DVD Review: Next

That was one of the most ridiculous movies I’ve ever seen in my life.



I loved it.

Nicolas Cage is Cris Johnson, who uses his ability to see two minutes into the future to enhance his Las Vegas magic act under the stage name of “Frank Cadillac.”

Cage is particularly suited to this role because both “Nicolas” and “Cris” are missing an “h.” So had there been any scenes involving Cris struggling to deal with what it was like growing up with a missing letter, he’d have particularly nailed them. There aren’t any such scenes here, but if you pay attention to his performance, you can see the inner struggle. And that’s Oscar material, baby.

Julianne Moore is Agent Callie Ferris, a tough/smart cookie who figures out how Cris is doing his tricks and wants to use his abilities to predict/prevent a terrorist act involving a nuclear explosion in Los Angeles. Moore kicks 11 kinds of ass in this movie, and she looks like she’s having a lot of fun. Which in turn made it fun for me. And she’s beautiful, so that’s even better.

Jessica Biel — she’s a hot topic on the old blog today, isn’t she? — is Liz Cooper, a gorgeous girl who has a mysterious effect on Cris’s powers. Will that have some kind of effect on the movie’s outcome? Of course it will. It’s a thankless role, but Biel is gorgeous and has a really nice screen presence. Liz is a teacher, and there’s a scene where she’s sitting around talking with the group of Native American kids she teaches, and Biel exudes the kindness and warmth necessary for the Wonder Woman role she’s currently up for.

Director Lee Tamahori made the Bond flick Die Another Day and the Morgan Freeman thriller Along Came a Spider, which featured the first — and still the worst — computer-generated automobile accident I’ve ever seen on film. There’s lots of questionable computer work going on in most of this film’s action sequences, but it actually works with the kooky premise.

One major temptation that Tamahori resists is beating us over the head with overdone effects when Cris uses his powers. There’s one awesome action sequence in particular where Cris is taking down a bunch of opponents, and we see it as we’d see it if we were there in person. We’ve already seen how his powers work at this point, and seeing them in action without any stupid camera effects is really cool. There are lots of fun, clever examples of this throughout the movie. And there are some pretty sweet variations on his powers that come into play near the end. Nicely done.

A lot of the movie takes place in Grand Canyon territory, and cinematographer David Tattersall — who shot some awesome mountain stuff in Vertical Limit — makes it all look breathtaking and majestic.

Michael Trucco, who plays Anders on Battlestar Galactica, makes a brief appearance as Liz’s jerk-ass ex-boyfriend. His hair is darker and longer than it is on Galactica, and I immediately cast him in my head as the Justice League Superman. So if Warner Bros. is reading this and wants to pay me $5.7 million to cast their Justice League movie, give me a call and we’ll make this happen. Really. I need the money.

Next takes itself pretty seriously, but does so in a silly, nudge-wink kind of way. It’s really ridiculous. But it’s also a lot of fun, and I recommend checking it out some night when you need a DVD rental to go along with your pizza and Pepsi.


True Story:

Lee Tamahori directed an episode of The Sopranos called “Toodle-Fucking-Oo.”

How ’bout that?