4.24.2008

Unearthed, Fever Pitch and Deception

Woe is me...

I fed all eight of last year's batch of After Dark Horror Fest films into my queue on Blockbuster Online. And, dutifully, I've mowed through them. My last entry was the underwhelming Unearthed. Despite a solid turn by the eye-catching Emmanuelle Vaugier, the film is flawed on so many levels. The writing devolves around what attempts to be a "smart" story about alien life forms and the dangers of radiation. The special effects are decent but the CGI Alien rip-off moves in such a clunky fashion. The characters are paper thin and whimper through the third act in agonizing fashion. The premise--an overturned truck has cut off their escape route--is so far-fetched (they have jeeps; drive around it!) that you lose the ability to empathize from the get-go. I'd give it a 'D' for trying.

There was one good film in the bunch: Tooth and Nail.

And Fever Pitch ('C') delivers just about the same amount of joy. Jimmy Fallon is just not that funny. Drew Barrymore is solid here, but the story doesn't give her much to work with. In fact, the story is the downfall. You see the requisite plot hurdles from two miles away (a failed pregnancy, Fallon's character's passion for sports) and then there's the absurd conclusion. To its credit, it ends with the warm fuzzies (don't all romantic comedies?) and isn't a terrible weeknight diversion. I mean, if it's Deal or No Deal or Fever Pitch your decision is easy, am I right? I took it out because it's baseball season and I wanted a sporting romantic comedy. Oh, well. I also grabbed The Natural, a great movie and much darker than most give it credit for...

By the way, whatever happened to intelligent American game shows? I love Jeopardy and even Millionaire is a huge step up from these bumpkins playing elimination by guessing case numbers in front of bald germophobe Howie Mandel.

It looks like another substandard week at the movies. But Deception looks like a throwback to the thrillers of the '90s. It stars Hugh Jackman (a dude with pretty limited range) and the story looks like a blend between Disclosure and Eyes Wide Shut. Hey, those were some pretty good films. I'm off to update my queue...

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