Posts Tagged ‘cinefamily’

Bronson is badass!

September 22, 2009

Bronson poster 1

Last Friday night my friend Gariana Abeyta of The Popcorn Mafia got me into a sold out screening of the new movie BRONSON at the Cinefamily. I had a previous dinner engagement and missed the Q and A with the Director and the star at the earlier show, but I got to see the movie and I’m very grateful, because BRONSON was the shit!

BRONSON tells the story of a petty thief named Michael Peterson, who is sentenced to 7 years in prison for the armed robbery of a post office that netted him about 28 pounds and change. His quest to become the most famous criminal in Britain leads him to change his name to Charles Bronson (the epitome of macho maleness) and assume an alter ego that becomes the British penal system’s worst nightmare. Charles Bronson really hates authority and loves nothing more than mixing it up with prison guards, officials, inmates and just about anyone that gets near him. After numerous assaults he is moved from one prison to another and begins to pile up more and more sentences. He likes to draw and write poems, but his favorite thing to do is to take a hostage, strip naked, grease himself with something (butter, paint, his own blood) and take on about 8 prison guards at once as they rush him with billy clubs and ultimately beat the living tar out of him. He also causes about 4 million pounds in damage to one unfortunate institution during a prison riot and fire he starts. All in all, he ends up doing 34 years in prison and 30 of those are in solitary confinement.

Tom Hardy as Charles Bronson, the most famous, charismatic, and violent prisoners in England.

Tom Hardy as Charles Bronson, one of the most famous, charismatic, and violent prisoners in the U.K.

This movie is edgy British cinema at its best. The energy, style, humor and brutality are in the tradition of THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, SEXY BEAST, and TRAINSPOTTING. The direction from Nicolas Refn is visceral, confident, brave and displays an amazing visual style that is quite impressive considering this film was made for less than one million pounds. The narrative structure is also very operatic, with the main character donning clown face and performing to an audience at times. Tom Hardy gives a virtuoso performance as Bronson. He’s a charming sociopath with a love for the limelight and a violent temper for anyone that pisses him off, and of course everyone does. It’s an incredible story and a powerhouse of a movie that stands out from just about anything I’ve seen this year. Find it and see it when it’s released next month because it’s fucking awesome!


The 5 Minute Game and Labor Day BBQ @ The Cinefamily

September 9, 2009

One of my favorite places to watch rare and forgotten movies with a bunch of really well educated geeks is the “nerd clubhouse” that is, The Cinefamily.  Every so often they host an event that is called, “The 5 Minute Game” that involves an audience watching the first 5 minutes of 15 different movies (all shown on good old VHS) and voting on which one they want to watch in its entirety. The selections are always movies you’ve either never heard of or something you’ve seen staring back at you on the video shelf, but you’ve never taken the risk of renting it before. In past 5 minute games the audience voted on and watched a 70’s kung fu-revenge flick called DEATH PROMISE, an insane European action-sex movie called MAD FOXES, and a crazy 80’s horror film about a killer pussycat loose on a yacht called UNINVITED.

For this evening’s choices we were shown the first 5 minutes of the following movies:

1. RETRIBUTION – Cheesy 80’s horror.

2. BROTHER ENEMY – Gang of teenagers learn about art.

3. FRAZIER, THE SENSUAL LION (a.k.a. FRAZIER, THE LOVABLE LION) – Everybody loves Frazier the lion in this “family” film.

4. HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE – An 80’s sex comedy about hamburgers. AWESOME!

5. LEGENDARY PANTY MASK – Trippy Japanese movie that baffled the whole crowd.

6. PARDON MY BLOOPER – Vintage gags and mistakes from the past.

7. IF YOU COULD SEE WHAT I HEAR – Starts out with a blind guy making a new friend in a public shower when he drops his soap and needs help finding it. Not gay porn.


9. RUNNING OUT OF LUCK – Julien Temple directed and co-wrote this weird looking 80’s movie with Mick Jagger (who plays himself) and also stars Jerry Hall (who plays herself), Dennis Hopper and Rae Dawn Chong. It’s about Mick getting kidnapped in Rio. Bananerz!

10. ANARCHY U.S.A. – A documentary that blames the Watts riots on communism. Wow.

11. VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS – A romantic “gay” Christmas story. I hope the “sugar plums” aren’t a metaphor.

12. NINJA: SILENT ASSASSIN – Ninjas doing their thing.

13. JOEY – Not the kangaroo movie.

14. WILD GYPSIES – Just as the title says.

15. THE HIJACKING OF STUDIO 4 – Ultra-low budget DIE HARD rip-off shot on a VHS camcorder about terrorists taking over a local cable station. I must see this!

