We get flooded; inundated by a plastic cascade of videos and now DVDs to review. There’s only so many hours in a day, so many reviewers on the Film Threat staff. Which is all a very sorry way of explaining why, in the Summer of 2002, we’re just now getting around to reviewing a tape from the 2001 Brainwash Film Festival.

And an eclectic mix it is at that, starting off with veteran filmmaker Danny Plotnick’s head-scratching animated appetizer “Tour Tips: A Primer for the Traveling Artiste.” Chad Benton’s “Laundry” follows. Here, Wade (Benton) already has a sexy girlfriend (Ruby Bullock), but he becomes obsessed with Sonia (Olivia Honeycutt), his laundromat dream girl. This simple but effective short is goofy fun, efficiently combining the horrors of doing laundry with the fantasy of a laundromat love affair.

Director John Stonehill’s “Speedwalking” steps up next. In this breathless, if slightly dated send-up of “Speed,” Ed is a hard-core speed walker in a jam. Seems the Evil Master has snuck a bomb into Ed’s fanny pack, where it will explode unless he maintains a “swift” pace. A genial, if slightly naughty morality tale of sorts, “Speedwalking” is a solid, if not spectacular mini-parody.
“Bombay Beach: Paradise on the Apocalypse,” on the other hand, disappoints, if only because it doesn’t live up to its potential. A strange documentary short about its titular dying, if not already undead border town, the film tries to tell the story of how Bombay Beach went from a thriving ski resort and fishing village to a virtual ghost town. While one would think the town’s residents would be the best equipped to relate this tale, the folks directors Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer focus on here just aren’t up to the task.

There’s a fine line between “colorful” and weirdly distasteful, and the residents here fall firmly into the latter camp. The more “Bombay…” dwells here amongst these disturbing, slightly creepy denizens, the less interesting the film becomes.
Capping off this collection is “Antonio te Comprendre.” In this subtle but ingeniously clever short, an artsy-fartsy French film about a mother and daughter having the same boyfriend wickedly degenerates in seven minutes into an American tabloid TV show about the same trashed-out subjects.

A very solid collection overall, the 2001 Brainwash Film Festival compilation was worth the wait; certainly good enough for me to recommend the 2002 edition.

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