After viewing this disc -
which features two of his movies -
along with a
double bill disc a while back, it feels as if I'm becoming an expert on
the oeuvre of director Michael Legge.
Yeah, well, exactly. I must be the only Michael Legge expert out there.
When I uploaded my reviews for Loons and Cutthroats on
(another site I write for), its editor thought I had made some kind of
mistake with the movies titles because he couldn't find any mentions of
it at all - even on the much-vaunted Internet Movie Database!
We're talking zero-budget DIY film-making here - shot for very cheap on
location on video camera using friends, neighbours and family as actors.
Just how cheap In one scene a character is attacked by two sword-wielding
thugs. The only problem being that, according to the director's
commentary, the budget allowed for only one sword (which they borrowed
from someone they knew)! So Legge edited and shot the scene in a way that
it appears that both thugs have swords -
rather flawlessly I might add.
This is inventive
and clever film-making, and the next time some bloated Hollywood
blockbuster such as Terminator 3 runs over
budget then I'd recommend that they call in Legge . . .
Legge made Loons and Cutthroats in the early 1990s. A decade
on and the man is still at it.
Unfortunately I must say that he hasn't developed much as a film-maker in
the interim. Sure, Honey Glaze (made in 2003) boasts the best
production values in terms of image and sound quality of all of Legge's
movies. This means that (a) Legge has managed bigger budgets or (b) video
and sound equipment has improved dramatically in the past decade (very
likely actually considering that even mainstream movies such as
28 Days Later are filmed on digital
cameras nowadays) and (c) both.
I used words such as unfunny, sophomore (a lot!), embarrassing and
childish to describe his previous two movies. Sadly the same adjectives
can be used to describe Honey Glaze and Braindrainer.
Check out the official plot description
for Honey Glaze for instance: Honey Glaze is a perfect little
girl. She minds her Daddy, plays with her toys, and stays out of trouble
by never leaving the house. Trouble is, she's over thirty years old. When
her father, a government agent, is killed, Honey is pulled into a perilous
plot of intrigue and danger. Can Honey, with the help of agent Dash Hope,
hope to stop the evil plan of Dr. Sum Thaim and his alluring assistant,
Nurse Tarika Can she grow up real fast Will she put down her toys and
play with the big boys"
See what I mean When are screenwriters going to learn that funny names
just, well, aren't funny. It is usually a sign of desperation.
don't quite improve with Braindrainer,
the second movie on the DVD: a harmless looking meteor drops into the
earth's atmosphere. However, this is no ordinary rock. To touch it is to
have all your intelligence drained off in a matter of seconds.
Dr. Belinda Garland of Pointless Research Institute tries to find a
beneficial use for this brain drainer, but her plans are interrupted by
mad hypnotist The Amazing Jacques and his cohort, The Spiderwoman, who
want the rock for their own nefarious reasons.
To be honest I found myself smiling at a few bits. Both movies go
for a kind of over-the-top zaniness, but Legge's script needed work
to rid of those really awkward sophomore bits . . .
THE DISC: Often I am amazed by the effort that actually goes into
some of these no-budget flicks such as this one and
Binge & Purge (also recently reviewed). This one has everything from a
director's commentary and a making-of featurette to a trailer, beating out
the extra features on any Woody Allen DVD any time of the day . . .
WORTH IT If your taste runs to no-budget sophomore comedies, yes.
The best thing about these two movies however are that they are not
mean-spirited or vicious as a lot of contemporary comedies are. They are
actually quite sweet.
RECOMMENDATION: Michael Legge has a good movie in him somewhere. He
needs your support and Im sure he will make it one day. You can help him
(and this site)
by buying this disc at the link provided below.