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88 MINUTES, 2008
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88 MINUTES MOVIE POSTER
88 MINUTES
Movie Review

Directed by Jon Avnet
Starring Al Pacino and Alicia Witt
Review by Eli Manning


SYNOPSIS:

A thriller about a college professor who, while moonlighting as a forensic psychiatrist for the FBI, receives a death threat telling him that he has only 88 minutes to live. In narrowing down possible suspects, he frantically seeks to communicate with a problem student, an ex-girlfriend, and a serial killer on death row.

REVIEW:

This is one of those films that makes you wonder what really happened, because this is one of those laugh out loud really bad movies. And definitely the worst film so far this year.

It seems that this film was made completely for Al Pacino's ego as he's in every single scene and in almost every one of those scenes, a woman half his age has a thing for him. Even his lesbian assistant can't help but flirt with Mr. Pacino. He has to be so flattered, it explains why his hair is puffed so high up throughout because I can't think of why the on-set hair team let it be so.

What makes you sad about this film is that it stars Al Pacino. A legendary film actor who seems to make bomb after bomb these days. He's such a good actor though and it saddens me to see him go through some sort of end of the road crisis, as he's performing in films and playing characters he really shouldn't be playing.

Director Jon Avnet hasn't had a hit in.... in well never, but Pacino has trust in him to carry out a good film in 88 Minutes and in his next film too. A film that's already in the can and will be coming out later in the year (which also stars Robert DeNiro of all people).

88 Minutes is a tough film to direct and I can't help but feel that there was a good screenplay written -- it just wasn't executed properly. It's a thriller set in real time where you are with the main character throughout as you learn what he learns and feel what he feels (or at least that is the intention). The camera needs to be the main character and alive with each scene. If done properly, then we the audience is at the edge of our seats throughout. If not done properly, then you get, well you get 88 Minutes.

The last film like this that worked was Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest, a film that everyone should revisit -- especially Jon Avnet and Al Pacino. In that film we are with the main character throughout (Cary Grant), no matter how exciting or silly the plot becomes. Hitchcock has a way to make the camera work magic, like a roller coaster throughout on a ride of a lifetime. This film is like we're on a children's horse ride at the local Mall. Back and forth without ever going anywhere and bored within 15 seconds, not 88 minutes (which took 105 minutes in movie time to complete).

There isn't much more to say about this really stupid movie, except that is was good to see actress Alicia Witt. I wondered what happened to her as she has amazing screen presence. Too bad she had to appear in this film.

1/2 star out of 4


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