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The Risen (2003)
Despite low user-ratings, this movie is worth watching...
...at least I found it so, and since the only "review" of it appearing in IMDB turns out to be of a different film entirely, I thought that I would assure kindred souls that they won't switch to another channel after ten minutes, disgusted at the cliches and mindlessness of so many of the movies on t.v. today
This is a thinking person's movie despite its many flaws - I awarded it but a "seven"...I thought that the writing did not serve some of the actors well, the interesting Ms Watson was given lines (when her character spoke at all!), that made her seem more like a zombie rather than a woman who has been brought back to life, and Mr Lipinski, I'm sure, could portray the loving, if baffled husband, more satisfactorily, if his part were better written: on the other hand, kudos for creating a fine role for one of my favourite sexpots, Helen Shaver...here, she IS a sympathetic sister.
What kept me glued to the screen was the mystery of the story...this woman who died, clinically on the operating table, and had life returned to her, just WHOSE life, is the question.
One, aided by flashbacks, "visions", and real-time encounters,starts to suspect, but it is only in the very last line spoken, that all falls into place
Double Frame (2000)
Its a run-of-the-mill film with some unique twists.
Ostensibly, it's a run-of-the-mill ""Who'll get the money?" movie about $3,000,000 that goes astray, after a bungled drug sting, but it's got some unique twists, including the ending
Some I particularly liked in this absorbing story of double -crossing 'twixt police/bad guys/civilians, were a villain who's a caring scoutmaster in his spare time, another crook has to take his illicit son to each illegal meeting, fearful that(a)his wife will find out about the boy(b) that the lad could be a witness against him (c) That unscrupulous criminal colleagues could blackmail him over a and b.
Too, I must confess that I have a weakness for female cops as the leads in films...they've deliberately deglamourised Lesley Hope for this role, but she still comes over as an attractive woman, and a competent cop.
All in all, a serious effort is made to give these characters depth and dimension
There's also lots of mild wry humour in this film, which I voted just short of ten for its reliance on a cliche or two e.g."You're under arrest, bad person!", "Okay, but mind if I turn the t.v. on till my accomplice arrives, so's you can then nab the two of us?" The arresting officers look at each other, then nod agreement. By such devices are filmdon's "bad persons" forever making their escape.
The Pilot's Wife (2002)
Hackneyed theme, but still absorbing
Stop me if you've seen this one before: hubby-missing-believed-dead,wifey-then-finds-out- doubtful-things-about-him...ah, but this movie goes beyond the usual formula, throwing in some political, and criminal factors...one is never sure how things are going to turn out.
Most of the characters are entertainingly devious, playing various parts to achieve each different end.., can one even count on the "heroine" wife, and her daughter ?
The dialogue is brief, and to the point, the characters ring true (even the false ones!), and I was absorbed for almost two hours...I didn't understand the ending, which is perhaps a failing of my intelligence, rather than the film's intent, whatever, that cost the film a point, I deducted another, because it was, after all, a formula film, and a third because it wasn't "Love With The Proper Stranger" - my benchmark for romantic/suspense films.
As (nearly)always, the actors are good, but I must make especial mention of Christine Lahti...when she first appears, she's just awakened, she looks drab, and her age...but, to me, she was still an attractive woman...that's charisma!
In the Blink of an Eye (1996)
Why do amateur reviewers hate t.v. movies?
I can't think why...is it some kind of fad? ...conventional wisdom?...a taste for the bells and whistles...special effects...t and a of a theatre , or straight-to-video film, rather than the solid storytelling of yer typical t.v. movie?
I'm seldom disappointed when I do get to watch the latter (wish I could say the same of the former). Trouble is, I like to study what other viewers have to say about a movie before I waste a couple of hours of my precious time(I'm seventy), on a possible dud, and few movie buffs, pro or amateur, deign to report them...perhaps because they don't watch them in the first place, dismissing them as "mere t.v. movies"
Well, they might be missing something, especially if they're as jaded with, and hard-to-please by theatre, and video productions as I've become.
