• by Wes Singleton

The Circle, C

Rated PG-13, 110 minutes

An intriguing premise falls flat in the new thriller "The Circle," a dull take on what happens when Big Brother meets technology. Based on Dave Eggers' 2013 novel of the same, it proves a point: watching someone 24/7 isn't all that interesting.

Mae Holland (Emma Watson) seizes the opportunity of a lifetime when she lands a job with the world's most powerful technology and social media company. Encouraged by the company's founder (Tom Hanks), Mae joins a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes soon starts to affect the lives and futures of her friends, family and that of humanity.

"The Circle" is a shapeless, bland thriller that is directed by "The Spectacular Now's" James Ponsoldt, and is co-written by Ponsoldt with Eggers. The intriguing ideas are badly executed by Ponsoldt and company, with a sluggish tone that really only seems to skim the surface and making significant changes to Eggers book in the process. Many may be drawn to "The Circle" because of co-star and producer Hanks, who receives top billing here but appears in only about 15 minutes of the movie, as a charming Steve Jobs-like technology CEO who has a lot more up his sleeve than he lets on.

The whole paranoid technology angle is bogged down by a semi-love triangle involving her, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" John Boyega as a reclusive techie, and a droopy childhood friend, played by "Boyhood's" Ellar Coltrane. Her fun, hippy-like parents are played with charm by Glenne Headley and in one of his last roles, the late Bill Paxton, excellent in a small role as her loving, MS-stricken father.

"The Circle" wastes a terrific cast and some intriguing ideas, and what could've been thought-provoking is simply a convoluted mess. It starts off moderately well, then drags on to a silly ending. One of the sayings in the film is "sharing is caring" and because I care about my readers, I will share this with you: "The Circle" is not worth your time.

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