Saturday, May 30, 2009

GO-GO KILLERS! Final Performance Tonight at 8pm!

Final performance tonight, Saturday May 30th, at 8:00 pm!
will play at The Sage Theater in Times Square (711 Seventh Avenue (between 47th and 48th), 2nd floor) May 8-30, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm. Tickets ($15) are available online HERE. A sell-out show is expected, so you should get your tickets as soon as possible!

Take the N,R, or W to 49th Street/7th Ave; the 1 to 50th Street; or the A,C,E,Q,2,3,7, or S to Times Square and walk.

Directed and Choreographed by Rachel Klein! Written by Sean Gill! Starring: Leasen Almquist, Kevin G Shinnick, Joe Stipek, Elizabeth Stewart, Kari Warchock, Jillaine Gill, Reagan Wilson, Dana Perry, Robyn Nielsen, Marna Kohn, Megan O'Connor, Michael Porsche, Michele Cavellero, Danielle Marie Fusco, Chala Savino, Helen Wo, Lisa Fiebert, Aimee DeLong, Brian Rubiano, Preston Burger,Freddy Mancilla, and Don DiPaolo! Stage managed by the lovely Miss Marina Steinberg, Costumes by the exquisite Emily Dorwart, Props by the mysterious Lizz Giorgos and the daring Joey Nova, Lighting by the illustrious Lisa Soverino, make-up by the vivacious Anita Rundles! Produced by Rachel Klein Productions in Association with Junta Juleil Theatricals, LTD.

Off-Off Online on GO-GO KILLERS!

Review can be found HERE.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Only 2 Performances of GO-GO KILLERS! Remain!

May 29th and 30th! (Tonight and Tomorrow!) Details below.

will play at The Sage Theater in Times Square (711 Seventh Avenue (between 47th and 48th), 2nd floor) May 8-30, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm. Tickets ($15) are available online HERE. Sell-out shows are expected, so you should get your tickets as soon as possible!

Take the N,R, or W to 49th Street/7th Ave; the 1 to 50th Street; or the A,C,E,Q,2,3,7, or S to Times Square and walk.

Directed and Choreographed by Rachel Klein! Written by Sean Gill! Starring: Leasen Almquist, Kevin G Shinnick, Joe Stipek, Elizabeth Stewart, Kari Warchock, Jillaine Gill, Reagan Wilson, Dana Perry, Robyn Nielsen, Marna Kohn, Megan O'Connor, Michael Porsche, Michele Cavellero, Danielle Marie Fusco, Chala Savino, Helen Wo, Lisa Fiebert, Aimee DeLong, Brian Rubiano, Preston Burger,Freddy Mancilla, and Don DiPaolo! Stage managed by the lovely Miss Marina Steinberg, Costumes by the exquisite Emily Dorwart, Props by the mysterious Lizz Giorgos and the daring Joey Nova, Lighting by the illustrious Lisa Soverino, make-up by the vivacious Anita Rundles! Produced by Rachel Klein Productions in Association with Junta Juleil Theatricals, LTD.

Film Review: TOTAL RECALL (1990, Paul Verhoeven)

Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 113 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox, Sharon Stone, co-writer Dan O'Bannon (ALIEN, DEAD & BURIED), loose adaptation of Philip K. Dick short story ""We Can Remember It For You Wholesale."
Tag-lines: "They stole his mind, now he wants it back."
Best one-liner: "Who gives a shit what you believe? In thirty seconds you'll be dead, and I'll blow this place up and be home in time for Corn Flakes." or maybe just "See you at the pahhhh-ty, Richter!"

"If I am not me, den who da hell am I?" TOTAL RECALL boldly dares to ask (and answer) the fateful questions, A. "What kind of films would Hitchcock be making if he was alive in 1990?" and B. "What would those films be like if he was taking a dangerous mix of uppers and downers?" Make no mistake, however, this candy-colored insanity is a bona fide masterpiece on a number of levels and a true example (like ROBOCOP) of Verhoeven at the peak of his powers. The special effects are immaculate. There's true cinematic wonder on display, with a real attention to detail and craftsmanship that disappeared with the advent of CGI-only FX. Schwarzenegger has rarely been more likable, and he truly exudes pathos in "the wrong man" (or maybe "wrong mind?") role.

It's a larger-than-life film that calls for larger-than-life acting, and Schwarzenegger's rubbery mug (which is frequently indistinguishable from the wacky prosthetics) is the perfect template upon which to unfold such a tale.

Like the best of Euro-action cinema, this is a movie of over-the-top violence, intense staredowns that defy reality, and a parade of extraordinarily memorable moments (from the Johnnycab inferno to the three-breasted hooker to Arnold's redunkulous muu-muu'd housewife disguise) which stuck in the craws of impressionable kids for decades to come.

