Wednesday, September 15, 2004


I've decided to put my NOW PLAYING intros and reviews here rather than let them molder on my hard drive. Obviously I have truncated plot summaries as much as possible for telecast purposes, and the reviews are less comprehensive too. I have excised any clip introduction since that portion is irrelevant here. If the last line was "I recommend..." or "I don't recommend...", I've cut that as well. It seems unnecessary, although this removal may make for an abrupt end. You'll notice some minor differences--actors names in the flow of sentences instead of being in parentheses--due to these reviews being read aloud.

I'll post the reviews throughout the day. Links will also be provided under capusle reviews.

CELLULAR (David R. Ellis, 2004)

In CELLULAR an abducted woman’s random call to a cell phone provides the only chance she has of being rescued. Kim Basinger plays Jessica Martin, a biology teacher who thugs take from her home and hold against her will for information about her husband’s whereabouts. The abductors are unaware that a resourceful Jessica is experimenting with a smashed phone to try and contact anyone. Chris Evans is Ryan, the stranger who answers her call for help.

Someone with a sense of humor might have chosen MOBILE PHONE BOOTH as an alternate title for CELLULAR. The conflict is the same in PHONE BOOTH and this film. Someone will likely die if a phone call is ended. Rather than being limited to one location, CELLULAR allows the hero to roam as long as he keeps the connection. The similarities aren’t by accident. PHONE BOOTH screenwriter Larry Cohen wrote the story on which Chris Morgan’s CELLULAR screenplay is based. Suffused with an Old Testament contemplation of sin and forgiveness, PHONE BOOTH has more heft compared to CELLULAR’S lightweight genre thrills. Still, CELLULAR utilizes remarkable efficiency and ingenious construction to realize an exciting and funny story that seems plausible enough under the circumstances. Basinger’s performance is too serious for something this silly. William H. Macy shines in a rare chance to play the hero. He also gets the film’s funniest line.

Grade: B-

(Review first aired on the September 14, 2004 NOW PLAYING)

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