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Awesome flick! Kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. The plot twists were surprisingly convincing and I didn't have to stretch too far to suspend disbelief. It way outshone my expectations and I found myself swept right up in the action. The acting was superb and the direction kept us moving from nail-biting suspense to laughing at the stereotyped ignorant store clerks, nasty lawyers and others that are encountered at various points in the script. What a great balance of believable and amusing! We had the greatest time enjoying this film. The parts that weren't so believable were very satisfying and the parts that were believable were incredibly suspenseful. The point is, the whole thing made for a terrific package. No, you won't go home a better person for having seen this. And you won't carry the images with you or ponder great philosophies because of it. It's not a To Kill a Mockingbird of Of Mice and Men, but it is a wonderful escape from all you problems for a couple hours and you'll feel like you've been on the most exhilarating thrill ride you could find in the park! All thumbs up for this one!
My husband and I saw this movie last night, and were extremely pleased by it. The movie starts with a bang immediately and keeps going! We found it well written, well acted and well directed. It's suspenseful and quite thrilling. I thought the actor's characters were right on target - the self centered young man, the distraught and frantic mother, the tired cop waiting for a retirement he's not quite sure he wants, and the baddies - whooo boy! In this movie, the baddies are without any redeemable features - the kind that you yourself would like to beat the tar out of!! Speaking of beating the tar out of someone, wait until you get a dose of the lawyer - egads. The movie is fast paced with nary a dull moment. The action scenes were great, and the building of the tense moments was very well done. Drama, suspense and with a touch of comedy - what more are you looking for in a movie?
A popcorn thriller that draws heavily on PHONE BOOTH for its inspiration (written by the same guy, Larry Cohen), CELLULAR take us on one heck of a ride right from the opening sequence, as a bunch of bad guys kidnap a woman (Kim Basinger), Her only contact with the outside world accidentally becomes a young man (Chris Evans) with a cell phone, hence the title. William Macy as a retiring cop (shades of FALLING DOWN!) and Jason Statham as the main bad guy (and whose name is curiously missing from the IMDb credits for this film) lend able support. A harrowing car chase forms the centerpiece of this mindless but thoroughly enjoyable action flick, just as a huge chain accident formed the heart of the director's previous FINAL DESTINATION 2. The movie remains taut throughout, but it also has deft moments of comedy, to remind us we're watching a movie. In particular, watch for the scene where Evans is in desperate need of a cell phone charger. It's hysterical.
A kidnapped woman (Kim Basinger) frantically dials a random number on a
broken telephone, reaching the cellular phone of a young man in a
different state (Chris Evans) who begins a race against time to find
and save her before the connection is lost or she is killed.
Cellular is a fast paced, exciting and entertaining movie. It is a simple film yet an interesting one. The plot isn't new or anything but the execution is pretty good. They manage to keep the audience glued to the screen and at the edge of their seats. Keep in mind though that the film is highly unrealistic. There are a few eye rolling moments and some of the scenes may be hard to buy. I didn't have any real problems with it but some other people may complain about it. The movie is also pretty predictable. It is easy to see where things are going and the inside man is also easy to figure out.
The acting is pretty good with the best being William H. Macy. He plays the cop role pretty well and he has a few funny lines. Chris Evans gives a decent performance and he is now forgiven for appearing in the Perfect Score. Kim Basinger gives an okay performance. Sometimes she was a little too weak while other times she was just average. Jessica Biel was in the movie for about 10 minutes so it's not really worth watching. Jason Statham gives a pretty convincing performance as the bad guy though sometimes he seemed a little bored. Noah Emmerich gives an awful performance as Jack. He was just reading his lines the entire time. One of the worst performances of 2004.
David R. Ellis does a good job at directing. He keeps the audience entertained and he never lets stupidity bring down the movie. If you do give the movie a shot, just ignore any plot holes. Cellular is a thriller/action movie and if you take it seriously then you will hate the movie. The film is advertised as a harmless thriller and it succeeds as one. In the end, Cellular is a "B" movie at heart and a pretty good one. It never takes itself too seriously and it never becomes dull. Rating 8/10
I happened to catch this movie during a free-preview weekend on Starz. I had never heard of it, so I did not know what to expect. For the whole duration of the movie, about 90 min., I was at the edge of my seat. The plot takes several unexpected turns and is packed with continuous action, while the characters are very believable. O.k., fine, it does not deal with deep moral issues, if you want a movie that will make you want to go out and change the world this is not it. But if you want an entertaining movie that will give you a big dose of adrenaline, will have you raise yourself from your seat, I strongly recommend it. By the way, I am not a big fun of horror teenage movies like Scream, I just don't find them believable, and find the characters shallow. The best part about this movie is that you actually feel sympathy for the victims, the plot is probable, and the action scenes do not require that the actors possess superhuman strength. At the end of the movie the only thing I could think of was "holy cow", a response I usually associate with a great roller coaster ride.
