Archives for August 2010 | Varied Celluloid

Archive for August, 2010

Lake Placid 3 Poster & Red Band Trailer

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 31 - 2010

Available on DVD/Blu-ray October 26, 2010




The good people from Sony sent us over the Red Band trailer for their future release of Lake Placid 3! If you’re like me, there’s only one thing you love as much as Brucesploitation and Jawsploitation, and that is gigantic killer Crocs! It’s a genre that has seen its good and its bad, but these movies are almost universally entertaining. So, for you “when mother nature bites back” movie buffs out there I am sure this will be a “can’t miss!”. Check out the trailer and press release!

The monster crocodiles return in a frightening new installment of the successful horror franchise when the unrated Lake Placid 3 debuts on DVD October 26 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Colin Ferguson (TV’s “Eureka”), Yancy Butler (Kickass), Kacey Barnfield (Resident Evil: Afterlife), and Michael Ironside (Terminator Salvation) star in the latest incarnation of the campy, blood-thirsty horror series. Fans will eat up the steamy, sexy and gory Lake Placid 3 when it arrives on DVD, boasting unrated, unreleased scenes suitable only for adult audiences.

Get ready for a living, feeding nightmare when a swarm of gigantic crocodiles terrorizes a secluded country lake. When local wildlife is brutally mauled and campers are reduced to carcasses, biologist Nathan Bickerman (Colin Ferguson) knows a voracious predator is on the loose. So does a feisty female hunting guide (Yancy Butler) out for her next trophy. As the body count rises, the local sheriff tries to keep things quiet and keep the tourists coming. But when the horrifying, hulking truth emerges, can anyone stop these cold blooded killers before they claim their next victim? Lake Placid 3 is pulse pounding, adrenaline pumping, pure horror film fun.

Lake Placid 3 has a running time of 93 minutes and is unrated. The film contains graphic violence and full frontal nudity.


Graphic violence and full frontal nudity? That sounds like a Varied Celluloid movie! After some editing and playing around, I was able to get the Quicktime video embedded! Enjoy!




Red Nights of the Gestapo Review

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 30 - 2010
Prof. Aglaophotis is back with another piece of nazisploitation for all of us to enjoy! The man knows how to pick his obscure titles, that is for sure! A sexy look at the third reich, Red Nights… looks to be one of the more boring pieces of erotica you could possibly dig into and Aggy has a good time taking us through it step by step!

The Plot: It’s 1941 and Rudolf Hess makes his flight to England in surrender. The head of Hess’ staff, Colonel Werner von Uhland, is sentenced to death by the Gestapo. However, the Gestapo has another plan for him: It turns out there’s more traitors among the Third Reich and they’re all connected to each other under the name of The Intelligentsia. Col. von Uhland’s head decides to give him a chance to redeem himself by having him befriend the conspirators, arrange a brothel to invite the traitors in to use all their sexual weaknesses against them and expose their traitorous ways.







CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW HERE

Red Nights of the Gestapo

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 30 - 2010
[imdb]0076337[/imdb]
The Plot: It’s 1941 and Rudolf Hess makes his flight to England in surrender. The head of Hess’ staff, Colonel Werner von Uhland, is sentenced to death by the Gestapo. However, the Gestapo has another plan for him: It turns out there’s more traitors among the Third Reich and they’re all connected to each other under the name of The Intelligentsia. Col. von Uhland’s head decides to give him a chance to redeem himself by having him befriend the conspirators, arrange a brothel to invite the traitors in to use all their sexual weaknesses against them and expose their traitorous ways.









