Sunday, February 19, 2017

Massive Retaliation (1984)

How bad is it? I started thinking of what order I wanted to kill the people in it. (Pretty bad)
Should you see it? No way.

This film was released only on videotape (and Beta, at that) in the U.S., but there's a UK import on DVD. Three couples, upon hearing the possibility of nuclear war, head to their survivalist bunker. Their kids have some trouble getting there. There's one moment of entertainment, involving a search for a water pump, otherwise this is stilted political jargon piled on top of cliched characters overacting and a plot that's been done infinitely better several times elsewhere. Apparently, it's not a big deal to lose a child or two. This film probably still exists because it was the first film of Bobcat Goldthwait, who plays Redneck #2.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Malibu Shark Attack (2009)

How bad is it? Lowest common denominator shark attack film.
Should you see it? No.

I haven't reviewed a shark film in a while. This SyFy original attempts to combine "Baywatch" with the usual shark attack film, substituting Australia for Malibu. An underwater earthquake creates a tsunami that brings the deep-dwelling goblin sharks to shore. The CGI sharks are poorly done, there's little tension, the plot is minimal, the acting weak and even the pretty people in swimsuits are nothing special. Ho hum.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Material Girls (2006)

How bad is it? Insufferable fluff from Duff&Duff.
Should you see it? No. Some of the cast is interesting, but that's all.

Hilary and Haylie Duff play what appears to be a version of the Olsen Twins, as heirs to a cosmetic industry that someone's trying to take down. Much of the film revolves around spoiled rich girls trying to ride a bus or do laundry. I kept thinking: Devil Wears Prada, Poor Little Rich Girl, The Maid... there are so many better films that it seems to try being a teen version of - without success. Maria Conchita Alonso, Anjelica Huston, Brent Spiner, Lukas Haas, Colleen Camp, Judy Tenuta, Joel and Benji Madden and, inexplicably Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis (as a reporter) make the least of what screen time they have. The stars are likeable, the director has made some adequate lightweight comedies, but this one just has nothing going for it.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Maslin Beach (1997)

How bad is it? A quirky light comedy that doesn't quite work. Not terrible.
Should you see it? Not really.

This has received some very low scores among reviewers, which I don't think it deserves, because it 1) shows a lot of average-looking naked people and 2) has been classified as a "romantic comedy." The film consists entirely of vignettes on a nude beach in Australia, with people discussing relationships, sex, love... and farting; in fact, there's a lot of farting. There isn't, however, much romance or comedy. It seems largely unscripted, which is a problem and, while taking place in one day, the sun angle changes back and forth. Essentially, nothing happens.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mark of the Astro-Zombies (2004)

How bad is it? It's about high-school-play-on-camcorder level.
Should you see it? Tough call. If you liked other Mikels films, then go ahead and see it.

Added: Somehow, I neglected to mention that this is a sequel to Ted Mikels' "Astro-Zombies."

This sequel came more than 30 years after the original and returns Tura Satana (who's still fun to watch, but it looks like it was a rough 30 years) and, get this - the head of John Carradine (papier mache). Lizard-like aliens in masks that can't move have a plan to take over the world by turning people into zombies with their army of maybe 12 aliens with (obvious prop) machetes. Liz Renay and Brinke Stevens are in the cast, adding to the nostalgia factor. There's still too much exposition and the sets are minimal; the FBI and CIA are in the same building! There's a lengthy chase scene and more killing than in the original, but it's even cheaper, despite some CGI, being filmed on video and there are points when it verges on self-parody.

Monday, February 13, 2017

My 5 Wives (2000)

aka My Five Wives

How bad is it? The second-worst Rodney Dangerfield film (after Meet Wally Sparks).
Should you see it? Fans of Rodney will enjoy it.

Rodney Dangerfield plays a real estate developer whose plans to buy land from a religious community to build a ski resort requires him to marry the previous owner's three wives. Another deal nets the other two wives. Andrew "Dice" Clay plays a gangster who, with banker John Byner, try to steal the land from Rodney.  Molly Shannon plays a feminist self-help guru and Jerry Stiller has a small role. Rodney, thrice-divorced before this escapade, has trouble satisfying his wives - including sexually - and more trouble with the religious conversion that requires him to give up vices like drinking, smoking and gambling. It's the kind of film that strings together old stand-up routines, which if you haven't heard the jokes before, are pretty good.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Marilyn: Alive and Behind Bars (1992)

How bad is it? It's pretty damn bad.
Should you see it? If you can find it (it's bootleg only) and you may have seen part of it before.

The story behind this film is better than the actual film. "Night Train to Terror" was made as an anthology of three films including what was an unfinished project that makes up the bulk of this film. The editing for the anthology tightens things up quite a bit, as the full unfinished film had a bit of new footage added and was released as "Scream Your Head Off," which was released on VHS without the knowledge of the director [I've seen that, too]. The director then decided to finish the film his own way, which became this film; unfortunately, his lead actor had visibly aged and he shot on video, which causes some glaring continuity problems.

The story, such as it is, has a guy drunk driving and causing his bride's death. He then attempts suicide, but awakes in a private hospital - or mansion, or something (it's all iffy) - where mind control and drugs force him to lure women into becoming sex slaves in the Mideast. Then there's the hospital attendant, played by Richard Moll (who has hair, unlike in his "Night Court" and later appearances, and who's billed as Charles Moll), who likes to chop people up. Then add a romance with a woman who claims to be Marilyn Monroe, played by Francine York (a nice touch of class), abducted 30 years earlier. Of course there's an escape and revenge, but less gore than in "Night Train to Terror." All in all, it's a trainwreck.