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Source Code
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on April 8, 2011
Source Code is an exhilarating movie. It is fast paced, without losing a deep story and emotional connection. The movie puts it's main character in a tense scene, having to find a person who is about to blow up a train. It throws the character(played by Jake Gyllenhaal very well) back into this scene over and over again, with small conversations in between.

The story is complex and emotional. It lets Jake's character expand and deepen, and the supporting cast is great. The special effects are well done, and the whole tone keeps you on the edge of your seat. Surprisingly, there is no campy dialogue (something I was expecting from the previews) and it is actually a superb script, making conversations interesting, and later scenes racked with emotion.

The whole movies is very great, leaving you excited by its presentation and quality in every aspect in it. The idea to replay a scene over and over again is executed really well, and makes the film very exciting. It is the first truly great film of 2011. I recommend it, to everyone.
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on April 1, 2011
Director Duncan Jones, the man behind the small scale and well crafted film Moon, returns with an equally fascinating mystery that doesn't outstay it's welcome at just over 90 minutes long. To be honest, I didn't plan on seeing Source Code before yesterday. The trailer was a little on the weak side and the story seemed predictable, but those pesky critics can sometimes get me to the theater, especially if almost all of them are in universal agreement that the movie is really good.

It's hard to describe this film without giving too much away. The main character (Jake Gyllenhall) has been given the ability to go back in time over and over again, for only 8 minutes a pop, in order to stop the train he is riding on from blowing up. There is a lot more to it than that of course. The government is behind the mission and the time traveling technology and there are many other twist and turns along the way, so I won't go into heavy detail here.

The cast is good, but it doesn't feature a standout performance like the one Sam Rockwell gave in Moon. Then again, the clever script doesn't call for a one man show this time around.

I was pleasantly surprised with this sci-fi/thriller/mystery hybrid. It's worth a trip to the theater or a future rental at the very least. Source Code is something along the lines of what Alfred Hitchcock might be making if he was around today.
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VINE VOICEon April 4, 2011
Source Code is a suspenseful, surprisingly intelligent, occasionally touching, movie that's far better than I'd expected it to be. With tight pacing, great editing, good acting and fine directing by Duncan Jones, best known for Moon, it's a very good sci-fi action film released outside the usual summertime area for such movies.

The film tells the tale of a man (Jake Gyllenhall), who wakes up on a train. He has no idea why he's there or who the woman across from him is. As he's trying to get things sorted out, an explosion goes off, killing everyone. He then comes to inside a capsule where it's explained to him that the train was blown up in a terrorist bombing. The terrorist was kind enough to do a practice run and apparently plans to detonate a dirty bomb in Chicago. Due to some sort of "quantum" effect he can "leap" into the body of a man who died on the train and live out his last eight minutes of life. Doing that will, with luck, enable him to find the bomber.

If it's a premise that sounds familiar, that's because it is. It's perhaps no surprise that Scott Bakula's voice turns up in a cameo during the movie, since it clearly owes a lot to his most famous work. In fact, it's basically Quantum Leap mashed-up with Groundhog Day while managing to be better than the first and at least as engaging as the second.

There was really nothing I disliked about this film. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's the best film I've seen so far this year, and, sadly, will likely be the best science fiction film for quite some time.
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I'm not going to tell you what this movie is about.
Why, you ask?
Any info will ruin the experience.
And what an experience it was.
Here's what I liked.
Brilliant storytelling.
Incredible acting from everyone.
Direction, pacing, score were all top notch.

Anything I didn't like?

This film does what so few films do, it will make you think.
It touches on so MANY different themes.
This life.
The next.
And pretty much everything in between.
In an age of movies filled with senseless violence, unnecessary nudity and swearing that would make a truck driver blush, it's refreshing to see a movie that simply does what films should do....tells a story.
A grand story that I give my highest recommendation.
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on July 9, 2011
Do yourself a favor and don't watch it. Bad acting, no plot, predictable and just terrible. Whoever wrote the script and directed this movie needs to get fired.
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SOURCE CODE has an element that is lacking in too many of the Hollywood CGI sci-fi experimental movies that are so very cloned these day - humanity. Much of the credit for this quality comes from the intelligent and imaginative writing of Ben Ripley and the tight direction by Duncan Jones, but the main reason this film works so well is the presence of charismatic and fine acting by Jake Gyllenhaal.

