Mandy

Mandy, Mandy, Mandy.  There is one film each year that becomes your gang of freaks’ movie of the year.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a quality film, doesn’t matter the genre, the actors or the amount of swords and TITS involved.  It just has to have an effect on your group in a meaningful way, even if it’s arguing.  Examples of this are  Fury Road for 2015, the VVitch in 2016, Get Out for 2017, etc.  It’s only September, but I’m feeling like Mandy is already a strong, strong contender for 2018.

This film came to my attention on account of strong rotten tomatoes score after Cannes and when the trailer hit, I watched it like 4-5 times the first day, then again the second a bunch more times while whoring around the trailer to others whenever possible.  This film pretty much aims straight at Appendix N people and it hits like a Sniper Elite NUTSHOT.   If you like weird ass horror, HK cinema crime/revenge films and dig a bunch of stuff from Appendix N, you will cream your jeans on this film.  If you grew up in the 80’s as well, this will be an  enlightening experience as the film is like an extended music video from 1983 or so.

So go see it. The film will likely be out of theaters by next week (until award season at least as it’s likely going to be up for something and then get another stint in the theaters again).  Stop here if you don’t want spoilers.

The Film and stuff I liked

  • Mandy and Red’s bed in the porch room with the greasy windows surrounded by woods.
  • The part where they were in the boat and then Red is looking across the fire at Mandy.  A lot of people have said that these characters are ‘really in love’ but Red has a level of obsessed awe and confusion when he really looks at Mandy that Cage is able to pull off that is different from some Love Actually shit.
  • The scene with Mandy being killed is very disturbing and they linger on it a long time.  This is extremely effective BUT I feel like they did not linger on the deaths of the cult enough when their time came.
  • The bathroom scene with Red in his tighty whities was amazing.  There’s a lot to love about Nicolas Cage’s performance overall, but that scene takes the cake.
  • I really enjoyed the fight in the shitty drug house with a coked up demon biker who was watching a porno on a small TV.
  • You can’t argue with practical effects face melting.  As a kid I accidentally watched this one movie where a woman gets too close to a volcano and her face melted.. then the next summer it was on again and I walked into the room just as that scene was playing so I saw it a second time!!
  • Acid. Every single character is on LSD or something like it at some point in the film.
  • The music

Stuff I didn’t like

  • I couldn’t understand what Red was saying at the end of the movie! Too garbled up.
  • I think the film should have given more of a feeling of time-span between Red escapes and starts killing people, or spans in between.
  • Some of the killing/fighting was a bit boring, granted most of the cultists were petrified non-combatants, but the demon bikers could have been a bit more interesting in the fight choreography /setting (think Freddy Vs Jason or Evil Dead 2/Army of Darkness witch fights type of shit).  Red gets all fucked up, but you don’t FEEL it like you do when Ash does in Evil Dead.
  • The film is slow in the beginning and then there is payoff. I was expecting some 2001 style psychedelic trip-out at the very end of the film (there’s a small one, but not a huge freak out that I expected) to tonally shift it back to the first scenes of the film.  It shows a surreal flashback of Mandy and Red at a party where Red is staring at Mandy with that obsessed confused look and she is smiling and crying and I would have cut the movie right there and not shown Red again driving in his car through the woods.  His gift for going to hell for revenge is to be able to experience her memory uncluttered with all the ‘crazy evil’ and they should have left him with that.

Questions!

Why didn’t Red kill the young whore-cultist girl?  She was party to everything and didn’t help Red for shit at any point.

What was the double moons and alien landscape at the end of the film supposed to indicate?

Why didn’t they kill Red when they had the chance (twice!)

Where did they get that VAN? Where did they find that HOUSE?

The Solo movie

When it was announced, to me the Solo movie marked the beginning of the Disney “Star Wars Spam” of films that will never stop coming out until people stop going to them (never).   I vowed I wouldn’t go see the movie the first night it came out (which I’ve done with every star wars film except the very first one) but fate intervened and Maat accidentally got tickets for opening night forgetting he was going to be out of town. I went.

So, we knew there would be SWS (star wars spam) as soon as Disney bought it off Lucas, but we didn’t know was that there would be SJW *and* SWS, and the combination of these things brought the most terrible star wars film since Attack of the Clones, which was horribly cynical to boot.  Add to this that we now know that there was no and is no overall meta plot for the non-prequel Star Wars films; i.e.: each director /writer can come up with his/her own plot with the characters that is totally independent from the plot that came before.   Since this tanked The Last Jedi, and left the next Director with a fucked set up that would make the writers of the Kamandi Challenge titter with glee, I see NO HOPE for the mainline post-Return of the Jedi Star Wars films.  The potential for the characters was fully ruined by The Last Jedi, and I think it will eventually become non-canon.

