“Domestic Disturbance” is a film about one of the most terrifying kinds of disturbances, namely, domestic ones. These are the sort of disturbances that can occur when, for example, John Travolta’s ex-wife (Teri Polo) marries creepy Vince Vaughn, who commits a murder that is witnessed by his stepson (an unconvincing Steve Buscemi). Thus, the stage is set, disturbance awaits. Believe me, after seeing this highly-effective thriller you’ll never be able to feel comfortable in your home — or anyone else’s home, for that matter.
K-PAX: John Travolta and Vince Vaughn star in a somewhat familiar rehash of “Domestic Disturbance.” Is it just me or are those guys everywhere these days? Unfortunately, the filmmakers fail to invent any new twists on the old “ex-husband must battle creepy murderous stepfather to save son and ex-wife” plot. I’m sorry, but “Domestic Disturbance” did it first — and best.
Monsters, Inc.: Don’t believe the hype! What was billed as a funny, hip animated romp for children of all ages turns out to be nothing more than yet another dark-hued thriller a la “Domestic Disturbance.” Vince Vaughn, always convincing as a “monster” of sorts, faces off against his usual co-star John Travolta. Vaughn’s the stepfather who’s not quite what he seems, and Travolta is the caring dad who must fight to protect a family that isn’t really his anymore. You know the rest. By the way, if these guys make any more movies together, they’re going to give Abbott and Costello a run for the money. Warning to parents: I’m not sure what exactly Disney and Pixar were thinking, but this film’s many scenes of violent, if you will, “domestic disturbances” and child-in-jeopardy plot mechanics make it utterly unsuitable for children under the age of eight or eight-and-a-half.
The One: Every critic has one genre of movie that he regards with trepidation if not outright dread. For some, it’s the western; for others, the comedy-western. For me, the martial arts action picture has always been “the one.” Well, I’m delighted to be able to report to you that this one, called “The One,” is not your father’s kung-fu movie. In fact, “The One” turns out to be a taut thriller in the vein of the recent “Domestic Disturbance” and its predecessor, “The Stepfather.” Sure, it’s not breathtakingly original to cast John Travolta as a suspicious recently-divorced father or Vince Vaughn as his nemesis and ex-wife’s sinister new husband. Purists may quibble that the brawls in which, for example, Travolta throws a coffee table at Vaughn after being menaced with a fireplace poker, lack a certain finesse. Point well taken. But if, like me, you need to rent a team of wild horses every time duty calls you to a chop-socky pic, then the movie qualifies as a pleasant surprise.
Amelie: A full day of multiplex movie-going can be exhausting, especially if the movies in question are nail-biting suspense pictures like “Domestic Disturbance” and its many clones. I’m not ashamed to admit, therefore, that I dozed a bit during “Amelie.” But from what I saw, I can say with utter assurance that the self- and state- appointed guardians of French culture are all wet when they accuse American cinema of being violent, charmless, and unimaginative. What is so charming, I ask, about seeing two actors, one a dead ringer for John Travolta and the other who looks a bit like a French Vince Vaughn, beating the tar out of one another while a mother (I guess she must be “Amelie”) and child (perhaps he is “Amelie”) look on in horror. What’s so non-violent about that? And what, pray tell, is so imaginative about a by-the-numbers thriller that is predictable from start-to-finish, other than advertising it as a souffle-light French comedy? Admittedly, the dubbing is first rate, but if world-class dubbing doesn’t do it for you, then I respectfully suggest you see “Domestic Disturbance” instead.