Now Out: 'Choke,' 'St. Anna,' 'Eagle Eye'

What are critics saying about three new films? The lineup includes Choke, based on a Chuck Palahniuk novel; Miracle at St. Anna, the latest Spike Lee effort; and Eagle Eye, a thriller starring Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Thank you, Nate. And now, will it be "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" at the movies this weekend? Here's Mark Jordan Legan with Slate's Summary Judgment.

MARK JORDAN LEGAN: For those of you who complain everything is the same these days at the movies, well, here's a film about a sex-addicted medical-school drop-out who runs a scam by deliberately choking in upscale restaurants, and forming friendships with the wealthy patrons who save him.

And it's a comedy, from novelist, Chuck Palahniuk, the writer of "Fight Club," comes "Choke," starring Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston.

(Soundbite of movie "Choke")

Mr. SAM ROCKWELL: (As Victor) If somebody saves your life, they'll love you forever. It's like the old Chinese custom.

(Soundbite of man choking)

Mr. ROCKWELL: (As Victor) They feel responsible. They'll write, they'll send birthday cards, play it right, even cash.

LEGAN: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer chuckles, a strangely warm, affectionate look at bad behavior. And the Philadelphian Inquirer coughs, disappointing and oddly dull.

Director Spike Lee tackles his first war picture with "Miracle at St. Anna," an all-black World War II army division gets trapped behind enemy lines in Italy, after one of the soldiers risks his life to save a local boy.

(Soundbite of movie "Miracle at St. Anna")

Unidentified Man: And through this little thing here, God gives you something else, boy. You know what it is? I will tell you. I'm going to tell you. It's a secret. Miracles.

LEGAN: It might take a miracle to overcome the generally negative reviews. Even though the Chicago Sun-Times shouts, powerful and contains scenes of brilliance, the majority agrees with USA Today which sighs, unfocused, sprawling, and badly in need of editing.

And I'm sure many of you have seen the digital billboards for the action thriller "Eagle Eye," where your actual neighborhood is named, and then warned of dire disaster. Kind of a strange, OK, OK, I'll see the movie. Just spare my family marketing campaign.

Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan play strangers who meet after threatening phone calls order them to obey or else...

(Soundbite of movie "Eagle Eye")

Unidentified Woman: Rachel Holloman, look in the window. Would you risk your life for your son?

Ms. MICHELLE MONAGHAN: (As Rachel Holloman) Who are you?

Unidentified Woman: There's a car parked at the corner of this block. The keys are in the ignition. Start walking.

Unidentified Man: Answer your phone call.

Unidentified Woman: We told you to run.

Mr. SHIA LABEOUF: (As Jerry Shaw) How'd you get a hold of this phone? Who are you?

Unidentified Woman: You have 10 seconds.

Mr. LABEOUF: (As Jerry Shaw) What the hell are you talking about?

Unidentified Woman: Get down now.

LEGAN: This race-against-time actioner has gotten mixed reviews. The Austin Chronicle enjoyed it, calling "Eagle Eye" 'good manic fun. Yet the Chicago Tribune grumbles, hyperactive and intensely silly. You know, maybe so, but I'm sure we can all relate to the fear that a dominating malicious voice can immediately appear out of nowhere, and begin telling you what to do.

(Soundbite of cell phone ringtone)

LEGAN: Oh-oh, it's happening, just like the movie. Hello, uh-uh. Why are you doing this? Yes, mom. OK, mom. Somebody help me. Yes, I'm listening.

CHADWICK: Mark Jordan Legan is an obedient writer living in Los Angeles.

(Soundbite of music)

CHADWICK: Day to Day is a production of NPR News with contributions from slate.com. I'm Alex Chadwick.

ALEX COHEN, host:

And I'm Alex Cohen.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.