21 April 2017

BILL'S VIDEO THING/EPISODE 01/INTRODUCTION



BILL'S VIDEO THING/EPISODE 01


I have been trying to do something like this for a while and stop the so called podcast, which is too much work really. Stopped trying to work with iMovie and found the program called Filmora, which is similar to Window's Movie Maker. It is quick and easy and by using Youtube I am limited to 15 minutes of jabber time, which is a good thing. While the topics can be anything I want rest assured I will be doing some movie related stuff. Gotta figure out how to correct the reversed image though. Makes my guitars look like lefties.


19 March 2017

BLACK CAT MYSTERY/COOL IMAGE


BILL'S BULLPEN/BURNED OUT WITH ALL THE ULTRAVIOLENCE


After reviewing A Serbian Film, meaning I had actually watched A Serbian Film, I fell into a slight depression regarding modern horror movies. It is not a depression that suddenly came over me out of the clear blue, but rather an agitation and exacerbation of an underlying horror film depression I have been wrestling with for some time. The bottom line is I just find a lot of modern horror just too over the top for me. I am not sure what exactly I mean by modern horror and do not think it is something that begins at a certain date on the calendar. Certainly the films of H.G. Lewis were ultra gory and disturbing and those came out in the early 60’s. But there is some other quality inherent in many newer films that I find more disturbing than the explicit gore even. I am not about to do some sort of “brainy” in-depth study or dissertation on the topic, but rather I just want to express my general feelings and move on.

When I began this blog a long time ago in about 2005 it was in different format and had a different direction. It has existed on a few different hosting platforms, like Opera, Wordpress, and two paid for places. I came to Blogger after multiple struggles with all those platforms and it has been a struggle here since Blogger and all things Google, or virtually all things Western, are blocked here in China where I live. But I manage with a little skill, savvy and patience to keep active. The site originally began as one of those retro themed sites and the early versions of the blog featured all those old ads and articles on people like Nancy Sinatra. Hence the name The Uranium Café, named after the small little restaurant near the Trinity atomic bomb test site. As it exists today the blog is only about movies. I recently removed all posts pertaining to comic books and music and such. Originally the movies here were all what one might call classic, cult or midnight movies styled films. Usually all were made before 1980.

But I still enjoyed watched modern horror movies and I had set up a second blog called Necrotic Cinema to deal with those reviews. I long ago stopped that blog since it was just a hassle to maintain even one blog much less two given my lackadaisical approach to such things. I moved all the posts from that site over to this one and ceased posting there though the blog is still online. One thing I had always noticed was that my reviews of newer films at NC were much harsher and cynical than my reviews of older films at this site. It just seemed I did not always enjoy the viewing experience (though sometimes I did and still do) and newer films often left me feeling disturbed and restless. As I said in my review of the sordid and abysmal A Serbian Film many people use these negative feelings as a defense of a sick, pointless film’s latent value. “Oh, if you feel disturbed and think about it later I must have value, because it got under your skin!” Donald Trump seems to get under everyone’s skin and provokes controversy but few people (especially on the new Marxist left) seem to feel he has value or merit based on simply the fact he disturbs people.

Since watching A Serbian Film I've watched a couple other newer styled films I had seen reviews of on the Youtube channel called Bloodbath and Beyond, a fairly enjoyable channel. Two were the Laid to Rest films with the character Chrome Skull and the other was a movie called Stitches about a killer clown. I may review those films, but I think I have reached a saturation point with ultra violent and sexually deviant and disturbing films. Any opinions on those two films I will save for reviews if I do any. But I just find that maybe because of events in my life and growing more than a bit older I have lost my taste for most all of that. I do not consider myself a prude and I also am not opposed to violent imagery in cinema. I do not winch or look away and often replay the more violent scenes. I am a fan of special effects, and practical effects in particular, and I know they are actors and it is all make believe, and yet I begin to question why I need to replay a scene of a Serbian woman being macheted to death while her killer continues to ravage her headless corpse. Or, as in Stitches, why I need to see a long played out scene of a male student having his dick ripped off by a killer clown who then dangles before the classroom with a witty one liner thrown in.

