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The Greatest Showman Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Paul Sparks, Paul Sparks,

The Greatest Showman: an original musical loosely based on the life of P.T. Barnum and his “abnormals assemble” crew. You have two choices with this film: enjoy it as a (very) lightweight piece of entertainment, or thumb through the catalogue of issues with its presentation as an actual ‘movie’. My biggest gripe is the songs – they’re all too similar and formulaic; designed by committee – starting with a quiet talky bit, rapidly build into a punch-the-air, feelgood and uplifting sing-a-long major-key chorus, then ending with a more emotional talky bit. Granted, they’re perfect for a musical, but each one is about twice as long as necessary and the core numbers are continually repeated throughout the entire picture. While it makes the most of the cinematic medium through scale and visual effects, it’s unbelievably stagey and theatrical; essentially begging for a live action theatre run. The story is wafer thin; it is the most positive spin on Barnum’s life told through very broad brushstrokes, and whenever someone is about to do a bit of real acting (starting to get vaguely emotional) they spontaneously burst in to song! The critic character is a laughably knowing pre-emptive jibe at how the film itself would obviously land; engineered to be popular with the masses but sneered at by critics – and I can understand both sides. Every family member, friend, and colleague that’s seen this has gone to the cinema for multiple viewings and subsequent sing-a-long viewings, yet the critical response is lukewarm at best. The Greatest Showman is hammier than a hog roast and cheesier than a fondue: it’s unashamedly naff, but is clearly plugging a massive gap in the popular and musical markets.

Score: 5/10

The Greatest Showman Boozy Bar Drunk Mumford Song Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Paul Sparks, Paul Sparks,

The Greatest Showman Bearded Lady Cleavage Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Paul Sparks, Paul Sparks,

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Tokyo Tribe Buppa Nana Seino, Ryōta Satō, Junsuke Daitō, Takuya Ishida, Yui Ichikawa, Mika Kano, Shoko Nakagawa, Shōta Someta, Denden, Yōsuke Kubozuka, Riki Takeuchi, Bernard Ackah, Yoshihiro Takayama, Arata Matsuura, Panda UnitedTokyo Tribe (AKA Tokyo Tribe2, トウキョウ トライブ トゥー, Tōkyō Toraibu Tū): near future Tokyo is divided into sections ruled by street gangs; but war is about to breakout when one gang tries to take over. Just when you think you’ve seen everything from Japan they throw out a West Side Story style film, acted out almost entirely though musical rap battles – a Hip-HOpera! It’s a sweet idea to begin with, but at two hours long it’s stretched to the limit; the continually repeated drum breaks become grating, and forcing the lines to rhyme means the dialogue feels clunky in parts – although it could be lost in translation. Also, because modern music videos have massive production, parts of this look a bit cheap in comparison. The set and character designs are impressive, epic sprawls of graffiti’d urban decay, futuristic nightclubs, and a grand dining room. Not that this needed it, but the manga origins give this licence to be crazy with some hammy acting (Buppa), big haircuts, robo-mecha babes… classic Japan! The action is well executed, and the large-scale finale battle is particularly impressive. It feels like the director knew that the rap-battles would only be novel for so long (it doesn’t help that the narrator / central character is uncharismatic) so he throws up something risqué every 5 mins or so to perk you up; gratuitous nudity and fondling, or provocative and controversial dialogue. From the director of Love Exposure and Cold Fish, this couldn’t be more different – but it’s an even more ambitious, unique, and admirable feat than those.

Score: 5/10

Tokyo Tribe Gang Leaders Nana Seino, Ryōta Satō, Junsuke Daitō, Takuya Ishida, Yui Ichikawa, Mika Kano, Shoko Nakagawa, Shōta Someta, Denden, Yōsuke Kubozuka, Riki Takeuchi, Bernard Ackah, Yoshihiro Takayama, Arata Matsuura, PandaTokyo Tribe Mika Kano Nana Seino, Ryōta Satō, Junsuke Daitō, Takuya Ishida, Yui Ichikawa, Mika Kano, Shoko Nakagawa, Shōta Someta, Denden, Yōsuke Kubozuka, Riki Takeuchi, Bernard Ackah, Yoshihiro Takayama, Arata Matsuura,Tokyo Tribe Gira Gira Prostitutes Dominatrix Whip Nana Seino, Ryōta Satō, Junsuke Daitō, Takuya Ishida, Yui Ichikawa, Mika Kano, Shoko Nakagawa, Shōta Someta, Denden, Yōsuke Kubozuka, Riki Takeuchi, Bernard Ackah, Yoshihiro Takaya
Tokyo Tribe Poster Nana Seino, Ryōta Satō, Junsuke Daitō, Takuya Ishida, Yui Ichikawa, Mika Kano, Shoko Nakagawa, Shōta Someta, Denden, Yōsuke Kubozuka, Riki Takeuchi, Bernard Ackah, Yoshihiro Takayama, Arata Matsuura, Panda Unite