Because I've found that most (not all)t.v. movies are worth watching. They usually cut to the chase, get on with the story, which, even if it is not all that fresh and original - usually it is - is told in a manner that draws one in, makes one identify with the characters, forgetting that they're played, often by favourite t.v. thespians more familiar as characters from sitcom, prime or daytime drama-and this, for me, is an added bonus, as in the movie under review here, its star the striking Veronica Hamel who played a Public Defender on "Hill St Blues" for all those years, very comfortable in the role of a film-maker who drops everything to rescue a falsely-imprisoned friend a victim of "jail-house informants"
This is based on a true story...yes, yes, I know that films from the other genres I've derided are, too, the difference being that a t.v. production generally doesn't tart it up, to make it a vehicle for some megastar, or special effects whizz, or some self-indulgent director out to shock or titillate us.
Such a t.v. movie, then, is "In The Blink Of An Eye" , a harrowing tale of an innocent married couple railroaded into prison (and worse!) by a justice system(American AND Canadian), which permits the actual perpertrator of a crime, to rat on his "co-conspirators" who then get the maximum punishment compared to his slap-on-the-wrist. All this is revealed more than fifteen years later, when our heroine (Hamel) belatedly learns that her childhood best friend(Mimi Rogers)is in prison for murdering two police officers. Unable to believe this of one whom she knew so well, she puts her career as a film producer on hold (she, went on, in fact, to produce this very film) to get the case re-opened, and justice finally done.
The film has flaws...the main one for me, is that the defence for the woman, her hubby, and their children, was so feeble in the first place. Apparently the woman took the advice of her lawyer and would not permit her children nor herself to take the witness stand in the couples defence,(another flaw -what of the husband? no reference in the film to his testimony or lack of it), lest they "be torn apart" by a prosecutor driven by political ambition...it was better for Mom and Dad to be subsequently to be sentenced to death, maybe? (Both, initially, were). But, still, I remember this film is from real life, and we all know that real life is far more complex, frustrating, and far-fetched than even the most delirious of movie-makers could dream up.
Despite its flaws, which made me rate it but "8" "In The Blink Of An Eye" really makes one think - often yet another virtue of t.v. movies.
HeartBeat: Changing Places (1998)
Eagerly awaited sequel does not disappoint
I was delighted to hear that the original "P.C. Rowen" (Nick Berry), that quietly efficient English bobby was going to re-emerge on Knowledge Network - as a Canadian Mountie. Nor was I disappointed in the opening show, which, I believe, is going to make this viewer as addicted to it, as he is to the original (still appearing on both the Knowledge and Women's Television Network, here in B.C.) I didn't give it a 10 since it a a bit more Wild West-ish than the original, lots of gunplay - tho not by Rowen, who relied on his usual resourcefulness - explosions, jailbreaks, hostage-taking, etc and, at present, it lacks the colorful English characters, and English beauties of the original. For all that, I look forward to another 10 years plus, of Mountie Rowen
Nightmare in Big Sky Country (1998)
A padded disappointment
I saw this movie last night on the Canadian "Women's Channel" which boasted that the film was an "exclusive" My opinion: probably because all other channels passed on it. The particular program on which this movie appeared, deals with topical social problems (usually, very well),holding discussions on the message of each movie. Last night's movie was supposed to convey the menace of right-wing anti-government groups...which, the program's moderator asserted were sprouting all over, even here, in law-abiding Canada. Whether or not, this be true, I couldn't tell from the movie where the bad guys did a lot of huffing and puffing, but the tensest moments, for me, was when a radio newscast announced the McVeigh bombing. I was prepared to be outraged at all the fulfilled threats against the heroine and her family, but, at films end, felt mildly annoyed at myself for waiting almost two hours, for all the various dynamics promised, but not delivered, at the film's "climax". I felt cheated, believing that the producers had, literally, made a big, padded, production out of a few scattered incidents in an obscure Montana town, and cashed in, on the fight at Waco, and the Oklahoma City bombing. The film was of some value to me...it caused me to reflect on the aesthetics of movie-making - if I were a film producer, I'd make the love interest...interesting. The quickest way to indicate why the hero/ heroine find each other attractive, is to make them attractive to the viewer. In a real lifetime, we can fall in love with short fat hairy people, because we do have a lifetime for their winning ways, or our mutual chemistry to work. In a movie, one has to identify wth the hero/heroine within a few reels. I'm not suggesting that the characters in this movie were s,f, or h. but for all their attraction for me, they might as well have been. Sure, the actors were competent as I aver most actors are - but why not get competent actors who are easy to look upon? (probably for far less money than what was paid to some of the "names" in this movie)
Real Women II (1999)
Keeps up the quality of the original
The only reason that I didn't give the first episode of this new series a 10 was because it wasn't as long as the original movie...one can't have too much of a good thing! The women, and their problems are as interesting as ever, and I look forward to the remaining 3 episodes to come...O for an ongoing soap opera!
