REVIEW: SINGLE WHITE FEMALE 2: THE PSYCHO

CAST

Kristin Miller (Cherry Falls)
Allison Lange (Roswell)
Todd Babcock (Planet of The Apes 2001)
Brooke Burns (Baywatch)
Katherine Disque (Alias)

3696d4affd4b2e847380b40b0444a5deIn New York, PR colleagues and roommates Holly Parker (Kristen Miller) and Jan Lambert (Brooke Burns) are disputing a promotion in their agency. The unethical Jan deceives Holly and sends her to Chicago. Meanwhile, she seduces Holly’s boyfriend David Kray (Tad Babcock), in the opening of a fancy restaurant he owns, and they have a one-night stand. When Holly arrives back home, she finds out David cheated on her with Jan, and decides to move into a new apartment. She schedules a meeting with the needy Tess Kositch (Allison Lange) and they become roommates and friends. When Tess cuts and dyes her hair identical to Holly’s, she sees that her new roommate is obsessed with her. When Holly follows Tess to an underground nightclub called “Sin”, she realizes that the girl is deranged. But Tess wants to be her friend and put Holly out of her misery by eliminating her former bad friends.fim0kzkj1p7aov_1_aWhat this all boils down to is that as a direct to video sequel which is really a remake “Single White Female 2: The Psycho” is bearable but if watched with expectations of a clever sequel with a new storyline and a sense of danger it is disappointing.

REVIEW: SHALLOW HAL

CAST

Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Jason Alexander (Seinfeld)
Joe Viterelli (Analyze This)
Tony Robbins (Men In Black)
Bruce McGill (Ali)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)
Sasha Neulinger (Unbreakable)
Susan Ward (Poison Ivy 3)
Rene Kirby (Stuck on You)
Kyle Gass (Wild Hogs)
Laura Kightlinger (Who’s the Caboose?)
Brooke Burns (Baywatch)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra 2525)
Andy Hallett (Angel)
Bonnie Aarons (The Nun)
Nichole Hiltz (Bones)

Hal Larson (Jack Black) is a superficial man whose fixation on the physical beauty of women gets in the way of seeing their inner beauty. Hal and his equally shallow friend, Mauricio (Jason Alexander), spend their nights obnoxiously hitting on beautiful women at nightclubs. Hal’s work life is steady, but he is dismayed after being passed over for a long-sought promotion. His love life is non-existent, as we see when he tries to ask his attractive neighbor, Jill; out for a date. Jill isn’t interested; as she finds Hal too shallow.Hal becomes trapped in an elevator with famous American life coach Tony Robbins. While waiting for the elevator to be repaired, Robbins sympathizes with Hal’s disappointment but tries to figure out his ideas about women. He hypnotizes Hal into only seeing a person’s inner beauty. Hal does not realize he’s been hypnotized and later meets Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), daughter of the president of the company where he is employed. Rosemary is morbidly obese, but Hal sees a slender and beautiful trophy blonde. He is immediately smitten by her. His boss is not certain about Hal dating his daughter, thinking that Hal may be trying to climb to the top of the corporate ladder. Used to being overlooked due to her appearance, Rosemary initially interprets Hal’s interest as mocking, but begins to realize his feelings for her are sincere. After apologizing to him, they begin to date, which includes a bike ride with Walt (Rene Kirby).Mauricio, worried about Hal’s new taste in women, convinces Robbins to give him the trigger phrase to undo the hypnosis. Mauricio phones Hal, who is on a date with Rosemary, and says the trigger phrase, breaking Hal’s hypnosis. While at the restaurant, Rosemary tells Hal she’s signed up with the Peace Corps for a 14-month mission in Kiribati. Mauricio confesses to Hal the truth about Robbins’ hypnotherapy, but Hal does not believe it until he runs into a woman who initially appeared beautiful to him but whom Hal now sees in her true, unattractive state. Hal begins to avoid Rosemary, who becomes melancholic without him around. Distraught that he was not seeing the “real” Rosemary, Hal accepts a dinner invitation from his neighbor, Jill. The two dine together and Jill tells Hal that she has observed him overcoming his shallow nature and is interested in dating him now.18765967_1951210205111514_2812412988692009523_nHal realizes his true feelings for Rosemary who has, coincidentally, arrived at the same restaurant with her family and sees Hal and Jill seated together. Assuming the worst, Rosemary leaves in tears. Not recognizing Rosemary, Hal walks right by her on his way to the pay phone to, ironically, reassure her of his feelings, after refusing to date Jill because of his feelings for Rosemary. Confused and distraught, Rosemary calls Hal a “psycho” over the phone and effectively breaks up with him. Five days later Steve informs Hal that Rosemary’s Peace Corps partner, Ralph, wants to be in a relationship with her again. Hal attempts to find Rosemary, but instead encounters a young patient named Cadence at the hospital where Rosemary volunteers. Previously, due to Robbins’ hypnosis, Hal saw Cadence as a perfect little girl; he now sees that there are severe burns all over Cadence’s face. Inspired by Cadence, Hal changes his views on the outer appearances of people in general.lego_porn_12Hal, during his search for Rosemary, finds that Mauricio had his own reason for stopping Hal’s hypnosis: He has a vestigial tail, which has prevented him from ever getting close to a woman. Mauricio confesses he was jealous of Hal’s happiness and is afraid to start a relationship with a woman. Hal convinces Mauricio to accept his abnormality, with confidence. Hal makes up with Mauricio and decides to reconcile with Rosemary. He heads to the Peace Corps recruiting office and confronts Ralph, believing he and Rosemary got back together. Ralph informs Hal that he and Rosemary are not together and that Rosemary’s parents are throwing her a farewell party (and Ralph wasn’t invited). Hal, Mauricio, Ralph and Ralph’s friend Leboy arrive at the home of Rosemary’s parents. Rosemary initially rebuffs Hal’s presence, but then accepts his apology when Hal professes his love for her. Rosemary informs Hal she is still leaving on her Peace Corps mission. Hal says he is coming, too, having just been sworn into the Peace Corps right before arriving at the Shanahans’ home. Hal and Rosemary reconcile, cheered by the crowd as they kiss. He tries to carry her bridal-style to the car, but finds he cannot lift her, so she triumphantly carries him instead. As they drive off, Mauricio meets a woman who loves dogs and the two walk off together as he wags his “tail”.legoPart comedy, drama, and romance this one was a rather good little movie to watch. Black and Paltrow were great and Jason Alexander was hilarious.  An excellent comedy.

