The painfully inscrutable paranormal thriller "Push" introduces us to a host of characters with various gifts. Some can see the future, some can heal, some can plant ideas, some can make change for a dollar.
By the times the credits roll, your most fervent wish is to run into a "wiper" (one who can erase memories) after stumbling into the lobby. That or a telepath who could convince you that you just watched "Slumdog Millionaire" instead.
We are told in a windy, opening-credits prologue that psychic experiments started by those darned Nazis are now being continued by the U.S. government (add another item to Obama's to-do list) in order to create some kind of super-freaky-powerful army or else transform toxic waste into a mountain of jelly beans.
Like a lot of things in David Bourla's script, it's left unclear, as are the rules of engagement once the philanthropic-minded telepaths battle the evil mind-benders bent on world domination.
What we do know with reasonable certainty is that telekinetic Nick Gant (Chris Evans) and clairvoyant Cassie (Dakota Fanning) must recover a powerful experimental drug in the jam-packed streets of Hong Kong before Division Agent Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou) gets his hands on it. Thought-pusher Kira (Camilla Belle) took the serum and actually lived, which means she either has a strong constitution or ... what?
Maybe the answer lies in the Bermuda Triangle, containing the footage that seems to have been abruptly cut from the movie.
The film's 111-minute running time is 10 minutes shorter than the length listed in the press notes. To which the only reasonable response is to say: Thanks!
Director Paul McGuigan ("Lucky Number Slevin") has never been keen on plot logic, and that might be fine here if he offered anything other than Peter Sova's lush images of Hong Kong. Concepts are introduced and immediately abandoned. When Nick devises the inspired idea for his band of harried pranksters to behave illogically to throw the "watchers" off their scent, it'd be nice for a little wackiness to ensue instead of simply another inert action sequence. (Hats off, though, for the scene in which Evans threatens Hounsou with levitating revolvers. Sometimes the best effects are also the cheesiest.)
Fanning, apparently bummed at missing the audition for "Bratz: The Movie," wanders around in a miniskirt and rainbow-colored hair, hurling the occasional profanity and looking decidedly lost. When Cassie downs a fifth of whiskey to see the future more clearly (and haven't we all done that?), Fanning turns into a mean cutie-pie drunk, demonstrating such a complete lack of firsthand knowledge that you can only salute her parents for a job well done.
Now they just need to take better care of her career.
Check out the trailer for 'Push'
Push MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action, intense sequences of violence, smoking and teen drinking).
Running time: 1:51.
Starring: Chris Evans (Nick); Dakota Fanning (Cassie); Camilla Belle (Kira); Djimon Hounsou (Henry Carver).
Directed by Paul McGuigan; screenplay by David Bourla; edited by Nicolas Trembasiewicz; photographed by Peter Sova; production design by Francois Seguin; music by Neil Davidge; produced by Glenn Williamson, Bruce Davey and William Vince. A Summit Entertainment release.
"Slumdog Millionaire" Leads the Way
81st Academy Award Oscar Winners 2009
In much the same manner that the film captured the hearts of movie-goers, "Slumdog Millionaire" captured the hearts and votes of the Academy garnering 8 Oscars in total, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Sean Penn won his second Best Actor Academy Award for his role as Harvey Milk in the movie "Milk," while Kate Winslett won her first Oscar in the Best Actress category for he role as Hanna Schmitz in "The Reader."
Heath Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," posthumously. Ledger died on January 22, 2008 after an accidental drug overdose. Penelope Cruz won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Elena Maria in "Vicky Christina Barcelona."
"WALL-E" took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature:
This year's top Academy Awards nominated film, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with 13 Oscar nominations, won 3 Oscars (Achievement in Art Direction, Makeup & Visual Effects).
Recent Movie Reviews - Films in Theaters
Joaquin Phoenix plays Leonard who's in his 30s but living with his parents after a broken engagement, a bout of depression and a suicide attempt. His parents push him toward a nice Jewish girl (Vinessa Shaw), but he's drawn to a bubbly blond neighbor (Gwyneth Paltrow). The film is a small, delicate concoction of moods and moments, focused squarely on the talented Phoenix.
