Triboro Entertainment Group
So nice to see John Carradine working again, even though he's been dead since 1988. As the "Judge of Hell," he is glimpsed in a few mugging close-ups and heard in brief sampled dialogue--never at the same time. Ed Wood would be proud. Equally inspiring is the conspicuous use of stuffed dummies standing in for poleaxed victims. Monty Python would be proud. Viewers who make it through this low-watt Halloween "homage" may not be proud. (Mitigating recommendation: Scream Queen Linnea Quigley is introduced in a shower scene gratuitous even by her gratuitous standards. PAUSE.
PM Entertainment Group
Choice: Pay first-run money to watch Denzel Washington in Virtuosity, or save bucks renting Hologram Man--the exact same story starring the Cro-Magnonesque Joe Lara? Hint: The first word uttered is a scatological exclamation. So is the second. One could likewise sum up the entire effort. Since he's been converted into a super energy being--with a "more robust power base"-- why does evil psycho/psycho co-writer Evan Lurie escape from "holographic stasis" only to spend his time in martial arts fisticuffs? Hologram Man is a paen to the militia mindset that lacks even the illusion of one dimension. For the easily fooled. EJECT.
Turner Home Entertainment
We always suspected that Brigitte Nielsen was a terminatrix from another planet. She's on Earth to save her people from TV's Richard Moll. He's wearing a Darth Vader suit (and filling it well); she's wearing a leather outfit that showcases her linebacker shoulders--head and which she is above the short lead actor. In addition to listing Fred Asparagus, Alan Fudge and Patrick Peach in the credits, Evil Dead director Sam Raimi has a cameo as the Neville Chamberlain of interstellar overlords. (Nice death scene, Sam). On the Blow'd Up Real Good scale, this rates a Pretty Good, thanks to ace blast guy Albert Lenutti. Cliche checklist: Anyone scream, "NOOOOO!" at the side of a fallen comrade? Yes. Climactic shootout in an abandoned factory? Yes. Nudity? No. Laughs? Barely and unintentional. Pause-button moments to clear the head? Many. Sequel possibility? Open. Recommended for pyromaniacs. EJECT.
AMERICA'S DUMBEST CRIMINALS
Cascom Home Video
Truth is stranger than fiction, and acting is better than re-enactment. The producers try too hard when they stage fake depictions of blooper stories told--with Jack Webb prowess--by various law enforcement officers. The same tales read much better in books like Chuck Shepherd's America's Least Competent Criminals. If you rent videos for their readability, the trivia screens are amusing. EJECT.
IT'S PAT: THE MOVIE
Touchstone Home Video
Give Julia Sweeney credit for effort, execution, and vision. Her androgynous character is more fully developed than most movie creations. But even the nude scene fails to answer the question that pops up every two minutes: What ARE you?!? As infuriating as this 90-minute tease is, there are some genuine chuckles. Pat isn't as annoying as Billy Madison, fellow SNL cohort Adam Sandler's feature, which WAS released theatrically. One would suggest sexism--if one were sure which sex was being ismed.
CHILDREN OF THE CORN III
Dimension Home Video
If, like me, you missed I and II, you may find yourself wondering just who is "He Who Walks Behind the Rows"? After a lot of quasi-religious mumbo jumbo from a pre-teen antichrist and much vomiting, "He" is revealed to be a rather arbitrarily designed stop-motion THING, easily dispatched with a few blows from a handy scythe wielded by the formerly dim, suddenly valiant post-teen teen hero. Grotesque without being scary, Corn III's greatest horror is the clear intention for future harvests. Not worth the fertilizer. EJECT.
Ancient Mysteries: New Investigations of the Unsolved
SHROUD OF TURIN
A&E Home Video
Talk about bait and switch! The box promises the haunting face of a real spooky looking guy (Turin, I guess), but he never shows up to waste anybody. What we get instead is a lot of yaketa-yaketa about carbon-dating and medieval weaving techniques from a bunch of sleep-inducing scientists and scholars without the slightest sense of drama. Besides, it was made in 1988. We should by now be watching Shroud Three: Turin's Revenge!
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