Posts Tagged ‘random musings

12
Oct
10

Will You Logoff for ‘Social Network’?

If only logging on to Facebook was this compelling…

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Rooney Mara, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, Rashida Jones and Justin Timberlake. Directed by David Fincher. Based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich

If this review is read in the far future… you know, the one with the flying cars, jetpacks, and teleportation devices just like “Star Trek,” I wonder how we’ll look back at applications such as Twitter and the current ultimate networking platform, Facebook. Will we look upon these days and reminisce about wasting time on Mafia Wars or Farmville just as others wax laconic about Tetris and Mine Sweeper? Will Facebook concede its crown just as MySpace did? How archaic will “tagging” photos or creating groups like We Graduated High School So Why Are You Still Living In It? seem passe? To lean on the cliché only time will tell and who knows? Maybe I’ll get a chuckle out of reading this review.

At first the choice to helm a movie about culture current technological fad may seem odd. David Fincher. The guy who directed “Seven,” “The Game,” “Fight Club,” “Panic Room,” “Zodiac,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” If you look at his resume he’s the perfect candidate for the job: the man knows his technology. He’s Robert Zemeckis with a socio-political message wrapped in the veneer of a mystery. The conspiracy inside “The Game” showed that anyone and anything could be reached and turned against someone. “Fight Club” used technology not only for effects but to emphasize its effects on masculinity. Jodie Foster found herself trapped inside a high-security box fighting for her survival in “Panic Room.” In “Zodiac” Fincher used technology to recreate the San Fran area in the Seventies as well as aging Brad Pitt backwards in “Benjamin Button.” And now the spotlight is shown on our electronic fascination with “Social Network.”

Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) is a computer student at Harvard. With a certain nebbish nature he talks a mile-a-minute on a timeline the solely exists inside his head which makes him difficult to deal with or relate to. Any moment he shares with someone appears spent before he even starts it. One night his girlfriend Erica Albright (Mara) breaks up with him because she can’t stand him anymore. Pissed-off and drunk he returns to his dorm room and blogs about his ex-girlfriend, complaining about the size of her breasts and comparing her with farm animals. With the help of his best friend/roommate Eduardo Saverin (Mazzello) he creates a program which takes all the pictures of the women on Harvard and makes a “Hot or Not” website where people can vote as pictures of women are pitted against others. Within four hours the website gets over 22,000 hits and shuts down the Harvard server.

The Harvard review board brings Zuckerberg up on Code of Conduct charges to which he seemingly doesn’t care. The guy is technologically smarter than every person in the room and has no qualms about letting them know. He’s put on academic probation and left to his own devices. Upon hearing of this in the student newspaper Zuckerberg is confronted by Divya Narendra (Minghella) and the Winklevoss Twins Cameron and Tyler (Armie Hammer, technically playing both roles) who found out about his website and want him to help create a student dating website for them. What’s in it for him? Re-establishing his Harvard “image.” From this Zuckerberg begins stirring an idea around in his head…

“Relationship status.” That’s the key ingredient Zuckerberg and Eduardo need to create their website, thefacebook. Within moments Zuckerberg finishes the programming and sits back. And waits.

Like a “viral web hit” people begin logging on and joining up. The duo don’t know what they have on their hands. Mark wants to keep it free and expand the technology while Eduardo wants to monetize it so it can begin paying for itself. Steadily the amount of members increase as they broaden who can join (because you need an “.edu” address to be a member) to other colleges. It even goes overseas. Meanwhile the guys with the prestigious rowing club try pursuing litigation saying that Zuckerberg stole their idea.

Enter Sean Parker (Timberlake). He created Napster and sat in the middle of multiple lawsuits while living the party lifestyle. Sean has ideas and against Eduardo’s better judgment has sway on Mark. He convinces Mark to move out to California so they can take “thefacebook” global because Sean has contacts. He’s setting up meetings. He’s getting Zuckerberg networked. Meanwhile, Eduardo is back in New York running around, seemingly hopelessly, trying to get funding for the website.

And therein lies what the movie is about: more than Facebook, more than money, it’s about the destruction of a friendship. It’s about two men who shared a vision in the beginning only for each to find out who the other was too late. Eduardo is sold on the idea and wants to keep a certain amount of control on it while Mark wants to play “Civilization” with social networking. Piece by piece Eduardo is sold out by Mark and Sean finally ending up suing Mark.

