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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Trailer: Machete (Red Band)



Steven Seagal - Check
Robert De Niro - Check
Jessica Alba - Check
Jessical Alba stabbing a Luchador - Check
Danny Trejo stabbing everyone - Check, now I need to see this movie!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

DVD Review: Sandok

Sandok (AKA La Montagna di Luce)
























Italy 1965
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writer: Fulvio Gicca Palli
Starring: Richard Harrison, Luciana Gilli, Wilbert Bradley, Daniele Vargas, Andrea Scotti, Nerio Bernardi, Nazzareno Zamperla, Giovanni Cianfriglia, Dakar.
DVD Released: June 29th 2010
Cert: NR
Running Time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: English
Distributor: Mya Communication
Region: 0 NTSC

The Film:

Alan Foster (Richard Harrison) is a suave British thief hiding out in India. While staying with the Maharaja he gets shitfaced and loses a million rupee in a game of cards. The rajah wants his cash or Alan gets a bullet in the face so the thief has no choice but to try and steal the biggest diamond in India; "The Mountain Of Light" which sits on the forehead of a massive statue worshipped by hundreds and guarded by an army. Oh and surrounded by a moat containing a crocodile, naturally.

Given the only other Umberto Lenzi films I've seen involve people getting their genitals cut off and eaten by cannibalistic natives I was surprised to find myself watching a family friendly adventure flick here. Well, as long as your family speaks Italian and doesn't mind the racism inherent in a film that must have used up Europe's entire supply of boot polish to make it's Caucasian cast look slightly ethnic. Apparently this is Lenzi's 3rd Sandok film in three years, the previous two featuring Steve Reeves in the main role. It's a kind of Sinbad/Tarzan knock-off with sequences that could have inspired Indiana Jones; Alan Foster has a habit of just shooting the natives coming at him with swords. The film moves along at a nice pace, never boring, a couple of nice twists keep things interesting as does the relatively nicely shot location footage. Richard Harrison is entertaining enough as the musclebound protagonist - veteran of over 100 films in the spaghetti industry he was an American that couldn't get a starring role in Hollywood so jumped at the chance to work in Europe and never looked back. Famously it was Harrison that suggested Clint Eastwood to Sergio Leone when he was looking for a 'Man With No Name'. Eagle eyed genre fans will also spot Dakar from Zombi 2 and Dr. Butcher M.D. in a small role as a heavy and Italian sexpot Luciana Gilli as a blacked up Indian belly dancer that Foster inexplicably falls madly in love with near the end of the film.

Mildly entertaining is the best I can say about it - still it's a bit of an odd movie to be released on the Mya label, are they doing PG-rated spaghetti adventures now then? Oh and another drinking game presents itself; down a shot every time someone says 'Mountain Of Light' and try not to spill your drink every time Foster proclaims 'you dirty fakir'!


The Disc:

2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks quite good overall: strong vivid colours, some softening of the picture in the darker scenes. Audio is a mono mix in Italian; clean and clear, the English subs are free of errors.


Review by Giuseppe Rijitano

Friday, July 16, 2010

DVD Review: Love Games

Love Games (AKA Sette ragazze di classe)



Spain/Italy 1979
Director: Paul Lezy (Pedro Lazaga)
Writer: Tulio Demicheli
Starring: Janet Agren, Nadiuska, Alberto de Mendoza, Paolo Giusti, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Adriana Russo, Beatrice Giorgi, Bentley Bosco, Patrizia Basso.
DVD Released: June 29th 2010
Cert: NR
Running Time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: English
Distributor: Mya Communication
Region: 0 NTSC

The Film:

Following the adventures of a group of seven criminal masterminds/high class hookers as they blaze a trail of grand larceny across Europe from Spain to Italy's Amalfi coast. Along the way they'll impersonate the police, army officers, famous models, British royalty, porn stars and even an alien from the planet Eros - all in the pursuit of making a shitload of cash.

