Saturday, February 26, 2011
Chloé (Fanny Valette) is either a nurse or a paramedic. An incident occurred at the hospital where she works, in which a young boy died on her watch, right before her very eyes. Does this particular incident have anything to do with the rest of this French horror/thriller that revolves around a mountain-climbing trip gone terribly wrong? Not really, but Chloé keeps having flashbacks of the incident nonetheless, obviously ridden by guilt, although it's not exactly clear why. Chloé is amongst a group of close friends who head up into the Balkan mountains in Croatia to do some hiking, rock-climbing, and all that fun outdoorsy shit. There's her boyfriend Loïc, who's the outsider of the group and the sour-puss of the trip. Understandably so since Chloé's ex, Guillaume, decided to tag along. Leading the pack are Fred and Karine, who seem to have organized the trip and picked the particular trails and obstacles they'll be exploring.
There's obviously some tension between Loïc and Guillaume, which will come into play later on in the film when the characters are in peril. The thing is, not a lot is known about the past relationship between Chloé and Guillaume, so it's never clear if Guillaume has good intentions, or if he's the slimy ex boyfriend who plans on getting in between Chloé and her new man. This also comes into play later on. On the ride up, there's a cute group singalong in the car to "Alright" by Supergrass. Long story short, the mountain-climbing excursion starts out fine, but a bridge connecting two mountains collapses and leaves them stuck. As they look for a trail to take them to safety, one of the characters steps in a bear trap and is dragged away from the scene by a mysterious figure. The rest of the group soon realize that they're not alone up in them therr mountains.
VERTIGE begins as an excellent thriller, but eventually goes the route of generic backwoods horror a la HILLS HAVE EYES, WRONG TURN, et al. VERTIGE is a lot of things: entertaining, suspenseful, and ultimately very bloody (this is a French horror movie, so it goes without saying that at least one character will be left covered in crimson and in desperate need of a shower). Unfortunately, "original" is something that the film is not. However, the film more than makes up for its lack of originality by trying its hardest to be an exceptional example of the sub-genre it falls into. The characters are all likable, and, thankfully, the screenwriters avoided making them cliches, which is a problem with most of the films that this one resembles. The "love triangle" aspect of the story, for lack of a better term, adds a whole new dimension to what could have been a pretty average film.
Make or Break Scene: Initially, I leaned towards the bear trap scene since its the turning point of the film, but the scene that ultimately made the movie for me was the showdown between a certain protagonist and the film's heel. It's seriously one of the most bad-ass horror movie showdowns between "good and evil" that I have seen in a very long time. A donnybrook. A pier-sixer. A slobberknocker. A knockdown drag-out barroom brawl without the barroom. Trust me, it's awesome.
MVT: Fanny Valette, who plays Chloé. First and foremost, her name is Fanny, which means "vagina" in certain parts of the world. Secondly, she plays the character involved in my "Make or Break" Scene. Chloé is quite possibly my new favorite Final Girl of all time.
VERTIGE is pretty damn enjoyable despite its low score. However, at the end of the day it's simply the same old backwoods horror movie that we've all seen before. Recommended, but not one I'd suggest you go out of your way to see.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Welcome to our long awaited year end show, yeah we do ours in February....big deal. We like to see as many films from the previous year and this is the way we handle that situation.
What a year 2010 was for film, it really astounds us because we thought this was going to be a slow year for the movies. It turned out to be just the opposite. We love movies over here at the GGtMC and so does our listeners, you'll also get top lists from fellow Gentlemen that have been on the show and many of our listeners.
As always, send your feedback in and even if you didn't make the cut for the year end list, we would still be glad to hear your picks going forward.
Direct download: Top102010RM.mp3
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011
SWEET SMELL OF SUCESS-Criterion (Region 1 DVD and Blu-Ray): I'm extremely excited that Criterion is bringing this film out on Blu-Ray. It is one of the great film noirs out there and features gorgeous B&W cinematography from James Wong Howe, crackling dialogue and fantastic performances from Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster.