Michael Ironside seems to have eaten crazy for breakfast before filming his scenes here, and, as always, he's a vein-bustin' delight to watch.

And like the best of Lynch and Cronenberg, Verhoeven reserves for his villains the most graphic, jaw-dropping fates imaginable- viscerally cathartic to the MAX.

And if you'd like to try a TOTAL RECALL drinking game, try a drink every time someone's eyes are literally bulging outside of their head AND every time someone must hang onto to something, lest they be blown into the vacuum of space.

Of course if you do that, you just might end up with an identity crisis on par with Quaid and Hauser. Five lunatic stars.

-Sean Gill

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Film Review: EUREKA (1983, Nicolas Roeg)

Stars: 3 of 5.
Running Time: 130 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Gene Hackman, Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer, Mickey Rourke, Joe Spinell (MANIAC!), Joe Pesci, Ed Lauter (TRUE ROMANCE, DEATH WISH 3).
Tag-lines: None.
Best one-liner: Not really.

Remember that one movie? The epic one with the atonal music. The one that began with a man making the solitary discovery of a massive quantity of a natural resource that exploded toward the heavens. The one where the guy had a really complex, disturbing relationship with his kid as a result of his own selfishness. There were striking visuals, majestic landscapes, and brief interjections of horrific violence. Yeah. Well, this is called EUREKA, and it came out in 1983. Now, I'm not gonna lie: THERE WILL BE BLOOD is a much better film than EUREKA, but it seems 'ole P.T. Anderson was adapting more than just a novel called OIL!, and he probably should have given credit where credit was due.

However, EUREKA is classic 'less than the sum of its parts.' It suffers from a rare condition known as ‘Nicolas Roeg disorder,’ which means that it's going to seem incredibly strong at the outset, possess breathtaking visuals and editing throughout, but ultimately, will kind of blunder into a morass where it doesn't quite know what the hell it's doing. And sometimes that's okay.
In my mind, DON'T LOOK NOW and BAD TIMING are films of his that escape completely unscathed. The first forty minutes of PERFORMANCE are 'top ten of all-time' quality, and then it derails into a Borges-wannabe psychedelic wankfest. Same thing kinda happens to EUREKA. Except its a long-winded courtroom-drama, voodoo-orgy kind of detour.

EUREKA still possesses some moments of power, however, and features some fine actors. Mickey Rourke is a mobster milquetoast, Rutger Hauer is a raging a-hole son-in-law, Theresa Russell is a sharp but self-destructive daughter, Joe Pesci is the same old gangster he always is, and Gene Hackman is this picture's gilded core.

I would recommend, however, watching the [your name here] cut of EUREKA. Whenever it starts to bore you, just shut it off, cause it's not getting any better, unless you really, really want to see Rutger Hauer in a cage. Three stars for effort.

-Sean Gill

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Film Review: THE WILD ONE (1953, Laslo Benedek)

Stars: 3.5 of 5.
Running Time: 79 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Lee Marvin, Marlon Brando, Robert Keith, Richard Farnsworth.
Tag-lines: "Marlon Brando! Driven Too Far By His Own Hot Blood!"
Best one-liner: "Nobody tells me what to do. You keep needlin' me, if I want to, I'm gonna take this joint apart and you're not gonna know what hit you!"

Forget seeing a man fly in SUPERMAN. Forget STAR WARS' Death Star incinerating a planet. Forget dinosaurs running amok in JURASSIC PARK or KING KONG climbing the Empire State building. The most improbable event ever committed to celluloid is contained within the whirling reels of THE WILD ONE, and that event is this: pretty-boy milksop Marlon Brando beating the shit out of Lee Marvin. Come on.

Alright, forget the iconic status of Brando in this movie for just a second, and think about this: Sporting tattoos and a neatly-trimmed beard, smarmily riding a motorcycle, and wearing a beatnik vest, a striped shirt, and the moniker "Chino," this movie is Lee Marvin's to steal.

And, by God, he hotwires it, takes it for a spin, leaves it upside-down in a ditch, keys it, and then roars away on his hawg, laughin' his ass off like some kinda hyena sonofabitch.

He's so awesome that The Beatles named themselves after Lee's gang (though never officially admitted it). Basing his performance off of legendary biker "Wino Willy" Forkner, who rode with the "Booze Fighters," Lee even learned to ride a motorcycle (so as not to be upstaged by Brando) and quickly became a serious challenger in the desert motorcycle racing scene. Iconic though it may be, this isn't exactly the greatest flick ever made, but Lee proves that it should be remembered for something more than just Brando's lopsided newsie hat. Bravo, Mr. Marvin.

