Gross Movie Reviews #299
By Tim Gross
The Island of Dr. Moreau (DVD/Remake) – This is the film adaption from 1977 starring Burt Lancaster as Dr. Moreau. Now, it’s not exactly the best film but it is better than that abomination that starred Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer in the 90s. Plus, I always had a soft spot in my heart for this one just because I liked the creatures in it. You know the story a man (Michael York) is shipwrecked on an island where its dwellers or neither exactly man or beast except for Dr. Moreau, his bodyguard, and a beautiful woman played by Barbara Carrera who you are not entirely sure if she is completely human? The half beast half human creatures which look awesome for 1977 have rules that have been taught by Dr. Moreau who isolated himself from the world since no one understands his genetic research. The film is a little dated but still carries the message of “if you play god, you are bound to get fucking lynched by your creations”… Like I said cool creatures, story never gets old, and Val Kilmer is nowhere to be seen. I give the film 2 ½ stars.
The Vagrant (DVD) – A little known film from the late 80s that stars Bill Paxton as up and coming preppie guy who buys a house and has big plans. Problem is Paxton’s character doesn’t know about the disfigured hobo that breaks into his house to eat shit out of his sink. Paxton’s character starts to get so freaked out by the experience not only does he begin to sleep walk, he dreams of the bum played by genre vet Marshall Bell fucking with him And eventually trying to kill him. While Paxton’s girlfriend leaves him, Michael Ironside head detective doesn’t believe his story of the psychotic bum, and his best friend starting to believe his friend is crazy, Paxton gets a shitload of security installed to his home and becomes super obsessed with the hobo! A great “WTF” film that was mostly overlooked at the time for the mere reason that you can’t really put in a category of what it is except for its weird and has a somewhat of a somber and unexciting ending. But do not let that stop you from seeking this hidden gem out and enjoying it for what it is… entertaining. I give it 2 ½ stars.
The Warriors (DVD) – A film that became famous and influence quite a few films over the years about summit for all the gangs in New York to meet in the Bronx. The Warriors got to travel a long way as they are from Coney Island. Once there the man that has brought all the gangs together is killed and The Warriors are wrongly blamed for the murder. Now it’s up to The Warriors to protect themselves not only from police but up to 20,000 other gang members out for their heads and might be their last fight if they don’t make it back to Coney Island. With their leader killed during the commotion, it’s up to Swan to get his gang back home. Along the way you have a radio DJ that narrates the film without narrating as she keeps score as The Warriors blow up cars, bust heads, and knock down some police officers to make their way home. A fun film that sums up late 70s New York and still hasn’t lost its edge when watching it over 30 years later. I give the film 4 stars.
Vengeance is a 44. Magnum (DVD) – As always the hardest working independent filmmaker Robert Elkins never rests as he releases his latest feature film that goes away from the horror genre where he seemed so comfortable with. This time around he gives us more of a grindhouse independent revenge flick. The film follows a character named Christi, a prostitute who owes money to a wannabe thug mobster who sends his underlings after her and threatening her life. Christi of course tries to make a run for it and along the way runs into a young woman from Farmville who was duped by a fake talent agency and was mugged shortly after. Once the underlings catch up with Christi and kill the girl from Farmville they torture Christi and cut out her tongue (which looked awesome). But before they can finish off Christi, a wheelchair bound war vet saves her and eventually trains her for her revenge against the thugs. I have loved Robert Elkins films over the years and feel he is a great independent filmmaker. But I feel this film has just been done one too many times and feel he decided to do this project a little too late. After last year’s “Revenge is Her Middle Name”, it seemed like the independent filmmaking world was changing again and leaving the grindhouse-style flick behind. But what else didn’t help was I felt the film ran too long and the girl from Farmville angle took up too much time to only have her killed off. It felt random and did not fit into the plot? I did enjoy the tongue cutting scene and enjoyed seeing the camera in the reflection of the hair dryer of the bus stop bathroom intentional or not. I don’t deny the passion of Robert Elkins I just feel his better work is in horror not grindhouse/exploitation. I give the film 2 out of 4 stars. You can find out more at https://www.facebook.com/VengeanceIsA44Magnum and https://www.facebook.com/robert.elkins.5?fref=ts .
