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PCR #390 (Vol. 8, No. 37) This edition is for the week of September 10--16, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Brave One"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Ray Bradbury at 87 .... VHS Grindhouse: The Undying Monster  by Andy Lalino
Maybe He Can Room With Hinckley .... Just A Coincidence .... Finally .... Passing On  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard and Nicky Katt
Directed by: Neil Jordan
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours

I think it's only fair to disclose that my first movie star crush was Jodie Foster. The 1976 double shot of "Freaky Friday" and "Bugsy Malone" made my heart swoon. Of course, as I got older I graduated to Susan Sarandon. Then Judith Ivey. And now, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Now that I've got this out in the open you can rest assured that the following review is not written from the heart.

In New York City a loved one is brutally killed. Revenge is sworn and before you know it, bad guys are turning up dead. The police are on the case but the lead detective may be turning a blind eye to the truth. Sound familiar? If you said I just described the plot of "Death Wish," then give yourself a pat on the back. It's also the plot of this week's "The Brave One," only with the roles reversed and no creepy Jeff Goldblum showing up as a rapist.

Erica(Foster) is a popular radio personality in New York City. She spends the day recording the sounds of the city and then builds her show around them. She is also engaged to the very handsome David (Naveen Andrews from television's "Lost"). One night while out walking their dog they are attacked and brutally beaten by a group of street thugs. David dies. Erica wishes she had. After several weeks in the hospital Erica is released. Now when she walks the streets she has a sense of fear. The sounds she so easily gathered up and shared on her program now have different meanings to her. The familiar sound of footsteps approaching now send off warning bells. Erica decides to buy a gun for protection. However, since she doesn't want to wait the 30 days to get a license, she goes on the black market and soon finds herself the owner of a 9mm automatic. One night, while shopping, she witnesses the murder of a store clerk. Realizing that the shooter will also kill her she shoots him dead. Self defense? Of course. But now she senses a power she thought had been taken from her. The power to survive.

Taken at face value, "The Brave One" is 110 minutes of fine filmmaking. Sadly, the film is 120 minutes long. First, the good stuff. Foster is outstanding as Erica. When we first meet Erica, she is finishing up a radio show and Foster's smooth, smoky voice sounds perfect for the medium. After David's death, she runs a gamut of emotions, reacting angrily when challenged or breaking down when long ago ordered wedding invitations finally show up. Foster has two Oscars already and another nomination here is not out of the questions. Part two of the good stuff is Terrence Howard. In the past couple of years he has firmly established himself as one of Hollywood's best and he continues his run here. The rest of the cast, with the exception of Nicky Katt as Howard's wise acre partner, is pretty much standard casting 101. And that brings us the bad stuff, heretofore known as the script. The story keeps on putting Erica in harm's way, so much that you're not sure why. I mean, would a woman alone really ride on the subway at night? Or jump into a cab to protect a young woman she doesn't even know? Her violent reactions to what goes on around her are expected and, sadly, even cheered by the ladies in the audience. However, give credit to the leads for keeping the audience interested until the end. Then everyone goes their own way and I don't know what movie I was watching.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "The Brave One":

This week's movie review of "The Brave One" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.