by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Why has it taken me so long to discover the History Channel's Gangland? Maybe the fact I don't have cable has something to do with it, but, for the first time, since getting rid of it a few years ago, I feel like I am truly missing out. This show is some scary shit! Documenting the inner workings of this country's most violent gangs, it's an expose of a world that's hidden from view of most Americans. I've never felt so lucky to live in a mildly affluent community. From the most dangerous white supremacists to Mexican gangs in prison, Gangland is an unflinching look at these home-grown crime families. The first episode is about Denver's North Side Mafia, which I am glad I know exists and will make me think twice about visiting. It's probably best if I just stay inside my house and never commune with anyone ever again, for fear of a random shotgun blast to the chest. Thanks for the tip, Gangland!
I hate to sound like an affected hipster, but I was covering these SyFy channel B-movies before they became one big pop-culture meme. Now that they are roundly accepted, a lot of the fun luster seems to have become dulled, with the filmmakers no longer trying to make a good bad movie, just making a bad movie in general to appease the ironic masses in need of cinematic cheese. Don't get me wrong: the Roger Corman-produced Sharktopus is a good time, but it's also a good time that I've had numerous times. I'm ready for something new. Eric Roberts is a slimy scientist who has created a half-shark, half-octopus, all bad-CGI creature for the government. It goes rogue, attacking the paradise of Puerto Vallarta, which is a welcome excuse for numerous shots of chicks in bikinis frolicking in the sand before they are ripped apart by the titular monster. You'll have a good time if you've never seen one of these before. Me? I'll just wait for the next outré thing to come along to pimp.
The mega-low budget sci-fi comedy Interplanetary is best described as John Carpenter's Office Space. Or Mike Judge's Ghost of Mars. Take your pick. Either way, it's a phenomenal movie that I'd put up against any ultra-big Hollywood production any day of the week, in every aspect from the screenplay to the lo-fi special effects. This is a movie that needs and deserves to be seen by a mass audience desperate for something new. On a remote outpost on Mars, the Interplanetary Corporation staffs the place with numerous bored, bureaucratic office drones that spend their days either fornicating or filling out paperwork. Things get exciting when a monster breaks free from a nearby genetics lab and starts mutilating the cubicle-dwellers. But, in between the slashings, there's a hilarious look at corporate culture that is extremely unexpected and sets Interplanetary apart from other movies with similar plots. Stylish and inventive, with plenty of laughs and scares, director Chance Shirley is a director who actually has something to offer cinephiles. I welcome that.