05 February 2016

THE RETURN OF THE OLD URANIUM CAFE

WITH THIS POST I'VE DECIDED I WILL BE RETURNING TO MY ROOTS AND ORIGINAL DIRECTIONS HERE. FOREIGN FILMS. OLD FILMS. FILM NOIR. UNDERGROUND FILMS. CULT AND MIDNIGHT MOVIES. AIP AND HAMMER FILMS. LESS EMPHASIS ON MODERN HORROR FILMS THOUGH THERE WILL STILL BE SOME. IT IS WHAT THE BLOG STARTED OFF AS WAY BACK BEFORE I HAD A FACEBOOK OR TWITTER ACCOUNT AND HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO BE DERAILED A BIT. I LOST MY WAY TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYBODY. 

I JUST FINISHED A COUPLE INDIAN FILMS AND DECIDED I WILL DO THOSE AND THEN BACK TO DOING WHAT I LIKE DOING... OLD AND OBSCURE FILMS FEW PEOPLE HAVE HEARD OF MUCH LESS SEEN. 

STUFF THAT LOOKS LIKE 
SHIT ON A MOBILE DEVICE! 

 

SO, COMING SOON...

14 January 2016

MICHAEL MADSEN... WITH GUNS

I like Michael Madsen in that B-movie sort of way but never thought he had a vast acting range, until I began looking at these posters and stills of him online.  The man has much more acting ability than I gave him credit for, as in some of these pictures he is holding, often pointing directly at the camera, a pistol, while in others, to my shock, he is holding a rifle, often pointing directly at the camera. In one picture he steps way out of his comfort zone and is just pointing his finger, like a gun of course! But then he throws you for a loop and decides not to point directly at the camera. Blew me away. Well, I am eating crow big time now. This guy can act! And I had to rein myself in in terms of what I needed to download and share for this post. There are plenty more where these came from and this may become an ongoing category.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
Note: And when you feel like just throwing in the blogging towel, just do a post and let it simmer. Don't stay on the ropes too long.

13 January 2016

WHY CAN'T I FRIGGING BLOG ANYMORE?

The last entry I made here was 2 Nov 15, and that was actually just a repost of of an old post from Necrotic Cinema. I have toyed with the idea of deleting that blog altogether, except that I love the name and the header design so much I cannot bear to part with it yet. I moved almost all posts from there to here at The Uranium Cafe (never sure if I should capitalize the definite article or not so I do just to be safe) as a plan to incorporate newer film reviews in with the old "classic" stuff. I felt maintaining two blogs was too much for me. Seems just maintaining one has become too much. The ordeal is that I want to write. I want to blog. But it just seems futile for some reason. I feel I have so much to say and a unique way to say it in. I am not giving up by the ten finger bones of Crom, but  I have really lost the passion I once had. I do not believe one has to have burning passion in order to continue doing something they like or love. It can be done out of a sense or marginal commitment or interest. I think most things are done that way and passion does not equate to something wonderful. Or to anything at all. I knew a young lady in Seattle who had a burning passion for the bass guitar. She just practically drooled when she talked about the bass and her how she just wanted to play it all the time. In all the time I knew her she never owned a bass guitar.

But it seems I am not just not driven to want to come here and sit and do posts on things any longer. What happened? I have no idea really. It is as if I just no longer care. I get a burst of inspiration and it peters out as quickly as it came. I no longer follow other people's blogs or comment on them. I still watch lots of movies, almost daily. I have considered all manner of things. For example to review more mainstream movies of which I watch many. To write super short reviews of less than one Word Document page in length. To do more photo posts. Podcast more (hell, that is even ore work than writing really). In the end I just feel a lack of interest or motivation in sitting down here and adding something interesting to the site. I keep doing these stupid "why I can't blog" posts over and over. In the end I just wish I could blog and not care about comments or traffic even. I am about to go to India for a couple weeks. When I get back I will see what happens. Either I get back to blogging, or I retire the site. I hope it is the former.

