Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Sex Hex" review

Sex Hex (2007)

Director: George Freeway
Writer: George Freeway

Sabrina Faire
Jackie Stevens
Sativa Verte
Molly Heartbreaker
Darian Caine
A.J. Khan

A succubus has put a sex hex on a cheap looking office. Apparently the office is populated by lesbians who only needed a little Sapphic push from a horny servant of Satan. Some dork is investigating the mysterious shenanigans but he just distracts from the all-girl action. Will A.J. Khan and Darian Caine give in to their forbidden desires and fall under Sabrina Faire’s lesbian sex hexing? As if you didn’t know…

“Sex Hex” was directed by “George Freeway”. I feel safe in saying that this name is bogus and that “Sex Hex” was made by the same players who gave us “Kinky Kong”. The same terrible lighting technique is used here for the ladies. Whenever the sex scene starts ramping up, the girls are lit up so that you can see them from outer space. Once again, this disastrous filmmaking choice ruins most of the movie.

It’s important in softcore flicks to try to make the sex scenes believable. We know the performers are not actually having sex but we like to believe that they are. These scenes don’t need any extra lighting, music, editing or anything else that takes the viewer’s horny mind off of the image of two, (or three), women licking and kissing each other.

So “Sex Hex” was pretty much a dud for me. You wouldn’t think cheap lesbian sex flicks could get overproduced but then “Sex Hex” and “Kinky Kong” come along to prove otherwise. “Sex Hex” can be skipped.

One last thought, there was one good thing about “Sex Hex” and that one good thing was A.J. Khan. I don’t think I can praise her enough for her dedication to the Sapphic arts. She has one decent sex scene with Darian Caine near the beginning of the movie. Not only does A.J. have a great body, she always knows what to do with the other female she’s with. A.J is always energetic and gives it her best in each sex scene. She was the reason I watched this movie. Now if we could only get her to star in her own Emmanuelle movies. A.J. Khan…Queen of the galaxy…

SCORE: 1.5 out of 4 sex hexing Khans

Yeah, I've been hexed.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Captivity" and the art of the B-movie hustle

Captivity (2007)

Director: Roland Joffé
Writers: Larry Cohen

Elisha Cuthbert... Jennifer

The amount of time and energy that is going into promoting “Captivity” is an interesting display of B-movie hustle. It’s the kind of shameless exploitation that you just don’t see much of these days. Most B-movies land with a soft thud in the video store waiting for some dupe to pick it up and give it a whirl. The hucksters behind “Captivity” really want the world to think that they have got an ultra shocking film that must be seen. “Captivity” is not content to be just another box on the video shelf waiting for that one B-movie fan to show it some love. It wants to stir up the mainstream and reap all of the controversy and condemnation their little exploitation flick can muster. Will the normal people take the bait and point their self righteous fingers at the B-movie fiends? They already have. Suckers.

But first, let’s jump back in time to last year. I went to an advanced screening of “Captivity” at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood. I was sitting in front of the writer and a tall blonde who I think was Hundra in the classic 80’s cheesefest “Hundra”. The guy sitting next to me was talking to himself and babbling about starting his own radio station. I was listening to the people sitting behind me and they were wondering if the director was going to show up for the screening. Someone yelled out that he was in Italy. I took that as a bad sign. He didn’t want to see the reaction to his movie. So with all of this going on around me, I settled in to watch “Captivity”.

“Captivity” is about a blonde getting imprisoned and tortured. It is about nothing else. Cuthbert goes through the B-movie motions of a spoiled model getting forced to do things against her will. Sadistic mind games twist Cuthbert until she just can’t take it anymore. More violence and depravity follow.

When the screening was over, they asked us to stay behind to answer a few questions. I was the only one in that room who kind of liked “Captivity”. I thought it was a fair B-movie. The rest of the group despised it. They were not the right target audience. These were mainstream moviegoers all the way. Near the end of the session, they asked us to grade some alternate ending ideas. One of the possible endings was to have Cuthbert take a shotgun and shoot the main bad guy in the nuts. I applauded that ending. I was alone in my applause.

As I left the theater, I didn’t see much of a theatrical future for “Captivity”. It had the look, feel and smell of a straight to video B-flick. After the critical mauling they got from the test audience, I felt sure that the responsible filmmakers behind “Captivity” would see it my way and send it to a video store near me as soon as possible. Now I understand that I was terribly wrong.

