eOne's June 21, 2011 Releases
Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (June 20/11)
Rarely as much fun as one might've expected, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid details the chaos that ensues after the titular creatures start attacking the various residents of a small Florida community - with Park Ranger Terry O'Hara's (Tiffany) ongoing efforts at quelling the mutated menace consistently thwarted by an animal activist named Nikki Riley (Debbie Gibson). It's an unabashedly over-the-top premise that should've resulted in an entertainingly absurd creature feature, yet filmmaker Mary Lambert, in attempting to cultivate a vibe of unapologetic campiness, suffuses the movie with unconscionably low-rent and incompetent elements that effectively (and immediately) hold the viewer at arm's length. Ranking high on the film's list of inept attributes are the performances, as both Tiffany and Gibson, despite the novelty of watching the two '80s singers interacting, are simply unable to convincingly step into the shoes of their respective characters - with the pair's unreasonably broad work exacerbated by scripter Naomi L. Selfman's penchant for eye-rollingly terrible chunks of dialogue (eg Nikki admonishes Terry by exclaiming, "somebody had bitch for breakfast!") The one bright spot within the otherwise interminable production is the impressively epic cat fight that ensues between the two central characters, as the drawn-out sequence possesses exactly the sort of tongue-in-cheek feel that's sorely missing from the remainder of the proceedings. The laughably subpar special effects diminish the effectiveness of the movie's monsters-on-the-rampage finale, and it ultimately goes without saying that Mega Python vs. Gatoroid is simply unable to live up to the inherently captivating nature of both its premise and its title.
The Time That Remains (June 22/11)
From filmmaker Elia Suleiman comes this frustratingly uneven drama revolving around the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, with the emphasis placed on one Palestinian family's ongoing efforts at coping with the change. There's little doubt that The Time That Remains gets off to a decidedly underwhelming start, as writer/director Suleiman kicks off the proceedings with a series of surreal sequences that effectively hold the viewer at arm's length - with the uninvolving atmosphere compounded by the initial absence of both plot and compelling characters. It's not until Suleiman narrows his focus to the aforementioned family that the film starts to improve, as the filmmaker offers up an impressively engaging protagonist (Saleh Bakri's Fuad) and, at the outset, places him within the context of several striking episodes (eg Fuad is kidnapped by soldiers and beaten after refusing to divulge the location of his weapons). Suleiman's decision to eschew a linear plot in favor of stand-alone vignettes does result in an exceedingly uneven feel, however, with the overly lighthearted midsection proving instrumental in triggering the film's downfall. (It certainly doesn't help that Suleiman's various efforts at eliciting laughs from the viewer fall completely and utterly flat.) By the time the tedious, frustratingly abstract final third rolls around, The Time That Remains has unquestionably established itself as a missed opportunity of nigh epic proportions - as Suleiman's aggressively deadpan sensibilities drain the proceedings of their impact on an increasingly pronounced basis.