Most of the time we get such a backlog of short films and feature length indie films that we work hard to take them all on and review them before the year is up. In what we hope will become a new feature, “Shorts Round Up of the Week” is a column where we’ll be reviewing a round up of short films of varying quality.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
“Sweetheart, I’m the biggest ripped-off cartoonist in the history of the world, and that’s all I’m going to say.” – Ralph Bakshi
Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World” is a movie without a specific audience in mind, and doesn’t seem to know who it’s appealing to. It’s too dark and adult to be considered another “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and much too juvenile to be taken as an adult film. I vividly remember collecting comic books as a kid and seeing full page ads for “Cool World” in every single issue I bought, and yet the movie clearly was not intended for a nine year old, and was too underground for teenagers. In a decade where everyone was trying to be Disney, I doubt many audiences were in the market for a dark erotic animated neo-noir satire involving an animated seductress trying to have sex with her creator so she can become a human.
“Virtual Encounters 2” is from Surrender Cinema, one of Charles Bands’ sub labels that specialized in the type of movie you’d usually find on late night Fridays and Saturdays on Cinemax back in the nineties. It’s always a good sign when you enter in to a new movie and the first thing you see are a woman’s erect nipples. “Virtual Encounters 2” is the okay sequel to the okay original film. The sequel follows a new group of characters, setting down on two dorm mates at Midvale College. Mel has wet dreams about the girl of his dreams and is discovered by his roommate Sam who actually can score with women. Sam convinces Mel to attend an art class with nude models and Mel is shocked to see one of the nudes are the girl of his dreams.
In case you missed it, here’s what has happened so far in “The Peepshow Collection” movie series: The first nineteen volumes were filled with a lot of adult porn performers having sex, and engaging in general sexual acts. The next volumes will likely have those events unfold, too. Now that you’re caught up, for folks that value this kind of nostalgia and once thought lost series of stag films and porn theater shorts, “42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection Vol. 19” from Impulse Pictures is back to the basics once again. As always the volume, which clocks in at almost two hours, is split in to man on girl, girl on girl, and basic shorts with orgies, threesomes and the like.
Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in the Shell” is the natural successor to “Blade Runner,” it’s an anime masterpiece that works both as an action film and a very evocative and thought provoking science fiction thriller. Through very engaging characters and still incredibly stunning visuals, “Ghost in the Shell” approaches themes like the idea of consciousness and existence, and what living is, and how it’s fairly impossible to prove what sentience is or isn’t. In 2029, law enforcement has been enhanced to the point where human beings can transport their consciousness and memories in to cybernetic shells that grant them amazing abilities used to keep law and order.
An animated re-release/recycling of a hit Danish animated film, “The Trouble with Terkel” was released in 2004, and rather than remake the original animated movie, this new version is re-released with a new title, and a hastily recorded American dub was slapped on to the film. There’s no update to the animation, no re-editing, or anything of the sort. 2004 feels like a whole other century ago, so it’s not surprising “The Trouble with Terkel” watches like a painfully outdated mess. It also doesn’t help that the producers kept all of the country’s background signs and whatnot. So when our characters are in the candy store buying “Sukkerfryd Slik” with “Fedt Nuder!” it’s impossible to not get pulled out of the paper thin narrative.
You could see where David DeCouteau’s contemporary film list started, as “The Killer Eye” is no more a horror film as it is a fifty minute soft core porn with twenty minutes of story added. “The Killer Eye” looks like it was made on a bargain basement budget, and considering the limited scenery, it’s not hard to figure out that DeCoteau put his entire budget on the film’s titular monster. This movie probably introduced a lot of people to hentai for all we know.
From Showtime and Kino Lorber comes what is basically a fun primer of adult cinema for folks that might want to either re-visit the genre, or perhaps learn where to start their collection. “X-Rated” is a very R rated look at some of the greatest Adult movies of all time, and manages to interview many of the surviving cast members of films like “The Opening of Misty Beethoven,” “Deep Throat,” and the once very controversial “Taboo.” Its surprising to see how much involvement many of the cast members had in making these classic porn movies, and how affectionately a lot of modern adult stars discuss these movies with a lot of insight and enthusiasm.