The story borders on the obtuse: a device has been invented by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) that can maintain a person in a state of recall much the way a light bulb has a glow after it has been extinguished. Rutledge has placed helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is missing in action in Afghanistan, in a capsule that is capable, under the direction of military officer Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), of projecting Stevens onto a train entering Chicago that has been planted with a bomb in order to discover the perpetrator who is apparently planning another bomb that will decimate the city of Chicago. It is a back and forth series of 8 minute exercises, each time Stevens relives the moments before a bomb detonation and gradually learns the the device and its owner. On board the train he meets Christina (Michelle Monaghan) who 'sees' Stevens as her boyfriend Sean and during these repeat flashbacks Stevens and Christina form a bond that makes Stevens re-think his 'purpose' in this military gimmicky.

*In the hands of the wrong people this little venture would seem trite and silly, but with this crew of creators it becomes a puzzle that touches on tension, fear, humor, and warmth. That is what a superb cast can do with any material, but with this particular strange tale it works perfectly. Grady Harp, July 11
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Good movie, plot clicks along, lots of action--as one reviewer pointed out, a nightmare Groundhog's Day with lots of special effects. Captain Colter Stevens(Jake Gyllenhaal) is a USAF pilot whose unit was decimated in a catastrophic attack in Afghanistan. Colter regains consciousness and finds himself enmeshed in what he thinks is a training exercise. He's forced to relive an eight-minute loop where his mind/personality inhabits a passenger (an unassuming suburban schoolteacher)on a Chicago communter train that gets blown up. His job is to figure out which passenger planted the bomb so that a worse attack can be averted. Each time Captain Stevens "returns" to the train, he gets a little closer to identifying the bomber, and a little closer to realizing he's in love with a fellow passenger. At that point, he decides to change the mission: instead of just giving his handlers information about an event that already took place and cost hundreds of lives, he wants to re-shape the past so that the killer is caught before the train ever blows up.

Gyllenhaal does a good job: he goes from befuddlement at finding himself on a train that then explodes to, on subsequent trips back, having a laser-focused plan to disarm the bomb and nail his guy within the allotted time frame. He also developes the character of the pilot who frantically tries to piece together his personal reality--going from a war zone to a "test pod"--while the people giving him orders evade his questions.

But of course, Hollywood never misses the opportunity to miss an opportunity. Predictably, the first person Capt. Stevens suspects as the bomber is a South Asian-looking (ie., Muslim) guy who seems nervous and edgy, and who exits the train at an unusual stop. Every single person in the audience knew that this was the lesson: Stevens assumed the guy was a terrorist because he profiled him, but the profile was WRONG.

(I don't think it's a plot-spoiler to say that the actual bomber is a banal yet psychotic American unconnected to any hate group.)

This was dissonent and not a little manipulative. The chief scientist for the "source code project" that sends Stevens on his missions makes specific references to the War on Terror. We know that the War on Terror involves organized global groups with agenda to activate operatives who will carry out attacks to achieve their goals--9/11, Bali, London, etc. Yet we're expected to believe, according to Source Code, that the real war on terror is focused on random mass murderers who are anomolies like Tim McVeigh lone wolves leading unremarkable lives.That's because Hollywood has agreed that the only reference to Muslims, in this post-9/11 world, have to depict them as innocent, and often framed, victims of suspicion. That's just as unrealistic and unfair as viewing all Muslims as terrorists.

This movie would have gone from "pretty good" to "great" if the writer had made two significant changes: 1) if Gyllanhaal, on his first mission, looks in the mirror and sees not a Joe Average non-Muslim history teacher but rather a young imam, and 2)if the terrorist was indeed an al-Qaeda jihadist on assignment.

The movie would had sacrficed none of its suspense and character development,but the audience would have seen--in Gyllanhaal, who did indeed play the Prince of Persia--a Muslim who FIGHTS terrorism, underscoring the fact that Muslims and terrorists are not mutually inclusive groups. It would have shown that Muslims can risk their lives to defend the US and its values, and it would have given Muslims another narrative to embrace: neither terrorist nor victim, but patriot who is willing to recognize jihadist groups and take them down.

It's too bad the writing/production team chickened out on this element. "Source Code" remains a decent movie, but not one that has the earmarks of a classic.