-Sean Gill

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pink Raygun on GO-GO KILLERS!

Originally posted HERE.

Theater Review: Go-Go Killers!
by Teresa Jusino

Geek Theater is truly becoming a genre in its own right. From larger budget productions like Evil Dead: The Musical and The Toxic Avenger to off-off Broadway plays like the previously reviewed The Wendigo and Universal Robots, geek theater is all the rage!

Go-Go Killers, the latest entry into the mix, is everything a fan of B-movies, Quentin Tarantino, or hot, badass chicks in skimpy outfits could want!

The story is set in 2019 in a world where global warming has ravaged the planet, the gulf between rich and poor has eliminated the middle class altogether, and law and order as we know it is out the window. The world is divided up into territories by go-go dancing gang debs who are kidnapping and killing the world’s wealthiest citizens. The heroines of the story are a girl gang called The Furies (all the girls and gangs have taken on names from Greek mythology), and we follow them as they kidnap a rich uncle and nephew and take them to the Queen of the girl gangs, flirting and fighting their way across the deserts of New New Jersey.

The story however, while intriguing, isn’t what makes this play special. What makes it special is Rachel Klein’s deft direction and hilarious and inspired choreography, which is guaranteed to make you want to invest in lots of glitter and a pair of hot pants. This is a play, not a musical, and yet the go-go dance breaks (not to mention go-go fight sequences!) are even more instrumental in telling the story than the dialogue. It’s difficult to adapt a genre that’s so firmly cinematic, but Klein effortlessly evokes 1950s cautionary tales of juvenile delinquency and 1960s B-movies in a way that makes sense on stage.

Playwright Sean Gill’s dialogue is perfect and funny, betraying a strong love of the kind of films that inspired the script. He’s created some wonderful characters, and set up a world in which it would be fun to spend some time. We always care about The Furies (as well as the other gang debs who make an appearance), and they are why this play is worth a viewing.

Enough can’t be said about this talented cast of go-go girls (and boys!). Special kudos must go to Kari Warchock as Marietta, the Furies’ newest member; Elizabeth Stewart as Electra, the Furies’ fearless leader; and Reagan Wilson as Pandora, the Furies’ second-in-command. Warchock’s strength lies in her impeccable comic timing, and her Marietta is completely endearing. Stewart’s Electra is the badass leader we all wish we could be. She moves beautifully and is a strong actress, owning the stage whenever she’s on it and giving us a nuanced portrayal of a character that could have easily been a caricature. Wilson is the complete package, delivering funny, saucy, and menacing in equal measure, and allowing us to remember why characters like Cleopatra Jones are so awesome. The cast is also a diverse bunch - in age, race, and body type - and it’s nice to see the performers in this mixed group all get to be sexy, smart, and funny, using and subverting stereotypes simultaneously to wonderful effect.

Go-Go Killers is in its final performances this weekend. If you’re looking for powerful, well-dressed ladies, wry social commentary, and kitschy, B-movie inspired fun, get yourself to the Sage Theater in NYC on Friday or Saturday night!

-Teresa Jusino

**Go-Go Killers plays Friday and Saturday night at 8PM at The Sage Theater (711 Seventh Avenue, NYC). Tickets are and are available online at**


Film Review: METROPOLITAN (1990, Whit Stillman)

Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 98 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Chris Eigeman, Taylor Nichols, Carolyn Farina, Will Kempe, Dylan Hundley, Edward Clements.
Tag-lines: "Finally... A film about the downwardly mobile. "
Best one-liner: "I guess you could say it's extremely vulgar... I like it a lot."

"Is our language so impoverished that we have to use acronyms of French phrases to make ourselves understood?" "-Yes." Like some fragile, carefully festooned porcelain ornament long misplaced, METROPOLITAN emerged in 1990, not with a roar, but rather with an eloquent whisper and an arched eyebrow. Whit Stillman's talent, initially misdiagnosed as Woody Allen-esque, was truly, autobiographically, anachronistically (think F. Scott Fitzgerald unstuck in time with a light dose of John Hughes) original, and it paved the way for such wordy American indie auteurs as Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson. METROPOLITAN also heralded the arrival of one of the great underappreciated actors of our time, Christopher Eigeman (BARCELONA, KICKING AND SCREAMING).

The craftsmanship and hilarity of this script cannot be exaggerated. Endlessly quotable, I find myself held rapt by the exquisite dialogue as one might marvel over a ship-in-a-bottle. Needless to say, it's not for everyone, and if a line like "Girls that have been degraded by you don't need the further humiliation of having their names bandied about non-exclusive Park Avenue after-parties!" doesn't appeal to you, then you probably shouldn't be watching this.

