While I certainly don’t want to give away the big “twist ” I can safely say Eagle Eye is all about big bad technology--or the pitfalls of having too much technology at our fingertips and how it can turn into a Big Brother situation. As it goes we meet copy store employee Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) and single mom Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) two strangers who suddenly find themselves in a whole mess of trouble after they receive a mysterious phone call from a woman they have never met. She dictates they carry out a series of dangerous tasks and if they refuse she will either kill them or the ones they love--and of course shows proof when they do. Who is this ominous woman? How can she control cell phones trains traffic lights construction cranes electrical power poles and just about anything else she wants to at any time? And why is she targeting Jerry and Rachel? Ah watch as the web unweaves LaBeouf and Monaghan are two very appealing young actors who both have a lot of potential in their burgeoning careers. Of course LaBeouf is now running the risk of doing too many big-budgeted action movies; he should remember he was once a pretty good kid actor. Monaghan too showed great promise in films such as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Gone Baby Gone but has gone the cheap ingénue route with the likes of Made of Honor and The Heartbreak Kid. And now Eagle Eye which unfortunately doesn’t do much to boost their resumes. Still they manage to make the film watchable with the sparks between them. The rest of the cast are fairly wasted however including Rosario Dawson as a tough-nut Air Force investigator and Michael Chiklis as U.S. Defense Secretary. The only other cast member worth watching is Billy Bob Thornton as an FBI agent tracking Jerry and Rachel. He has all the best lines. Director D.J. Caruso who cut his teeth in the thriller department with last year’s sleeper Disturbia goes for the full-action this time--and does a pretty good job considering. It might not be up to the Bourne Ultimatum level but the car chases are exciting and inventive. A giant crane picking up a cop car and tossing it away in a garbage dump is a particularly clever way to dispose of an automobile. But Eagle Eye fails to engage the audience into caring much about the characters because you are too busy trying to figure out what the hell is going on and why these random people are involved. And when you do find out you're still not convinced it was all necessary in the end. Maybe it'll play better on DVD.
Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) is a Los Angeles-based concert violinist who has been blind since she was 5 years old. She gets by the best she can and sees “using my other senses ” as she explains to a passer-by whom she saves from getting run over by a bus. But Sydney still desperately misses her vision and is one day away from a once-in-a-lifetime medical miracle that will bring her the gift of restored sight: a double corneal transplant. Almost immediately following the operation Sydney through extremely blurred vision begins seeing strange silhouettes but thinks nothing of them. As her sight improves with each passing day however the figures become clearer and much more troubling. Before long Sydney identifies them as “escorts” that take people away when they’re dead and she can’t escape the horrifying visions even while sleeping. But she’s forced to investigate and solve the situation mostly on her own as both her sister (Parker Posey) and ophthalmologist (Alessandro Nivola) swear it’s all in her mind’s eye. What Sydney discovers is both hair-raising and of course eye-opening. The opening shot features Alba looking glamorously hot in the way we’re used to seeing her as though just finishing a photo shoot for the cover of another glossy magazine. Then the camera pans down to her walking stick and you admit to yourself not three minutes in that Alba as a blind woman (and later a violinist!) will necessitate complete suspension of disbelief. Same can be said for The Eye’s few dramatic scenes namely one in which an extreme close-up draws attention to the actress' complete inability to fake-cry. Alba can pull off much of the rest of the movie since it’s relatively low on dialogue and emotion but The Eye is just another example of her trying in vain--much like Good Luck Chuck--to un-pigeonhole herself. In supporting roles veterans Nivola (Junebug) and Posey (Dazed and Confused) show that they’re much too esteemed for a B-grade horror movie and much better than the actress to whom they are playing second- and third-fiddle respectively. Although that’s usually the case in movies like this. Ah the much-too-frequent adaptation of the exotic-import horror movie--always reliable for a few cheap thrills and nothing more. The Eye based on the Pang brothers’ 2002 Chinese film is no exception to that rule and is undoubtedly a dumbed-down less-scary version of the original. The director duo of David Moreau and Xavier Palud who collaborated on 2006’s creepy French film Them manage to somewhat dilute all that is bad about The Eye by using music and style but there’s ultimately no way around the anemic adapted script by Sebastian Gutierrez (Snakes on a Plane) and acting by Alba. While the concept of someone having her vision restored after 20-plus years without it is fascinating and tantalizing for all the directions in which a filmmaker could take it there’s nothing post-setup--or post-op in this case--that eclipses the mildest of scares and this meant to be a horror film. To the directors’ credit The Eye looks gorgeously foreboding and the movie’s elevation to mere watchability shows that they have some promise in this genre.
Top Story: Sizemore's Cleaning Up
Tom Sizemore has checked himself into a rehabilitation facility for treatment of substance abuse, The Associated Press reports, postponing his sentencing in the domestic violence case involving his former fiancée Heidi Fleiss. "He's at a facility seeking treatment," city attorney spokesman Eric Moses told AP. "We don't know what he's being treated for. The continuance came at the request of his attorney." The 41-year-old actor was to have been sentenced Thursday for his conviction on misdemeanor charges of harassing Fleiss and could face up to four years in prison. He was acquitted of three of the most serious charges. The sentencing is now scheduled for Oct. 9.
