Monday, September 24, 2012

GIFs: Death Race 2000

Tonight we look back on a truly bizarre and amazing movie, and our first review: Death Race 2000!

Manly as fuck...

All intros should look like this...

Bye Bye, baby...Hello seventy points...

NOW don't you want to see it?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Not Quite There: Dredd 3D

Going For It:

  • Not the Sylvester Stallone/Rob Schneider vehicle
  • Good balance between one-liners and violence
  • Decent writing
  • Couple 'splosions
  • 3D because it was actually originally intended for 3D; not some crappy post-conversion
  • Managed to explain away the gorgeous slow-motion sequences by way of a street drug called "Slo Mo"

The Case Against:

  • For being a violent, jokey romp of a movie... really rather joyless
  • The bad guy was nearly completely generic and bland
  • Despite over-the-top source material and an R-rating, it did not get ultraviolent enough
  • Suffering for lack of nudity (see R-rating comment above)

MMG Says...

Dredd 3D is based, like the Stallone disaster, on a British comic about a cop in a dystopian future America in which overcrowding forces the police to act as judge, jury, and executioner with no real due process.  This  backdrop, combined with an R-rating, really should have meant consistent over-the-top violence in glorious 3D.

The biggest problem with this movie was that it suffered from something of an identity crisis.  It was almost as if it were purposefully toned down to try to get a PG-13 and appeal to more people.  There were moments where, in slow-motion, body parts rippled and exploded from bullet wounds and droplets of blood flew through the third dimension straight into the audience's popcorn-burdened laps.  And then there were the wasted opportunities; the moments where limbs would explode but wouldn't really be shown off, or the moments where sex was shown in the most abstract and oblique ways with nary a nipple or buttock.  

The movie really had only one option: fully embrace, even bear hug, the source material and the camp factor.  They should have reveled in the notion that they didn't have to do a whole lot of explaining: future cop, has to shoot stuff for his job, too many people, life worth less...we get it!  To have performed its shootout through the mega-slums with the same sort of zest or zeal of a Machete or a Planet Terror, it would have punched its own golden ticket into the hearts of countless viewers (of course it would have put off just as many people... but better to be loved and loathed than completely forgotten).  Instead, the movie was nearly as muted, dingy, and tepid as its color palette.

Another big waste was with the setting.  The idea, and this really isn't a spoiler, is that Dredd has to fight his way up the levels of a mega-slum the size of Wilmington (yes, really).  In setting things up, the movie shows off a handful of colorful gangs (this reviewer guesses they are from the comic) that controlled the different sections of the building (the slum is all one massive building).  Apart from a montage, however, they don't show off the other gangs.  This could have been a vertical The Warriors... but no.  The reason for this, is that they don't exist anymore... they were all wiped out by the Mama Gang.

Yes, the bad guys are the Mama Gang.  Yes, the leader of the gang is named Mama.  Yes, the word Mama sounds so juvenile that this reviewer cringed every time he heard it uttered.  No, Mama was not cool.  You would think with a name like that, she would either be some absurdly obese woman barking orders while spitting up chunks of fried chicken, or at least an actress in heavy prosthesis to make her look ancient.  Instead what we get is Lena Headey, nonchalantly limping through scene after scene.  She is supposed to be maniacal and bad-ass, but the delivery was flaccid and she didn't have a catch phrase or M.O. for hurting people that set her apart from anything whatsoever.  There were several extras with more pop that were more memorable than the main villain; that's never a good sign.

That all being said, the movie is not by any stretch of the imagination a bad movie.  It was entertaining, if a tad too long.  It was fun, and not entirely forgettable.  There are some very good sequences and visuals that you will not see in any other movie.  Karl Urban, the titular Dredd, pulls off a very admirable performance that had to be done through a silly-looking helmet while still looking and acting tough.  This reviewer enjoyed the movie.  It was pretty good, it was just not quite there...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Not Quite There: A Primer

Later this week we are launching a new feature on the site called "Not Quite There" ...

The Man Movie Guide team watches a ton of movies in order to cull the best ones for review on the site.  It takes a lot to be a real Man Movie... as our "So what IS a Man Movie?" can attest to.  So that means that a vast percentage of the movies we watch for the express purpose of review on the site are abandoned because they're not up to snuff.

Our guide is a heavily curated one, and a lot of man hours (pun intended) are put into finding just the right movies for a full-on review.  Well we can now think of a few big problems with the way things have worked up until now:

1) You might be curious about a movie and just assume we haven't seen it.  Well guess what? WE HAVE!  Now we can tell you where things go right and things go wrong with the whole thing.

Going right....

2) In the conceivable near future we will be asked to review movies by filmmakers and/or studios.  What if the movie's not good enough?  We're not gonna just be nice and call it a Man Movie because we watched it for the site.  We don't care about anybody's feelings, but we do like free movies and/or money.  So now we have a way of espousing a movie without fully endorsing it.

