Saturday, September 22, 2012

Guns, Girls And Gambling Movie Review

Above Pic: Poster for Guns, Girls and Gambling. (C) 2012 Incognito Pictures

Not sure how to begin to tackle the mishmash of genres and movie styles that Guns, Girls and Gambling offers. The movie has a mix of Tarantino style humor mixed with violence, with double crosses like in The Sting. Throw in a group of Elvis impersonators, a stolen Hopi Indian Mask, Christian Slater, greedy sheriffs, a Swedish blonde assassin, a seemingly innocent girl next door, and blend together. In 90 minutes, ultimately what comes out, is an odd, eclectic, sardonic mix of Poe and Elvis inspired dialogue, interspersed with violence that is, Guns, Girls, and Gambling.

Guns, Girls and Gambling has one of those, watch the events unfold, then go back and witness what really happened timelines. GX3 as I will refer to it from this point forth opens with an older Elvis impersonator, portrayed by Gary Oldman, waiting for a bus in the middle of nowhere. The bus stops, and while the driver is out taking a link "The blond" assassin clad in black with two guns strapped to her back comes on the bus and shoots him, but the audience is not told why. The opening credits roll then Christian Slater, who does the narrative and plays one of the Elvis impersonators, appears. He is in the process of getting beaten, when the scene shifts to the past, to tell the whole story.

An ancient tribal mask is stolen from the chief's office at the local Indian Casino. The chief of course wants his mask back, and the rest of the film is a frantic search for all the Elvis impersonators, who were given a private suite next to the office. Christian Slater's John Smith character was the only one left in the casino the next day, they accuse him first.

Quite a tall tale, and a somewhat confusing story, on who does what, but as stated before GX3 delivers a decent mix of humor and action. There is a crazy cowboy, played by Jeff Fahey, who adds a western feel. Watch for just about every stereo type being mentioned and lampooned throughout the film.

Above Pic: Helena Mattson (C) 2012 Incognito Pictures Screen Cap: Dan's Movie Report

Although Slater and Oldman do a good job with their characters, I particularly liked Helena Mattsson's work as "The Blonde". She plays her divisive assassin character to perfection, clad in black, complete with stiletto heels. Helena not only looks the part she sounds forceful, along with her devious smile.

One of the main problems I had with the GX3 was the retelling of the plot too many times, almost to pad the film, facilitating a full 90 minute run-time. Another issue is just too many main characters. I mean, 5 Elvis impersonators, 2 corrupt sheriffs, a chief, a cowboy, a girl next door, a "college kid", and a blonde assassin all vying for screen time makes it tough to develop the characters let alone, bother to care about all of them.

Not a bad effort from writer/director Michael Winnnick. Despite of the flaws, GX3 is an entertaining 90 minutes, and the ending, which I will not spoil, has a few interesting twists, that finally tie some of the loose ends together.

Overall I give Guns, Girls and Gambling a 6.5 out of 10 definitely worth a rent.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Super Cyclone Movie Review

Above Pic: Super Cyclone Poster (c) 2012 The Asylum

As a writer and lover of under-ground, sometimes bad, campy movies, I can never understand why people rent movies from The Asylum and then bother to write about them trashing the fact that they are low quality, with bad acting etc. With miniscule budgets of around $200,000 or so, and two week shooting schedules, The Asylum manages to come up with a few amusing projects, don't expect high art, and disappointment will be minimized.

Another off-shoot of The Asylum is they provide an outlet for either upcoming actors or actresses, or ones who have done projects in the past to have an outlet to re-hone their skills. An example of upcoming person is actress Aurelia Scheppers who is in 11/11/11.

In Super Cyclone, TV veteran's Ming Na and Nicholas Turturro are the leads. Sultry Ming-Na plays Dr. Jenna Sparks, and Turturro plays Travis Verdon. The film is directed by Liz Adams who also directed another disaster style film for The Asylum called Air Collision Check review @

By upping the quality a bit on the CGI the Asylum have managed to create a new niche for themselves in disaster films in 2012. Is this studio quality, the answer is a definite no, but, Super Cyclone is translatable to TV, thus a natural market for SYFY channel type stuff.

A short film description of Super Cyclone not to "spoil" anything: Dr. Sparks warns everyone of the oncoming situation even though they are powerless to stop it. An outlying oil rig provides one of backdrops to the action and headstrong military are brought in to attempt to control the situation. Some odd science ensues, including releasing a massive amount of nitrogen to super-cool the storm to sap it of energy. Apparently this storm was man-made, when an oil rig drilled too deep, let that be a lesson to all men out there never, drill to deep, haha! Man-made efforts to stop the man-made storm. Everyone tries frantically to escape, in typical disaster style. Explosions, high waves and winds ensue, I am assuming my readers get the picture.

Above Pic: Dan's Movie Report Screen Cap of Ming-Na in Super Cyclone (C) 2012 The Asylum

Ming-Na is enjoyable  to watch, even in this Asylum effort. She has an expressive face, natural beauty and a strong speaking voice. Even though she has made her mark on TV in shows like Stargate SGU and E.R.,  Ming-Na has not starred in many feature films since playing Chun-Li in the ill conceived 1993 Street Fighter film.

As for the acting on Super Cyclone, not the worst Asylum has to offer, but I kind of wish there were more realistic emotions from most of the characters involved. Not just upon eminent doom type shots, but throughout the film, sometimes characters had just a blank stare kind of look, also at other times they were overacting, almost screaming their lines. The short shooting schedule on The Asylum films often don't allow for many re-shoots, Super Cyclone looks like a plethora of one-take shots.

Overall, I say Super Cyclone is worth a rent, yeah a bit ridiculous, but fun. The CGI and action make for a somewhat decent movie night rental, I rate the film a 5 out of 10. The first link below is for the Amazon instant video:

Link to purchase the film: (Some sources have it for as little as 8 dollars)