Juan of the Dead, Alejandro Brugues, 2011, Cuba.

Juan of the Dead, Alejandro Brugues, 2011, Cuba.

Yes. We must mention another film here. Shaun of the Dead, the great British zombie spoof that one naturally assumes is being mimicked here. No. It is not a reboot. It does bear many similar characteristics, the big ones being the bromance and the zombies, but it is an entirely different film then Shaun. Since it will get inevitable comparisons, I will clear the air right off and say see both as I am not sure it is folly to tempt to pick one over the other.

Juan of the Dead does something else that is special to me, which is to make noer-doell characters likeable. No great shakes you say? Martin Scorsese hasn’t managed to quite pull it off yet! Perhaps it is because the filmmakers present you with these characters, warts and all, and are not begging you to like them, they are simply presented as they are, and given extraordinary circumstances to operate in. In Scorsese’s case, it is as if he presents you with a character and dares you to like them, as he slowly strips them of their humanity. Here, we are allowed to see the humanity that lies beneath the characters and it is easy to relate to.

The cinematography is quite good, sharp and clear, with occasional forays into camera movements, yet it is sensibly done and doesn’t interfere with the story telling. The filmmakers choose not to give too many details and the story unfolds in a somehow relaxing yet thriller paced linear way. The tone is relatively consistent, with a few bits of bittersweet here and there, but mostly retains its comedic root. The acting is quite good, very human. I am not sure if it because we (the audience outside of the Cuban studio system) don’t know the actors other work or they are actually “unknowns?” None the less, the mixture of the realism in the acting and the down to earth, albeit extraordinary, script keep it easy to watch and not as easy to walk away from. It was easy to gain sympathies for the characters and want to know how things turn out at the end. I will rate this film 3 ½ stars for being not only good, but also highly recommended!

Of course any movie that has sensibilities that extend past the “politically correct” climate that much of the west is mired in will have its detractors. This film has been blamed for being in bad taste for a number of reasons including homophobia. However, in order to find offensive material here, you have to create it on your own. It should be looked at as not having an agenda (to offend, or to shock, etc…) except to use some stereotypical comic behaviors to keep the story from spinning into darkness. (considering it is an apocalyptic film!) There are scenes of spousal cheating, public masturbation, transexuals, gays, bimbos, humiliation, all kinds of stuff, all in small snippets throughout the film. Still, even with all that, it isn’t a very sexual or exploitative film. I will give it 2 on the kink scale, but mainly because it is an adult oriented storyline, and as such, has moments of sexuality in it.

Blastfighter, Lamberto Bava (as John Old Jr.), 1984, USA (Italy)

Blastfighter, Lamberto Bava (as John Old Jr.), 1984, USA (Italy)

When you look at the majority of movies, the titles vary from good to bad, but usually have something to do with the plot, dialog, character names, or even locations. Blastfighter goes way beyond that. It is no spoiler to say that the “blastfighter” is a gun. We are introduced to this special gun about two minutes into the film. After that, we simply wait around for the blastfighter to be put to good use. There is no ambiguity, no baited breath suspense, just somewhat impatient waiting. The problem is that the title of the film IS the film. The plot is essentially Behold Blastfighter, Blast you Blastfighter, and Coup de Blastfighter. Did I just spoil the movie? No. I have only reiterated what the first five minutes will reveal anyhow. So, was Blastfighter any good? Well, in accordance with some random critic that they put on the DVD sleeve, it is “one of the best action movies of the 80’s!” So, there is that. I am unsure of whether that particular critic had seen any other action movie from the 80’s at all, but hey, maybe?

The cinematography is OK. I wasn’t effected by it much good or bad, except for the parts that were a bit too dark, but that only happened during the climax, not during a part that mattered!The directing… Well, riddle me this: Why would a director choose a stage name instead of his/her own name while making “The best film of their career,” in accordance with Quentin Tarantino? I am going to venture to guess that it is because at least in the directors eyes, it was not actually his best work ever! The editing (along with directing) had two big issues. One was that the film seemed to repeat itself thematically over and over. Escaping into the wilderness… Escaping into the wilderness again, oh, and again… Exploding car, exploding car… exploding car… I am not sure how many cars explode in this film, but Michael Bay would be proud! Then the tone. Left alone, the tone was actually relatively even. But if we accidentally think for just one second about it, then it becomes problematic. Consider hootin’ and hollerin’ hillbillies a huntin’ and chillin’. Then consider those same hillbillies hootin’, hollerin’, and huntin’ HUMANS! All the while joking with each other, even after they become the hunted!? There is simply something very very wrong with this idea. Oddly enough, the acting in itself wasn’t completely horrible, in fact, pretty straightforward for the most part. The story was about a good man in various unjust situations. It also involved friends and family and how they all interrelated. It is also a moral dilemma about right and wrong. All of which are big problems for this film because guns (the blastfighter) don’t care about any of that! They just want to be used in spectacular fashion. Ultimately that is precisely where the movie goes wrong. The audience simply wants to see the real main character, “The Blastfighter,” in action. All the rest is sort of dull and frankly a bit off color. This is a bad movie with a couple of half interesting moments. Thus I rate this film 1 ½ stars for being just over the truly bad line and in that questionable zone in between.

