When TIMELESS started out last fall, I wrote it off as a Time Tunnel ripoff with the protagonists jumping to various times to stop the diabolical Flynn from unmaking American history. It started getting interesting when the heroes learned Flynn’s goal was to destroy the sinister Rittenhouse conspiracy that had been manipulating America since 1776, and if tearing down history was what it took … Despite sinister conspiracies being old hat too (I should know, I wrote the book on them), it turned out to be an intriguing, well-executed show. I hope it returns for a second season. “I’m sorry, let me look up on Wikipedia what happens if you take too many people through a black hole!”
I watched WELCOME (2009) under the impression it was a wacky rom-com but figured out fairly fast it was actually a sober drama about a Kurdish refugee in Normandy determined to reach his true love in England; when conventional methods of sneaking don’t cut it, he sets out to swim the distance with the help of a swim coach coping with his own personal crisis. Good, though not great. “They picked him up in England—he washed up on the shore.”
(Illustration from Movie Web, all rights reside with current holder).
JUSTICE LEAGUE VERSUS BIZARRO LEAGUE (2015) is a Lego follow-up to BATMAN: BE-LEAGUERED in which Superman strands Bizarro on an alien world, getting rid of his imperfect duplicate for good — until Darkseid’s attack forces the JLA and the Bizarro League to join forces. Fun, and deftly skewers how paranoid Batman comes off at times in the comics (“The only place I could trust Superman would be on a reversed planet like this.”). “I swear to you, great Darkseid, they didn’t hear about our plan from me—unless my mother said something.”
THE WOMEN (2008) reworks the classic film to tell how seemingly happy Supermom Meg Ryan discover her husband is cheating on her with perfume salesgirl Eva Mendez; while the updating isn’t smooth (Annette Bening’s efforts to transform women’s magazines feel about 30 years behind the times) it boasts some great lines (“I avoid forming close friendships — that way I don’t have to take people to the airport.”) and a first-rate cast. Candice Bergen plays Ryan’s mom, Jada Pinkett Smith is a lesbian author, Debra Messing is a baby machine and Cloris Leachman is a domestic confusing Status and Contract (“You got involved!”). “I’m going to stop talking because I’m exhausted and I need this baby to come out of me now!”
THE BERLIN WALL (2009) was a short film on the same disc about a grieving elderly widower who finds solace in taking his and his late wife’s treasured piece of the Wall and building a new wall out of it, which provokes assorted responses among the neighbors (“He’s not the only one tired of them mooching off our taxes!”). Not bad, but probably worked better for the original audience.