[EXPRESSO] The Bunker Game (2022) | Paranazical Activity

Out of the blue a new italian (well, an italo-french production, but still, shot in Italy with italian actors) horror movie sneaked into cinemas here as an event screening.

I will say that this time i’m not so much disappointed or angry but utterly confused as to what they were even trying to do.

The setup is that there’s a LARP set up in a WWII nazi-fascist bunker in Italy, with an alternate history post-apocalyptic scenario, but when security measures break down, they evacuate the place and only the staff decides to remain and investigate to what happened, as the game/scenario creator has gone missing…

Given the title you’d expect the movie turning into either a battle royale, a Saw-style thingie, even a simple slasher, but nope, it goes into supernatural territory…. for reasons.

In the first part you kinda forget – despite the movie stating immediatly it’s a LARP – that’s a farce, a game, and i honestly wonder why it didn’t play the “alt-history Fallout cum Fourth Reich” scenario straight, i mean, the production values are quite good, the costumes too, so it could have been simply a modern nazisploitation flick.

For what it actually is, a horror movie, one where the horror part feels really forced and cliched, there’s some atmosphere due to the setting but no tension as the movie randomly veers into horror, the characters are token, unlikeable or barely have any screen time to be even worthy of adjectives.

The Bunker Game has some good cinematography, decent-to-good acting, but it feels way longer than its 90 minutes runtime, as it meanders about unsure of what the hell it’s even doing or saying, if anything at all.

Still better than In The Trap, but this one frustrated me way more since it had actual potential.

Liberation Day Break

YEAH BOIIIIIIIII!

You know what day it is: it’s that day when we post that image from Porco Rosso.

And since here in Italy it’s a proper festivity, i’m gonna take a small break instead of reviewing a nazisploitation flick to mock the punchable bastards, fuck em forever.

Also, it comes with the added benefit of you not having to read about Holocaust II: The Revenge (almost ironically an italian production, yeah), i don’t ever need to make these up, of course if Titanic 2 exists, anything goes regardless.

Really not feeling it when The Northman it’s out in theathers now here, so expect an EXPRESSO review of that out on Tuesday.

[EXPRESSO] Freaks Out (2021) | Freaks VS Nazis

I usually don’t feature italian movies here for fairly logical or obvious reason, but this is quite “the something”, as in it’s one of those batshit weird movies we’re still capable of putting out, like 2019’s Creators – The Past, but this has already quite the hook for italian viewers, as its from Gabriele Mainetti, the director of an italian superhero thriller called They Called Him Jeeg Robot, that yes, dips from the well of old mecha anime for its monicker and theme.

Not that it needed that to stand out, as this is about a group of circus freaks with various quirks (not quite that kind) and abilities that have become a dysfunctional family of sorts after they started living and working in Israel’s cirucs. But as this is set in 1943 Rome, as an explosion destroys the circus, so they find themselves without a home-refuge, thrown into the horrors WW II.

And yes, this means they’ll have to face the Nazis, as the ringmaster of the Berlin Zircus it’s looking for people with special abilities in order to weaponize them for the Fuhrer.

Even more amazing, it’s not billed as a tongue-in-cheek romp, but as a drama, which isn’t that surprising considering the director and this being “foreign cinema” for most of you, and isn’t exactly wrong, since it a movie about the frigging Holocaust, drama is important and has quite the punch, perfectly balanced with the superhero movie elements and the offbeat abundant comedy.

It’s a pretty funny movie when it wants to, same for when it indulges in its “exploitation cinema” side, like the random full nudity bits or the deliberately off-beat anachronisms, with some really fuckin wild and weird visuals, for sure.

It’s a bit long, but it’s pretty good, a blast even. Recommended.

Sky Sharks (2020) [REVIEW] | Gott ist im Himmel

Let’s close this year’s Shark Month with a big bang, shall we?

And frankly i don’t think there’s anything better in that regard as Sky Sharks, a movie you’ve might have heard of but wondered when or if it’s actually coming out.

Borne from a succesful Kickstarter campaign, Sky Sharks was supposed to come out in 2018, but production hit roadblocks, various issues came up, for some time we didn’t hear anything about it at all, but then, in 2020 it resurfaced, complete and was released, even on home video (might have to import it, though).

And it was definitelly worth the wait, since this one of those rare shark movies that sets out to be a big B-movie by design, trying to tick all the usual exploitation-but-awesome points… and actually succeds in living up entirely to its trailer promising flying sharks piloted by undead nazi uber-soldiers, alongside nudity and lots of gore. It’s just missing vampires, a christian-protestant feud, psycho priests with bayonet-blades longer than an arm, but i’m really nitpicking in this case.

Continua a leggere “Sky Sharks (2020) [REVIEW] | Gott ist im Himmel”

Sharkenstein (2016) [REVIEW] | VS Baragon (not included)

It was just a matter of time before we reached the Nazi end of the sharkxploitation spectrum, and this – as we will find out later in Shark Month – isn’t even the only shark movie like this.

At least in regard for this combination, it’s from Mark Polonia (of the Polonia Brothers), so you already known what to expect, including a kickass poster that we just know it’s bound to be better than the movie itself in every way. I do like the posters they make for these flicks, genuinely do.

The plot takes more than a page from Frankenstein VS Baragon/Frankenstein Conquers The World, as it basically rips off the idea of the Creature’s heart (and in this case, also the brain) being immortal, and applies it to a “Franken-shark” created by mad scientist Dr. Klaus, as he continues a previously shut down experiment about weaponizing sharks the Third Reich started during WWII.

Now, more than 50 years later, the experiment has been concluded and the “super Nazi shark” is set loose on the small seatown of Katzman Cove, where three friends have come for a boating trip, and now have to survive this unexpected threat so obviously NOT cooked up by The Doctor from Hellsing.

Continua a leggere “Sharkenstein (2016) [REVIEW] | VS Baragon (not included)”

Shark Month BEGINS!

As promised, a monthful of shark movies starts now, but you’ll find it’s not quite totally about sharks, and some other ferocious fishes might be spotlighted for one reason or another, because here at Wise Cafe International we don’t discriminate about people getting eaten by anything or anyone… in movies.

But of course sharks are the main protagonist, it’s Shark Month after all!

Enjoy!

(btw, just managed to finally see A Promising Young Woman, holy shit!)

Frankenstein VS Baragon / Frankenstein Conquers The World (1965) [REVIEW] | Atom Heart Monster

Strange as it may sound, you really can’t talk about King Kong and Godzilla beating each other up without talking about the Frankenstein’s monster, but we already talked about the backstory of the original “Monkey VS Nuclear Dinosaur” kaiju flick in its review, so let’s just say that this movie is actually Toho bringing back the partially scrapped idea of having Kong fight a monster created by Frankenstein for King Kong VS Godzilla, which would itself spawn a follow up a year later, with War Of The Gargantuas. And of course, tasking yet again Ishiro Honda to direct it.

Also, this one introduces a monster that would eventually cross into the Godzilla franchise, Baragon, not be confused with another, completely different but – for pure coincidence – very similar looking (at a glance) monster from the Gamera franchise, Barugon, with a “u”. A minor monster, brought back just for the giant monster brawls installments of the Godzilla series (where pretty much every frigging Toho kaiju was invited for a quick cameo), but here the main antagonist to the “Frankenstein” monster, as the original japanese title makes it abudantly clear.

Continua a leggere “Frankenstein VS Baragon / Frankenstein Conquers The World (1965) [REVIEW] | Atom Heart Monster”

Giant Monster March IS A GO!

As the long awaited Godzilla VS King Kong finally is set to it theathers pretty much everywhere (where theathers are open, not a given due to the pandemic), it’s time to celebrate, with a selection of giant monster movies reviews to showcase mostly lesser known titles or movies that nowadays are not as well known as they once were, despite still being remembered by genre fans.

Sorry it’s not a month of non-stop reviews this time. Enjoy!

[EXPRESSO] Lupin III – The First (2019) | LUPIIIIIIIN THE THIRDDDDDD

was supposed to see this one in theathers (if you didn’t know, Lupin III was and still incredibly popular here in Italy, so much a couple of licensed PS2 videogames technically have a PAL release because they were only released in Italy, outside of Japan) back in march, but the lockdown happened, and eventually this one was snapped by Amazon as a Prime Video Exclusive. Smart move, in hindsight, since i was also waiting to see the second MHA movie, which got a new release window…. but cinemas have closed, as we’re in a quasi-lockdown situation.

I’m faffing around because i really don’t have to introduce Lupin III, now, do i?

The plot is fairly typical, concerning a book by the archeologist Bresson, containing a mysterious treasure and encased in a cryptic mechanical contraption, and standing as the only one the original Arsenè Lupin wasn’t able to get. But not only Lupin The Third himself wants to do out his grandfather, a girl named Laetitia and a surviving nazi group are also after the treasure.

It’s what many would call “classic Lupin III”, it’s quite appropriate (even more since it’s dedicated to Lupin III’s author, Monkey Punch, who passed away in April 2019), and it’s still quite a blast, thanks in no small parts to the downright amazing 3D CG animation by TMS Entertaiment and Marza Animation. The animation itself is worth the “ticket” by itself, just a masterful implementation of this style, which is often derided as stiff or a cheap compromise that never satisfies or manages to translate “anime” into CG.

THIS is how you do it.

To draw a comparison with another new film based on an old series also released that year, this is definitely better than City Hunter: Private Eyes, in pretty much everything.

[EXPRESSO] Jojo Rabbit (2019) | Achtung! The Desert Night of The Lepus

Jojo_Rabbit_(2019)_poster.jpg

Yeah, we didn’t get this in theathers until last week.

Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (anime joke) is a shy 10 year old boy who has trouble making friends, he’s always clumsy and reluctant, so he ends up earning the mocking nickname of being a cowardly “rabbit” (hence the title) by his peers and superiors, because just being in the Hitler Youth wasn’t enough. But fear not, for Jojo has an imaginary friend to rely on, Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself, and with gusto), always ready to give him advice when the need arises.

But despite aspiring to belong, he discovers that there’s a jewish girl taking refuge in their house, and experiences many events that make him question the rigid nazi indoctrination received, the arian myth, and all that bullshit, and he digests this……. like a 10 year old boy would.

Despite the edgy-looking premise, Taika Waititi’s “springtime in Germany opus” (loosely based on the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens) is actually very heartwarming, colorful and playful, but definitely doesn’t pull punches, balancing out drama and comedy like good black comedies do, and i’m kinda surprised by the style of comedy. Sure, Waititi/Imaginary Hitler is goofy and quite fun to watch, there are more flamboyant outbursts, but many jokes are done with an almost deadpan delivery.

Which mostly works, but some scenes would have benefitted by a more outlandish visuals, while others do work better because the characters shrugh off absurd stuff happening, which ultimately makes some of them lacking the impact they’re searching for, not flop totally, but also not making you burst out laughing.

Despite this gripe, it’s a surprisingly uplifting movie, with a very good cast, good characters, but i completely understand why it could fall kinda flat for others, not necessarily because of its subject.

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