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Jailbait [Import]
Jailbait [Import]
Price: CDN$ 15.11
3 used & new from CDN$ 15.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bend Over And Spread 'Em, June 5 2014
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This review is from: Jailbait [Import] (DVD)
"JAILBAIT" provides a very acceptable, albeit rather 'by the numbers' modern foray into the venerable WIP genre of exploitation movies. Pretty much all the 'stock' action that one has come to expect and enjoy from the incarcerated females scenario are present: a 'wrongfully accused' heroine, the de-rigeur humiliating body cavity search, lotsa communal showers, a despicable warden, inter-racial tensions, lesbian love-ins, bad cafeteria food, AND full nudity abound.

The lead actress (Sara Malakul Lane) does a credible job as the sexually abused teenager (with outstanding cello playing skills!) who gets 'sent up the river' after accidentally killing her lecherous step dad while he is in mid molestation mode - though her purported 17 yr old persona is somewhat challenged when she removes her clothes (which she does A LOT!) to reveal a body that looks like it's got a few more years on it than advertised (but is VERY pleasing to behold, nonetheless!). She's got great freckles, and can even act - as her 'character' must come to grips with the brutal realities of prison life.

The plot moves forward with a satisfying predictability and decent performances all around - nothing really 'new' here - but then why mess with a successful formula?! A light weight and enjoyable viewing experience if you are a fan of women in the slammer flix.

Pompeii (Bilingual)
Pompeii (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Kit Harington
Price: CDN$ 19.99
14 used & new from CDN$ 10.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spartacus V/S Vesuvius, May 18 2014
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This review is from: Pompeii (Bilingual) (DVD)
I'm a big fan of films that feature volcanic catastrophe (both real and imaginary) and the infamous tale of the Roman city of Pompeii that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD holds a special place in the lexicon of cinematic treatments for this genre. Previous re-enactments of the story have been made several times, perhaps most notably with multiple versions of "The Last Days of Pompeii" - wherein some involving storyline of human entanglements is interwoven with the ultimate eruptive spectacle whence the studio SPFX crew get to unleash a lot of impressive destruction on the 'characters' and film audience.

This most recent re-telling of the saga seemingly looks to take advantage of the current state of the art in volcanic CGI effects to provide an eruption of unprecedented realism and visual impact (which it does manage to do pretty effectively!) BUT I found the rest of the film to be pretty formulaic as the director attempts to develop some engaging sympathy for the fore-doomed characters whose lives it chronicles up to their pre-determined historical climax. This version presents a rather simple tale of revenge as a 'barbarian' youth from a Celtic 'horse tribe' has his family wiped out and is carried away to the slave pits (shades of Conan the Barbarian) by the evil Roman conquerors and ends up becoming a gladiator in Pompeii. Along the way his equine skills bring him to the attention of a beautiful aristocratic Pompeiian lady with whom he ultimately develops a love affair - AND a bro-mance, of sorts, with a rival massive 'Nubian' gladiator who is 'fighting for his freedom'. Add to the mix the thoroughly smarmy Roman Senator who is also lusting after the lovely maiden and the stage is set for some interpersonal fire-works. The 'fun' thing about Pompeii based films is that you just know that all the puny human interactions are gonna get interrupted, big time.

Once Vesuvius starts to do its' thing the screen definitely 'lights up' with some impressive pyrotechnics - but - there have been so many similar spectacular CGI 'eruptions' in recent disaster flix (such as the Yellowstone sequence in '2012' or the volcano 'god' in 'Wrath of the Titans') that there isn't much 'new' to be experienced - despite the film's promo hype-line that: "you've never experienced anything like THIS before!" Personally, I have read a lot about the actual Pompeii (even had the pleasure of visiting it!) and from that perspective came my biggest pros and cons for the movie. On the positive side - this version of Pompeii does a fantastic job of digitally recreating the ancient city with great accuracy. Areal perspectives of the city show it exactly as it was laid out and the set designs at street level also are very authentic in depicting the look of the dwellings and life in those times. On the negative side of reality - there is a glaring error in the way the demise of Pompeii is presented. In the film Pompeii is shown being engulfed by a giant pyroclastic cloud of super-heated material sweeping rapidly over everything. Pompeii was, in actual fact, covered by a persistent 'rain' of pumice stone that rapidly (over the course of several days) 'buried' the city and its' remaining inhabitants in an ironically 'gentle' but deadly crushing embrace! The pyroclastic phenomenon actually occurred a bit to the north of Pompeii where it wiped out the seaside city of Herculenium. Amidst all the raining fire balls, tidal waves, and earthquakes it becomes a bit incredulous that the lead characters continue to battle one another for the hand of the maiden and the director pulls out every cliche to have the bad guys keep popping up in 'Terminator'-esque fashion to add more tension to a situation that is already about as tense as could possibly be imagined.

