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Review: Panic Room

JonKatz posted more than 12 years ago | from the can-technology-make-you-safe dept.

328

Hey, guess what? Technology can't keep us safe from the bad guys. They always find a way to get in, especially when the people responsible for security are as incompetent as the people who built the panic room in Panic Room. Technological hubris is the timely and all too accurate message of Panic Room, the mega-hit thriller starring Jodie Foster as a yuppie Mom trapped in a hi-tech hideaway in her New York City townhouse. The room is designed to shield her from bad guys. Lo and behold, on her first night living there, three evildoers bust into her home and come after her and her precocious kid. The technology unravels almost as quickly as the plot. There are some good things about this movie, but the plot will drive nitpicking techheads and nerds nuts with its implausibility.

To be fair, this is a smart, high-end movie in some ways. The camera shots are especially skillful, the film moves like a rocket, Jodie Foster is her intense, tough and vulnerable self. Foster plays a newly-divorced (her husband was loaded) mom with an angst-ridden teen-aged daughter Sarah (Kristin Stewart). She's still in shock at his sudden affair. The kid is appropriately sullen and adorable. The townhouse they have just purchased has a secret "panic room" shrouded in steel with its own vault-like door, life support systems specifically built by the rich and paranoid previous owner to give him shelter against thieves and home invaders. The room has three-inch steel all around it, and supplies of food and drink. It also has its own tele-communications system and a video monitors to scan the house. Unbeknownst to the new occupants, it also has millions of dollars hidden away in the floor, something known to three thieves -- Forest Whitaker (the bad guy with a big heart); Jared Leto (the hyper and incompetent jerk); and Dwight Yoakum (the vicious psycopath who kills and tortures for the hell of it.

The thieves know there's money hidden away. They enter the house thinking it's still vacant. But the movie never explains why they don't just leave and come back another time once they found out there are people inside.

In the movie's best and early creepy moments, Foster puts her kid to bed, then gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Glancing at her video monitors she becomes aware that people are in her house. She grabs her daughter and hauls her into their retreat just a step ahead of the onrushing bad guys. But once inside, nothing seems to go right. It seems that the room is highly vulnerable to being disabled (Whitaker is a "panic room" designer); the super-secret phone doesn't work, the ventilation system is hardly self-contained, and -- here is where Hollywood movies just can't contain themselves -- Foster's daughter starts slipping into a diabetic seizure almost instantly. They gotta get out or the kid will die. This is the best plotting in the film, the growing tension and confusion over who really is trapped and who isn't.

Techies will be instantly frustrated at the pretzel-like turns the movie has to take to make its premise fly. In technological terms, there is no question the world can design a steel reinforced room that will hold off three men armed with nothing more than a pistol and some drills for one night. And no safe room would fail to have a Net connection (this one doesn't); a working cell phone or some secure means of communicating with the outside world. Like, say a silent alarm? (Duh). This "panic room" seems to have been conceived for the 50's, not the 21st century. Barring any of those things, how about an old-fashioned weapon. Sure, it gets tense in there, but mostly you think about the swell lawsuit Foster will have against the dummies who built the room once she gets out.

Panic Room is a nice idea, and it has some genuinely creepy moments. The premise (especially these days) of an absolutely safe retreat within a home is interesting. Director David Fincher does some remarkable camerawork. Near the beginning of the movie, there's an astonishing camera shot that goes down through the house, through the kitchen and out into the front door keyhole.

But the plot isn't plausible or disciplined. There are way too many improbable twists and turns. The bad guys are all stereotypes. Whitaker's thief is heroic. It doesn't make sense to like the villain more than the edgy heroine. Yoakum's psycho sparks all sorts of gore and mayhem that makes no sense, distracts from the movie's taut opening and style, and leads to a loopy and irritating ending.

Yes, technology is never fail-safe and those of us who are Americans tend to believe too often that it is, but this isn't a social science lecture, it's a thriller. It ought to make some sense, and this movie doesn't and that gets in the way. The best thing about Panic Room are a handful of creepy moments and Fincher's directing skills, which are richly showcased. If only the writers had kept up.

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328 comments

you suck jon katz (-1, Flamebait)

c8to (442188) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299045)

yeah!

Thought the previews were dumb. (0, Troll)

tg_schlacht (570380) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299046)

When I saw the previews of this movie I thought it was dumb. I may have to see it to see just how bad it is.

Re:Thought the previews were dumb. (0)

c8to (442188) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299053)

yeah can you think of a stupider premise for a movie...its like they pulled it out of their ass...

plus i thought the kid was a boy but supposedly its her daughter...maybe its just the amount of sissy male kids they have in movies these days that my neural net has been wired into thinking they are...

Re:Thought the previews were dumb. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299216)

I wonder if the panic room can survive the impact of a fully-fueled jet airplane.

36. (-1)

GafTheHorseInTears (565684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299047)

--We free spirits--we are the first to have the necessary prerequisite to understanding what nineteen centuries have misunderstood--that instinct and passion for integrity which makes war upon the "holy lie" even more than upon all other lies. . . Mankind was unspeakably far from our benevolent and cautious neutrality, from that discipline of the spirit which alone makes possible the solution of such strange and subtle things: what men always sought, with shameless egoism, was their own advantage therein; they created the church out of denial of the Gospels. . . .

