Archive for June, 2010

TUCKER & DALE Vs. EVIL is the THREE’S COMPANY of gore-comedy!

June 19, 2010

SOME SPOILERS!

I went to a sneak preview last Saturday night at The Cinefamily of a hilarious new situation-gore-comedy that has killed audiences at both Sundance and SXSW, called TUCKER & DALE Vs. EVIL. It’s about two perfectly likable good-ole-boys named Tucker (ALAN TUDYK) and Dale (TYLER LABINE) who have just inherited a creepy old shack in the woods that they plan on turning into their dream vacation home. A group of partying college kids mistake the lovable bumpkins for deranged hillbilly psychopaths when their friend Allison (KATRINA BOWDEN) is knocked unconscious and the boys carry her off to their cabin for aid. The splat-stick style violence ensues as the coeds begin accidently killing themselves, while trying to take back their pal from the innocent rubes. It keeps building and compounding on the misunderstandings and the gore, making it all play like a mix between THREE’S COMPANY and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. The performances by ALAN TUDYK and TYLER LABINE as Tucker and Dale are top notch funny and they both share a great chemistry together. The gore gags are extreme, but very comic and the mix of horror and comedy hasn’t been this good since SHAUN OF THE DEAD. I loved it and thought it was the most consistently funny movie I’ve seen this year!

After the screening, there was a Q & A with Tucker himself, ALAN TUDYK. He talked about filming the movie up in Canada and how director ELI CRAIG encouraged he and costar TYLER LABINE to play the situations as real as possible. TUDYK said he loved working with LABINE and the two hit it off instantly. He credits the film’s comedic strength to a great script from ELI CRAIG and MORGAN JURGENSON. TUDYK took questions from the crowd and none other than NATHAN FILLION (SERENITY, SLITHER) asked him about his comedy technique. Then FILLION took the stage with his former FIREFLY costar and the two friends went off on a hilarious and very self-deprecating discussion on comic acting. It was a real treat for everyone in attendance.

Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk discuss acting and humor.

The sad news is: TUCKER & DALE Vs. EVIL doesn’t have a theatrical distributor yet. As funny and awesome as it is, the producers have not raised enough money to release and market it properly, so it might just get dumped on DVD like TRICK ‘R TREAT. It only cost about 3 million to make, but 10 million is what it takes for distribution and they’re about 3 mill shy. I hope they get it because this movie deserves to be seen with an audience and I think, if given the chance, it could be a big hit. It’s a great gore-comedy in the vein of EVIL DEAD II, DEAD ALIVE and TREMORS and I hope everyone gets a chance to see it soon. Nerd out!

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Phil Blankenship’s Film Explosion Part 2 @ The New Beverly Cinema!

June 12, 2010

From June 4th to the 10th, Phil Blankenship had a film explosion at the New Beverly Cinema. It was his second, so far. Who is Phil Blankenship? He’s a video-maniac extraordinaire and boy does he know his films. He programs the best selection of midnight movies that the revival house heavy city of Los Angeles has to offer. His choices are made up of many of the dusty, forgotten treasures you would often scan past on the shelves of your local video tape rental shop. Almost all of the films he programs are unavailable on DVD and include party favorites, cult movies and totally obscure b-movie gems. For one full week he put together a mind-blowing program of triple and double features that melted the faces of even the most avid film freaks right down to the bone.

It started on a Friday night with a testosterone and steroid drenched triple-bill of three of SYLVESTER STALLONE’S finest action films: the 1986 uber-cop madness of COBRA, followed by the over-the-top buddy-cop craziness of TANGO & CASH (costarring KURT RUSSELL) and the mountaintop action epic CLIFFHANGER (directed by RENNY HARLIN).

Saturday night was a triple-bill of b-movie auteur JIM WYNORSKI’S films: THE LOST EMPIRE, a highly entertaining and super-campy action/adventure flick about a big breasted blonde cop, who puts together a group of equally big breasted female mercenaries, so they can infiltrate a martial arts tournament on a secret island fortress and seek vengeance for the death of her brother from an undead wizard named Lee Chuck. It was wild! Then there was the incredible 80’s classic CHOPPING MALL (A.K.A. KILLBOTS), about a trio of mall security robots that go berserk and start killing off a group of partying teenagers. Lastly, there was a straight to video action movie starring COREY HAIM (who’s in his late twenties and playing a teenager) and ALAN THICKE (as HAIM’S cop father. Huh?) called DEMOLITION HIGH, which was like a combination of DIE HARD and THE BREAKFAST CLUB. Guests that night included JIM WYNORSKI and actors TONY O’DELL & KELLI MARONEY from CHOPPING MALL.

