Source Code (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 8
(OUT OF 10)
Director Duncan Jones follows up on his excellent Moon with this mind-bending thriller about a military man (Jake Gyllenhaal) being sent back in time to prevent a terrorist attack.
That's the short way to describe it. Truth is, the film is far more complicated and mysterious than that, featuring Gyllenhaal's best work since Brokeback Mountain.
Gyllenhaal's character winds up on a train where he is forced to re-live the same eight minutes over and over again, in an effort to solve a bombing mystery. Michelle Monaghan is excellent as a wonderful woman who doesn't know she is going to get blown up. She creates somebody extremely likable, which makes her every moment onscreen heartbreaking, because we know about her character's fate.
The film keeps viewers guessing and involved throughout its running time, which is more than I can say for most thrillers. Jones is up there with the best of them when it comes to putting together great sci-fi films. He's a writer-director who doesn't seem interested in anything routine (much like his dad, David Bowie). When it comes to new directors blazing unique trails, Jones is at the forefront.
Source Code ranks high as far as this year's films are concerned. As for Jones, he recently missed out on a couple of high-profile gigs when he was passed over for the new Superman reboot in favor of Zack Snyder, and the next Wolverine movie for James Mangold. He'd have been a better choice for either of those movies.
Jones is working on another original work, so maybe it's OK that he won't be going the summer-blockbuster route just yet. If he keeps putting out films with the power of Moon and Source Code, he won't need other people's intellectual properties to catapult him to A-list director status.
SPECIAL FEATURES: There are some pretty nice special features on this one. Jones does a commentary with Gyllenhaal and writer Ben Ripley that is enjoyable and informative. There are also some featurettes that can be accessed through a feature called "Access: Source Code." A good disc for a great movie.
SPECIAL FEATURES F
DVD GEEK FACTOR 4
(OUT OF 10)
Despite an earth-shattering central performance from Liana Liberato, director David Schwimmer can't elevate this Internet-sex-predator drama past the level of Lifetime Movie of the Week status.
Liberato plays Annie, a high school student and volleyball player who begins an Internet-chat-room relationship with someone she believes to be her own age. When it comes time to meet him, he is an older man who is obviously playing games with her—yet Annie can't turn him away. She winds up the victim of statutory rape in a seedy motel room.
Her parents (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener) react in different ways, with Owen's father character occupying a revenge subplot that drags the movie down. As he patrols the streets for sex predators and bumps heads with the FBI investigation, it feels like a bad Death Wish-like film.
Liberato is certainly an actress to be reckoned with. Her performance is always solid, even when the script lets her down, which it sometimes does in brutal fashion. Schwimmer gets a little heavy-handed at times, but he deserves a lot of credit for capturing Liberato's performance. She almost makes the film worth watching.
Owen doesn't do bad work here, but his character gets too much running time. Liberato's Annie is the true character of interest, so anything involving Owen's guilt-stricken father, who is slowly losing his mind, feels like it should be in another movie.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You'll get nuthin' but trailers—and you'll like it!
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
20TH CENTURY FOX
SPECIAL FEATURES F
DVD GEEK FACTOR 3.5
(OUT OF 10)
Hey, I almost liked this movie!
Brandon Routh plays a private investigator who journeys deep into the dark side of Louisiana, where vampires, zombies and werewolves are causing mayhem. There's a lot of nonsense involving some ancient artifact, Dylan's dead girlfriend and monsters fighting with each other; it all seems like too much for one movie.
Yes, the movie is an overstuffed mess, but it does have a few things going for it. However, it steals from a bunch of other movies, so what transpires here can hardly be called original.
It's fun to see the reunion of Routh and Sam Huntington. (They played Superman and Jimmy Olsen, respectively, in Superman Returns.) A subplot involving Huntington's reluctant transformation into a zombie is probably the best thing about the movie.
The special effects are hit-and-miss, but I did really like the final monster in the movie: Taye Diggs' vampire transforms into some sort of super gargoyle thing. It looks cool.
As for Routh, he's OK here, if a little too laid back. Huntington steals his scenes and most of the movie.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get nuthin'!