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Sunday 9 September 2012

Burl reviews Lies! (1985)

Ha ha, hi, it’s Bert here! No, that was a LIE, it’s actually me, your pal Burl, here to review a movie called Lies! It’s a picture from the Wheat brothers, who aren’t as famous as the Coens or the Wachowskis maybe, but they did achieve some level of fame by writing a Freddie Krueger movie and that picture where the bald man fights aliens! I guess as sibling teams go their fame might be on the level of those brothers who made that movie Skyline! Ha ha!
I think this one might have been their first picture! It’s one of those twisty mystery movies in which new revelations cause the story to veer off in another direction every so often, at least for a while! But the story started to feel pretty familiar to me after a bit, and I’ll tell you why presently!
The story follows a struggling young actress named Robyn, played by the talented Ann Dusenberry from Jaws 2 and that fine picture Cutter’s Way! After walking off the set of a zombie movie being produced by none other than Dick "Sorority Girl" Miller, she gets what she imagines to be the role of a lifetime: playing a young heiress who had committed suicide after a violent break-in took the lives of her parents! A very stern lady is evidently the director of this heiress epic, and what do you know, Clu Gulager himself, the dad from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, shows up as the late heiress’s psychiatrist!
Well, ha ha, naturally all is not as it seems, and eventually it’s up to her agent, played by that old rascal Bert “Fastbreak” Remsen, whom you might remember from his role as Gary Busey’s preacher in Eye of the Tiger, to participate in a rescue plan! I’m skipping over a lot of events and double crosses here, because I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie; but if you’ve seen a picture from 1987 called Dead of Winter, starring Roddy McDowell, then you won’t be surprised by much this movie has to offer!
Of course this picture came first, so you can’t accuse it of plagiarism! But I saw Dead of Winter in the movie theatre, so when I caught up with Lies just the other day, I spent the last two-thirds of the movie just marking time, wondering if it would have its own special path to follow! Nope, not really! But, ha ha, there’s quite a bit of entertainment to be had nevertheless! The cast is great: besides the great Miller and the solid Remsen and the always-fine Gulager, you’ve got Willard himself, Bruce Davison, and a strong performance from Ann Dusenberry in the lead! She is supposed to be giving great performance in an audition tape scene, and usually those sorts of scenes fall pretty flat, but she pretty much pulls it off!
There’s also an entertaining, if utterly illogical, bit of business involving an ill-fated man and an elevator that will stand out for you, even if it undercuts the strength of the story quite a bit! It’s pretty goofy, and really needed a DePalma or perhaps the brothers Coen behind the camera to end up as a really memorable film; but for the cast and certain other strengths it possesses, I’m going to award Lies two surprised, but not too surprised, maintenance men!

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