Whoever sought for signs of an ironical divinity's hand in the great drama of existence would find no small indication thereof in the stupendous question- mark that is called Christianity. That mankind should be on its knees before the very antithesis of what was the origin, the meaning and the law of the Gospels--that in the concept of the "church" the very things should be pronounced holy that the "bearer of glad tidings" regards as beneath him and behind him--it would be impossible to surpass this as a grand example of world-historical irony--

A week late btw (1, Insightful)

RN (21554) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299057)

I know slashdot and jon katz aren't professional reviewers, but this is really old news.

The movie came out last weekend, if you guys wanted to do a review of it, shouldn't it have come out a little earlier than on the next sunday morning?

Re:A week late btw (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299074)

Yes, and along those lines, Jon Katz is a fucking piece of shit. He is also gay and enjoys beening fucked hard by men.

Re:A week late btw (1)

cuyler (444961) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299136)

I was under the impression that the slashdot staff is paid. If they are paid and they do this for a living they are professional reviewers. They may be in the shallow end of the professional pool but don't go thinking that this is a site run by a couple guys in their basements.

As a professional site now we should expect some form of grammer, spelling and accuracy in the reporting.

As for Jon Katz, wow, it's been a long time since I've read one of his reviews. I usually have my slashdot set up to ignore his postings....

Re:A week late btw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299191)

As a professional site now we should expect some form of grammer, spelling and accuracy in the reporting.

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that the "grammer" and spelling exhibited in the articles should be higher than that typically exhibited in the comments.

Re:A week late btw (-1)

Dragnet (551689) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299350)

And I wholeheartedly agree you are a worthless, arrogant fuck.

Re:A week late btw (1)

RN (21554) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299192)

yea, i knew slashdot staff are paid, i meant they were not professional in the quality aspect.

i glazed this review as soon as i read the "technology won't save us from everything" spiel.

Re:A week late btw (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299275)

Hey, I've seen alot of people get paid alot of money to do some very bad work. Quality isn't something you can equate with Professional anymore. Quality is now considered to be the mark of Mastery.

There was a time when people were apprenticed, and they learned and were paid, but they were not professionals. When they attained a level of quality, they became professionals. When they obtained superior quality, they became Masters.

You can still find this in a few places, but there are some things we have lost.

Not that I think the review was bad; I just had a point to make about quality. : )

Re:A week late btw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299277)

As a professional site now we should expect some form of grammer, spelling and accuracy in the reporting.
Ain't "grammer" spelt laik "grammar", d00d? Is you casting stones.

Like he said, "It is wrong to ever split an infinitive."

Be more or less specific.

You'll look poorly if you misuse adverbs.

why you still reading this!!!!!!!

Go away, kai! [y2khai.com]

Re:A week late btw (3, Funny)

aurorascope (466416) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299167)

Maybe it took him a week to write it.

Re:A week late btw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299386)

Who's to say that it hasn't been released in the reviewer's country yet?? It's still not released here in oz yet.

baaa!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299060)

jon katz, you fuck will dunn goats.

heh (0, Offtopic)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299070)

Slashdot's technology can't stop me from breaking in! Watch how the encryption codes unravel, slowly. Motive? shh. It's not for the audience to know. Oh look, Slashdot has emailed the decrypting files I need? Mwahaha, this will be easy, though I will go through it menacingly. That doesn't make sense? Why would anyone pay to see this? shh. What's this? Slashdot has no way of contacting anyone of my intrusion despite it's high tech system. Well, of course, I wouldn't be breaking in if I would actually get caught. And that wouldn't be exciting now would it? So be quiet.

Dump Katz Now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299071)

Boring diatribe. Paint drying is more informative and exciting.

Who cares ? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299075)

All Hollywood movies are bullshit. Long ago I decided I would only watch quality European and Japanese cinema, and my life has been enriched immesurably by that decision.


Slashdot readers are not your average moron in the street, we tend to have higher IQs than the normal person, therefore slashdot should review intellectual movies instead of all this mainstream crap like Star Wars etc etc.

Re:Who cares ? (1)

Hassman (320786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299129)

Quality European films like Brotherhood of the wolf? Take crazy somewhere else...we're all stocked up here.

Re:Who cares ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299147)

What a stuck up elitist asshole [fancylad.com]

Re:Who cares ? (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299334)

Now I can't speak for non-American films (I don't see too many films as it is), but I can fairly say that America produces some wonderful films. It also produces a very large number of films. I suppose that no European country has ever released a bad film, have they?

If you don't like the movies that are playing, don't see them. If you don't like the books being printed, don't read them. If you don't like the shows on TV, don't watch them. Find what you like and try to accept that others don't share your opinions.

Some intelligent people enjoy pop-culture. Once upon a time the Beatles were a pop boy-band. Did you ever like a Beatles song? If not, that's OK.

It's fine to disagree. Having an opinion is an important part of society.You don't need to be a pretentious malcontent about it, though.

Let's see... (1, Funny)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299077)

Post-9/11... Post-Colombine... Post-Tech Boom... Nope. Looks like we're safe in this one.

Re:Let's see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299101)

Yeah its just post release weekend...

another review (5, Informative)

sebi (152185) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299079)

As allways - check the filthy critic [bigempire.com] for a second opinion.

Another site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299086)

nice mirror site [slashdot.org]

Re:another review (1)

ziriyab (549710) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299353)

I also like Mr. Cranky [mrcranky.com] Lots of ads and pop-ups on the main page, but the reviews are dark and full of bile.

