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Satanic Panic (2019)
Underrated horror comedy - entertaining
17 January 2020
"Satanic Panic" is an entertaining horror comedy, with a charming performance from its likeable lead, Hayley Griffith, who looks a lot like b-movie sex bomb of the '70s, Linda Hayden.

The plot involves the young Sam, a pizza delivery girl, who survives on tips but gets none, even when she delivers to the affluent Mills Basin area. Running out of gas, she returns to a stingy delivery to beg for money only to find herself in the middle of a ritual to summon the demon Baphomet. Even worse, she runs into Jerry O'Connell.

The movie is consistently entertaining, though it lost me at points. I think it could have been a little more shocking and edgy. Still, I enjoyed it.
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Uncut Gems (2019)
Admirable attempt
16 January 2020
"Uncut Gems" is a similar movie to the directors' previous "Good Time". It also features a streetwise hustler type trying to keep several balls in the air and using his natural charisma and insouciance to stay out of trouble long enough to make it all work. The pleasure in watching is wondering if he'll be able to succeed, and if not, how long before the chips fall on the other side of the line.

I didn't like this one as much as "Good Time", though. Reviews suggest that the movie is extremely stressful and should come with an anxiety warning. I didn't think so. I wasn't on board for most of it, and couldn't be bothered keeping up with the minor plot details. A lot of stuff to do with the guy's family wasn't all that interesting to me.

Sandler does give a great performance. He is almost too convincing as a ratlike smooth talking hustler type who is addicted to gambling and of course keeps a mistress. It seems like if you met someone like him, it might turn out to be him. So what's the problem? He's so convincing he's impossible to like. You like Robert Pattinson in "Good Time", who also gave a brilliant performance, possibly because he's younger and might still turn into a decent human being. Plus, he's doing what he's doing for his disabled brother. Sandler's Howard, even if he does win in the end, will be broke again soon enough. So who cares if he wins at all?

I admire the Safdie's attempt to bring thrillers back to the forefront of Hollywood, and especially in taking a different approach to all the standard suspensers we got tired of in the '80s and '90s. It worked with "Good Time", but I don't think it worked here.
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Us (II) (2019)
Didn't get into it
15 January 2020
It's hard to know what to say about a movie like "Us". I just didn't get into it that much. I didn't feel like it had many effective moments or memorable sequences, unlike "Get Out". Who could forget the scene where Daniel Kaluuya is hypnotised?

The one problem I can put my finger on is I'm pretty sure the movie is too long. I think it needed to be tightened up a bit. Perhaps it would have been more shocking and frightening if the script was tighter.

The only thing that stood out about the movie for me was the actress Lupita Nyong'o, who is strikingly beautiful and plays the only doppelganger that talks. Her portrayal is pretty special.
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Totally Nude Aerobics (1997 Video)
My most ridiculous review ever
6 January 2020
"Totally Nude Aerobics" is definitely the most ridiculous film I have ever reviewed here. What can you really say about it?

I'll start with the obvious: the title is definitely not false advertising. All we have here is women, doing aerobics, totally nude.

The IMDB plot description is false advertising, though: there's no "competition" here, and of course, no plot. There's also no dialogue, and the only titles on screen are the beginning and end credits.

It begins with four women in a circle thrusting their bottoms at each other. Then it cuts to one blonde dye-job doing star jumps and running on the spot. Next, two women sitting with their legs spread out facing each other, joining hands and pulling each other in different directions. In this position, you can see that one of the women's labia minora are visible between the outer lips.

The constant movement makes it hard to admire the nakedness on display. Also, the women's hair often gets in the way.

The next scene starts with an extreme close-up of what looks like two women's legs, with their heads occasionally coming into the shot. You're just getting tired of wondering what you're looking at when, mercifully, the camera pulls back and it's actually three women doing some kind of stretch exercise. This is perhaps the most frustrating activity yet for one who wants to admire the ladies' bodies. Hard the see much when they're bent over, but at least the constantly roaming camera moves behind them.

