Jun 30, 2014

SHITTY FLICKS: THE WICKER MAN (2006)

Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis. 

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up. 

 

Nicolas Cage's eyes bug wildly out of his head (his trademark expression) as he spins around, wielding his gun. He is surrounded by a group of angry women, intent on putting bees on his face, breaking his legs, and burning him alive inside the grundle of a large man made of wicker.

You bitches!" he screams as they fall on him, applying bees. "Oh my God, they're in my eye!"

The utter terror he is facing isn't the end. It's only the beginning. They lay his legs out over a large tree-trunk and smash his legs.

"Awww, my legs! My legs!" he screams, letting the audience know his legs are being broken. I want to look away but I can't. I am enthralled by this scene. "Killing me won't bring back your GOD DAMNED HONEY!" he suggests, trying to escape their wrath.

Ms. Summersisle, the queen bee of this pack, sports William Wallace-inspired make up as she replies, "but I know it will!"

Oh. Well then.

It's worth it for tasty honey.

The Wicker Man, just one of the many remakes of famous horror movies bombarding audiences, will go down in history as one of the most baffling films in ages. The film produces more questions than stomach pains caused by Hot Pockets.

What evil forces reside on Summersisle?

How many men have fallen victim to the womens' deceit?

Why does Nicolas Cage over-act in one scene, and then barely act in another?

What's with bee-beard girl?

Is this film supposed to be hilarious?

The questions are numerous. The laughs: even more so. The scares: missing in action.

Neil Labute once saw a horror movie on television: The Addams Family.

He was terrified.

He longed to make a film that scary.

He wrote and directed The Wicker Man, utilizing the same scare tactics. He crafted a film so horrifying, he himself has trouble watching it without squirming. I also find his film terrifying. But for different reasons.

The film begins...and Cage is delved into a question wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma. He is also allergic to bees.

Uh-oh.

He goes to Bee Island anyway, at the behest of his runaway ex-fiancé, Willow, to help her find their missing daughter, Rowan. Upon arriving at the island, Cage meets a friendly group of oddball natives who stare at him as he talks, clearly perturbed by his presence. The group holds a wriggling sack that drips a rich amount of blood.

“What’s in the bag? A shark?” Cage asks stupidly, he, himself, unsure if he was even joking or not. The natives ignore him and question how he has made it to their beloved island of bad dialogue and bees. The sack wriggles once again and as Cage almost looks interested it, they dare him to look inside. He approaches the sack, and when it wriggles and shrieks, he decides that he doesn’t have to investigate the sack at all, even though he’s a cop. And then the natives laugh at him.

Method acting led to Nicolas Cage trying to teach children
astronomy. Right around after he taught them that space
was, "huge, bigger than Detroit," he was dismissed by
his chaperon.

Cage goes inside a cabin thing and asks for a drink from the bar maid. He receives said drink, but then instantly offends everyone by killing a bee.

“I’m allergic,” he reminds us, and then turns, holds his badge and tells everyone uninterestingly of the missing girl. The patrons, castrated men, stare at him with a look of bemusement. Cage gives up on trying to make an impact and begins his investigation.

He stops by a classroom to inquire about the missing girl. The teacher reacts to him with suspicion and annoyance. He demands to know her name, and when she responds with “Sister Rose,” he turns to the class and says “Rose, of course! Another plant!” as if the students would be amused and sympathetic to his plight.

All the children claim to not know the missing girl, as Cage walks around holding a picture. When Sister Rose claims she was not one of her students, Cage responds by checking the Teacher Book, which reveals the name of the missing girl.

Upon finding her name, he turns to the class of young girls and snarls, "You...little...liars." Then he turns to Sister Rose and states, "and you...you're the biggest liar of them all."

He begins to search the classroom, and upon doing so, releases a crow that was trapped by the students in an open-top desk. “What?” Cage barely manages as it flaps by his face, in the same manner you might say if I tapped you on the shoulder in a super market and told you, "elephant pie is made of chicken beats and my love for dead men."

Cage continues his investigation, which leads him down by the dock. He sits down and suffers through TWO nightmare sequences in a row, which he punctuates with an over-the-top and completely inappropriate “GOD DAMN IT."

"I'm thinking PANCAKES this morning, my lovelies!"

Cage investigates and comes across an old burned doll that was hastily discarded next to some decrepit foundation. He turns to Willow, holds the doll to her and beckons to know: "HOW'D IT GET BURNED?? HOW'D IT GET BURNED HOW'D IT GET BURNED??"

Later, Cage runs across Sister Rose, riding her stupid bike down the path. She taunts him in her stupid bitchy banner, leading Cage to whip out his gun and demand that she “step away from the bike.” Upon relinquishing the bike, Cage takes it from her, and icily retorts: “Take your STUPID mask.”

Cage flips out and begins to storm each cabin, ripping masks off of all young girls, desperately trying to find his missing daughter.

The investigation leads to the inevitable conclusion that foul play was involved in the disappearance of the girl, and this leads to the best the second best scene in recent cinema history: Cage stares at a very mannish woman named Sister Beech, who relishes in his inability to solve the case of the missing child, and then: WHIPASH! Cage lets loose an admirable left jab to her square face, knocking her down for the count.

But the woman beating isn’t over yet.

Leelee Sobieski, also known as Helen Hunt’s better-chested clone, pops up to feign the idea she is capable of doing anything except feeding my desire for pale boobs, before receiving her own helping of Nicolas Cage: kicks, served cold. Cage’s ratatat karate chopping sends her flying back into the wall, shattering all manner of framed photos before depositing her dumpy ass on the hard ground.

As a joke, Nicolas Cage had slipped some ecstasy
into Ellen Burstyn's tea earlier that morning, but by mid-afternoon,
as the crew stood around, burning daylight, no one was laughing.

Cage shakes it off, picks up the beefy woman’s bear costume that she was to wear in the Summersisle Bullshit Parade and exits.

When Cage meets up with Willow during the parade, he amusingly lifts the mouth flap of the bear head and asks, “Why didn’t you wait for me?”

“I had to come,” she blandly retorts, shutting him up pretty easily.

