Who's In It: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne
The Basics: In a leafy Massachusetts neighborhood where elementary school time capsule ceremonies are the biggest thing going, the excavation of a 50-year-old cylinder containing the obsessive numeric scribblings of a spooky child from 1959 turns out to be the key to every human calamity of the past five decades. Except some of them haven't happened yet. Enter Nicolas Cage, an atheistic scientist who tries to stop the inevitable, but who really just needs to be taught a lesson about letting go and letting God destroy the earth.
What's The Deal: It can no longer be said that Nicolas Cage makes "genre" films. He is his own genre now. The movies he stars in (and usually executive produces, too) have zero connection to logic, narrative sense, reality, acting talent or anything you and I recognize as human behavior. And if you're hung up on films making sense then maybe you're just too fancy for his preferred brand of cinema. However, if you like bad taste, crazy explosions, death, pointless aliens intruding into everyday life and manic Cage-iness, then here's your next opportunity to enjoy 120 minutes of the stupidly awesome.
One Guess Which A-List Star Is The Teensiest Bit Obsessed With 9/11: After World Trade Center and the nuclear holocaust fantasy Next, it might have seemed like a coincidence that grand-scale doom just happened to be on his entertainment radar. But 9/11 specifically comes back to haunt this movie too, in addition to some seriously exploitation-style mass death and destruction via terrorism and Act-of-God stuff. The easily disturbed will be disturbed.
One Minor Script Problem, But Not That Much Of Problem Really Because, As Mentioned Above, The Normal Rules Do Not Apply In Bizarro Nic Cage World: Every single thing in the plot, and I mean every single thing, would have happened without Cage being there to intervene. But then again, if he had been digitally erased from the final product it would have had less snarling, barking and yelling about caves and numerology and the book of Ezekiel and stuff like that. A diminished filmgoing experience.
Why Letter Grades Are No Help When Assigning One To A Movie Like This: The professional serious film critics of the world know that competence and good filmmaking matter the most. But do you grade based on goodness or on how many people get blown to bits? "D-" or "B+"? It can be hard to know what's right....