Red Eye

There was a time when Wes Craven was considered one of the titans of horror. He had a string of smaller hits in the 70s, directed one of the biggest horror flicks of all time in A Nightmare on Elm Street, and reinvented the genre in the late 90s with the Scream trilogy. But what has he done for us lately? Not much, unfortunately. He inexplicably directed Music of the Heart, that crappy music-teacher-makes-kids-good movie, and then returned to horror earlier this year with Cursed. Now, I haven’t seen that one yet, but I have yet to hear a good review of it. So Craven makes what is being called a “stylistic turn” and brings us a thriller in Red Eye.

The premise is interesting, if a little exploitative in this post-9/11 world. You know, girl meets boy, boy turns out to be psycho killer, and proceeds to terrorize her on the titular flight. Red Eye plays on America’s newest, deepest fear: aeroclaustrophobia. I think I actually just made that word up, but you know what I mean. People are terrified that another hijacking could happen on their flight or worse yet, that they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Passenger Rachel McAdams finds herself in such a scenario, as the random guy she chatted with before the flight at the airport bar, one Cillian Murphy, well, turns out he’s not just some stranger. See, he’s lined up an assassin to kill her father, unless she moves as important politico to another room at the hotel she manages, so that he can be easily assassinated. She must choose, Last Crusade style.

Craven can be a master of suspense, and Red Eye does have its share of looming dread, but I never really felt that tension you get from a really good thriller. Perhaps because Murphy is so coolly charismatic as her tormentor, that I found myself hoping he would be triumphant. Cillian Murphy has quickly become one of my must-see actors, meaning I will see anything that he’s in. That’s a pretty short list for me. Even though he essentially plays the same character in Red Eye that he did in Batman Begins, as Jackson Rippner (lame, I know) he provides flirtatious menace in a manner not seen since DeNiro in Cape Fear. Unfortunately, the third act insanity in Batman is carried over to Red Eye, as Murphy devolves from know-it-all mastermind to psycho killer. The climax of the film could have been lifted verbatim from any of Craven’s horror flicks, including the clichés of running up the stairs, breaking a vase on the villains head, and people recovering almost instantly from grievous injuries.

Red Eye is a bit of a departure for Craven, emphasis on bit. He tries to work his slasher formula into everyday life, but the plot twists just had me shaking my head in disbelief. I can’t fault the stars, or Craven for that matter, for the mediocrity of this film. It is what it is. With a bit more thought into the screenplay, and a less formulaic ending, though, Red Eye could have been a great thriller. As is, it gets a C+ .


The H is O

And for any of you who haven't seen that SNL skit, wherein Ben Stiller attempts to seduce former Eagle Glenn Frey, played by Will Ferrell, well I just feel sorry for you. Ferrell was the main reason I kept watching that show. Now I just watch sort of out of habit, or better yet, tivo it, and fast-forward through most of it. I always watch Weekend Update, though. Tina Fey, why won't you return my calls? Oh, right, you're married to Gob. He's a lucky man.

Anywho, I'm out on my "porch" right now, at about 1:30 in the morning, enjoying the weather while I still can. I'm also trying to see how many bugs I can catch with the inviting glow of the laptop display. We'll see. In WinAmp is The Postal Service, my go-to for late-night typing. Let's rock.

The folks came up last weekend to see the Brewers and drink beer. A pretty good plan, actually. The Brewers beat the living hell out of the Padres, 12-2, and we sitting in probably the wackiest section in Miller Park, full of inflatable monkeys and immediately adjacent to the visiting bullpen. Good times were had by all. Then Saturday we went to Lakefront Brewery, where for a measly 5 bucks, you get four beers and a glass to keep. Plus a tour, but that's kinda besides the point. Pictures here. Afterwards, I had to work, and they had to go home, so I stashed a six-pack in the fridge at work (shhhhh!!). I didn't drink any of it. There anyway. I'm enjoying a bottle of their Cherry Lager right now. This stuff is damn good.

I finally got the verse I'm supposed to read for Brian and Collette's wedding, but the slip in my car. I wish it was Ezekiel 25:17, but sadly no. It's that one with trees and roots and water and stuff. I'm no good at this. I'll post that later. The wedding is fast approaching though, as is my corresponding vacation, and we're down to 5 people at ol' video store.

I did interview an Andrew Lewis, if that is his real name, for a GSR, so I think we'll be okay. With Jessie, Dave and Renee all leaving, though, everyone else has really picked up the slack, and I really haven't felt any more stressed or anything. Our last inventory was one of the smoothest we've ever had, and the only store with a lower shrink percentage was Shorewood, where, might I add, they sold the least number of Double Features ever in the history of the world.

All of this is not to say that I don't miss Jessie and Dave, or soon to be Renee. I don't like change, and that is why I try to hold on to people for as long as I can, like Nick or Nikki, long after they probably should have left. If it was up to me, everyone could work at the store for as long as they wanted, and nothing would ever change. Unfortunately, that's not the way retail works. The only thing constant is change. Except for VHS, which apparently we still have to carry.

My moviegoing has tapered off a bit, as the summer draws to a close. I still need to see The Brothers Grimm and The 40 Year Old Virgin, but that's about it until Corpse Bride comes out, which is either the 16th or 23rd of September. I hate staggered releases, especially with something so big, that has box office potential. Drop the bomb, people, and Corpse Bride could win whatever weekend in September you desire. Do you really think there's a bigger audience for Exorcism of Emily Rose or The Man than Corpse Bride? Arggghhh!

I will perhaps be taking in my first drive-in movie, though, since Episode III is playing at one in Kenosha. I love the idea of drive-ins, being that you can talk and not bother anyone, or not be bothered by anyone else talking. Let's just see if the execution works.

The last week of October both Clem Snide and Ben Folds will be in Wisconsin. Screw work. Ben is in Madison on Wednesay the 26th, and the Snide is in Milwaukee at Onopa on Friday the 28th. That, my friends, is freaking awesome.

Now listening to Weezer, and finishing my beer. I still gotta get some reviews up, so watch for Red Eye, as well as a DVD-specific trifecta of Oldboy, Ong-Bak and A Cup of My Blood.

My parting words of advice to you tonight? Get some Lakefront Cherry Lager. Oh, and hummingbirds are like 40 times busier than mice.