Giving Up the Ghost (1998)
A "woman's movie"for everyone
As usual, the only films worth seeing these days are on the History Channel, or the Women's Television Network.
Such a WTN movie is "Giving Up The Ghost", the story of a grief-stricken wife who is revisited by her husband's ghost. If you think you've heard this one before, stop.
It's not your usual adrenaline-driven cliche-riddled vehicle for some glam star, but, at times, a case of "Be careful what you wish for" I'll say no more, not wishing to mar your enjoyment of a fresh and highly entertaining movie. Go, see...and I do mean that it's a movie for everyone
A well-worn path worth travelling again
I'm on a roll...for the second night in succession I've seen a film worth talking about, again, on the Women's Television Network.
This time, it's the same old same old - yet another story of sexual harassment - this time, in the workplace. It's very well done, and I'm sure it's basically true from the viewpoint of the female victim, the original Kerry Ellison herself.
What's changed this time, is the eye of the beholder. In the past, in my male prime and feisty if I've watched movies about sexual harrassment at all, I wondered what all the fuss was about. What the women would call "harassment",looked to me like acceptable male flirting. Surely the best compliment I could pay a woman, was to have a great guy like me let her know how attractive she was to me, by means of commenting on her looks, her love life, and her obvious affinity with me?
This movie puts down such "flirting" as scary, driving the woman in question, into nightmares, out of her job, and, ultimately, to a lawsuit. It's a story that's been told many times lately, as more and more women emerge from their fear of being labelled hysterical, over-imaginative, and above all concern that the MAN would suffer e.g. loss of his wife/job/reputation if HER truth be told...that is, truth distinct from his, which is, of course, that it was all good clean sexual interplay between equals, namely "flirting"
But, this movie avers, it is not between equals, if one participant is bigger,stronger, more influential, and has a louder voice(all of which means that it is, still, a man's world, after all) -then it becomes sexual bullying.
This movie, though entertaining and interesting in itself, does not bring much that is new to the discussion...it's that I, myself, have changed, at 70 have become vulnerable, like any woman - every other male is so much bigger, stronger, influential, and has a louder voice than I, and I find it...intimidating. I am far more sympathetic to complaints of sexual harassment than once I was. Finding myself wondering how the lead male in the movie, deeming himself so romantic, could come off looking so dumb and boorish. But for the grace of God...oops! Been there, done that!
As watchable as "Coronation St"
If you like Brit drama/comedy(or even if you don't, particularly) then you'll go for this ongoing prime-time soap opera set in an English country village - unlike the "Street" the accents render the dialogue comprehensible, so I cannot tell you the location.
The characters are diverse, interesting, and believable. "Heartbeat"'s hero, an ordinary British bobby is neither Sherlock Holmes nor Dirty Harry...he simply gets the job, done, dealing with from poaching to blue murder through daylight robbery, as does the series,itself. The episodes are distinguished by low key writing resulting in high-key entertainment.
I never discuss the acting in any given review, and sometimes wonder why other reviewers bother to. I assume that the cast in any production is performing splendidly. After all, if you're in the 4 % of the thousands of aspiring actors who actually make a living at their craft, you gotta be good!
Little Girls in Pretty Boxes (1997)
A solid docudrama of dedicated gymnasts, and deadly coaches
This was meant to be a critique of a certain kind of gymnastic coaching -"put the pressure on your players, so that they can better stand up to the greater pressures to come in performing before large audiences", but the movie was so fairly presented,that when I viewed the final result - a glorious display of energy, fitness, and sheer athleticism, by these young girls, I certainly thought that the means justified the ends.
That end result being one young girl attaining her dream of athletic perfection, by dint of sacrifice, hard work, and enduring a harsh regime applied by a demanding coach,another girl sustaining a nasty injury, due to his insistence, with yet another youngster being removed from a tough program, very much against her wishes through her parents getting cold feet - if all soccer moms, hockey dads, and other responsible elders of sports-playing had this same attitude toward this coaching philosophy of being "As good as you can be", I would fear that our youth would grow to be not very good.
