Nemesis Game (December 17/11)
Nemesis Game follows plucky college student Sara Novak (Carly Pope) as she attempts to gain entrance into a secret society based on complicated riddles and puzzles, with Sara's life inevitably threatened by her ongoing efforts at cracking the far-reaching conspiracy. Filmmaker Jesse Warn has infused Nemesis Game with a convoluted, slow-moving sensibility that holds the viewer at arms length right from the get-go, with the hands-off atmosphere preventing one from working up any interest in or enthusiasm for Sara's continuing exploits (ie there's just nothing real at stake here). Far more problematic is Warn's decision to devote much of the movie's midsection to the mystery of the riddles, as the writer/director proves unable (or unwilling) to wholeheartedly explain exactly what any of this means or why it's important - which ultimately does ensure that Sara's investigation is, for the most part, absolutely mind-numbing in its meaninglessness. The inclusion of a time-wasting, hopelessly dull subplot involving a psychotic member (Rena Owen's Emily Gray) of the aforementioned cult serves no purpose other than to pad out the already interminable running time, while the criminally abrupt ending guarantees that the film ends on as anti-climactic and underwhelming a note as one could possibly envision - thus confirming Nemesis Game's place as a sporadically intriguing yet seriously tedious piece of work.