Friday, February 29, 2008

Vantage Point

Vantage Point is a gimmick movie. It features the same story from eight different viewpoints that each reveal something new about the same incident. Nothing new is really offered here, except this gimmick. Surprisingly, it seems to work for the most part. Apparently they couldn't keep this up for the entire movie, though, because the concept breaks down a little after the halfway point, and it becomes an action move like any other.

You're going to have to suspend all disbelief before going into Vantage Point. The movie is nothing but over elaborate amounts of characters and pretty unbelievable coincidences. The entire movie takes place over the course of a very short period of time- no more than an hour. The event is a presidential assassination attempt, shown several times, with a little bit more revealed every time. Dennis Quaid stars as the president's (William Hurt) bodyguard. The movie essentially opens with the attack, and as Quaid figures something out, we are flashed back to find out what happened.

The rest of the cast is fairly reputable as well (if you can call Dennis Quaid reputable). Forrest Whitaker plays the ultimate good samaritan tourist, and acts like we all hope we would in that situation. Sigourney Weaver plays a surprisingly small role as a news director. Matthew Fox plays Quaid's partner, and cast of relative unknowns fill out the rest. There were a lot of characters in this movie, and I frequently lost track of who was who, and what their roles were. I know this is kind of the point of the movie, but even after things were revealed I still found myself not completely following some parts- which I found mildly annoying.

Vantage Point didn't play out like a mystery that we were swept up in (which would have been pretty neat). We seldom see the clues as Quaid does. Instead we're shown everything that lead up to it, leaving nothing for us to actually figure out. My only complaint about this is actually a trend that is plaguing the entire movie industry today- they gave away the biggest surprise in the trailer. Now the only thing we're really surprised by is rather tacked on, and not all that motivated.

I did appreciate the flow of the different points of view. Director Pete Travis, and writer Barry Levi took a fairly intelligent approach to this. It starts out with the camera crew's point of view, gradually moving in closer to the point of view of the assassins themselves. Not only is this the logical approach to slowly revealing more information, but it also eases the audience into the story. We start out from the most objective point of view, almost literally seeing the event from afar. Then we're pulled deeper into it with each iteration. I just wish they didn't fall into the gimmick of actually rewinding the film each time. Video plays a major roll in the movie, with Quaid putting the pieces together from 3 different cameras, but come on.

I can't talk about this movie without mentioning the fantastic car chase that consumes the final ten minutes. It's up there with Ronin miraculously speeding through narrow Spanish streets. There were many complaints about the unrealistic nature of this, and the even more unrealistic super-human speed possessed by Whitaker. Though these are valid complaints, they didn't bother me at all during the movie. When a chase seen (both in cars and on foot) is crafted this well to keep me excited for the entire duration, those little nit-picky details don't matter. It did its job and kept me on edge the whole time.

Some parts worked, and some parts didn't. It's still just an action movie, with fairly disappointing or unexplained twists. But it is exciting, and they manage to keep the same event interesting eight different times. They have to be given credit for that.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Be Kind Rewind

This was a wonderful break from the early year monotony. If you have ever played with a video camera, or ever dreamed of making movies, you'll enjoy this movie. It's not brilliant writing, and much of the plot is just thrown together. But Be Kind Rewind delivers what it promises- fun and laughs.

Michel Gondry has run the gambit from music videos, to the emotionally driven Eternal Sunshine, to the visual feast of The Science of Sleep, to even the documentary about Dave Chappelle. Each of these are completely different, but fantastic in their unique ways. Be Kind Rewind combines some of his innovative film-making, with an inner city urban feel that he probably picked up from Chappelle. Though it's still just a French director's caricatured impression of the ghetto.

The plot is rather simple- the best comedies are. Danny Glover plays Mr. Fletcher, the owner of a video rental store. He leaves on a fact-finding mission of how to bring the store up to code, and leaves the simple minded Mike (Mos Def) in charge. His friend, Jerry (Jack Black), after an accident at a power station becomes magnetized, and erases all of the tapes in the store. In a desperate move to prevent Mr. Fletcher from finding out, they record a home-made version of Ghost Busters in the hopes of deceiving one of their senile customers (Mia Farrow). Word gets out, and soon the two of them, and a neighbor, Alma (Melonia Diaz), are taking requests and remaking everybody's favorite movies.