The cast was professional enough to make one hate the pushy coach - even though he was right - and identify with the guilt-stricken parents, as dead-wrong as I deem them. Altogether, a thought-provoking well-made absorbing film
Long ago viewing of unforgettable film
It is well over 30 years since I saw this film, and from time to time have tried to track it down within this IMDB system, but, until now, due to its title (I've always identified it as "The Pony Cart", the title of the original play),was frustrated in my search.
I'm a bit hazy about some of the details, but I do remember it being a gritty cautionary tale of two missing children...it is grimly realistic, without being exploitive, and years ahead of its time, in warning of, when it comes to children's safety, who can one trust?
Its story is set in Canada, thus leading me to the impression that it was a Canadian production - it is, in fact, English, and all concerned did a splendid job with a harrowing tale.
I can't recall ever seeing it advertised as appearing on t.v., or anywhere else, so it maybe it's gone where many other good films go - celluloid heaven, leaving us with lots of garbage which drifts around forever.
Maltin's Summary Belies Excellent Film
I can't agree with Mr Maltin that this splendid movie is either "predictable", or defined by the hiring of a half-Indian woman.
Astute as I am, I had no idea who was going to prove loyal (or not) to what, or whom, until the proper time - at the climax of the always interesting yarn...from the various synopses studied beforehand, I anticipated that there would be some kind of family "secret" exposed by the interaction with the h-I woman, and her family, and this proved to be the case, but not, I maintain, necessarily because of the association between the two families, English, and semi-Native...for me, the "secret" as such, would have outed, eventually, under any circumstances, it being so much a character trait e.g.if one or more in the characters in the movie had been predatory by nature, sooner or later, someone is going to be preyed upon.
The s-N family does play a large part in the movie, and it is very heartwarming to see how these rough and ready Canadians, get along with their oh-so-proper English counterparts. As a rock-ribbed old right-winger myself, I was struck by how I identified with those characters in the movie, of a different race from mine...I have the usual WASP prejudices and reservations about those who look different from me and mine, but if they act, and sound like real Canadians, or Brits, then I become most comfortable with them...they're really "one of us, after all"...go figure. All the characters in this film rang true, as real Canadians, or proper English.
Neither did the film beat one over the head with the "secret". when finally revealed...nobody gave speeches, or delivered lectures on the subject...it was all very subtly put over -it was all DEPICTED for the viewer to interpret...the most significant phrase for me, at the climax was an outraged "What kind of woman are you...?"
I found the film riveting from start to finish...I spent many years working, and living in small Canadian towns like the one depicted, and can vouch for the environment suggested by the sets, costumes, behaviour, and dialogue - it especially reminded me of the Ladner region of the Fraser Delta, as it was thirty-some years ago.
I am very proud of this Canadian-made film - it was a credit to all taking part, in front of, and behind the camera. Well done, indeed, folks!
Jack Reed: A Killer Among Us (1996)
A gripping crime drama plus Dennehy
I tuned into this movie solely on account of the charisma of Brian Dennehy...and I was glad that I did.
What starts off as a drive-by sexist shooting turns into a hunt for villains, backed by City Hall, formidable in cunning, ruthlessness, and readiness to kill women, children and cops - like Jack Reed (Dennehy).
This is a cop-opera that elects not to do it by rote...the plot is full of twists and ironies, most of them, plausible. I especially appreciated the comeuppance of the main villain.
There are one or two formulaic spots, our hero hands in his badge at one point, the heroine gets caught red-handed by one of the villains, (but escapes in most novel fashion, I, for one,. will never hold up a woman at gunpoint, again)which is why I voted but 9 points: this movie is, however 2 hours of entertainment for lovers of the genre.
Once again a t.v. movie (based on real events) has scored with me. Its success makes me ponder again on the dearth of watchable "theatre" movies on cable t.v. Oft-seen ancient warhorses, and newer box-office duds is our lot. I guess one can only watch half-decent movies these days by forking out ridiculous sums on pay-t.v. No wonder so many of us are forsaking the tube for our computers!
