Friday, August 14, 2009

"KillerKiller" review

KillerKiller (2007)

Director: Pat Higgins
Writer: Pat Higgins

Richard Collins ... Perry
Scott Denyer ... Samuel
Dutch Dore-Boize ... Lawrence
Cy Henty ... Rosebrook
Rami Hilmi ... Wallis
Danny James ... Victor
James Kavaz ... Harris

So there's a killer running loose in an insane asylum. Actually there is a killer killer. A bunch of psychos have been released from their cells by some mysterious force. As the loons bicker and argue about who could have freed them, the mysterious being, (who cleverly disguises itself as a hot blonde), picks off the crazies one by one. Who is this malevolent beast who sometimes, (one time actually), dresses as a cheerleader to send serial killers to their grave? Is she the ghosts of victims past? Does anyone care?

I take B-movie advertising seriously. I don't know why but I do. You'd think after all this time I would get the message that B-movie showmen are a deceitful bunch of weasels who get perverse pleasure out of ripping me off. The cover of "KillerKiller" has a blonde cheerleader holding a pom pom in one hand and a bloody hatchet in the other. Based on this cover, I thought it was reasonable to expect to see a killer cheerleader attacking the inmates of an asylum. I was at least expecting a campy horror movie showing psychos being hunted by an even bigger blonde psycho. I was wrong again.

"KillerKiller" is a actually a character study of different inmates and how they deal with the sins they've committed. The blonde beast that has been unleashed on them attacks them using their own sick murder fantasies against them. So if a psycho likes to remove people's organs and replace them with automotive machinery, then he'll turn up on the slab getting his guts ripped out. If some guy likes putting a power drill through hooker's heads, then his body will get some ventilation, etc.

Thankfully, there is a murder tag team who loves killing cheerleaders. When they slip into her fantasy world, she appears as cheerleader bait for them to pounce on. This whips the fiends up into a murderous frenzy but the cheerleader strikes first and ruins their day by butchering them. This is the first and last appearance of the killer cheerleader in the movie.

Since selling a movie based on a bunch of guys sitting around an ugly room arguing with each other is near impossible, the marketing department decided to latch on to the one exploitable element in the movie and plastered the killer cheerleader on the DVD cover. My expectations were dashed. Dreams have died. This is not a killer cheerleader movie. It should have been. The movie they made is not nearly as entertaining as some whacked out cheerleader rampaging through the halls of an insane asylum would have been.

Overall, "KillerKiller" was disappointing. It teased me with its fraudulent advertising. I wanted bloody pom poms, I got maniacs debating each other in a foul, paint peeling room. Nothing of interest comes out of their banal conversations. How many times can they argue about who's killing them? They're serial killers for crying out loud. Start acting on your homicidal impulses and do something interesting. Also, the sound quality of the DVD is terrible. Actually, disgraceful would be a better word for it. You have to blast the volume to hear the dialogue. When the blonde monster finally shows up, you have to turn it down quickly before the neighbors call the cops on you.

One last thought, I did learn something from this British movie. There are no cheerleaders in England. I never thought about it before but I suppose cheerleading is an American phenomenon. It makes me wonder why they bothered to put a cheerleader on their cover if there was no way a British serial killer could have racked up a body count. Could it be they just wanted the exploitation fans rental money? I wonder...

SCORE: 1.5 out of 4 violent cheerleaders

Sunday, August 09, 2009

"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" review

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

Director: Stephen Sommers
Writers: Stuart Beattie David Elliot

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje... Heavy Duty
Christopher Eccleston... McCullen / Destro
Joseph Gordon-Levitt... The Doctor / Rex
Byung-hun Lee... Storm Shadow
Sienna Miller... Ana / Baroness
Rachel Nichols... Shana 'Scarlett' O'Hara
Kevin J. O'Connor... Dr. Mindbender
Ray Park... Snake Eyes
Jonathan Pryce... U.S. President
Dennis Quaid... General Hawk

Call off the Oscar race. Recall the ballots. Voting is not necessary. We have a winner. The Best Picture of the year has arrived. Actually, I think "G.I. Joe" might sweep the entire ceremony. It could grab a couple of statues for Best Director, Writer and all of the acting awards. Book the limos now as the entire cast and crew will be up on the stage receiving accolades from their peers. Wait till you hear the fans screaming "G.I. Joe!" outside the awards ceremony. It will be a magical night. Well, actually it won't. The only way "G.I. Joe" is getting into the Oscars is if they invade the building and repel down from their helicopters.

