one word reviews of Movies and TV

Listen Now!

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 32) Halloween Edition 2014

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY


On this Spooktacular Halloween edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the boys welcome back JD Duran from Insession Film.  Other than further corrupting this classy professional podcaster...the boys talk about Marvel's HUGE announcements, DC's HUGE announcements, gush over The Flash, bitch more about Gotham, comment on the Boardwalk Empire finale, Walking Dead premiere, and consider NBC's Constantine.  JD also gets to moderate our second ever draft, which this time involves the boys trying to make their best monster squad.  It's a razor 'blade in the apple' sort of show that you don't want to miss.

SHOW NOTES
Insession Film
Cenobites
The Monster Squad
Marvel Film Slate
DC Film Slate
Age Of Ultron Teaser
Age Of Ultron Extended
Ever See Chinatown Motherf@%ker?!
Skinny Zach Galafanakis
Jason Biggs pissing on Chelsea Handler


MUSIC NOTES
"Nightmare On My Street" By DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
"Autumn Thunder" By Sam Spence
"My Flows Is Tight" By Lord Digga
"Inside The Actors Studio" By Angelo Badalamenti



Check us out on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLetterboxd, and Pinterest

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine - 1990: The Bronx Warriors


ITALIAN


Lace up your Chuck Taylors and throw on a flannel shirt, we're taking a trip to the '90s. A '90s of a PARALLEL TIME!

The year is 1982. Both funny man John Belushi and guitar shredder Randy Rhoads pass away.  Rocker Wendy O Williams sues several Milwaukee police for physical abuse endured while she arrested. “Ghandi” and “Conan the Barbarian” share the silver screen – now that's a fight I'd like to see. And the compact disc is debut.

All aboard! The “Action Movie Time Machine” is dialed into the time stream of “1990: The Bronx Warriors”, a film that predicts the post apocalyptic world of New York City in 1990.

THE SKINNY
The film is set in the post apocalyptic New York City of 1990. The Bronx, where our story unfolds, is controlled by several vicious gangs who patrol their territories and coordinate their Technicolor outfits for maximum bad-ass-itude. The gang related crime has become so great that all attempts to restore law and order have been unsuccessful, and the Bronx is now regarded a “no man's land” by the authorities. All of this we learn from the films “Escape from New York” style prologue.




 
The film begins with seventeen year old Ann, who has runaway from her Manhattan Catholic school and found her way into the Bronx. Soon she is discovered and attacked by one of the many colorful gangs following in the footsteps of such films as “The Warriors”. Her attackers are the Zombies. A gang who's mode of transportation is roller skates. Their weapons are white hockey sticks and they wear matching white Stahlhelme (Nazi helmets). Soon Ann's attackers are confronted by a rival gang,  the Riders, who are nothing more than a biker gang. the Riders dish out a bit of the ol' ultra violence to the Zombies and Trash, The Rider's leader, takes Ann as his biker bride. Ann doesn't seem to mind. She and Trash hit it off and spend the following days making underage love.

Ann has escaped a world of privilege and power to live in... the Bronx. She could have used her family's money and influence to go anywhere in the world, but she chose the Bronx. The gang infested – ghetto-ass Bronx. Why you ask? Well she is running from responsibility. Once she turns eighteen she will inherit the family business, The Manhattan Corporation, which is the largest single company in the United States. In short she doesn't want her life devoted to the  board meetings and conference calls of a god sized entity that influences the decisions of first world countries and owning those of the second and third. Instead... she chooses the Bronx. That'll show that stuffy old board of directors.

In order to get Ann away from danger and back into Catholic school, the vice-president of the company sends in a private contractor, a man who goes by the name Hammer, to infiltrate the Bronx, track and retrieve Ann. The Riders learn about Hammer when he gets a little too close to the gang while doing some recon. He happens upon a member of the Riders and his lady getting' busy in a stairwell of an abandoned apartment building. Hammer shoots them both point blank in the chest with a shotgun. The noise alerts Trash and the rest who search the building and chase Hammer but can't catch him.

Around this time another of the Riders turns up dead. This time at the hands of the gang known as the Tigers – a gang of well dressed pimps. He was found trespassing on Tiger territory, so The Ogre, leader of the Tigers played by Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, removes his heart as a punishment. In the process, The Ogre discovers that he was wearing a “gizmo” (a police issue tracking device). This news gets back to the Riders and causes them to quarrel among themselves. Some think it's all a lie and The Ogre is moving in on their territory. However, Trash has had a long conversation with Ann, who believes all these killings are connected and are the doing of the Manhattan Corporation. Trash devises a plan to  take his best men, travel through the other territories and meet with The Ogre. With The Ogre on his side, the gangs could team up and smoke out Hammer and whoever else has ties to the Manhattan Corporation.



