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Mad Money – Review

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WARNING: Spoiler Review! If you haven’t seen this movie and plan on it, you’ve been warned.

It was another one of those movie-going weekends. I went to see Mad Money. Now I was a little skeptical this would be anything good. No offense to Diane Keaton, but judging from the last few movies I’ve seen that she’s been in, I thought it was going to be another crazy, hormonal, midlife crisis-themed movie that had a “feel-good” ending. Although, I will say that I would have gone to see this movie solely because Katie Holmes is in it. But the bottom line is this movie was not my first pick, but Tori wanted to see it and I went along with it.

Diane Keaton stars as a woman in her fifties who just found out her husband lost his job and can’t seem to find a new one. The couple is ultimately has $286,000 in debt from unpaid bills that are piling up. They both conclude that they have to do something about it and Keaton gets a job working as a janitor at the Federal Reserve Bank. She then proceeds to get two people she meets there (played by Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes) to help her pull off a scheme to steal millions of dollars that are to be destroyed, and are hence untraceable. They switch out the locks on the cases that transport the warn out money to the shredders and proceed to dump money into the trash where no one can see. Since Keaton is a janitor, she takes the trash (and money) out with her. They even recruit one of the security guards to help them extend and deepen their plot.

It’s not until their spending goes out of control that the Feds start to notice. They are all eventually arrested and detained, except for Keaton, who is still on the run. She consults with a friend who happens to be a lawyer and he shows that the authorities have no proof the group ever stole the money from the facility. They end up with no jail time whatsoever, under the condition that they give all the money to the IRS. They give a lot of it back, but Keaton proceeds to show the other two that she still has a huge stockpile of cash in her basement, hidden in trash bags.

Keaton gives a superb performance in this film, and a refreshing one for her, at that. Katie Holmes is bubbly and somewhat offbeat in the movie, but in a humorous way. She offsets the usual seriousness of the other two nicely. Queen Latifah also is a great supporting actress who works well with the other two.

After seeing Untraceable the night before this movie, I was, believe it or not, inclined to see similarities in the two films. They both involve schemes that are very believable and their plots could be pulled off with lots of work by criminal masterminds.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, whose facility was somewhat fictitiously featured in this film, has a page concerning the differences in the movie and its actual day-to-day operation. They claim such a scheme could never be pulled off, but I’m not so sure. I think everything has a loophole or two, no matter how much security is put in place, if criminals are willing to put the time and effort into it.

Click here to see the page the Feds put up about the film.

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Untraceable – Review

By Uncategorized 14 Comments

WARNING: Spoiler Review! If you haven’t seen this movie and plan on it, you’ve been warned.

I went to Charlottesville for the night last night and ended up going to see Untraceable at the Downtown Mall movie theater after dinner. I went in expecting to see a thriller, but I got more than I bargained for.

Diane Lane stars as FBI Special Agent Jennifer Marsh, who works in a field office dealing with internet crimes. A tipster alerts the unit that someone has posted a website that streams live video showing innocent people getting tortured to death. The more people log onto the website, the faster the victim dies.

The first victim is a kitten stuck to a sticky mouse trap. The killer then moves on to people he’s kidnapped. The first person is drained of his blood, the second is burned to death with heat lamps, and the third is bathed in battery acid. Each time, the victim dies more quickly than the last because the number of people on the site keeps growing, just out of the public’s sheer curiosity. Marsh is the fourth and final kidnapped individual, and is hung upside down over a garden tiller and lowered more rapidly as viewership increases. Just before she is lowered to her death, she starts swinging herself back and fourth enough to grab onto a rafter and free herself. She proceeds to shoot her captor, and the FBI, recognizing her house on the streaming web video, comes to her rescue, only to find she’s already killed him.

We later learn that the unnamed killer started the site because the local news station aired his father’s suicide, caught on a traffic copter over a major bridge, repeatedly and he wanted revenge. All of the victims are tied to either the news station or FBI.

Overall, the movie was very well done. It somewhat portrays the FBI as lazy people who sit around and stare at computers all day, but for the most part, it was an excellent portrayal of a terrible situation that could very much be reality with all the internet technologies we have today. I found the storyline to be compelling and action-driven, with no dull points or erroneous material. If you’re looking for a fist-clincher that keeps you right on the edge of your seat, and can deal with a few scenes of intense gore and blood, check out Untraceable.

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I Am Legend – Review

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I went to see “I Am Legend” last night with Jen, Tori, and Shawn. It was very well done. Will Smith stars as military “top dog” Robert Neville, who is living in New York City in 2009, and is responsible for finding a cure to a rapidly-spreading mutating disease that is wiping out all of mankind worldwide. It started out as a supposed cure to cancer and killed off 99% of all humans. The other 1% took on zombie/vampire-like characteristics and fed on the few remaining people immune to the disease- all that is, except for Robert and his dog. He strives to find a cure to the disease, all the while dodging the “dark people” (they die instantly when exposed to any source of light) and searching for any other remaining survivors. Two survivors from Maryland, Anna (played by Alice Braga) and her son Ethan (played by Charlie Tahan), heard his all-call for survivors over the radio and came to his rescue right as he was about to kill himself after losing all hope. Robert eventually gives his life for the cause of finding a cure, and when he does, Anna and Ethan travel to a colony in Vermont where the last remaining normal people are, and take with them a vile of Robert’s blood, which promises to cure the “dark people.”

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