Terrorists have seized a dangerous weapon which threatens the existence of humanity. Time to call in G.I. Joe. The Joes spring into action because when others fail, they don't. The terrorists have a green cloud of death which eats metal and they can't wait to unleash their maniacal plans on the planet. The Joes do battle with the leather suited Baroness and her minions all over the world. From Paris to Egypt to the polar ice caps, there is nowhere on Earth you can run from the Joes and their quest to blow up everything they see.

"G.I. Joe" is no better or worse than the hundreds of other brain dead action movies that plop off of the Hollywood conveyor belt. It is product made for a perceived audience of neanderthals and the ten year olds who love them. But the men and women who run Hollywood studios are not stupid. These are very intelligent, shrewd business people who hire filmmakers to make their companies profitable. The filmmakers comply with their corporate masters wishes and deliberately make imbecilic movies. The continued financial success of these decisions has doomed us all. We can expect more "G.I. Joe" movies to rape and pillage our wallets for years to come.

A common defense among mainstream filmmakers will be to spout out something along the lines of, "Just turn off your brain and go on a two hour thrill ride!" or "I'm giving the audience exactly what they want.". But what does the "audience" want? How do filmmakers come up with the magic formula that gives us exactly what we desire? Part of the fun of watching movies is to try to figure out what the filmmakers were thinking when they made their creative decisions. After seeing "G.I. Joe", it's clear that they think we're all a bunch of morons who like to see things blow up real good. The contempt Hollywood shows for their audience is staggering.

Of course, I'm the kind of guy who watches B-movies and enjoys their sleazy antics. But B-movie filmmakers have an excuse for making bad movies. They don't have the resources or (sometimes) the talent to make a good movie. "G.I. Joe" had all the time and money in the world to come up with an entertaining movie. While there were some scenes that were enjoyable, (the Paris chase scene), most of the movie is taken up by monotonous action sequences. You've seen one secret underwater army base blow up, you've seen them all.

One last thought, I'd like to comment on the only truly important question that "G.I. Joe" asks us to consider: Who's hotter, the Baroness, (Sienna Miller), or Scarlett, (Rachel Nichols)? In the cartoon, it was definitely the Baroness but in the movie, I may have to go for Scarlett. She was showing off her cleavage even more than the Baroness. And they both wore skin tight leather outfits which showed off all of their curves. Clearly, an extended fight between these two was the crucial scene that was missing from this movie. Remember filmmakers, it's all about giving the audience what they want.

SCORE: 2.5 out of 4 leather suited warriors

Saturday, August 08, 2009

"Vice Girls" review

Vice Girls (2000)

Lana Clarkson ... Jan Cooper
Liat Goodson ... Edith Block
Kimberley Roberts ... Mindy Turner (as Kimberly Roberts)
Bart Muller ... John Russo
Warren Draper ... Captain Chandler
Richard Gabai ... Quentin / Hilowitz
A. Michael Baldwin ... Tralaine
Caroline Keenan ... Polly
Ari Bass... Man at Party
David Gohman... Man At Party
Jim Wynorski... Man with Top Popper

There's a serial killer on the loose in Hollywood. He likes videotaping himself while he kills teenage runaways. This fiend must be caught. Lana Clarkson and two other babe detectives need to hit the sleazy streets to see what they can find out. Their investigation takes them deep into the sordid underbelly of L.A. And when I say sordid underbelly, I really mean cheap movie sets. The killer's trail leads them to a host of scummy characters. Could the fat pornographer be behind the killings? What about the conceited director? How about the Quentin Tarantino wannabe filmmaker? The Vice Girls are on the hunt.

"Vice Girls" is a typical B-thriller. Actually, it's little lighter than I was hoping. I was in the mood for a sordid "Charlie's Angels" rip-off. The DVD cover has one of the Vice Girls, (Liat Goodson), in a skin tight leather skirt. I was hoping to see more of her but was denied. In fact, only one of the Vice Girls gets naked. Lana Clarkson gets topless in a quick sex scene in the bathroom. The other Vice Girls don't join the party. How sad that Lana had to carry the nudity burden for her whole squad.

