Film Review: Snake Eater (1989, dir. George Erschbamer)


Jack 'Soldier' Kelly (Lorenzo Lamas)

Jack ‘Soldier’ Kelly (Lorenzo Lamas)

I HATE THIS MOVIE!!! I didn’t know there was more of me that could die after having seen God’s Not Dead and that movie that shall not be named. I’ll review that movie eventually. I don’t have any choice seeing as Creed is on its way. Anyways, more of me is now dead inside thanks to Snake Eater. You know Lorenzo Lamas was in a sequel to What Would Jesus Do? last year. I know what he would do. He would condemn Snake Eater to the fires of hell!

The movie begins with Soldier on a drug bust that suddenly turns into a strip session with some lady who shows up. Then two idiots appear and have to be dealt with. Soldier springs a trap that sends nails shooting up through the floor to hold the bad guys in place. She gets caught in a net when she tries to leave the room.

Nails!

Hanging Out

At the end of the movie Soldier once again captures a bad guy as a cop. In between is the rest of this steaming pile of cow dung. The movie is Lorenzo Lamas vs. Rednecks. A bunch of rednecks come on board Soldier’s parents boat, kill his parents, and kidnap his sister. Why? You are never told. It’s just an excuse for Lamas to go all Rambo in the backwoods of the United States. These are the saddest bunch of bad guys I have ever seen. Just look at these jokes!

Oh, God! I'm so scared of these guys.

Oh, God! I’m so scared of these guys.

One of these guys looks like he’s from the Beavis and Butthead porno spoof Beaver and Buttface. No joke. No joke that the movie exists and that he looks like he’s one of the actors from it. But these rednecks not only are so powerful that they are able to capture Soldier at one point, but he needs to go completely Rambo in order to deal with them. They couldn’t be ninjas, members of a powerful gang, or international drug smugglers? No, they had to be rednecks.

Rambo

Rambo

Rambo

It’s so wonderful to know that we have a special Search & Destroy Rednecks Tactical Unit in this country. I feel so much more safe when I go to bed knowing they’re around. Too bad they weren’t around in 1974. Poor Ned Beatty. My God, rednecks, really? Who thought these were good enemies for someone who was ex-special forces?

I would say more, but it’s just stupid fights with rednecks or bikers. That’s it! I can’t believe this not only started Lorenzo Lamas’ career as an action star, but it also spawned two sequels. But you want to hear the most shocking thing? I am actually looking forward to those sequels. It looks like they took the few minutes of this movie that worked when he was actually a cop and made it the whole movie. WHICH IS WHAT THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!

Note: A guy does get grabbed in the crotch, but it does not lead to a “testicular standoff” like in Tammy and the T-Rex. Lamas does pull a guy’s tooth out though. Nasty!

Crotch Grab!

Crotch Grab!

4 Shots From 4 Films: Thriller, Switchblade Sisters, Death Has Blue Eyes, Ms. 45


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films.  As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Thriller, A Cruel Picture a.k.a. They Call Her One Way (1973, dir by Bo Arne Vibenius)

Thriller, A Cruel Picture a.k.a. They Call Her One Eye (1973, dir by Bo Arne Vibenius)

Switchblade Sisters (1975, dir by Jack Hill)

Switchblade Sisters (1975, dir by Jack Hill)

Death Has Blue Eyes (1976, dir by Nico Mastorakis)

Death Has Blue Eyes (1976, dir by Nico Mastorakis)

Ms. 45 (1981, dir by Abel Ferrara)

Ms. 45 (1981, dir by Abel Ferrara)

 

Film Review: Safari 3000 (1982, dir. Harry Hurwitz)


Christopher Lee and Mini-Me

Christopher Lee and Mini-Me

Ever seen that episode of AVGN for Darkwing Duck on the TurboGrafx-16? It starts off with the Nerd going through numerous games that you know are bad just by the title. Moon Ranger, Kid Niki, Dudes With Attitude, Deathbots, and Mad Max for the NES. They’re clearly bad games, but there just isn’t enough material to work with for a proper episode of the show. Safari 3000 is the cinematic equivalent to those reject games. However, since I suffered through it, now you must hear about it. And yes, I borrowed that sentence from Necessary Roughness (1991).

As you can see from the picture above, Christopher Lee is in this with a mustache, leather outfit, and a Darth Vader helmet. Why the Darth Vader helmet? I have no clue. Why does this little guy follow him around? No clue, but he does jump off a building near the beginning of the film. Why? I found out there is a movie called Pterodactyl Woman from Beverly Hills (1997) today so I don’t even know how we still exist, let alone why he jumps off the building.

