Quick hits: FOREVER, TICK-TOCK, THE PAYBACK ALL-STAR REVUE, THE TUXEDO
April 14th, 2004
Review(s) by Honest Abe
NOTE: The screenplays we review are often in development and may experience many rewrites, some could end up being completely different than what is reviewed here. It is our hope that our reviews generate more interest in the film. Thank you.
Hey folks, Chris here. We're pleased to announce that Honest Abe will be checking in from time to time with "Quick Hits," short reviews of various scripts in development. Later on we'll review some of them in more detail. Anyway, thanks for your time and enjoy!
THE 25TH HOUR (positive, minor spoilers)
Ed Norton and Spike Lee team up for a look at the last night of a drug hustler before he's sent to prison for a 7 year stretch. Monty is the guy that everyone in the neighborhood goes to. Parts of the story are told in quick flashbacks as we see him interact with his girlfriend and how they met, as well as some of his friends. Basically, he's having a goodbye party thrown for him at a local hotspot nightclub owned by Uncle Blue, a Russian mafioso who thinks that Monty ratted him out to the Feds who are gonna be kicking down his door any minute. We also meet his friends, Jakob the high school teacher with a crush on a student and Slattery, the big brother type lug. We meet his father, a local bar owner, there's Kostya a Russian henchman but a good friend too, and again, his live-in girlfriend, Naturelle, who Monty begins to believe is the one who told the Feds on him.
This is a serious character study in what goes through a man's mind on his final night of freedom. Friends who have drifted and loyalties are tested all occur in but a few hours. Aside from thinking about the hell he's about to enter, Monty wants to tie up a few loose ends and say a few words to some people. Being a fan of some of Lee's works, I hope he can bring an intensity to this like he did with Clockers. It starts out slow and even when it does pick up, there's no action. It's a somber straight talking drama that is going to require the right atmosphere and incredible performances from all involved. I know Norton won't disappoint. Unfortunately, Lee's more recent films haven't done well and this doesn't necessarily scream blockbuster but rather a subtle independent drama. Done correctly, this could be a wonderful little film about life and what's important and taking chances. If there's one problem is that if Norton's not careful he could come across as a little too moody. Granted, he's going to jail the next morning and I'm not saying he should be spouting jokes but a few times the intensity was to the point that I thought Monty was going to implode, or explode.....or just....plode. Anyway, if you're a fan of Norton, this should definitely be on your "to view" list.
NOW & FOREVER (mixed, major spoilers)
This is a love story (gee, the title kind of hints at that) between a girl from a broken home with an alcoholic, sluty mother and a young Cree Indian boy. They live in a very small town and their friendship begins in the early days of grade school. After her father's death, the girl, Angela, begins to hang out with John and his wise old father, Ghost Fox. She becomes indoctrinated into the ways of the tribe and is even given an Indian name. She's a firecracker with a lot of spirit but her main goal is to get out of town and away from her mom. She sees her chance in TJ the high school football hero, even though we (and John) can see that he's just a bully and a jerk. Angela decides to move to LA to pursue acting and returns home several years later having had no contact with John. Her mom has passed and she is severely ill. Basically, she's come home to die and make peace with John...but John has a secret, too. One of undying love.
Okay, this isn't a bad script. The Angela character reminds me of "Jenny" from Forrest Gump". I liked some of the sequences involving the Indian rituals. If I have a problem with it is that it moves ahead too quickly at times, especially in the third act. Angela has gone to Hollywood and made it as a very successful actress. Next thing we know, it's years later and she's moving back home. There's maybe 4 pages to cover the years in between. The characters of John and Angela, as well as the mystical Ghost Fox are well developed but there really are no supporting players outside of Angela's mom and boyfriend, Mackie and then there's the typical bully/bonehead/jock/boyfriend, TJ. There's some sappiness at times. John is the ultimate good guy and it does get annoying how sweet he is. I guess this would be a good date movie but I don't even know what the status is of this project. In any event, girls may like it. Guys will be dragged to it. Personally, I'd pass. Like I said, it's not bad, just nothing to really get excited about.
TICK-TOCK (negative, minor spoilers)Note: There are two TICK TOCK scripts out there. One is in pre-production with Columbia. It is set during Christmas when an amnesiac wakes up in the custody of the FBI. He learns he is the prime suspect in a series of bombings in Los Angeles. The other is discussed below, is currently in turnaround. The writer is Kevin Brodbin.