Each segment seems to begin with a close-up of the nude female body mid-exercise, as though willing you to guess what exercise they're doing. I guessed correctly for this next segment: one girl does stomach crunches, while the other one does what looks like repeated upward dogs (from yoga). The upward dog girl is Asian, perhaps the first non-blonde we've seen yet.

Perhaps there is a conscious effort to be tasteful here. The camera keeps moving so as not to focus on the girls' vaginas or anuses. Nor does it zoom in.

Some of the women are beautiful, and despite all the dye on display, are natural beauties, but I was mostly bored by this stuff. At least it only goes for 53 minutes.

Should you watch it? Does this random internet reviewer recommend it to YOU? That question brings me back to the ridiculousness at the centre of this review. You should check it out if you want to see TOTALLY NUDE... AEROBICS. The name basically tells you everything you need to know, thus me writing this was pointless.

There is apparently also a "clothed version", so I can take comfort in the existence of something even more pointless than this review.
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Fairly typical sexploitation documentary from the '70s
5 January 2020
"Sexual Freedom in Denmark" is another one of those sexploitation documentaries that were everywhere in the '70s. It has the typical bugbears of this type of film: a monotone narrator providing often useless information, and an awkward, totally un-sexy interviewer, who in this case looks like Vladimir Lenin.

The interviewer does provide an amusing moment when he visits the set of a porno flick and sits on the couch with a bunch of naked women to interview them about their work. He couldn't look any more out of place in this setting if he tried, underlying the central problem of this bizarre choice of host for a movie about sexuality.

The movie bombards you with shots of photos from porno mags, and also shows actual sex in a variety of positions. It also features the most graphic, harrowing childbirth footage I have ever witnessed, wrenching a baby feet-first from its mother's vagina, the infant's body bending like Stretch Armstrong.

Not sure if I'd really recommend this flick. If you want something for educational purposes, surely there'd be better stuff out there. If you want it for campy '70s throwbacks, you'll probably be bored most of the time.
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Pornô! (1981)
Passable early '80s softcore from Brazil
5 January 2020
The unimaginatively titled "Porno" is a passable softcore romp from Brazil. It contains three stories of the erotic, none of which are particularly interesting, but which at least provide opportunities for the performers to get naked.

The first story is something to do with lesbian high school girls hanging out and having sex. One of the girls seems visibly older than the other, and I thought perhaps she was a teacher and not a fellow student, but the plot description indicates she was a student too. I stopped paying attention and missed the ending, if it even had one, but I enjoyed the ease in which the girls were naked before the camera.

The second story is about a man and a woman who return home on a date and shower separately while the other one watches. The guy, aware he has an audience, starts playing with his penis and apparently masturbating. Then they have sex in a variety of uncomfortable locations in one of those montages that were a staple of erotic flicks back in the day. Surprisingly, in one scene, the man starts slapping the woman about the face during climax, and the movie treats this behaviour as normal. Again, I missed the ending/conclusion, if there even was one.

The last, longest story, is the weirdest of the lot, and introduces aspects of horror. A man is imprisoned by a beautiful blind woman who can apparently still see with the use of mirrors. The man wants to escape, the woman won't let him, so he hatches a surprisingly violent plan to escape - but not before he uses a grasshopper as a sex toy in bed with the woman, using the creature to tease her nipples and groin area.

I was mostly just bored by "Porno!", just waiting for it to end. My attention waned constantly, but it does have good nudity, and some not unerotic moments. I just didn't really care for what I was watching.
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Maslin Beach (1997)
Clothing optional
3 January 2020
"Maslin Beach" is shot like a documentary of the goings on at the titular clothing optional beach in South Australia. Unfortunately, the dialogue and performances are totally at odds with that; it's like a zany sex comedy from the '70s, a la "Alvin Purple", but not quite that bad.

Probably all anybody remembers about this movie is the fact that, yes, it's set on a clothing optional beach, so there is a lot of nudity. I was surprised by the fact that not everybody in it gets naked. You might actually be glad of that: some of the men and women in it aren't particularly appealing. I guess that's just as well: if everyone was a flawless model type, it would be just like soft porn. There are however some beautiful, natural girls in this movie.

