Film Review: Columbus Circle

For those times when only a trashy and implausible thriller will do, Columbus Circle swoops in and saves the day. The film is watchable, but instantly forgettable.

Living in isolation, Abigail Clayton is an heiress who has avoided contact with almost everyone. When her elderly neighbour dies, a new couple move in to her exclusive apartment building in Manhattan. The pair interrupt Abigail’s fiercely private existence, and she is forced to confront her troubled past…

Columbus Circle occupies that space between made-for-television movie and theatrical release. It is not difficult to see why the film did not get a big screen release. The plot is riddled with implausibilities, and centres on a twist that is reminiscent of a TV movie. Nevertheless, production values are good for the most part, and the cast is littered with well-known faces.

Director George Gallo, who co-wrote the film with Kevin Pollak (who also stars), struggles to generate the necessary tension required for a thriller. There is some tension towards the climax, but this occurs too late in proceedings. The film does retain some mystery over the protagonist’s past. This aspect is explored, but not utilised in an effective manner.

The plot simply has too many holes to be rendered credible. Columbus Circle features a big twist, but one that does not have the impact the filmmakers were aiming for. As the film continues, events become more convoluted. In particular, Abigail’s character development is patchy. Change in the protagonist seems to occur at breakneck pace.

Production values are fine, and the score works rather well. The thing that is rather dubious is why a recluse would choose to live in a shared building. Although Abigail is supposed to be very wealthy, her surroundings betray this gilded existence. Performances are fine overall. Selma Blair has been better, while Jason Lee and Amy Smart give adequate performances.

Columbus Circle is one of those films that will not harm or annoy, though it is unlikely to become a favourite either.

Columbus Circle is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from 5th March 2012.

Film Review: Cop Out

Reviews of Cop Out have been mediocre overall. By no means a classic, nonetheless, Cop Out is not as bad as the reviews suggest either.

Jimmy and Paul, two NYPD detectives, happen upon a Brooklyn drug ring after Jimmy’s prized baseball card is stolen. A simple mission to recover the card by the duo becomes much more complicated after they discover more than they were expecting…

 The fundamental problem with Cop Out is that the film is not as funny as you’d hope it would be. While there is humour, it is not as consistent as one would expect from a movie directed by Kevin Smith and starring Tracey Morgan.

The pairing of Morgan with Bruce Willis works well; with Willis playing the straight man to Morgan’s funny guy. Elsewhere Seann William Scott plays an annoying but genial thief. Although Scott does well in these side character roles, it will be interesting to see whether he will eventually break out of the archetype Stifler mould.

Smith continues with his cinematic-referencing preoccupation in Cop Out, in an overt and sometimes humorous manner. In a sense, Cop Out is a film about wanting to be cops, in a brashy, television/film way. This is most evident through the detectives played by Kevin Pollak and Adam Brody; two back office cops who jeer at Jimmy and Paul, but long to do the dangerous, action hero thing themselves.

Cop Out does not do anything to redefine the buddy cop genre, but it is unlikely the film intended to. Instead it serves as a fun addition to the genre. A few more laughs would have been welcome, though.