02 November 2015

13 HOURS IN A WAREHOUSE/2008

There are a lot of favorable reviews of this film online really. Most of the praise is that first time director Dav Kaufman took "risks" with his film an did not rely on splatter and gore to achieve his storytelling goals. That was his first mistake. Some people even liked his attempts at Tarantinoesque scenes involving rambling dialogs. That was certainly number two and the list just gets longer. I did not like the film too much though I cannot say avoid if you are a fan of the genre, and that genre being specifically bad horror films. If you enjoy hating a film I can recommend it. The film starts off just too much like Reservoir Dogs to be ignored. A wrong chord was struck in me during the opening scene when the camera "artistically" goes ‘round and ‘round and ‘round in circles around a gang of small time crooks about to pull off the heist of a lifetime. This is an effect that seldom works but seems to happen all the time in newer films. The last time I remember thinking it was pulled of successfully was in Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters during the tense lunch scene and that lasted a quarter of the time this one did. It is okay to know your limitations as a creator and work from inside those boundaries. Like Reservoir Dogs the actual heist sequence is omitted and we skip from the spinning vortex crime plan scene to the gang arriving at the warehouse where they will hang out and wait for the buyer to show up the next morning.


They have taken a hostage though it is never explained why or what went wrong at the heist. They tie her up with some sort of gag device and lock her in what looks like a boiler room where she is soon visited by a flickering ghost that skips and jumps around the scene like the ghost in The Ring, only more so. While all this is going on the hold up guys sit around and try to do some Tarantino small talk as the camera again circles them. In one horrid sequence they go on and on and on about why Robin Williams is or is not a great actor. It is utter crap, I am sorry. Even Tarantino has a hard time doing Tarantino these days and Dav Kaufman’s dialogs are hardly even homages. It just does not work. The actors for a low budget film like this are not bad but they cannot pull off scenes like this and even if they could the script writing is simply weak.


When the killings at the hands the revenge seeking ghosts begin they are lacking for the most part. The three ghosts are the angry spirits of women who were killed in snuff films by the father of two of the gang members. Mysterious numbers begin appearing on the walls and sides of cars and it is discovered later this is a clue being left by the pissed off ghosts. A room is found as well with five toy sized chairs and five little hangman’s nooses that a rat occupies each time a crook is killed off. This makes little sense really but it freaks the guys out and causes them to distrust each other more than they already should since there are double cross plans afoot. The actors, like I said, are not bad low budget b-movie actors, but there is simply too many scenes requiring them to talk and emote. And in a film like this you need good death scenes. Not necessarily gross out death scenes, but shocking and surprising ones for certain.



The only memorable death scene is when some guy has his nuts ripped off while he is on the toilet from a ghost that winds crawling out of it. What is it with emasculations in horror films lately? The scene is simply corny as far as I am concerned. Really, the ghosts are not bad, but i just got annoyed a little after a while. They flicker like a broken television just too much and one keeps chumping furiously on a horse’s bit and it reminded me of the Cynobite in Hellraiser who was always gnashing his teeth. There is a fat with a plastic bag on her head and for some reason she is not scary at all. Fat ghosts seldom are. All the action takes place in the warehouse and all the tricks are soon exhausted. There was not enough violence really to make the watching worthwhile for me. A couple deaths even occur outside the camera view and we are simply treated to blood splattering on the walls. I got real tired of the stupid attempts at funny dialogs about life's little things like masturbation and Robin Williams. No genuine suspense was ever developed and scenes were blatantly lifted from Reservoir Dogs, The Ring, 8mm, Silence of the Lambs and who knows what else. Sure, there is nothing new under the sun but I hardly see the film taking any risks as was perceived by a couple reviewers.