…. yet I think the Solo “series” will save the Star Wars brand from total obliteration, for a time at least.  That is a long way of saying I liked the film for the most part and found it entertaining enough to want to watch again.  There were a few characters that could have been better (the ‘revolution’ robot was needless comic relief and Lando was a bit too predictable) but overall, a well done space noir western.

I want to put the cover of this issue here because this was one of the comic books that I had as a kid that expanded the Star Wars universe, especially the rogues, thugs, thieves and pirates.  You have the old ass Jedi, the Rabbit guy, the Quill guy, and the dangerous madame.  When I went into the new Solo film, I felt like: Hey, if this movie makes me feel close to what I felt as a kid reading these comics tangentially about the characters and Star Wars universe, that would be great.  Not everything can be about the empire and the jedi and the rebellion right? Well– sort of.  Solo had a divergent plot that incidentally gave evidence for the early maneuvers of the nascent Empire, and held all that stuff at arm’s length for most of the film and expands quite a bit into interesting territory, until the end.  The end, as my brother said, shrinks the Star Wars universe back down to being just about the Jedi, just about the Rebellion and just about the Empire.

This is the closest to Ice Pirates we will get in the Star Wars series, especially with Ron Howard involved.  Is it better than Ice pirates? Nope, but it’s still good.

Go watch it! Then go watch some really good non-Space Western sci fi stuff!

Films of the 2018 ski trip

We went skiing in Oregon in February.  At night we played RPG’s and a few board games and watched terrible, terrible movies.   Steve managed to bring some DVD’s filled with some of the worst films in the scifi genre in addition to the ‘Miami boob’ DVD’s that must have graced skinimax back in the day.  Here’s what we watched and the average grade for each.

Raiders of Atlantis
Rating:  C

I liked this movie, despite it being, you know, terrible.  It had some Italians that pretended to be in Miami and Atlantis rose up out of the ocean to unleash some sort of human control mechanism that gave rise to a biker gang that attacked everyone with silly go cart things.   This is sort of an island mad max with aliens and shit.  The Italian actress in here (Gioia Scola) is a looker.

Robo Vampire
Rating: F+

Unwatchable.

Horror High
Rating: F

Unwatchable

Galaxina
Rating: C

An interesting sci fi movie that a couple people really liked. The android lady is played by a beautiful woman who was murdered just as her career was getting rolling (the movie Star 80 was based on her life and murder). Overall I thought this was poorly paced and overacted, yet with some interesting parts. The space ship designs were cool.

Deadly Prey
Rating: D

This is a ridiculous film, with almost all scenes taking place within a few hundred yards off a road somewhere in California. People may enjoy this for the comedy of it, because it does take itself so seriously, it’s hard not to laugh. There were some good fight scenes here and there, but overall this was pretty boring.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii
Rating: C

This film has the famous scene where the skateboarder with a fuck-doll and a shotgun gets blown up by a rocket launcher. Let me tell you that it is the best scene in the film and the rest is pretty forgettable. I like boobs and this has a lot of them often, but it’s just not enough, even compared to some of the other Andy Sidaris films we suffered through. The concept of taking playboy and penthouse actresses and throwing them headlong into films like this I do appreciate and approve of. You could strike gold: look at Marilyn Chambers in Rabid— despite her ‘park a couple of mac trucks in there vag,’ she was a descent actress.

The Eliminators
Rating: C

Well shit this has Security officer Natasha Yar from Star Trek the next generation. She gets her WHITE tanktop wet while nearly drowning inside a crashed airplane too. Otherwise this is a strange cyborg movie that has a few solid scenes, including a very comical bar fight that ends up being highly entertaining. I could barely sit through this one, but it’s not unwatchable. The pursuit of the ‘heroes’ by a pissed off lesbian boat tour captain was the highlight for me.

The Dungeonmaster
Rating: D+

I don’t know about the other guys, but this movie is one I wished I hadn’t watched. Sure it has Bull from night court and he does a hammy good job, but overall a lot of the vignettes are trash. Generally disappointing, but has some funny parts. It has WASP playing a song in it. Great.

Rolling Vengance
Rating: C-

This is some sort of coming of age film for a young truck driver in a truck driver family in Ohio that runs afoul of some hillbillies that end up killing accidentally then on purpose his entire family, and then they rape his girlfriend outside his barn. He gets revenge by running them all over with a monster truck with the help of the local police. Fucksakes.

Hands of Steel
Rating: D+

This is a near-future cyborg movie from 1986. The plot isn’t that bad: a critical anti-pollution activist is nearly killed by a mind-wiped cyborg that botches the assassination on purpose and escapes. Yet, the critical scene is an arm wrestling one so you can imagine where this ends up.

