Sunday, January 24, 2010

Impromptu Movie Night

A few fellow film fanatics and I decided to get together and watch a few flicks. There were only three of us but between Marcus, Travis and myself we had a good time. Here are the glorious DVDs we viewed.

The Found Footage Festival, Vol 4 - 2009 - Compiled by: Joe Pickett & Nick Prueher
Location: Marcus' Couch
My Contribution

For the uninitiated, the Found Footage Festival is a show put together by two VHS aficionados who seek out the weird and hilarious. Joe and Nick scour thrift stores and garage sales all over the country to amass one of the greatest collections of unintentionally humorous crap. The two do a live show with montages of clips that they speak on and the laughs just begin to roll out of you. After seeing their show a few months ago I have become a lifelong fan and cannot wait for them to return.

Marcus missed out on the show but wanted to see the DVD, which I pre-ordered at their show, so I brought it and we watched it first. The hilarious clips of exercise videos, 80s cartoons, hair and make-up instructionals, erotic subjects, Phyllis Diller's tips for a good garage sale, video dating and many other hold up well for the second viewing. As the other guys can attest we were all rolling over with laughter. There is not much more I can say about this seeing as it's just clips from the bizarre world of VHS tapes, but it is definitely hilarious and worth the money.

More info and semi-daily posted videos can be found on their website, There you can also buy all four of the volumes and some t-shirts. Buy the newest, Volume 4, here.

2LDK - 2003 - Dir: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Location: Marcus' Couch
Travis' Contribution

This film was one I realized I had seen before but remembered almost nothing about it, except that it was a film I didn't like. I'm really glad I got the chance to revisit this quick Japanese flick, because it's pretty crazy. The director was in competition with another to make a film with only two characters in a week and this is the film which won. Two aspiring actresses and roommates begin to unravel with jealousy and anger as they await news on a part for which they both auditioned. Each of the girls' bad habits begin to bother the other more than usual and they end up in an epic fight all over their crazy apartment.

This is only about 70 minutes and it uses every second to show the rage each girl has against the other. Some of the acts of vengeance are, while mean, pretty funny. Throwing eggs in the girl's face is one example, while exchanging slaps to the face is another. Don't let the silliness of egg on the face or slapping fool you, the girls get vicious in ways horror fans will enjoy. I wonder if things would have worked out differently if Tsutsumi had more than a week to work on this, but more revision could have detracted from the final product. Grab the DVD here.

Super Soul Brother - 1979 - Dir: Rene Martinez, Jr
Location: Marcus' Couch
Marcus' Contribution

I'm glad to see that Marcus' interest in Blaxploitation seems to have surged after we saw Black Dynamite last weekend. This flick started off as a black Superman but evolved into more of a comedy with a little action. A medical experiment is being done to give superhuman abilities to a normal man in order to rob a jewelry store of ten million in diamonds. The only problem is the chemicals are unstable and the recipient will die within a week. Instead of risking themselves they decide to get a wino from the ghetto and use him. Enter the zany "Wildman" Steve Gallon who talks a lot, and only about a third of it makes any sense.

This film has everything you would want from a Blaxploitation film - bad acting, inexplicable extreme close-ups on half a face, bad dialog and plenty of jargon. The scientific genius behind everything is a white midget named Dr. Dippy who has a very weird accent, a big boobed girlfriend and smokes the weirdest looking cigars I've ever seen. There are so many bad things about this movie that it makes for great fun. The lines said, especially by Wildman, are ridiculous. At one point he complains about the government being against marijuana but for two grown men having sex (HA!). He says that "if you are caught with a joint in your mouth, you better make sure it has two balls on the end of it." Good times indeed.

Like many Blaxploitation films of the era this had different titles and is mostly known by The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger, as seen on the IMDb page. Films of this ilk just loved throwing that word in the title, which makes for some very interesting theme songs at times, but I'll get to that at another time. The other bowdlerized titles include Six Thousand Dollar Super-Brother and The Six Thousand Dollar Black Dude.

This is one that is not easily available on DVD, but if you find it there are plenty of laughs and "what the hell" moments.

Blood: The Last Vampire - 2000 - Dir: Hiroyuki Kitakubo
Location: Marcus' Couch
Travis' Contribution

This last DVD is just over 40 minutes and full of craziness so we had to watch it before calling it a night. This anime is based on a manga of the same name, then they recently released a live action film, directed by Ronny Yu, of the same name. I watched the film and enjoyed it, so I was anxious to see its animated predecessor. Travis has watched this many times and said at the beginning that it doesn't make a bunch of sense and I can see why. According to IMDb this was supposed to be the middle of three episodes to tell the story but it's the only one ever made and released. What you get here is Saya, a young looking girl with crazy sword skills with the task of destroying these vampire-demon creatures who hide in human form in Japan. She is sent to an English speaking high school on an American military base and all hell breaks loose on the night of their Halloween dance.

The animation is slick and stylish and the fighting and gore are plentiful. I'm not a fan of Anime. In general I really dislike it, but sometimes I'll see one that really catches my eye. This is now one of those films. After seeing the great things this crew did with just a third of their intended story makes me really want to see the rest. Too bad that will probably never happen. Yu's film version takes place in a different decade and tells much more of the story, but in a different way. I would recommend watching both of them for a more comprehensive view of the overall world. Good for Anime fans, non Anime fans, horror fans, martial arts fans, action fans and many more.

The anime version is here on Blu, or on DVD here. Also pick-up the live action on Blu or standard def DVD.


btsjunkie said...

Hmmm... I remember 2LDK being way better than ARAGMI but still not liking it all that much. Interesting that it seems worth revisiting...

Sounds like a fun movie marathon!!!!

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