Along the way, Trash and his men encounter several other gangs who they must defeat. First the Iron Men – a gang of face painted, tap dancing theater types, then the Scavengers – a nomadic group or club wielding barbarians and finally the Tigers who they have to fight their way thou before they earn an audience with The Ogre. When they do, The Ogre and the Tigers are on board.

Meanwhile, Ice, one of the Riders, has been making a power play to lead the gang. He has made a deal with Hammer – telling him Trash's plan to team up with The Ogre. Ice then meets with the leader of the Zombies, who've captured Ann, and convinces them to use Ann as bate to draw in Trash and eliminate him for good.

Everything comes to a head when The Ogre and Trash arrive at the Zombies' hideout. The Ogre takes on the Zombie leader while Trash frees Ann and gets his revenge for Ice turning traitor. They then battle their way out against the entire Zombie gang before they return to the Tiger's territory where they, together, defend themselves against a Hammer lead invasion of police armed with flame throwers.

This invasion is an all out slaughter. People are set on fire left and right. Over half of the people who bite it in this entire film die here in this final scene along with The Ogre, Hammer and even Ann. The only survivor is Trash, who rides out into the sunset dragging Hammer's body by his motorcycle. The End.
THE VERDICT
“1990: The Bronx Warriors” comes from Italian director Enzo Castellari and I believe THIS is the reason it falls into both the good and bad categories. While it isn't original, which I'm sure you figured out for yourself from my referencing of several other similar films, but it is original enough in it's own right. It is well filmed, acted and scored but has a distinct European feel to it which detracts from it's action packed potential. It's a bit subdued compared to American made action films of the same vintage.

Being an Italian film made in the States, the film is largely made up of an Italian speaking cast who have all been dubbed, which makes for some pretty interesting lines of dialogue... Or, maybe it's the script that has been translated which makes for the interesting dialogue. Anyhow, one of my favorite  lines came from Trash when the Riders were discussing some planted evidence found where Hammer killed the two with his shotgun; “Look, it could be a pile of shit outta somebodies asshole!”. Weirdly specific when he could have just said; “Look, it could just be bullshit for all we know!”.

Speaking of Hammer. Why didn't Fred “The Hammer” Williamson play the character Hammer? Sure Fred looks better dressed as a tough guy pimp, but with a name like that it just makes sense.
 
There were two other things that seemed strange that I would like to point out. The first occurs when The Ogre and The Tigers pay the Riders a visit to tell them about the “gizmo”. The whole time this scene goes on, there is a drummer playing. No, I mean the drummer is sitting next to the Riders, beating the skins all alone and I don't know why he's there other than he is REALLY good. Why set up your drum kit in the middle of nowhere just to play for a biker gang? Did the Riders call him ahead of time to let him know when they would be there, or does he always practice there and today there just so happened to be some heavy gang related shit going down?
 
The second thing occurs when Ann is being rescued from the Zombies. As she watches Trash beat up some Zombie gang members in slow motion, she starts to breath heavy and her lip quivers. She is totally turned on by Trash's brain bashing machismo. Then, moments later, as Trash is talking to Ann, who is sitting on the ground, we see the back of Trash and his mace like weapon poking out from in front of him. It just so happens to be at Ann's eye level and she can't take her eyes off of it. This is phallic as all hell. Leave it to an Italian filmmaker to come up with a way to turn that scene into a hidden moment of sex.
 
So in the end, it's unfortunate that “1990: The Bronx Warriors” isn't very original, but it is also too good to be bad. I feel that this could easily be a forgotten cult classic if it was able to stand out more from it's peers with more than odd dialogue and sexual innuendo. In my opinion it should have been a full blown grindhouse flick with boobs and blood galore. Maybe it's sequel “Escape from the Bronx” has a little more to offer.

Again, it's not a bad film. Maybe if you're bored with “The Warriors” you should give this one a try.

I’m Cory Carr and this concludes our trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi!

For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!


Yet Another 31 Nights of Halloween: The Stuff

The Stuff: Tasty
87mins – Comedy/Horror - 1985

Looking for a unique film for Halloween?
Here you go! Ladies and Gentlemen, The Stuff!

