Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil’s Son In Law. An early morning pre-coffee review

by guest reviewer Spencer Hackett.

Trailer:  http://youtu.be/PxzOf6EBlUQ

Blaxploitation classic time. Given we’re getting an Ed Wood style biopic of Rudy Ray Moore (Dolemite Is My Name, starring Eddie Murphy as Moore, co starring Wesley Snipes) we’ll have a gander at a not Dolemite based Moore film. Whilst not the house hold name of someone like Pam Grier (let’s be honest, no one can compete with Pam Grier) Moore’s films are stand out in the blaxploitation pantheon. Mainly for being knowingly funny (Moore was a comedian, you’ll realise this as he reworks some of his routines into each film) and they’re dirt cheap. Also they always feature Moore’s absolutely atrocious Kung Fu that I’m sure he was proud of, and that’s what matters. Petey was his 4th acting gig and third leading roles along with third writing credit, working with director Cliff Roquemore who he worked with on his previous film The Human Tornado (a sequel to Dolemite). A notable departure in this one Petey isn’t a pimp, but an entertainer, although Moore plays him exactly the same. Anyway, into the review, beware of spoilers, not that this is a plot heavy film.

Already spent 5 minutes listening to the theme song on the blu-ray menu (this is the vinegar syndrome 2k restoration, they did them for Dolemite and Human Tornado too) This songs a banger. Why don’t films have theme songs anymore, like proper ones ala Flash Gordon. I should probably actually watch the film now.

I’m sure I’ll say this a lot but that’s a heck of an outfit.

I love that Rudy Ray Moore films are like watching Blaxploitation trailers that have been stretched to full length, mainly just cus Moore tries to make everything rhyme, or at least say it like it did.

This stock storm footage hasn’t been cleaned up, it’s poor.

I’m no expert, but I really don’t think this is how birth works.

I’ve seen this film before, how did I forget he’s born as a 10 year old, seriously how could I forget that, it’s freaking me out.

And the themes back again (you can’t see but I’m giving it some serious head bob).

Had Karate Kid come out by this point, cus if not they ripped this training bit off. This feels like a reference ahead of its time. (Post IMDB edit: 7 years before Karate Kid, Moore can see into the future, or the Karate Kid team could see into the past, take your pick)

I really thought the old karate bloke was going to teach Petey to be a comedian as well.

Those are some teeth.

I’m sure I read somewhere that Moore is credited with inventing rapping, which if so is impressive.

I love that the sketchy, evil white guy is just called Mr White. I mean that’s so on the nose it’s perfect.

They really didn’t “restore” this film very much, unless it can’t be cleaned that much. I’ve just said that and the next scenes really clean, this film’s mugging me off.

Whoever did the production design payed attention to the black and red theme, or all clubs, bars, whatever these places were called had a red and black theme going ahead of time.

I love the use of sped up footage in these films, they did it for all the fights in human tornado, mainly because Moore is the world’s slowest kung fu “artist”.

Who bets the guy with the scar is evil?

How many colours can you fit in one room?

“Can you dig it”count: 1 (post viewing edit: I was disappointed to find this wasn’t said again, which astonished me).

Ed – I felt compelled to take a picture of this, and have been given the opportunity to shoehorn it into a review!

Are Leroy and Skillet real people, they were on the credits as such, but it’s just strange that no one else is real (post IMDB edit: They’re actually comedy characters that have been in multiple things, whether they were evil in other things I don’t know)

“Romance without finance is a damn nuisance” is a fantastic quote

I love scar face guys mates gold jacket, I want one.

Oh my god they killed the kid, this got dark. Well this is a tonal shift and a half.

You phoned an ambulance quick mate it’s been 10 seconds since they shot him and you’re already stood over him saying you’ve called. They also got here damn quick too. From incident to arrival I’d say 30 seconds. (Editor – they had to be that quick to beat the lawyers).

This is the most dapper funeral I’ve ever seen. Do people still say dapper? I don’t really care.

Fucking hell, who shoots up a kids funeral over two club nights clashing? Comedy is serious in this town.

I’m going to legally change my name to Lou Cypher, it’s too good.

