Posts tagged "catwomen"

Da Khwar Lasme Spogmay (Review)

Da Khwar Lasme Spogmay

aka Cat-Beast

1997
Directed, written, and produced by Shehnaz

You know, there are probably many different Pakistani films I could review that explore the rich and complex social history of the culture and the various ethnic groups that make up the nation. But they all pale in comparison because none of the other films have a cat lady killing dudes!

The history of the various ethnic groups in Pakistan both pre- and post-Partition is a complicated matter that fill scholarly books. We cannot begin to go over everything in the detail it deserves in an introduction to a movie review about a cat lady who goes all Freddy Krueger on rapists. But we’ll do our best to give you a crash course.

When India was granted independence in 1947, it was split into India and Pakistan, Pakistan being set up as an Islamic country separate from the Hindu-dominated India. At the time, Pakistan was mainly populated by ethnic groups known as the Sindhi, Pashtun (aka Pukhtoon aka Pathan), Baloch, Punjabi, and Bangladeshi. Two other groups of note (more displaced people than ethnic groups) are the Moharjirs, who were Muslim Indians who fled India during the Partition, and the Biharis, Indian Muslims who moved to East Pakistan during Partition. As there was no “historic” Pakistan, the country is more or less an attempt to get several different ethnic groups with different languages to work together and form a stable government. That has been less than successful, with multiple government takeovers by the military and the 1971 civil war in East Pakistan that lead to the creation of the independent country of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has its own fine cinema tradition that we will get to someday soon, but for now let’s stay in Pakistan and

The Pashtun people are located in Western Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan. They are generally considered very conservative, and are where the Taliban came from. Pashto-language cinema was created for the Pashtun people, the industry largely based in the city of Peshawar in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Peshawar industry became known as Pollywood. The first Pashto film, Laila Majnoon, was made in 1939 but not released until 1942. Pashto cinema had to wait until 1960 to produce a second film, and a third trickled in during 1963. Eventually the trickle became a mighty river of films. Producers based in Lahore (aka Lollywood) have also created Pashto-language films since the 1970s, but in recent years production has slowed considerably.

Pashto cinema went through what you could call a golden age until the 1980s when TVs and VCRs became commonplace in many homes. Theaters dried up almost overnight, and the quality of cinema decline along with the tastes of the audience still heading to the theaters. Even overseas, the audience of Pashto-speakers instead turned to other forms of media. Now with the Pashto audience increasingly being the poor and a large influx Afghan refugees, and the fact the audience became almost exclusively male, the cheaply made films began to focus more on sleaze and violence. The amount of films made decreased significantly, the mighty river again returning to a slow trickle. The Pashto industry became known as a depository for awful films, some of the productions becoming infamous in their weirdness (this being one such film!) Noted India and Pakistan film expert Omar Ali Khan (also proprietor of the excellent Hot Spot Ice Cream shop and HotSpotOnline) has even mentioned that some cinemas would start out playing the normal sleazy awful film, then switch reels to European porn, and then return to the actual film for the final reel. Pashto cinema became known for women wearing skimpy costumes gyrating around with repeated zooms or closeups of the crotch region. It is just a weird thing to see. And these films passed the censor boards in the area, making the whole thing even more bizarre. Pashto men are manly men with big mustaches and everyone is shouting all the time. It’s like Turkish film to the power of 100.

Although there are efforts to try to make a resurgence in quality of Pashto cinema in recent years, it is not going to be an easy process especially with the ongoing political problems in Pakistan.


This being a female-helmed film, the many musical interludes involving dancing women of robust sizes are not as sleazed up as much of the Pashto cinema, so there is only a small amount of gyrating and zooming into crotches. Almost so little that you can take your whole family to see the film! Keep in mind the women of Pashto film are a little more….curvy…than you are probably used to. The VCD has moving graphics for the Musafa video company, you can even call them if you so desire! Tell them you love Cat-Beast, because I am sure they’d love to hear from you. Besides the cast below, Kamran, Liaqat, and Umar Daraz are listed as cast members but I have no idea who is who.

