Raat (C, 1992) aka Raatri
Horror film from India that looks a little cheaper than the usual Bollywood product (probably in imitation of the look of our own low-budget stuff) and amazingly doesn't have song and dance numbers. Somebody must've been serious about this one, and it shows. It's a fairly creepy tale of some weird goings-on affecting a family after they move into a house with a bad reputation. The teenage daughter, Minnie, has a hallucination that the entire movie theater she's sitting in suddenly becomes empty, and she later becomes possessed and gets weird dead-looking grey eyes that scare her boyfriend... and probably you, too. Meanwhile, her little nephew's kitten gets run over... but then comes back, anyway. Minnie's behavior becomes very creepy (when you have a good actress, you can get a lot of unnerving mileage out of just smiling and staring), so they bring in a really grim-looking exorcist, who goes into some tunnels under their house to confront the source of the evil. Very strange, with inspiration from The Exorcist and possibly The Evil Dead (there are lots of prowling camera moves) but without being a copy of either, and some effective creepiness without a reliance on special effects, which are minimal. Definitely worth checking out for fans of haunted house / possession movies. -zwolf

Rabid Dogs (C, 1994)
Mario Bava made this very nihilistic crime drama in 1974, but it didn't see the light of day until twenty years later, due to a holdup that happened when one of the film's investors died, leaving the footage impounded and in limbo. Finally it was rescued, edited according to Bava's notes, and released on DVD, years after Bava died. The comparisons to Reservoir Dogs and Last House On The Left are somewhat accurate. Three scumbag criminals (Doc, Blade, and Thirty-Two (named for the size of his penis)) take a man, his very ill son, and a woman hostage and take off across the country, trying to get away from a robbery. Set almost entirely in the confines of a speeding car, the movie runs in real-time as the crazed criminals menace and humiliate their captives. Definitely unpleasant, but also fascinating and unique, this is one of Bava's only non-supernatural-based films and reflects his distaste for the real world and its evils. The ending is one of the more darkly cynical that you're apt to find. Kinda hard to find - don't miss a chance to see this raw, violent crime/horror rarity. -zwolf

Raising Arizona (C, 1987)
Amazingly hilarious film about the ultimate white trash couple - a guy addicted to robbing convenience stores (Nicholas Cage) and a policewoman (Holly Hunter) - who decide to steal one of a set of quintuplets when they find they can't have children of their own. The incredible Lone Biker of the Apocalypse (Randall Tex Cobb) sets out to find the kid and get the reward, leading to all kinds of wild and funny mayhem. Full of bizarre characters, amazing camera movements, children from Hell, and a fast pace. Also stars John Goodman and William Forsythe, directed by Joel Coen. -zwolf

Ransom (C, 1978) AKA Assault On Paradise, Maniac, Town That Cried Terror
Some idiot in an Indian costume tries to hold a vacation resort hostage for a ransom of five million bucks, probably a thousand times more than this movie cost to make and a hundred thousand times more than it made at the box office. Oliver Reed is a hit man who is hired to snuff the nutcase. Stuart Whitman wants to run things his way (which gets people killed) and Oliver Reed doesn't like it. Reed's tough act is kind of cool, but the rest could serve as the answer to the mythic question, "What's the opposite of interesting?" Also stars Jim Mitchum and Deborah Raffin. -zwolf

Rasputin: The Mad Monk (C, 1966)
Christopher Lee gets a chance to show off his acting skills as Rasputin, the mysterious holy man (or unholy man, considering the things he does) who, by use of his hypnotic powers and sheer boldness, insinuates himself into the royal Tsar's household. He drinks excessively, seduces women and sends them off to commit suicide when he's done with them, chops off a man's hand in a brawl and throws acid in the face of another, and proves remarkably hard to kill. Lee uses his height, booming voice, and intimidating screen presence to full advantage here; even though this is mainly a historical drama it plays like a horror film, due to Lee's diabolical menace. Theater goers who went to see this (on a double bill with The Reptile) were given "Rasputin beards" to disguise them from the forces of evil. TV spots seemed to emphasize the free beard as much as the movie. Top-notch Hammer production. -zwolf

