February 27th, 2012

DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: ANDY SIDARIS

Andy Sidaris for those of you who don’t know (and shame on you if you don’t) is the Skinamax Alfred Hitchcock. This is the man whose contribution to late night cinema is as valuable as Hitchcock’s work was to the mainstream. Sidaris was the auteur (and as much as I hate to use that term, it certainly applies to Andy) who invented what I like to call the T.A.G. movie. T.A.G. of course stands for Tits and Guns. Although he made two films prior to the Skinamax boom, Sidaris is best known for the twelve T.A.G. extravaganzas he made from 1985 to 1998.

We all have a favorite Andy Sidaris moment. Mine is when Julie Strain was having sex on a boat and said, “Anchors aweigh!” right at the moment of climax in Fit to Kill. Then again, you never forget your first Sidaris movie. Mine was Hard Ticket to Hawaii, which to this day remains my favorite. Of his twelve films, there are only four other movies I haven’t reviewed yet. And if you can’t already tell from my other Sidaris reviews, all of his films get Three Stars from me. Some may be better than others, but they each exude a certain Andy-ness that makes even the lightweight chapters of the saga lovable.

Andy passed away a couple of years ago, and it makes me sad that the world will never get another Andy Sidaris movie. But you know what? I like to think Andy is in Heaven right now where he belongs. And I hope that for him, every cloud is a breast and every ray of sunshine comes from an exploding remote controlled toy car. Rest in Peace Andy. We’ll miss you.

MALIBU EXPRESS (1985) ***

Malibu Express is the movie that started it all. Although Andy Sidaris had made some films prior to this, Malibu Express was the one that really got the ball rolling for him. This is the one that made him world renowned as the premier T & A action guru of late night Skinamax.

Darby Hinton stars as Cody Abilene, a Delorian driving private dick. A sexy countess (the one and only Sybil Danning) hires him to solve the murder of an old rich dude. While on the case, Cody uncovers a blackmail plot involving the chauffeur who of course, also winds up dead.

It’s fun watching Malibu Express and seeing how Sidaris was planting the seeds and establishing the formula of what was to come. The guys can’t shoot straight and the women are not only sexy, but strong as well. And of course, everything ends with a plot wrap-up where everyone sits around sipping champagne. Sure, everything is probably a little too OVER explained in the end and the movie runs on way too long (no Skinamax movie should ever run 100 minutes), but since Andy was still trying to perfect the formula, it’s easy to overlook.

The gals are hot too, which helps immensely. Danning in particular is looking as sexy as ever and gets to wear some extremely skimpy outfits. And who could forget Lynda Wiesmeier as Ms. Khnockers (the “h” is silent), who whips out her namesakes at the drop of a hat?

There’s a veritable bounty of sex scenes in this movie. Some of them are way too short, but they show enough skin so that they still count; no matter how brief they are. We get one Two Girls in the Shower scene, four Guy on Girl scenes, one Two Girls on One Guy scene, one Writhing on the Floor Topless for No Good Reason Whatsoever scene, one Topless Massage scene, one Topless Dance party scene, and three Phone Sex scenes. That means we get twelve sex scenes within a 101 minute timeframe. That works out to be a sex scene about every eight and a half minutes, and that’s actually one of Andy’s best ratios, believe it or not.

And Malibu Express is also a sterling example of Andy’s stellar screenwriting capabilities. Here’s a couple of my favorite dialogue exchanges:

Hot Chick: “What do you make for dinner?”

Cody: “Reservations!”

and

Cody: “My hands are lethal weapons!”

Hot Chick: “Just be careful when you play with yourself!”

PICASSO TRIGGER (1988) ***

Dona Spier and Hope Marie Carlton return in this immediate sequel to Hard Ticket to Hawaii. It doesn’t have any cancer snakes in it, but it’s still a good time. This time our lovely lethal ladies are after the titular bad guy who dabbles in everything from white slavery to snuff films. He seemingly meets an untimely end, but then the girls do some digging and find out he faked his death in order to eliminate his competition.

