Hello, Spongey here.
I think it’s time we return to requested reviews. You know how these go at this point, this is part 6 after all. It has been a bit but it was a longer wait between that and the ones before that. I did a few too many when I started this but I hope to do at least one a year. I always accept requests all the time so don’t think you need to wait, just so you know.
That said, I made a call for a batch and I got it. We have 5 for this one and we’ll see how good these are this time. We have a wild a group and I can’t wait to share them. That’s enough preamble so let’s get into it.
This, is Requested Reviews #6: Garbage Producer Kombat
Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge (2020)
First up we’ve got one from @helpsters1101. Right off the bat I have to say I don’t know much about Mortal Kombat. Haven’t played any of them or looked too deep into the lore and such. I’ve seen the first live action movie, which was okay. I’ve also seen Annihilation which was…bad. I haven’t seen the 2021 one yet.
Before that, they had to start a line of animated direct to video MK movies, with there being per year since then. I did watch this back in 2021 and I feel about the same as I did then: It’s nothing great but I enjoyed it. The big thing with it is that it’s the first Kombat movie to be Rated R and boy do they show that off.
It’s pretty brutal for a lot of it. The first 10 minutes along have a couple “holy shit” moments. That’s the main draw, as that helps make the fights pretty fun. It can be a double edged sword though, as it get into “ow the edge” territory. It can be at much at times and is the focus above all else. As it goes on they spread these bits out better at least.
There’s nothing too deep on a story or character level. They are basic archetypes going through a standard story. But that’s not exactly what you came here for so it’s not that big of deal. Scorpion isn’t focused on as much as you’d think and that is a bit of a shame as it does lack of a main protagonist for chunks of it.
He gets enough cool moments and is easy to root for, so he’s not totally absent. The others work okay, I did grow to like them fine. Johnny Cage is the comic relif which can be hit or miss but he’s voiced by Joel McHale who makes him work okay. The funniest moment came from Sonya’s reactions to him honestly.
Animation, done by Studio MIR, is mostly good. It can be a bit stiff outside of the fight scenes which is typical for this kind of thing but it wasn’t distracting for me. I appreciate that it’s short so it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. It know what it is and doesn’t try to be more than that. It can have a few effect moments but it’s mostly basic and knows how to give what you came here for.
It feels a bit more for the fans but is structured in an accessible enough way. It can be dull and confusing in some place, and it’s not a powerhouse on any deeper level. I can see some not caring for it if they don’t get into the story all that much. For me, it’s a bit slight but works fine. As it goes along there’s enough balance and solid action to make it fun.
The ending is rather abrupt though, feels like it just stops after the climax. Overall, nothing more than you’d expect but it’s fun enough for what it is. Maybe I’ll get to the others to see how they compare eventually.
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)
…Yep, we’re going there. PowerLoudGirl asked for it and here it is. You may know this film from how He Who Shall Not Be Named covered it and still thinks it is the worst movie he’s ever done. It was already not exactly liked, being a savaged box office flop. This was the era were anything that was even a bit popular got a movie or cartoon and the Garbage Pail Kid cards got both. There’s some charm in how weird and gross the cards can be and hey, a good movie can come from everywhere.
So it wasn’t dead on arrival when they set out to make this. After finally watching it, is truly that bad? …Yep. Granted, I couldn’t get as angry as others as I knew what was coming. And honestly, there’s things I’ve covered that pissed me off more. And, believe it or not, I have a couple positives. The main one is Anthony Newley as Captain Manzini. He’s a typical archetype but he is somewhat charming and has a few funny lines. So of course he’s not in it as much as it goes on.
I wanted to get into this a cult/ironically fun thing and while it’s not that overall, it has its moments. The world is just weird with there being a State Home for the Ugly, grown adults who bully a child and a bar called The Toughest Bar in the World. Things like this as are so dumb and odd that it can be a tiny bit fun in just weird it is. It does create a problem where the Garbage Pail Kids don’t contrast to the world around them since everything else is weird to but I can the potential in this exaggerated world.
And the soundtrack is decent. Not the teamwork song, that sucks but the other tunes are fine, including the credits song. …And that’s it, otherwise this was a chore. I’m not expecting high art by any means, I’m fine with it having gross out and all that. But man, it’s clear they had no idea what to do here. I found an article I’ll link below going to how it was made and they admit no one really cared when making this, or at least that’s how it turned out. Even the creator of the cards was not happy.
