TV Review: The X-Files 11.3 “Plus One” (dir by Kevin Hooks)

It’s time for a creepy twin episode!

If there’s anything that I’ve learned from television and the movies, it’s that twins always have special powers and that those powers often lead to people dying.  I’ve also learned that, roughly 75% of the time, one twin will be saintly while the other will be a total jerk.  I have to admit that, whenever I meet twins in real life, it’s always a bit of a let down when it turns out that they’re not planning on taking over the world or opening up some sort of soul-sucking vortex.

In this case, the twins are Judy and Chucky Poundstone (both played by Karin Konoval).  Judy is in a mental hospital.  Chucky is a hoarder.  Both Judy and Chuck are also inhabited by Demon Judy and Demon Chucky, which could be a sign of either multiple personalities or demonic possession, depending on what you believe in.  All four of them are constantly playing a telepathic game of hangman, spelling out the names of the people who have annoyed them.  (Chucky, in particular, has a judgmental streak.)  Early on, it’s mentioned that their parents both hanged themselves.  Look at their old hangman games and you’ll see drawings of both “Mom” and “Dad.”

People are dying.  The authorities say that they’re all committing suicide but almost all of them, before dying, claimed that they were being pursued by a doppelgänger.  When one man manages to survive being attacked by his doppelgänger, that’s all it takes to get Mulder interested in the case.  Scully, of course, is skeptical about whether or not people are actually being murdered by their doppelgängers.  Not Mulder, though.  He has Twin Peaks experience, after all.  He knows better than to laugh off talk of doppelgängers.

This was a stand-alone episode of The X-Files, a monster of the week episode.  There was no talk of conspiracies or the Cigarette Smoking Man or William or anything else.  Judging from the reaction on twitter, a lot of people were happy about that.  Myself, I found it a bit jarring to go from the paranoia of This to the relatively straight forward investigation featured in Plus One.  I guess I’m just always surprised to discover that Mulder and Scully are not only still working for the FBI but they still take their jobs seriously.  Speaking for myself, if I had been through half of what they’ve been through, I’d probably end up fleeing the country and living off the grid in Canada.

That’s not to say that Plus One wasn’t a good episode.  I didn’t like it quite as much as everyone else did but, at the same time, it did have its share of creepy moments.  To be honest, anything involving a doppelgänger is going to be creepy.  I also enjoyed the deliberately absurd scene where the lawyer attempted to suicide-proof his house.  How many guns and swords does one attorney need?  For some reason, the fact that Mulder and Scully didn’t really seem to care that much about any of the “innocent” people who were killed amused me to no end.  I don’t know if that was deliberate or not but there was just something very amusing about the way both of them just shrugged at the idea of the lawyer chopping off his own head.  Eh, they seemed to be saying, we’ve seen worse.  Karin Konoval played both Chucky and Judy.  She was great as Judy but a bit less convincing as Chucky.  (In all fairness, the scenes between Mulder and Chucky featured the episode’s clunkiest dialogue.)

One final question raised by tonight’s episode, what is the current status of Mulder and Scully’s relationship?  Judging from tonight’s episode, I would say that they’re friends with benefits.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #154: Where’s My Baby? (dir by David Winning)

On Sunday night, I turned over to the Lifetime Movie Network and I watched Where’s My Baby?

Lochlyn Munro, the patron saint of Canadian-produced Lifetime melodrama and co-star of Where's My Baby?

Lochlyn Munro, the patron saint of Canadian-produced Lifetime melodrama and co-star of Where’s My Baby?

Why Was I Watching It?

Oh, why not?

Sorry, I’m trying to come a funny and/or interesting reason why I decided to watch Where’s My Baby? but the main answer is that it was on the Lifetime Movie Network and there was nothing else on.  Game of Thrones is on break.  Veep is on break.  There’s no killer zombies on AMC and I can’t watch Preacher because I resent its inaccurate portrayal of my home state.

So, with all that in mind, I figured why not see what was premiering on LMN!

What Was It About?

Marissa Davis (Nicole de Boer) wakes up after having spent the past five years in a coma.  She has no memory of how she came to be in that coma but she’s still happy to be awake.  She’s especially happy to discover that her best friend, Heather (Gina Holden), is married to Congressman Cal Ward (Lochlyn Munro).  Cal seems like a nice guy but he’s running for the Senate and talking about how much he believes in traditional values and we all know that, in a Lifetime movie, anyone who talks about values is eventually going to turn out to be a huge hypocrite.

Marissa is disturbed to discover that 1) she was the victim of a mysterious hit and run and that 2) she has a C-section scar.  Her mother (Iris Quinn) finally tells her that she was pregnant when she was hit by the car.  Her mother also assures her that the baby was delivered stillborn.

Meanwhile, Heather and Cal have a 5 year-old daughter!  What a coincidence!  And the baby appears to have the same hereditary kidney disorder that runs in Marissa’s family.  What could that possibly mean?  And, for that matter, why is a mysterious doctor suddenly so obsessed with removing Marissa’s kidney?

What Worked?

Oh my God, I so love these insane Lifetime movies.  Where’s My Baby is shameless fun, the type of movie that you simply cannot stop watching once it has begun.  The movie starts out crazy and it just keeps going from there!

Add to that, there’s a general rule when it comes to Lifetime films.  If Lochlyn Munro is in it, the film cannot be bad.  Lochlyn Munro has appeared in so many Lifetime films that, to some of us, he’s become the patron saint of the network.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked.  When a film is that insanely over the top, there’s no way that it can’t work.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

To be honest, there really weren’t any “Oh my God!  Just like me!” moments.  I’ve never suffered from amnesia.  As anyone who has ever gotten on my bad side can tell you, I never forget.


Lessons Learned

If you wake up with amnesia, don’t take anyone’s word for what happened while you were asleep.  Investigate for yourself.  Seriously, that’s a lesson to live by.

Trailer: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Official)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

One of my most-anticipated films this summer of 2014 has released it’s latest trailer and it shows the central conflict which will drive this sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

It’s been many years since the pandemic from the “simian flu” tore through the planet as shown during the end credits of the first film. Now the surviving humans must now contend with the growing population of hyper-intelligent apes led by Caesar from the first film.

While the first film showed the rise of Caesar as a revolutionary leader it looks like this sequel will now put him in the role of war leader as his apes must now gear up for a war with the surviving humans that can’t seem to be avoided.

Plus, all I can say is this: Apes on horses with assault rifles.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set for a July 11, 2014 release date.

Trailer: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

To say that 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes went a long way in washing out the taste out of fans mouth after having seen Tim Burton’s reboot of Planet of the Apes would be an understatement. Rupert Wyatt was able to bring the franchise back to prominence by actually treating the story as a sort of scifi allegory instead of a platform to once again exercise one’s filmmaking quirks.

It was a no-brainer that a sequel will follow up the success of the 2011 film. But with a fast-moving schedule there were several casualties. Rupert Wyatt didn’t think he had enough time to shoot the film the way he wanted to so he was replaced by Matt Reeves. James Franco is also gone from the project. Instead we get several veteran actors like Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell and Kirk Acevedo joining Andy Serkis.

The film seems to take places a decade or so after the release of the deadly virus at the end of the first film. Humanity has survived both the virus and the wars which followed it, but civilization as we know it now are a thing of the past. With humanity trying to rebuild it must now deal with a rising nation of genetically-enhanced apes led by Andy Serkis’ Caesar. With Gary Oldman on one side seeming to be the leader of humanity’s survivors I don’t see peace as being a goal in this film.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set for a July 11, 2014 release.