One gets the feeling that Lane—a refreshingly unmannered actress who's always a delight to watch, even in a film as routine as this—won the battle but lost the war with Untraceable. Her character, a widowed FBI agent living in Portland, Ore., who specializes in cyber-crimes, must hunt down a twisted killer who tortures and murders his victims live on a Web site. The more hits he gets on his site, the faster a victim dies (one bleeds to death, another is submerged in skin-peeling acid). While tracking this sicko, Lane's comely cop never once squeezes into a skinny tank top or too tight skirt, nor does she set chase shod in 4-in. stilettoes. But her lack of ridiculously unsuitable garb—a welcome change from similar Hollywood films about sexily clad female law officers in peril—is not enough to keep Untraceable
from being yet another in a long line of repellent thrillers that lovingly dwell at length on a creepy psycho's grisly methods of torture for, it would seem, our viewing pleasure. Bad moviegoer.
implicitly tut-tuts those of us watching it for being thrill-seeking voyeurs; Lane and others repeatedly lecture that anyone tuning into the killer's Web site is complicit in his crimes. But then the movie serves up yet another grisly torture or murder scene. You can't have it both ways, but Untraceable
Rutina Wesley, Dwain Murphy, Tré Armstrong | PG-13 |
Every winter a teen or college-themed dance film hits multiplexes. Most are as light on content as the characters are on their feet. Not How She Move
, a surprisingly affecting, if slightly ragged, entry boasting a brainy heroine and rousing dances. After her sister's drug death depletes family funds, ambitious Raya (Wesley) reluctantly leaves her elite boarding school for a gritty Toronto high school. To raise money to return to her prep school, she joins a step dance team that competes for cash prizes. Can her love of step and school coexist? We all know the answer, but Move
makes it fun watching as Raya figures it out.
Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu | Not Rated |
For fans of foreign film, Romania is the new cinematic hot spot. Exhibit A: this poignant drama, which deservedly won the top prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Set in 1987 during the waning days of Communist rule, it's about a college student (Marinca) who's trying to help a roommate (Vasiliu) obtain an illegal abortion. Over the course of a single long day, this resourceful young woman will find her wit, ingenuity and, yes, humanity tested as she comes up against the country's brutal bureaucracy and pervasive corruption. Letting its story unfold in a series of carefully observed takes, the movie shows life at its bleakest. 4 Months
makes clear how a harsh system, while survivable, eats at the soul.
actor, 39, takes a dark turn as a prescient hit man in the drama The Air I Breathe
YOU DIE A TRAGIC DEATH IN AIR. WAS IT CHALLENGING? The hardest part was just making sure I didn't blink when I was supposed to be dead.
WOULD YOU EVER WANT TO SEE THE FUTURE, LIKE YOUR CHARACTER CAN? No, I'd rather let things unfold. I'm going to be 40 in December, cry me a river, and I've learned that usually when you trust your gut, you're going to be right.
A THIRD MUMMY FILM COMES OUT THIS SUMMER. DID YOU DO YOUR OWN STUNTS? Yes. It's always flattering when I read, "Oh, Brendan's stunt double did that." I smile to myself like, "Actually, that was me, and I walked away from it!"
For 10 days every January, new indie movies screen into the wee hours at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Here's this year's crop:
HIT MEN HAVE FEELINGS TOO Hired assassins, whose numbers in film seem disproportionately high to real life, figured as major characters in two of Sundance's better films. In Bruges
, an entertaining black comedy, stars Colin Farrell
and Brendan Gleeson as Irish hit men in Belgium. And Michael Keaton, who also directed, plays a lonely killer who falls in love in The Merry Gentleman
, a delicate fable.
BLUNT INSTRUMENTS Budding stars Amy Adams and Emily Blunt sparkled in Sunshine Cleaning
, a bittersweet comedy about sisters who open a business mopping up after murders and suicides. Blunt also contributed a tart turn as a publicist in The Great Buck Howard
, a gooey-hearted showbiz comedy starring Colin Hanks.
SO WHAT? There are hilarious one-liners in What Just Happened?
, but the satire about a Hollywood producer (Robert De Niro) plays like a lesser episode of Entourage
BEST OF THE REST Other titles that impressed include Smart People
, an engaging romantic comedy with Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker
Ellen Page, and August
, a smart drama about an Internet entrepreneur (Josh Hartnett, the movie's weakest link) who's going bust.
Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Joseph Cross | R |