Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Watched January 10, 2016

Starring: Mario Van Peebles, Eriq La Salle, Tazia Valenza, Leo O'Brien

I just watched the documentary Electric Boogaloo about the Cannon production company, and forgot that I had added Rappin'  to my netflix dvd queue a long time ago. Breakin' pretty much sums up how the Cannon system worked: get an idea that people are excited about, sell it based on a poster, not a script, then make up the movie as you shoot it.

Rappin' came out after Breakin' but is trying to capitalize on the same movement. John "Rappin'" Hood (Mario Van Peebles) is just out of jail for something and he comes back to his old neighborhood, which is very run down. He lives with his grandma and his younger brother Allan (Leo O'Brien), who at first seems like a very good kid, but it will come out of nowhere that he has some problems. At the local dance club John runs into the main white asshole, Duane (Charlie Flohe) who is dating Dixie (Tazia Valenza), a girl that John likes but never officially dated. I don't know why Duane hates John but he makes it very clear he is not happy that John is back in the neighborhood.

An evil developer, is trying to push everyone out of the neighborhood so he build something more profitable, I can't remember exactly what.  The developer sends his lackey to try to evict everyone, plus he gets the heat turned off which seems super illegal to the tenants. 

Dixie is an assistant at a local recording studio. With her boss they hold an audition for local rap talent. Dixie really thinks John has some talent, so they get him to audition and he's supposedly really great. He has been rappin' all throughout the movie but it's pretty raw, but I guess he's got a lot of talent.

Out of nowhere, Allan steals the stereo of the lackey trying to evict everyone and sells it to the local shady pawn guy. John doesn't want his brother to end up in juvenile detention so he tells the lackey says he'll get the stereo back, so the lackey won't press charges.  The lackey then pays the evil white gang, lead by Duane a bunch of money to threaten everyone in the neighborhood to leave.

John is so talented that the music producer pays him to come audition.  John needs the money to buy the stereo from the pawn shop. By the time he gets back to the pawn shop, the stereo is gone and Allan is already in juvenile detention. John threatens the lackey, who didn't get Allan arrested, it was actually Duane. John figures out what has Duane is behind all the neighborhood intimidation so their gangs get into a fight. John and his friends win, and somehow the developer isn't able to take over the neighborhood, again the details don't make a ton of sense in a movie that is mostly just a vehicle to have some rap songs.

The end credits are the best because everyone raps, and I mean everyone including Dixie. There is a crazy scene where the local slutty lady pretends to seduce the oil truck driver while John and his friends steal it and give heating oil to all their neighbors. One of John's friends works in a produce warehouse which is just an opportunity for John's gang to rap about their fat friend Fats having a snack attack. The rapping is terrible even if Ice-T is in it. The plot doesn't make much sense, if that isn't obvious by how many details I've quickly forgotten. The outfits are pretty cool though, Dixie wears some giant sweaters.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Flesh Eating Mothers

Watched December 1, 2015

Starring: Robert Lee Oliver, Donatella Hecht, Neal Rosen, Valerie Hubbard

It begins with a man out hunting in a snow covered forest. He looks down and is surprised to find that his arm has been ripped off. He turns and shoots his wife.

Jump to the suburbs where we meet a bunch of moms who look the same age as their "teenage" kids. All the moms seem to have various different issues with the men in their lives. Some are divorced, some have abusive husbands, but the commonality is that they are all moms. One on the married men in the neighborhood,  I don't remember anyone's name except for one kid called Rinaldi, works as a freelance lawyer. But he uses that as a front to cheat on his wife and have sex with all the women in the neighborhood. 

 It turns out that his man is a carrier for an STD that only manifests itself in women who've had kids. Once infected it gives these women insatiable hunger, so intense that they become monsters and start eating people, even their own children.

The teenagers in the neighborhood come home to see their moms eating their younger siblings and they know something is up. They all come together to figure out what has happened to their mom.

That is the general plot of this movie, and although completely terrible I would have to say that I loved it! The music is very weird and great. Lots of blood and ripping off of limbs, there is a cat that is ripped in half.

 The VD clinic is a wood paneled basement with handmade signs about VD. The sexy nurse discovers the virus, which when viewed under a microscope is shown as a poorly made cartoon-y animation. All the teens finally make it to the police coroner and they tell him what is happening with their moms. The nurse makes an antidote and each teen has to give it to their own mom, but it does work.

At the end the carrier husband gets his when his face is ripped off. One of the moms eats her toddler. The long island acting is subtle to say the least. But it totally delivers, the plot makes sense, there is lots of gore and several people fall in love. The abused mom has a crazy jaws and she eats her husbands hand.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Thirteenth Floor

Watched November 17, 2015

Starring: Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Vincent D'Onofrio

This was on a couple lists of movies about the internet or visualization of virtual reality technology so when I found a copy at a thrift store I figured it was time to check it out. The cover really looks they were trying to capitalize on the success of The Matrix, even though I think this movie was released first, but with the VHS release they added the green scrolling numbers to hint at a similar story. There are some slight similarities in creating a virtual world, but The Thirteenth Floor is by no means The Matrix. 

Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko) works in tech with Jason (Vincent D'Onofrio) and they are making some sort of virtual reality world game. Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller Stahl) who had also been working on the game is found murdered and it seems like Douglas is a main suspect. Hannon has been going into the virtual world, even though it wasn't ready to be tested. The game takes them to a very realistic virtual world of 1937. Before Hannon was murdered he left clues for Douglas to find in the virtual world. A mysterious lady, Jane (Gretchen Mol) who claims to be Hannon's daughter, shows up and wants to shut down the company, as per her father's last wishes. Douglas is being pursued by the cops so he goes into the virtual world game to try to figure out what really happened to Hannon so he can clear his name. To enter the virtual world you end up taking over  the body of an existing character, which makes the transition very difficult as you character has a life and story before you start the game and you have to pick up the pieces.

Douglas begins to get some clues about the virtual world they have built that lead him back to questions what is going on his world. He finds another version of Jane in his reality that makes him questions what is connecting the virtual world to the world he believes to be real. Jane ends up explaining that Douglas's world is also virtual, it is one of many virtual worlds built by her husband David, who happens to be the model for Douglas. 

David comes to kill Jane for falling in love with Douglas who is only a simulation. Through multiple virtual worlds this is stopped. David is killed and Jane brings Douglas back to her world, the world that built all the virtual reality worlds. It's super confusing.
It's weird that Hannon, Douglas and Jason who created the 1937 virtual world can't manipulate it, but I guess in hindsight that may have something to do with it being a virtual world within a virtual world. I bet the short story that is based on is really great, but as a movie it's mostly confusing and kind of dull. The best part is when Douglas tries to drive to the limit of the world, which happened to be the desert of Arizona. When he gets there it's just wireframes, which looks pretty neat. I wish more of the movie looked like that.