After viewing all the clips, the audience voted for their top two choices on ballots and handed them in for tallying. I voted for RETRIBUTION and the one I really wanted to see HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE (the crowd favorite), which simply had the best opening 5 minutes of any of the movies shown and ya know, that’s the name of the game. Check out the opening for yourself HERE and tell me how awesome the title song “Hamburgers for America” is! It had the whole audience joyously singing and clapping along with it.

While the votes were being counted we hit the back patio and grilled up some food on the big gas grill. I cooked and ate a gigantic cheeseburger to prepare myself for what I was certain would be the winner. I’ve had a knack for picking all the previous 5 minute game winners and I felt this one was a lock. After the break it was official: HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE had won in the biggest landslide victory ever in 5 minute game history! We took our seats and sank our teeth into the grease and ketchup covered madness that is…

222660.1020.AThere were a lot of zany sex comedies in the 80’s that did not achieve the same status as say an ANIMAL HOUSE, CADDYSHACK, BACHELOR PARTY or even a PORKY’S. I’m talking about little T and A epics like JOYSTICKS, FRATERNITY VACATION, BEER, HOT DOG: THE MOVIE and of course, HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE. Who says fast food and sex jokes don’t work? I remember seeing the VHS box for HAMBURGER in the video stores for years and years, but I always turned up a snooty cinema-brat nose to it and never once considered it for home viewing. Like a bottle of fine wine, I’ve been waiting for just the right moment to uncork this gem and introduce it to my senses and now finally, here I was about to consume it with an enthusiastic crowd of movie-maniacs in the best environment possible! Ok, in every single way imaginable this is a totally cheesy and bad comedy from the late night cable scene. The script, acting and direction are really low grade, but there is a weird charm to it in a post modern ironic kind of way that was a lot of fun to watch.


The plot of HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE concerns a young college student named Russell (played by an actor in his 30’s) who keeps getting kicked out of one college after another for “crude, lewd and nude behavior”. Even the hot chick expelling him tries to fuck him. In desperation he applies to Busterburger University to train to become a Busterburger restaurant manager. It’s not as easy as you’d think, because BU is run like an army recruit center under the supervision of the racist, homophobic drill instructer Drootin (played by the acting challenged ex-Chicago Bear, Dick Butkus). The new recruits aren’t that great either. You’ve got a nerd, a couple of hot chicks, a fat guy who violently shocks himself to keep from over-eating, a Prince impersonator, a sexy Latina armed with an uzi who comes from a country called Guacamole (OH!), and a horny cougar.

Dick Butkus as the racist, homophobic fast food drill instructor, Drootin!

Dick Butkus as the racist, homophobic fast food drill instructor, Drootin!

A nerd falls asleep in one of the hamburger beds at Burgerbuster University.

A nerd falls asleep in one of the hamburger beds at Burgerbuster University.

There is a scene where the new recruits are “tested” on how well they can handle a big rush of customers when an “eating club” is let loose in a Burgerbuster restaurant and the obese members go completely crazy ordering enormous amounts of food, farting uncontrollably and eventually attacking customers and stealing their burgers. It is a scene that degenerates from mildly amusing to nauseatingly disgusting to oddly surreal. There’s also a scene where a group of students shout at a little girl to, “Put the cookies back MOTHERFUCKER!” and another head scratching moment in a club where the lead actor wears a pink sweater covered in what appears to be a bunch of purple swastikas. Those crazy 80’s fashions.

One of the things I really admired about HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE is how it joyously celebrates America’s love affair with burgers, fries, and fast food. In a way, this movie is like a greasy fat chili-burger for the brain with a pair of big tits on the side! It was also the perfect film to follow a Labor Day BBQ and another great time with The Cinefamily! This one’s not available on DVD (a crime!) so you’re gonna have to hunt for it. Bon appetite!

Summer Camp with the Cinefamily!

August 31, 2009

“Dear Mom and Dad,

Camp is great! We’re learning how to use knives and guns and the boys and girls are sleeping with each other. It’s the greatest summer camp ever!”



I am truly saddened over the fact that I have never been to summer camp a day in my life. I would have loved to have camped out in the woods by a crackling fire and toasted marshmallows while singing, “Koom-by-yah” with my fellow campers. Archery, arts and crafts, and skinny dipping would have been a lot of fun, but this was just not meant to be.