The parade ends at what looks to be a pyre where - AAAAHHHHH!! - his daughter is lashed to a tree and is mere minutes from GETTING BURNED??? GETTING BURNED GETTING BURNED????

Cage, still in full bear regalia, storms this pyre, and in long shot form, applies a glorious right hook to her face, sending her sprawling down the hill.

Cage attempts to escape with Rowan, but alas, it’s no use. Once the paraders locate their location in the woods, Rowan runs to her mother, Willow, who it seems was in on it the whole time. Oh no, Willow. How could you?

Now, this is when things get interesting: depending on which version you are watching, you have the option to being treated to two magnificent endings:

ENDING # 1:

In the PG-13 cut, we see Cage laid out over a large leg-breaking beam, but we then fade to a montage of parade marchers making their way to the titular man of wicker as you hear audio of bones snapping and Cage screaming, "My legs! MY LEGS!"

ENDING # 2:

In the “unrated” cut, we see Cage again laid out over the large leg-breaking beam, only this time we experience the actual leg breaking, which is so ineptly done that it creates its own amusement. Once the leg smashing is complete, a modified and ancient-looking bird cage is placed over Cage’s face. Once it’s secured, a hatch on the top is opened and BEES are poured liberally in, as Cage bellows: “No, not the bees! Oh my God, they’re in my EYE!”

"Oh, come now; we can surely fit one more.
Fish Man came all the way from New Zealand for this."

The bird cage is removed and we move onward to the finale: Cage is shoved in a wicker man and burned alive as he screams.

I eject the disc and I smile, knowing that no matter how bad life gets, that no matter how much bullshit will rear its head and get me down, I can take solace in the fact that Nicolas Cage will always be just an unsnapping DVD case away, on an island full of women, dressed as a bear, and punching like a Greek god.

Some films test the boundaries of human emotion. Some films haunt our inner psyche. Some films aren't about bees. The Wicker Man is none of these. The Wicker Man is something truly unique. The Wicker Man has to be seen to be believed.

Jun 26, 2014

TEOS RECOMMENDS: THE IMPOSTER

 

A good documentary can competently present relevant information in a non-biased manner. A great documentary can do all that, but also challenge your preconceived notions on the topic being discussed. A fantastic documentary can present the info, challenge you, but also thrill you and affect you on an emotional level, presenting you with a story so unbelievable that you would bet your life that it was all completely made up on the spot.

The Imposter, which revisits the surreal 1994 case of a missing Austin child who suddenly shows back up three years later and is embraced by the family, but who is also a completely different person, is a fantastic documentary. To use a completely cliched expression, The Imposter is a roller-coaster ride of emotions. When first presented with the family of missing thirteen-year-old Nicholas Barclay, how do you not immediately sympathize for each member as they tearfully recall the events in which the boy went missing? And how, when you're first introduced to "the imposter" Frédéric Bourdin,  who talks about his background of physical abuse and his feelings of helplessness and his longing to reboot his life and start over and who longs for a real shot at happiness, are you not supposed to feel tempted to forgive him before you've heard about how he carried out his plan, or what effect it had on the Barclay family...or what kind of person he really is?

The Imposter is an immensely frustrating experience, and it has nothing to do with how it was executed, but rather everything to do with the complexity of the human brain, and how so easily it can be overridden by our rampant-running emotions. How can you be a mother or a sister or a brother to someone for thirteen years, mourn their loss and probable death when they go missing, celebrate at the news that "he" was found in fucking Spain of all places, be reunited with him, and believe that he is your missing loved one? How do you not know? How do you listen to claims that he was kidnapped by the military and experimented upon (a side-effect being the changing color of his eyes) and buy that? How do you not realize that the boy who claims to be sixteen years old is actually approaching his mid-twenties? It is so very easy for you and me to judge this family and assume they must have been completely empty-minded to have fallen for it...but then again, I have never been in their shoes. I've never had a loved one go missing, and even if I did, I can't even imagine how tempted I would be to believe they've returned to me all those years later, even if they do seem to be an entirely different person. Feelings of mourning and regret and guilt are normal following what is essentially death, but are they powerful enough to cloud everything in your mind?

 

And your imposter, Frédéric Bourdin, adds to the frustration. His first few interview segments are full-on confessional moments delivered right to the camera. And you silently judge him at the same time you delude yourself into thinking that he seems like such a haunted and genuine "character" that you stupidly believe you'll eventually be served a typical Hollywood happy ending, where the family realizes he is a fake but welcomes him, anyway. But this version of Bourdin soon fades and is replaced by the proud sociopathic habitual liar who cannot help himself. Watch him grin as he recounts what he feels are the more especially clever moments of his ruse. Watch him have the audacity to judge the family that took him in, asking the audience the question, "How could they not know?"

And try to stomach the claim he makes against the family, attempting to explain why they embraced him as easily as they did.

The Imposter ends with questions both answered and unanswered. It ends with revelations, but also ambiguity. It ends with emotions running untempered and a disgusting amount of pride. But one thing is for sure: it hasn't, nor will it ever end, for the Barclay family, and for Frédéric Bourdin. One will continue to mourn, and the other will continue to boast. The Imposter is beyond thrilling and beyond upsetting, and it's entirely, 100% true.

Jun 25, 2014

UGLY DOLL

"His real name is Charles Lee Ray and he's been sent
down from Heaven by Daddy to play with me."

Jun 24, 2014

TWO GUYS, ONE QUIP: THE NEXT GENERATION

Because Two Guys, One Quip has become surprisingly embraced by the Twittersphere, its co-founder and I have decided to turn this occasional column into its own blog. If you're a fan of this column (and god help you if you are), we absolutely invite you to stop on over and check out the new digs. If you're feeling charitable, bookmark us, follow us via Bloggerdom, and become our Twitter companion. You may regret doing so, but, it'll give us the warm-n-fuzzies.


