Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review - Red Lights

Okay, so I'm browsing netflix and I see this new movie.

Red Lights.  Robert DeNiro, Sigourney Weaver.  Yea, I wen't whoa, I didn't hear about this one, i wonder why not?  Well, turns out there's decent reason.

So Sigourney Weaver stars as this scientific investigator who spends most of her time debunking your average, run of the mill psychic.  Basically exposing them as the scam artists they are.  Now, if you are one of those people who believe in psychics, and you are still reading my blog, well, you know I think they are all 100% frauds.  An opinion shared by Ms Weaver's character and her lab assistant.  The term "Red Lights" refers to things that would seem out of place, or incongruous, that these two would use to foil a psychic's otherwise perfectly planned evening.  For instance, a guy going through a crowd, surreptitiously overhearing conversation on why each of the people is there to see the psychic who's on stage that night, gleaning information that the psychic can use to appear to be, well, "psychic."  As we've seen from other movies, most obviously Steve Martin as a faith healer in that one movie.... that I can't remember the name of....  most of them have someone talking to them through a radio gizmo by which they can manage the people who come to see the show.  In any case, Ms Weaver and her assistant are short on cash, the result of a lack of grant funding for their research.  I don't think it was ever really explained what their research was, because in the midst of this, a formerly retired psychic comes out of retirement after 30 years to do a few more shows.  Apparently, he needed more money.  Makes sense.  The suddenly un-retired psychic, Robert DeNiro, becomes basically the whole focus of the movie after this.

Despite the big names, there was a decidedly incoherent plot through all this.  Now here's where I rip apart the movie, so if you want to actually watch this, skip past this part of my blog.

First off, Sigourney Weaver's character dies halfway through the film.  I'm not sure if they ran out of money to pay her acting fees or that was part of the plot but anyone hoping for a climactic showdown between these two acting talents is going to be sorely disappointed.  I know I was.  Sigourney's acting skills, which never seemed to depend on her youth (as in the alien films) are in evidence here, but unfortunately she's cut from the cast about halfway through.  There's not even an explanation of her death, for some strange reason, which left me wondering what exactly was going on in the middle of the movie.  Not because it was part of the story, and I should have been wondering what was going on, but because it happened so suddenly and without reason that a lack of explanation seemed ludicrous.  Secondly, a huge point is made of proving DeNiro's character is a fake psychic, which could have been amply done by the surviving lab assistant.  Note that his "secret technique," the fact that he plays a blind man and actually isn't, was the first thing I thought of when i saw him, as it seemed the absolute most obvious thing that he could use to appear psychic and not be, and this was alluded to throughout the movie.  So the "big secret ending" was so anticlimactic as to be moot at that point.  Also, they let the lab assistant's assistant do it, in an almost completely unrelated scene, wherein one character is actually trying to say something, and he's never actually allowed to say it, which, I found totally annoying.  Then, to top all that mess off, they reveal that the lab assistant was only able to denounce DeNiro's fake psychicness is because the lab assistant himself is a psychic.  Which, just really confused me as to the point of it.  I suppose every movie needs a twist, but that was probably not the right one to throw in there.  lol  Another thing they did was have sigourney's son, who is apparently in a coma, not only survive her death, but has his life support turned off by the supposedly now "real" psychic.  Which confuses me for two reasons, one, why have a totally inert character get his life support shut off at the end of the movie to prove a point (what point exactly?) and two, who the HELL is paying for his hospital care when sigourney weaver's funding was so lacking, and she died halfway through the movie anyway?  Wouldn't they have just pulled the plug when the money ran out?  There wasn't even any good sex or nudity, despite the lab assistant's lab assistant being pretty attractive.  Why bother exploring that side of things when it plays no actual role in the film?  Questions, questions.  Usually what happens is, the big twist ending makes scenes in the movie, that were otherwise unexplainable, make sense.  In this movie, the twist made otherwise explainable scenes suddenly senseless in the context of what we now know, which, just served to confuse me.

End spoilers.  All in all, watch if you are a fan of DeNiro, as he and sigourney Weaver are both as charismatic as ever, even if they aren't acting their hearts out for this film.  I wouldn't watch the movie again, personally, as the ending "twists" are in parts sorely predictable and utterly pointless, and once seen, utterly forgettable.

Now what else is going on...  Nothing!  :-D  Coasting on financial fumes, hoping to make it to a gas station so I can get my wealthiness tank filled, if you'll excuse the metaphor.  We'll see what happens!  Otherwise, surviving a typical western new york winter.  :-)  At least the snow shoveling is keeping me active.  lol

No comments:

Post a Comment