If Gyllanhaal had been the anti-jihadi, though, this movie would have been explosive...on many levels.
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on January 21, 2012
Source Code, 2011 film

The story begins with a view of the Chicago waterfront. One man rides a train; he seems stunned and unaware of himself. A double-decker train carries commuters to Chicago. There is an explosion outside! Next there is a strange event where he is questioned. "Who bombed the train?" We return to the train. More strange behavior. He searches a restroom and finds a strange machine. He warns the crew. There is an explosion. Is it real? Is it confusing? "This makes no sense." Who is the bomber? Quiet and withdrawn? "Anything strange on the train?" [The actors in this story?] He gets off the train to follow a man. Motion sickness? There is a fight, a man falls on the tracks. Then we see more strange events. Who is controlling things? We finally learn of the reason for this exercise: a terrorist will explode a "dirty bomb" in Chicago!

His next assignment is to find the conducter's room. He fails in this. "Everything is going to be OK." The scenes repeat. The man acts strange. He borrows a phone from a lady. There is another change of scenery. "Am I dead?" Is he imagining all this? His controllers speak to him. Can he find the bomber? "Send me back in." He finds the bomb with its cell phone activator. Did he find the bomber? "Sorry." He follows another man. Will he lose him? "I know its you." There is a surprise in the trunk. The man explains his actions. "There has to be rubble." He now has the bomber's name. He has a last request. The SWAT team gets the driver. A job well done. The story runs on. Will his mission be terminated? "Thank you for your service. Good luck!" So now the story repeats again. Shawn disarms the bomb.

Will they clear his memory? He stops Derek Frost. "It's over." He makes a phone call. Then another to a dead soldier's father. "Are you OK?" There is conversation among the passengers. They are not friendly. Shawn makes a bet with a man; can he make the other passengers laugh? The red button is pushed. We see the body! "It is a beautiful morning in Chicago." "Do you believe in fate?" "So what do you want to do today?" Goodwin gets a text message on her phone. "Tell him everything will be OK."

This is a very strange story that repeats itself over and over (to create padding and make it appear that something is happening). Not recommended. It shows why the story or plot is the most important part of any movie. The end shows a long list of names for the people who worked on this production. So who paid for this production? There were other movies about people being threatened by terrorists with a bomb. They were all better.
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on July 17, 2011
Jake Gyllenhaal continues to create unimpressive movies. If you can't figure out who the terrorist is in the first scene, you aren't very good at noticing the obvious. If you think the movie won't end exactly how it does, then you are not good at noticing the obvious. Yes, there is a minor twist in the plot - one that makes the premise even more absurd - but maybe some will find that cool. I did not.

This is not a good movie. It requires zero critical thinking and even less intelligence. It's almost like a comedy writer tried to write an suspenseful action film, but forgot that you need a solid storyline and plot to create suspense - and a halfway decent special effects budget to blow up trains.

Don't do it. Not worth the time, not worth the money, and not worth the time.
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VINE VOICEon July 4, 2011
`Source Code' does what `Vantage Point (Single-Disc Edition)' tried to do, but failed. It makes us look at a public scene where some imminent violence or calamity is about to take place, and then backs up to show us the same scene again with a different point-of-view. (Except this time, the protagonist relives the same moments and scenes on a commuter train.) As has been stated time and time again, `Source Code''s method may be preposterous science fiction--like anime' adventure `Paprika--' but its thrust is decidedly more closely aligned to `Groundhog Day (Special 15th Anniversary Edition)'.

The story begins with a disoriented Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who finds himself on a commuter train headed to Chicago. Next to him is a woman identifying herself as his girlfriend, Christine (Michelle Monaghan). A series of events take place: Someone spills coffee on his shoe; he gets up; someone knocks over a file with papers in it; and he goes to the bathroom where a mirror shows him to be someone else than he knows himself to be.

After several awkward moves, he sees his train pass another train, and both blow up into oblivion...Then, we are taken into a military vessel, much resembling a small space unit, where Colter is received on a screen with instructions from Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) who gets him to use a "source code" technology, which enables him to relive the scene, find information, and prevent otherwise inevitable catastrophe.

He fights the mission with a fervent confusion--not able to fully comprehend when he was on an earlier mission--not in incognito and on the war front of Afghanistan. To get him on track, Goodwin and her superior officer, Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), have to brief him as quickly as possible because their intelligence program is in experimental infancy with many harrowing risks for Colter and civilization at large...

The causality of `Source Code' is easily as fanciful as `Inception,' but the story is much easier to follow, and the format and development admirably suspend disbelief in ways that few movies do. While similar movies can be awkwardly paced, tediously unfolded, or convoluted beyond our senses, `Source Code' is satisfying popcorn entertainment with an admirable message about the brevity and preciousness of life without ever being weighed down by stale or labored moments.

(Credit information is taken from IMDB.com)
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