Directed by Bruce Hendricks, who also fashioned the recent Miley Cyrus 3-D concert movie, this ostensible concert documentary is awkwardly stitched together from candy-gloss arena concert footage and somewhat grimier-looking backstage/limo/hotel room moments. The Brothers come across more machine-tooled than homespun. Their grasps for authenticity -- they do write their own songs and play their instruments -- just feel like another layer of artifice, and their songs bleed together, one bouncing clap-along chorus to the next.
The International (2-1/2 Stars)
Clive Owen & Naomi Watts in the Movie The International
Director Tom Tykwer's thriller is all over the place, both geographically and in terms of audience satisfaction. Clive Owen plays an Interpol agent working with his ally in the New York DA's office (Naomi Watts) to bust a nefarious bank. Some of the set pieces are terrific, particularly the opening scene in Berlin and a shootout at the Guggenheim Museum, but getting in and out of such sequences is not the film's strong suit. Tykwer ("Run Lola Run") has a way with complex cinematic mayhem, but "International" is tripped up by klutzy, formulaic dialogue.
Confessions of a Shopaholic (1-1/2 Stars)
Isla Fisher & Hugh Dancy in the Movie Confessions of a Shopaholic
This thin, largely unfunny comedy marries lazy filmmaking with bad timing -- a recession probably isn't the right time for a movie about a woman whose passion is shopping for high-end clothes. Star Isla Fisher ("Wedding Crashers") is charming enough, but this material is so predictable and leaden that she has no prayer of keeping it afloat.
Friday the 13th (1-1/2 Stars)
Clive Jared Padalecki & Danielle Panabaker in the Movie Friday the 13th
Having endured a series of increasingly bizarre sequels, machete-wielding Jason Voorhees hits the reset button and starts anew -- Mickey Rourke-esque, if you will. This new "Friday the 13th," savvier and snappier than the 1980 original, is a needed return to simplicity: A diverse group of teens visits Camp Crystal Lake, where they engage in naughty behavior before being impaled. After years of "Hostel"-style torture, this straightforward arrow-through-the-eye-socket approach is almost refreshing.
The Class Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie The Class
This fantastic film takes place in a working-class, multiethnic Parisian middle school, where an unruly world of conflict, frustration and joy comes to life. Francois Begaudeau plays a version of himself; he taught in a Paris middle school and wrote a book about it, and "The Class" distills that book into a year in the life of a teacher and his combative, highly stimulating students. A documentary approach is the key to the film's success, with real students playing characters, some based on themselves, some not. In French, with English subtitles.
Coraline Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Coraline
An intelligent preteen (Dakota Fanning) discovers a tiny door in the wall of her immense home that leads to a parallel universe offering a brighter, more inviting version of the same house, and her same parents. "Coraline" may not be for all tastes, and it's certainly not for all kids, given its macabre premise. But Henry Selick's film advances the stop-motion animation genre through that most heartening of attributes: quality. It pulls audiences into a meticulously detailed universe, familiar in many respects, menacing in others.
Fanboys Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Fanboys
This comedy follows a quintet of Star Wars fanatics on a 1998 journey from Ohio to their Holy Grail: George Lucas Skywalker Ranch in California, where they hope to bust into the joint and sneak a look at a work print of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It all should have been wilder and funnier. For a comedy of fanboy insanity to fly, it has to be a little less beholden to the pop-culture phenoms it is satirizing, however affectionately.
He's Just Not That Into You Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie He's Just Not That Into You
The film adaptation of Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo's 2004 relationship-advice book is a sprawling, many-threaded series of stories, most of which contradict the book's advice about moving on when facing a lack of commitment. Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore and Ben Affleck head the cast of this romantic comedy, which has some fun with its bubble-gum tone until a rash of ridiculous happy endings takes all the bite out of the premise
Pink Panther 2 Movie Review & Trailer
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Pink Panther 2
This disposable Pink Panther sequel follows the 2006 remake and once again features Steve Martin as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. The cast (which also includes Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, John Cleese and Lily Tomlin) sprints way out ahead of the material. Most of it would work twice as well if the filmmakers had eased up and allowed the performers to interact -- to do their thing in medium shot, without a lot of pushy close-ups and overemphasis, so that their bodies might inform what their faces are up to.
