Zombie Strippers


Zombie Strippers

If this is what a zombie looks like then I don't want to be alive.

(2007) Horror Spoof (Triumph) Jenna Jameson, Robert Englund, John Hawkes, Roxy Saint, Penny Drake, Whitney Anderson, Jennifer Holland, Shamron Moore, Jeanette Sousa, Carmit Levite, Brad Milne, Jen Alex Gonzalez, Jessica Custodio. Directed by Jay Lee

Some movies are kind of hard to figure out from their titles. Others tell you right out of the gate what their intentions are. On rare occasions, you’ll get one of the latter that deliver something extra, to your surprise or dismay.

In the near future, George W. Bush is in his fourth term as president and has gotten us into more wars than we have soldiers to fight (that knucklehead!) so it is up to CheyneyCo to develop a chemical enhancement that reanimates dead soldiers so that they can return to the fray over and over again (the depressing thing is that I could see G.W. actually coming up with a strategy like that).

Of course, as such things always do in horror movies, the virus escapes the lab and makes its way into Rhino’s,  an underground strip club (in G.W.’s dystopian future, all strip clubs are illegal) and of course lead stripper Kat (Jameson) is the first to be infected. Ian (Englund), the club’s sleazy and greedy owner, is at first appalled but when Kat proves to be more popular than ever as an undead stripper, he quickly determines ways to keep his strippers dancing after death. This leads to the mother of all cat fights.

It’s not often you get a movie that mashes up zombie gore, softcore titillation, political commentary and philosophical undertones but Jay Lee does so here. This is a movie that references Eugene Ionesco unreservedly (England’s character is even named Ian Nessco and his club named for Ionesco’s most well-known absurdist play Rhinoceros) and has a wonderful moment when Kat is found reading Nitzsche post-zombification and exclaims “Now it all makes sense!”

The movie also delivers on the breasts and gore, surprisingly effectively in both departments which is a good reason why it got almost no release in the U.S. which has become effectively paranoid about both. Utilizing a number of adult film actresses, models and actual strippers, the dance scenes have at least some authenticity to them.

So what if the acting is ham-fisted and the story begins to peter out (no pun intended) towards the end? If you’re looking for more than that in a movie entitled Zombie Strippers you are clearly in the wrong aisle of your preferred rental venue, my friend.

WHY RENT THIS: Boobs and gore – the two staples of a horror fanboy’s diet.  At least makes an attempt to be a little different.

WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: The acting is not so good and the movie runs out of steam by the end.

FAMILY VALUES: As you’d expect, there’s plenty of nudity, sexuality and gore not to mention filthy foul nasty language and a whole lot of violence.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: The bouncer at Rhino’s is played by MMA legend Tito Ortiz who was also Jameson’s boyfriend at the time of filming.

NOTABLE DVD EXTRAS: There’s a featurette on all the nods to French existentialism and in particular the Eugene Ionesco play Rhinoceros (no, I’m not kidding). The Blu-Ray has a trivia track which is actually surprisingly better than most.

BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE: Not available.

FINAL RATING: 4.5/10

TOMORROW: Saw V

W.


W

The easy crack would be of Dubya conversing with intellectual equals, but that would be TOO easy.

(Lionsgate) Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Richard Dreyfus, James Cromwell, Ellen Burstyn, Jeffrey Wright, Scott Glenn, Ioan Gruffud, Thandie Newton, Jesse Bradford, Toby Jones. Directed by Oliver Stone

When all is said and done, one of the most fascinating political figures of the last fifty years is George W. Bush. Love him or hate him, there is simply no in-between.

Filmmaker Oliver Stone is known for his liberal viewpoint and he’s no stranger to making movies about chief executives (Nixon). He is also known for playing fast and loose with facts in order to get his point across.

He doesn’t do that here. This is a remarkable movie in that sense, what appears to be a sincere attempt to understand a president who has been, in many ways, a complete mystery. It’s not the facts of his life that are in dispute; it’s just that people can’t figure out how this guy became president and then once he became president, why he made the decisions he did.

Josh Brolin is in the title role and he plays the President starting from his frat years at Yale all the way to his last year as President. He gets his mannerisms down pat, just nails them and yet refrains from making his performance a Saturday Night Live caricature. If you ever doubted that Josh Brolin is a fine actor, one glimpse of his performance here will dissuade any notion of that.

The story is not told chronologically for a reason. Stone’s intent is not to tell the story of Bush’s presidency but to examine the man in the office. It looks at his daddy issues, as his father George H.W. Bush (Cromwell) seems to favor his brother Jeb over him, and it’s certainly understandable. George drinks heavily, parties like a fiend and is generally successful at nothing.

His father is skeptical when George runs for Governor of Texas and surprised when he wins. It does serve to change his opinion of his son somewhat, to the point where he asks him to run his campaign (which he loses to Clinton).

His relationship with Laura (Banks) is central to the movie and we can see her influence on him and how much her support helped him grow. There is no doubt that he is a family man and that he has a spiritual side that is strong and sincere.

The actors for the most part capture their roles perfectly. Dreyfus and Wright do wonderful jobs as Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, respectively. We don’t get much insight into them as people other than as they relate to Dubyah, but then this is HIS movie.

How accurate is this? Surprisingly, quite a bit. Obviously there’s no way of knowing what went on behind closed doors or what precisely was said by whom. Still, what is said and done is consistent with published accounts of the Bush presidency. I’m sure that this isn’t a 100% accurate biography of George W. Bush (his family has gone on record as saying that it is not), but then is anything? At least it seems somewhat fair-minded.

I have gone on record with my opinions of the Bush presidency on my other blog and there’s no need to rehash it here. In many ways, this movie is apolitical; the argument is that Bush was the poster boy for the Peter Principle. He was ill-prepared for the job; clearly he wasn’t capable. He had advisors that for better or worse essentially set policy. Whatever you stand is politically, you don’t need to love George W. Bush to love this movie.

WHY RENT THIS: Remarkably apolitical despite the filmmakers known political leanings, this is more an attempt to understand Bush rather than to form an opinion about him. Extremely well-cast, the actors all resemble their famous roles.

WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: Like many Oliver Stone films, it runs a bit longer than it probably should have.

FAMILY VALUES: There’s plenty of foul language, depictions of drinking and smoking, a bit of sexuality and some disturbing war images; definitely this is for more mature viewers.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Josh Brolin’s dad James played another Republican president, Ronald Reagan, in the TV mini-series “The Reagans.”

NOTABLE DVD EXTRAS: There’s a documentary on the Bush family directed by Sean Stone, Oliver’s son.

FINAL RATING: 6/10

TOMORROW: Transporter 3