Tag Archives: review

Changes (not the David Bowie song)

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2013 was a big year for El Gore, both for the blog but also for the people involved. As it stands now, we all have full-time job and/or university duties, which is why we decided to loosen up our schedule a bit.

Trash Monday will continue without any breaks whatsoever and one review, be it music or movie, is also guaranteed. Of course, additional content might be added in busy weeks in terms of new releases.

That’s about it! We will strive to review as much as we possibly can, but for now our personal lives need to be put first. We hope you understand!

~The El Gore team~

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

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Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new winner in the category “most annoying masked men/women in media ever.” With the release (and hype) of Daft Punk’s disco record Random Access Memories I thought that nobody could threaten their leading position but I was wrong. A few days ago I saw a retro (coincidence?) film which hid in a dusty, dark corner for nearly 2 decades just to ambush and slay me with its power. Sorry disco dudes, this stuff hit me deadly and I have no other choice but to call my decision off.

The new winner is Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie from 1995 and a “we had no idea what we were doing” life-time award goes to director Bryan Spicer and his wonderful writers Arne Olsen/John Kamps. I am aware of the 90s children super-hero movies being mostly a clever move in order to sell even more of the shitty franchise products. Children are great customers and you should try to keep them at it but this film is a farce and I feel personally affronted by this incredible masterpiece of crap.

If you decide to create a super-hero group franchise for children with the goal to con money out of the parents all over the world, you have to follow a few important rules. The most important one is that every single child should have the possibility to identify with one of the heroes. Write and develop at least 4 different characters: the geek, the clown, the introverted and the extroverted. If you want to increase the degree of difficulty and prejudices you can play with colours and gender in order to make the whole show more “realistic”. Secondly, you should place value on the fact that even though everybody is a respected and important individual, the heroes gain even more power by teaming up. When everybody has their part to play, the circle of friends unfolds its great magical power and the impossible can be achieved. To conclude, you have to include some “monsters”, preferably some silly but mean adults, do product placement of the products you have available in your shop and want to sell, pick some awesome costumes and weapons, make everything look cool and advertise like there is no tomorrow.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie tries to follow these “instructions” but as everybody involved in this movie is a terrible miscast and unable to fulfill his job, the result is absolutely disastrous. I would never let my children watch a film like that. Not because of moral or ethical reasons but because it is completely absurd, extraneous and dumb.

Watching a super-hero movie for children with the kids is like going to the local Mc Donalds. It is not the healthiest thing but there is nothing wrong with it as long as you take their education seriously. Watching Power Rangers with children, however, is like getting them an empty happy meal bag from which the toy is missing.

Suay Laak Sai (Sick Nurses)

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Eric “recommended” Suay Laak Sai (Sick Nurses) to me because of a gory GIF he discovered on tumblr (R.I.P.). As I can count all Thai (horror) movies I have ever seen on one hand, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. So, before getting too excited, I just didn’t expect anything which was a good idea because Sick Nurses is really bad and I don’t understand why it still gets that many positive reviews from other bloggers!

The Film was written/directed by Piraphan Laoyont and Thodsapol Siriwiwat and produced by Prachya Pinkaew, director and producer of Ong-Bak. As so often with Asian horror (trash) movies, the fundamental idea is quite interesting but the visual implementation is antic.

The film takes place in a suburban Thai hospital, where Dr. Tar and his seven nurses sell dead bodies on the black market. As one of the nurses finds out that her sister is having an affair with her boyfriend (Dr. Tar), she threatens to call the police to blow their cover. The doctor and the 6 nurses decide to kill her and to keep the body cooled to make sure that it can be sold in the near future. And now, guess who is coming back to haunt the hospital crew in order to take vengeance?

Sick Nurses is a postmortal revenge movie which tries to sell/promote itself by suggesting some sex and showing one or two ok-ish gore scenes. I don’t recall how many times I’ve already said it but if you are not able to make a good film, you at least should hire some girls who will do nude scenes. This is in no way meant to be sexist but putting annoying Thai girls in sexy nurse costumes, showing some ass close-up views and kissing stuff but at the same time letting your actress shower in her clothes is a bit awkward, unimaginative and uncreative.

Uncreative is possibly the best adjective to describe the whole film and I had the feeling that the directors didn’t even try to implement their own ideas. In addition, the story doesn’t feel coherent at all. I would say that I recognize the directors’ intention to combine a postmortal ghost story à la Ringu and Ju-on with weird postmodern punk movie elements like in Tokyo Gore Police & co. Unfortunately, the result is a failed attempt since you have the feeling of watching two separate storylines that never really intersect. Not to forget the movie mistakes, the really bad acting and other obvious movie no-gos. Sick Nurses was done without passion, don’t waste your time.

Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens

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Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens is an author’s film by Russ Meyer (R.I.P.) and was co-written by film critic Roger Ebert (R.I.P.). Furthermore, it was Meyer‘s last feature film and together with UP! probably the most sexually graphic one of his filmography. Ultra-Vixens, which can be labelled as a satirical sexploitation film, was released in 1979 and stars Meyers‘ big busted softcore porn sweethearts Uschi Digard and (ex-partner) Kitten Natividad.

Russ Meyer certainly wasn’t known for doing mainstream movies but Ultra-Vixens even goes beyond the typical campy, low-budget soft porn, exploitation stuff he was best known for. Summing up, Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens focusses on women’s struggle for sexual satisfaction and men’s inability to fulfil the distorted male sexual role which is imposed by society. In a more simplified or superficial version this means that it is all about big breasted, hairy nymphomaniacs and a man who only gets sexual satisfaction by anally raping women. This of course is not enough to baffle me but rather makes me want to see more but beware: Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens drifts off into a weird world of preposterous sex slapstick!

On a cinematic level I desperately sought for a logical narrative structure, a tension build-up, and character development/progression. Furthermore it seems that Meyer forgot that Ebert and he wrote a plot together and only remembers it until the middle of the film. However, before even risking to follow it he has already abandoned the plan, strips to the buff and strings together one sex scene after an other and this for the last 30 minutes of the film. Ultra Vixens certainly is one of Meyer‘s more experimental films, containing a lot of gamy, curious but also remarkable and innovative camera angles and perspectives, like filming through bedsprings.

In the end, I have the stong feeling that Meyer wasn’t able to finish his film as there are too many repetitive and confusing images/scenes. Even though the review doesn’t sound quite positive, I really liked the film but I can’t tell you exactly why. I am not even sure if I should recommend Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens but who am I to tell you, do whatever you want.

Das Schloss after Franz Kafka (Berlin)

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(picture by Stini Mimissonsdóttir)

I haven’t seen a play for quite a long time but last Saturday I had the opportunity to see a modern version of Das Schloss (the Castle) by my all-time favourite writer Franz Kafka.

On the one hand I have to admit that I was quite sceptic because I think that it is very hard to visualize the author’s ordinary, prosaic but clear writing style and to create the depressing atmosphere he is known for.
On the other hand, Das Schloss is, amongst Der Verschollene und Der Prozess one of the three unfinished novels by Kafka, which was posthumously released by Max Brod and there are no references of origin, we even do not know if Das Schloss was meant to be a novel. The requirements for creating a play could therefore not be better as the director and the actors are even more free in doing their own Kafka interpretation.

The novel fragment of Das Schloss contains a lot of bizarre and surreal elements which, to me, reflect the hopelessness (and later on helplessness) of K’s (the main character) aspiration to approach the castle. In the play these kafkaesque absurdities are crucial and portrayed in a very exaggerated way which turned Das Schloss into a rather humorous extroverted skit. The comical construction of the characters, especially Arthur and Jeremiah (K’s assistants), and the wonderful and dedicated way of acting helped to make the depressive topics of bureaucracy, power and helplessness more digestible.

The actors were just fantastic and if this is the new generation of (German) theatre we don’t need to be worried about it. The women, just like in the novel, were more or less presented as modern prostitutes but also seemed many a time superior to the men. The best example is Gardena the landlady. The character was incredibly believable and hyped up at the same time and reminded me of the amazing Sybil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers. Talking about the characters, I could go on and on. I could write about Barnabas whose inexperience in his job was picturized by a childish look and an infantile behaviour. I could write about K and his spastic convulsions, but this would go beyond the scope of this review.
Last thing I want to bring up are the costumes. They top off everything. Josa David Marx did a perfect job, every single costume was perfectly adapted to each character but also underlined/were responsible for the absurd and surrealistic aesthetics of the play.

If you are in Berlin during May buy a ticket, there is no excuse for not seeing the play.

Credits:
Production by gold&hiebe
Actors: Gina Henkel, Hannah Müller, Florian Prokop, Naemi Simon, Mehmet Sözer, Lucie Thiede and Max Thommes
Director: Lucia Bihler
Dramaturgy: Sonja Laaser & Sven Björn Popp
Composure: Bihler/Laaser/Popp
Scene: Kerstin Narr
Costumes: Josa David Marx
Music: Jacob Suske
Choreography: Mira Mann
Assistant director: Lea Volke
Dramaturgy assistant: Ole Siebrecht
Set design assistant: Wiebke Müller & Lucie Müller
Costume assistant: Sarah Elisabeth Nose

http://www.goldundhiebe.de/

Gabelstapler-Klaus kehrt zurück – Jetzt muss der Chef fahren

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Whenever the name Jochen Taubert pops up on your screen, kill your TV, burn down your house and run away, don’t even think about saving your children and wife/husband. After I saw the first 30 minutes of Piratenmassaker months ago, I swore on the Bible that I would never ever watch a Taubert movie again but I lied and I hate myself for it.
How could this happen to me? Well, while doing some cinematographic research I thought that I had found the sequel to the amazing cult short movie: Staplerfahrer Klaus – Der erste Arbeitstag (2000). Then I read that this so-called sequel was directed by Taubert and before I even could get sceptical it was too late and the movie was running.

