Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
In this latest episode of the Infernal Brains, Tars Tarkas and I wrap up our lively discussion of Turkish superhero movies. You can download the podcast here, or stream it with a nifty slideshow below.
And if you missed part one of the discussion, look no further...
Monday, April 25, 2011
Though I doubt any of you have been feeling a gaping, Zagor sized hole in your lives, the fact is that, back when I reviewed Zagor: Kara Bela, I promised that I would also review its sequel, Zagor: Kara Korsanin Hazineleri, and dammit, that is a promise I plan on keeping. To refresh your memory, this is a Turkish film adaptation of an Italian comic book depicting frontier life in the old American west we’re talking about, so be sure to take notes for your next history exam. The 19th century superhero Zagor returns, along with his trusty hatchet and his staggeringly racist sidekick, Chico, a fat Mexican stereotype who again sleeps and eats his way through the entire picture and also has a hilarious bit we’re he snores exaggeratedly. Moving on…
But just as much strangling.
Don’t let my glib assessment lead you to believe that I didn’t enjoy Zagor: Kara Korsanin Hazineleri. I did. It’s just that, given that the film was made during the same year as it’s predecessor -- and likely back-to-back with it, from the looks of things -- there probably wasn’t much thought given to shaking up the formula beyond a little streamlining pacing-wise. It’s pretty safe to assume that no Zagor themed focus groups had been conducted, nor was the term “reboot” kicked around. It’s basically just more of the same -- which, in the case of Zagor thumping people with his hatchet, is a good thing, and, in the case of Chico stuffing half chickens into his mouth while saying the Turkish equivalent of “aye carumba”, is bad.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
At the risk of giving short shrift to literally everything else on Earth, there are few things cooler than Fantomas. How cool is he? So cool that, even when he is placed at the center of a somewhat fluffy French adventure comedy, he still retains his awesomeness. Andre Hunebelle's 1964 Fantomas is just such a film, and, given that this year marks the French master criminal's 100th birthday, I thought it deserved my undivided attention. Read my full review, just posted over at Teleport City.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Norway has recently made itself a flashing beacon on the cult cinema map with films like Troll Hunter and Norwegian Ninja, which have both been very favorably reviewed by, among others, my colleague Keith over at Teleport City. Never one to be above bandwagon jumping, I thought I’d pipe in with a review of an example of Norwegian genre cinema from the past, undeterred by the fact that I know little about the country beyond that it is where some of Aqua are from. Fear not, however, that I will be padding out this review with Aqua-related trivia –- though I will say that Lene’s solo album was criminally underappreciated, especially that song about how it’s your duty to shake that booty, be it small, fat, or round and juicy.
Happily, Lake of the Dead is much more of a real mystery than a whodunit, and while Bugge does eventually -- through using tools of his trade like dream analysis, hypnosis, and seeing everything as being vaguely dirty -- put forward a prosaic solution to the central puzzle, other, more unsettling questions are left tantalizingly unresolved.
All in all, Lake of the Dead is a hugely enjoyable film. It combines all the fun of a well constructed potboiler with a haunting lyricism that points toward far more murky depths beneath its polished surface. Viewed in the wee hours, and in an appropriately receptive state, it could definitely give you a deliciously good scare. As such, it’s easy to see why it holds such a hallowed place in the cinematic history of its country of origin. All the more impressive is how, in a manner sadly atypical of its genre, it manages to accomplish its humble aims with such subtlety and nuance.
Very much unlike this:
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
In our tenth episode of Fighting Femmes, Fiends, and Fanatics, series producer Steve Mayhem takes on the Antonio Margheriti joint 077: Killers are Challenged, and, in the process, gives us a handy dandy primer on the Eurospy genre. And, by the way, is it really sporting for a super spy to go up against killers who are "challenged"?
Monday, April 11, 2011
I confess I've never read Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth, and that my only exposure to its story has been through that Filmation cartoon from the 60s, that movie starring James Mason, Pat Boone and a Dimetrodon played by a monitor lizard with a fin taped to its back, and that 3D movie with Brendan Fraser. Okay, you're right; I wouldn't have seen that Brendan Fraser movie even if it meant the fate of the free world. But my point is that, despite never having read the book, my suspicion is that Verne's classic has not been served well by the popular media. Could it be that the Mexican film Aventuras al Centro de la Tierra is the first adaptation to truly get it right? Well, given that Verne doesn't even get a nod in the credits, probably not.
All of this, of course, comes with the territory. And, if you're someone like me, who thinks that there can never be too many cheesy old B science fiction movies of this type, you'll be happy with the modest addition to the canon this one makes. As for Jules Verne, I'm afraid that, as of yet, his grave is still emitting that distant spinning sound, with the author's corpse perhaps burrowing its way to the center of the Earth even as we speak.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Watching Dukhda Khame Ee Dikri proved that a second dip into the filmography of Gujarati superstar Naresh Kanodia on my part perhaps wasn’t entirely necessary. Then again, the disc was there, and –- given that this is one of those rare instances where I actually found a film I wanted to review on Netflix –- the longer it remained so meant a continuing logjam in my queue, meaning that it would also be that much longer before I received Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore or whatever.
Sorat No Saavaz, lead me to expect that Dukhda Khame Ee Dikri would be a similar mix of cartoony swashbuckling and chest-thumping revenge melodrama. Instead it was something else altogether: a maudlin chronicle of naggingly detailed yet ultimately unexamined female suffering of the type that, though common in Indian cinema, I have so far been pretty successful at avoiding.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Just a reminder that the Teleport City co-sponsored benefit for Japan earthquake and tsunami relief, A Dram For Japan, will be taking place this Saturday, April 2nd, at Ward III in NYC. If you're in the New York area -- or are simply the type who is prone to traveling on the spur of the moment for a good cause -- you should certainly attend. I, sadly, will not be attending, which, depending on your feelings about this blog, will either be a selling point or a cause for barely registered, vague disappointment.