**.7 BM
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Claire Forlani, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tim Robbins, Richard Roundtree


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I was expecting absolutely nothing from this film. Ooh, Ryan Fill-Ip-Pee is on the run from Microsoft. Ooh. I figured it was going to be another lame-ass "computer-age" movie that doesn't have any sort of realism at all. It turned out to be a bit better than I expected, but it was still stupidly done.

Most Hollywood computer movies are completely ridiculous, because they usually assume that every time someone enters the wrong password into something, the entire screen fills up with a flashing red "ACCESS DENIED" message, and when they get the right password, it's a huge flashing green "ACCESS GRANTED" message, or the screen will MELT when you delete stuff, a la "The Net." The interface always looks ridiculously fake. In this case, most of the stuff looks like it could actually pass for real software, which is something working in its favor.

What works against it, however, is that the scenes of realization of the true evil at work, etc., are ludicrously overdone. In particular, the moment Milo (Fill-Ip-Pee) realizes that Gary "Bill Gates" Winston (Tim Robbins, who can only be slumming to score some phat cash for something good to come out later) is evil, there's a huge deep banging orchestra hit, the traditional weird-zoom-background-moves-farther-away shot, and then a montage of flashbacks to stuff as recent as two minutes earlier in the film, as if we need them to realize he's behind everything. OF COURSE he's behind everything.

We're also expected to believe that a zillion-dollar communications technology conglomerate would

A) send out one of their tech geeks to kill programmers and steal their information instead of hiring a goon squad they can deny any connection to, and

B) not have the shit bugged out of every building of theirs, including snagging some really tiny bugs to put in the guy's clothes that he couldn't find so they could listen to every goddamn word he said whenever he said it. If they're the masters of global communcation AND evil - all his friends' phones would be tapped, everything. But FilLipPee has to win in the end.

I'm also done with Claire Forlani. There was something about her I found attractive for a while, but after Boys and Girls and now this one, she's just not all that good, and the weird exotic look to her face has become weird and creepy. Sorta. I've never started with Rachael Leigh Cook. She's got the Katie Holmes "I'm a sex symbol but I look like I'm 12" thing going.

All in all, it was a notch or two better than The Skulls, but I laughed during the moments where I was supposed to feel tension. So it ain't that good. Just some stuff for the pro-Napster crowd.

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