The movie was not without its faults. Alma is brought in almost randomly with no exposition. Same thing goes with several of the characters. Most of the inconsistencies, and some of the odd directing didn't bother me. The problems with an almost complete lack of motivation in any the characters did bother me. Also, some of the effects were, well, sub-par at best. This wouldn't have been an issue, especially considering the low budget themes, but the use of even mediocre CG work isn't terribly low budget- just poorly done.

The actual production of these remakes was by far the best part. Men in Black, Rush Hour, King Kong, Boyz in the Hood, Carrie, Robocop, Driving Miss Daisy, and countless other movies were all touched by their camcorder. And yes, they even did the Lion King, resulting in the best line in the movie ("any ideas how we're going to shoot an animated movie?") As the movie progresses, more and more neighborhood residents get in on the act, in hopes of saving the store from being foreclosed.

The togetherness that these movies brewed among the community was genuinely heartwarming. I couldn't help but smile seeing the looks on their faces while watching the movies they were starring in. Cheesy, but delightful moments like these made me forgive some the weaker points. It seems Gondry put character development, and any sort of real resolution on the back burner, in favor of focusing on the re-maked movies themselves. That's okay, because that's what makes this movie unique.



No Country for Old Men

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Diablo Cody, Juno

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

The Counterfeiters (Austria)


Sweeney Todd

There Will Be Blood

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Taxi to the Dark Side


The Bourne Ultimatum

La Vie en Rose


"Falling Slowly" from Once

Peter and the Wolf

Le Mozart des Pickpockets

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Golden Compass

There were really no major surprises, so I only have a few things to say. I thought There Will be Blood should have won best picture, but No Country wasn't at all a surprise. Marion Cottilard upset the favorite Ellen Page, but that's okay, because I'm sure she'll have plenty more opportunities in her long career. One of the most pleasant winners for me, was Glenn Hansard winning best song for "Falling Slowly. " I just loved the movie, and I'm glad it got some recognition. I don't have much else to say since I didn't actually watch them. Feel free to post your opinions.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Darjeeling Limited

I missed reviewing this one when it was first out, even though it was right towards the top of my list of movies to see. But since it's coming out on video today, I figured it's the opportune time to revisit it. Wes Anderson is the absolute master of melancholy, and inspiration to the likes of everyone from Paul Thomas Anderson, to Noah Baumbach. His movies can described as both brilliant, and well.....nothing. Darjeeling Limited is no exception.

Anderson reunited with Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson. One of them has appeared in every one of Anderson's movies. Adrien Brody is included this time out. The three of them play brothers trying to reconnect after their father's funeral. Each of them has their own deficiencies and eccentricities, which are brought out by a cross country train ride through India. Eldest brother, Francis (Wilson) planned the whole adventure after a suicide attempt. This is very poignant considering Wilson's real life issues. Peter (Brody) is addicted to pain killers, and despite having a son due in a month, agrees to take this trip. Jack (Schwartzman), having just come from a bad relationship is funneling all of his emotions into his writing. Their true journey starts after they get left off the train in the desert. And an entirely new quest begins.

I love Anderson, and I love all three actors, but this movie doesn't quite live up to its potential. The characters live in desperation like all of Anderson's but this time they weren't quite so stoic about it. Occasionally they actually got on my nerves. Maybe it's just gotten to the point that Anderson is becoming almost a caricature of himself.

The exotic locale did add to the movie. Especially the Indian soundtrack. Granted, it was no Seu Jorge covering David Bowie songs, but it still worked. The themes of the three of them trying to rekindle a relationship among harbored (and completely justified) feelings of distrust and deceit were powerful at times. And when you include each of them working through their personal demons on this spiritual quest, you get characters with many layers. Unfortunately for people who are supposed to be repressing their feelings, they were a tad bit too forward with what they were thinking.

I think I'm probably being too picky, just because I was expecting one of the best movies of the year. Anderson does what he does best, capture and deliver dry and depressing observational humor that defines his characters. The "We haven't located ourselves yet" scene when the train gets lost, sums up the theme in all of Anderson's movies. It was certainly good, but no Royal Tannenbaums or Rushmore.

