Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It Sounds Nothing Like "Surfing with the Alien"

LITTLE KNOWN FACT: On one of his journeys in the Time Bubble from the 30th century to the 20th century to aid his pal Superboy, Legion of Super-Heroes member Chameleon Boy made a detour into the mid-70s to score the movie SURFER GIRLS. And then they misspelled his name!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Where My Head Is

The first thing you need to know is that I junked a scheduled post which was going to put this blog on indefinite hiatus again. To be clear, we're NOT going on hiatus. At least, that's no longer the plan. But, I should probably go into the reasons for almost making such a decision so soon after quietly reviving OWARI.

Basically, I've reached the point in my life where my "fandom" has simmered down and is no longer much of a priority to me. This has been building for some time (literally years), but has finally gotten to where I can no longer ignore it or just switch gears for awhile. While I still have affection for the things that brought me to where I am (comic books, Japanese monster movies, etc.), my passion for them has just sort of left me.

I don't think I quite realized how much of my own identity was wrapped up in outside forces. As I have slowly subtracted pursuits that no longer did anything for me, I came to understand "fandom" was sometimes a substitute for other things in my life. And the crazy thing is, I've never been nearly as wholly invested as a lot of folks. If you were to take away, say, video games from some people, how much of that individual would be left?

I'm trying to answer that question for me. I characterized it as a "mid-life crisis" on Twitter not long ago, and I was only half-kidding. I've been going back and forth with depression lately as I try to figure out Who I Am Now. The weird thing is, things are pretty good otherwise. I want to be closer to figuring this out before life inevitably decides it won't be "pretty good" for awhile.

Perhaps you have deduced that my decision to focus more on my own original characters and stories a few years ago was related to this. Good catch if so. The only trouble is, inspiration waxes and wanes when you're playing with your own imagination with no real incentive other than to create. Let's be honest, only a handful of people actually care about what I'm doing with that stuff. So combine my current state of mind with some...other stuff (which I won't be getting into) related to my work and, well, the old mind well has been a bit dry recently.

My "comeback" here was a reaction to the above. I was trying to find my happy place again in the old hobbies, and figured writing about them would be extra motivation. Turns out, no, it mostly wasn't. It was a last gasp of sorts and now...here we are.

I HAVE been doing things, and I DO have things I want to write. I'm worried this might not be the proper place for those writings. I've been considering starting a NEW blog to put some of that out there. But let me tell you what - I don't think I have the stomach in 2017 to customize another blog to my liking. Maybe that will change, but right now, it sound suspiciously like work. And it's work I don't want to do. So we'll see what happens.

This is the State of OWARI and, by extension, me as we go forward. I'm not sure what's next. I'm not sure if it even matters if there IS a "next" here. But if you bother to read this blog, you deserve to know where things stand now. Thanks.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Night Bird

THE NIGHT BIRD recently came out on DVD paired with the utterly absurd NIGHT OF THE SPANISH FLY from our friends at Vinegar Syndrome. I was expecting THE NIGHT BIRD to be a hedonistic disco-themed adult movie, and I certainly got that - with music even better than I could have hoped. I just wasn't expecting a portrait of no hope lives in the big city.

Briefly, Southside (Marcus Valentino) is a small time hustler with some questionable friends who finds himself desperate to escape from the cycle of conflict (conveyed by some slurs casually tossed around) and exploitation (picking up gals and coercing them into "fun") that surrounds him. He catches a glimpse of a young woman one day and she captivates him. But what he really wants to do is learn how to dance...

Little does Southside know that Maggie (Misty Winter aka Christie Ford), the woman who caught his eye, is the owner and bartender of an underground disco called The Night Bird. In addition to the drinking and dancing, The Night Bird offers a little more for its patrons. And Maggie is more than willing to give private dance lessons...

The stories of Southside and Maggie only converge at first through Lou, a friend of the former who works for the latter (and is probably an "investor" in the production wink wink). That is, until a surprising twist leads Southside to The Night Bird. He and Maggie finally meet and she teaches him how to dance...and maybe leave behind his old life.

I don't know who "Felix Daniels" is or was, but this was surprisingly compelling. There's plenty of anonymous sex, to the point where most performers aren't even billed. But the characters we get to know are interesting. Marc Valentino is sympathetic even when he's sleazy, and Misty Winter shows a charisma I didn't see from her in That Famous Porno We Dare Not Name. There is some sort of flashback/fantasy sequence involving them that I don't understand and leads nowhere, but mostly, I wanted to see what happened to them. High praise indeed.



Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Vixens of Kung-Fu + Oriental Blue

The Vixens of Kung-Fu + Oriental Blue

This collaboration between Vinegar Syndrome and Distribpix was an early release for the former company. Both films are directed by Bill Milling, who seems to be doing quite well for himself with his American Movie Company. Not sure if he's interested in being associated with this particular chapter of his career.

VIXENS OF KUNG-FU turns out to be a decent homage/rip-off (pick 'em) of Chinese martial arts movies. Two big drawbacks - 1) none of the titular "Vixens" are of Asian descent and 2) none of them know any martial arts at all. There is an Anthony Wong credited with "special kung-fu fighting" and I'd assume he is the fellow seen on-screen who seems to know what he is doing. The cast tries gamely to at least get poses halfway right, and Arlana Blue comes closest to looking like she has some idea. But this is Bree Anthony's movie, and C.J. Laing's to a lesser extent. Bree even gets a wig thrown on her to play a second part. She's all kinds of adorable and sympathetic, and even has to fend off a very angry bee during her climactic "duel" with future husband Tony Richards (Tony Blue).

ORIENTAL BLUE, on the other hand, is an ultra-sleazy look at human trafficking. Peonies Jong (seen as a non-sex sifu in VIXENS) is the driving force, and her thick accent actually works in her favor here. With the exception of Bree Anthony again, no one given any character development in this movie is particularly nice. Even Jamie Gillis as our nominal hero is a bastard. I did find Bobby Astryr's character from the "World Bordello Association" to be hilarious in how awful a person he was. This movie's poster did supply my biggest laugh, with Al Goldstein's quote that it was "great for couples." Yes, because what lady doesn't dream of her man selling her into white slavery?

A wonderful double bill. Kudos to whoever decided to put this one out. It just might not be great for couples.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Carlos Tobalina

I'm kind of in the middle of a few things, so what I'm planning on writing is taking a backseat for the time being. In the meantime, here's a two part piece I discovered recently on filmmaker Carlos Tobalina. I found it so interesting that I want to make sure I have it on hand if I need to return to it. See what you think.

Part 1

Part 2