Film Review: Rock’s Winning Workout Without Weights (1990, dir. ???)


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This is probably the weirdest thing I have ever written about. This is what appears to be a really bizarre unreleased amateur workout video from 1990. A guy named Rock is going to guide the audience through exercises that don’t involve weights with the help of what appears to be a homeless guy named Zar, two surfer friends, and an old man named Dorral Silverthorn.

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It begins with Zar doing some exercises including crunches and jumping. Then it cuts to Dorral Silverthorn.

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He goes off. He’s angry about what he calls the “two-faced” hypocritical government. He complains about Prohibition being repealed. He says my new catch phrase: “Booze is a loser. And a loser is a boozer.” He briefly talks about how the government is spending a lot of money to curtail drugs coming into the country, but not enough on homegrown ones. Then it’s back to the workout.

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This is the first of the two surfer dudes. I believe they refer to him as big Zaddi. He then has a foot race with Zar after Zar tries to jump so high that his head hits the ceiling.

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Now we meet the next surfer dude named John who takes us through a few more exercises.

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We see Zar ride a bike and then it’s goodbye to the audience.

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The movie ends with Zar chilling in a pool.

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Oh, and during this whole thing some really depressing piano music plays.

This may be the strangest thing I have ever written about. I don’t normally do this because things get taken down off of YouTube all the time, but here’s the full video if you want to see it. It’s really short.

Val’s Movie Roundup #22: Hallmark Edition


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Ordinary Miracles (2005) – This movie begins with a judge hearing a case of two foster parents who want to give up their foster daughter back into the system because she is too much for them. What they tell the judge she has done is pretty minor and if they are foster parents then they should have been able to handle it. Anyways, the judge grants their wish, but unfortunately is stuck because she has no where else to put her but into juvenile prison.

With that over with, some blonde shows up to plead her case as the judge is leaving for a vacation of sorts. This lady was obviously hired because of her angelic appearance, but she’s just plain annoying. I say this because she harasses the judge about helping the girl. She says she cares deeply about what happens to her. She didn’t care enough to show up to the case under the guise that her department is too busy. Fine, but if you care so much about her, then instead of bothering the judge, do something about it yourself! Instead, she guilts the judge into taking the girl out of holding to try and foster the girl herself.

The rest is pretty typical. There’s the boyfriend who’s the bad influence. The judge tries to do research into her past to find her missing parents. And the girl goes through some adjustment issues. There’s also a minor subplot with the judge’s parents as well. Nothing particularly interesting or great. It’s just decent.

The only thing that bothered me, other than the blonde, was the supposed visit from the ghost of the daughter’s dead mother. It’s almost like they were planning to do more with it, but didn’t. She has a nightmare near the beginning of the film that we are told was actually her talking to someone. Later we actually see the ghost of her mother talk to her. I don’t really know what the point of that was. It doesn’t add anything and feels out of place.

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Ice Dreams (2010) – There are quite a few characters here so I’m going to try and give you the gist. You have an ice rink that isn’t doing well financially and looks run down. It’s run by two guys. One who is there for comic relief and a couple of speeches. The other is the male romantic interest who really runs the place. Then you have a girl who used to skate and is allowed to skate at the rink after hours. She is having financial difficulties. Another lady is trying to help her daughter get into skating. Then you have the mother of the girl who skates at night trying to come back into her life.

The romantic interest helps to setup the after hours skater as a coach for the young girl. He and her become an item. The skating rink is brought up to snuff. The mother comes back into the life of her daughter. Everything raps up nicely.

This one is definitely a straight average Hallmark movie. The only thing is that it is cluttered with a few too many characters. However, that kind of helps to give a reason for the film to keep going without feeling padded out.

This one’s okay.

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The Last Cowboy (2003) – This is one of those movies where there really isn’t anything to talk about except it’s problems and little noteworthy things. The plot is that the patriarch of the family has died and the inheritance is a bit of a mess for the family. Basically it’s all an excuse just to have Jennie Garth and Lance Henrikson bash heads till they find a way to keep the Texas ranch and be family again.

Okay, now the other stuff. First, this actually has Bradley Cooper in it. Well before he did The Hangover. He is barely in the movie, but you can tell he had talent even here. And yes, he looks even more boyish.

Second, the movie takes place in Texas. However, it was clearly filmed in California. Maybe if you don’t know the open spaces of California that well then it might not be as obvious, but I am familiar with the big parks in the Bay Area. Every time they try to say they are in Texas it’s like this shot from Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes! (1978).