Either it is all becoming too disturbing for me or I am concerned that I am not disturbed enough. Have I just become jaded and burned out? Have events in my personal life made me more sensitive to some images and themes? Am I just tired of pandering this stuff under the bogus guise of a "social trend observer"? Who knows. Who cares. Most of the story lines are the same ones I have been seeing since the 70’s, done over and over. All the same stuff only the gory imagery and cheap-shots (i.e. jump scare tactics) are getting more ramped up in frequency  to appease the harder to please audiences. I am burned out with watching horny, angry teenagers go camping or explore a reputed haunted house or insane asylum and do all the same brainless clichés over and over. I am burned out with hacked up flesh and intestines and impaled faces. Lately I find myself watching more and more older films again, the MST3K type. While I do not see myself stopping watching modern horror films entirely I will try to be more selective. There is a vain of nihilism and hostility in newer horror films I just cannot put up with over and over any longer. If I read a review anymore that says '... ooh, this film is really bleak and hopeless and all the good people die off..." I think I will pass on seeing it. If I even decide to continue blogging with any passion I hope to go back to doing Hammer Films, or start reviewing all those cool old AIP Vincent Prices movies. Amazing that some of those, especially the Hammer films, were considered rather shocking for their times. We’ve come a long way baby. And I guess sometimes coming a long is not always for the better.


06 March 2017

A SERBIAN FILM/2010

A SERBIAN FILM/2010
DIRECTOR: Srdan Spasojevic
WRITER: Srdan Spasojevic, Aleksandar Radivojev
CAST: More dumb Serbian names

“What A Serbian Film underlines, though, is that some pictures can still get under audiences' and censors' skins. If this was just another bad and grotesque horror film, nobody would be paying any attention to it. The fact that it has already provoked such ferocious debate suggests that it can't be dismissed that easily.”

Some pompous quote from somewhere on the Internet

“The nastiest, most vile film ever made” people like to rant about A Serbian Film, often in a way that is recommending seeing it. As if some one saying “I know an Italian restaurant with the saltiest, most undercooked spaghetti in the world! You should try it!” is something that should inspire us to go give it a try. There is also the typical “art show” diatribe, as quoted above, that it is provoking debate, as if by the fact something provokes debate it automatically has some type of value that makes it important. My old art teacher Mark Pritchett made it clear that it is actually easier to provoke debate, albeit trivial debate, with crappy art than with good art. I think that is more the case here. I will explain this point later. Maybe. If I still feel like it.

This really is not my kind of film. I finished it but I almost did not and it had nothing to do with the violence. In fact the violence, while pretty intense, is not anymore intense than some horror films I have watched recently such as Laid to Rest with the Chrome Skull character. The issue with the film is around the repulsive sexual content and that sexual content being mashed up with the ultra-violence aspect. The film’s basic story centers around an aging, though once legendary porn star, named Milo. Milo now mopes around the house drinking Jack Daniels and not having much to do work wise since, like most porn stars, he is actually just an unskilled idiot with a big dick. He is a family man now with a son and wife who works as a translator of various languages. His son watches his dad’s old porno films that are not secured and later Milo gives the lad healthy father/son encouragement about the right time to masturbate. Night time is better. Yea, really, he did. well, you know those Europeans re so much more open. ut the kid is not even 1o years old and the scenes are very uncomfortable to say the least. Milo is coaxed out of retirement by a shady underworld character named Vukmir, who is the worst of all things in a European “art” film: a jaded, philosopher artist with wealth. Vukmir rants on and on about art and the plight of Serbia and how its people are lost and need something to jolt them back to life, or something like that. And what is it they need? Why, necrophilic child porn snuff films of course. That always helps reboot a busted society. Milo is a porn star of conscience and wants nothing to do with kids or beating women (as if beating was the end of it) and tries to get out, but he is injected with bull Viagra and goes nuts and fucks anything laid in front of him, including his own son. Yes, that is right. He sodomizes his own small son. Elsewhere in this debate provoking art film we get treated to Milo ejaculating on the face of a woman he just beat to a bloody pulp (and we see it all in its Serbian style bukakke glory), Milo hacking a woman to death with a machete while, well, fucking her and then continuing to savagely screw the blood spurting corpse. Some say the high point of this controversy stirring piece of cinematicart is when a masked thug has sexual intercourse with a newborn baby and the mother sits laughing as he does it. In another artistic and deep dialog inducing scene a woman is murdered by being forced to perform fellatio on a huge Serbian dong, after having her teeth extracted, and having her nostrils pinched shut, suffocating her. Nothing is left to the imagination and you know exactly what is happening at all times, and we see erect Serbian dude penises and jizz and blood and gore all over the place.