One of the best satires that’s really a horror film at heart. Michael Moriarty leads this delicious film of mysterious goo that is pouring out of the earth. For some odd reason an old man takes a taste right away to see what it is. This white thing pouring from the earth taste amazing. Corporate America takes a taste as well and what we get is this new craze sweeping the nation.
America buys it by the ton, replacing all other foods with this new food called... The Stuff!

“It's smooth and creamy. It’s low calorie and delicious. And it kills. It's The Stuff!”

Everyone becomes addicted to The Stuff that turns them all into zombie like creatures. Everyone must eat The Stuff! If you don’t soon they will make sure you do!


One night, a kid named Jason notices the new food, The Stuff moving in his fridge.  He tells his parents and they don’t believe him. They have already been taken over by The Stuff. He runs to the grocery store to warn the people but no one believes him. This creates a story that runs in the paper, which an ex-FBI agent, David Rutherford notices. Rutherford is played by the amazing and extremely tall (6’4”) Michael Moriarty.  Rutherford during this time is investigating The Stuff when the news about the boy comes his way. Along with Nicole (Mad Men like promoter), these three are the world’s last hope to pull them from this controlling goo.

Will they stop it or is the nation over as we know it?!

The story works and it works well. It feels like the body snatchers, the blob and a comedy about America’s consumerism all rolled up into one. It’s a very unique film that is just a flat out great film. Yes acting is rough and the effects are of their time. But there is so much more here then a horror film, but a satire about this country and its need to consume the latest greatest fad. It feels like it could happen and honestly isn’t that far fetched of an idea, even thou it might seem extremely absurd. I could see this working today maybe with food or medication. An evil corporation finds something that they want to make a ton of money on, so they bribe the FDA and get their product into everyone's hands even if it has deadly side effects. As I watch this I see a commercial for a pill that can kill you. The side effects out weigh the job of the pill, so why is this available then?

See it's not too far out!

The look of The Stuff is great. I love the design of package in this film. Strips of pink, light purple and brown circle the pint container creates an iconic movie prop.

Please watch this film. It’s an intriguing film that balances comedy in the right way. Yes its funny that a food could take people over but I find it even more funny that the need for consumerism is sadly the realest part of the film.

Side Notes:

On Netflix as of now, no reason to not watch this!

Garrett Morris (SNL) pops up and he is fantastic onscreen. Originally Arsenio Hall was considered.  
To create The Stuff, a lot of Häagen Däzs ice-cream and yogurt was used.

Yummmmy



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Yet Another 31 Nights of Halloween: Mirror, Mirror (Amazing Stories TV Show - S1:E19)

Okay so I’m going to try something a little different here. In the late 80’s, Steven Spielberg came out with a TV show called Amazing Stories that seems to ether grab a ton of flack or a ton of love. I never really watched the show, maybe a totally of two episodes of which I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about. I do remember the show and that opening but not a bit of memory regarding the episodes. So since Amazing Stories is on Netflix, I’m going to pick a couple of episodes out of order strictly do to the crew and actors that appear in that episode.

Mirror, Mirror: Entertaining
Season 1, Episode 19 (March 9, 1986)

The reason why I picked, Mirror Mirror was because of the involvement of Sam Waterston (The Lead), Dick Cavett (plays Himself) and Tim Robbins (The Phantom).

Also believe it or not...

This episode is Directed by Martin Scorsese...Yes that Martin Scorsese!

This episode is about a horror novelist who doesn’t believe in the subject that he writes. But he quickly begins to reconsiders this as he begins to see a man tying to kill him. The only time he see this figure is when he looks into a reflective surface, which shows the man gaining on him with the intent to strangle him.

 




It’s not a bad story for a 24 minute show. I found the 24 minutes to be very entertaining, might not be the strongest story ever but so far it's my favorite out of the four that I've watched. Keep in mind this show is called Amazing Stories yet so far I haven’t really seen an amazing story. They’re mostly okay stories with a good twist. Maybe this is mostly why I’ve seen Amazing Stories get more flack online then love.

That said…

Scorsese does a good job. He keeps the 24 minutes fast and fun. Believe it or not that wasn’t the main attraction for me, that honor was given to the great Sam Waterston as Jordan Manmouth. Every time he is acting he just steals the scene if its Law & Order or The Newsroom, he just steals it with his presence. He plays a guy who just losses it and you can believe it. He really does steal that scene and even more made this episode flat out entertaining.

Defiantly give this episode a check out.

Side Notes:

Dick Cavett plays Dick Cavett and I enjoyed the little addition of him to the story.

Tim Robbins is also along for the shows as The Phantom, although you couldn't tell who the hell was  really playing the villain to save your life.