The plot is simple, and it unfolds with subtlety and grace: one Christmas vacation, not so long ago, proletarian Fourierist Tom (Edward Clements) is immersed by chance in Manhattan's upper-crust deb world. Gentle, nuanced comedy ensues as he meets the snarky Nick (Eigeman), the tragically naive Charlie (Taylor Nichols), the titled aristocratic tool Von Sloneker (Will Kempe), the melancholy Molly Ringwald-type Audrey (Carolyn Farina), and many others. The film finds true, wry emotive power, however, in its last act, which finds Tom and Charlie cast adrift without their 'id,' Nick, and caught amid a sea of varying premature ideas of failure. An excellent film, and a true silver-tongued jewel in the crown of American independent cinema. Five stars.

-Sean Gill

Friday, May 22, 2009

Only 4 Performances of GO-GO KILLERS! remain!

May 22nd, 23rd, 29th, and 30th! Details below.

will play at The Sage Theater in Times Square (711 Seventh Avenue (between 47th and 48th), 2nd floor) May 8-30, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm. Tickets ($15) are available online HERE. Sell-out shows are expected, so you should get your tickets as soon as possible!

Take the N,R, or W to 49th Street/7th Ave; the 1 to 50th Street; or the A,C,E,Q,2,3,7, or S to Times Square and walk.

Directed and Choreographed by Rachel Klein! Written by Sean Gill! Starring: Leasen Almquist, Kevin G Shinnick, Joe Stipek, Elizabeth Stewart, Kari Warchock, Jillaine Gill, Reagan Wilson, Dana Perry, Robyn Nielsen, Marna Kohn, Megan O'Connor, Michael Porsche, Michele Cavellero, Danielle Marie Fusco, Chala Savino, Helen Wo, Lisa Fiebert, Aimee DeLong, Brian Rubiano, Preston Burger,Freddy Mancilla, and Don DiPaolo! Stage managed by the lovely Miss Marina Steinberg, Costumes by the exquisite Emily Dorwart, Props by the mysterious Lizz Giorgos and the daring Joey Nova, Lighting by the illustrious Lisa Soverino, make-up by the vivacious Anita Rundles! Produced by Rachel Klein Productions in Association with Junta Juleil Theatricals, LTD.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Updated Browsable List of All Reviews, May '09

7 DAYS IN MAY (1964, John Frankenheimer)
52 PICK-UP (1986, John Frankenheimer)

ACTION JACKSON (1988, Craig R. Baxley)
ALL THAT JAZZ (1979, Bob Fosse)
APPALOOSA (2008, Ed Harris)
APRIL FOOL'S DAY (1986, Fred Walton)

BALTIKA EXTRA 9 (2008, Russia)
BATTLE IN HEAVEN (2005, Carlos Reygadas)
BEAT STREET (1984, Stan Lathan)
BIG BLOW (2000, United States)
THE BLACK CAT (2007, Stuart Gordon)
BLUE COLLAR (1978, Paul Schrader)
BOARDING GATE (2008, Olivier Assayas)
BODY PARTS (1991, Eric Red)
BOXING HELENA (1993, Jennifer Chambers Lynch)
BROKEN ARROW (1996, John Woo)
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (1992, Fran Rubel Kazui)
BULLETPROOF (1988, Steve Carver)

CANDYMAN (1992, Bernard Rose)
CASTLE FREAK (1995, Stuart Gordon)
CHAMPAGNE COLA (2009, United States)
CLASS OF 1984 (1982, Mark L. Lester)
COFFY (1973, Jack Hill)
COPYING BEETHOVEN (2006, Agnieszka Holland)
CRITTERS (1986, Stephen Herek)
CRITTERS 2: THE MAIN COURSE (1988, Mick Garris)
CRITTERS 3: YOU ARE WHAT THEY EAT (1991, Kristine Peterson)
CUTTER'S WAY (1981, Ivan Passer)

DAGON (2001, Stuart Gordon)
DEAD & BURIED (1981, Gary Sherman)
DEAD HEAT (1988, Mark Goldblatt)
THE DEAD POOL (1988, Buddy van Horn)
DEADBEAT AT DAWN (1988, Jim van Bebber)
DEADLY WEAPONS (1974, Doris Wishman)
DEEP RED (1975, Dario Argento)
DEMONS 2 (1986, Lamberto Bava)

THE EARRINGS OF MADAME DE... (1953, Max Ophüls)
ENTER THE NINJA (1981, Menahem Golan)
ESCAPE FROM L.A. (1996, John Carpenter)
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981, John Carpenter)
EUREKA (1983, Nicolas Roeg)

