Eagle Eye

September 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton
Directed by: D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia”)
Written by: Hillary Seitz (“Insomnia”), John Glenn (debut), Travis Wright (debut), Dan McDermott (debut)

Looks like the Patriot Act wasn’t such a good idea after all. At least that’s what the U.S. citizens who are forced to carry out terroristic conspiracies think in “Eagle Eye,” the newest action thriller directed by D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia”).

Don’t look now but regular people are being is listened to and watched through the technology they use everyday. Jerry Shaw, local employee of the Copy Cabana, realizes this first hand when he answers his cell phone and a mysterious female voice on the other end begins to give him directions so he can escape a situation he has no control over.

Having just buried his twin brother, who was in the military, Jerry doesn’t know what to believe when he find a surplus of weapons in his apartment and $750,000 in his once meager bank account. Soon, Jerry is running for his life from FBI agent Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton), who thinks he is part of some sort of terrorism plot.

Deciding to follow the directions of the unidentified woman who continues to call him, Jerry is led into a car driven by Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), a desperate mother who receives a message telling her that she has also been “activated” and that her son will be harmed if she does not comply with similar instructions. Before they know exactly what they’re involved in, the newly-introduced duo is blindly chasing after something although they have no idea what it is.

Helmed by four screenwriters, which can sometimes raise a red flag in any script, the idea of cyber-terrorism presented in “Eagle Eye” feels outdated even when it takes an Orwellian approach and adds clever twists to modernize the story. Still, the advances in the film’s surveillance techniques aren’t too impressive and the writers end up driving the plot uncomfortably close to ridiculous. It’s especially meaningless by the third act when the curtain is pulled back to reveal the cause of all the mayhem. There’s not much to beam over in the writers’ decision making at this point. And there’s only so much a talented LaBeouf can do, even if he is supposed to be the next Tom Hanks.

Although in some earlier scenes the paranoia factor reaches some intense moments a la David Fincher’s “The Game,” those instances are too few and far between and Jerry and Rachel’s mad dash to the finish line pulls up limp. “Eagle Eye,” with all its underlying messages about high-tech governmental regulation, manages to become a bit more exciting than finding a convenient store with a dashboard GPS.

Roberto Orci – Eagle Eye

June 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

When you’re named to the Hollywood Reporter’s list of Top 50 Most Powerful Latinos in the film industry, chances are you’re probably doing something right in your career.

That’s where screenwriter Roberto Orci, 35, found himself last year after co-writing the script for “Transformers,” the second-highest grossing film of the year with over $155 million earned at the box office. His career as a feature-film writer started in 2005 when he wrote the sci-fi action flick “The Island” starring Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor. The following year, Orci’s name was attached to two more blockbuster action movies, “The Legend of Zorro” and “Mission: Impossible III.”

This year, Orci, who is originally from Mexico City, has taken off his film screenwriting hat to focus on producing the thriller “Eagle Eye” with his writing partner Alex Kurtzman. Directed by D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia”), “Eagle Eye” follows two strangers (Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan) whose lives intersect when one of them receives a mysterious phone call.

During a phone conversation of our own, Orci, whose next two co-writing gigs are for the new “Star Trek” movie and the sequel to “Transformers,” talked to us about what work was like as a producer and how he and Kurtzman have become the writing duo everyone wants to hire.

Was it difficult going into “Eagle Eye” knowing that someone else would be writing the script?

Yeah, it didn’t really work. (Laughing). I could go so far as to say that it was impossible. But we work with amazing writers. That part of our brain I didn’t need to shut off because that was very natural for us. It’s like when an actor decides to start directing and there is an extra level of comfort that keeps everything quantified because you are by nature speaking the same language.

Since you speak the screenwriting language, was it natural for you to look over the screenwriters’ shoulders?

Oh, absolutely and the people we worked with were very open to that. We’ve had strong producers who were writers that we could call on anytime if we had script problems. We knew that we were going to get different opinions from them than from the producers that weren’t writers. We all worked together well that way on “Eagle Eye.”

What was it like working with Steven Spielberg, who is the executive producer on “Eagle Eye?”

He was the one looking over our shoulders. (Laughing). During this process we also were working on “Transformers” and “Transformers 2” so we always had something to talk about.

What do you think has made your writing partnership with Alex Kurtzman so successful?

Well, we met in high school and we said, ‘Hey, let’s team up.’ We both realized we were really big fans of movies. When I met Alex I found out that he had lived in Mexico City when I was born and he remembered a lot of the places I remembered. We had a lot in common. We hit it off immediately. It was like we formed a band and stayed together. And I’ve anointed him as an honorary Hispanic.

Is there a leader in your band or do you switch off?

It depends on the day. Sometimes one of us has writer’s block and the other one gets him through it. As long as we both don’t have writer’s block on the same day we’re usually okay.