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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Stop at Red Lights

6/10
Author: Chandru Bhojwani (cultjones@yahoo.com) from United Kingdom
11 February 2013

Driven by separate motivations, a mentor and her protégé take time out of their teaching schedule to expose fraudulent psychics and oracles. Suddenly a renowned clairvoyant resurfaces decades after his retirement compelling the protégé to uncover the truth about the man of the hour.

Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy headline this suspense thriller and each delivers a strong performance especially Murphy as the protégé. De Niro is a class above the rest and is engaging as the resurgent psychic, Simon Silver while Weaver is solid.

Rodrigo Cortés' Red Lights keeps audiences glued throughout the film especially when some of the tricks of the psychic trade are revealed The intense build is gradual and consistent till the final climax where all is discovered only, it's a little bit of a let down. For a film that grips you as well as Red Lights did, you walk away slightly underwhelmed and a tad disappointed with the outcome. I'm not saying it's a bad movie but it's one of those movies that simply doesn't close adequately enough in my opinion. If you're looking for a decent suspense thriller, I wouldn't pass this up as it does the trick but it just wont win any awards.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Okay

5/10
Author: albrechtcm from United States
6 January 2013

Good cast. Not enough of Ms Weaver. Mr. Murphy is always a bit of a mystery and Mr. De Niro was...Robert De Niro. This had good atmosphere and the cast was very well put together. One reviewer exclaimed that no one would see the dénouement coming. Maybe I'm psychic myself, but I thought the windup was not simply predictable but a sure bet. Someone once wrote that a good ending should be a surprise yet inevitable. Well this was inevitable, but no surprise. For all Silver's fame and supposed abilities, for the most part he only showed us magician parlor tricks: bending spoons, etc.Some of the tests he was given for trickery were probably done better in Nightmare Alley, although my memory there may not be as accurate as I think. For all that, this dark brooding film will keep you watching and after all, that's what movies are supposed to do.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Casey's Movie Mania: RED LIGHTS (2012)

6/10
Author: caseymoviemania from Malaysia
25 November 2012

In 2010, Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes stamped his mark in Hollywood with his unique thriller, BURIED, which was set entirely in a coffin and blessed with a tour de force performance by Ryan Reynolds. Now he's back again with sophomore effort titled as RED LIGHTS. Here lies the biggest question: is Rodrigo Cortes a one-trick pony or he's a capable director after all? The good news is, Cortes has a knack or two about delivering genuine suspense and in RED LIGHTS, he continues to deliver his unique storytelling method. To begin with, RED LIGHTS is blessed with an irresistibly captivating premise -- a supernatural genre that debunked the myth behind the otherworldly phenomena involving ghosts, telekinesis and such. It's like watching MythBusters with a supernatural twist.

Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her assistant Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) are two professional paranormal skeptics dedicated to expose fraudsters who prey on the superstitions of unsuspecting clients. All this while, these brilliant investigators never fail to crack a case but not until the sudden re-appearance of a blind psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), who has been missing for the last 30 years. Tom is very eager to investigate about Silver's so-called superhuman abilities who can read people's mind and even bend spoons at will. However, Margaret declines to challenge him at all and even warns him not to mess people like Simon Silver. But the stubborn Tom doesn't care and proceeds on his own investigation against Silver -- a result that subsequently causes a series of strange phenomena.

The first half is particularly fascinating, yet gripping enough to keep you entertained. It's hard not to get interested when the scene involves deconstructing the tactics of how psychics and hypnotists work to fool the unsuspecting audiences. That feeling is akin to watching a magician reveal his tricks (TV's Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed being a prime example). Likewise, Cortes delivers a series of well-timed suspense scenes. If only he manages to maintain the same momentum throughout the entire course of the movie, it would have been another cinematic masterpiece.

Unfortunately, the second half starts to spin out of control. Here, Cortes has somewhat undermines his own story and goes "suspension-of-disbelief" mode right until a bombastic third-act. Speaking of that third-act, Cortes finally pulls a sudden M. Night Shyamalan-like twist which is more baffling than intriguing. It's so unbelievable that one might question whether Cortes is totally run out of brilliant idea, simply chuck in whatever twist he can come out for and call it a day.

Despite all the flaws, RED LIGHTS remains a worthwhile thriller. The out-of-control second half may have been the biggest culprit, but at least Cortes manages to live up some thrilling moments involving Dr. Paul Shackleton (Toby Jones) tries to test Silver's superhuman abilities through careful lab research whether he's for real or simply a hoax. Another one involves an ugly fight scene between Buckley and a deranged man in the washroom.

Acting-wise, Sigourney Weaver delivers one of her most satisfying performances to date in her illustrious career. She is very good at playing no-nonsense character and her most memorable moment comes in an emotionally-driven scene involving her bad past with Simon Silver. Cillian Murphy is similarly engaging as well, especially the way he portrays a character so obsessed on uncovering the truth of Silver's superhuman abilities. Meanwhile, Robert De Niro seems to be channeling the same wicked character he used to play before in ANGEL HEART (1987). He's good at playing quietly menacing role but not until he goes full-blown lunatic in the climactic finale that is laughably over-the-top. Other supporting roles, including Elizabeth Olsen as Tom's student/love interest is fairly solid while Toby Jones is perfectly cast as a curious scientist.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Crappy ending to a pretty good film!!

