Push/The Uninvited

First, the good news: Dakota Fanning.

The other good news is that there isn’t too much bad news about Push. Chris Evans (somewhat robotically, but, okay, expected) plays a telekinetic man pursued by a shadowy government agency called “Division” who want to experiment on him and others like him: watchers, who can see the future; bleeders, whose screeches can cause death; shadows, who can hid things or people from watchers; sniffers, who can track just about anything; and pushers, who can implant thoughts into the minds of others.

Visually, this movie is fantastic. Set in Hong Kong, the vibrant colors and MTV-style camerawork suit the locale and act as a sort of tribute to the bright neon and hazy glow evoked by the city. Like Blade Runner, Push owes a lot to noir, plugging in a femme fatale, a good woman, and man haunted by his past as the three main characters.

Dakota Fanning is actually the standout here, playing a precocious 13-year-old watcher who serves as Evans’s moral compass and guide.

My main complaint about almost every movie I see lately is that it’s just “a little long.” I think Push would have benefitted from some editing here and there, but overall it was enjoyable and interesting and fun.

Also, I had very low expectations going into this, so I was not disappointed.

The Uninvited is a different story. Moody, internal, and evasive, it tries to be more clever than its audience but, with one unforeseeable exception it keeps hidden until the end, it’s just not smarter than most moviegoers. Elizabeth Banks delights as a campily creepy nurse-cum-stepmother, while David Strathairn practically chews his own arm off as the tortured father trying to move on.

The two teenage actresses do good work here–As Anna, the emotionally haunted daughter who can’t get past her mother’s death, the actress masters the big round eyes and pouty shock of being constantly haunted by ghosts. The actress who plays Alex outdoes everyone in the film a little bit by mastering that specific brand of adolescent insolence most teenage girls possess.

Unfortunately, the end of this movie sounded a lot like a whoopee cushion.

Add to that the fact that there was more talking in this theatre than on NPR’s Morning Edition and it was nearly unbearable. The gay couple sitting behind us kept shushing us any time we whispered, and then proceeded to eat food so loudly it sounded like they were unwrapping Christmas presents for 45 minutes–and one of them guffawed several times when it was totally stupid to do so. It was frustrating. Also, someone in the audience had a laser pointer–FUN!–and added their own postmodern commentary to the film by zapping it at random times throughout the show.

Push: A-
The Uninvited: C-

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