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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

'Deja Vu' BD: Jaclyn Smith Reincarnated

Olive Films radically brings back the '80s with the June 27, 2017 Blu-ray release of the 1985 theatrical Jaclyn Smith supernatural drama "Deja Vu." This former angel plays a modern-day actress who seems to be the reincarnation of a ballerina who died in a 1935 house fire.

Having television star Smith as the lead and the eerie suspenseful nature of the moderate budget film evokes thoughts of the better event (kids today call it appointment television) made-for-TV films of the day. Other fun comes in the form of the film evoking strong memories of the Dionne Warwick (of Psychic Friends fame) song with the same title.

On a large level, "Deja Vu" provides grounds to once again thank Olive for its releases. This Chicago-based company has great skill regarding choosing lesser-known films like this that many of us who were around when they came out missed; Olive also regales us with amusing low-brow (such as the Unreal TV reviewed Scott Baio/Willie Aames '80scom "Zapped") and art films that include the oh so good (also reviewed) "blanche."

The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER-DRIPPING promo. for "Deja Vu" provides an excellent synopsis of the plot in a style that shows the aforementioned '80sliciousness of the film.

The present-day role of Smith is Maggie, an American actress living in England with her British novelist fiance Greg. Nigel Terry of "Excalibur" and several other epic films plays Greg; both are very well cast as their individual characters and as a couple.

The entertainingly strong "Charlie's Angels" vibe starts right from the opening scene in which Maggie and Greg are attending a screening of a documentary about the aforementioned dancer, Brooke Ashley. The pair noticing the strong resemblance between Brooke and Maggie prompts Michael to do a little research on the former. This triggers disturbing visions and a real-life incident that provide the first clue that something strange is afoot.

A fascinated Greg then decides to write a screenplay about the life of Brooke; this fully sets the action in motion (and brings the film deeper into "Angel" territory) by having him discover the existence of retired ballerina Olga Nabokova (played with full Old Hollywood style by Shelley Winters) and going to see her. The similarities between Olga and celebrity channeler of that era Shirley MacLaine extend beyond the flamboyant style of the two to Olga soon convincing both herself and Greg that he is the reincarnation of '30s era choreographer/Maggie significant other Michael Richardson.

Greg realizing that his current life is at least his second one triggers flashbacks to 50 years previously when Michael meets and falls in love with Brooke. These scenes further show that the psychotic controlling and judgmental nature of Brooke's mother/fellow fire victim Eleanor Harvey is a serious obstacle to happily ever after for the apparent soulmates.

The present-day action revolves around the recent events triggering a menace that is seeing red regarding Greg effectively reawakening Michael. The creepy threatening answering machine message is only the tip of the iceberg.

One warning is that the gruesome fate of a pet is somewhat expected but still tough for those of us with special furry little friends. A related spoiler is that this scene seems to provide some inspiration for the fantastic similarly-themed 1991 Keneth Branagh film "Dead Again."

Olga is an MVP on Team Greg in all this and her realization roughly an hour into the film is an AHA moment that makes the rest of "Deja Vu" entertaining regarding how reaches that predicted reveal for folks who get it; viewers who do not pick up on this are in for an even greater treat.

The conclusion is a scene that aptly shows that history repeats itself; the touch of dark humor this time provides terrific entertainment.

All of the above shows that "Deja Vu" has something for the entire family and that the legacy of "Angels" remains strong in the immediate period after the end of the series.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Deja Vu" is encouraged to email me; you also can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,