Saturday, September 27, 2008

New in Theaters 9/26 - "Eagle Eye" and more

I saw Eagle Eye last night. It's safe to say that D.J. Caruso, the mastermind behind Disturbia, has a gift for suspense and sporadic humor. While I wasn't exactly blindsighted by the twist--mainly because I feel like I should've realized it--I was impressed by the film's underlying message. The fact that this generation could be destroyed by its obsession with thoroughly documenting their lives on countless social-networking sites and being well-connected through pricey and incredibly advanced gadgets has been covered before by films like Untraceable, Pulse, Live Free or Die Hard, and even The Dark Knight. But Caruso's film manipulates the Constitution to further disseminate this popular message, introducing the ideas that the government should be overthrown if it fails the people and citizens should step up and protect their nation when it's in need.

While I agree with both those ideas, the extremes to which they were illustrated illuminated how such political points could be seriously misinterpreted. I'm all for a new regime (as are many who are following the current election), but offing the top 12 people in power, including the president, and dubbing it Operation Guillotine is just insane enough to make for an action-packed thriller. Adding the idea that citizens can be "activated" or recruited into doing the government's bidding (i.e. essentially, being drafted) makes for an even more interesting plot. It's as if anyone could be Jason Bourne or James Bond, on-the-run and in constant motion, fighting for justice vigilante-style. Caruso has a knack for making audiences feel like whatever's happening on-screen could very well happen to them.

This weekend, I would also recommend a few obvious choices:
+ Spike Lee's adaptation of James McBride's novel Miracle at St. Anna set in 1944 Italy during WWII starring Derek Luke (Catch a Fire), Michael Ealy ("Sleeper Cell"), Joseph Gordon Levitt, John Leguizamo, and Kerry Washington (The Last King of Scotland).
+ New Adventures of Old Christine's Clark Gregg debuts his first film, an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's dramedic novel Choke, about a sex-addicted con artist played by Sam Rockwell, who falls in love with the one woman he can't bring himself to sleep with. Anjelica Houston, Paz de la Huerta (Spanglish), Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men), Bijou Phillips (Almost Famous), and Brad William Henke ("October Road") also star.

..and one film that's been flying under the radar:
+ In The Lucky Ones, Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Michael Pena (Crash), and Tim Robbins play three soldiers who've just returned from Iraq...WAIT! It's funny I swear. Not in a let's-make-light-of-war-Pauly-Shore-In-the-Army-Now kind of way, but in a let's-make-the-best-of-what-time-we-have-left kind of way. Each are injured physically and emotionally (as is expected when you go to war), but what really resonates is their deadpan humor in spite of their doomed destinies. McAdams has an injured leg, lost a friend, and lacks a certain amount of feminity that she may regret losing. Pena was left impotent after a groin injury. And while Robbins is free from service for good, he soon discovers that his family has freed themselves from him as well, and thus returns to nothing...Trust me, it's funny.

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