Monday, June 3, 2013

Bonus CineFiles: A Haunting, Manborg, Bruce Lee, Tomorrow You're Gone and Sexcula!

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.

A Haunting: 2012 Season (Not Rated)
Timeless Media Group

Ghosts. In this age of random terrorism, monthly mass murders and bath-salt massacres, are they even really all that terrifying anymore? When so much real-life horror surrounds us, why put our fear into something that we can’t see or hear or even fully believe in? It seems almost idiotic to do so these days. After five years off the air, the popular Destination America horror anthology A Haunting returns to DVD with its real-life tales of true terror, recounted by frightened eyewitnesses and reenacted by failed actors. As with any anthology, the stories are extremely hit-and-miss, but the ones that hit, however, really do remind you about that fear of specters and phantasms that, while we may push it down in favor of reality, will always be there when we turn out the lights and try not to stare into the dark, lest they get you. If A Haunting is any indication, they always will get you.

Manborg (Not Rated)
Dark Sky Films

I wish Astron-6 made every movie. This ultra-low-budget, lo-fi sci-fi parody from the infamous Canadian comedy collective — perhaps you’ve seen their previous work, the grotesque horror-comedy Father’s Day — has more laughs per minute than any other movie I’ve seen this year, not to mention the sheer amount of cleverness that one wouldn’t expect from an action homage like this. In the post-apocalyptic future, led by the nefarious Count Draculon, hell has arisen and enslaved the entire Earth. The last vestiges of humanity team up to fight him and his army of demons. The remaining survivors, by the way, are a by-the-numbers ’80s stereotype parade, including an Aussie punk rocker, his spunky Anime sister and a hilariously dubbed martial arts hero. Together, they are led by Manborg: a young soldier who is killed in battle, only to awake to find himself resurrected as a cyborg. Shot with a hyper-kinetic video-game stop-motion palate, the only thing Manborg is loaded with more than laughs is gory action, which is played for laughs, too. So many laughs.

Bruce Lee Double Features (Not Rated)
Shout! Factory

Bruce Lee is widely regarded as the ultimate martial arts actor of all-time, but even more than that, he is one of the biggest American icons to ever bust out of celluloid. Shout! Factory has released all four of his non-Enter the Dragon movies as double-feature DVDs. Volume 1 features Lee’s first two big flicks, The Big Boss, wherein Lee is an ice factory worker who takes on the Bangkok heroin trade, and Fist of Fury, with Lee playing a returning student who sets out to avenge the death of his kung-fu master. Both definite classics. The second volume presents The Way of the Dragon, where Lee fights Chuck Norris in the Roman Coliseum in a fight that needs to be seen and, finally, the much-maligned and much-misunderstood Game of Death, which was in the middle of being made when Lee died and was finished using comically obvious stunt-doubles. But, it’s also got that epic fight scene with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which totally makes up for it.

Tomorrow You’re Gone (Not Rated) (Blu-Ray)
RLJ Entertainment

Have you ever watched a movie where, even 10 minutes into it, you’re completely lost, and as it goes on, you only get more and more confounded, but you’re compelled to finish it because you hope that there will be some form of a conclusion and won’t feel like your afternoon was wasted, only, as the credits roll, to be let down and actually kind of angry? Tomorrow You’re Gone is one such movie. It’s got a great cast, including the perpetually disheveled Stephen Dorff and the always reliable Willem Dafoe, but, as far as the plot I can put together goes, apparently Dorff is an ex-con and Dafoe protected him in prison, in exchange for a favor upon release. Dorff is let loose and steals some money and meets a mentally ill porn star named Florence (Michelle Monaghan), and they drive and drive with no real resolution. It’s nowhere near as interesting as that bland synopsis makes it out to be. Tomorrow You’re Gone, but tonight, I’m bored.

Sexcula (Not Rated)
Impulse Pictures

In case you haven’t figured it out for yourself, Sexcula is like Dracula, but with sex. At the same time, it’s nothing like Dracula. But there is sex. And there’s a gorilla. Apparently a lost cult classic made in Canada, it's being released for the first time in any format since its original 1974 run. And while it does have a certain campy innocence to it, it’s also a hilariously dated B-movie that attempted to be a real “now” sex-comedy along the lines of a dirtier Young Frankenstein. And there’s a gorilla. We’re introduced to Sexcula, an evil countess, but then a couple goes on a naked picnic for no reason. Meanwhile, a bride is tired of being a virgin, and a female pleasure-robot delivers tons of clunky laughs. It makes no sense. Oh, and did I mention there’s a gorilla? He gets it on with a chick, but don’t worry, PETA: it’s just a guy in a cheap monkey suit in an even cheaper monkey movie.

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