The Austin Chronicle

Star Time

Directed by Alexander Cassini. Starring Michael St. Gerard, John P. Ryan, Maureen Teefy.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 21, 1993

Imagine cross-pollinating Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer with some of David Cronenberg's early work. Now imagine tossing in a bit of David Lynch, some old Marshall McLuhan tirades, and a well-intentioned social conscience. Now imagine that the whole thing goes on, and on, and on, relentlessly driving home its less-than-inspired point that American Media breed desensitized monsters. At 85 minutes, Cassini's film is an hour longer than its premise merits, an overwrought chunk of backhanded social commentary served up with low light levels and unfathomable characterizations. St. Gerard (loved the world over for his sensitive-yet-impassioned portrayal of Elvis in the ABC miniseries of the same name) is Henry, an intensely creepy loner who pinwheels into a maelstrom of violence when his favorite television series -- The Robertsons -- is cancelled. Along comes a shadowy, media-savvy figure named Sam Bones (Ryan) who redirects the course of Henry's shattered life by turning him into a baby-faced axe murderer. Henry's 15 fame-filled minutes end up becoming more like 30 days of nightly CNN coverage, but what the hey -- he's a star. The notion that the glass teat holds some sort of unholy dominion over us all is hardly relevatory, but Cassini and company drive the point home with all the subtlety of a barbed-wire catheter. Even the recent Belgian import Man Bites Dog handled the subject with more finesse than this painstakingly unenjoyable preach-a-thon. Gritty, grimy, and depressing, Star Time looks for all the world like an overlong student film with its recurring images of sex, death and ham-fisted sermonizing. Variety called it “repellent,” but it's not even that. It's just boring.

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