Tony O'Dell, Kelli Maroney and Jim Wynorski discuss CHOPPING MALL.

O'Dell poses with a Killbot.

Sunday gave us a double dose of two truly disgusting kids movies: 1987’s THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE, which was repulsive, grotesque and oddly surreal. Followed by the slimy puppet horror of GHOULIES II, which is considered by some to be the seventh best “carnival” movie ever made.

Monday was a double-bill of two classic 80’s slasher films: SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, which was written and directed by two feminist women, whom were clearly making a not-so-subtle satire of the genre. It was followed by SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE, a gory campus cut-up. DAVID MILLBERN, costar of SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE was a guest.

David Millbern talking about SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE.

Tuesday was a really cool BRIAN DePALMA double feature of: BLOW OUT, which is one of my favorite films by the director and one helluva bad ass thriller. It was shown with his more recent sexy dream mystery FEMME FATALE. Acclaimed editor and DePALMA collaborator PAUL HIRSCH was in the house for a magnificent Q & A.

Acclaimed editor Paul Hirsch on Brian DePalma.

On Wednesday, it was Phil’s birthday, so he showed two of his favorites: the classic REVENGE OF THE NERDS (and everybody’s favorite nerd ROBERT CARRADINE showed up to talk about it), which was followed by the third annual screening of Phil’s favorite movie, the aerobicsploitation epic HEAVENLY BODIES.

Nerd! Robert Carradine in the house!

Thursday was the final day of Phil’s festival and he showed two really awesome and obscure 80’s horror movies: PRISON (1988) starring VIGGO MORTENSEN as a convict in a prison haunted by a supernatural killer. Director RENNY HARLIN was on hand, along with the screenwriter C. COURTNEY JOYNER and veteran exploitation producer IRWIN YABLINS for a Q & A about the film. Next was THE HORROR SHOW (A.K.A HOUSE III) about a sadistic killer (played by BRION JAMES) who returns from the dead after being electrocuted for his crimes, so he can destroy the life of the cop (LANCE HENRIKSEN) who caught him. Both were very smart and well made exploitation films that are relatively unknown.

From R to L: Renny Harlin, C. Courtney Joyner and Irwin Yablins sing Happy Birthday to Phil.

Phil’s got some great midnight movies coming up this month at the New Bev, including the underrated 80’s teen classic THE WILD LIFE, the CLINT EASTWOOD stalker-from-hell flick PLAY MISTY FOR ME and the summer camp sequel insanity of MEATBALLS PART II. Nerd out!

The 5 Minute Game and BBQ V @ The Cinefamily

June 3, 2010

This past Memorial Day was another edition of one of my all time favorite L.A. cinematic events, THE 5 MINUTE GAME AND BBQ at The Cinefamily. I’ve attended all the previous 5 Minute Games and this one made it the fifth. What is the 5 Minute Game, you ask? It’s a game devised by a group of crazed movie-nerds whom believe that the first five minutes of every movie is all you need to see to know if you want to watch it. So they show an audience the first five minutes of 15 different movies (all of which are very rare and available only on VHS) and then the audience votes on which one they want to see the most. The votes are then tallied up while everyone adjourns to the back patio for a huge BBQ. After the break, everybody returns back into the theatre and we all watch the movie that received the most votes. It’s very democratic!

The first 5 Minute Game winner was an incredible kung fu revenge flick from the 70’s called DEATH PROMISE, that was about a karate guy going after the evil landlords that killed his father. The second 5 Minute Game winner was MAD FOXES, a crazy European action movie about a guy seeking revenge on the biker gang that raped his girlfriend. The third 5 Minute Game was an 80’s horror movie called UNINVITED, that was directed by GREYDON (JOYSTICKS) CLARK and it starred the great veteran actors, GEORGE KENNEDY and CLU GULAGER. It was about a mutant pussy cat killing people aboard a yacht and the audience ate it up. I ran into CLU GULAGER later and mentioned to him that I had just seen UNINVITED and he groaned and said, “The one about the killer pussy!” That’s classic CLU! The last 5 Minute Game winner was the 80’s fast food gross-out comedy HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE, which I blogged about back in September. I can still vividly remember the scene where an “eating club” made up of obese people, take over a fast food joint and start eating and farting uncontrollably. It was sublime!