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There’s even a scene where we see a Texas license plate and it’s like when a foreign film puts an American flag in the scene so we totally believe they are Americans. Like this shot from the Argentinian porno spoof of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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There is a great scene near the end of the movie when the barn burns. Lance Henrikson goes in and comes out with his arm on fire. He just walks over to the two other people nonchalantly. In fact, he begins to just stand there like he doesn’t even care before one of the other actors puts it out with his hat. That’s badass!

The only other thing is a weird censorship issue. I remember when they muted the word “butt” in Mystery Woman: Game Time (2005). In this they mute two uses of the word “ass” and one use of the word “jackass”. It’s in the movie because you can hear them say the words around it and mouth “ass” and “jackass”, but it falls silent on those words. Makes me wonder if maybe Hallmark has become more conservative then they were when they first switched from an explicitly religious station to what they are now. However, later in the film someone says the word “jackass” and it isn’t censored. Figure that one out cause I don’t know what happened.

This one is okay if you can keep yourself from saying, “It’s fucking California!,” every time they show “Texas”. I know I did.

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Uncorked (2009) – I usually don’t mention the directors of these Hallmark movies, but this one was done by David S. Cass Sr. who has done many of the ones I have reviewed so far. Notably, he did Class (2010) and Keeping Up With The Randalls (2011). Both of those movies had miscast leads. This one has one obvious miscast that almost ruins the movie. There’s something else in addition to it that truly ruins it, but let me summarize first.

This is yet another movie about how a woman with a successful job in the city who isn’t happy and avoids an unhappy relationship to end up in the country with another man. This time it’s wine country. The guy has a kid so that means he was once married. I really wonder what screenwriters would do if they didn’t have cancer and drunk drivers to kill off spouses and parents in movies. In this case, it’s cancer. She is in town for a convention and ends up spending some time with him since he is a bit of a local celebrity. She loses out on one business opportunity, gets another, but leaves it to go back to him and put her business skills to use to help his winery.

Sounds fine when I summarize it like that, but it has two big problems. The first is the casting of the male lead. Just take a look at him.

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This guy should be playing a serial killer like a murderous lumberjack, not a romantic lead. At least not with that facial hair and his sizable build. In fact, he made me think of Eric Freeman in the now infamous Garbage Day scene from Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987).

The second problem comes when you reach these two lines:
Girl: “I’ve only know you for four days.”
Boy: “It seems like so much more.”

No, no it doesn’t. It seems like you spent even less than four days together. I kept pausing it to look at the running time because I was wondering how this film was going to make us believe they should be together with so little time spent together. It was a real problem for me.

Also, we never get as convinced that she should be unhappy with where she is in life as we do in other Hallmark movies. Usually it’s kind of obvious, but here you wonder why she couldn’t have made that part of her life work rather than making a sea change.

I wouldn’t recommend this one.

Uneasy Riders: Dennis Hopper in THE GLORY STOMPERS (AIP, 1967)


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I love biker flicks!! I sat through just about everyone of them in their late 60s/early 70s heyday during double (sometimes triple) features at the local movie palaces….which may explain my warped worldview. THE GLORY STOMPERS was a favorite, and TCM ran it late last night. Naturally, I had to DVR it and give it another look. THE GLORY STOMPERS is a simple chase/revenge movie, with Glory Stomper Daryl (Jody McCrae) jumped by rival gang the Black Souls. Thinking they’ve “wasted” Daryl, head Soul Chino (Dennis Hopper) abducts Daryl’s girl Chris (Chris Noel), with a plan to sell her to white slavers in Mexico. But Daryl’s not dead, and he hunts down the gang, joined on the road by ex-Stomper Smiley (Jock Mahoney). The chase is on, with plenty of (PG) sex and violence along the way.

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Much like a B-Western, the story doesn’t stray too far from the formula. What makes…

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Wanna Turn On “Cam2Cam” ? No Thanks


Trash Film Guru

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Hey, how about that poster?

And now that you’ve seen the best thing about director Joel Soisson’s 2014 indie horror Cam2Cam, we can probably just move on.

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Okay, tell you what, I may be feeling lazy, but I’m not quite feeling that lazy. After all, I watched this thing on Netflix the other night (it’s also available on DVD — though not on Blu-ray — from IFC), and I started to write a review of it, so I may as well finish the job. And while it may not be a job that I’m actually getting paid for, warning well-intentioned horror fans away from this pile of shit will hopefully count as my good deed for the day and I can rack up a few cheap points on the ol’ karmic wheel.

So, to make a long story short, here’s why you don’t need to bother with this one…

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New iZombie trailer!


The CDub has released a new trailer for iZombie and it is awesome! Short, but but it gives us our first taste (not sorry for the pun) of what Liv (Rose McIver) will be like.

