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Movie Reviews: The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E + The Love Witch + 6 others

The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E: The Fifteen Years Later Affair (1983)
This 80s reunion movie/failed pilot for a new show is not good. Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin have long quit UNCLE and haven’t spoken in 15 years apparently. The font and logo for UNCLE have changed and the music is horrible 80s synth. The opening credits are like a bad parody. This was so 80s and not in a good way.

Solo (the late Robert Vaughn looking old), Illya (David McCallum), the new UNCLE head (Patrick MacNee), some random woman (Gayle Hunnicutt), some other random woman (Carolyn Seymour) and JB (George Lazenby) run around the idiot ball plot as do a bunch of inept new UNCLE agents played by untalented no name actors. Mr Waverly is dead. A bad dude busts out of jail and rampant criminality is afoot. The new agents find it difficult to manage. THRUSH hang out in Libya (no comment). THRUSH lackeys in orange jumpsuits and black berets lurk. This was even worse than the 2015 movie.

The new agents do not know who Solo is. Why did Solo leave UNCLE? It is never explained and we are to assume it is just the sort of selfish thing he’d do. Solo now wears a ruffled tux and gambles in a back room in Las Vegas with criminal types. He runs up debts he can’t pay. Meanwhile Illya runs the fashion house Vanya’s (New York London Paris Vladivostok) and is famous and adored. They live in the same city but haven’t seen or spoken to each other in 15 years. The slash fans hated this. Why haven't they spoken in 15 years? COME ON!

Solo sleazes and a woman (Hunnicutt and her bad 80s perm) gets slapped around. There is bad ADR and Solo still has his communicator pen. Vaughn hams it up. This was not very challenging. Solo hangs out with the bad perm and her 80s eyeshadow. There is a chase and Solo needs an assist from JB (Lazenby, who has more charm and humour than Solo in his cameo). And yes it is meant to be that JB. Solo lives in a tacky apartment and has a photo of him and Illya on the wall. It is obviously a 60s publicity still.

Solo’s woman is a THRUSH plant, like duh. There are dated references and Solo is recalled to UNCLE to help save the day. He learns Illya left after a betrayal. He looks up Illya; the fact that Illya is Russian is referenced several times. That makes one overlook the hideous 80s attire. Illya and Solo have their usual slashy interaction. Illya punches Solo for being a jerk, finally. That has been coming since 1964. They hunt down Janus the evil betrayer and the other THRUSH mooks.

A dated looking watch is worn, gadgets are handed out which aren’t used and then Solo and Illya split up to save the day. Solo holds his communicator pen like it is a nose hair trimmer. There is clunky 80s tech, Solo is dumb; there is dramatic gun cocking and rampant plot illogic. This was ghastly grim nitwittery. The various baddies maliciously commit bad deeds. Nobody has a socially acceptable way to express themselves.

Things are left hanging for the new series, which never came to be. Illya speaks Russian and drinks vodka. Solo sniffs said vodka. Solo is orange, Illya has bad hair and there is a joke about how many times Illya has been tied up. Still this was a letdown and TPTB wasted the Solo/Illya dynamic.

Best Lines:
“Both before your time of course.”

“Without revealing a single emotion.”

“A name I haven’t heard for 15 years.”

“I don’t care where he is or what he’s doing.”

“A capitalist of your means.”

“Bad capitalistic habits.”

“Don’t you know that hurts?”

“We need you desperately.”

“I need Illya Kuryakin.”

“Trouble used to follow him around in those days.”

“Whatever the problem is, the answer is no.”

“Your persuasive rhetoric.”

“Your sense of morality.”
“Oh, that old thing.”

“What happened to the beautiful girls who used to work for UNCLE?”
“They’re in the UNCLE home.”

“Please do not wear it in the shower or in the rain. It explodes when immersed in water.”

“These bullets, which also happen to be grenades.”

“What happened to the special UNCLE guns we used to carry?”
“They’re in the special UNCLE wing of the Smithsonian.”

“I’m looking at the threat right now, waiting for him to take a bath.”

“You should have shot straight at me all those years ago.”

“I will if you will.”

The Love Witch (2016)
This was bizarre crap. Elaine a witch with OTT eye make-up does a voiceover-over and wants to be loved. This was not tender or brilliantly astute. Elaine talks in a baby voice and can’t act. There was some fervent anticipation for this but this was just crap. There is singing and this was annoyingly self-conscious. Apparently it was intended to be feminist but the director got the tone wrong. Elaine is menacing, selfish and has unknowable nihilism. This was pretentious and surly. Everything is shiny, primped and spotless.

Elaine is tediously motivated and there is no quest for true values. This was not undeniably propulsive. The director bathes in liberal congratulation. The plot is all naked implausibility. This was not hard-edged and dynamic. Elaine has a cheap looking Book Of Shadows and cheap looking potions. She is a corrosive, ugly and negative person. There is more bad acting, unneeded scenes and this has no dark promise and is totally objectionable.

Men stumble around in dad clothes. Elaine has deep insecurity and no empathy, purpose or motivation. She’s not strong, raw or vulnerable. She has no self-criticism. This was terrible and I don’t care about her emotional landscape. The film just will not end: there is singing, endless rituals, a ren fair, death and Griff (Gian Keys) being wooden.

Best Lines:
“It’s a bit garish.”

“I had a nervous breakdown after he left me.”

“I still have intrusive thoughts.”

“I give the rainbow to you.”

“I make natural soaps, candles and things.”

“Gets pretty hard to care.”

Hear My Song (1991)

Alien (1979)

Aliens (1986)

Alien Resurrection (1997)
Muddled and ill remembered and poorly received.

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

The Bounty Hunter (2010)
Tags: forgotten tv pilots, man from uncle, movie review

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