It shows. The story is nothing, it’s just the kids doing stuff along with a weird fashion subplot. Everything feels stitched together and it just becomes a lot of noise. The whole thing with Tangerine, yes that is an actual name here is both boring and kind of creepy. She’s an adult, I think, woman who is seducing this kid to get him to makes clothes for her. It’s weird.
Most of the acting is bad, with the actors being clearly lost. The bully Juice is the worst in this and even the voice actors for the Garbage Pail Kids are directed to have grating voices.
The GPKs are just foul, being ugly on the inside as well as outside. Yet they try to have some commentary on society’s views on “others” which fails. I can see it working but this isn’t it. And I know it’s dumb to poke at the logic of this but Manzini.knows magic and it’s never explained. There’s not much effort made to explain much which would be fine if it were fun or better written.
As it is, it feels very sloppy. I know this was made on no budget no I can forgive the awkward costumes that can barley emote or how it’s all filmed at a warehouse. But the whole thing feels slapped together and rushed. I tried to be nice as I do feel the need to stand up for something when it gets beaten on a lot.
While it has a couple okay things and it doesn’t quite piss me off off to be on par with the worst I’ve seen, there’s not much to save it. When it’s not annoying, it’s mostly boring with no strong direction to it. I just wanted it to end after a while. No mater how you slice it, this movie just sucks. I guess you can say it’s …trash. Wait…
The Producers (2005)
This is our 2nd one from Mr. Coat. This is a movie he’s always championed so I tend to associate it with him honestly. This is based on the stage play which is in turn based on the Mel Brooks movie. I don’t know much from the show but I have seen the original movie and it was pretty good. I’ll judge this more on its own though.
I’m sadly not crazy in love with it but it was pretty good nonetheless. This got mixed reviews and didn’t fare well at the box office and the main issue seems to be the film-making approach. They basically just shot in like the stage show and didn’t do much to make it more cinematic. Some felt that made it either pointless or a bit more dull in sports.
For me, I do feel it could been a bit more interesting visually at times as having a movie but shot more like a stage play is a bit more awkward with a musical like this. It’s not a deal breaker but I do find it a bit limiting at times. My other problem is, to no one’s shock, the length. It’s 2 hours and doens’t need to ne. This mostly effects the songs are most tend to go on for too long, which makes a bit weaker.
They’re still mostly good, but my favorite is probably “When You Got It, Flaunt It” because of the few that isn’t too long. I imagine trying to adhered strictly to the stage version is why it’s like this but I guess there’s another reason they could have been willingly to change things up a bit.
Aside from those things, it does work. Nathan Lane is a standout in a role he can play in his sleep, as he gets some of the funniest bits. Comedy generally works, I got a few decent laughs here. I just like the whole concept of the story, with them creating a scheme to make a flop on purpose as they get the right people to make the worst product. Along the way we get Will Ferrell as a Nazi which was pretty wild and funny.
There are some lulls due to the runtime but the positives do keep it enjoyable enough. Matthew Broderick works fine too, even if he is awkward at a couple over the top parts early on. There are some mixed elements here and it’s not amazing but it did win me over as it went on as it got into some fun stuff.
I do like the original more as it was tighter and funnier. Also, I think the ending note was better there as here they add more and it’s perhaps a bit too clean and more of a traditional happy ending. It’s not a bad ending note, it’s nice but yeah.
Can’t speak for the Broadway show and while I’m aware it was far more acclaimed than this, I think this works fine on its own. Can’t say it’s a huge favorite but it’s not too bad all things considered.
Come and See (1985)
Here’s an odd one from @UnamusedMarquis. He said he randomly looked at the Letterboxd top 250 to pick this. Random but I guess this pick is more out there to randomly pick than anything else on there. This is a Soviet Anti-War film that I had never heard of. It’s based on a 1971 novel as well as a 1977 memoir. It has gone to be acclaimed, being on the LB 250 and all. I’m not surprised I hadn’t heard of it given it’s a foreign film.
There’s a bunch of history behind but onto the movie itself. To qoute Wikipedia, the film “focuses on the Nazi German occupation of Belarus, and the events as witnessed by a young Belarusian partisan teenager named Flyora, who—against his mother’s wishes—joins the Belarusian resistance movement, and thereafter depicts the Nazi atrocities and human suffering inflicted upon the Eastern European region’s populace.”