So what is Safari 3000 about? There’s some sort of race in Africa and several teams are going to compete. Christopher Lee and the little guy…wait, of course, it’s a reference to The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)! That’s also why his name is Count Borgia in order to reference the Hammer Dracula films.

Well, there are other teams. I saw one that is clearly supposed to be two Japanese guys, and another made up of Italians. There are also two ladies who are listed as the American Housewives team in the credits. I’d find it offensive, but it’s an apt description because at the beginning of the race they say that while their husbands go to Vegas, they go to race cars.

David Carradine and Stockard Channing

David Carradine and Stockard Channing

This movie gets to the race pretty quickly, which is good. Channing convinces her superior at Playboy to let her go to cover this race with Carradine as her driver. What follows is promising with some laughs. They get across a partially broken bridge with a little trick driving. A local African guy gets angry at them, pretends to be unable to speak English, then leaves them alone when they give him a fancy camera. Then he promptly turns around, perfectly describes the camera to his buddies, and takes a shot of of his friend.

Trick Driving

Camera!

Camera!

Smile!

Smile!

However, after that it just gets boring. The main problem is that there isn’t enough cutting between the different racers to get us excited or keep us engaged. Nor does enough happen to Channing and Carradine for us to feel them bond the way the movie wants us to believe they do.

In the end, you get a few laughs. You get to see some wildlife. Then the movie ends and you move on. In my case, to the next movie.

Winning, one way or another

Moon Madness: INVISIBLE INVADERS (1959)


invade1

Edward L. Cahn (1899-1963) was one of those unsung Hollywood minions who had long careers. Beginning as an editor in the waning days of the silent era, Cahn steadily worked his way up to director, helming 26 of MGM’s later Our Gang shorts. Moving from the majors to the seedy world of low-budget filmmaking, Cahn’s feature film output found him at poverty stricken studios like PRC and for a number of years American International Pictures. He worked mainly in the science-fiction realm, but labored on everything from teen delinquency pics (DRAGSTRIP GIRL) to war dramas (SUICIDE BATTALION) to westerns (FLESH AND THE SPUR) and noir (WHEN THE CLOCK STRIKES). Cahn’s features were interesting. Not very good mind you, but interesting.

INVISIBLE INVADERS is a interesting one, in a car wreck sort of way. Atomic radiation from mankind’s nuclear testing has filtered into outer space. The late Dr. Karol Noyman’s corpse (veteran boogieman John Carradine) has been reanimated by an invisible alien from the moon (!) and sent to give his former colleague Dr. Penner a warning: all nations on Earth must surrender or the aliens will take over dead bodies and annihilate the world! Penner’s daughter Phyllis and associate Dr. Lamont are supportive, but the press has a field day scoffing at the old scientist. When the alien zombies go on a destructive, stock footage filled rampage, they start taking the old duffer seriously.

invade2Army Major Bruce Jay is sent to whisk Penner and company to a secret atomic lab. There, the scientists work diligently to figure out a way to stop the zombie invasion. It’s learned that by disrupting the alien’s molecular structure with high pitched sound waves, they leave their host bodies and die. Building a sonic ray gun (and how they built it so fast is beyond me), they successfully knock off a horde of the marauding monsters. Our heroes have the zombie cure and save the world from certain death.

Whew! I laughed out loud at some of the ridiculous situations presented in INVISIBLE INVADERS. The phony special effects and shoddy props would make Ed Wood proud. The cast tries, but are defeated by the ludicrous dialogue forced on them. John Agar (Maj.Jay) starred in way too many of these Grade Z schlockfests to mention here. Agar is clearly trying to emulate his former co-star John Wayne in this one, but falls far short of the mark. Pretty Jean Byron (Phyllis) had much more success as the mom in the mid-60s sitcom THE PATTY DUKE SHOW. Robert Hutton (Lamont) was a Hollywood also-ran who’s career never took off. He later starred in another low-budget masterpiece, 1967’s THEY CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (which I’ll get around to reviewing sooner or later). And Carradine is totally wasted in a role he could play in his sleep…and in this turkey. it looks like he did!

invade3  Despite it all, I still liked INVISIBLE INVADERS. As a connoisseur of bad movies, I thought it was fun in a dopey kind of way. If you’re a fan of stuff like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE, BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS, or a die-hard John Agar fan, you’ll enjoy INVISIBLE INVADERS. I did (guess there’s just no accounting for good taste!)