JOHN DIES AT THE END


BARE NECESSITIES


Jun 23, 2014

RAT KING

Rat kings are phenomena said to arise when a number of rats become intertwined at their tails, which become stuck together with blood, dirt, ice, excrement or simply knotted. The animals reputedly grow together while joined at the tails. The numbers of rats that are joined together can vary, but naturally rat kings formed from a larger number of rats are rarer. The phenomenon is particularly associated with Germany, where the majority of instances have been reported. Historically, there are various superstitions surrounding rat kings, and they were often seen as a bad omen, particularly associated with plagues.

Story and image source.

Jun 19, 2014

LOST FOREVER

It was true that the ghastly sounds I had heard through the fog had greatly upset me but far worse was what emanated from and surrounded these things and arose to unsteady me, an atmosphere, a force - I do not exactly know what to call it - of evil and uncleanness, of terror and suffering, of malevolence and bitter anger.

Jun 18, 2014

TWO GUYS, ONE QUIP: THE IMPOSSIBLE KID (OF KUNG FU)

A joint effort between The End of Summer and Exploitation Movie Review, “Two Guys, One Quip” is a new venture to honor the cheesiest, oddest, and most unheralded crop of films we can stand. Some films can be tackled solo and some cannot. Some films are so excruciatingly unusual that multiple parties are needed to catch every single solitary weirdity. "Two Guys, One Quip" is a free-for-all, back-and-forth, "I'm-just-gonna-say-whatever" approach to double-teaming an easy target in the unsexiest way possible. Below you will find nothing close to actual, legitimate film discussion, but instead sarcastic commentary and douche-bag superiority flying fast and furious. Profanity will be immense, constant, and unyielding. No on-screen target is safe. No incompetence will pass by unmocked. And no punches will be at all pulled. Some films deserve it. This is one of them.




The End of Summer (TEOS): To quote myself:
In 1957, a legend was born; he was a pint-sized legend that rocked a white suit, triumphed against adversity, and wooed the ladies. His hair was as black as squid ink, his smile glinted like the afternoon sun, and his nipples were the size of silver-dollar pancakes.

He came, he saw, he littled. And in 1992, he died of bad crab.

But in between those two history-changing years, he became an action-star sensation in his native homeland of the Philippines, and his presence in the film community carved a never-fading presence and laid root to his still-celebrated career.
That man…is Weng Weng.

Background is impossible to find on other films in Weng Weng’s career, and when they have titles like Chopsuey Met Big Time Papa, that makes me pretty sad. The Impossible Kid (of Kung Fu), directed by Eddie Nicart, who has seemingly directed every Weng Weng feature, is one of at least four films in which Weng Weng takes the reins of leading man, wearing the tiniest of doll clothes and dealing the tiniest of furious kicks.  Here, he reprises (initiates?) the role of Agent 00, a James Bond-ish character who works for an anti-criminal organization called “Control.”

The film opens with Weng Weng taking a leisurely stroll down Mini Avenue when a team of snipers tries to take him out. He ducks down for complete safety behind a fire hydrant while he waits for his back up from Control to arrive. Once he does, the one-and-a-half men chase the snipers into an apartment building.

Exploitation Movie Review (EMR): Well...this escalated with a degree of alacrity I wasn't entirely prepared for.

TEOS: On the roof, Back Up Guy lowers Weng Weng on a rope down to the next couple of windows where Sniper Guy is holed up. You might be thinking “Wow, that Back Up Guy is pretty strong!” but you’d be wrong, since Weng Weng weighs roughly the same as an average-sized watermelon. Naturally, while dangling like a worm on a hook above Mini Ave (Ghostbusters 2 reference for the win), Weng Weng looks through a window and sees shower tits. The shower tits see Weng Weng. (The shower tits see a two-foot high man, on a rope, floating outside her bathroom window.) Shower Tits’ reaction is to close the shower curtain and get back to being underwhelming looking.

EMR: I'm concerned that the guy in the apartment beneath Shower Tits is making out with a dead body. It could be a sex doll with realistic skin, like a T-800 Terminator that's fallen on hard times and needs the money to pay its way through college. It's probably just an actress...what were we talking about, again?

TEOS: Our feature film, The Infinitesimal Kid.

It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with.
And it absolutely will not stop. Ever.
Until you have ejaculated.

TEOS: When Weng Weng speaks, he speaks with immense authority. And that’s likely to do with the guy who they got to dub Weng Weng’s voice for the North American release. I’m kinda wondering why they chose said baritone voice instead of one that might be found coming out the mouth of a cartoon puppy, but, it worked for Woody and Buzz, so…

EMR: During the title sequence, we're given an insight into how much of a bad ass Weng Weng is because the lady who's singing his title song tells you so. Production value wise, this movie has taken an important step ahead of its competitors by having at least two different pieces of music on its OST.

Weng Weng is taking the time to zip around town on his motorbike when he receives a radio message from base explaining that there's a truck and some bad guys and a hostage so he moves to intercept. Weng Weng saves the hostage dude from a truck full of assholes and receives such an underwhelming display of gratitude, this guy might as well be British.

TEOS: Back at Control, Weng Weng is pawed and manhandled by the secretary, who repeatedly kiss-rapes him, but Weng Weng chooses to exhibit indifference over titillation about this whole situation. Luckily his boss intervenes, whisking him away to his office that looks suspiciously like someone’s IKEA-ed out garage. There the boss explains that networks of terrorists who kidnap wealthy industrialists for ransom are attempting to establish connections with a terrorist ring in the Philippines.

EMR: During this debriefing, you should be able to pick up on the fact that Weng Weng's boss has a hard time with plurals. Illegal organisations are called 'Terrorist' and wealthy business conglomerates are called 'Industrialist'. This guy's disabled mouth is pretty funny.

TEOS: It’s right around you’ll begin to notice that, unless Weng Weng is kicking dudes in the balls or brandishing tiny guns, he looks completely bored to be anywhere near this movie. Doesn’t he know he’s headlining his own film where he gets to kiss average looking broads…on the face? Maybe someone should tell him.

EMR: I'll let you deal with this one, dude. I still don't believe he's a real person and this is some freaky CGI shit which Manilla didn't tell us about until 30 years later.

TEOS: At some kind of anti-criminal meeting, its attendees mistake Weng Weng for a small boy, so they literally pick him up and throw him from person to person toward the exit, and oh yeah, it’s as amazing as it sounds.

