Judge Daryl Loomis may not be a big time Hollywood screenwriter, but he can sure drink like one.
He just may be the victim of his own who-dunnit.
It should no longer surprise me to see a movie I've never heard of, starring performers who I like, and have it turn out really, really bad. But here I am, after having seen countless examples of them, again disappointed in what I've watched. Oh well, one day I'll learn my lesson; until that happens, though, I'll be forced to watch mistakes like Mysteria, one of those thrillers that thinks its clever while delivering every cliche in the book.
Once a big time screenwriter in Hollywood, Aleister Bain (Robert Minano, Bikini Summer II) is now a drunken lout trying to make ends meet, but can't seem to crack a script that is now overdue. Just as he's about to get fired, though, he gets a lead and starts writing furiously, but he's also getting nightly dreams about strange women and murder, the exact things he's been writing about. He gets even more confused when the people he dreams of turn up dead and a weird, aggressive cop (Michael Rooker, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) starts questioning him. Is he crazy, dreaming, or is there a real Jekyll and Hyde act going on? That's for him and another cop (Danny Glover, Lethal Weapon) to decide.
Aside from being a plain junky script, the film, written and directed by the debuting Lucius C. Kuert, is the kind of writer porn that is directed toward people like me, but I absolutely hate. Everybody who writes knows that writing is not very interesting to watch or read about, which has always confused me about Stephen King's success, but that's beside the point. Kuert presents a scenario that, theoretically, makes writing seem like an exotic, exciting profession. I guess that for people who dream about the glamor of writing, maybe it would work, but I'm not fooled. I've seen it before, the plot resolution is obvious, and the execution is subpar.
Most frustrating is the performances, though, which really aren't bad for this level of production. In addition to Minano, who isn't a well-known name but has been in tons of productions, Glover, and Rooker, one of my favorite low-rent actors, we have also have Martin Landau (Ed Wood) and Billy Zane (The Phantom) totally wasted in a group of roles that must have greatly taxed the budget of Mysteria, leaving little scratch anything else that might make a film worth watching.
Mysteria comes to DVD from Green Apple in a mediocre, bare-bones release. The anamorphic 2.35:1 looks fairly good for a low budget release. It's a shadowy film, but the transfer captures it pretty well, with deep black levels and good contrast in the lighter colors. It isn't a shining example of video work, but it's good enough. The stereo sound doesn't really cut it, though. The wan mix has muddled music and sound, almost no separation in the channels, and an overall softness. There isn't much background noise, so that's something, but not much. The only extra is a trailer, but I didn't want any more supplements than that in the first place, so I won't complain.
Its eye-rolling script and clunky direction only serve to accentuate the wasted performances in Mysteria. I love some of the actors here, but this is one that I'm going to chalk up to bad decisions and speak of it no more.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Green Apple Entertainment
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