• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Crossworlds

TITLE: Crossworlds

YEAR: 1996

GENRE: Science Fiction

Creating an independent science fiction film on a limited budget is a unique challenge. Amazing special effects, a mainstay of the field, are out of the question due to a lack of finances, so a more out of the box approach must be taken in order to make a film in this genre. One film that has a unique and challenging approach would be Crossworlds, a minimal budget creation mostly developed for a straight to VHS releases although it did receive a minimal run on HBO. Crossworlds is an acceptable adventure that is worthy for fans of smarter science fiction and less for the popcorn munching crowd who desire a more vapid approach to their movies.

Joe Talbot (played by Joe Talbot) is a typical nerdy college student with problems with too much homework and not enough interest from the ladies. A mysterious beautiful woman named Laura (Andrea Roth) appears at a college party and later Joe’s dorm room. After Joe and Laura are attacked by an unknown force Laura explains to Joe that a necklace given to him by his father just before his demise contains a crystal that is the key to inter-dimensional travel and an evil warlord named Ferris (Stuart Wilson) and his trusty sidekick Rebo (Perry Anzilotti) wants to obtain the gemstone to take over multiple dimensions by force. Laura leads Joe to A.T. (Rutger Hauer), an alien mercenary who understands Ferris almost too well, and the threesome venture out to stop Ferris and keep the stone in the hands of Joe.

Definitely a micro-budget operation, Crossworlds has to rely on minimal special effects such as some primitive CGI effects and use of different camera filters to create what few effects the film delivers. Despite this, Crossworlds is a fairly inspired and spirited effort that uses what little it has extremely well through some acceptable acting, a decent storyline, and the occasional laugh. Talbot does a pretty good job acting as the surprised and confused college student, and Roth also does an acceptable job fighting off the bad guys and consequently looks good in her mini-skirt. The best part is the appearances of Anzilotti, who acts the literal sidekick as he is kicked in the side and punched in the nose on several occasions and always returns with a cute pun. A young Jack Black also makes an appearance as a fraternity-type college student complete with smashing an empty beer can on his forehead to impress the drunken ladies at a party. The story can be a little confusing at times because of the continual jumps from dimension to dimension (hence the use of camera filters), but it is a creative adventure compared to the space ventures and sword and sorcery films that dominate low-budget sci-fi. The problem here though is that the writing is not as spectacular as one would hope, and the lack of special effects does not help this film stand out when a stronger treatment could have made this film fantastic.

Although I can not find any strong evidence to support this, but several internet sources state that the Wachowski brothers were inspired by Crossworlds and used many of the ideas from the production (Ferris, inter-dimensional travel, etc.), infused a significant amount of cash, and created The Matrix and its two sequels as well as a slew of marketing products. Director Krishna Rao is most known for his camera operation and has worked on such nerd classics as Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Predator 2, and Galaxina. Crossworlds is worth watching for the more intelligent sci-fi viewer as it delivers some clever ideas and a fairly unique storyline for its time, but those who watch sci-fi purely for its flash will want to find another film to watch. Not a spectacular effort, but definitely worth adding to the Netflix queue for fans of smarter futuristic efforts.

* * *

–Mark

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