Ever wondered what a cross between Ocean's 11 and Sex And The City might look like? Nope neither have I, but the 1970's Italian sex comedy film industry provides, whether you like it or not! A hopelessly silly tale of beautiful women conning aging rich businessmen out of their ill-gotten gains. Unfortunately the director/writers forgot to bring the funny amidst all the slap sticky over plotted scams and shenanigans. Low on sleaze as well as laughs there's really little to recommend in this picture other than a morbid fascination with what an Italian version of UK TV's Hustle might have looked like in the late 70's. There are a few familiar genre faces in the cast including Eaten Alive's Janet Agren but for the most part it is populated by unknowns and deservedly so.

Director Pedro Lazaga was a ridiculously prolific filmmaker and made a record number of turkeys over his 4 decades or so in the business but this was his very last due to his shuffling off this mortal coil at the age of 61 the same year it was released. The score is actually the best thing about the film; composed by Fabio Frizzi, most fondly remembered perhaps for his collaborations with Fulci on The Beyond, Zombi 2, City of the Living Dead, etc.

The Disc:

1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is bloody atrocious! It's a VHS source with muted colours and a terrible fuzzy picture. Very disappointing. Audio is a mono mix in Italian, no complaints on this score it's clean and clear, the English subs are good overall with only the odd grammatical inconsistency here and there.


Review by Giuseppe Rijitano

DVD Review: Submission of a Woman

Submission of a Woman (AKA Al calar della sera)




Italy 1992
Director: Alessandro Lucidi
Writer: Alessandro Lucidi
Starring: Daniela Poggi, Gianluca Favilla, Paolo Lorimer, Cecilia Luci, Anna Orso, Andrea Ward.
DVD Released: June 29th 2010
Cert: NR
Running Time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo Italian
Subtitles: English
Distributor: Mya Communication
Region: 0 NTSC

The Film:

Luisa (Daniela Poggi) is an Italian model and actress. Somewhat disillusioned with her work she yearns for roles that demand more of her than the ability to look hot in lingerie. Especially as she now has a husband and a baby at home to look after. Unfortunately Luisa has caught the attention of a dangerous stalker that has already brutally killed at least one victim. This psychopath (Paolo Lorimer) follows Luisa and watches her from a distance but when she heads home to her remote farm in the country he sees his opportunity to strike and a romantic weekend getaway becomes a terrifying ordeal of terror and survival.........

At least that's the kind of hyperbole I'd write on the back of the DVD box to get some poor sucker to rent it! In reality this is a competent Italian TV movie thriller that is let down primarily by it's deathly dull first half. For about the first 45 minutes we simply watch Poggi as she goes about her day, from a trip to the supermarket to getting her car serviced to meeting her agent - it just goes on, and on, and on. Now she may be a fine looking woman but this isn't Haneke or the Dardennes directing here, there truly is nothing drawing the viewer into the story through these scenes. The conceit being I suppose that we are supposed to be wary of all the men she bumps into during the course of her travels in that one of them might be the stalker we briefly saw kill a woman in the film's opening moments, but really it's just tedious beyond belief.

The film's second half however switches gears with a full on home invasion, a couple of murders and a violent rape thrown in for good measure. The film from this point on is actually very well put together and tensely acted. Poggi and Lorimer are very good in their respective roles with a psychological as well as physical game of cat and mouse developing between the two. It's a pity we have to wade through the turgid swamp that is the first half of the movie really because the second half barrels along at a good pace and even throws in a couple of unexpected and rather entertaining twists.

Written and directed by Alessandro Lucidi who was (and still is at the age of 60+) mainly an editor (notables include The Designated Victim, Terror Express, etc) this was his 3rd and final attempt at directing and that pretty much says it all really.

A strangely bloodless and very average 90's Italian TV thriller then, go forth and rent...or not.


The Disc:

1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks very good indeed; strong colours, healthy flesh tones, excellent contrast and a crisp picture. Audio is a stereo mix in Italian; clean and clear, the English subs are free of errors.