Porkys 01 - Shower Scene Peephole Dan Monahan, Wyatt Knight, Mark Herrier, Roger Wilson, Tony Ganios, Cyril O'Reilly, Kaki Hunter, Nancy Parsons, Boyd Gaines, Kim Cattrall, Susan Clark

Porky’s [Steelbook] a group of teenagers in 1950s Florida head to Porky’s strip club to get some action, but nothing goes to plan with this – or any of their sexual misadventures. Undoubtedly one of the most (in)famous coming-of-age teen-sex comedy flicks, Porky’s is less of a “film” and more of a bunch of individual scenes edited together to form a loose plot. There are so many side-stories like the jew-hater, bad biker dad, and horny P.E. teachers that really have nothing to do with the premise. There’s also far too many characters, none of which are the central focus, which makes it all seem even more tangential. But Porky’s was never trying to woo the critics, and for a sexcomedy there’s enough of both to make it a genre-classic, from the infamous voyeuristic shower scene to the 5-minute penis report (not to mention that it’s a High School where they only seem to teach sports classes and playground hijinks) it’s packed with entertaining stuff. While it’s a little dated (and even timid) compared to teen movies these days Porky’s is the definitive blueprint / Supertext for the genre; opening the door for films like American Pie, Superbad, Van Wilder, Road Trip… It’s good, it’s funny and the Blu Ray looks lovely. Great little Mr Skin feature about 80s skin-flicks too!

Score: 6.5/10

Porkys 02 Get it at porkys Dan Monahan, Wyatt Knight, Mark Herrier, Roger Wilson, Tony Ganios, Cyril O'Reilly, Kaki Hunter, Nancy Parsons, Boyd Gaines, Kim Cattrall, Susan Clark Porkys 03 Howler Dan Monahan, Wyatt Knight, Mark Herrier, Roger Wilson, Tony Ganios, Cyril O'Reilly, Kaki Hunter, Nancy Parsons, Boyd Gaines, Kim Cattrall, Susan Clark Porky's 04 - Dan Monahan, Wyatt Knight, Mark Herrier, Roger Wilson, Tony Ganios, Cyril O'Reilly, Kaki Hunter, Nancy Parsons, Boyd Gaines, Kim Cattrall, Susan Clark

 

Naked Weapon: when her best assassin is killed on a job, an evil hitwoman kidnaps prize-fighting girls and turns them in to deadly, sexy, naked killers. The first five minutes features sex, nudity, explosions, fighting and bad jokes; the next 30 minutes are set on an exotic island full of hot, leggy, potentially lesbian martial arts chicks trained to become hitwomen – so far so good for a film called Naked Weapon. The fights throughout are pretty spectacular, with some tasty choreography, sweet wire-work, and fluent breakdancing-esque kung-fu – all surprisingly intricate for a film like this. The revenge story is also fairly decent, and there’s some pretty harsh moments like a rape scene and dead kids. There are a few bum notes though, the dialogue is dirt-cheap, any emotional scenes are beyond tacky, and there’s flashes of ‘uber-kewlz’ superpower moments that would be better placed in a manga adaptation. It may have been made in 2002, but looks and feels way more like a ‘classic’ turned up to 11 exploitation action flick. Ultimately, Naked Weapon is a love/hate film that will depend on your tolerance for sleazy action. I’d be going against every manly bone in my body if I gave a solid film with great fight scenes, hot chicks and nudity less that a 7…

Score: 7/10

Postal: Living in a shitty town drives one yocal to ‘go postal’, and sees him take on terrorists, a religious cult, villagers and the police… all in the name of sanity. A film that opens with two Muslim plane hijackers calling Osama Bin Laden to ask how many virgins there will be waiting for them, then accidentally flying into the WTC probably won’t be for everyone… Knowing that this is one big farce, director Uwe Boll pops up as himself, joking about being aroused by crowds & children, and that his films are really being funded by Nazi Gold – it’s mental. The story is more like a series of skits / ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…’ scenes, but that’s OK as there’s a ton of gags and minor detail, almost like a David Zucker film. It’s visually striking; with tons of bright and poppy colours, not unlike classic Russ Meyer. Despite using a cat as a silencer, Zack Ward makes a pretty cool ginger action hero, and WTF is JK Simmons doing in this?!?! If you like your films crude, violent, brimming with hot babes, and full of kid / terrorist / nazi / midget / hippy / redneck / fat people jokes then Postal is the film for you. Despite everything being deliberately outrageous, I enjoyed it and will no doubt whore the DVD out to a bunch of people, then watch it again down the line. Totally ridiculous, but watchable tasteless caper.