Especially when Weng2 beats the ever-loving hell out of the last dude for coming even close to disrespecting him.

Best. GIF. Ever

EMR: To be perfectly fair to the head of the anti-criminal meeting, you can't blame him for not believing that this J.F Sebastian automaton-looking motherfucker with worse hair than Donald Trump is Interpol's best agent. If he didn't stand there like Richard Ramirez silently contemplating if he should both rape AND kill this bitch, he may have been taken a bit more seriously.

But you know what? He's fucking Weng Weng and his ghost is about to come and kick me in the balls for that shit I've just said.

TEOS: And he’ll come to you wearing the tiniest bedsheet.

Once Double-Weng convinces everyone he really is from Interpol, they sit down and watch a video made by Head Terrorist Guy, who is wearing a Klansmen hood for some reason. He demands a bunch of shit, or else he’ll do a bunch of shit. Then the TV explodes, so you know he means business.

EMR: Yeah, my favourite moment of this video tape is when Head Terrorist Guy explains that when people call him and his organisation terrorists, they're wrong. He then goes onto explain that if his demands are not met, he'll kidnap and kill all these motherfuckers. That, my hooded friend, is a terrorist.

TEOS: Weng Weng leaves the meeting and is soon chased by some dudes on motorbikes, but he jumps in some dude’s dirt cart and the dude plays along, wheeling him away. Truly, Weng has earned the title dangerous man of mystery.

EMR: Back at Control HQ, there's too much fucking plot going on. I commend this movie for making the concession to plot development, but when your main attraction is a living marionette that kicks people in the balls, adding a storyline is as pointless as nutritional information on the side of a garbage can.

Weng Weng's boss tells him to pinpoint who's really in charge of this terrorist plot, but it seems obvious that it's Ku Klux Klan Man. I think he means that Weng Weng needs to find out who's beneath the mask. I don't know. I kind of don't care. It's been at least five minutes since Weng Weng hoofed someone in the dick and my patience is wearing a bit thin.

Basic outline; some wealthy industrialist(s) has bitched out and decided to pay up to Klan Man so he doesn't wake up one morning to a breakfast of his own balls.

TEOS: You’re grasping more of this plot than I am. I admit, I’ve been spending this entire time staring at Weng’s tiny body to see if I can locate his battery pack.

While the musical score comes dangerously close to ripping off the theme from The Pink Panther, Weng Weng hides in a trashcan, since he’s on a stakeout, I guess. Sure enough, some bad guy comes and drops a duffel bag into the very trashcan in which Weng is hiding. After digging through it, Weng finds that it’s filled with cash-money, niggas! Then these OTHER dudes come out of nowhere, grab the can, and toss it into a rubbish truck. Whether this is part of the criminal plan or unhappy coincidence, we don’t know. I sure don’t.

The truck in question is being driven by a ruthless gang of hipsters

EMR: Why Weng Weng is so popular with the ladies, I don't know. So far, within the first 30 minutes, I've seen him crawling around on the floor, hiding in a dust cart and jumping into a trashcan. If I'd have been this popular with women despite smelling like burnt asshole, I would have lost my virginity a long time before my 22nd birthday.

TEOS: Haha, I think that guy totally just said “bouillabaisse.”

EMR: You know what? FUCK fish dishes, man. I work all day and you expect me to come home and work through my dinner, too?! The fuck is this shit?! No, seriously, what were we talking about again?

TEOS: Some asshole movie starring Chloe Grace-Moretz’s body double.

The bad guy demands to see the money. Well, they unzip the money sack, and it’s actually Weng Weng, and he is so money.

Weng Weng dominates all of them because he is the goddamn man, and for his thanks he gets a kiss on the lips from that secretary who’s obsessed with him.

EMR: There's nothing savory about their relationship, man. It's making me feel uncomfortable. I think it's a combination of factors. On the one hand, you have Weng Weng, who, and I think you'll forgive me, looks like a child who got lost at a wedding, and on the other hand, you have a 20-something year old receptionist with crippling emotional problems who's probably more interested in making him dress up in a cute little sailor suit than she is in banging him.

Anyway, Weng Weng's boss with the broken face-hole delivers him from this frumpy psychopath into his office where he's having a meeting with the wealthy industrialist who wanted to pay up and save his own life.

If you ask me, this guy's being a churlish asshole because he blames Weng Weng for fucking up the pay off. There's lots of pointing and uncomfortable silences in the room when Weng Weng's getting his grilling. These dudes have less of an idea what's going on than I do, which is remarkable seeing as though they have a script. Maybe.

TEOS: If Weng Weng were less of a man, he would flee from the room filled with all the tall men who were yelling at him, grasping his school books bound together in one of those rubber band things that children used back when they were still endearing and not total Apple product-carrying jerk-offs. But, since he’s Weng Weng, he takes it all in stride and tells them all to fuck off (in his mind).

EMR: After he's been given an almighty roasting, Weng Weng senses that there could be a cross-dressing hit-man in the vicinity and fuck me, he's right.

TEOS: Maybe he smelled all the cock.

EMR: Ha! Gross.

Look out! Rue Paul has the most ineffectual grenade ever created and he's going to throw the fucking thing at the industrialist(s).

'What happened?!' asks one of the Interpol agents after Weng Weng has dispatched the assassin with several throat stomps and a Mexican firework.

Literally no one replies to this question. It's better that way.

 “Is that a man’s cock under your dress,
or are you just happy to see another man?”

TEOS: At a terrorist meeting, Head Terrorist Guy puts a hit out on Weng Weng amongst all his underlings. Some chick says she knows where he practices his karate, so she goes there, undercover, in hopes of taking out the bite-sized superspy.

The official Weng Weng song plays as the chick gets a birds-eye view of his fists of fury. She’s only wooed for a second before she sics pretty much every person at the place on him, since they all work for her.

EMR: You know during the meeting when he puts the hit out on Weng Weng? Yeah, I couldn't understand a fucking word that guy was saying. I tried adjusting the volume and everything. Still, the audio mix here isn't as bad as the one they did on The Dark Knight Rises.