The Linda McCartney Story (2000)
Don't bother with this one, Beatles fans...or anyone else
Excellent t.v. biographies of the Beatles abound...this one's out of bounds. This one starts out as a sexploitation movie and goes downhill from there. It portrays Linda as a sleep-around slut on the rock scene, who, allegedly. jumps into the sack, first thing with Paul - whether or not that's so, it's none of our business. The original Paul, himself, has far more charisma than the guy who plays him in this movie. The original Paul would never have deigned to appear in a piece of work like this, indeed, if he sees it, he'll probably squirm in embarrassment and fury, as did I at the depiction of this couple - and I'm not a Beatles fan. Elizabeth Mitchell's not bad, nor is the music, but if you really want to know about the Beatles, wait til one of the many fine documentaries on them appear on your t.v. screens.
Giuseppe Verdi (1953)
Not that bad, not that good.
That is, in the areas that the previous commentator indicated. I found no fault with the direction or production values, but the storyline itself, made me wonder about the authenticity of this "biography" - it was far too soap-operatic - no pun intended, to ring true to me. I'm a fan of filmed opera, (tho I can't stand it in theatre, or radio form, nor do I rate highly Verdi's own music, which I consider schmaltzy), and I really enjoyed watching this movie, way past my bedtime. I do agree that Gobbi, and del Monaco were great in voice, and presence. Highly recommended.
In the Name of the People (2000)
I found it a good idea done wrong
This movie is about the victims of a pointless murder - the deceased, herself - this being a young girl; her parents; and another young girl - the daughter of the about-to-be-executed murderer. It also introduces a ridiculous sub-plot as to whether the bereaved parents should adopt the 11 year-old, once she becomes fatherless. I suppose that the producers introduced this element, because if they stuck to the point of the film i.e. whether the victims of a crime "forgave" the murderer, it wouldn't matter, since, in this movie, the State planned to execute the murderer, anyway, no matter who forgave, or did not.
If the bereaved parents adopted the now -orphaned (no mother, either) little girl, you see, that would show "forgiveness". Likewise if they pleaded for clemency on behalf of the killer, as the little girl eloquently put it "If he's dead, I have no father...if he's in prison for life, I still have a father".
The film was further muddled by never satisfactorily explaining why the man murdered the girl, or what on earth induced normally sensible her to accept his offer of a ride from a stranger, in the first place
It was all very absorbing, and watchable, and certainly made me think about Society's attitude to the death penalty. Is it justice, or revenge? Or merely a matter of morale - are we diminished more by the victim's death?...or by the killer's eventual execution? And what if we convict the wrong person? (as seems to be happening a lot, lately), but I couldn't help thinking that this far-fetched scenario should be replaced by the one ongoing at time of writing...the two being tried for the Lockerbie Air Explosion...it would be much more valid a debate on the death-penalty; revenge or justice; "forgiveness", and whatever emotions this interesting, but flawed movie tried to manipulate.
Close Relations (1998)
Two-part hot movie, well worth your time
Normally, I stay clear of "To be continued" movies...after all, I don't know if, by the time of the continuation, I'll be in as receptive a mood for subsequent episodes, as I was for the first.
However,I always expect great things of the Brits when they explore relationships (a la "Coronation St" and "Eastenders"), so I did myself a favour and watched both 2-hour episodes. The main theme is "Boy meets girl, stays married to her for X number of years, then dumps her, for another". There are plenty of single people, also, in this tale, and they, too, have their romantic problems.
I don't think this movie is over the top in depicting most of the male characters as pigs, and most of the women as dumb, when it comes to men...after all, how many romances in real life, last for very long, due to the duplicity of one partner, and the stupidity of the other?...I mean, look at the scarcity of even "Silver Weddings" in our society - the Brits, it seems, are just as unstable. During the film, some of the betrayed female characters are weighing lesbianism as an option. Again, as in real life, who could blame them? They couldn't do any worse than with us!
By the way, I was amazed by -but uncomplaining of - the unexpected amount of interesting sexual content of the film, yet it was rated at only 14...I have seen far tamer Brit movies with an 18 rating. Not that sex is all that this movie has going for it - it has much more. Well worth seeing.
When Danger Follows You Home (1997)
Where do superior movies, such as this, get to?
I assumed that the fact that I'd never heard of this movie, despite it having been made two years ago, betokened that it was the usual foisted on us by the networks.