The dialogue is kind of silly, and a lot of the characters have ridiculously fake foreign accents, but the movie was enjoyable enough, aside from the nudity.
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Erotic Images (1983)
Deservedly forgotten, never released on DVD, with lots of nudity
1 January 2020
I didn't exactly have high hopes for the ridiculously named "Erotic Images". It was never released on DVD, and stars an obviously past-it Britt Ekland, whose days of fame were clearly behind her. To make matters worse, I checked this page and found nobody had even bothered to review it. It's rare I watch a movie with zero reviews.

I expected to quit "Erotic Images" early on, therefore. But for some reason I didn't. I watched it all the way to the end. I know it's not the nudity that kept me watching, because I've quit on movies that had more nudity than this did. There was just something watchable about it, and I don't know what.

It certainly wasn't the story. As near as I can tell, the movie is about Britt Ekland as some writer who cheats on her husband, and then he cheats on her. Prior to that there was a scene where a girl strips naked in his office and he rebuffs her.

There seemed to be quite a bit of extraneous stuff before that story came into its own, and I wasn't sure what it was supposed to be about.

Ekland is still a charismatic screen presence into her forties, though certainly no longer a great beauty. Her male costars all sound and look the same, which is another problem with the movie. At least she stands out.

I'm not sure what else to say about it. It wasn't as bad as I expected, and it had quite a bit of nudity - though I don't think there was any sex? I wouldn't cross the road to see it at a movie theatre, but I wouldn't set it on fire either. So I give it 5/10.
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Stop the bed - I want to get off
29 December 2019
"Language of Love" is a tedious sex education-cum-softcore porn flick with some of the familiar bugbears of that kind of thing.

For one thing, it centres around a panel of actual sex therapists, most of whom make you wonder if they chose to become expert sexologists because that was the closest they could come to getting laid.

These experts tell us pieces of information that probably weren't even that surprising back in 1969, ie., that masturbation is normal, that sexual fantasies are normal, that women like sex too, whatever.

Interspersed there are of course scenes of a sexual nature, which are fairly unerotic. It is of course possible that they were intended this way, but it doesn't seem like it. It looks like typical soft porn from the late '60s and '70s, and they even got a circular, rotating bed for the actors to spin around on.

There are some still shots of penises and vaginas, as you can well imagine, but for some reason the complexion of the models involved is an odd, corpse-like grey/yellow.

It's like the movie is trying to teach you about sex, and then trying to discourage you from having it.
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Crawl (2019)
Some good moments - but no real suspense
26 December 2019
A girl goes to check on her dad during a Category 5 (the worst kind) hurricane in Florida. She finds him trapped in the crawlspace under his house, menaced by hungry alligators.

The movie has a couple of surprisingly effective moments, but after the first one, immediately squanders any sense of suspense these could have generated. Picture this: the character gets chomped on the leg by a massive alligator, and then dragged backwards and tossed around. You're thinking, wow. I didn't think they would kill them off so quickly. But then, whaddya know, she gets free, escapes, and doesn't seem bothered by the wound at all.

I know alligators are basically the pussy version of what we have here in Australia - crocodiles - but come on. That would have taken her leg off at the very least.

When you know there is no chance of the main characters dying, you become less invested. I don't know when makers of suspense/thriller/horror movies are going to realise that.

Thus the movie doesn't really work as a whole piece, but I was impressed by Kaya Scodelario's performance. She does a convincing American accent, and a good job of carrying the movie.
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23 December 2019
"The Golden Glove" is grimy, bleak, disgusting, violent, and distressing.

In short, it is everything a serial killer movie should be.

This is not your typical pop-culture, serial killer-as-a-superhero movie or TV show. Fans of "Hannibal" and "Dexter" need not apply. Fans of 99% of so-called serial killer related media need not apply. The character in this movie is very much like the serial killer as they actually are in real life. It's not the glossy, jazzed up super-powered genius that we're all familiar with.