Finally (3, Insightful)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299083)

a john katz arcticle I agree with.

basicly what katz says is:

Hollywood plots are full of cliches;
Hollywood has absolutely no clue about technology.

Well done katz.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299218)

Katz is really the next generation "doctor" AI program from MIT written by RMS. Unfortunately, its core intelligence was lecture notes from an sociology class.

Re:Finally (1)

AshPattern (152048) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299320)

Basically, what C0vardeAn0nim0 says is:

Katz writes dumb articles.

He doesn't like katz.

Well done.

Did you expect anything else? (3, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299084)

These are the people that bring you the unlimited submachinegun clips, bullets that must not hurt *too* much, and bad guys who never seem to practice at the target range.

It's an action movie, they are all like that.

Oh, ObSlashdotBash: I guess the MPAA is worth supporting today?

This movie was ok (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299090)

but Jon Katz review was horrible. This guy can't write his way out of a paper bag. Please fire him and replace him with a monkey changed to a type writer, at least there will be less whining from the monkey with the same quality of work.
No, wait, with the monkey there is a still a chance of good work being randomly produced, not so with Katz. Fire this guy please or i'll stop reading slashdot.

The technology of the room (3, Insightful)

grokmiskatonic (212300) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299094)

Unless I missed it somewhere in the part of the film where the house is being shown, It's never mentioned how recently this room was built. Why couldn't in have been fairly old?

Obviously if it were entirely modern, up to date and totally self contained, there wouldn't be much of a movie here. I think that the lack of a working phone in the room was explained quite well - It simply was never activated at the phone company by the new tenants.

Without gettign caught up on the technology of this film, it was a pretty rare thing these days,
a film that actually has some very suspenseful moments.

Re:The technology of the room (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299292)

Hrm up here in CT and I think the rest of the country they no longer dissconnect phones because they can just remove the number and only allow them to call for new service and the police. Same goes for cell phones 911 must allways go through if you own them 10k or found it on the street good battery and reception = 911 getting through.

As for security systems closed contacts for panic buttons have been around for years (can run DSL over them in town to :) Radio backup is allways a good one it's way to easy to dissconnect the phones the external CPE is ripe for doing such things the telephone company makes it just easy.

Secure ventilation her need to have a vent somewhere normal ventilation and a supply of gas masks would make more sence.

Now as for meds wouldent you have a goodly supply of any medications in the safe room and something on par with a ships first aid kit except the radio phone to call a surgen to walk you through an operations (ok maybe not dependant on how much you distrust the local PD from doing there job)

And finaly physical structure steel or for cost reinforced concreat would seem to the the wall of choice nice and thick anything over 8-12 inches and there isnt a man portable wet saw that could get through it with access to only one side. The ONLY place that this would make much sence to be would be sharing at least one wall with the foundation as it's to heavy to be remodled into a house for load (thats a lot of contreat or steel)

Even the only bomb shelters of the 50's would have been at least brick and have a nice heavy steel door and protected ventilation enough to protect you from the house buring down around you.

This is all with me not seeing the movie about a house with obviously outdated and origionaly inaquit security I'd love to know what the security camras were for at least some motion detection on those feeds or something being able to see people isn't very usefull while sleeping unless you want to pay a guard to watch them.

Re:The technology of the room (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299398)

The problem with separate ductwork is that you have to run the ducts through the rest of the house in order to get to the outside, and you probably have to have a separate HVAC system on the roof. These are both vulnerable.

The only way to get a workable separate ductwork system is to put the panic room on an exterior wall of the house and go through that. But then you're probably more vulnerable to attacks on that wall of the room.

fuck off katz (-1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299095)

no one likes you

JohnKatz suks c0Xz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299097)

b1tch

Ugh... (0, Flamebait)

Azureash (571772) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299100)

Subpar post as usual Katz. Go back to your wandering speculations on globalization.

Facilities in the Panic room (2, Funny)

nucal (561664) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299103)

In the movie's best and early creepy moments, Foster puts her kid to bed, then gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Glancing at her video monitors she becomes aware that people are in her house. She grabs her daughter and hauls her into their retreat just a step ahead of the onrushing bad guys.

I didn't see the movie, but did she get a chance to pee before going into the panic room? If not, I sure hope there was a toilet (or at least a pickle jar) in there.

Re:Facilities in the Panic room (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299311)

Yeah, she did. When she flushed the toliet while peeing the bad guys heard her pee, and freaked out since there were people home and awake, so they went out to get them.

oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (5, Interesting)

AssFace (118098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299106)

I had seen people rip on this guy for being a moron, but never really bothered to read his stuff.
Now I read this, having seen the movie - and wow - did he sleep through it?
the reason the theives don't leave right away is that they need the money based on a deadline - Leto is one of the kids of the deceased rich guy and he has his reasons for needing the money, as does Forrest's character - it is explained in the movie.
the cell phone in the movie doesn't work in the panic room, which is true to life due to the shielding. and it had a phone, she just didn't get it hooked up. a net connection is a stupid thing to rant about it lacking since it isn't clear when this is set - either way, if she didn't hook up the phone, there is no way she would know how to hook up the net.

none of this really matters since he is ranting about a movie where the whole point is the Hitchcock like terror and suspense, not the petty details that only a geek would notice - so the ventalation is shared with the house - who cares?!

as for the "great camerawork" that was CG. fincher started using that in Fight Club and went on to do it in here heavily (which would explain how the camera passes through the wooden bannisters and through the handle of a coffee pot).

anyway, *note to self* ignore Jon Katz from now on - the guy is annoying and waste of time.

