Film Reviews


By • Sep 27th, 2008 •

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Running, crashes, yelling, and no story. And wait til you hear who the villain is.

Who keeps is cramming Shia LaBeouf down our throats? Does Steven Spielberg have Puppet Master Syndrome? Does he have certain people under seven year exclusive contracts? Hasn’t anyone learned anything from the career of Ben Affleck? A muscular PR machine is out there trying to bamboozle us into believing (a) LaBeouf is a serious actor, (b) he’s a Wild One rebel, and (c) he’s the Second Coming of James Dean.

As Kevin McCarthy screamed in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS: “Don’t go to sleep! You’ll wake up believing Shia LaBeouf is an actor!”

EAGLE EYE cribs the HAL 9000, because Shia’s fans never heard of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and the movie puts us all on Discovery One under the surveillance of Eagle Eye.

The back-story is simple. Secretary of Defense Geoff Callister is given a low statistical probability regarding hitting a high value Afghan terrorist target. Going against the program’s advice, the bomb hits trigger threats of major terrorism attacks on the U.S. The super-secret program is furious that its advice was ignored.

In Chicago, Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf), 23, who works at a Copy Cabana shop, is estranged from his parents and barely making his tenement rent. He lives right next to WANTED Wesley Gibson’s apartment. The building must be cursed. It’s that damn above ground subway. Jerry is the black sheep of the family. Jerry is a proud rebel who does go back home for the funeral of his identical twin brother, Ethan, the “good twin” who was in the Air Force and died in a car accident.

Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) is a scatterbrain single mom getting her 8-year-old son, Sam, off on a music field trip to Washington, D.C. He’s going to play trumpet with his school band at the Kennedy Center.

Jerry and Rachel’s lives collide when they both are called and given strict instructions to follow. Bad things happen when they hesitate. People die, bombs go off, damage is done. Godzilla was at least clumsy, this disembodied voice doesn’t even have a sense of humor.

To motivate Jerry, there is suddenly $750,000 is his checking account and a cache of bombs, ammunition, stinger missiles and fertilizer in his apartment. He’s being set up. The FBI arrests him. The Voice sets him free. Rachel’s motivation is her son. If she doesn’t obediently follow directions, her son will die in a Voice-activated train crash on the way to D.C.

The Voice puts Jerry and Rachel together and they scream at each other. The Voice sees all, knows all, and, like God the Omnipresent, will not be trifled with. The screenplay drops the ball when The Voice knows everything except Rachel’s name. Huh?

We accept that cameras are following us everywhere and technology is tracking us. Only lazy people who kill their wives, husbands, and children, forget that their computer’s hard drive stores all website visits. So, my advice is, if you are planning on doing research on murder, do it at a library.

To help us protect our freedom, Homeland Security is testing a new machine, the MALINTENT, that is going to search our bodies at airports looking for non-verbal cues that predict whether one of us means to harm our fellow passengers.

The MALINTENT system recognizes, defines and measures seven primary emotions and emotional cues that are reflected in contractions of facial muscles. MALINTENT identifies these emotions and relays the information back to a security screener almost in real-time. When MALINENT’S sensors identify that something is off, they transmit warning data to analysts, who decide whether to flag passengers for further questioning. The next step involves micro-facial scanning, which involves measuring minute muscle movements in the face for clues to mood and intention.

If it will speed up the 3 hours spent at the airport before boarding a plane, Americans will support it. But what about sports events and stadium concerts?

I know that if I was ever in a situation like Rachel and Jerry’s, I’d be saying, “Yes, Ma’am, I’m on my way”; or, if I was taken hostage in a Ugandan jungle, I’d volunteer to carry the water.

On the trail of Jerry and Rachel are makeup-wearing FBI Agent Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) and military agent Zoe Perez (Rosario Dawson).

There is not much to the story. It is secondary to the explosions and destruction of public property. There is, and I am shocked to say it, too much action and special effects. The entire movie is Jerry and Rachel running from one disaster to another. It makes The Voice seem over-the-top. Isn’t there a cleaner way to achieve The Voice’s mobius-strip of an objective?

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