EV @ The Movies: Knowing

Pictured: this is the actual tagline from the movie.

When given the chance to see an advance screening of "Knowing", one of 56 movies scheduled to release this year that feature Nicholas Cage, I decided to pass.

Don't get me wrong -- I knew the movie would feature explosions, one-liners, and the delightfully understated acting of Mr. Cage that I've come to expect. But I had to skip it in order to see something much better: another new Nicholas Cage film called "Caged".

In Caged, Nicholas Cage plays himself, a forty-something action-thriller star who excels at looking super-serious. He has it all: money, different haircuts, and the soul of a demon that allows him to change into a flaming skeleton and ride motorcycles. As time goes on, though, he begins to wonder if there is a secret pattern to his movies, one that holds the key to the future destruction of our planet, or whatever.

To test his theory, Cage spends over an hour in Caged watching some of his older movies, but I didn't really mind, as most of the time, I couldn't really tell the difference. Plus, the directors -- Nicholas Cage and Jerry Bruckheimer -- wisely chose to cut to Cage's face every so often as he watched the movies, looking gravely concerned. It was very helpful to me, because I initially thought that maybe they were going for a more comedic angle.

Eventually, Cage, with the help of a sexy young woman who is strictly just his friend and partner, discovers the awful truth: every time one of his movies is watched, the universe releases terrifying particles of anti-matter. I didn't know much about anti-matter until I watched Caged, but now I understand that it floats around the streets of New York City, annihilating anyone it comes into contact with in an awesome explosion of special effects.

After sharing a PG-13 kiss with his partner who is now his lover and girlfriend, Cage realizes what must be done. Quitting movies is out of the question, since the economy relies on them to sustain itself. Instead, his only option is to make his movies as good as possible, so that the universe doesn't hate them as much. To accomplish this, he teams up with an independent film director to make a movie about being depressed when you're with your family. After cutting his hair in a weird way and wearing dirty clothes for the part, he's a shoe-in for 11 Academy Awards, and the universe is saved.

I bet you thought I just gave away the ending up there, but guess what? I didn't. Caged contains over six different false endings, each more different than the last. So just when you think it's over, think again! And then think again after that, and keep thinking again for a total of five times. Even then, you still might not be prepared for the secret non-false ending, plus the actual ending that you'll see after the credits are over. The point is, any one of the endings sets the stage very well for a sequel.

In light of how full of Nicholas Cage Caged is, I'm surprised that I was one of only a few critics to see a pre-screening. Usually, when a movie studio keeps a film from critics until it opens, it means that a) the movie was about murdering critics, or b) the movie was so packed full of cool stuff that it was literally being worked on just hours before it got sent out to theaters for people to watch. In Caged's case, I think you know which scenario applies.

Overall Rating: A+ NC (an A+ for a Nicholas Cage movie)

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