The Review
It’s a little hard looking for historical accuracy in the Nazisploitation genre, yet part of the reason why that is revolves around the entertainment value of the genre. It’s like pointing out the anachronisms of a WWII video game: The Nazi’s never had zombies, double-D bikini-clad devil worshippers or (my personal favorite) transforming mecha vehicles equipped with homing missiles and lasers, but it doesn’t matter so long as it’s an entertaining experience. So what happens when you get a Nazisploitation movie that has a heavy dose of historical straightness? You get Red Nights of the Gestapo… what could be the least entertaining Nazisplotation movie I’ve seen so far. My problem with this movie is that it’s boring. Out right, unentertaining, occasionally funny, barely brutal and straight-up dull. This isn’t Women’s Camp 119 where it’s nothing but mean-spirited, uncomfortable sleaze with a hint of campiness, it’s not SS Hell Camp’s brutal, but hilariously bad and over-the-top bloody. It’s almost like SS Girls without the groovy soundtrack and 85% of the sexiness and humor completely removed. The cinematography to this movie is actually very good. The film stock is clear, there are some impressive shots, close-ups and the art direction is great. from the Head Gestapo’s office to most of the architecture we get several well shot-close-ups of the different objects of art surrounding the actors including several stone statues, wood carvings, metallic figures and what appears to be a preserved heart wrapped in barbed wire. Really, from a technical and artistic aspect the movie is good and the props are unique… I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the money was spent on the seemingly Caligula-like sets and antique props. After watching the Nazisploitation movies of Bruno Mattei, it’s easy getting used to seeing Nazi characters who look 100% Italian, but the Italian actors of Red Nights were actually made-up to look more German with bleach-blonde hair and pale faces. That aside, the rest of the cast could’ve come from anywhere.

So with all this on our table, you’d think that for once you’d have dirty Nazisploitation with a hint of class. Sadly, there’s very little room for the dirty Nazisploitation factor. The first half of the movie consists of Uhland doing the Gestapo’s dirty work, rounding up insane women to be a particular traitor’s love slave from a very fake-looking asylum. All fine and well, but the second half of the movie mostly consists of Uhland talking to the traitors, the traitors talking to each other and then sometimes screwing the women. All of which sounds like it might be fun, but it isn’t. The nudity and sexual antics just aren’t as well shot as the rest of the movie. There are some decent close-ups (a few of which actually show some labia), but its not unique or angled enough to be memorable. Part of the problem may be due to the fact that the movie is actually based on a novel by Bertha Uhland so maybe the film is just playing out page for page.

I’ve never seen a movie make sex and nudity so tedious before and that includes Orgy of the Dead. There’s a scene where two characters are having sex on the back of an old butler and another character is playing a repetitive melody on a squeaky violin to it for four minutes; instead of coming off as erotic, or interesting it only serves as obnoxious and poorly shot. The only good close-up of the event is of the butler’s face as he’s walking the nympho over his back and stroking her hair. There’s even an odd amount of scenes where a little girl is recruited to tug at the heart strings of a conspirator who is a father. I guess it’s supposed to be subtly disturbing having a little kid hanging around these people, but it really just amounts to another talking scene. I don’t even want to talk about the soundtrack to this movie. I get what they were going for: the whole score consists of violin stringing and plucking that try to accentuate a sense of insanity, but it just comes across as annoying. The movie even has its own theme song like the Gestapo’s Last Orgy, only not sung too well; it’s like listening to Edith Piaf singing Haikus in Dutch… it just doesn’t go well together.

There are moments where the movie does get a little sleazy and its in these brief moments that the movie starts to get entertaining. There’s a scene where a group of spying Nazi Officers take a break by having a foursome with a female officer and even better is a scene where two ladies entertain the conspirators with an erotic and goofy strip show in a theater. Hell, there’s even a ping-pong ball trick show! It’s pretty glorious, but there’s just not enough of it; there are too many moments where the Intelligentsia are sitting around and talking about their situation or sitting down at dinner and talking, none of which gets them anywhere in the plot.

Col. von Uhland does come across as a capable and clever bad-ass, but the movie doesn’t give him enough to do. After a surprisingly harsh but brief scene where he guns down three male Nazi officers and assaults the female officer (to make it look like someone else did it), he spends the rest of the movie either sitting or standing around talking or eavesdropping. He doesn’t even pick-up a gun again until the end of the movie! Fred Williams from a Bridge Too Far shows up as a perverted aristocrat housing a French exhibitionist and a lesbian, and he’s pretty good but they don’t give the man enough to do here.

I will admit some of the characters are fairly likable: some of the crazy women recruited for prostitution get excited at either bondage, clothes-tearing or just plain getting nude and they’re fairly entertaining. Unfortunately, the movie just doesn’t do enough with these characters. The nympho girl is about the only fun one; she did remind me of a blonde Allyson King from Don’t look in the Basement only more nude. There is some bondage thrown in near the end where the clothes’ tearing girl tortures the sadomasochist woman, but there’s nothing brutal or erotic about it.

