From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Friday, March 13, 2009

Knowing - D

Rated PG-13 for disaster sequences, disturbing images and brief strong language, 110 minutes

You're better off without "Knowing" - a disasterous Cage disaster flick

I can only imagine how the new action-adventure "Knowing" was pitched to the studios: A Nicolas Cage disaster flick. If they only knew how redundant that'd be after they saw the finished product. "Knowing" is a ridiculous, big-budgeted and badly-acted piece of junk starring Cage dealing with the apocalypse. I didn't buy a single minute of this disasterous mess, and worst of all, it's a crashing bore.

Cage is MIT professor John Koestler, and single parent to Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), an intelligent boy who must wear a hearing aid. Caleb goes to an elementary school that digs up a time capsule filled with pictures that students 50 years ago drew. The drawing that Caleb gets is a paper filled with numbers, and before long John analyzes and realizes that these numbers have predicted just about every disaster in the last 50 years.

Worse, there are still a few numbers that haven't been used, which tellingly predict the end times, and they chillingly start coming to life. John and Caleb find Diana (Rose Byrne) and her daughter Abby (Lara Robinson), daughter and grand-daughter of the weird girl who originally wrote down all the numbers in the first place to try to get some insight into all this weirdness. In addition, some mysterious blond dudes who whisper with their brains and shine bright lights with their mouths follow all of them around but who may be able to shed some light (literally) as to the details on the end of the world.

"Knowing" is a true disaster in every sense of the word, from the ridiculously silly and contrived plot to the exceedingly bad acting from Cage and Byrne. Cage, a talented Oscar winner, has a capability of delivering stellar performances (anything he did before 1996, along with 2002's "Adaptation"), but he's since sold out to being an overpaid, big-budgeted action movie star. He now wildly overacts in every movie, and while some are entertaining ("National Treasure," "World Trade Center") others are truly dreadful ("The Wicker Man").

Rank "Knowing" in the dreadful category, but it isn't entirely Cage's fault. Most of it would fall on director Alex Proyas ("I, Robot"), who takes a interesting premise, starts it out intriguing and lets it crash into sheer boredom, confusion and contrivances. Only in a movie like this would Cage's character be able to predict the end of the world in one overnight setting, and those weird blonde "whispering" guys are just a little too creepy (they can't talk but can drive - go figure).

"Knowing" is peppered with a few (but not near enough) mildly entertaining disaster scenes, though they lack realism and power and aren't well integrated into the film. The whole last act leading up to a dumb ending is just downright laughable (adding some Biblical references to infer that Cage's character is the prophet we've been waiting for), and for something like this, the special effects are remarkably underused. Byrne is a decent Australian actress seen in the excellent cable TV series "Damages," but "Knowing" will certainly not advance her movie career.

Jim Carrey crashed and burned with similar material in the awful "The Number 23" and Cage likewise goes down in flames with "Knowing." I know Cage has his many fans that will probably turn out at least the first weekend to see it, but more bad movies like this and Cage could lose a considerable portion of his fanbase. "Knowing" is one of the worst films of 2009 and ranks as one of Cage's worst movies to date, which saying something given "The Wicker Man" and "Ghost Rider." Stay away if it all possible.