The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here! (C, 1972) AKA The Curse of the Full Moon
And the audience is leaving! Andy Milligan, quite likely the worst director to actually get films released, made this awful period piece about a family (the Mooneys) cursed by lycanthropy. I think there's a plot, sort of, but it's hard to tell because the sound is so bad you'll feel like you're going deaf. In the beginning some guys set the family's deformed son on fire, and his sisters lock him up in a room full of rabbits and birds so he'll be safe. Then there's a lot of bickering chit-chat, with the slurred-voiced crotchety old father telling the daughter she can't get married and breed because she may spread the werewolf traits, but she's already married and her husband wants to take her back to Scotland. One of the girls takes an interest in rats, and buys them from a freakish, malformed shopkeeper. The rats ate part of his face and one of his arms, plus he feeds them dead people he finds in the street, so they have a taste for flesh. In one sick-minded scene, the girl tortures a live (but apparently sick) mouse, dripping candle wax on it and then stabbing it and pounding nails into it. In a moment of extreme blatantness, she names one of the rats Willard and another (obviously rubber) one Ben. A girl gets murdered, but the tape appears cut - you get a flash-cut of her hand being cut off with a meat-cleaver, then apparently she's stabbed with a shovel. Later family members turn into werewolves (who look pretty much like cavemen) and fight each other. Some of the acting is actually passable, but the filmmaking is horrible and the story is dumb and dragged-out. An Andy Milligan film with the gore cut out leaves you with absolutely nothing to look forward to. Newspaper ads promised a "win a live rat for your mother-in-law!" contest, so at least maybe one person walked out enriched somehow by this schlock. -zwolf

Rattlers (C, 1976)
A chauvinistic snake expert with a striking (and hilariously distracting) radio voice (turns out the actor, Sam Chew Jr., did spend most of his career in radio production) and a feminist photographer (Elisabeth Chauvet, for whom this DVD serves as a complete box set - it's her only movie) investigate a plague of unusually-aggressive rattlesnakes which have been attacking people, grouping in masses of dozens, killing off a couple of little boys, a whole family (including pets), a plumber, and a lady in the bathtub (that's the scene everyone seems to remember from the TV spot, the snakes crawling in through the bathtub fixture), and several army guys. Of course our two mismatched investigators fall in love (even though the guy's got all the sex appeal of a damp pair of argyle socks) in the midst of all the reptillian terror. Turns out the military's been burying secret nerve agents in mine shafts, making the snakes really mean. Decent entry into the nature-strikes-back genre, with creepy hoards-of-rattlesnakes scenes (I'm not even a snake-phobe, but the scenes are pretty effective). -zwolf

Read or Die (C, 2001)
Bizarre concept for anime. A geekily-cute book nerd with the ability to manipulated paper into any form (and apparently make it steel-hard) goes to work as "Agent Paper" for Library Special Forces, defending an old book she bought against hoards of superpowered weirdoes who are desperate to steal it because it's some kind of key to a "death symphony" or something - I never quite managed to figure out exactly what it was all about during the three episodes on the DVD. She gets help from Ms. Deep, a dominatrix-clad woman who can phase through solid objects (a rip-off of the X-Men's Kitty Pride, I s'poze). There's plenty of action and the artwork is amazing, and our heroine is funny and endearingly singleminded-yet-polite (after a long battle she clings to the battered wing of a crashing super-airplane and tells the maniacal bad guy flying it, "Can I please have my book back?"), but, like most anime, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But unlike many, it's not so bewildering as to be boring. Worth a look for anime fans and bibliophiles. -zwolf