And Mark has no initial worries about the place he’s found himself in: the middle of two lawsuits. One is against the person who used to be his best friend while the other is against the brothers who hired him to do their website. Mark can be labeled “cold and indifferent” without pause or difficulty. That’s as deep as he goes…

Fincher weaves the tale back and forth between Mark’s and Eduardo’s testimonies as well as those of the Winklevoss. It’s an intriguing tale. It’s compelling. Think “Aviator” for computer nerds. While you may not get a full view on who Zuckerberg really is the actions speak for themselves. One of the best lines to illustrate this arrives at the very end when Rishad Jones says, “You’re not an asshole, but you’re trying so hard to be.” Apropos.

The question that comes to mind: is this the TRUE story of the founding of Facebook? I haven’t read the book and therefore cannot say. It’s a movie so I’m sure a good chunk is embellished but I also believe that several events did occur; I just can’t say which ones. But more importantly: what does Zuckerberg think of all this?

I did enjoy the movie overall. If it were any director other than Fincher I may have decided against seeing it but Fincher is one of the better storytellers of my generation. The guy can make the bland provocative. Aside from the technological aspect Fincher called up industrial rock artist Trent Reznor and had him do the soundtrack (Fincher had done several Nine Inch Nails videos) and the result works. While Eisenberg, Timberlake, and Garfield give good performances of their characters since I have not really seen their real-life versions I can’t speak to how accurate they were.

My grade: B+

14
Sep
10

Affleck Takes Moviegoers to ‘Town’

Hardboiled Affleck?

Starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite, and Chris Cooper. Written and directed by Ben Affleck. Based on the novel “Prince of Thieves” by Chuck Hogan

Gritty. Low-tech. Real. Honest. Violent. Southie crime drama. And it works.

Ben Affleck returns to the director’s chair with his second feature, “The Town.” If you haven’t seen his first, “Gone Baby Gone,” I recommend renting it. “The Town” is another crime drama set in South Boston and while it proudly follows in the footsteps of “The Departed” and “Boondock Saints,” it has its own distinction with a “whiff” of “Carlito’s Way” running through it. It all kicks off with two quotes about Charlestown: first, that it’s the capital of blue-collar crime and secondly that those who grow up there are proud of being from there, no matter how f’d up their lives become.

Doug MacRay (Affleck) is a former high school hockey star who returned to his hometown of Charlestown and decided to kick it by working in construction. And organizing armored car and bank heists. His crew includes his volatile best friend Jim Coughlin (Renner), who is like a brother to him, Desmond Eldon (Owen Burke) and getaway driver Albert Magloan (Slaine). The opening heist has them holding up a bank and taking hostage bank manager Claire Keesey (Hall). Immediately after they drop her off by the water and ditch the van, abandoning and setting it on fire in Charlestown.

Enter FBI investigators Special Agents Adam Frawley (Hamm) and Dino Ciampa (Titus Welliver). Frawley looks over any evidence left, which isn’t much and deduces that the people he’s dealing with are “not f’n around.” His only lead is with Keesey who can only repeat what little she doesn’t know. No prints, knowing when bank events were timed… he’s out for blood but with no direction to go. On a hunch he’s able to track down the crew having a cookout.

But the movie isn’t so much about what’s going on with everyone else as it is MacRay. Doug is haunted by the fact that his mother left him and his dad (Chris Cooper) when he was six. He tried breaking away from the small town but failing at hockey he returned and got sucked back in. His dad worked for Fergie the Florist (Postlethwaite) and is now doing hard time. His friend Jim’s family took him in and he even dated Jim’s sister Krista (Lively) who is a product of the area: in her twenties with a kid, drunk and strung-out on drugs. He wants to get out. He needs to get out. Just one last job…

Doug takes it upon himself to track and watch Claire to see what she knows and what she says. He finds that she’s a “yuppie” who lives in Charlestown and does volunteer work with kids. She has a good, decent. Doug finds himself falling in love with her, wanting to take her with him when he leaves Charlestown. He makes his mind up to get out but again, one last job.

The stakes are raised after a second armored car heist brings more attention to the crew who are already dressed as facially-decrepit nuns sporting assault rifles. Jim comes down on Doug for dating Claire citing that it could destroy everything they’ve built up. “Fergie” tells Doug that he can’t leave working for him because he won’t let him. Special Agent Frawley questions Claire a little more and informs her that her boyfriend Doug is a bank robber. Doug is being pulled down by the very forces he’s working to escape from. Will he make it out alive? Will Claire come with him?

