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28 Days Later... (2002)
Essentially, a disappointment
My problem with this movie is not the plot or overall storyline, which is excellent. We understand immediately that something has gone very wrong with the city, the country, the world(?) Obviously, a hyper-deadly virus has wiped out any (verifiable) traces of civilization.
What first disturbed me was the almost casual way in which Jim makes his way out of the hospital and walks around downtown London after he wakes up. I would have thought a hospital would be an excellent place to try to find clothes, food and other necessities. Rather, he just strolls out wearing nothing but his (by now smelly) green hospital outfit and a pair of socks. I would also have liked to see more confusion and despair on his part.
Okay, so after the leading duo make their way to an apartment complex and join an (uninfected) father and his daughter, there is a scene which made me cringe. Making their way to a supposedly better place, the group decides to take the quicker route through a highway tunnel rather than a longer above-ground route. This was a dead giveaway that something bad would happen. I was hoping to be surprised, but it didn't happen.
The longest part of the film takes place in a castle, where the survivors join a small contingent of soldiers. Why they decided to go with the all too foreseeable "lonely men get horny and need women" storyline, we will never know. At one point, the major in charge - the only soldier who seems to possess even a grain of intelligence - hints at an effort to understand the nature of the virus by showing Jim an infected soldier kept alive in order to evaluate how long a victim would survive if left without food and water. I thought this was the start of something, but alas, no.
After the soldiers' attempt at gang-rape of the two women have been halted by Jim, who has gone from geek to gung-ho menace in mere minutes, the director seemed to want to end the movie too quickly. The end is both open and closed, and we can only hope the survivors move to a better place than they came from.
The one thing I did enjoy was a brief moment when Jim in laying on the ground and sees the distant vapor trails of a jetliner in the sky. Clearly, there is something better somewhere else, but that is all we find out. He hears from a soldier (now dead) that they may all be victims of a gigantic quarantine operation. I would have enjoyed a further pursuit of this part of the story.
Also, the first scene in the movie contains some very disturbing images, so parent with kids - skip them, they are not essential to the story.
The Core (2003)
Sometimes, vanilla is best
I quite enjoyed this rather foreseeable movie. Certainly, the whole doomsday setup makes you think of Armageddon in that it is 'do or die' for planet Earth. But while Armageddon is clearly pretentious and *wants* to be the greatest doomsday flick ever made, The Core doesn't try to provide 3 1/2 hours of non-stop heart-pumping fun and drama. I enjoyed the absence military types, CIA agents or others who might threaten to take over the mission once it got started. There was a definite slant toward the scientific aspects of the mission. In my mind, clearly a different take on this genre. Vanilla, sure, but it tasted just fine.
Boiler Room (2000)
The real thing
The plot in Boiler Room is true to reality. A friend of mine was telling me about an outfit he used to work for in the 80's. Worked just like JT Marlin. They switched name three times in two years. My friend called people who lived far away so he wouldn't have to run into them at the grocery store.
The way the company keeps their brokers hungry is by encouraging excessive spending, such as luxury cars, so they have to make even more money to keep up with the lifestyle.
Boiler Room has a group of young actors that all play their parts well. Giovanni Ribisi makes a good appearance, and Nia Long needs to be in more movies.