To be honest Lucifer is a lot less cool than I’d hoped. Also why does it sound like there’s a hot tub in the background?

Why can’t we see the ugly devil daughter?

Why couldn’t the devil bring back the kid too, that seems a bit harsh?

“Petey you know how powerful the devil is, and if you cross him he’s going to be mad as hell” 1. No shit the devil’s powerful. 2. Mad as hell, I see what you did there.

This film should now be compulsory viewing.

I like they got the continuity of that guys piss stained trousers, someone took this film a lot more seriously than others.

Gotta love poo jokes, this film’s high brow.

Why did this genre disappear? I know they’ve just remade Superfly, but it doesn’t look, well, very fly.

What on earth was that noise Petey made. They’ve dubbed it over all the martial arts and it’s really off putting, some strange grunting thing.

I wish I had the variety of hats they had in this film, there are some fabulous ones.

Where is this graveyard? It’s someone’s back garden I swear, probably the same one from the karate montage at the start.

Why would you wear white to go to the grave yard, especially to rummage for a cane? I realise I sound like a mom.

What is going on with this singing lady, why does her song only have 4 lines?

How did the bomb only blow up the watermelons, not the truck with the watermelons in? I mean it was epic and looked cool as anything, but it was a shit bomb.

This bass player is going for it far more than anyone else. Except maybe the lady playing keyboard and trumpet at the same time, that’s impressive. It might actually be a trombone, that’s even better.

It’s the great thing with Moore’s films, they’re just full of people I presume are his friends he must have known from his comedy shows, so you get weird musical and comedy interludes. This isn’t me trying to be funny, if it’s true there’s something quite sweet about it, even if what’s usually going on isn’t.

Not being funny this telekinetic chaos is better than Carrie. Has this film just been ripped off royally? (nah Carrie was the year before, so they learned from that films mistakes… YES I THINK PETEY WHEATSTRAW IS A BETTER FILM THAN CARRIE, FIGHT ME!!!)

STROBEY SATAN!!!!!

Who calls their daughter my pet? That’s creepy, I know he’s the devil but that’s still far too creepy.

Trump
Editor – This guy?

Serious point, has anyone else ever watched a film and seen someone who looks exactly like someone you know in real life, but the films old or from another country. So it couldn’t be that person but they look exactly like them. It really freaks me out and it just happened again. Anyway back to the film.

Why’s Petey dancing down the street having made a kid cry? That’s cold Petey, that’s cold.

Now he’s fat shaming people, god Petey. And he’s really out of focus doing so.

I’ve never seen an actor having more fun doing a scene than Moore is here. That’s given me a warm feeling.

Why does the devil need a bath? It’s not even a cool bath full of sexy demons like you’d expect in a blaxploitation film, it’s just a bathtub like anyone would have in their house.

The devil has the campest jog, and I love it.

I’m surprised it took this long to get to any nudity. I feel like the sexy demon ladies having horns is a perfect set up for some sort of joke about them being horny, but I can’t think of one, and clearly neither could the film makers.

Oh my god. I’d try and describe what’s just walked in but I don’t think I can, it’s like one of those Lovecraftian horrors that words cannot describe. I’ll just let you see for yourself.

They’re back again, getting what little monies worth that they can out of em.

Did Lil Wayne take his name from this film? It’s graffitied on a wall. I really hope so, this film is truly inspirational.

Why didn’t Lucifer look this cool before? Also he’s white now (his face is painted white at least, not his chest), which I feel like should have been played up in more.

And the themes back again, it’s easily one of the best blaxploitation tunes.

This fight is really incoherent, so I stopped watching and had a dance instead, I’m glad this isn’t a video review.

I’m sad the theme stopped.

The devil has some amazing flares on.

I’ll be honest, the Devil’s daughters face was a let down, not a haunting as I hoped.

Themes back again, more dancing time. I’ll put a link in here so you can dance too.