It’s an upbeat time, as you can see. It was…not my thing. You’re likely not shocked when I say that. It’s long and serious, so it was an uphill battle to begin with. It’s almost 2 and half hours and it doesn’t really need to be. There isn’t much of a traditional story, so it can drag with a lot of aimless moments.
It is well made, with this recent restoration that I watched being pretty good. It has some strong moments that use sound well to sell the atrocities going on. The ending is a good example of that, the final note is effective. There’s not exactly a lot of a battle scenes, as it’s more about the fallout a lot of the time. That makes it stand out but it does make it more dry. I’ve seen war movies that appeal to me more and just have more to them.
My attention span/possible ADHD makes it hard for foreign films to begin with, and this being what it is just made that harder. It gets artsy too which just adds to it. It’s a fine, well made movie but it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. It can be harrowing and all but it’s not one that hit me too hard.
Still, compared to others I’m willing to be nice to it. There’s enough here to make it at least kinda good, if not amazing. It’s mostly on me, it’s not the movie’s fault per say. I’m sure there’s plenty that can be said about a lot of moments in here it just mostly ended up being there for me. I don’t know if anyone reading this cares about this one that much but if you do, I imagine there are other places that look at more deeply.
So yeah, there ya go. Not much else to say, sorry.
We end on a not so seasonally appropriate one from @ChristopherEtr8. This is a horror anthology that was backed on Kickstarter with the requester being one of the backers. Neat. I found his name in the credits even. This has no Wikipedia page so it was a bit hard to do heavy research here. We’ll just jump into it and cover each segment.
A Door too Far: A boy obsessed with advent calendars/chocolate gets a bad fate. A quick setup/payoff that is fine. Nothing more than it sounds, which works fine but doesn’t give me much to talk about. Amusing ending I guess.
All Sales Fatal: A Karen gets into a fight. There’s some cheap lighting and awkward-ness but I kind of enjoyed it for the brutal fight being more realistic. It’s clunky in the way a real fight would be which was fun. Punchline was whatever but overall, I kinda liked it.
Aurora: This one is in the far future as humanity is trying to leave and there’s this woman who does stuff. I don’t know, it was well made but kinda hard to follow. It’s quick like the others and had a cool setup but had less to attach myself to. Eh?
X Mas on Fire: A bunch of criminals dressed as Santa try to do a crime. I like how it jumps around by showing things out of order and it’s well shot, but there isn’t too much to it. Twist is decent but the ending note is weird. Fair but could be better.
Villainicos: I didn’t get this one. You got some people crowded around a dying person and it spirals from there. It is well made with the progression but I didn’t quite it. It’s just kind of odd.
Joy to the Girls: A man is invited to a party where women do stuff to him. There’s not much to this one. Well made once again but not a lot to say. Kind of predictable and not especially interesting. I guess it’s fine but just not much to chew on.
The Hunchback: A silent/black and white one where a hunchback is sentenced to death. I liked this one just for the style. There isn’t a ton to it and maybe the ending is a bit cruel but it mostly works for the style. Not great but neat.
Family Matters: A man visits his girlfriend’s (?) family. This is a slower burn the payoff is cool with how gross it is. I dug it. Annoying how the title is saved for the end though.
They Used to Laugh and Call Him Names: A boy out hunting with his dad finds a seemingly dead reindeer. I like the idea it becomes but it’s too much about build up and doesn’t quite have enough fun with it. Effects are more shaky here. It’s okay but could be so much more.
Five Deaths in Blood Red: Someone kills some people at a gathering. A bit vauge but I don’t wanna give away too much. There’s some awkward dubbing that may be on purpose as it gets kinda soap opera-y. I enjoy the flasher vibe and where it goes. A bit wonky but fun enough.
Kill Santa: Another I didn’t quite get. It’s simple enough but just a girl talking to her mom about I guess the dad then a brutal thing happens. Just kind of empty, this one.
Bad Santa: Kids get a visit from a different Santa. Sadly no Billy Bob Thorton involvement but I like where it goes. It’s mostly build up but I liked the punchline. Nothing great but it works.
Santa is Coming: Hard to sum this one up. It’s got a girl, a dad and a doll. a slow burn where I was confused but the payoff is darkly funny and I like that as well as the atmosphere. So it’s a net positive despite it’s slow start.
