Sunday, 18 July 2010

That's Big of You

That's Big of You - ***

The Atomic Age's Greatest Nightmare: A Cruel Woman

1955, USA, Black & White, 83 minutes

Directed by Lance Wooton. Written by Tay Cropper

Starring Sterling Barfellow, Barbara Foxhill, Cal Ashwood

Lloyd Tolliver is a brilliant but meek atomic scientist whose lab does weapons research for the military. So focused is he on his work that when his dashing business partner begins an affair with his wife he limply stands aside so that it doesn't interfere with the research. But when the calculating couple steal the research money and escape to Los Angeles, Tolliver's switch is flipped. He injects himself with Genetic Radiation (aka Gen-Rad), grows to the size of a modest office building and goes on a revengenous rampage. He is eventually stopped by Navy Frogmen who lay mines in his left ventricle.

Watch out for – chaos at Soviet Science Headquarters when as they watch, via satellite, America's "Gen-Rad Super Beast" running amok. Never have so many ham actors run into the same wall in mock terror.

Quote – "He wanted to give his life to science, and now his pickled organs will educate the young in science museums across America."

Reviewed by Sullivan B. Houlihan

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Synergy: A Tale in Two Parts

Synergy: A Tale in Two Parts - *1/2

Drugs, women, greed, old school tie

2005, USA/UK, Colour, 103 minutes

Directed by Rickardus Mahoney

Starring Sapphire Philips, John Furie, Bill Furie, Lazy Smith and Julie Green as Dean Anderson

Encouraged by tales of corporate greed in the late 1990s three men go to college to study to learn the skills necessary to become a success. This simple premise established the story quickly departs into a swirling vortex of greed, education and furious sculling down the old river flat. A curious juxtaposition of college stereotypes takes up the majority of the film, which sadly leaves precious little room for the much promised stock-market heist or indeed an explanation of the title. Is it trying to be cute? Smart? Ironic?

Watch out for – During the lunchtime theatre scene in the second act there is a pause while everyone looks expectantly at the stable door. It was the perfect moment for a pantomime horse to walk out but the director didn't have the cojones to do the right thing.

Reviewed by Juan Incognito

Friday, 16 July 2010

Pratfall Parade

Pratfall Parade - *

1967, USA, 84 minutes, Black & White

Compiled by Bobby Oldman

Featuring Chubby Hardbasket, The Flagpole Fops, Hoy Hoy Shinsplint, and many more

A monotonous stream of public domain pratfall clips from third tier silent film comedians. Beside material that lacks wit and panache, the viewer is subjected to nonsensical title cards written by compiler Oldman (who rumour has it was really an aging and senile Chubby Hardcastle). “A cheeky be you, monkey mama” after a dog steals a hot dog out of Hardbasket's back pocket (causing him to fall into wet cement). Or “Now never funny now” as The Flagpole Fops foolishly climb as a group to the top of a flimsy flagpole and tip into a lake. “There's more were you look yon lobster”, “I says you good trespass. Away yo please mister”, and “Fall sister all you doing PARADE” are not even worth explaining.

Watch out for – this movie.

Quote – “Teh Ending FIN”

Reviewed by Sullivan B. Houlihan

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Mysterious Goat

Mysterious Goat - **

Even love hides from mystery

2001, Taiwan, Colour, 98 minutes

Written and Directed by Johnny Fear (translation error?)

Starring Sam Lu, Xi Chu Lung, Lin Zia Yo

Some things never translate well, and why exactly two middle-aged lovers should feel the need to incorporate a herd of mountain goats into their weekly tryst at the Taipei Zoo still escapes me. From the frequent references to the goats during other scenes I suspect it is meant to be a metaphor but dammed if anyone was able to explain it. Still, the cinematography was fantastic, the juxtaposition on a bleak urban environment with a happy goat grazing while naked bodies writhe under a park bench is strangely enticing.

Quote – “If you don't mind, we are having a school party coming through soon and they haven't quite got to comparative biology yet.”

Reviewed by Juan Incognito

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Offal and Tears

Offal and Tears - **

Today’s Recipe: Pastry, Kidney, Peas, Fingers

1927, UK, Black & White, 54 minutes

Written and directed by Sir Malcolm Killingham

Starring Brycie Gord, Stanley Turkle, Betty Higho, Twirly Swordfish

A piquant, mouth watering expose of the 1920s British meat processing industry. Sure, many meatworkers lose fingers and toes, but they look like tasty gentlemen marinated in the smells and fumes of Britain’s finest slaughterhouses. The love stories are strong, the thick pastries are appetising, and this reviewer went straight from the screening to a merchant of meat-filled delicacies. A rare example of a film succeeding where it hoped to fail.

Watch out for – the way that cute Dorchester gal wields a spatula. Yum!

Quote – “News from the plant dearie; only got to lose one more finger and I get a lifetime pension.”

Reviewed by Sullivan B. Houlihan

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Long Road to Bloody Death

Long Road to Bloody Death – **½

On the Eastern Front every bullet has your name written on it

1978, Austria, Colour, 86 minutes

Written and directed by Juan Schmidt

Starring F. Gallerti (captain), Jorg Altian, Bede Muller, Franck Nodeys , and JJ Smith

World War Two was hardly a love fest at the best of times, and even less so when Juan Schmidt's wild imagination writes, directs and produces what has been called a "bloodthirsty rampage through Europe with guns and blood". Based on a series of short stories from the war section of the pulp fiction market, Long Road to Bloody Death caught hold of the public's imagination in what is to this day is one of the few Austrian films to really do well in the EU and US markets. Turns out people really do like a bit of Nazi rough. Superior voice dubbing as well, which was a pleasant shock.

Quote – "Hans screamed as the knife slit his nasty throat"

Reviewed by Juan Incognito

Monday, 12 July 2010

Mars Corps

Mars Corps - *

Something is fishy up there

1928, Germany, Black & White, 138 minutes

Directed by Klink Longer. Written by F. B. Jaertzer

Starring Stahl Ankler, Maximillion Grech, Greda Alsch

What happens when you load a sci fi/fantasy film with references to current films, celebrities, trends, and products? In eighty years time your film will play about as well as the impenetrable in-joke that is Mars Corp. The story all of these "gags" hang on is about the astronauts of Atlantis who were stranded on Mars when their home sank beneath the waves. With nowhere to land they decided to create a suspiciously peaceful, technologically advanced society. Germany's Mars Corp sees this as an obvious provocation, eyes them up with their superscopes, sees some fancy technology (cars and a cat hospital) which could be turned into an intergalactic rocket if the Martians ever got ideas, and launches a preemptive invasion.

The Atlantis Martians, according to the DVD's accompanying three-hour documentary (that was so dull it made me want to punch my eyes out), are based on German silent film stars, their clothes based on historical German fashions, their pets based on German politicians and society figures, and the stores on now defunct German businesses. Fine art direction mixed with a mind-numbing level of product placement may be fine for an issue of Vogue, but as a film it's unbearable.

Watch out for – marskraut, space-strudel, Hanz Marsdromat(?), etc.

Quote – "Hey Hanz, it is much like your family business, but different because people on Mars put the word 'Mars' always in the most foolish locations."

Reviewed by Sullivan B. Houlihan