Posts Tagged ‘DTV’

G.I. Joe: The Movie

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

tn_gijoeI am an individual who thirsts for knowledge and understanding, so I figured I should find out more about where these GI JOE movies come from. In my review of GI JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA I explained how the Ain’t It Cool Newsies put a nerd fatwah on me for saying GI JOE was based on a toy commercial, and made me read some comic books and admit that i could see how somebody good could turn the GI Joe saga into a colorful action movie with fun gimmicks and larger than life characters.

But since them I’ve talked to other dudes who never knew of the comics but have a nostalgic attachment to the toys and cartoons they grew up on, even if they know they’re dumb. And these cartoon-faction Joeists insisted I watch GI JOE: THE MOVIE, a 90 minute cartoon extravaganza intended for theatrical release IN 1987 but then it went DTV because, let’s face it, it was more of a TV cartoon than a motion picture. A reverse TOY STORY 2. It’s really something though.
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Baytown Outlaws

Monday, April 8th, 2013

tn_baytownoutlawsI only gave this a chance because I knew Zoe Bell was in it somewhere and I thought it starred Billy Bob Thornton. Turns out both are pretty small parts. And the opening has alot of signs that this is one of these post-GRINDHOUSE prefab exploitation movies that I can’t stand. It uses that old stylistic device that has pretty much never been used in a cool way, the freeze-frame-turns-into-shitty-Photoshop-tracing-that’s-supposed-to-look-like-a-comic-book-panel. The titlated outlaws are three crazy gunhappy berserker redneck brothers, the unshaven type with greasy hair and fetishistically dirty tank tops, ugly tattoos, biker jewelry, of course a rebel flag on one of them. #1, I don’t understand why these type of characters are so appealing to people who make movies like this, and #2 are we at a point where SMOKIN’ ACES is actually an influential film? Holy shit. I thought I was the only one who liked some parts of that.

But you know what? This BAYTOWN OUTLAWS isn’t bad. It won me over. (read the rest of this shit…)

Boot Camp

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

tn_bootcampHere’s one of these movies I come across by accident in the video store, I never heard of it before but I’m compelled to bring it home. See, it takes place at one of those camps where parents send their problem or perceived-as-a-problem teens to, and pay to have them tormented and worked to the bone and the idea is that just being treated like shit in a different way than at home will make up for whatever caused them to do drugs or listen to Slayer or whatever and turn them into productive members of society. I remember during the ’80s watching Sally Jessy Raphael promote these places on her show. I always wanted to send her to dig holes and do push ups while a dude spits at her and calls her a pig. See if it made her show better.
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Offspring

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

tn_offspringI never heard of this one until I saw THE WOMAN. If you didn’t hear, Lucky McKee came up with that one because he saw OFFSPRING and was impressed by Pollyanna McIntosh’s portrayal of the feral, cannibalistic savage also called The Woman. OFFSPRING itself is an adaptation of a book by Jack Ketchum, which is in fact a sequel to another book called Off Season. So after I loved THE WOMAN so much I decided to read those.

In Off Season (published in 1980) a group of vacationers on the coast of Maine are attacked by a tribe of inbred savages. Like THE HILLS HAVE EYES this is a story inspired by the legend of the Sawney Beane Clan, cave-dwelling inbred cannibals who may or may not have terrorized 15th or 16th-century Scotland. The tribe in Off Season like to storm cabins, bash people over the heads, slit ‘em open, take their favorite organs, or sometimes drag people back to their cave. They cook up body parts and eat ‘em, collect bones, torture people, shit like that. They steal babies and raise them as their own. Their culture is very different from ours. (read the rest of this shit…)

Maximum Conviction

Monday, December 17th, 2012

MAXIMUM CONVICTION is one of these powerful action team ups we get now in a post-EXPENDABLES world. Second-billed Steve Austin is probly the most reliable DTV guy after Scott Adkins, with a bunch of pretty good ones under his belt (DAMAGE, RECOIL, HUNT TO KILL) and a durable persona as seen-it-all-skullcrusher-with-an-inherent-sense-of-decency. Headliner Steven Seagal is… a guy I wrote a book about.

To tell you the truth I didn’t have alot of faith in him for this one. He seems to have grown comfortable as boss man on his ensemble TV show and lost the DTV eye of the tiger he had a few years ago when he did the historic URBAN JUSTICE/PISTOL WHIPPED one-two punch. His recent efforts (although some might not call them efforts) have been worthwhile for my deep Seagalogical analysis, but not too inspiring as works of entertainment. And the trailer for this looked pretty crappy, I thought.

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One in the Chamber

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

William Kaufman is one of the elite few DTV directors whose names I remember in a positive way. So far he’s not an identifiable master of a style like Hyams or Florentine, and doesn’t have as many under his belt as Roel Reine, but he’s done enough that I keep an eye out. THE HIT LIST is a real solid Larry Cohen-esque high concept thriller that could’ve been a theatrical release if it starred somebody more theatrical-release friendly than Cole Hauser. SINNERS AND SAINTS is messier but earnest and with some distinctive touches. Both have a little bit of a political subtext that hints at an authortational type voice.

ONE IN THE CHAMBER is Kaufman’s newest, and has his best cast so far, by which I mean Dolph Lundgren is in it. Unfortunately I don’t think this one is really a step forward. Story-wise it’s more direct than SAINTS AND SINNERS, but not nearly as clever or gripping as HIT LIST. It’s about a war between Russian crime families (never really a good subject for a DTV movie) in Prague. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Ray Carver, not the author of Short Cuts (I don’t think) but an elite killer who’s hired to off some guys but fails to shoot one because the guy uses a woman as a shield and Carver has human feelings, etc., so that gets him fired. His replacement is Aleksey the Wolf, played by Dolph. He’s not in the first 25 minutes of the movie, but as soon as he shows up he steals the whole thing. (read the rest of this shit…)

Video Violence

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

You know, I got buddies who are really into the shot-on-video horror movies of the ’80s. Some of them, like SLEDGE HAMMER for example, have been getting loving re-releases lately (with limited edition VHS version, even). Personally, at least where I am in my journey as a man and spiritual being at this point, I draw the line at shot on video. If I rent one on accident I turn it off immediately, wrap it in 3 plastic bags and bring it back. I watch a z-grade movie like BLOOD MASSACRE shot on actual film and I think if these motherfuckers could get it together to achieve that minimum level of professionalism then there’s no excuse. Yeah, money, but maybe that’s a helpful type of elitism, a firewall put in place to protect us.

But I knew VIDEO VIOLENCE had a video store prominently featured, and I thought Fangoria did a nice retrospective on it a few months ago, and also I forgot it was shot on video until I put it in. And I decided to give it a chance.

(It turns out the Fangoria article I was thinking of was THE VIDEO DEAD, an early DTV zombie movie.)
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Starship Troopers: Invasion

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Remember how they made two DTV sequels to STARSHIP TROOPERS? Now there’s a new one, but I think the world will be sharply divided over whether we consider this part 4 or not. It does continue the futuristic bug war star trooping of Captain Carmen Ibanez (originally Denise Richards, now Luci Christian), master psychic Carl “It’s afraid!” Jenkins (originally Neil Patrick Harris, now Justin Doran) and Johnny Rico (now promoted to General). But one thing they did different, they gave it to the Japanese animation director Shinji Aramaki (APPLESEED) to computer it up. Now instead of deliberately white bread humans it’s creepy Real Doll type animated characters sort of along the lines of FINAL FANTASY and those types of computer animated pictures.
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Past Midnight

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Do you guys know about this one? How come I never knew about it? Not that PAST MIDNIGHT – a 1991 thriller starring Natasha Richardson, Rutger Hauer and Clancy Brown that went straight to video in ’93 – is very good, but it holds an important enough place in cinematic history that I figure I should’ve heard of it before.

On his commentary track for TRUE ROMANCE, Quentin Tarantino talks about the time before he sold that script and directed RESERVOIR DOGS. He mentions a job at the production company CineTel, where he says he would do punch ups on scripts “which were really page 1 rewrites.” I don’t know if he’s exaggerating that part or not, but I’m sure it’s true that he rewrote a line here or there. So did any of those ever end up getting produced?

Yes, at least one did, and it is PAST MIDNIGHT, Tarantino’s first film credit besides production assistant on Dolph Lundgren’s MAXIMUM POTENTIAL workout video. Associate producer Catalaine Knell thought his contributions to the script were important enough that she shared her credit with him.
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MAXIMUM CONVICTION trailer

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Well, I’m not gonna pretend this looks good. It seems to have all the most joyless aspects of DTV action. It happens to star two of my favorites, but both of them look bored, and it makes it look like they might only have one scene together. Director Keoni Waxman did THE KEEPER, A DANGEROUS MAN and many True Justice episodes with Seagal, plus the pretty-good-not-great HUNT TO KILL with Stone Cold. Writer Richard Beattie wrote PROM NIGHT IV, NO CONTEST II and episodes of True Justice. I’ll try to keep an open mind, obviously. If anybody’s gonna figure out a way to like this one it should be me, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yosoQ8HkmLQ