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Movie Review: Antitrust

Story: Alert: Another new Lobo category coming at you. The fast growing trend of product placement in films has become overwhelming. I miss the old' Brand X soda pop can. I find the easy to identify products used in the film distracting and annoying. And so, I bring you Blatant Product Placement. I almost used the word odious but was talked out of it.

Using your powers of imagination, try to envision a billionaire Silicon Valley type, who is plagued by the US Justice Department for antitrust activities. His latest monopolistic scheme is to try to link every communication device in the planet so he can control products, thought and taste. Anyone come to mind? To realize this dream, this Bill Gates clone enlists a young genius to work out the details of his latest project before his self-imposed deadline is launched. Director Peter Howitt (Sliding Doors) does the best he can with an often used story by writer Howard Franklin (Someone to Watch Over Me). The old news story is filled with the usual plot twists, deceptions, betrayals and end of the movie car and foot chases. The film is unintentionally funny at many points. I confess to be already quite paranoid about the incoming Bush administration but after this movie I also have a fear of the following: sesame seeds, daycare centers, fiber optics, the Justice Department, the word binary and of course, Bill Gates.

Acting: I like Tim Robbins. I understand why he takes these parts. He is given a huge paycheck and he can then finance some of his own wonderful projects -- and so, I forgive him. Last year's Mission to Mars (starring Tim Robbins) was the worst movie I saw. He is actually quite good and charming as the evil megalomaniac. His farm boy clean cut looks make him the perfect bad guy.Ryan Phillippe, as the hero, young genius is in desperate need of some acting lessons. The two female leads, Rachel Leigh Cook and Claire Forlani should also attend that same acting school. When will these young actors realize that a long, blank stare on a young person comes across the big screen as just a long, blank stare?

Pets: One gerbil

Food: Potato chips, one Chinese meal and the aforementioned sesame seeds. This was a salt, rather than a sugar type of film.

Visual Art: Awful, awful, awful digitally produced paintings that change shape while on the wall.

Blatant Product Placement: Pringles and Pepsi. I assume that Pepsi owns Pringles. At one point there is nothing on the screen at all except a lone Pepsi Vending machine. I wonder how much that costs?

Soundtrack: Very annoying and loud.

Opening Titles: The previously used computer language. But it works just fine as an entry into the movie.

Theater Audience: Five guys, my friend and me. There was quite a bit of laughing from most of us.

Oscar Worthy: Ha!

Nit Picking: The product placement, music and old hat story caused me to wander mentally too many times. When you start to plan what you are going to do the next day while watching a film -you know the film is doomed.

Big Screen or Rental: Neither. But you could rent some of Tim Robbins' good films both as actor and/or director, such as Bob Roberts, The Player, Bull Durham, Dead Man Walking, Arlington Road (where he plays another deliciously bad guy, and of course, the terrific, Shawshank Redemption.

Length: two billion, quadrillion nanoseconds or 110 minutes.

LOBO HOWLS: 4