Monday, July 31, 2006

Foist Day of Vacation

And I'm actually getting some things done. The Hub doesn't need a column from me this week, so I don't have that responsibility as I take this week easy. Or as easy as possible, considering the hot and humid weather we're having in Champaign recently. It's 92 now, according to my Firefox toolbar, but it feels a lot hotter. I actually tried to do some cleaning today, but I started sweating like a madman early in the process and said to hell with it.

Today I packed up my Toshiba RD-XS32 DVD recorder and shipped it out for repair. After the post office, I went to Old Time Meat & Deli Shop to buy tasty meat products. If you're in the Champaign-Urbana area, Old Time is having some decent sales right now. I bought some lemon pepper marinated chicken breasts for $2.99/pound and ground chuck for $1.99/pound. I also got some peppercorn turkey and provolone for sandwiches while I was there, and my total bill was under $19.

I'm now rested up from Cheeseburger B-Fest in Oak Park, where he watched some total crap on a projector TV. I wouldn't mind having one myself if I had a bigger room and didn't mind shelling out $300 for a new bulb every couple of years. You can read Cheeseburger's account, including reviews, over at her blog. I supplied the movies, as well as some Hostess, a giant bag of popcorn and some burgers. Not that we needed extra food, as we had more than enough. We watched:

MARK OF THE GORILLA, one of Johnny Weissmuller's many Columbia programmers as Jungle Jim. It's a great way to start out. It's short, silly, with lots of stuff to make fun of. I think I was the only one who had ever seen a Weissmuller movie before. His acting skills took lots of shots from us.

FUTURE HUNTERS, a crazy-ass Philippines movie starring a young Robert Patrick (now starring on CBS' THE UNIT) as Poindexter Slade, who accompanies his girlfriend on a frantic adventure that includes exploding helicopters, 12-hour car chases, Amazons, midgets, time travel, Christian lore, bad continuity, unconvincing miniatures, a ridiculous kung fu battle, a "pit of death," and much more.

TRANCERS with Tim Thomerson as Jack Deth and a hot buck-toothed Helen Hunt in a sexy Santa outfit. It's an imaginative if low-budget SF/action movie that changed Thomerson's career path from second-banana comic roles to B-movie tough guys and villains.

BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO from Cannon. The return of Ozone, Turbo and Special K, played by Lucinda Dickey, a great '80s crush. She also was in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION for Cannon the same year that BREAKIN' and BREAKIN' 2 came out (1984), but not much else besides. See her (in the green bikini top) strut her stuff vs. Lollipop in this hilarious "street rumble" that also features stars Shabba-Doo and Boogaloo Shrimp:

AIRPORT 1975 is stupid and ridiculous. We were hoping for pilot LD to call bullshit at the technical inaccuracies of the disaster film, but it turned out to be surprisingly realistic. Uh, except maybe for the part when a jet helicopter lowers Charlton Heston on a rope through the hole in the 747's cockpit.

ROBOT it a robot or a monster or a gorilla or an alien? Yeah, it's all four. If there are more Cheeseburger Fests, expect the 63-minute ROBOT MONSTER to be a regular staple.

NIGHT OF THE KICKFIGHTERS fought us, because we were pretty sleepy by this time. It has Adam West and kickfighters and a pretty hot villainess, but we were too tired to care, and we finally crashed around 4am.

At about 11am, after some sleep and muffins (and about a half-hour of AIRPORT), we put in THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS, which is only "GARGANTUA" for most of the running time. Besides the kickass giant monsters, many of us were enamored by Kumi Mizuno (who recently made it to the cover of VIDEO WATCHDOG), a very beautiful woman who starred in a lot of Japanese SF movies, including FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD, MATANGO and MONSTER ZERO.

And speaking of hot Asian women, we closed with SO CLOSE, Corey Yuen's stylish martial-arts flick that stars scrumptious Shu Qi and Vicky Zhao as sisters/computer geniuses/assassins and Karen Mok as the lesbian detective who pursues them. There are some stellar action scenes here, but it also works as drama with at least one scene of heartwrenching emotional power.

Chicken and I drove back from Oak Park after that, about a 3-hour drive, a bit less actually. After some resettling, checking email, turning on the AC, reading my mail, etc., I...ended the evening with one more crappy movie. TARANTULAS: THE DEADLY CARGO is actually pretty decent, a well-made and performed made-for-TV movie about Ecuadorian "banana spiders" that escape from a cargo plane that crashes near a sleepy little California town and kill several townspeople very quickly. The plot machinations seem ludicrous (particularly an astonishingly clumsy arsonist who figures into the climax), but I bought into it. Claude Akins is solid as the fire chief, and Pat Hingle plays the crusty country doctor.

TARANTULAS was directed by Stuart Hagmann, a talented young man who seems to have vanished after this movie. He was in his early 20's when he directed a few TV episodes for Paramount shows MANNIX and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. His M:I's are extremely good, and Hagmann had a flare for sharp visuals on a budget. His debut feature, THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT, won some critical acclaim, but his career sputtered afterward with just a handful of remaining credits. I wonder whatever became of Hagmann?


katie said...

yea. we watched underworld - the 2nd one. ha ha. we are addicted.

Anonymous said...

Hell, that's a far better line-up than that last 24 hour B-Fest you went to!

John Charles

Marty McKee said...

I know. They should ask me to program B-Fest for them.