He kills because he has rage, he likes it violent, and he has no compunction at all. It's understandable he is angry - he is constantly rebuffed by younger women, due to his modern art appearance, with one remarking, "I wouldn't p*ss on him if he were on fire!" He is only able to attain the company of women in advanced middle age, with thinning hair, miserable faces, and large frames. He's not an impressive physical specimen either, small and hunched over like Igor in Frankenstein's lab. That the women mostly let him violate and murder him without too much struggle tells you something, not just about him or them, but the world they inhabit, which seems remarkably defeated.

Consider this: people do complain about the smell from the corpses he keeps in the cupboard. But most just bear it. Can you imagine putting up with that stink? This underlines perhaps the most realistic insight of the movie, which was previously made in the (also brilliant) "Snowtown". The serial killer isn't that different from the community he inhabits or the people he preys on. They might not be killers. They might not be psychopaths. But they belong to the same hideous world, beaten down just as he is.
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Ready or Not (I) (2019)
23 December 2019
"Ready or Not" is one of those movies you don't need to watch. If you know what it's about, you can pretty much imagine the whole thing. You've probably got an imagination at least as good as the filmmakers'.

I only really watched the movie for the beautiful Miss Weaving, and I'm not sure if her character really made it worth watching. It was also pretty cool seeing Andie McDowell as a villain.

But other than that, I was just waiting for it to end. Even the movie's sub-par gore is predictable. What a surprise, for example, that the protagonist suffers a wound mid way, that would probably see her bleed to death within moments in real life... and then goes the rest of the movie with it without even fainting from loss of blood.

The movie is born to be a thriller in the Agatha Christie mould but makes a final, misguided detour into horror movie territory in the final act, as though the filmmakers realised they needed to somehow justify the movie's ridiculous premise, and only the supernatural could really do that.

It seems like it was made up as they went along, which makes it a waste of their time, as well as ours.
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Rambo goes "Death Wish"... or is it "Home Alone"?
22 December 2019
With this latest entry, Stallone has even managed to mess up the only thing anyone could remember about the 2008 Rambo reboot: the violence.

That one was entertaining because of the absurdity of the carnage on screen. It was like the nightmares of an ultra-right-wing ex-green beret. Or the sweet dreams?

Yes, "Last Blood" is violent. So how does it mess it up, you ask? For one thing, it takes over half the movie before it even delivers on a little bloodshed. Then it makes you wait another twenty minutes for more underwhelming violence. And then you wait about another twenty minutes, and FINALLY the movie delivers with a violent conclusion in which Rambo has set numerous ridiculous traps around his house for the bad guys to stumble into.

The parts that aren't violent are just so tedious and enervating. Rambo is not a multi-dimensional character. He's a killing machine. Giving him relationships and trying to make us care about him is a waste of time. Trying to make us care about the other characters is also a waste of time.

If you've seen the previous Rambo flick, you might not be surprised that "Last Blood" features a scene in which Rambo interrogates a man by ripping his collar bone out. It does seem kind of odd, however, that the movie expects us to believe Rambo is a big softy, who does it all for some random girl... and yet is still capable of that level of ridiculous violence. In one scene, he is seen casually dropping a human head out the window of a moving car, as a serial killer might!

It's not that hard to make a wall-to-wall violent flick about a human killing machine. They did it once before. What were they thinking with all the unnecessary plotting, padding, and idiotic end narration?

Maybe watch a clip of the violent scenes on YouTube - I assume one will surface, if it hasn't already - and save yourself the time I just spent sitting through this garbage.
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22 December 2019
I had given up on Tarantino. "Kill Bill: Part 2" showed the extinction of his ability to write witty dialogue. "Death Proof" showed the maggots feasting on the corpse of this ability. I didn't watch "Inglourious Basterds", but "Django" was pretty overrated. I gave up on "The Hateful Eight", not wanting to watch three hours of Jennifer Jason Leigh being physically assaulted. I was tired of his endless homages and imitations of other movies, which had the effect of making me wish I'd watched those movies instead.