My summer camp memories are relegated to the movies, so I was excited to see that the Cinefamily was throwing an all-night SUMMER CAMP MOVIE MARATHON! I went with my partner in crime, the lovely Grae Drake of The Popcorn Mafia and boy did we have ourselves some fun. The Cinefamily’s main programmer, Hadrian Belove and his staff were all dressed like counselors and there was a wading pool and a crafts table set up for making “friendship” bracelets. There was also plenty of beer on hand for us older campers and I ate one of the most delicious smores ever made. The first movie we watched was the amazing, LITTLE DARLINGS…

Kristy McNichol and Tatum O'Neil spend their summer trying to get laid.

Kristy McNichol and Tatum O'Neil spend their summer trying to get laid.

You’ve got to love a teen comedy that’s this inappropriate. Tatum O’Neil and a chain-smoking Kristy McNichol spend their summer camp experience trying to win a bet on which one of them can get laid first. Kristy has her eyes on a teenage (almost unintelligible) Matt Dillon, while Tatum tries to score some loving from an extremely hairy and waaaaayyyyyy too old Armand Assante. If you like under age drinking and jail bait, this is the summer camp movie for you! Up next was something truly incredible…


Meatballs meets The Beach!

Summer Camp Nightmare

1987’s SUMMER CAMP NIGHTMARE tells the story of an all boy’s summer camp that’s run by a very strict Chuck (The Rifleman) Connors. He makes them watch religious programs on the only T.V. and cancels the dance with the nearby girl’s camp. That’s when the kids form an uprising and take control by killing him, jailing the counselors and creating their own society with their own rules. This movie was like a cross between MEATBALLS, LORD OF THE FLIES, THE BEACH, TAPS and a half dozen prison films I’ve seen, complete with a shanking, a rape and a lynching! WOW! Next up, it was time to get stupid…


Meet Meathead, the pot smoking alien.

Meet Meathead, the pot smoking alien.

MEATBALLS PART 2 has absolutely nothing at all to do with the Bill Murray movie. It’s about a war between the laid-back Camp Sasquatch and the military-themed Camp Patton. There’s also an E.T. who smokes weed in it, named Meathead, who has been sent to Earth for the summer by his parents to get his merit badge. Pee Wee Herman, John Larroquette, Richard (EMPTY NEST) Mulligan and the guy who played Ogre from REVENGE OF THE NERDS are on hand for the hilarity. I haven’t seen this one since VHS back in the eighties and it was quite a treat to see a beautiful 35mm Sony archive print of it.

Then, our “camp director” Hadrian offered us all a choice between watching the MEATBALLS rip-off GORP or a christian summer camp movie called, GERONIMO.


We chose GERONIMO and boy am I glad! It’s the “honky and the home-boys” tale of a born-again camp counselor who’s given the tough assignment of taking care of a group of wild, inner-city kids from Chicago for the summer, all of whom seem very “real” and behave like the cast of Larry Clark’s KIDS. After dozens of lectures about Jesus and a few unintentionally racist comments, the boys finally discover the “joy” of camping, when they’re not stealing everything in sight, picking fights with everyone and sniffing glue. This was truly a “rare” treat to see.

Next up was GORP, but it was about 4 a.m. and we needed to take the big, yellow bus back home. Thanks again to the Cinefamily for all the fun. It was the best summer camp experience I’ve ever had, without all that awkward “growing up” stuff!

Saturday night sequel insanity: TROLL 2 and HALLOWEEN II

August 17, 2009
The evil goblins of TROLL 2. Huh?

The evil goblins of TROLL 2. Huh?

One of the great things about being a nerd in L.A. is that there is a huge “revival” theatre scene going on that allows a plethora of options for all geek tastes. This last Saturday evening I was faced with two exciting options for my nerd-dollar. The Silent Movie Theatre had a screening of the infamous, so-bad-it’s-awesome TROLL 2 and a few hours later at midnight, The New Beverly Cinema was showing the original HALLOWEEN II. Since the theaters are only a few blocks from each other, I decided to check them both out for an evening of sequel insanity…


When TROLL 2 was released on VHS back in 1990, the makers were trying to capitalize on the modest success of the film TROLL from 1986. One of the first wonderful FAIL signs on this film is that it is not a sequel in any way to the original. It doesn’t even have any trolls in it. The evil creatures in TROLL 2 are actually goblins! The film was made ultra-low budget, by a crew of Italian filmmakers in the woods of Utah. The director of this trash-terpiece is a man named Claudio Fragasso, but for some reason he’s credited in the movie as Drake Floyd. Most of the cast is made up of Utah locals, all of whom seem to be acting for the very first time ever. Lots of beautifully awkward performances in this film, but the REAL star is the plot!


