Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Phil attends a special screening of SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY'S FROM HEAVEN at the Castro Theatre-August 25, 2012

Greetings and Salutations from San Francisco! This past Saturday was the Peaches Christ 15th Anniversary screening of the cult classic SHOWGIRLS. And as a special bonus, the historic Castro Theatre was having a special afternoon screening of SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY'S FROM HEAVEN! So my good friend and fellow movie buff Jennifer and I made our way to the City by the Bay to see this sexy sequel!

The film stars Rena Riffel, who reprises her role of the sweet, sexy, and somewhat dim Penny Slot. According to the film's website, Penny leaves Las Vegas to "become the star dancer on a dance television show. With stars in her eyes, she tries to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but instead finds danger in a town more wicked than Sin City. Romance then leads her down a path towards her dream of stardom, fame, and fortune. But danger lurks at every twist and turn while Penny Slot becomes lured by a dangerous love triangle full of temptation and seduction. Penny's longtime fiancé/boyfriend, James "Jimmy" Smith (Glenn Plummer) warns her that she needs formal technique training if she wants to be taken seriously as a real dancer, so Penny heeds his advice and sets out to take ballet classes and practices her pique turns. But, she must pay the price. And there is a price to pay for success, sacrifices to be made at every imaginable level, and it all comes down to... How bad do you want it?"

Rena not only starred in this sequel, but she also wrote, directed, and edited the film! Combining elements and references from the first film, Ed Wood dialogue, Russ Myer-esque sets, and her auteur skillmenship, the film comes off like an existential dream laced with images of betrayal, greed, lust, hope, and G-strings. The film's campiness is off the charts, and Rena knows this full well. She let's it rip with a furry of hilarious one liners used repeatedly, overacting among its performers, and the barely there sets. However there is a charm to the film; a charm that compelled me to stare at the screen during the film's 2 1/2 hour running time.

Rena has said in an interview that the film's budget was about $30,000 and it was filmed in 30 days over a four-month period in In LA in the middle of 2010. With this low budget and inconsistent film schedule, it's a wonder that the film was ever finished. This is a prime example of underground, gorilla filmmaking: doing whatever it takes, never giving up, and going the extra mile to achieve your dream. Dreams are the main theme of the film. Penny's dream is to become the featured dancer, Rena's dream is to make this film. Despite the limited resources, the film's a testament to the director's determination to overcome all obstacles to achieve her vision.

What I loved were the numerous references to the first SHOWGIRLS. From the eating brown rice and vegetables, rubbing Vaseline on Penny's teeth to make her smile (in the first film it's ice cubes on Nomi Malone's nipples), to the hot sex scene in the pool. Only this time it's Penny and the ultra stacked Katya, portrayed by luscious Shelly Michelle. But it's Rena who shows us all that she still has it: from the dance steps to her form fitting outfits, and to be honest, the women looks drop dead gorgeous in her G-strings! I'm sorry for going off on this tangent, but the woman is so damn sexy in the film! And just in case if she is reading this review, I would like to take this moment to pledge my love to you Miss Rene Riffel! You can pour champagne all over me anytime you wish!

In the end SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY'S FROM HEAVEN is destined to be a cult classic that will be screened at midnight shows for years to come! While Hollywood is cranking out the endless supply of crap, here's a film that doesn't pretend to be something it's not. Instead it entertains you like no other film can. Campy, hilarious, and serious in it's theme of chasing after your dreams, Rena's film is layered with so much more offerings than you typical Hollywood schlockfest. So go check out this flick and don't forget your G-string! Highly recommended!

SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY'S FROM HEAVEN is available on DVD. To purchase a copy for yourself, along with posters, T-shirts and other memorabilia, visit the film's official website at www.showgirls2movie.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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