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The Sex Monster (1999)
One-Joke wonder hints at HBO Series to come
Mike Binder is a decent enough actor, but when it comes to writing and producing his own material, he seems to only be able to fixate on one, really weak Sex-farce situation.
This absurdly amateur production is shallow and offensive at times but it has its fans. And, believe it or not, there is a silver lining: apparently Binder got enough chops from this experience to pull together a more adult set of issues for use in his HBO Series THE MIND OF A MARRIED MAN. A series which borrows liberally from this first outing for its topics and somewhat silly presumptions about female sexuality and men's abilities or inabilities to stay "constrained" by marriage.
The Series, which was ill-timed, sadly couldn't hold its own against more strongly established series. It had its comic moments and if it took making this film to bring out the creator in him, well, hats off to Binder. Let's see him take a stab at the subject again some time.
The reasons why this film is most likely a Cult "hit" is because Binder put together a surprisingly diverse cast who seem to happily goof their way through this less than professional outing. Hey, if they had fun and its fans like it and it led to a half-way engaging TV series, well, I won't complain. I won't watch it again, but.. I won't complain.
If anything, the film is notable as the genesis of the series THE MIND OF A MARRIED MAN.
Terrible attempt to exploit Lawless & bad science too
As a historian, all I can say is that this show promised us proof of not only FEMALE GLADIATIORS, a rare thing for sure, but female gladiators in London, all narrated by Lucy Lawless, XENA herself, so it must be true, right? WRONG.
If you pay close attention to the details presented,as opposed to all the stuff we are assured is "proof", we see the story falls apart. The body referenced is in its mid-30's which Lawless repeatedly stresses is "in the prime of life" over and over again in the script as if ancient Roman Britain was Los Angeles replete with Pilates studios, pricey nutritionists and Day spas with herb wraps. A woman that age, in that culture, in the condition she was found, with all the items indicating the cult of Isis, was most likely what she appeared to be: a house- servant and not some She-Gal warrior Chic. Had she been a female version of "Ah-nold" she would have shown much more damage to her skeleton AND more crucially, much more thick muscular development which can be seen from where it attaches to the bones.
Also, the producers skirt around the issue that the grave site is near a household site making her slavehood more likely and that no proof ever existed of Female Galdiators outside of Rome and even in Rome that proof is scarce. This is a shameful use of Lucy Lawless to promote barely laughable "history". Here's hoping she steers clear of such attempts to exploit her XENA fame in the future ans seeks more firmer scientific ground should she endorse such a project again.
Surprisingly sweet and clever animal adventure film PG rated
I have seen this film numerous times and for the life of me, I cannot understand why some people compare this to BABE. This film is not about the secret life of ALL animals who secretly can talk. Instead, it is about a Parrot who learns to talk to help his owner, a little girl with a serious stammer, overcome her speech impediment only to be separated from her in a heart-wrenching scene early on. Then the great journey begins. Paulie the Parrot sets out to try and find his one great friend, Marie.
Along the way, he meets several wonderful people and numerous nasty people. He falls in love with a girl parrot and loses her. He gets conned into a life of crime and then captured by a bad scientist who wants to exploit him.
He recounts his tale to a sympathetic Janitor in the Lab who agrees to help him escape and find his beloved Marie.
Tony Shaloub shines as the kindly Janitor who has an open mind and big heart and who determines to help little Paulie despite the risks. Jay Mohr plays the voice of the Parrot AND one of the seedy characters he comes across.
There is a little suggestive language but this film is appropriate for most kids and even more so if the parents join in on the fun and watch too. It is a witty, clever, epic animal-adventure story and ultimately a great love story about a Bird and his little girl. He search for Marie ends with a quite an unexpected surprise for most people who don;t know much about Parrots.
Kids who have seen the wild Green Parrot Tribes in Los Angeles and Pasadena will especially benefit from seeing this film and understanding that Birds, especially Parrots are not disposable pets. All children everywhere, will see that Pets form deep attachments themselves and that the love and loyalty of a dog or parrot is a gift to be treasured.
so no BABE here, more of an incredible journey with a twist.
