Films on Cellphones

From One Second to the Next

Documentary 2013 NR 34m. Werner Herzog chronicles the devastating consequences of texting and driving. “Over 100,000 accidents a year involve drivers who are texting. The numbers are climbing sharply.” The film examines how lives can be forever altered by a trivial text. Short and Not-So-Sweet. Half and hour should be enough to change practices and minds. And instead of gruesome graphics and the testimony of experts, four stories are told by bystanders, families, and perpetrators. There is no eloquence, but plenty of emotion. I have never been victimized by any of the hoards of pathetic, self-absorbed nincompoops who text and drive, but I see it every single day out on the road. In the NY metro area, people drive twice the speed limit, never use turn signals and weave all over the road like drunks. Distracted drivers don’t just weave into the oncoming lane, but also speed up and slow down at the same time. A texting driver should be treated the same as someone who is caught driving with an open fifth of Jack Daniels between their legs. Talking on the phone is bad enough, but texting is far more insidious, because one has to actually type messages on a “keyboard” not much bigger than a candy-bar. We are talking about reckless endangerment of life-and-limb for pedestrians, bike riders and other drivers (not to mention…yourself!).  In this film the murderers are mostly forgiven by the survivors of the victims as not evil but very stupid. Just because nothing has happened to you “yet” doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It can wait…and if it can’t…pull over! Well done. At 34 minutes long, this should be required viewing for every driver’s license holder. This short, emotionally charged documentary is a “must-see” for everyone, regardless of how uncomfortable the subject matter.

Cellular

Thriller 2004 PG-13 95 minutes. Ryan (Chris Evans) is driving in his car when his cell phone rings. But when he answers, there’s a stranger (Kim Basinger) on the other end of the line who’s desperate to get someone to help her, her husband and her son escape from the madman (Jason Statham) who’s abducted them. If Ryan fails to act quickly, innocent people will be killed. But his cell phone battery is low — and he has no idea where the helpless family is.

Disclosure

Thriller 1994 R 129 minutes. Michael Douglas plays a software whiz who rejects new boss Demi Moore’s advances but gets accused of sexual harassment. Just when he thinks he’s cleared his name and salvaged his career, a new twist threatens to devastate his life again. The plot turns on a cell phone and answering machine gimmick – a textbook deus ex machina.

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