‘Knowing’ both silly, depressing


John Koestler (Nicolas Cage), comes across a 50-year-old list of numbers that somehow seems to have predicted – down to the precise date and location – every major disaster of the last half-century, plus a few that haven’t happened yet.

His problems – alcohol abuse, the recent death of his wife – make him sound unhinged when he tries to warn people of the coming apocalypse. Yes, the film (directed by Alex Proyas, “I, Robot”) is creepy, but the narrative corner into which it paints itself is a simultaneously silly and morbidly depressing one.

DVD extras: director commentary; featurettes. (1:50; rated PG-13 for disturbing scenes of carnage and brief vulgar language)


The premise here – a hide-and-seek game between superhumans and a government agency in Hong Kong – is old, but the execution is fresh, earnest and inoffensive.

Dakota Fanning sheds her porcelain-doll image by playing Cassie, a grungy-haired, boot-wearing Watcher who has the ability to divine and then sketch images from the future. She knows she must search out and team with a Mover named Nick (Chris Evans), who’s hiding from a U.S. government agency called the Division; together, they must snatch a briefcase from the Division or face certain death.

The pleasure here comes from the film’s glamorized grit, its no-nonsense pacing and the committed performances of the actors roughhousing in the gray area between heroism and villainy.

DVD extras: commentary with director and cast; deleted scenes; featurette. (1:51; rated PG-13 for violence, brief strong language, smoking and a scene of teen drinking)

“The Unborn”

This visually polished slice of hokum introduces us to young Casey (Odette Yustman), who is troubled by visions of a creepy little kid. That seems to have something to do with Casey’s dead mother, though her dad pooh-poohs the idea. At first.

Then one of Casey’s babysitting charges, another creepy kid, gets into the act. Before long, Casey has persuaded her best friend and boyfriend to help her find the truth about her past.

Jane Alexander and Gary Oldman are also on hand to add a little maturity to the proceedings.

The special effects crew does exemplary work, using subtle distortions to show Casey’s point of view. The often clunky, cliched script is not as effective, particularly in the stretch.

DVD extras: rated and unrated versions of the film; deleted scenes. (1:36; rated PG-13 for violence, strong language and frightening images)

Also available: “Beau Geste,” “Five Fingers,” “Murder She Wrote: Season 10,” “Mystery Science Theater 3000: XV”

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