About Double Feature

Double Feature is the title of a column that I write for the newsletter of Lehigh Pocono Mensa, the local group to which I belong. It gets published monthly in "Magniloquence." I used to belong to Central PA Mensa, so I offer the column to the editor of "Penn Central" and it shows up there pretty regularly.

As the title implies, each Double Feature column features brief reviews of two movies that I have seen. I try to find a connection between the two films - subject matter, stars, awards, etc. - but, since it's my column, I reserve the right to occasionally choose two films that have no connection to each other at all.

The reviews found in the Movies section of this Web site serve as the basis for Double Feature. I try to keep each column somewhere around 500 words (which fills about one page in the newsletter), so I usually have to edit the original reviews to fit into the space allotted.

If you'd like to read the individual reviews for the films mentioned in Double Feature, you can do so here.

The rating scales are a little different. The conversion chart is as follows:

  • **** = Loved it
  • *** = Liked it
  • ** = Ehhh, it was OK
  • * = Hated it

Current Column

January 2020 - Back in the day, I really enjoyed Highlander. There was the original 1986 movie plus a couple of sequels starring Christopher Lambert as the immortal Connor McLeod. I also liked the TV show starring Adrian Paul as Connor's immortal cousin, Duncan McLeod, that aired in syndication from 1992 to 1998. But, all good things must come to an end. And, when there can be only one, it takes two films to make it happen. So, watch your head!

The beginning of the end is an R-rated feature from 2000 titled Highlander: Endgame, which transfers the Highlander movie mantle from Connor MacLeod to his TV cousin.

As the movie opens, Connor and Duncan are together in New York City. Connor asked Duncan to come because he had something to tell him. But, he says only "Watch your back" before heading home just in time to see the place explode. The blast kills Connor's beloved ward, Rachel. Connor is so distraught, that he goes to a place called The Sanctuary to exist in what is essentially a state of suspended animation.

Eventually, we learn that another immortal named Jacob Kell has spent centuries making Connor's life a living hell. It's Kell's revenge for something that happened back in Scotland. Kell is so strong that Connor knows he won't be able to defeat him alone. He needs to team up with Duncan in a very special way in order to conquer Kell.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. The movie has its flaws, but there are enough of the characteristic flashback scenes to keep things interesting, and the swordfights are entertaining.

Seven years later, Duncan MacLeod finally becomes "the one" in Highlander: The Source. It was billed as a "Sci-Fi original." I think that means no movie distributor would touch it, so it ended up on cable.

Anyway, the story begins in the near future as the world, or at least Eastern Europe, has descended into chaos and lawlessness. Never mind the police vehicle that's moving through the picture. Duncan MacLeod has lost faith. He spends his days watching his estranged wife, Anna, from a distance. She loves him but left him because of that little thing about immortals not being able to have children.

But, there is hope. As legend foretold, the planets and stars are aligning, creating a narrow window for "the one" to find "the source" of immortality and maybe end all this chaos.

Enter Methos (Peter Wingfield), a couple other immortals, and Joe the Watcher (Jim Byrnes). They convince a reluctant Duncan to join them on their quest for the source. Also with them is Anna because she has visions and can guide them. Along the way, they battle cannibals and a powerful immortal called "The Guardian." Eventually, Methos sacrifices himself (apparently) so that Duncan can be The One.

Overall review: Hated it. I loved the Duncan from the syndicated TV show, but that Duncan is completely absent from this movie. TV Duncan laughed and talked. The Duncan in this movie barely cracks a smile and hardly says anything. The spirit of Highlander is missing here, and not even The One can find it.

All Columns

"No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough." »» Roger Ebert