Also, watch the short "Hotel Chevalier," which serves as an exposition to Jason Schwartzman's character. It's difficult to find, but worth it. As a bonus, it features Natalie Portman.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Freddie Highmore has exploded into the movie world in the last several years. His schedule has only accelerated with August Rush, The Golden Compass, and now the Spiderwick Chronicles all within a few months of each other. This is yet another fantasy, but at least it's not an epic fantasy. It's more of an every day fantasy, if that makes any sense.

The Grace family- brothers Jared and Simon (both played by Highmore), Mallory (Sarah Bolger), and their mother, Helen (Mary-Louise Parker) moved into your typical old house in the forest following a messy divorce. After a labored exposition, Jared stumbles across a book written by Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn). This book acts as an encyclopedia for an invisible world around them- a world filled with fairies, and goblins, and Nick Nolte. Mulgarath (Nolte), the king of the goblins wants possession of this book, because with it, he can gain unimaginable power. Now with the help of Martin Short and Seth Rogan (or at least their voices), they must prevent the book from falling into Mulgarath's hands.

I appreciated the fact that this movie took a different approach to fantasy than just about any other movie in recent years. It kept everything very close to home, showing the magic in the real world. It tries to tread the line between children's fantasy, and adult fantasy. Think of it as The Bridge to Terebithia meets Chronicles of Narnia. It doesn't settle into either one, though. As a result, I think it loses a clear audience.

The relationship between the family members is strained at best. Every scene is them yelling at each other. Interestingly, the whiniest one of all is the mother- Helen. The kids seemed to have more control than her. Highmore did a good job playing two integral characters, especially when they interact with each other. I just don't understand the point. Why do something that draws attention to itself like that. The problem with him and Bolger, however, is that even when they were yelling at each other, it seemed like they had smiles on their faces.

The visual effects and animation were decent, but not very inspired. All the creatures (except for some fairies) looked essentially the same. They were all ugly variants on toads with big mouths. They got the job done but they didn't make me say "wow" like the Golden Compass did. I never stopped thinking of these characters as effects, instead of characters.

It was a valiant attempt to bring fantasy into our own back yard, but I think that we've just been inundated with movies like these. And unless they are stellar (as hopefully Prince Caspian will be this summer) then they kind of fizzle. The Spiderwick Chronicles kind of fizzled.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Step Up 2: The Streets

"I'm rich and you're poor, but let's dance together." This gem of a Family Guy quote pretty much sums up not only Step Up 2, but also Step Up 1, Save the Last Dance, Stomp the Yard, Feel the Noise, and just about every dance movie ever made. As a little aside, yes, the main character is on the poster twice. That's just an example of the care they put into this movie with the hopes that nobody will notice.

"Don't sweat it. Everyone's just hating on you because you're dope." "The streets used to be about showing everybody what's new, not about gaining turf." These and countless other similar lines are what make up Step Up 2. I wish I could find more quotes because they're just so good. Briana Evigan stars as Andie, a street dancing trouble maker who's crew- the 410- are frequently accused of public disturbances and vandalism. It's cool, though, cause they're just dancing. Andie's aunt gets fed up with all of this and threatens to ship her off to Texas if she doesn't enroll in the Maryland Dance academy.

Worlds collide. Andie meets Chase (Robert Hoffman), the brother of one of the faculty members. He struggles to live up to his brother's reputation, and after some not very tense romantic tension, him and Andie form a relationship that never actually goes anywhere. In an attempt to address issues of individuality and alienation, the two of them form a crew with various outcasts from the school. This I appreciated. They went deeper into any content than any other dance movie I've seen. Even if this crew was just made up of stereotypes. Things come to a head though, when they get in trouble with the school, and face off against the 410 at the Streets. (Yeah, The Streets is an actual event, not streets).

Of course the centerpiece of this is the dancing. And thankfully, aside from the final number, the dancing is not only spectacular, it's surprisingly not provocative. The movie is essentially devoid of the strip teases we've come to expect from these movies. And the direction of these scenes is handled skillfully. Still, when it comes to a dance movie, I'd rather pop in my old VHS of Newsies.

