Started by wilder, March 27, 2017, 06:00:36 PM
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Quote from: EXPERIMENTS IN LOVEPenthouse Pet Mariwin Roberts and her ditzy sidekick Linda Gordon star as a pair of sexy scientists who explore the secrets of sexuality with a sci-fi third dimension experiment!
Quote from: Matt SerafiniTHE ARROW: NICO MASTORAKIS APPRECIATIONI was at a horror convention in the early 2000s when someone recommended Island of Death as a prime example of exploitation cinema. It wasn't the first time I'd heard about it, and it sounded right up my alley. I bought an import DVD off the table in question and couldn't wait to get home and watch it. When I got around to it, I wasn't remotely disappointed. It was sick without reveling in excess, done with a wink and a nudge. To this day, it's a go-to favorite when somebody tells me they want to venture into the deep end of sleazy cinema without taking off their water wings.It was sometime around then that I looked up director Nico Mastorakis and was stunned to discover how many of his films I'd already seen! None were as twisted as Island of Death, not even close, so it was a little difficult to believe "glossier" things like The Wind and Nightmare at Noon came from the guy who brought wholesale righteous slaughter to the isle of Mykanos. Still, his films are consistently entertaining and deliver on whatever expectations come attached to the genre he's trafficking in.Having said that, I'm a little surprised the Greek filmmaker isn't more of a "name." He's scarcely mentioned in any of my conversational circles, and we're a likeminded bunch! I'm not sure Mastorakis has a personal stamp or signature that you can point to beyond his work being highly entertaining. I think that's enough. There's a workmanlike consistency that makes him reliable. Anyone who's watched a lot of schlock in their lives recognizes the importance of competency, and Mastorakis gives you solid actors (sometimes doing heavy lifting over dicey scripts) and decent-to-good production value, which means he's got a leg up on the competition. I'm really happy to see Arrow Video in the Mastorakis business, offering up terrific editions of three of his most enjoyable works (Island of Death was covered last year).The Zero Boys is an intersection of survival action and slasher horror. Southern Comfort meets Just Before Dawn. If that sounds like a thoroughly 80s cocktail, that's because it is. Here, a scrappy competitive paintball crew goes against mountain psychos using an isolated country house to make snuff films. The film was shot on the same property as Friday the 13th Part III, and so slasher fans will get to see Higgins' Haven through an entirely different lens (this land was used in three separate slashers, with Twisted Nightmare being the last).The movie opens with an extended paintball sequence that plays out in an old western ghost town. Mastorakis tries for a little bit of misdirection, making us think this is a real conflict at first. The reveal is fun, and the opposing team (in Nazi regalia) is appropriately absurd. It introduces us to our band of carefree heroes (The Zero Boys is the name of their paintball team) who are planning a big weekend getaway with their ladies. When they reach their destination they take shelter in an unlocked farmhouse and discover it may not be abandoned.The Zero Boys is an oddity because it's fun without being truly successful. As a slasher, creative deaths are limited. As an action movie, its setpieces are small scale and conservative. Mastorakis knows how to build tension through the earlier moments, and once our characters begin falling prey to booby traps littering the campground, he tightens those screws for a few well-made sequences. The film mostly gets by on charm, however, with a breezy pace, effective atmosphere, and amiable performances (it's hard to dislike Kelli Maroney in anything).I'm not sure Mastorakis is all that concerned with generating scares. He seems more concerned with keeping things moving at a good clip. In that sense, The Zero Boys is a lot of fun. If that's what you're after, it's a good time.Which brings me to Hired to Kill. I can't remember where I read it, but some online commentator summarized this as a marriage between Andy Sidaris and Cannon Films. Hard to be any more accurate, although Mastorakis isn't as adept at exploiting the female form as Sidaris, and nobody has ever out-Cannoned the Cannon Group. Still, the point stands.The story is amazing. Brian Thompson takes center stage as the musclebound mercenary tasked with overthrowing a South American dictator (Oliver Reed). The catch? He needs to pose as a homosexual fashion designer to do it. This requires him to travel with an entourage of badass female mercenaries disguised as models. In a wonderful reversal of the "prepare for your mission montage", these tough ladies are required to undergo runway training in order to sell the charade.If this sounds like a parody of the 1980s "one man army" action pictures, you're be half right. If Mastorakis is sending up the genre, you wouldn't necessarily know it, as Hired to Kill plays out with a straight face. Regardless of intent, the tone winds up being perfect. Any goofier and this would've been irritating. Any more serious and it would've fallen completely flat. In the end, none of this matters because it's got a scene where Oliver Reed kisses Brian Thompson in an effort to test the legitimacy of his cover. Bliss.Like many of Mastorakis' productions, this offers surprisingly decent production value. It feels less like a one man army action movie and more like the middle of almost any James Bond movie, where 007 infiltrates the enemy stronghold to gather intel, only it's sustained for the better part of 90 minutes. A few veteran actors are on hand to add marquee value–the aforementioned Reed, along with George Kennedy as the shadowy operative who orchestrates the mission, and Mel Ferrer as the captured rebellion leader. Thompson and his supermodels shine the brightest, however, as they're in on the joke without being obnoxious about it. Most of the action is held back until the climax, but it's appropriately loud and fiery.2016 gave us two Nico Mastorakis movies on Blu-ray, and Arrow knocked them both out of the park. Hired to Kill's supplements are almost worth the price of the disc itself (Mastorakis has plenty to say about Oliver Reed, none of it good, but all of it amazing). It's also got a highly entertaining interview with Brian Thompson, who gets choked up when asked about the film's on set fatality. The Zero Boys offers a strange feature where Mastorakis interviews himself, along with commentary by and an interview with Kelli Maroney. Both movies look great on Blu-ray. Do you take requests, Arrow? If so, I'm asking for more Mastorakis in 2017, specifically Blind Date and The Wind.
Quote from: wilder on April 15, 2020, 04:49:04 PMMay 26, 2020Solid Metal Nightmares: The Films of Shinya Tsukamoto (1987-2018) on limited edition blu-ray from ArrowOne of the most distinctive and celebrated names in modern Japanese cinema, there's no other filmmaker quite like Shinya Tsukamoto. Since his early days as a teenager making Super 8 shorts, he has remained steadfastly independent, garnering widespread acclaim while honing his own unique and instantly recognizable aesthetic on the margins of the industry. Frequently exploring themes of urban alienation, physical transformation and psychosexual obsession, his films cross genre boundaries, defying straightforward classification. This exclusive collection gathers together eight feature-length films and two shorts from Tsukamoto's diverse filmography, including his most recent offering – his samurai drama Killing, making its home video premiere.
Quote from: jenkins on June 03, 2020, 10:09:31 PMthere was a story about Michelangelo Antonioni being old and not wanting to do anything except when he heard about Masumura movies playing