There’s very little brutality in the movie. Most of its disturbing factors come from the fact that there’s a war going on, there are Nazis and the traitors to the SS are mostly perverts. The scene where Col. von Uhland assaults the female officer was only a sample of rawness and the remaining brutality comes at the film’s climax when the beautiful unarmed women are gunned down by sub-machine gun fire. I seem to remember an episode of Cowboy Bebop doing something similar in a restaurant scene and it was stupid, as it was annoying, so it’s really more annoying than it is brutal here.

Speaking of death, there aren’t any uncomfortable death scenes in this movie. One woman gets stuffed in a box before being thrown out a window and one character suddenly dies from a heart attack after screaming and farting into a microphone. That’s about as memorable as the death scenes are. Funny enough, after this happened, the nymphomaniac character got so upset at the man’s sudden death that she started masturbating to which I sympathized saying ‘You know what? That’s not a bad plan! Now to find something sleazier..!’

The DVD
The DVD transfer is pretty good and the menus are very well put together… but that’s it. Much like the movie, the DVD is very minimalist. The most Extra Features it has include deleted scenes that are pointless because it’s just more dialogue leading from other scenes, most of which are muted and don’t include original audio. Huh, something tells me even the transfer team was a little bored by this flick.

The Conclusion
Considering the reputation of the Nazisploitation genre, Red Nights comes off as extremely tame. Even if it weren’t, it’s still a dull descent into World War II history facts; in the end, it’s a movie that tries to be smarter than it really is. It is very well shot and decorated, I can’t deny that, but if you’re looking for dark, brutal, sleazy exploitation or even crazy, zany sexual perversion or overall entertainment, don’t look for it here.



Love Exposure Review!

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 26 - 2010
I have been writing this review for a good week or so, off and on. Sion Sono’s four hour opus is a film that deserves as much thought as one could possibly muster and I’m sure I don’t do it service. Such an epic film deserves an epic review, and I do my best to try and deliver!

The Plot: Yu Honda (Takahiro Nishijima) is a young man born into a Christian family in the very Buddhist society of Japan. His mother dies while he is still young, but before she passes on she gives him a statue of the virgin Mary and insists that he some day find his own Maria. After the death of his mother, his father is left in a state of confusion and turns to the priesthood. He dedicates his life to god, but after a few years confusion once again enters his life as a mysterious woman shows up at his church crying. She slowly starts to seduce the priest and the two begin living with one another behind the church’s back. Everything seems to be going well for this new family unit, but when it becomes apparent that their relationship is going to remain hidden, the woman leaves and Yu’s father is once again alone. Bitterness begins to take over his life as his sermon’s take on a dark tone and his interest in the well-being of others is diminished. He starts turning to Yu for him to confess all of his sins on a daily basis, but Yu is a kind teen and doesn’t commit any terrible sins but his father refuses to believe this. In fact, Yu doesn’t even lust after women. He has never even had an erection at this point in his life and he believes the only girl who will ever do that for him is his Maria. Now, as Yu can’t seem to fool his father during their confessions, he decides he will have to commit as many sins as he possibly can. He teams up with some local punks and begins his mission to find the worst sins he can. This leads him to being trained in the ways of upskirt photography! His father, who has shown disinterest in everything up until this point finally shows some anger towards his son – which is better than the emptiness he had been showing. At the same time that this is happening, the priest’s former mistress has moved on and found another man who has a daughter named Yoko Ozawa (Hikari Mitsushima) who is obsessed with Kurt Cobain. Although she quickly loses interest in this new man, her new “daughter” of sorts becomes very attached to her and vice versa. The two leave and head back to Yu’s father and unknown to Yu Honda, the young Jesus loving Kurt Cobain freak may just be his very own Maria!

CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW HERE

Love Exposure

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 26 - 2010
The Plot: Yu Honda (Takahiro Nishijima) is a young man born into a Christian family in the very Buddhist society of Japan. His mother dies while he is still young, but before she passes on she gives him a statue of the virgin Mary and insists that he some day find his own Maria. After the death of his mother, his father is left in a state of confusion and turns to the priesthood. He dedicates his life to god, but after a few years confusion once again enters his life as a mysterious woman shows up at his church crying. She slowly starts to seduce the priest and the two begin living with one another behind the church’s back. Everything seems to be going well for this new family unit, but when it becomes apparent that their relationship is going to remain hidden, the woman leaves and Yu’s father is once again alone. Bitterness begins to take over his life as his sermon’s take on a dark tone and his interest in the well-being of others is diminished. He starts turning to Yu for him to confess all of his sins on a daily basis, but Yu is a kind teen and doesn’t commit any terrible sins but his father refuses to believe this. In fact, Yu doesn’t even lust after women. He has never even had an erection at this point in his life and he believes the only girl who will ever do that for him is his Maria. Now, as Yu can’t seem to fool his father during their confessions, he decides he will have to commit as many sins as he possibly can. He teams up with some local punks and begins his mission to find the worst sins he can. This leads him to being trained in the ways of upskirt photography! His father, who has shown disinterest in everything up until this point finally shows some anger towards his son – which is better than the emptiness he had been showing. At the same time that this is happening, the priest’s former mistress has moved on and found another man who has a daughter named Yoko Ozawa (Hikari Mitsushima) who is obsessed with Kurt Cobain. Although she quickly loses interest in this new man, her new “daughter” of sorts becomes very attached to her and vice versa. The two leave and head back to Yu’s father and unknown to Yu Honda, the young Jesus loving Kurt Cobain freak may just be his very own Maria!



The Review
Sion Sono is a filmmaker that has defied the world of genre cinema since our introduction to his world with Suicide Club. Starting his career off in gay porn, he is an unconventional director to say the least. In his interviews he sometimes comes off as a little unbalanced. He seems strange at first glance, as if he were some kind of wild man who simply confused a great number of people to get to this prestigeous position as a top flight arthouse director. However, actions speak louder than words and despite his flighty attitude, his work comes across as deeply personal and often touching. His talent has grown tremendously over the years and his success with Suicide Club has been proven to be more than just a fluke. Love Exposure, a four hour arthouse action drama comedy, may just be the culmination of all his efforts up until this point. His work has been consistent in his use of various narrative functions and Love Exposure continues this love affair in the firmest possible way. His love for voiceover narration and split narratives was cemented in the excellent Noriko’s Dinner Table, but Love Exposure shows him taking all of his gifts as a filmmaker and amping them up to their highest potential.

Love Exposure by its length alone will divide audiences. Within recent times I have actually grown very disapproving of filmmakers who don’t properly edit their films. It seems that every independent film or arthouse title simply must break through the two hour time length. In fact, with its popularity growing, Asian cinema has unfortunately developed a reputation for having films that are overly long and lacking in solid editing power. While Love Exposure is not a movie that I find without flaw in terms of its editing, I have to give credit where it is due! For a four hour long film there is hardly a lagging moment throughout. There are scenes here and there that do not add anything to the plot particularly, yet Sono manages to keep the audience enthralled by examining all of the little crevices of this world that he has created around his characters. Taking place within a heightened state of reality, Sono’s world is full of weirdos, perverts and general lost souls and at no point are these characters not interesting.

Love Exposure certainly seems to have that outsiders look at the interior side of Christianity, but what I appreciate about the film is the actual care and understanding that it employs. Christianity is often beguiled by outsiders as a religion of condemnation and judgment. Although our leading man’s father is unable to believe his son’s lack of “valid” sinning, he is not a man who goes about judging everyone around him. Instead, there are certain elements of Christianity that actually do get to shine through in Love Exposure such as Christ’s love and the importance of understanding. There is a particular sequence where 1 Corinthians: 13 is read out loud and the profound understanding of the words are made clear for the characters.

Yet, Love Exposure is not a Christian film in particular but for fellow Christians who are open to a film featuring fallible and confused characters, it shows a different side to the faith. With characters who are lost in the act of spiritual growth. Sono looks to paint organized religion in as much of a guilty light as the boxed in cult mentality. Thankfully Sono does not carve his ideas in stone and leaves his film very open to interpretation in terms of just what it has to say about religion and the culture that is promoted through it. Sure enough there are organized versions of Christianity that ask for its fellowship to devote an extraordinary amount of their life and livelihood that is not biblical. A little satire is surely good enough for those who pervert the faith. For fans of Sono however, you can see much of what has made the filmmaker the talent that he is. I’ve already mentioned Noriko’s Dinner Table, but parallels between that film and Love Exposure are numerous and we can see the patterns and continual themes that seem to attract Sono’s interest. With Suicide Club and Noriko’s Dinner Table, Sono explored a very similar cult like situation and this time around he delves back into those similar waters but is even more contemplative and engaging in his examination of the topic at hand. This is Sono at his most refined.

