Sunday, May 25, 2008

Samurai Dreams 5 SNEAK PEEK #5

Sorry, there is no "Samurai Dreams 5 SNEAK PEEK #5".

All my reviews were posted here first.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Samurai Dreams 5 SNEAK PEEK #4

Human Highway (1982) Reviewed by Andy

Hopper only plays a small role in this one but I thought I’d mention it anyway since the movie itself is so weird and unknown. It was directed by Neil Young and Dean Stockwell, and Neil Young actually plays one of the main characters: a doofy looking gas pump operator at a roadside diner. The diner is located in the middle of nowhere (the Arizona desert maybe?) and the look and feel of it (as well as the movie as a whole) resembles something out of Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Hopper gets very little airtime but he plays a psychotic cook (surprise surprise!) named Crackers.

For Neil Young and Devo fans this movie is a must-see. Yep, Devo—along with their annoyingly cute pal Buji Boy—take up a big chunk of this amusing mess by playing an irradiated disposal team at a nuclear power plant. A few songs are sung and towards the end there’s a completely random scene where Neil Young passes out and hallucinates himself and Devo doing an extended 10 minute long jam of “My my hey hey”. What the…?!! I know it sounds too good (or bad) to be true but I’m not lying. It’s also true that it will take at least a few days to get Devo’s cover of “It takes a worried man” out of your head after watching this.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Samurai Dreams 5 SNEAK PEEK #3

Spasms (1983) Reviewed by Kevin

I had a good feeling about this one—the cover had a ‘classy slasher’ vibe to it and Peter Fonda’s in it. So how bad could it be? Bad. The plot had something to do with a giant poisonous snake that is transporter to the U.S. for some reason and gets loose, I think. For some reason, one guy can see what the snake sees, but he doesn’t really do much with the ability besides bug-out his eyes and sweat. Everyone hangs out and acts boring and the snake eats people and that’s the movie.

Nearly all of the snake’s scenes are shot from the first person, presumably so the filmmakers wouldn’t wear out the effect of a 35 dollar rubber puppet that can’t do anything but open its mouth. It’s strange, but the effect where the snake’s victims swell up after they are bitten is pretty cool. Just goes to show that even in a piece of garbage like this, someone was doing good work. Oh, one more thing there wasn’t one spasm in this whole movie, let alone multiple spasms. What gives? *

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Samurai Dreams 5 SNEAK PEEK #2

Full Eclipse (1993) Reviewed by James

From Anthony Hickox, the director of the Waxwork movies, comes this hard-hitting werewolf cop HBO original movie starring Mario Van Peebles and the obnoxious Bruce Payne. Van Peebles plays your typical movie cop: he's tough as nails, takes unnecessary risks, hates authority, talks about "the job" a lot, has a rocky marriage, and feels really guilty when he gets his partner almost killed.

But then the movie’s formula starts to change when his dying partner gets injected with werewolf blood, and is instantly healed. He starts hopping around and is impossible to kill, and the movie's best scene is with him chasing a car full of thugs while jumping crazily over cars and driving a guy’s motorcycle straight into a wall! But he doesn't like being a werewolf cop, so he shoots himself in the face with a silver bullet. Our man Mario then gets invited to Bruce Payne's police officer therapy group, which is actually a squad of vigilante werewolf cops!

Most of the werewolf cops don’t get any character development at all, except for Patsy Kensit, who is the required babe who gets to sex up Mario. The worst part is definitely Bruce Payne, who is a really shitty actor. His idea of acting cool is talking really dumb alliteration, having really long, flowing locks, and strutting around like a retarded robot learning to be human. The action sequences are fun and well put together, but the make-up blows. Bruce Payne is the real werewolf, while the others are just hooked on a derivative of his blood that acts like a drug. When they show their werewolf powers, its just goofy claw hands and fang faces, while Payne turns into a lame poofy werebear at the end. *1/2

Friday, May 09, 2008

Samurai Dreams 5 SNEAK PEEK #1

In the coming days I'll try to post a review from each contributor. Here's one from Max.

Chameleon Street (1989) Reviewed by Max

If you know who Wendell B. Harris is, I salute you. According to IMDB, he’s only been in three films, the last being Road Trip. He wrote, directed and stars in Chameleon Street, one of the best true independent films I’ve ever seen. Harris plays William Douglas Street, a young black man growing up in the Midwest. He works for his father’s locksmith business, freezing his ass off in a van and listening to the Sex Pistols on a walkman. For a man with larger than average brains and smaller than average means, he knows there’s gotta be an angle of economic escape. Being a drug pusher is attractive, but ultimately unprofitable, so he attempts to blackmail a Cubs player. Unfortunately his partners in crime published the blackmail letter in the local paper and signed it William D. Street.

With a sudden rush of media attention, he tries to play his way into writing articles for Time magazine (really, he just wants to meet female celebrities). When he’s found out, he impersonates a graduate of Harvard Medical School and becomes a staff surgeon at a local hospital (he gets by on a handy medical manual which he hides in his briefcase—he even performs a hysterectomy!). Of course the consequences of duping a hospital and performing amateur medicine catch up to him with a simple background check, and he’s sent to prison, from which he escapes

All through his “careers” Street gets the same message from his wife every morning: “Make some money.” The financial and emotional burden of having to support yourself is real, and so there’s more than a little bit of sympathy for this con man’s foibles. He is of course a selfish cad who always assumes he’s smarter and more important than those around him (he’s right about 75% of the time). Street’s got a pretty good sense of humor, though, and great taste (or maybe it’s all just from Harris, because I can’t find one solid indicator of the reality of Mr. Street’s existence—which could be meant as a joke on the audience, but nonetheless would add another layer of meaning to the narrative).

Favorite moment—I dunno, it’s a toss up between the weird murder dance around a little girl’s tea set and the super-duper fashionable French/Renaissance costume ball. ****