Friday, April 25, 2008


Movie: Deception

This is a forty-minute concept fleshed out into a two hour movie. It's kinda interesting: a staid accountant accidentally swaps cell phones with a hip guy. When he answers the other guy's phone, he finds himself in a mysterious sexual network where people on the list call each other for anonymous sex. This is a new world for this quiet man, who opens up and starts having sexual encounters all over the city. Then he meets his dream girl via the list but she vanishes and it appears she's been kidnapped. Then the owner of the cell phone calls and it's revealed he's not out of the country, but has grabbed the girl -- and he demands that the accountant steal $20 million for him or he'll kill the girl. It's all a setup. Of course there's more to it than that, as the accountant has to turn the tables of the bad guy, but it's all too predictable and the ending is just weird and makes no sense. (He walks off and leaves the briefcases in the park? Huh?) Ultimately, this has potential, but there are huge flaws in the direction and script that bring it down. Ewan McGregor is miscast, too: I don't buy him as a wallflower accountant. The rest of the cast is decent, but there are just too many problems with this for it to matter. Nice idea, though.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Forbidden Kingdom

Movie: The Forbidden Kingdom

Fun little martial arts movie. Not up there with the level of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but not bad. It starts off with a geeky modern-day kid who's a Kung Fu movie nut getting beat up by bullies and he gets magically transported to a fantasy land of ancient China where he has a Task. Along the way he meets some friends and there are elaborate fights and such, culminating, of course, with him learning to defend himself, save the kingdom, and return home to beat the bullies. Yeah, the plot's predictable, but the events are not, and it's totally fun.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Movie: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

This is Ben Stein's anti-Evolution documentary and I purposely have avoided hearing much about it or any controversy. I wanted to judge it for myself. My first surprise is how much screen time the opposition is given. Most documentaries give minimal screen time for the opponent, but this movie has plenty of scenes of evolutionists explaining their ideas. Granted, sometimes it's just unflattering bathering, but he does give them a voice.

The film's premise is that evolutionists control science in this country and are systematically blacklisting scientists who write anything even remotely positive about Intelligenet Design. While the film shows a handful of examples of this, there's not a lot of evidence that shows how widespread this is or isn't, so I can't really judge on that. However, the movie does a great job of pointing out the dangers of evolutionary thinking: evolution is inherently mindless and if we as a society adopt that mindset, we run the risk of eliminating everything that makes us human, such as morality and compassion. The film demonstrates this dramatically with a comparison to Nazi Germany, interviewing people who point out that Darwinism was the source of Hitler's eugenics program and other beliefs. That might be over-the-top for some people, and it is difficult to watch, but I would argue that it doesn't go far enough: society without God or purpose is doomed.


Friday, April 18, 2008

88 Minutes

Movie: 88 Minutes

Yawn. The "88 minute" deadline is supposed to create dramatic tension, but instead it just complicates an already complicated muddle into gibberish. There are some good cast members and a handful of good scenes, but the whole isn't there. Weak. Don't waste your time.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Street Kings

Movie: Street Kings

The promos of this didn't interest me at all: a gritty crime drama of some kind with mysterious goings-on and good cops and bad cops and no suggestion of a story. But I went anyway and it turned out to be an excellent movie. I really liked the way it plays with shades of gray instead of black and white. Our "hero," for instance, is a bad cop. He's loose with the rules, violent, and racist. But he is honest, and when he finds himself in the middle of a cop cover-up, he's determined to uncover the truth no matter what the cost. The ultimate bad guy is totally predictable, but the adventure of getting there is interesting, and there are a few surprises on the way. There are times when the film's too talky and the plot slows, and occasionally scenes come across as pretentious, but it general this is surprisingly well-done and definitely will have you thinking about the complex morality of police work. Ultimately the subject is given short shrift, but just the exploration of it is worth the ride.


Friday, April 4, 2008

The Ruins

Movie: The Ruins

I wasn't too interested in this film, but there wasn't much else out there. It turned out to be better than I expected. The premise is a group of American tourists go off the beaten path to a hidden Aztec ruin only to meet gruesome deaths due to Something Awful. Typical of these kinds of horror films, they are killed off one-by-one, and I guess we're supposed to be in suspense as to who will survive. It is the monster in this story that is different and unusual, and that's pretty cool (I won't spoil it by revealing the creature), and the characters, though somewhat stereotypical and not fully developed, are compelling enough to carry the film. There are a few surprises, but it's still too predictable, and it's more gory than scary. Still kinda fun, though.