From the opening action sequence of a perfectly planned bank heist to its somber end, “The Town” is a class-act thriller/noir/heist movie that makes no apologies for a “feeling” of being independent so much as it showcases good filmmaking. Following critical acclaim for directing “Gone Baby Gone” Affleck may be one of the better actor-turned-directors that exist in Hollywood. Watching the movie it feels real: car crashes don’t lead to explosions, weapons-fire doesn’t come with witty lines, and the characters and locale aren’t misunderstood –they are exactly what they are with little regret.

And maybe it’s that angle that works for this film. “Carlito’s Way,” which I mentioned earlier, seemed to inspire the vibe flowing through this film: the guy who just wants out and away from it all, who is trying to do good, to do the right thing around others who don’t want him to change for their purposes. It’s a cruel life-lesson that Doug MacRay learns but not entirely in the same way as Carlito Brigante.

Do I suggest this movie? Hell yes. Action scenes are done well and while they rush they do not feel like a “Bourne” scene. There’s enough tension to keep you on the edge of your seat every-other scene. The music works with the film. As for acting the actors seem to be at home with the characters.
Someone asked me last night what I thought of it. I would pay full price to see this movie again. It’s that good.

My grade: A

16
Dec
09

Movie News and Views December 16, 2009 Poster Edition

Hey everyone! It’s the last Poster Edition of Movie News and Views for 2009! I thought about recapping the year but… it’s not my style for this column. Here’s the last tidbits of Hollywood info from me until next year,

– The “300” prequel (“299?”) has been announced and its current title is “Xerxes.” It’s the battle of Marathon through the ink of Frank Miller.

– Kevin Smith’s “A Couple of Dicks,” will be renamed “Cop Out.”

– As if there isn’t enough emphasis on special effects, 15 movies are competing for Visual Effects Academy Award. The Oscars will be broadcast live on March 7, 2010 on ABC.

– For those who have converted (or are like me, recently converted) Frodo and Company will be on Blu-Ray on April 6, 2010 (you can pre-order on March 2). All three of the “LOTR” will be in one set, released in their Theatrical Versions. For those wanting the Extended Editions, you’ll have to wait longer (dammit).

– The U.S. Congress is fighting unemployment by investing $30 million into fighting movie piracy. No word on combating ninjas…

– “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” The eagerly-awaited mash-up of Jane Austen and the undead has attached director David O. Russell (“Three Kings”). The production has officially announced the involvement of Natalie Portman as not only a producer but the lead actress as well. This just keeps getting’ better and better…

– Nic Cage is in the new “Kick-Ass” movie. That might cause it to lose the credibility it had…

– “The Runaways” is a film about the girl group formed in the 70s that featured Cherie Currie, Joan Jett, and Lita Ford. The film is loosely based on Currie’s book, “Neon Angel: the Cherie Currie Story” and stars Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart as Currie and Jett, respectively.

– MTV is remaking “Teen Wolf” as a TV series.

– What do you get for the cinema aficionado who has every DVD? Why not a book? Specifically, “Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made.” At a spry 2874 pages and very Limited Edition, no movie nerd would be complete without it. For $700.00, it’s a veritable steal! Hurry now! Supplies are limited! Check out the website at:

http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film/all/03844/facts.stanley_kubricks_napoleon_the_greatest_movie_never_made.htm

– Good news for indie-makers: Paramount Pictures is allocating funds for movies that cost $100k and less. If you can sell a movie that would have a budget under that, you may get to see it on the silver screen. This is inspired by the performance of “Paranormal Activity” at the box office. Ah, the little $15,000 film that could…

– Following “Avatar,” James Cameron is helming a 3-D remake of “Fantastic Voyage.” Wonder what kind of love story exists on the microbial level…

– Future candidates for Remake Radar: “Romancing the Stone,” “Overboard,” “Amityville Horror,” “The Howling”

– To further Nic Cage’s money problems, his ex-wife is suing him for $13 million.

– The domestic Box Office is expected to break the $10 billion dollar mark. Those blockbusters are really adding up…

– Howard Stern was selected, at random, to be part of the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations committee. That should be fun…

– According to Jeff Bridges, “Iron Man” had no script. I knew it!

