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Flying Monkeys (2013)

Flying Monkeys (2013)

Teenager, Joan gets more than she bargained for when her workaholic dad buys her a cute pet monkey who grows wings, fangs, and an insatiable thirst for blood come nightfall.

Gargoyles? Nope, it's a different breed entirely. One from the deep, dark parts of the jungle... from which a couple of pretty modern-looking Asian assassins who've been hunting down this special species for centuries appear and it turns out they speak pretty good English.

Maika Monroe is the lead star though, the girl who receives the monkey; up-and-coming actress who's about to star in a movie with Shia Lebouff. Honey Boy. I was just skimming through his filmography looking for American Honey, which this movie reminded me of. I was sure I recognized her too, and apparently it was from It Follows! Favorites all together now. She'll be playing lead role in Stockholm as well, a movie that, of course, a Swede like me is looking forward to seeing. Coincidences huh?

This movie isn't one of those but: she does her part alright. The other girl, btw? Machete! Grindhouse! The cast in this movie, if but a small part of it: off the charts! Or more like: on the charts? Movies considered? They're great.

So they have the cast bit covered, and the rest of the movie could've been good too with it's simple but appreciative plot, small bouts of action, relations and good filming, but unfortunately: the CGI. It was crap.

Take it for what it is though, which is an entertaining B-movie. No more no less. It just could have maybe been more because Maika Monroe! HELL YEAH! I think I might be a fan. Good watch.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Mad Cow (2010)

Mad Cow (2010)

The craziest take on the Mad Cow madness yet? Yupp, this is probably it. It's a low-budget movie about a crazed scientist [who] creates a half-man, half-cow creature which goes on the rampage at an African game lodge.

Tanya van Graan and Greg Viljoen play the main parts, yet I just can't tell if they put on a good act or not. Was the directing bad or was the acting bad? The props and gore are alright. The special effects are crap. The acting... all together it gives the impression it was meant to be bad, and though this B-movie formula sometimes seems to work (The Killer Tomatoes)... this time it doesn't. It just looks bad. The pace is off. The props are off. It had potential to be a cult-like kind of crazy but never got that far.

Props on some interesting ideas (that ear-healing shaving cream was pretty cool), and creative violence, and the cow suit, but overall... just can't go high on this one. It was just too bad to be good.

 rated 1/5: shit shit shit

After Porn Ends (2012)

After Porn Ends (2012)

So it turns I had seen this one before after all! I recognized the interviews right from the start, so I guess they had an impact on me after all. Considering how long ago this first watch probably was.

Watching through this again, with the two sequels fresh in mind, this comes across a bit more jaded than the newer ones. It's not as sugarcoated about the business overall, which is good: less bias, but it's also feels a bit unnecessarily sensationalistic. It seems to make an unappreciative attempt at taking up all sides, balancing good and bad endings but really leaning towards the bad.

Maybe that's why the director, five years later, chose to make a sequel that paints a much more positive image of the biz. Maybe it took some time for him to turn. This one delves into stigmas and relations on a much more somber level, less about the business itself than the people, but it also seems to tell the stories of those who were hurt, not by the industry so much as by personal choice or coincidence, and that's not really what it's about is it? In hindsight it all feels pretty skewed, even if the interviews are done well, and reveal a lot about the personalities of each one interviewed. I enjoyed watched them again.

It does interview a solid set of icons too, most memorably Amber Lynn, Asia Carrera (I read her blog before I knew who she was), Crissy Moran (she's the Christian one in this one), Houston, John Leslie (RIP), Richard Pacheco, Seka, Tiffany Million, Mary Carey, Raylene, Randy West and Nina Hartley, and I do appreciate that! With the cast in mind it does seem to be the most ambitious out of the three so far, and I'm hoping they'll bring in some of the remaining legends in potential sequels too.

Ron Jeremy comes to mind...

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Illicit Desire (2017)

Illicit Desire (2017)

This is pretty much straight up soft-core porn at this point...

It's a TV movie, and a bit like Basic Instinct but a lot more basic. It begins with a steamy scene with a girl and a guy, the girl in a mask, soft dominatrix play that suddenly pans out and: the guy is dead, lying on the bed with a knife protruding from his chest area.