HUNDRA
Rating: C (I rated it higher!)

This is my favorite film from the ski trip and one I want to force others to watch as soon as possible, especially women. Hundra is a full bore warrior woman of a tribe of women who only need men to mate with and make more women! She has to confront some VERY hard choices when things go wrong for her tribe and while this starts out just like Conan the Barbarian, it soon takes a very strange and incredible turn when Hundra goes to see a seer who tells her things she does not want to hear. Laurene Landon is awesome. Absolutely recommended.

Prisoner 984
Rating: D-

Unwatchable.

There were a couple more I’ll throw up onto another post.

Dunkirk

Finally got to see Dunkirk last night and it was most excellent (in 70mm no less).  No over dramatizing, nearly zero dialog and a sheer focus on the visuals was how I would describe it.  Also, a patriotic film for the stiff upper lip British.  I don’t have to much to say about it except it was superb and you should go see it.

A key thing for me in the war films is the attempt at historical accuracy in the uniforms, equipment and dialog/actions of the characters.   For example, Americans hit the dirt when they come under fire, whereas Germans and Russians typically did not, they would stand their ground (within reason, they weren’t stupid) and return fire.  Undoubtedly, the Germans likely thought that the Americans were breaking immediately after coming under fire, but were very surprised to find that they were simply hunkered down to assess the situation before getting stuck in.   When you watch war movies and this doesn’t happen, it’s quite off-putting to say the least. I did not have any points in Dunkirk where I was thrown out of the film due to some gross historical inaccuracy.

While not an aviation buff, my favorite parts of Dunkirk were the plane sequences.  Maybe it’s because it’s the only fighting in the film, but I more that they were shot beautifully and as far as I can tell, extremely realistically.

Lastly, let’s talk about what happened.   The Germans came through the Ardennes forest, past the Maginot line and were spewing all across France faster than anyone could have possibly imagined (remember these guys were still thinking WW1 static defense tactics and likely had no idea what Guderian had up his sleeve even after the invasion of Poland).   So they trapped the British and French at Dunkirk, but didn’t send the army in for the final blow to capture the remaining brits/French.  Why did that happen?  Popular opinion was that Hitler was feeling friendly with the British and wanted to come to terms, and this is entirely possible if Hitler had been fighting a war for limited objectives; this would make sense.  That is, the Germans invaded France for the same reasons they did in the Franco-Prussian war– to re-unite what they thought was greater Germany and throw off the yoke of debt for WW1.  Letting the expeditionary force go across the channel in that context would have been fine, as Hitler would have made a separate peace with France, acquired territories that were stripped of Germany after WW1 and everyone could have gone home (and waited for the Russian invasion of Europe most likely).  Yet, Hitler was not fighting a war of limited objectives– he was out to put Germany into a war for all the marbles, of total conquest of Europe.  I do not believe and facts seem to assert as well that he did not hold the leash of the blitzkrieg to make nice with the limeys.  I think two things happened: either the Germans on the ground got nervous (I know this is unimaginable based on what you’ve seen in most war films since WW2, but if you read the direct sources, especially Guderian, this happened a lot) or they ran out of gas for a full assault.  Gas is like a tether for the blitz and if you overstretch it, you end up in fist fights with the enemy while your tanks sit in the mud (see the sequence in Patton) and that may be just what the situation on the ground was: tanks in the mud.

What this leads is to is the question as to the ability of Germany to actually attempt a cross-channel invasion if the British army had survived, or if it had been captured.  Based on Guderian, the frustration of the logistics of that attack may have been the final straw for Hitler to foolishly attack the Soviets (remember, as I said above, it was total war and not for limited objectives), at which point any conflict with England and her allies was simply a side-show to the greater conflict between Germany and Russia.   So it follows that the Dunkirk disaster, a disaster from the the German perspective that is, could have precipitated Hitler’s choice to attack Russia, making Germany’s ultimate defeat assured.  And yes, I believe if the Germans had treated the Ukraine situation very differently than they did (the Ukranians could have been a buffer state between Russia and Europe as the Germans could have come in as liberators), they may have been able to hold off the Soviets enough to start planning another invasion across the channel, but by then the Americans were not just lend-leasing, but actively part of the conflict.

 

Steve’s collection

Steve has been exposing people to his fantasy film collection during the ski trip, and so far here are the titles:

The New Barbarians

“It’s neither smart, nor original.”

 

Starcrash


With hottie.

 

Time Barbarians

holy shit.

 

Ator the Fighting Eagle

“Why can’t we marry?”
“Because we are brother and sister”
“I’ll talk with our father”