TEOS: All you need to know is, it’s four dudes against one half-dude. Guess who wins?

EMR: I'm guessing it's not Tom Hardy's accent in The Dark Knight Rises. Seriously, that movie fucking sucks. Why do you all go on about it all the time?

TEOS: If you make one more allusion to my liking that overlong piece of nonsense, I am going to wear a crab over my mouth, prank call your mum, and in my best Tom Hardy voice, tell her you’ve been arrested for public defecation and lazy storytelling. Then a nuke will go off right next to me but I’ll live because off-screen cutaways.

EMR: Brilliant! Millions of dollars and critical recognition to you for some reason! (Nolan Jab.)

The thing that immediately struck me while watching this fight scene is that if you're going to employ an actor like Weng Weng and you're going to have him do some karate or whatever, you're pretty much going to have to train the guy to do everything you commit to film, because you're not going to find a stunt-man who's even close to Weng Weng's height. At a push, I guess you could stop-motion some GI Joes and use forced perspective, but it's probably quicker to train the guy to do sick moves.

TEOS: That’s actually something I never thought about. Was Weng Weng this random Meenie Filipini who just knew all this stuff already and then became an actor, or did he become an actor and then learn this stuff? And is “this stuff” anywhere near legitimate? I can’t tell, because I spent all my time looking at his tiny body and trying to locate his plug outlet.

Also, if you ever wanted to see a wax-haired midget kick a broad right in the face, don’t blink.

EMR: This scene also explains why I never learnt a martial art. The simple answer; no matter how good I could potentially become, my limbs wouldn't make cool swooshing noises when I moved.

Oh, and another thing that hit me while watching this fight scene is that I swear the guy working out on the bench isn't involved with the four guys and the chick who just attacked Weng Weng. Strikes me that what he's seeing is an autonomous Jim Henson puppet beating up on some broad and he's stepped in to help out. Weng Weng beats the shit out of him pretty hard and then the chick produces a gun out of nowhere and shoots him in the fucking back! I feel pretty bad for him.

So, anyway, Weng x 2 takes Karate Lady back to Interpol HQ or whatever it is, then, I think, heads home to his apartment building, but he's being tailed by some dudes which, naturally, he instantly clocks for assholes so he makes an escape into some chick’s room.

Wait a fucking second...has he just broken into some chick's room? I thought this was his room? Actually, at first, I thought it was a cinema because he went up to the desk and it looked like the clerk gave him a ticket. But what the fuck is he doing in some broad's room? I'm, like, 35 minutes into this movie and I've been watching it for 2 hours because I have to keep stopping to check if I have strychnine poisoning.

TEOS: Huh? Oh, I don’t know. I was too busy laying down those sick Dark Knight Rises slams.

EMR: The guys on the tail of Weng Weng point a gun at this bell-boy, but, honestly, they really didn't need to. Apparently, all they needed to do to gain access to this chick's room was ask the fucking desk clerk and he'd have been more than happy to assist them in their potential sexual assault.

So, Weng Weng jumps out of the window, utilising some linen as a rudimentary parachute.

This film is fucking stupid.

TEOS: YESSSS!!! The high jump off the top of the skyscraper and right into the arms of a man in the hotel’s swimming pool. A-W-E-SOME.

EMR: Right, the guy in the swimming pool. Him. He wins. No one else who could possibly turn up in this film would be any creepier and yes, I'm counting the ever possible cameo of Pennywise The Dancing Clown. There's ALWAYS that possibility.

TEOS: Are you saying you disapprove of a large bear of a man, shirtless, cradling Weng Weng like a child, and saying repeatedly that he is a pretty boy, all the while Weng Weng looks like he could not be prouder?

Fuck you.

“I know I said I was in the mood for a little Filipino tonight,
but this is ridiculous!”
(Rimshot.)

EMR: Hey, woah, c'mon now. I didn't mean to insult your sensibilities. I know we're supposed to be living in a new age of acceptance and everything, but dude...this here...this shit ain't right…

TEOS: “Ain’t right” is what Two Guys, One Quip is all about, playa.

EMR: Who's this guy getting off on them giving this chick an injection? What is this? What's happening? What the fuck have you made me watch, man?

TEOS: Are you missing her face of ecstasy and fists of clenching? She’s totally into it. Or, would you prefer to watch a three hour Batman film where he breaks his back, but then fixes it with the aid of a rope and a sad old man?

EMR: Haha! Come on, man. NO ONE wants to see that. If they ever made that into a Batman picture, I'm pretty certain I'd piss baking soda foam.

TEOS: Fuck, I think something “important” happened in the post-needling-girl scene and I missed it. I hope it’s not “detrimental” to the “plot.” I suppose I could rewind, but…

EMR: It's cool, I've kinda been paying attention. This chick is having a fit. I really don't think this is how you react when you're injected with sodiumpen...oh wait, she's dead. Some guy is saying that someone must have switched the vials. Hang on, are you trying to tell me this was some sort of fucking clerical error? Man, they should change the name of this place from Interpol to Inter...joke...shop.

TEOS: Weng Weng breaks into the rather posh mansion compound where all the bad guys just hang out near the pool while “The Wing Wanther” plays again. Head Bad Guy alludes to feeding Weng Weng to his pet cobra. See, because he’s the same size of a mouse. And this is before Weng Weng is even spotted in the compound. But, they waste no time in throwing a cobra directly at him, and Weng Weng tussles with it using his Barbie Doll hands

EMR: Again, realising he hasn't punched anyone in the dick for at least 37 seconds, Weng Weng punches one of Main Bad Guy's men in the junk before leaving. It's pretty much my favourite moment of this movie so far.

TEOS: Wait, Weng Weng just called Main Bad Guy a terrorist, who looked and reacted as if he were REALLY offended at being labeled as such. Is this one of those situations where Weng Weng knows the guy is dirty, but everyone else is dumb-fuck? Should I know this by now? Before I can wonder just what on Planet Earth is happening, it cuts to Weng Weng in a track suit, and you know what, I simply could not be more aroused.

