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Non-Review Review: The Box

I have an offer to make. If you push the button, two things will happen. First, someone, somewhere in the world, whom you don’t know, will die. Second, you will receive a payment of one million dollars. You have 24 hours.

“Arlington Stewart”

Such is the premise of The Box, a movie based on a short story by science fiction icon Richard Matheson, but one of the movie’s many problems is that director Richard Kelly apparently doesn’t find that premise interesting enough to sustain his film. That seems inherently pithy, considering that Matheson’s story Button, Button has been adapted for The Twilight Zone and as a radio play for CBS Mystery Theatre – there must have been something there. Instead, Kelly uses the eponymous box as a jumping off point into what can only really be described as “abstractsville”, taking a left at “crazy town”. There are moments in this film which work, but they are few and far between – there are large stretches of time when it is just infuriating.

James Marsden counts up the box office receipts... they aren't good...

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There’s Something in The Box!

The trailer for The Box hit the internet yesterday and I’m… not really impressed. From what looks like an attempt to turn a moral quandary (would you take an action that would kill a stranger for a huge sum of money?) into a brainless action movie to the use of the Saw theme (“Hello Zepp”) as an overture at the end of the movie, it’s striking all the wrong notes. On the other hand, I’m quite taken with what looks to be a sixties-style design, so who knows? Director Richard Kelly can be really good (Donnie Darko) or really terrible (Southland Tales). Pending reviews, this is probably one to rent. Since the fad of remaking has spread to remaking episodes of old television shows, I’m wondering if there are any other anthology episodes that warrant a remake?

"So, if I push the button, I get $1 million... and an Oscar nomination?"

"So, if I push the button, I get $1 million... and an Oscar nomination?"

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