THE VIKING SAGAS
New Line [CC]
Slogan: For the Love of His Woman. For the Honor of His Family. For the Survival of His People.
Why are they still making Viking movies? Because it's hard to fit lines like, "I will see you in Valhalla!" and "Gunnar's gone mad! He's killing people down by the river!" into a romantic comedy. This is certainly neither, though it is epic in landscape, if not talent. The directorial debut of a cinematographer, this is the first film I've seen where the voice-over only serves to confuse. Still, windy Iceland looks positively inviting, and there's plenty of gruesome, manly combat. Who but a Viking would wrap his intestines around a rock and call that dying with dignity? Salud! PAUSE.
Republic Pictures [CC]
Slogan: When the Fairy Tale Ends, the Nightmare Begins.
Max Grodenchik is Rumpelstiltskin! Actually, he's more of a Sheckystiltskin, constantly joking and bearing more resemblance to Billy Crystal's septuagenarian Catskill comic character, Buddy Young Jr., than any Grimm creature. But grim this is, and in bringing the fable to modern L.A. the filmmakers demonstrate only what is wrong with modern horror films: Glibness and gratuitous destruction have replaced any evocation or examination of our primal fears. Like the fear of watching the clearly intended Rumpelstiltskin II. EJECT.
Slogan: "The First Female Action Hero."
Can "America's First Lady of Fitness" Rachel McLish follow fellow world body-building champ Arnold Schwarzenegger to box-office bonanza? Even though her English is better, the sinewy author of Flex Appeal doesn't use much of it. In fact, the star of the In Shape workout videos sparkles onscreen with the same luster as second-string lunk Chuck Norris. But the author of Perfect Parts doesn't get much of a chance. After McLish effortlessly wreaks revenge on the evil businessmen who killed her family and put a nuclear plant on their Indian land, the producers let a man save both the day and Ravenhawk. Drop and give me 20. EJECT.
Slogan: Women Are the Law.
The cover art was designed to attract men, but a woman directed this utterly witless tale of a lone dude on a planet of babes. Meaning that there is equal-opportunity gratuitous nudity. And a man probably wouldn't have bothered giving the planet an Old West setting. Stupefying, yes, but the costumeswhen wornare first-rate. Nothing makes sense, but this is targeted at couples who need a VCR to jump-start real entertainment. PAUSE.
Slogan: Life Just Went Over the Edge.
"I thought you'd have preferred if I was a boy," says Elizabeth Hurley to her aristocrat dad in what might have been the big emotional moment of this extra low-key film about...something. I honestly never figured it out. Surprisingly, Hurley displays her un-boyish attributes and also proves that one can be a dissolute, high-society heroin addict and still have a fabulous complexion and look smashing in evening wear. Hair model C. Thomas Howell proves that he's got a great agent who can continue to find him work. EJECT.
"Forgive me, Father, for I am sin." That's a nice line. Problem is, it's on the box, not in the script. The film boasts such sterling dialogue as, "Do you have, like, computers and Internet access?" This tale of comely coeds trying to contact "The Horned Demon" for reasons that remain unclear is really a 20-minute Night Gallery episode padded with teasing nudity and shots of weather. If you missed the similar-themed The Craft when it was in theaters, feel free to miss this at the video store. EJECT.
Next: A Blizzard of Boz