Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Meadows’

Movie Review: 1313: Hercules Unbound! (2012)

October 1, 2012

1313 Week is a week dedicated to reviewing David DeCoteau’s homoerotic franchise. Partly an experiment to see if I can survive an entire week of the films, and partly because I’m fascinated by the fact that these movies are made, I hope that you enjoy this week.

@MGLeet Please don’t kill yourself this week. #1313craziness

@nategarvison

In the words of Hercules: This is the beginning, let me tell you.

All knowledge I have of Hercules comes from the Disney movie, so I’m not sure I’m allowed to question 1313: Hercules Unbound!‘s historical accuracy. However I’m guessing that jet stream hot tubs didn’t exist in Ancient Greece.

So what is there to say about Hercules Unbound!?

Directed by David DeCoteau and written by Charlie Meadows, Hercules Unbound! follows Hercules (Geoff Ward) and his friends as they exercise in a near-naked fashion. Athena (Chelsea Rae Bernier) makes a very cute few appearances, while Zeus (Louis Ferrigno Jr.) and Hera (Laurene Landon) turn up as clouds. A genuine plot about love, revenge, and shenanigans wants to exist — but in the end this is a movie about Ancient Greek men and their thong rags.

Hercules Unbound! is effectively gay porn without intercourse. There are scenes where the male characters — whom are 95% naked — wrestle, giggling the entire time. The battles are supposed to be epic and the characters are supposed to hate each other, but the actors are seemingly overjoyed by hugging it out, foreplay style.

If we were to ignore the fact that this movie is 70 minutes of muscular guys and their sexual tension, Hercules Unbound! becomes a movie which takes place during a training session with Hercules and other warriors. Campaneous (Brendan Lamb), feeling overshadowed by Hercules asks Hera to help kill him. This movie is supposed to work as build up to Hercules’ and Campaneous’ epic battle to the death.

I appreciate that DeCoteau and Meadows try to work a genuine story into Hercules Unbound!, which would be interesting if not overshadowed by the near-gay pornness of it all. Otherwise there’s no reason to beat around the bush, so to speak: Hercules Unbound! has a deficit of positive qualities to any reasonable straight male.

Being a straight male myself, I was wishing for this movie to turn into Athena Unbound!, but I digress, as obviously this movie isn’t for me. I’m guessing it’s not for many of you either. But ignoring sexual preference for a minute, Hercules Unbound! is rife with problems and surprisingly they aren’t ignorable.

This movie features some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen. Every horribly written line is gagged out of every actor’s mouth, and it’s cringe-worthy — actually, not every actor. As previously mentioned, Louis Ferrigno Jr. and Laurene Landon voice over God-clouds. While I’m sure that those two had as much trouble reciting their lines, it isn’t verifiable.

The score for Hercules Unbound! is okay until minute five. Epic battle music is played from start to finish, even when there are no epic battles on screen. I swear to every Greek deity, this movie came close to making me deaf. Every bit of audio, be it dialogue or musical score, is horrible. I don’t want to check to see if my ears are bleeding.

And don’t get me started with the jet stream hot tubs which Hercules and co. relaxed in. I’m no expert on Ancient Greece, but I would bet every cent to my name that that invention came to pass in recent centuries. I get that historical accuracy wouldn’t prop this movie up much, but honestly, the hot tub oversight is just dumb.

In other words, Hercules Unbound! is disaster on top of disaster!

So do I need to say it? I guess, if hot, almost naked guys wrestling each other is your thing, Hercules Unbound! can be found on Netflix USA as of this writing. If you aren’t into that stuff, avoid at all costs.

Edit 10/2/2012: Moved around a paragraph that I felt was wrongly placed

Movie Review: 1313: Frankenqueen (2012)

September 11, 2012

Ah the 1313 franchise, the underwear ads of full length cinema. I caught 1313: Cougar Cult earlier this year which I found mildly amusing, largely because I hadn’t seen anything like it before. It’s a low budget Horror film set in a mansion where three cougar women pursue three topless college-aged pool boys whom they hired, and the movie lasts 70 minutes. The idea to mix underwear ads and Horror films alone is so ridiculous that it deserves praise.

Funnily enough, 1313: Frankenqueen doesn’t stray far from Cougar Cult‘s formula. Infact it almost seems like the producers of the franchise got together and said:

Okay, we need to remake this with twice as many guys, we need them to be twice as athletic, and we need them to not have shirts on — not even for one second.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Frankenqueen even appears to take place in the same mansion as Cougar Cult. Frankenqueen is a tiny bit different, however, so I don’t get off too easy.

As the story goes, five very athletic college-aged guys are hired for “research” by Victoria (Helene Udy), a plastic surgeon and cougar-widow of a highly respected scientist. The rules are simple: Live in her mansion for a weekend, swim in her pool, eat her food, and take a series of physical tests. Oh, and clothing above the waist is expressly forbidden. On Monday the five test subjects will be paid and it all sounds too good to be true — because it is!

Frankenqueen is co-written by David DeCoteau and Charlie Meadows, with DeCoteau also directing. Honestly, everything about this film is horrible from conception to execution, but I don’t think it even matters! The target audience is obviously middle aged women who dig topless people half their age. I’d venture to guess that this and the other 1313 movies are meant to be a fantasy; a group of young, topless athletic men working for a middle aged woman in her mansion for a weekend.

These movies fill a very specific niche and it’s hard to fault them for that. And even for me, I had a very fun time taking notes, and the discussions my watching Frankenqueen led to on Twitter were fun. Even this review is kinda fun to write… For example, the following sentence:

Oh, and clothing above the waist is expressly forbidden.

I don’t get to write stuff like that every day. Fair is fair though, and Frankenqueen has a host of problems.

The most glaring problem to me is how the iPad is used. Yes, indeed, a white WiFi-only iPad was in the film enough to be a cast member, however the display is off the entire time it’s on screen — even when Victoria is taking notes on it. Maybe DeCoteau understands that Apple geeks probably don’t even know that Frankenqueen exists, but I can name many good note taking iPad apps — free and paid — without thinking too hard. Having Victoria take notes on an iPad in standby mode is the epitome of lazy, which isn’t acceptable on any merit.

Further, iPhones also had roles, and I didn’t notice their screens turn on in use either, although it isn’t as blatant as the standby iPad.

Going down my list, the next most irritating thing is how drawn out every single scene is. Some scenes lasted upwards of five minutes, and were literally nothing except Victoria running a tiny blacklight over a guy’s hypnotized body in bed. Again, this movie is fan service, and five minutes of an attractive guy’s black-underwear covered crotch is the entire point. I get that. However I’m not a middle aged woman, and a little effort to make something good doesn’t often hurt.

Honestly, Frankenqueen is probably best viewed as a test for guys to determine if they’re gay or not. If you think that you’re straight but want to make sure, I’d watch this movie. I can’t speak from experience, but what amounts to basically a 72 minute underwear ad will surely surface any hidden feelings for the same sex. And if you’re a middle aged woman who dreams about this stuff, you’ll get a kick out of it.

For all interested parties, 1313: Frankenqueen is currently on Netflix with many other films from the 1313 franchise.

I haven’t ever done this before, but all of the notes I took while watching this movie can be found after the break.

Warning: There are spoilers.

Read the rest of this entry »

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