The Red House (B&W, 1947) AKA No Trespassing
Film-noir/gothic "farm noir" with Edward G. Robinson as a wooden-legged farmer who hires a high school boy named Nate to help on his farm. Robinson is terrified by something in an old red house that's abandoned out in the woods; he warns everyone to stay far away from it. The townspeople of the rural community consider the family strange, and Nate's soon scared of the Red House, too - screams come from it on windy nights, and somebody even attacks Nate near there one night. He and his girlfriend and Robinson's adopted daughter try to find out what's so spooky about the house, and Robinson doesn't like that at all. He tells his secret helper Rory Calhoun to scare them off, but they keep poking around, and it starts becoming clear that Robinson is deranged. Great, moody film with a strong atmosphere of menace that was forgotten until the early days of home video mined the trove of public domain titles and brought this back out, luckily. Well-worth seeking out, and contains themes that are surprisingly dark for its day. -zwolf

Redneck Zombies (C, 1988) AKA Redneck County Rape
Very gory, very funny, and completely weird shot-on-video oddity from the Troma team. Some goofy hayseeds use a lost toxic waste barrel as a still and produce some green moonshine that transforms all who partake into flesh-tearing, gut-chomping zombies who soon decimate a pack of campers. Includes a funny parody of Texas Chainsaw Massacre's hitchhiker scene, a guy on acid performing an autopsy ("Yes sir, I like this, I'm gonna keep this!"), eye-gouging, head-chopping, blood-spraying, and practically any other violent act you can imagine in graphic detail, with halfway decent effects. Plus there's some incredibly dumb people, a scary tobacco man, and a guy whose T-shirt changes as he's attacked. If the gore doesn't ring a bell, it's because you may have seen a more-common R-rated version, which has literally all the blood removed, leaving an incredible mess that should be avoided like death. If you have access to the unrated version, definitely check it out. -zwolf

Red Scorpion (C, 1989)
A hulking Dolph Lundren (he looks the size of a small tract home) is a Ruskie Rambo in this mid-budget action flick. Dolph's no great shakes as an actor, but he does well in roles that utilize his dead-eyed lack of emotion, and he establishes a presence early by drunkenly smashing up a bar while singing Russian folk songs. This is a ploy to get himself thrown in jail for disorderly conduct so he can bust out a couple of prisoners in order to infiltrate a revolutionary African group and assassinate their leader. He fails the mission, and his leaders strip him of rank and sentence him to be executed, after being tortured by Cubans with big needles. He breaks loose and is doctored by some bushmen. He figures out that the Soviets are oppressing the people and joins the African resistance instead, turning his Russian Special Forces skills against his former comrades who betrayed him. Lots of explosions and machine gun fire in a pretty ordinary action flick in the Rambo, Commando mold, with nothing you haven't seen before. But it's made pretty entertaining by Dolph's screen presence, which is formidable. -zwolf

Reincarnation of Isabel
(C, 1972) AKA Riti, magie nere e segrete orge nel trecento, Black Magic Rites: Reincarnations, Ghastly Orgies of Count Dracula, Horrible Orgies of Count Dracula, La Reincarnazione
Eurohorror sleaze that opens with a Satanic ritual in which a girl is chained down and has her heart cut out (they don't show how - the gore budget wouldn't go that far) and the blood is squeezed out to pour over a dead witch. People seem only vaguely concerned when the girl is found dead and they go ahead and have a party, which is ruined by an idiotic, attention-craving drama queen with spooky eyes. Then there's this flashback showing how the witch - Isabel - was killed. She must've really been a witch, too, 'cuz they drive a stake through her heart and she's still screaming when they burn her at the stake! Then a couple of lesbians feel each other up, and a girl gets buried alive. Then there's some naked (mostly) lesbian writhing around (one of the girls is really pretty, the others only so-so) and then villagers want to burn a couple of girls at the stake because they're supposedly possessed. There's not much coherency to the storyline, but lots of nudity and stylized Satanic rituals, all filmed and edited in a messy pseudo-trippy style. The gore is pretty lame, especially an impaling where you can see the stake bouncing back from the skin and not penetrating (why they'd leave such a failed effect in the film is a mystery). Mostly it's generically-kinky nonsense that kind of comes across as a girls-in-chains nightclub act. -zwolf

