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Month: February 2015

February 25, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Hard Ticket to Hawaii

BONKERS

Welcome back for another ride on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. This time we will be visiting another Andy Sidaris film. If you are easily offended by bodacious breasts and explosions, oh boy, this movie isn’t for you. And with that said, I have our destination programmed. All aboard!
The year is 1987. The hippie beatnik community mourns the loss of artist Andy Warhol. Bill Cosby wins back his ex-wife and save the cute little animals in “Leonard Part 6”. U2 hadn’t found what they were looking for and Andy Sidaris continued his boob-a-licious action epic with “Hard Ticket to Hawaii”, complete with it’s own theme song. ‘Cause that’s what all the greatest action flicks have — theme songs.
THE SKINNY
Hard Ticket to Hawaii” picks up right where “Malibu Express” leaves off. Or does it? What should be Cody Abaline and Contessa Lucianna meeting up in Hawaii for a sexy rendezvous, is instead Rowdy Abaline and Donna making love aboard the boat “Malibu Express”. For some reason the boat is the only thing that managed to live on in this spiritual sequel. It’s explained later that Cody is Rowdy’s cousin who has gone on to become an actor. Well, that explains that.
Donna, Dona Speir, is a Federal Agent living and working in Molokai Hawaii with her roommate and co-worker Taryn, Hope Marie Carlton, who is living in Hawaii as part of the witness protection program. In Las Vegas she witnessed some pretty heavy mob activity and now she is being protected by the government after testifying against mobsters. I’m sure this goes without saying, but both Donna and Taryn are played by former Playboy Playmates.
Though Donna is a Federal Agent, she and Taryn work as couriers. They fly packages and people in a single prop plane between the Hawaiian islands. During one of these trips, the girls are to deliver a touring couple to the remote end of the island so they can do it out in the open and not be disturbed. While doing so, a  crate containing a python that has been contaminated by cancer ridden rats is mistakenly lost and the killer python escapes onto the island. This isn’t important now, but we’ll see it again later.
Before the girls return home for the day, they interrupt a drug deal…or a diamond smuggling ring. I’m not sure which. A remote controlled helicopter is flown from Mr. Chang’s boat off the coast that is sent in to deliver diamonds to a group growing marijuana in the wilderness of the island, lead by Mr. Romero.
Just as the girls discover the diamonds, they are discovered by Romero’s hired muscle. With the use of nun-chucks and ninja stars the women manage to make it back to their plane and back to home. Here they relax topless in their jacuzzi while they figuring out what should be done with the diamonds.
Later that night, Donna and Taryn are attacked by more of Romero’s men. I guess it isn’t easy to make a clean get away with the name of the company you work for painted on the side of the airplane you’re escaping in. The girls manage to scare the goons off, but now they know they will need Rowdy’s help to save themselves and bring the criminals to justice.

As Rowdy and his partner Jade make their way to meet Donna, they are attacked by Romero’s men. This scene is fuckin’ bonkers! A man who goes by the name “Skater” rides his skateboard passed Rowdy’s jeep, concealing a shotgun behind a blow-up doll. Skater takes his shot, wounding Jade and Rowdy retaliates by firing a rocket at both Skater and then the blow-up doll, exploding them in mid-air. It is truly the work of a b-movie master.
Meanwhile, Edy, a local hotel and restaurant owner, is kidnapped by Romero’s men. They know that Edy has been helping the girls stay in touch with Rowdy and their Federal contacts. This isn’t so important to the story. It just adds urgency to the film.
Donna, Taryn, Rowdy & Jade develop a plan to rescue Edy, which they do, and in the process they blow away all of Romero’s hired goons. Now only he remains, and if he is going to save face with his employer/business partner, Mr. Chan, he will have to take care of Donna & Taryn himself.
While the gang is away, Romero infiltrates Donna’s home and catches her off guard. First he attacks her with a knife and she retaliates with a harpoon gun she stores in a closet. After composing himself he attacks again, but this time she disarms him and stabs him in the gut with his own knife. THEN, he attacks once more, but this attack is timed perfectly with the return of the cancer rat infected python that erupts out of the bathroom toilet. LOL! It bites Romero in the face and kills him FINALLY!
The infectious snake them makes a play for Donna and Rowdy returns in the nick of time to save his love by firing a rocket into it’s face — followed by the line; “Just when you thought it was safe to take a pee.”. LOL!
Rowdy & Donna then pay Mr. Chang a visit. How do they know who he is or how he’s involved? I have no idea. Donna draws her “hand cannon” on Mr. Chan and blows his ass out of a window.
And like the first film, this ends with all the remaining players involved aboard the Malibu Express celebrating a job well done.
THE VERDICT
Well Andy Sidaris has done it again. He took a simple premise and managed to jam as much crazy shit into it as humanly possible.
Much like the previous film, “Malibu Express”, this has mediocre acting and a convoluted story that left me asking myself a lot of questions when I say it for the first time. Having seen Hard Ticket a number of times, I now have a strong understanding of the story, but at one time there were A LOT of whos, whats & whys rolling around in my head. The reason for this is that there is so much back story for each character, which is so casually introduced, that much of it is easy to miss. Very little of which is actually important.
While the films of Sidaris often fall short of being great, I have to give him credit for putting so much effort into them. His films are independently produced and often straight to video. His use of flashy boats, high flying panes, fast cars, faster women and a healthy dose of explosions give his films the esthetic of having a higher budget than they actually had. Sidaris films are like any episode of “Magnum P. I.”, but with Tom Selleck replaced with a big breasted naked woman, plus three or four other wild elements like exploding snakes or exploding blow-up dolls for good measure.
These flashy things don’t make a his movies good, but they always seem to be filmed and produced with a certain level of skill and professionalism that adds a sense of quality to them, even if they have a jumbled story with plot twists that are beyond belief.
 
