Sunday, 29 September 2013

Cheapo DVD Review: The Girl From The Naked Eye (2012)

Starring

Jason Yee

Samantha Streets

Ron Yuan

Gary Stretch

Dominique Swain

Sasha Grey

Jerry Ying


 "When a high-class escort is found murdered, her protector Jake is crushed. he loved her and now he'll stop at nothing to find her killer. Leaving a bloody trail in his wake, Jake risks everything to uncover the truth and take his vengeance.
The Girl From The Naked Eye takes us through an underground world of sex and drugs where nothing is savoury and everything is deadly."
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Sin City" aren't you?
There is another DVD cover out there that suggests that's the reaction the producers were hoping for.
 Oh very subtle. 
  Can I also point out that neither of the girls on this cover is in it for very long. The sultry brunette is in it for two scenes (one rather odd sex scene and getting a backhander from the hero.) while the blonde also gets two scenes (briefly popping up in a bar to offer useful advice.) Meanwhile poor Samantha Streets (who plays unfortunate female lead Sandy) is utterly ignored. A shame because she makes a decent stab at it and in a film where literally every female character is a hooker or a stripper her girl-next-door look is refreshing. But hey, let's focus on the ex-porn star  who was in "Entourage".

 Dammit I hate it when film distributors do that. Remember when Pamela Anderson suddenly became the biggest pinup in the Western world and every single film in which she'd had a walk-on part  suddenly got re-released with her name and boobs splashed across the cover?

Where was I...

 This is almost certainly the cheapest DVD I've ever written about. It cost me one of these:
You can't even get a Mars Bar for that these days. So my expectations were low. 

 But as it turns out, despite having a terrible, terrible name that makes it sound like a porn film "The Girl From The Naked Eye" isn't bad. 
 It's not brilliant either but did I mention that I paid 50p for this?  At that price, opening the box to find the DVD is actually in there makes for a nice surprise.
  It will surprise nobody to know that hero Jake gets in some serious monologuing, using that special gruff semi-whisper people only use when they're talking about the "Dark side of the city" and so on. 
  And as expected, Jake spends most of the film relentlessly working his way from one suspect to the next, doing violent things unto them and anybody daft enough to get in his way. 
  There's some highly respectable violence in this film, by the way. Nothing too flashy or over-choreographed, just good, solid facebreaking.
 I'm willing to forgive the scene blatantly cribbed from "Oldboy" 
 Whenever he's not hitting people, he breaks out the ciggies. It explains the voice-over I suppose.

  Balancing out the "Man on a mission" punchy-stuff, the relationship between Jake and the doomed Sandy is fleshed out through flashbacks. Despite occasionally dipping into sappiness this does give you some idea why our hero cared so much about Sandy and why he's so pissed off.

  Acting? More than decent from everybody concerned. No obvious weak links that I could see. The dialogue is a tad formulaic in places but *shrug* that's about par for the course.

  I do take issue with some of the soundtrack choices though. I can sort of see where they were going with it, - and lord knows it's nice to hear something beyond aggro-metal and shouty hip-hop -  but setting a brutal punchup to a semi-muted Ravel's "Bolero" is just peculiar. 
  
How much did I pay for this: Less than the price of a Greggs doughnut. 
Was it worth it?  Definitely. "The Girl With The Naked Eye" isn't brilliant but I found myself enjoying the ride.

 I just checked the back of the DVD cover. Samantha Streets doesn't make an appearance there either but the four women who do are on screen for a grand total of five minutes between them. So what the hell, here's a piccie.
 And here's the trailer.

That's all folks.


Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Metal Project: Heavy Metal We Salute You

The Metal Project. The Internet's leading resource for Heavy Metal Songs With Metal In The Title.

Nobody else seems to be doing this. I'm amazed, frankly.


Anyway, today's selection is chosen entirely at random so it's a bit of a mixed bag. Enjoy.