Sono loves to play with narrative conventions and he does so in Love Exposure with gleeful abandonment. The film is told in three different chapters, features a split narrative that takes three different voice over narrations and even has a nondescript deadline that the film steadily hurtles towards. From the start, we have these title cards that pop up and inform us that we have 365 days until a miracle is to happen. All of this begins in simply the first half of this four hour feature. Yet, it’s from these intricate takes on narrative structure that the film never seems to slow down and is surprisingly brisk in its editing. Although it is four hours in length, there is very little in this film I would dare want to see cut out. There are things that I’m sure you could actually remove. There is a good chunk of film dedicated wholly to the training of Yu Honda, which could probably be toned down. Then there are the courting sequence, which follow Yu Honda (Takahiro Nishijima) and his attempts to impress Yoko Ozawa (Hikari Mitsushima) despite her being in love with Yu only when he is disguised in drag as Miss Scorpion (yes, as in THE Scorpion from the Female Convict Scorpion series starring Meiko Kaji, who Nishijima is dressed to resemble). This sequence in particular seems as if it would be ripe for the chopping block due to the way the film takes on the feel of a romantic comedy of sorts. However, these are the moments that add texture to the characters and ultimately reveals their interior for the audience to see. While these character are fleshed out, with the twists and turns in tone, the movement of the film seems to move with a lightning pace.

With the addition of superflous genre cinema references and ideals, Sono helps to take this very simple story and multiply the gravity of such a situation tenfold. This simple story of love and the ties that bind are wrapped up inside of an enigma of spirituality, religious furvor, perversity and martial arts. The martial arts come into play as Yu is trained to be an upskirt photographer and the way in which the film shows us the dedication it takes for him to become this highly decorated pornographer is by giving the artform a martial arts style training sequence. Instead of simply waiting for the right moment and snapping a picture, Yu does cartwheels, flips and acrobatic somersaults in order to snap the right photograph. These sequences are entertaining due mostly to the intense choreography and imagination involved in developing such an idea. This sort of gimmick could very well carry a weaker comedy, as we have seen with select Stephen Chow films. Within the realm of Love Exposure, this is just one idea out of many that Sono chooses to explore simply for the fun of the idea.

Sion Sono also runs the gauntlet in terms of visual ideas and aesthetic over this four hour long journey. He takes us through so many different textures and design ideas that one feels drunk after the experience. The cast wear an assortment of colorful garbs throughout the film, to the point where it becomes obvious that this film takes place within some form of hyper reality that just barely resembles our home earth. Sono’s set design takes us from very modest Japanese homes up to the very top of corporate skylines that are so pristine that they lack any form of definition and simply beam white. Possibly reflecting the spiritual enlightenment that those who inhabit it hope to achieve, or maybe the walls are simply white because a samurai showdown is soon to take place and will reflect the gallons of blood in a much cooler way. Then again, maybe the white walls do represent that purity and its the blood that represents reality that not one of us will ever achieve true spiritual purity due to our own sinful nature? Who is to say, but Sono certainly leaves his film open to interpretation.

The Trivia
  • Sion Sono has claimed that the film is written from some semblance of reality, as he once knew of someone who was wrapped up in a cult but was lucky enough to have been rescued from it.

  • Sono has also said that the implementation of upskirt photography comes from another friend of his who was obsessed with taking such pictures. For him it was said to be “like bird watching”, and Sono felt sympathy for him.


  • The Conclusion
    I can’t get over Love Exposure. It has been days, even a week at this point, since I sat down to watch it. This review has been one of the most contemplated I have written because the film truly touched me and it isn’t the easiest movie to put into words. It won’t prove to be for all audiences. What four hour film really could be? However, if you are patient enough you may find a brilliantly crafted piece of arthouse entertainment. Although it isn’t perfect, I feel that the steps it makes in the world of cinema warrants my highest rating. I give it a five and I hope others have the opportunity to search this one out because it is truly worth your time.



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    Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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