Well, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable film. Is it deep? No. Is it very well made? No. Is it a good time? Hell yes. It’s more of the same for Rudy Ray Moore fans, perhaps played the most for laughs with less “action” than the Human Tornado. But it’s an enjoyable ride nonetheless, a cast clearly having a whale of a time throughout. This is proper low budget film making, and for all the times I may have made fun of how bad elements are, they are done with a sense of passion and a joy at the opportunity to make films. If I compare how I feel after this compared to The Last Sharknado last week, you couldn’t have two more different sensations. Both films will be broadly watched for the “so bad it’s good” feeling, but Petey tries to be good, as good as it can be, and that’s why it’s fun. It knows it’s not a blockbuster, but it’s going to do its best to compete. It’s just a fun film, and we don’t get enough films like that these days.

The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time, a regrettably sober review, by guest reviewer Spencer Hackett

Editor’s note. This is Corking Movie’s first ever solely guest written review. If you’d like to write a review, drop us a line at admin[at]corkingmovies[dot]com, or tweet @corkingmovies (follow us there for the latest updates, news talk, and dad jokes)

Ok, I’ll open this review saying that I’ve seen all of the Sharknado films, religiously watching them (even whilst on holiday) and for the most part enjoying them, along with other films of this stature (may I direct you to the fantastic Mega Piranha). I also own the Sharknado funko and paid money for the mobile game they made. So I’d like to think I’d class as a fan. Also there are many many spoilers ahead.

Someone’s got high opinions of themselves invoking 2001, but I guess most directors don’t get 6 shots at a franchise.

I see Dolph Lungren has had second thoughts. This isn’t a good sign.

If we’re starting with megladon-nado’s, they must be planning something big for later.

They already introduced an old character and I cannot remember who the heck he is, but he’s getting on my tits. The Flinstones reference didn’t help, all I associate them with is Halifax now… (editor’s note – yeah, they’ve trashed Ghostbusters now, too).

That’s not how meteors work, at all…

I feel sorry for whoever has to do these animated intros. They do so much hard work and for so little reward, unless knowing you’re going to have done the best bit of a film is the reward.

Wait did I miss something, I thought there were no more Sharknados after destroying the first one.

I really don’t understand these jokes. I’m guessing they are Ru Paul jokes, I should look this up. (I looked this up, it was)

Who’s Merlin? I’m so lost on these celeb cameo’s. I have a hunch it’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but I feel he’s above this (Post IMDb edit, it’s Neil DeGrass Tyson, he’s not above this, but at least the science jokes make sense now).(Editor’s note – Is it just me that thinks NDT is just a curmudgeon?)

The worlds worst fake head is talking to a face (that of Tara Reid) that looks even less real than said fake head.

God this drag humour is terrible. (Post google edit, Morgana is played by Alaska Thunderfuck, which is a heck of a name, but unfortunately has not spawned a performance deserving of that name).

PINK SHARKS, THAT BREATHE FIRE.

I didn’t believe there was such a thing as a pink shark, but googled it and here’s the proof.

For a film with no effects budget, there are so many unnecessary effects. They green screened people into scenes, where two second ago they were in a set of the same room. Did someone repossess the set, is there going to be an episode of “Can’t Pay We’ll Take It Away” where we watch Stuart McCracken kick the shit out of Ian Zeiring?

Excalibur is a chainsaw, this all went Army of Sharkness (credit to Steve Hackett for that pun).

They didn’t even use the Excalibur-saw!!! It just made some lightening happen, which would have happened anyway cus of stormy weather. What a waste, I’m pissed off…

 And now we’re in Civil War era America, with the offspring playing, O…K… and the offspring are on a ship, I’m guessing they’re playing ’cause we wouldn’t know who we were looking at if not, I didn’t for a while…

More “celebrities”. I thought “Jedwood” in three was scraping the barrel, but literally I don’t know who anyone is, except for the offspring, which is sad to admit.

These jokes are literally killing me, my foot’s gone to sleep, and I blame that entirely on this film.

Why is this trying to be emotional? Your characters aren’t deep enough. Also don’t argue about time travel being bad when you’re literally changing time.

Ooooooooh, it’s ’cause they always came back and changed things.

More shoe-horned in references to Back to the Future, and some copyright infringing music to boot.

Wild West time, with Dee Snyder, and he’s already out acted everyone else in this film.

