January 16th, 2014

BAMBOO GODS AND IRON MEN (1974) **

James (Savage!) Iglehart stars as a world champion prize fighter who is on vacation in Hong Kong with his girlfriend (Darktown Strutters’ Shirley Washington). He buys her a chintzy Buddha statue in an antique shop that just so happens to contain the bad guy’s McGuffin. Iglehart also saves the life of a mute guy named Charlie (played by “Chiquito”) who then pledges his life to protect him. The trio travel to Manila where the villain’s goons are waiting for them and lots of halfheartedly choreographed Kung Fu battles occur.

Bamboo Gods and Iron Men tries to blend two great ‘70s genres (Blaxploitation films and chopsocky flicks) together. This sounds like a great idea, but the results are disappointing. The tone is very matter-of-fact, which I think was a mistake. This is the kind of material that needed a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor to make everything work. As it is, the tone isn’t serious enough to make the villain a credible menace, and it isn’t goofy enough to be a fun, comic book style adventure.

There are plenty of fights throughout the film, so it’s never boring. And there’s some sporadic T & A to spice things up a bit. Plus, we get an extended cameo by the great Vic Diaz (playing a helpful concierge), so it’s not a total loss or anything.

AKA: Black Kung Fu.

THE 7TH ANNUAL VIDEO VACUUM AWARDS

Well folks, can you believe we’ve been doing this for seven years now? I sure can’t. Anyway, 2013 was a great year for movies and what better way to reflect on the year that was than by announcing the nominations for The 7th Annual Video Vacuum Awards?

BEST MOVIE

ESCAPE PLAN
FURIOUS 6
MACHETE KILLS
MAN OF STEEL
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

WORST MOVIE

BLUE JASMINE
ONLY GOD FORGIVES
THE PURGE
SCARY MOVIE 5
SPRING BREAKERS

BEST DIRECTOR

JUSTIN LIN for FURIOUS 6
ROBERT RODRIGUEZ for MACHETE KILLS
MARTIN SCORSESE for THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
ZACK SNYDER for MAN OF STEEL
JEFF WADLOW for KICK-ASS 2

BEST ACTOR

JIM CAVIEZEL in ESCAPE PLAN
LEONARDO DICAPRIO in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
CARLOS ESTEVEZ in MACHETE KILLS
TOM HIDDLESTON in THOR: THE DARK WORLD
THE ROCK in FURIOUS 6

BEST ACTRESS

ALEXANDRA DADDARIO in TEXAS CHAINSAW 3-D
GRETA GERWIG in FRANCES HA
JULIANNE MOORE in CARRIE
CHLOE GRACE MORETZ in KICK-ASS 2
KATEE SACKHOFF in RIDDICK

BREAST ACTRESS

MELISSA JACOBS in SEXY WIVES SINDROME
KYLEE NASH in SEXY WIVES SINDROME
CHRISTINE NGUYEN in SEXY WIVES SINDROME
MARGOT ROBBIE in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
SHERI MOON ZOMBIE in THE LORDS OF SALEM

BEST HORROR MOVIE

CARRIE
EVIL DEAD
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2
CURSE OF CHUCKY
YOU’RE NEXT

BEST ACTION MOVIE

ESCAPE PLAN
FURIOUS 6
IRON MAN 3
MACHETE KILLS
MAN OF STEEL

BEST MOVIE STARRING AN EXPENDABLE

ESCAPE PLAN
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION
GRUDGE MATCH
HOMEFRONT
PARKER

BEST COMEDY

JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA
GRUDGE MATCH
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
THIS IS THE END
THE WORLD’S END

BEST SEQUEL

FURIOUS 6
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION
IRON MAN 3
KICK-ASS 2
MACHETE KILLS

BEST COMIC BOOK MOVIE

BULLET TO THE HEAD
IRON MAN 3
KICK-ASS 2
MAN OF STEEL
THE WOLVERINE

BEST FIGHT SCENE

NINJA ZIPLINE JUBILEE in G.I. JOE: RETALIATION
ROCKY VS. RAGING BULL in GRUDGE MATCH
THE BARREL SEQUENCE in THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
MOTHER RUSSIA VS. TEN COPS in KICK-ASS 2
SUPERMAN’S SMACKDOWN OF GENERAL ZOD IN THE CORNFIELD in MAN OF STEEL

