The Box (2009)
Director: Richard Kelly
Starring: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella
Running Time: 1 hr, 55 min
Rated: PG-13


Review by Brother Reed

Imagine that a mysterious package shows up on your doorstep one day. It contains a simple box with one identifiable feature: a large, red button on the top. The deal is this. If you press the button, two things will happen. First, somewhere in the world, someone whom you don’t know will die. Second, you will receive a payment of one million US dollars. In cash. No taxes. Should you press the button? Perhaps a better question: would you? That’s the premise behind The Box, a confounding speculative thriller with more ideas than it has sense. The Box is certainly high-concept, and the pitch drew me to the theater over other more prominent movies like 2012 that promised predictable structures and events. In that measure I choose well. The Box is not a predictable film, and I can pretty much guarantee you won’t expect most of what happens in the last two-thirds. I also suspect that if you put any thought into the film – and it wants you to – it will give you and whoever you see it with a lot to chew over. However, that is about as far as my praise for the movie extends. If you have to see this, don’t see it alone. But better yet, don’t see it at all.  READ FULL REVIEW

Being John Malkovich (1999)
Director: Spike Jonze
Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener
Running Time: 1 hrs. 52 min
Rated: R



Review by Brother Reed

Charlie Kaufman is a man who finds truth in absurdity. His screenplay for Being John Malkovich is a goldmine of radical concepts, and director Spike Jonze brings it to life before our eyes as an almost dream-like parade of strangeness. Lifelike puppetry, an office with a four foot ceiling, a chimp with post traumatic stress, people entering the minds of others… this is just the beginning of the oddities to be found in this film. However, it is no conceit. Being John Malkovich may have the trappings of an obscure art film but it is made so accessible – and so funny – that I think audiences will love it if they give it a shot. FULL REVIEW