Women On Film – “Push” – Susan Granger reviews

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At its best, sci-fi is fascinating, like “2001: A Spacey Odyssey.” At its worst, it’s ridiculous, like “Battlefield Earth.” The psychic espionage thriller, “Push” falls somewhere in-between and should not be confused with the Sundance sensation: “Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire.”

The prologue states that the U.S. government is continuing to perform those eugenics experiments started by the Nazis during W.W. II in order to create superior beings. There are different categories for these paranormals: “watchers” are clairvoyant, “movers” use telekinesis, “stitchers” heal any ailment, “pushers” influence the thoughts of others, “bleeders” scream so loud they burst people’s blood vessels, “shifters” change the appearance of things, “wipers” erase people’s memories, “sniffers” track anyone by utilizing their olfactory sense and “shadows” hide people from “sniffers,” concealing them from “watchers.”

But it seems a black-ops Division of the Defense Department is determined to enhance the usefulness of these mutant mindbenders with remarkable telepathic and clairvoyant abilities by administering mega-drug therapy. There are many fatalities in experiments such as this. But Kira (Camilla Belle) is a survivor, a promising “pusher” who has escaped into a clandestine Asian underground. She’s sought by her ex-boyfriend, a rogue, second-generation “mover” Nick Grant (Chris Evans) and a gifted 13 year-old “watcher,” Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning), who is trying to free her mother from government custody. With ruthless “pusher” Agent Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou) in relentless pursuit, Nick and Cassie must find Kira and retrieve a powerful syringe filled with an “ability enhancer” hidden in a briefcase somewhere in crowded, neon-lit Hong Kong.

“Bring me every sniffer we have!” Carver demands in his determination to find the fugitive, and it’s hard not to giggle at his glowering intensity.

Screenwriter David Bourla and director Paul McGuigan (“Lucky Number Slevin”) are long on style and short on substance, not to mention logic. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Push” is a baffling, frenetic 5, defeated by its own chaotic cleverness.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.