Posts Tagged ‘Block

09
Feb
14

(NSFW) The Naked Cage (1986): Women on the Verge of a Nervous Shanking

naked cage

a Primal Root written review

What is the appeal of a women in prison movie? Could it be the hardened women struggling for power and survival behind bars? The depiction of corrupt officials and politics behind prison walls and how it mirrors our own government? Or is it simply the fact we are almost guaranteed some gratuitous female shower scenes? I ask you, why can’t it be all of the above?

“The Naked Cage”, directed by Paul Nicholas and produced by Cannon, marks what many consider to be among the last truly great women in prison flicks, a genre that became popular and peaked in the mid to late 1970’s.  “The Naked Cage” tells the story of a young, blonde, nubile bank teller and bareback horse rider, Michelle (Shari Shattuck) who ends up getting sentenced to three years in a vicious women’s prison after her bonehead, coke head ex-husband decides to pull a stocking over his head and rob the bank where Michelle works. Of course, none of this would have happened if Michelle’s ex hadn’t recently gotten mixed up with the sexy, murderous, psychotic escaped convict, Rita (Christina Whitaker) who likes killing cops and having cocaine snorted off of her nipples (true story). Michelle ends up unwittingly getting pulled into the heist, which ends in a bizarre getaway that consists of driving around the bank parking lot several times and then in blood, and is thrown in jail after Rita testifies that Michelle was the ringleader of the heist. Me thinks Michelle should get herself a better lawyer.

Michelle takes her sentencing in stride, maintains a good attitude and makes friends quickly with her fellow inmates including her bunk mate and former junky Amy (Stacey Shaffer) and the badass,  muscular behemoth , Sheila (Faith Minton) who runs things on their cell block.  However, Michelle doesn’t quite see eye to eye with the prison’s warden, Diane (Angel Tompkins from one of my favorites, “The Teacher”) who conducts bizarre lesbian BDSM sex games with whichever inmates tickle her fancy. Also on the loose is a sadistic prison guard known as Smiley (Nick Benedict) who takes great pleasure in raping and then murdering female inmates before trying to pass it off as suicides. He justifies this to the warden by explaining “This job is shitty, I might as well do something I enjoy!” It’s not an exact quote, but something along those lines…

I wonder if the warden in "The Shawshank Redemption" ever had Andy dress like this and rub his shoulders?

I wonder if the warden in “The Shawshank Redemption” ever had Andy dress like this and rub his shoulders?

Life behind bars doesn’t treat Michelle that bad, at first. But soon, Rita is released from the hospital, where she was recovering from the bank robbery car chase, and is thrown into prison on the same cell block as Michelle. Rita and Warden Diane join forces and once Rita takes down Sheila, the Warden gives Rita the go ahead to enact her revenge on Michelle. Revenge for what, exactly? Not so sure, seeing as Michelle had little to nothing to do withe the bank robbery turning into a bullet riddled botched bloodbath.  I have this feeling Rita might be projecting her own feelings of inadequacy and failure as a bank robber on to Michelle. Listen, killing Michelle won’t change the fact that you robbed a bank after snorting a mountain of cocaine, let your getaway car get blocked in, and then drove a stolen car in circles around the bank’s parking lot while the police unloaded their weapons into it and you.  Honey, that’s nobody’s fault but yours.

Rita quickly turns the prisons order of power on it’s head, dispatching those who protect Michelle, and turning her closest friends against her.  But Michelle is far more cunning than Rita realizes. As the tables turn, Michelle learns to rely on herself and takes dead aim at Rita and during a violent, awesome prison riot, the two meet in one of the down and dirtiest female convict cat fights I’ve ever seen.

naked_cage_flc_07

“The Naked Cage” is a glorious, spitfire of a women in prison film. One of the very last of a dwindling, glorious Drive-In culture. What really sets it apart is that, despite the conventions and obligatory women in prison cliches, is that “The Naked Cage” takes the time to create so really interesting, believable characters. It pulls off one of those rarest of  exploitation tricks where the viewer ends up actually liking characters and are genuinely saddened when certain folks end up being killed off.  By this point in Trash Cinema history, the women in prison genre had become more satirized and played for laughs or simply to titillate an audience rather  than deliver genuine dramatic story telling. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with the formerly mentioned brand of women in prison flick, Hell, I love a good goofy romp through a prison filled with nekkid women. Sure, there’s some campy, goofy bits in “The Naked Cage” like the exceedingly awkward scenes with Angel Tompkins rotating her shoulders topless with random female inmates in her neon light clad secret love chamber as they seduce one another, but overall the film plays it pretty straight if not a little over the top. There is something to be admired about a movie of this breed that does all it can to tell a convincing crime story on an exceedingly low budget and not fall back on cheap laughs.  “The Naked Cage” is bold, goes for the your throat and doesn’t let up. Damn fine stuff and one Hell of a send off to a once proliferating genre.