– Feeling that he has not achieved what he set out to do as an actor, Alec Baldwin is quitting acting after his contract with “30 Rock” is up. I understand, man. I sat through “Mercury Rising.”

– Universal Studios is introducing “flipper” technology: insert a dolphin… no, wait. Much like the unfortunate HD DVD, the technology has Blu-Ray on one side of a disc and standard DVD on the other. This is for those who have yet to by Blu-Ray, or maybe they already own a player and want the ability to flip it over for s&g. The first to go to this newfangled technology will be the “Bourne” trilogy of movies.

– “Shrek Forever After” will be the fourth, and final, of the CG animated green ogre series.

– Dirk Benedict has announced he will have a cameo in the new “A-Team” movie. That leaves Mr. T as the only living “team” member. I can’t figure out how to fit “I pity the fool” in this…

– Apparently the WB is waiting out their legal disputes with the Siegel and Schuster estates before getting back into the “Superman” franchise.

– If you’re a fan of the “Happy Gilmore Swing” (which requires a running start before whacking at the ball with the club), don’t go to Canada. The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has deemed it illegal.

19
Jun
09

Movie News and Views June 19, 2009 Poster Edition

spiderman 4

 

All the Hollywood news fit to blog!

– Kevin Williamson is currently hard at work on “Scream 4.” His work just got harder because star Neve Campbell isn’t interested in coming back.

– Shia LeBeouf and Frank Marshall have confirmed “Indiana Jones 5” is in pre-production stage which (hopefully) means that hopefully it’ll get done before the ill-fated “Raiders of the Lost 401k” becomes a reality.

– M. Night Shamma-lamma-ding-dong is currently proposing a 2nd “Unbreakable” movie. I hate to say it but the title “Intolerable Cruelty” has already been used.

– There is current controversy in regards to Christopher Nolan returning to the “Batman” franchise. Purportedly he’s going to finish his current film “Inception” before deciding to do anything. If Nolan does not return to the “Bats,” there is a possibility that Christian Bale won’t, either. I can see Joel Schumacher waiting in the wings…

– “Teen Wolf” to be remade. yay.

– “Bride of Frankenstein” is being remade.

– Rumor-mill: Michael Sheen as “Blofeld” in “James Bond 23?”

– Sean Penn leaves “The Three Stooges” production.

– Roy Rogers will be riding back on to the silver screen, at least in franchise form.

– The live-action “Akira” movie is dead.

– Ron Howard has signed on to direct the “Stretch Armstrong” movie slated for release April 15, 2011. I got nothin’…

– Hugo Weaving will return as Elrond for “The Hobbit.”

– Mickey Rourke will play “Whiplash” in “Iron Man 2.”

– Joe Carnahan (“Narc,” “Smokin’ Aces”) will be directing the new “A-Team” movie and Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper are in negotiations for it.

– “Monsters, Inc.” will get a sequel.

– John Stamos is working on developing a “Full House” movie. I’m guessing a “Family Matters” movie is next?

– “Predator,” “Total Recall,” and “Commando” are slated for remakes. Is anyone interested in remaking the “also starring Ahnuld” movie “Junior?”

– And a “Short Circuit” remake is “Johnny-Five alive.”

– “Heathcliff” will coming to the big screen.

– Dreamworls Animation schedule:

How to Train Your Dragon (March 26th, 2010): Directed by Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch) and Dean DeBlois (Lilo & Stitch), and will star Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig and TJ Miller. Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, the story centers around a teenager who lives on the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life. But when he encounters – and ultimately befriends – an injured dragon, his world is turned upside down.

Shrek Forever After (May 21st, 2010): Directed by Mike Mitchell and will feature the original all-star cast, including Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas.

Oobermind (November 5th, 2010): Formerly titled “Master Mind.” Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar) and will star Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Fey. When super villain Oobermind defeats his archrival Metro Man, the world should be his oyster. But instead, Oobermind falls into total despair. It turns out that life without a rival is life without a point for him. So he creates a new superhero rival. Unfortunately, the new hero wants to be a super villain too.

Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom (June 3rd, 2011): The next chapter of the 2008 blockbuster is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and will feature the return of the original all-star cast, including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross. A new villain has emerged with a mysterious weapon so powerful it threatens the very existence of kung fu. It is up to Po and the Furious Five to protect all that they know. But first, Po must confront his long lost past.

