Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jackie Kreisler, Shane Elliott, Jonathan Breck, Channing Nichols, Wayland Geremy Boyd
Director: James P. Lay
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
In the vein of The X-Files and The Twilight Zone! Stranded in the Nevada mountains between Las Vegas and Reno in the desolate and radiation-poisoned nuclear testing grounds of Dreamland, young couple Megan and Dylan stop i... more »
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Lake House on a Smaller Budget
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 05/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We watched a double feature of DREAMLAND and THE LAKE HOUSE with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, and afterwards realized they were essentially the same picture, only THE LAKE HOUSE had storyboards.
What happened to Megan shouldn't have happened to a dog. She's dead broke, out of a job, and her boyfriend won't even properly maintain this big old showboat cruiser with an enormous gas tank. So that when Megan and Dylan decide to visit friends in Nevada, somewhere between Reno and Vegas, the car stops dead on the middle of the highway, in a spooky, surreal nightime landscape tinged with blue horizons and mesquite trees, and not much else. The desert whispers to them, calling their name, which would really freak me out, and the only place to get something to eat is the real life "LITTLE ALE INN," a 40s style roadhouse with right wing bumper stickers plastered all over its walls and every shelf in the joint. There, they are greeted by an eerie, tobacco-spitting barman played by Jonathan Breck from the Jeepers Creepers movies.
They realize they have somehow stumbled into Area 51 home of alien crash landings and government cover-up, and the so-called "Black Mailbox" (which also plays a substantial part in THE LAKE HOUSE, for Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock each live in the same house in different years, and can only communicate with each other through leaving notes in the mailbox. Stick its little red flag up, and you'll see it come down as thoug invisible hands had retrieved the note you put in it. Eerie!) Anyhow in DREAMLANDS the main girl, Megan, is played by an actress with less charisma than Sandra Bullock, and also the cinematographers have given her shiny bright blue eyes, like a china doll, whenever she gets stressed. Which, in DREAMLANDS, in 90 per cent of the movie.
I liked Dylan, as the boyfriend, until a certain point in the picture when it seems almost as though he had become somebody else and his eyes grow bright blue and opaque, like the jewels of the Nile! Though neither star has much acting ability, teamed together they have real nuclear chemistry, and I hope to see them again in pictures with considerably bigger budgets than DREAMLAND. Poor Megan only had one outfit through the whole picture! (Except for flashbacks to when she was a little girl.) No wonder she was freaking out."
Really quite good, but needs a second viewing
Marina Michaels | Santa Rosa, CA USA | 07/01/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is probably something you will either really like, or you will hate, but I hope that you give it a chance. It is obviously a very low-budget film--that's clear from the start, so I didn't have my hopes up very high.
However, I was *very* pleasantly surprised. The story makes some sense on the first view, but you really need to watch it a second time to put a lot of things together. Most of the story is told with clues and hints; you aren't going to be hit over the head with the meaning of the movie. I would almost say that it might even be more enjoyable--you'd be better able to enjoy some very fine, subtly crafted scenes--if you knew what was going on beforehand.
Overall, I really liked this movie. It initially looks like it is going to be a horror film, and it has some elements of horror (which I dislike--horror, that is), but this is, essentially, a science fiction film.
To summarize the story without giving anything away, two young lovers, Dylan (Shane Elliott) and Megan (Jackie Kreisler), are on their way from Reno to Las Vegas to visit her foster parents. After sunset, they stop at a bar for some food in the region where Area 51 is, and that's where things get spooky. The bartender behaves strangely from the get-go. This first meeting with him is chock full of clues about what the movie is about, so pay attention to the interactions between him, Dylan, and Megan. A lot is said with their eyes. Notice who is and who isn't surprised at certain words and phrases. Notice especially how the bartender looks at Dylan, and Dylan at the bartender.
After their meal, Dylan and Megan proceed down the road, but (of course!) the car fails. After that, things get rapidly spookier. I don't want to give away anything, so I will stop summarizing the plot at this point. A lot happens, and we learn a lot through clues we might see or hear for only a split second.
Not everything is explained in the end, though, and there are some things in the movie that are clearly there for effect; they don't really have anything to do with the story (at least as far as I can tell--the clown's eyes at the very start of the movie, for example). But there are plenty of clues to put together a pretty substantial and interesting story.
There are a few things I didn't like, and I don't know if most of them had to do with the low budget or just a bad transfer to DVD. It loses a star for these things. The sound quality isn't great; I had to turn the volume way up to hear the dialog, but since the sound effects are much louder than the dialog, that meant some unfortunately loud moments.
Also, the desert scenes are too dark, again perhaps because of a bad transfer to DVD. This made it hard to tell what was going on onscreen. The color tones are an unattractive yellow ochre in the bar but they are a much more elegant and intriguing blue shade in outside scenes.
As for the acting, I think Shane Elliott and especially Jonathan Breck did some top-notch acting in this. Jackie Kreisler did a fine job, though she spent perhaps a little too much time screaming, and at one point, even though she had left Dylan lying on the road unconscious far behind her, she cries out for him repeatedly to help her, which is the sort of thing that ruins immersion, because she hasn't been portrayed as idiotic up until that point.
Still, overall, I enjoyed this movie. I enjoy puzzles and I enjoy putting together clues and figuring things out, so this is the kind of movie I like a lot, low budget and too many screams notwithstanding. I either haven't entirely figured it out yet, though, or not all the loose ends are tied up. If you like that kind of thing too, and are willing to ignore the low budget and live with some ambiguity, then you might enjoy this movie too."
Larry Runge | Chicago | 05/12/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The film is considerably shorter than most in this genre and doesn't seem to have a third act. Which caused me to wonder if the film company ran out of money before it could be completed.
At any rate, it lacked direction and the minimal plot ran into a wall."
Totsl waste of time
C. Burne | Los Angeles, CA | 05/01/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What a waste of time. I must admit that it sounded pretty good but that was it. What a dud!!!!"