Enjoy and try no to tear up during the sad parts.
Pretty Basic PG Thriller about evil fairyfolk
Not a bad little TV Movie! INHABITED breaks no new ground in terms of classic Supernatural Thrillers, but it does pick up he themes of Classic Thriller DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK and tones down the violence enough so that kids can probably watch it without having massive nightmares. The EFX would have been rather pedestrian but the Production team employs the Old Joel Peter Witkin technique ALA JACOB'S LADDER and speeds up the evil fairies' movements enough that the step-printing effect makes them look like they are treading the border between two worlds. It works!
This is your basic Family-in-peril flick where a likable and fairly believably cast bunch of Surburban cliches face a supernatural menace. Typcially, one parent refuses to believe that it could be a supernatural evil.
Warning.... Very mild spoiler ahead.. doesn't reveal ending but does reveal some of the twists for parents who might want to know what is coming before letting kids watch..........
************************Do not read further unless you want to know details in order to decide if your kids should watch.
***************** ***** ** *
The red-herring of the house having been the site of a gruesome murder 50 years prior adds a little spice before the Family closes ranks and takes the Nasty Little Folk on for a fight to the death. However, that element might upset very little kids. While there is a death and another serious Fairy Attack...there isn't any truly gross violence and even the predicatable heavy metal music at the end is justified by the presence of a male teen in the family whose screams cannot be heard over his loud stereo.... at least for a moment.
Overall, not bad.
Sightings: Heartland Ghost (2002)
TV Movie based on real events
Viewers may recall the Sci-Fi Channel series, SIGHTINGS which covered all manner of paranormal happenings around the world. Well, one case they investigated defied all explanations and brought comparisons to the most infamous US "Poltergeist" case, The Bell Witch of Tennessee. Like the Bell Witch, The Heartland Ghost case, as it was dubbed, consisted of all manner of phenomena but by far the most distressing were the multiple physical attacks directed toward the Dad in the house. He was scratched repeatedly and the cameras even managed to capture these attacks on film. Well, it was probably inevitable that there would be a movie about this someday and this attempt to cover the events is about as good as you can expect.
The film covers the basic story of the young couple with a child who buy the Victorian house as a fixer-upper and encounter cold spots, flying objects, slamming doors, electrical weirdness and so on. The film contrasts the basic skepticism of the dad and the SIGHTINGS Producers with the convictions of a Ghost Hunter played by Miguel Ferrer. As a dramatic device, we are treated to flashbacks of the various possible ghosts lives and dream sequences. These interludes are not so fantastic as to be annoying and they move the story along. In the real case, the names of the alleged ghosts and their background were uncovered through research.
Overall, this is an above average TV Movie about a disturbing apparent Haunting or Poltergeist. Unlike the silliness of TV Movies based on the exploits of the self-styled Demon-Hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren, this movie simply lets the story unfold with a minimum of preaching. There isn't any sanctimonoius bible-waving or Holy water sprinkling and the SIGHTINGS crew and their Psychics are not portrayed as the afflicted family's saviors. In the Warrens' films, they are always shown to be the equivilant of Father Merrin in demon-infested homes of surburbia!
THE HEARTLAND GHOST is a straightforward retelling of the events in a sleepy Kansas community that which drew in a fairly serious investigation by a Television show dedicated to just such happenings. The Case was rarity for SIGHTINGS since they were there as the events unfolded as opposed to merely retelling the story afterwards which was what they usually did on their show. The SIGHTINGS teams camped out at the house with all manner of equipment and came away with more questions than answers. As a film, the story works but it doesn't come down on one side or the other. It does show the terrible toll the events took on the life of the young family whose whole world was turned upside down.
For viewers who saw the original SIGHTINGS Episodes on The Heartland Ghost, this film is a nice overview. For those that didn't, it's a decent introduction to the case.