Re:oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (2, Interesting)

1101z (11793) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299157)

My thoughts exactly, Forrest's character thought there were security tapes with his face on them.

As for the "great camerawork" as soon as the camera flew throught bannister I spent the rest of the movie looking for CG and all the shots around the house were CG and were not that well done, the CG edges did not look like the real edges they tried to cover that up by making all the fly around parts CG but it just pointed out to me that they all looked fake. If you are going to do this you need to hire ILM they are the only ones that I see do this stuff right.

Re:oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (2, Interesting)

AssFace (118098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299169)

actually it was almost assuredly Digital Domain which are some of the best in the industry.

I used to hunt for CG stuff in movies all the time and then sit back and say "BAH! that is poorly done!" - then I interned at a special effects house and saw that many things that look fake are the normal things - and the CG stuff is there and you don't notice it...

so while I appreciate what you are saying - I thought I'd add that. and ILM aren't as great as they used to be - that business involves a lot of the same people bouncing around from one company to another and back again - very incestuous (sp?).

Re:oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299198)

Not Digital Domain (who are certainly at least equal to ILM).

A check of the Cinefex website reveals a bunch of small companies worked on Panic Room (Amalgamated Dynamics, Buf, C.I.S, Command Post Toybox, Computer Cafe, EFilm, Pixel Liberation Front, and R!OT ).

Re:oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299208)

I'd be curious to see how that list compares to the full Fight Club list - I know that Digital Domain did many of the big things in FC like the intro and the plane destruciton scene - but it could be they had nothing to do with the scene scanning stuff (like the trash can and the apartment pans) - also curious if Kevin Scott Mack is still at DD or one of those places.

thanks for pointing it out...

Re:oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (1)

thing12 (45050) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299324)

ILM aren't as great as they used to be

It's not that ILM aren't just as good as they once were. It's that there are others who are now on par (or better). Some of the best effects in the industry are still produced by ILM - just look at Episode 2.

Re:oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (1)

dodald (195775) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299183)

Someone please mod that post up.

(I'm agreeing with you :)): Its absurd to think that the phone would work the first night, it has to be hooked up, they even say in the movie that it has to activated via the security service.

Secondly, the movie contained none of those "Why the hell arn't you running!!" scenes that annoy the hell out of me (an I imagine a lot of people) When they needed suspense they did slow motion, the movie was timed really well.

There were only two things that I found kinda dumb (but it was just a movie!):
1. The fact that they had access to the houses main phone line from the P.R. If it was self contained those wires wouldn't run anywhere near that room.
2: The fact that they "bad guys" could pump gas into the room.

Regardless, the movie was awesome and I suggest anyone who has not seen it to see it. Its one thing to bitch about technical issues in a computer tech movie (Hackers, Swordfish) its completely another to bitch about it in a suspense film.

Re:oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (2, Funny)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299221)

I want a "Lets Ban Katz from Writing" law to be passed, we'll call it the LBKW....SSSSCBDA.. so it'll be called the LBKWSSSSCBDA, the last could of letters is to make it look better and more confusing so senators have no choice but to pass it unanomously.

If anyone hasn't noticed by now, it's a complete waste of time to read anything writen by him. I don't know why he writes for slashdot at all. Anyone who ever defends him haven't read a single peice he's writen. It's just a simple fact. Hell, monkeys with half a brain could understand this simple movie and yet he has no clue.

Anyone want to start a petition to have him perminantly censored?

Re:oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (1)

Bugaboo (266024) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299252)

Actually, it's somewhat clear when this movie was set, because those little wristwatch-style blood sugar/heartrate/blood pressure/whatever meters have only been around for a short time, IIRC. And the cell phone Foster had looked fairly new.

Re:oh, my first chance at seeing the dumb Katz (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299321)

I have that cell phone actually - it is the Nokia 8890 - it is a year or two old in the states and a bit more than that.
I agree that the movie is set in recent times - but when was the room built? could have been build 20 years prior...

parent: +1 Insightful (2)

TeknoDragon (17295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299344)

as if I didn't have to warn anyone: even the katz review has spoilers and reading this thread will take away from your experience

I'm glad that it took Katz a week to write this, we just saw it last night.

Another reason they didn't leave right away was to get the security tapes (they check for them before attacking the safe).

The mainline phone wiring isn't so unbelievable, but it being within arms reach of the room is.

Dead Squirrel JonKatz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299114)

Someone kill JonKatz and hire a dead animal to take his place, he's a loser with absolutely 0 writing ability, I hope he dies a long and painful death for being a snivelling little bitch.

Fancy Camerawork? (2, Interesting)

CyberBry (196935) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299115)

All the fancy camerawork you're talking about, including the shot that goes through the house at the beginning, is infact CG. Please do some research before writing a review.

Re:Fancy Camerawork? (1)

vicviper (140480) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299181)

In Katz's defense (or maybe Fincher's) The CG was very well transposed/combined with the real set. Oh sure, you knew you were watching CG, but only because you knew that there was no other way they could show you what you saw.

BBSpot Reviewed the Trailer (2)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299116)

Now I can't watch commercials for any visual and/or interactive media without checking for "In a world where..."

Panic Room Trailer Review [bbspot.com]

Hmm, badly overhyped this one... (1)

laeraun2 (472996) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299118)

In Australia, all I have seen or heard in the last week no matter what station I have tuned into is Jodie Foster and Panic Room. Using the law that says the more hyped the movie is, the less pulling power the story actually has I would say that this one has problems.

