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"Red Eye"

Directed by Wes Craven.
Written by Carl Ellsworth.
Starring Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, and Brian Cox.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  8/21/05


"Red Eye" had the best trailer of the year.  Truly great stuff.  You get to watch as Lisa (Rachel McAdams, from "Mean Girls" and "The Notebook") gets stuck in the airport while waiting for her Miami-bound overnight flight, gets coffee spilled on her blouse, and starts to cope the loss of her just-deceased grandmother.  She meets a mysterious man (Cillian Murphy) that happens to be on her same flight to Miami; he likes nachos, so they get to know each other over drinks and jalapenos.  Wow, look, they're even sitting next to each other on the plane!

And then, after she asks him what he does for a living, he drops it:  "Actually, my job right now"

"From the master of suspense, Wes Craven...'Red Eye.'"

I was like, damn, I can't wait to see that!  Then, the studio released the second trailer.  And, the second trailer is essentially scenes from the second half of the movie, which gives every single detail away.  For a film that is only 80 minutes long, this doesn't leave much to the imagination.

So, for me, the experience is ruined a bit since I knew the plot details coming in.  At least the production is strong.  McAdams and Murphy are both great; Murphy was especially sinister this go-round to match his work in the recent "Batman Begins."  Since they are the only two performers for the first half of the film, this is great; I can't think of the last time Wes Craven worked with such great performers, which helps drive the suspense of the affair late after the film moves off the airplane.  The film is brisk (85 minutes, my ass); it felt like it was over within an hour, it was flying by so fast.  Craven skimped on name talent for other roles in this film, and you can tell he is throwing us some spam by making us care ever so slightly about some of the other passengers on the airplane like "the old woman", "the asshole passenger" and "the little girl."  Even with all of this, "Red Eye" feels like top-notch suspense, even if it really isn't.

Now, I would be singing a much different tune if I had not seen any trailers for this film, or at worst, just the first one, the one that didn't feature car chases, a rocket launcher and gunplay.  I'll admit it--I was ruined a bit, and when you are talking about a suspense thriller that relies on you NOT knowing what's coming next, this kind of hurt the whole thing.  It seemed like Anne and Katia, two women I saw this flick with along with my buddy Ross, loved "Red Eye", and neither of them had seen a trailer.  I wish I could have helped this, but when you see movies at least twice a week, you get what you sign up for...or some such bullshit.

I can't lie--"Red Eye" wasn't bad.  I just wished that the suits in corporate would just leave well enough alone and allow directors to make their trailers intentionally suspenseful, while hoping that more movies will give us less of a sell job for future audience members.  Yeah, THAT'S going to happen!

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09