• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

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The Machine Girl

TITLE: The Machine Girl

YEAR: 2008

GENRE: Horror and Action/Adventure

Japanese cinema has quickly taken the title of kings of completely over the top bloodbath cinema. Ever since Ichi The Killer and Audition, Japanese film makers have learned that a generous supply of blood and gore can raise the interest of rabid worldwide horror fans and in return receive worldwide distribution of their film as a result. The Machine Girl has been a success, receiving limited theatrical release in several countries including the United States as well as a multi-country DVD release. The Machine Girl is creative in its blood splatter and ingenious weapons but unfortunately lacks a strong storyline or quality acting to raise the product above other over the top fare.

Ami Hyuga (played by Minase Yashiro) is a typical Japanese teenage girl with a penchant for basketball until her brother Yu (Ryosuke Kawamura) is brutally murdered by school bully Sho Kimura (Nobohiro Nishihara). As Ami tracks down Sho she discovers that the bully and his gang of thugs have ties to a yakuza crime syndicate. Her goal of revenge ends terribly with one of her arms severed and she is left for dead. As she struggles to survive she is able to find kindly garage mechanics Suguru (Yuya Ishikawa) and Ryugi (Kentaro Shimazu) who nurse her back to health. While convalescing, Suguro and Ryugi create a machine gun style prosthetic and a few other assorted weapons to assist her in her revenge against Sho and the yakuza.

The Machine Girl is a classic story of female revenge against a male dominated force as displayed in films like Kill Bill and I Spit On Your Grave so zero points on an original storyline. What makes The Machine Girl different however is the completely over the top weapons and subsequent violence displayed throughout the film. Ami is literally retrofitted for revenge, and she extracts vengeance in a gore-soaked style that is not often seen in American cinema. Faces are filleted, eyeballs are gouged out, and limbs are dismembered in a spray of gore that proves that every human body bleeds like a full tilt garden hose. The machine gun prosthetic is similar to Rose McGowan’s leg weapon in Planet Terror, but her chainsaw arm and flying guillotine were fairly unique and inspired props. Ami’s confrontation with Sho’s mother Violet (Honoka) complete with the mom’s drill-style bra is completely over the top. The special effects by Japanese gore moister Yoshihiro Nishimura (Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl, Tokyo Gore Police) is his special blend of oodles of bloodshed, spraying dissected limbs and gloriously sickening and creative deaths and fits The Machine Girl well enough. On the negative is just about everything else, as the acting and production values are limited and tend to be overshadowed by lakes of bloodshed. However winning film festival awards is not what The Machine Girl is intended, and its expertise of gore is well crafted, creative, and completely cringe-worthy.

American independent fans are gobbling the Asian gore cinema up like a bag of potato chips, mostly because the offerings being presented to horror fans by the Hollywood machine are mostly god-awful dribble and the true fans of scary cinema are forced to look overseas for anything satisfactory. The special effects  and the creative murders and weapons are fun to watch, but The Machine Girl is limited in the respect that the storyline is stereotypical and the acting is as wooden as a redwood forest. Gore hounds will enjoy the blood spray and violence, but film fans looking for substance and a well made production will find The Machine Girl lacking. I enjoy the over the top Japanese cinema being released over the past few years and The Machine Girl definitely has a cult following, but this is all that is offered on the cinematic altar. Not a terrible film because of the effects, but nothing special in storyline either.

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