Score: 5.5/10

The Man With the Golden Gun: Britain’s top agent is a marked man when a golden bullet inscribed with ‘007’ arrives at MI6, but with better things to do, James Bond has to track down a missing scientist that was last known to be working on a ground-breaking solar-power device.

The calling card of the world's best assassin - Scaramanga

Opening with a midget, guy with three nipples, haunted fun house, wax works and a ton of psychedelia, it definitely catches you off guard. And throughout the film it gets a bit weirder with flying cars, asian ninja schoolgirls, crazy sound effects, belly button kissing, bum grabbing, lasers, domestic abuse, a strip club, a weird device called a car phone…

Asian Ninja Schoolgirls - 3 fetishes for the price of 1

For me, Scaramanga is the ultimate opposite number for Bond. He’s suave, intelligent, visibly mad, totally badass and always one step ahead. He clearly admires Bond, to the point of imitation, has great gadgets, an iconic weapon, and a random third nipple! All this topped off by a fantastic Christopher Lee performance; you just can’t beat this.

Smart, ruthless and menacing - what a (bad) guy!

Somewhat ironically, the main plot driver is a device called the ‘agitator’, which is as good a word as any to describe the story. The plot clumsily progresses, allowing for gratuities such as ninja fights, car/boat chases and all the other usuals. On the plus side it was particularly relevant during the energy crisis in the early 70s, and to some extent, still just as likely to appeal today. It’s certainly more interesting than a monopoly on water!

The 3-titular weapon

For an unknown reason, the worst minor character in the franchise, Sheriff Pepper, gets another look-in here… this is beyond me, and he even knocks himself off the ‘shittest character’ top spot from Live and Let Die!

The least welcome comeback of the franchise

Absurdity also reaches new highs, as Bond’s literally juggles the women that throw themselves in his arms – at one point throws the girl he’s warming up in a wardrobe to pump another for information… genuinely.

Bond discards this beauty by pushing her into a closet...

Other noteworthy aspects are the coolest satellite HQ in a shipwreck, a girl called ‘Chew Mee’ (a new high/low in pun-based innuendo), what has to be one of the worst theme songs (instantly forgettable), and a 5-minute intensified advertisment campaign for Rolex, Nikon, Sony, and Rolls Royce. Bond’s definitely starting to get his commerce on!

... but most guy's wouldn't refuse an upgrade to Maud "Octopussy" Adams

All in, I feel that this film gets an unfairly poor reputation. Sure it’s a bit weird, has a pretty basic storyline, and seems to juggle individual elements of the previous 8 films while keeping the tested formula… but that’s part of the appeal. At the heart of TMWTGG lies a fresh relationship and chemistry between Bond and his nemesis, and let’s face it – without a villain as good as Scaramanga this film would be a total catastrophe.

Score: 6.5/10

How many overly elaborate death traps will it take to end Bond?!?

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Scaramanga – only his sportsmanship/confidence lets him down. 10
Henchmen: Nick Nack; Spanish (?) midget, no physical prowess, not too clever either. 3
Bond Girl: Dr Goodnight – clumsy but pretty. Andrea Anders – Swedish Bikini Babe. French Belly Dancer. 9
Action: dressing room / sumo fight / boat chase / karate temple / Car chase (with terrible sound effect) 7

Even Paul McCartney didn't have Wings like this...

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The Toxic Avenger Part II: 5 years after the original, Melvin’s still sweeping up crime with his mop – from NJ to Japan. You know it’s going to be good when, 2 minutes in, a blind pensioner gets shot out of her wheelchair. Unfortunately most versions of the T.A. series have been very heavily edited, with most gore cut out and the gratuitous nudity blurred. Films like this were never meant to be taken seriously: the camp script, silly slapstick gags and playing on stereotypes make it really enjoyable, even fun, to watch. The stunts, special effects and explosions are all great and it has a feel somewhere between Cannibal the Musical and the original Power Rangers. People slate this and compare it to the first film, although twenty years later this is still one of the most entertaining B-movies around. Great example of independent film, that’s well worth watching if you can track it down! Radioactive Fun.

Score: 6/10