Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.
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My name: Brian Martin
When 16-year-old Ruby and her younger brother, Rhett, are orphaned, they go to live with the Glasses, old friends of their parents. Off-setting the opulence of their new digs are the Glasses themselves: Erin, who might be addicted to drugs, and Terrence, who can't keep his eyes off Ruby. And that's just for starters. The Glasses, Ruby learns, are hiding something, and they have sinister plans for her and Rhett.
If you sorta halfway pay attention, you will guess what those plans are pretty quickly. And that is the undoing of this movie: it's technically very good, so it grabs your attention early, leaving it nowhere surprising to go.
But it's worse than this because where it goes is not only unsurprising, it is like something from a different genre. In fact, I got the feeling that the central mystery of what the Glasses are after was pulled from a movie with an older demographic in mind. It's hard to imagine this movie was aimed at adults. And equally hard to imagine teenagers identifying with the Glasses' problems. The movie starts with Ruby and her friends watching a slasher film at a theater. But would they have been there if the slasher turned out to be a shady businessman who went crazy because the IRS was about to audit him? This is a thriller, not a horror movie. But it's a thriller starring a 16-year-old girl that should have been a horror movie. Maybe then it would have done more than break even.
Because the acting and direction are good, this is a watchable movie. And Leelee Sobieski is very watchable herself. But it isn't anything more than that.
(It originally came out three days after 9/11 and one idiotic review, by Edward Guthmann in The San Francisco Chronicle, took Columbia Pictures to task for not holding this "tawdry thriller" back. "Demonstrating a huge ethical void on the part of its executives," Guthman wrote, "Columbia dismissed the need for national healing, disregarded the possibility of a public-relations disaster and respected instead its profit incentive." "Profit incentive" is what America is all about. Isn't it funny how ashamed we can be of our country when it gets exposed for its own tawdriness? I wonder if Guthman refused payment for his review. No, I don't.)