It then moves on to office shenanigans, and relationships that start to spiral out of control... it doesn't look bad per say, but the script's a mystery, and though the initial mask scene makes for a who-is-that-girl intrigue that spans the rest of the movie, there's little else of interest here. The scenes aren't special. The effects aren't there. It has a pretty cool thriller/sci-fi like cover that raises expectations unnecessarily high, when really the only highlights are the sex. And in the end a death, and mystery revealed.

 rated 2/5: decent

The Night Comes For Us (2018)

The Night Comes For Us (2018)

It just doesn't get more savage than this! Indonesian movies - ever since my introduction to them with The Raid a few years back - are just on an entirely different level. It's like we're back at the nineties of HK action, with similarly depressing classics like Bullet In The Head, or American Deer Hunter with the added martial arts greatness you'd expect from anything Asian, but even bolder. That plus: knives. Lots of knives. And creative angles and methods of manslaughter where the blood just never dries...

It sounds as savage as it is, but amidst the mindless slaughter there are some surprisingly emotional moments too, and no matter how despicable types the movie might portray: their endeavors, their sacrifice, and their relentless will just can't leave you unaffected. They're fighting for something, and so strongly that you hope they win no matter what.

It brings forth the beast in me. The notion that there's something worth fighting for all after all. The thrill of characters who risk their all for the sake of something greater, and stare Death straight in the face - straight into the barrel of a shotgun - straight into the serenade of a dozen machine guns, as the night comes marching in.

Depressing? Inspiring? I'm not sure, maybe a bit of both, but when it comes to action like this there's just no comparison. No room for compromise. No room for mercy. No time for tears. As Faith once said: no time for regrets.

It's a macabre yet masterful craft. A Triad tale that despite the relevant naming and structure leaves the trademark alive; basking in the veil of mystery and violent terror. But I'd like to think he at least took that one other guy with him when he went. Into the eternal darkness.

It might be nice to end this on a lighter tone though. I really liked this particular, similarly-minded but oh so differently worded review, courtesy of MrSelfPaid:

You think you've seen it all? Action, blood, guts, brains, bullets, body parts, broken teeth, sliced fingers, chopped heads, smashed heads, broken skulls, broken bones, protruding bones, hmmm? Think you've seen it all? SMH ... you haven't... until you watch this film.
 
Watchers beware, this film is not for the faint of heart. If you plan on becoming an active war medic, or a member of the cartel torture squad... well you get my point. ..

Similar to that one movie I mentioned above this one also stars Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim in the lead roles. I could name plenty more, like the blond girl, but you'd better just watch the movie. And/or read the credits.

Hope to see a lot of these guys again soon, though I wonder if there's any higher level they can bring it to after this. Great watch.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

The Scorpion King - Book Of Souls (2018)

The Scorpion King - Book Of Souls (2018)

So it's time for yet another take on the Scorpion King dynasty! And a good one, too. It took a while for it to convince me, but as they cross through the portal, and then the oceans, and move through the tomb... it grows on me.

The final showdown was small in scale, as was the chase - as they were with previous movies, and this is one thing I still hold against it, especially considering the scale and threat levels of the armies presented in the beginning. At least the sacrifice is all the more prevalent here. The eyes glow, the blue moon is beautiful, the swords spark fire as they rally against each other and the hero stands tall behind the flames... it looks good. It's a romantic adventure too, like only movies of this particular place and time seem to be, and Peter Mensah plays a good villain.

I wasn't sure about Zach McGowan as the Scorpion King (main hero of our story), but he did alright despite the sometimes unnaturally low-key voice, in good company of the beautiful Pearl Thusi and Katy Louise Saunders.

Not to not mention the fierce Mayling Ng (I saw her recently in Lady Bloodfight), mysterious Inge Beckmann, and the you-may-not-know-he-was-there always appreciative Muai-Thai Giant Nathan Jones! Of course I'm probably forgetting a few.

And hey, there's even a little parkour sequence! In the land before time. Along the desert dunes. It reminded me a bit of Assassin's Creed, though it feels refreshing and new in this particular context.

All in all: a pretty damn good movie. Atmospheric as few, and it grows on you as it goes. Even if certain parts of the plot are a bit too expected, and it's far from perfect in every way, there's enough atmosphere, relation and newness here for me to gladly give it a solid:

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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