Friday, June 15, 2007

Camera Obscura: 21st Century Movie Mayhem

Time again to wade deep into the shallow end of movies.

Oh, the things I watch so you don't have to, and the things you (meaning The Public) watch which I take in many months after the movie is on The Hot List. All that and more is here in this regular Friday feature.

Let's tackle a new movie first, like the based-on-a-really-bad-video-game - "D.O.A." "D.O.A." is a video game about ... uh, well,chicks in skimpy outfits who fight in tournaments, and there are like 4 or 5 game 'sequels' including one involving volleyball. They could have just called the game Nekkid Fu-Fightin' Chix, but I guess D.O.A. sounds ... more clinically violent. The movie offers up Jamie Pressley, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance and Eric Roberts (as the Bad Guy), and is directed by fight choreographer Corey Yuen. And boasts 4, count 'em, 4 screenwriters. It was supposed to be released last October, but distributors wisely reset the date for the summer.

Why make the movie? I think it has something to do with the fact that Maxim magazine makes money, that kung fu movies make money, and that America loves sex and violence. Especially when there is absolutely no logic, narrative or reason for the sex or the violence. Here's one write-up of the plot which made me laugh out loud: "Three female fighters are chosen to take part in DOA: Christie Allen, a sexy jewel thief, Tina Armstrong, a tough-as-nails pro-wrestler and Kasumi, a Ninja princess."

Yuen is a highly imaginative fight director, and pre-adolescent boys who pay (repeatedly) to see this PG-13 hoo-ha will be in Heaven. Fighting. With Chicks.

The reviews are in for the new Fantastic Four movie and they are not fantastic. They are really bad. Clocking in at 87 minutes, the movie is apparently still too long according to some critics. I may go see it, but only because Silver Surfer is an old favorite of mine. The good news is the Silver Surfer will be getting his own movie, with "Babylon 5" writer J. Michael Straczynski providing the script.

As I am an inclusive person, here's a movie for the women -- a movie of nekkid dudes in an action setting!! There are plenty of bare butts, ripplin' muscles and even a love story in the fresh to DVD "Apocalypto." It's a bizarre mish-mash of history and hysteria, and director Mel Gibson provides heaps of torture and dismemberment in his .... well, it isn't really an Epic, though it has Epic Moments.

I will say however that the visual style and cinematography are so good, there is truly little need for script or subtitles to the movie. It's so well presented that almost anyone can grasp the story and the drama by the vivid pace and graphic violence. Run, Jaguar Paw, Run!!

I liked the movie a little bit better when it was called "The Naked Prey", as that film's Lessons in Empire Building were more clearly expressed. Still, Mel Gibson knows how to ramp up the action and show off the beefcake, so have at it ladies.

For sheer weirdness , the Movie of the Week this time out goes to "The Thirst." The advertisements claim the movie is a cross between "Requiem For A Dream" and "Near Dark", but it isn't nearly that good. It does have a cast of fairly well-known performers Clare Kramer (Glory from "Buffy The Vampire Slayer"), Adam Baldwin ("Serenity") and Jeremy Sisto.

The plot is nearly indescribable nonsense -- a stripper and recovering drug addict (Kramer) is turned into a vampire one night. Her boyfriend, who is not a stripper but is a recovering drug addict and nerd, sees his ex-living girlfriend in some skeezy Goth-strip club which looks like some kid's idea of a how a basement in his parent's house could look cool. So he gets turned into a vamp too.

The boyfriend learns his girlfriend is now living among a group of vampires who are hiding out in a church camp for kids, awaiting the first campers of the season. The duo decide to kick the vampire habit and take down the vamp family. Oh, and there's some plot point about only women being able to turn people into vampires, but no one has fangs. There is more arterial blood spray in the movie than I've seen in a long time - this blood sprays out like it was designed by the guy who did the water fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas or maybe the guys who did the Mentos and Diet Coke videos.

Oh, and the Vampire Family includes two sort-of Asian Twins who speak gibberish and slither all over the place. Their performance and presence are indicative of the unlimited nonsense in "The Thirst". I've seen worse movies, and that's about the highest praise I can give this one. When vampirism is the cure for rehab, it just is not going to be a good day (or a good movie).


  1. james1:34 PM

    What,no review of "Blood And Chocolate" coming to DVD.

  2. See The Hamiltons. You will like it, I think. It was made for about 12 bucks BUT it looks like it was made for at least 30.
    I dug it.