Picasso Trigger isn’t as outrageous as the usual Sidaris fare, but Andy on his off day is better than most directors at their best. Even though the flick is a little light in the skin department, it still delivers on the action goods as lots of shit blows up. There are exploding RC cars, exploding boats, exploding hovercrafts, and even exploding people. We also get speedboat chases, some decent Kung Fu, eye gouging, and a spear gun through the chest too. And wait until you get a load of the James Bond-ish crutch that doubles as a gun.

Overall we get seven sex scenes. There are two Shower scenes, one Bubble Bath scene, three Guy on Girl scenes, and one Gratuitous Undressing scene. Since the flick runs 98 minutes, that means we get a sex scene every 14 minutes. Again, that’s not the best total, but Andy keeps you watching with some hilarious action hijinks.

Spier and Carlton are hot as always, although they don’t get as much screen time as you’d expect. Luckily, Roberta Vasquez is also in the mix playing a sexy double agent named Pantera. She’d later go on to star alongside Dona (as a good girl) in Guns.

So yeah, the sex scenes leave something to be desired, but stuff blows up real good, so it’s hard to complain. There’s also a hilarious Ninja attack to which Dona quips, “Hi-ya my ass!” And I also have a soft spot in my heart for any movie that has an end credits sequence that was typed on construction paper.

SAVAGE BEACH (1989) ***

Dona Spier and Hope Marie Carlton (in her last Andy Sidaris movie) have to fly medical supplies to Hawaii. They wind up getting lost in a storm and have to make an emergency landing on a desert island. While waiting for a rescue team to find them, some nasty villains come to the island looking for lost WWII gold. Before long, Dona and Hope are doing battle with them. Thankfully, they also get a little help from a ghostly Japanese Ninja that has inhabited the island ever since the end of the war.

Savage Beach is a really good entry in the Andy Sidaris Tits n’ Guns saga; even though a lot of the movie nothing more than Dona and Hope playing peek-a-boo with the bad guys on the island while a half-century old Ninja stalks the premises. There are also may be too many WWII flashbacks as well. And if I’m to be perfectly honest, there is a lot more action than uh... you know ACTION-ACTION.

In a 94 minute span we only get seven sex scenes. That’s only a sex scene every 13 minutes or so, but they are some quality scenes. We get three Guy on Girl scenes, two Undressing scenes, one Skinnydipping scene, and one Topless Babes Chilling Out in a Hot Tub scene. And believe me, it’s one of the finest Topless Babes Chilling Out in a Hot Tub scene ever filmed.

The scenes of stuff blowing up are pretty great too. Vans explode in this movie, briefcases explode in this movie, and rafts explode. It’s not quite up to the genius of the gun-crutch in Picasso Trigger, but it’s still pretty good.

Probably the reason I like this movie so much is because Playboy centerfold-turned-actress-turned-porn-star Teri Weigel is in it. Remember her? She’s apparently still doing the porn thing after all these years, although I haven’t seen her in anything in quite some time. She gets two scenes in this one and they’re definitely the best ones.

Flaws aside, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: God bless Andy Sidaris.

GUNS (1990) ***

Andy Sidaris swapped out Hope Marie Carlton for Roberta Vasquez for his fifth Tits n’ Guns flick. Erik Estrada (!!!) stars as a gun smuggler and all around bad guy who wants to kill special agents Vasquez and Dona Spier. Naturally, Estrada’s transvestite hitmen fuck things up and Roberta and Dona go out to bring Estrada down.

You know, out of the twelve Andy Sidaris Skinamax classics, this is probably my least favorite. Like Picasso Trigger, Guns makes the mistake of placing the emphasis on action instead of T & A. Having said that, it’s still totally worthwhile. That’s mostly because Sidaris was somehow able to get Erik Estrada to play the villain in this one. He’s pretty good too and he gets all the best lines like, “Use the cerebral approach… Shoot her in the head!” We also get a young(er) Danny Trejo as one of Estrada’s henchman too, which is a nice bonus.

