflated ego and delusions of grandeur.  He also has a tendency to beat the shit out of people with batons, flashlights, and skateboards too.  Ronnie patrols the mall and falls in love with the space cadet perfume girl (Anna Faris) while trying to bring a parking lot flasher to justice.

 

Observe and Report is one of those movies where a lot of the funny parts were already in the preview.  Luckily, not ALL of the funny parts were spoiled.  About halfway through, the flick turns somewhat of a dark corner and becomes increasing nihilistic and violent.  Much to my surprise, the film contains a few excellently choreographed fight scenes and Rogen holds his own nicely; which makes me think he'll be a pretty decent Green Hornet after all.  Another thing I dug about the movie is that it doesn't really follow a set "formula".  Rogen's character is a single-minded sociopath that never has to learn a "lesson" or "grow up" and gets rewarded for more or less continuing to be an enormous douche bag.  And wait until you see the ending.  I won't spoil it for you.  Just know that it contains some of the most horrendously grotesque imagery I've seen in a film in quite some time.  (SPOILER ALERT:  Here's a hint, the flick features more gratuitous cock shots than Watchmen.)