Midnight Movie Madness: a “death note” everyone has to pay

Death note” – (Anime series, Japan 2006, NR)

I always enjoyed serialized sci-fi and horror shows broadcast late at night, re-runs of “Star Trek: Voyager” or “Friday the 13th: the series”.
If you do as well, I recommend watching “death note”, a Japanese

Light and Ryuk

animated series about a student, Light Yagami, who finds a notebook with special powers, the Death Note. The titular notebook is the artifact of Light’s doom, something he could have bought from Louis Vendredi’s shop in “Friday the 13th: the series“. The note, dropped on purpose into the human world by Ryuk, a demon-like Shinigami (death deity), has the following rules written in it, which Light attempts to refine and perhaps even circumvent: “the human who uses the note can neither go to heaven nor hell. If the time of death is written within 40 seconds after writing the cause of death as a heart attack, the time of death can go into effect within 40 seconds after writing the name”.
Continue reading “Midnight Movie Madness: a “death note” everyone has to pay”

Share

“Harry Brown”: the Marines have a saying…

And that saying is “don’t *#@&* with an old man, he’ll just kill you”. Thankfully, “Harry Brown” is in fact not so formulaic as  most vigilante stories.

“Harry Brown” poster

Harry (Michael Caine) is willfully ignorant of the criminal happenings on the estate where he lives.

Hi beloved wife is wasting away in the hospital, he has precious few friends and knows little of the people who live in or around the estate. Ignorance is in fact bliss. Harry’s a decent man who’s seen and done awful things in his time in the Royal Marines.

These things, he locked in a vault long ago when he first met the love of his life, and will not speak of them.
That’s how it used to be for old soldiers. Do your duty, leave and make a life.

Continue reading ““Harry Brown”: the Marines have a saying…”

Share

“Lake Mungo”: wizardry from Oz

The outline of “Lake Mungo” is how an Australian family, its neighbors and acquaintances suffer through the sudden loss of a 16 year old daughter, the unraveling of secrets, and perceptions turned into enmity close to hatred.
The incident is a drowning.

Movie poster

What follows are detailed, keenly observed reactions of all who were touched by Alice Palmer’s (Talia Zucker) death.

Continue reading ““Lake Mungo”: wizardry from Oz”

Share

“Wasting away”: cute? Zombie? Comedy? Why, yes!

Cute couple, innit?

Wasting away” is also available under the alternate title “Aaah! Zombies!!” and takes a page from “return of the living dead”, scripted and directed by Dan O’Bannon whose prolific career includes collaboration with John Carpenter on “Dark Star”, Ronald Shusett on “Alien”, adapting and scripting “total recall” and another obscure little film titled “screamers” based on a Philip K. Dick story “second variety”. “Wasting away”, then, begins with a military transport dumping its load of chemical containers filled with failed research fluids, originally intended to create super-soldiers, but really turning them into raving zombies.

Continue reading ““Wasting away”: cute? Zombie? Comedy? Why, yes!”

Share

Midnight Movie Madness: “the human centipede”

The human centipede – First sequence” – (92 minutes, Netherlands 2009, rated R)

Two girls from New York (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie) find themselves stranded in the German countryside after getting a flat tire. Seeking refuge from a leering local and the rain, they knock on Dr. Heiter’s (Dieter Laser) front door, asking to use his phone.

The human centipede movie poster

Unfortunately for them, Heiter, an expert on the surgical separation of Siamese twins and dedicated misanthrope (Heiter, get it?), has decided to “create” rather than “destroy”, and plans to stitch the girls and a Japanese man end to end, as it were, mouth to nether region (get it?) forming a continuous digestive system… A Siamese triplet.

You pretty much know what “the human centipede” is about going in, you’re just not sure how bad it’s going to be. You also know ten minutes in that whatever’s coming to the two girls, they deserve it: they would make Darwin spin in his grave. They are the first stereotypical characters of the movie, and pretty much scream from beginning to end.
The two cops who appear towards the end also are clear stereotypes, virtually identical in both look and clothing. The thing about stereotypes is that they can actually be funny, as in biting satires, but more often than not, they’re just lazy.

Continue reading “Midnight Movie Madness: “the human centipede””

Share

Midnight Movie Madness: Threepenny Opera

Threepenny opera” – (112 minutes, Germany 1931, NR)

Thank God for egotists..?