It's an interesting side-note of historical fact that the real rebel gladiator 'Spartacus' did 'take refuge' from the Roman army in the caves upon Mt Vesuvius (well prior to its eruption). In a peripheral vein... I read an xlnt novel entitled 'Pompeii' by British author Robert Harris - wherein the lead protagonist was an aquatic engineer sent to Pompeii to determine the cause of irregularities with the City's complex water system (a foretelling of the volcanic event). This presented an intriguing character and action that was equally as involving and more 'interesting' than the rather 'stock' vengeful gladiator / frustrated love affair re-hash that this film based it's plot upon. It also provided a nifty 'escape clause' for the hero & heroine. Too bad that the producers couldn't have had a little more imaginative vision.

Ultimately, I would recommend this version of 'Pompeii' mostly for its''production values' and CGI volcanic effects - worth adding to the collection, but maybe after the prices come down a little. The best (and most authentic) recounting of the Pompeii tale I've seen is the documentary piece produced by the Discovery Channel for TV entitled "Pompeii - The Last Day" (available via Amazon) - IT gets the facts straight, has amazing production values, and manages to develop way more empathy for its' characters in its short run-time... Fellow volcano-philes may wish check IT out.

Auditions
Auditions
DVD ~ Linnea Quigley
Price: CDN$ 9.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 5.50

4.0 out of 5 stars What People Won't Do For A Shot At Stardom!, Jan. 13 2014
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This review is from: Auditions (DVD)
Like others, undoubtedly, I was made aware of this strange little conglomeration of 'auditions' via the rap that Full Moon producer Charles Band has included on all of the recently released "Grindhouse Collection" DVDs. Band 'purports' that the 'tape' was compiled from the out-takes of a series of casting call 'auditions' held for an 'adult' feature he was contemplating, back in the day. With the exception of the 'discrepancy' surrounding the stated age of an ingenue Linnea Quigley (pulling a Tracy Lords underage stunt) and a couple of appearances by individuals who appear to be just TOO weird to be real... I pretty much took Band at his word that this IS/WAS an actual 'audition' experience... or at least SOME of it was.

Regardless - watching the parade of male and female Hollywood 'hopefuls' strip down and perform (often embarrassingly) intimate acts for 'the camera' is definitely amusing and amazing - what people won't do for a shot at fame (or a few bucks)! The highlight(s) of the whole affair are the lovely young actress wannabes who disrobe (completely!) at the urging of the unseen 'directors' orders and demonstrate their willingness to do just about 'anything' to get a part.

As others have stated - the visual quality of this (full-screen) DVD is not great - looking pretty much like it was unceremoniously duped off an old VHS tape. I've (unfortunately) noted this tendency to poor transfer quality on many of the Full Moon "Grindhouse" product - some are good and some suck. Overall - I found "Auditions" to be a fun watch - regardless of its' 'authenticity'... and would recommend it for some light-weight entertainment.

Gainsbourg (Version française) [Import]
Gainsbourg (Version française) [Import]
Price: CDN$ 22.00
15 used & new from CDN$ 13.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Xlnt Intro to Franco Phenom, Jan. 13 2014
I came to view this film via the somewhat oblique route of tracking down movies featuring the lovely Euro uber Model/Actress: Laetitia Casta. As a North American resident my only previous awareness of Serge Gainsbourg was through his (back in the day) romantic/musical connections to Brigitte Bardot (of whom I, among millions of others, am a big fan!) - I knew he was a French singer/composer and pretty goofy looking and that was about 'it'. Since this film featured the gorgeous Ms Casta playing BB I just had to check it out! In retrospect - I'm glad I did - because not only did it provide one of the most satisfying filmic turns for Laetitia that I've seen to date, but it also provided a fascinating introduction to a European mega pop star of prodigious talent and personality.

It might be noted that this DVD offering is a 2 disk set - the second disk contains a 20 min featurette on the 'Director' of the film - French artist Joann Sfar. Sfar is apparently a huge fan of Gainsbourg and he previously produced a 'graphic novel' that chronicled Serge's life, and upon which he based this, his (premiere!) film making effort. The images of Sfar sketching in his own artistic notebooks mirror Gainsbourg's own early forays into art (which he ultimately abandoned in favor of music) and demonstrate the degree to which his art was influenced by Gainsbourg.

