Pretty Poison (1996 TVM)

Canada, US / 89 minutes / color / National, TCF Dir: David Burton Morris Pr: Iain Paterson Scr: Brian Ross Story: She Let Him Continue (1966) by Stephen Geller and screenplay by Lorenzo Semple Jr. for Pretty Poison (1968) Cine: Francis Kenny Cast: Grant Show, Wendy Benson, Lynne Thigpen, Michelle Phillips, Steve Adams, Dorothee Berryman, Walter Bolton, Doug Lennox, James Rae, Frank Schorpion, Ted Whithall (i.e., Ted Whittall).

Pretty Poison 1996 TVM - 2 Sue Ann decides to fall in with Dennis's plans

Wendy Benson as Sue Ann.

Anne Billson was recently talking on her MULTIGLOM blog about the original version of this movie, PRETTY POISON (1968) dir Noel Black, with Anthony Perkins, Tuesday Weld and Beverly Garland, and I was reminded that I had a copy of the 1996 TVM remake somewhere but had never actually watched it. To my astonishment, I found it almost immediately—see, I am Mr. Organization after all—and decided to remedy my ignorance.

Years ago, after a savage beating from his father, Dennis Pitt (Show) started a housefire that incinerated his parents; he insists that, while the arson was deliberate, the incineration was accidental in that he thought they were out. (This info is revealed late in the movie; however, since we know from the outset he committed some pretty heinous crime, the details are a mere confirmation.)

Pretty Poison 1996 TVM - 1 Janet Azenauer has high hopes of Dennis

 Janet Azenauer (Lynne Thigpen) has high hopes for Dennis.

Now he’s being released from the Kenneth M. Gordon Correctional Facility for the Criminally Disturbed, somewhere in Massachusetts, and his parole officer, Jane Azenauer (Thigpen), couldn’t be more delighted. In a plot point that’s Continue reading

Palmdale (2014)

US / 79 minutes / color / Quality Control Dir & Pr & Scr: Erich Kemp Cine: Steven Burritt Cast: Lackos, Olivia Preciado, Kristopher Knight-Doyle, Matthew Callahan, Eliot, Timothy Fox, Fernando Rodriguez, Narinder “Tony” Soni.

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An interesting and praiseworthy independent attempt to evoke the ambience and themes of classic film noir, Palmdale suffers from the fact that what could have made an excellent half-hour featurette lasts for nearly eighty minutes.

Army vet Kurt (Lackos), now engaged in legally dubious freelance work through his minder, Ron (Eliot), is sent by Ron from Palmdale, California, to Los Angeles to meet with a couple of hackers and carry out a hit for them. Kurt is a reluctant murderer, but Continue reading

Mysteria (2011)

US / 94 minutes / color / Arramis, Mysteria, Gruntworks, Omnicomm, ITN Dir & Scr: Lucius C. Kuert Pr: Rafael Primorac, Robert Miano, Lucius C. Kuert, Marlon Parry Cine: Keith Smith Cast: Robert Miano, Danny Glover, Billy Zane, Martin Landau, Meadow Williams, Michael Rooker, Silvia Spross, Gretchen Becker, Alan Wooley, Carlucci Weyant, Peter Mark Richman, Cassandra Gava, Gary A. Kauffman, Katarzyna Wolejnio.

Mysteria - 0 openerMysteria - 0a second opener

A strange and challenging piece of neonoir that’s as enigmatic as something by David Lynch (although it’s not at all in his style) that I’ve had to watch twice just to get my head around . . . and I may at some time feel the need to give it a third whirl.

Once upon a time Aleister Bain (Miano) was one of the most sought-after scriptwriters in Hollywood. Now he’s crouched over his portable typewriter in a crummy motel room fighting a losing fight with writers’ block. He’s three months overdue with his latest script for producer Finelli (Zane) and he’s out of money for the rent although not, it seems, for whiskey and cigarettes, both of which he consumes interminably.

At the start of the movie we don’t know this, because in the opening sequence someone comes into Aleister’s room and puts a bullet through his head.

And then the phone rings.

And then Aleister moves to answer it.

And then Continue reading

Hei$t, The (1989 TVM)

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Pierce Brosnan stars in a highly entertaining caper!

vt The Heist
US / 97 minutes / color / Chris/Rose, HBO Dir: Stuart Orme Pr: Rick Rosenberg, Bob Christiansen Scr: William Irish Jr, David Fuller, Rick Natkin Story: William Irish Jr Cine: George Tirl Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Tom Skerritt, Wendy Hughes, Noble Willingham, Tom Atkins, Robert Prosky, Stephen Apostolina, Ben Mittleman, Nino Surdo, Shelton Redden, Roger Hewlett, Joseph Carberry, Fats Williams, Art Frankel, Andrew Barnicle, Fred Bailey, Luisa Vargas.