Roberta Vasquez and Dona Spier were looking pretty hot in this. As good as they look though; I have to say that Cynthia Brimhall has never looked better than she did here. Although the Skinamax Stats are pretty low, we should still take a look at them anyway. We get: two Guy on Girl scenes, one Dressing scene, one Undressing scene, one Baby Oil Wrestling Match, and one Two Chicks in a Shower scene. That means in 95 minutes, we get a sex scene every 16 minutes. Again, not a good ratio, but since this movie features an exploding Erik Estrada, I can’t get too mad at it.

SKINAMAX-A-PALOOZA: BOUNTY HUNTRESS DOUBLE FEATURE

BOUNTY HUNTRESS 2 (2001) **

Mainline Releasing put this out, so you can probably already guess what lies in store for you when you watch Bounty Huntress 2. Terrible plot? Check. Mediocre sex scenes? Got it. Porn actresses making an unsuccessful attempt at crossover mainstream stardom? You bet.

And in case you’re wondering, no I haven’t seen Bounty Huntress 1. If we’ve learned anything from watching a shit-ton of Skinamax movies this month though, it’s that you can pretty much watch ANY Skinamax sequel without seeing the original as the plots to these things rarely matter. I do have to say that I found it hilarious that the chick on the DVD box is made up to look like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. What’s even funnier is that there is absolutely no Bounty Huntressing going on whatsoever in this movie.

Anyway, porn star Chelsea Bleu stars as an FBI agent who goes undercover in a gym to get the goods on the owner who is supposed to have ties to diamond smuggling. Porn star Dru Berrymore (so named because she has more than a passing resemblance to her mainstream namesake) co-stars as the bad guy’s secretary who is immediately suspicious of Bleu. Again, the plot (heck even the title in this instance) doesn’t matter; so forget I mentioned it.

It would seem a bit pointless to criticize the plot here, but since my readers demand the highest quality Skinamax assessments I will say there are quite a few flaws in this movie. The biggest disappointment comes from the ending. I mean the bad guy gets away scot free just because our bounty huntress falls in love with him and can’t bring herself to arrest him. That’s not exactly what I would call good bounty huntressing there. (Never mind the fact that she isn’t even a bounty huntress, just an undercover agent.)

The sex scenes in this movie aren’t particularly good and are for the most part way too brief (one potentially great public exhibition scene in the park starts off great, but ends abruptly). Since there are a lot of them though, it doesn’t really matter. We get eight sex scenes (all Guy on Girl) in a span of 70 minutes, which works out to be a sex scene about every eight and a half minutes. That’s about the best thing I can say for this movie, so I’ll leave it at that.

AKA: Sexual Temptations.

BOUNTY HUNTRESS: UNDERCOVER (2001) **

Okay, so the same Lara Croft lookalike chick from the Bounty Huntress 2 box is on the cover of this one, but we have a different Bounty Huntress chick this time out. Instead of porn star Chelsea Blue, we have porn star Chloe playing our heroine. If any of you have seen Chloe in The Tampa Tushy Fest, you know that it’s an upgrade. Unfortunately, she doesn’t engage in any of the fisting activities that made that film legendary, but she does get naked a bunch. And because of that, Bounty Huntress: Undercover is slightly more enjoyable that its predecessor.

Chloe plays a madam who gets roped into helping the cops nab one of her clients, a big time drug smuggler. She naturally falls in love with the cop on the case, which makes his lover (and partner) Dru Berrymore (playing an entirely different character this time out) jealous. Dru also has a hankering to fuck for money and she begins dabbling in hooking on the side.

Chloe is a decent enough actress, even though she didn’t really need to be. And naturally, she looks great naked. Dru isn’t bad either and disrobes plenty too. The sex scenes are mostly way too short, but that’s okay because they happen so fast that it seems like someone’s always getting naked at the end of nearly every scene. There are five Guy on Girl scene, one Gratuitous “What Should I Wear?” scene, one Bubble Bath scene, and one Solo Girl scene. Again, that’s about the same ratio as Part 2, which isn’t so bad. (The flick clocks in at a scant 70 minutes.) I do have to take major points off for the two incidences where a sex scene was about to occur (one Two Girls on One Guy scene and a Guy on Girl scene), but then they never show it. Seriously, a Skinamax movie should NEVER resort to having their sex scenes happen OFF SCREEN.

