Ticking Clock [Blu-ray]
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2011
An investigative reporter (Gooding) comes home to find his girlfriend brutally murdered and chases the killer (McDonough). After finding a diary with names and dates of future murders he tries to stop them. Most of the time B movies like this one are boring and drag on and on to a lame conclusion. This one is a rare exception. This movie had me rivited and second guessing myself all over the place. A very original movie that has a huge twist in it that could have ruined it, but was done so well that it actually helped make the movie better then I was expecting. Very tense in some parts and will keep you hooked until the final frame. A MUST SEE, even for non horror fans. A very original, surprising and enjoyable experience.I give it an A-
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 3, 2011
Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. has had one of the strangest acting careers in a long time. Ever since he won at the Academy for his performance as Rod Tidwell in 'Jerry Maguire,' he has been caught in a sort of downward spiral. This has sent the once-promising actor deep into the realm of straight-to-video nonsense, like his previous films 'The Devil's Tomb' and 'The Way of War.' Why he's been doing this is a mystery. No talent agent is bad enough to actually think these scripts are worth while or think they're anything more than a guaranteed failure. Maybe it's bad luck, maybe it's laziness, maybe Cuba just doesn't want the spotlight he deserves.

Whatever the reason for his failing success, it has led him straight to 'Ticking Clock.' In it, he plays Lewis Hicks, a journalist who gets put on the trail of a sadistic serial killer after his own girlfriend is viciously murdered. With the killer's journal in hand, Lewis must race against time to rescue the murderer's next victims. As the path begins to weave its way around and to a young orphan boy, Lewis begins to discover a deeper mystery surrounding the murders.

In the crime-thriller subgenre, there are really only a few good ways to go about writing a story. One maintains consant mystery, concealing the identity of the killer until a final reveal that should be a shock to the audience. The other is to reveal the killer from the start and use his intentions and motivation as the mystery. With 'Ticking Clock,' however, both approaches are mostly thrown out, revealing the killer's identity, his motive, and everything else pretty much immediately. This is a problem because the mystery is what is usually keeps a viewer watching in a film like this. If you don't have it, the audience just won't care. Here, the writers knew what they wanted to accomplish with an interesting (though ridiculous) twist, but didn't give enough reason to stick with it in the first two acts. By the third act, the audience is fairly apathetic with the story & characters and will most likely not even care about the twist, which the entire film revolves around.

This major flaw is not the only problem with the film. No, a more detrimental issue to its success comes from the extremely amateurish direction by Ernie Barbarash, a man very familiar with mediocre straight-to-video thrillers with his work on 'Cube Zero' and 'Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming.' If you look at a film like 'Se7en' (which, by the way, 'Ticking Clock' actually compares itself to on its DVD sleeve along with 'Silence of the Lambs'), you will see a perfect a example of how to craft a stunning & dark crime thriller. With 'Se7en,' David Fincher used the gritty city setting as almost another character, having the actors play off the direction in a way that added a deep realism to the film. Barbarash, with 'Ticking Clock,' blows his opportunity to do this by squandering the Baton Rouge & Las Vegas settings he had at his disposal, instead limiting the entire film to a few boring settings like living rooms & back alleys. Add this to the rather annoying cinematography by Phil Parmet and 'Ticking Clock' is just all around unpleasant to watch.

Unfortunately, there isn't much else to cling onto to try to save the film from being a total disappointment. The script is boring & contrived, providing nothing much that hasn't been done better many times before. The lack of mystery & thrills for the first two acts gives no real drive to continue watching for anyone but completionists who don't like to leave a film unfinished. Even the ridiculous, supernatural twist isn't original, and ends up hurting the film anyway due to the number of plot holes it creates. For being so crucial to the film's success, one would think the filmmakers would be willing to do what they can to seal plot holes (like a simple case of incorrect eye colour, for example). Even the once-talented Cuba Gooding, Jr. has nothing much to offer thanks to how poorly his character was written. Let's face it, an actor can only do so much with what they're given. Take De Niro & Pacino as examples in supremely disappointing 'Righteous Kill' from a couple years back. Add in some shoddy gore FX, CGI that looks like it should be in a mid-90s sci-fi flick, and a mundane cast of supporting actors, and you have nothing more than a sad excuse for a crime thriller here.

Overall, 'Ticking Clock' is just one of those films that will be stuck on the Blockbuster® shelvse for a few months trying to bait renters into biting onto the former star power of Cuba Gooding, Jr. Sadly, it will do nothing but disappoint with its unoriginal & unthrilling story and amteurish filmmaking.

Final Verdict: 3.5/10. Hopefully Cuba will get another chance in the spotlight some day.

-AP3-
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The movie starts off with a killing of a woman that takes place 12 years ago. An infant is told by the killer that his mother will never harm him again, although the kid seemed fine. 12 years later another murder occurs of a woman who is an assistant DA. She is also the gf of Cuba Goodling (Lewis Hicks) an investigative crime journalist who is separated from his wife (6 months) and he likes his liquor.

Lewis comes into the home of his gf in time to see the killer. He tracks the killer down and fights with him. (He does this several times in the movie and the killer tosses him around like a rag doll.) The killer drops a book with dossiers on everyone who he plans to kill, how he will do it, and the date he will do it. Lewis copies down the names, fails to turn the book over to the police, and then the killer comes and gets the book back.