One strange thing I find is that they are hyping the fact they couldn't get Nicole Kidman so they got their second resort Jodie Foster. Sounds like all spin to me to help a movie they are really worried about. Maybe this is just another case of Slashdot selling out to the big movie studios, but it does seem kinda irrelevant to be talking about this movie just because it has some premise of having technically advanced themes. Did Sandra Bullock in the boxoffice blockbuster "The Net" get this much attention? Jodie may be good but come on, the fact that this review has appeared here just looks like Katz buying into the Hollywood hype. Sounds like "oooh, shiny!" syndrome again.

Ack! Nicole Kidman? (1)

bryanp (160522) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299176)

they are hyping the fact they couldn't get Nicole Kidman so they got their second resort Jodie Foster.

Nicole Kidman? Ye Gods. If they wanted her it must be awful. Am I the only one who can now use Kidman as a movie barometer? She's a guide to bad films all by herself. I can't think of a single movie she's been in that didn't bore me to tears. Eyes Wide Shut? Truly awful. Moulin Rouge? A great soundtrack. Just turn off your TV or get the CD. Batman Forever, The Peacemaker, Practical Magic, Days of Thunder. Need I say more?

Re:Ack! Nicole Kidman? (1)

dodald (195775) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299195)

"The Others" was pretty damn good

Re:Ack! Nicole Kidman? (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299312)

I also like "Birthday Girl" and "Dead Calm".

Re:Ack! Nicole Kidman? (1)

metachimp (456723) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299368)

I thought "To Die For" was pretty great. Kidman can be good. I'm sorry you didn't understand "Eyes Wide Shut".

Re:Hmm, badly overhyped this one... (1)

vicviper (140480) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299206)

Actually, they had Kidman, but she was injured during the initial filming. See it for yourself:

http://www.davidfincher.net/feature0001.html

Sorry, I can't be bothered to link :)

The Thieves Don't Leave and Come Back BECAUSE... (2)

GeekLife.com (84577) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299126)

The money is going to be divided up among the heirs of the previous owner. They need to steal it before that happens, obviously, and I don't think they know exactly when that will happen.

Re:The Thieves Don't Leave and Come Back BECAUSE.. (1)

Fluffy (7364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299224)

Actually... Jared Leto's character was the only one that knew about the money. (The guy selling the house at the beginning said there were rumors of money, but nobody knew where it was.) They were stealing it in the first place because Leto's a greedy bastard and wanted it all tax-free.

And as for why they didn't just leave and come back, Forest Whitaker mentions near the beginning that their faces would be on tape, thanks to all the camers in the house. Sure they could have run, and probably would have gotten away with it, but they didn't know that.

Hey Katz: Fuck you, Jewboy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299139)


Read about Katz and all the other Media Jews [natvan.com] .

We better solve the Jewish Problem before it's too late.

Re:Hey Katz: Fuck you, Jewboy (0, Flamebait)

Azureash (571772) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299229)

Wow, even Katz's writing is better than the gibberish on that site.

bad movie, don't bother seeing it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299149)

this movie is crap. The whole thing in real life would have been avoided by a large number of "common sense" acts that should have taken place.

Looks alot like Filthy? (1)

Paladin84 (176257) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299154)

Are Katz' reviews getting to look more like the Filthy Critic's [bigempire.com] every time one is posted, or is it just me that thinks so?

From Filthy:
"Jared Leto is a spoiled (and annoying), hotheaded rich kid trying to steal more than his share of his inheritance. Forrest Whitaker is--once again--the sensitive bad guy with a heart of gold. And hillbilly crooner Dwight Yoakam is the cold-as-ice killer who'll do anything for the money."

Seems like Filthy and Katz said nearly the same thing, only Filthy said it about a week ago, and in a far more entertaining fashion. If you don't mind reading through a bit of a story, and many obscenities, read Filthy's reviews insted.

Sorry for the semi-troll, but in this post-9/11-columbine-tech-bubble-collapse-armaggedo n-osama-global-warming-crappy-movie-review world, what is one to do?

What really happened. (1)

nullard (541520) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299160)

Lo and behold, on her first night living there, three evildoers bust into her home and come after her and her precocious kid.

Not quite. They didn't even know that people had moved into the house yet. They were after something left in the house by the previous owner.

Any more details would spoil the film for anyone who still wants to see it.

I actually agree with Ebert on this one... (2, Insightful)

samdu (114873) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299163)

Unusually lately, I agree with Roger Ebert [suntimes.com] on this one. Fincher's camera work is very impressive, and the story is engrossing. The criminals make the sort of mistakes that I would probably make given the situation (everyone always says the criminals in movies are unrealistically stupid. Yeah, just like everyone on agameshows are idiots. Consider the situation folks). They also are not complete dolts (well, Jared Leto's character is, but he's consistent). Was it a perfect movie? Absolutely not. There were a couple of times where I questioned the actions of the participants, but overall, the characters were more believable than the usual Hollywood drivel. Will there ever be a movie that is completely technologically accurate? God I hope not. I am knee deep in technology every day and most of this stuff could make a coma patient explode in boredom. Face it folks, while there are undoubtedly some very exciting things about the tech industry, a lot of what we do is mindnumbing.