Requiem For A Vampire (C, 1972) AKA Virgins and Vampires, Caged Virgins, Crazed Vampire, Dungeons Of Terror
Jean Rollin's best-known vampire sex film. Two girls dressed as clowns run away from their school party with a male friend. In France, truancy must be a big deal, because they get in a car-chase and a shoot-out, in which the guy is killed. The girls douse his corpse in gasoline and burn the car, then change clothes, braid their hair, and take a nap in a graveyard, where one of them gets buried alive for a while. Then they end up caught by some sadistic vampires, who take them to a crypt where chained women are raped and bitten under gel-lights. At daylight the girls escape, but no matter where they run, they end up back at the crypt o' vampire sex. They try to stake the sickly vampire king (this guy is not impressive, no matter how long the plastic fork tines sticking out of his mouth are), but are caught in the act and are condemned to become initiated into the vampire cult, which involves losing their virginity. Yep, these two are virgins, un-huh. Hi, I'm Roger Ebert! Anyway, they go out to lure people upon whom the vampires can feed... but first the girls have sex with them, in various scenic locations. The brunette girl is just a tease, so she doesn't have sex, but she drinks blood. The blonde lets her guy escape after sex, and then they have their initiation ceremony, complete with a piano in a swampy cemetery and a gold lame Liberace outfit for the lady vampire. The vampires find that the blonde is no longer a virgin, so they try to find her boyfriend. The brunette tries to torture the info out of the blonde, even though they're lesbian girlfriends, but finally they run off and find the guy with the vampires close behind. A beautifully-shot, almost dialogue-less film with a plot that doesn't make a lot of sense (but that's good - it gives it a weird, absurd, nightmare quality), and a lot of strangely colored light in many scenes. There's not much blood to speak of, but lots of softcore porn. No major masterpiece in my book, but it has its good points - it's definitely well-done eye-candy - and it works if you catch it in the right mood. -zwolf

The Return Of Bruce (C, 1977) AKA Bruce's Revenge, The Dragon Returns
Bruce Le is traveling through Manilla and befriends an orphan, then saves a girl from some hoods. He finds out the hoods are catching girls to sell as sex slaves. Being an all-American... er, all-Chinese, rather... good-guy, Bruce can't let them get away with something like that. Accompanied by music stolen from Enter The Dragon, The Sting, Barry Manilow, and god knows who else, he and his policeman cousin beat up on the gangsters. One of the gangsters is a sissified guy who probably weighs 70 pounds. Everybody wears bell-bottom pants. Pretty good kung-fu flick, and probably Bruce's most likeable character. Some nudity and several scenes inspired by the real Bruce Lee. -zwolf

Return of Daimajin (C, 1966) AKA Return of Majin, Return of the Giant Majin, Daimajin ikaru
Sequel to the Japanese giant monster hit Daimajin. A peasant manages to make his way over Majin's mountain with a tale of oppression ; some tyrant is forcing a distant village to build him a giant house. Several little boys set out across the mountain, hoping to rescue their fathers who're enslaved there. The scenery on their journey is AMAZING; huge mountains of boulders and desolate fallen forests. They meet Majin's priestess, who chases them off with warnings of disaster, but they continue anyway, enduring hardships until they find the Majin statue. They pay their respects and continue, having to hide from evil samurai. Just when the boys have nearly had it, the samurai kill Majin's messenger - a hawk - and the statue turns to flesh, marches into the valley, and gives the bad guys hell. It's not too far removed from the first film - almost remake-like - but like the first it's a simple tale told well, with beautiful, visually-poetic cinematography and impressive special effects - far removed from your average Japanese giant monster flick. The director, Kenji Misumi, also directed the best Lone Wolf and Cub entries. -zwolf

