Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Man Bites Dog (C'est arivé près de chez vous) - 1992 - Dir. Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel & Benoît Poelvoorde
Location: My Couch
For my 200th movie of the year I wanted to watch something I had not seen and something I had heard good buzz around. I perused my Instant Queue and decided on this low budget French film from the early 90s that has taken many people, Quentin Tarantino included, by storm. After watching it I can say that it was absolutely wonderful and I can't wait to buy it and watch it many times in the years to come.
Shot in the style of faux documentary a camera crew (consisting of a cameraman, sound guy and director) follow around Benoît who is a killer by trade. Instead of punching a clock and sitting in a cubicle he picks the right marks and exterminates them. While it's not an exact science he does have rules that he explains to the camera while reciting poetry and getting philosophical from time to time.
This film is laugh-out-loud funny, extremely violent and very, very dark. I love that for about the first half of the film I found myself laughing at the way Ben goes about killing people with his charismatic nature or how the film crew goes through sound guys like Spinal Tap went through drummers, and then something changed. About halfway through the tone completely shifts and the comedy drops off and everything gets super serious and dark. Even when the laughs are present there are some rough murder montages as Ben racks up the bodies and dumps them in the canal. The acting is tremendous and I especially love that the three directors play parts with the same names and Ben's actual parents and grandparents make appearances, evidently without the knowledge that he was playing a killer.
The violence is pretty graphic in certain scenes and Ben's total disregard for human life is shocking but the film's point of the over saturation of violence in the media and in entertainment really strikes through. If you thought Natural Born Killers conveyed that message well then you need to watch Man Bites Dog ASAP.
Zapped Again! - 1990 - Dir. Doug Campbell
Location: My House
Having seen the 80s teen sex comedy Zapped! it was only a matter of time before I had to watch the sequel made about eight years later. I was expecting the worst, but surprisingly I found it quite a bit of fun. The film takes place at the same high school and the kids of the failing science club come across a mysterious concoction in prune juice bottles that gives the main character telepathic powers. He uses this for revenge, laughs and, of course, blowing up girl's skirts and popping their tops.
The cast cannot compete with the epic duo of Scott Baio and Willie Aames from the first film, but it manages to keep the laughs coming and the zaniness at the top of the scale. As with most comedies of this ilk there are plenty of good looking girls. They even have the main female character as the type they make fun of in Not Another Teen Movie - with a ponytail, glasses and a penchant for learning. In my opinion she is the most attractive girl in the film, even with her nerdiness. There are also a couple of great small performances featuring Karen Black as an Italian substitute and a very hot Linda Blair as one of the teachers who wears some black lace underwear. Nice.
While the film doesn't surpass the original it's a worthy sequel. If you like this type of film pick this one up for sure.
Mongolian Death Worm - 2010 - Dir. Steven R. Monroe
Location: My Couch
SyFy Channel Original on my DVR
Who doesn't love a good giant killer animal film? They are the best and you have to thank the lovely SyFy Channel for keeping the grand tradition of giant animal films of the 50s and 60s alive. One of the newest films aired last weekend and I set my DVR right away. With a title like Mongolian Death Worm you didn't think I could pass it up, did you?
The plot centers around an American oil company in Mongolia (natch) that drills over the hidden tomb of Genghis Khan and unleashes the mythical guardians - giant freaking worms! A treasure hunter, played by Sean Patrick Flanery, is the only one who is on their trail and must stop them before they take over the country and destroy a small nearby village full of sick people. The whole secondary storyline with the village is weird and seems to only give a reason to have a female doctor/scientist companion to help. Pretty much everything at the village is rather boring except when the awesome cowboy looking sheriff is blasting away worms with his shotgun.
As with most of these films the acting is meh, and the FX are laughable. This is part of what makes watching these films so much fun. I do think it's funny that Flanery's character is fairly normal, for a treasure hunter in the deserts of Mongolia, until near the end when he begins to act delirious and on the verge of slapstick. I also realized that he laughs like a puppet.
It should also be of note that the director, Steven R. Monroe, is also helming the upcoming remake of I Spit on Your Grave. I won't hold this against him. We did chat for a little bit at Texas Frightmare Weekend about his upcoming film and he seems like a cool together guy. Maybe he just likes to make zany SyFy original films. There's nothing wrong with that.