Rating: *** out of ****
Gimmicky thriller premises are a dime a dozen. Fox's 24 essentially expounds on that idea every episode without any rhythm or consistency. The real trick is executing the idea with the right panache and skill to weave it all into a fun thriller. So is David R. Ellis' Cellular worthy of Phone Booth acclaim, or is it just another Nick of Time? You just might be surprised to see it's every bit as enjoyable as the former, with only occasional hints at the pure cheese of the latter.
Young beach bum Ryan (Chris Evans) is having just another typical day of sun and fun at the beach, but his girlfriend (Jessica Biel) sees his behavior as lazy and irresponsible. To try and patch things up, he promises to run a few errands for her, but on the way, he receives a call on his cell phone from a stranger named Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger), a woman who claims she's been kidnapped and is being held in the attic of an unfamiliar house. Her call to Ryan was completely random, but the catch is, she has to stay on the line or the signal may be lost for good.
Though initially dubious of her outrageous claims, Ryan quickly comes to believe her after he overhears one of the kidnappers on the phone. Deciding to help out in any possible way he can, Ryan tries to locate her family before the kidnappers do. Unfortunately, obstacles to keeping the phone signal going present themselves at every turn, and Ryan finds he must go through some extreme measures to keep Jessica on the line.
It's these obstacles that make up at least half the fun of watching Cellular. Whether it's a dying battery, "typical" close call encounters with the villains, car chases that require driving backwards or on the wrong side of the road, director Ellis keeps the pace lightning fast by presenting every plausible hindrance there is to keeping a cell phone signal alive. That might not be as immediately catchy a premise as keeping a bus above 50 mph, but it's hard to care when the gimmick is delivered with this much fresh skill and energy. Ellis also directed the enjoyable Final Destination 2, proving he has what it takes to deliver straight-faced thrillers in spite of their naturally ridiculous premises.
But as terrific a job as Ellis does, it's the cast that keeps the momentum going even when the story starts to sag. As the everyman caught in this horrifying situation, Chris Evans is wholly convincing and immensely appealing as Ryan, playing out an otherwise simple role for all its worth. Most of the movie rests on his shoulders, so it's to no small amount of praise when I say that we eagerly want to follow him through every move of his day-long adventure. Kim Basinger is surprisingly just as good as the kidnapped woman, proving that much like her physical features, her acting skills are improving with age. The other major standout is Jason Statham as the head kidnapper; he's obviously affecting an American accent that's not all that believable, but he brings an intensity to the role that makes him fiercely menacing.
The plot boasts the expected coincidences and contrivances that are needed to fuel the story, and most of these are easy enough to accept, but there are admittedly a few nagging problems. While I could reasonably believe that the kidnappers wouldn't tie up Jessica and could also accept that she knows just enough about phones to fix one up well enough to make one call, I found it less easy to swallow that the kidnappers wouldn't at least keep a guard posted right outside or inside her room. No biggie, though.
The more bothersome bits involve a few unlikely coincidences that allow a cop (played by William H. Macy, who delivers another one of his requisite subtly funny performances) to conveniently piece together a number of the clues. Even more troublesome is the climax, which has the unfortunate task of resolving every introduced plot strand, and while the results are still highly entertaining, it comes across a bit messy (though ironically finishing things up on a nice and tidy final note).
Still, the story makes a lot of right choices when a lesser movie would have simply veered off course for good. A plot twist involving the villains' identities and their motives is smart and surprising. The movie also satisfyingly chooses to reveal its surprise villain halfway through rather than saving it for a silly last-minute unveiling.
The film also boasts a good sense of humor, a lot of it coming from Evans, who handles the comic moments with natural ease (no real surprise, he was also very funny in Not Another Teen Movie). His best moment comes in one scene where he's in a private school searching for Jessica's kid, flabbergasted over his name (which is particularly funny) and how identical every student looks in the same brand of clothing. The laughs don't defuse the tension, though, and it's with this fun mixture of suspense and occasional comic ingenuity that makes this a highly recommended thriller.
I like a movie that takes an idea or a theme or just an amusing gimmick
and then runs with it. There is something exhilarating about being able
to exhaust the possibilities of an idea without beating the whole thing
to death. A great example is GROUNDHOG DAY; just when you think the
filmmakers have milked the idea for all it's worth, they take off on a
totally new tangent and the film ends up getting better and better. It
is a sign that the writer and/or the director are thrilled with the
sheer joy of creative exploration. They aren't just playing by the
numbers, but are eager to go beyond expectations. This is film-making as
a challenging game.
