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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!