Evil Dead (DVD/Remake) – Yes folks, I did finally convince myself to sit down and watch this film. Being a big fan of the original three films it took me awhile to convince myself to watch it. Hell, I honestly thought it would never be remade! But when it became reality I watched the trailers and really thought the film looked creepy as hell. But once finished with watching the film I wasn’t so much disappointed as much as ‘ok’… Don’t get me wrong it is one of the gorier mainstream horror films in recent years but there was no creepiness in the film that I felt with the trailers. And we are talking I was gonna act like the movie never exist but I gave it a chance. The twitchy possessed people just didn’t give it that familiar feel of the original and felt at times the filmmaker tried to do too much like Raimi-style camerawork when there is only one person that can do that and that is Sam Raimi himself. For the most part it is like the original film but just felt like the soul of the original can never be recaptured. The film itself didn’t anger me at all. The film is ok, I was glad I got to watch it but my only problem with the film as I have said many times from the outset is I do not believe it will be memorable like the original but also gave me this horrible feeling like Mr. Raimi and his two henchmen collected a paycheck and do not care what happens next? Now, that can be petty on my part, I will admit, but I am at the point that I may not want to see a part four any longer… If you liked it, more power to you. Only thing I ask of you is come find me in five or six years and let’s see if you still like as much as when you first seen it. I doubt you will. There is something about the original that just can’t be duplicated. I give the film 2 stars.
Blue Collar (YouTube) – A very much underrated film that concerns union relations and the common man working at a taxi plant in Detroit in 1977. The film has an all-star cast in: Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto, Cliff De Young, and Ed Begley Jr. And there is a lot drinking of Stroh’s throughout the film. Three men who seem to be best friends get an idea in their head that they can rob the union office for cash since all three seem to be broke and in need of money. They get the plan together and go one night and rob their union office only to find $600 and some change and a notebook. The notebook contains loans to Las Vegas at high interest rates. Things escalate from there as the three try to figure how to use this to their advantage. This film is brilliant as it starts off first as a comedy and then becomes a serious drama as it takes you inside of what it was like between unions, their members, and the big car making industry. This film shows Richard Pryor wasn’t this just one of the greatest comedians of all time but proved he could be a great actor if he wanted to be? I was surprised how cool and brilliant this film was as I have to give four stars.
2020: An American Nightmare (DVD) – I was warned this Travis Bowen directed independent film was bad but of course I didn’t listen and had to witness it for myself. Now, it helps even Mr. Bowen himself says, “it is bad” and knows his first feature in 2005 was filled many pitfalls and mistakes that he has learned from and continues to learn from in order to make better films as he has over the past several years since. The independent film has a great cast in Joe Estevez, Conrad Brooks, Lloyd Kaufman, Denise Duff, Dean Haglund, Amy Lynn Best, and Tom Tully. But the big mistake was blending these celebs from the convention scene and trying to blend it in with the film plot at hand and the plot is a strange infection has hit America and the president wants to move to Canada in order to lay waste to his own land in order to rid the world of the deadly virus. Aka a nuclear wave is coming… Like many independent films that use celebs at the conventions to pump up their cast and film, “sounds good on paper, but doesn’t translate well on the big screen or the straight-to-DVD” in this case. I give Mr. Bowen credit for thinking big and being passionate enough to make it, but also still having the balls to sell a bad film. Travis you earned my respect. And believe me your first film may be bad as many others are but remember I have seen a lot worse… “The Christmas Season Massacre” just to name one! I give the film a ½ star out of four just for having the balls to sell the film knowing you have done better with recent projects. If interested check out Mr. Bowen and company at www.eeriefrequency.com and https://www.facebook.com/travis.bowen.522?fref=ts .
The Wild Hunt (DVD) – The film begins with this elaborate sequence of fantasy and mythology as a woman is brought into a village where many men scream and shriek with delight as she has been brought to their leader Murlagh, so he may ravage her. Great opening scene that makes it even that much better when it cuts to another sequence where a character named Magnus questions his king and challenges him to a duel for the crown and there you learn its “LARPERS” or “Larping”. People who enjoy what is called, “live-action-role-play”. You perhaps have a brother, a cousin; someone you know most likely has done this? Well filmmaker Alexandre Franchi for his first feature-length film takes you head first into the larping world. The film was mostly shot on location at a role-playing village built in Quebec. The story revolves around a young man named Erik who has just been left by his girlfriend Lyn to go larping and Erik is left in limbo trying to take care of his sick father. Once Lyn is off on her own adventure we learn Erik has an older brother named Magnus who hasn’t been around since their sick father has come home and is huge into larping. Erik keeps having nightmares of his ex-girlfriend Lyn and decides to run to the mountains and save her from the larping scene. The drama plays out as Erik struggles with Magus’s world he firmly believes in and finds a common goal of rescuing the princess aka Lyn and surprise attack the evil larpers aka Murlagh and friends. The brothers begin to find each other again and Magnus agrees to even visit dad but that is all over quick when Murlagh goes nutzoid and others decide they want their world to become all too real as they go on “The Wild Hunt”. Franchi brilliantly blends together the real world and larping and shows respect to those who enjoy it. He crafts a must see drama of when someone’s jealously goes a little too far. Not to mention the great subplots of Erik and Magnus’s father and Lyn: is she bi-polar, a whore, just a plain cunt? This film has some great layers to it that has an ending that many horror fans would applaud! I give the film 4 stars.
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