April 27, 2007, - 10:49 am
By Debbie Schlussel
This weekend has few new offerings available to critics to screen. If I didn’t review it below–“Kickin’ it Old Skool” and “The Invisible–the studios knew it was bad and didn’t want critics to pan it. As for the rest:
* “Next“–This is the best offering opening today and classic Nicholas Cage. In a novel idea, Cage stars in a movie set in Vegas. But really, it’s actually an entertaining thriller and worth seeing. Cage plays Vegas magician Cris Johnson, who is a bit psychic. He can see two minutes into the future. An FBI agent, played by Julianne Moore, figures that out, and tries to “enlist” (ie., force) him in finding nuclear weapons that have been smuggled into the U.S. and to predict when and where the nuclear attack will take place. But while the magician/psychic can only see two minutes into the future, he can see longer into the future if it involves a beautiful woman (Jessica Biel–who apparently has a thing for magicians on-screen)–the woman of his dreams, whom Cage sees in his visions, days ahead of time and finally meets.
The terrorists know this and target Cage. He essentially becomes the reluctant, psychic version of “24”‘s Jack Bauer. Unfortunately, like all post 9/11-movies and much of “24,” this one, too, can’t tell the truth. The terrorists trying to set off nukes here in America are mostly blond, French and German terrorists, clearly not Muslims. Because, as we all know, none of those trying to get dirty bombs and nukes into the U.S. for an attack are Muslims. Right? Score another for the PC whitewash chorus of, “You can’t say those two words together in the movies–Muslim terrorist.”
Other than that PC plot element, this movie is highly entertaining and different. Although the ability to see into the future is reminiscent of last year’s “Deja Vu” (which also had a–surprise!–non-Muslim terrorist who attacks a ship full of American soldiers) this one is far better and makes it a lot easier to suspend beliefs and get into it. A device used at the film’s conclusion is a bit of a rip-off, but it is, indeed, hinted at in the plot, so I guess it’s acceptable. Peter Falk makes a cameo appearance in this flick.
* “The Condemned“–Skip this outrageous kill-fest produced by World Wrestling “Entertainment”–you know, the WWE, which markets all of its products, including this one, to kids. This sickening, wholesale slaughter, hacking, raping, attacking, and gore for no reason has no place on the mainstream American silver screen. Movie posters brag: “10 people will fight. 9 will die. You get to watch.” No thanks. Read my complete review.
* “Inland Empire“–Absolutely one of the worst movies of the year, perhaps the decade. The artsy fartsy crowd loves to pretend to get this dumb David Lynch nonsense. But, sorry, this is a complete waste of several hours of your life, no matter how badly you pretend that this meaningless stuff slapped together is deep. It isn’t. Laura Dern stars in this long, boring, disconnected, nonsensical mess with no discernible plot, other than an actress stars in a movie that is a remake of an original whose stars were murdered. Other than that, nothing happens. We see a lot of stupid scenes of people wearing rabbit heads uttering nonsensical stuff to each other, other scenes of unrelated people which have nothing to do with the movie, and a lot of crying. The end. Please, please, please don’t torture yourself by blowing $10 bucks and three hours on this tripe.
Tags: actress, America, Cris Johnson, David Lynch, Debbie Schlussel, Deja Vu, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Inland Empire, Jack Bauer, Jack Bauer Complete, Jessica Biel, Julianne Moore, Laura Dern, magician, Muslim, Next, Nicholas Cage, Nick Cage, Peter Falk, United States, USD, Vegas magician