Return of the Five Deadly Venoms (C, 1978) AKA Can Que, Crippled Avengers, Crippled Heroes, Mortal Combat
Not really a sequel, but an unrelated film with the same main cast. Some evil thugs strike at their tiger-style-master enemy by cutting off his wife's legs and his son's arms. The father trains the boy in kung fu anyway and when he's old enough he equips him with dart-firing iron hands. Armed with these, he sets out to cripple and maim the sons of the men who killed his mother. He pokes one's eyes out, deafens another and forces him to drink a drug that leaves him mute, then goes on to chop another's legs off and wind an iron band around the fourth one's head until he's brain-damaged into idiocy. They all retreat to another village where a sympathetic teacher vows to train them in kung fu and show them how to overcome their handicaps. Then they go back for revenge... This is generally regarded to be even better than the first Venoms film, and that one is no less than revered, so you know you've definitely got something here. -zwolf

Revengeful Swordswoman (C, 1979)
A cute girl (Chia Ling) trains in martial arts to become The Heartless Lady, who can get revenge on the men who killed her father. And that's pretty much all you get by way of a plot; mostly it's just her foes sending in all kinds of bad guys to get in the way of her quest, including a one-armed boxer, a Shaolin monk, a guy who uses a whirling blade with a handle on the side, a guy with a steel whip, and a guy who fires metal skulls off his shoulders. She's given dubious help by a goofball who follows her around for comedy relief. She doesn't even use a sword all the time. Not bad but nothing really special, and the DVD of this could use a little help - it's got vertical streaking a lot of the time so everything appears to be glowing, and it cries out for letterboxing - it's not even pan-and-scanned, so at times there's no one on screen, or just somebody's ear peeking in at the edge. It's not horrible or anything, especially being cheap, but you can do better. -zwolf

Revenge Of The Zombies (C, 1981) AKA Black Magic II, Ngau Won Gong Tau, The Ghost Story, Bewitch Tame Head
Incredible Chinese horror sickie about an evil warlock who casts nasty spells and creates an army of living dead by driving magic nails into dead people's skulls. If the nails are removed, the zombies rot into viscous messes. All kinds of ultravileness, such as worms slithering from wounds, eyeball-eating, a man pushing a spike through his face, the caesarean birth of a lump of putrescent tissue, pulsating sores, and more pretty good barf-inducing scenes. Weird and great, along the lines of The Devil. Stars Ti Lung and Lo Lieh, so you know there's a little martial arts action, such as a fight on a skylift. Rarely seen, so take any chance to see it you can - kill if you have to! -zwolf

Right Of The People (C, 1986)
When a man's wife and daughter are killed by gun-wielding maniacs, he becomes the number-one supporter of laws allowing citizens to carry handguns. Soon almost everyone over 18 in his town is packing a piece, and trouble arises. A not-bad but very topical ABC Movie of the Week. -zwolf

Riki-Oh (C, 1993) AKA The Story of Ricky
A Hong Kong classic, this is a legendary film, mainly due to its cartoonish overuse of violence. Characters are disemboweled, decapitated (& other icky-sounding d-words), usually by hand (!). The prison warden somehow does some blowfish style kung-fu at some point, growing to a giant rubber goblin. And, my favorite, one of the guys fighting Ricky disembowels himself during their grappling & tries to use his own intestines to strangle Ricky! How does one unarmed man survive the brutality of this movie? In my case, by continuing to watch (insert rimshot here)! Evidently, the little orphan Ricky Ho, raised in an orphanage, had an uncle who stuck around to see if Ricky still retained the superhuman strength that he had as a baby (?!?) & to teach little Ricky the mysteries of Qi-Gong. Lucky for Ricky, too, 'cuz when this movie starts, he's been convicted of manslaughter & is already en route to a very bad prison, where he needs his skills immediately, getting into fights & stirring up trouble for the warden & the prisoners who run the cellblocks. Absolutely silly & bizarre, this film features some ridiculous special effects & some of the most awkward long camera shots since Slumber Party Massacre II. One of the skull-crushing scenes was featured in The Daily Show's "Five Questions" segment long ago, back when Craig Kilborn was on there (& funny). Highly recommended for group viewings! -igor