6/10
Author: jaxbubba from THE FARIS REEL on Facebook
6 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A pretty interesting film, with a great premise, captivating opening sequence, intriguing plot line; however, I was flabbergasted by its cinematic conclusion. Centered around the debunking of paranormal activity and uncovering the fraud of faith healers, mental telepathy, and all things to do with extra sensory perception; this film dives into the under belly of the supernatural con men.

Sigourney Weaver (Margaret Matheson) and Cillian Murphy (Tom Buckley) are two university psychologists and physicist respectively, who have dedicated their lives to investigating any and all claims regarding E.S.P., psychic readings, mental telepathy, faith healers, etc. After 30 years of investigation, Dr. Matheson (Weaver) has yet to witness a successful demonstration of any paranormal phenomena once the subjects they all investigating are placed into a "controlled" environment. I found the first half of this film to be exciting, riveting, and truly entertaining as Matheson and Buckley traipsed across the countryside debunking local supernatural phenomena and celebrity faith healers. The term "red lights" refers to the employees of the Psychic who scout potential targets (incoming audience members) to their shows for potential "psychic" connections. Once the show begins, the suspected "Psychic" is then funneled the information throughout his show via radio signal to identify his next prey. The rapport between Weaver and Murphy is top notch; their on-screen presence is fantastic. You can feel the admiration that Buckley has for Matherson, and likewise the utmost respect that Matheson possesses for her younger, but still brilliant assistant.

The film takes an unexpected turn once the Simon Silver (Robert de Niro) character becomes prevalent to the story line. Simon Silver was a "super" psychic phenomenon early in his career; however, he has spent the last twenty (20) years on sabbatical, after an unforeseeable event occurred in which his primary adversary "may" have died by his psychic ability. As our story progresses, Mr. Silver has opted to come out of retirement and succumb to the testing parameters of the university's psychology department only after the university's most prominent psychologist, Matherson, mysteriously passed away.

The results of these tests are revolutionary!!! Is Simon Silver truly the first recorded psychic to actually pass paranormal testing in a controlled environment? Was Dr. Matherson killed in order to facilitate Simon Silver's achievements? These are the million dollar questions the audience needs to be focused. If the movie would have remained in this level of thought, the approval or disapproval of Simon Silver's ability; it would have been a perfect ending to a really great movie… But no, that would have been too easy!!! Instead the final ten (10) minutes of this film turns into this cavalcade of extra sensory power, building shaky, earth-shattering nonsense that it's almost a farce to have to witness. Why director Rodrigo Cortes (Buried) opts to go here, I haven't a clue!!! This is really a hindrance to the climax of a once interesting film. Still I am going to recommend this film for viewing!! Weaver, Murphy, and De Niro add class to this (mostly) well written film. If I could scrap the final ten (10) minutes of this film I would, but to each his own. It's definitely worth the price of renting!!!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Red Lights similar to old 1968 film

6/10
Author: terrymusto from United States
23 October 2012

This movie is similar in some ways to an old George Hamilton movie I saw as a kid called "The Power(1968)". If you liked this movie you might want to check out this movie as well, it is available on amazon.com. They both have the same surprise ending, I wonder if Rodrigo Cortes saw this movie as well in some point of his life. Even though Red Lights in a 2012 film therefore has better effects, I still prefer "The Power", it keeps you in the dark all the way up to the end, check it out. As for Red Lights it was an entertaining movies but a little hard to follow at times, and I found myself left with many questions at the end of the movie, I would still recommend this movie, but I would not put it up there as a must see.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Starts well but ends badly

5/10
Author: Lucabrasisleeps from India
15 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have always been interested in movies about psychics and other abilities. This movie doesn't really do anything groundbreaking with regard to these subjects. But it does manage to entertain to some extent.

One of the strong points about this movie is the presence of talented actors like Robert de niro, Cilian murphy and Sigourney weaver. Robert de niro does impress and gives a creepy performance as the enigmatic Silver. Towards the end, there are some hammy scenes which appear jarring. Cilian murphy has done a good job and he is the central character of the movie.

The last part of the movie is quite disappointing. The melodramatic scenes, the predictable twists, the hammy acting were all quite irritating. The twist doesn't make much sense since we can actually guess that Silver does have some abilities, at least in the earlier years. It is just far too difficult for him to pull it off. There are too many things which remain unresolved for me to take the twist seriously. Even then the twist is still predictable because of all the foreshadowing throughout the movie.

