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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars if only they could've come up with a more CREATIVE ending
There's an inherent problem with making a movie of this kind: unless you're a creative genius of your time, these sorts of movies have the potential to turn real generic, REAL fast.

Reminiscent of Denzel Washington from Training Day, we see Samuel L. Jackson play an overly aggressive cop with an agenda, with the movie focusing on the problems he's causing for...
Published on December 15, 2008 by Negative Comments

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely pesky neighbor...predictable Samuel L. Jackson
SPOILER ALERT!!!

Samuel L. Jackson plays Able, a bad cop who can't stand his new neighbors who happen to be an interracial couple. He has a real problem with their relationship (his black wife apparently cheated on him with a white guy, and that really stuck in his craw), and he has no qualms about letting them know; he cuts their air conditioning unit lines,...
Published on February 16, 2009 by Angela


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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars if only they could've come up with a more CREATIVE ending, December 15, 2008
This review is from: Lakeview Terrace (DVD)
There's an inherent problem with making a movie of this kind: unless you're a creative genius of your time, these sorts of movies have the potential to turn real generic, REAL fast.

Reminiscent of Denzel Washington from Training Day, we see Samuel L. Jackson play an overly aggressive cop with an agenda, with the movie focusing on the problems he's causing for his new neighbors. A completely realistic situation that can take place anywhere. Problem is, because a movie like this is completely character driven, after you have the nice slow build up to the climax, once the tension snaps, you're relegated to basically a generically default final act of the movie where "the bad guy finally comes out of the proverbial shadows and literally chases the hero." (i.e. Disturbia, The Glass House). It's a shame too because the buildup on this was very good. Samuel L. Jackson was really scary here, he played that bullying, obsessive character perfect. The only acting problems I saw were 2-3 moments from Kerry Washington where her sad face was done poorly, with overly done lip quivers and facial movements (similar to Kirsten Dunst's crying scenes from the Spider-Man movies, except done in a BAD way).

With a movie like this, you pretty much have these possible outcomes:

1) the generic, semi-predictable ending (like we got here).
2) tragic ending with hero dying at the end.
3) an unpredictable twist coming out of left field (this has the potential to be very good or very bad).
4) a Great ending.

Unfortunately we usually get number one, since they wanna give the satisfying, safe, effective, tried and true, Hollywood ending. Most people are content with those types of cop out endings. I'm not.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hate Thy Neighbor, September 22, 2008
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Don't think for one second that director Neil LaBute and screenwriters David Loughery and Howard Korder didn't know what they were doing. "Lakeview Terrace" is not merely a disturbing thriller about a black cop that hates his neighbors for being an interracial couple; it's an intelligent, thought-provoking examination of race relations in general, strengthened by its atypical cinematic approach to racism. How different would the reaction to this film be if the roles were reversed, if it told the story of a racist white cop that hated his black neighbor? It would most likely be ignored, because goodness knows we've seen such movies before. "Lakeview Terrace" is refreshing in its willingness to look at things from a largely unseen perspective, which in turn gives the audience more to think about. What a mature turn for LaBute, who completely missed the mark with his God-awful 2006 remake of "The Wicker Man."

It should be noted here that Lakeview Terrace, a suburb of Los Angeles, is where Rodney King was beaten and arrested by the police in the spring of 1991. This is obviously not a coincidence on the filmmaker's part, and neither is the fact that the story is ambiguous in its social commentary. Essentially, LaBute expects up to make up our own minds about who's right and who's wrong. Granted, it seems pretty clear-cut throughout the film; LAPD officer Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) goes to great lengths to destroy the lives of his new next-door neighbors, and he does so because the husband, Chris Mattson (Patrick Wilson), is white and the wife, Lisa (Kerry Washington), is black. Turner begins slowly, dropping a series of subtle hints. His security lights, for example, come on in the middle of the night, and they shine directly into the Mattsons' bedroom. As the film progresses, his hostility escalates into full-blown psychological warfare.

I'm making this sound far too simple. Turner is not merely an evil man; as both a cop and a single father, he's seen his fair share of injustice. To elaborate would give too much away, but rest assured, he has very definite reasons for hating his neighbors, for wanting to not only get them out of Lakeview Terrace, but also to drive a wedge between them. Chris and Lisa are introduced as a lovey-dovey couple happy to be first-time homeowners. But it isn't long before tensions begin mounting. Example: Chris is hesitant to start a family even though Lisa is eager. He has legitimate reasons for wanting to wait; they just moved in, after all, and they need time to settle into their new lives. In spite of this, one can't help but believe it has nothing to do with settling in. While not directly stated, it may, in fact, have to do with raising biracial children. This, as it turns out, is a source of tension between Chris and Lisa's father, Harold (Ron Glass), who never seems to address his son-in-law without a great deal of effort.