Well, "Once Upon a Time..." is a work of maturity from the director. It has been said that directors become great not by adding, but by taking away, and that's what Tarantino has done here. None of the typical Tarantino-isms distract or irritate. He is not the same man he was all those years ago. His talent has developed. This is a work worthy of Scorsese, or any other great filmmaker.

Yes, the film is about fictional characters - both brilliantly written and portrayed - on the fringes of Hollywood around the time of the Sharon Tate murder. It feels like historical fiction, before finally segueing into alternative history.

The title is fitting. What starts as a lovingly detailed picture finally becomes more like a fairy tale. It begins with what was, and becomes what should have been. The characters are all grasping at something, from greater fame to a better seat at the table.

Which is, of course, Hollywood in a nutshell.

Thus "Once Upon a Time..." is one of the most complete pictures of Hollywood ever captured on celluloid. It begins with staggering attention to detail, and evolves into a fairy tale. It captures the time and place, but more than that, the heart and soul of a city and an era.

It is brilliant.
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Parasite (2019)
Poor pacing, too few twists, too unbelievable
20 December 2019
I think there's a really good movie buried in "Parasite" somewhere, but I gave up trying to find it. It has the same problem the director's previous "The Host" had: the pacing is broken.

That's not all, though. People have written about the movie's unexpected twists and turns. The thing is, it keeps you waiting far too long for these to arrive, they are too few and far between, and too unbelievable. The first major twist happens about an hour in, and seems to come out of nowhere.

The parts of the movie detailing how this horrible family coordinates an incredible con on the rich Parks are the best bits, though they are far fetched: how can people with the ingenuity to do that be such losers beforehand?

But then that first twist hit and the movie lost me increasingly, until by the end I wasn't even paying attention.

Pity. Some of the sequences were brilliant.
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Joker (2019)
Please don't let there be a sequel.
18 December 2019
What a brilliant left-of-field movie this is. In this boring staid cinema environment of franchises, sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots, who saw this coming? Ask yourself these questions: Who ever thought perhaps the most iconic villain in comic book history could have a moving origin story? Who thought that the world of DC comics could create a moving, and even realistic, portrayal of mental illness? Who would have thought that the guy responsible for obnoxious comedies like "Road Trip", "Old School" and all those Hangover movies was capable of making a movie that pays homage to classics "Taxi Driver" and "King of Comedy" - without disgracing either film?

You already know what the movie is about. It's not really complicated. It's not really even plot-oriented. Yes, this is the downward spiral of one Arthur Fleck, failed comedian, who comes to call himself Joker, and in his insanity inspires a revolution that could easily lead to him being crowned the Clown Prince of Crime. It's a gripping, moving character study, with a performance from Phoenix that may be the year's best.

The hardest thing about mental illness, Fleck writes, in his Travis Bickle-esque journal, is that you have to pretend you don't have it. When he wrote that, he didn't realise what this movie teaches you: that normies might expect you to pretend, but there's a wide world of Joker types out there, people who never had a chance. When mainstream society spurns you, for better or worse, you are not alone.

Robert de Niro, as the co-star, proves that 2019 is the year he was ready to stop messing around with garbage like "Dirty Grandpa" and take this acting thing seriously again. People were starting to doubt if he still cared. Those doubts end now.

But yes, the real star of the show is Joaquin Phoenix. I began this review with some questions, but I left out perhaps the most obvious one:

Who ever thought that the character of the Joker could be enriched with another portrayal that's good enough to rival the one Heath Ledger gave us in "The Dark Knight"?
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Lengthy, at times uninteresting, and at times brilliant
16 December 2019
My mind frequently wandered throughout "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs". The anthology movie is a hard thing to do well. I believe, more so than any other movie, when you can clearly see a film is divided into parts, you judge them separately and generally walk out thinking, "the first part was much better than the other parts", or "the middle bit was my favourite but the other parts sucked".