Saturday, October 25, 2014

Yet Another 31 Nights of Halloween: Go to the Head of the Class (Amazing Stories TV Show - S2:E8)

Okay so I’m going to try something a little different here. In the late 80’s, Steven Spielberg came out with a TV show called Amazing Stories that seems to ether grab a ton of flack or a ton of love. I never really watched the show, maybe a totally of two episodes of which I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about. I do remember the show and that opening but not a bit of memory regarding the episodes. So since Amazing Stories is on Netflix, I’m going to pick a couple of episodes out of order strictly do to the crew and actors that appear in that episode.

Go to the Head of the Class: Enjoyable
Season 2, Episode 8 (November 21 1986) 60 mins

The reason why I picked Go to the Head of the Class was because of the involvement of Christopher Lloyd as Professor B.O. Beanes, Bob Gale (teleplay), Alan Silvestri (Music) and Robert Zemeckis (Directing). Yes the majority of those who worked on my favorite movie of all-time, Back to the Future.

Right off from the start this has the Zemeckis look. The opening is classic Zemeckis just like Back to the Future, it tells a lot about the character. We start off on the TV that slowly comes out showing our main character’s room filled with pictures of a girl. We start to pan down from a window with a basketball and baseball bat, band posters, stickers, a phone going off and a clock. Our main character (Peter Brand) picks up the phone to find a screaming mother yelling at him about being late for school.

Cut to a shot of Peter Brand jumping out the window running to school, its so McFly like and that is just too damn awesome. 

The next scene is where Christopher Lloyd comes into the story. He plays a teacher who is pretty hard on his students. Seeing a student crewing gum, he questions the student who quickly swallows the evidence. The Professor then picks a piece of gum from under the desk of the student, ask what is this then? The student says thats not the kind I chew, which in a silly way catches the student in a lie. So he requires the student to swallow the random piece of gum. I love this scene a lot because Brand is trying to sneak into the classroom during this time. The way the whole scene flows just reminds me of Back to the Future, which isn’t a bad thing mind you. Alan Silvestri scores this episode just like Back to the Future. When Peter falls into the grave around the 18:20 mark, just listen, it just screams Back to the Future and damn do I loved that. 


Regarding the story it’s definitely not the strongest but still enjoyable to watch. It’s a revenge plot after Brand and his best friend; Cynthia Simpson (Mary Stuart Masterson) gets caught with the same paper. Brand takes the blame and is punished in front of the class by the Professor. So the two decide to cast a deadly spell on the Professor which doesn’t go to plan. I really enjoyed this episode mostly because it felt so Back to the Future like. That said Go to the Head of the Class was still enjoyable to watch especially with Halloween around the corner.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine - Warlords of the 21st Century

TEXTBOOK

Well I hope you enjoyed last weeks look at real life spy stuff which concluded our “Double Vision“ series. And believe me, those weren‘t the only or the strangest action movies featuring doppelgangers. At least “Double Trouble” had actual twins. Not like that 1988 flick starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. Speaking of which, I hear there will be a “Twins 2” in the not too distant future… so… there’s that.

This week we shall be doing something out of the ordinary. We will be traveling through both time AND space to explore the alternate timelines of humanity. Timelines that haven’t been as fortunate as ours. All aboard the “Action Movie Time Machine”. I have locked onto the time stream of “Warlords of the 21st Century”, aka “Battletruck“.

The year is 1982. A wave of terrorist attacks are committed in France by Carlos the Jackal [see The Assignment], Michael Jackson Moonwalks into children’s hearts with “Thriller” and “E.T.” & “Tootsie” battle it out to be the top grossing film of the year.

THE SYNOPSIS
Our film begins in 1994, “the near future”, after the fallout of what is called the Oil Wars or World War III. The “Battletruck”, a futuristic armored personnel carrier/semi thing,
is barreling down some forgotten country road in middle America, even though it was filmed in New Zealand, when it comes upon a horse drawn pickup truck with two men transporting fifty gallon drums of diesel. The Battletruck runs the pickup off the road before Straker and his soldiers file out and begin interrogating the men, asking them were they found the diesel. Much like the “Mad Max” films, gasoline is rare and is often fought over.
 
Straker kills one of the men outright to teach the other a lesson, and with the lesson learned he agrees to show them where the gas is located. As they travel, the nameless man explains that his father was in the military and as a child he learned where there was a secret military refueling station and that station is where he and his friend retrieved the diesel. Once they arrive, Straker kills the nameless man and has his men begin fortifying the military encampment.

