[VIDEO REVIEWS]2 Thrillers Possess Lots of Psychic Clout

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[VIDEO REVIEWS]2 Thrillers Possess Lots of Psychic Clout

New videos released in the first half of July are "Vertical Limit," "Unbreakable," "The Gift," "Reindeer Games" and "Chicken Run." Reviewed here are two thrillers.


Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright Penn and Spencer Treat Clark.

Shyamalan's follow-up to the brilliant "The Sixth Sense" is a comic book tale with dark, brooding undertones. It is a story about good and evil, about the origins and creation of the super hero and his troubled psyche.

A train wreck leaves all its passengers dead except one. David Dunne (Willis) has never broken a bone, and his uncanny ability does not fail now. His body may be strong, but the accident touches his soul. He begins questioning his purpose in life, his job as a college-stadium security guard, his faltering marriage to Audry (Penn) and his estranged relationship with his son (Clark).

Elijah Price (Jackson) is a comic-book art collector who suffers from a disease that makes his bones fragile. His life is a constant battle between being timid and determined. An act as simple as walking down a flight of stairs could result in untold injuries, and even death, should he trip.

When Price hears of Dunne's miraculous survival, he is convinced Dunne is his alter ego, an "unbreakable man." He contacts Dunne and shares his explanation of Dunne's strange powers. A bond is formed.

Shyamalan creates a delicate, spooky and sometimes slow atmosphere for this psychological thriller. Unlike other fantastic tales of supermen, this one lifts the supernatural and gives it form in a "real" man.

THE GIFT (2000)

Directed by Sam Raimi. Starring Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves and Katie Holmes.

Annie Wilson (Blanchett) has a gift. She can see dead people.

A widowed mother with three sons, Annie uses her psychic powers to do readings for the small-town residents of Brixton, Georgia. She also plays confidante and shrink to those who seek her. There is Valerie (Swank) whose husband Donnie (Reeves) is violent and abusive. There is also Buddy (Ribisi), a troubled young mechanic.

Blanchett gives Annie a haunting sadness drawn from her ability to see the depth of human nature.

Like any good shrink, Annie helps her clients figure out their lives. When she advises Valerie to leave her husband, Donnie assaults Annie and threatens her sons.

Then the socialite Jessica King (Holmes) disappears under suspicious circumstances involving Donnie. When Jessica's fiance (Kinnear) enlists Annie's help, she leads them to a pale, dead body. Unwillingly drawn into a murder mystery, her visions become violent. Annie may be the only witness to a murder she has only dreamed about. The terror keeps mounting when her visions start hinting at her own death.

Unfortunately, the mystery is easily solved long before the end of the movie, so the climax disappoints.

by Joe Yong-hee

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