Friday, August 26, 2011

September & October WW Titles and Writeups


Austin pals, join us at the Ritz every Wednesday night for rare 35mm film screenings of some of the greatest exploitation and pulp films ever made. And the screenings are only $1 thanks to our pals at I Luv Video!

Dir. William Levey 1979, PG, 98 min, 35mm
RZ 9/7
"The Rock and Roller Disco Movie of the Year!" Roller disco epic starring Scott Baio, Maureen "Marcia Brady" McCormick, Flip Wilson and most importantly Patrick Swayze, in his first film, as tough-guy skate gangster Ace Johnson. Swayze heavily outclasses the material here. Most actors would (and in fact do) approach this movie with little effort, but Swayze attacks the part like it’s the role of a lifetime. To impress the ladies, teen Greg Bradford takes on Swayze in a roller rink turf war. Their skate-off has to be seen to be believed, and it escalates from there into a full scale disco war on wheels. And if you're expecting disco mercy, you don't know Swayze. With a supporting cast that includes Ruth Buzzi, midget Billy Barty, Ron "Horshak" Palillo, and Dorothy Stratten. You probably want to get to the theater early for this one, because unless there's a nuclear war or something, it's going to fill up fast. From the director of BLACKENSTEIN and WHAM BAM THANK YOU SPACEMAN. (Lars)

Dir. Francis D. Lyon, 1969, R, 95 min, 35mm
RZ 9/14
One actor I can never get enough of is Adam West, who became a self parody even more quickly than William Shatner. And like Shatner, he always approaches a part in the broadest possible way. Outside of the BATMAN series, West has played few leads, which is unfortunate because he can be a very entertaining performer. Here he’s supernaturally tough and cool as a former mercenary who’s trying to walk the straight and narrow as a nightclub owner until he gets drawn back into the killing business by some unsavory mob types. There’s also an anti-communist, pro-CIA slant to the plot which feels very ‘50s, even though this was made during the sick sick sixties. With the beautiful Nancy Kwan, Robert Alda and a cast of familiar faces, as well as some raging live musical numbers. Not to be confused with Mario Bava’s earlier film of the same name. (Lars)

Dir. Michael Rae, 1978, PG, 85 min, 35mm
RZ 9/21
The best escapist films are the ones that allow us to vicariously live out our fantasies. Who of us wouldn’t want to find a high-tech alien laser blaster in the desert and use it to turn everything and everyone that offends us into sky-high fireballs? And I’d like to take a second here to amplify the fact that when something blows up in this movie (and it will), it does so in a gargantuan, endlessly billowing cyclone of deadly flames, a veritable demonstorm of earth-rendingly explosive combustion sending monstrous mushroom clouds a thousand feet into the air, not only destroying all life in the vicinity, but also any conditions that might support life in the future. But back to the plot: when ostracized teen Billy finds an alien amulet and laser weapon in the desert he can’t believe his luck, but soon the alien radiation warps his brain and he becomes a green-faced killing machine who turns his suburban hometown into a postapocalyptic ruin as he settles petty teenage scores with deadly force and an overkill ratio of about one thousand billion to one. Prepare for explosion after explosion after deeply satisfying explosion. As far as we’re concerned, the environmental devastation caused by the production of this film was WORTH IT! (Lars)

Dir. Jess Franco 1974, R, 98 min, 35mm
RZ 9/28
Nunsploitation’s finest hour and a half. The great, misunderstood, but undeniably gifted Jess Franco is the most prolific filmmaker of all time (over 200 so far and still cranking them out). And for as long as he’s been making movies he has been derided, dismissed and most of all ignored by virtually all mainstream critics. But such notables as Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Pedro Almodóvar and Quentin Tarantino have sung his praises and over the past few years his inexpensive and surreal visual aesthetic has gained him many new adherents. Make up your own mind about Franco: genius, hack, or both but by all means don’t miss it. It’s a visually arresting, delirious kaleidoscope of sex, torture and sacrilege replete with the foxiest nuns you’ve ever seen, all set to the accompaniment of grossly incongruous screaming psychedelic guitar music. (Lars)

Dir. John Landis, 1977, R, 83 min, 35mm
RZ 10/5
“This movie is totally out of control.” From John Landis and the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team who brought you AIRPLANE and THE NAKED GUN comes a movie that has more real laughs per second than just about any other film. In form KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE is mostly just a jammed-together panoply of blackout comedy sketches and bits, but they’re really good ones, particularly the centerpiece, A FISTFUL OF YEN, which brilliantly parodies Bruce Lee’s ENTER THE DRAGON. Occasionally a joke falls flat, but there’s always another one waiting in the wings. With an all-star cast of dozens including, briefly, Donald Sutherland, Leslie Nielson, George Lazenby and Jerry Zucker as the Beaver. Laughs! You’ll have them. (Lars)

Dir. John Hayes, 1977, R, 74 min, 35mm
RZ 10/12
This movie has the best taglines. “She’s underage, illegal, and she’s in your bedroom.” “She’ll give it all, but one thing she can’t give is legal consent.” “What she’ll do will get you 25 long years.” “Why does the girl you always desired have to be jailbait?” As you can tell from the verbiage, JAILBAIT BABYSITTER is a film of weighty issues and tender concern for social ills. It’s also a king-size barrel of yuks. Bring the whole family to see this cautionary tale about a young, innocent girl who falls in with the wrong crowd and is soon up to her budding pubescent breasts in trouble – sexy trouble. Supposedly featuring John Goodman’s first screen appearance. I didn’t spot him the first time around, maybe because I was looking at all the boobies. This time, I’ll pay much closer attention. Together we’ll spot that son of a bitch. I promise. (Lars)

Dir. Ivan Hall, 1979, PG, 100 min, 35mm
RZ 10/19
Monumental follow-up to the brain-leeching martial-arts non-classic KILL OR BE KILLED. This time elfin ass-kicker James Ryan plays a roving international problem solver with superpowers and an endless supply of clever one-liners. There's another karate-obsessed supervillain who's organizing another tournament of death. And once again Ryan must assemble a team of colorful characters to defeat the madman the only way he understands, using the same kind of slow, clumsy, exceptionally ungraceful karate that made the first film's action sequences so edge-of-your-seat unexciting. Fortunately, what KILL AND KILL AGAIN lacks in genuine excitement it makes up for in laughter. Like when the statuesque blonde "martial artist" Kandy Kane explains that her father was kidnapped because he had developed a potato-based fuel so powerful that "one year's crop could provide enough gasoline to drive every car in the world to the moon." A very special experience. Don't miss unless you're in the habit of missing unmissable stuff. (Lars)

Dir. Jose Larraz 1975, R, 87 min, 35mm
RZ 10/26
When selecting a horror movie to watch, you usually have to choose between high style and lowbrow thrills. Generally, the well made, atmospheric fright film doesn’t bother much with sex and gore, preferring to achieve its effects with subtlety and taste. VAMPYRES is special because it gives you both. It is genuinely frightening and at the same time it gives you more sex and blood than even the lowliest drive-in trash. The plot is rudimentary to the point of silliness: in rural Britain, a pair of gorgeous young women pose as hitchhikers, lure single men to their ancient labyrinthine castle, and drain them of their vital fluids. When a young couple camps on their estate they begin to suspect something odd is afoot and they investigate. Director Jose Larraz, a Spaniard, flirts with bad taste in a way that no British director would and he makes England look strange, forbidding, and even exotic. Originally rated X, the film contains very strong scenes of sex and violence, so stay home with your mommy if you can’t handle it. (Lars)

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