Altho this is an inaugural Directorial outing for Sfar it certainly doesn't show - the film is not only thoroughly professional in every aspect but unusually inventive in how it presents its' story. The lead actor (Eric Elmosnino ) who portrays the adult Gainsbourg is excellent in the role and all of the actresses who play his lofty love interests are equally attractive and entrancing - as noted: Laetitia makes a very convincing BB! The movie covers a lot of ground - conveying pretty much all the notable stages of Gainsbourg's life: from precocious adolescent, through his pop ascendancy, into ultimate superstar burnout. One can imagine that Euro-viewers of this biopic would be humming along with the string of musical 'hits' that are portrayed within the film, as the plot & years progress. While N. American audiences might not have this same 'connection' to the material - the film still provides an engrossing and interesting experience and introduction to a major musical talent. I really enjoyed it! Technically - the film is presented in widescreen format - French language w/ English subs - numerous 'extras'.

Student Services (Version française) [Import]
Student Services (Version française) [Import]
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 15.64
16 used & new from CDN$ 15.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Manages To Make Sex Un-Sexy, Dec 24 2013
I generally enjoyed this film - based on the 'true/shocking' revelations of a (French) female university student who turned to the world's oldest profession to help finance her way thru school. It is, perhaps, the 'expose' angle of the movie that directs the general tenor of the piece towards a negative vibe - as the viewer is introduced to the story's lead character, Laura, and follows her down a path of personal denigration as she barters her youthful body for some spending cash & millennial trinkets.

The 'shock value' of the source book from which the screenplay was derived is based on the (purported) 'epidemic' levels of prostitution engaged in by female college students to make ends meet - so it is not surprising that the director has seemingly gone out of their way to make sure that the sexual 'pay for play' activities of the film's star are not made to look 'enjoyable'. In this, at least, they have managed to succeed!

The lead actress, Deborah Francois, IS lovely - in just the right way to provide a vulnerable heroine for the sordid tale... and she sure doesn't appear to like what she's doing in the sexual realm - so much so - that after a while I found the plot to become rather disingenuous and dis-engaging. Despite many scenes where Ms Francois fully reveals her attractive form and participates in sexual congress with a variety of sorta 'flawed' male individuals - there is nothing arousing about any of it. Could the girl be any more 'bored' & repulsed?! It really makes one wonder why her one 'repeat customer' 'Joe' keeps coming back for more... or why she sticks it out for as long as she does.

Without treading into the politically/morally dicey territory surrounding the whole issue of prostitution - I felt that this film presents a sort of mono-dimensional and moralistic take on the situation. Some reviewers compare 'Student Services' to the likes of "Pretty Woman" and extol its' virtues for presenting a more 'realistic' portrayal of the disagreeable aspects of prostitution - personally I might draw a more relevant comparison to the TV series "Diary of A Call Girl" based on the 'true' adventures of London escort Belle de Jour. 'Belle' also exhibits a 'conflicted' character in trying to reconcile the two sides of her life in the face of society's general disdain for sex workers - but she, at least, takes 'some' pleasure in her craft, and on occasion even finds her sexual skills to be of 'service' in helping individuals overcome personal problems. Admittedly, the 'clients' that Laura encounters in "Student Services" are portrayed as a particularly loutish lot - but 'where's the love'?! Ultimately I began to sympathize w/ her self loathing and sorta lost interest in the 'story' - such as it was. There are obviously 'bigger issues' of youth poverty and socioeconomic inequality at play - but none of them get answered in this film. On a strictly prurient level - worth a look for the fetching form of Ms Francois in the buff - but nothing to get too excited about.

Riot in a Women's Prison
Riot in a Women's Prison
DVD ~ Marilu Tolo
Price: CDN$ 9.99
19 used & new from CDN$ 5.54

3.0 out of 5 stars Lackluster Italian WIP Attempt, Dec 16 2013
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This review is from: Riot in a Women's Prison (DVD)
Another 'Grindhouse' offering from the Full Moon folks - "Riot In A Woman's Prison" (unfortunately) demonstrates that not all WIP flix are created equally. This 70's vintage Italian effort takes a stab at the WIP genre but comes up lacking in precisely the elements that make these films 'fun' for those that enjoy such twisted drama. The visual quality of this (English dubbed) DVD is quite good - a nice clear widescreen transfer - which is sorta ironically 'wasted' on the content & imagery presented.