FACE/OFF (1997, John Woo)
FAREWELL, MY LOVELY (1975, Dick Richards)
FEAST II: SLOPPY SECONDS (2008, John Gulager)
FEAST III: THE HAPPY FINISH (2009, John Gulager)
FIRESTARTER (1984, Mark Lester)
FIREWALKER (1986, J. Lee Thompson)
FLASHDANCE (1983, Adrian Lyne)
FLESHBURN (1984, George Gage)
FOXY BROWN (1974, Jack Hill)
FROZEN RIVER (2008, Courtney Hunt)

A GIRL CUT IN TWO (2008, Claude Chabrol)
GRAN TORINO (2008, Clint Eastwood)

HANG 'EM HIGH (1968, Ted Post)
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (2008, Mike Leigh)
HEARTBREAK RIDGE (1986, Clint Eastwood)
HELLBOUND (1994, Aaron Norris)
HIGH SPIRITS (1988, Neil Jordan)
HOMECOMING (2005, Joe Dante)
HOOPER (1978, Hal Needham)
THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959, William Castle)
HOUSE III: THE HORROR SHOW (1989, James Isaac)

INFERNO (1980, Dario Argento)
IRISH POTCHEEN (2006, Ireland)


KEOMA (1976, Enzo G. Castellari)

THE LAST DETAIL (1973, Hal Ashby)
THE LAST SHARK (1981, Enzo G. Castellari)
THE LETTER PEOPLE, EPISODE 1- MEET MR M (1974, Elayne Reiss-Weimann & Rita Friedman)
LIFE AT THE OUTPOST (1979, Skatt Bros.)
LONE WOLF MCQUADE (1983, Steve Carver)

MAN ON WIRE (2008, James Marsh)
MANHUNTER (1986, Michael Mann)
MANIAC! (1980, William Lustig)
MARY (2008, Abel Ferrara)
MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986, Stephen King)
METROPOLITAN (1990, Whit Stillman)
MISSION TO MARS (2000, Brian de Palma)
MISTER LONELY (2008, Harmony Korine)
MURDER ROCK (1984, Lucio Fulci)
MY OWN WORST ENEMY (2008, Jason Smilovic)
MY WINNIPEG (2008, Guy Maddin)

THE NAME OF THE ROSE (1986, Jean-Jacques Annaud)

THE OCTAGON (1980, Eric Karson)

THE PARK IS MINE! (1986, Steven Hilliard Stern)
PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING (1981, James Cameron)
THE PIRATE MOVIE (1982, Ken Annakin)
PREDATOR 2 (1990, Stephen Hopkins)
PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987, John Carpenter)
PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990, Allan Moyle)

Q & A (1990, Sidney Lumet)

THE RAGE (1997, Sidney J. Furie)
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981, Steven Spielberg)
RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II (1985, George Cosmatos)
RAMBO III (1988, Peter MacDonald)
RAMBO IV (2008, Sylvester Stallone)
REAL COTTON CANDY (????, United States)
RED DRAGON (2002, Brett Ratner)
THE RESURRECTED (1992, Dan O'Bannon)
RHINESTONE (1984, Bob Clark)
ROBOT JOX (1990, Stuart Gordon)
ROCK 'N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979, Joe Dante & Allan Arkush)
ROCK 'N ROLL NIGHTMARE (1987, John Fasano)
ROLLER BOOGIE (1979, Mark L. Lester)

SALSA (1988, Boaz Davidson)
SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964, John Frankenheimer)
SHARKY'S MACHINE (1981, Burt Reynolds)
SILENT LIGHT (2007, Carlos Reygadas)
THE SILENT WORLD (1956, Jacques Cousteau & Louis Malle)
SOUTHERN COMFORT (1981, Walter Hill)
THE STAND (1994, Mick Garris)
STAR CRYSTAL (1985, Lance Lindsay)
STRAIT-JACKET (1964, William Castle)
STUCK (2008, Stuart Gordon)
THE SUBSTITUTE (1996, Robert Mandel)
SUSPIRIA (1977, Dario Argento)

THE TAKING OF POWER BY LOUIS XIV (1966, Roberto Rossellini)
THE THIRD MIRACLE (1999, Agnieszka Holland)
THE TINGLER (1959, William Castle)
TOMBSTONE (1993, "George Cosmatos" & Kurt Russell)
THUNDER ROAD (1958, Arthur Ripley)
TRANCERS (1985, Charles Band)
TROUBLE THE WATER (2008, "Tia Lessin & Carl Deal")
TUAREG: THE DESERT WARRIOR (1984, Enzo G. Castellari)

UNDER SIEGE (1992, Andrew Davis)

VAMPIRE'S KISS (1988, Robert Bierman)

W. (2008, Oliver Stone)
THE WANDERERS (1979, Philip Kaufman)
WAXWORK (1988, Anthony Hickox)
WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S (1989, Ted Kotcheff)
WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART (1990, Clint Eastwood)
THE WILD ONE (1953, Laslo Benedek)
THE WILLIES (1991, Brian Peck)
WINNING (1969, James Goldstone)
THE WIZARD (1989, Todd Holland)
THE WORST WITCH (1986, Robert Young)
THE WRESTLER (2008, Darren Aronofsky)


ZIP ZAP RAP (1986, Devastatin' Dave the Turntable Slave)

Film Review: THE BLACK CAT (2007, Stuart Gordon)

Stars: 3.5 of 5.
Running Time: 58 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Jeffrey Combs.
Tag-lines: None.
Best one-liner: Anything with "Eddie" in it.

As a film, Stuart Gordon's THE BLACK CAT is a mixed bag. As a "Masters of Horror" episode, it's top-notch. THE BLACK CAT's been tackled by everyone from Argento to Fulci to Edgar Ulmer. There have been faithful adaptations, and there have been total reworkings that lose EVERYTHING except the title, and maybe an appearance by the eponymous feline (if we're lucky). How does Gordon's stack up? Pretty well.

The good: A. Jeffrey Combs. His performance is truly transformative. The man IS Poe. And it's not just the makeup and prosthetics- only fleetingly do you catch traces of the Jeffrey Combs we know and love beneath the tortured exterior.

And to think I'd just been saying that I'd love to see him play another drunk after CASTLE FREAK. B. The visuals. Gordon uses a muted color palette except for vivid blood-reds and sharp cat's eye-yellows. It looks great. C. Doing something new with the story, and making it relate to Poe's life. Though it steers hilariously close to YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES when, for example, Poe's wife calls him "Eddie." (*It must be noted that he historically answered to the nickname Eddie, but that doesn't make this any less hilarious.)

The bad: I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Stu, could ya lay off the CGI? I'm not suggesting animal cruelty for a certain eye-gouging scene or an actual victim for the axe to the head, and I understand you're under time constraints for these gigs, but surely you could've done something with a puppet or prosthetics or SOMETHING. The CGI just really takes me out of the movie, and definitely moreso than stop motion or rockin' 80's makeup FX. (*It must also be noted that there's a lot of great traditional makeup FX in this episode, it's simply these two brief examples that took me out of the episode.)

And, also, I've seen so many adaptations at this point, it's SLIGHTLY difficult for me to get it up for THE BLACK CAT these days, but this version really makes me want to, so, I'd say if this at all sounds up your alley, you'll probably enjoy it.

-Sean Gill

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Flavorpill's Review of GO-GO KILLERS!

Originally posted here.

Go-Go Killers!

– Patricia Contino

©2009. Flavorpill.

Film Review: KEOMA (1976, Enzo G. Castellari)

Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 105 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Franco Nero (Nero is legendary: he's worked with Fassbinder, Bunuel, Castellari, and John Huston; he's played Jesus, Valentino, Versace, Django, and Lancelot!), Woody Strode (ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, SPARTACUS, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE), William Berger (VON RYAN'S EXPRESS, DJANGO 2), De Angelis (soundtrack, THE LAST SHARK), Donald O'Brian (TROLL 3: QUEST FOR THE MIGHTY SWORD, INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, John Frankenheimer's THE TRAIN).
Tag-lines: None!
Best one-liner: "The world keeps going around and around. So you always end up in the same place."

Along with Sergio Corbucci's THE GREAT SILENCE, KEOMA is probably the best of the non-Leone spaghetti westerns. Enzo G. Castellari's not a mere rip-off artist; he's a true disciple of Leone's films (and of Peckinpah's), and he brings many more elements to the table: like EL TOPO, this western is mystical, philosophical, and vaguely psychedelic; like Argento's contributions to ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (and his best giallos), the myriad flashbacks have a hazy, magical quality to them that is distinctly Italian; and, unlike most second-tier spaghettis, KEOMA's characters talk about their feelings (!) and the film possesses real emotional stakes.

I shit you not; the line being spoken right here is "You never gave us the affection you gave to him... And we were your real sons!"

In the midst of all of this is a barechested, grimy, hairy, and grizzled Franco Nero- his intense blue eyes and severe demeanor anchoring the film's disparate elements.

