Reel Critics: There's no stopping this railway thriller

Director Tony Scott has made successful action thrillers in a variety of styles. The Cold War tension of "Crimson Tide" and the gritty crime drama "True Romance" are two of his major credits. He previously teamed up with Denzel Washington for the intense "Man on Fire" and the unusual time-tripping tale "Déjà Vu."

They team up again for Scott's latest film, "Unstoppable." It's an old-fashioned adventure with a roller coaster ride for a plot. The core story of a runaway train without a driver has built-in momentum already installed. But Scott masterfully manages the rising stress level inherent in this genre. He quietly builds up the action while weaving in quieter moments with background stories of the major characters.

Denzel plays the experienced railroad veteran. Chris Pine is the arrogant young man in line for his job. The two are thrust into the spotlight as events unfold quickly. By the time everything gets to break-neck speed, the audience is already hooked and holding on with white knuckles. It may be predictable, but it's highly entertaining and very well done.


Keeping things perky in 'Morning Glory'

Rachel McAdams is insufferably perky in the new comedy "Morning Glory," a triumph of style over substance, just like the morning television show it depicts.

TV producer Becky Fuller (McAdams) puts Mary Tyler Moore to shame when it comes to unfailing optimism, even after being laid off. She heads out to the Big Apple and talks her way into a job producing the dismally rated "Daybreak" show.

The staff, including co-anchor Colleen Peck (fabulous Diane Keaton), are resigned to being at the bottom and think Becky will be just another in a long line of producers. But Becky has smarts behind those dimples, and in short order fires a smarmy co-anchor and strong-arms legendary but fading newsman Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to replace him. Mike is a primetime prima donna stuck in a pre-dawn world.

Keaton, Ford and Jeff Goldblum (as Becky's dour boss) are delights of comedic timing with their eye rolls and deadpan delivery. Aided by Matt Malloy as a wacky weatherman, the laughs keep coming except for a few shamelessly soggy moments at the end. Cue endless shots of Becky running in a filmy dress — not toward her lover, but to her studio. Seriously?

McAdams is pretty and charming, but if I had to deal with her character at 4 a.m., I'd have to pelt her chiffon dress with jelly donuts.

JOHN DEPKO is a Costa Mesa resident and senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a financial services company.

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