This movie doesn't try to be anything good. Obviously the script is awful, and the acting is as bland as anything I've ever seen. Every scene is simply just a transition from one dance number to the next. It's like an urban High School Musical. I'm just wondering why, with one best picture nominee that I still haven't seen, did I choose to watch this movie?


Saturday, February 16, 2008


The bar for mediocrity has been set lower. Granted, you can never expect anything good to come out of first quarter releases, but this science fiction, globe trotting romp takes that expectation even lower. I'm normally a fan of the science fiction genre (preferably stories that contain some sort of genuine subtext or commentary) but Jumper lacks anything that even resembles substance.

I'm trying to remember the last time Hayden Christiansen was in a movie I didn't hate. And Samuel L. Jackson has not been faring too well recently either. Having the two of them in this movie might be an attempt to bring in audiences, but if they keep appearing in movies like this, that won't last much longer. I had hopes for O.C alum Rachel Bilson. She was ample in Last Kiss, but Jumper has planted seeds of doubt.

Christiansen plays David Rice, a young man who discovers that he can teleport. It's only a matter of time before he becomes aware that he is not the only one. He meets Griffin (Jamie Bell), another Jumper who tells him of a war between the Jumpers and a The Paladins- a group that hunts the Jumpers. Roland (Jackson), a Paladin, obsessively pursues the two of them for very little apparent reason aside from "You're an abomination." Unwittingly caught in the middle of all this is Millie (Bilson), Rice's romantic interest.

Sure it may have the makings of a fun movie, and if you suspend any concept of quality, it may be enjoyable. But it just fell flat at every turn. The one scene of Nightcrawler teleporting in x-Men 2 left the effects in this entire movie in its dust. There were a few interesting scenes, including a foot chase that traversed the globe. Having them go from fighting on top of the Great Pyramid, to the Golden Gate Bridge, to a war torn country just seems a little hokey, though. These were still the better parts.

The characters and the story are the bad parts. I don't think I have ever seen a movie with less exposition. We are dropped right into the middle of this with Rice robbing a bank. Yeah, the hero of the movie- the person we're supposed to identify with- robs banks. We don't know why he's like this, or really anything about him. After having disappeared for years, he returns to a local bar and runs into Millie- evidently a girl he knew in high-school. After a quick catching up (all lies) and a quick fist-fight, she agrees to go to Rome with him. What?! How does this pass as plot or character development?

It gets even worse. Later on when she is drawn into it, she finds out that Rice has lied about everything. Not to mention he kidnaps her and puts her life in danger. How does she respond to this? After a brief period of anger, and Rice rescues her from Roland (who was using her for bait), she professes her love for him. I think a restraining order might be the more logical reaction.

I'm not even going to attempt to go into Roland's motivation in his hunt for the white whale. Apparently the Paladins have been fighting the Jumpers for thousands of years. Seems like an awful lot of time and effort to track an infinitesimally small fraction of the population. All of this is justified under the mantra "You all go bad." The only character I remotely understood was Griffin. He was the only one who reacted logically to situations. When Rice started causing trouble, he tried to distance himself. He was going to do what it took to survive, even if it meant sacrificing Millie. Granted, this wasn't exactly going to qualify him for sainthood, but he was reacting realistically.

I get almost insulted by movies like this. Fortunately at 70 minutes, it wasn't a waste of all that much time. I can't make this a total bomb, because there are certainly people they may enjoy it. Just to give you both sides, the message boards on IMDB are lit up with glowing assessments. It may be that I just missed something in this movie, but I doubt it.


Friday, February 15, 2008


This is a wonderful movie, and probably worthy of the best picture nomination. As for the win? Since my actual pick (American Gangster) wasn't even nominated, I'd have to go with There Will Be Blood. Atonement is certainly up there, though.

Based on Ian McEwan's novel of the same name (which I have never read), Atonement tells a story in three parts. In the 1935, Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) accuses Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) of assaulting her older sister, Celia (Keira Knightly), and a friend, Lola (Juno Temple). Despite these claims being false, he is arrested and enlisted in the army to fight in World War II. Cecilia professes her love for him, and says that she will remain true- which she does. The movie then follows Robbie through the war, eventually landing him in Dunkirk. Meanwhile, Briony has dropped out of school and has become a nurse, perhaps in an attempt to cleans herself from the tragedy she inflicted on her sister and Robbie. Any more than this will give away more than the previews, and more than you want me to.

