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eagle eye

Eagle Eye
D.J. Caruso
Cast: Shia LeBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, Anthony Mackie, Ethan Embry. Billy Bob Thornton

ony DeFrancisco

October 14, 2008


“Eagle Eye,” ladies and gentlemen, is the reason why I hate critics.

You know the kind of critics I’m talking about. The critics that think they’re better than YOU and that their opinion matters more than YOURS. David Edelstein, Kyle Smith, and Michael Phillips are just a few of those critics that I can’t stand. These guys don’t care about films – they care about getting their names on commercials and DVD covers.

But please, don’t get the word “critics” confused with “reviewers.” Reviewers do gimmicks online knowing that there is a three percent chance that they will ever be noticed. Reviewers are very rarely EVER paid, and most of them pay to watch the movies at the cinema and to get their work online. Domain names and blogs cost money.

So dare you ever write me an email and say that I am a movie critic and I swear to god I will slice your genitals off, fry them, and make you eat them afterwards. I’m not a movie critic. I’m a movie reviewer. I NEVER get paid to write movie reviews. I’m always paying for movies, unless if someone sends me free tickets for pimping something out at FilmArcade or I have enough points on my MovieWatcher card that qualifies me for a freebie. cost me only ten bucks a year, starting 2009 it is going to cost me 6.95 a MONTH. I don’t do this to get my name in the papers – I do it because I love movies.

And it seems like the new “in” is to hate the new action film “Eagle Eye,” starring Shia LaBeouf. Before I went to go see this at the local IMAX screen (and they have IMAXs near me now!), I read nothing but negative reviews. But funny thing about this “Eagle Eye” movie… The critics still find Shia LaBeouf to be one of the greatest actors of the generation, but most of them complained that it is too identical to “2001: A Space Odyssey” and has too much action which doesn’t make way for any plot development.

That’s weird. Most of these critics gave “Wall-E” and “Wanted” positive reviews too.

Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) just got back from his brother’s funeral, walks into his apartment, and finds his room to be boarded up with boxes filled with guns and fertilizer. He receives a phone-call from this mysterious woman telling him to get out of his apartment in thirty seconds or the FBI was going to arrest him. Thinking that it is all a bad joke, he stays in there… and thirty seconds later, the FBI was at his door to arrest him. He tells them that he has no idea why these weapons showed up at his door, but Agent Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) doesn’t believe a second of it. When he gets a second of peace, he gets a phone-call by the same woman and it tells her to jump out of the building and run away. And he does… and they’re on his tale.

Meanwhile, after Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) drops her kid off at the train station to perform at the Kennedy Center with his music band, she goes out to get a few drinks with some friends. When she steps outside after her “son” is calling her, the same exact woman tells her to obey the instructions that she gives her and Rachel’s son will live. This mysterious woman brings Jerry and Rachel together on a run across the country following this woman’s tasks, while Agent Morgan and Detective Zoe Perez (Rosario Dawson) try and track them down.

For the first hour, “Eagle Eye” is a brilliantly shot action film. We follow Jerry and Rachel following this woman’s orders and for the most part they are unwillingly obeying. From the moment Shaw walks into his apartment to find weapons are stacked, the action just keeps on coming. Twists and turns follow the next forty minutes and if the rest of the movie followed suit, “Eagle Eye” just very well might have been one of my favorite movies of the year.

But while this last hour really changed the movie’s tone from a kickass action flick to a science-fiction movie, it still kept me entertained. Far-fetched and preposterous, but I still enjoyed it. The biggest problem with “Eagle Eye” was when we found out that this mysterious lady was a computer, and all the film does make the change. People have compared this computer to HAL 9000 from “2001: A Space Odyssey,”

And I won’t tell you how it ends.

While everyone does a decent job, the one that blew my mind was Shia LaBeouf. This guy hasn’t done anything good since “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” and it is about time that he does something decent. Before “Eagle Eye,” I didn’t understand why people have compared LaBeouf to Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, but now I see it. This guy definitely has the talent, though he doesn’t always show it as much as he should.

Director D.J. Caruso shows his real talents directing “Eagle Eye.” Whereas with “Disturbia,” all he had to do was shoot LaBeouf in a house looking through a pair of binoculars. This film covers a lot more area than “Disturbia” did, and while “Eagle Eye” is not an example of flawless direction, this makes Caruso look like he put forth a lot of hard work.

Earlier I wrote that I saw “Eagle Eye” in IMAX, making it only the second movie I have ever saw in IMAX before (first was “The Spiderwick Chronicles” and that almost drew me away from the format completely). And while everyone experienced “The Dark Knight” in IMAX back in July, I was never able to catch it on an IMAX screen, so I don’t know what a flawless example of IMAX is. “Eagle Eye’ is as close as flawless for me as it possibly could be. Now I’m just looking forward to “Watchmen” in IMAX…

“Eagle Eye” is the most post-summer fun that you will get for a while. It isn’t anything to take a cold shower afterwards, but you get your money’s worth.


