Monday, 16 July 2012

PDSA Charity Gig

Somewhat late on bringing this here, but anyway, another killer set list in Liverpool this weekend, £6 for 11 bands! And it's for animal charity too! Some highly-recommended names on here, it's set to be a good mix of hardcore, noise punk and thrash!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Last Match

As a small homage to the late Ernest Borgnine, here's a film that he's frankly not best remembered by, but one in which he still manages to give a good performance.

An action film about American Football players as elite commandos taking on Henry Silva as the slimey warden of a hellish jail sounds like it has all the makings of a winner, but such a set-up may have been best left to someone more capable of making gold out of garbage; Fabrizio de Angelis' off-handed seriousness in delivering the story causes the film to miss its mark and instead turn it into a dawdling drama that uses words not actions to drill home a mind-numbing message of how great America is.

Oliver Tobias stars as Cliff Gaylor, an American Football player whose team has seen success thanks to the efforts of their coach Keith (Ernest Borgnine), his daughter Susan (Melissa Palmisano) and her boyfriend George (Robert Floyd) are holidaying in an unnamed Latino country when they decide to go home early, at the airport a shady individual sneaks a bag of cocaine into Susan's luggage, getting her strip-searched and arrested. Cliff kicks up a storm and attempts to get her out but everyone he turns to in the fictional country all tell him how bail is impossible and that their court system works extremely differently to America's (with lots of moments of how great America is in comparison being peppered in, the effect is weak when you consider this is an Italian film pandering to the US market; "it's important to know that in this country they play a very different kind of ball game").

Unexcitement follows with drama as invigorating as a talk with your banker, car "chases" and Henry Silva as warden Yashin being sadistic but not nearly as much as he could be; why aren't we getting a full-blown women-in-prison torture film in the middle of Strike Commando? Also, Sicilian and Spanish-born Silva doesn't nearly come off quite as convincingly as he could in his character's unspecified Latino nationality, especially when speaking clean cut English. Out of options, Cliff phones up his coach and teammates to help him break into the prison and rescue Susan, because when every lawyer in the country can't do anything for you it's time to do it unloading lead. The highlight finally arrives when the film delivers ass-kicking yankee rugby soldiers blasting through Silva's prison, enjoy the sight of guys in bright yellow armour successfully staging an entire attack as this is the only time this ever happens. The film misses every opportunity for some absurd moment of violence and action and there is only a small margin for error; simply have the action start from the get-go, however de Angelis must have seen a good opportunity for drama and political intrigue, but failed to incorporate any of that too.

This is unfortunately one you watch for the accident it is, the lack of energy in the film resonates throughout as its capable cast (other actors who do a good job on a meager script include Charles Napier and Martin Balsam) do little to bring life to their roles, with the exception of Borgnine, who manages to play with enthusiasm and makes his scenes at least somewhat worth watching. Even the music is dire, and as you may have surmised there is no conspiracy behind the character kicking off the events by putting the drugs in Susan's bag, though this could be regarded as a realistic detail, it still only sets the film up for a lot of hackneyed America worship. The Last Match is a solid indicator of when Italy's output of films of this caliber was greatly beginning to slide down with little being on offer even for purists.

Or maybe it all is just an allegrory for how America barges its way in everywhere, guns yeehawing and TV dinner sports being shoved in your face. Hahahahahahahaha.

- James

Review source: Japanese VHS
Title information
  • Production company: Fulvia Film
  • Year of release: 1990
Alternate titles
  • Kunnian koitos <Show of Honour> (Finland)
  • L'ultima partita <The Last Game> (Italy)
  • 怒りのタッチダウン/人質奪回作戦 "Ikari no tatchidaun, hitojichi dakkai sakusen" <Touchdown of Anger: Hostage Rescue Operation>
  • Son Maç <Last Match> (Turkey)

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Ernest Borgine dies at 95



In my opinion, any so-called punk that does not recognise the importance of dadaism or the avant-garde can unglue their mohawks, sell their uniform jackets and get a bath, things don't spit in the face of normality much more than the revulsion that can be found in dadaist work. Extreme Japanese hardcore group G.I.S.M. most certainly did not shy away from the avant-garde, with lead singer Sakevi Yokoyama dabbling in harsh noise side projects and various audio collages, expert collage printing and art design, full-force shock tactics (readers new to G.I.S.M. might do well to know about their prolific violence on and off stage) and some involvement in experimental filmmaking, with Geotropism (directed by Junji Yasuda) being the token film to the band's name in terms of a full appearance, or as close to one as possible. The film stars Sakevi as himself while the rest of the band appear as homeless folk (punks all the same), there is no dialogue and it clocks in at 20 minutes; if you were expecting it to be Sakevi beating up pussyfooters, you're going to have to reserve that expectation for his short scene in Robinson's Garden.

Barbaric editing and pounding audio collide in what is nearly an incomprehensible montage of Sakevi walking round an abandoned building with solarized images of gas mask-clad faces, x-ray examples of human anatomy, radiation warnings and shelter instructions briefly flashing on screen in between. Sakevi seems to be a controller of some sort (it's hard to tell with the version used), eventually he boards a train, the amplified audio of coughs, spits and clicks eventually becomes a harsh noise track as Sakevi is shown going crazy in his building intercut with images of explosions and a rocket taking off, a caucasian man is show in a segment talking but his dialogue is inaudible. Eventually, it culminates to the final scene of Sakevi eating while listening to an omnious English voice count repeatedly in billions, as the shadow of a gun can be seen trained on his head.

Despite how much the film likes to assault with its imagery and sound, it's not hard to deduce that it is a scathing critique of human progress in the title alone (in relation to the concept of geotropism, roots growing underground is positive geotropism whilst stems growing away is considered negative geotropism, perhaps the latter can be applied to the shot of a rocket launching into space, alternatively, GeotropISM) and that everything in it ultimately points to nuclear war (one has to only consider the fact this is a Japanese film made during the Cold War, that and G.I.S.M.'s generally nihilistic and military-themed style). For those interested in the Japanese art film scene, material focused on nuclear warfare or general nonsense of this nature, it's an intriguing little watch that is no doubt poetic for some and complete rubbish for others, if anything it's a progressive post-apocalyptic short. Keep in mind, this is an especially rare one though.

- James

Review source: Japanese VHS
Title information:
  • Year of release: 1984

Friday, 22 June 2012


Another steal night of music if you happen to be in Liverpool this coming week! £10 entry gets you a night of sludge, doom, brutal thrash and hardcore punk! Plus an after party of Extreme and Industrial Metal!

Full details here.

- James

Saturday, 16 June 2012

True Gore

You cannot review a shockumentary as you would any other movie; the 'successor' to the defunct mondo genre, the shockumentary is the high school failure and family outcast that few members like to talk about at dinner. Usually nothing more than patchwork collections of executions, fatal accidents and other gross mishaps, still form or in motion, the shockumentary preceded the Internet in terms of pulling images out of context and grossly sensationalising them with snide commentary and presentation. The genre is as extreme as it is immature, often under flawed artistic pretense and its audience is within the absolute minority of the already tightly-knit niche of obscure, VHS-only, B-to-Z-grade movies; it's this family of freaks that accepts the shockumentary fan.

True Gore
sticks out marginally for what it is; domestically rarer than most titles of its ilk, True Gore was curiously released in Japan dubbed (under the name "Super Junk", to cash-in on the Japanese release of the Faces of Death series, which were not inappropriately retitled Junk over there) and prominently features the overbearing creative consultation of Industrial pioneer and obscene exhibitionist Monte Cazazza, who is partly notable for pouring cement over a staircase in his college as part of an art project and setting alight a dead cat in front of his friends. Information on Cazazza is scarce and he reportedly witnessed necrophilia in action as a child, take of this what you will. Divided into sections in an amateurish charade of importance, this pleasant 85-minute collection features gruelling images of rotting cadavers, live animal vivisections, staged suicide scenes, extreme BDSM footage, robots made from meat that completely fail to appear functioning, indecipherable audio collages of Jim Jones, early Industrial music, a cartoon music video about how atoms work and stock footage of the Nazis. As a boiling pot of all things disturbing, this is somewhat cool. A narrator hidden behind sunglasses and a solarizing effect punctuates this fiendishly-edited, trash bag of seizure-inducing, irritatingly-orchestrated fake scenes and genuine footage of varying qualities, it's all nasty, nasty stuff and the frankly terrible music you hear throughout does a phenomenal job at making this a punishment to the senses, which in itself should be a real joy for some.

Credited to one M. Dixon Causey as director, the majority of what is on show has been compiled from Cazazza's own movies and the music featured is what he has worked on, True Gore is obviously something you don't need to see save for those curious about Cazazza's work and are welcome to more extremities. True Gore however, might prove a worthwhile watch for those with access to some hardcore drugs for a truly ill-fitting trip, as a shockumentary it's one of the sicker names less known out there and has a bit more variation to its visual carnage. The people who will watch this will know who they are.

- James

Review source: Japanese VHS
Title information
  • Production company: VU Film And Video
  • Year of release: 1987
Alternative titles
  • スーパージャンク/世界大終末 "Suupaa jyanku sekai dai shuumatsu" <Super Junk: The End of the World> (Japan)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

M.A.C. Of Mad, BBYB, Cybergrind Gabba DnB Goregrind Party . Liverpool

If you're in the UK, get down to Liverpool, Sunday June 3rd, for a 12-hour show! £5 gets you 16 bands if shit this messy is up your street! This is a combined effort by its organizers to get more music like this into venues in the North West, so if you ever see these names in your town go and see what they've got on!

- James