I watched the unrated version, with some extra 20 minutes trimmed by civilized countries like the US and Britain, and I will say I did not really know that much about what the film was about in these terms. I did not know it was about children being sodomized graphically. I had seen a review on the Youtube channel Bloodbath and Beyond and I was curious because of the way the film’s technical quality and acting were reviewed highly. I had heard of the film before but tend to avoid what is called extreme cinema. All that Japanese crap and pretentious European art puke. I have seen enough o know it is not for me. And I forgot those guys on Bloodbath and Beyond are pretty twisted fucks themselves. I almost quit but finished as to give it a review. Oh, I know, let me guess: the fact I could not stop watching is debate provoking or something. Nothing of the sort. I have seen tons of films. Many of the extreme cinema variety, especially from Japan (BTW, I do not consider Audition to be an extreme cinema film though it is often included on lists). I have seen many of the old Video Nasty films. The emphasis on those films was more graphic violence and not violence mixed with sexual imagery. What I manage to review here is but the tip of the iceberg of the films I have seen. I knew I would pan the film and I just wanted to finish it to see, if in the end, there might be some redeeming element. There was not. Unless one considers Milo killing himself and his family then a group of Serbs deciding to make a sex film with the corpses is redeeming in some way. I guess I do not.

So it goes back to what I was getting at in my first paragraph about what is art and who gives a fuck. Why is shit and puke and jizz and child sex art to some people but Jurassic Park is not? Because that other stuff is rancid garbage and the only way to market it is to call it art and to say it provokes heated debates. Then some art/film/philosophy/saxophone student who has been in college for 6 years with a man-bun and black finger nails will feel intellectually superior to you if they can generate a nice big debate around it and the hypocrisy of society and this and that load of horse shit. This is not really even a horror film, it is some sort of weird perverted underground fetish filth and since it was released in 2010 the “brilliant” auteur Srdan Spasojevic a total of one other film called The ABCs of Death, that features yet another little kid in the poster art. Was the film okay in the technical department? Yea, it was okay. So what? Not as technically good as Jurassic Park or Good Fellas. Like my old at teacher Pritchett said in a way, you could take anything, like a vat of urine with a crucifix in it, and call it art and when someone says “I don’t like it” then suddenly you have provoked debate and it has some sort of worth. Someone pooping on the American flag can suddenly become art because someone else vehemently opposes it as such. Well, it is not art. This is not art. It is crap. Crap is not art. Urine is not art. This film is not art or thought provoking. It generates vile images that the viewer responds to with disgust. “Oh, that is interesting. And why exactly did you find the scene where the newborn, blood covered baby was brutally raped revolting? Lets explore that. Oh, and why did you not find that plate of uncooked, extremely salty spaghetti delicious?” I give up. Please, avoid this film. Avoid Serbian cinema. Avoid Serbia.






01 March 2017

GREEN ROOM/2015

GREEN ROOM/2015
DIRECTOR: Jeremy Saulnier
WRITER: Jeremy Saulnier
CAST: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart, Macon Blair

The term green room refers to what is basically a waiting area for performers before they go on stage. In this petty decent suspense thriller a band of what seems to be punk rockers (I dunno for sure) are desperate yet again to make any sort of money they can get their hands on and agree to play a show for a bunch of neo-Nazi skin heads. The action takes place around rainy Portland Oregon known more for it green anarchists and Prozac addled post slacker generation than for skin heads, but seems everywhere you turn anymore there is a hive of Nazis stirring up trouble. The band has a rocky start but they soon win over the hearts and souls of the crowd with their ear splitting three chord mayhem. Upon returning to the green room they stumble in upon a murder scene and that is when things get complicated and the movie turns tense. The over all storyline is that they are trapped in the green room with the Nazis trying to get in to kill them off as potential murder witnesses. The rockers are not really fighters but when pushed into a corner they, for the most part, give the bad guys a pretty good fight. And by pretty good I mean at times the violence is jarring. At other times it is done off camera a little too much, but there is enough in your face gore and blood spatter to keep you either glued to screen or repulsed and avoiding it.

Patrick Stewart plays the head Nazi and the tragically recently departed Anton Yelchin plays one of the more resilient band members. Not everyone get out alive and they go down twitching, with pit bull at their throats sometimes. There are quite a few plot holes and problems (like why did Stewart's character Darcy want the Nazi lacks holding the band prisoner in the green room to hand over the pistol to them other than as a plot contrivance) and why do a couple band members just run into situations that can only result in certain death? Like the soldier in the old war movies who charges the machine gun nest. Why not just wait and come up with a better plan or do nothing. I guess the film has to move along but these little bugs can ruin it all really. But in this case they do not really. Any movie like this relies on short cuts and gimmicks to keep things moving. In this case the bigger picture is salvaged by the end. The film luckily does not turn into some sort of lame social statement about the evils of white supremacism which in today's climate it certainly could have. It simply uses the situation everyone finds themselves in to build the action around. The punk band may be morally better than Nazis (but not morally better than prog-rockers!) and yet they are not above playing for skinheads for some slimy ass money. In fact the skinheads are portrayed as assholes, natch, but their hands are forced into trying to cover up a murder of passion. Definitely worth a watch and I wonder if there is an unrated version out there? A couple of the deaths seemed overly edited to me. But not disappointing in the violence department, or any other for that matter.