Banno (Shehnaz) – A humble maid who also is a cat-possessed spirit of vengeance against a gang of crazy rapists! Shehnaz not only stars in this masterpiece, she wrote and directed it! Shehnaz became an actress despite her family’s objections due to the stigma of being an actress in the Pashto culture.
Asata (Asif Khan) – Asif Khan is one of the most successful Pashto actors, and has a production company CWI Production, which was shut down for twenty years as Pashto film became degraded in quality, but Khan has announced he’s willing to refund the company if they can get Pakistan to better fund Pashto films and open foreign markets. His son Arbaaz Khan has become an actor as well.
Supercop (???) – The local cop who knows something is up, but doesn’t figure it out until he actually sees Cat-Beast running around.
Cat-Beast (Shehnaz) – The Cat-Beast is truly terrifying.
The Gang (various) – Evil rapists who rape and are evil. We have a devil, an Evil Bert, a punk, a native guy, a man in black, a little person lady, and various extra goons leftover from Mad Max.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 8, 2010 at 11:51 pm

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Nobody’s Perfect (Review)

Nobody’s Perfect

aka Chut doi seung giu

2008
Directed by Patrick Kong Pak-Leung

So not every film I watch is filled with girls dressed as cats, giant monsters, or a Turkish take of American culture. Sometimes I end up watching many things that are just regular films. And even though Nobody’s Perfect is from Hong Kong, it is a pretty straightforward comedy involving body switching and learning life lessons that could easily have been churned out of the US in the late 80s when body switching movies like Big, 18 Again, Vice Versa, and the like were all the rage. Oddly enough, the title screen and credits effects also looks like it was straight out of late 1980’s Hong Kong. Somebody needs to update their title graphics, because it stood out pretty remarkably compared to most other recent Hong Kong films I have seen.


Stephy Tang and Kary Ng were both members of the Cookies, a 2002-era prefab Cantopop band that started out with nine girls, but was whittled downed to Kary Ng Ka-Wing, Miki Yeung, Theresa Fu Wing, and Stephy Tang and the group was renamed Mini-Cookies. Just watch out for the Mini-Cookie monster, as he will eat all your Cookies! Which one is more popular? Well, Kary Ng has huge images on Wikimedia Commons, while Stephy Tang only has very large images. Also Kary Ng has a cooler solo album cover, so Kary Ng wins.

Alexandra (Stephy Tang Lai-Yan) – is a high-powered entertainment industry insider Stephy Tang wrote a book in July 2009 that had numerous typos thanks to Chinese language phonetics. Then she caught Swine Flu (H1N1). Poor girl can’t catch a break.
Alexis (Kary Ng Yiu-Fei) – is completely opposite, as she is poor. She lives in a chicken coup! Luckily for her, there are no chickens living there. She and Alexandra hate each other. After Cookies, Kary Ng became lead vocalist for band Ping Pung, which has a cool name, in addition to her solo albums.
Norman (Sammy Leung Chi-Kin) –Alexis’s brother is dating the spoiled daughter of a family that runs a shop, where he has managed to get his sister a job. Both of them are orphans, so all they got is each other. He really puts up with a lot from his crazy girlfriend. Norman is comedian Sammy Leung Chi-Kin, who has finally gotten more popular in recent years.
Dad (Tin Kai-Man) –Dad is the leader of the family running the store and spends most of the film insulting everyone. Tin Kai-Man is probably best known in the west for parts in Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 16, 2009 at 11:35 pm

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Secret Undercover Agent: Wild Cats in Strip Royale (Review)

Secret Undercover Agent: Wild Cats in Strip Royale

aka Himitsu Sennyu Sosakan – Wild Cats in Strip Royale

2008
Directed by Keiichi Kobayashi

Secret Undercover Agent Wildcats in Strip Royale continues the tradition of having weird microchips in fashion accessories that do amazing things started in the previous film. Wildcats in Strip Royale also continues the tradition of the film looking freaking gorgeous. The cinematographer should be doing mainstream work in Hollywood, not Japanese DTV exploitation trash. But Hollywood’s loss is our gain! In fact, a lot of directors in Japan get their start doing trashy exploitation work. That’s partially why a lot of the 1970s Sukeban films look so good, along with the hundreds of detective films and pinku films.

The biggest news of the sequel is that Haruna Yabuki left, and was replaced by Reon Kadena. As Reon Kadena has a much higher profile, this announcement caused a large amount of internet buzz that the first film just didn’t have. Although the internet buzz was pretty much “Hey, Reon Kadena is in a movie!” it was enough to raise the profile of the film far above the nothing the predecessor had.

Wildcats in Strip Royale does have a few other things going for it. It is obvious the actresses are having more fun in this one, Yuuri Morishita especially. Some of the costumes are pretty ridiculous and funner than in the original (the cats suits are actual cat suits!) and the plot is easier to follow without subtitles. Yes, that’s right, TarsTarkas.NET doesn’t need no stinking subtitles! I still don’t know the name of their agency or of some of the minor players, but such is life.

