On the Screen
HH Chain Reaction
Keanu Reeves is a student machinist in a lab perfecting a clean and limitless energy source. Once it is completed, someone breaks into the lab, kills the inventor, and blows up the invention (taking several city blocks with it). Keanu is framed for the crime and is forced into hiding until he can prove his innocence. Chain Reaction was directed by the same person who directed The Fugitive, which may explain the similar story line. But Chain Reaction pales in comparison - the story isn't as good, and Keanu is no Harrison Ford. The one high point of the film is Morgan Freeman, who easily steals the movie. -David V. Rodriguez. Sony Copley.
H1/2 Escape From L.A.
Part action movie, part comedy, part something else that can't be identified. Escape from L.A. tries to be all of these and succeeds at none of them. The story is about Snake (Kurt Russell), a man who has committed major crimes in the new hyper-ethical future and is banished to the island of Los Angeles, now the holding area for all criminals (people who use profanity and have premarital sex). Snake is given an offer - a full pardon if he can retrieve from L.A. a dangerous high-tech device stolen from the president and now in the hands of a L.A. gang leader. Much of the humor is about L.A., as when Snake is taken captive by a plastic surgeon who wants to cut him up and use him for his parts. The film's weakest point is the lack of an interesting main character: Snake is unnecessarily raspy and does everything he can to look like a comic book character. -DVR. Sony Cheri.
Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) is a promising young bowler, but he makes the mistake of teaming up with Bill Murray, whose scam results in his losing his hand. Twenty years later, he's left bitter, perpetually drunk, and wearing the world's worst plastic hand. Dreaming of a comeback (and a large cash prize), he persuades a promising Amish bowler (Randy Quaid) that he needs a manager, and the two of them head off to Vegas. Kingpin was made by the two who made Dumb and Dumber, but it is far better - the jokes are funnier, and there is a storyline strong enough to stand on its own. It's likely the best comedy of the year. -DVR. Sony Copley.
Trainspotting tells the story of a group of Scottish heroin users. Already released in England, it has become the third-largest grossing British-made film and has received a large amount of criticism for not condemning heroin use. The story is told from the view of heroin user, without judgement, which makes the story feel completely genuine and totally fascinating. -DVR. Sony Nickelodeon.