A Christmas Miracle: Another one I didn’t get it. Atmosphere was the best of all these for sure but it was confusing. There’s a woman who does stuff I guess? It’s a bit more interesting than I make it sound but it was a quick one that is hurt by being just kind of odd. It felt artistic at least?
Lost Cottage in the Countryside: Hard to judge this one as I spent time finding the title cuz I missed it at first. There’s a woman angry at a Christma and stuff happens? Guess it was alright but another confusing-ish one but not the worst in that camp. Ending was kind of cool.
Milk and Cookies: A boy’s shitty father (?) gets punished. Basic setup/payoff but the payoff was good so I liked it. That’s all.
Pig: Stuff happens at a club. Yeah another vague one but there is a visceral nature to it that I liked. Ending works too with where it goes. Weird and artsy at times but I kinda liked it.
They Once Had Horses: A black and white one where some guys are out in the wild. This wasn’t notably artsy or confusing but it was kind of boring. Not much happens and what they talk about didn’t grab me a ton. Looked nice and the ending was okay but nothing special.
December the 19th: Two women hang out. Not the deepest plot here but I liked the interactions with them. It’s kind of confusing with where it goes but it wasn’t too bad. I’d put it on the upper side of okay, just needed a punch-up.
Getting Away from It All: A man deals with Christmas carolers. A simple one that has a fun payoff. I just like the idea of what happens above all else. I call it a win.
Family Feast: The title says it all, really. This was mostly dull with a fun/brutal payoff. Not confusing, just boring with a good ending. Eh.
Before Sundown: Some people deal with an urban legend thing. A bit dull but there’s a decent creepy vibe that makes it better. An easy upper eh one, I think.
Cracker: A family deals with Christmas crackers. A bit slow but I enjoyed the 50’s vibe, tension, and use of color. Capping it off is a solid twist that is creepy and funny at the same time. Pretty good one!
Operation Dolph: A guy dressed as Santa does bad stuff. Back to confusing stuff as while it has some fun brutal bits, it didn’t grab be story wise. Better than others but not the strongest one to be the last one before the credits. (Speaking, you need to go there to find the title, that was a headache to find)
Christmas Corpse: This last one is in the middle of the credits ala Movie 43. God did I just make that comparison? Anyway, on the more dull side but the tension tamps up decently in the end. Not my favorite at least it goes somewhere. Fitting one to end on….
Ring My Bell: Until this bonus post credits one! They really hold you hostage. This starts out dull with a family hanging out…then it goes places with the ending. It’s messed up in a good way and I liked that. an odd to end on but it sure was something.
Whew. Overall, this movie was fine. It is ambitious at least, with so many segments and a variety of ideas going on. I get why we need 25/26 segments, to fit the Advent Calendar theme. It just feels like too many as there’s a fair amount of just okay ones. They can often be samey and confusing. That can be a me thing with how good I am at paying attention sometimes but they can be a bit too weird for me.
It’s almost always well made with solid direction and production values for the low budget. This feels like a passion project and that does help up. It just has the anthology movie problem in full force with how many there are. I get why we have so many but these work better if you don’t have a ton and make them stronger.
The Christmas is loose on some which isn’t too big a deal as others make up for it. These are from all over the world so few you gotta read subtitles for, which is fine. Standouts for me included All Sales Fatal, Pig and especially Cracker. Ones like that shine while a few too many are just eh. I can see others going either way on this one but I at least respect it.
It’s flawed for sure but there’s enough to like here. Even with some duds, it barely pulls through to being…fair for what it is. Not the best but not too bad either. I’d recommend it, just know it’s a mixed for for sure.
And that was another round of requested reviews. I think this was a fair group but not amazing. Mostly fair but nothing great movies. A few cases will be debatable for some but that is how I feel. At least we can agree that Garbage Pail Kids is quite poor. I liked the rest, they just weren’t amazing. My favorite was The Producers this time. Sure, Come and See can be argued to be better but Producers vibed with me more by the end, even if it wasn’t as great as it could have been.
An interesting batch at least, form R rated animation to acclaimed foreign cinema. This shows off my odd tastes well I think. That ends this one. Remember you can always send in requests even when I don’t ask for them. Maybe they’ll get a scene by scene review if they’re wacky enough, who knows. …Wish I had a grand statement here bur whatever.