I think an anthology flick with not three (the usual amount) but six stories is really pushing its luck. Of course, the movie looks great, and I kept watching to see what actors would come out of the woodwork, but I missed the endings of some of the tales because I wasn't paying attention. With six short stories, you feel less inclined to devote yourself to what you're watching, knowing it's going to be over soon anyway, and they are rarely attention getting or punchy enough to keep you engaged.

Some of them are also just weird, particularly the first and last story. But there were some fairly touching moments throughout, which is why I give it a 7 out of ten.
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The Irishman (2019)
15 December 2019
The spectre of death hangs over "The Irishman" more than any other mobster movie I know. When you think about it, that's quite a strong statement; I'd hate to know what the combined body-count of every Scorsese mafia flick is. But those movies generally dealt with money-hungry fools who didn't know what we knew; that death is coming for them.

And cold-hearted sociopaths who knew how to avoid it for a little while longer.

The characters in this movie know. Part of it is the casting; Joe Pesci is out of retirement here, most of us haven't seen him since "The Good Shepherd" back in 2006, but our most vivid memories of him will always be from "Goodfellas" and "Casino" as a psychopathic pipsqueak with a volcanic temper, or from the Lethal Weapon series and "My Cousin Vinnie" as a quintessential conman.

Here, however, those traits are gone, and though he plays a mobster, he seems like one who is tired of bloodshed, tired of rage, tired of lying.

We first see our protagonist, Frank Sheeran, the titular Irishman, as an old man, clearly on his last legs, and the transition, even from middle age, that we see him make in the movie is remarkable.

This sense of foreshadowing is continued with the use of titles to introduce characters as they appear on screen, followed by a subtitle, telling you how, and when, they'll die - generally by violence, ie. an exploding car, or being shot six times in the head.

And yet the film is quite a bit less violent than the typical Scorsese movie. It still has a pretty steep body count, and no shortage of blood, but there's nothing really graphic like the head in the vice scene in "Casino", or the spike through the neck in "Goodfellas".

The film is, of course, a truly masterful and riveting jolt of cinema. And yes, it tells the story of Frank Sheeran, a small-time hitman who became personal friends with the infamous Jimmy Hoffa, and may have had involvement in his disappearance.

You're on IMDB. You don't need me to tell you what it's about. So I will tell you something you might not know about "The Irishman": it is also something none of the other Scorsese crime films were. It's moving. You really feel for this bad man. Toward the end of the movie I wondered if I might shed a tear.

Think about the casting of Anna Paquin while you're watching this movie. I think it was a very deliberate, and ingenious, choice to put such a well known actress in this role. It leaves you waiting for something. You don't get it. Imagine how Frank Sheeran, her father, feels about that?

Life is like that. You don't always get closure.

But how can you not feel for him?

"The Irishman" is one of the best movies of 2019.
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Dead Students Society (1998 Video)
Don't waste your time - pathetic and inept on every level
9 December 2019
I watched "Dead Students Society" for one reason: to see Misty Mundae. I didn't realise she doesn't appear until one hour in, but that wouldn't have deterred me: sometimes these softcore b-flicks can be enjoyable in their own right.

Well, this one truly isn't. The plot, the acting, the dialogue, the direction, is all abysmal. Even the idea for the movie is unquestionably bad: a generic softcore starlet plays a professor of literature - seriously - and hosts a "Dead Poets' Society" style get together with her horny students in a cave. They come and she kills them in the lamest death scenes I have ever seen. At one point, she strangles a guy to death with a phone cord (remember those) and no attempt is even made to have the cord look taut. Perhaps that's just as well, though, as that would only make the viewer more aware of the fact that this woman is nowhere near capable of strangling this strapping young man to death, all on her own.

What was the point of referencing "Dead Poets' Society" anyway? Who the hell watched that movie and thought, I wonder what it would be like if Robin Williams was played by a softcore starlet, the boys were played by 30-something year old ex-athletes, and the whole "society" thing was a ruse to lure them to their deaths?

