Mini Reviews (May 2004)
Standing on Fishes, 10 to Midnight
Standing on Fishes (May 3/04)
Standing on Fishes is an innocuous little romantic comedy (or, as the packaging helpfully points out, "an unromantic comedy") buoyed by some engaging performances and a clever script. The film revolves around a bickering couple, Caleb and Erika (Bradford Tatum and Meredith Scott Lynn, who co-directed together), whose problems only get worse when Caleb finds himself falling for a free-spirited artist (played by Lauren Fox). A subplot involving Caleb's efforts to mold a prosthetic vagina for a quirky movie director (Kelsey Grammer) injects the film with some comedic relief. There's nothing terribly monumental going on here - Tatum and Scott Lynn aren't looking to re-invent the wheel - so for what it is, Standing on Fishes works. Both lead actors are charismatic enough to keep us interested even through some of the more dull portions, especially Caleb's burgeoning romance with said free-spirit. That subplot just doesn't work primarily because the object of Caleb's affection comes off as dull and weird, particularly next to Erika (a fiery, opinionated woman that has genuine chemistry with Caleb). The always-reliable Jason Priestley pops up as Caleb's assistant, and it's hard not to wish he'd been given more to do (then again, that's almost always true).
10 to Midnight (May 16/04)
In between Death Wish 2 and 3, Charles Bronson appeared in 10 to Midnight - a routine police thriller that is, for the most part, slow moving and uneventful. Bronson stars as Leo Kessler, a detective who plays by his own rules (at least he's not a hard-drinking cop, I suppose) and is attempting to catch a seemingly unstoppable murderer. The case becomes personal for Kessler after the perp begins stalking his daughter, at which point he decides to do whatever it takes to bust this guy - despite the objections of his new, by-the-book partner (Andrew Stevens). It's hard to determine who 10 to Midnight is supposed to appeal to - not Bronson's core fanbase, who'll be turned off by the lack of violence and one-liners, and certainly not to aficionados of the police procedural (an episode of Barney Miller contains more realism) - though Bronson himself can't be blamed, as the actor delivers a typically stoic performance.