Die 3 Groschen Oper”… Of late, we have been going through several films of significance, centering around the evil men are capable of. I am thinking mainly of “the killer inside me” and “Wolf Creek”, but there’s more: “Psycho”, “M” and much more.
If you are familiar with “threepenny opera” you might think the comparison to be strange, but it really isn’t.
Threepenny opera” began as a stage play written by Bertolt Brecht, a playwright of vision and talent who was also very difficult to work with, focusing as he did on differences rather than goals. Basically an egotistic prick with talent, Brecht’s history is fascinating in itself but is not the focus of this piece.
One of the protagonists (antagonists?) of “threepenny opera” is Macheath “Mackie” Messer, a psychopathic killer, in modern terms. You are probably familiar with the song “Mack the knife”, which has seen several interpretations over the years, by Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra among others.
But the original version is not quite so… watered down, and we actually owe its existence to Harald Paulsen, another egotistic you-know-what who was cast as Macheath before Rudolf Forster replaced him, and most likely for the better.
The fact remains, however, that if not for Paulsen’s demands to have a song introducing his character, we would not have this classic today.

Continue reading “Midnight Movie Madness: Threepenny Opera”

Share

“Wolf Creek”: qu’est-ce que c’est?

Wolf Creek” – (99 minutes, Australia 2005, rated R)

“I’m going to do something now they used to do in Vietnam. It’s called making a head on a stick.”

This is an earlier effort from the team which brought us “Rogue” reviewed here earlier this month.

Three backpackers, two girls and a young guy, traveling the Australian Outback get stranded at Wolf Creek national park when their car refuses to start.

They are so far from the nearest town, their only choice is to wait until dawn before even considering starting out for it on foot.

Continue reading ““Wolf Creek”: qu’est-ce que c’est?”

Share

Midnight Movie Madness: Pig Hunt

Pig Hunt” – (100 minutes, USA 2008, rated R)

Woof. What a week. And a half. Starting a new job, in a different industry has thrown me off my game somewhat, and here I am apologizing to our fantastic readers for this late review.
The Midnight Movie Madness shall continue! But now on weekends instead of Wednesdays. Ah well, working in service industries (is there anything else left?) has taught me to grovel.
Have I got a good one for you, now…? I developed an inclination for this movie as soon as I saw that Les Claypool not only did the score, but appears in a small role, as a vengeful hillbilly wearing a priest’s collar and a Stetson. We like the funk here at JBoD, and Claypool’s so funky he was turned down by Metallica when he auditioned with them in the 80’s. Their loss and probably a good thing as he went on to front Primus. The man is not only an extremely talented musician, he is local, born in Richmond California, across the bridge from us.
“Pig hunt” might not be everybody’s cup of tea, particularly people unfamiliar with California. It seems to cram a lot, too much color, too much weird…. But this is California! The movie has a plethora of strange characters from weird hippies carrying Kukri knives (they HAVE to draw blood once they are unsheathed), to crazed rednecks, not to mention the odd group of friends going to these here parts near Boonville (in Beautiful Mendocino county) from San Francisco.

Watch the trailer:

Continue reading “Midnight Movie Madness: Pig Hunt”

Share

Updated – The Zombie movie genre: minor exploratory surgery

Since George Romero’s “night of the living dead” in 1968, the genre seems to have been growing across genres (comedy, sci-fi) and media (comics, novels, video games), and depending on the country of origin, even says something about cultural mores.
Night of the living dead” had some interesting things to say about race and class relations, which perhaps had to be expected as it was made in the late ‘60s.
And “dawn of the dead” (1978), also from Romero, had consumerism as a subtext and used a mall as location which introduced different dynamics.

BFS’ dangerous duo: Tango & Cash

But really, zombie flicks are about bloody mayhem which provides relief after a long day at work, dealing with people you might wish were dead. So without further ado, let’s look at a serious offering from France. “They came back” (2004) from Robin Campillo will not satisfy your urges for carnage because there is none to be had.
What “they came back” does offer is more along the lines of what they call “l’etrange, le bizarre, l’insolite”: it is eerie and at times really disquieting, particularly the couple instances reintroducing children to their parents.

Continue reading “Updated – The Zombie movie genre: minor exploratory surgery”

Share

Midnight Movie Madness

Fido” – (93 minutes, USA 2006)

“What is it boy? Is Timmy in trouble?”

In these alternative 1950s, after the “zombie wars”, life resumed in America within fenced in communities managed and policed by a corporation named Zomcon (zombie containment is their motto). Hordes of ‘untamed’ zombies roam the zones outside the communities’ perimeter, while within, domesticated zombies wearing electronic shock-collars serve the living delivering milk, papers, mowing lawns and acting as household help, etc.

Neighborhood watch

In order to keep up with the neighbors, Helen Robinson (Carrie Ann Moss) buys a domesticated zombie helper (Billy Connolly), much to her neurotic husband’s (Dylan Baker) dismay. Bill Robinson has a serious phobia of zombies since childhood, when his dad and uncle tried to eat his brain.
Certainly a very sore subject around the dinner table.
Bill is distant with his son Timmy (Kesun Loder) and pretty sadistic towards the zombie helper, zapping him for the slightest reason, and repeatedly. Timmy decides to call the zombie Fido and the two become friends, inasmuch as you can with a Z-dude.

Continue reading “Midnight Movie Madness”

Share