Radio 06.19.09
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my review of three films now showing at The Majestic Theater in Greenville :
OK, so it’s a remake.  But “The Taking of Pelham 123” is still a tight little drama, starring two significant veteran actors.  The good guy is Denzel Washington, somehow suddenly paunchy and middle-aged, who’s been demoted from Metro Executive to lowly dispatcher because of some alleged bribery kickback scheme.  He seems so calm and rational, and his voice sounds so reasonable.  Just the tonic which the wild-eyed, maniacal John Travolta needs, as the spokesman for the bad guys who hijacked a subway train and now want money.  Except these are not merely ordinary thugs;  they’re knowledgeable about how the trains work and how to drive them and how to find just the right spot on the tracks for maximum security and minimum exposure.  Can you believe a criminal that well-spoken?  Do you enjoy poetic justice at the end of your movies?
Eddie Murphy’s latest, “Imagine That,” is about a hard-driving Wall Street executive who just didn’t have time for his wife or his daughter, and so now he’s just lost whenever he’s around either one of them.  He doesn’t realize how buttoned-down he’s become until his daughter invites him to her imaginary world of queens and princesses and dragons and enchanted forests.  We’d like to root for a guy who will dress up silly for his little girl’s school concert, just to help her relax.  Murphy’s chameleon voice talent and expert mimicry make this movie an interesting turn for his acting career.  Even if it hasn’t been all that well-received at the box office, because it’s much more sublime than either romantic, adventurous, violent, sexual, or gritty.  But it’s worth a visit, if you’re ready to have your heart strings plucked a bit.
And, if you want something really different, there’s always “Drag Me To Hell.”  The guy who made the “Spider-Man” movies returns to his roots in making horror films.  The whole genre has kind of degenerated lately into either random prurience or indiscriminate slashing, but this one avoids both of those cheap tricks, and relies instead on things jumping out at you, or making your skin crawl with dread-filled anticipation.  A bank loan officer is cursed by an old gypsy for deciding to foreclose on her home, and the demon-esque poltergeist are relentless in their pursuit of her tormented soul.  It’s PG-13, so nothing too awful, except animal cruelty by inference, but this one will make you ask yourself if you believe that “Instant Karma’s Gonna Get You.”
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM.