“Meet the Hollowheads”

mthposterMeet the Hollowheads” (aka “Life on the Edge”) feels like a studio executive gave the green light to “Harmony Korine’s The Jetsons” and then forgot to hire a screenwriter. This is a film in which plot, character, and theme whimper in the corner as production design rules over them with an iron fist. Part music video, part sitcom, and part fever dream, it’s a movie that’s definitely not afraid to be strange and off-putting. The question is whether or not that enthusiasm is enough to justify the results. Continue reading

“Infra-Man”

inframanIt is with absolute confidence that I call “Infra-Man” one of the most memorable films I have ever seen. That’s because I have yet to forget the sound the movie makes. A Hong Kong knock-off of Japanese superhero TV shows like “Ultraman,” this production from the prolific kung-fu studio Shaw Brothers is an endless barrage of noise. In the United States, it was promoted as “beyond bionics,” in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of “The Six-Million-Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman.” The heroes of those shows had every superhuman action punctuated with a distinctive sound that let you know something bionic was happening. When the sound designers were working on this movie, they wanted to make sure everyone knew that our guy Infra-Man couldn’t take a leak without it sounding like the start of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer B-side. Continue reading

“Six-String Samurai”

sixstringsamuraiThere are many different kinds of cult movies. There are those that are so specifically targeted at one particular sensibility that it’s nearly impossible for anyone but a handful to appreciate it, like “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension.” There are others that aspire for profundity and inspire a few dedicated souls to unlock its meaning, like “Donnie Darko.” There are some that have been lost to time and require adherents to keep its memory alive the way monks used to memorize manuscripts, like “Nothing Lasts Forever.”

But the strangest and saddest category of these films is the “never-was” cult movie. Hundreds of productions fall under the radar every year, seen by few and remembered by fewer. There’s nothing remarkable about these, by definition. What’s more interesting are the ones that could have become obsessions but didn’t for whatever reason. “Six-String Samurai” is one of these. Continue reading

“Terror in Beverly Hills”

terror in beverly hillsYou know what you’re in for very early on with “Terror in Beverly Hills.” Not only does the name “Frank Stallone” appear almost immediately on screen, but the rest of the credits unspool while Palestinian terrorist mastermind Abdul runs his daily errands. He reads a newspaper, he goes to a shop, and he visits his local mosque. No dialogue, no action, just a man going about his business at a leisurely pace. When he finally boards a jet for the United States, you wonder if you’re going to watch him sit through the entire 14-hour flight. Continue reading

“Attack of the Super Monsters”

attack-of-the-super-monstersAttack of the Super Monsters” is a junk-drawer movie. For starters, it’s not technically a movie, but rather a handful of episodes of a Japanese kids’ show stitched together. It gets stranger than that, because it’s a weird combo of hand-drawn animation, Godzilla-style rubber monster suits and live-action backgrounds. If Osamu Tezuka and Ralph Bakshi ever worked together, it might look like this. Continue reading

“Five Deadly Venoms”

five deadly venomsFor a good chunk of “Five Deadly Venoms,” it’s more John Grisham than Jackie Chan. There’s a long stretch in the middle that’s actually a legal thriller involving witness intimidation, false testimony, corrupt judges, phony confessions and finally the execution of an innocent man. It’s kind of like “A Few Good Men,” but if Tom Cruise got a needle pushed through his brain at the end. Continue reading

“Shark Attack 3: Megalodon”

shark-attack-3-posterShark Week may be over for this year, but there’s enough B-roll footage in “Shark Attack 3: Megalodon” to create at least one Discovery Channel special. Between these clips, actors talk at each other and sometimes take off their clothes when they’re not having their arms ripped off by shark puppets. This is one way to make a movie, I guess.

The movie stars John Barrowman as Ben, who is head of security for a Mexican resort on the ocean. A giant telecommunications company has stretched a fiber optic cable along the ocean bed, and one day Ben finds a shark tooth embedded in it. He can’t place the tooth, so he takes a picture of it and puts it on the Internet. A paleontologist named Cataline sees it and immediately heads south of the border. You see, the electrical impulses from the cable are stirring up the sharks in the water. One of those sharks is the prehistoric ancestor of the great white, megalodon. Continue reading