Corlie, a young and attractive captive of Straker, makes a break for it during the night. But come morning Straker’s men have tracked her and are closing in. Never fear, Hunter is near! Hunter, Michael Beck from “The Warriors”, comes to the rescue and on a steel horse he rides. He pulls his motorcycle around and picks up Corlie just in time to escape Straker’s men. Seeing that she has been injured, Hunter takes the young lady to a village called Clearwater, where she is brought into the fold and put to work in the orchards

Meanwhile, Straker has regrouped with his men and has followed in the direction where Hunter was last seen, which also happens to be in the direction of Clearwater. Once in Clearwater, Straker kills those who resist, strips the men of their weapons, loots the villagers possessions and conscripts them all into his fighting force. For a long time now Straker has been traveling and looting, while growing his numbers by force. As Straker barks orders, Corlie quietly escapes the village by horse and seeks out her moto-protector Hunter.

  Again Straker engages in hot pursuit and arrives at Hunter’s farm house just as the lovemaking of Hunter and Corlie comes to an end -- I bet you didn‘t see that coming. Straker and his men attack but Hunter and his bitty manage to escape. A lengthy motor chase ensues through the “American” forests before Straker and company give up and return to his military diesel base camp.

Back at Clearwater one of the villagers has a change of heart and captures Corlie himself to give to Straker as a peace offering. Hunter knows that he is now the only one who can save the village as well as Corlie from the evil grip of Straker.

With the help of the villagers, one of which is John Ratzenberger from “Cheers”, Hunter builds some armored rat buggy over night which he uses to attack and destroy the diesel depot. AGAIN, a chase ensues with Hunter racing to the second stage of his plan with Straker following in the Battletruck. I know I’m not the only one who thinks “Battletruck” is a stupid name for anything right?

Hunter hops onto his motorcycle, loops around behind the Battletruck and with a homemade rocket launcher, blows a hole in the side of the Battletruck. Hunter then climbs into the gaping hole, fights Straker and his men one by one before escaping with Corlie. The now unmanned Battletruck careens off a cliff and explodes into a fiery wreck when it hits bottom.
The film ends with the people of Clearwater rebuilding their village and Hunter riding off into the sunset. The End.

THE VERDICT
So, “Warlords of the 21st Century” isn’t exactly bad. It has an evil bad guy, a heroic loner and a damsel in distress, which are all set in a post World War III apocalypse. It follows the traditional three act story. The acting isn’t great, but again it isn’t exactly bad and the film doesn’t rely heavily on special effects that would otherwise look cheep due to the films low budget.

Ya see, all that stuff I just mentioned is fine and well, but none of it makes this movie anything more than derivative and textbook. Not only is this film inspired by, influenced by or just a plain rip-off of “Mad Max”, and to some degree “Escape From New York”, it also spiritually rips off countless fantasy pictures. If it weren’t for all the cars and modern weapons “Warlords of the 21st Century” could have easily taken place in the ancient past and been about a man trying to save a village from marauders and rescue the princess from an evil sorcerer. Whether it takes place in the future or in the past, this story is one that has been told in hundreds of films, and honestly, manages to keep from standing out against any of them.

“Warlords of the 21st Century” isn’t the only one. Allow me to illustrate how unoriginal many of these post apocalyptic films are by sharing descriptions of similar films found on IMDB;

Robot Holocaust
A highly unlikely band of heroes traverses a post-apocalyptic wasteland to rescue a scientist from the tyrannical Dark One and his army of robots.

The Book of Eli
A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.

Steel Dawn
In a post-apocalyptic world, a warrior wandering through the desert comes upon a group of settlers who are being menaced by a murderous gang that is after the water they control.

Cyborg
A hired fighter living in a plague-ravaged apocalyptic America sets out to rescue a young girl from a murderous gang called the “Pirates”, and exact his revenge against their leader who killed his family.

What do they all have in common? A lone survivor, or small group of survivors, defends a village or small community from marauders before venturing out to save the princess, scientist, book or water. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all, even if it has robots or a plague.

I never quite figured out why Straker was so interested in Corlie. I guess he was in love with her or something. I kept waiting for there to be a reveal that she was the daughter of the President -- captured as a trophy during the Oil Wars or something. But no. Just a pretty girl and nothing more.

“Warlords of the 21st Century” isn’t original, and because of that, it isn’t worth viewing unless you’re a sucker for this sort of low rent fare. Again, it isn’t exactly bad. But you will be able to predict what is about to happen next, every step of the way.

I’m Cory Carr and this concludes our trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi!

For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!

Copyright © Simplistic Reviews