Friday, January 28, 2011

Quick Fix: Recent Viewings and Video Ramblings

Yeah, I'm too lazy to do full blown reviews for these flicks so this is what you get.  Enjoy my non-readers!

DIRTY LAUNDRY (1987) - Nope, this doesn't feature the Don Henley song.  That would have at least given it some merit. Concert sound man Jay (Leigh McCloskey, fresh off the classic HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE) finds himself in a pickle after he accidentally picks up a sack of cash during a coke deal (involving two grandmas) at a laundromat. This puts him in the cross-hairs of mobster "Macho" Marty (Frankie Valli), his goon Vito (Nicholas Worth), and music manager Maurice (Sonny Bono). Teaming with music reporter Trish (Jeanne O'Brien) and neighbor kid inventor Oscar (Robbie Rist), Jay runs all over L.A. trying to escape the villains. 

The only thing worse than this flick is knowing that some loser in his thirties - yours truly - was compelled to watch it based off that cover art. Because we all know this POLICE ACADEMY style drawing means hilarity. Director William Webb has no idea what comedy is with the film falling flat at every turn. To give you an example, Webb's idea of humor is to have two male cops with the last names Betty and Veronica. Or Crockett & Tubbs look-a-likes slipping on a wet floor with a cheap-o MIAMI VICE riff on the soundtrack. Or the top F.B.I. guy being named Zimbalist and everyone making cracks about it. It is so odd a cast of "legit" folks like Valli and Bono got signed onto this. To be fair, Bono's character completely disappears halfway through and never shows up again. Maybe he was embarrassed and didn't show up for work? Even odder are the brief appearances by two Olympians, Carl Lewis and Greg Louganis. Lewis is one of the MIAMI VICE cops and Louganis is cast as Jay's womanizing surfer roommate (yeah right!).  Couple all of that with a complete absence of T&A (a requirement for these kind of flicks) and you get a film that is a total wash.

HUMAN HUNT (1987) - I've been digging some 80s Mexican exploitation cinema lately.  The only problem is few of their titles have an English option.  Thankfully, this one was dubbed into English.  A young couple elopes and they decide to spend their honeymoon in a small Mexican beach town. Bad move as there is some crazy psycho in a big black truck who is pushing people in their cars off a cliff. Rod (Valentin Trujillo), the brother of the deceased boy, arrives in town to claim his body and begins investigating. The law thinks it is just bad drivers that keep flying off this cliff, but Rod soon finds out otherwise and he suspects the Sheriff might be the killer. Naturally, this stay in the small coastal town also gives him a chance to romance a local waitress, whose sister was the first victim. This is my second Trujillo flick (the first was the highly entertaining OCCUPATIONAL KILLER) and it is pretty good. The mystery isn't much as they try to make everyone a suspect, but one reaction by a character during a pivotal scene will tip you off easily. The car chases are pretty good and the menacing big black truck reminds me of the Lance Henriksen segment in NIGHTMARES (1983). Trujillo also co-wrote and directed.

THE KILLINGS AT OUTPOST ZETA (1980)Another one of those "SOS because monsters are attacking us" low budget sci-fi flicks. Starfleet sends a rescue team to the barren planet Zeta after two exploratory teams go missing. This mission is of the utmost importance as they were hoping to begin colonization on this Earth-like rock within two months. Once the team of six (four men and two women) get there, they discover everyone dead due to some weird rock monsters (to be said in Fred Schneider voice). In the post-STAR WARS age, it is weird to see something this cheap on screen. Co-directors Robert Emenegger and Allan Sandler certainly seemed ambitious, but only had enough money to create some cheap space suits (motorcycle helmets) and maybe three sets. The monsters are most likely paper mache and are never given a good glimpse. The surface world stuff (shot in some desert) is actually pretty well done. Emenegger and Sandler had an extremely prolific two years after this film, producing close to a dozen cheap-o sci-fi flicks (with titles like LABORATORY, LIFEPOD, TIME WARP) before disappearing in 1981.

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