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PCR #414 (Vol. 9, No. 9) This edition is for the week of February 25--March 2, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Vantage Point"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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MOVIE REVIEW
"Vantage Point"  by Mike Smith
RETRORAMA
Dr. Paul Bearer: The Lost Photographs – Part 2  by ED Tucker
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Book Review: Historical Photos of Tampa. Text and captions by Ralph Brower  by Lisa Ciurro
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Remembering Dick Fletcher  by Paul Guzzo
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Happy Birthday Famous Monsters....Another Icon Lost....Oscar Miss....2 Weeks Left For Rondo  by Matt Drinnenberg
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Politics .... Oscar Recap .... Speaking Of Winners (not) .... Passing On .... Corrections .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1990 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox and Forest Whitaker
Directed by: Pete Travis
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 30 mins


Remember the old commercial for Certs breath mints that promoted the tasty mints as “two, two, two mints in one?” I hope so because “Vantage Point” is the Certs of movie-making. Yes, it’s two, two, two movies in one.

Movie one follows no less than five people attending a speech by the President of the United States (William Hurt) in Spain. A worldwide agreement on dealing with terrorism has been reached and the president is scheduled to speak in one of those wide open plazas Europe is famous for. As the Global News Network follows the story, the director (Sigourney Weaver) notices secret service agent Barnes (Quaid) with the president. This is a story in itself as Barnes has just returned to duty after having taken a bullet for the president in a failed assassination attempt. I’m not giving anything away here by saying that shortly after the prez hits the stage shots are fired.

Howard Lewis (Whitaker) is visiting Spain as away to distance himself from his slowly crumbling marriage. He learns of the president’s upcoming speech and files into the plaza, video camera at the ready. I’m not giving anything away here by saying that shortly after the prez hits the stage shots are fired.

Reporter Angie Jones (Zoe Saldana) is in a plaza in Spain about to report on the president’s speech. I’m not giving anything away here by saying that shortly after the prez hits the stage shots are fired. Get the picture. For reasons known only to the director, the first 23 minutes (we know this because a clock starting at 12:00 and going through 12:23 is on screen) of the film are shown through the eyes of these characters and more. And while you pick up something vital with each flashback, you also come away with a sense of disappointment because you’ve sat on the edge of your seat and really learned nothing . Each flashback contains a scene or two that could have easily been written into someone else’s story, thereby stopping the necessity of backwards moving film and squeaky sounds.

Movie two puts all of the above together and throws in a spectacular car chase through the narrow streets of the small village. As the pieces start to be revealed, you realize you really didn’t need to sit through all of the “flashbacks” in the beginning. You could have just watched all of the little twists as the film unfolded and been just as happy. Director Travis seems to have been a student of the “Bourne” films, and, with the exception of the jumpy beginning, he has crafted a well made feature film debut. The cast, particularly Quaid and Whitaker , do their best to keep the story moving which, as I’ll say again, gives the movie its own spirit. It’s nice to see Weaver and Hurt reunited on screen for the first time since 1981’s “Eyewitness.” If I had one question it’s this: does the US really employ look-a-like body doubles for the President? This is mentioned in the film. And if the secret service does in fact do this, do they notify the switched person that an assassination attempt has been confirmed?

A decent thriller that takes time to get started, on a scale of zero to four stars I give “Vantage Point”


 


This week's movie review of "Vantage Point" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.