Review by Giuseppe Rijitano

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

DVD Review: Ninja Pussy Cat

Ninja Pussy Cat



Japan 2003
Dir: Hiroyuki Kawasaki
Starring: Mashiro, Tomotake Shigematsu, Yoko Satomi, Takahiro Nomura, Miyuki Konno, Hiroyuki Kawasaki.
DVD Released: 1st June 2010
Cert: NR
Running Time: 61 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic NTSC
Audio: Japanese DD2.0, Japanese 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English
Distributor: Pink Eiga
Region: 0 NTSC


The Film:

In 16th Century Japan rival clans Iga and Fuma fight it out for control of the Shogunate. Having come across some info about the illegitimacy of the Iga Shogun's heir the leader of the Fuma clan is unceremoniously killed by Hattori Hanzo and his ninja assassins. Fuma's head ninja survives however and sets out to avenge his master's death and, er, shag his daughter if he gets a chance. Yes it's Pink Eiga's take on the traditional Japanese samurai/ninja flick crossed with a female revenge thriller so don't worry about the boring old plot. The standard silly ninja magic tricks are dialled up to eleven and given an erotic spin; 'Ninja Arts: Hypnotic Kiss' proclaims one naughty ninja as he delivers a mesmerising smooch. But that's nothing compared to the 'Ninja Arts: Venus Flytrap' technique, think Goldeneye's Xenia Onatopp, only a bit more hardcore, ouch! This is the art of Kunoichi you see, highly trained female warriors who practise the mystical Sexual Ninja Arts. They answer only to mascara wearing lethal ladyboy Hattori Hanzo - a sick little freak that gets his jollies S&M style, hypnotising women into assassinating their lovers "She's my sexual assassin and she doesn't even know it" he cackles.

It's another over the top, bizarre entry in the Pink Eiga series that I've come to know and love, well, bravely endure anyway. This one is somewhat lacking in tongue-in-cheek humour however and suffers for that. It's a very po-faced and serious period piece with all the funnies coming from the absurd sexual martial arts on display rather than the performances. That said it is only around 60 minutes in length (as is the norm for Pinkies) so it barrels along at a good pace and doesn't really get a chance to outstay it's welcome. The sheer variety and versatility of filmmaking apparent in these little flicks continues to surprise me almost as much as the weird sexual shenanigans on display. Shot in just 3 days this apparently was the very first lady ninja/samurai Pink Eiga and it spawned an entire sub-genre of imitators, I'm not sure I'd seek them out in abundance but I'd certainly like to see a couple more released on this label.

Watch out for the truly outstanding 'Ninja Arts: Honeypot Hell' technique, it'll take your breath away, literally!


The Disc: 

If you've seen any of Pink Eiga's previous releases then you know what to expect here - it's another soft and altogether ropey 1.85:1 non-anamorphic transfer with hard-matted English subtitles. Standard servicable 2.0 Japanese language audio mix plus a very similar 5.1 mix.

Here's where Pink Eiga shine though - Extras:

Introduction to the film with Director Hiroyuki Kawasaki and Actress Yoko Satomi - a short, 4 minute, intro in which the couple briefly discuss their working relationship and making Ninja Pussy Cat.

Interview with Actress Yoko Satomi - a 13 minute conversation with the charming Miss Satomi in which the veteran of over 100 Pink Eiga flicks (since 1998) candidly talks about her start in the business, her previous roles and eventually her experiences on the set of Ninja Pussy Cat.

Interview with Director Hiroyuki Kawasaki - a 15 minute chat with Kawasaki that takes us on an exhaustive look at his career in Pink Eiga (21 straight to DVD and 2 theatrical flicks) also discussed is his time as an actor and his role as the self-proclaimed master of lady ninja movies.

Text based bios about the actors and director, an original theatrical trailer, photo gallery and a trailers for the rest of Pink Eiga's catalogue.


