Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Z-Movie Review - Malibu Shark Attack (2009)

Malibu Shark Attack (2009)

Cast: Peta Wilson and a bunch of unknowns.


Hey don't judge me! You know that film you watch every bloody year, yeah that cheesy one that makes you blubber like a little girl or grin like an idiot with joy, well I watch these z-movies for the same damn reason, get over it! I figure I've made it through Mega-Shark Vs Giant Octopus so how bad can this really be.........

Peta Wilson, formerly the lovely but lethal hitwoman La Femme Nikita (Canadian TV's superior forerunner to Alias), trundles back onto our screens in this direct to video/TV instant classic of the noughties CGI sharkbite genre, it's as if Ed Wood never died. She's looking less lethal, more hefty these days but who cares about that when there's major seismic activity going on off the coast of Malibu (actually filmed in some cheap-ass corner of Australia)! And said earthquaking is causing big holes to appear in the plot, I mean the ocean floor, out of which prehistoric 'Goblin' sharks quickly emerge and start chomping on the locals. For some unknown reason this particular breed of super-dino-shark has a rhinoceros horn atop it's head by the by.

Let me get it out of the way early - this is a bad movie. It's cheap, stilted dialogue, delivered by stilted actors in a lifeguard tower (also on stilts) on the beach but that doesn't stop it from being fun if you like this kind of shit.

Anyway said sharks are already racking up a mildly amusing body count, biting the legs off paragliders and the like, when more of that earthquaky activity hits and yup here comes a 30-foot tsunami to destroy that little low-cost aussie location and of course bring the hungry sharks closer to their dinner. Cue an entire act of the film primarily spent within the confines of said lifeguard tower now encircled by water containing circling sharks. Another couple of classy deaths including the obligatory homage to the Deep-Blue-Sea-Sam-Jackson-ohshitlookout literal shark jump munch. Things take a turn for the better (and the absurd) when they get out of the shack and head to a still-in-construction hotel, also waterlogged, leading to some sharks swimming down the corridors style shenanigans as our soggy protagonists limp away from them and thoroughly fail to find some stairs to run up.

- "Where's George?"
- "I'm sorry there was a shark in the parking lot before before we arrived, if it's any consolation I gutted that shark real good."

He did you know, he blew it up real good. The film probably got a rise out of me the most when the geeky rookie lifeguard trapped in a basement with one of the sharks uses a circular saw to fend it off. As if the movie felt my excitement this scene was quickly followed by another bloke trapped in a workshed finding a chainsaw and, yes indeed, chainsawing shark into sushi. And oh the humanity, the film climaxes in a kind of Basement Chainsaw Massacre wherein the surviving cast attack the final shark with all kinds of petrol powered tools as well as an axe - blood and fins everywhere, nice! All that and an implied threesome with Peta and her current and ex-boyfriend, what more could you ask of a z-movie finale.........

So apparently; not only are "Goblin" sharks extinct they're also extremely rare(?!), metal filing cabinets float, Peta Wilson needs some rent money, navy seals often become lifeguards when they leave the military, oh and flimsy lifeguard towers made of wood can withstand a 30-foot tsunami. Personally I can't wait for the new decade's cgi shark flicks, can you?

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Wizard (1989)

The Wizard (1989)

Cast: Fred Savage, Beau Bridges, Christian Slater, Jenny Lewis.


In the halcyon video gaming days of yore, before the internet connected all the 12 years in the world into one big noob pwning network, there was just a bleary eyed kid in his bedroom with a clunky square box and a couple of italian plumbers - no don't call the authorities, it was only The Super Mario Bros. This movie is perhaps a paean to those days of Nintendo-tinged innocence or an embarrassingly out of date guilty pleasure, take your pick.

Fred Savage, child star of 80's TV show The Wonder Years (and the featured serial rapist in an episode of Law & Order: SVU from a couple years ago, damn he was creepy) is in regular proto-adult/precocious child mode here, acting his little fro off at every opportunity as Corey Woods, middle child of Sam Woods (Beau Bridges) a divorced single father bringing up his three sons in the mid-west after the death his daughter some years before. Said tragedy has affected the youngest boy (the twin of the dead girl) to the extent that all he'll say anymore is 'Caaaallifoooornia' in a sort of Governor Schwarzenegger style plaintive wail. Well mom and her new hubby want him put in an institution and Fred's having none of it so he takes his little bro and off they go on a road trip. We all know what Gregg Araki would have done with that little setup but unfortunately this is essentially a Nintendo financed 90 minute commercial so.....

Cue Fred bumping into an equally precocious young runaway (Jenny Lewis) and discovering that little bro Jimmy may be a tard but he sure can play video games. So where else to go but The Ultimate Video Game Championship in California of course. Along the way they'll practice all the latest Nintendo™ games, meet uber-Nintendo youth Lucas and his power glove, a friendly trucker, a kiddie-bothering bounty hunter and most terrifiyingly a pre-pubescent Tobey Maguire. But really the most entertaining part of this, erm, part of the movie is the little b-plot involving Beau Bridges and his eldest son Nick (played by a pre-Nicholson impersonation Christian Slater) as they set out on their own little road trip in pursuit of Fred & Jimmy. Slater and Bridges have fun with it as a disconnected father and son on the road, Slater's brung along his Nintendo and whips it out at every garage or motel, hooks it up and plays away, to his father's irritation. But of course by the end of the film Bridges is up till the wee hours bashing buttons on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a sweaty wide-eyed frenzy.

As things reach a conclusion, please let there be an end to this, the kids hit Cali and more importantly the climactic 80's staple - the last act, must win contest/race/tournament, etc. What's this, aforementioned Lucas is the kid to beat and what, what, what? There's a new game, you say, A NEW GAME they will have to play to win the final? That'll be Super Mario Bros 3 then. Once all the scenes of hyperbolic 8-bit gaming and italian plumbers sprouting fox-tails going up and down pipes and violating turtles are over; the winner is announced the family comes together and shockingly enough on the road trip home the story comes to a somewhat moving emotional finale as we discover just exactly what all that 'Caaaallifoooornia' guff was about.

Probably best left in the rose-tinted past, it was fun to see the power glove again.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

3 Good Little B-Movie Flicks

In the sea of shit that I watch on a monthly basis I was shocked to find 3 actually quite good little B-movie films this last week.

Firstly Triangle (from director Christopher Smith of Creep & Severance) stars Melissa George and a bunch of unknowns. It's essentially a hybrid of the Spanish thriller Timecrimes and 80's classic Death Ship, but it's fun and Melissa wears hot pants throughout to make her gurning incredulous looks more bearable.

Then there's Give 'em Hell, Malone! (from Russell Highlander Mulcahy) which is a comic book style noir actioner, a toned down Sin City if you like with shades of the recent Punisher War Zone, it even features Doug Hutchison as a psycho pyromaniac called Matchstick. Ving Rhames as Boulder and an unhinged Asian knife chick that likes to suck on lollipops and cut off dudes dangly bits.

And just a couple nights ago I watched Joel Schumacher's latest - Blood Creek. Prison Break's Lincoln Burrows wants revenge on the Nazi occult experimenters that kidnapped him and held him prisoner for 2 years. He's gonna be facing a bloodsucking Nazi demon, a zombie horse, a zombie dog and a couple of, well, regular zombies. Again it's b-movie horror fare but fun!