The killer seems to vanish into thin air at times. Lewis turns and he is gone. He has the DNA and fingerprint of the killer too. Since he knows who is going to get killed next, he shows up just in time to be the prime suspect- no surprise there.

The movie does have a twist that didn't seem to fit well into the genre of the film. You should have it all figured out by the zoo scene except for whatever they plan to do to end it. The dialouge was weak and not entertaining. The 12 year old boy was perhaps the most interesting character and he didn't say much.

It is not Silence of the Lambs light. No sex. No nudity. Occasional f-bomb. The movie shows people cut up and dissected, but not the dissection itself, a sophisticated slasher movie.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I really like Cuba Gooding Jr and he did not disappoint in this somewhat sci-fi suspense film. Neither did Neal McDonough who was fantastic.

McDonough is a serial killer who keeps a diary of the murders he has committed and will commit. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Lewis Hicks, an investigative reporter chasing the killer after his girlfriend is brutally murdered and he sees the killer vanish into thin air. One of the local cops assigned to the case has an axe to grind against Hicks since he was portrayed poorly in one of Hicks' previous stories. So Hicks becomes a suspect early on, which is pretty easy to see since it's hard to believe in a killer who vanishes.

Hicks finds the killer's diary and decides to try to catch him himself, implicating himself further in the process. He meets a boy at an orphanage who he realizes is the key to discovering the killer's identity, although he isn't sure how the pieces fit. Then the movie takes a twist which I found interesting.

I found the acting great, the plot interesting, the suspense and action enjoyable, and I plan on watching it again but with my boys this time. Some violence, no sex scenes, not much swearing -- decent enough family movie, I think.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 27, 2011
This Cuba Gooding Jr vehicle was well on its way--as most of his post-Oscar movies have been--to being mediocre and instantly forgettable. And then comes a plot twist so bizarre, unexpected, and frankly kind of stupid that it ends up making the movie not only entertaining, but interesting and touching. With better work by all hands--from writer and director through actors and special effects folks--this could have approached a sort of B-movie so-dumb-it's-brilliant status. As it is, it's merely a welcome surprise that something that starts out so plodding and dull found a Twilight Zone gear to shift to, rescuing the watching experience for people who don't mind a little out-of-left-field zaniness in a serial killer genre movie.

But which genre IS it? Horror? Sci-fi? Drama? That's the fun. It's a minor genre borderlands masterpiece. Just don't expect a GOOD movie in the traditional sense of "good."
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on December 28, 2011
Ticking Clock begins like any ordinary crime/drama involving an investigator working the late night hours searching for a killer roaming the streets of a suburban area... but then, about halfway through, the storyline takes a MAJOR DRASTIC turn!!

Around halfway through, the investigator makes a crucial visit to a foster home and meets up with a young boy who has a reputation of being hard to tolerate and understand. Well... my goodness.

I was NOT expecting such a bizarre turn of events, haha. I welcome it however- I welcome it with open arms in fact. Why? Because we've seen the same boring crime/drama formula for what seems like FOREVER now, so it's time for a radically new set-up. Not that I knew it was coming!

Without spoiling anything, what happens is that the storyline eventually changes into the subject of time travel and the million dollar question concerning what would happen if you had the ability to change the past and prevent horrible murders from occurring. Expect such a change in Ticking Clock, seriously, despite how it will probably catch you completely off-guard (well, probably not NOW since I'm telling you what to expect, but you get the idea).

I'm slightly disappointed that several moments are underwhelming in the acting department. A few of the action segments seemed terribly generic and low budget to me, but hey, with such a sudden and drastic change of plot development just appearing out of NOWHERE and actually being *good* and interesting, who am I to complain?

Overall, worth it for the major surprises and the fact that the movie really does get better once the time travel segments become the main focus. Yes as a viewer, you have to defy logic as soon as this turn of events takes place, but at least you're treated to a fairly original concept.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2013
Cuba Gooding, Jr. is getting better with age. He is versitile, diverse, can go back and forth between comedy and drama, and history. I am enjoying his transition.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2011
Different strokes for different folks. Of the three reviews I have read all the reviewers were bad mouthing the movie in one way or another. I found the movie quite good and the acting excellent. The story of an investigative reporter being one step behind a cold blooded murderer keeps you going until the very end(and the way the killer manages to stay ahead of the authorities is really good). Unlike some movies I have seen in the past it also has an excellent ending. If you want to see a good movie, rent it before you purchase it, so you'll only be spending a small amount for the rental, and if you're disappointed you won't be out that much money. I for one plan to purchase this movie in the near future as I thought it was well worth the time that I spent watching it.
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on October 3, 2012
I really enjoyed this move despite the subject of time travel. Let's face it, time travel and logic just don't mix when making a movie. That being sadi, this was a pretty good film that entertains and keeps moving. There might be a couple slow spots, but they are actually important to the plot. Cuba Gooding Jr. gives a solid performance as the hero trying to make sense of it all but the realspotlight should be on Neal McDonough. He is simply awesome as the badguy. I mean he can just radiate evil when he wants to. My advice is to watch this with an open mind and try not to thing about the logic of time travel. Enjoy it for what it is: A couple hours of entertainment. It delivered more than I expected. That's why I gave it 5 stars.
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on December 2, 2011
This movie was way better than I expected it would be. It had an surprising twist at the end end though I personally didn't like the sci-fi ending. Nevertheless, it's worth watching as it will keep your attention from the beginning to the end. Good movie!
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