BEST DEATH

A CHICK CHAINSAWED IN HALF LENGTHWISE in EVIL DEAD
THE BALLS IN THE VISE SCENE in I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2
THE LAWNMOWER DEATH in KICK-ASS 2
THE GUTS IN THE HELICOPTER BLADES IN MACHETE KILLS
DEATH BY BLENDER in YOU’RE NEXT

BEST 3-D EFFECT

3-D NINJAS in G.I. JOE: RETALIATION
3-D SEVERED HEAD in THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
3-D ARROW in THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
3-D CHAINSAW (HURTLED TOWARD THE SCREEN) in TEXAS CHAINSAW 3-D
3-D CHAINSAW (SLOWLY PUSHED TOWARD THE SCREEN) in TEXAS CHAINSAW 3-D

BEST SCENE I COULD NOT MAKE UP

THE MUTANT CABBAGE PATCH KID RAPE SCENE from THE LORDS OF SALEM
MACHETE IN SPACE from MACHETE KILLS
THE DUCK RAPE from RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOL. 1
THE QUAALUDE SCENE from THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
AMERICA DROPPING THE A-BOMB ON THE WOLVERINE in THE WOLVERINE

BEST DIALOGUE

ESCAPE PLAN for “YOU HIT LIKE A VEGETARIAN!”
JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA for “THEY USED TO CALL ME JIZZY GILLESPIE!”
KICK-ASS 2 for “I’M GOING TO WIPE MY ASS WITH YOUR FACE!”
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY for “I HAVE AN EXTRA TOE… NOT WITH ME, OF COURSE!”
MOVIE 43 for “IT’S LIKE A CORNFIELD DOWN HERE. I KEEP EXPECTING SHOELESS JOE JACKSON TO WALK OUT!”

Well, there you have it. Was your favorite film nominated? I’ll tally the votes and announce the winners in a few weeks. Until then, see you at the movies!

DOT COM HORROR DOUBLE FEATURE

WATCHUSDIE.COM (2001) **

A bunch of hot college girls live in one of those houses that have webcams hidden all over so horny guys can log on and watch them shower, dress, and comb their hair and stuff. A killer sneaks into the house and starts bumping off the coeds one by one. Meanwhile, the horny subscribers to the site watch it all unfold on the internet.

I remember back in the day when these dorm cam sites were all the rage. I never frequented them or anything, but I’ll admit that the idea of a killer being loose and killing webcam models while people watch on the net is a pretty good idea. The problem is, the set-up is rather laborious and the introduction to the girls goes on way too long (every time a new girl is introduced, a complete dossier of their stats pops up).

Watchusdie.com offers up a whole lot of tease and very little please. The girls have fashion shows in skimpy outfits in front of the camera, but nothing is shown. The lesbian couple gets frisky under the sheets, but nothing is shown. The girls play “Strip Clue”, but nothing is shown. They take baths, but nothing is shown. Finally, after a lot of jerking the audience around, we get two shower scenes. The scene where Playboy Playmate Amy Miller takes a shower is pretty good, but the shower scene featuring Mariangela Spiezia isn’t nearly as long or explicit.

The deaths are all pretty bloodless too, which doesn’t help matters. Coeds die via electrocution, strangulation, bludgeoning, and stabbing, but none of the death scenes are especially creative or anything. The killer’s look is fairly unoriginal too as he just wears a white mask and a black cloak (this was only a couple years after Scream).

VOYEUR.COM (2000) *

I remember when this flick first came out; I watched it with a buddy of mine and we laughed all the way through it. If only I was writing a blog at that time (or at the very least, a fanzine), I could’ve really savaged it. Seeing it now, years later, it’s a little bit different experience. For one, I’ve watched plenty worse movies since then. For another, in just that short span of time, Voyeur.com has become horribly dated. But no matter way you slice it, it’s still hilariously awful.