Let’s Talk About Sharktopus Vs. Whalewolf!


sharktopus-vs-whalewolf-640x360

On Saturday night, SyFy premiered Roboshark and Mega Shark vs. Kolossus and viewers like me will be forever thankful.  However, SyFy wasn’t done giving us treats.  On Sunday night, another new film premiered.  It was called Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf and I’m not ashamed to say that it was absolutely brilliant.

Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf takes place in the Dominican Republic.  A disgraced baseball player, Felix Rosa (played by Mario Arturo Hernandez,) goes to a mysterious German scientist, Dr. Reihnhardt (Catherine Oxenberg), in search of a treatment that will again make him a superstar.  However, as often happens with mad scientists, Dr. Reinhardt has an agenda of her own and soon Felix has been transformed into a hybrid between a whale and wolf.  This means that he looks like a wolf but he swims like a whale and he tends to act like a dog.

Except, of course, when he’s eating people.

When he’s eating people, he’s all Whalewolf.

whale

Meanwhile, alcoholic boat captain Ray (Casper Van Dien, giving a likable and energetic performance) has discovered that Sharktopus — a creature with the head of shark and the body of an octopus — is swimming in the waters around the Dominican Republic.  At first, Ray and his sidekick, Pablo (Jorge Eduardo De Los Santos), aren’t too concerned about the Sharktopus or anything else.  But then the local voodoo priest (Tony Almont) demands that they bring him the heart of Sharktopus and, when they don’t promptly comply, he starts to stick pins into Ray and Pablo voodoo dolls.

While all of that is going on, Ray’s almost girlfriend, police officer Nita (Akari Endo),  is trying to keep the peace but that’s a little bit difficult when you not only have to deal with a voodoo cult, an alcoholic boat captain, and a German mad scientist but also with Sharktopus and Whalewolf as well!

But that’s not all!  A Dominican version of The Bachelor is being filmed nearby.  It would be a lot easier for the bachelor to find love if not for the fact that Sharktopus keeps eating all of his potential wives.

And finally, there’s a tourist who is vacationing in the Dominican Republic and is convinced that she’s starting a new chapter of her life.  Needless to say, things don’t exactly end well…

Okay, you may have read all that and may now be under the impression that there’s a lot of going on in Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf and you are absolutely correct.  This is a very busy film but, then again, that’s exactly why it works.  The pace is relentless and the action is nonstop.  No time is wasted when it comes to introducing both Sharktopus and Whalewolf.  It’s nonstop Sharktopus and Whalewolf action, without a single slow moment.

The tone is pretty much set from the moment that Catherine Oxenberg first appears and starts to speak in the most over-the-top, deliberately exaggerated German accent ever heard.  Then Casper Van Dien shows up, pulling flasks out of his pockets and, at one point, getting into a literal slap fight with Sharktopus.  (Casper Van Dien gives a performance that can be positively compared to the best work of Bruce Campbell.)

Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf works as both an entertaining monster film and a glorious send up of the entire genre.  If you missed it for the first time, keep an eye out for another showing.

And hopefully, Sharktopus will soon return!

SW

Let’s Talk About Mega Shark vs. Kolossus!


It was while watching Mega Shark vs. Kolossus that I discovered that, apparently, I have the power to kill fictional characters with my tweets.  As soon Dr. Sergie Abramov (Patrick Bauchau) first appeared on screen, I tweeted out my prediction that he was “doomed,” largely because he was “eccentric and old.”  15 minutes later, a group of gun-toting mercenaries showed up and gunned Dr. Abramov down.

AGCK!, I thought, I didn’t really mean to kill him…

Now, normally, I would have to admit that discovering that I possessed that much power would lead to a lot of thought and reflection on my part.  But you know what?  I was enjoying myself way too much to really feel that bad about getting Dr. Abramov killed.  That’s the type of film that Mega Shark vs. Kolossus is.  It’s a lot of fun and, if the cost of that fun is that Dr. Abramov had to die … well, so be it.

Produced by the Asylum and directed by Christoper Douglas-Olen Ray (who also directed A House Is Not A Home and Shark Week), Mega Shark vs. Kolossus premiered on SyFy right after Roboshark.  I have to admit that, when the film began, I wasn’t sure that anything could successfully follow the brilliance that was Roboshark.

But, Mega Shark vs. Kolossus proved my doubts wrong.