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Four years ago, security-firm boss Neil Skinner (Brosnan) was caught reentering the US from Mexico with a small fortune in stolen emeralds that he didn’t know he had. Now he has served his time and is determined to return to San Diego to reclaim his security company and the girl he left behind from the business partner who set him up, Ebbet Berens (Skerritt).

With the unwitting aid of the limo driver, Fred (Bailey, in a wryly amusing cameo role), who picked him up at the airport in the innocent belief he was business exec Mark Draper (Barnicle), Neil discovers that his company has been stolen from him by Berens—what used to be SB Security is now just B Security—and likewise his hot girl, Sheila Atkins (Hughes), now installed in Neil’s place as Continue reading

Kiss to Die For, A (1993)

vt Those Bedroom Eyes
US / 91 minutes / color with some bw / Hearst, Polone, NBC Dir: Leon Ichaso Pr: Kimberly Myers Scr: Deborah Dalton Cine: Jeffrey Jur Cast: Tim Matheson, Mimi Rogers, William Forsythe, Carlos Gomez, Carroll Baker, Nina Jones, Susie Spear, Johnny Popwell, Challen Cates, Deborah Hobart, Orestes Matacena.

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Still desolated three years after the death of his wife Kate in a train crash, or guilty over the fact that he no longer misses her and can’t even remember the last time they made love, psychology prof William Tauber (Matheson) decides to end it all by throwing himself off a train. Just as he’s about to do so, a passing beautiful stranger, interior designer Ali Broussard (Rogers), saves his life. She also takes him to his sleeper compartment on the train and gives him a pretty convincing carnal reason why life might be worth living after all.

A Kiss to Die For - 1 William readies to suicide

William (Tim Matheson) readies himself for the terminal plunge.

After they disembark at their joint destination, Ali tries to persuade William that this was just a spur-of-the-moment thing, that he should accept it for what it was and not expect anything more. Understandably, he’s not so eager to let things lie. He has her business card—she owns a little company called The Decorator’s Touch—and in due course Continue reading

Heart of Justice, The (1992 TVM)

US / 88 minutes / color / Amblin, Brandman, Planet, Turner, TNT Dir: Bruno Barreto Pr: Donald P. Borchers Scr: Keith Reddin Cine: Declan Quinn Cast: Eric Stoltz, Jennifer Connelly, Dermot Mulroney, Dennis Hopper, Harris Yulin, Vincent Price, William H. Macy, Bradford Dillman, Joanna Miles, Katherine LaNasa, Keith Reddin, Gail Neely, Felicity Huffman, Ross Leon, John Capodice, Hawthorne James, Paul Teschke, Arthur Eckdahl, Issac Clay, Donald Craig, Kurt Fuller, Richard Grant.

Heart of Justice - 0 opener

After having finished lunch with his old friend Reggie Shaw (Price) at the Arts Club on Gramercy Square, successful novelist Austin Blair (Hopper) is gunned down on the sidewalk by rich kid Elliot Burgess (Mulroney), who then kills himself. The editor of the New York Globe, Keneally (Yulin), gives scruple-free reporter David Leader (Stoltz) the task of investigating the story.

Heart of Justice - 0a somewhere (or drop)

At first David doesn’t get too far, because the rich Burgess family is circling its wagons. Dad (Dillman) is a powerful corporate lawyer but gives the impression of being a wheeler-dealer in the Mitt Romney style; Mom (Miles) lives in her own little cocoon; while Elliot’s sister Emma (Connelly), despite seeming barely out of high school, is an enigmatic figure of great allure. David, who is entirely self-absorbed, has a habit of using his own allure to exploit women of all ages and who treats his current girlfriend Hannah (LaNasa) atrociously—when she’s finally had enough and dumps him, his only regret seems to be that now there’s no one to cook his meals—regards the fresh-faced Emma not just as a possible route to his story but also as, potentially, another notch on his belt.

Trouble is, she wants nothing to do with him.

Heart of Justice - 1 David's first sight of Emma

David’s first sight of Emma (Jennifer Connelly).

Heart of Justice - 2 Hannahtries to relate to David

Hannah (Katherine LaNasa) tries unsuccessfully to get David to relateto her.

From the Burgess family maid, Jean (Neely), David discovers that Elliot was always passionately defensive of sister Emma and used to have lots of fights with his father on her behalf. From Emma’s old schoolfriend Annie Hodges (Huffman) Continue reading

Web of Lies (2012)

US / 10 minutes / bw / Kathryn Gould Dir & Pr: Kathryn Gould, Nelson Goforth Scr: Kathryn Gould Cine: Nelson Goforth Cast: Kathryn Gould, Jason Coviello, Nelson Goforth, Joey DiPentino, Henry Rowland

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It’s Chicago, 1946, and the headliner chanteuse at Eddie’s Place is Eleanor Dale (Gould), who’s also Eddie’s moll. One night, just before she goes on, Eddie’s sidekick Joe (Coviello) comes to her dressing room to try to persuade her to flee immediately. He’s heard Eddie planning to have her blown away the moment she steps on stage. But Eleanor refuses to listen

Eleanor: “It’s a test, Joe, and if I don’t go on tonight you fail. You think Eddie hasn’t noticed the way you look at me?”
Joe: “What way is that?”
Eleanor: “Like you’ve been walking around in the desert for weeks and . . . I’m a tall drink of water.”
Joe: “You’re a tall drink o’ sumpin’, that’s for sure.”