This movie is quite non-sexual. There is an interrupted rape scene, interrupted way before anything exploitative happens, and there is a killing of a woman in lingerie that seems to be the requisite; Subparagraph C: All Italian films of the 80’s must have at least one killing of a woman in some sort of lingerie in order to be considered in the group “Italian movies from the 80’s.” Other than that, mainly a bunch of dudes running around in the woods shootin’ stuff! 0 on the kink scale.

Space Mutiny, David Winters and Neal Sundstrom, 1988, South Africa (USA).

Space Mutiny, David Winters and Neal Sundstrom, 1988, South Africa (USA).

Hmm. Well, I figured I had just sat through one of the all time greats, the best way to counteract such a feat would be to sit through one of the all time (so called) worse movies ever made. But there is a fly in the ointment here, this is supremely entertaining precisely because of its poor production values. This movie is so bad on so many levels that it boggles the mind. This movie recalls all those oxymorons that don’t fit anywhere else, such as horribly awesome or terribly great. Maybe my favorite thing about this movie is it doesn’t try to be bad, it just is.

The cinematography is OK, but the sets and the effects are head scratching. Many people remarked on the “bad” special effects, but I counter with the idea that there may not have been enough special effects. When people are “blown up,” and fall by doing choreographed (step 1, step 2, step 3) jumps they should have maybe skewed the camera or I don’t know… used some special effect or something? How then does such bad special effect work make me want to show all my friends the “space cart” chase scenes? The movie uses two directors, and they are likely fast friends, because I get the feeling they went out drinking a lot and never quite got sober enough to figure out what they were doing during the production. The editing… I mean there was an editor I think? Surely someone was “on call” if anything seemed to need editing… Someone had to edit here and there in order to mess up the editing, so there is that… I thought that maybe the acting was OK and the screenplay was bad, or maybe the acting wasn’t so good and the screenplay wasn’t so good either, but most likely the acting was really bad and the screenplay was really bad as well. The basic “main” storyline was simple and actually didn’t leave too much in question. Everything around the main story was convoluted, made little or no sense, and I just don’t know about that? This movie has earned one of my awards. This film holds a special place of honor for me in the category “Worst movies that I will most certainly watch again.” I have a running list of films that may be great, or at least superb, that I cannot bear to watch again as they are just too painful for one reason or another, but I never thought I might wish or feel compelled to make a list of bad movies that I can’t wait to see again, or go so far as to show my friends or recommend?. So, with an honorary award, I rate this film 1 star for being really really bad. I should give it even less, but it is just too damn fun.

The future… Yep. For some reason the future holds a high place for leotards and form fitting clothing. Many movies seem to indicate that in the future this sort of eye candy is just a matter of course. Now I, for one, would be pretty much OK with that, so yay future! Aside from that there is the “pilot” who is a beefcake type dude, and the random party scenes taken out of 80’s workout videos! If you are really really kinky, there are frozen dudes in speedos in one scene, which explains the recruiting process of the bad guys… And there is the witch ladies that do like rituals and stuff all the while in bodysuits with generous chunks missing… and seem to do some sort of psyonic seduction stuff. There is some vanilla “love making” scenes and a check out my ass scene that causes one to ponder tastefulness. Ah, such is the nature of the license a bad film has… I will go with 1 ½ on the kink scale.

8 ½, Federico Fellini, 1963, Italy.

8 ½, Federico Fellini, 1963, Italy.
When I was younger I was a cyclist. I rode every day for over 20 years, with the occasional break for snow and sickness. As a consequence, I was quite fit, in fact very fit indeed. I rode with quite good riders with a couple of local “pros” and one who actually was on a Belgian professional team. I was not the fastest or best, but not for lack of skill or fitness. It comes down to genetic makeup, and how our bodies respond to high levels of lactic acid. So maybe my legs are a bit short and I didn’t have quite the right ratio of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers to be a professional. In pseudo medical terms, when my heart-rate was maxed out, the local pros had a bit more to give, the Belgian racer had one more internal “gear,” so he blew everybody away, and the professionals that ride (for instance) in the Tour de France have yet another gear over him! So when we watch bicycle races on TV or even real life, and imagine we could do that maybe (given time to be fit like that etc. ) we may actually be incorrect. We would have to have the requisite body genetics first. It is no wonder why cycling is rife with drug abuse as this genetic issue cannot be “made up!” It is simply a gift, and when used well, it creates a bit of magic.
Why start a film review with this diatribe on cyclist fitness levels? Well, it is appropriate here. It is likely true that people who would bother to read film reviews like this one are also likely to at the very least fantasize about making their own films. Some do make films, and some will. But just like the cyclist watching the Tour de France, it is an illusion to imagine we can make a film like this. The word “Masterwork” is overused in our culture today, more of a marketers pipe dream then a reality most of the time. Yet here, it is the only proper word to use to describe it. This is a masterwork from Federico Fellini. It is so exquisite in its detail and complexity as to be nearly impossible to grasp. I want everyone who reads this to imagine being given the task to write the screenplay for this movie. Where do you even begin? How do you even write a treatment on this film? And we can cheat, it is already done! I don’t imagine too many filmmakers, even given the genetic structure to do it, would have the nerve to pitch this idea today… That is sad actually.
So lets talk about this movie.
This movie is said to be “The greatest film about films ever made.” (From the Criterion cover) and maybe it is, but it isn’t really about film after all, but about life and all its complexities.
I was more than a bit intimidated by its 138 minute run time and left it on the shelf for a long time because of it. When I watched it I found it to be not nearly that long mentally, although it does run that time on the clock. Perhaps it is because the first thing I noted was how it is made up of a thousand small stories with “payoffs” coming within a few scenes, as opposed to (just say) a mystery movie that gives the clues throughout the story until the final reveal which is its only payoff. There is a flow to it that you find yourself following along, and caring to continue. I found a rather profound irony in that I was beginning to wonder how it was going to end, as the counter was getting up there and I couldn’t imagine a resolution. It suddenly occurred to me that that was precisely the main characters problem as well, among a myriad of others! It wasn’t some sort of gimmick, it just naturally puts you there, worried for the film within the film and the film itself. The film is a blend of fantasy and reality, with the reality often played as farcical melodrama.Yet, even in the fantasy sequences, it is so poignant that at times it is as true to life as any moment we will ever see. There is a religious element that is a good example of this. The film calls it an “Italian catholic consciousness.” and plays it out (in part) as a melodramatic form of flashback dream and yet it touches on truths of catholic consciousness that certainly cross the Italian border!
The cinematography is clear and crisp, camera movements and any effects used efficiently and when necessary, you don’t really think much on it actually. So while this is good in a “not at all irritating” way, on the whole it doesn’t blow you away with visual beauty. (With strong exceptions!). The direction is master class and the editing keeps the story pacing well, tonal values in check, and it flows more or less in a linear way. The acting is compelling, yet somewhat hard to define as the surreal and the real seem to blend and flow at times so you may be thinking something is melodramatic yet it is sensible for the scene. The most basic storyline is easy to follow, but it is a bit player to the multiple small story lines throughout, it is a true privlidge and delight to see this film… Is there anything to complain about? Well, there is something that I would pick on, if only because I have been picked on for it so many times: When I write essays or term papers and the like, they usually have great ambition. So while many are struggling to find that 1500th word, I am struggling to figure out how to condense it a bit, maybe use single space instead of double to make it seem a bit shorter… So I have been told that I should keep it a bit less ambitious, no need to write a book. This movie touches on so many things on so many levels that even though it is done remarkably well, it is really really ambitious! It probably would still have a similarly deep impact had it been done more simply… although we will never know and frankly, we are probably better off for it. I am going to rate this movie 4 stars because it deserves and earns it. I don’t know if on a highly personal level it reaches quite there, maybe three and a half, but I am trying to keep my ratings objective.
This movie has plenty of women in various states of dress and undress, and it does explore many aspects of sexual dynamics between men and women, yet it isn’t out to exploit or give any cheap thrills. I suppose there are scenes, and both male and female actresses, that are easy on the eyes, and there is not that “Hollywood” mysterious absence of sexuality which is a thorn in my side… There are some lovely filmed scenes that are worth seeing. I will go with a 1 ½ on the kink scale

The Most Hated Family in America, 2006/America’s Most Hated Family in crisis, 2011, Louis Theroux, UK.

The Most Hated Family in America, 2006/America’s Most Hated Family in crisis, 2011, Louis Theroux, UK.
I watched these two one hour documentaries back to back and felt a shared review made more sense.
Before I get into these films in detail, it is critical to note something quite essential to documentaries, and Louis Theroux.
I have spoken about documentaries as having two sides (In my SENNA review), one as a non fiction complete work, and the other as a scripted/acted rendition of a non fiction subject. I used the term mockumentary, yet this is technically incorrect, as a mockumentary is a fictional work that parodies an actual documentary. What I should have said was docudrama, which fits the definition I just used precisely. There is also docufiction, which uses scripted fictional parts to spice up an actual documented event or situation. None the less, if we stick with the non fiction through and through, non scripted work, aka, “an actual documentary!” there are a few common ways filmmakers approach them: On one hand we have documentaries where there are no signs of the filmmakers at all, just whatever the story is about going on as if from our point of view. On the other hand is Louis Theroux’s sometimes on camera and voice over narrative form. In between we have documentaries where the subjects are being interviewed but we only see them respond to “invisible” and non recorded questions (presumably from the filmmakers.) Then we have the “visible” verbalized questions we hear being asked of the subjects, finally getting to the presence of the filmmakers within the film itself. Louis Theroux takes the latter to an extreme, by being “in” the documentary nearly full time, and having a voiceover running narrative throughout. I, for one, found this style to be somewhat off putting at first. A few of his documentaries later, I have come to appreciate this style. BUT… It takes some getting used to! Many will find it annoying or subjective to a fault. Yet I have yet to watch any of his work regardless of whether I share his agenda, where he hasn’t treated his subjects with utmost respect and care, even when his agenda is being challenged.
So, straightaway, I would suggest that if you have not seen any of Louis Theroux’s work before this, that you do so, if just to understand his style before you tackle this particular subject matter.
See, there is a level of vulgarity here that is seldom (if ever!) surpassed. The “family” in the title are the members of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is a small extremist cult, led by a certifiable sociopath, who exhibit increasingly inappropriate behavior throughout the two documentaries. I must warn those who have normal developed sensibilities, these people are real, their gauche behaviorisms intended, and they brainwash their young members through fear and intimidation on camera! You have been warned!
The documentary starts with Louis going to visit the church and meet the people behind it. His agenda seems to be simply to understand the why behind the behavior and to coax or at least talk some sense into the younger members. It seems that the “grown ups” don’t wish the simple pleasures of life for their children and it is very clear without the need of fancy editing, that they are warping their young minds with extreme rage and hatred towards humanity (all humanity!). Yet we also get the sense that everyone there, including the elders, are under the influence of the sociopath leader, who mainly hides away in his private chambers while his minions do his bidding. (With some of the young ones… I am talking 7 years old, taking the brunt of the punishment.) When Louis tries to interview the leader, “Grandpa,” as he is called, we are struck by his level of grandiose delusion (Delusion of grandeur). Yet we are also struck (and Louis points out to some of the church members) by his seeming extreme rage and anger, yet it is truly a task to even remotely figure out where it comes from. Leaving him behind, the rest of the “family” has varying degrees of sincerity to the church (as we, as thinking, feeling humans, see on camera!) yet they speak, sometimes robotically, as if they are sincere in the goals of the church… I have to hand it to Louis on this one, I would have run, not walked, away from the church grounds and likely the town, followed by the state, to get as much distance as possible from it all. Even Louis uses a bit of sarcastic humor to get by, and help us as viewers get by as well. Luckily, the church members are so full of themselves that they don’t catch on, and we share a joke on them. By the end of the first documentary, we are left with both the idea that some of the members are hopelessly brainwashed into the cult, while others are struggling with it, so thus we are left with a sort of hope/fear for some of them. I honestly thought I would wish them all dead, but it doesn’t really work that way somehow?
In the second documentary, Louis is greeted with a pithy sort of strange comment about how he is some sort of historic titan among antichrists or similar… then that same sort of searching fake smile thing from some of the members in the first doc. The odd thing is that I get the feeling that nearly all the members were in denial, an existential crisis of sorts. I will share a theory I have that is not new from this documentary but fits: If someone lives an inauthentic life for “too long,” for example they are on their deathbed, and suddenly realize the extent of time they squandered doing something other then they wished with their life, and now cannot “undo” time or come up with new time to do those things, they will have an existential crisis. However, what we do to prevent the crisis is validate what we have done in some way through justification or shared misery. Here, we have a fine example of this in action. Imagine the emotional pain and suffering they are feeling from those they alienate, and years of living for the hate and pain of others. (Actually forget imagining, watch it happen when the woman can’t even put food back in the refrigerator after Louis asks her if it was hard to banish her daughter from her life, she says one thing, but is clearly shattered to the core!). These people are so full of shit because they have to be, its a survival mechanism for their minds. In the first documentary it seemed that they were really devout and serious about their message, in the second it seems they are more robotic, as if they have truly lost their will and just carry on. (NOTE: A few of them, like the fearless leader, are still vile and awful subhuman cultists!) By the end I felt like pulling some of them out of there, getting them far away from it all so that they could finally be real, away from the fear and hate that created that bubble they live in. Again, opposite of what I would have thought before I saw the documentaries! So while Louis Theroux may be some sort of demon beast to them, I found his humanistic approach to dealing with these people to be full of compassion and hope, exactly the opposite the message their church preaches!
OK. Cinematically speaking, I think Louis Theroux has a team he uses, as with most of his documentaries, they are well filmed and polished. The editing seems to try for objectively in what it shows, although I know Louis himself has his own beliefs that he is not afraid to put on screen for us. The people are real, and really messed up to boot! In so much as the story is real life, it is dramatic as we see the young people torn in their hearts between what they are forced to submit to versus what they naturally wish to do as humans. We also see the pain of trying to stick with an impossible commitment at a terrible terrible cost! I may have liked the first part better, but they are both directly good and worth seeing. 3 stars for being good, and bonus for a couple of documentaries that had me feel better about my own humanity at the end. (Unlike the environmental documentaries about how eating meat or driving my car or watching these films is killing us all and wiping out the future for our children, etc. and so forth!)
Perhaps if one were so inclined to dream about some sort of violent or revenge porn, then hey, here we have plenty of fuel for the fire! Other than that, this is about as sexy as getting slapped in the face with a bag of dog poop. 0 on the kink scale. [Now with that said, I also have a theory that the most repressed people end up being the most sexually twisted. With that in mind, as those girls go off to college and get a taste of the real world… yeah, they might just get their freak on! You know, with all the fornication and stuff!]

Snow Sharks, Scott Wheeler, 2013, USA.

Snow Sharks, Scott Wheeler, 2013, USA.
Having managed to choke down Sand Sharks, I felt that there are a couple other “sharks in uncommon waters” movies that I aught to see. Probably not my best idea ever. Imagine if there existed a plausibility chart for movie plots that are not even remotely plausible. The base starting point would simply be “implausible.” The other end of the scale is something hard to explain in words, like building your castle on sand, then building an entire city on top of that. This film, for example, could have easily started with someone thinking up the idea; “What if we had some hot chick in a bikini suddenly eaten by a shark… in the snow!?” All they have to do is come up with a reason for the shark to be in a snowy mountain range… and a hot chick in a bikini also in the snowy mountains for some reason… and they settled for a plot-point that is so far off the charts that it wouldn’t work as a graphic novel story. The implausible/ improbable part isn’t that sharks are in the snow, after all it is frozen water! Or even that the filmmakers went for the Indian spirit vengence theme, which has some underlying probability for many spiritual people. Thus while mildly implausible, it does not go without acceptance. But… they stepped off the reservation when the spirit gods conjured up not some great wolf or bear demon, not even some elk with sharpened hooves demon, or a really really evil squirrel, all of which could easily dwell in such woodlands (and actually be familiar to the Indian gods!) NO. The filmmakers went with sharks. Back in the day (when slaughtering Indian tribes was still the “in” thing to do) It was fairly unlikely that the Indians were heading off to the coast for a bit of sea, sun and sand, so we have to go as far as to assume most of the tribe (or even more so the spirit gods of the mountains) would not actually know what a shark was or looked like, or perhaps even have a conceptual idea of a shark really. None the less by now most are saying “Yeah, but the movie is about sharks, not enchanted woodland creatures.” Right. But the sharks aren’t the problem. The whole Indian spirit god thing is the problem. I suppose IF you wanted Indian spirit gods (of the mountains!) in your movie then they should generally not take the form of sharks or even hardcore mean spirited blue whales.
Ok. So how to resolve the plot “problem?” I might imagine some elaborate marine life aquarium in the mountains where the underfed angry sharks breech the wall of the pool they are in and learn how to swim through the snow, grab a bite to eat, and head back to the pool, no muss, no fuss! [MY IDEA FIRST, I got dibbs on it!]
If you don’t like my mountainside aquarium idea, how about a super secret government shark experiment developing cold weather sharks that breath on land, but have to have water like substances to “swim” in? A super secret plane crashes super secretly and releases some of the experimental sharks into the mountainside where they happily swim around in the snow seeking out fresh meat and having super secret experimental shark babies? Yeah, as completely whacked as my two ideas are, both are somehow more sensible then the Indian spirit god conjured killer shark thing! Anyhooo…
The cinematography is decent, although spotty with some lighting issues here and there, and with some “Baywatch” moments, those scenes that just sort of show up that have nothing to do with the actual plot but show something “interesting.” The special effects are both quite nice and completely bogus. It doesn’t really matter as the whole film has such an impossible suspension of disbelief element (the plausibility chart). I had a problem with the directing in that the characters change roles, with the “good guys” doing some bad things (like a good guy punching a girl in the face?) and the bad guys doing the right thing (Why didn’t you tell me there was this problem? (as if he would not have been morally corrupt the whole movie!)) Then there is the always irritating disappearing character element, where