I just want you to know that if you read some raving reviews online that seem to being saying this is an abrove average low budget horror film then I am telling you go in at your own risk. Maybe you will be one of the ones who in fact liked it and that is great. I will be happy for you. I just felt there could have been more ghosts and blood and less attempts at “cool” crosstalk and flashy camera work that does not work. However, on a positive note, I did like the DVD cover art. That seems to be the thing these days, great Photoshopped covers and posters but weak films. I have to admit I bought the DVD solely based on the impact of the cover art. It really got my hopes way up. When will I ever learn.

THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN/2008

This dark and gory horror thriller from director Ryûhei Kitamura (2000’s Versus), based on a short story by Clive Barker and adapted by Jeff Buhler, certainly was a refreshingly grisly movie experience for me. I was really getting more and more burned out on the PG-13 styled horror films I had been downloading and wondered if this was what modern horror was all about. There seemed to be nothing with any meat on the bones anymore. Then I saw The Midnight Meat Train (aka Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat train) and was delighted to see meat actually getting shred from bones.The film had little time in the theaters and went to DVD sooner then it should have. Barker pointed the finger at Lionsgate president Joe Drake for essentially selling out a real horror film like Midnight Meat Train and focusing advertising and distribution on films like The Strangers. There is no doubt that Midnight Meat Train is a more satisfying horror film for true fans but probably not the type for mass appeal. Most films now are really aimed at the under 18 crowd or dating couples. Meat Train is a brooding and grim film that does not flinch in the gore and blood department. It is also well made and the criticisms about the computer generated gore are unfounded as the effects are superb and in particular one scene where Ted Rami gets his eye balls knocked out of their sockets by a metal butcher’s mallet. This is just not for mass consumption but it is certainly for mine. In fact this film gets my first four skull rating despite an unsatisfying ending that added an unnecessary supernatural element to the film.


The story follows Leon (Bradley Cooper), a free lance photographer, on his nightly excursions into the underbelly of a large dark American city. While it looks a bit like New York the film was shot in LA. He is determined to capture the “real city” on film since no one has yet to do it. He has a meeting with a tough (as in bitchy) art critic, played by Brooke Shields, who sees talent in his work but feels he is falling a little short of his goals and tells him to go back out and come back with better material. This he does when he interrupts some gang members who about to assault a woman in the subway terminal. He manages to get close up pictures of the hoods who do not kill him because they are on a security camera. The girl, a model, is later killed while sitting alone in the subway by a looming brute named Mahogany played by Vinnie Jones. Leone gets pulled into the case of the missing model and his obsession with her and then with the identity of the butcher causes serious friction between him and his girlfriend Maya (Leslie Bibb).



Leon is soon stalking the butcher during his nightly adventures but soon the tables are turned as Mahogany confronts Leon one night on the sidewalk. At the center of Leon’s suspicions is a ring worn by Mahogany that appeared in one of the shots he had earlier taken in the subway station. It is your basic dime store variety Satanic looking ring and he just happened to get a shot of it as Mahogany was holding the door for the model as she entered the car on her last ride. Lucky break. Maya and her friend Jurgin (Roger Bart) are more than a little dubious at first about Leon’s growing claims that the disappearance of the model and the Butcher are linked to a series of murders going back over a hundred years. Leon becomes a witness to a couple of these one night as he hides in an adjoining subway car and gets to see Mahogony in action. And bloody brutal action it is.


Leon is captured by Mahogany but not killed by him for some reason. Instead he wakes up the next day with a Satanic looking symbol carved in his chest. He is now pulled more and more in the life of the butcher and even more so after Maya and Jurgin sneak ino Mahogany’s apartment to either prove or disprove Leon’s suspicions. Jurgin is captured and in the end there is a stand off on the subway between Leon and Mahogany while Maya tries to free Jurgin from the meat hooks impaling his ankles. The fight sequence is well done though we wonder how Leon can actually ward of the attack of super killer Mahogany unless the butcher is allowing it for some reason. This is open to speculation.


