Forget The Avengers, Tobacco Force will save the world — maybe
DC and Marvel both have new superhero movies out. But have you heard of a group of Avengers known as Tobacco Force? Plus Ozploitation this weekend, both at the independent micro cinema Digital Gym.
'Smoking Causes Coughing'
If John Waters — the Sultan of Sleaze, the Prince of Puke, and the King of Schlock — declares your film “a superhero movie for idiots” and “one of the best movies of the year!” You are obviously doing something right ... but maybe in a way that’s also absolutely wrong.
"Smoking Causes Coughing" follows a team of superheroes known as Tobacco Force. The team consist of Benzene (Gilles Lellouche), Nicotine (Anaïs Demoustier), Methanol (Vincent Lacoste), Mercury (Jean-Pascal Zadi), and Ammonia (Oulaya Amamra). But they point out, they do not encourage smoking, because it is bad for you and causes coughing. But it can be used as a lethal force against bad guys.
Tobacco Force fights evil and destroys monsters that even a child dismisses as a man in a rubber suit. The carnage from the film's opening battle is so cheesy and ridiculously extreme, that we can almost feel the splatter in the theater. But then French filmmaker Quetin Dupieux is all about being ridiculous.
In the film "Rubber," a tire was the main character and in "Mandibles" it was a giant fly. "Smoking Causes Coughing" starts strong with a hilarious takedown of superhero tropes. It targets DC and Marvel style films but works within more of a "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" vein of rubber-suited monsters and over-the-top villains. But then it also rips off the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" character of Splinter by introducing a rat-like boss/romantic interest.
The first half of the film is the strongest and then it drifts into low-key "loopiness" as the avengers are sent on a retreat to bond and regain their cohesion. The end kind of fizzles out but in a way that mocks the epic battles we find in Hollywood superhero films.
"Mandibles" is so far my favorite Dupieux film, and it is the most sustained in its wackiness and story. But Dupieux is just so delightfully quirky and sweetly affable, that I always look forward to what he does, and I urge you to give his films a try.
Back in Action: Ozploitation Films
Also this weekend, but screening only once on Sunday at noon, is Sandy Harbutt’s seminal biker movie, "Stone." This is part of a Film Geeks SD series that I co-host and co-program called Back in Action. The series highlights four categories of action films. We just completed Old School Action and this Sunday kick off three months of Ozploitation Action before heading into Hong Kong and '80s Action.
Ozploitation refers to exploitation films – low-budget horror, comedy, sexploitation and action films – made in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s (the peak years although the term can be used for later genre films of a similar ilk).
"Stone" was a hit in Australian drive-ins in the 1970s with its sensational mix of sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and unbridled horsepower. The film pre-dates "Mad Max" by five years and shares cast members Hugh Keays-Byrne (as chief villain Toecutter in "Mad Max"), Roger Ward, Vincent Gil, David Bracks and Reg Evans.
Although not as outrageous as "Mad Max" and not set in some dystopian world, "Stone" helped kickstart the Ozploitation explosion. It involves Ken Shorter ("Sunday Too Far Away") as the title character Stone, an undercover cop who infiltrates an outlaw motorcycle gang to investigate a series of grisly killings.
Stop by on Sunday to join me as we kick off Ozploitation Action. And as always with Film Geeks events there will be trivia and themed treats.