We get a glimpse of the new Blaine, and Max is in it!

I so want iZombie back on my TV! Besides Jane The Virgin, this is one of CW’s best shows!

Here is the new trailer.

“Almost Mercy” Is Almost A Classic


Trash Film Guru

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If there’s one thing we’re all about around these parts, it’s shining a light on low-budget independent horror that deserves a wider audience, and as far as low budgets go, well — they don’t get much lower than the $150,000 that director/co-writer (along with Bernard Dolan) Tom DeNucci shelled out for his 2015 mini-masterpiece Almost Mercy. The flick certainly looks like it cost a good deal more than that, though, so credit to our favorite new genre wunderkind for knowing how to make a little go a long way.

You know what’s doubly impressive, though? The fact that it’s a fairly safe wager that a good chunk of that $150,000 went to fan-favorite actors Bill Moseley and Kane Hodder (who play a pair of adult “authority figures” — Moseley being a preacher and Hodder a coach), both of whom probably showed up for no more than a day or…

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International Weirdness : “From The Dark”


Trash Film Guru

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I had at least modest hopes for director Conor McMahon’s 2014 effort From The Dark given that I was reasonably impressed a few months back with fellow recent-vintage Irish indie horror  The Canal, but when you think about it, that makes about as much sense as figuring We Are Your Friends might be good just because, I dunno, Straight Outta Compton was. After all, they both come from the same country, and they’re both about music, right?

Which is not to say that McMahon’s modestly-budgeted little supernatural wannabe spine-tingler doesn’t have its moments (hell, for all I know, maybe We Are Your Friends does, too) — it’s just that they’re very few and far between, and come way too late to save the day.

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The good news is that if you’re a fan of simple set-ups, they don’t come much simpler than this : young(-ish) lovebirds Mark (Stephen…

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International Weirdness : “Archivo 253”


Trash Film Guru

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Stop me at any time if you think you’ve heard this one before : a group of four amateur paranormal investigators have decided to spend the night at an abandoned insane asylum to see if all the rumors they’ve heard about the joynt being haunted are true. They’re filing the whole thing for their half-assed internet TV show. They set up shop, things go bump in the night, and whaddaya know — turns out they should have stayed away after all.

So what makes 2015’s Archivo 253 any different from the slew of found-footage horror flicks that exploit this very same (and very tired) premise? Nothing, other than the fact that it was made in Mexico and you’ve actually gotta read the insipid dialogue rather than just hear it.

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At this point, you could be forgiven for thinking that I must be selling director Abe Rosenberg’s (funny, that name doesn’t…

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Film Review: Race With The Devil (1975, directed by Jack Starrett)


220px-RaceWithTheDevilWarren Oates and Peter Fonda versus …. SATAN!

Roger (Peter Fonda) and Frank (Warren Oates) are lifelong friends and business partners who, along with their wives Kelly (Lara Parker) and Alice (Loretts Swit), are planning on taking the “best damn vacation we ever had.”  Traveling to Colorado in Frank’s RV, they decide to camp for a night next to a river.  Not only do Frank and Roger witness what appears to be a human sacrifice but they also have to run for their lives when they are spotted.  The local sheriff (R.G. Armstrong) tells them that they probably just saw a bunch of hippies killing an animal but Peter Fonda knows hippies and those were not hippies.  Taking some blood-stained dirt so it can be analyzed by the authorities, Roger and Frank try to drive on but find themselves being pursued by Satanists.

A relentless and entertaining B-movie, Race With The Devil is a hybrid of Rosemary’s Baby, Smokey and the Bandit, and Easy Rider, with some Parallax View-style paranoia mixed in as well.  Eventually, it seems as if everyone in rural Texas — from the sheriff to the gas station attendant to the residents of an RV park where our heroes try to spend the night — is a Satanist.  (Even a wrecked school bus turns out to just be an excuse to get the RV to slow down so the Satanic rednecks can attack, leading to Warren Oates’s classic line, “I don’t believe in a school bus on Sunday.”)

A big part of the fun of Race With The Devil is getting to watch Peter Fonda and Warren Oates acting opposite each other.  (A lot of drive-in patrons probably left Race With The Devil with a crush on the lovely Lara Parker as well.)  Friends both on and off-screen (Oates previously co-starred in Fonda’s directorial debut, The Hired Hand), Fonda and Oates are a lot of fun to watch playing off of each other in Race With The Devil, with Warren Oates’s natural intensity providing a good contrast to Fonda’s laid back style.

It may not rank up there with the movies that he appeared in for Sam Peckinpah and Monte Hellman but Race With The Devil is still one of Warren Oates’s most entertaining films.

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