WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
In the late '50s a group of elementary students put futuristic drawings in a time capsule that is then buried on school grounds. One overly obsessed kid Lucinda goes her own way by writing hundreds of mysterious seemingly non-sensical numbers on her entry. Fifty years later it’s dug up and comes into the possession of Caleb the young son of John Koestler a recent widower and astro-physics professor who becomes obsessed with the papers Caleb has brought home from class. He soon discovers the random digits are actually not-so-thinly disguised dates (including 91101 of course) for “future” disasters and there are clearly three of those dates yet to come. Although nobody believes his ramblings about this code for impending doom a nearby plane crash proves he is on to something so ominous the fate of the world could be in jeopardy. With all hell about to break loose the prof takes matters into his own hands.
WHO’S IN IT?
Just a couple of years ago Nicolas Cage starred in Next as a magician who could see into the future and had to prevent a nuclear attack. Now he’s at it again as an MIT professor who also has clues to future catastrophes and also is out to prevent the inevitable. And of course in the National Treasure films he latched on to maps that had contained similarly dark deeply held secrets. Nic clearly likes “knowing” stuff before the rest of us and he’s quite believable even if some of the circumstances in his latest sci-fi adventure are really out there -- literally. Cage somehow makes you buy into this stuff which is key to the ultimate success of the flick. As the key kids Chandler Canterbury as Caleb and Lara Robinson as Lucinda (and later Abby Lucinda’s granddaughter) are properly eerie and haunted-looking. Rose Byrne is also along for the ride as Lucinda’s grown daughter who is able to provide goosebump-inducing information that the numbers alone can’t. There’s also some dead-on creepy emoting from D.G. Maloney as a quietly foreboding stranger who seems to be following Caleb.
Unlike some recent movies of this type with nothing on the agenda but pure mayhem “Knowing” delves into the bigger issues of why we are all here providing something other than just big explosions to talk about on the way home from the multiplex. Director Alex Proyas (I Robot Dark City The Crow) certainly knows how to pull off complex action set-pieces but he and his screenwriters also seem to be genuinely interested in exploring the meaning behind the madness.
Some of the more pedantic dialogue Cage is given can be groan-inducing but since he plays John as a total believer we can forgive it. Also the film falls victim to a final act that veers into typical disaster movie territory and isn’t as compelling as the first two thirds which try to keep the premise at least marginally credible. At two hours it probably could have been tightened anyway.
The rain-soaked plane crash sequence with its gritty hand-held photography is riveting to watch and one of the most frightening depictions of a jetliner disaster put on film yet.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
If you are really squeamish it might be worth "knowing" that you should take breaks in the big disaster sequences as the CGI effects can get pretty violent and graphic particularly for a PG-13 movie.
Jackson will hold a star-studded concert tonight at Madison Square Garden to celebrate his 30th anniversary as a solo artist. Scheduled to join him on stage in either appearances or performances are 'NSync, Gladys Knight, Eminem, Destiny's Child, Yoko Ono, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Tucker, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and many more. Jackson is promoting his upcoming album Invincible and is trying to reclaim his "King of Pop" title after a six-year absence from the music world.
The concert also marked the reunion of the Jackson 5, with brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Michael and Marlon making an appearance. Ticket prices for the sold out first night ranged from $45 to $2,500. There will be a second concert on Monday, and the show will also air on CBS at a later date.
Alternative band Limp Bizkit's frontman Fred Durst is now the father of his second child. A 7-pound, 3-ounce son, Dallas, was born last week. The mother has not been identified.
French "New Wave" director Eric Rohmer was honored for his lifetime achievements at the Venice Film Festival Friday. The 81-year-old Rohmer had directed such French classics as Ma Nuit Chez Maud (My Night at Maud's), which won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay in 1969, and L'Amour l'Apres-midi (Love in the Afternoon).
Television commentator and sports correspondent Heywood Hale "Woodie" Broun died Wednesday at Kingston Hospital in New York. He was 83. Broun worked for 19 years as a CBS sports correspondent and wrote three books. The cause of death has not been released.
A federal judge rejected a temporary restraining order filed by a Little League Baseball coach to block next week's opening of the movie Hardball, a movie about Little League Baseball starring Keanu Reeves. The coach, Bob Muzikowski, brought a defamation suit against Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures over the film because it depicts Reeves' character, who is based on Muzikowski real-life role, as a gambling and alcoholic coach who bullies the players and shows the 9- to -12-year-old players cursing.
Fox News filed suit Thursday against newly hired CNN anchorwoman Paula Zahn's agent N.S. Bienstock. Fox is accusing the agency of breaching Zahn's contract with Fox in order to broker the deal with CNN.
The premiere of the highly anticipated film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has been set for Nov. 4 in London. The screening at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square is expected to attract a host of celebrities and will be followed by a glittering party.
Anne Heche's mother and sister have come forth to express outrage at Heche's claims of sexual abuse at the hands of her father in her new memoirs Call Me Crazy. Anne's mother, Nancy Heche, told PreviewPort.com, "I am trying to find a place for myself in this writing, a place where I as Anne's mother do not feel violated or scandalized. I find no places among the lies and blasphemies in the pages of this book." Anne's sister, Abigail Heche, believes her sister remembers the events of her childhood sporadically and doesn't feel Anne's claims are true, especially on the fact that their mother knew of the sexual abuse.
Garry Trudeau, creator of the popular satirical comic strip Doonesbury, made a half-hearted apology to President George W. Bush for his Sunday comic, which cited an Internet hoax saying Bush had the lowest IQ of any president in the past 50 years, according to what has now been determined as a study from a fictional institute. The Doonesbury site acknowledges the error, stating "Trudeau takes full responsibility, acknowledging the use of fictional material from an outside source instead of simply making it up as he usually does..The creator deeply apologizes for unsettling anyone who was under the impression that the president is, in fact, quite intelligent."