The film winds down with the reason for the butcher’s nightly murders being that he needs to gather fresh meat for demonic creatures that lurk under the city. The train conductor (Tony Curran), as we already know, is in charge of the operation and it reaches into all branches of city life, including the police inspector who earlier seemed more suspicious earlier of Leon than some mysterious butcher and now we discover was part of the demonic cover up. I could have done without the creature feedings as the motive for the killings or the train conductor having superhuman strength. I think the film would have been more terrifying had it remained on the human plane and there not been deep reaching conspiratorial connections. But it is a small matter really and the bulk of the film is excellent as far as the direction and acting does. Horror movies ending are typically their weakest points. The deaths scenes are great and you actually get to see people die for a change. So many horror movie deaths occur off screen now. It is annoying.

The relationships between the characters are believable and Leon’s change from artistic vegetarian to meat eating killer, as it becomes his role now to replace the butcher, is convincing. I was originally pit off by the title of film, as well as Clive Barker’s association with it, and thought it would be an ultra low budget teenager romp. It is not that at all and I highly recommend this one. The death scenes are creatively gruesome and I hope to see more stuff like this from Kitamura and hope this is not his last Hollywood film venture.

SHROOMS/2007


This film is not a fantastic film, I'm sure by viewing most of the other "reviews" you can tell. But basically THE BOTTOM LINE IS this film is fantastic to watch if you're a teen (14-17?) sat [sic] at home with your mates, smoking some weed.

Connor K. on IMDB


When I began this new horror movie site the idea was to have a blog that focused on modern horror films and allow my sister Uranium Café site concentrate more on older films. I thought the film selections would be more adult and gory and I would have loads of sexy, disgusting vidcaps. That’s was really was I was hoping for when I downloaded Shrooms. I wanted some T&A and brutal mayhem. I just get in those moods once in awhile. I saw on Box Office Mojo that the film was not rated in the States and came with a warning. This sounded promising indeed. Well, I soon discovered the warning was about the use of drugs in the film and that sex and violence in the film would probably only get the film a PG-13 rating. I also saw these revealing stats while on Mojo:



The facts are there. The film on its opening weekend make a staggering $1,849. You could argue that it only played in four theaters but that only adds more one nail in its rotted coffin lid as far as I am concerned. The film was nominated for some awards held by the Irish Film and Television Awards. I am not sure what the significance of that is. What if a film won 1st place at the IFTA? Is that any sort of recommendation? Much less getting simply a nomination? Look this is the place that produced James Joyce and Ulysses okay. A "novel" that requires the use of hallucinogens to comprehend.


The story follows a group of Yankee college kids who go to all the way to Ireland to do magic mushrooms for the first time. Lat time I heard the US had psychedelic shrooms and even peyote. The group consists of three girls, the sweet virgin Tara (Lindsey huan), the sexy but angry bitch Lisa (Maya Hazen) and the hippy chick Holly (Alice Greczyn). The two guys are even more stereotyped. Troy (Max Kasch) is a stoner and looks like Jay from the Jay and Silent Bob team. His buddy, aptly named Bluto (Robert Hoffman) is a bonehead jock. They are all met by Tara’s potential beau Jake (Jack Huston) who talks to them about how to scramble their brains on mushrooms as if he were a university professor lecturing on Schopenhauer. They are all in awe of his drug abusing insights and wisdom.

Now where is a nice place to go drop some mind altering psychedelic shrooms so that everyone can feel nice and mellow and turn off the old mind, relax and float down stream? How about some place out in the middle of the boondocks that has a reputation for people being found butchered during shroom season. And to add to the soothing ambiance the area is populated by inbred Irish hillbillies that make the folk in Deliverance look like Harvard grads. And still more why not drop the damn event in the shadow of a deserted and infamous boy's reform school where the lads were tortured regularly by monks in black robes and hoods and where one night some guy was givien a pound or so of Death's Head mushrooms and chops up 78 of the kids. How could anything go wrong in this atmosphere while tripping away right?


