“Source Code,” the mind-bending sci-fi thriller from certified cinematic genius Duncan Jones (“Moon”) pits Jake Gyllenhaal’s Capt. Colter Stevens in a race against time. Eight minutes, to be exact.
Capt. Stevens wakes up one day on a Chicago commuter train with no recollection of how or why he’s there. He’s sitting across from a stranger, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan), as she’s explaining to him that she’s taken his advice. They continue to talk as Stevens is lost in confusion.
Eight minutes later, the train blows up.
Stevens discovers that he’s actually inhabiting the body of one of the train’s deceased passengers, and he’s on a military mission to find the train’s bomber within that eight-minute window (he revisits it over and over and over) using The Source Code program.
The Source Code is a computer-generated replica of the world, enabling the military to relive the last eight minutes of someone’s life. Because The Source Code isn’t reality, but a well-designed mirror image of it, Stevens cannot save the passengers aboard the ill-fated train. It’s the very definition of Monday-morning quarter-backing.
With a smart, high-concept script from Ben Ripley, “Source Code” is one of the best films from the first quarter of the year, and it will likely remain the best science fiction movie released in 2011.
“Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” is an anomaly. Simply put, it shouldn’t exist in 2011.
It’s a film that belongs as a late-1990s television pilot for Fox as a weak lead-in to “The X-Files,” and even then it wouldn’t have been successful.
Brandon Routh stars as the title character, a private detective in New Orleans who has tried to leave his paranormal past behind. But when a client (Anita Briem) seeks help in her father’s death, Dylan is plunged into the middle of a war between werewolves and vampires, with his trusty undead assistant Marcus (Sam Huntington) at his side.
“Dylan Dog” is a heavily flawed movie, and worst of all, it’s cheap and outdated. Watching the film is akin to revisiting a Supernintendo game after years of playing the up-to-date consoles. There’s a charm to it, but it gets old pretty fast.
The chemistry between Routh and Huntington, however, is easily the best thing about the movie. It’s undeniably funny.
“Trust,” the second film from “Friends” star David Schwimmer, is the definitive film tackling the subject of modern-day sexual predators.
Annie (Liana Liberato), 14, begins an online relationship with Charlie, 16, a studly volleyball star at his high school in California. She confides in him, goes to him for advice and obsessively chats with him online and through texting.
It’s all relatively harmless.
She learns that Charlie is “actually 20.” She’s uncomfortable with it, but continues to talk to him. Then Charlie is suddenly 25, but she’s grown to trust him.
While Annie’s parents (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener) are out of town, she decides it would be OK to meet up with Charlie at the mall. The man who greets her is a middle-aged sexual predator.
Topical and at times uncomfortable, “Trust” is at its best when it’s focused on Annie and her family coming to terms with the tragedy.
In Annie’s family, we see all the stages of grief: Denial, anger, and eventually an acceptance of sorts. It’s not a conclusion or a cure for the family, but a turning point where they’re ready to face the past, present and future.
“Trust” does stretch itself too far, sometimes veering off into Lifetime territory with a school backlash against Annie. It also crosses the line when her father begins obsessively plotting his revenge against anyone on the sex offender registry.
But as a very personal portrait of a family reeling from a sexual assault – the most baffling plague in this country as seen on “To Catch a Predator” – “Trust” is relevant and honest.
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