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eagle eye

Eagle Eye
D.J. Caruso
Cast: Shia LeBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, Anthony Mackie, Ethan Embry. Billy Bob Thornton

Stewart Armstrong

December 30, 2008


“You have 3 seconds to leave your apartment or you will be arrested” the unknown female voice says to you over the phone.  That is the situation Jerry Shaw is facing. 
During a night out with friends you receive a mysterious, anonymous call. “Go outside now.  You have 3 seconds.  Go outside now! Because this is concerning your son!”  Commands the voice on the other end. This is the situation Rachelle
Holloman is facing. 

Here you have one person with too much pride and another one, a struggling divorcee with a son who’s on a trip with his classmates to Washington D.C.  Do they do what the voice tells them to do or do they ignore it?  That is the question that is posed within the first few minutes of Eagle Eye, the new film by director D. J. Caruso (Disturbia). 

This scenario is a well worn cliché.  There are other questions that get posed in Eagle Eye, but they too are clichés of other movies.  Here is another one: You’re the Defense Secretary, and you have the bad guys in your sights.  Every second counts, and your decision is critical depending on the circumstances.  All the Intel is telling you is, “here is your chance”, but your gut is tell you, “no.” You refer to your superiors for input, and they tell you that it is, “all or nothing” and, “it’s up to you to make the decision.”  Finally, you begin to have second thoughts and give your command only to have it overturned by the same superiors who gave you the authority to act. This is the situation Defense Secretary Callister (played by Michael Chikilis) is facing at the outset.

So this is the setup for Eagle Eye. Not a bad setup, but a solid one and it does it job. 

Shia LaBeouf stars as Jerry Shaw, a young man who works at a photocopying store for low pay and is content where he is in life. Barely paying his rent and stiffing his co-workers at poker to make ends meet, he’s a smart-ass.  Sound familiar?  It should, because LaBeouf has played this character before in previous movies (i.e., Transformers, Indiana Jones). 

Usually, on his way home Jerry stops by the ATM to check his bank balance, and then tries to sneak into his apartment without being seen by his landlady who just happens to live in the first apartment near the entrance.  Now, why does he check his bank account? I dunno, maybe he thinks money will magically appear.  However, on this particular day he finds a huge amount of money in his account (I guess money does magically appear if you check your account often enough).  He immediately heads home pays to his rent and goes into his own apartment and finds yet another surprise.  Strewn all over his apartment are all sorts of military paraphernalia –equipment, guns, manuals, etc.  And then comes the mysterious phone call.  Does he leave his apartment like the voices urges him too?  Yes, he does, but wearing handcuffs.  It is here we meet Agent Thomas Morgan (played by Billy Bob Thornton) and Agent Zoe Perez (Rosario Dawson) who question Jerry about the material in his possession.

Meanwhile, at a club, Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) gets a call from the same female voice telling her to go outside to the McDonald’s across the street. She is shown her son on the train bound for Washington D.C., and she is told to drive to specific location. 

Back across town, the anonymous female phone caller gives Jerry and the agents another workout. More calls, more instructions, more mayhem, more danger.  Predictably, with all this dashing and dodging around, Jerry eventually runs into Rachel, who is his ticket out, and now they are both being pursued by agents Thomas and Perez, an exciting chase that has them struggling to figure out who’s who and who’s behind the whole thing.  All this transpires within the first half hour of the movie. 

If this were a regular cop movie, it would be over at this point.  The interesting question is, who is this female voice and why is she giving orders?  What is this all about?  You get hints to the answer as the movie moves on, but once you find out your eyes will roll to the back of your head.

I have to tread lightly here because I’m trying not to spoil anything, but if I mention any of the movies that this movie’s plot borrows from it will ruin it for you.  Go ahead and ruin it for you, you say? Are you sure you want that?  Okay. You asked for it.


War Games, iRobot, 2001: Space Odyssey, 2010, Contact, Matrix.  I guess you have figured out the female voice, too?  Fine.  Her name is ARIA.  Satisfied?  I know that feeling.  You got Mounds when you wanted Almond Joy, right? 

It’s a funny thing.  This movie is billed as an Action/Thriller.  There were plenty of action, but I don’t know about the “thriller” part.  As for the performances, the acting is pretty standard. Not that Shia Labeouf was bad.  It’s just that in this role, he was reaching too far. At times it made his character unbelievable, and in some scenes, just flat.  Luckily he had Michelle Monaghan by his side to even things out. 

As for Michelle Monaghan, her character was believable, and I think she did a good job despite the script and story.  She didn’t go way over the top, but played within her character’s boundaries.  However, I would have liked to have seen agents Morgan and Perez a little more involved in the story.  These characters turned out to be wasted opportunities. Just the competitive banter alone between agents Morgan and Perez would have been fun to watch. 


In conclusion, I would have to give this movie a C/C-. I felt like I was cheated out of the $10 I paid to see it. If you feel you must see it, wait until it comes out on DVD for rent, for one of those days when you want to watch something but can’t make up your mind. It’s a good choice to watch with your girlfriend (or boyfriend) while satisfying your action fix.  However, if you are anything like me, this movie will have you pulling out all those movies that this movie reminds you of, including The Terminator

So with that in mind, Happy Viewing.