Archive for the 'Film' Category

More trash cinema with ninjas: Bikini Bandits Experience

May 16, 2004 in Film

Another bad (as in good) Blockbuster rental: Bikini Bandits Experience is a stylish, yet trashy B-movie for the Internet age. (Also, it has ninjas.) Featuring Corey Feldman in a starring role, the film also features Dee Dee Ramone as the Pope, Jello Biafra as the porn producer, Maynard James Keenan (of Tool) as Satan, with Hank the Dwarf and Gary the Retard of Howard Stern fame.

Developed from a series of Internet shorts, Bikini Bandits Experience is a hodgepodge of MTV-style quick edits, animation, random skits, hot rods, and yes, babes in bikinis brandishing guns. Interestingly, Bikini Bandits is the creation of Steven Grasse of Gyro, a “brand consultancy” (i.e. advertising) agency that specialises in unconventional marketing for many major companies. Gyro also runs two apparel lines and the G*Mart e-commerce/retail store in downtown Philadelphia.

Despite their corporate cred, Gyro makes some good, trashy underground cinema. Check out the shorts, and rent the movie next time you’re at Blockbuster.

Kill Bill references

May 13, 2004 in Film

Just watched Kill Bill again. One of the interesting things about the movie is the sheer amount of film references to pick out. I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of film, but I was able to see the influence of kung-fu and samurai films.

The Quentin Tarantino archives have produced an exhaustive list of film references in Kill Bill. Some excellent resources are also listed at the bottom.

Great album, bad movie

May 02, 2004 in Film

Right now, at a quarter-til-four in the morning, IFC is showing the film adaptation of Tommy, the classic Who album.

This film is so cheesy, it’s beyond description. Aside from butchering the original Who classic (with the full complicity of the band, evidenced by Roger Daltrey in the role of Tommy), the film just comes across as a bad 70’s acid trip. It’s a technicolor nightmare, with bad performances, pointless rock star cameos, and a senseless plot.

And believe it or not, Ann Margret was actually nominated for an Oscar for this film; probably for the scene where she rolls around in baked beans. (She did win the Golden Globe though.)

Cheerleader Ninjas

Apr 24, 2004 in Film

So I was at Blockbuster one night about a week ago, and a quirky film in the new releases section caught my eye. Cheerleader Ninjas was obviously a cheesy film, but after reading the back of the box, I knew it was one of those movies that was so bad, it had to be good.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Cheerleader Ninjas is a hilarious (-ly bad) send-up of ’80s teen sex romps, updated for the Internet age. A group called the “Catholic mothers with too much time on their hands” is on a mission to wipe out the smut-filled Internet. They decide to strike against that All-American symbol of young, nubile female sexuality: the cheerleader.

The Catholic mothers recruit Stephen, a gay Catholic reform school teacher who was once rejected from the cheerleading squad. Stephen leads a group of bad ass reform school girls in his fight against the Happy Valley High cheerleaders. The cheerleaders are forced to team up with their social opposites, the Star Trek loving geeks. They acquire ninja skills from a kung fu master, and with the help of the geeks they fight the reform school girls and the mysterious Mr. X, who is taking over the Internet with his zombie control virus.

From the first frame, it’s obvious that Cheerleader Ninjas is a work of parody that doesn’t take itself (or it’s characters) too seriously. This digitally-filmed, low-budget flick has possibly the smallest special-effects budget ever (the cost of costume rentals, a sex doll, two double-headed dildos, ninja weapons, and some props). Stunts are poorly executed, and a blow-up sex doll is frequently substituted as a stunt double.

Chock full of plot holes (and twists), gratuitous nudity, and way too many fart jokes, Cheerleader Ninjas is another quality entry into the bad film canon. The first time I watched it, I thought it was the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long while. After the second viewing, I realized how dumb it really was. If you’re in the mood for a really funny bad film, pick up Cheerleader Ninjas the next time you’re at Blockbuster.

Film Review: John Waters’ Female Trouble

Mar 10, 2004 in Film

On Monday night, the Independent Film Channel showed John Waters’ Female Trouble (1975), the follow-up to his groundbreaking 1972 cult film Pink Flamingos. Female Trouble has every bit of that over-the-top trashiness, gross-out humor and dark comedy that made Pink Flamingos such a cult hit, plus a more developed plot.