Mega Shark vs. Kolossus is not only a good SyFy film and a worthy entry in the Mega Shark franchise but it’s also a lot of fun.  If I could only pick a handful of movies to justify my love of SyFy and Asylum films, Mega Shark vs. Kolossus would definitely be right there with End of the World and Jersey Shore Shark Attack.  Mega Shark vs. Kolossus has everything — from the knowing humor to the over-the-top action to the flamboyant monsters — that you could possibly want from a SyFy film.

MEGASHARK-VS-KOLOSSUS-1-600x338

At heart, Mega Shark vs. Kolossus is a delirious homage to the old school Godzilla films where Godzilla would have to reluctantly save humanity from yet another giant monster.  (Kolossus is even reminiscent of the robotic Godzilla from Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla.)

As the film starts, the world has been thrown into chaos as the result of all of the previous Mega Shark attacks.  Admiral Jackson (Ernest Thomas) is determined to track down and destroy Mega Shark but Dr. Alison Gray (Illeana Douglas) argues that if we would just leave Mega Shark alone then Mega Shark would leave us alone.  Billionaire Joshua Dane (Brody Hutzler) claims to agree with her but is it possible that he has ulterior motives of his own?  Well, consider this: has there even been a truly benevolent billionaire in an Asylum film?

Meanwhile, in the Ukraine, Kolossus — a giant robot that was created during the Cold War — has accidentally be activated.  Can secret agent Moria King (Amy Rider, who totally kicked ass and who deserves to appear in every subsequent Mega Shark film) and CIA analyst Spencer (Edward DeRuiter, who also wrote the film’s script) figure out how to control Kolossus?

And, finally, will Kolossus and Mega Shark meet and fight?  Well, the answer to that one is right in the title of the film.

Mega Shark vs. Kolossus is delirious fun, a surprisingly well-acted and entertaining homage to the great monster movies of the past.  Obviously, Mega Shark is the top-billed star here but, for me, the film is really stolen by Kolossus.  This behemoth of robotic mayhem dominates almost every scene in which he appears and hopefully, he’ll return for a future movie.  Could Sharktopus vs. Kolossus or Roboshark Meets Kolossus be in the future?  I certainly hope so!

Mega Shark vs. Kolossus is terrific and entertaining.  If you missed it the first time, keep an eye out for a future showing.  You will not be disappointed!

We love you, Kolossus!

We love you, Kolossus!

Let’s Talk About Roboshark!


In case you missed it, it is currently Shark Week on the SyFy network.  (Or, as the Snarkalecs and I like to call it, Snark Week!)  Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No will be premiering this Wednesday and, in honor of that historic event, SyFy has devoted this week to broadcasting some of their trademark original movies.  Along with showing such classics as Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Shark Week, Two-Headed Shark Attack, and Ghost Shark, SyFy is also premiering 6 new shark films.

Roboshark, the first of these premieres, was aired on Saturday night.  Now, obviously, there was no way that I would be able to resist watching a film with a title like Roboshark.

 Roboshark, like many great SyFy films, opens with something falling out of the sky and landing in the ocean.  A chunk of UFO plunges into the water and is promptly eaten by a normal, every day shark.  Soon, that shark is transformed into … ROBOSHARK!  With its fins glowing red and a twitter account of his very own, Roboshark attacks Seattle.

That’s right!  Roboshark destroys a Starbucks, eats hipsters, and eventually takes out an eccentric billionaire named Bill Glates (Steve Sires) and it’s all a lot of fun to watch.  And before everyone decides to leave a snarky comment pointing out my typo, allow me to assure you that the character was indeed named Bill Glates.  However, he looked and sounded just like Bill Gates and, seeing as how Windows 8.1 has had 40 updates this month alone, there was something undeniably satisfying about seeing him get eaten by a roboshark.

Roboshark-SyFy

As often happens in SyFy film, Roboshark isn’t really bad.  He’s just misunderstood.  He uses his twitter account to communicate with Melody (Vanessa Grasse), the daughter of Trish (Alexis Peterman), the local “wacky weathergirl” who is looking to prove herself as a serious journalist by covering the roboshark attack.  Unfortunately, Trish continually finds herself overshadowed by her rival reporter, Veronica (Laura Dale, giving a nicely comedic performance).

Meanwhile, Trish’s husband, Rick (Matt Rippy), has been half-recruited and half-kidnapped by Admiral Black (brilliant Nigel Barber), who is determined to save the world from Roboshark, even if he has to destroy the Seattle Space Needle to do it.  (“But the Space Needle is the symbol of Seattle!” Rick protests.)  Admiral Black is addicted to energy drinks and seems to be having a lot of fun being the craziest guy in the room.  His character was a lot of fun.

