LAST LIVES (1997) is a mindless action movie in which C. Thomas Howell hunts down terrorist Billy Wirth who’s abducted Howell’s bride-to-be Jennifer Rubin for a cross-country spree of mindless destruction and shooting. This qualifies for the book because Wirth is a parallel-world revolutionary who discovered Rubin was the spitting image of his Lost Love (which I must admit is unusual—usually it’s someone from our Earth finding love in another timeline, not vice versa). With Judge Reinhold as the mad scientist whose “life bands” let Howell regenerate when mindless action gets excessive. Tedious, “Pain is normal, torture is common, dreaming is illegal—and then I lost all hope of you.”
APEX (1994)—the title is usually, but incorrectly given as A.P.E.X.— is a forgettable actioner in which the protagonist discovers a botched time probe has turned his future world into a war-ravaged hellhole (much like Philadelphia Experiment II) where humanity battles killer robots trying to “sterilize” the divergent world. Another essay in mindless action. “You called me your wife—did she look like me?”
I’m guessing I put THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER (1957) in my list out of confusion with Terror From the Year 5,000: Both involve dangerous women but one’s from the future, the other from the depths of space. This one is watchable in the bad-movie vein, as the title blonde and her radioactive touch upset a plot involving a kidnapped socialite, gangsters and a geologist. The ending twist (she was a friendly alien all along, and they killed her!) makes little sense as the She-Monster comes across, if not evil, at least recklessly dangerous. “Being kidnapped at gunpoint ought to be routine to a socialite.”
DISCONNECT (2010) has a college student discover her recently deceased mother’s toy phone allows her to call the past, initially for pranks (“I need ten truckloads of cement!”), then to get her mother to the hospital before her fatal heart attack, then to save her when it becomes obvious It Was Murder. Unfortunately the story is undercut by lackluster acting and several clunky bits, from the mystery itself (the murder we finally see looks nothing like the death described in the autopsy) to having increasing numbers of people show up dead in Mom’s kitchen as the time-change effort progresses (it verges on black comedy but clearly isn’t meant to be). And i seriously doubt businesses even in the 1960s were that easy to fool with phone pranks. “That was you—you’re still sleeping there.”
STUCK IN THE PAST (2007) is a low-budget musical in which a lonely Broadway superstar gets a do-over when she wakes up to find herself 17 again and living in a small Appalachian town with a strong contempt for hillbillies like her. The biggest problem in this vaguely Christian film—other than the utter lack of any quality—is that while the protagonist puts wrong what once went right (she never cuts herself loose from her family and traditions, choosing to sing bluegrass over Broadway [it reminds me of writer Susanna Fraser‘s complaint about small-town romances that treat moving away from home as spiritual suicide])) I don’t have any idea what the divergence was. It’s also annoyingly sexist, informing the protagonist at one point that having someone she doesn’t want fall in love with her imposes Great Responsibility … on her. “If you already did all that stuff, why’d you have to do it again?”
TRIANGLE (2009) is surprisingly good for a Bermuda Triangle film, as Melissa George and her friends escape their storm-wracked yacht for the derelict liner Aeolus (“He was the father of Sisyphus.”) where everything seems eerily familiar and then a Lurking Figure starts killing everyone. While the killer is obvious, the time loop is well set up (particularly one scene which shows how many iterations happened before the current cycle) but the ending has some big logic gaps). Worth a look though, and would double-bill nicely with Timecrimes. “He made a promise to death that he didn’t keep.