Reviews – The Chick’s Ability, and four more new must-see movies on DVD
– by Robin Bougie
Here’s your monthly roundup of some of the newest must-see movies from around the globe making their debut on the format. Don’t be a celluloid hemorrhoid! If you miss these you’ll be a sucka-chump of the highest order.
The Chick’s Ability (Brazil, 1985) – An offshoot of erotic film rarely seen in North America until now, the Brazilian Pornochanchada movement was very popular in South America from 1977-1985. Blowing the lid off these rare movies, Impulse Pictures has come forward with their initial entry in their “classic Latin erotica collection” – the scandalous 1984 production The Chick’s Ability. Here, a lovely small-town teen named Cristina loses her virginity, outraging her religious father. Looking for help from her older sis Carla (a downtown Rio whore with a tough pimp named Milton), the 19-year-old also gets the boot from her hooker sibling after getting pregnant. Will she prostitute her shapely ass in order to save her sick newborn son, or are there other options available to this unfortunate girl? With a tight story line, some truly beautiful nekkid laydeez, and a notable lack of camp, The Chick’s Ability provides an interesting window into an extinct genre.
Wendy and Lucy (USA. 2008) – Wendy is a kind-hearted young woman who doesn’t have much aside from her annoying clunker of a car, a dog named Lucy, and just enough money to get her to Alaska where some seasonal work hopefully awaits her. Things seem bleak but not hopeless – that is, until Wendy’s car breaks down, and she’s arrested for breaking the law, and… well, that would be a spoiler. Director Kelly Reichardt subtly underscores the unfortunately all-to-common predicament of a person living without any margin for error, and how sickeningly wrong everything can go with only a few scrotum twists of fate. Lacking the resources to bail herself out of trouble, Kelly’s heroine has to make some pretty heartbreaking choices just to survive. Get ready to fucking bawl your eyes out, pet-lovers.
Cat in the Brain (Italy, 1990) – Here’s a weird one! Italian gore-master Lucio Fulci plays himself – a horror film director with an identity crisis that has been having nightmarish visions brought on by the morbid and upsetting films he’s been foisting upon the public. Ol’ Lucio sees dead people, and eventually makes an appointment with a psychologist with some strange and unusual ulterior motives. With a score by Fabio Frizzi, which is right up there with the better scores he did for Fulci. From swinging jazz numbers to scary dissonant horror warblings, Frizzi gets busy. The real reason to get excited though, is how absolutely *packed* to the rafters this movie is with creative gore, nudity, and strangeness. This is Fulci’s tribute to his fans, and the last great movie he ever made.
Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! (Japan. 1963) – Chubby-cheeked Jo Shishido portrays Tajima, a private detective in charge of his own company, “Detective Bureau 2-3.” When criminal gangs go to war with one another and rob U.S. military bases for weapons, Tajima steps in with extreme jazzed-up, bare-knuckled, 34. calibre butt-kickery. Seijun Suzuki does it again with yet another off-kilter, pop-filtered, to-the-hiltered combo of crazy ‘n’ sexy. Sure, from certain storytelling standpoints, Detective Bureau 2-3 is a total mess that utterly lacks sophistication— but if you’re hung up on that you’re missing the point, not to mention all of the fun! Go to Hell Bastards! trivia: star Jo Shishido got cheek implants in 1956. Seriously.
Crips and Bloods: Made in America (USA. 2008) – An operatic history and prehistory of the notorious and bloody California street-level war that has claimed the lives of over fifteen thousand people in 30 short years, Crips and Bloods examines the conditions that have lead to over-the-top gang violence amongst young blacks and hispanics growing up in South Los Angeles. A talented skateboarder and an even more talented filmmaker, Stacy Peralta has Oscar-nominated actor Forrest Whitaker narrate this blend of archival footage and in-depth interviews. Peralta builds a case that the slaughter and all the associated social pathologies result from a perfect storm of toxic social ingredients. Very interesting stuff.
You can read more from Mr. Bougie here.