Sunday, October 27, 2013

Carnosaur (1993)

This carnivorous creature-feature has been terrorizing the dreams of children since 1993. Or at least from 1993 until 1995 when it was subsequently completely forgotten. At least, by most.....I'm not sure why or when I picked up this VHS, but I was most likely chuckling at the time. Anyway, it has been sitting lonely on my shelf since that day...That is until my friend Skip saw it and declared it "the absolute favorite movie" of his childhood. Hey, we can't all have it all. So what's a girl to do? Watch it of course! And my! Oh my!

I wish I could say this was some back-alley b-list forgettable, but the main actress has actually been nominated for 3 Academy Awards - take that credibility! Other than that, the cast is mostly made up of a motley crew. Except for the ever lovely Jennifer Runyon, ending her epic career with this final tree-topping dinosaur gem. May we forever remember her as the effervescent ESP enabled 'female student' of Ghostbusters.  A total budget of $1 million US dollars (wow, what they used to be able to do with a cool mill - now that wouldn't even buy trailers and catered lunch...) means that this movie actually turned a profit! Good job guys! Not by much, but every triumph should be celebrated, should it not?

Carnosaur is a deep and long-lasting piece of art, building dreams and encouraging lively debate across many fields of opinion and expertise. For example, I can only imagine how many young girls were empowered by the evil enterprise of the female villianess "Dr. Jane Tiptree" in this film. Not only is she a super-cool supervillian, but she's a scientist! Yes! Women can do everything! Apparently Tiptree is a little off her rocker and so she devises a plan to eliminate the human race and replace them with a genetically engineered extinct lineage of carnivorous dinosaurs. How do you ask? By spreading a contagion through pesticides, which when ingested by women, causes them to become pregnant with a dinosaur egg. Because who doesn't love dinosaurs?! I guess I can kind of see where she's coming from...

Compared to an Ed Wood version of Jurassic Park, and described as "The Darkest Dinosaur movie I've ever seen" (thank you Adam Davis of Ohio), not everyone has the immediate reaction to simultaneously laugh and vomit when looking at the cover of this movie. One user actually describes Carnosaur as "One of the better Corman-produced films." Wow, high praise from CMRKeyboadist, especially when looking at the CV of Mr. Corman. Movies like: Dance with a Vampyre (2013), Attack of the 50ft Cheerleader (2012), Scorpius Gigantis (2006), Bloodfist 2050 (2005), I could go on and on. Congratulations CMRKeyboadist on time well spent! Without your expertise on the Corman legacy, we would have no idea where the inimitable Carnosaur legacy falls upon that list.

And it truly is a legacy. The best 18 days ever spent if you ask me. Yes, that's how long it took to film this movie. Because greatness cannot be rushed! And neither can the Tyrannosaurus Rex effects, achieved by means of a miniature remote-controlled puppet, a man in a suit, and a full-sized, 16-foot-tall robot. Oh wait, "only a handful of shots involved the full-size robot, which had too narrow a range of movements to be convincing. The man in the suit proved equally cumbersome and was scrapped. Thus, most F/X shots were accomplished with the remote-control miniature and even some hand puppets." God, I love puppets. Speaking of G.O.D....the Generator of Diversity.... Ahahaha, so punny. This movie was really quite hilarious. If I learned 2 things from Carnosaur, it's that 1) dinosaurs can take the elevator, and 2) this film had entirely too much birthing. Oh yes, and LET ALL THEM DAMN ANIMALS GO TO HELL. "I hate wildlife." 

That's right, hail to the future.

Final sidenote, IMDB recommends "Groom Lake" as something that people who like this have also viewed. Since I am not a machine computer robot, I can tell you. No one. No one should ever recommend Groom Lake. NO ONE. DO YOU HEAR ME?!

Final judgement: "The earth was not made for us - she was made for the dinosaurs."/No chick neither no chicken gonna get the best of me!/One to watch, if only to remember the simpler robot puppet days of the 90's....

Dr. Sterling Raven: Isn't that the freshest, juciest blueberry pie you've ever tasted?
Senator: [nods]
Dr. Sterling Raven: You see, it's all done with a little bit of scientific magic. Every single blueberry is coated with a thick layer of goat embryonic fluid...
Senator: [vomits]

Wait. ONE LAST SIDENOTE. Carnosaur appears to have gained so much popularity that he is running for public office. Please find his official polling platform HERE. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Big Hit (1998)

There is a fallaciously fine line between comedy and action, and when a movie finds that sweet sweet spot, they hit you in a way that brings a vibrant flush to the cheeks. And then some. Of course, Lou Diamond Phillips' asscheeks in a vibrant flush can always provide the bare necessities. And then some!

Here is a movie that is hilarious, and yet oh-so-gruesome. Marky Mark, Christina Applegate and LDP star in this fun-for-the-whole-family (at least those over 13...wait 17?) killer-for-hire, kidnapping, scandal, and video home system masterpiece. With outrageously amiable action scenes including breakdance fights in cut-off capris, rolling down stair bannisters, bungee jump explosions into a pool, grenades, a VHS store fight-out (my dreams do come true!), and vehicular tree-slaughter, all set to the incredible soundtrack of Molotov, Save Ferris and more.  Genius, I tell you, genius! And don't forget romantic.