I can only assume that the producers were completely out of ideas for another Z-grade softcore flick, turned on the TV, and caught the Peter Weir movie being repeated and thought, yeah, I don't think Wynorski's ripped this one off yet.

There are also deaths by knife in which the slashing blade leaves barely visible red imprints on the victim's flesh, and yet apparently damages it enough to kill him. A papercut would do more visible damage. That same blade is run across a guy's throat, having him immediately disgorge blood, that couldn't possibly have gathered in his throat so quickly. It looks less like a throat cutting than a case of tuberculosis he didn't know he had.

Most of the deaths are by strangulation, though, and not only does the generic softcore broad not look anything like a professor anywhere on planet Earth, she also doesn't look even halfway strong enough to strangle anything other than a puppy to death.

In case we're not getting the point that the filmmakers don't know how to film strangulation realistically, the softcore broad has a male accomplice who strangles two boys at once, and both start gushing blood from their mouths. I've never seen someone react to strangulation that way. At least a cut throat sort of makes sense that it would lead to bleeding from the mouth.

These things are not exactly uncommon failings in b-pictures. Hell, sometimes they're kind of endearing. But it helps if the movie they're in is somewhat entertaining. This one is just so dingy, low-budget and crappy that it's not entertaining in the least.

Aside from Mundae, the movie has one other natural babe in the cast (the softcore professor has breasts so fake that when she's topless it looks like she's still wearing layers of rubber and fake tan). When the natural babe finally gets her clothes off, the filmmakers don't even know enough to give us a good look.

If David DeCouteau is reading this (a long shot, I know) this movie approaches your levels of ineptitude, tediousness, and homoeroticism - but not at a level to make it interesting or worth watching. What really made me think of your movies was a scene where guys strip to their underwear and fight, in a case of boxers vs briefs. They're not white briefs though, so I guess your interest in this movie will probably end there.

Yes, I started writing this review before the movie was over, and yes, I wrote the above paragraph to distract myself from the movie's ending, which isn't just lame and pathetic, it's also incomprehensible.

I just didn't want to waste anymore of my time on this garbage. You can go one better, and not waste any time at all.
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Bite Me! (2004 Video)
Fairly typical Mundae offering - though not among her best
8 December 2019
You know what to expect from a Misty Mundae flick (or as she's now known, Erin Brown). Softcore sex, low budget, ridiculous plots and special effects, and over-the-top, campy acting.

The movies are usually enjoyable and entertaining, though.

"Bite Me!" is no exception to this rule, though it does drag quite a bit in several parts. It's still entertaining in spurts.

How can you not love Misty? She's a natural beauty, and a girl-next-door type. The movie also has some other beautiful actresses getting naked, and having lesbian sex.

The plot is something to do with a group of unintelligent and listless strippers, and mutant ticks that come from toxic marijuana... or something. I didn't really get it, but I enjoyed Misty's presence, and the movie does feature a couple of things I hadn't seen before: one, a stripper falling asleep against her pole while on-stage, and two, one of these poorly animated CGI arachnid things apparently running up a woman's butt while she sits on the toilet. It's not shown in any detail, or course, but it is different.

"Bite Me!" is recommended viewing if you are a Mundae fan, but it's not one of her best: "SpiderBabe" still retains that honour.
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The first Latvian horror movie?
4 December 2019
A man is laid off from his job and no longer needs to wear the titular orange jacket. He goes to his ex-boss's house and gets revenge. He moves in with suspicious ease and lives a life of luxury, but then sees his own "man in an orange jacket" coming to get him.

So the stage is set for a psycho-horror-thriller flick with some obvious commentary on class struggle.

After quitting a few horror movies I had tried to watch previously, I thought "The Man in the Orange Jacket" might be another one I give up on. It wasn't. I was immediately struck by the way the movie is filmed and the low-key dialogue and performances, which have a captivating effect. That, in addition to its short length, meant I knew I was going to watch this one to the very end.

