Friday, October 15, 2010

TICKED-OFF TRANNIES WITH KNIVES: Israel Luna's lunatic fringe film debuts

Is the new "sleaze, please!" movie, TICKED-OFF TRANNIES WITH KNIVES, a piece of faux crap or the real thing?  That question hovers over the proceedings just a little bit longer than it ought, so TrustMovies will clue-you-in up-front that this is indeed faux crap. And pretty funny faux crap, at that. Writer/director Israel Luna has come up with the not terribly inventive notion of making a movie that looks like the kind of thing we used to see at Times Square grind houses -- complete with grainy, out-of-focus footage, those "scratch" lines up and down the film, and even an out-of-sync soundtrack that makes it seem like the movie was either dubbed -- and very badly -- or just a blob of poorly-paired visuals and sound.

Now, didn't we just see something like this a few years back with the Tarantino Rodriguez GRINDHOUSE? We've also viewed the "scratchy line" thing many times by now and seen so many faux/mock narratives and documentaries that all this ought to seem very déjà vu.  Yet Mr. Luna (shown, sort of, at left) appears to possess such a bizarre combination of joyous but screw-loose fun that I've got to say his film did win me over, finally. And it offers a decidedly trannie viewpoint: The guy/gals on screen here are bigger than life and twice as boob-alicious.

The plot, such as it is, finds several frenemies/performers (above) at a trannie night club out for vengeance because one of their own own got a black eye from her guy. That should only be as bad as it gets. Before the film is finished, several trannies have bitten the dust while another has been hospitalized and the rest very cruelly punished by that naughty boyfriend/rapist and his cronies. Further vengeance is then sought and -- no surprise -- found. Consider the film's title, after all.

Luna's cast is more than game and a couple of them do stand out: Kelexis Davenport (shown above, right), playing the very big mama Pinky La Trimm, and Kristal Summers (below) as poor, put-upon Bubbles Cliquot.  Everyone's pretty much of a hoot, however, so don't get your panties in a twist, girls, because I singled out only a couple of you. As a director, Luna gets a lot of mileage from his Japanese scene (quite the hoot) -- managing to use his ultra-cheap budget to make great fun of some missing special effects.

The men playing men don't hold a candle to the men playing women; lead villain Tom Zembrod is cute but not terribly imposing, while his sidekicks are hunky but standard. As to the blood-and-gore quotient, it's there but relatively square. When a baseball bat comes down hard on the skull of our trannies, up it comes a second or two later covered with red goo and hair. But we never, thankfully, see much of the corpse. Compared to much else that's out there -- for instance the three gore films that opened just last week, this one's tame and much funnier than it is frightening.

Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives, from Breaking Glass Pictures, opens today, October 15, in New York City at the ultra-classy Cinema Village, and in Los Angeles on Oct. 22nd.  This will be followed (if you don't live on either coast) by a DVD release as soon as November 9th.  Though, in truth, this is the kind of movie you need to see with an audience -- so those theater venues are probably your best bet.


alesum said...

Fantastic post. It was exactly what I was looking for. Nice and concise.

James van Maanen, said...

Thanks, alesum. We try.