Those of you familiar with Waters’ more popular works, such as the Broadway-adapted Hairspray, Cry Baby or the art house favorite Pecker, may find John Waters’ earlier films to be a bit of a shock (or a treat, depending on how your tastes run). Waters made his reputation on producing trashy, tasteless, low-budget camp films with “no socially redeeming value” whatsoever. His early troupe of actors was led by an obese transvestite named “Divine”, whose primary contribution to cinema was eating dog shit at the end of Pink Flamingos.

While watching Waters’ earlier films, one has to remember the director’s stated purpose in making such films: to “smash every middle-class value that his uptight Baltimore brethren held dear.”

Female Trouble is a fine example of the excesses of Waters’ early work; in fact, it is probably the most entertaining of his earlier films. Divine plays Dawn Davenport, a self-centered, bratty teenager who grows up to become a trashy two-bit thief. She is recruited by the Dashers, a pair of beauty salon owners who want to use Davenport in a photographic experiment equating crime with beauty (”Crime enhances one’s beauty. The more heinous the crime gets, the more ravishing one becomes”). The resulting crime spree ends in Davenport’s night club debut, in which she attempts to execute members of the audience in a bid for notoriety. (”Who wants to die for art?”)

In one of the film’s subplots, Davenport’s bratty daughter Taffy decides to becomes a Hare Krishna (which I found funny because I was one once.)

IFC will be showing Female Trouble again on Thursday, Apr 1 @ 2:30 AM. The original movie trailer is available here.

Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble are also available together on a two-disc DVD set at Amazon.

Reviews for “Passion of the Christ”

Mar 02, 2004 in Film

Everyone is undoubtedly familiar with the controversies and subject matter surrounding the new Mel Gibson flick. While evangelical Christian congregations are buying up tickets for entire screenings and using the film as a recruiting tool, film reviewers are more divided in their opinions.

Most reviewers agree that the film is well made and acted, with stunning cinematography and an epic storyline. Roger Ebert gave it four stars, but added that ” This is the most violent film I have ever seen.”

I have not seen the film, and will probably wait until it comes out on video. But theological considerations and allegations of anti-Semetism aside, the sheer amount of violence in this film has made for some interesting reviews:

  • Dustin Holloway, a gore film reviewer for Fangoria gives his review. And this post on soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm reviews “Passion” from a BDSM standpoint. (via Cruel.com)
  • A list of negative reviews from film critics, magazines and newspapers (from Rotten Tomatoes.com). Some highlights:

    “A filmed bloodletting like no other on record, essentially a terribly graphic two-hour torture sequence.”

    “It’s as if Gibson is measuring God’s love by the amount of blood he shows on the screen.”

    “If this were any other film and any other subject, The Passion would have been slapped with an NC-17 rating faster than you can say “Council of Nicaea.”

    “SEE the hunks of flesh ripped from Jesus’ side! EXPERIENCE the stations of the cross like never before! HAMMER the nails into Jesus’ hands! WITNESS the crucifixion in all its blood-and-guts glory! Bring the kids!”

    “Gibson has made a movie for nobody, really, but Gibson.”

  • Personally, I liked the New York Times review which opens with a mention of the Simpsons episode where Homer edits Mel Gibson’s film to make it more violent.

Obligatory Oscars Post

Mar 01, 2004 in Film

I’ve been meaning to post something, but nothing interesting is going on. Well, of course there was the Oscars. I’m not really a film buff, but…

It was nice to see that LOTR finally got it’s due (with 7 Oscar wins!). Sofia Coppola won Best Screenplay for “Lost in Translation,” which I loved. A little disappointed that Keisha Castle-Hughes didn’t win Best Actress (but then again, we all know that she really didn’t have a chance in that category).

I have to spout effusively about the Nellie McKay album. My editor told me about this artist, and assigned the album to me for review. I’ve been listening to it for at least the last week straight, and have listened to it several times already today (There are two tracks in the radio.blog to your right).

Nellie is most often compared to jazz pianists such as Norah Jones, but she’s far more eclectic and zany. (The title of her debut album “Get Away from Me,” is an obvious pun on Jones’ “Come Away with Me”). Nellie adopts many musical styles including jazz siren, Abba-esque pop, and even a little bit of rap. On her decision to sign to Columbia Records, Nellie said “I asked them if they’d bail out my mom if she got busted for marijuana possession. And they said yes.”

So go read the damn website www.nelliemckay.net and buy the album already. Trust me on this.