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Sunday, March 18, 2007


I’ve had premonitions throughout my life, but I’ve seldom listened to them and yet you’d think I’d learn better than to ignore them. Turning down that offer to invest in a little company called Microsoft when it was selling for a dollar a share even though I’d had a dream about a geeky reddish-haired man rolling naked in millions and millions of dollars screaming “This’ll finally get me a date with Melinda!” is an example, but, then, who wouldn’t ignore a dream like that. Ick!

Okay, so that was bad enough, but I feel I really let the world down this week because I had also had another dream this past year that involved Sandra Bullock. In this one, I was Sandra’s therapist and we were talking about her image. She was telling me how she was tired of being thought of as “America’s Sweetheart” and doing movies like Miss Congeniality. She wanted to stick to more “edgy” fare like The Lake House and she handed me a script and asked if I would consider reading it and telling her what I thought. I looked down at it.
The Premonition, it read. Just then a big black bird flew overhead a dropped a steaming pile of poo right across the cover. Hey, it’s a dream, remember? So birds can fly in my office. Anyway, I woke up at that point and just lay there wondering what I had eaten for dinner earlier that had got this going. It wasn’t until months later when I wandered into the Essex Cinemas over the weekend that I saw The Premonition was on the marquee and starring the lovely and talented Sandra Bullock. Well, you know I just had to check that out.

In The Premonition Sandra plays Linda Hanson, a seemingly happy homemaker and mother who is greeted one Thursday morning by a state trooper at her door with the news that her husband Jim (Julian McMahon; tv’s “Nip/Tuck” ) had been killed in a fiery car crash after he collided with a tractor trailer rig the day before. Linda had been expecting him home from a business trip at any moment and this naturally leaves her unbelieving, then unnerved, and finally devastated. The rest of the day and evening play out in vignettes of grief as she is comforted by the arrival of her mother (the not-seen-nearly-enough Canadian actress Kate Nelligan;
The Cider House Rules), as she tells her daughters Megan (Shyann McClure in her big screen debut) and Bridgette (Courtney Taylor Burness; Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus) the awful truth and gives them solace, and then finally retreats to the sanctuary of her own bedroom to let go of her own pain before falling asleep from exhaustion.

The next morning Linda awakens and is understandably shaken to find her husband alive and well
in the kitchen, having breakfast and getting ready to begin the work week. Yes, this is now Monday, not Friday, and it appears that Linda has either jumped back in time or had a dream and saw ahead a few days to a tragedy that had not yet occurred. Shades of Final Destination!

So goes the week from hell for Linda Hanson. One day she wakes up and Jim is dead, the next alive. None of her days are in order, but each is within the same week and each follows the context of the day before it, although the day before it that she is experiencing is not actually the day before it in continuity of events. Her puzzle is to figure out how they all fit and how what happens on certain days affects what happens on the others ~ not just to Jim but also to the kids and herself, who all suffer their own serious twists of fate during this time. She also learns a great more about her marriage than she was aware of when, attending his funeral before the day he dies (at least dies again in the new world order of her peculiar experience), and she spots a woman she can fairly easily assume is Jim’s mistress. Her perfect husband and perfect marriage were apparently not as they seemed, leading her to ask herself the bitterest of questions: Is letting Jim die the same as murdering him?

Of course, what she thinks she has uncovered about Jim is only a part of the skewed reality as well, and there is more to be discovered before the final bits are resolved, but everything is so jumbled you will
wish you had the luxury Linda does of tearing off a large sheet of art paper and keeping a flow chart at hand to figure out what is going on because this is one convoluted mess and even writing it all down doesn’t necessarily keep it all in line.

It is also chock full of continuity errors that will have you wondering later whether anybody actually sat down with the script in hand and tried to organize the day-by-day events in chronological order so that these mistakes would not be so glaring. For example, when the story begins, on Thursday, one of the characters who looks perfectly fine we find out in the “flashback” to the “present” is severely disfigured in an accident on the Tuesday of two days ago, yet there is no sign of a scratch the day the bad news arrives. However, the stitches and gore are there when we visit again on Saturday, the day of the funeral. It is this type of technical faux pas that pops up like a giant bird
dropping on the proceedings and makes you feel like you are being sold a bill of goods. Director Mennan Yapo (whose last movie was 2004’s
Lautlos) and writer Bill Kelly (whose only other produced credit before this was 1999’s Blast from the Past) certainly appear to have had plenty of time to have tightened up the script and made it more credible, but instead they come off as if they are pulling an old fashioned shell game on us, distracting us with quick cuts and a lot of dead birds, lightening strikes, and red herrings so we won’t notice the obvious mistakes and, worst of all, they’ve got Sandra, with all her charm, beauty, and vulnerability on hand to woo our hearts and keep us from thinking too hard about how much this really doesn’t make sense, even as a fantasy.

I’m going back to sleep and hopefully I can dream up a better movie for Sandra. She deserves better. She’s a gifted actress who deserves way better than this.

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