Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Female Vampire" review

Female Vampire (1973)

Director: Jesus Franco
Writers: Gérard Brisseau Jesus Franco

Lina Romay... Countess Irina Karlstein
Jack Taylor... Baron Von Rathony
Alice Arno... Irina´s servant
Monica Swinn... Princess de Rochefort
Jesus Franco... Dr. Roberts
I rented "Female Vampire" after a reader recommended it to me. We were discussing the merits of Lina Romay in a Jess Franco disaster called "Lust for Frankenstein" and he insisted that I had to see this movie to understand the Romay sex appeal. In his words, "When miss romay was a quite astonishing 18 year old sexual dream come true, we will find yet another unwatchable jess franco abomination in which she appeared namely "the female vampire". Well actually it would be totally unwatchable if not for the astounding lina romay at her absolute peak, she is naked for most of the film, and with franco zooming in on her incredible arse and twat for long periods in the film it becomes one of the greatest masturbation aids of all time." This is a ringing endorsement. The only other Romay movie I've seen was "Ilsa, the Wicked Warden" which was a great smorgasbord of sleaze but Lina wasn't the reason I loved it. "Female Vampire" needed to be seen.

Lina Romay is a mute vampire who gives people oral sex until they die. Of course she does. Franco decides to get right to it and has Lina strolling through the woods naked in the first five seconds of the movie. She then runs into a guy and proceeds to give him some Romay head until he croaks. That pretty much sums up the movie. Some other people bump into Romay and she sucks the life out of them through their genitals.
Lina Romay is naked through most of the movie and has some extended scenes where she rolls around on a bed so we can soak in every nook and cranny of her beautiful body. My reader was right about Lina being a sight for sore eyes in "Female Vampire". In fact if she wasn't in this movie, I think I would have tossed the DVD across the room.

"Female Vampire" is a pretty boring flick. I saw the 110 minutes version and I couldn't wait for it to end after the 45 minute mark. After I saw Romay roll around naked on top of her dead lesbian lover, I knew I had reached the sleaze peak. There was nowhere to go but down. Romay continues down the path of getting people naked and sucking their life essence from their crotch. But if you've seen one crotch sucking scene, you've seen them all.

And for a director who loves to zoom in on female body parts, you'd think Franco would have learned how to zoom in without the camera going out of focus. There are many instances where Franco thinks he's spotted something interesting going on and zooms in only to give the viewer a headache with some blurry shots of naked Romay and friends. Of course, complaining about incompetence in a Franco movie is like cursing the sky for being blue but it's astonishing how much this guy didn't learn from making all these movies.

Lina Romay is the kind of actress that is perfect for exploitation movies. She's got a great body, she's not shy about getting naked and is pretty much up for whatever depravity the filmmakers, (Franco mostly), feels like filming. As far as "Female Vampire" is concerned, she is the only reason to watch it. If you need some prime Lina in your life, it may be worth watching once.
SCORE: 1.5 out of 4 lusty Linas

"Mirrors" review

Mirrors (2008)

Director: Alexandre Aja
Writers: Alexandre Aja Grégory Levasseur

Kiefer Sutherland ... Ben Carson
Paula Patton ... Amy Carson
Cameron Boyce ... Michael Carson
Erica Gluck ... Daisy Carson
Amy Smart ... Angela Carson
So I met my friends over in the Bank to see "Mirrors". That's Burbank if you want to be official. Ah Burbank. City of Lights. Adventure. Excitement. Chipotle! Before seeing any movie in Burbank, it's important that you hit up the delicacy known as Chipotle. That way even if the movie is a disaster, at least the burrito will be great. And do yourself a favor and get a burrito bowl. That's the way a man would eat it.

After a delicious meal we decided that we still had time to have a beer or two before "Mirrors" started. I had heard nothing but really good things about this movie, (note heavy sarcastic tone), and I knew we might need some alcohol to make the movie that much better. We strolled into a barbecue restaurant and ordered a shot of Jameson and a beer. We debated the merits of "24" and why the last season was awful. We were curious to see if Kiefer was going to have a different persona than the mighty Jack Bauer or if he was going to be channeling his CTU agent into fighting deadly haunted mirrors. We drank our shots and walked back to the theater.

In another stroke of luck, my trustworthy plus one was able to get us passes into the movie. "Mirrors" for free? This night is getting better and better! I had a burrito bowl, chugged some beer and now I get to watch a horror movie for free? "Mirrors" was off to a good start. The good times didn't keep rolling for long.

