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Sep 022011

From the creators of the Archies comics is the all-girl rock band called Josie and the Pussycats, who also hail from the town of Riverdale. I can remember when this was a cartoon series from the early 70s that went along the lines of Scooby-Doo. In other words, a group of meddling kids always stumble into mysteries that they try to solve themselves.

Then in 2001 came Josie and the Pussycats the movie, which is an updated story on how it all began. A trio of struggling musicians, Josie (Rachael Leigh Cook), Melody (Tara Reid), and Valerie (Rosario Dawson) have dreams to make it to the big time. Soon after the popular boy band Dojour mysteriously disappears, the Pussycats get discovered by Wyatt (Alan Cumming), the top band producer for Mega Records. Now that’s peculiar because no band ever gets discovered that fast. It appears unrealistic, but too good to pass up.

The Pussycats also consist of manager Alexander (Paulo Costanzo), his sister Alexandra (Missi Pyle), and Josie’s boyfriend Alan M (Gabriel Mann), who is a separate musician. It’s strange that Alexandra comes along. What does she even do for this group, besides obsess over Alan? All Alexandra could say was, “I’m here because I was in the comic book.”

Even with all of the overnight success, Josie has doubts as if it was all too good to be true. It’s soon revealed that Fiona (Parker Posey), the head of Mega Records, is a mastermind behind a criminal brainwashing plot. Subliminal messages are hidden in rock and pop music to control the minds of teenagers to buy things due to fads and trend changes. If the musicians themselves ever become suspicious, it’s easy to cover up, mostly by plane crashes. It all makes perfect sense since many musicians really have died in plane crashes. Maybe not for that particular reason, but still.

Unaware of Fiona’s plan, the Pussycats have problems of their own. No, it’s not with the paparazzi. It’s with the studio making Josie the up front member, instead of the three girls as equals. That ends up testing the band’s friendship. Valerie is the first to notice, mostly because Wyatt keeps forgetting about her. Melody isn’t very bright, but she gets some bad vibes as well.

Soon, Valerie and Melody are summoned to be on TRL, which turns out to be a trap with Carson Daly himself trying to kill them. This was around the time when Carson Daly was engaged to Tara Reid. That’s why he and Melody have such an intimate conversation during the struggle.

After escaping, Valerie and Melody find that Josie has become a diva, which breaks up the band. As it turns out, she was being brainwashed by some other subliminal messages. Josie soon finds out about it, but gets captured along with Melody and Valerie. The three of them all make up and fight their way out. Those Pussycats can really kick butt. Where’d they learn to do that?

This movie totally rocks. The new songs are good for the modern day. I’m just a little surprised that it wasn’t really Rachael Leigh Cook singing, or was it?

On a side note, here’s my philosophy. A band is like a cake. First you have your bottom layers (the drums and bass), then a top layer (the rhythm and lead guitars), and the icing on top (the singer). Now on any cake, the icing is what sticks out the most. However, without the bottom layers all you get is icing by itself, which doesn’t make a very good cake. Every part of the cake is equally important. It’s the same principle with every member of a band. That’s what makes it work.

May 232011

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto is an animated movie based on a comic book created by Rob Zombie. It starts with Superbeasto (voice of Tom Papa) as a masked superhero, who is also a womanizing director and star of porno films in Monster Land.

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Monster Land is inhabited by every kind of monster you could ever imagine, from classic movie monsters to horror movie killers. Many of which are highly recognizable. It’s so interesting how these various characters are featured together throughout the movie, even the ones that are only featured as background gags.

Superbeasto claims to be an artistic director, who doesn’t judge by looks alone. As he goes through the auditions, it’s fairly obvious otherwise. However, it does have its funny moments.

While filming the porno, the two sexy ladies reveal themselves as monsters. Superbeasto kills them easily. It wasn’t part of the script, but the cameras were still rolling as if it was no big deal. And I thought Heavy Metal was freaky in that department.

One of those sexy ladies was named Trixie and was voiced by Dee Wallace. Though it was hard to figure out who Trixie was because her name was never mentioned during the short time she was in the movie, even if it was a credited role.

When I met Dee Wallace at Cult Fiction Drive-in 2011 in Jacksonville, she was really nice and I asked her who Trixie was. She said, “The werewolf girl with the biggest boobs.” In fact, she told Rob Zombie that she would work for scale if she got to voice that character.

Superbeasto’s sexy sister Suzi X (voice of Sheri Moon Zombie) is an interesting character. Her fighting skills are revealed to be equal to Superbeasto when she decapitates two female guards with her bare hands and fights off an entire army of Nazi zombies all by herself. That eye patch is a nice touch to show her toughness. How Suzi X got it is anybody’s guess.

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The villain in this movie is Dr. Satan (voice of Paul Giamatti). He plans on marrying Velvet Von Black (voice of Rosario Dawson), a gorgeous, but mean stripper with the Devil’s mark, in order to transmogrify into a giant beast and rule the world. The School House Rock parody of Dr. Satan’s plan is hilarious and was put together very well.

Among these various monsters are of a couple of characters from The Devil’s Rejects. I recognized them immediately as Otis (voice of Bill Mosley) and Captain Spaulding (voice of Sid Haig). Baby was shown briefly, but it would’ve been nice to see more of her with the others.

Speaking of Captain Spaulding, I got to meet Sid Haig at the same convention and he was a real nice guy.

There are quite a few HSN (Home Shopping Network) gags in this movie. If an item is slightly used, the price is marked way down from the original price. It’s a little peculiar. Don’t you think?

The cat fight between Suzi X and Velvet was awesome. With all of the guys watching, it was wild. Superbeasto was speechless too, even though his own sister was part of it. However, the singing during the fight had something to be desired.

I liked this film. It was creatively funny and great for horror movie fans of all types. Oddly, none of the women ever wear a bra. Do you suppose that’s a custom in Monster Land?

Jan 222010

Welcome back. This next film Grindhouse Presents, Death Proof – Extended and Unrated (Two-Disc Special Edition) is more of a slasher, which stars Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike, a stuntman with a killer car. Metaphorically and literally speaking.

This movie also features two different groups of lovely young women. The first group includes Rose McGowan in a much different role from Planet Terror, Vanessa Ferlito (who I remember as one of the cheerleaders from Man of the House), and Sydney Pointier as Jungle Julia the DJ who likes to show her gorgeous legs. (Oh, yeah.) Even Marley Shelton returns as a nurse named Dakota. What are the odds, right?

The jukebox plays all sorts of great music. That, along with the comedic characters, makes the bar a nice laid back environment, including the lap dance that was supposably “cut short”.

The second group includes Rosario Dawson (who I remember best as Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats the movie), Tracie Thoms (who I remember from the short lived comedy series Wonderfalls), and stuntwoman Zoë Bell as herself. They’re all on a road trip only to be attacked by Stuntman Mike. Doesn’t he ever quit?

I met Zoë Bell at the FX Convention in 2008. She was really nice. When I got her autograph, I found out that she was a stunt double on Xena: Warrior Princess and Kill Bill. My sister and I even told Zoë that we were looking forward to seeing her in more films. She excitedly crosses her fingers and says, “Me too.”

These movies are both great overall, filled with the perfect combination of action and sex appeal.