The plot (if you care) contains a LOT of filler. Consider the scene where the cops install the surveillance cameras in Chloe’s brothel. It’s pretty much shown in real time. Of course this is just to set up the scene later in the film where Dru catches her man cheating on her, but still. It didn’t have to go on forever. I will say that the flick does have a pretty good twist ending, but if that’s the kind of shit you’re looking for, watch The Usual Suspects or something.

AKA: Do It To Me One More Time. AKA: Pleasures of Sin.

GIRL WITH THE SEX-RAY EYES (2007) ** ½

Nicole Sheridan stars as a stripper named Taffy who bumps into a secret agent and inadvertently winds up with his pair of X-Ray glasses. Naturally, when she and her boyfriend take the glasses to Vegas, they strike it rich at the blackjack table. A spicy red-headed agent named Mao Mix (porn star Shannon Kelly) also wants the glasses and will do anything to get her hands on them.

Girl with the Sex-Ray Eyes is a Skinamax comedy directed by Fred Olen Ray. You pays your money and you gets what you pays for. In this case I DVR’ed it off of Skinamax for free, so make of that what you will. Sure, the flick ain’t all that great, but there is some funny stuff here. For example, I liked the part where the dim-witted Taffy used the X-Ray glasses to see the prize inside of a cereal box.

Overall we get six sex scenes. There are four Guy on Girl scenes, one Girl on Girl scene, and one Two Girls on One Guy scene. The film runs 79 minutes, so that means that we only get a sex scene every 13 minutes.

Ordinarily I would take issue with that, but there are two scenes in particular that make the movie almost worthwhile. The first is the scene where Nicole Sheridan and Christine Nguyen have a threeway on a big pile of money. This is Nguyen’s one and only scene in the movie and trust me, you’ll wish she was in it more. The other standout scene is when Shannon Kelly gets it on with her lesbian masseur (excellent scissoring is involved). The rest of the movie may be hit and miss, yet these two scenes save Girl with the Sex-Ray Eyes from being just run of the mill late night cable fare.

HOT NAKED SEX AND THE CITY (2011) ** ½

Seduction Cinema hottie Darian Caine stars in this spoof of Sex and the City. I’m not exactly sure how close it sticks to the show because I’ve never seen it (although my wife did drag me to the awful movie), but I think it’s somewhat accurate. Mostly it’s about this circle of friends who blab about their sex life before they run out and have sex with hot girls. I’m guessing therein lies the difference. In the show, Sarah Jessica Horseface was all about Mr. Big. Here, Darian Caine is all about Ms. Pink.

One thing you should know about Hot Naked Sex and the City before you think about watching it is that all of the sex scenes are either Girl on Girl or Solo Girl scenes. So if you’re looking for variety here, you may be disappointed. On top of that, they all kind of blur together and are more or less interchangeable, but that’s a minor complaint; especially considering you get a whopping eleven scenes in 76 minutes. We get eight Girl on Girl scenes, two Solo Girl scenes, and one Striptease scene. That’s an impressive total for any Skinamax movie if you ask me.

And I’m happy to report that Darian Caine is still looking good after over a decade in the Skinamax game. She’s pretty hot in her sex scenes, although she doesn’t fare nearly as well in her comic relief scenes. That’s not really her fault though because the narration she’s given is pretty shrill and most of the jokes just aren’t very funny.

Although the bulk of the sex scenes aren’t very memorable, there is at least one excellent baby oil breast massage scene. And I don’t mean the gal massages baby oil on a chick’s breasts. I mean she pours baby oil all over her own breasts before rubbing her boobs all over the other chick. It’s definitely a classic. Because of that, Hot Naked Sex and the City gets a marginal recommendation from me.

