Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


88 MINUTES (2007). Director: Jon Avnet.

The testimony of FBI psychologist Jack Gramm (Al Pacino of The Recruit) helped put away a fiendish killer, Jon Forster (Neal McDonough), who is about to be executed. Gramm then gets a call in which an unknown person tells him he only has 88 minutes to live, a number that has special significance to him. Gramm figures Forster is behind it all, but who is his ally outside of prison? One of Gramm's students? His teaching assistant, Kim (Alicia Witt of Urban Legend)? Her motorcycle-riding boyfriend? His secretary, Shelley (Amy Brenneman)? The movie, with its hints of dark deeds in the past, numerous twists and red herrings, reminds one of  a giallo film by Italian director Dario Argento, but without the cinematic flourishes or sick violence. The performances are good, and the slick movie moves fast enough to keep you from dissecting what's going on too carefully. Whatever its flaws, 88 Minutes is quite entertaining.

Verdict: Pacino treading water. ***.

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