Aaron's (The Death Rattle) Pick of the Week:
MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT (Region 1 DVD and Blu-Ray) - The first of a two-part French gangster epic starring Vincent Cassel (BLACK SWAN, IRREVERSIBLE, et al.) has been available for a while on region 2 DVD, but has finally been released on region 1 DVD and Blu-Ray through Music Box Films. Unfortunately you'll have to wait until March 29th for the region 1 DVD/Blu-Ray release of its continuation, PUBLIC ENEMY #1.
Music Box Films
Thursday, February 17, 2011
This week the Gents cover William Friedkin's Sorcerer (1977) and Forced Entry (1975) from director Jim Sotos. It was a welcome return for Sammy to talk movies again with Large William and we go over a big chunk of feedback.
Remember, next week is our year end Top 10 Show. If you want to send us your top 10's please do so and look forward to much discussion next week and every week here on the GGtMC.
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Monday, February 14, 2011
World War III has begun, and within the time I could slow-cook a nice crock-pot of beef stew, it has already come to an end. The planet has been annihilated, leaving nothing more than a wasteland riddled with cannibalistic mutants and madmen, all of whom share a love for riding dirt bikes, shopping at Hot Topic and getting a good, hearty human meal. In a laboratory located below the surface of the earth, three scientists are unaware of the horrific happenings that have come to fruition above ground, but they know something is not right after having felt the vibrations caused by this nuclear catastrophe. After about fifteen minutes spent following the scientist - in poorly lit darkened caverns - they make their way out and onto the surface, only to find the world they once knew is no more. The three scientists come across food and shelter, but it's not long before they learn that they're not the only ones looking for a bite to eat when they are confronted by, the URBAN WARRIORS!
Actually, I don't think the mutants are the Urban Warriors…in fact, I don't think anyone even fits the bill of an "Urban" Warrior at all. Maybe a Desolate Desert Warrior? Whatever.
Directed by Giuseppe Vari (Lady Dynamite), 1987's Urban Warriors is an Italian made Post-Apocalyptic film that pits the three scientists against a group of crazed, S&M/Punk Rock styled (aren't they all?) mutants in an all out battle for survival. While two of the scientists are barley worth their weight in Post-Apocalyptic sand, the film focuses much of its time on Brad (Bruno Bilotta), a scientist that's as smart as he is built. With a face only a mother (or Mr. Horse) could love, Brad serves up much of the film's best action moments, specifically with one early fight in particular, where he shows off a mixture of modestly put together martial art's moves, as well as an impressive Parkour like ability that he uses to allude the mutants at an abandoned factory. Oh, yes, I did say an abandoned factory. What Post-Apocalypse would be complete without one?
Urban Warriors has, as most films of this genre do, a lot more promise than the punch it's able to deliver. There is the before mentioned action scene - featuring the mighty moves of Brad - that was impressive enough to where I truly expected that I had a gem on my hands. However, after that moment, the action never really picks back up again. At least not to the level of that earlier scene. There are a good number of action-filler car/dirt bike chases (leading to each vehicle type making a trip over the edge of a cliff to a fiery, explosive end) through the desert, or, Apocalyptic landscape, if that's what you want to call it. Then there's a mediocre shoot-out towards the film's end, complete with poorly executed slow-motion deaths that are rotten enough to give Peckinpah diarrhea. Outside of that, there was very little that begged for my attention, outside of Malisa Longo's gorgeous naked breasts, of course.
Make or Break: Now, my make or break actually has nothing to do with the film itself, instead, my make comes from the wonderful introduction by master martial artist (and lion king), Michael Dudikoff. As part of Cannon's Action Adventure Theater series of home video releases, Dudikoff would introduce a specific, B-grade action release, which, incidentally, never made it past the first four installments (including: The Bronx Executioner, Bridge to Hell and Cross Mission). Which is less than that of the American Ninja series, for the record. What's really great about this intro is it's the exact same intro that was done for the other films in the Action Adventure Theater series. Like, they had Doodoo-cough record the standard into, turn his gorgeous head, then they recorded whatever needed to be said for whatever movie was featured. It's incredible. But not as incredible as his "I'm a blue collar type o' guy" jean shirt he's wearing.