Ring 0 : Birthday (C, 2000) AKA Ringu 0: Baasudei
Rather confusing and uninvolving prequel to the hit Ring series is too derivative of Carrie to stand up to the original Ringu... but it is fair to say that I'm missing a lot of the impact here because although I'm very into Japanese culture, I don't live in it and am therefore missing out on much of the very-Japanese phobias of rejection that this plays upon. The story is the origin of Sadako... or the Sadakos, since apparently there were two, divided in some kind of bizarre physical schizophrenia. One is a shy outcast girl who takes part in an ill-fated school play, which she's enthused about even though her classmates fear and loathe her... especially since she gets her part because the lead girl mysteriously died. The other Sadako is the creepy girl from the well who causes all those deaths. It's not badly made, but lacks coherency or much real creepiness (except for a pretty effective bit at the end). And I'll have to admit that the low quality of the bootleg VCD I was watching (it stuck and had to be completely restarted every ten minutes or so) upped my frustration factor. Hopefully this entire series will be given a quality stateside release so they can all be watched without the misery you have to go through underground-wise, which taints what should otherwise be a good viewing experience. If American distribution companies only had some sense... -zwolf

Ringing Bell (C, 1983)
Anime oddity about Charin, a very hyperactive lamb with a bell around his neck. When a wolf attacks, his mother protects him by lying on top of him and is killed for her trouble. So Charin goes out seeking revenge on the Wolf King. But then he changes his mind and decides it'd be better to become an apprentice wolf, so he could be big and bad. He tries attacking buffalo, skunk, and prairie dogs, but has no luck, 'cuz, hey, he's a freaking lamb, right? He never gives up, though, and follows the wolf everywhere until the wolf decides to teach him. Charin learns to knock down trees and learns to fight... and eventually he grows horns since he has no fangs, and becomes a mighty ram. Then he and the wolf go on a killing spree which ends up at Charin's old meadow, against his old flock... Be careful what you wish for. Beautiful, but weird. Runs 46 minutes. -zwolf

Ring of Terror (B&W, 1963)
A group of college med students (most of whom look to be pushing 40) are amazed at the fearlessness of their friend Lewis - he watches autopsies without flinching and stomps rattlesnakes on Lover's Lane. Nothing seems to get to him... nothing but his reoccurring nightmares and a fast-developing fear of the dark. As part of his fraternity initiation, he's sent to steal a ring from a corpse's finger, and that's when fear catches up with him. Low-budget, hilariously-dated horror cheapie featuring off-screen (but well-described) gore, silly frat hijinks, a fat couple dancing possibly the most embarrassing-looking dance in film history, and a spooky undertaker narrator who, like the plot, was probably inspired by EC Comics. -zwolf

Road (C, 2002)
Bollywood automotive mayhem that's kind of a combo of The Hitcher, Joyride, Duel, Breakdown, and Hitch-Hike. A couple (the girl is a goddamn knockout) on a road trip make the ill-informed decision of picking up a hitchhiker named Babu (played by Manoj Bajpai, the guy who was the evil assassin in Aks and who's got to be the David Hess of India at this point, given his gift for sleazy menace), who's merely obnoxious at first but eventually pulls a gun and kidnaps them. They get away, but Babu keeps coming after them, playing cat and mouse and trying to get the girl to himself. Eventually he does, driving her across the desert and killing the occasionally unlucky citizen while the frustrated boyfriend tangles with cops while trying to track them down so he can save her. Nearly nonstop suspense, broken now and then by the required musical numbers... one of which seems to be a ripoff of the video for Michael Jackson's Thriller! Like most Indian films it could benefit from some streamlining (it's 2 hours long) but it's beautifully shot and pretty menacing even with the violence downplayed. -zwolf