Best line: “I’m going to kick you so hard in the cooter your nipples are gonna explode!”

CAVE DWELLERS (1984) *

Miles O’Keeffe stars as Ator, a third rate Conan rip-off who has to rescue some hot chick’s dad from an evil mincing wuss. Together with his trusty sidekick Thong, Ator travels from the ends of the Earth to fight a clan of cannibal cavemen, a band of invisible warriors, some samurais, and an evil snake cult before finally storming the bad guy’s castle with a suspiciously 20th century looking hang glider. In addition to making short work of the admittedly wimpy villain, he also destroys a “geometric nucleus” (AKA: stock footage of an A-Bomb exploding), which if fallen into the wrong hands could wipe out the planet.

You know, the prospect of having exploitation movie icon Joe D’Amato directing a cheesy Conan knockoff sounds promising enough. Too bad the results are so piss poor. Cave Dwellers is filled with so much incompetence per frame of film that it’s kind of baffling that it even got released. (I mean a HANG GLIDER the barbarian ages?!? Were they serious?) You know you’re in trouble when our hero has to pretend to be beaten up by “invisible” warriors. In fact, Ator isn’t much of a hero at all as it always seems like Thong is bailing him out of trouble at the last second.

Despite the fact that Ator relies heavily on his sidekick to save his bacon, O’Keeffe isn’t bad in the lead. It also helps that the main chick is kinda hot (although she’s wearing too much eyeliner considering the time period). And since this IS a Joe D’Amato movie, we do get a little gore (there’s some heart ripping and eating), so it’s not a TOTAL waste of celluloid or anything.

Then again I just remembered how fucking pathetic the villain was. He kinda looks like Freddy Mercury dressed up as The Black Swan or something. Plus, the chick’s dad gives one of the all-time worst performances in history. His long “dramatic” pauses in just the simplest lines of dialogue will have you falling asleep way before you even get to Ator, so forget I said anything. That asshole wasn’t worth going to the ends of the Earth for.

AKA: Ator the Invincible. AKA: Ator the Invincible 2. AKA: Ator 2. AKA: Ator, the Blade Master. AKA: The Blade Master. AKA: The Return. AKA: Day of the Sword Man.

POD PEOPLE (1983) *

You know, when the director of Pieces makes an E.T. rip-off, you just expect more.

Pod People tells the story of Trumpy, an alien who comes to Earth and snorts peanuts up his snout the way Bret Easton Ellis characters snort coke. Trumpy is befriended by a little annoying brat named Tommy who feeds him all kinds of junk food. Meanwhile, some poachers destroy a bunch of alien eggs, which pisses off Trumpy’s mom something fierce. She then goes around the fog enshrouded forest killing humans indiscriminately. While all this is going on; a crappy music group comes to stay at Tommy’s house and their assorted groupies and hangers-on get killed by the homicidal extra-terrestrial.

Man, where do you even start with this one? Pod People is a movie that suffers from an extreme identity crisis. It can never figure out if it wants to be an E.T. knockoff, a straight-up horror movie, or a goddamn musical. It takes forever for the various plot threads to intersect and once they finally do, I can’t really assure you that you’ll give a shit.

To make matters worse, just about every scene that takes place in the wilderness is completely covered in fog, effectively obscuring any alleged action. On top of that, nearly every other scene solely revolves around someone getting lost so the other characters have to walk around aimlessly looking for them while shouting their names endlessly. Seriously, how can you go from making Pieces, one of the all-time greats, to this shit?

I will say that some of Trumpy’s antics are pretty funny. There’s a great scene where he inexplicably makes the toys in Tommy’s room come to life and fly around. But my favorite bit was the band’s truly awful song. Once that gets stuck in your head, it’ll stay there for days.

Special Note: There are no pods in this movie.

AKA: ETV. AKA: Extraterrestrial Visitors. AKA: Tales of Trumpy. AKA: The New Extraterrestrials. AKA: The Return of E.T. AKA: The Unearthling. AKA: Visitor.