Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Box

I would like to have seen Cyclops just blast that alien with his laser beam. X-Men was more realistic than this movie. This movie also, like others, dragged in the bloody nose to denote something ominous. How original.

This was a pretty earie movie but the ending was excruciating to sit through. Not as bad as Wickerman though. It occurs in Richmond, VA. I think this was a Twilight Zone episode about 25 years ago. Cameron Diaz was in this movie. Like Gwyneth Paltrow, I do not see the appeal with this woman. She is not that cute, certainly primarily because of her face. So how does she star in movies? That is a bigger mystery than this movie. She is Norma Lewis who is married Arthur Lewis. X-Men's James Marsden is Arthur. Arthur is a NASA materials engineer and Norma is a High School teacher.

One of the first scenes consists of Norma being either duped or manipulated by a punk male student into taking her shoe off. She is missing four toes because a doctor failed to turn off the radiation in some sort of exam. She ended up losing four toes because of it. Regardless, it was a freak accident and the subsequent lawsuit only garnered $10,000. The doctor neglect a basic attention to detail formality. Because of this, she walks with a slight limp. Right when this smart ass student ask her a personal question in front of everyone, she should have demanded that personal questions are rude and out of the question. This was in 1975. She could have told the student that his parents would be receiving a phone call. Back in 1975, most parents were actually parents rather than trying to be the coolest parents in the school.

This movie is about a regular family, not moving ahead in the world but one that does not a miss meal. In the beginning, Norma states to a co worker they are living paycheck to paycheck. I find this strange though since on more than one occasion they are attending some luxurious parties with formal attire. I guess they are there for some free grub. But the present buying balanced that out. Why they hire a baby sitter for their son who appears to be about 12 is beyond me? Why they can not just send him to a friend's home if there is any concern is another consideration to contemplate.

The plot of this movie is about a box delivered a family's doorstop. Later on in the day, a man appears in front of the house when Arthur is at work. Norma invite him in after he asks, she concedes and indicates her southern charm and hospitality. In the present day, he would not have been allowed entry and would not assume he would be let in. Frank Langella is Arlington Steward and he is one ugly bird. He informs Norma that he was struck by lightning. The family has already opened the box and seen that it has a red button. This button can not be pressed since it is shielded by a glass case. Steward gives her a key to this case and informs her that if they press the button someone they do not know will die. They will also receive $1 million. They can not inform anyone about this situation and they have one day to decide. In addition, he gives her a $100 bill just to enhance the genuiness of this arrangement, Norma, like Eve from genesis, presses the button a few minutes before the deadline.

Steward appears, walks in, and hands them the cash. He takes the box and key and departs. But not after there is short confrontation, Arthur demands he take the money back. Steward rebuffs this demand. Arthur memorizes the license plate as Stewart is driven off. Norma and Arthur walk back inside. They do not have too much time to consider what to do since their son quickly arrives shortly thereafer. Arthur quickly hides the money in the basement safe.

Norma and Arthur are just overwhelmed by what has occured. Norma's guilt begins to weigh in on her. They could donate the money to a charity. This could possibly erode some of that guilt Norma is feeling. Arthur has a friend who is a detective who he sees later on that night or the next at a Christmas party. He gives him the license plate number. The next day or so, Arthur is at this detective's office and realizes a woman was murdered at the same time his wife pressed the button.

The movie gets creepy after this. Independence Day and Meet the Parent's James Rebhorn is in this movie. His character's name is Norm Cahill and he is Arthur's NASA supervisor. Norm is not happy that the NSA begins to dictate what NASA does on some of its missions. So he is told a story about a NASA launch sequence where Steward is hit by lightning. That is right, Steward used to work for NASA. Steward was killed but he came back to life after being declared dead. Norm is told that Steward is different and is changed in some peculiar manner. Steward quickly begins to demonstrate incredible feats with his mind. The movie does not explain too much after this. In several scenes, he has some large and strange moving machine in an airplane hanger. He also uses sets up shop in a hotel outside of the city.

Steward is watching and keeping tabs on both Arthur and Norma. For instance, right when Arthur gives the license plate number to his detective friend, Steward knew about it and called Arthur at the party he was attending.

Steward can manipulate people with his mind. He says his employer several times in the movie. Who is the employer? Is it God or an alien entity? The box is testing the level of greed and selfishness of humanity. Steward says, or his controller, since he is really just a vessel, that if humanity does not start doing better on these tests, his employer may decide to move in on humanity.

So, at another Christmas party, this time the entire family is attending, Steward returns to torment the Lewis's. I thought Arthur was on the verge of tracking down Steward and the movie seemed to be on the right track. Arthur walked outside of the party and he was taken at gun point by some other guy. This man said his wife already died, he told him that Steward operates out of the hotel, this man said Steward can be killed, uses the hotel pool as a dimension worm hole or transport hub, and had a book explaining human exploitation. But they were duped by a Santa Clause standing in the middle of the road, rather than drive around, they stopped and staired when a huge truck collided with them on the driver's side. This is right after his son is taken and wife is smuggled away outside the party. His son was just running on this pier in this lake, at night, I am not sure where he thought he was going.

The movie gets depressing after this. A huge let down. They are back in the home, it is the following day. The son is upstairs locked in the bathroom. Steward is at their kitchen table. Arthur and Norma walk down there endless hallway and sit down to speak to him. They have been in another world for the second time now. Stewart gives them two options. He informs them their son is upstairs in the bathroom after being transported their via water, he is deaf and blind. Arthur can shoot his wife and his son will gain back his senses. Or they can shoot their son. Arthur wants to shoot Steward but Steward just says he can be replaced. This movie is agonizing at this point. A terrible ending. Almost unwatchable. I would not advocate this movie because of this.

Norma, her guilt on pressing the button in the first place is tearing her apart. Now her son is maimed, or severaly disabled. She pleads to Arthur to stop trying to break down the door. It is locked. The walk downstairs, hug and cry in anguish and he shoots her in the chest. The son regains his senses but the police are called. There goes Arthur.

The ending was unbearable. The last fifteen minutes was just tormenting. The movie did not have one enlightening moment. It was as bad as Keanu Reeves's film last year The Day the Earth Stood Still.

I allocate this movie one star.*

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