Drama

Review of The Mack

Drama Comments Off on Review of The Mack

The MackRating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

Review

There was a time where Richard Pryor was the best comedian in the world, and he was, unapologetic and the shit. Now it’s Dane Cook or that chubby Spanish guy. It’s a sad sad world. Yet during Pryor’s reign as master of comedy, he and Max Julien helped put together an exploitation film called The Mack. the Mack is essentially a character study of drug dealing in the late 60’s. You would be surprised at how unfunny the film is, considering it’s lead, being more of a drama than anything else. This isn’t wrong exactly, but it does come from left field as a drama about black men in California, and less a comedy tripe.

Reason to Watch

Richard Pryor is playing someone relatively serious, something Pryor teased through his long career as an actor. Lots of street hustling, pimping, and dope as well for the hidden pimpmaster in us all.

Context

The Mack is for the times and is solidified in history as being such. After Pryor’s death, The Mack stands as one of the best things he’s ever been a part of, and an intriguing take on a counter-culture revolution in the seedy underbelly of drug culture.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Goldie: Listen to me and listen good. I don’t give a shit what happened to you, you hear me? Now get yourself together, get out there, and get me my money!
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

Richard Pryor’s comedy set fresh in your mind. It’ll be all the better when he calls everyone a mother fucker non-ironically.

Trivia

According to director Michael Campus, screenwriter Robert J. Poole started developing the treatment and script on toilet paper while he was in prison. 

“The Mack” entered the non-competitive category of The Cannes Film Festival on May 11, 1983, 10 years after its release. 

The Mack was a direct influence on Oliver Stone‘s script for Scarface.  The Mack has been sampled in hundreds of songs (rap, R&B, hip hop, etc), including Dr. Dre‘s “The Chronic”. Max Julien also played Nelly‘s father in the video for “Pimp Juice.” 

Educational Content

Black culture is CRAZY

Scarface would have been The Mack if Richard Pryor or Max Julien replaced Al Pacino, and the setting moved to California

Justification for Rating

The Mack is only truly entertaining if you have some background understanding of the events and characters. Otherwise, you’re left sort of stranded.

Clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkgz1FR9TO4

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Horror

Review of Bad Taste

Comedy, Horror, Scifi Comments Off on Review of Bad Taste

Peter Jacksons Bad TasteRating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Review

When four members of the New Zealand Astro Investigation and Defence Service (AIDS – well the movie is called bad taste) visit a small town in order to investigate a UFO siting they make some grisly discoveries and unveil a dastardly alien plot. The townsfolk have been murdered by aliens who, it turns out, are from the intergalactic fast food chain Crumb’s Crunchy Delights and human flesh is the delicacy they are seeking. A gore-fest ensues as Derek and his team do battle with the evil aliens. Lots of blood with a large dose of tongue-in cheek humor.

At times the movie has a somewhat amateurish feel but, for me, that just adds to its charm. Given that Peter Jackson made the film largely in his spare time, with the cast made up of friends and a budget tighter than a ducks ass I think a little slack should be cut.

Reason to Watch

Lots of gore, plenty of humor, man-eating aliens and an exploding sheep, what more could you ask for?

Context

Made over a four year period and funded by himself initially and completed with a grant from the New Zealand Film Commission. Peter Jacksons’ first foray into film – enough said really, a birth of a movie great.

Most Memorable Quotes

“I’m a Derek and Dereks don’t run!”

“Why can’t aliens be friendly?”

What You Need To Get Through This Movie

A real late-night beer and friends movie and it is preferable to have already had a few prior to starting the film. A love of gore certainly helps and also those from the US need an understanding that a “mate” has a different meaning outside of the USA. Possibly also a visit to Christians of Facebook to really feel terrible.

Trivia

The film contains the only known cinematic depiction of a sheep being blown up with an anti-tank missile.

Educational Content
  1. People carrying axes are rarely friendly.
  2. Having a bayonet hammered into your heel hurts.
  3. Blood is very slippery so make sure to mop it up before someone gets hurt.
  4. Throwing pine cones at someone who has a chainsaw is likely to be an ineffective form of defence.
  5. Kicking a decapitated torso in the balls accomplishes very little.
Justification for Rating

The film has plenty of gore and enough humorous moments to make-up for some of its’ shortfalls.

Clip

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Scifi

Review of Plan 9 from Outer Space

Scifi Comments Off on Review of Plan 9 from Outer Space

Plan 9 from Outer SpaceRating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

Review

Plan 9 from Outer Space is about as bad as it gets in film making, but definitely follows the ‘so bad it’s good” mentality. The plot is just inane and senseless, but you do get a grasp of Ed Wood’s charm and eccentricity, and for classic film buffs, this is probably considered essential viewing. it also features some of the last-used footage of classic actor Bela Lugosi of Dracula fame. The movie is awful, truly and desperately awful. But its appeal somehow stands the test of time, and the dated special effects, even in the late 50’s, still holds a unique…umm..charm.

Reason to Watch

Ed Wood made zombies cool before they were even called zombies. In Ed Wood’s classically terrible film, Plan 9 From Outer Space, a group of aliens attempt to stop the humans from launching a doomsday device that would destroy the universe.