EMR: Hey, look! Some guys sitting around a table and talking! I know over-sized collars were all the rage back when this film was made, but when 8 people are gathered in a small room and literally EVERY ONE of those 8 people are wearing one, it's either the most fashion conscious gang this side of West Side Story or someone's putting together a boy band. Either way; totally gay.

"Maria! I've just met a man called 'Maria'!"

EMR: Main Bad Guy laughs because his diabolical scheme seems to be coming to fruition. His henchmen laugh. He stops and his henchmen stop. Main Bad Guy takes a sip of his coffee and starts laughing again. I think I just heard my synapses telling me to get the fuck out of the house.

TEOS: This is awful.

EMR: I'm treating this movie as your way of telling me that you don't want to be friends anymore.

TEOS: If that were true, I would make us watch The Dark Knight Rises.

Holy shit.

We should totally watch The Dark Knight Rises.

Chew on that while I get back to our current piece of shit.

Weng Weng takes off on a hilariously small motorcycle and the bad guys pursue close behind in their car. Honestly, they could just run him over and end the movie at the 52-minute mark, seeing as how I’m pretty sure Weng’s bike is actually one of those wind-up toys, but, no such luck - we’ve got a half hour left of “man who can hide in small places” jokes.

EMR: And anyone still reading this review has got another 10 minutes of wondering why the fuck we're writing about this movie.

Weng Weng makes his escape by jumping a ravine on his motorcycle, but it's such a bad visual effect, it looks like Indiana Jones taking The Path Of God test in The Last Crusade.

TEOS: I could sense you mentally yearning for unsexy technicolor dancing, so, here you go. Pretty sexy, right?

EMR: Totally. Why are we now at a go-go club? Has this film just been stitched toge...you know what, fuck it. Whatever.

I think the newsreader on the TV in the go-go club is the only member of the cast making a concerted effort to use singular and plural nouns when describing the industrialist(s).

There are some bad guys in the go-go club and one of them starts smacking a waiter around. What kind of a go-go club has men serving drinks?!

Oh, man fuck the rest of this scene.

TEOS: In a scene most telling of Weng Weng’s talents, he finds himself surrounded on a desolate street by a bunch of thugs, so he throws down a smoke bomb and fucks the fuck off, causing all the thugs to accidentally shoot each other. He follows one of the bad dudes to a...whore house? Massage parlor? All I know is, all the girls for hire say he’s adorable, and the manager apologizes for nearly throwing him out, saying “I didn’t know you were an adult.”

I ask you: Did anyone?

EMR: I *think* this is supposed to be a hospital, man. Oh, no, hang on...yeah, there's a sign outside that says 'Paradise,' so yep, it's totally a massage parlor. All the chicks inside look like nurses, though. Maybe it's a theme night or something. I don't know. East Asia's fucking weird.

(Children's discount joke.)

EMR: Another thing: when Weng Weng walks into a room or a building and someone starts talking to him or asks him a question, why doesn't he just respond? Why does he stand there looking like he just walked off the set of 'Labyrinth' and can't function without being within 50 feet of Bowie's balls?

TEOS: Dear god, still a half hour of this. This WHOLE movie is just men in suits sitting in rooms behind long tables and talking about boring crime shit. A log-line this gonzo should be guaranteed gold, but it’s tantamount to early-’90s PBS. Also, note to men everywhere: don’t wear decorative scarves.

Ever.

EMR: I've come to the conclusion that the head terrorist guy's method of disguising his voice is literally just cupping his hand over his mouth. At least he doesn't sound like Sean Connery with a sand crab stuck to his face. (Bane Jab.)

TEOS: (Puts that sand crab over mouth.) “WHERN WERNG WERNG HAS KIRCKED YOU IN THE BARRLS, YOUR HAERVE MER PERMISSION TO CRY.”

FINALLY Weng Weng is kicking ass again. I don’t know under what circumstances, but he just took out a whole rooftop of men with a pole. Then he ran around and kicked some other dudes’ asses, ran BACK to the roof and kicked THOSE guy’s asses again, and then, yes, used the pole to vault himself over the side of the building and then do a tight-rope walk to the next building over. It’s THIS kind of freak-show stuff that made me allow the video to buffer in the first place! (Although, who am I kidding, I’ve got a DVD of this bullshit on my shelf anyway.)

EMR: So, I'm trying to make this a less painful experience by pretending that I'm watching the rooftop explosion in ‘Die Hard.’ That movie's tits. Why didn't we review that?

TEOS: Because then I’d be reminded that Die Hard eventually led to A Good Day to Die Hard, and it would make me far angrier than this movie currently is.

Speaking of, before Weng Weng can say “I’m on a boat!” he should actually instead say, “I’m in a fucking bird cage on a boat!” because that’s exactly where he is. I’m not sure how he got there, but, there he is. I guess one of the girls did it? God, I’m awful at this.

EMR: I won't lie; I've tried to be professional at this point because I'm feeling a little bit like Theon Greyjoy and this movie is Ramsay Snow trying to cut my dick off (spoilers), but no, I don't know what's happening either, but that's what makes our relationship special, man; if you don't care then I don't care.

It's ok for two guys to talk about feelings if there's a picture
of Robocop within view.

TEOS: Main Bad Guy, who is also wearing a decorative scarf (seriously, dudes, knock it the shit off), orders that Weng Weng be thrown overboard, cage and all. Well, he is, and he drowns. He drowns, dies, the movie ends, and I’m allowed to watch that Van Damme movie that I’ve got saved in my Youtube watch-later list, as that would be time better spent.

Just kidding. This movie is still happening and my soul is still sobbing.

Seriously, watching this makes me feel like I have a fever.

EMR: Hey, remember that time you suggested we write something together? Why can't we be happy like that again?

TEOS: Oh, what the fuck! I mean, no shit, Weng Weng was going to survive his bird-cage plunge, but seriously, did they even bother showing how he escaped? He’s not even wet! This is like Jaws: The Revenge-level bad. He’s got an uzi now, though, so that counts for something. He’s really furious - you can tell because the speed of his little legs increases to hummingbird-wing-like blurriness.