CELLULAR, while not in the same league as GROUNDHOG DAY, is nonetheless a good example of this type of storytelling. This time the linchpin of the story is the cell phone. The filmmakers seem to have made a list of everything that makes cell phones great (emergency use, portability, digital photography, etc.) as well as what makes them a nuisance (ringing at inappropriate times, crossed connections, lost signals, dying batteries, etc.) and incorporated both lists into a story. The trick isn't just to gerryrig the list into a story, but to do so in a coherent and plausible fashion. CELLULAR is a crackerjack piece of storytelling. The storyline is unlikely, but not impossible and it all unfolds at a steady clip that makes any loophole or implausibility fly by so fast that the viewer has little time to raise a question.
Beyond the gimmickry of the storytelling, the film also benefits from being a solid, efficient, no-nonsense piece of film-making. Directed by actor-turned-stuntman-turned-director David R. Ellis, this is an action-packed thriller that knows the value of blending action with humor and character. Without loosing its manic pace, the film nevertheless takes time for puckish humor and character development. As the damsel in distress, the Hitchcockian innocent man sucked into a web of intrigue and the retiring cop facing his one last case, the actors could have been saddled with one-note, cliché characters. But Kim Basinger, Chris Evans and William H. Macy are given ample room to not only act, but to create characters who are, more importantly, smart. They aren't at the mercy of the complicated plot, they are what moves it along.
My one genuine reservation with CELLULAR is that it is destined to become dated so very fast. Technology, the film's driving force, will quickly be its undoing. It brings to mind old episodes of the "Columbo" TV series, where Peter Falk's Lt. Columbo is seen to be in awe of computers and answering machines and video cameras and VCRs, and he has to go into great detail explaining how such gadgets and gizmos work and how they can be used as part of a murder plot. The cutting edge technology of the time now seems so elementary that Columbo's naivete seems rather silly. Yet, the Columbo stories still hold up thanks to clever storytelling and strong characters played by good actors. And from that perspective, CELLULAR just might hold up to be a minor classic, albeit as a period piece.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had high hopes for this film, as it seems every critic was enamored
with it. Boy, I sure can't for the life of me see why. Implausible from
the get go, laughingly stilted dialog, you name it, this film has it.
Why in the heck would Wm. Macy and Kim Bassinger submit to this trash?
And yet some critics compare it favorably to Phone Booth - what are you
Just an example of the terrible writing - The kidnappers steal Kim's Porsche Cayanne and then all she can say to her cell buddy when attempting to thwart the kidnapping of her son is that her car is a "black SUV". Come on!!! She HAS to know that it's a Porsche for Chrissakes - not to mention that giving the license number may have helped. DUH!
And then when there's nobody home on the fourth floor of the PD - yeah, sure.
I finally had had enough when the slacker dude takes off after the Porsche in the tiny Security car - uh huh, like he could keep up with the Porsche or that the Security Car wouldn't look conspicuous and the kidnappers, realizing that they were being followed, would simply put pedal to the metal and say "see ya" - a premise that seems beyond the reasoning of our hero.
I'm all for action films, but you have to at least have some basis in reality, and this film truly lacks that basis. Maybe someone thought the whole idea was clever - 1001 ways to make use of a cell phone, but when there is absolutely no reality quotient.... well it just makes a bad film.
Anyone else wonder (1) how a school teacher would be home in the middle of the day (and able to then pick up her son after school) (2) how a school teacher who, by her own admission, doesn't have a lot of money, lives in a fancy house, has a maid, drives a 70,000 dollar car, and has her son enrolled in a private school. Totally laughable.
"Cellular" has the setup for a solid straight-ahead thriller: A kidnap
victim who does not know where she is being held phones a total
stranger who must then stay connected on his cell phone to find her
before she is killed. Joel Schumacher scored earlier with a similarly
phone-themed Larry Cohen story, "Phone Booth." As executed by tone-deaf
director David R. Ellis, however, "Cellular" becomes an unintentionally
hilarious cousin to Brian de Palma's "Raising Cain" and "Snake Eyes."
Ellis seems to have unwittingly spliced together two different films with mismatched tones: Kim Basinger as the kidnapee and Jason Statham as the kidnapper occupy the deadly-serious, straight-to-video thriller half, while Chris Evans as the rescuer and William H. Macy as a police officer seem to be in a "Saturday Night Live"-alum action comedy. Nowhere else is the disjointedness in tone more apparent than when Basinger and Evans's performances are placed side-by-side during their conversations: The scenes keep cutting between an overwrought Basinger wringing out every drop of melodrama, while a blissfully inept Evans seems to be channeling a cross between Chris Kattan/Jimmy Fallon and Ben Affleck/Keanu Reeves.