"Ah,well..." I reasoned "It stars JoBeth Williams, so it can't be all bad" Indeed, it proved to have more than the charming Ms Williams going for it, excellent as she was, as an attractive character, with believable lines to speak, and, which, utimately has her (or her body double) performing interesting gymnastics.
If you like intelligent thrillers that entertain for two full hours, avoid the usual cliches, have you wondering what happens next, and how it will all end, then this movie's for you!
The West Wing (1999)
Why this excellent show should run forever
First, let me assure my fellow-fans that here, in mid-November, the episodes are as riveting as ever. In my opinion, although the writing, acting, directing are topnotch, the strength of the show lies in its premise - life in the White House.
This backstage look into the hub of world power is an intriguing theme that should fascinate us forever...Just imagine if this series was started in the early thirties when F.D.R. took office - can anyone doubt that it would be running to this day, given the life-span of far less vivid soap operas? Spanning the administrations of F.D.R. Truman, Ike, Kennedy,etc, right down to its next Prez (Wayne Gretzky - sure he's a foreigner, but hey! they broke the rules to get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame, so why not the Oval Office?) with its dramatic national and domestic issues deriving from each First Family, and its attending cast of thousands. I'm certain that jaded viewers like myself - this is the only 1999 show that I watch - would tune in weekly at prime time, a la "Dallas", "Knotts Landing" and above all "Coronation Street" which ongoing soap is the only one approaching the watchability of "West Wing"
So, I suggest that when the present talented bunch tires of producing "West Wing" - or we tire of them - that N.B.C. hire another production crew to cover the "Administration"succeeding that of President Bartlet. It could be his current Vice-President, or someone from the opposing (Republican?)party, or, who knows? maybe by the time the new series is due, the Reform Party nominee might be a viable alternative. The campaign leading up to the Presidency, alone, could last three viewing seasons(perhaps as a spin-off, while the present show continues,much as "Law & Order" and "Special Victims Unit" now operate, with characters from each show, dropping in, and out of the other) given that the present campaign for 2000 started early this year. It's about time that we sophisticates had a mature, believable, fast-paced soap opera of our own, in prime time - "West Wing" could be it.
A Friend's Betrayal (1996)
A May-Midsummer romance with a twist, and a controversial resolution
This absorbing t.v. movie recounts how an eighteen year old high-school student, and a woman old enough to be his Mum (in fact, his mother's divorced best friend),come to fall in love, and the affair's effect on their friends and family.
I had no problem with this concept: the treatment was sober and logical, progressing from initial respect between generations, to a realization that despite a score of years between them they had much in common, so much in fact, that it seemed inevitable that, they, eventually, fall in love, despite the social conventions, and their own inhibitions.
A word about filmic "social conventions". Movie romances pairing young women with old men, are many and unremarkable...why then should the "hook' to this movie be that the genders are reversed? Why should not the heroine be the "Midsummer"? (I refuse to describe the gorgeous Ms Lawrence as being "September")
As I say, I could see why any woman would fall for him...despite his age, he is a real man, bright, accomplished, sensible, generous, civil. If a woman wasn't attracted by his nature, his mind should appeal...failing that, he's a hunk, full of teen hormones
And anyone could appreciate Sharon Lawrence, delectable, whether dressed to the nines, or dressed not at all - she displays her physical charms even more than in "NYPD Blue" She's a mature spitfire , with an appetite for sex. Nor is she a predator preying on his teen innocence - - he seduces her!
Thus, for me, they were well matched...sure, twenty years down the road, their relationship will probably be strained, but isn't that true of most man-woman relationships, which seem so compatible at the outset? Will you love her/him as much in the next millennium (in some cases, next week!), as you do, today?...and she/he you?
No, the problem for me was not their relationship, but on the depicted reaction of some, in the movie. I would expect his male schoolmates to revere, rather than ridicule him - as they do in this film - when they discover that he's bedding a woman twice his age... it may be sexist, but, in real life, males, of all ages, look up to those of their species who "score" with the opposite sex, even more macho esteem accruing, if the sex-object be older, thereby, in theory, less attainable. And I found his mother's attitude really unhealthy...as an alternative to this gifted accomplished pair going off to Paris to, given their talents, a successful business and personal life, Mom demanded that ths MAN return home to live with her, and his family (Dad and Sis)!