With lines like: "Girl you so fine I want to pour milk on you and make you part of my complete breakfast"

"You got a number for me?
-Yeah 911
"Damn lesbian,"

how can you not melt? If not the words, then the sexy turkey stuffing scene will definitely get your engine revving.

Sequins and iridescence greet you in the most blissfully dated outfits of all time. Oh yes, and
somehow "King Kong: The Legend Reborn" plays an important casting role in this movie.

Ah, the 90's.

I deem it: "The G spot of 90's action comedies!/Romp and rollick through a better time!/Marky Mark strikes again!/They just don't make 'em like they used to....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Red Surf (1989)

 Another glorious masterpiece from my VHS vaults. This one has waited for oh so long for it's destiny in my player, and now that day has come! I, like so many before me, was drawn in to this work of art by George Clooney's magnificent mug 'n' mane on the front cover. Unlike so many before me, I was blessed with an image from the original film. The $1 DVD release earned it's keep with a more recent photo of the man who ages like a fine wine. Hahaha - those fools! They bought the movie because they thought it was some mysterious contemporary film that they hadn't heard of but would surely enjoy. Hahahaha. I guess that explains the 3.5 IMDB rating....

There are only 8 reviews on IMDB, and I have compiled all of the titles here for your summary amusement:

 Watchable Drug Flick
Red Surf
Not as bad as I would have expected
Only for hard core Georgie fans
Worth checking out for an early George Clooney role, but not worth checking out twice!
Crack smokin Clooney!
H. Gordon Boos... Hangin' Ten!
Truly, really, abysmally awful

Wow, that's not the most endorsing assortment of reviews if you ask me...

Let me even the playing field with my own: The Hardest, Rawest Ride George Clooney's Ever Given

I still can't tell if that sounds favorable.  Oh well....

 Here are a few more imdb loyaler comments:

"And, quite cool, Gene Simmons who adds a little class to this movie."- beisserchen from Germany


"This film will make you want to rip your own eyeballs out rather than sit through it. You have been warned. Good luck." - the emperor from London, England


"The party scenes are hardcore and the rival gang violence is over the top as well so if that kind of stuff turns you off then you may want to head for the Disney section instead." - clayzar from us

 You know what....? Clayzar might be right: this movie is a little hardcore.  Let's see....I made my own list of some of the more memorable moments. In chronological order of course:

"you might just be a f*gg*t and like 3 lbs of n*gg*r dick up your ass"
would you rather have a spool of barbed wire up your colon or....
"lots of people raise families without dealing drugs"
surfer's viking funeral
well there goes George Clooney
are there really any good guys in this?
he's totally going to raw-dog his best friend's pregnant girlfriend
up the coast baby

That's right. I even used asterixes? * asteriks? * asterices? * in my quotes. I might be lacking a few filters, but some things even I won't say on the internet.

I am also a big fan of the international titles for this film:
Czerwona fala, Giovani iene, Juventude Perigosa, Kontra sta kymata, Malibu - huumerannikko, Red Surf, Soberanos das Drogas, Speed Junkies, Surf Connection, Surf to Die

Surf to Die. That's right. Also...come on...  Clooney's character is named Remar, and he is best friends with Attila. Remar and Attila. Clearly the writer of this script is a genius. I have no idea why it never went into theaters. could have been the R-rating, obscene language and extreme violence.  The director, RIP, only has 3 other movies to his name, and I definitely plan on seeing all of them.
Touch Me (1997) a film about an aerobics instructor who falls in love with an idle playboy and then finds out she has AIDS; Perfect Assassins (1998) about orphan assassin children being brainwashed in a Mexican mansion; and (dun dun dun) The Vivero Letter (1999) about a man who finds out his brother has been murdered over the location of a lost city of treasure. H. Gordon Boos sure knows how to pick 'em! And he is good friends with Robert Patrick, although who wouldn't be?!

Final Judgement: hardcore, harsh and harrowing!/a rough ride through high waves!/the 80's at its bloody finest!/Point Break unfiltered!/Clooney suddenly proves himself a man! The Hardest, Rawest Ride George Clooney's Ever Given!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Repo Man (1984)

Somewhere between the 70's and the 90's resides a mysterious and magical place called the 80's. And that, my friends, is where this movie came from. Aptly described as "an absurdist punk rock sci fi classic!," Repo Man soars above other films with its trespass into the glamorously impossible. It's not often I dwell on the plot of a movie, but this one is just too juicy to pass up:

"Frustrated punk rocker Otto quits his supermarket job after slugging a co-worker, and is later dumped by his girlfriend at a party. Wandering the streets in frustration, he is recruited in the repossession of a car by a repo agent. After discovering his parents have donated his college fund to a televangelist, he joins the repossession agency (Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation) as an apprentice "repo man". During his training, he is introduced into the mercenary and paranoid world of the drivers, befriended by a UFO conspiracy theorist, confronted by rival repo agents, discovers some of his one-time friends have turned to a life of crime, is lectured to near cosmic unconsciousness by the repo agency grounds worker, and finds himself entangled in a web of intrigue concerning a huge repossession bounty on a 1964 Chevy Malibu driven by a lunatic government scientist, with Top Secret cargo in the trunk." Written by Baroque

Thank you Mr. Baroque gopher. While your handle is beyond my comprehension, your plot summary is just right. This is clearly a movie that needs no other introduction, but since I just can't help myself...I have gleaned out some of the juiciest trivia bits for your chewing pleasure.

