DINING REVIEW: The little easy

The Taste of New Orleans Cafe at 2501 West Colorado Avenue Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Dakota Fanning plays her first-ever drunk scene in "Push," a comic-book-inspired thriller about mind-readers and mind-benders, people with telekinetic powers given to them by the government in some demented effort to create walking, talking human weapons.

It's an ambitious attempt to shove the whole of a fairly complex comic-book universe into a single messy and garish movie.

It's out there, even if it is only a confusing mash-up of every movie or TV show you've ever seen about telekinesis - well, except for "Firestarter."

But back to Fanning's woozy, boozy moment.

She plays Cassie, a 13-year-old "watcher," somebody who can see the future and sketch it out on her note pad. Her mom once told her that she'd see "clearer" if she had a few belts.

So Cassie does and Fanning takes another giant stagger to leaving her child-actress screen persona behind.

Cassie shows up at the Hong Kong door of a "mover" played by Chris Evans. He's been expecting her.

His dad, a watcher, told him 10 years ago to look for her.

And here she is, perky, punky and ready to bring down "The Division," the agency that created all these "special people" such as "sniffs" (who can smell every place you've used an object, and thus track you), "bleeders" (who scream until you bleed), "shifters," "wipes" and so on.

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Then, there are the "pushers," who can shove a thought into your head, convince you to kill yourself or alter your memory. One of them, Kira (Camilla Belle), has escaped. And she's bringing a magic syringe to Hong Kong, where people will die in an effort to shape the future that many of them already have seen.

Director Paul McGuigan ("Lucky Number Slevin") - though practiced at juggling lots of decent actors in a huge number of roles - wastes a lot of talented people here. Maggie Siff ("Mad Men"), Ming Na ("The Joy Luck Club"), Cliff Curtis ("Sunshine") and others play "special" people with other talents and gamble on roles that might have some sort of staying power in the unlikely event this becomes a franchise.

Unlikely? Anybody not familiar with the comics may be a little confused by all the differing flavors of telekinetic folk. The odd snappy line doesn't make up for a generally heartless script.

But the telekinetic gunfights are amusing (guns floating in the air) for those who go for that sort of thing.

My prognostication? "Push" will be pushed out of theaters and out of minds by Fanning's 15th birthday (Feb. 23.). They grow up so fast!

PUSHCast: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Djimon HounsouDirector: Paul McGuiganTheaters: Hollywood, Tinseltown, Carmike, Chapel Hills, CinemarkRating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action, intense sequences of violence, smoking and teen drinking)Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

GRADE: C-

 

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