Madonna Sued for Copying Photos
Samuel Bourdin, the son of the late French fashion photographer Guy Bourdin, has filed a lawsuit against Madonna, claiming the singer copied his father's images in her music video for the song "Hollywood." According to AP, the suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, accuses Madonna of copyright infringement for her imitation of poses and images in at least 11 works of Bourdin, whose photos were published in French Vogue from the mid-1950s through the late 1980s.
P. Diddy Will Run for Charity
For once, a news item not about a lawsuit against Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. On the contrary, the rap mogul has announced he'll run the New York marathon Nov. 2 and will raise $1 million for health care and education charities that benefit the city's children, Reuters reports. "Every child needs quality education and health care to train for the marathon of life," said Combs, sporting a tracksuit at a press conference. Combs admitted he'll need support as well since he's only been training for three weeks. "It's gonna be a rough one. Probably around the 13th mile, I'll really need your support--water, Gatorade, whatever," he said of the grueling 26.2-mile race. But Combs declared he'll complete the race even if it means crawling across the finish line. MTV is making a documentary chronicling his training as he readies for the event, Reuters reports.
John's Furniture Sale a Smashing Success
The sale of Elton John's extravagant furniture and items from his London home Tuesday raised nearly £1.4 million ($2.3 million), Reuters reports. "This wasn't a sale of memorabilia, but Elton's taste proved to have an extraordinarily wide appeal with enthusiastic buyers from around the world," Marcus Linell, a specialist at auction house Sotheby's, told Reuters. John claims he sold the items to return to a minimalist lifestyle.
Comedian Anderson Hospitalized
Heavyset comedian Louie Anderson, 50, is recovering in a Los Angeles hospital Tuesday following two procedures to correct an unspecified heart problem, AP reports. Anderson's agent Steve Levine confirmed to AP that the ailment was "definitely his heart" but declined to offer any other details except that it wasn't a heart attack. "When he first went in they did a procedure that worked great but then they wanted to do a little further work and it took a little longer than they thought, and that's why he's been in for over a week," Levine said. "It's over. It was successful, and he'll be fine."
ABC Eyes Insomnia For Possible Series
ABC is developing a possible new drama series around last year's creepy thriller Insomnia that starred Al Pacino and Robin Williams. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story is set two years after the events in the feature, which followed a murder investigation in a small Alaskan town. "It is basically serving as a Chapter 2 to the actual movie, so it's its own entity with its own story lines, but it still has the same tone and feeling of what I hope the movie captured, which is the real Alaska," Hillary Seitz, who wrote the feature and is attached to write and co-executive produce the series, told the Reporter.
CBS Wins First Week of New TV Season
Despite overall lower ratings for the beginning of the fall season, CBS emerged as the winner in this week's ratings thanks to the promising new series Two and a Half Men, Cold Case and Joan of Arcadia and returning favorites CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Everybody Loves Raymond, according to Nielsen Media Research. CBS took in an average of 14 million viewers, followed by NBC (12.6 million); ABC (10.6 million); Fox (6 million); the WB (4 million); and UPN (3.4 million). For the week of Sept. 22-28, the top 10 shows were: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS; Friends, NBC; ER, NBC; Law & Order, NBC; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; Will & Grace, NBC; Survivor: Pearl Islands, CBS; Two and a Half Men, CBS; The West Wing, NBC; and CSI: Miami, CBS.
Role Call: Connelly Dives Into Murky Water
Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Connelly is in negotiations to star in the thriller Dark Water for Disney. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is about a mother and daughter moving into a new apartment where they are haunted by the ghost of a young girl whose family used to live in the building. It will also mark the English-language directing debut of Brazilian director Walter Salles.
The remake of the 1997 Norwegian film "Insomina" has awakened Al Pacino's curiosity.
The actor has committed to star in the Warner Bros.' psychological thriller, which is being directed by Christopher Nolan. Principal photography is scheduled to begin April 12 in Vancouver.
Adapted by Hillary Seitz, the story revolves around a police officer (Pacino) who accidentally kills his partner during a murder investigation in a small Alaska town. The suspect in the murder case blackmails the officer into pinning the murders on an innocent person, but another female police officer begins to unravel the truth.
Pacino is currently shooting the indie feature "People I Know" with Kim Basinger and Ryan O'Neal.
GOING CRAZY: Ralph Fiennes ("The English Patient") is set to star as a brillant paranoid-schizophrenic in "Fear Itself," a psychological thriller produced by Wolfgang Petersen ("The Perfect Storm"). In the story, Fiennes' character uncovers a that leads to the White House, but he finds it difficult to get anyone to believe him.
Because his latest film, "Beyond Borders" co-starring Angelina Jolie, was brought to a halt by the production company, Mandalay Pictures, Fiennes is one of the few A-list actors available for work before the potential Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild strikes this summer.
BLAMING PIAZZA: Universal Pictures has bought the comedy spec script, "Go To Hell, Mike Piazza," from first-time writers David Rotman and Ryan Oxford. Ben Stiller ("Meet the Parents") is attached to star and produce with his production company, Red Hour Films.
The script is about a hot dog stand owner, Remy Thompson, a childhood friend of baseball great Mike Piazza. Thompson blames the sports star for everything that has ever gone wrong in his life, and when a game show gives him the opportunity to try out his impressive slider in a charity game against Piazza, Remy has a chance to even the score with his longtime rival.
Stiller will be seen in the upcoming Paramount Pictures film "Zoolander," which he also directed.