RANDOM COOL GIF

some_text

28 February 2017

31/2016/ROB ZOMBIE


31/2016
DIRECTOR: Rob Zombie
WRITER: Rob Zombie
CAST: Sheri moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Philips, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Brake, Meg Foster, Ginger Lynn, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs

I figured I would get around to watching the new Rob Zombie film 31 sooner or later. I will admit that I went into it with low expectations and maybe that helped me to enjoy the movie more than I thought I was going to. Not as bad as I expected it to be. I think Zombie has some talent behind a camera, but I am not really into his hickploitation laden homages to retro-horror of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre school. It is as if they could almost work at some level but they never do. I did enjoy House of 1000 Corpses overall. But nothing since then, including everyone's darling The Devil’s Rejects. With 31 he returns to the realm of hillbilly-psycho horror after taking a break and doing the Satan/witch debacle Lords of Salem, which I reviewed here. In the end this is what Zombie does the best, and that ain’t much really, and it is what he seems to enjoy doing. 

A group of smelly looking and foul mouthed carnies are traveling by RV between shows back in about 1976 when, after stopping for an obvious trap in the road, they are either promptly killed or captured and then taken to play the game of 31, on the night of Halloween. Get it? November 31st. Seems the game has been going on for many years and may it explain the ongoing  disappearance of local people on Halloween night. The game is overseen by Malcolm McDowell and a couple women all dressed up as if they were members of a decadent French king's court. Winning the game consists simply surviving for twelve hours pitted against a collection of murderous killer clowns basically, all with names ending in " head". The most viscous of the bunch is Doom-Head, played effectively by Richard Brake. The oddest is a Nazi dwarf called Sick-Head. Luckily he is killed off early on. The sooner you kill off dwarves the better as far as I am concerned.  While the game goes on for twelve hours not much actually happens. Only four conflicts occur, meaning one every three hours. All the while the game is being bet on by McDowell and the others, with each of the protagonists getting different odds as far as their chances of survival goes.

Taken at this level the film has potential in a real b-movie sense. It could have been a decent little horror film. But there are a few problems. One is Zombie himself. He wrote the script and it is just too full of low level attempts at filthy redneck humor. There is a joke about a pregnant woman and her unborn baby that is simply stupid and in bad taste and it is told in a such a way that it drags on way too long. The over all dialog is just not that good. Simply vile in some places when there is no reason for it to be other than Zombie is trying to shock us out of our puritanical value system and elicit a predictable reaction. Another problem is that the camera work is too jerky. I hate shaky cam work and I expected some here, but it goes overboard in most scenes. The editing is choppy and too quick and sometimes during fight sequences you do not know what you are looking at, like during the duel chainsaw fights. The editing goes back and forth between the two fights in a way that is distracting. Some scenes have annoying overuse of gimmicks like strobe lights to create a sense of disorientation or anxiety, but it creates more a sense of vertigo. 

And like I said in my review of Lords of Salem a big problem I have with this film is with goddamned Sheri Moon Zombie in the lead role. She has been in every film the man has ever made. I guess you save money in the casting department this way. She has really not been in anything else. She played a minor role in Tobe Hooper's remake of The Toolbox Murders ( reviewed here) and I think that is all she has ever done. Why do other other directors not ring her up? She has played the lead in like half a dozen of her husband's films, right? Because she cannot act and she is just revolting. I think here we see her closer to her true self than her previous roles when she is grabbing her crotch and talking dirt to a horny old gas station attendant (played by Tracey Walter). 

Rob Zombie is an interesting guy and I like his music and his music videos. I thought he would make some interesting horror films when he started all of this and to some degree he has. But to a larger degree he has delivered nothing special. I remember reading he was going to do a remake of The Blob and that sounded interesting, but it never happened. I can appreciate what he seems to be trying to do with some parts of his films, returning to old slasher/psycho/weirdo movie themes from the 70's and80's. But he seems to have a pissy-ass attitude towards life in a lot of interviews I have seen of him, dissing his old band mates and ranting on about the dreary, godless nature of the universe and how we will all be nothing but worm food one day. His humorless nihilism comes through in his work and while it works for his music it is hard to deal with for the length of a movie. I really would like to see that Blob remake and I would like to not see his trailer park trophy wife in it.