Meet the Waits family! They have decided to go on a vacation to the town of Nilbog (go on, spell it backwards) where they will exchange homes with a local family. Little 8 year old Joshua Waits has been warned by the ghost of his dead Grandpa Seth that bad things will happen there, but Mom and Dad think he’s insane. His sister Holly wants to bring her boyfriend Elliott along, but he can’t seem to leave the side of his 3 male friends in their winnebago. I’ve never seen SO MUCH implied homosexuality in a film about killer goblins before. The Waits arrive in Nilbog and are treated with amazing hospitality. The family that the Waits are exchanging houses with have left them a huge feast of weird looking green food to enjoy. But Grandpa Seth warns young Joshua that the food will hurt them and that they must not eat any of it. The decision to have the small boy urinate on the feast to protect his family is one of my favorite, “WHAT THE FUCK!” moments. You see, the townspeople are all evil goblins and if you eat their crazy chow you will dissolve into a disgusting green mess so that they can gobble you up easily.

Don't eat the corn covered in green frosting! It's not ripe!

Don't eat the corn covered in green frosting! It's not ripe!



The town folk of Nilbog. Eat their food and they eat you!

The town folk of Nilbog. Eat their food and they eat YOU!

As Elliot’s “friends” are turned into goblin-mulch one by one, it is up to Joshua and the ghost of Grandpa Seth to save the fucking day for the Waits clan! I will not give away the ending, but it goes out on a perfectly fucked up note that you will not soon forget. All in all, TROLL 2 was exactly what I was hoping it would be. A highly entertaining “bad” movie from start to finish. God bless the talents of Drake Floyd, Utah, Nilbog, the Waits, Elliott, and of course Grandpa Seth (who had the audience cheering his name every time he appeared to save the fucking day). There was a second feature by the same director called MONSTER DOG starring ALICE COOPER, but I couldn’t stay for it. I had a date with Michael Myers…

More of the night he came home.

More of the night he came home.

To this date, the original HALLOWEEN is still the best horror movie I’ve ever seen. I consider HALLOWEEN II to be the second best film in the series and yes, I’m including Rob Zombie’s putrid remake in that equation. The HALLOWEEN series is my favorite horror-franchise of all time and I have seen every single film in the theatre, upon initial release, so I hightailed it to the New Bev to check out the screening of a newly struck 35mm print and was dumbstruck at the sight of the largest line I’ve ever seen there. If it wasn’t for my friend and fellow geek Cat saving me a seat, I wouldn’t have made it in to the sold out show. Which would have sucked, because it was a great time!

Before the movie started there was a Q and A with director Rick Rosenthal, actress Gloria Gifford who plays Nurse Alves and the great Alan Howarth who composed the score with John Carpenter on that and many others. It seems like everyone really enjoyed working with each other and had a lot of fun making the movie.

Gloria Gifford, Rick Rosenthal, and Alan Howarth.

Gloria Gifford, Rick Rosenthal, and Alan Howarth.

Before the movie started we were treated to a trailer for the original HALLOWEEN and then it began…


One of the things I always thought was so cool about HALLOWEEN II is that it’s the only sequel I know that picks up precisely where the last one ends and is truly a continuation of the first film’s storyline. Without all of the setup from the first, it just jumps right into the terror and I love it! Also, even though the movie wasn’t directed by John Carpenter, he and Debra Hill came back to write the screenplay and produce it and he even creates a scarier score than the first one. Yes, the film is not quite on the same level as the original slasher masterpiece, but it is head and shoulders above most slasher sequels (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE, etc.). You also have all the principal performers returning (JAMIE LEE CURTIS, DONALD PLEASANCE, MICHAEL MYERS, CHARLES CYPHERS, even NANCY LOOMIS returns as Annie’s corpse!) and most importantly, cinematographer God DEAN CUNDEY is back behind the lens. I think it’s a kick ass sequel!

Michael Myers is crying bloody tears over his sisters excellent marksmanship.

Michael Myers is crying bloody tears over his sisters excellent marksmanship.

This is why smoking isn't allowed in hospitals.

This is why smoking isn't allowed in hospitals.


Haddonfield Memorial is not really the best run place.

After the movie we got a reel of trailers including (the awesome in it’s own right) HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, my second favorite sequel HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS, HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS, and HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. It was a great fucking time and I’d love to see a HALLOWEEN movie marathon some day at the New Bev!

And that was my Saturday night sequel insanity.