Gross Movie Reviews #542
Top Knot Detective (DVD) – This is a documentary about an oddity of sorts, a samurai series in the early 90s that became a cult hit in Asia and Australia. The series was only on for one year but in places like Japan their TV seasons run 50 episodes long so that are about 2 or so seasons in the U.S. The series is about a man doing a lot of walking and seeking revenge for his master (sounds like Kung Fu with Carradine). Full disclosure this wasn’t your typical series as this had a character dressed as a penis, giant robots, odd dialogue that shouldn’t be in the script or most times wasn’t, ninjas, horrible stunt work, and the show looked like something one of us weirdos would have found late night on public access. But you will find yourself only being more interested in this weirdness as the main star was such a joke in the industry but big bucks for the TV screen and all involved… Then it gets weirder when the main star is the main suspect of the murder of the head honcho who finances the show then escapes Japan dressed as a woman! One of the weirder things I have ever watch and I give it 3 stars just for that.
Amityville Poltergeist (DVD) – A low budget flick using the “title” of course for no apparent reason centers around a young man named Jim who is looking to make some cash. Jim finds a housesitting job for $100 a night for a weekend. He doesn’t have to do anything except maybe listen to the spooky warning from Grandma “to leave”. After a night or two Jim begins to experience some strange events and is unsure if he is dreaming or actually experiencing unexplained events. The film isn’t bad as much the filmmaker put a full film on screen? Feels more like a 20 minute short film than it would be a full feature as I give it 2 stars.
Special Bulletin (DVD) – A 1983 made-for-TV docudrama that starts off with local news coverage of a dock worker strike in Charleston, South Carolina but as the news coverage continues that early in the morning things take a strange twist? Cops arrive and someone is shot and from the local news media covering it moves in but they learn quickly this isn’t a worker strike but a protest by a Dr. Bruce Lyman. His protest with several others is on this boat wanting the government to disarm or he believes nuclear war will happen very soon. Lyman makes it clear in his plea he wants U.S. and Russia to disarm before they kill us all. Even though there is news coverage the government doesn’t take the protest seriously until Lyman guarantees it isn’t a hoax. Also if he does not get all the modules for the nuclear warheads in South Carolina he will dentate the small nuclear device they have? A wonderfully serious film like ‘Threads’ and ‘The Day After’ that I believe needs to be seen by many more than just a weirdo movie fan like myself to understand this subject matter is still very relevant. And let’s not forget there is a young Michael Madsen in here for a quick couple seconds as I give the film 4 stars.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (On Demand) – The Warrens are back at it again as this film is set in July 1981 where an exorcism goes sideways. During the exorcism Ed Warren has a heart attack and the 18 year old Arnie who was there gets possessed and only Ed knows about it and wants to prove it once feeling better. Not too much time passes as Arnie becomes part of a murder but claims he was possessed and the Warrens try to prove this in the court of law. But even with Arnie in prison the spirit has followed him and continues to haunt him as he has been cursed by a Satanist. This path leads the Warrens down a path where they may have solved several other murders as a weird Satanist totem had been found at the scene of other murders that baffled police? The film is better than most paranormal crap out there but this entry felt more like a love story than the Warrens chasing demons and spirits as I give it 3 stars.
The Phantom Empire (Blu-ray) – A wonderful B-movie cast directed by Fred Olen Ray in what I believe took six days to finish this film where a woman looking for treasure hires a couple hacks to help lead her through a cave. Michelle Bauer as the hottest cave bunny ever, Robbie the Robot, horrible looking monsters, and an alien in S&M gear played by Sybil Danning await the group as they enter. I have reviewed this B-movie gem before but it has now got upgraded to Blu-ray! I thought the Blu-ray looked a little better and has the all the extras from the original DVD but I believe the newest thing besides the transfer might be the home movies of the location shoot? I also believe the commentary track is the same but it is something that I believe Indy filmmakers need to revisit just to listen to the knowledge Fred spews out on how to do things, rent stuff, casting, etc. More than ever this commentary of telling stories about ‘The Phantom Empire’ are so relevant and fun to hear as I give it 4 stars. The Blu-ray and DVD are very hard to find but the slightly upgraded Blu-ray can be found at www.makeflix.com .
Shoot (DVD) – A 1976 dramatic film with a solid cast where Rex and his four buddies are heading up to his cabin for a weekend of hunting. No animals but a nice day of hanging out in the woods but until they are about to start back when they come across another group of hunters across a stream. An odd stare and the shooting begins as one man wounded in Rex’s group and one dead for the group across the stream. Rex and friends debate the event for hours and whether they should go to the hospital, police, or nothing? After a night of resting on it they have a meeting to keep quiet but Rex cannot let it go so he investigates who died and if the other group reported it to the authorities? When Rex finds out it was just a hunting accident he convinces the group that the other group will want revenge and they got to beat them to the punch as they must go all-out war! A great “how far will he or they go in this case to be sure” kind of film as I give it 3 stars.
Cleopatra Jones (DVD) – Another must see Blaxploitation film from 1973 that has a woman Cleopatra Jones as a special agent who is helping the U.S. cracks down on drugs. She has just ordered one of the largest poppy seed fields in the world to be burned. But when she returns home Cleopatra has made an enemy in a big time drug dealer named “Mommy” who wants her dead for ruining her supply chain. But you don’t mess with Cleo when she has a car door full of guns even if you have corrupt cops on your side, Cleo has the great Bernie Casey on hers as I give this action-packed beauty 3 ½ stars.
Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies (DVD) – An experimental drug Quadoxin is being used on crops of a small town to hopefully help the crops flourish… but we all know that isn’t going to happen. After some bad luck between a dead drug dealer and his three young customers and a random monstrous zombie, they all show up at the local music festival. Now, a group of friends must try to survive the onslaught of zombies wanting flesh in this low budget feature. I wanted to like this film but it just felt very forced if that makes sense and plus I couldn’t stop comparing it to 1980s ‘Toxic Zombies’ as I give it 1 ½ stars.
The Superdeep (On Demand) – The Russian military gets involved with a secret drilling facility after some miners and a research team go missing. The small military force is led by Yury who wants his top dog Anya to get in there and get the samples to take to the surface for research that may help the Russians in the race with the U.S. When they arrive a scientist there has seen what was found 12 kilometers down and feels it should not be shared with humans… It should be buried. The team searches deeper into the facility trying to retrieve the samples and realize they are up against a killer fungus that could wipe out the human race. I like that it feels like the Russian version of ‘The Thing’ but felt it was too long and reminded me more of ‘Leviathan’ when it could have been so much more as I give it 2 stars.
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