The problem with this movie is that it's a little choppy and disjointed. The story takes place over a long period of time, and in an attempt the reconcile those time differences, director Joe Write uses flashbacks and "what if" scenarios. These don't seem to work for me, especially when Robbie is forced to say "back to the story at hand." That strikes me as a very clumsy transition. The whole period of Robbie in the war itself seemed a little tacked on. I can't compare this to the book, but that period didn't drive the story much at all. Also, without telling too much, the ending was a pretty big letdown.

I don't want this to sound like a negative review, because there were some wonderful points. The first act with the growing sexual tension between Cecilia and Robbie was fantastic. The combination of many people visiting this mansion, and the hot summer temperatures made this a virtually explosive situation. Add into this already volatile situation, a morally questionable 13 year old with a crush on the same boy, and another man genuinely guilty of assault, and you get a very well crafted situation.

Visually, it's spectacular. The pleasant opening is filled with vibrant colors that quickly drain with the mood. And the 5 minute Dunkirk shot rivals any long tracking shot in history. Underneath all of this is a unique soundtrack with a typewriter motif. Everything started with a letter, and writing drives Briony through her whole life.

The prevalent theme is handled flawlessly. The idea that one little event will change (for the better or worse) many peoples lives in the future is very evident. You see the results of Briony's lie on Cecilia, Robby, herself, and even Lola and the real rapist. In a childish, jealous moment, she destroyed the lives of those closest to her, and spent the rest of her own life dealing with that. The movie is powerful, and fantastically acted. I just wish that it spent more time on the relationships between the people, and less on the war itself. Granted, this allowed the movie to have some spectacular shots, but that should never dictate the story. Great movie, but not best picture.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Strange Wilderness

The acting. And the writing. In this movie. Was like, totally, completely, so, stiff. And bad. And junk. Sorry, I had to get that out of my system. I feel a tad bit dumber listening to people talk like that for the past hour and a half. I'm a little perturbed by this movie. The trailer actually looked really funny. I was expecting it to be an idiotic, but sharp and quotable movie. I guess they fooled me, because the only funny moments were found in the trailer.

I'm not even sure where to begin. The premise was actually promising. Steve Zahn plays Peter Balke, the host of the titular wilderness show. In a last ditch effort to keep the show from being canceled, he leads his band of mentally deficient crew members in a search for Bigfoot. The rest of the cast consists of Allen Covert, Jonah Hill, Kevin Hefferman, Peter Dante, Justin Long, and even Ernest Bornigne (I didn't know he was still alive either). All of these characters were poorly executed in their unique ways. Zahn is an alumnus from a whole slew of terrible comedies (somehow managing to wrangle a part in Rescue Dawn). Covert has ridden the coat-tails of Adam Sandler, scoring supporting roles in almost every single one of his movies since Airheads. Hefferman achieved success with his Broken Lizards group in Super Troopers, but never anything since. Dante is another Sandler crony, Long has his own resume of B comedies, and Hill (probably the funniest of the bunch) just spews bizarrely random lines. Sorry to spend so much time on the cast, but I just wanted to give you an idea of the caliber of actors we're dealing with.

I can't blame the cast entirely, though. The script is just awful. In an apparent attempt to conceal that there is no rhythm whatsoever to the piece, many of the scenes are intercut with nature footage, and Zahn's babbling voice-overs. When you take horribly written lines delivered by a horribly stiff cast, you get Strange Wilderness.

There was one enjoyable scene. Jess Garlin plays the head of the network, and in a brief meeting, informs Zahn and Covert that they are being canceled. He summed up the movie perfectly when he said "What the hell was that?" Garlin seemed to be the only voice of reason in the entire movie. I was wrestling with whether to give this a zero or not. It could certainly warrant it, but I only save zeros for the absolute worst of the worst. Strange Wilderness was not as bad as Meet the Spartans, for example. My decision was cemented by not one, but two separate jokes and graphic shots involving deformed genitalia.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Eye

If you've read any of my other reviews, you are already aware of my feelings towards remakes of Japanese (or this case Hong Kong) horror movies. The vast majority of them are just plain awful. I've just come to accept this, and not care in most instances (One Missed Call, and Pulse to name a few recent ones). The problem with The Eye, however, is that the original, Gin Gwai, was an extraordinary movie. I just cannot abide it when film makers take well done movies, and ruin them.

