The ongoing attractiveness of our metropolis as a disaster mecca for filmmakers reaches a draggy low with the hysteria-steeped indie "Right at Your Door." Only this time, the focus isn't on the Jack Bauers of the world, but on one childless couple whose home is perilously close to the site of a dirty bomb attack that hits downtown L.A. (not to mention Beverly Hills and LAX) and starts blanketing the sky with a mysterious toxic ash. Jobless Brad (Rory Cochrane) openly fears for the whereabouts of his working wife Lexi (Mary McCormack) as he seals himself inside their house, then refuses to let her in when she shows up alive, afraid and -- oops -- coughing. With this annoying bit of false conflict -- who denies a loved one entry on the day of the apocalypse? -- first-time writer/director Chris Gorak keeps a tight camera on his leads as they worry, yell and cry at each other through duct-taped plastic sheets while radio voices bleat vague distress details. We never hear news reporting, though, on what the germ's spread is actually doing to civilians, since that would undermine the lame, bluntly moralizing shocker Gorak has planned for the end. A dumb twist can be excused, however, if your characters keep the thing afloat, which makes perhaps the most unforgivable sin of this claustrophobic terror scenario the fact that we have to spend it with arguably the two least interesting people in Los Angeles.
"Right at Your Door." MPAA rating: R for pervasive language and some disturbing violent content. Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. In selected theaters. Father, daughter learn to loveFormer CIA agent turned filmmaker -- go figure on that one -- Michael D. Sellers turns in a story about a reunited father and daughter who learn to love and appreciate each other while fighting to keep the father's Caribbean aquatic research lab in operation. His work is based on understanding the ways in which dolphins talk to each other -- it's all about communication. (Get it?) Overly earnest and roughly constructed, the film is bearable largely thanks to the performance as the daughter by Carly Schroeder, recently seen in the girls' soccer pic, "Gracie." Whether it's acting or good timing, Schroeder has the disaffected harrumphing of early adolescence down cold. As the story asks her character to drop the troublemaker's eye-liner for a fresh-scrubbed attitude, the point is repeatedly hammered home through over-obvious connections to the dolphins, and much is made of the difference between animals in the wild and controlled environments. Passable if uninspired family fare, "Eye of the Dolphin" doesn't exactly burn with the eye of the tiger.
"Eye of the Dolphin." MPAA rating: PG-13 for some substance abuse involving a young teen. Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes. In selected theaters.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times