To think they’ve made this but cancelled Blood Drive.

They’re on it with these “Twisted Sister” references, more on it than with anything else.

Being sober watching this is not the way to go, but then I don’t think watching it is the way to go.

And the academy award for worst CGI clouds goes to…

Bye Dee, you were the best thing in this film.

I’m getting motion sickness from the mix of normal bad camera bob and simulated bad camera bob, I’m not sure which is worse.

Flying sharks… carrying severed arms… that are firing guns… YES!!! This has my attention again.

If the writers of Back to the Future don’t get some sort of money in reparations for this the world should end.

This is the the most desolate, un-populated beach I’ve ever seen. Did they throw everyone off the beach to film this? I want to see a Hello magazine article from a disgruntled beach goer with the headline “Sharknado 6 ruined my beach holiday”

The quints, I see what you did there…

Black and white tele, 60’s music, 50’s swim suits, modern hipster twats, modern buildings, lasers, WHAT YEAR IS THIS?!

Even more BTTF stuff, why haven’t we had a Biff character yet, if someone doesn’t call a shark a butthead I’m going to be very disappointed.

Screen Writer 1: How do we say it’s the late 90’s.
Screen Writer 2: Titanic and “Spice Girls”.
Screen Writer 1: That’ll do it.

Oh no the messing with time things come up again.

Did we really need to learn why Nova was called Nova? No, no we didn’t. I’m sad they haven’t explained why she can’t wear clothes that cover her bust, in all this rain she must be freezing. Is this how it end? She’ll die of a cold at this rate.

This green screen’s getting worse and worse, as are the cameos. Where’s Dog the Bounty Hunter when you need him?

Why is it black and white outside the windows?!?! Is this really real, did someone actually make this. I can never tell what’s on purpose and what isn’t, but this must be a genuine mistake ’cause this doesn’t happen.

These pop songs are worse than “This Morning” fashion songs, and that’s saying something.

Oh no, those sharks are floating towards us, what can we do…

I didn’t expect a Princess Bride reference, but then I should have realised. They seem to just think pointing at a thing people recognise or saying something people know from another film is funny, it isn’t. Just make it at least fit the scenario.

I am literally so lost and so nauseous, effects, camera swing, effects, green screen, more effects, edit edit edit. I think my eyes are bleeding.

I can’t, I can’t even. I don’t think I can go on. It feels futile to attempt to describe the sensation I’m going through.

Cyber sharks…

“Planet of the Aprils”, if this is the future we get, a world of only Tara Reid and her strange plastic face, I’m getting off this ride right now.

April’s randomly gone muffled. Is this film literally breaking or is this a weird, outdated Bane reference? I can’t tell.

Nice recycling of the western guns in the modern day sections, no expense spared.

Why would you have a chainsaw on a boat, WHY?! Also I wish that Finn would stop putting it by his junk, it’s very off putting.

Oh no, casual racism is flying at me through the air.

Too… many… effects, too… much… anti…climax

I can’t believe they’ve actually got most people back for this ending. Notably not Dolph or the Hoff, though so no one that actually matters.

Those were the fastest credits I’ve ever seen, and most likely with good reason, I’m sure they’ve all been like it, but before it felt like another joke, I’m thinking this one was out of shame.

Serious review part:

Well, let’s just be glad it’s over… if it is over, please let it be over. It’s run it’s course, it’s jumped the shark if you’ll excuse the pun, we don’t need more. I don’t really know what happened, for some reason I think the writers thought we might actually care about these characters. But we don’t. This is easily the film with the least sharks in it, something I’ve only just realised re reading this review. Why have you taken the sharks out of sharknado. It’s like they took the greatest thing about these craptatsic B movies, the shark based violence, and replaced it with bad references and cameos. I don’t know, I feel like they perhaps censored the violence or something, I remember one slight bit of blood and that was it. I think I’m trying to defend what was a massive let down. This wasn’t funny bad like all the others, this just felt bad. I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. I just feel they went big on ten worst parts of the old ones, not the good worst. Anyway, it’s the last one, let it die and let’s invent a new crap series.