I was very dissatisfied with the ending of this film...I won't reveal it, and I will say, that it was a judgement call, and why I bestowed but a 7...but many will find it a logical resolution, and it is a very watchable film, so I recommend it to all.
Lethal Vows (1999)
Up to the usual high standard of t.v. movies
I've noticed for a long time, now, that I'm seldom disappointed by a t.v. movie - the reverse is true for most of the "theatre" movies available on cable right now...I wonder if it's because pay-per view, and satellite dish companies are snapping up the good "theatre" stuff leaving us cable viewers with the rubbish?...small wonder then that my local cable company is resorting to "attack" ads on satellite dish t.v, which ads are having the effect of turning me on to dish my local cable co!
Anyway, "Lethal Vows" is a good solid suspense yarn, with believable situations, attractive characters (even the villain!)and natural-sounding dialogue. It's based on a true story, as so many of these t.v. movies are, truth being more entertaining than fiction, telling the story of a long divorced ex-wife, coming to suspect that her (still-friendly)former spouse, and father of her two daughters, is guilty of slowly poisoning her, and his present wife who is currently displaying the same symptoms that our heroine experienced during her marriage to the man - the effects of such poisoning lingering to the time-set of the movie, 14 years after the divorce.. There is no doubt of the villain, from the get-go - the charming John Ritter, who is as pleasant a madman, as he is in his usual role of good guy. The many women in the movie, are good to look upon -many familiar faces which cause my irritation at IMB's lack of a cast-list -with the minor characters also being up to snuff. Altogether, an absorbing movie.
Night of the Running Man (1995)
Fast-paced stylish thriller
This is one of those plots where the good guy finds the mob money, and the bad guys try to get it back. O.K. it's a formula movie, but one that I found thoroughly entertaining for two hours. I was puzzled by the star billing of Scott Glenn in the credits, since McCarthy is the hero. I didn't mind, since Glenn is one of my favourite tough guys. Nor was I disappointed, since he and John Glover form a team satisfyingly tough,merciless, and competent. Usually a "chase" film lasts as long as two hours because of the bad guys ineptness: not so in this movie - hero and villains are well matched; the latter pros demonstrate their competence by being always one step ahead of their amateur quarry, the playing field is levelled by his resourcefulness, guts, their bad luck, and his youth (in one sequence, the McCarthy character simply outruns the pursuing Glenn, through a crowd). Also hampering them is the fact that the villains have to operate in a law-abiding environment - more than once, Glenn is forced to quit the chase because of onlookers. Yes, it's a fair, fast-paced fight, and I admired all three protagonists.The McCarthy character evolves through his reaction to the various threats to him and his girl-friend, while the villains are well served by a non-formula script, and the smooth, humorous ruthlessness of Glenn and Glover.
Night Ride Home (1999)
Moving story of story of family riven by tragedy
This poignant tale relates what happens when an apparently happy family is struck by tragedy. This movie reminds me of "Ordinary People" (which excellence, for me, it equals), except that there are a couple of twists toward the end...just as the family seems to be recovering from the tragedy, the strongest member begins to crumble, and we learn that, perhaps, the family wasn't so well-knit, after all.
This Hallmark Production is further enhanced, believe it or not, by its commercials...they promote Hallmark cards, of course, but by enacting sharp vignettes of "relationships" these miniatures, are works of art, in themselves, brief, yet profound, each capable of expansion to a t.v. movie, nay, a t.v. mini-series, of its own. A thoroughly entertaining two hours!
A grim thought-provoking story of an incorrigible girl
"Dangerous Offender" is the story of a seemingly anti-social girl, and how she got that way. It's based on a true story, and though I was irritated by the one-note depiction i.e. ever scowling, of the title character, and the hard-to-believe dedication of her lawyer, I'm forced to accept that life does imitate art, and that there are people out there like that.
The movie succeeds, for me, because, although there's little softening of the title character's demeanour until almost the end, one is gradually moved to sympathy for her, as the movie shows how she got to her present state - which proves to be self-destructive, rather than anti-social.
Truly a moving movie, which will bring a lump to your throat, when you think on it - which will be often.
Despite its many flaws,(including that it's hard to watch, sometimes, because of bodily functions, and suicide attempts)this is another production that I'm proud to call Canadian.