Road House (C, 1989)
Patrick Swayze is Dalton, a top "cooler" for night spots; he goes into violent bars and organizes the bouncers so that blood-bucket roadhouses can become respectable redneck drinking establishments. He's hired to clean up a notorious bar in Missouri called the Double Deuce (or as co-star Sam Elliot calls it, "The Double Douche.") It's the kind of place where they "sweep the eyeballs up after closing" before Dalton gets there and uses his combo of kung fu streetfighting, philosophical zen-stuff, and "being nice." He manages to get the place on the right track, but what started as cleaning up a bar turns into cleaning up the whole town when local rich jerk Ben Gazzara (who's been shaking down the whole town) decides he doesn't want things to go smoothly, and wages war on Dalton. Dalton calls in help from his slightly-past-his-prime but-still-kicking-ass mentor Wade Garrett (that's Sam Elliot) and his doctor girlfriend Kelly Lynch, and they set out to put Gazzara on ice. I've come to consider this a minor classic, having watched it so many times, but there's a lot to like, really. I'm no major Swayze fan, but this is a good role for him... he's even got the necessary pseudo-mullet. Sam Elliot is at his coolest and completely steals the show with his I'm-mumbling-something and-you-can't-really-make-it-out but-you-know-it's-damn-cool-'cuz-I'm-smirking charm. And there's a lot of good live stuff from the Jeff Healey Band. Plus wrestling legend Terry Funk is one of the enemy thugs, too, and you've gotta love that. No major deviations from formula, and it's never going to be mistaken for anything very realistic, but it's got style and has good pacing. Fun to watch, and if it makes you feel guilty for liking it that's your business. -zwolf

Road Rage (C, 2000) AKA A Friday Night Date
Duel wannabe with a limo-driver prettyboy saving a student uglygirl from her jag-off jock boyfriend, then proceeding to cut off a big black pickup truck on the freeway. The guy in the truck needs anger management classes and proceeds to cause all kinds of high-speed mayhem in an attempt to commit vehicular homicide. Our intensely-unlikable heroes get away by pulling into a police station, but on the way home the truck catches up to them again. I can kind of understand him hating them - the limo guy and the girl are shallow, detestable frat-rat shits and engage in awful trendy-wit repartee and hey-let's-fuck flirting even while they're in fear of their lives - but it's still a little excessive, ruining a nice thirty-grand truck over a couple whose lives aren't worth a buck-oh-five put together. And then things get a little harder to believe when they find out that - Hollywood Surprise You Saw Coming #6 - the driver of this seemingly-unstoppable truck is... yep, stalker-jock boyfriend! How convenient. It actually makes me mad when people write contrived bullshit like this, but I guess if you turn your brain off and become one with the direct-to-video stupidity of the whole thing, then it's entertaining enough. I usually like crazy driving, and even though it's not very impressively filmed here, there's a whole lot of it, and it's not quite as stupid as that crap we were handed in the Gone In 60 Seconds remake. Hard to believe this is by the same director (Sidney J. Furie) who did Dr. Blood's Coffin forty years before, but that's what it says... Anyway, undistinguished but not boring dumbmovie, with a cast brimming with whatever's-the-opposite-of-charisma. Casper Van Dien? Somebody make this lug into a friendly ghost in a hurry, okay? At least the action's pretty much non-stop, even if it's not based on Shakespeare anything. -zwolf

Road to Perdition (C, 2002)
Tom Hanks stars as Michael Sullivan, an enforcer for the Irish mob, whose close relationship with his mob boss (Paul Newman) makes the boss' son so insanely jealous that, when given an opportunity, he kills Sullivan's wife & younger son in a failed attempt to ice Sullivan's oldest son, who was an accidental witness to a murder. At this point, Sullivan must go on the road, seeking vengeance for his dead family, dragging the oldest son along. A great film, based on the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins & Richard Piers Rayner, which is, in turn, loosely based on the Lone Wolf & Cub series of comics & films. Recommended for fans of Lone Wolf & Cub & gangster movies in general, though Tom Hanks fans might find his part offputting, since he's not his usual charming self. On the contrary, he goes out of his way to maintain an aloof onscreen presence. Jude Law is excellent as the solution to the mob's problem, but the kid really steals the show, just like Daigoro... You should really see all of the Lone Wolf & Cub films first to see what this should be! -igor

