Movie Review: “Maggie”

Starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Aiden Flowers
Director
Henry Hobson

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the big screen hasn’t been as triumphant as it should’ve been. In addition to the abominable David Ayer picture, “Sabotage,” the former California governor has appeared in a number of disappointing efforts, including his charismatic cameos in the consistently underwhelming “Expendables” franchise. But for the first time in a long time, not only does Schwarzenegger star in a film worthy of his name, but one that’s way out of his comfort zone, lending considerable emotional depth to the deadly serious zombie drama, “Maggie.”

A few months after the necroambulist virus struck the nation, the rate of infection is beginning to dwindle. Day by day, there are less infected roaming the streets. In no way is the country returning to normal, though, with many families and loved ones still being torn apart by the disease. Wade Vogel (Schwarzenegger) is a Midwest father of three. His oldest daughter from a previous marriage, Maggie (Abigail Breslin), escapes from home after becoming infected with the virus in fear of harming her family. This doesn’t stop Wade from searching for his daughter, and once she’s found, Maggie is brought home. But she only has a few weeks left to live, and it’s up to Wade whether to have her quarantined or kill her himself before she “turns.”

That’s about as much plot as there is in director Henry Hobson’s film. Don’t expect Arnold to fight off zombies or search for the cure to his daughter’s illness. “Maggie” is driven far more by character than story. It’s a quiet, slow burn – albeit a little too slow at times. Even with a 95-minute running time, writer John Scott 3’s screenplay is pretty thin, and although that’s acceptable because it’s not the film’s priority, even for what it is, “Maggie” could have used a few trims and some tightening up.

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Movie Review: “The Call”

Starring
Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund
Director
Brad Anderson

The WWE logo is a strange thing to see before any movie, but especially one that stars a former Oscar winner like Halle Berry. Originally conceived as a vehicle for featuring its stable of wrestling stars on the big screen, WWE Studios quickly became known for producing cheap, direct-to-video action films. But with the release of “The Call” (and “Dead Man Down” the week before), it appears that the studio is starting to aim a little higher with their cinematic aspirations. Unfortunately, while the pedigree of talent is better than usual, “The Call” can’t shake the stink of mediocrity that’s present in all of WWE’s films, no matter how hard it tries.

Berry stars as Jordan Turner, a 911 dispatcher who receives a distress call from a teenage girl during a home invasion. After Jordan seemingly saves her from capture by devising a clever plan, she gives her away by redialing the number after the call is disconnected. Feeling responsible for the girl’s kidnapping and subsequent death, Jordan takes a leave of absence and returns six months later as a training supervisor, unable to resume her previous duties. While taking the newest recruits through a tour of LAPD’s base of operations, a fellow operator receives a call from a teenager named Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) who finds herself trapped in the trunk of a car after being drugged and abducted from a mall parking lot. The only problem is that her cell phone was destroyed in the process, and the TracFone she happened to have in her back pocket is untraceable. When the rookie operator proves unhelpful, Jordan jumps back into the hot seat, only to discover that Casey’s captor (Michael Eklund) is the same man from before.

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