April 18, 2008
On the Big Board
|I had high hopes for this movie after the first hour. I found the build-up taut and engaging, but the rest of it is...well, pathetic.
|This movie doesn't inspire much confidence in the mental health service industry. Maybe it was produced by Scientologists.
A film starring Al Pacino as a college professor who moonlights as a forensic psychiatrist for the FBI wrapped production in December 2005, but it has taken more than two years for 88 Minutes to see the light of day at the domestic box office. Released on DVD in Israel in 2006 and a host of other territories the following year, TriStar Pictures felt the best course of action would be to halt the expected release date in the United States and wait to release the drama sometime in 2008, in hopes, perhaps, to curb a bad box office performance.
Well, here we are. In the film, Pacino plays Jack Gramm, a professor who receives a death threat informing him that he has just 88 minutes to live on the eve of the execution of a serial killer (Neal McDonough) who Gramm helped to put on death row. For the rest of the film's runtime - which totals 88 minutes, including credits - Gramm frantically narrows down the list of possible suspects, putting the professor in communication with a number of people from his past, including an ex-girlfriend, a problem student and the alleged serial killer awaiting execution.
James Foley, who helmed 2003's Confidence and last year's Perfect Stranger, was originally tapped to direct the flick, but was replaced by Jon Avnet, who directed 1991's Fried Green Tomatoes and 1996's Up Close and Personal before making a move to television, where his directorial credits include NBC's short-lived Boomtown and USA's The Starter Wife. The release of 88 Minutes marks Avnet's first silver screen release since 1997's Red Corner.
In addition to Pacino and McDonough, 88 Minutes also stars Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski and Amy Brenneman. Creator of NBC's Las Vegas, Gary Scott Thompson, penned the screenplay. His other writing credits include Hollow Man in 2000 and The Fast and the Furious in 2001. (Eric Hughes/BOP)