Just as she leaves to go on stage, Joe is Continue reading

Out of the Rain (1991)

US / 95 minutes / color / Acme, Artisan Dir & Pr: Gary Winick Scr: Shem Bitterman Story: Out of the Rain (19?? play, possibly unproduced) by Shem Bitterman Cine: Makoto Watanabe Cast: Bridget Fonda, Michael O’Keefe, John E. O’Keefe, John Seitz, Georgine Hall, Al Shannon, Michael Mantell, Kathleen Chalfant, Mary Mara, Kirk Baltz, Chris Norris. Out of the Rain 1991 - 0 opener In a small town in upper New York State (the movie was actually filmed in Fulton County there), young Jimmy Reade has apparently killed himself with a double-barreled shotgun. His wastrel elder brother Frank (Michael O’Keefe), who left town after a career of hooliganism but who has evidently calmed down a lot while traveling the world, returns to see Jimmy buried and to make some sort of attempt—in the event, extremely brief—to restore relations with his father Nat (Seitz) and mother Tilly (Hall). He starts living in Jimmy’s old trailer, where one night he’s visited as he sleeps by a mysterious young woman who Continue reading

Oral Fixation (2009)

US / 80 minutes / color / Red Line, Fixation, Vanguard Dir & Scr: Jake Cashill Pr: Matthew J. Pellowski, Billy Mulligan Cine: Neil Stephens Cast: Emily Parker, Kerry Aissa, Aidan Sullivan, Chris Kies, Tempany Deckert, Logan Kulick, Jody Ebert, Dexter Brown, Elena McGhee, James Andrew O’Connor, Steve Carre, Brian Anthony Wilson, Allison Carter Thomas, Michael Donovan.

Oral Fixation 0a 1st opener

Oral Fixation 0b 2nd opener

This indie movie builds up in its early stages to be a black comedy; then it trends towards being a psychological thriller. By its end I wasn’t entirely certain into what genre it fell, but wasn’t too concerned.

Patient Rachel Marks (Parker) is obsessed by New Jersey dentist Paul McNeil (Aissa), and believes he is equally obsessed by her, despite the fact that he has a red-hot, highly intelligent wife, successful Assistant DA Molly “Moll” McNeil (Sullivan), and their cute toddler Sean (Kulick). On the other hand, Paul has been unfaithful to Moll before, so it’s not altogether impossible that Rachel’s dreams of a passionate affair might come true.

Oral Fixation 3 Don and Paul on the job

Don (Jody Ebert) and Paul (Kerry Aissa) are New Jersey dentists. That means they’re respectable, right?

Moll’s sister Clare (Deckert)—who’s the receptionist at the dental practice—and Paul’s business partner Don Glowski (Ebert) suspect there’s something going on, because Rachel is making multiple appointments simply to have her teeth cleaned. Somehow she’s got hold of the McNeils’ home phone number, and Moll’s only half-convinced that it wasn’t Paul who gave it to her. When she phones him at home with a “dental emergency”—in fact, she’s pried out one of her own molars with a chisel in a sequence that’s not for the faint of heart—Paul promises Moll that, after he’s dealt with the dental issue, he’ll tell Rachel never to darken the surgery’s door again.

Oral Fixation 1 Rachel stalks the McNeil house

Rachel (Emily Parker) stalks the McNeil house.

Clare and Don are still suspicious the next morning when Rachel arrives. Soon after, they find Rachel half-naked in Paul’s surgery and Continue reading

Candidate, The (2010)

US / 21 minutes / color / Drumbeater Dir: David Karlak Pr: Marcus Dunstan Scr: Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton Story: “The Candidate” (1961 Rogue) by Henry Slesar Cine: Brandon Cox Cast: Tom Gulager, Robert Picardo, Meghan Markle, Vyto Ruginis, P.J. Byrne, Thomas Duffy.

The Candidate 2010 - 0 opener

Burton Grunzer (Gulager) is a ruthless executive determined to climb the corporate ladder but saddled with a klutz as his presentation partner, Whitman Hayes (Duffy); somehow, though, despite all his bumbling inadequacies, Hayes does succeed in selling the product—because, although Grunzer does not and probably cannot recognize this, Hayes comes across as a genuine human being. That the big boss, Alexander (Ruginis), advises Grunzer that he ought to be grateful for his good fortune in having such a partner merely rubs Continue reading