Oh, and there are plenty of shower scenes and gratuitous full frontal nudity.

I give “The Naked Cage” Three and a Half out of Five Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root

27
Nov
11

Attack the Block: Coming of Age during an alien onslaught minus the Speilberg Sap Trap!

a Primal Root written review

“This is too much madness to explain in one text!” – Jerome, Attack the Block

Did you see  this summer’s Super 8? The ultimate tribute to Speilberg style sentimentality set against a small town’s own little alien apocalypse that pulls at the heart strings as people are getting their heads crushed and fathers learn to forgive? Yeah, me too. I thought it was good for what it was…done to death (but never with as many lens flares) and a bit contrived, but it was kind of sweet even if it was clinically brain dead and out of touch.

And then there’s Attack the Block, a badass, go for broke alien invasion movie (of sorts) that pulls no punches, delivers a believable coming of age message and refuses to give all the kids in the film their own little happy ending…unless you consider getting your head bitten off and then chucked across the room a happy ending, which just might be for some of you weirdos! ( You know I love you. 😉

Attack the Blocks opens as a rather attractive young woman named Sam (Jodie Whittaker) is attacked outside of her apartment complex in London by a group of 5 teenagers. Just as they get her wallet and the ring off her finger something crash lands into the roof of a parked car. The lovely young woman runs off and the ring leader of our motley crew of Thug Life Goonies, Moses (John Boyega) is attacked by a fuzzy monkey monster with a gob full of shark teeth. After the initial attack Moses vows the kill whatever the Hell just attacked him, and keeping to his word, Moses and pals track the thing down and crush it’s skull. And this all takes place before the title even appears.

Blockies Never Say Die! Wait, that's a lie...

           As you might guess, these actions call down the fury of some other aliens who are a total different breed of monster than the one the gang brutally stomped to death earlier. And these creaures are quite the sight to behold. Giant, deep black, dog-like monsters who run on all fours and sport glowing blue mouths full of rows and rows of razor sharp teeth intent of ripping apart anything and everything that gets in the way of their goal. The kind of resemble what the Muppets in Hell might look like…

Along the way, our heroes not only have to try and avoid and do battle with these unnamed monstrosities, but they are also being tracked down by a ruthless, jackhole of a drug dealer by the name of Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter)  who can’t aim his gun worth a damn, has the top floor penthouse suite on the block where he grows enough weed to fill an entire room, and doesn’t give a flying fuck about the flesh hungry aline monsters on a rampage, He just wants to pop a cap in Moses for reasons I will let you find our for yourself.

I was surprised by Attack the Block after hearing so many mixed reviews. It’s a blast of pure energy and an honest take on a corrupted youth culture who puts an emphasis on the perceived Scarface rule of respect being a one way street and bullying people in order to get that kind of respect. As the gang is chased around the block by these beasts they are repeatedly confronted with the repercussions of their own thuggish actions in how people react to and treat them. That, in fact, you ARE responsible for your own actions and you do have a choice. Because however you take on a situation, however you treat others and the actions you make, will always have repercussions.

Not a bad message for a movie littered with dead kids, immolated aliens corpses and plenty of fireworks. Really, our main character Moses goes through quite the transformation as the movie progresses as he steadily realizes the errors of his ways. At first blaming society, and then the government and then coming to terms with the idea that he just might be responsible for the hellish situation he’s currently in.

Sometimes you have to man up and take responsibility for your actions. And sometimes you have to risk life and limb to make amends to the ones you’ve wronged and the one’s who are indirectly affected by your own actions.  Attack the Block is about growing up not just into a man, but into a responsible one. One willing to put things right and take responsibility. That it takes more courage to make things right than it does toconstantly blame everyone else.

If you ask me, it’s a damn good message and one worth sending. Especially if you are able to deliver it with such an entertaining mix of alien carnage, samurai sword battles, explosions and epic one liners.

Stay Trashy,

-Root

Did I mention the awesome score by Basement Jaxx?




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