Boy was I pissed. I thought I was handed the Jennifer Lopez amnesia bomb thriller that's been stuck in development hell post 9/11. Instead I get a wimpy love story with the same title. Angela is a wealthy and successful events coordinator. Matt is a few years younger and works in a video store but dreams of being a screenwriter. They meet and she's charmed by him. What follows is a story of a woman who's used to the finer things in life who although Matt meets all her criteria, she wonders whether they can make it. Matt, on the other hand, is used to struggling and doesn't want to feel inferior because Angela is better off and can provide more than he can. It all comes to a head when they take Matt's young daughter shopping and Angela freaks at having to shop at K-Mart and Payless Shoes. She spoils Maggie but it's clear that Matt is perturbed. The only segments I enjoyed really was when Angela's neighbor and good friend Gary (think Michael Clarke Duncan) and her share drinks and talk. He even goes as far as to "interview" potential dates for her. Sounds corny and dumb but it was actually somewhat amusing. Oh blah, blah, I've wasted enough of everyone's time on this review. Serious chick flick. Bottom line: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
THE PAYBACK ALL-STAR REVUE (slightly positive, minor spoilers)
Ocean's Eleven Redux. Not necessarily the most original script but enjoyable tale about a bank heist/revenge caper. In the early pages of the script, we're in Las Vegas and we see a woman murdered and her young son is the only witness. It doesn't take a genius to figure out who's behind the robbery of a casino several years later. What is intriguing is what does the kidnapping and ransom of the mayor of LV as well as a junior reporter for Rolling Stone magazine named Matthew have to do with this. If there's one problem, it's that there's WAY too many characters. You almost need a scorecard to keep track of this large and eclectic cast of characters. The main plot has the mastermind behind the heist, Seth, who agrees to surrender to authorities as long as he has a chance to give an interview, to tell his side of the story behind the heist, to Matthew. What follows is a lot of flashbacks as to how the whole caper came together. On top of all this are detectives Harrison and Gibson trying to keep tabs on everyone as well as Matt's ex-girlfriend/news anchor Darsey. What I loved was the segment involving "Sam's Payback Gator Den". What that is basically is a little backwater bar and grill where basically every lowlife, thug and specialist in his or her field hangs out. Like an employment office for the underworld. When Seth arrives, he has specifics of what he's looking for (i.e. a munitions expert, a safecracker who must be married, and so on and so forth). The one criteria is that everyone must be able to play a different musical instrument. They make up the band of the script title. It's their cover for getting into the casino. There's twists and turns aplenty and aside from one which I didn't see coming, it's fairly predictable. Last I heard was that this was on Joshua Jackson's plate but as of just a few days ago, I heard that this project was dead. Hopefully not for too long. This could be a fun caper movie. Just make sure to bring a scorecard.
THE TUXEDO (positive, minor spoilers)Notes: Writers involved in the project: Matt Manfredi, Michael Wilson, and Phil Hay. Is in production, Kevin Donovan directs.
First of all, if you haven't heard, this movie has been delayed until the fall. Any ways, Jackie Chan stars as a cab driver named Charlie who becomes a replacement secret agent out to save the world from poisonous water contamination. Jennifer Love Hewitt is along for the ride as his assistant. Okay, stop rolling your eyes. It actually reads quite well, even if the poison the water supply storyline itself ain't that original. The main gist of the script is Jackie trying to get accustomed to filling in for his employer, Clark Devlin, who's fallen into a coma. His saving grace is Clark's tuxedo. It's actually a suit with a computer wired into the seams. It gives the wearer the ability to fight, dance, fly, you name it. The hilarity comes from watching Charlie trying to adjust to his new outfit. The plot itself is very thin and I think the second half kinda falls flat. How many funny secret agent/mistaken identity situations have we seen before? If I have one problem though (and it's just personal), I don't wanna see Jackie kiss JL Hewitt. (yuck!) (btw, you can tell the writers are fans of miss hewitt's 'talents' cause the script descriptions of her outfits are downright boner-riffic). If you've seen the trailer then you know enough. I'll be there because I think I'm guaranteed a good time. (just got a close my eyes in the kiss scene).