Push Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Push
Psychic experiments started by the Nazis are being continued by the U.S. government, and so a telekinetic (Chris Evans) and a clairvoyant (Dakota Fanning) must recover a powerful experimental drug in the jam-packed streets of Hong Kong before a government agent (Djimon Hounsou) gets his hands on it. Director Paul McGuigan ("Lucky Number Slevin") has never been keen on plot logic, and that might be fine if his inscrutable film offered anything other than lush images of Hong Kong
Taken Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Taken
Liam Neeson plays a former CIA spook whose clandestine career bled into his home and led to a divorce. After traffickers kidnap his daughter in Europe, our hero has 96 hours to save her, and he wastes no time karate-chopping his way through every mime and baguette peddler in France.
The movie overheats quickly, but Neeson and the filmmakers manage to make the Charles Bronson-style simplicity work.
Renee Zellweger plays a hotshot Miami businesswoman whose firm assigns her to oversee a workforce reduction at a food-processing plant in New Ulm, Minn. Easygoing Harry Connick Jr. plays the union rep.
The Uninvited Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie The Uninvited
After a stay in a psychiatric clinic, teenager Anna (Emily Browning) returns home, with her father (David Strathairn) now engaged to the caregiver (Elizabeth Banks) who oversaw Anna's invalid mother in her last days, before a fatal fire. Anna attempted suicide after the tragedy, and now she's plagued by visions, one of which appears to be her late mother, crying out for revenge.
Waltz With Bashir Movie Review & Trailer
Academy Award Oscar Nomination for Best Foreign Film
An extraordinary achievement and a true visual feast, Ari Folman's animated "Waltz With Bashir" is a detective story as well as an moral inquiry into the specific horrors of one war (the 1982 Lebanon War), and one man's buried memories of it.
Outlander Movie Review & Trailer
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Outlander
Viking warriors and a stoic intergalactic traveler (Jim Caviezel) join forces in the eighth century to combat an enormous beetle with whiplash stingers.
- Paul Blart: Mall Cop
- Last Chance Harvey
- Hotel for Dogs
- The Movie "Che"
- Bride Wars
- Not Easily Broken
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Marley & Me
- The Wrestler
- Bedtime Stories
- The Reader
- The Spirit
- Yes Man
- The Tale of Despereaux
- Gran Torino
- Seven Pounds
- Frost / Nixon
- The Day the Earth Stood Still
- Dark Streets
- Nothing Like The Holidays
- Cadillac Records
- Nobel Son
- Punisher: War Zone
- Four Christmases
- Transporter 3
- A Christmas Tale (Un Conte de Noel)
- Quantum of Solace
- Slumdog Millionaire
- Madagascar Escape 2 Africa
- Role Models
- Soul Men
- Zack & Miri Make A Porno
- I've Loved You So Long
- Pride and Glory
- High School Musical 3: Senior Year
- Happy Go Lucky
- What Just Happened
- Sex Drive
- The Secret Life of Bees
- Oliver Stone's "W."
- Max Payne
- The Express
- Body of Lies
- Rachel Getting Married
- City of Ember
- Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
- How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
- Eagle Eye
- Nights in Rodanthe
- Miracle at Saint Anna
- The Lucky Ones
- The Duchess
- Ghost Town
- Lakeview Terrace
- A Girl Cut in Two
- The Women
- Burn After Reading
- I Served the King of England
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
- Sixty Six
- The Rocker
- Death Race
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- Pineapple Express
- The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
- Step Brothers
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- Journey to the Center of the Earth
- Get Smart
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- Kung Fu Panda
- Sex and The City: The Movie
- Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- Iron Man
- Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose
- Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth
- Julie Christie as Fiona Anderson in Away from Her
- Laura Linney as Wendy Savage in The Savages
- Ellen Page as Juno MacGuff in Juno
- Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
- George Clooney as Michael Clayton in Michael Clayton
- Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd
- Tommy Lee Jones in In the Valley of Elah
- Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai in Eastern Promises
- No Country wins Best Picture, Best Director. Daniel Day-Lewis wins best actor for his role in "There Will Be Blood". Javier Bardem, Tilda Swinton Win Supporting Role Academy Awards, Ratatouille awarded Oscar for Best Animation Feature