So the mirrors are haunted. Jack Bauer takes a summer job as a nervous security guard who watches over an entire building filled with evil mirrors. He starts to show signs of insanity and yet this doesn't prevent him from clocking in at his rotten haunted mirror watching job every night. Amy Smart shows up as his concerned sister long enough for us to watch her get topless and die horribly. At least she knew what she was doing in this movie. Soon Bauer will call Chloe and get the schematics of the building downloaded to his PDA because they're running out of time. Dammit!

Oh wait, that was another show. I'm getting confused. I think Keifer was confused too because every time he looked into the mirror, he saw Jack Bauer. Even the way Keifer's character held a gun was exactly the same as Bauer. I would say that Keifer was miscast but then that would imply that this movie should have been cast at all.

It's a good thing I was a little inebriated while watching "Mirrors" because I think I would have walked out on this one. Haunted mirrors is not a good idea for a horror movie. Especially when there's nothing waiting on the other side of the glass except some ambiguous spirits who can pretty much kill you any way they want. "Candyman" showed us that haunted mirrors are a good starting point for a horror flick but shouldn't be used as the basis for the whole movie.

"Mirrors" is the kind of movie that makes up new rules for what the mirrors can or can't do as it goes along. One second Smart tears her jaw open because she stared into the mirror, (mirrors hate that), and the next we see that water is also filled with mirrors and you can drown in your own reflection. Bauer gets on the case and starts to piece together the convoluted mystery behind the mirrors and no one cares. Just break the mirrors already will you? It all ends in crashing glass and bellowing Bauers as you wonder why you sat around for this when you could have been drinking some quality beer.

So plan your next movie night in the Bank with some Chipotle and beer but be sure to skip "Mirrors". There's got to be something better to watch than Bauer battling glass. Dammit!
SCORE: 2 out of 4 reflections of Bauer

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem" review

AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem (2007)

Directors:Colin Strause Greg Strause
Writers: Shane Salerno Dan O'Bannon

Steven Pasquale... Dallas Howard
Reiko Aylesworth... Kelly O'Brien
John Ortiz... Sheriff Eddie Morales
Johnny Lewis... Ricky Howard
Ariel Gade... Molly O'Brien
Kristen Hager... Jesse
Sam Trammell... Tim O'Brien
Tom Woodruff Jr.... Alien / Predalien
Ian Whyte... Predator
Chelah Horsdal... Darcy Benson

After watching "Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem" I was left with a disturbing question rattling around my brain. It's something I would have never thought possible but after seeing two "AvP" movies I'm forced to ask it: Is having Aliens do battle with Predators a bad idea for a movie? It saddens me that I have to think that but the filmmakers have shown us that they really don't know what to do with these two monster icons except put them through the paces of another generic B-movie.

So aliens land on Earth and proceed to kill people. A Predator back at home base starts noticing the carnage and gets jealous. He decides to take the scenic route to Earth so that the viewers can get treated to a parade of the most mind numbingly banal characters to ever grace a monster movie. By the time the Predator showed up, I couldn't wait for these worthless jerks to get ripped to shreds. After much debate on how to ruin the movie further, the filmmakers decided to pack a lot of the action in dark, rainy spots just to make sure that you don't actually see anything. The final Alien vs Predator smack down ends in a blur of tight close ups to keep the action from getting too exciting.

"AvPR" is a pretty forgettable experience. I know this because I watched it and I can barely remember it. There were some bloody spots in a hospital as the Predator/Alien hybrid wants to go to town on some pregnant women and another scene where a young boy gets the facehugger alien treatment. So that's good. But "AvPR" ends up being a fairly depressing experience. If you have any love for "Aliens" or "Predator", you'll inevitably be let down by this unimaginative waste of time. "AvPR" runs through the B-movie playbook and delivers some blood and guts but fails to bring anything original or exciting to these two movie monster legends.

However, I'm not convinced that Aliens fighting Predators is a bad idea for a movie. What's my idea you say? Glad you asked! If you were going to do this kind of insanity, you'd have to go all the way. Since no one cares about the humans in these movies, toss them overboard. Have Aliens fighting Predators be the whole movie. I'm talking subtitles on the Predators as they discuss strategy for blasting Aliens into little pieces. Let "Apocalypto" show us the way. You don't need the same boring characters infesting every stinking horror/action movie. Let the monsters be the star and it can't lose!

The other "AvP" idea would be to go completely hog wild and have it be an insane action movie for those who can't get enough of watching an action hero blast his way through piles of alien guts. Send in a Chuck Norris clone to lay waste to the entire Predator planet and have him get caught up in their war. Either way, the movie should be set in outer space with alien body parts flying in all directions.

But since no one seems to care about these two monsters I suspect we may have seen the last of them for awhile. I will keep hoping that someday they get the monster movie treatment they deserve. "AvPR" wasn't it.

SCORE: 2.5 out of 4 dark and stormy monsters