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4 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
David Ellis

Written By:
Larry Cohen, Chris Morgan

Caroline Aaron, Kim Basinger, Jessica Biel, Richard Burgi, Valerie Cruz, Eddie Driscoll, Noah Emmerich, John Ennis, Chris Evans, Willie Gault, Adam Taylor Gordon, Ernie Grunwald, Rick Hoffman, Lenore Kasdorf, Brendan Kelly, Mark Kubr, Adam Lieberman, William H. Macy, Matt McColm, Robert Shaye, Mircea Monroe, Rob Nagle, Eric Christian Olsen, Rachel Reynolds, Al Sapienza, Lorna Scott, Lin Shaye, Sean Smith, Jason Statham, Mary Castro, John Cenatiempo, Matt Clifford, Dean Devlin, Michael Kozak, Gino Montesinos, Alana Morshead, Peter Weireter, Sherri Shepherd, Chuck Kelley, Greg Collins, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Ron Roggé, John Churchill, Gina-Raye Carter, Garrett Dutton, Lauren Sanchez, Dat Phan, Eric Etebari, Brenda Ballard, Chase Bloch, Chelsea Bloch, Robin Brenner, Paige Cannon, Nikki Christian, Marco DiMaio, Tagert Ellis, Eric Etebari, Erin Foster, Noe Gonzalez, James Hinkle, Summer Hubbell, Robert Lawrence, Lexi Lieth, Kate London, Esther Mercado, Lara Romanoff, Paul Sunderland, Colby Greening, Andrew Michaelson, Gina Moore, Neal Orion, Brandon Osborne, Jenilee Reyes, Kid Richmond, Summer Still, Danielle Stratton, Scott Alan Taylor, Ken Weiner, Will Beinbrink, Chantille Boudousque, Ishtar Uhvana, Afsoun Yazdian, LynNita Puma

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Cellular (2004)
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Movie Review by AJ
April 13th, 2006

Cellular is not a movie. Cellular is a 90-minute long infomerical interspersed with horrendous melodrama that describes just exactly what one can do with a cell phone. If you actually rely on a cell phone as much as Chris Evans does in this film, you're either one of the scariest freaks on the face of the planet or in a really bad movie. Guess which one applies to the characters.

Within the film's first five minutes, Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger), a high school science teacher, drops her son Ricky (yes, his last name is Martin, just like that annoying piece of crap Latino singer, and a terrible joke is made about it in the movie; played by Adam Taylor Gordon) off at school, goes home, and is kidnapped by people with big guns and loud voices. That's it. No character development. Gave me a headache.

So, the kidnappers (headed by Jason Statham, because apparently, The Transporter just wasn't bad enough) take Jessica into a dank, damp room in a remote locale, and smash the telephone above her head into itty bitty pieces so she won't be able to call for help. However, they do not realize how much they've underestimated her. For Jessica is more than just your average, ordinary science teacher; she's got to be the best darned electrician in the whole of California, as she manages to piece together some of the ripped wires and connects a call to a cell phone owned by a college kid named Ryan (Chris Evans). At first, Ryan is skeptical of Jessica's claims, but eventually comes to believe her, and tries desperately to find out where she is and to stop the kidnappers. Using a Nokia cell phone. What Cast Away did for FedEx, Cellular does for Nokia, just without the whole "good movie" part. The guy's in way over his head, getting involved in some kind of contrived, badly-plotted police conspiracy; let's face it, you would've hung up.

The Nokia cell phone in question is used as a video recording device, an audio recording device, a web browser, a map viewer, a text messenger, and many other things, including an underwater nuclear missile sattelite detector. Well, maybe not that last one, though it is feasible given the entirely gimmicky nature of the flick.

The problem is not Larry Cohen's story (though it bears a striking resemblance to Phone Booth, which he wrote), so much as it is Chris Morgan's screenplay. Morgan has here devised a thriller in which every twist is predictable, and those that aren't come out as some nightmarish vision of how bad action cinema can really be. David R. Ellis, as director, also brings nothing to the table, providing another bland, stale product to make a quick buck or two before eventually fading into obscurity, where, hopefully, it shall lie for the rest of its existence.

Ellis makes each car chase or complicated action scene feel like a television movie, or maybe more accurately, a television commercial. The cars, sleeker and better-looking than any you'd ever actually see in real life, roll by the camera smoothly, looking much too perfect and removing the film from any kind of realism that could've maybe helped ground it enough to display some basic human emotions, of which it tries to portray, but ends up doing very, very badly.

Then again, with actors as bad as these, you'd be hard-pressed to get any emotion out of them without repeatedly prodding them with a small cylindrical object injecting 10,000 volts of electricity into their brains. Chris Evans has yet to do a good job in anything he's been in, and, as such, this pattern continues here. Jason Statham is a walking, talking bundle of "grr"...meaning to say that he has nothing to say, nothing to do, and no real purpose other than to intimidate, which he does very poorly. Kim Basinger, though not a great actress, was memorable in movies like 8 Mile and L.A. Confidential. Here, however, she is absolutely godawful. I recall bursting out laughing in the theater watching her string together melodramatic sentence after melodramatic sentence. I've seen better acting on The Young & the Restless.

Though the actors do a unanimously terrible job, there is one bright spot. William H. Macy, who has always been a brilliant performer. He is both the best and worst parts of the film. He's the best part due to the fact that he's the only one who actually turns out quality work here; the worst because it's so sad that he's had to resort to this kind of mind-numbing dreck to get a paycheck. Eight years ago, he was in Fargo, an excellent film; four years ago, he was in Panic, an even better one; and now he's in Cellular. That's a meteoric rise and fall if ever I've seen one. Here's to hoping Macy gets back on his feet some time soon, as it would be a shame to see such a gifted man in any more movies as awful as this one is.

--Full review at REELPICKS.CJB.NET--

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