J.B. SPINS BLOGSPOT
The mid 1960’s were a golden age for Columbian-German co-productions, but the magnum opus of Fernando Fernandez, the era’s visionary auteur, remained lost to posterity until director Kiff Scholl discovered a rare surviving print. Yeah, right. It is a good back story though. For those familiar with the groovy multinational spy films of the 1960’s, Scholl’s Scream of the Bikini is a knowingly affectionate send-up, which is booked for special midnight (technically 11:55) screenings at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood this Friday and Saturday.
Bridgit and Sophia are supermodels by day and superspy-bounty hunters by night (or perhaps vice versa). They have just averted a terrorist attack on an airliner, but Sophia broke a heel in the process. At least they beat their tuxedo-clad rival Humberto to the kill (and the twenty grand). However, the dead man will keep popping up, looking for a microchip or something. Needless to say, Bikini is hardly the sort of film to get hung up on plot, though there is plenty of it, including mysterious death cults, mind-controlling accessories, and plenty of suggestive flirtation. Rather, it is style all the way for its glamorous protagonists.
Eurospy enthusiasts will appreciate Bikini’s vibe, faultlessly recreating the retro color palette and weirdly disembodied dialogue that marked the swinging sixties cult film subgenre. Bikini also features a surprisingly catchy soundtrack that is true to the period and frankly much better than it has to be. And you have to love a trippy musical interlude that includes mimes at play in an open field, right?
It seems like the entire cast also doubled as producers of Bikini, suggesting the film started as an idea concocted by a group of friends over drinks. However, as Latin American actresses Jasmine Orozco and Paola Apanapal playing Bridgit and Sophia, Kelsey Weeden and Rebecca Larsen actually pull off a nice acting feat, keeping their characters cute and likable despite their self-centered cluelessness. Co-producer, editor, and cinematographer Darrett Sanders exudes the perfect hammy flair as Gregorio Peck as man-of-the-world Humberto, while nicely deadpanning some of the film’s funniest lines. Bikini also won the Maverick Movie Awards’ “The Precious” prize for random hilarity in recognition of Walter “Ensign Chekhov” Koenig’s non sequitur cameo, and rightly so.
Saucy yet sweet-tempered (just like its heroines), Bikini is a lot of fun. Deliberately cheesy, but not annoyingly so, it is perfectly suited for midnight screenings at festivals, art-houses, and college campuses. Recommended for MST3K fans (think of the bots skewering Neil Connery in the knock-off Operation Double 007), it plays at the Laemmle Sunset 5 this Friday (2/19) and Saturday (2/20).
Duane L. Martin
Scream of the Bikini is a spy spoof set in the 60's. Supermodel bounty hunters Bridget (Kelsey Wedeen) and Sophia (Rebecca Larsen), after killing a man who was trying to blow up a plane, find themselves wrapped up in a web of intrigue and murder as they try to stop the evil organization S.I.A.D. from killing the five U.N. ambassadors from the security council that are about to declare a plan to bring about world peace. In their mission, they're both helped and hindered by another international spy type playboy named Humbert (Darrett Sanders). Much of the drama revolved around a computer chip designed by the dead man that's necessary for S.I.A.D.'s plans to be put into motion. It's the most powerful computer chip ever designed. It can hold 1k of information and process a mind blowing 75 mathamatical operations per second...and the girls have it. Now it's up to them to stop the evil organization from carrying out it's plans to destroy the world's chances of ever having a lasting peace, oh...and to look really good while doing it.
Cheese. Some films have an abundance of it unintentionally, while others, like Scream of the Bikini, grab two big handfulls of it and smear it all over the screen. Regardless of how its intended, cheese can either be a good thing or a bad thing. If it's the kind of cheese that makes you groan with pain when you see it, that's bad. However, if it's the kind of cheese that makes you sit there with a big grin on your face the whole time...that's good. Fortunately this film didn't fall into the former category. Scream of the Bikini is a seriously fun film, and if you have any sense of humor or fun at all, you'll be at the very least smiling through most of it.
The 60's seem to be the perfect decade for cheesy spy flicks. I mean let's face it, that was a pretty cheesy decade, so naturally it's the decade this story takes place in. The film maker actually took it a bit farther though. He made characters, playing characters, out of both himself and the cast, complete with bios on the website. For example, our two spy girls, Bridget and Sophia, are played by South American actresses Jasmine Orosco and Paola Apanapal. Only...they're actually played by real life American actresses Kelsey Wedeen and Rebecca Larson. Kudos to the film maker for adding this extra layer of coolness to his film. It took a lot of creativity to come up with all this stuff.
The film itself is a lot of fun. Our two intrepid heroines seem pretty oblivious to the people dying around them. For them it's just another occurance in a string of occurances. Just another day so to speak. The whole film is dubbed as well...again, in a cheesy way, even though you can see they're all speaking English. Most of it lines up with what they're saying, which is kind of funny because it creates that whole, "If they were speaking English, then why was it dubbed in English?" vibe, which only adds to the fun. The only quirk in this is when they say the name of one of the characters called Sandy (Kimberly Atkinson). It looks like they're saying Ezmerelda or something, but they dubbed over the name Sandy instead. Just another little quirk to make you say, "Huh?".
The settings, the costumes and the entire story are all really well done and totally suited to the genre of the film. There's even a bit part that includes Taylor Negron (If you see him you'll know who he is. He was the mailman in Better off Dead and has been in tons of other stuff) and Walter Koenig (Checkov from Star Trek), although for some reason Walter Koenig isn't listed in the credits on IMDB. It was great to see him again though.
As for the technicals, this film was extremely well made and the visuals, editing and music all lent themselves perfectly to what film maker Kiff Scholl was trying to accomplish.
The film had it's premiere at Cinespace on September 14th, but I'm not sure when the DVD, but it seems to be making the rounds at film festivals at the moment, and will be appearing at the ThrillSpy International Film Festival on October 8, 2009. If you get a chance to see this film at a festival, be sure to check it out. If not, then definitely keep an eye out for the eventual DVD release and pick yourself up a copy when it's available.