Five Fingers for Marseilles – A Sober Review

Five Fingers For Marseilles

I’m not aware of any other Westerns set in post-apartheid South Africa. Maybe that’s an ignorance on my part. If Michael Matthew’s Five Fingers for Marseilles gets the attention it deserves, however, I have little doubt that we’ll be seeing more.

From the outset, Five Fingers for Marseilles wears its Western credentials on its sleeve, as five young boys re-enact the climax of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, catapults replacing revolvers. When they cycle home, the scene is shot as if they are riding horses (incidentally, the adult Tau is later revealed not to be able to ride a horse). This is not the only nod to other films made by Matthews, as he happily references Stand by Me and A Fistful of Dollars (or Yojimbo).

Five Fingers For Marseilles Group Picture
The Five Fingers, as children

The dichotomous nature of Matthews’s South Africa is summed up perfectly here. From the beautifully shot, vast, open, spaces of the desert, the children return to the grim reality of the shanty town of Railway. Matthews knows how to emphasise the personality of his locations.

Railway is the town built up around the station that was to service Marseilles, a town that seems to exist solely as a billboard for a fruit farm that was never built, an image that is often repeated. As a result, Railway is something of a ghost town, waiting for a reason to exist.

Night seems to arrive the moment they return. The following day, so too do the police – oppressive bureaucrats, whose arrogance and failure to see that their actions will have consequences, leads Tau (played as a youth by Toka Mtabane, and it must be said, the child actors, all of whom are local, are fantastic), the Lion, to murder. He flees the scene, leaving his bicycle lying on the rails. The title card separates childhood from adulthood, it signifies the dramatic change in the political landscape of South Africa and it destroys the dynamic that the friends once had.

Tau's New Life as a Bandit
Tau’s New Life as a Bandit

After a bungled robbery followed by a late night conversation, about settling down, with his new partners in crime (Anthony Oseyemi and Brendon Daniels as Congo and Slim Sixteen respectively), the adult Tau (Vuyo Dabula) resolves to hang up his pistol. After a period incarcerated (and it is suggested that this was his choice), he returns to a much changed Railway. In order to keep Marseilles, now a functioning town, safe, Mayor Bongani (Kenneth Nkos) has sacrificed Railway, giving Sepoko (Hamilton Dhlamini) free reign there.

Marseilles is a reflection of Railway prior to the end of apartheid. In a scene that mirrors the protection racket run by the white South African government, the Marseilles police force demand protection money from the Chinese store owner – some of those that were once oppressed are now oppressors.

Five Fingers for Marseilles - The Marseilles Police Force
The Marseilles Police Force

Tau’s attempts to reintegrate himself quietly into Railway are unsuccessful – he is not able to stand by whilst Honest John (Dean Fourie), the sole white inhabitant of Railway, is bullied by Sepoko’s thugs. His pride is too strong for him to bow his head to Sepoko. From here, he is dragged into a fight he wants no part of, but one that it could be argue that only exists because he fled Railway.

Five Fingers for Marseilles - Thuto
Thuto (Warren Masemulo)

Other than the all too human Tau, there are many strong performances in Five Fingers for Marseilles, from the rasping, otherworldly Sepoko, whose every word drips menace and Thuto, his spiteful lieutenant, to the beaten dog Honest John, Dean Fourie drawing favourable comparisons with John Hurt. Lerato (Zethu Dlomo), rather than being the bright, happy girl it is suggested she will grow into, is worn down, a victim of Bongani’s abandonment of Railway, Tau’s abandonment of his friends, and hers and her father’s stubborn refusal to move to Marseilles.

Five Fingers for Marseilles - Lerato
Five Fingers for Marseilles – Lerato

When all is said and done, however, Five Fingers for Marseille is very much a spaghetti western. It is more than happy to use the tropes of the genre. The citizens of Railway are beaten, whipped. Tau is tortured, fallible, but strong. Sepoko’s gang are vicious and remorseless. There is no attempt to redefine the genre, there are no attempts to be overly clever. The genre is a broad enough playing field for the film, and Five Fingers for Marseilles deserves to sit amongst the best of them.

Five Fingers for Marseilles is released on September 7th.