I still give it a 5 because of some good performances and the fact that it didn't put me to sleep.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Uneven, but probably worth watching

Author: Wizard-8 from Victoria, BC
12 June 2014

I decided to give this movie a spin in my DVD player when I found a brand new copy of it for only $1.25. While I did find the movie somewhat uneven, I do think there is enough interesting stuff here to make it worth a (low cost) viewing. The movie is decently produced on what probably wasn't a megabudget (even with the stars it boasts.) The angle of the movie - investigating so-called psychic phenomenon - makes for some very interesting scenes showing how the investigation probably goes in real life. And the movie does have a twist at the end that I must admit that I didn't see coming.

The movie is strongest in its first half. When the second half starts to kick in, there are some problems. The movie eventually gets a little slow and tedious; at nearly two hours in length, some shortening could have happened. Another problem is that the Cillian Murphy character eventually starts to somewhat irritate the viewer.

In the end, I am glad I saw the movie. Despite its flaws, it did have me interested from start to end. If you wait until you are in a mood where you can forgive some flaws in a movie, you'll likely find the movie of interest to you as well.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A curious film that doesn't reach it's potential

5/10
Author: eddie_baggins from Australia
29 September 2013

Red Lights is more than likely one of the more kookier movies you are likely to see this year. Director Cortes's last movie before this thriller was the man in a box movie Buried which somehow managed to keep viewers glued to the edge of their seats despite the whole film taking place inside the confines of the box. In that film Cortes showed a flare for not only character driven scenes but a unique feel for camera angles and shots. It's a shame then that Red Lights intriguing premise is not backed up by this same stylish prowess.

Red Lights story is never not interesting with enough red herrings and mysteries to remain watchable all the way through. The biggest downfall of the movie is in the way the story progresses and therefore wastes one of the most interesting cast's in modern memory. Red Lights offered the perfect mix of old and young with screen legends DeNiro and Weaver playing alongside up and comers Murphy and Olsen through to fantastic character actor Toby Jones therefore the cast is about as good as it comes, on paper at least.

Murphy is the member of the cast that comes out of Red Lights with the greatest work, other members are barely given room to grow this specifically includes DeNiro and Olsen who really don't have much to do and henceforth don't do much. It feels as though Red Lights could have delved into these characters more to enhance the central idea of whether or not DeNiro's Simon Silver is a fraud or something altogether more terrifying. There are other elements of the films plot that again feel like they could have been fleshed out such as Tom's backstory and Margaret's dealings with her paraplegic son.

Red Lights was a commercial and critical failure upon release and it's not hard to argue why this is the case. The film really isn't the sum of its parts yet has enough good in it to give it a shot. I was invested enough throughout to stick with it and see where this unique film finished. Red Lights finishes' on a strange yet satisfying note, a fitting finale to a film that doesn't conform.

2 and a half bent spoons out of 5

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Great buildup, the finale didn't do it justice

6/10
Author: Raymond from Finland
25 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really looked forward to seeing this. Great actors, interesting storyline, unknown director and the trailer/ads looked really stylish.

The movie begins perfectly, the script has a really intelligent touch to it and the style is spot on. I was really drawn into the movie and couldn't wait to watch more.

Then somewhere after the middle the movie turns into something a bit different. I kind of wanted the movie the stay as intelligent and focused as it was in the beginning, but I started having a suspicion that the ending might blow. (It's not a very well known movie, so maybe it's not such a masterpiece after all).

I was kind of right. The movie lost it in the final half an hour or so. Not a complete disaster, but I didn't like the way it ended - at all. It's got a kind of a twist in the end that I've grown not to like anymore. The Sixth Sense in the 90's had a huge impact on movie genre and after that we've seen so many movies that have this twist in the end that supposedly makes you look at the whole movie differently.

Nowadays when movies have this kind of ending I just feel frustrated most of the time. I don't know if the makers think this might make people want to watch this movie again, but at least I have zero interest to re-visit it. Had the ending been different, the style and acting might've been enough to make it a really solid performance worth watching again.

Too bad since the movie had a really great atmosphere and acting. Great cast all the way.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Breath of Fresh Air

8/10
Author: jbpowell11 from United States
1 November 2012

Bravo! Bravo! Finally, a movie with an outcome you won't predict and a conclusion which won't disappoint. As you know the two aren't often delivered together.

The only thing that could have put this movie into the 10 range would be a soundtrack by Mr. Glass. If you want that movie...check out The Illusionist.

I'll assume you've familiarized yourself with some other reviews and therefore have a handle on the basics (story line, genre, characters, etc.). So I'll forgo getting tactical or delving into those details.

The most striking observation I'd like to share with you is this. I found the flick's resilience to providing answers to my endless ever questioning refreshing. Right down to the occasional semi-intelligible dialog. Or characters drawing conclusions (especially in the opening scene) markedly different from my own. Why? Why? Why? Became Good! Good! Good! Keep me guessing, keep me interested.

I loved the way the movie blended decades. The setting is current given the use of laptops and other electronic technology. The haircuts, furniture and washed out colors make me second guess that assumption. It made me wonder. Made me recall the 70's.

And that brings me to the end of my review. Solid cast, A-List actors and actresses. Story to wake up to. Red Lights made me wonder. The whole way through.

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