Meanwhile, Ellis pulls out tricks intended to generate thrills and surprises. He throws in out-of-nowhere "shocks," a la "Final Destination"; he throws in flashbacks; he throws in a gun-blazing Macy in Jerry Bruckheimer action-hero slo-mo; and yet, Ellis has no handle on staging any of them competently. Case in point: "Cellular" is the proud owner of one of the most ineptly scored chase sequences ever, as if Ellis simply heard a snippet of the song's lyrics ("...where you gonna run to?") literally and paid no attention to the inappropriateness of the accompanying music (which just bop, bop, bops along). (The song is even reprised during the closing credits, which itself is misbegotten in conception.)
And yet, for all of its failures as art, "Cellular" is always entertaining for those very same faults.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Do you know what I liked about this story? I loved the imagination that
was created when the film ended. If you don't know what I am talking
about, let me explain. I walked away from this film interested in
seeing where Ryan and Basinger's relationship was going to go. After a
traumatic incident like the one they experienced together, you can't
help but wonder if possibly they will have this darker and haunting
relationship built off that trauma after the credits finish rolling.
Just a thought that I had. There has to be some psychological issues
going on between them (though with the acting that both possessed, I
don't think you could tell), and I think that would make for a better
story than what was presented here. Nonetheless, that is what I like to
call "wishful thinking" and another genuine story that will never be
created. So, faced with the challenge
my cell phone is ringing
OK, I'm back
faced with the challenge of writing this review, I
must try to be as cliché as possible (it would only be respectful).
This action packed cellular ride showcased the poor acting ability of Kim Basinger and the honest proof that Oscar's are sometimes just handed out to anyone. Couldn't they have afforded Marisa Tomei? Either way, from the unbelievable turn as a science teacher to also a doctor, there was nothing real about her performance. Even when she was frightened, she wasn't actually frightened, but instead "acting" frightened. There was no depth or range to her character. I didn't care if she survived or died throughout this entire story. There was nothing that attached me to her, other than the fact that she was like a feminine MacGyver of sorts. Then, if Basinger's acting wasn't poor enough, you also had to deal with the ability of Chris Evans to work with a cell phone. I mean, please, if you were given a script and your co-actor was a piece of machinery, you really have to start thinking about which direction you want your career to go. Evans only has about three faces of surprise and excitement, and he used them all within the first three minutes of the film. The rest of the time we are left with nothing more than recycled emotions as he attempts to upstage his cell phone. It was pathetic. With these two actors anchoring the film down on both ends, it made me happy to have a cell phone in this picture. Without it, I don't think there would have been any value to this. Could you image this film with a rotary phone? HA. That would have made a much better film than what was presented here.
I would like to take a moment to compliment the cell phone on its ability in this film. I don't know about you, but I hope that it was paid better than the actors that were involved. I hope it had its own trailer, its own entourage, and everything it desired. Was there an audition for this cell phone? I think I would have enjoyed seeing the audition tapes as a supplemental feature to this DVD. When Oscars come around again this year, I would not be surprised to see the cell phone perhaps be nominated? Is that too much to ask? I mean, look at the world today. Cell phone is at the peak of its game. Everyone has one, and everyone is talking to one. It is the biggest star this world has ever seen, and finally it has the ability to showcase its talent in this film. I loved everything this cell phone did in this movie, especially the ending. While you may think that it was a climactic moment between Statham and Macy, I thought that I was biting my fingers over the cell phone more than the human element. When it rang at the end, I nearly jumped. What other actor could bring that much emotion to the screen none other than this multi-talented cell phone. I wouldn't be surprised it the next picture that it chose to do would be perhaps a period piece film. You know, stretch its talent. Don't be surprised if you see more from this amazing actor as the years progress. I think it is likely to take the place of the "Hall of Fame" actor, the cigarette. Just watch and see!
Overall, outside of the cell phone, this was a poor film. This film is labeled as an "action" film, but for some reason laughter bellowed from me more than actual excitement. Cellular was riddled with implausible events coupled with clichéd moments that screamed Hollywood control. While it did showcase some great actors who have developed a fine body of work, this film proves that even the mighty can fall. Statham needs to stop working for money and Macy was just getting paid. Basinger needs to remarry Baldwin and live off his money for awhile. With bad acting and just this hysterical dilemma, the mixed bag of messages seemed to just get further and further away from reality. It became a comedy instead of an action film. From the beginning to the end, there was nothing redeeming about this picture (outside of the acting from the cell phone). I have trouble seeing what people loved about this film. Honestly, if this were to happen to you, would you steal cars, shoot people, and cause explosions? Nope, I think the general public would just hang up. Test this theory out when you have the time.
Grade: two bars out of five
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