LIving a life filled with “what ifs” is like driving a car with filthy windows; you may get to your final destination but will not have seen where you have been going. I understand this concept on an intellectual level, but it has always been a challenge for me emotionally. It is easy for me to fall into this “what if” trap for example by standing in a checkout line where a customer in front of me suddenly needs a price check on one of their items. I will immediately think I should have chosen that other line that did not look busy. Maybe it was the environment I grew up in or lack of confidence, but a life spent wondering what would have happened if I had done something different is a waste of time. I cannot reverse time or change the results; so why devote energy to something that is out of my control? It would be similar to going out to dinner and after the meal wishing you had chosen your other choice. You would not go and purge yourself of the meal to start over; you could only gain the knowledge not to order it again. Now in the field of entertainment I see nothing wrong with the “what if” scenario being used as a meaningful plot device. WHAT if Elvis Presley’s stillborn twin borther had lived? Though this dramatic musical film does not mention Elvis in any of its advertisements; it was obvious to me if the character looks like Elvis, sings like Elvis and moves like Elvis then the writers were using Elvis’ birth as the catalyst for this story about identical twins who were separated at birth. Both roles played by newcomer Blake Rayne, the one named Drexel Hemsley would grow up to be a rock superstar while the one named Ryan Wade grew up being groomed to follow in his father Reece’s, played by Ray Liotta (Identity, Smokin’ Aces), footsteps in the ministry. I did not have a problem with the idea for this story per se; however, having to sit through this film with its ridiculous cliches and pandering to faith based viewers was torturous for me. It stunned me to see Ashley Judd (High Crimes, Divergent) as Louise Wade trying to do something with the horrible script. I would say the same for Ray; but after seeing his name listed as a producer, one has to wonder what he was thinking, agreeing to this mess of a movie. The only reason this film received as a high rating as it did from me was due to the musical numbers. After seeing this picture you would be justified in wondering what would have happened if you had gone seen some other film.
1 2/3 stars
Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands to make a difference. In the case of Irina Palm, she certainly did. Widowed grandmother, Maggie played by Marianne Faithfull (Paris, je T’aime, Marie Antoinette) was desperate to get money for her ill grandson’s surgery. Without having any marketable skills, Maggie in her search, spotted a help wanted sign in the window of a commercial business, looking for a hostess. However, the establishment was not a restaurant. It was a sex club being run by Miki, played by Miki Manojiovic (Underground, The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner). I must tell you I had my doubts, thinking this story would not be feasible in the real world. But then I started thinking, what if I were in that situation and needed to get money to save someone’s life. And you know, I would do everything I humanly could, to make it happen. What seemed like a joke at first, Miki decided to test Maggie, to see if she could “handle” the responsibility, eventually dubbing her “Irina Palm”. With sparse dialog, I loved Marianne’s acting performance and was hooked into this odd, but interesting film. The story brewed with subtle undertones that unfolded with a couple of interesting twists. For you music fans, do a search on Marianne Faithfull to read about the inspiration behind several classic songs. Oh, and if you have been wondering what Miki had Maggie do at his live sex club, the answer can be found in the movie title and within this review.
3 stars — DVD