This year’s game consisted of the first five minutes of the following entries:

1. DAREDREAMER: This had an amazing opening that featured an insanely dressed ROCK GOD waking up in his mansion and beginning his day. It included him driving a motorcycle out of his house so that he could get to his limousine parked in front, while an awesome 80’s rock tune plays featuring the chorus, “He’s awesome!”.  It looked great but got lost in the shuffle.

2. LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT: Crazy political comedy with an overt sex theme.

3. DEADLY BUSINESS: Can’t remember this one. Left no impression.

4. THE BOY WHO CALLED BITCH: This one’s about a young mother raising a horrible son who has violent tantrums and calls his mom a “Bitch” and a “Slut” in front of prospective boyfriends. This one got my vote for second!

5. THE SQUEEZE: This actually looks like a really good movie that stars the great STACY KEACH. Unfortunately, the first five minutes weren’t exciting enough to satisfy this rowdy crowd of drunks. I must check this one out sometime soon.

6. HELP, HELP, THE GLOBOLINKS!: A German newscaster declares, “ALIENS ARE INVADING!” and suddenly the news room is taken over by weird creatures that look like giant sprouts. We watch them dance for five minutes. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

7. THE BEAT: Can’t remember this one very well either. Break dancing may have been involved.

8. DRAGON HUNT: The first five minutes of this film were incredible and it became apparent instantly that this would be the winner!

9. PRIVATE PRACTICES: Another one I can’t remember. I was a little drunker than usual.

10. THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY: Even I wasn’t interested in seeing this slasher movie and I love slasher movies!

11. NORMAN, IS THAT YOU?: This looked pretty amazing. RED FOXX makes an unannounced visit on his son only to discover he’s GAY! “Oh, Weezie!”

12. KILL!: Didn’t.

13. MR. PEEK-A-BOO: This one got one lonely vote.

14. SCORCHERS: Can’t remember if this is the one with the old Irish guy telling the long, boring story, but if it is, it almost started a riot.

15. DEADLINE: Nothing.

I voted for DRAGON HUNT and THE BOY WHO CRIED BITCH. So did almost everyone else, so after the BBQ grilling and food consumption we all gathered back inside and DRAGON HUNT was screened before an anxious crowd.

DRAGON HUNT (1990) is a Canadian made martial arts action movie that stars the incredible McNAMARA BROTHERS. It is as cheesy and wonderfully entertaining a film as you can possibly imagine. You’ve got an organization of vicious killers that call themselves The People’s Private Army, which are led by a cartoonish madman named Jake (B. BOB) who sports a metal hand and a mohawk inspired by FLOCK OF SEAGULLS. Part of his plot for world domination includes capturing the Twin Dragons (MARTIN AND MICHAEL McNAMARA) a brother karate duo that look like a cross between CHUCK NORRIS and the SUPER MARIO BROTHERS. Pretty much everyone in this movie has a crazy haircut and a wild mustache and it’s awesome!

The Twin Dragons are set up and drugged by two foxy women that are in cahoots with the bad guys. They wake up on an island filled with vicious killers (whom have names like THE BEASTMASTER, THE FAT MAN and THE RED SKULL OF DEATH), where they are forced to be the prey in a DANGEROUS GAME styled hunt. But they don’t know who they’re fucking with! One by one, the Twin Dragons take out The People’s Private Army (including a team of the most incompetent ninjas ever seen) and punch and kick their way to the evil Jake.

Wow, this movie totally delivered on its promising first five minutes! It was a really entertaining piece of Canuxsploitation from beginning to end and it just kept delivering the goods. Silly plot, bad acting, strange dialogue, weird costumes, horribly staged action, cheesy music and not one, not two, but THREE action montages set to music! This was probably my favorite 5 Minute Game to date. Exploitation movies just seem to play the best with that crowd and the more obscure the better. After searching for a VHS copy of DRAGON HUNT, I can say that it’s definitely not available anywhere else. I don’t know how The Cinefamily got a hold of this gem, but it’s worth its weight in nerd gold. I can’t wait to see which obscure titles they’ll have in store for us at the next 5 Minute Game. I leave you with some photos from the BBQ, enjoy!

THE GRILLMASTER!

BBQ carnage.

Cinefamily chieftains Tom Fitzgerald & Hadrian Belove and screenwriter Josh Olson discuss their choices for the evening.

A rowdy drunkard crashes the BBQ and wreaks havoc! Oh wait, that's Max Landis.

That's a packed patio!