Triboro Entertainment Group
Nothing virtual here except the many breasts--perfect compliment to the fake acting. Intercutting between bulky porn-quality thespians sitting in front of computers typing sensuously somehow fails to convey much "Tom Jones"-style eroticism. More interesting are the aged, dispeptic cops--graduates of the Foster Brooks Police Academy--who quote "TV's Most Wanted" when formulating theories and tell the prime murder suspect to "do a little investigating on your own." This much incompetence is always entertaining. And--hey! Isn't that the girl from "Lap Dancing?!" PAUSE.
Turner Home Entertainment
"Blade Runner meets Die Hard," says the box. Make that minor BR character (Brion James) meets shameless DH knockoff. The dazed Michael Dudikoff is an ex-cop turned janitor who must use every janitorial skill to defeat a shaggy-blonde James--resembling Connie Stevens with a goatee more than a techno terrorist--before James can "disrupt the entire matrix." The office park setting is as virtual as it gets. EJECT.
Cyber Bandits aren't as lethal as Virtual Assassins but they're both so faux. Still, I've always dreamed of hearing Grace Jones say "Strap him down boys!" Sadly, the moment passes too quickly, and involves mush-mouthed Martin Kemp. In a Trader Vic's 2000 environment, Kemp snarls at sinister-bearded Robert Hays about a super weapon that Henry Gibson (wearing Brion James' wig) invented. It's a piece of plumbing and it doesn't do anything. Unstrap me, please. EJECT.
Pat Morita truly is a TimeMaster. Here he makes 90 minutes of your life disappear. But blame the director, who apparently cast his own children in major roles and co-wrote a script that--to quote it's oft-used phrase--"sucks the life out of you." EJECT.
A troubled American family inherits a castle filled with bad furniture and a strange little man in an anatomically creepy nude suit. (Attention body piercers and tattoo enthusiasts--here's the new look!) Content to remain locked in a dungeon and whipped by his mother for 40 years, Naked Boy has become Macho Man since Countess Dearest kicked, strutting his unpleasant butt grotesquely. Strap him down again, boys. EJECT.
Wilfred Brimley is a genial general who doesn't enjoy killing. Powers Booth is some kind of dark-suited operative who does. Who didn't know that? Kinda "Outbreak" meets "Predator." Those are two good films. This is a mutant species. EJECT.
JOSH KIRBY...TIME WARRIOR! THE HUMAN PETS
In this second "chapter" of a 6-part series, many lessons are sweetly learned amid swordplay and pre-Jurassic dinomation as a plucky 9th-grader flies through time saving the universe. Real 9th-graders may find this all so silly, but K-6ers should be diverted. Parental warning: Some creatures bear a frightening resemblance to Truman Capote. PLAY.
DREAMING OF RITA
First Run Features
This is a Swedish comedy, which means it's funny in a very sad way. After his wife dies, kooky old dad runs away to find the woman he had an affair with the year his daughter was born. Grownup daughter tags along, fleeing her distracted husband, leaving him with a baby that can apparently cry on cue. That's painfully amusing. Maybe it's collic. Maybe it's just Sweden. PAUSE.
JESUS: HIS LIFE
Like most A&E biographies, this begins happily, charts a rise to stardom, then ends tragically. Useful for the lapsed, respectful for the faithful, with some interesting fun facts for trivia buffs (He was a stone-mason, not a carpenter, some say). PLAY.
Unlike most A&E biographies, this ends cheerfully. Jack Perkins sounds almost Brimleyesque in his folksy recitation of the 1,700-year history, from Turkish bishop to consumerist spokes-Santa. Along the way there are scads of fun facts and Father Andrew Greeley's sanctioning of pitchman St. Nick. An informative way to crush the kiddie's fantasy. PLAY.
Next: They'll Be Back