Monday, August 4, 2008

Next (2007)

"Every once in a while what we think is magic is the real deal hiding behind a $50.00 trick, because the alternative is impossible for others to live with."
- Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage)

"There's an Italian painter, named Carlotti, and he uh, ahem, defined beauty. He said it was the summation of the parts working together in such a way that nothing needed to be added, taken away or altered, and that's you. You're beautiful."
- Cris Johnson

"I've seen every possible ending. None of them are good for you."
- Cris Johnson

At a glance: Nicolas Cage’s screen persona has to fill in the gaps in this sometimes-clever, sometimes weak action film about a man who can see 2 minutes into the future.

Cris (Nicolas Cage) is a second-rate Vegas magician with a first-rate talent: he can see two minutes into the future – but only his own future. Callie (Julianne Moore) is an FBI agent who has the temperament and gender of Scully but with Mulder’s love of the paranormal. She sees Cris’ power and brings him in to solve the Case of the Missing Bomb. Nicolas Cage is looking a little worse for wear, but he’s still a smooth operator, and I find his screen energy captivating (even when the film he is in is perhaps not top notch). The beauty of the film stems from Cris’ knowledge of the future, and how that lets him effortlessly slide through dangerous situations, the highlight of which is his choreographed avoidance of a large number of security people in a Vegas casino. Director Lee Tamahori (who helmed the brilliant Once Were Warriors in 1994) does as much as he can with a script (and script structure) that is not as good as it could have been. Jessica Biel is good, and Moore is used to playing these kinds of parts, although this one isn’t written so well for her. Some pretty goofy CGI special effects add nothing to the story, nor does the shoot ‘em up finale and the needless ‘extra’ ending. As for those reviewers who found it unbelievable that the young, nubile Jessica Biel could fall for the old, ageing Nicolas Cage? You need to look at this from the perspective of this male, over 50 reviewer, and realize like I did, that oh yes, absolutely, it could happen! Rating: 2.5 of 4

"The premise is wildly preposterous, yet Nicolas Cage makes Next fun to watch."
- Urban Cinefile Critics (Urban Cinefile)

"Not a bad film if you can overlook the basic silliness of the plot."
- Robert Roten (Laramie Movie Scope)

"While Next has a few fun and inventive moments sprinkled throughout, mostly revolving around the use of Cris' power, it collapses into an exhausting litany of action movie clich├ęs before exposing itself as a total mindjob in the end."
- Stax (IGN Movies)

"Until its trigger-happy, metaphysically-impossible-to-decipher, and anticlimactic copout of an ending, the movie is a successful entertainment -- albeit a minor, disposable, and completely forgettable one."
- Mark Dujsik (Mark Reviews Movies)

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