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Solar Flare (2008)
Kick-ass Lesbians Save the World!
This movie has some terrible lesbian stereotypes! Michelle Clunie from Queer as Folk plays a lesbian who is great at hand-to-hand combat while saving the world. But any evil man who stands in her way gets kicked in the nuts. Sometimes she goes easy on them and just knees them in the nuts. In any case, Clunie leaves a trail of big, burly men holding their crotches and whimpering in pain. At the end of the movie, we discover that Clunie cannot bake cookies with nuts. So we leave this movie with the impression that lesbians think that nuts are for kicking, not for cooking. Hopefully this is not the beginning of a new genre of Dykesploitation movies!
Beverly Kills (2005)
Original, Hilarious Satire
Beverly Kills is a highly entertaining satire of Hollywood lunatics, fanatical doomsday religious cults, and oversexed gay community theater. This film belongs on anyone's list of top gay independent films. Writer/Director Damion Dietz wrote a brilliant script, which is both humorous and touching. Dietz is a skilled director who knows how to breathe life into his own material. He has a great talent for casting skilled actors who fit the roles. What makes this black comedy unique is that the actors play their parts seriously, allowing the audience to laugh at them. This is critical for a successful black comedy. Gary Kelley as the cross-dressing terrorist Beverly Jackson is a standout. His threats following rejection at a gay theater audition are both chilling and humorous. Another great performance is delivered by Rick Sparks as Shane, a gay man who is down on his luck. The audience will truly sympathize with his plight. All of the other acting in this movie is top notch. This is very refreshing, as most actors in other gay indie films appear to be recent graduates of the Porn Star Acting Academy. In addition to great acting, this film delivers amusing satire. A true highlight targets on-the-cheap gay community theater. Anyone who has sat through a number of these productions is well aware that the key to getting butts in the seats is to show butts on the stage. Full-frontal nudity guarantees full houses. A perfect example of this satirical point is demonstrated in the "Balls Out" song in the play-within-the-film. This number is witty and skillfully performed. It would be impossible to improve on the music, lyrics, and choreography. One wonders how many takes were involved to get the actors to rip off their Dolphin shorts to show the full Monty at the right moment. This is a musical number that should be watched over and over again. Apart from the film, the DVD contains some nice features. For example, the director's commentary track is very entertaining. Dietz follows all of the rules of a good commentary track: (a) keep talking, (b) discuss what's on the screen, (c) share on-the-set mishaps, (d) dish lots of dirt, and (e) don't bore viewers with too many technical details. Dietz will hold your attention for the entire commentary. Most directors fail miserably at this. For additional amusement, show this film to your friends with the subtitles turned on. You and your friends can take turns shouting out all of the obvious subtitle goofs. There are many! For more great surprises, freeze-frame the Cult's CD Multi-media presentation. A few single frames contain some startling images.
The mystery of the Perfect Hair - Hardy Boys Season 2
Looking back at the Hardy Boys episodes, it is amazing that they could get by with such poor scripts and mediocre acting. But one has to remember that the entire success of these shows was based on the teen idol appeal of Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson. These boys weren't acting; they were performing acts of S & M (standing and modeling). As long as those blow-dried, pouffed-out hair don'ts were perfect with every hair in place, nothing else mattered. It is amusing to note that the boys still had perfect hair after deep sea diving, laying comatose in a hospital, and having the %$# kicked out of them. The vision of Shaun running through a fire engulfed room with soot on his face and perfect hair stretches credibility to the limit. What is even more ridiculous is how the Hardy Boys were crammed into very tight pants, leaving NOTHING to the viewers' imagination. Even the most brain-dead preteen could quickly figure out that Shaun dressed to the left and Parker dressed to the right. (And neither boy had anything to be ashamed of in that department.) The Nancy Drew episodes were less popular in their day, but the acting and writing was far superior to that of the Hardy Boys. Unable to play the teen idol card, Pamela Sue Martin actually had to act, and her talents in that department were almost as sizeable as what the Hardy Boys were not hiding in their pants. Pamela was also much less preoccupied with perfect appearance. She actually allowed her clothes to get dirty and her hair did occasionally get messed up. But Martin's most astounding feat was climbing up ladders, running down alleys, and jumping across rooftops in 3-inch heels. This makes her a much bigger super-heroine than Wonder Woman.