Look at this thrilling cover.
"If you can see the future, you can save it."

Can you though? It can be really hard to save the future when you are Nicholas Cage, and you are being hindered by your insanity. I mean I guess he sort of did in the Sorcerer's Apprentice, but really he needed Jay Baruchel to help him and that's kinda sad. Anyway, welcome back to The Tagline! Today I'm attempting to bridge the movie desert that has been Q1 2014. This lack of interesting new releases, combined with my difficulty getting time to go to the movies is slowly killing me and my website, so I'll fall back onto a reliable source of entertainment: mediocre Nicholas Cage movies with supernatural elements that involve driving in some way! To that end, I watched Next, a film that was released in 2007. It is really, really, REALLY loosely based on a Philip K. Dick short story called "The Golden Man", only that story involved things like a weird future with mutants who are being sterilized by a government agency, and one of them is literally gold and can see into his future. Of those elements, Next preserves exactly one, a guy who can see into his future. Cris can see exactly two minutes into the future, which is really helpful in evading authorities, not getting beat up, and winning in casinos. He has a small magic act in Las Vegas, also easy to perform when you can see into the future no doubt. Cris has this obsession with this lady that he saw in a dream once, but he can't be sure when he'll meet her, he just knows what time was on the diner's clock in his vision, and so he goes there at that time twice a day, hoping to run into her. 

Nice S.T.A.R.S. Cosplay!
 In the meantime, super bad vaguely European terrorists have hijacked a nuclear bomb from Russia, and are planning to use it to blow up LA because everyone hates LA apparently. The motivations of these distinctly but nondescriptly European villains is never explored, mentioned, or remotely explained, also you never meet the people they are working for, but it is clear that they want to blow up some America. Somehow, also equally not explained, the FBI is aware of Cris' ability to see the future, and want him to help in finding the terrorists even though they seem aware of the limitations of his powers. Cris finally meets his literal dreamgirl and she gets dragged into the situation with the terrorists and FBI, and actions ensue. As you may have begun to suspect from earlier portions of this brief plot summary, the major issue here is that there is approximately half a plot being presented, and it's not an especially good or original plot to begin with. I'm not usually super concerned about the motives of action villains, but honestly I would at least like to know who they are. I'm not asking a lot here, I'm not even asking the why, I just want to know who. From vaguely accented dialogue we learn that these guys work for someone who has warned them about Cris, perhaps suggesting another prescient individual or organization, but we never hear about that. Indeed there is precious little we DO hear about. Why does the FBI know about this guy with foresight, better yet why do they seem to believe it's real? They invest what can be considered substantial resources into the capture of some random guy who is believed to have mind powers. I don't understand why the FBI would try to find a magic psychic instead of... you know just using conventional means to find an atomic bomb.

Sexy, except for Nicolas Cage ruining the shot with... him.
What you do get is a lot of neat "I just saw a thing happen five different ways" scenes, and Nicholas Cage somehow putting the moves on Jessica Biel (okay I guess if you get infinite do-overs you eventually get it right). I don't want to lessen what is here, the action sequences in this movie are actually pretty cool, and they're a lot of fun to watch. While I was watching the movie, the premise was entertaining me, and I enjoyed Nicholas Cage in the role. There are some pretty cool driving and chase sequences, and the shootout between the terrorists and FBI at the end is cool because the FBI have a guy that can just point out anything dangerous around him. The problem is that is basically ALL there is to the movie. Even as the main character, we know very little about Cris, including his history, motivations, things that he does other than be a magician... we know very little. We know even less about his love interest, virtually nothing about Julianne Moore's character (she's the FBI agent pursuing him) and literally nothing about the bad guys. That makes it kind of difficult to really get into the movie, because there's not much TO get into. The ending is also really irksome and a complete cop-out completing the movies direction towards never making good on its premise.

Dashing isn't he.
Ultimately that was really too bad, because I think they had the components of an entertaining and interesting movie, if they'd made even a cursory attempt to fill in the blanks. I was still at least amused for most of the run time, and that was with the movie barely even existing. This movie unfortunately falls into the bin of "bad movies that Nicholas Cage decided to star in" though I can understand why this premise would have fooled him. To make things better though, On Thursday I will treat us all to a handicapped Thai kung-fu warrior. No I am absolutely not joking.

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