Tuesday, January 13, 2009


We try to see all of Nicolas Cage's movies. First, to see how this academy-award winner is doing. Secondly, to see how bad his choices are sometimes. His choices, however, are always interesting. While I didn't entirely enjoy Ghost Rider, I could appreciate specific parts of it and understand what appealed to him about the project itself.

The premise of his latest movie, Next, is that a man can see two minutes into the future. That's it. Not great, huh? But enough to often slip by the police or whomever else is trying to do him wrong. It's an interesting premise. And the movie offers a thrilling opening.

Cris Johnson is a bit-rate magician in Las Vegas. Some of his tricks are sleight-of-hand, but some are real. Thankfully the movie doesn't spend a lot of time on Cris' gig, but goes right to the blackjack table. Of course, we'd all like to win like he does, but few of us would be as cautious, winning just a few thousand at a time. Nothing showy. But, still, someone's watching, and he escapes, leading the police through a crazy car chase through Vegas.

One piece of his gift, however, is that, when a certain girl is involved (played by Jessica Biel), he can see more into the future than just a few minutes. He just hasn't met her yet. Cris' eventual meeting with her and their adventures together are what make up the real story.

I must say that, in spite of myself, I really enjoyed this movie. Cage himself is always watchable, and you never quite know what he's going to do. I would have found him charming if a bit spooky, which is exactly how Biel's character responds to him. He's still got it, the ability to read a line and imbue it with several meanings at once, all of them ironic.

And the writing of Next is wonderfully deft. The dialogue was sometimes stupid, but the layers of plot were interesting even though there appeared to be a hole or two in the logic of the whole thing.

Next is thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end, and the payoff is more than I had hoped. Add to that Cage's still potent acting ability, Biel's up-and-coming acting chops, and the appearance of Julianne Moore as a hardass FBI agent, and you have one thrilling movie.

Thumb's up.

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At 10:25 AM, Blogger Melinda said...

I used to like Nicholas Cage, but so many of his recent films have been duds for me...but this one sounds really interesting! This is one I'll rent - thanks!!!


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