Review by Giuseppe Rijitano

DVD Review: Deep Contact

Deep Contact



Japan 1998
Dir: Yukio Kitazawa
Starring: Kazushi Ikeda, Seiji Nakamitsu, Riri Kuramoto, Motoko Sasaki, Myu Asou, Shoko Kudo, Kazuhiko Nakamura, Jun Kawai, Kenichi Kanbe.
DVD Released: 15th June 2010
Cert: NR
Running Time: 61 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic NTSC
Audio: Japanese DD2.0
Subtitles: English
Distributor: Pink Eiga
Region: 0 NTSC


The Film:

There are rumours of a comet coming to destroy the earth, the streets are deserted except for feckless gambler Wataru (Kazushi Ikeda) legging it through downtown Tokyo, he owes money to a loan shark and the thumb-breakers have come a-callin. Lucky for him however he is deftly kidnapped by a group of red-baseball-capped weirdos who take him to a secret complex. A strange hospital in which the nurses don't wear panties and everyone seems to be humping constantly. Dr. Ohora (Seiji Nakamitsu), the nutter running the place, explains to Wataru that this is the earth's only hope of survival; the power of Sexual Psychokinesis! Yup, the psychokinetic power unleashed during orgasm will be harnessed in an attempt to divert the deadly comet by a minuscule degree in the hopes it will bypass our planet. These dudes are fucking to save the planet. Despite the allure of Ohora’s most promising candidate; Ikuko (Riri Kuramoto, a virginal young sexpot that has intense psychokinetic orgasms that can make an iron ball that weighs a ton float off the ground) Wataru still wants paying for his 'efforts', $100,000 should get him good and hard apparently. As the big day approaches hundreds of psychokinetic facilities all over the world prepare thousands of couples for a synchronized orgy that will culminate in the release of the largest amount of sexual energy ever witnessed, but will it be enough to save civilisation from destruction?

Honestly I keep thinking the Japanese can't possibly surprise me anymore, I've seen more than my fair share (and more than yours combined I'll bet) of Nipponese neurosis via the likes of Miike and Tsukamoto all the way back to Suzuki and Pinky Violence, but damn if Pink Eiga don't just go ahead and release a 12 year old spoof/rip-off of Deep Impact that makes my jaw drop at the sheer perverse absurdity on display. The world is in crisis but fear not for the Japanese have a plan! Comet coming to hit the earth? Let's fuck! Apparently this was the first sci-fi tinged Pink Eiga production and despite all the throwback 70's style sex shenanigans you can't help but be amused by the combined audacity and insanity of what you are watching. The truly odd thing is that certain scenes in between all the slapstick and furious shagging evoke the existential low budget sci-fi melancholy of classics like The Quiet Earth - no shit! As always then Pink Eiga DVD grants us another peek into the weird, wacky and often very funny world of low budget Japanese exploitation cinema. Twisted, perverted bloody genius!


The Disc:

Same old, same old from Pink Eiga; soft, non-progressive and ropey sums up the 1.85:1 non-anamorphic transfer with hard-matted English subtitles. 2.0 Japanese language audio mix is clean and clear.

Cast and crew video commentary; featuring Director Yukio Kitazawa, writer/producer Akira Fukuhara, actress Motoko Sasaki and actor Seiji Nakamitsu. The screen splits into two horizontal slices for this nice little extra with the bottom half featuring a round table of aforementioned participants. A friendly bunch that get all nostalgic watching a film they obviously had a great time making. Lots of informative anecdotes, laughter and behind the scenes stories here. Japanese audio with hard matted English subs.

Interview with director Yukio Kitazawa; a 13 minute chat with Yukio touching on all aspects of the production plus his experiences of working in the Pink Eiga industry. Candid and interesting. Japanese audio with hard matted English subs.

Plus the usual text based bios about the actors and director, an original theatrical trailer, photo gallery and a trailers for the rest of Pink Eiga's catalogue.


Review by Giuseppe Rijitano

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010