A bunch of girls move into a house where their every move is broadcast on the net. They are encouraged to have sex and get naked as often as possible by the two sleazebags who own the site. Most of the girls are total sluts, but there is one mousy chick who sees living in the house as an opportunity to let her freak flag fly. Of course, a killer in a black trenchcoat worms his way into the house and starts slashing the housemates left and right.

Voyeur.com is a shot-on-video mess. Even though I have sat through worse shot-on-video films, this is still on the lower end of the spectrum. The damning thing about the fick is that that the whole thing is so damned dull. The pacing is nonexistent and the “suspense” scenes go on forever.

As with Watchusdie.com, Voyeur.com features a killer that was inspired by Scream. And like that film, it starts with the killer menacing a victim over the telephone. At least in this one, he tricks her into having phone sex with him and stabs her while she blabs on and on about riding a unicorn?!?

Everything about this movie is laughable, including the gore. At one point, a victim clearly splatters himself with blood to simulate a neck wound. (His hands are bloody a good three seconds before his neck is.) And the rest of the kills are just as inane (including the shitty decapitation).

The final reveal of the killer is outright hilarious. (Spoilers, obviously from here on out.) As it turns out, the killer is none other than the mousy chick. What makes this reveal so funny is that in one shot, the unconscious killer (who is obviously over six feet tall) is laying on the floor. In the very next shot, the mousy chick stands up, wearing the same exact black trenchcoat, which is now about three sizes too big for her! You won’t fucking believe it.

FRANTIC (1988) **

Harrison Ford stars as a doctor who checks into a Paris hotel with his wife (Betty Buckley). While he’s in the shower, she disappears before our very eyes (but not his). The hotel, the police, and the American Embassy are no help in finding her, so Ford enters the seamy Parisian underworld for answers. With the help of a sultry courier (Emmanuelle Seigner), Ford finally finds the reason his wife was abducted (she picked up the wrong bags at the airport) and figures out a way to lure the kidnappers into the open.

The first twenty minutes or so of Frantic are rather spellbinding. The minutia of checking into a hotel and finding out your wife has disappeared right out from under your nose is masterfully crafted by director (and star of Rush Hour 3) Roman Polanski. And the scenes of Ford struggling to find someone who speaks English that can help him are appropriately nerve-wracking.

However, the film twiddles its thumbs more often than not in the second act. It’s here where Polanski’s spell breaks and things become increasingly dull. And once the (disappointing) finale rolls around, it has almost entirely run out of steam by then. Ultimately, the movie the film never lives up to its title.

Ford is pretty good, especially in the early scenes. Like the film itself, his energy seems to flag down the homestretch. It’s a shame that a potentially potent pairing of Polanski and Ford goes to waste.

MIRROR MIRROR 4: REFLECTIONS (2000) *

The first three films in the Mirror Mirror series weren’t very good, but at least they had their moments. This fourth and final nail in the coffin for the franchise is by far the worst of the bunch. It’s poorly acted, thinly scripted, and is a complete snoozer.

This Asian chick is still upset that her fiancé died under mysterious circumstances in an old warehouse. To help herself get over her grief, she goes to a rave being held at the warehouse (on the one year anniversary of her boyfriend’s death, no less). While attempting to fit in, she comes in contact with a bunch of annoying ravers who make fun of her a lot. Meanwhile, a weirdo homeless man (Billy Drago) tries to convince her she has magic powers, and she finds that she has the ability to wish people dead.

The Mirror Mirror sequels are all unrelated, but they sometimes have actors that carry over from film to film. Mark Ruffalo paid the bills early in his career by appearing in Parts 2 and 3, and Billy Drago (from Part 3) shows up in this one playing a different character. Even though I’m a fan of the man, I’m sad to report that he basically sleepwalks through his role this time out.

Mirror Mirror 3 was weak, but it at least had lots of softcore sex to keep you watching. This one probably could’ve been rated PG-13 and it suffers from not only a lack of skin, but also a lack of a pulse. Not only that, but the twist ending is pretty infuriating, and totally negates the first 80 some minutes of the movie.

I’m going to try to end this review on a positive note by saying that the set decoration and cinematography is very late ‘90s. Every shot of this movie looks like it came from a music video from the era. I’m not exactly sure that’s a compliment, but that’s about the only good thing I can say for Mirror Mirror 4: Reflections.