I hear a lot of complaining about the De Angelis soundtrack, but it has a purpose- it's a primal ballad, full of vocal shrieks and screeches that may not always be pleasing to the ear, but they certainly go a long way toward forming the bleak, savage atmosphere. Castellari's visual sense is at its peak in this film:

we're entreated to the POV of a target as it's shot at- large holes of light tearing themselves out of the screen;

the POV of Keoma's hand as he counts off the bad guys he's about to gun down;

and majestic slow motion as men are shot, punched, and thrown by the hair, their bodies plummeting into mud-entrenched puddles and engulfed by wisps of dust and sand.

There's a few classic Castellari moments, like the line "Ya overgrown papoose!" and more odd Italian references and depictions of gratuitous pissing (see also: TROLL 2, MONSTER DOG, etc.), but for the most part, this is a very serious film.

Classic obligatory Italian pissing scene. The man pictured above literally begins pissing on command onto Woody Strode's boots.

And check out this guy! (Joshua Sinclair.) Smug assholes abound in Castellari flicks.

But toss in the stern pathos of Woody Strode (pictured above), the complex family dynamics between biological and adopted sons, and a genuine thoughtfulness throughout (which is so rare in a film of this type), and KEOMA is truly a classic. Viva Castellari!

-Sean Gill

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

J.B. Spins on GO-GO KILLERS!

Original posting can be found HERE.

On-Stage: Go-Go Killers

It was a time when women were women and the men were girly. Actually, that time is ten years in the future, as envisioned through the prism of 1960’s exploitation film. Inspired by the work of soft-core auteur Russ Meyer, as well as more PG-rated girl gang fare, Go-Go Killers (trailer here) is an extravaganza of dancing, fighting, and male emasculation, now running at the Sage Theater, appropriately located in Times Square, the historic home of grindhouse cinema.

Of course, Times Square is respectable now, so the halter tops and hot pants stay safely donned. Go-Go is more about dancing and attitude than that other stuff. In 2019, the Tri-State area is largely a wasteland, except for Manhattan, where real estate prices never seem to fall. The rich get richer, but one by one, they are being assassinated by roving girl gangs. (In the exploitation tradition, the politics are kept simplistic to the point of self-parody.) Marietta falls in with one such gang, the Furies, after being violently cast aside by her jealous ex-fiancé Eugene St. Ives, the petulant son of the fourth richest man in the country.

As fortune would have it, Marietta quickly has the opportunity for some payback. The Furies have a mission to take out #4, and kidnap the ineffectual son Eugene as well as Nelson, their creepy family friend, who also happens to have a place on the top 50 list. Let the class warfare man-bashing begin, and dig that crazy beat.

Logically, the biggest attraction of Go-Go is the spirited go-go dancing, choreographed by director Rachel Klein. She stages the dance numbers with a high energy, groovy “boots-were-made-for-walking” retro charm. There are also some great dancers in the surprisingly large troupe, consisting of the Furies, their rival Gorgons, and distinct Gold and Silver Go-Gos. Elizabeth Stewart is a particular standout as Electra, the leader of the Furies, who whips her pony tail menacingly around, like a medieval morning-star.

It is safe to say dramatic realism is not really Go-Go’s goal, but there are definitely some charismatic performers on-stage, particularly Stewart, Jillaine Gill, and Reagan Wilson as Electra, Godiva, and Pandora, the original Furies. Although Go-Go is really about as risqué as Chicago playing right across Times Square, it embraces the subversive spirit of Meyer’s cult classics. More Roger Corman than Russ Meyer, it might sound like a guilty pleasure, but it is really more of a groovy nostalgia trip. Good clean camp, Go-Go runs Fridays and Saturdays through May 30th.

©2009. J.B. Spins.

Film Review: VAMPIRE'S KISS (1988, Robert Bierman)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 103 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Writer Joseph Minion (AFTER HOURS), Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Beals, Maria Conchita Alonso (THE RUNNING MAN), David Hyde-Pierce, Amy Stiller (Ben's sister), Marc Coppola (Nic Cage's brother), Elizabeth Ashley (HAPPINESS, SHIP OF FOOLS).
Tag-lines: "Seduction. Romance. Murder. The things one does for love."
Best one-liner: "I'm a vampire! I'm a vampire! I'm a vampire!"

You know, I'm not really sure where to begin. This is definitely one of those cases (see also: D.C. CAB) where I'm so perplexed that I just hand out four stars as sort of a knee-jerk reaction. Yes, I am aware Nicolas Cage is insane.

Yes, I'm aware that he CHOOSES to exhibit these affectations of insanity, unlike, say, genuinely bonkers individuals like Klaus Kinski, Gary Busey, or Werner Herzog. And, yes, I am aware that through this conscious decision, he is, in a way, MORE insane than the people I've just named. (Well, maybe not, but you see my point.)