MVT: My MVT was a pretty easy decision, as it was Bruno Bilotta's Brad that made Urban Warriors far more enjoyable than it could have been. First off, his dubbed, strong-jawed character, complete with one of the most easy going and optimistic personalities, is unlike any typical action hero I have ever seen. He's well spoken, polite and courteous, though, his cleaning skills lack a certain sense of competency (under the couch is not a trash can, Brad!). In all seriousness, Bilotta (who has had an interesting and decent career, staring in films from Warriors of the Lost World, Apocalypse Mercenaries and even recently showing up in the Depp/Jolie vehicle, The Tourist.), in action, is very impressive, and seeing him jump around and use his surroundings for a multitude of acrobatic moves was shockingly good, if not slightly ahead of its time. It's just too bad that he wasn't given many more chances to show his what he's got, but what he did show was enough to give him the honor of being most valuable.
Grade: Any film that teases the viewer with a long awaited end battle between the lead character, Brad, who is a total bad-ass, and the leader of the mutants, played by the monstrous Alex Vitale, and doesn't deliver it, is only two wipes away from a chapped-ass. Regardless, as disappointing as Urban Warriors is in the action department, there is enough entertainment to where I can give the film a very generous 6, though, I wouldn't suggest this one to anyone that isn't a fan of Italian Cult cinema, specifically cheap, Italian Post-Apocalyptic Cult cinema (or fans of The Final Executioner). I didn't dislike the movie at all…I was just more or less underwhelmed, but a lot of that has to do with how much promise Urban Warriors had, as silly as that sounds.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Sammy has had some personal matters kick up and Large William and Uncool Cat Chris stepped in and put together a lovely little show for the listeners.
The week the guys cover 9 Souls (2003) directed by Toshiaki Toyoda and Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010) directed by Tsui Hark.
Direct download: Maple_Vice_Squad.mp3
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Saturday, February 5, 2011
WHAT?! Stone Cold Steve Austin has been on quite the roll lately, starring in a bunch of straight-to-DVD action movies that more or less showcase the former pro-wrestler as a leading man. What makes HUNT TO KILL stand out from the rest of the bunch is that it reunites three of the antagonists from THE EXPENDABLES: Austin, Eric Roberts, and Gary Daniels. Well, sort of. Roberts does his thing and collects his paycheck before the opening credits even roll, but with Austin as the leading man and Gary Daniels as the henchman of the film's villain, there's a reunion of sorts for at least two of the villains from Stallone's summer blockbuster, albeit on a much lesser scale.
Jim Rhodes (Austin) is a retired Border Patrol Agent turned full-time deer hunter. He's also an out-of-touch single father who's being visited by his teenage daughter Kim (Marie Avgeropoulos). She's at an age where she's starting to distance herself from her father and rebel against him. It's not clarified as to whether or not she has a reason to do so (Austin being a deadbeat dad, etc.), or if she's just doing it because of outside influences. Whatever the case, the tension is there and Kim is on the verge of turning heel on her father.
Long story short, a group of thieves are looking for a guy who doublecrossed them, and their search takes them to Austin's neck of the woods in Montana. Through coincidence and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, their paths cross (the criminals and Austin) and the crooks end up abducting his daughter. In exchange for her safety, Austin agrees to guide them through the mountains and assist them in finding the traitor who stole their loot. Meanwhile, Austin is forced to watch while young Kim is abused by the criminals and nearly raped at one point. Once the loot is retrieved, Austin is left for dead as the criminals flee with his daughter. Little do they know, they've just fucked with The Texas Rattlesnake.
Austin recovers and uses his skills as a survivalist and a hunter (and a former Border Patrol Agent!) to rescue his daughter from the bad guys, stomp a mudhole in their asses, and walk it dry! But, of course, it's not exactly a walk in the park for the Bionic Redneck, especially when one of the villains is legit badass Gary Daniels. However, to say that HUNT TO KILL is predictable would be an understatement. The cast is great for the type of movie it is, but there's nothing fun about the film, and it doesn't bring anything new to the table whatsoever. It simply goes through the motions of being a typical action film. It seems the sole purpose of the film is to showcase Steve Austin, which is fine, to a certain extent. A majority of the people who watch this are probably doing so just to see Austin, and in that case they won't be disappointed. But for anyone else, and especially anyone looking for an outstanding action movie, HUNT TO KILL doesn't have a whole lot to offer. Even the whole dad-rescuing-his-daughter scenario has been done to death. On a side note, Gary Daniels is the worst fake smoker I've ever seen.