The plot features the well worn basic premise of a young woman wrongly accused of a crime she didn't commit who gets thrown into the slammer with a bunch of hardened criminals. In this instance it is French tourist 'Martine' who gets inadvertently scooped up in a police raid on a group of Italian hippies and dumped into a women's correctional facility that appears to be run by a bunch of Catholic nuns. Martine is tossed into a cell with, what appears to be, the prison's 4 most attractive inmates - the rest of the incarcerated women all look like 50 year old 'bag ladies'. Whereas THIS may well be closer to the 'reality' of what one might find in a female prison population, it certainly isn't what most guys plunk down their hard earned bucks to see in a WIP flik!... and this is sorta at the heart of 'what's wrong' with this particular film. At several points in the movie it becomes evident that the director is attempting to 'lift' the genre to some greater artistic or politically relevant level which (of course) is a BIG mistake!

The core ensemble of cellmate/actresses are pretty attractive - one bears a striking resemblance to Liz Taylor in her heyday! - but their 'chemistry' is pretty lack-luster. Scant nudity is present in the usual scenes: the 'orifice check' - communal shower - etc. but that's about it. Once the director does finally get to some, long awaited, lesbian action he 'artfully' dilutes it by superimposing the images of the naked lovers over scenes of ocean surf crashing on rocks. Boy - did this guy ever get it 'wrong'! When the heroine of the piece is finally exonerated and walks free there's a definite 'who cares' feeling to the whole thing.

In the 'bigger picture' - this is another example of the 'hit or miss' syndrome that I've noted in the recent "Grindhouse Collection" releases from the Full Moon outfit. Some are great ( like 'Caged Women') and some really suck (like this one & 'Savage Island'). Note to Italian WIP directors: 'leave the arty stuff to the likes of Fellini & Pasonlini' - Note to potential purchasers of 'Riot In A Woman's Prison": 'more of a renter than a keeper."

Escape From Women's Prison
Escape From Women's Prison
DVD ~ Lilli Carati
Price: CDN$ 9.95
20 used & new from CDN$ 6.05

2.0 out of 5 stars OK -BUT- Flawed by Poor Transfer 2.5 Stars, Dec 16 2013
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This review is from: Escape From Women's Prison (DVD)
This Italian made exploitation vehicle offers a different take on the Women IN Prison (WIP) genre by presenting a "Women OUTSIDE Of Prison" plot! There are no scenes of women actually IN prison in this film - the action starts right off as 4 female prisoners seemingly just run out the front door of the prison and hop into a waiting car driven by one of the fem convicts brother. He is wounded as they make their getaway and their car collides with a bus full of high school girls heading off to a tennis tournament. The frantic escapees commandeer the bus, and its' occupants, and they all end up taking refuge in a big house that, ironically, belongs to a judge. The bulk of the film's plot then focuses on the tense interactions between the desperate 'captors' and their 'hostages'. There's lots of 'threats' and escape attempts, and, of course, hetero & lesbo sex scenes between the sex deprived convicts & their captives - until the police move in and it all ends rather abruptly!

This is a marginally engaging little flik but its' presentation/enjoyment is (sadly) flawed by the poor quality of the source transfer material - likely from an old VHS video source to DVD. The (full-screen) image is pretty fuzzy and the colors muted throughout - there are numerous jumpy cuts within the content - often during a sex scene - that makes the film feel like it's been butchered pretty good. None of the characters are very engaging so it's hard to feel much empathy for anyone as the plot lurches onward. There are some fairly attractive actresses featured and a bit of full female nudity but the degraded quality of the image and choppy editing makes it difficult to fully appreciate. In the final analysis I'd say that the actual film didn't 'live up to' the 'promise' presented by the wonderfully lurid box cover art and write-up. Worth a look - but more of a renter than a keeper.

Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman: King of the B-movie
Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman: King of the B-movie
by Chris Nashawaty
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.08
44 used & new from CDN$ 25.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Xlnt Roger Corman Retrospective, Dec 16 2013
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This book provides a great overview of Roger Corman's contribution to the world of exploitation cinema and 'the cult' of his personality. The 'author' mixes a smattering of 'editorial' comment with (mostly) brief paragraphs of reminiscences by pretty much ALL the notable individuals who worked with Corman over the years. Actors, Directors, Authors... all lend anecdotes of their personal experiences with the 'King of B Movies'- that are injected at the appropriate place in the tale as the sequential story of Corman's career is unrolled. This is a great approach as it makes for very entertaining reading with lots of 'inside' stories and a variety of view-points. Visually, the book is also a winner - it is packed full of photo out-takes from all the films and a great array of the wonderfully lurid poster art that Corman used so successfully to promote his low budget product. My only word of 'caution' is: "hide your credit card"... this book made me instantly want to seek out and purchase a pile of the films described within its' pages to check them out... and Corman WAS prolific! All in all - one of the most amusing & informative reads I've had in a while and the Xlnt collection of graphics make it a 'keeper' to be looked at for years to come. If you like exploitation - you'll love this book!
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Cinema Sewer Volume 4: The Adults Only Guide to History's Sickest and Sexiest Movies!
Cinema Sewer Volume 4: The Adults Only Guide to History's Sickest and Sexiest Movies!
by Robin Bougie
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.62
31 used & new from CDN$ 14.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Preaching to the Perverted, Dec 16 2013
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I've gotten rapidly addicted to Robin Bougie's fun and fact-filled series of compendiums of sinema smut. Having devoured the first 3 book formatted collections of his funky hand-drawn (and lettered!) expositions on exploitation I was pretty pleased to see yet a fourth volume released upon the world. It should go-eth without saying that I'm a fan of the genre so I'm 'open' to the outrageous style of "Cinema Sewer" - providing, as it does, a blend of amusing and informative writing with X-rated illos that shed light upon the grimy underside of the world of film. I particularly appreciate that Cinema Sewer covers a wide range of periods and styles of exploitation film ranging from classic Hollywood film noir to the most esoteric Japanese gonzo porn - and pretty much everything in between.

Bougie's approach to it all, and especially the XXX end of things is refreshingly unapologetic - in fact he's a crusader for a more liberal mind set when it comes to porn and sex in general and some of his editorial 'rants' take aim at the stultifying forces for 'decency' in the world. But, mostly the written & illustrated content celebrates the (s)exploitation genre and each issue is literally packed with insightful film reviews, biographical sketches of porn performers, random factoids, reproductions of classic promo art, and also original X-rated drawings & comix produced by Bougie himself and a legion of his bent, like minded, friends.

Robin apparently does a pile of research on his beloved subject matter and the various articles are full of interesting inside info that is presented in an amusingly irreverent writing style. The Cinema Sewer has helped me (much to my bank accounts detriment) to discover and purchase many exploitation gems that I, otherwise, might have remained blissfully unaware of. As one might imagine from the subject matter covered, 'Cinema Sewer' is definitely an 'adults only' product - but if you ARE an adult and love the weirder side of film, this series of books is pure gold.
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Savage Island
Savage Island
DVD ~ Linda Blair
Price: CDN$ 9.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 4.46

3.0 out of 5 stars A Better Version Exists (across the pond), Nov. 19 2013
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This review is from: Savage Island (DVD)
I decided to give this flik a try after hearing Charles Band of Full Moon Pictures describe its' genesis in the rap he gives as part of the extras in all of the newly re-issued "Grindhouse Collection" from Full Moon. At a point in the past Band apparently found a bunch of sleazy WIP style foreign made films and purchased the rights to them... then re-packaged one of them with a wrap-around story line featuring Linda Blair - in order to give the film a bit of Hollywood Star Power draw for the domestic market.

Personally, altho I'm as big a fan of Linda's work as any, I was more drawn to the film by the promise of some good hard WIP action such as foreign directors (like Jess Franco) can sometimes deliver. Unfortunately, the product provided by the Full Moon package is flawed by a very poor transfer which renders the viewing experience sub-par. As other reviewers have noted - this is particularly annoying during any dark night-time scenes - which are virtually un-viewable - as well as hindering a full appreciation of the many scenes of naked female flesh - that are likely what one would purchase this product to enjoy in the first place.

But, please be aware that there is a BETTER VERSION available. A little probing around on the internet provided the additional info that this film (in its' original release) was actually an Italian effort (filmed in South America) entitled "Hotel Paradis(e)" (aka "Escape From Hell"). This original version of the film is available with a much better picture quality from Amazon.co.uk (Britain) - and it even features 'inserts' of hardcore XXX scenes - of course there's no Linda Blair - AND - the DVD requires a 'region-free' player! - something that every mondo-weirdo movie hound should invest in!

I'm generally 'liking' the new crop of 'Grindhouse" product that Full Moon has been releasing, but the picture quality IS pretty variable from feature to feature. In the case of "Savage Island" the image quality is poor and detracts from the over-all enjoyment so, despite the fact that it is packed full of all the good stuff that one looks for in this type of flik, I can't give this bit of, otherwise, interesting (s)exploitational fun more than an average rating -

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