The Guardians (November 4th, 2011): Directed by Jeff Lynch. The world’s five unlikeliest heroes – Jack Frost, North (aka Santa), Bunnymund (the Easter Bunny), Tooth (the Tooth Fairy), and Sandy (the Sandman) – must band together to stop an ancient spirit called Pitch (the Boogeyman) from plunging the world into eternal darkness.

Puss in Boots (March 30th, 2012): Directed by Chris Miller and will star Antonio Banderas as Puss In Boots and Salma Hayek as Kitty, Puss’ love interest. Swords will cross and hearts will be broken in this adventure starring one of the most beloved characters of the Shrek universe – Puss In Boots. It’s a swashbuckling ride through Puss’s early years as he teams with mastermind Humpty Dumpty and the street-savvy Kitty to steal the famed Goose that lays the Golden Eggs.

Madagascar 3 (May 25th, 2012): Directed by Eric Darnell (Madagascar). Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple; King Julien, Maurice and the Penguins are along for the adventure. This time the road takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent Madagascar style!

– Guy Ritchie to remake “Guys and Dolls.”

– Fox remaking “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I wanna puke.

– “Anchorman 2” is green for go.

And that’s all the news I got, people. Thanks to WorstPreviews.com and JoBlo.com for the info!

 

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09
Feb
09

In Passing… James Whitmore (1921-2009)

j_whitmoreTelevision and film actor James Whitmore passed away on February 6 from lung cancer. Whitmore began his career on Broadway and earned many accolades before going Hollywood. In the movies his first role was that of George Pappas in “The Undercover Man” (1948). He continued on with such films as “The Next Voice You Hear…” “The Asphalt Jungle,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Them!” the movie about giant radioactive ants. Switching over to television he had roles on “Studio One” and several other “theatre” shows before starring as Abraham Lincoln Jones in “The Law and Mr. Jones,” which lasted for two seasons. He would continue alternating between the two, showing up in such TV shows as “The Twilight Zone,” “The Virginian,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Ray Bradbury Theater,” and “CSI.” His other movies include “Planet of the Apes,” “Madigan,” “Tora! Tora! Tora!” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” And, he was a longtime spokesperson for Miracle-Gro fertilizer. Whitemore was 87 years of age.

Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends

For more information, check out his IMDB page at:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0926235/

04
Feb
09

Movie Review: The Wrestler

wrestler

Yes, it’s true: the fans are fake.

 

Stars Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

 

The movie begins with Quiet Riot’s “Bang Your Head” while the camera pans over newsclippings and flyers of Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke), a wrestler from the 80’s Golden Age of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper and let’s not forget, announcer Mean Gene Oakland. “The Ram’s” career hit its peak with a showdown with wrestler The Ayatollah (Ernest Miller).

 

Cut to “20 years later”. Randy is a broken down being. He takes wrestling gigs when he can find them and “supplements” his income by picking up part-time hours at a local grocery store in New Jersey. When he’s locked out of his trailer park home he resides in his Dodge Ram van. His one friend in town is Pam (Tomei), a stripper who goes by the name Cassidy and who has some feelings for him.

 

And we’re inducted into the world of wrestling through Randy. It’s not all body slams, drop kicks, and rivalries; all the wrestlers meet up before the matches and decide who will do what when the time comes. We see Randy’s drug addiction, prescription and otherwise. He hides small razor bits under the tape around his wrist so at the appropriate time he can cut his face, the blood running down and adding to the “performance.” After one particular match he “drops like a brick” and awakens in a hospital, the recipient of a heart bypass and a doctor’s warning of death if he wrestles again.

 

This starts him attempting to change his life. He spends a day with his daughter, a girl who he hasn’t been around for during his entire career. He tries proposing to “Cassidy” who can’t decide to love him or leave him. And he tries operating behind the meat counter at the grocery store. All these things bring him back to square one: he is a wrestler. With the upcoming 20 year rematch with The Ayatollah, Randy has to make a decision:

 

The main point of the movie is: arrested development. Randy is still doing the wrestling circuit and poppin’ painkillers and other drugs to keep going. He listens to Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Poison and every other hair metal band you can think of. His Nintendo only plays a game of him versus the Ayatollah. He carts around his videotapes and has a Polaroid camera. As he looks around at other wrestlers/ friends, he sees their bodies breaking down (wheelchairs, colostomy bags). He’s lonely, tired, and depressed, and doesn’t know how to do anything that he hasn’t done for the past twenty years.

