The idea of the perfect man doesn't always hold up entirely. Sometimes, a person can seem perfect on the surface - too perfect, in fact - and hold a deep, dark secret beneath. Leah Vaughn (Sanaa Lathan) discovers this when she finally leaves Dave (Morris Chestnut), her long-term boyfriend, because he isn't ready to commit to the idea of children. Dating begins, and she soon meets Carter Duncan (Morris Chestnut) who seems like the perfect man for her. But when she accidentally discovers his darker side, she does her best to get away from him, only to find herself pursued by a very dangerous suiter.
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Billy Beane is the general manager of the baseball team Oakland Athletics, who have a budget of $41 million. Looking to expand the team's budget so he can buy some of the best competitive players, he goes to the manager, Art Howe, who refuses, citing the New York Yankees, who had just spent over $125 million on players.
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When Erik first comes upon the man they call "Champ" (Samuel L. Jackson), the homeless resident has just been violently attacked by a small gang of vicious delinquents trying to prove their manhood with an act of cowardice typical of the goons and bullies in this part of town. After suffering their blows, the victim lies nearly helpless on the grounds of his minimal stakeout in a downtown alley. Once more, Champ is down, but this is the life he's accepted and adapted to with stoic resolve.
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How's this for a final exam? Jake Harris (Val Kilmer), a controversial FBI instructor, immerses his students in elaborate, realistic training situations, and he pushes them to their limits for their final test. He flies his students (Christian Slater, Patricia Velasquez, Jonny Lee Miller, Clifton Collins Jr., Kathryn Morris, Eion Bailey, and Will Kemp) to a remote island used for war games practice, which has been deserted for the weekend.
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Before I launch into what could read like an unabashedly positive review of the Steven Spielberg-Tom Cruise sci-fi collaboration "Minority Report," let me get off my chest the two things that ultimately torpedo the movie's excitement and stylistic brilliance. Both problems come toward the end of the film, but I'll be vague so as not to spoil anything.
1) The whole plot resolution hinges on that tired and idiotic cliché of an antagonist giving himself/herself away through a verbal slip-up. ("Wait a minute!" replies a protagonist, "I never said...")
There is just no excuse for this kind of screenwriting shortcut in this day and age. It's an insult to intelligent moviegoers, especially in a film that is so enthralling until such bogus Hollywood gimmickry leaves it with a bad aftertaste.
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Writer-director Rod Lurie is to political thriller cinema what Jackie Collins is to romance novels: high-gloss trash. The difference is that Lurie takes himself seriously.
Earlier this year his preposterous nuclear countdown yarn "Deterrence" was released after sitting on a shelf for two years. It starred Kevin Pollack as a US president snowed in at a Colorado greasy spoon getting unsolicited advice from a peanut gallery of patrons as Saddam Hussein's son revealed a secret nuclear arsenal pointed at our shores. Even more ridiculous than the plot was the "just kidding" manner in which it concludes.
Now comes "The Contender," a lurid yet didactic gavel-to-gavel drama about a vice presidential appointee embroiled in a sex scandal.
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IN THE MEANTIME...
Here's the plot (from the studio):
Hiding inside a group of eight young FBI profilers learning to hunt serial killers is a killer attempting to hunt them. As one by one the agents begin to disappear, none can be trusted. Each one is under suspicion. And they are all in mortal danger until, in the ultimate test of their crime-solving skills, they uncover the mysterious predator lurking in their midst. MINDHUNTERS turns the serial killer thriller inside out by concealing the ultimate evil deep within the ranks of the good guys. The film stars Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, LL Cool J, Jonny Lee Miller, Kathryn Morris, Clifton Collins Jr., Will Kemp, Patricia Velasquez and Eion Bailey as the agents both under suspicion and imminent threat.
Continue reading: Mindhunters Review