Shock - Heavy Metal We Salute You (Brazil 1991)

(Has a crunchier-end-of-the NWOBHM vibe to it.)
Honour to:  KillAgainRecords

 Fueled by Fire - The Metallion (USA 2005)

(Thrash with discreet Maiden influences that jogs along at a cheerful mid pace. 
They sound as they ought to be German. Maybe that's just me.)
Honour to:  assassinsbullet94

Vavel - Fight With Metal (Greece 1986)

(Sound quality not brilliant - shame as this isn't bad.)
Honour to: Lycanthrocifer 

Speedbreaker - Metal Love (Germany 2012)

(Unpolished Speed Metal - So not a ballad then)

Honour to: Saundful

Reckless Love - Metal Ass (Finland 2013) 

(Finish glamsters with a surprisingly heavy offering)
 
Honour to: MutteringUrchin

P. Mobil - Metalmania (Hungary 1983-I think)

(Classy, hard rock with a smooth solo)

  Honour to: Csaba1965

Comando Nuclear - Vinganca Metal (Brazil 2006)

(Thrash with no pretensions towards being anything more than music to mosh to. Works for me)
Honour to:  barschlange

And to finish a tribute to both Metal and Beer. 

Ignitor - Reinheitsgebot (Metal Is The Law) (USA 2005ish)

(The Reinhietsgebot is the ancient laws governing the quality of German beer and what you can or cannot put into it.  
 They take their beer seriously, do Germans.)

  Honour to: rapanzel666?

That's all folks. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

I may need to stop buying DVDs for a bit.

I seem to have got a wee bit carried away. This is what my "To watch" pile currently looks like.

And this what it looks like when you spread it out the kitchen floor.

I just went through it with a calculator. This little lot totals 3548 minutes or a little over 59 hours.

Oh bugger.

I may be busy for a while.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Cheapo DVD Review: Wyvern - Rise of the Dragon (2009)

The back cover blurb
"THE FIRES OF HELL WILL BE UNLEASHED"
"A stunning blend of terrifying danger and blistering excitement, Wyvern is one of the most thrilling dragon movies you're ever going to see.
 When an ancient evil awakes from its thousand year slumber it has only one thing in mind: to feed. Setting out on a destructive rampage through the land, the vulnerable inhabitants have no choice but to cower in fear of its wrath - until one group of people avows to put an end to the bloodshed...
 Risking everything and making terrifying sacrifices along the way, one town will stop at nothing to defeat the deadly onslaught of the ferocious fire-breathing dragon in this incredible, white knuckle thriller"

So what's it about? A melting glacier cracks open, uncovering a large, carnivorous flying reptile. 
 Meanwhile a small town is getting jittery from the  Alaskan midnight sun. As the wyvern starts eating its way up the cast list, a clutch of survivors find themselves trapped in a diner and on the menu.

  At the risk of sounding petty can I just point out that at no point in the entire film does the wyvern breathe fire, fart fire or in any way cause fire to happen. His breath might stink a bit but fire? Nope.
 I suppose I could also take issue with the wording of the cover blurb. Aforementioned lack of firebreathing aside, you get the definite impression the blurb writer thought he was talking about a film set in the 1300s. He uses the word "Avows" for crying out loud.

Moving on to the film itself. 

  If you are allergic to the sort of low-budget Creature Feature that keeps the SyFy channel in business, you are unlikely to like this movie.  However, if you don't mind your  creatures being CGI and the odd lapse into monster-movie dumbness then "Wyvern.." may pleasantly surprise you.  
  To begin with, the titular reptile is better animated than most . Not "Jurassic Park" levels admittedly but three or four rungs above "Aztec Rex" and "Sharktopus". It stays the same size between shots for starters. Giving the beastie more than a little cunning is also a nice touch. The wyvern is playing with the good guys and they know it. 
 Unusually for this sort of film the wyvern is a definite menace rather than a running gag.  