Before you walk into Taubert’s trap as I did, I want to WARN you: Gabelstapler-Klaus kehrt zurück – Jetzt muss der Chef fahren (2012) isn’t a sequel AT ALL. The director tries to fool you as he chose a title which can easily be interpreted as the logical successor of the classic original. This is a cheap trick which is usually used in the porn business but in the end Taubert won, I was naive and the joy over a second Staplerfahrer Klaus eliminated all kinds of further research and even reason.
This film is an absolute audaciousness and Jochen T. shows the whole world again that he is 100% talentless when it comes to movies. The story is basically about a company where all the forklift truck drivers, due to food poisoning, call in sick. The boss’ secretary calls the employment agency in order to claim compensation and the boss decides to show the new workers how to handle a forklift truck. Everything gets out of control.

Even though I have the presumption that Taubert has read at least one of Lloyd Kaufman‘s books namely Make Your Own Damn Movie!, he is beyond remedy. Let me explain. Kaufman says in his book that everybody can do a movie or even should do a movie regardless the budget. If you are thinking about working on no or low budget (as Taubert does) you should at least profit by the stuff you have or you can easily get access to. If your brother has an old car which he doesn’t use anymore, use it in your film and destroy it. If the mayor of your city decides to blow up an old factory or the elementary school in order to build luxurious apartments, go there and film it because even though your story has no blown-up school in it, it is great footage which you can easily put in the film and it is for free!

In the documentary Blood, Boobs and Beast Lloyd  claims that if you have nothing at all to work with but you still want people to watch your movie or to get it distributed, use handmade gore effects, blood and other body fluids, and last but not least use a lot of nudity (sex sells!!) and a monster. As I mentioned above, it seems that Jochen has read or at least has heard of these instructions because he tries to carry them out but is not even capable to implement these easy-to-follow steps. The self-made vomit, which should be used in order to make the viewer feel “mal à l’aise”, looks just lame, the blood looks like (or even is) Ketchup and the “nudity” is reduced to boob pawing and girls in mini skirts. I am absolutely not motivated to write about Taubert’s cinematographic skills or the overplaying of the actors, everything can be read in my review of Piratenmassaker, because nothing has changed, everything stays the same with Gabelstapler-Klaus kehrt zurück – Jetzt muss der Chef fahren. I watched the movie on youtube and the best part of it was at minute 8 when youtube decided to give me a break and brought in a commercial. DO NOT WATCH THIS PIECE OF CRAP!

-Luc-

Condorman

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To be honest, I do not remember how I came across this 1981 Disney action comedy. It is said that Condorman is an adaptation of a book called The Game of X. Well, I have never heard of it but one thing is for sure, Condorman is a spy movie, or rather a James Bond parody. To go on,  I even can’t tell you if I liked it or not but in the end it didn’t bore me at all and that’s something most of the James Bond movies can’t say of themselves.

The movie is all about Woodrow Wilkins a comic book writer and illustrator. His newest invention is Condorman, a secret agent with the awkwardness and dopiness of Inspector Clouseau but the coolness and gadget-amorousness of 007. Woodrow’s goal is to create real-life adventures for Condorman and before he can say knife it is him who, during a civilian paper swap in Istanbul, personally turns into the hero . During the rest of the movie Woodrow tries to rescue the ex-KGB special agent Natalia from her own boss Krokov and his army of pseudo assassins. Supported with a Condormobile, a Condorboat, a Condorsuit, Condorman, Harry (a friend from the CIA)  and Natalia deliver a relentless pursuit with the villans through Yugoslavia, Italy, Switzerland and finally Monte Carlo.

Condorman with Michael Crawford and Barbara Carrera is quite a costly trash movie. Furthermore it is not the James Bond parody itself and the rather corny and flat jokes which make this movie still watchable. Personally I think it is the unintentional gags, the charming movie mistakes and the Disney-naivety. Even though I hold that Charles Jarrott had absolutely no idea of how to handle the budget of the movie (less explosions, less locations, more professionalism) I go with John Corry of The New York Times who wrote in his review: “(…)There are worse things to watch while you eat popcorn.”

Last but not least, is it just me who thinks that the Condorman logo has some similarities with the German WWII Reichsadler or do you know what I mean?!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo5LZmx9Vrg]