Is it possible that Chris and Lisa were never meant to be together? Did they fall in love for all the wrong reasons? Again, none of this directly stated. But considering the way they're now treating each other, it seems very likely that they're rethinking some of the decisions they've made. Lisa thinks their biggest mistake was moving to Lakeview Terrace, not just because their neighbor is unfriendly, but also because she's away from her family and her friends. Chris, determined to prove himself as both a husband and a man, refuses to leave the neighborhood. This paves the way for the film's last twenty minutes, which, on the surface, unfolds in much the same way as an ordinary thriller. Below the surface lies miscommunication, grief, and a lifetime of hard feelings, none of which make it easy to determine who represents good and who represents evil. I say this because, when the climactic final battle between Chris and Turner begins, we immediately see that both men are pointing guns at each other.

The most interesting moments in "Lakeview Terrace" occur within the first ten minutes, when Turner and his children meet at the breakfast table. His young son, Marcus (Jaishon Fisher), comes downstairs wearing a Lakers jersey. Turner wants him to take it off because it displays the number twenty-four, which is Kobe Bryant's number. He's made it abundantly clear that from now on, they're giving all their support to Shaq. Why? Is it because of Bryant's highly publicized extramarital affair? Immediately afterwards, he scolds his fifteen-year-old daughter, Celia (Regine Nehy), for not using correct English. Is he encouraging his children to be the best they can be, or is he controlling them because improper speech reminds him of someone he hates?

While these questions are never answered, they still add a tremendous amount of depth to the story, solidifying Turner as a man holding a grudge against the world. I have no doubt that some audiences will see things from his point of view; when life hurts you a few too many times, hatred is completely understandable. On the same token, I'm sure that many will have no sympathy for him at all. Some will see him as a heartless monster preying on an innocent couple. Both arguments are valid. You should take them into consideration when watching "Lakeview Terrace," a taut, suspenseful human drama that will make you uncomfortable no matter what side you take. My hope is that it will start a line of communication. If it doesn't lead to peace, then maybe it will lead to an understanding. Of all the things noticeably absent from "Lakeview Terrace," a line of communication is the most important.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hatred out of hand, March 15, 2009
This review is from: Lakeview Terrace (DVD)
Home ownership is still the American Dream. When newlyweds Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) move into their first home together, they are understandably excited. Very quickly, that dream becomes a nightmare for both them and their neighbor, Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson).

Turner's a widowed Dad with two kids he's trying to keep out of the trouble he sees every day on the street. He's pretty strict, but it's just him parenting. And he's not too comfortable about the interracial couple who's just moved in the neighborhood.

Lisa and Chris can't sleep for the security lights Abel has around his home.

Abel's kids see Chris and Lisa having a sexual encounter in their poor.

Chris plays loud rap music driving up to his home--and throws the cigarettes his wife doesn't know he's smoking over on Abel's yard.

Okay, Abel's pretty heavy. He patrols the neighborhood and issues unsigned parking tickets to people over the line. Not everyone likes it.

Tensions mount as Abel gets in trouble on his job. Chris and Lisa aren't doing so well, either. Lisa wants to start a family, but Chris isn't so sure.

The film has fascinating character arcs for both Chris and Abel. Initially, neither person is fully at fault, but as relations continue to spiral downhill, the tit for tat gets more and more vicious and cuts closer to home.

Abel's character rivets you to your seat. You see him determined to make a good home and family and yet his life is spinning further and further out of control. Hate him/pity him, you will not be devoid of emotion when you see the man on the screen.

And are the Mattsons the happy couple they initially seem to be? As the story unfolds, duplicity on both sides is revealed. The honeymoon is definitely over.

While this story has been told before, I don't think the director could have chosen anyone better than Jackson to play Abel. He's what ultimately makes the film stand out.

Rebecca Kyle, March 2009
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely pesky neighbor...predictable Samuel L. Jackson, February 16, 2009
By 
This review is from: Lakeview Terrace (DVD)
SPOILER ALERT!!!