I believe this is why Andy Sidaris has such a loyal following of fans. His films aren’t masterpieces, but you will always know what you’re going to get and you’ll be entertained no matter what. Speaking of being entertained, “Hard Ticket to Hawaii” is only going to get a two bullet rating from me based on the technical stuff alone, but it gets ten bullet for shier fun!
Some last things to keep your eyes open for are movie posters from Andy’s previous films located in Donna & Taryn’s home. The informant who rats on Edy is the same cross-dressing man from “Malibu Express”, played by Michael A. Andrews. There is a manhole cover that is obviously just a painted trashcan lid. And finally, as Rowdy and the gang infiltrate the home of Romero to rescue Edy, He encounters one of Romero’s guards on the beach. He talks the guard into playing catch with a Frisbee only to replace the Frisbee with one that has razor blades imbedded in it. The blades cut off the guards fingers when he tries to catch it and then slices into his neck — killing him.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
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!
February 23, 2015

Map to the Stars

HOLLYWEIRD

Map to the Stars – Hollyweird

Quick story about David Cronenberg; My earliest memory of his work is actually not even a film he directed, it’s a film that he appeared in. As a kid I remember watching “Nightbreed” and being scared out of my mind. Sure there are plenty of monsters and mutants in the film, but the one thing that stood out to me was a guy in a mask with a zipper and buttons for eyes. Only later would I find out that man behind the mask was David Cronenberg, the same guy behind classics like “The Fly” and “Scanners.” In the past decade or so, Cronenberg has taken a departure form the “body horror” that had made him famous, and has concentrated on more intimate character pieces like “Eastern Promises” and “Cosmopolis.” Now, in what I might call his most interesting work in quite some time, Cronenberg takes on Hollyweird and all of it’s kookiness in “Map to the Stars,” starring Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, and Mia Wasikowska.

The skinny on “Map” is this; young Agatha (Wasikowska) arrives in town and is greeted by limo driver, Jerome (Pattinson). Agatha has just gotten into town via Jupiter, Florida and is looking for Benji Weiss, the young star of the “Bad Babysitter” series of films. Meanwhile, we meet Havana (Moore) the daughter of movie star who died in a fire who is receiving counseling from Dr. Stafford Weiss (Cusack). Havana gets word from her agent that a film is being produced about her mother’s life and naturally Havana feels she is best actress for the role. The film plays out where we learn more about all of the major characters in the film and how weird do things get? Well, this is a Cronenberg film after all……

Based on reviews that I’ve been reading about “Map” this is really a love it or hate it flick. I’ve read that some people are disgusted about the insinuated and pretty much apparent incest connotations, as well as the casual nudity and dark subject matter. This is where I say “grow up!” Sure, some of the content is a little over-the-top, but you’d be a fool to not think things like this happen in Hollywood.

The interwoven plot is interesting and the film is a Chuck Palahniuk, David Lynch, and Bret Easton Ellis mash-up of insane and maniacal proportions. At first I thought this film was actually written by someone of Ellis’ ilk, but upon further inspection the writing duties went to Bruce Wagner, who is best known for writing “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors.” It’s odd for Cronenberg to go with a writer that has so few credits to his name, but the writing is actually very well done, visceral, and perfect for the film.

