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BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP & DEAR WHITE PEOPLE

2014 rating: **1/2
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP: If anyone thought 50 FIRST DATES would make a perfect thriller, you’re half right: The plot about a woman who loses her memory every morning is now a suspense film, but it’s far from perfect…

Although Nicole Kidman, as Christine, who wakes up in a claustrophobic condo with a loving husband Mike, played by Colin Firth, makes a good clean slate ingenue for a daily amount of tension-building, nail-biting paranoia...

Her expressions dramatically shift with every new piece of information she receives from a helpful doctor… But is he a good shrink or a quack? And is hubby a genuinely nice fella?

Eventually, when one particular cast member starts getting shadier, we veer too quickly into a predictable twist followed by a sappy, tear-wrangling epilogue. It’s the cast, unaware of being part of a theatrical film more befitting cable or straight-to-DVD, who make this SLEEP somewhat worthwhile.

year: 2014 rating: *
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE: Within the first five minutes, the intentionally controversial title is questioned by an irritated Caucasian, asking "What about DEAR BLACK PEOPLE?" And the response takes aim at FOX NEWS, the poster child of modern media scapegoats.

With the edgy trailer alone, DWP promises to stir up the class struggle and racial tension of what they call “The Obama Generation,” but turns out being a Talking Heads movie with too much dialogue… And that doesn’t refer to David Byrne's rock band...

Like the worst of student films, framing people from the neck up to save money, this is a two-hour talkfest centering on a campus election between a race-baiting female student, running her own campus radio program the film’s named after, against a more cautiously-minded guy who fits neatly into the Ivy League backdrop. Their swing votes consist of a geeky journalist with a giant Afro and a passively moderate young lady (the most effective character) stuck in-between.

An attempt to revive John Singleton’s HIGHER LEARNING, the dull buildup and contrived racist climax will most likely let down viewers either yearning to be stirred up or begging to be offended. In layman's terms, DEAR WHITE PEOPLE is a shot of morning caffeine that never kicks in.  
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