-Sam

Did Katz even watch this movie? (maybe spoilers) (2, Insightful)

vicviper (140480) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299164)

The thieves know there's money hidden away. They enter the house thinking it's still vacant. But the movie never explains why they don't just leave and come back another time once they found out there are people inside.

Actually, it does. Robber A explains to Robber B that Robber C will keep an eye on Mom and The Kid while they get the stuff out of the panic room. It was a minor plot point; maybe Katz went to the WC?

It seems that the room is highly vulnerable to being disabled (Whitaker is a "panic room" designer);

Um, that's "panic room installer." The difference is that the designer would probably make more money and have less incentive to steal...

the super-secret phone doesn't work,

That's a major plot point. Go wacth the movie again.
And no safe room would fail to have a Net connection (this one doesn't); a working cell phone or some secure means of communicating with the outside world. Like, say a silent alarm?

Didn't you mention this before? Did you pay the same attention to earlier parts of your review as you did the movie? Mr Katz, this is a major plot point in the movie and is well explained. Besides, if the phone did work, how long would this movie have been? 30 minutes?

Barring any of those things, how about an old-fashioned weapon.

Why? The phone is supposed to work. But since it doesn't we have what we call a "movie"

but this isn't a social science lecture, it's a thriller. It ought to make some sense, and this movie doesn't and that gets in the way.

If you wonder how they eat and breathe and other science facts, then repeat to yourself "It's just a show. I should really just relax."

So what would you suggest? (2, Interesting)

truesaer (135079) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299165)

I've read similar reviews all over for this movie. And you're right, basically... But the real problem is, whats the alternative? If she could get a cell signal in the panic room the police would have come in 10 minutes and the movie would be over. If all of the thieves were psychopaths, would the movie have been better? I don't think so.... As for them not coming back when the house was empty, they argued a lot and decided to just sneak up there. Then when they were discovered it was too late to leave really.


My point here, is that this move I think would be considered a thriller. This is not a genre that usually has airtight stories (although there are exceptions like the sixth sense).


So here are the good parts, since you didn't bother to mention them. First, the movie goes very quickly. It definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. Its nearly always suspensful, but its more of a mid-level suspense that makes it exciting. All the actors were great, I think. And the ending is pretty good.


As with most movies, if you look for every little problem you wont enjoy it. If you go to enjoy the movie and watch it instead of analyzing it, you will really like it.

Re:So what would you suggest? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299188)

Agreed. It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but it wasn't all THAT inplausable : For instance the ventilation system wasn't self contained because the room was never intended for long term living : During a home invasion you hop in and stay there until the police arrive - at most maybe 15 minutes : You don't hope that the invaders don't pump noxious fumes in over a 24 hour stay. The phone didn't work, as was explained in the movie, because as new tenants she didn't get around to hooking it up. And exactly as you explained: Would it have been a good movie if it were over in 10 minutes as the police arrive and drag the criminals away?

Re:So what would you suggest? (2)

great throwdini (118430) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299209)

This [thrillers] is not a genre that usually has airtight stories (although there are exceptions like the sixth sense).

[eyes rolling] Yeah, movies about ghosts are so airtight. [/eyes rolling]

When Room Was Built (1)

rwsorden (244333) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299171)

I saw the movie recently and, although I can't remember it being mentioned explicitly, I do remember having the impression that the Panic Room was not a recent addition to the house (like, say, it was built 7-15 years ago). That would explain the lack of modern security measures such as cell phone access, network connections, etc.

Woooosh! (3, Funny)

kirkjobsluder (520465) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299185)

What never ceases to amaze me about many fellow geeks is how they obsess over trivial details in looking at TV and cinema while the rest of the film goes whooshing over their heads. To paraphrase Gene Roddenbery on techno-fanboys who demanded technical details about the Enterprise. "It's not real, it's just a plot device to get the characters into a different conflict every week. Get over it."

Re:Woooosh! (1)

CamelTrader (311519) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299251)

Thats perfectly acceptable behavior for a science fiction setting. You want the viewer to be coaxed into the world, to bring the shock that much closer to home. For that, realism is tantamount. Although the viewer could suspend their disbelief and get on with the movie it's not really their job. When you imply that the movie is a 'present day' setting you should do everything possible to support that appearance.

I wonder what reason they had for not hiring a technology director or somesuch silly title to maintain realism - they have continuity editors for a similar purose. Did they consciously say "Yeah, we know its improbable, but we need it to push the plot!" ? Or did it just not occur to them?

Was it supposed to be a horror? (1)

Anztac (322182) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299213)

If it was it failed miserably. The action wasn't intense. You could associate with the bad guys, and got to see things from their perspective, which made the movie perdictable and boring. If they had just kept the bad guys as the strong evil and mysterious type and kept the movie from jodie and the kids perspective it could have been a really scary movie. As it is the entire theater was laughing at supposed action scene and and noone was frightened at all.

Amusing ... (2, Funny)

JoeGee (85189) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299234)

The man who called Not Another Teen Movie [slashdot.org] "a delicious bit of film criticism, hilarious, outrageous and on target" criticizes a film for plot. :)

Three Flaws (5, Informative)

Chris Colohan (29716) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299237)

  1. Propane sinks. It has a vapor density of 1.50. That fire should have burned on the floor, not the ceiling.
  2. "SOS" == dot dot dot, dash dash dash, dot dot dot.
  3. Try this: hold a gun by its grip in your right hand. Place your left hand over the top of it, with your thumb behind the hammer. Pull the trigger. Scream in pain, as the motion of the slide breaks your thumb, and the ejecting shell casing burns your palm. Now do this another 8 times as the bad guy runs accross the room.