Now, a lot of people were in love with Julianne Moore’s performance in “Still Alice,” but I would go as far as saying that her turn in “Map” was vastly superior in it’s weirdness and fearlessness. We all know that Moore is a great actress that has been overlooked for awards for years, but wouldn’t it have been nice if she was rewarded for a role that required more than just having an ailment and having to overcome it? I’d say yes, but I’m sure a lot of people would go against me. Outside of Moore, the supporting cast is solid, and it’s good to see that John Cusack is still getting work that matters and not falling into the same trap that has confounded Nicholas Cage for the better part of a decade. I don’t know what it is, but Cage and Cusack to me are almost one in the same. “Map” also shows me more of the talent that I know is residing inside of Robert Pattinson. He had a great turn in “Cosmopolis” and showed me more in last year’s under-appreciated “The Rover” and albeit a small role, he is still good in this film and his scenes with Mia Wasikowska are small, but tragic.

All in all, “Map to the Stars” is an interesting and dark take on celebrity and the toll it can take on those with weak constitutions. While this film does seem more in the wheelhouse of someone like Lynch, it’s great to see David Cronenberg’s take on Hollywood since he is mostly a director who is always on the outside looking in, on his own accord of course. And while I do like that he is taking more chances on projects like “Cosmopolis” and “A Dangerous Method” I would like to see him get back to his older, body horror work one day.

Fun Fact: Hollywood was established in 1853 with a single adobe hut just outside of Los Angeles, California.

February 22, 2015

The New Simplistic Reviews App

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes a motion picture is only worth one. Simplistic Reviews gives you a minimum one word review from avid film buffs Justin Polizzi, Matthew Stewart and DJ Valentine. If one isn’t enough, you can read on and enjoy their further analysis of the film or television show. Simplistic Reviews is, for lack of a better word, GOOD.

The Android App is the best way to read reviews and listen to podcasts.

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February 21, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Oscar Prediction Podcast (Ep. 40) 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY

Hooray for Hollywood? Naw, it’s time to skewer Hollywood and rip them and new one, of course while picking the winner’s of this year’s Academy Awards.

The boys go over all the essential categories from Best Score all the way to the grand-daddy of them all; “the award where they could have had 10 nominations, but they decided to go with eight.”

Will “Boyhood” be this year’s big winner? Will “Birdman” fly above the competition? Why was “Gone Girl” only nominated for one award? Why is the Academy in love with films that feature people with disabling diseases?  Is it a fetish that they secretly have that we don’t know about?

All this and much more as the Simplistic Reviews Crew gives Hollywood the old “what-for.”


Show Notes:
Hugh Jackman Hopping At Tony Awards


Music Notes: 

If you’re not interested in our ramblings, just check out our picks below:

Best Animated Feature*
Matt
Should Win: The Lego Movie / Will Win: Big Hero 6
DJ
Should Win: The Lego Movie / Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Justin
Should Win: The Boxtrolls / Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
*Matt and DJ know that “The Lego Movie” isn’t nominated, and it’s a crime that it isn’t.
Best Musical Score
Matt:
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel / Will Win: The Theory of Everything
DJ:
Should Win: Interstellar / Will Win: The Theory of Everything
Justin:
Should Win: Interstellar / Will Win: Interstellar
Best Adapted Screenplay/Best Original Screenplay
Matt:
Should Win: Inherent Vice & Birdman / Will Win: American Sniper & Birdman
DJ:
Should Win: Whiplash & Birdman / Will Win: Whiplash & Birdman
Justin:
Should Win: The Theory of Everything & The Grand Budapest Hotel / Will Win: Sniper & Birdman
Best Cinematography
Matt:
Should Win: Birdman / Will Win: Birdman
DJ:
Should Win: Birdman / Will Win: Birdman
Justin:
Should Win: Grand Budapest Hotel / Will Win: Birdman
Best Director
Matt:
Should Win: Boyhood / Will Win: Boyhood
DJ:
Should Win: Birdman / Will Win: Boyhood
Justin:
Should Win: Birdman / Will Win: Boyhood
Best Supporting Actress
Matt:
Should Win: Emma Stone / Will Win: Patricia Arquette
DJ:
Should Win: Emma Stone / Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Justin:
Should Win: Emma Stone / Will Win: Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actor
Matt
Should Win: Edward Norton / Will Win: J.K. Simmons
DJ:
Should Win: J.K. Simmons / Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Justin:
Should Win: J.K. Simmons / Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Best Actress
Matt:
Should Win: Rosamund Pike / Will Win: Julianne Moore
DJ:
Should Win: Rosamund Pike / Will Win: Julianne Moore
Justin:
Should Win: Rosamund Pike / Will Win: Julianne Moore
Best Actor*
Matt:
Should Win: Michael Keaton / Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
DJ:
Should Win: Jake Gyllenhaal / Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Justin:
Should Win: Michael Keaton / Will Win: Bradley Cooper
*DJ understands Jake isn’t nominated for “Nightcrawler” but he should have been.
Best Picture
Matt:
Should Win: Birdman / Will Win: Birdman
DJ:
Should Win: Birdman / Will Win: Boyhood
Justin:
Should Win: Birdman / Will Win: Boyhood

February 21, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 39): Miami Connection – Movie Commentary: February 2015

Friday Night Movie Night!

