Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Ever since I was a wee dandy, I always imagined what it would be like to live in a turn of the century French whorehouse. Maybe I’d be an orphaned messenger the girls took a shine to, or the illegitimate child of a prostitute who died of syphilis and the Madame was kind enough to let me stay. I was sure every night would be a Dionysian orgy of wondrous delights, all under the watchful eye of the Eiffel Tower, like something out of a Baz Luhrmann movie. Bertrand Bonello's bleak period piece House of Pleasures, however, made me give up those dreams, acting as a sort of Scared Straight for early 20th-century French hookers. Taking place entirely in the guts of a classy bordello, the girls all are introduced as real people with real problems, dealing with real customers with real sick needs. Very depressing and very heart-wrenching.
Smoke three joints laced in formaldehyde and mescaline, turn Black Sabbath’s Sabotage on full volume at 78 speed, and stare into a black-light poster of a warrior troll slaying a unicorn and eating its heart. You are still nowhere near as close as to the ultimate mind-eff Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards will give you, stone-cold sober. Set 2 million years in the future, after nuclear bombs have decimated the planet, man has returned to its original elven state, eschewing the sins of technology for a reliance on magic. While most people want to live peacefully, the dark wizard Blackwolf, fueled by old Nazi propaganda films (and heavy-handed attempts at allegory), seeks to destroy the world all over again. Mixing an underground comix design scheme with some very disturbing rotoscoping techniques, Bakshi has created an other-worldly film. It couldn’t be made today, but can be enjoyed today thanks to 20th Century Fox's deluxe Blu-ray special edition. Primo Turkish hashish and ceramic skull bong not included.
What happens when you want to make a straight-to-DVD sequel to a moderately successful children’s movie that starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? Well, first of all, if that was me who wanted to do that, I would probably shoot myself because I’d realize that not only was I culturally bankrupt, but spiritually as well. But, say I could accept that about myself and happily came to the realization that I can never be better than this ... I would proudly scream, “Damn the torpedoes!” and hire Larry the Cable Guy, stick him in a tutu and have him revisit the role that made The Rock a slick payday. In Tooth Fairy 2, Larry “gits ’er done” as a slacker redneck who makes up for his misdeeds by dressing as a mythical creature and sneaking into children’s rooms, scouring their slept-in beds for teeth, and leaving a nice variety pack of quarters and farts, because that’s what kids need to believe in, I guess. On second thought, pass the pistol.