Jessica Alba follows up her last medical thriller (Awake) with this movie. This time, she is the patient. Alba stars as Sydney Wells, a blind violinist who is receiving an eye transplant to give her sight. She starts to go crazy when she begins to see what she thinks are the recently deceased. This leads her on a quest to convince others that she's actually seeing these things, and find the donor of her eyes. She enlists the help of Paul Falkner (Alessandro Nivola) a psychiatrist assigned to help her adjust to being able to see.

The original did a wonderful job of exploring the concept of being able to see for the first time. The star in that version was constantly doubting what she saw, and genuinely struggling with her vision. In the remake, however, it didn't take long for Alba to jump into screaming at other about how she's not crazy. I would expect at least some doubt.

One of the most powerful parts of the original involved her relationship with a little girl in the hospital with her. They form a bond and bring a real sense of humanity. This part is all but left out in the remake. Every bit of emotional drama is left out in favor of already dated and uninspired effects.

So what's lost in these remakes? A lot of them have to due with the traditional culture and mythology, and this is completely lost in an American setting. The significance of the stories is buried, and the movie is brought down to level of cheap horror. Deviating from the Eye for a minute, this did work for a few remakes. The Grudge was a success because not only was it set in Japan, it played right into the Japanese culture. I honestly think The Ring worked simply because it was the first of the genre. Film makers can't rely on this trend anymore, simply taking a Japanese movie and remaking it. There's still a huge crop of horror films to pick from. My picks for the next ones coming our way are either Premonition (not the Sandra Bullock film) or Infection. Hopefully they'll stay closer to the source.


Friday, February 1, 2008


This is a really heavy movie, and it's fairly well done. The only thing that holds it back is its almost too obvious message. It's a powerful and important message, don't me wrong, but it's just a little too straightforward and clean cut for me. Such an important and hotly debated issue as the one presented in Rendition, could have stood to have its edges blurred a bit.

The issue I am refering to is the torture of terrorist suspects. The suspect in this particular case is Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally) an Egyptian born engineer who is secretly kidnapped and taken to an overseas detention center. There is no information revealed about his whereabouts, and his wife, Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) is left completely in the dark. All she knows is that her husband never returned from a business trip. Meanwhile, Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a government operative sent to observe the interrogation techniques of Abasi Fawal (Yigal Naor) as he questions Ibrahimi. Freeman functions as the obligatory voice of reason, dismayed at the brutal torture inflicted on the most likely innocent Ibrahimi.

At the same time, there is another plot focusing on Fawal's runaway daughter. She is in a relationship with a man who beings to fall in with a terrorist organization. This story doesn't seem to connect with the rest of it until the very end. It doesn't do anything more than explain the motive of other characters. Frankly, I think the movie would have been better without it.

The best part of the movie was Witherspoon. She contacts and old friend, Alan Smith (Peter Sasgaard), who is a senator's aid, to help her find Anwar. The two of them have to buck protocol and take on the senator (Alan Arkin) and the CIA director ( Meryl Streep). Honestly, can you get a better cast than this? It's no wonder that Witherspoon is currently the highest paid actress. She is so emotional, and is just a stellar actress. This plot alone would have made a wonderful movie.

The focus, however, is of course the interrogation of Ibrahimi. It was all a bit too obvious for me now. Gyllenhaal spouts off phrases like "how much useful information have we ever got from tortured suspects?" Or the Streep response " There are 7,000 people alive on London today because of information we got doing this." Or perhaps the hokiest of all, Sasgaard's "Maybe I should send a copy of the Constitution over to your office."

This is certainly a powerful movie, and some parts got to me, so I will still pretty highly recommend it. It just seems that with the current debate of this topic, Rendition is so much an exploration into the issue, as it is promoting one side. I don't mind if a movie has an agenda (after all, most serious ones do)- I just don't like it when it's so obvious.