The Death's Head mushroom concept is a problem for me. I did my share of dabbling with psychotropic substances back in my hippie days and so know a thing or two about the subject. Not as much as our hero Jake of course, but a little. In a scene sweet girl Tara, despite warnings from the always reassuring Jake that the mushroom can make your heart explode at worst and at least give you convulsions and make you see into the future at the least, decides to eat one on a whim. She has a reaction within seconds from one mushroom and the effects last for well into the next day. Well, until the end of the film anyway. The effects of the drug would take longer than that to become manifest nor would they last that long. Here is a site that states that the onset of poisoning by the Death's Head mushroom would take about 10 to 12 hours, not two seconds. And no mushroom can make you see the future. Of course this is a horror fantasy film so we go along with the ride.


Later that night Bluto has had it with getting blue balled by Lisa and so he goes out to the campfire (where earlier Jake soothed the group with vivid tales of the torture and slaughter at the boy’s reform school up ‘round the bend) and decides he will drink the entire brew of shroom tea that the group was going to share the next day. Jocks are always so selfish. Soon he is running around the woods talking to a cow and getting anonymous blow jobs from “doggers” from inside their cars. Well the movie went from sort of absurd to simply bad when Bluto gets castrated in the woods. Castration is not scary or even disturbing. It is disturbing in that it occurs so often in horror films anymore I guess but not in any moral since that it is totally wrong to rip some jock's balls off. Nothing really wrong with that I guess. It is simply a lame gimmick that may appeal to a few psychotic females and not to too many others. Genitalia mutilation belongs to the low end Last House on the Left exploitation type films. After this scene I decided the film was a loser but finished it anyway. I had to do the review after all.


While the direction by Paddy Breathnach is okay he is not given much in the way of a script to work with. The hallucination scenes are well done as is most of the photography. At times it has that grainy, jerky heavy metal effect that works well for a few minutes but not for an hour and a half, but he has some talent behind the camera. The problem for me is that all the murders really happen off camera. There is simply no real violence or gore. We see people covered in blood but never see the blood being drawn from them by an ax, knife or blunt instrument. We are treated to an over load at times of visual and audio effects and this can be explained as part of the trip they are all on. I have seen horror films where this visual/audio explosion goes on and on and there seems no logical explanation for it. At least here we can write it off as the hallucinations of the freaked out kids. They are all wind up disoriented in the primeval woods running from the drooling Irish rednecks as well as from black robed monk apparitions. They need a plan. Leave that to leader-guru Jake. Best thing to do is have the surviving members all meet at the proverbial dark house of blood and murder and formulate a plan there while still tripping on mushrooms. Not a good idea Jake. Really.

In the final scene, that some people actually praised as a “great twist”, we find Tara being driven away in an ambulance as the attendant starts telling her about his family and how they all want to find a place in the country to live. Okay, in any film when some guys starts showing pictures of his wife or girlfriend and talking about plans for the future what do we know is going to happen next? Right. It winds up that sweet little Tara took one single Death's Head mushroom and it drove her into such a state that she killed all her friends one by one and now kills the sentimental ambulance attendant. Happens everyday as we know, One shroom. One kill.

I could have accepted some of this lame excuse for a horror film had there been more violent deaths and a little more skin or underwear. Okay Bluto did wander around in his boxers but not what I mean. What in the hell did I begin this new blog for? Is this what new horror is about? And I now refer back to the quote from Connor K. that opens my review. I am sorry, but 99% of the movie watching world want a film that appeals to someone with a little more cerebral capability than a stoned fourteen year old. Should fourteen year olds even be getting stoned? But sadly I have to agree with Connor K. here. That is about the scope of the market niche for this one. Stoned adolescents. I mercifully give it two skulls because of Paddy Breathnach’s noble attempts to do something with this mess of a script but that still did not help much.