The bike-messenger race-against-time movie “Premium Rush” isn’t very premium – it gets every action movie cliché and stereotype stuck in its spokes – and doesn’t provide much of a rush. Having thoroughly enjoyed “Run Lola Run” and the similar Japanese import “Non-Stop,” I was surprised how little excitement this particular chase generated. The dialogue is mostly perfunctory, but some of what’s given to Michael Shannon to read borders on embarrassing. Shannon’s a talented actor, but he’s overdone it with the goggle-eyed nutbags. The time has come for him to rein it in, to find a quality role of nuance and subtlety. The leading player, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, still hasn’t found his star vehicle. He’s obviously gotten himself in great shape for this picture (homeboy looks fiiine), but the most enjoyable moments in “Premium Rush” involve watching his cheeks (all four). Its fundamental lesson is that bicyclists are as much a scourge and a plague in New York as they are here.
The makers of the vaguely contemptible drama “Compliance” use the phrase “based on true events” as an excuse for a 90-minute exercise in prurience and preposterousness. “Ripped from the headlines” reads the movie’s ad copy. Well, it’s not ripped from the headlines. I’d never read the story of the pervert who called a number of drive-through restaurants across the country posing as a police officer investigating a robbery and ordering supervisors to interrogate and inspect hot young female cashiers. Still, I was willing to go a long way with “Compliance,” even beyond the strip searches. When the perv ordered the supervisor’s husband to take teenage Becky over his knee and spank her bare ass because she didn’t address him properly, though, I called bullshit. And when the same husband heard the supposed cop’s calling card go off (“You have 30 seconds remaining”) and still didn’t put two and two together, well, at that point, “Compliance” is no longer an interesting movie about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. It’s just a skin flick about some extraordinarily stupid people, and that’s not interesting to me at all.