SOS (1)

nullard (541520) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299265)

She did get the SOS right, but she didn't pause long enough betreen repititions or even between letters. Then again, the fact that she wasn't good at sending morse fits her character.

If you want an intelligent review of the movie... (0)

Anomaly Coward (468493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299240)

...you'll find Ebert's review here [suntimes.com] . Frankly, I'd like to get me some of that stuff Katz is smoking.

Propane (1)

feetofclay (32253) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299245)

I ended up going to this movie last weekend. I had no intention of seeing it, but it was the best choice of what was available at that theatre. I was pleasantly surprised. It was much better than I expected. The plot points were explained pretty well. Only one major complaint: propane is heavier than air. But I'm willing to suspend disbelief for 2 hours.

Fucking Christ... (0)

I.T.R.A.R.K. (533627) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299247)

Who needs sleeping pills when you can read Jon Katz articles.
I'm going to hibernate for a week after reading this.

Slashdot poster's (0, Flamebait)

Wehesheit (555256) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299249)

Jesus christ the people who replied to this article are fucken pissy. Take a pill we all know the review is pretty crappy and it does seem he was not really watching the movie. so fucken chill out!

With every Katz review... (0)

bobtroy (544448) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299261)

...I get the feeling that Slashdot, rather than news for nerds, is news for people with lives so pathetic they can't sit back and just enjoy a movie. If you're bored, maybe you can go back and to tech-deconstructions of the Shakespeare plays for us. Thank you, JonKatz, for saving us from being inaccurately entertained! You're such a visionary!

Propane rising??? (4, Interesting)

CyberLife (63954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299279)

Last I knew, propane was heavier than air. In the scene where they pump propane into the panic room to try and flush them out, when Jodie Foster ignites it, the fire stays at the top of the room. WRONG!!! Not only that, but did you notice that both of the fires related to the propane (i.e. the ceiling and the guy's arm) were blue? Not likely. There wasn't a sufficient enough air pressure.

Both of these issues look like the standard big business marketing technique of suspending reality in order to give customers what they expect. For most of us, our only experience with propane is BBQs and RVs where we generally see it used to generate blue flames for cooking and heating. Think about it. How many people do you know that when shown a yellow propane fire would ask, "Doesn't propane burn blue?"

According to a U.S. Department of Education survey, about one in three Americans is a fucking idiot. Hollywood and other big business seem to like to exploit and reinforce that.

Re:Propane rising??? (3, Informative)

grip (60499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299346)

Why do you insist that the gas in that tank was propane? It could have been natural gas (http://www.newsearching.com/barbecue/Weber_Genesi s_Silver_A_Natural_Gas_BBQ_Grill__BLACK_.html). Natural Gas has a molecular weight of 16 g/mmol, which is lighter than air (29 g/mmol, btw propane is 44 g/mmol).

So, if it was natural gas in that tank, then it would have risen.

Grip

Re:Propane rising??? (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299381)

Even worse - my whole experience with propane is limited to the fact that the propane flame on Hank Hill's jacket is blue.

According to a U.S. Department of Education survey, about one in three Americans is a fucking idiot. Hollywood and other big business seem to like to exploit and reinforce that.

According to a U.S. Department of Statistics survey, 70% of all statistics are made up on the spot to prove a point.

Fincher 'selling out' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299293)

This is David Fincher selling out, though for a good course in my opinion, i read somewhere he only made it to get enough money to make films he likes better.

JonKatz is a turd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299294)

Flush twice, it's a long way to the kitchen.
Thank you.

"frustrated techies" (1)

jeffehobbs (419930) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299296)

Techies will be instantly frustrated at the pretzel-like turns the movie has to take to make its premise fly.

See, that's where this review totally misses the boat. The best aspect of this movie was the inherent plausibility of the setting and motivations -- not once while watching will you find yourself slapping your forehead at the actions of the characters (except for possibly the 911 call; I suspect that even in NY, a call to 911 won't immediately get you put on hold). It's also some of Jodie Foster's best recent work, in my opinion, and ever since Ghost Dog I've enjoyed Forest Whitaker in any role.

For a far better review, check Ebert's take on it [suntimes.com] .

~jeff

My thoughts: (2)

joshjs (533522) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299299)

If only the writers had kept up.

You'd think Jon Katz the writer would have enough respect to know the writer (notice, singular) of the film, David Koepp. If you're going to comment on the writing, you should put some thought into it...

This review, like other Katz reviews, gives the impression that when Katz goes to movies on friday or saturday nights, he comes home and writes an off-the-top-of-his-head review the next morning for slashdot.

Should we be grateful for this? I guess he cares enough to tell us what he thinks, so maybe. But he is often overtly negative. I suppose, as in so many things, we'll decide for ourselves. I'll just put off excluding stories posted by Katz until he bashes the next Coen Brothers' film or starts preaching the gospel... =)

i'm shocked (2)

hymie3 (187934) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299301)

What? A Jon Katz article that preaches against the perils of relying technology? Get out of here! What next? An article on how us geeks are outcasts and not understood by society? Perish the thought!

(oh so slightly tongue in cheek)

why? (1)

Valpis (6866) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299318)

Why not start to give us tips about some _good_ movies to see instead of telling us that the latest from hollywood is crap? It does exist really good movies so why not talk about those instead?