Never underestimate a determined B-movie showman. The carnies behind the sideshow “Captivity” won’t take no for an answer. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Step right up for the wildest spectacle you’ve ever seen! We’ve got a blonde behind bars! WOO-HOO! Bring the kids! Fun for the whole family!

The brainstorming on how to hustle “Captivity” must have started the night after the screening. They knew they needed a hook to get audiences already bloodied by the “Saw” and “Hostel” flicks excited about their particular celluloid brutality. So they let their marketing department off the chain and allowed them to run free and cause havoc. It was B-movie promotional gold they brought back to their masters.

So some maniacal genius unleashed a series of billboards in Los Angeles to brace moviegoers for the onslaught of “Captivity”. It was a disgusting billboard even by my standards. There’s something about driving down Pico and seeing a four panel billboard promising you “Abduction, Confinement, Torture, (with a picture of Cuthbert being force fed through her nose), Termination” that makes you feel dirty just looking at it.I was laughing at the filmmaker’s desperate decision to sell their B-flick. But I thought to myself, if I’m doing a double take on this billboard, I wonder how the normal moviegoers are going to react.

Well, it didn’t take long for the rubes to be up in arms over this billboard. It even got a mention in the California section of the L.A. Times as a columnist proceeded to rip into the filmmakers for their decision to blight L.A. with their exploitative advertising. Won’t someone please think of the children?! When contacted about their morally bankrupt billboard, the filmmakers assured the general public that is was all a misunderstanding and the billboards would be taken down by next week. The public congratulated itself on a job well done.

Of course we all know the truth. The filmmakers were the real winners as they drew more attention to their little “blonde in a hole” flick than any amount of trailers and talk show appearances possibly could. Those billboards were no mistake. The filmmakers were praying for some self righteous do-gooder to condemn them. All of the stones that were thrown at them felt so good. Now people will remember “Captivity”.

After the billboard fiasco, I read that the filmmakers went back and reshot 30-40% of the movie to add some more blood and gore. So the movie I saw a year ago is probably nowhere near the movie that will be slinking into theaters. Now the posters around town just have a picture of Cuthbert staring behind prison bars. At the bottom of the poster it reads, “Friday July 13th.” The hustle never ends…

SCORE: 2 out of 4 for blondes, blood and B-movie bullsh-t

Friday, June 01, 2007

"The Devil's Den" review

The Devil's Den (2006)

Director: Jeff Burr
Writer: Mitch Gould

Kelly Hu... Caitlin
Devon Sawa... Quinn
Ken Foree... Leonard
Steven Schub... Nick
Karen Maxwell... Candy
Dawn Olivieri... Jezebel
Ken Ohara... Zatoichi
Melissa Barker... Ghoul
Jacki R. Chan... Dancer/Ghoul

Two buddies traveling through Mexico decide to stop off at a strip club. They end up at the Titty Twister. Oops, I mean The Devil’s Den. They want to test out their batch of Spanish flies on the unsuspecting strippers. It doesn’t take long before the strippers reveal themselves to be blood thirsty vampires! Wait a minute. That’s not right. They’re actually blood thirsty ghouls! Ooooh. I see the difference now. The rest of the movie has the survivors doing battle with the ghoulish women while the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

“Devil’s Den” is an unapologetic rip-off of “From Dusk Till Dawn”. It has all of the strippers, blood sucking and limb ripping you would expect to see in such a B-movie outing. Kelly Hu shows up as a government assassin with great legs and an endless supply of bullets. Ken Foree is the samurai Zen master who has been studying up on ghoul strippers and how to dispatch them to their eternal grave. Together with slacker Devon Sawa, they will band together to chase the ghouls back down to Hell.

I was pleased with “Devil’s Den”. The good news is that “Devil’s Den” is a well made rip-off of “From Dusk Till Dawn”. It keeps moving along and delivers plenty of B-movie thrills. I could’ve used a little more gratuitous nudity from the ghoul girls. They were a little too shy for me. But there was plenty of blood and guts flying around to keep me happy. It’s worth a look.

SCORE: 2.5 out of 4 ghoul killing Hu's
Government assassins need great legs to subdue their enemy.