Unfortunately, "Vice Girls" is just not as much fun as it should be. Lana Clarkson does what she can but the other two Vice Girls are non-entities. There was one scene where the tech advisor hinted that she knew the other Vice Girl back in San Francisco. I thought this was leading to a lesbian scene but was denied. Instead, they started beating each other up in a rather inept fight scene. Another scene had two teenage runaways talking about their latest shoplifting adventure in a stationary store. One girl turns to the other and says something like, "You're my only friend". I thought this was also going to lead to a lesbian scene but was denied again. Maybe I think every scene is going to lead to a lesbian scene. But when you have a movie called "Vice Girls" with the tagline "They're no Angels!" it's not too unreasonable to think that the girls will get some vice in their life.

But "Vice Girls" has some fun scenes as they look for the mad killer. One scene has the girls going undercover in the pornographer's store so that they can check out the lecherous creeps. They decide that they need a secret way to film the weirdos so they devise a brilliant solution. One Vice Girl starts dancing with a camera inserted on the nipples of her bra. They know where the guys will be staring. This is solid police work. Unfortunately this also means they can't take their camera bra off as they don't want pictures of the floor. I felt as let down as the wackos. We both felt swindled.

So where is the vice in "Vice Girls"? It's hard to find. Only Lana Clarkson knew what she was doing in this movie. She drags a guy into the bathroom to have sex. Twice! Thank you Lana for saving "Vice Girls". Lana gets topless and the movie is better for it. At least hard drinking, amazon woman Clarkson indulged in some much needed vice.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 vice girls

Side note: I was looking for a hot picture of Lana Clarkson to post but went with some real Vice Girls instead. If you do a Google search on Lana Clarkson you'll actually end up with more pictures of Phil Spector than Lana. Well, seeing Spector and his many fake wigs drained me of my Lana desire. RIP Lana.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"Satan's Baby Doll" review

Satan's Baby Doll (1982)
AKA La bimba di Satana

Director: Mario Bianchi
Writers: Gabriele Crisanti

Jacqueline Dupré ... Myra / Maria
Mariangela Giordano ... Solo
Aldo Sambrell ... Antonio Aguilar
Joe Davers
Giancarlo Del Duca
Alfonso Gaita

I saw the cover for "Satan's Baby Doll" and was hooked. It was love at first sight. I was whispering sweet love songs to it: Suddenly, life has new meaning, to me... I can't imagine how it's escaped my attention. Surely I would have heard something about this obviously fantastic film by now. The DVD cover has a winged demon, (Satan I suppose), rubbing a girls naked body, (Satan's baby doll I presume). This exploitation film has been kept from me for too long. It was time to see what Satan does with his baby doll.

"Satan's Baby Doll" has nothing to do with Satan or babies or dolls. It concerns the trials and tribulations of a dysfunctional family inside a big, scary castle. The matriarch of the family dies but her horny soul wants to live on through her frequently naked daughter. The mother wants to use her to get revenge on everybody in the house so she can finally be with the one person she truly loved. She's had a crush on the castles live-in nun, (who's also frequently naked), and has come back from the dead for her chaste body.

Nothing says good times like lustful possessions and naked nuns. "Satan's Baby Doll" has all of the elements of a classic exploitation flick. Lascivious evil spirits, gratuitous nudity and naughty nuns are a good starting point for any B-movie. But now I realize why I've never heard of this movie before. "Satan's Baby Doll" does not come close to the sleaze potential it's DVD cover art promises. The idea of a mother coming back from the dead to use her daughter's body for revenge should have been a sleaze gold mine but the concept is wasted on banal scenes of bloodless revenge.

Every time the mother's spirit jumped into her daughter's body, I was expecting the daughter to jump on someone else's body for a little revenge sex from beyond the grave. Instead the possessed girl dispatches her mother's enemies as quickly and as mundanely as possible. You would think a soul brought back from the dead would be filled with insatiable bloodlust but you'd be wrong. There is almost no blood shown in any of the daughter's attacks. I was quite disappointed at the dead mother's lack of depraved imagination.

On a positive note, "Satan's Baby Doll" does have copious amounts of nudity. All of the women get naked at regular intervals. But overall it's not sleazy enough to necessitate a viewing. Still, the DVD cover is amazing. It might be the sleaziest cover of all time. I just wish it had the movie to go along with its salacious picture of an ass grabbing devil.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 satan's baby dolls