- All of the cars and police motorcycles have pine tree air fresheners. This is because the Little Trees company sponsored the movie (lamest sponsor ever...although they did also sponsor Se7en...)

-  Lite gives Otto a book called "DIORETIX" to "help change your life". This is a reference to L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics"

- The photo of aliens that Leila shows Otto, which is thought by some to be a plate of shrimp, is actually condoms filled with water wearing grass shirts

- When Otto takes food out of the refrigerator it is a blue and white can labeled 'Food - Meat Flavored'

- No special effects were used to make the Chevy Malibu glow while parked at the repossession lot. Instead, the car was completely coated with 3M reflective paint, at an approximate price of $600 per bucket

Let's see...what else. Oh wait, it's written and directed by Alex Cox, who also wrote and directed Sid and Nancy, and wrote the screenplay for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  It's got a soundtrack featuring names like Iggy Pop, Black Flag and The Circle Jerks.  It has Emilio Estevez in it, and I recognized one of the scenes from Timerider...

And then there are the quotes...there were too many good ones. You should probably just check out the site and read them all for yourself. But here are a couple.

Miner: You gonna give me my car, or do I gotta go to your house and shove your dog's head down the toilet?

Bud: Look at those assholes, ordinary fucking people. I hate 'em.

Miller: A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness.
Otto: You eat a lot of acid, Miller, back in the hippie days?
Miller: I'll give you another instance: you know how everybody's into weirdness right now?...

In Summary:

metal hands on female feds
melting radioactivity bodies
watching people melt alive "god i love this job"

what about our relationship? - fuck that!

it's a time machine!

I deem it:
"The greatest sci-fi punk-rock 80's comedy ever made!"

or as mentalcritic says it:  "If you're into weirdness, this is the Holy Grail."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Thing (1982)

I, actually like many happy reviewers, have to shamefully admit that it wasn't until recently that I saw the complete and unabridged version of John Carpenter's The Thing. is sort of his own Thing, and I am currently in a fully blooming embrace of that Thing, although not in any sort of pseudo-sexual way, despite how it may sound. Every one of Carpenter's cinematic pieces that I add to my mental repertoire reinforces my dutiful acceptance of his place as a defining master of the horror genre. Of course, no movie will be dearer to my heart than Dark Star, but The Thing certainly gives it a run for its money. 30+ years later, people are still trying to dissect the overwhelming mastery of a film that was panned by critics and the box office alike. The answers for these things are never really a tangible thing, but I can tell you my impressions at least, right? right? What I really love about The Thing is the overwhelming simplicity of it all. It's breathtakingly contained in a way that makes the plot both timeless and universally applicable. As long as there are humans forging into inhospitable conditions (probably as long as there are humans...), this movie will be relevant, and gloriously so at that. And the effects. Oh the effects. With a 22 year old at the helm, and a whopping $10 million to spend, the effects department set out to do what so many did so well in the 1980's - special effects. In a time before CGI, and with a finicky director dismissing even claymation as subpar (not the claymation!), The Thing emerges amidst the grime and gore of deliciously disgusting special effects. And not all effect at that, since real animal organs were used in the autopsy, and an actual double-amputee actor writhed in pain when arms were lost. Oh yeah, and that look of surprise on Kurt Russell's face when the dynamite explodes? That's real surprise, and that's real dynamite. Ah, the 80's. And . What a fucking badass. I love that when they did the 21st century remake of this film (2011), they (very wisely) decided against pitting any of the young actors today against such a legend by having him fill such butt-stomping shoes. Instead, they went a completely different path entirely and selected a female protagonist to kick ass and perform scientific experiments. This is especially fitting when you realize that no females (with the exception of a computer voice, and pre-recorded TV footage) were used in the making of this film. Not in the acting, not in the crew and not in the editing. What was that? Ah yes: Oh, the 80's.

The best piece of trivia, however, goes to the stereophiles:

"The Thing came out in the early days of home video with stereo sound. It also came during the time videophiles began to learn how to decode the matrixed surround track encoded on Dolby Stereo films by use of a left minus right decoder with delay applied. The Thing was one of the main films that were recommended to test out the setups due to the aggressively directional surround stereo mix, especially in the opening helicopter chase. The Thing was among the first movies to advertise that it had a "matrixed surround track" on its packaging for the stereo soundtrack versions."
Talk about an interactive package. They just don't make 'em like they used to. Or maybe I'm just a really old 28 year old. The possibilities are endless.

I deem it: "Epic and eternal! Classically Kurt and irresistibly indomitable! Tenaciously tense! Guts, gore and Casio =  everything I want from the 80's!

Art by Dan Mumford