Actually, the whole film is a lot of fun.  Roboshark is a great example of everything that we love about SyFY films.  It was a deliberately over-the-top film full of inside jokes and a really cool monster.  And I’m not just saying that because Roboshark retweeted me several times on Saturday night.

(Though he totally did!  Love you, Roboshark!)

Roboshark is the type of film that must be watched with a large group of people looking to have a good (and silly) time.  It’s the type of film that literally begged to be live tweeted and, needless to say, that’s exactly what a lot of us did.  Here are just a few tweets from the epic Roboshark live tweet:

If you missed Roboshark the first time, keep an eye out for it!  It’s everything we love about SyFy shark movies!

We love you, Roboshark!

We love you, Roboshark!

 

Val’s Movie Roundup #4: Hallmark Edition


Recipe For Love

Recipe For Love (2014) – The movie begins with Lauren (Danielle Panabaker) as a kid writing a food blog about cafeteria food. She is told that’s a no no by the school. Then we jump ahead to when she’s an adult working in a kitchen. Suddenly, an opportunity falls into her lap. She is asked to ghostwrite a cook book for a television chef named Dexter Durant (Shawn Roberts). At first there is a little friction, but it doesn’t last long. The two open up to each other pretty quickly. We see behind the facade Dexter puts on for the audience and Lauren genuinely wants to make this cookbook happen. It’s not like this is a story about a woman whose voice is hidden behind a man’s. And it’s not about tearing down this fake personality to see Dexter fall from grace or watch him give up this thing he was only doing for fame. They work together, fall for each other, and both come out of the process better then when they began it. They both still love cooking and want to continue to do so with each other. I really liked that she wasn’t bashing against a wall that finally comes down in the end. Both of them begin to deal with each other as real people early on. I liked this Hallmark movie better than most I have seen.

Catch A Christmas Star

Catch A Christmas Star (2013) – I swear if it isn’t a dog movie, it’s a bible movie, otherwise it’s a Christmas movie. In fact, director John Bradshaw has made eight of them. This film introduces us to a family that has a little girl who likes a singer named Nikki (Shannon Elizabeth). She shows up at a record signing and wouldn’t you know it, turns out Nikki knows her Dad from the past. There’s no sense in spelling out the rest of the plot because you already know it. I didn’t like this one. I didn’t feel any chemistry. Shannon Elizabeth doesn’t act well. She certainly can’t sing. And while she is probably the nicest and sweetest person I could ever meet in real life, she looks like a plastic doll to me in this movie. I just couldn’t push past that. I’ve only seen four Hallmark Christmas movies, but I would go with A Royal Christmas (2014) instead.

My Boyfriends' Dogs

My Boyfriends’ Dogs (2014) – This year I replaced my desktop PC with a Mac. I kind of regret the choice of going with a Mac because the software is lousy. The hardware is giving me some problems too. But I’m going off on a tangent. My point is that while the computers have given out over the years, the monitors still work fine. As a result, I have the monitor that comes with the all in one Mac and two monitors from previous computers attached for a three monitor setup. This movie is like that. It follows Bailey (Erika Christensen) as she goes from one boyfriend to another, picking up their dogs along the way. It’s actually quite funny to see two of them show up on her doorstep with a dog for her to adopt. At the center of this series of dates is the guy at the pet shop cast because we can instantly tell he’s a good guy. Now all of this is told in flashback. At the beginning of the movie, Bailey wanders into a cafe wearing a wedding dress where she recounts her story to a some guy and Joyce Dewitt of Three’s Company fame. Turns out the final boyfriend almost became her husband before she ran out, dogs and all. I won’t spoil the ending, but it will have you yelling, “Oh, come on!” This one’s okay, but Recipe For Love is the best of the four in this roundup.

For Better Or For Worse

For Better or for Worse (2014) – This one is a Romeo and Juliet style story. You have the mother who does weddings. You have a father who does divorces. Their children decide to come together, become vegans, and organic farmers. Obviously, that doesn’t go to well with the parents. What follows is the parents getting closer while trying to drive the kids away, only to figure out that as weird as it seems, the kids are actually pretty happy together. The two parents also turn out to be happy as well with each other. Wait, I just realized something. I know it’s a little wishy washy, up for argument, and they did it in Clueless, but that smells a little like incest. A little weird for a Hallmark movie. Oh well, is it worth your time? You can do worse. It’s a decent 90 minutes or so without commercials. I wouldn’t seek it out, but if it’s on, then just enjoy it to pass the time.