EMR: This shit's, like, 4 minutes from the end now that he's cutting dudes up with his gat and trying to rape this chick in the red. I'll say one thing for Hollywood: they generally know how to pace a movie. And not cast midgets in action roles. Say, do you reckon they'll ever do a remake and cast Peter Dinklage in the lead role?

TEOS: Only if Tyrion Lannister owed me a debt, and I said, “Since you blonde fucks always pay your debts, star in my big budget remake of The Impossible Kid,” and I’m not sure how to finish that joke, since I guess I’m talking to a fictional imp at the same time I’m addressing a real-life man.

Let’s move on.

Dear god, it’s finally over. Fuck you, man. I’m sorry. I know this was my idea. But still, suck it. Ugh. All this movie needed was an ending where Michael Caine sees Weng Weng and Catwoman sitting in a breakfast bistro, which was poorly telegraphed during the first act of this tripe, and then he can hobble away to go join Morgan Freeman in the official Batman spin-off, Now You See Me.

EMR: One of the guys at the end sounds like Michael Caine. Is...is that close enough?

TEOS: My-Cocaine.

EMR: Ha! Nice.


Two Guys, One Quip will soon return with:



The Dark Knight Rises

Samurai Cop


Jun 15, 2014

MA'NENE

A village in Indonesia has a bizarre ritual that involves giving decomposed corpses a new look.

Family members of the deceased exhume their ancestors’ bodies and change their clothes as a way of remembering them. They then walk the dead around the village, almost like zombies.

The ritual, called Ma’nene, happens every three years to honour the villagers’ love for the deceased. It is carried out in the Toraja district of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi Province.

Locals believe dead family members are still with them, even if they died hundreds of years ago, a family spokesman said.

The ritual is held once every few years when family members gather to clean the graves and change the clothes of their deceased relatives to honor their spirits.

Story and image source.

Jun 14, 2014

REVIEW: ADJUST YOUR TRACKING


My first ever VHS was the Blockbuster exclusive release of John Carpenter's Halloween. I was in sixth grade, and I had ridden my bike the equivalent of 25 city blocks to my nearest Blockbuster to buy it. It was a defining moment. On that day, I became a collector. And that mindset continued for years.

One of my biggest regrets in life was giving into the changing tide and, box by box, relinquishing my VHS collection, which I had spent over ten years collecting. I had well over a thousand before the VHS era came to a sad, unceremonious end. I held out for as long as I could. I held out until they stopped putting new releases on VHS and switched to DVD (and if I remember correctly, I believe the very unmemorable Mike Figgis film Cold Creek Manor was the very last new release to utilize the VHS format). 

In a way, what could I do? I was a movie collector, and I had a choice: refuse to buy that new release I so desired because it was on a format against which I was silently rebelling, or give in. So I gave in, and since I was going to give in, I might as well begin to upgrade my current collection, tape by tape. 

No one would argue that VHS offers better picture or sound quality over DVD, nor would they argue they enjoy a complete lack of special features over the sometimes-up-to-three extra discs of content. But as far as nostalgia goes? Oh yeah, VHS wins. Hands down. When the last DVD is pressed, the format will never be mentioned again. No one will ever look fondly back on it, because when that happens, everyone will have fully moved onto either blu-ray or digital downloads, which, as far as quality goes, is closer to DVD than DVD was to VHS.

And that's what Adjust Your Tracking, a documentary that presents a collection of sit-down interviews with low-budget film directors and independent video label owners discussing their love of the format and their own VHS collections, is all about: Nostalgia. If you ever were, or are, a collector of the format, nothing they say will surprise you, and everything they say will strike home.


Written and directed by Dan M. Kinem and Levi Peretic, Adjust Your Tracking is essentially sitting around with like-minded collectors and listening to everyone share their memories of visiting mom-and-pop video stories to hunt down the newest titles for their collection. And you can't help but get caught up in the memories of visiting your own mom-and-pop stores and remembering which particular VHS covers captured your attention (definitely I Spit on Your Grave and Deadmate for me).

In Adjust Your Tracking, you won't learn about the inventor of the VCR and the VHS format. You won't learn about its mechanics, and how it was created, and other such typical information. But that's okay, because honestly, I don't care. That's not why I'm here. I'm here to live vicariously through our talking heads as they discuss their undying love for VHS and proudly show off their immense collections. And once the one particular fellow who talks of his 22,000 tape collection ends up in the doc, suddenly my own once-collection seems like small time by comparison. Though I no longer own not a single VHS tape, I can still recall the fondness I had for them. I can still recall how (to sound lame) magical it felt to uncover that one particular VHS at that flea market or thrift store, gaze at its cover art, and get that unmistakable feeling that the movie in your hands has become completely forgotten - a strange relic lost in time. For that reason, VHS felt more special than DVD ever did, and ever could. 

Adjust Your Tracking, lovingly shot on VHS (natch) but available on a 2-disc DVD stacked with special features, is a testament to that.

Jun 12, 2014

TRUK LAGOON

Situated halfway between the Philippines and Hawaii, Truk Lagoon was the site of a major battle between the U.S. and Japan in 1944. Around 60 ships and 275 planes sank beneath the waves during a U.S. attack known as Operation Hailstone, and thousands of men went along with them. Human remains litter many of the 69-year-old shipwrecks, but it’s the machines that appear to live on.

Japan’s Hoki Maru ship went down with a cargo full of trucks. Now, divers reportedly hear the sound of engines turning over and starting up, even when there are no boats on the surface. Strange reports also come from the Fuji Kawamaru where grinding noises eminate from the ship’s engine room.

The crew of Destination Truth explored the underwater ruins of Truk Lagoon, and was perplexed to hear an engine idling underwater. They also recorded something that sounded like a human voice, as well as human-like heat signature.
 
Story and image source.

Jun 10, 2014

Q&A REVIEW: YETI: GIANT OF THE 20TH CENTURY


Q: Okay, so...:
A: Well, since you asked, the yeti (aka the Abominable Snowman) is a Bigfootish-type monster-man that lives in the Himalayas. He is a popular legend, much like the Loch Ness Monster, the Jersey Devil, or singer/songwriter John (Legend, LOL). In the feature film Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century, a scientist working on behalf of some rich dude travels to a strange foreign land in hopes of finding the legendary creature, and traveling alongside him are the rich dude's grand kids. Obviously, things go very wrong, the creature gets loose, and the scientist must do his best to capture the creature while also protecting the rich dude's grand kids. (Yo, what the fuck, Michael Crichton - do some Yeti-watching whilst you were writing Jurassic Park?)

