Monday, June 18, 2018

Pinocchio (2002)

This is a strange case: the original Italian film is good, but the dubbed version for the U.S. release is very bad, mostly due to very bad dubbing. Roberto Benigni stars, but he's voiced by child Breckin Meyer. Other voices include Glenn Close, David Suchet, John Cleese, Topher Grace, Cheech Marin, Eddie Griffin, Kevin James, Regis Philbin, Jim Belushi, Eric Idle and Queen Latifah. The plot follows the original story closely, with some scenes that might be tough for its intended audience - Pinocchio gets hanged, for example. Like all Benigni films, there's slapstick comedy and he's a gifted physical comedian. Unfortunately, it's hard to get past the weirdness and melancholy.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Pterodactyl (2005)

Still another SyFy film, this one was directed my Mark Lester, whose done some good films and he manages to make this cheap monster movie a little better than most SyFy films. Then again, it has Coolio as an Army captain, so it also has more faults than the usual bad CGI (and in one case, a very bad hand puppet). An earthquake causes pterodactyl eggs in a volcano in Turkey to hatch, though they're millions of years old and Turkey looks surprisingly verdant. Characters have names like Lovecraft, Burroughs, Zelazny and Heinlein. Weapons that don't look very authentic also don't seem very effective. The monster carries off the female lead - without even scratching her - and the rest of the film is rescue and kill the monster. Meh.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012)

aka Puppet Master 10 - Axis Rising

Puppet Master films are probably beyond criticism; if you've seen the first nine, you'll see this one, though it's the worst one (and reportedly will be the last). Charles Band directed for once. There's four new villain puppets: one that shoots bullets from its bra (not exactly new idea), a werewolf, a half-tank, and a living bomb. There's nine kills, mostly by bullet or knife, the sole odd one by vomiting a leech into a mouth. The puppets aren't as well-made as in earlier films of the series and the acting is poor. I forget the plot - I'm not sure it matters.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Planet of the Sharks (2016)

This SyFy film is a version of "Waterworld," when I expected "Planet of the Apes." Global warming has covered most of the Earth with water and the small floating towns are surrounded by sharks, which seem to have a telepathic alpha lead shark. There's a plan to create a big freeze to return things to normal, but it's all very talky. The CGI and acting are dodgy at best. It's not novel enough to entertain any but the least discriminating shark movie enthusiast.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Puss Bucket (1991)

aka Pus$Bucket
Yet another contender for worst film ever made, this extremely rare VHS is about Judas and Corned Beef (God, I wish I could stop there - THAT would be a film), two rednecks who watch a lot of religious TV programming. They don't seem to notice when aliens have knocked the roof off their shack, but they get convinced the aliens are actually the Virgin Mary, who wants them to kill people and collect the pus from their skulls (in a bucket, hence the title) and bring it to them. There's also a scientist and his wife and some military personnel... and musical numbers. It's like they wanted to make their own "Rocky Horror Picture Show." There's very unsexy sex scenes (an orgy with a nipple cut off - and not as well as even H.G. Lewis would do it - and an overlong whipping), never synced sound, meandering and pointless detours, people doing cartoon voices... the director (a woman) didn't even get the title spelled correctly or understand what pus is. There isn't even much killing of people to collect pus. In short, there's nothing but stuff to annoy the viewer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Psycho Pike (1992)

aka Psychopike
When I announced I was watching this some 8-9 months ago, I got encouragement from the two people, both Canadian, who had seen it; it was a lost film until about 2012, when people more obsessed with bad films than even I am, went in search of a copy - it's still extremely hard to find [and, as I type that, I know I'll hear that it's now on the Web or got a Blu-Ray release]. It's atypical Canuxploitation, but more of a throwback to 1970s (or 60s) rubber monster movies. Industrial pollution has caused an already legendary pike to grow even larger and grow insane, jumping out of the water to attack people.

Full disclosure: I've been bitten by a northern pike (possibly a tiger muskie). I was 9 and I thought it was a snapping turtle that got me at first; I had teeth marks in my leg - yes, these fish have teeth - and you could even gauge the size of the fish from the marks. It wasn't that big. Further disclosure: here in Minnesota, walleyed pike is considered a delicacy, though it's considered a trash fish in most places. It's really tasty. Even further disclosure: the further north you go, the longer and thinner fish seem to get; the pike in Canada seem like gar, all bones and no flesh.

Okay, have I been Minnesotan enough here, yet? How 'bout that weather?

The film is really slow. There's endless footage of driving in a Jeep and more endless conversations in phone booths about water testing. The attacks are few, mostly toward the end, and are obviously done by crew throwing the fish. The giant fish is... not good, not even by the low budget standards of the monster attack film genre. There's a character with an eye patch that really hams it up. The film is not without its charms, but not worth seeking out.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Provoked (1989)

If this wasn't on YouTube, I probably wouldn't have seen it. It's mostly known for its star, who was Americana of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. You get to see her run a lot in mom jeans. There's also porn star Ona Zee in the cast, though there's no nudity. This is a standard rescue-the-hostage film, but all the genders are reversed: it's a guy who's kidnapped by a gang, whose leader is a woman, and he's saved by his wife. It's really low budget and looks like an episode of a very bad TV show. Many of the line readings are funny and would be, even if the dialogue weren't so bad. Even the weapons seem wrong; people have automatic weapons for no reason and one guy has what looks like an antique Thompson machine gun.