First off you did NOT read any of those credits wrong.
This is actually a movie brought to us by Amber Benson and James Marsters of the
now-defunct (unless you count the inevitable DVD and syndication) Buffy the
Vampire Slayer. It is, in fact, the first from Amber and family's production
company, the obviously titled Benson Entertainment.
Which of course begs the question. These two are among the biggest names in
horror fiction today. Buffy was an institution. Anyone claiming otherwise
simply fails to grasp the concept of "institution." What kind of follow up can
do the appropriate justice and respect to the exemplary careers of the one and
only Tara and Spike themselves?
They didn't even TRY, folks. This is a shot out of left field in a totally
different direction that will blindside viewers like a 747 falling out of the
sky and hitting a pedestrian on the sidewalk.
What we have here is the story of a marginally regular girl, Chance (hence the
title) living with her pretty damn bizarre roommate, Simon. Chance is off on
the immortal crusade for that One Special Man. It's a crusade we're all amply
familiar with, on one end or the other, and it has all the pratfalls one might
expect. Benign stalker neighbors, guys who weep publicly and imprison girls in
cars hoping to "talk like (they) used to," dumb schmucks who talk about MOSS,
that kind of thing.
We couldn't get more existential than this. We're gonna be tackling all the
biggies on this one--life, death, sex, double standards, telemarketing, parents
getting divorced late in life, and everything in between and beyond.
And we roll on through this gigantic pinball machine of a movie, bouncing back
and forth from topic to topic, with seemingly little in the way of overmastering
point. But actually...who cares? This is slice-of-life at its best. Following
Chance around on her frenetic, pretty much pointless life isn't a half bad ride.
Check out the pure-t originality Chance is riding here. Check out the opening
voice over. Not one minute in and it's original. Check out the multi-pronged
conversation at the one hour mark. Check out the truly awesome (I STILL can't
believe that's the best word here but it really really IS!) scenes on the boat
around the forty five minute mark. This is like nothing else out there. This
is the kind of work that Kevin Smith would KILL to have in his arsenal if he
weren't busy pounding Jay and Silent Bob into the collective unconscious like so
many steel railspikes.
It's not going to be for everybody. People hoping that Benson and Marsters
would ride the Buffy wave on into direct-to-video horror titles are going to be
heartbroken. There will be at least ONE total loser who's so utterly shattered
by a non-Spike Marsters that he will do something stupid, illegal, or both.
Possibly ending in corpses.
Maybe Chance was the best thing for Benson, Marsters, and their ilk. Sure,
Sarah Michelle Gellar went on to destroy Hollywood in a truly Cobra Commander
fashion by having a hand in the making of the Scooby-Doo franchise (the concept
of which STILL makes me shudder in balls-out revulsion), but Benson and Marsters
are GROWING. They've made this incredible quantum leap from a part of an
institution, being a piece of a whole, to maybe starting a whole of their own.
Damn, that makes you think.
The ending is actually a serious surprise, in light of the events that led up to
it. But then, from the profoundly disconnected nature of what we just watched,
ANYTHING would have been a surprise. An ending with Chance and Simon quietly
playing Scrabble would've been a surprise. It's not hard to be surprising when
you've just spent seventy-five minutes bouncing around like a Superball in a
The special features are sparse in nature--just a handful of outtakes.
All in all, Chance is a highly original and truly interesting romantic comedy
which if viewed by itself, on its own merits, is actually pretty pleasant.
Sure, it's not the best of follow-ups if viewed in the long run, but you don't
HAVE to view it in the long run. Just watch it.
Wishmaster: The Prophecy Fulfilled
Well, here we go, folks...this is the end. The only end, my friend, and Artisan
is taking us along for this particular apocalyptic ride.
And I'll tell you this much--you will never, NEVER, be so glad to see a
Okay, so what we've got here is the story of Djinn. Not genie, either. But
DJINN. I know, I know--nitpick much? But still. Apparently we got part of the
mythos right: anyone who manages to wake a Djinn gets three wishes.
And this is, actually, a BAD THING.
What? You cry in mystified alarm. How could such a thing be?
Well, first off, these Djinn don't actually LIKE humans very much. Some ancient
grudge or somesuch that I recall as actually being explained in prior titles, so
you'll have to go there if you're truly desperate to learn just why anything so
ugly could have a problem with US.
And, should anyone actually manage to get wish number three over the plate and
socked out of the equally proverbial ball park, all hell breaks loose.
Not precisely--"the unholy legions of the Djinn" will break loose and be set on
the earth. And this is, of course, a Really Bad Thing.
And who's going to wake up our unholy legions? Why, the overly cutesy couple
who just moved into a big run-down house labeled "fixer-upper" right on the
bloody damn REALTY SIGN. Oh, and the previous occupants kindly left a bed
upstairs so the overly cutesy couple could launch into a sex scene not three
minutes into the movie.
You know, there's pandering, and then there's Pandering. This qualifies as
And then, in a real twist, the male half of our smarmy couple gets in a wreck on
his motorcycle, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, a shattered, bitter,
alcohol-chugging wreckage of a human being. The female half gets her hands on a
terribly familiar (if you've seen the rest of the movies) fire opal. From
there, our terribly familiar Djinn friend shows up and sets out to get three
wishes out of the female half of the smarmy couple so that he can...
...RAISE AN UNHOLY LEGION OF DJINN.
JUST LIKE HE'S TRIED AND FAILED TO DO FOR THE LAST THREE MOVIES.
THAT'S not predictable or nothing, is it?
Sometimes, you just wanna smack these horror figures upside the head and say:
"HEY! Dumb schmuck in the hockey mask / clawed glove / plain white mask /
horned carapace / what have you! It's time to stop this huge, insane plot of
yours. It's just not working out, man. Have you ever thought of getting a day
job? Contributing to society? Doing SOMETHING with your life besides killing
teenagers in flagrante delecto? Be somebody's Big Brother or something!"
But anyway--our born loser of a Djinn has to carry on as best he can, and the
best he can is a real doozy. He's actually got a PLAN worth speaking of in this
one--he kills a lawyer early on, poses as said lawyer, acts like sunshine and
light to our smarmy female, and then quietly grants all the wishes she makes in
that offhanded fashion that we've ALL been known to do from time to time.
Plenty of bloody face disfigurement in this one; faces get cut to bits and
Extreme makeovers aside, Wishmaster: The Prophecy Fulfilled is a horrible
flaming mishmash of Christian creation story and children's fairy tale that
manages to offend its viewer on multiple levels. The script is jam-packed with
predictability and only shines in comparison to its predecessors. It's not hard
for a movie this poor to look good when stacked up against a series of truly
awful movies. The acting is poor at best and anyone who's actually read a Bible
story is going to be able to point at that opening text bloc and scream "Fraud!"
without so much as a blink.
The ending is shoddy and strangely predictable--no, the Djinn DOESN'T manage to
pull it off, even with his fancy new plan.
The special features aren't too shoddy, actually, with two commentaries, Spanish
subtitles, a trailer, storyboards, and a couple of quirky little numbers
masquerading as featurettes cleverly titled "Wishmasterpiece Theatre" and
"Wishmaster Dating Guide."
All in all, yipes. Wishmaster: The Prophecy Fulfilled is by itself a sad and
shabby title that distinguishes itself only when compared alongside its truly
awful brethren. It is the sexiest troglodyte at last call, and that's still not