REVIEW: CONAN THE ADVENTURER (1997)

MAIN CAST

Ralf Moeller (The Scorpion King)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Robert McRay (Legend of The Phantom)
Jeremy Kemp (A Bridge To Far)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Andrew Craig (The Toxic Avenger)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ally Dunne (V.I.P.)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Arthur Burghardt (Transformers)
Mickey Rooney (Nationel Velvet)
Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Andrew Bryniarski (Batman Returns)
Paul Le Mat (Puppet Master)
Matthias Hues (Star Trek VI)
Ali Landry (Eve)
Brooke Burns (Baywatch)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Angelica Bridges (Mystery Men)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Sandra Ellis Lafferty (Containment)
Claudette Mink (Children of The Corn 7)
Justina Vail (Seven Days)

xb3aghiq2wii23iaSyndicated television is often called the last bastion of poor writers in this modern age, much like the pulp fiction writers of years gone by were back in their day. This is not to say that syndicated television is always bad, just that the odds greatly favor such a global statement. The first example that comes to mind would be Black Scorpion but I’m sure you’re familiar with other shows like Sinbad, Robin Hood, and Lost World (an admittedly guilty pleasure). The 1990’s were the best years for fantasy shows in syndication due in large part to the success of Hercules and Xena; both of which proved profitable beyond the imagination of their creators. Is it any wonder that other producers sought to cash in as well? Such was the case with a single season show by the name of Conan The Adventurer, based on the writings of famed 1930’s pulp fiction writer, Robert E. Howard, a young man from the desolate plains of Texas.

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Mr. Howard created the mythic hero Conan as a character that could help free him from the shackles of poverty.His character of Conan evolved from another, King Kull, set in the same age of Atlantis era of 10,000 years ago, in epoch known as the Hyborian Age. Conan was a thief, a liar, and a barbarian in every sense of the word. His code of conduct was generally considered less than chivalrous with a “me first” attitude befitting the wild imagination of his writer, a man caught in the trappings of his time. Howard’s own description of the character was: “Some mechanism in my subconsciousness took the dominant characteristics of various prizefighters, gunmen, bootleggers, oil field bullies, gamblers, and honest workmen I had come in contact with, and combining them all, produced the amalgamation I call Conan the Cimmerian.” The world-view of such a man can only be placed in the proper context by understanding the effects of where he lived and the conditions the entire country were in, making more understandable the type of anti-hero that later was popularized in the Marvel comic books and art of Frank Frazetta. I think the rise of the anti-hero in the 1960’s attributed much to reviving such characters as Conan, a being thought up in 1931 by Howard, who only wrote 22 short stories in his later years (before he killed himself). With this in mind, let me turn to the television series this review is about:

Keeping in mind that the original character was a thief, cutthroat, mercenary that did anything asked of him for a price and ignored all social conventions that didn’t suit him (similar to the original Hercules being a power mad rapist drunkard), the show started off on the wrong foot with me by suggesting his “destiny was to free the oppressed” in the opening monologue since there’s nothing further from the truth in the original stories or in the previous movies starring famed bodybuilder-turned-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Given that a kinder and gentler version of the character would probably be the only way to get the series made, I started off watching the episodes a bit disgruntled but content that a watered down Conan might be better than no Conan at all, I figured how bad could it be considering all the other shows I enjoyed (even as guilty pleasures).
Conan (1997)
The show focused on Conan’s quest to find, and kill, a wizard, Hissah Zul (that was responsible for the death of his sweetheart and the guy responsible for all the ills in the world. Each week would find Conan and a mish mash of odd companions  fighting the minions of evil and cheap CGI effects as they continued on a path to dethrone the wizard. I watched the generic exploits of the cast as they went through the motions and about midway through the series; I actually started enjoying it way too much.
Conan (1997)
So, after watching the episodes as presented in the set (which were out of order from the air dates) and then as they were originally shown, I found the plot to make at least a little more sense in the DVD order they were aired in syndication. Keeping in mind that most, if not all, of the episodes borrowed heavily from the Marvel Comics versions as opposed to the pulp works of Howard. The show tried to be in line with a modern sensibility imposed on the age old character, an uneasy fit at times. While the humor was often as dry as Dilbert in its own way, I think this was what was lacking compared to the movies. Regardless, it was nice to see a show long lost into the archives of some vault given new life for fans of the genre, if not the actual character himself, and I doubt Robert E. Howard would’ve lost any sleep over the way his characters were evolved.