Alright. Now that's out of the way, we can discuss the film at hand. Written by Joseph Minion, VAMPIRE'S KISS amplifies the vague misogyny and obliterates the nuanced humor present in AFTER HOURS (also written by Minion- though basically the first half of that script is plagiarized from a Joe Frank monologue). It's a 'descent into madness' movie, and it's about as hamfisted and embarrassingly slapsticky as a film of its type could possibly be. And as the center of its whirling, lunatic universe is our boy Nic Cage, who has more than a few bats loose in his belfry. Cage eats, in one long take, a live, honest-to-goodness, water-buggin' NYC cockroach.

He psychotically recites the alphabet to make a minor point. He literally screams "Boo hoo" when he's sad. It's difficult to tell if he's playing the role as a Gordon Gecko-type evil yuppie, an English dandy, someone afflicted with Down's Syndrome, or a Keanu Reeves impersonator.

All this is combined with deeply atmospheric music, sharp cinematography, elements of George Romero's MARTIN, and Minion's overwhelming fear of females and relationships to create a work that is utterly, utterly unhinged.

It doesn't REALLY work as an existential art film OR as a piece of entertainment (a dual feat that AFTER HOURS managed), but I really have to give it points for at least succeeding at being as exasperatingly frustrated as its own protagonist. Whew!

-Sean Gill

Monday, May 18, 2009

GO-GO KILLERS! in Metro- readable version!

A link to the original scan can be found HERE. Click on the photo below for a larger view.

©2009 Metro US. By Heidi Patalano.

GO-GO KILLERS! Article in today's Metro Newspaper!

Turn to Page 16 of New York's most widely circulated free newspaper, and you'll see an article on some familiar faces and a play they call "the best of the B-movie genre." The online version is not yet up; if it does not appear soon, I will transcribe the article for those of you without access to free NYC newspapers.

Friday, May 15, 2009

GO-GO KILLERS! Interview with Sean Gill in PaperMag

GO-GO KILLERS! in Tom Murrin's Stage Notes

It’s 2009, and the country is in the initial stages (perhaps) of a potentially devastating financial crisis, there are clearly widening gaps between the haves and the have-nots, and severe global warming is on the horizon. If you were an imaginative, experienced playwright/filmmaker like Sean Gill, you might wonder what it’s going to be like 10 years from now. Well, he has, and the expert director/choreographer Rachel Klein is going to help him fulfill his apocalyptic vision; with a cast of 22, most of them strong, fierce women who dance, fight and take no prisoners. I spoke with Gill.

So, Sean, things are bad now; how bad are they going to get?
The play takes place in 2019, and by then the shit has totally hit the fan. Global warming has gone unchecked, the sea levels have risen. The rich and the super-rich have all the power and the money, and they choose only to irrigate themselves. The only organized opposition that is left are the Girl Gangs.

And they roam the countryside, making calculated strikes against the super-rich. They're attempting to kidnap or kill everyone on the list of the country’s wealthiest citizens. The girls have chosen mythological names to convey the mythological degree of justice they wish to unleash, like The Fates, the Sirens, the Gorgons, and our heroes in the story, The Furies.

OK, so what’s going to happen?
The major conflict is when The Furies are kidnapping and killing at a high society soiree, and there’s some tension between the gangs as to who gets to do what. Every gang wants the glory to themselves. There’s competition between the predators over their prey. So there are catfights. That’s the point of departure.

That all sounds great. Is it funny?
In a sense, it’s prophetic; but yes, it’s funny and it’s meant to be so. But it’s not a parody of those movies of the ‘50s and ‘60s, nor a spoof of them. Nor is it entirely a homage to those films that I love, like Faster, Faster, Pussycat, Kill, Kill! by Russ Meyer, or Switchblade Sisters, by Jack Hill. But I love the trappings of those B- movies, and I’m using those trappings, combined with the tradition of Great American Drama, capital D, to create something which is hopefully at times funny, interesting, dramatic and ultimately, worthwhile.

Also, I wanted to say that it’s the easy route to hit someone over the head with harsh words and torment, and try to make it an experiment in cruelty, but that’s not so easy to digest over 90 minutes. It bounces off and doesn’t sink in. I’ve looked at the movies of Jack Hill and George Romero, and their idea is to butter you up with babes or zombies, but then they come at you with the zingers, like social commentary, consumerism. That’s kind of what Go-Go Killers is. It sort of whispers sweet-nothings into your ears, with hot pants and ass-shaking and lots of glitter, and it lulls you into a complacency, before it starts to tackle what I call “the fun stuff," like gender dynamics, violence, class difference, and how they relate.

The Sage Theater, 711 Seventh Ave., 2nd floor. Tickets available online only at May 8- 30, Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m. $15.