CAPSULE: This light, amiable science fiction film has a woman encounter two kinds of aliens: one from the Ivory Coast and one really from "out there." A Brooklyn housewife and mother is sort of permanently zoned out until she is focused by being abducted by aliens, having a romantic fling, and going on a quick mission to save the Milky Way Galaxy. This is all very lightweight and low-budget stuff, but this pleasant comedy sort of grows on the viewer. There is nothing earth-shaking here, but the film is likeable in a gentle way. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
Cara Buono plays Joanne Schwartzbaum, who walks through life dazed like a stunned duck. Her torpor is a reaction to the dull routine of being a housewife and mother in Brooklyn. Her life bores her. Hubby Brian does not understand her and probably never really tried, but then she does not understand herself. Joanne needs something extraordinary to happen to shake things up. But help is on the way. Things change for Joanne when aliens abduct her. They kidnap her for an evening, remove her memory of the event, and leave her unconscious on her patio. Suddenly the world starts looking different to Joanne. Small things, like fish in a market, fascinate her. Perhaps even more amazing to her is her discovery that there are actually support groups for people who have been abducted by aliens and who are trying to adjust again to life. She decides to attend.
Joanne is taking the strange experience better than some in her encounter group are, perhaps because she had never adjusted to life in the first place. Another abductee she meets is Abraham (Isaach De Bankolé), an Ivory Coast immigrant. Abraham had an almost identical alien encounter and was left with the same strange mark to prove it. Together they find a small romance and a big problem that could destroy the entire galaxy. That part of the story plays out a little bit like "Dr Who Lite".
FROM OTHER WORLDS was written and directed by Barry Strugatz. Mr. Strugatz is the veteran of several low-profile project as well as co-writer (with Mark R. Burns) of two higher-profile films, MARRIED TO THE MOB and SHE DEVIL, the latter starring Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep. He takes humorous jabs at "Star Trek", CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, "The X-Files", and 1950s science fiction films. Strugatz creates some pleasantly bizarre characters in a science fiction film that has no real need for special effects. Perhaps a little more polishing was needed on the script. Some of the subplots do not go very far. A subplot with a possible government agent chasing the main characters fills time with very little payoff.
The cast is mostly unknowns. Cara Buono is attractive, but not a very good actress. She slips in and out of her Brooklyn accent. Several people from the UFO encounter group are nicely bizarre- looking and are a decent backup to the main characters. The film is lightweight all the way, but is diverting. I give FROM OTHER WORLDS a +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.
Mark R. Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2007 Mark R. Leeper