 The inhabitants of our unfortunate burg are a quirky collection of small-town boys and gals and make a nice change from mercenaries, tourists and evil Suits. At one point a character takes exception to being called a "Hilbilly" and is promptly told "You made your own fur jacket!"   
  A couple of them are clearly too dumb to live and surprises, surprise, they don't but by and large, this is a likeable crew and the cast acquit themselves in respectable fashion.

 I can't really claim that this pic is entirely free from cliche but "Wyvern" works quite well within the usual framework and I found myself really getting into it. 
 What's more surprising is that I was enjoying the movie as a movie rather than an excuse for some quality piss-taking. Some of the films I've seen lately revel in their cheesiness, playing along with the joke, but here's a Creature Feature that plays it fairly straight and gets away with it.
How much did I pay for it? £2.99
Was it worth it? Yes. I can't see myself ever watching it again but what the hell. A film with an enormous flying reptile and a plate of curry= not a bad way to spend a Saturday night. 
 Youtube doesn't have a trailer as such but here's the opening moments.

 
That's all folks.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: A Touch Of Class

  Normally the covers I post tend towards three things: Skimpy outfits, weapons and mayhem.

Well, they are Heavy Metal album covers after all.

So just for a change we're going to look at some covers featuring attractive young women in nice dresses absolutely not killing anybody. Not even a little bit.

(For the purists among you, yes I know that some of these are more AOR/Melodic Rock/Hard Rock. Shh! Don't tell the others.)

Newman - Siren (UK 2013)

In theory using nanotechnology in dressmaking was a great idea. The client could tailor their garments to their own specification and guarantee having a garment that was not only individual but self-cleaning, self-repairing and would hang itself up at the end of the day. 
 There were some early problems though. Having a garment disintegrate during a photoshoot was bad enough. When said garment attempted to eat the photographer from Vanity Fair the project was hurriedly scrubbed.

Solisia - Ordinary Fate (Italy 2010)

woman burning dress
Undeterred, the design team made a second attempt but ran into what were euphemistically 
described as "Heating problems"but UN investigators preferred to call "Unlicensed Nuclear Reaction"
 Despite the risk of fire, radiation and possible atomic holocaust, certain fashionistas clamoured for the new line.

Liv Moon - Symphonic Moon (Japan 2012)

One of these women may, just may, be evil. I'll let you work out which one.

I was wondering what they sounded like so... 

Different ...but not bad at all. 

Aldious - Determination (Japan 2011)

It says a lot about J-Rock that the first thing I did when I saw this cover was go and make sure all of these people were actually women.  Visual Kei has a lot to answer for...

The Dogma - A Good Day To Die (Italy 2007)

 
A young widow mourning her lost love?
A Black Widow mocking her latest victim? 
For some reason I get this idea that the guy at the bottom of the hole isn't actually dead
and is desperately trying to get free before they begin covering him over... 

Since that got dark in a hurry let's quickly move on.

Sunstorm - Emotional Fire (USA 2012)

"This isn't Donna's birthday party. Shit. Did I cock up the portal spell again?"

Nemesea - The Quiet Resistance (NLD 2011)

Sword? What sword?
Oh that one.
Well is she actually hitting anybody with it right now?
No.  So sharrup. 


That's all folks. 
See you next time.

Monday, 16 September 2013

A Fistful Of Comics: September 2013

I had a few highly enjoyable hours poking around London on Saturday and in the process topped up my supply of fresh comics. Here's what I came back with and my thoughts on each.

Lady Rawhide #1 (Dynamite Comics)

Lady Rawhide with whip
Zorro is not the only champion the people of Old Mexico have. A young woman with quick wits and flaming red hair battles injustice with a whip, a rapier and an astonishingly brief costume.
 Her name is Lady Rawhide.
 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Book Review: Toby Frost - A Game Of Battleships

"The fate of the galaxy rests on just one man.
That man is Captain Isembard Smith, and the galaxy is in a whole lot of trouble.
 When the British Space Empire is attacked by a mysterious warship with the ability to jump between dimensions, Smith must investigate - which would be much easier without the threat of fanatical cultists, pirates and legions of army ants, and if his ship wasn't infested by man-eating toads.
 Soon Smith and his moderately brave crew are drawn into a deadly game - a game without rules and only one thing is certain..it just isn't cricket!  
 Smith's mission will take him on a perilous journey where he must face his greatest fears: from the edge of space, through Hell itself - and even to France..." 