Samuel L. Jackson plays Able, a bad cop who can't stand his new neighbors who happen to be an interracial couple. He has a real problem with their relationship (his black wife apparently cheated on him with a white guy, and that really stuck in his craw), and he has no qualms about letting them know; he cuts their air conditioning unit lines, slashes their tires, shines security lights into their bedroom at night and hires someone to break into their house, etc. All these acts are not met without retaliation, but the new neighbors just can't seem to shake the bad cop because, as Able puts it, "I am the po-lice!" It's a frustrating movie, and having a neighbor like Able would certainly make me want to pack my bags and flee the premises. Definitely a fun suspense film, but there wasn't much else to the plot aside from the terrorizing that was shown in the previews. The film tried to be more about the couple being a family, but I didn't really care about them so much as I cared about how they were going to defeat Able in the end. And the end wrapped up too quickly. I thought there would be a little bit more of a happily-ever-after deal. Good for a rental.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense thriller with a dumb ending, April 19, 2009
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This review is from: Lakeview Terrace (DVD)
From the previews, I was expecting Sam Jackson's character to be a one-dimensional villain, but thanks to the acting and the script, his disturbed mental state was completely believable and frightening. Rather than have the two main characters immediately go to war with one another, I admired how the film gradually built up the conflict between them. The first few confrontations, with subtle hints of racism and hostility, are carefully worded and brimming with tension. Paralleling the story with the spreading wildfires in the background is also a clever touch.

Unfortunately, the ending, with its obligatory shootout/fight, is cliche and unbelievable. I would have much preferred a "Changing Lanes" (also starring Jackson) type ending where the characters realize how stupid they're being and quit before resorting to Hollywood violence. Jackson's character starts out ambiguous--mostly bad but with some traces of good left in him. It would have been more interesting to see the goodness push through, rather than have him be all-bad in the end.

Bottom line: A tense, surprisingly intelligent thriller with a dumb, cop-out ending.

Richard Yee, author of Deliveries: A Collection
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living Next to a Cop Isn't So Great, September 20, 2008
Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) is a widowed father of two, veteran LAPD cop, and he feels the need to make his opinion heard, especially when it regards race. When an interracial couple, Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington) move in next door, Abel makes it known that they are not welcome in the neighborhood. At least that's how he feels. "Lakeview Terrace" is however, a two way street, so the couple express that they have no intention of moving. Things heat up, tension mounts and tempers flare.

Samuel L. Jackson's performance greatly overshadows the rest of the cast. For the antagonist in this film, he was the most well-rounded character. Jackson was exceptionally creepy with his sinister fixation regarding race, and his performance alone makes the film worth watching. It's not that the other performances were bad, but they were otherwise bland.

"Lakeview Terrace" has the ability to leave you wanting more. Great build up of suspense leading to a climax you don't want to miss. It could be one of the sleepers of 2008, but don't miss it. Stop by "Lakeview Terrace" and see that living next to a cop isn't as great as it sounds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not one to own., May 25, 2009
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My wife and I saw this movie the other day and to be honest ever since I saw "Snakes on a plane" everytime I see a Samuel Jackson movie I can't help but think of how terrible that movie was. So I admit that I am a bit biased now when I see his movies.

But to be fair, the movie was good. It's the typical drama where you have a psycho neighbor. It wasn't what I thought the previews reflected, that being more horror/killer type. The movie was instead somewhat psychological with some terrible action. Throughout the movie we were both engaged and the movie wasn't half bad. Would I recommend watching this? Sure, it's entertaining and a decent movie when there is nothing else to watch. Would I buy it? Probably not as it's definitely not a "keeper" in my eyes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deals with important insanity., March 24, 2009
This review is from: Lakeview Terrace (DVD)
Ok, so racism comes in all forms... and it isn't dead.

This film is complex and well acted by all parties.

In the end, I would NEVER watch it again, it is just too uncomfortable.
but it is VERY successful in being uncomfortable.

and it is unpredictable.

it does hint at The House of Sand and Fog, whereas the home is a main character, as well complex human emotions surrounding how strongly we feel about our residence.

overall, this is a Great film, and quite effective, but really uncomfortable.

:)
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars uneven fare, January 28, 2009
This review is from: Lakeview Terrace (DVD)
TO start off with, I am a huge fan of Samuel L Jackson, and was really hoping this film would be better than it was. The pace is slow, due to the development of the characters no doubt, but it never seems to really take off. The new neighbors are a interracial couple and this does not set well with Jackson's character, who is once again a over zealous cop. First, I doubt any single cops in L.A raising two children live in a trendy little complex that this film is set in. Second, I found it hard to believe that of all the crime and violence he sees daily, the one thing that drives him over the edge is his neighbors, escpecially the interracial thing. To me it could have been better, but to each his own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Strong Samuel Jackson Film, October 22, 2011
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This review is from: Lakeview Terrace (DVD)
I am not sure why I like vigilante cop movies but for some reason I do. Lakeview Terrace is one of them and S.L. Jackson gives a pretty good performance as a cop who takes the power of his job a little too far and it comes back to haunt him. The movie's storyline is very believable and in all reality could remind many people about a cop they knew that took there job to a very risky level. A must see for the S.L. Jackson fan.

Peter J. Miller
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Lakeview Terrace (+ BD Live) [Blu-ray]
Lakeview Terrace (+ BD Live) [Blu-ray] by Neil LaBute (Blu-ray - 2009)
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