Tagline: Survival the ultimate test…

The year is 1987. Motorcycle ninjas tighten their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade, viciously annihilating anyone who dares move in on their turf. Multi-national martial arts rock band Dragon Sound have had enough, and embark on a roundhouse wreck-wave of crime-crushing justice. When not chasing beach bunnies or performing their hit song “Against the Ninja,” Mark (taekwondo master/inspirational speaker Y.K. Kim) and the boys are kicking and chopping at the drug world’s smelliest underbelly. It’ll take every ounce of their blood and courage, but Dragon Sound can’t stop until they’ve completely destroyed the dealers, the drunk bikers, the kill-crazy ninjas, the middle-aged thugs, the “stupid cocaine”

…and the entire MIAMI CONNECTION!!!


Podcast Notes

Deleted Scene “Music Store”

Music

Dragon Sound “Friends”
Dragon Sound “Against The Ninja”

Miami Connection OST – Jon McCallum – Trainyard

February 19, 2015

The House of the Devil

FUN

The House of the Devil – Fun

Like I mentioned in my review of “The Guest,” I love the 1980s, especially 80s horror, but one genre always kind of eluded me; the devil-worshiping/possession genre. I simply don’t find those types of films very scary or unnerving. This goes double for, get ready for it, “The Exorcist.” I simply don’t get the appeal of what so many people call “the scariest film ever made.” I also think the market has been flooded with these possession/evil house/devil worshiping found footage type films, and while they are low budget, and make a ton of money because we have enough sheep who go to the theater to waste their money with lackluster fare like that. But, every once in a while I’ll take the advice of a friend, or in this case a blog (thanks Slaughter Film) and go out on a limb and watch something I normally wouldn’t, and than I wonder to myself why it took so long to finally get around to this movie. That movie is 2009’s “The House of the Devil.” Directed by Ti West, who has also worked on the anthology series “V/H/S” and directed “The Sacrament” brings to glory of late 1970s and early 80s Gothic horror to life by recreating a film that is suspenseful and a crap ton of fun.

“House” is the tale of Samantha, a struggling college student looking to move out of her dorm room that is constantly being used by her over-sexed roommate. Desperate for money after finding the house of her dreams, Sam calls about a babysitting job the night of a lunar eclipse. After losing hope on the job, she receives a call from Mr. Ulman, the man who placed the babysitting ad. Dragging her friend Megan along, Sam accepts the job and heads to the Ulman residence. Upon arrival, as the viewer, you already have the sense that something isn’t quite right about Mr. Ulman, who is played to creepy perfection by consummate creeper, Tom Noonan. Creeped out, Sam is about to leave, but now desperate, Ulman tells Sam to name her price. She’s seizes the moment knowing that her new house is on the line. The film progresses with Sam exploring the house, hearing noises, and finally learning the secret the Ulmans have been hiding all along. To spoil the third act would be a disservice.

What works so well in “House” is the look of the film. The opening credits are something right out of a Wes Craven film, mixed with Hammer Horror, and a dash of Italian giallo. The hair styles are to the era, the score is reminiscent of something Ric Ocasek. However, even with all of these 80s elements, the film is still very contemporary and can fit into any era.

The one gripe I see that people could have is the pacing of the “House.” There isn’t a whole lot of “action” until about an hour into the film, but just like the films of yore, the build-up is part of the fun of this film. However, in this day and age of instant gratification, jump scares, and found-footage dredge (which is ironic since I actually enjoyed “V/H/S”) it’s refreshing to see a movie like “House” but I”m sure that’s the reason why this film hasn’t gotten much traction outside of die-hard horror fans who have been watching the genre for decades.

Overall, “The House of the Devil” is great and it pains me to think that it took me so long to finally get around to this film. The production design is strong, the acting is believable and likable, and the villains are creepy. It’s everything that you would want in a suspenseful horror film. New school kids beware, this IS your Daddy’s horror film.

Fun Fact: The Church of Satan was founded by Anton LaVey in 1966

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