 

Cassidy is also dealing with arrested development. She’s a stripper in a small town in New Jersey. She has a nine-year-old kid. She wants to do better for her life, but isn’t sure how that will happen. She is cautious in regards to having a relationship. As she looks around she notices that the guys aren’t looking at her much anymore. Is Randy the guy that she needs?

 

I will give credit to Aronofsky for this movie. While I have not been a fan of his previous efforts, this movie was on a level I wouldn’t have believed that he could achieve. He made the film feel like a documentary film, which added to how “real” the character felt. Aronofsky made Rourke disappear into the role, and the film was better for it. It’s a sad, lonely, depressing, surprisingly comical at moments, head-bangin’, body-slammin’ drama.

 

And now I’m going back to working on my standing moonsault, chair shot, and el kabong.

 

My grade: A-

And for those who haven’t seen the trailer:

 

 

And a treat from The Onion:

 

 

03
Feb
09

Movies on DVD Review: Next

next1

 My grade: C. Wait, isn’t that a little more than 2 minutes in the future?

Stars Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel. Directed by Lee Tamahori. Based on the Philip K. Dick story, “The Golden Man.”

Nic Cage is Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas magician who morosely lives his life performing as Frank Cadillac and who keeps a secret: he can see 2 minutes into his own future. This helps him out of situations whereby he can easily hide from people, duck corners, avoid getting shot, or barely have a stolen car clipped by an oncoming train. “No good deed goes unpunished” as he stops casino carnage by disarming a serial casino shooter. This brings the attention of FBI agent Callie Ferris (Moore) who figures out that Cris’s ability to see into the future isn’t just a magic trick, it’s the real deal. Ferris needs Cris in order to help find a missing nuclear warhead that will take out the L.A. area faster than the current land eroding. Ferris isn’t the only one interested in Cris; the group with the stolen nuke figures that if the FBI is interested in him, so should they. Cris is only interested in living his life as normal and “under the radar” as possible until he meets Liz Cooper (Biel), a part-time teacher he hitches a ride to Flagstaff with and who has the ability to help him see further into the future.

File this one under “Good Idea, Okay Execution.”

Time travel, clairvoyance, precognition, what-have-you has been the staple of many a sci-fi film, and not always the good ones. To say this is the type of movie you can watch and then appreciate “Millennium” (Kris Kristofferson, Cheryl Ladd) may be a bit of an overstatement, but not by much (okay, I was a kid when I saw “Millennium” and thought the watches running backwards were cool, alright?) Okay, how about “Timecop?” I refuse to acknowledge “Star Trek’s” adventures in time because they’ve abused the privilege. The one thing these movies have over “Next” is: a story.

Getting past the point of belief that the bad guys would be interested in Cris, there’s not a lot else going on in this movie. Jessica Biel does a good job at being the romantic interest/ innocent person caught up in all the mayhem. Julianne Moore is good at being the balls-to-the-wall yet soft-hearted FBI agent needing to find Cris to stop the warhead from detonation. And Nic Cage slumbers around until he’s in an action sequence, at which point he jumps and flails around until it’s over and returns to sleep-acting.

Again, I return to the story. The movie smacks you with its “ain’t this cool?” premise so much that it often makes you forget that there has to be a point to the movie. The filmmakers designed the movie to confuse the viewer as to whether or not what we are seeing is the truth, or if it’s a 2-minute “sneak peek.” This actually ruins the ending. And the part where he makes multiple versions of himself to check for traps while cool is unwarranted.

I really wanted this movie to be good, or at least as entertaining as “Paycheck” (another movie based on a PKD story and hey, at least that one WAS entertaining). The movie tries to be cerebral, but there’s nothing cerebral about it with the exception of Cage moping around. The film also had problems mixing romance with action-adventure thriller, throwing the viewer for a loop. By the hour-mark I couldn’t care less about the characters; I just wanted to know how the movie ended. It should’ve spent less time screaming, “Hey, isn’t this concept cool?” and more time developing a story.

Let’s face it: it was a mess of a movie.

Of note, Jim Beaver (“Deadwood”) and Peter Falk (“Columbo”) were in this one.

My grade: C (cool idea, unworthy execution)