Context

it’s a classic, because you are told it’s a classic. So if you want to pretend you know about films, you sort of, by default, have to see it. that;’s just the way it goes. It’s also hilarious and if you want to prove snuffy film buffs that old films are actually terrible too, this is the way to do it.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Paula Trent: Now, don’t you worry. The saucers are up there. The graveyard is out there. But I’ll be locked up safely in there.
  • Colonel Tom Edwards: Why is it so important that you want to contact the governments of our earth? 
    Eros: Because of death. Because all you of Earth are idiots. 
  • Tanna: What do you think will be the next obstacle the Earth people will put in our way? 
    Eros: Well, as long as they can think – we’ll have our problems. 
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

The movie had poor special effects even for 1959. Put yourself in the time, don’t finish 2009’s horrible special effects foray Transformers and dive into Plan 9 From Outer Space. Maybe a good search through Bigfoot pictures and alien spaceships or a SparksNotes reading of H.G. wells War of the Worlds will get you in the mood. It’s the only way.

Trivia
  1. Tim Burton’s biopic, Ed Wood, follows the famed director’s critical years, climaxing in the release and public damnation of Plan 9 From Outer Space.
  2. Bela Lugosi stars in the film posthumously, using regurgitated stock footage from previous films, as well as a few clips filmed right before his death
Educational Content

With 15,000 US dollars and friends with alien suits, even YOU could make a film as embarrassingly amazing.

Justification for Rating

Despites its major flaws, Plan 9 From outer Space is truly a classic in every sense of the word. yes, it will not stand prominently up to more visually respected mediums, its a great example of a man (Ed Wood) with motivation and no skills doing what he wants to simply because he wants to and he can.

Clip

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2ukRYsYPmo

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Action

Review of Highlander

Action Comments Off on Review of Highlander

Highlander PosterRating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

Review

A cult status can really elevate a film into something truly special. Highlander is an excellent film through and through. Upon its release, it received mediocre ratings and an overall pass. Yet through years of a dedicated following, the film saw a resurgence in the form of 4 terrible sequels, merchandise, and iconic status in its catchphrase and dialogue. There can be only one! Highlander is the story of a group of warriors who have been fighting to the “death” for centuries. The catch? The warriors are immortal, and only destiny can determine when this vicious battle will end. Connor is a skilled tactical fighter, but he obtains the training from Juan Sqanchex, played by Sean Connery, and the film really elevates into something unique.

Highlander is well constructed and enthralling, and for a cult film, it doesn’t rely on cheesy atypical scenarios and doesn’t break its own rules (probably because it wasn’t really meant to be a cult film given the actors and budget). Highlander’s intriguing plot stands the test of time.

Reason to Watch

Other than the fact that it truly is a cult classic in all regards, and essentially represents cult film-making in its prime form, it also has some amazing choreographed fight scenes. Sort of like Mortal Kombat, except with more tights.

Context

Highlander tells two key stories, and follows characters through hundreds of years of violence and trouble. outside of the premise, and it is quite a premise, you have a film that says a lot about the changing tides of culture wrapped in a casing of excellent swordsmanship and classic lines from Sean Connery.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Ramirez: Why does the sun come up, or are the stars just pinholes in the curtain of night? 
  • Kurgan: Tonight you sleep in hell. 
  • Angus MacLeod: He’s a Highlander, by God, and the last sound he hears should not be that of a wailing woman! 
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

You will probably need a to mail order a $1,000 sword from highlander. it’s hard to resist not buying one after Highlander.

Trivia

Christopher Lambert, who played Connor, had just barely learned to speak English when he took this role.

Rock band Queen scored the film.

All of Sean Connery‘s scenes had to be filmed in a week due to Connery’s schedule. He had a bet with director Russell Mulcahy that they would not finish in seven days, but Mulcahy won the bet. 

Educational Content

Sean Connery is a better teacher than you

Queen can record a great soundtrack better than you

Everyone and everything involved with this film is better than you

Justification for Rating

Highlander is just about the quintessential cult film, with a phenomenal and innovative story. The many sequels that get exponentially worse after each one, soils the premise and franchise

Clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYOE_b4aYD0

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Horror

Review of Videodrome

Horror Comments Off on Review of Videodrome

Videodrome DVD CoverRating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Review

A television programmer attempts to signal into a mysterious broadcast of people being tortured and possibly murdered for entertainment. Considering this could be the future of television, Max Renn pursues the source of the broadcast slowly being brought through a series of techno-hallucinations. The film quickly escalates further and further from its original tone, eventually devolving into such a  uniquely fascinating take of insanity and 80’s aesthetic horror. Director David Cronenberg has created a fair amount of bizarre films in his long run as a director, but Videodrome is Cronenberg at his most merciless. You get the impression he has something to say, but it’s drowning in one disgustingly bizarre scenario after another.

Reason to Watch

Well, James Woods pulls a gun out of his own chest and goes on a murder spree. Oh, and he makes out with a tv. I think there’s a message there, but when the tv began going on a rampage, I sort of forgot thinking about it.

Context

Perfectly embodies a bizarre 80’s vibe through one of Canada’s most notoriously wicked directors, David Cronenberg.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Max Renn: I want you to stay away from them. Those mondo-weirdo video guys. You know, in some countries, like Argentina, making subversive video is considered a criminal act. They execute people for it. In Pittsburgh… WHO KNOWS?
  • Nicki Brand: I live in a highly excited state of overstimulation
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

It’s not necessarily SUPPOSED to make sense, and don’t assume everything you see is a halluncination, because that gives the film one of those “it was all just a dream” vibes, and that’s awful and lame.

Trivia

Videodrome is one of the most sampled sources in history, apparently especially among heavy metal musicians. I guess metalheads like cheesy 80’s special effects and flesh eating organisms. Makes sense to me.

Educational Content

If you are in need of a weapon to be attached to your arm to kill a distasteful tv personality, tear your own chest open.

Justification for Rating

Though Videodrome is undoubtedly silly and entirely over-the-top, there is some intriguing substance here for those who want to dive beneath the surface of the overtly bizarre.

Clip

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdOnUtHamko

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