By Phil Boatwright
The Movie Reporter
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Rating: R for language, violence
A cyber-psycho is being hunted by an FBI task force. But the tech-savvy Internet predator is staying several steps ahead of Special Agent Jennifer Marsh. What makes this story extra gruesome is the fact that the villain places his victims on the Internet and as each viewer tunes in, the torture becomes more deadly – until finally they die literally at the hands of the audience. As the game becomes more cat and mouse, Agent Marsh finds herself in the madman’s clutches.
Scary premise, nice performance from its lead, but borders the trendy “torture porn” brought to fashion by the Saw and Hostel films. It starts out with a fascinating premise; a nutcase using the Internet to cause death. I say fascinating because you can’t help but wonder if such a crime is possible.
The producers are counting on the ignorance of most of us concerning how computers and the Internet actually function. But by film’s end it descends into silliness. I can’t give away the ending, but the film becomes ludicrous if you actually think about how formidable this crazy guy would have to be in order to accomplish all the little details.
We as viewers are not supposed to analyze the goings on, just sit back and watch the torture.
How She Move
Stars: Rutina Wesley, Dwain Murphy, Tracey Armstrong Burke
Director: Ian Iqbal Rashid
Raya Green is 17-years old, bright and full of promise. She attends a prestigious private school outside her tough, crime-ridden neighborhood. When a family tragedy leaves her family unable to pay her tuition, Raya is forced to return to the old community she so desperately wants to escape. She soon finds herself drawn into the world of underground dance competitions and smells an opportunity to win some money, get out of the neighborhood, help her family and return to her old school. But as the dance tournament unfolds, Raya realizes that real success only comes to those brave enough to tackle it on their own terms.
Featuring a fresh cast, this Sundance Film Festival hit marks the feature film debut of the electric Rutina Wesley, with street-style step sequences by top choreographer Hi Hat and special appearances by R&B singer-songwriter Keyshia Cole and comedian DeRay Davis.
It’s not original, and you have to be open to rap and “stepping” to get the most out of this film, but the cast is sincere and able in their chosen music field, the director keeps the pacing lively and involving, and the messages are clear and positive. The story rests on one prominent line: “One moment changes a million after it.” The filmmaker obviously wants to send a positive message to urban audiences that despite ordeals, travail can be overcome. And without sermonizing, there is a gentle nudge to steer clear of drugs.