Unfortunately it kind of fell apart toward the end, and I felt less interested in it. But if this really is Latvia's first horror movie, you can't help but be impressed. It reminded me of a Kazakh horror flick I watched recently. Both movies were superbly well made, showing us that these underrepresented countries absolutely do have the reserve of talent to mix with any other country's filmmakers.
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The Plumber (1979 TV Movie)
Weird and underwhelming
3 December 2019
"The Plumber" is a strange movie, dissatisfying, with an out-of-nowhere ending. Watching it, I kept thinking that it was well acted and fairly interesting, but a failure at generating suspense.

Seeing the surprising - though underwhelming - ending makes me wonder if it wasn't supposed to be suspenseful. But then what was it supposed to be?

The movie sort of flirts with psychological thriller and domestic drama, without committing to either.

The plot is familiar to anyone who has seen a psychological thriller before. It reminded me of the also mixed up and bizarre "Cable Guy": every time a young woman is alone in her apartment a weird plumber checks in and gets on her nerves. He is supposed to be repairing her bathroom but is really only making it worse. And he sings in the shower. She starts getting freaked out, her husband dismisses her concerns, and you assume the movie is heading for the moment where the plumber goes into full psycho mode.

I appreciated a take on this material that didn't feel as familiar as the material itself. There were so many thrillers like this in the '80s and '90s. However, in light of the ending, the movie is pretty unsatisfactory, and is definitely a minor blip in Weirs oeuvre.
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3rd Night (2017)
Skip it - totally pointless failed thriller - or a cautionary tale of how not to make a movie
2 December 2019
"3rd Night" is a movie that should have been better. It appears to have the material to be good. It's convincingly acted, and has a final scene that is effective and makes you wonder why the whole movie - or at least any other moment - couldn't have been that good.

For something like this, you need a filmmaker who holds you in the palm of their hand, like Ari Aster would. Instead, it fails so utterly at the level of pacing that any effectiveness is lost, and you wonder what the point is.

The movie, near as I can tell, is about a couple who move into a farmhouse and find themselves monitored by a mysterious and malevolent presence.

What's weird is... they don't seem that bothered by it. Obviously, in horror, people never act until it's too late: if they did, there'd be no movie. But here it's like they forget all about the threat of danger, so of course, so do we.

You wait for the movie to start engaging you, and when it doesn't, you wait for it to end.
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Olivia (1983)
1 December 2019
"Olivia" is another dumpster fire from Ulli Lommel, the clueless moron who made those ridiculous "Boogeyman" movies. This is a guy who stuck to Fassbinder like a haemorrhoid, and apparently learnt absolutely nothing from him.

Anybody who tries to tell you what this movie was "about" is lying. Any plot description or synopsis is also lying. The movie has no plot, no narrative, no characters.

It hardly even has any dialogue. Sure, the characters talk to each other, but their words are almost completely drowned out by the overbearing, ridiculous soundtrack. The only sense of forward motion in the movie comes from a couple of otherwise pointless title cards that say things like "4 years later" and thus indicate the passage of time.

"Olivia" is the type of movie that makes it feel like your neural fluids are running backwards. I'm going to hit "submit" now. I've wasted enough time on this garbage.
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Superior late sequel
1 December 2019
"Prom Night III" isn't as good as I remember, but it's still entertaining. It has cool gore effects, some likeable leads, and a few humorous death scenes, such as poor George Chuvalo (legendarily granite-chinned boxer) getting his hands stabbed with apparently sharply pointed ice-cream cones.

Like the first sequel to "Prom Night" this one has nothing to do with that movie, and its villain is the one introduced in the second flick. She's like a pretty, female version of Freddy Krueger, seemingly existing in dreams and effecting reality like a god. Her relationship with the main character, and her attire and behaviour, are straight out of the film noir handbook: this is a femme fatale, and perhaps never before has that expression been more accurate.

What makes it interesting is the fact that she doesn't just torment the character, or kill people at random; rather she seems like an extension of his psyche, making things happen for him with deadly results.

I did feel that the movie lost me toward the end, and I got a bit tired of it. But I still say check it out. It's a rare, successful horror sequel, which is actually worth watching.
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