Quick lesson for everyone: In Japan, there are these supermodel girls called Idols. Some of them are just models, some do more than that such as singing and/or acting. The big Idols pull in a ton of cash, then marry some rich guy and retire. The lesser Idols do car shows and mall openings and marry midlevel accountants. Most of the bigger Idols have followings all over the web, and there are guys who just scan photobooks of models all day, or host websites that just catalog Idol pictures and news. Idols can specialize in certain genres, like the gravure Idols that star in the film, there are also AV Idols which is a nicer way of saying porn stars. This film will talk of Pure Idols, which is another term used but I don’t know exactly what it means. And let’s not forget the Idols who are thrown so whips can be received.

Honey (Reon Kadena) – Honey has changed! Is it no longer Haruna Yabuki and is now Reon Kadena. Also gone is a lot of the tough loner girl stuff Haruna Yabuki did, Reon’s take of Honey is snobbish at first, then she becomes totally into the Idol world. Honey is still down to business and will beat up guys all the time, so hooray for that! Check out the Reon Kadena Gallery
Bunny (Yuuri Morishita) – The simple and sweet agent with the big rack. Bunny now spends a lot of the film bending over while wearing a short skirt or dress. See Yuuri Morishita in Monster X Strikes Back and on her gallery page.
Capp (????) – We call this guy Capp because we aren’t sure of his character’s name. He is the agent in charge of this little spy ring.
Saki (Minami Otomo) – Reception girl for the spy agency, also specializes as a bartender when doing undercover work in big stings. Although she has more lines in this film, she still doesn’t seem to do much.
Nervous Guy (???) – The other male agent in the spy agency, Nervous Guy is sort of shy but doesn’t really do much except provide someone for Capp to talk to when the girls are undercover. Joins in on big stings like Saki does. I am not sure of his character’s name, either.
Shitagi (Fumie Nakajima) – The evil boss from the previous film shows up again. We also find out she is working for someone even more evil.
Kaori (???) – The new girl and Pure Idol who wants the Wildcats to investigate a series of Nude Pure Idol incidences. I will investigate that for free.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 20, 2009 at 9:26 pm

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Lady Black Cat (Review)

Lady Black Cat

aka Haak Ye Maau aka 女賊黑野貓

1966HKMDB Link
Directed by Cheung Wai-Gwong
Lady Black Cat
One genre from older Chinese films which is barely known today despite how awesome some of the films are is the Jane Bond genre, which are films with tough female leads who are either spies or thieves or super-heroines who beat the tar out of evil dudes. Women as central figures has a long history in Chinese opera/film, and some of the earliest surviving Chinese films have female fighters as leads. The popularity of James Bond translated to female leads wearing slinky outfits, disguises, and beating up lots of dudes. There was a whole ton of these films produced in the 1960’s, many starring Connie Chan Po-Chu and/or Josephine Siao Fong-Fong. Sadly, many are lost today.
The Jane Bond films were proceeded by films based on the Oriole, the Heroine (Wong Ang) stories, a series of books which were first shown on film in the 1950s. Even those came from the Nuxia (swordswoman) genre, which dates back to at least 1928’s The Burning of Red Lotus Temple, the first martial arts blockbuster and which spawned 18 films total in the series. Here is some more information.
Lady Black Cat
There is also an article I wrote on Jane Bond films here, which references several other good articles written on the subject. The most famous of the Jane Bond films is probably the Black Rose films (also starring Connie Chan Po-Chu), which produced a complicated string of pseudo sequels after the one official sequel, which eventually lead to the Protege de la Rose Noire film. Michele Yeoh’s Silver Hawk is also a modern update of the old source stories. The two classic Black Rose films are only available on old VHS tapes, thus we don’t have them.

We do have this old film that made it to DVD, thanks to Chinatown DVD shops and the cheap prices there-in. Lady Black Cat is a heist film starring a thief who is a girl dressed as a cat who steals from the evil rich guy and beats up his goons single-handedly. It has an unrelated sequel, Lady Black Cat Strikes Back, starring essentially the same cast with the same plot (except instead of a diamond being stolen it is a role of microtape.) Director Cheung Wai-Gwong is also credited as Jiang Weiguang depending on your translation methods, he directed the sequel and many many other films from the mid-1940’s until the 1970s. He was also a prolific writer for films during that period.
Lady Black Cat
The internet is helping shed light on this forgotten classic films. Good links in addition to the ones above include Connie Chan – Movie Fan Princess, The Lucha Diaries, Teleport City, Electric Shadows, SoftFilm Blog, Illuminated Lantern, and probably many more unsung sites that I don’t have links to at the moment. There is not much written about this genre, it has much to discover and reviews are much needed. Do your duty and locate films today, write up reviews tomorrow, and sign up for the Mobile Infantry. Service guarantees citizenship!
Lady Black Cat
There are no subtitles on the DVD, wife translated some of the names and some of the plot, so I have some of the character’s names (but not the main two) My Cantonese is sub-elementary school, but I am slowly but surely catching on to a bit. At TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles, but will accept help from out lovely wife!