Set in a future where the British Space Empire, fueled by Tea, Curry and Moral Fibre, has spread itself out into space, the Isembard Smith series can best be described as Stiff-upper lip "Boys Own" heroics artificially inseminating Space Opera in a test-tube still holding some Tom Holt DNA.
 The end result is ...well I had to go back and delete the first version of this piece because I kept using words like "Spiffing" "Romp" and "Wizard". Great fun, basically.

  What is weird is that if you pruned away only a  few elements, this would be quite a dark series. The Empire is under attack from a loose alliance of bloodthirsty psychos with intent toward genocide and one chapter is not far off something  Tim Burton would consider "Too dark and ****ing twisted.
 Then again, this book features the deranged, trouser-phobic commando Wainscot,  giant kamikaze lemmings and a lacrosse-fixated lady Battleship captain who has her own way of running  a happy ship.  
 Smith himself neatly lampoons all the old-school  British heroes - not the sharpest tool in the box (and more than a little xenophobic) -but brave, resourceful and determined. Utterly baffled by women though.  Hippy girlfriend Rhianna can get a bit annoying but sex-bot-turned-pilot Carveth and headhunting alien Suruk are usually guaranteed to make a scene better. 

 Toby Frost takes a blunderbuss approach to parody - you can probably use half a sheet of paper just listing the sources he's aiming at - but never falls into what I call the "Custard Trap"  where a comedy writer overdoes the silliness for its own sake. 

If you've ever wondered what a Steampunk Dan Dare written by a young Terry Pratchett might look like, this might be what you're looking for. 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Metal Project: More Metal From 2013

Q: What the hell is The Metal Project anyway?

A: I find Heavy Metal songs with Metal in the title.

Easy, really.

  Since we're about 3/4 of the way through 2013 I thought I'd put up another selection of songs that came out this year.
 (You know,  I firmly believe that if there is any kind of Heavy Metal scene in 2112, one of the cyborg-mutants living in the ruins of the great cities will end up writing a song called "Heavy Metal Hero - Bang Both Your Heads" )
Anyway, here's some music for you to appreciate. Enjoy.

Vials Of Wrath - Heavy Metal Hero (Italy)

Honour to: LordVexus 

Korgull The Exterminator - Metal Fist Destroyer (Spain)

(Hardhitting Black/Thrash. Yes, that is a woman singing and Lilith Necrobitch is her name.)


Honour to: KTEWild

Man In Pain - Marcados Por El Metal (Argentina 2013)

(Riffy Trad/Power Metal)
Honour to: fedenwobhm

Morbid Jester - Metal Law (Germany)

(I think this is the band from the 1990s returned to action. Good, old-school, fist-in-the-air stuff.)

Honour to: rapanzel666

Taipan - Metal Machine (Australia)

(Chunky bass gives this one a bit of a groove. Nice.
In fact, soon as I finished listening to this one, I put it on again)

Honour to: cocoonconcepts

Possessor - Make Them Eat Metal (USA)

(No-frills Thrash)

Honour to: Kienic 

Since my Youtube just crashed, this seems like a good point to finish. 
As always, a big thanks to all the original posters and I'll see you next time.  

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Terrible Metal Album Covers Chapter 19 (NSFW)

  If I were to describe today's motley collection of misguided artwork it would be "Heavy Metal Cover Girls - Done Badly"
 Some fail through lack of artistic talent. Some fail through being tacky beyond belief.

You have been warned.

Conquest - Wicked Ways (USA 1993)

She's like one of those girls you see in glamour shots sometimes. Trying to look sexy but so obviously deeply uncomfortable. And if there's anybody out there that's got a better knowledge of anatomy than me - are torsos supposed to be triangular?

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