Run Lola Run (C, 1998) AKA Lola Runs, Lola Rennt
Unique German film exploring the interrelationship of events and the way changing one thing can affect the outcome of dozens of other things, and how time is only what you do with it. But don't let the fact that it's got some metaphysical themes make you worry that it's dull, because this one moves. Lola is a German punk chick with bright red hair (Franka Potente couldn't wash her hair for five weeks because the color would leach out) and a criminal boyfriend named Manni. Manni loses the 100,000 DM he's supposed to pay a crime boss, and if he doesn't come up with it in 20 minutes, he's a dead man. He plans to rob a grocery store, but Lola - by far the more capable of the two - doesn't like this idea so she tries to come up with something else. So she runs. A lot. Flat out. While some pretty decent techno music plays. And she tries to work out a plan. And, because of the strange, Rashomon-esque structure of the film, when something doesn't work out, she gets to start all over again, doing things a little differently the next time to get a different outcome. There are also interesting 15-second subplots when she bumps into certain characters: you see their possible future in a series of Polaroids. It's pretty brilliant and makes excellent use of all the stylistic tools in the movie-making trick bag. Other movies overuse these effects just because they're cool-looking, but they fit better here and form the film's style without becoming annoying or drawing undue attention to themselves, the way it often happens with other movies. Intelligent and a good pairing of style and substance; either component was strong enough to sustain interest, so combined they pack quite a punch. I hope Franka Potente got paid a lot, because besides not being able to wash her hair, she also had to basically run a marathon, and in Doc Martens, too. -zwolf

Run, Rabbit, Run (C, 1968)
Nope, this ain't got a damn thing to do with John Updike. This is a very, very obscure foreign (German, possibly, although it seems Italian) film about an incestuous father and his Lolita daughter. He lets her ride around on his back while he crawls, playing horsie... and she's a teenager. The mother finds it amusing... for a while. The daughter (named Leslie - she looks a little like Linda Blair) lavishes her affection on a rabbit and is a respected ballet dancer. The dad (who looks a lot like Maury Povich) plays tennis, conducts opera, and looks with disdain on the hippies that hang around the city. One of the hippies (named Brian) takes a liking to the daughter, and she likes him back, even though he and his friends really are a bunch of weirdoes (they hang out in a tent doing freak-out dances, playing with live bats, and singing songs that they'll never ever sing again because as soon as it's created, it's old). Soon Leslie is wasting her ballet talent by dancing hippie dances and crashing her intelligence by listening to Brian's wacko philosophizing ("I am... and I realize that I am. And that's why we are.") This makes daddy jealous and furrrrrrrrious. He's impotent with his wife, but sleeps cuddled up to topless Leslie (brief nudity), and mom doesn't think it's all so charming any more. They go swimming and the dad fools around with Leslie between bouts of scorning the hippies, and finally tells Brian not to see Leslie again. So, Leslie sneaks out to see him, runs down the street topless (to protest the fact that breasts are "indecent" while noses aren't - it's part of Brian's philosophy), and Brian tries to have it out with Leslie's dad, but her mom begs him not to. Then he tries to make out with Leslie, but she freaks, so he gets disgusted with the whole deal. Everybody gets a little tired of dad's control-freakism, and dad's whole scumbag high-society (people have sex at parties and they turn dogs loose on Leslie's rabbit and laugh as its torn apart). Leslie manages to successfully make out with Brian and dad is left shunned and despised... rightfully so. Cheap-looking, badly-dubbed, but oddly compelling film that slipped past every reference book I've found. -zwolf

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