Lady Black Cat (Connie Chan Po-Chu) – Lady Black Cat robs from the rich and helps the poor, she’s like Robin Hood except a girl, dressed as a cat lady, and doesn’t lead a band of outlaws in fighting a corrupt government. Besides helping a nice family in this film I am not even sure she gives to the poor that much. But she does stand up to Tong Long, who is somehow considered a respectable businessman despite being a corrupt lecherous theif and killer.
Girl Friday (Connie Chan Po-Chu) – Connie Chan Po-Chu’s name is sometimes written as Chen Baozhu. She starred in a bajillion films and was one of the reigning Hong Kong cinema queens in the 1960s (the other was Josephine Siao Fong-Fong.)
Detective (Bowie Wu Fung) – Bumbling detective who is as sharp as a Jello basketball. Bowie Wu Fung was a constant onscreen partner of Connie Chan Po-Chu, they were in too many movies together for me to count, because I am lazy.
Tong Long (Sek Kin) – The movie’s bad guy. He is a rich evil guy, I don’t know how he got so much money, why everyone in the city seems unemployed except by him, and why no one seems to punish him for being evil except Lady Black Cat. Sek Kin’s name is sometime written as Shi Jian or Shih Kien. He also costarred with Connie Chan in dozens and dozens of films. He usually played the villain character, or people with evil intents. We will give a better biography of him in another review where there is more room in the introduction. As of this writing he was still alive at the age of 95.
Lisa (Yu Mei-Wa) – Mistress of Tong Long who does some of his evil doings, and seems oblivious to his hound dog ways. Or she doesn’t care. Or it excites her. Who knows? Manages to get kidnapped at some point.
Lam Suk-Ying and husband (Fong Sam and Do Ping) – Lam Suk-Ying is in trouble, she and her husband are awash with money troubles. Lam has a sick mom and her father, Ah Cheung, is framed for theft and later killed by Tong Long. And you think you had a bad day!

Lady Black Cat
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 9, 2009 at 8:46 pm

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Catwoman (Review)

Catwoman


2004
Starring
Halle Berry as Patience Phillips/Catwoman
Benjamin Bratt as Tom Lone
Sharon Stone as Laurel Hedare
Lambert Wilson as George Hedare
Frances Conroy as Ophelia
Alex Borstein as Sally
Directed by Pitof

A movie destined to fail, 12 years after Michelle Pfeiffer starred as Catwoman in Batman Returns they finally crank out the spinoff. Except it’s not really a spinoff. We don’t know what it is, exactly, except painful. All of the Catwoman backstory from decades of DC comics is thrown right out, in favor os some multiple Catwomen throughout history garbage. I guess Pitof saw Catwomen of the Moon and decided he liked it. Or not. This movie was plagued with production premonitions of it’s terribleness. It took years to develop, and when Berry was finally signed, it looked like maybe there was something good going on. It was all lies and false hopes. The announcement they were ditching all Batman references was a bad sign, and then Catwoman was announced to not be Selena Kyle but instead the never heard of Patience Phillips. It wasn’t a complete wash yet….

Then the photos of the costume hit.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 7, 2005 at 12:51 am

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Catwomen of the Moon (Review)

Catwomen of the Moon


1953

Starring

Victor Jory as Kip Reissner
Marie Windsor as Helen Salinger
Sonny Tufts as Laird Grainger
Carol Brewster as Alpha

From the 1950s comes this harrowing vision of the future. Well, maybe not harrowing. More like terribly inaccurate, misogynist, and low budget.

From the opening with standard 50’s Narrator/Philosopher droning on about man reaching the stars: “Why must we wait…why not now?” we are in for a rocket ride of sci-fi “fun” (shame). The intrepid crew of Moon Rocket 4 wake up on their hammocks as the first people in space. They are all white, but there is an actual woman on board!

Our Crew

Captain Laird Grainger — Jerk.
Kip Reissner — Co-Pilot. In love with…
Helen Salinger — Navigator, and an actual woman, loves Kip but is with Laird.
Walt Walters — Engineer, mustachioed and wants to make a buck on everything, especially moon souvenirs
Doug Smith — Radio Operator, young.



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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 21, 2004 at 6:33 pm

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