3) One of the worst things about some of these bad or almost-bad movies is the time taken from the running counter of life that we will never get added back.  So bad enough 'Movie X' isn't worthy of a true Man Movie review, but now we don't even get a posting out of it?  Frankly, we think that's bullshit.  We are lazy people.  Why should we have to sit through 12 hours of film in order to get one review when we can sit through just an hour and a half?!

'Movie X'

And there you have it, our idea for "Not Quite There".  The way it will be laid out is as follows:

- Movie Title (that's the name of the movie)
- Trailer (so you can see said movie in action-ish)
- "Going For It" (a list of the pros for this movie as a Man Movie and anything else notably good in it)
- "The Case Against" (a list of what is holding it back from being a true Man Movie)
- "MMG Says..." (a recap of the movie and any relevant information)

As always, we are mad scientists with the site and even our own posts.  If you have any feedback, we would love to hear it.

Vaya con dios!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Random Screenshot #2

Who can guess this one?

Hint #1 : This is London
Hint #2: 90s. And you've totally seen it.
Hint #3: Contains the letter A in the title

Monday, September 10, 2012

Should Be...: Zombies Ate My Neighbors

There is a classic 16-bit game (Genesis, SNES) just itching...not just for a sequel... but also for a movie to be made of it.  The game is absolutely worth hunting down (downloadable on the Wii).  A movie would be pretty awesome; in the vein of Monster Squad and The Goonies, with a bit of Home Alone thrown in.

Picture reposted from VGJunk

Sunday, September 9, 2012

GIF: Black Caesar

One badass GIF from Black Caesar's boss montage, and then on to more movies, more reviews, and a couple new features:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fake Criterions for Man Movies


We at MMG love the tumblr Fake Criterions.  Here are some of our favorites for Man Movies.  Check out the rest at their site:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Should Be...

We are trying new things here at the Man Movie Guide.  This is our first installment of "Should Be..." in which we brainstorm ideas, share pictures or video clips, or even music (like this) that we think Should Be involved in or with a Man Movie.

We begin with a song that needs to, absolutely must, without a doubt appear in a Man Movie somewhere.  That the MMG team, in all its collective knowledge, can't figure out a movie it's been used in is absolutely criminal.

The band? Jethro Tull.
The song? Steel Monkey


Animated GIF: Black Caesar

You jive, turkey!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Black Caesar

              “Did you know a man’s beard keeps on growin’ even after he’s… dead?” quips Tommy Gibbs before he plugs his first man (in a barbershop, so you understand  why he says it) on his path into, up through, and up against the mafia in order to reign supreme.

Montages like this should be required of all mob movies.

               In an era where all you had to do was add the adjective “Black” to the front of any single word in order to create a movie, Black Caesar still oozes style and grit even these nearly 40 years later.  Former all-pro defensive back-turned-actor Fred “The Hammer” Williamson plays an ambitious kid from the streets of New York; looking to elevate his and his family’s status above the white people they used to work for/be abused by.

What better way to stick it to the man than to pull a Blanket Jackson with fur coats?

                This movie is not for the squeamish in terms of racial issues.  There’s hardly a line in the whole script that doesn’t couch one epithet or another.  If you can look past that, you have a very potent combination of machismo that carries out throughout the whole film in a way that will put a smile on your face: the early/mid 70s urban soul influence and the quintessential mobster archetype.

We would pay these guys to make us pay them for protection.
              Williamson spends a good deal of the movie chomping on a cigar, strutting down the streets in a sharp suit and mean sideburns.  His patronizing air and put-on Italian mob accent when dealing with the Cardoza Family is pretty hilarious.  The only time his character really goes off the rails as a tough-as-nails antihero masculine role model is when he doesn’t let no mean no with his own fiancĂ©e.  Not coincidentally, this is when things begin to spiral out of control for the character of Gibbs.  It is his hubris that leads to an epic and bloody downfall, just like the makings of any classic Greek tragedy.

There must be an aftershave or deodorant commercial in here somewhere...

                You can’t talk about this movie without talking about its music.  The soundtrack is scored nearly completely by one Mr. The Godfather of Soul, James Brown.  His impassioned singing (screaming) and his quintessentially tight band elevate nearly every scene of the movie in a way that makes the Man Movie Guide wish their life were accompanied by a soul band too.  Brown’s masterpiece does falter, however, during the only car chase in the movie… which is itself pretty silly and poorly constructed.

Not silly: Stylish men with afros gunning you down from a rooftop

                But we didn’t come here for the car chases, did we?  Or the bright orange-ish blood and bizarre gunshots (like the very top of someone’s hair), or even the bizarre inclusion of a Prussian World War I pistol (check it out:, for that matter.  We came here for the style, and we came here for the soul.  And that’s just what we got…

Black Caesar Trailer & Special Bonus