certain characters just disappear from the film after a while so who knows what happened to them? The characters themselves, as the actors portray them, are often mildly creepy (in a date rapey sort of way), with a hint of dipshit. They didn’t really have much to work with, but its not a good resume film anyway. The story is bad, done lower middling, with a side order of “its a movie called Snow Sharks! What did you expect?” So mixed all together, it is pretty awful. If I give it half a star it would indicates that it is so bad that nobody should ever see it, which is almost a tad unfair… because it has tiny moments of relative interest, and it is not intended to be serious from the get go. I will give this film 1 star for being as bad as bad can be without slipping into utter oblivion!
I like looking at girls in bikinis. There are actually a few girls in bikinis and various other form fitting outfits. However, unlike most spring break type movies, that promise in dialog, trailer, and cover art to have some sort of bikini contest or extended “Baywatch” eye candy moments, this movie has none. (The Baywatch moment has to do with snowmobile racing) It has a few really quick snippets of eye candy (yes, even for the girls!) but just doesn’t live up to the bikini contest hardcore spring break thing. Gotta go with being somewhat disappointed with that. ½ on the kink scale for just too little to go around to quite capture our attention.

Aggression Scale, The, Steven C. Miller, 2012, USA.

 

Aggression Scale, The, Steven C. Miller, 2012, USA.

I had a feeling that I would like this movie. It is essentially the same as when you get a bad feeling about a movie before the opening credits even come up. With that said, I realized about ten minutes in that it could never become my new favorite movie because it has at least one all too common flaw. From about six minutes or so until maybe the thirty minute mark (I don’t remember precisely), It gets really slow. The filmmakers do a noble job of using film score and camera techniques to try ratcheting up the tension, but it actually doesn’t have any… The cinematography in general seemed to cruise just a bit above average, with nothing remarkable, but nothing specifically awful either. The pace was off because of the “backstory” part, especially relative to the rest of the movie, but the overall tonal consistency was good, with very small hiccups here and there. The acting was consistent and actually quite natural. I have to admit that while I rather enjoyed the movie by the time the credits were rolling, I have a really bad feeling that it is a “hardcore” version of a very famous family Christmas film… You can get a nearly frame by frame remake of a classic and still like it, so this in itself isn’t the worst curse a film can have, but certainly a must be mentioned truth of it! I did like what the aggression scale itself was, and how they used it in the plot. It certainly is directly violent, without shying away from details that a ratings board is unlikely to love. I imagine the ratings may be polarized somewhat. If you can’t get past the parallel to its famous cousin, then it will be viewed as a joke (in a way). If you see it as a more original idea, it should strike you as clever and interesting. I found myself split between these two worlds, but will err on the side of the filmmakers and allow myself to believe the filmmakers had a good original idea. I rate this film 2 ½ stars. It could have been three stars good if it had managed the pace a bit better.

There were bits of near nudity in this film, and some torture stuff, although none of it was directly sexual or kinky. The lead actress was easy on the eyes, but for the most part, the cast was normal, just say compared to a much worse acted movie with the “hot” cast. So I suppose I would rather have the better acted average looking film then the alternative! Anyway, there really isn’t anything sexual in this film… I am not sure that a bit of sexual spice wouldn’t have heated that essentially boring part after the opening scenes… 0 on the kink scale.