Make or Break: Surprisingly, I'm gonna go with a "make" instead of a "break". The scene that makes the film, in my opinion, and totally lets people know that HUNT TO KILL has no aspirations of being anything other than a typical action movie is the scene where Austin recovers and prepares to rescue his daughter from the clutches of the criminals. It's like a montage of action movie conventions. He cauterizes a wound, makes his own arrows out of sticks, and uses shoe polish to paint his face. I half expected him to cover his entire body with mud for no apparent reason, but it never went that far. I'm also not sure why he had shoe polish in the first place.
MVT: I can't not be Austin. It's his movie and he's the main attraction. His movements during his fight scenes are a bit stiff, but he does pretty well considering he has two bad knees and has had numerous neck problems that stemmed from his wrestling career.
HUNT TO KILL isn't a good movie, even by action movie standards. Its flaws could have been at least masked with a little bit of style, but nope. Instead we get the same low-budget look and generic background music that seems to commonplace in these types of movies. However, this is the type of movie you already know what you're getting yourself into when you see it. There's nothing deceptive about it. It's made for a specific audience and it never really claims to be anything other than a cheesy action movie starring Stone Cole Steve Austin. It doesn't break any new ground, but it's watchable and fans of Austin will obviously enjoy it, and that's the bottom line!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Dr Lamb is one of the better known Hong Kong category III thrillers and a decent gateway to the field. Filmed in1992 by Billy Tang and produced by and also starring Danny Lee this film is a mixture of true crime procedural and gore movie. The cast is headed by the versatile Simon Yam as the killer Lam Gor-Yu and bulked up, literally, by the always watchable Kent Cheng as one of the bumbling cops. Character actor Lau Siu-Ming also features as Lam Gor-Yu’s dad. He’s a regular face from the 80s onwards in various, typically Cinema City movies like A Better Tomorrow II.
The plot is simple, a dysfunctional taxi driver is caught developing photos of dead nude women and through police coercion reveals how he murdered four women under the noses of his family in their own home. He also tears them up with a circular saw, fucks their corpses and keeps their severed breasts in pickle jars.
Typical of the genre, Dr Lamb is lewd, loud and garish. Yet its not as clumsy as a lot of Category III movies, there is a narrative flow from scene to scene and not too much pointless comedy and even less sex than usual. This movie really is just a bike for Simon Yam to ride down the crowded streets of Mongkok, laughing as he goes.
The personification of a Hong Kong demented cinematic killer, Simon Yam presents Lam Gor-Yu as a chilling, damaged shithead with a taste for necrophilia and fondling his niece whilst photographing himself doing it all. Despite the horrendous subject matter Yam carries a cinematic glow that makes him utterly compelling to watch. Other examples would be De Niro in Cape Fear, playing an utter mental yet having this fascinating magnetic pull, sucking the viewer in ,even as Yam props up a dead girl and plays park the sausage.
Only in a murderous mood when it rains, Yam cruises in his night shift taxi of death, presumably doing his normal work in between. His prowls are presented not unlike Taxi Driver. Lots of rear view mirror shots, with visions of wet neon streets and drunks lurching from bar to bar as giant Malboro signs glow overhead. Yam twitches, smiles coyly and howls like a wolf as he kills, he handles a circular saw with the precision of a wuxia swordsman.
When Yam isn’t on screen the film flounders a little, the cops are presented as motley bunch of investigators with Danny Lee really only there to bark some orders. No , this is Simon Yam’s flick with a haunting final shot to let you know who the top Doc is.
Make Or Break: Make for me is sadly, Yam tearing up his 2nd victim with a powersaw. Hooray!
MVT: Simon Yam. Along with Anthony Wong, he was one of the actors of note from that period.
Score: 7/10 A goos movie for Hong Kong fans to view and exploitation junkies in general. Much more fun than any Doris Wishman roughie!