Q: What does the scientist do to capture the yeti?
A: Actually, nothing. Turns out the creature is already trapped in ice, so all he has to do is hire a bunch of guys to shoot the ice with flame throwers, thus freeing yeti from his icy bed. It's the easiest job a scientist ever had.

Q: What does the yeti look like?
A: Yeti is kinda like the Rorsach test of monsters. Sometimes he looks like Danny McBride, sometimes Benecio Del Toro. I think it all depends on what mood you're in, and what mood yeti is in. 


Q: Why does the rich dude want a yeti in the first place?
A: He has it in his mind that he can use the yeti to act as publicity to sell his various line of Honeycutt Industries products. 

Q: What could possibly go wrong?
A: It would be easier to ask, "What goes right?" That answer? Nothing.

Q: Is the yeti a Jaws-like monster that is a brutal force of nature, or do they pull a King Kong and try to make the yeti sympathetic and misunderstood?
A: Definitely that second one. Yeti, in fact, is pretty much King King from beginning to end: a monster is located in a foreign land, is taken to America and used in a sideshow-esque extravaganza, breaks free and tears shit up, falls in love with a human girl, and climbs a building. And if we're using the Peter Jackson Kong for this comparison, Yeti is about nine hours shorter and much better. ("Boo! He made Hobbit! Boo!") (Shut up.)

Q: This sounds all pretty straightforward, but, Yeti seems to be an Italian production. Because of that, would one feel uncomfortable while watching it?
A: Only temporarily, and this entirely has to do with the yeti's nipples, which inflate and deflate upon contact with an attractive girl's flailing hands. None of that is a lie, by the way. And if you think I'm being a sarcastic blogger guy, then it's clear you actually haven't seen Yeti and maybe you shouldn't act like a total know-it-all.


Q: What's with this musical score?
A: What, the five-notes-away-from-being-In-the-Hall-of-the-Mountain-King score? Who cares? Did you read the thing about the nipples?

Q: Since this movie contains debate about whether or not the yeti is a beast or a human being, does it contain the requisite non-yeti human being who IS evil so that Yeti can be "ironic" and "philosophical," etc.?
A: Oh yeah. That one dude in the yellow members-only jacket is a total a-hole.

Q: Does yeti hate windows?
A: You have no idea. 

Q: Is there a scene where yeti combs a girl's hair with a fish skeleton?
A: Come on, if you've already seen Yeti, stop wasting my time. 

Q: Are Americans losing their shit in exhilaration over the coming of the yeti?
A: YES. It's amazing how excited everyone is about a monstrous ape-man coming to their country. People flash-mob down the street and invade Honeycutt stores for the latest fashions, all of which have absolutely nothing to do with the yeti whatsoever.

Q: Listen, I'm getting tired of this. Is Yeti a good movie?
A: Heavens, no. But it is entertaining. Both Italy and India's film communities have a fascination with Western culture, especially when it extends to Hollywood, and they have offered up some truly bizarre rip-offs of famous American stories and characters for years. Italy, along with Yeti, has given us the ridiculous Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws, while India has done their own completely stupid version of Superman. Yeti even manages to rip off "Lassie," right down to a collie that barks at men, leading them to deduce, "I think he wants us to follow him!"

"He's not the first ape beast I've made erect, but, he is my favorite."

Q: I guess what I should have asked was, "Is it worth watching?"
A: A fondness for "Mystery Science Theater 3000" might be a good litmus test for you - not because of your ability/desire to surround yourself with like-minded friends and mercilessly tear movies new assholes, but because this is exactly a movie Joel/Mike and his team of robots would have watched on the Satellite of Love. And who knows, maybe they did. If only there some kind of Internet to answer that question for me.

Q: Do you have any final thoughts on Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century?
A:

Jun 9, 2014

WHERE BAD KIDS GO

I must have been six or seven when I lived in Lebanon. The country was ravaged by war at the time, and murders were common and frequent. I remember during a particularly vicious era, when the bombings rarely stopped, I would stay at home sitting in front of my television watching a very, very strange show.

It was a kids’ show that lasted about 30 minutes and contained strange and sinister images. To this day I believe it was a thinly veiled attempt on the part of the media to use scare tactics to keep kids in place, because the moral of every episode revolved around very uptight ideologies: stuff like, “bad kids stay up late,” “bad kids have their hands under the covers when they sleep,” and “bad kids steal food from the fridge at night.”

It was very weird, and in Arabic to top it off. I didn’t understand much of it, but for the most part the images were very graphic and comprehensive. The thing that stuck with me the most, however, was the closing scene. It remained much the same in every episode. The camera would zoom in on an old, rusted, closed door. As it got closer to the door, strange and sometimes even agonizing screams would become more audible. It was extremely frightening, especially for children’s programming. Then a text would appear on the screen in Arabic reading: “That’s where bad kids go.” Eventually both the image and the sound would fade out, and that would be the end of the episode.

About 15 or 16 years later I became a journalistic photographer. That show had been in my mind all my life, popping up in my thoughts sporadically. Eventually I’d had enough, and decided to do some research. I finally managed to uncover the location of the studio where much of that channel’s programming had been recorded. Upon further research and eventually traveling on site, I found out it was now desolate and had been abandoned after the big war ended.

I entered the building with my camera. It was burnt out from the inside. Either a fire had broken out or someone had wanted to incinerate all of the wooden furniture. After few hours of cautiously making my way into the studio and snapping pictures, I found an isolated out-of-the-way room. After having to break through a few old locks and managing to break the heavy door open, I remained frozen in the doorway for several long minutes. Traces of blood, feces, and tiny bone fragments lay scattered across the floor. It was a small room, and an extremely morbid scene.

What truly frightened me, though, what made me turn away and never want to come back, was the bolted, caged microphone hanging from the roof in the middle of the room…



Story source.