Aren't we Boycotting Hollywood? (1, Flamebait)

FFFish (7567) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299325)

What the hell is wrong with you people? On the one hand, you get all pissy about Jack Valenti and the stupid shit he's trying to pull in the way of disallowing you ownership of the media you purchase, and then you go throw gobs of money at the asshole by going to the movies -- and then, just to prove your stupidity, you go to the worst movies Hollywood has to offer, which encourages them to make more trash.

Gettafsckingcluealready!!

Did you watch the movie, dumbass? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299329)

I understand that writing for an online tech magazine, you would like to sound like you're smarter than the average bear, and must jump at the chance to sound like you can blow things full of holes. However, if you would have actually watched the movie, instead of complaining about the taste of 'Topping', and scribbling your nonsense on a pad of paper to remember for your 'review', you would have noticed the main premise of your dislikes for the movie are either all addressed, and/or simply flawed.

1.There was no net connnection/silent alarm/phone access to the outside...
Ok, moron, watch the movie, and then pay attention to life as it swoops around you. When you move into a house, you have to CONNECT the telephone. You phone the company, set up an account, honky dory Bob's yer uncle. We all know that. Why do you think she was using her cell phone throughout the movie?

When you move into a house that contains a security system, you ALSO must set that up. You do this SEPARATELY from your phoneline. This is more of an involved process, consisting of setting up security codes, verifcation of identity, lists of familiars, (reachable contacts in case you cannot be reached when alarm sounds). This takes time. Most people are too busy, oh, I don't know...MOVING IN to setup the security system the first night they are there, if in fact there is one included with their home.

Now consider the amount of time added to this if your security system has a telephone line integrated into it. The security company would control this line, not the consumer. The consumer would have no access to it. This is more overhead time, (or as I like to call it, Jon Katz' thinking process).

The movie addresses two times the fact that Jodie foster's phone connectivity wasn't working properly, (the reason she relied on the cellphone in the first place, dumbass), and the fact that she hadn't even CALLED to activate the secondary, _secure_ line. The third time it's addressed is by the actual installer of the room, Forrest Whittaker, wherein he says he made sure to check all room-related invoices to make sure she hadn't setup the secure phone line/security system yet. This also removes her ability to have a net connection out of there. Why a net connection...by the way? So she can order online groceries? Oh, maybe so she can get her daughter's insulin delivered to her within two to four weeks while holed up in the panic room.

Why didn't her cellphones just work? She's in a freaking cement and metal encased tomb.

Regarding the thieves. That is purely subjective, and I respect your being so naive about the subculture of criminals. It's actually rather cute that you have the same introduction that most of the world has to the criminal element in our society...purely constructed by the films and television an books you've read.

Let me shed some light on the subject for you, having consorted with criminals of various sorts for a good portion of my life before changing my direction:

Thieves, like most criminals, are not the super intellectual, uncomfortably clever thinkers Script writers and William Gibson like to make them out as. Hollywood writers and William Gibson are the clever ones (at times). They are almost purely opportunistic. Even when they are not acting on pure situational chance, their motivations are often so compelling that their ability to focus on the task at hand is impaired. (Think "get me my fucking money").

If thieves were so clever, they'd figure out how to make a better income, at a more sustainable rate, less dangerously. Do you honestly believe that thieves walk around with BMW's and Tag Heuer watches, in suits, on cellphones? Get real dumbass. The one's I've known who got flashy are the ones who got robbed and jacked themselves. They stopped being flashy in a hurry.

Criminals didn't all go to a special school that teaches them how to circumvent security systems, and baffle police with their insane ability at being both low on the proverbial totem-pole, AND somehow able to source a connection for plutonium for the meeting they set up with 'the Russians', tomorrow.

It's not like Gone in 60 Seconds where a convicted car thief is allowed to be a Mercedes dealership's point of contact for the sourcing of their lazer cut keys. Riiiight.

The absolute opportunistic nature of criminals is touched upon perfectly in the movie, wherein they knew the valuables were in the house, but they had to wait until no one was in it, and the security system would be down.

The portrayal of thieves being ultra-clever is the actual insult. The propagation of the idea is only ever achieved by the lack contact most people have with criminals, therefore limiting the base of reference and judgement about the idea. Sort of like Scientology.

At no point did they allude to Forrest Whittaker being a career criminal. In fact, they made care to make it sound like he was not such a criminal, and in fact, just doing the crime to generate money for his daughter's custody, if I remember correctly. This obviously explains his reticense at harming either the mother or child in the movie. This point was made abundantly clear, and your misconstrewing it as an attempt to establish his character as heroic is simply a case of your inability to follow a simple dialogue.

It's amazing how you start your review stating all the horrible holes in the movie that will prevent techies from enjoying the movie, (only techies, as we are the only true super-human race...Doctors, lawyers, military or business strategists? Hellz no, us computer techies. That's where all the true intellect is. Besides, we were able to get thru CompSci...that counts for something, right??). However, in your infinite wisdom, you were only able to come up with two potential holes, and both were flawed.

JamesC

Re:Did you watch the movie, dumbass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299348)

Nice comment.
-joshjs

SHUT THE FUCK UP KATZ (-1)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3299335)

Forrest Whitaker as a bad guy..BAHAHAHA

my my. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3299401)

In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same
rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to
believe, that this is some sort of a magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope
somebody got fired for that blunder.
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