Tuesday, March 11, 2014

'Seinfeld' Fans Rejoice! We May Have Found 'Rochelle, Rochelle'!: "Maid in Sweden" (1971)

The lead actress' acting skills are atrocious, but she is hotter than hell.

Inga (Christina Lindberg) is a buxom student who travels to Stockholm to visit big sister Greta (Monica Ekman). Inga is repressed back home thanks to her darn parents never letting her have any fun. Inga meets Greta's live-in boyfriend Casten (Krister Ekman, who looks like Dennis Cole) and Greta swears Inga to secrecy about their relationship.

Inga has some odd dreams, memories, nightmares, and fantasies, and the film makers rarely differentiate between the four. Her every thought seems to involve sex, and she is continually gawked at by strangers. For the record, any straight male would sit up and take notice of the often nude Lindberg in her first film (after she was discovered and did a few months of nude modelling in magazines). Inga is set up with Bjorn (Leif Haslund), an unsuccessful sculptor (his work is hideous), and he proceeds to make a good impression by raping Inga until she gives in to his pasty loving ways. Greta finally tries to be a good big sister, worrying about Inga.

Swedish dudes get away with so much! The film is awful, and its treatment of women borders on dangerous, if not at least misogynistic. There are three different rape scenes involving Inga, two of them ending with her giving in to the attacker. She rejects a lesbian, but likes getting roughed up by men.

The film was co-financed by some Americans, so everyone speaks in halting English. The direction is average, you don't need to do a lot with your camera when Lindberg disrobes. The acting is atrocious, and the script is mean. The most interesting aspects of the film, aside from Lindberg, is a psychedelic Beatles poster hanging in Greta's apartment, and a pop song score that hilariously describes what is happening to Inga.

"Maid in Sweden" was made for the sleazy grindhouse raincoat crowd, and does little to go beyond entertaining them. (*) out of five stars.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Kind of Disaster Movie That Has You Cheering On the Disaster: "Meltdown: Days of Destruction" (2006)

An asteroid bounces off the Earth's atmosphere and moves the planet closer to the sun in this stupid made-for-television sci-fi flick.

Nathan (Vincent Gale) is a scientist. You know he is a scientist because he says a lot of science things while staring at a computer screen, runs programs, tries to warn higher-ups, and mutters "oh my god" a lot. He and some other scientists sent a nuclear warhead into space and blew up a cheesy computer animated asteroid, sending one big chunk of it toward Earth. It kind of misses, but tempers rise as the progressively sweaty scientists can do nothing about the sudden spike in temperatures around the world. Police officer Tom (Casper Van Dien) happens to be dating Nathan's hot (so to speak) TV reporter sister Carly (Stefanie von Pfetten), and the trio watch as society descends into chaos because of the heat. The humidity also frizzes the hair of Tom's bratty teenage daughter Kimberly (Amanda Crew), his old flame (sorry) nurse Bonnie (Venus Terzo), and Kimberly's juvenile delinquent boyfriend C.J. (Ryan McDonell).

The group decides to head toward an airport where Nathan is sure they can catch a plane out of the sweltering country, headed for the North Pole. The viewer is then treated to stock footage, badly choreographed action sequences (did the heat affect everyone's ability to hit anything with machine guns?), awful special effects, and characters' attempts at being likable.

Other reviews of this film paint it as a brain-dead good time, but I cannot excuse it like that. It is simply terrible. There is not one cast member you will root for. The script tries to play up the soap operatics of the characters, and I could not care less about whether Tom will choose Carly or Bonnie, or if anyone eventually accepts C.J. as a good but misunderstood guy. Nathan's slow descent into madness is hilarious without meaning to be. I'm no scientist, but "2012" was more plausible than this thing. Not only is the science suspect, but other logical errors abound. I challenge you to go more than two scenes suffering through Kimberly's pouty bitchiness before you will want to spill some gasoline on her and light a match.

Poor Casper Van Dien was a pretty hot property (again, sorry) for a while, but now has to do dreck like this. "Meltdown: Days of Destruction" left me stone cold. (*) out of five stars.