Side Effects might be Steven Soderbergh’s last film for theatrical release and while that is terribly depressing he couldn’t have gone out on a much higher note. [Read more...]
Though it is still debatable if Robert Downey Jr. or Wishbone makes a better Sherlock Holmes, the memorable quality of Downey’s performance two years ago as the classic detective will be impossible to forget. He made what I assumed to be a stodgy, pipe-smoking British guy eccentrically cool, something that I couldn’t help get enough of. [Read more...]
Two seconds prior to the movie starting a man to the far right of where I was sitting starting hacking, as if on cue. This was followed by a sporadic slew of coughing throughout the film, followed by a general ill feeling moving through my body, throat to stomach. These are the things you are going to notice while watching Contagion, but other than this effect on my life (and how I now notice when I unnecessarily touch my face) the movie was lost on me. [Read more...]
That’s right, my write-up for rentals has changed yet again. This time around (and hopefully I will stick to it this time) I will write up little blurbs about the movies I have seen in the past week on Fridays, giving you suggestions for what to pick up and what to avoid when considering what to rent that weekend. On this weeks list we’ve got: The Back-up Plan, The Last Song, Operation: Endgame, Repo Men, The Runaways, A Single Man, and The United States of Tara.
Fight for the Last Copy:
This Diablo Cody created, Showtime TV show is about a woman who has recently gone off the medications that have helped to suppress the other faces of her multiple personality disorder (or dissociative identity disorder). Toni Collette plays Tara, and the way in which she moves in and out of these other personalities is pure artistry. Though this is a serious topic, it does not shy away from the humor of it all, thanks in large part to the people she becomes. In the beginning she is aware of three: Alice is a 1950s housewife, Buck is the redneck hick with a heart of gold, and T is basically the teenage slut, but eventually another emerges (but I will not spoil in for those who want to watch) in response to the overriding story arc of Tara digging into her past to discover what caused this disorder to take form during her teen years.
The show does not just stop with how this disorder effects Tara, but shows the strain it puts on her family. John Corbett plays her supportive husband who i leading the search to discover her past and must constantly coral the other personalities (though he is far from ashamed of his wife). [Read more...]
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a beautiful looking film with a really intriguing story, but unfortunately doesn’t answer all of the questions I wish it had. Looks like I am going to just have to use my imagination to fill in the blanks (See what I did there? “Imagination”? That’s right, I went there…)
A long time ago in a mountain range far, far away, a supernaturally inclined man named Parnassus was living a life devoted to his faith when a man name Mr. Nick came a’knockin’. This visit from this devil-esque man set into motion a long lasting relationship for the following hundreds of years based on both men’s inability to say no to competition, gambling, and deal making, eventually leading to a deal in which Parnassus’s entry into the bargain is his own daughter. When she turns 16 she is to be given over to Mr. Nick, and as this movie just so happens to have it, her 16th birthday is right around the corner. But before Parnassus is forced to make good on his side of the arrangement, Mr. Nick makes one final deal that she will go to whoever is able to collect the most souls before time runs out. [Read more...]
Remy is a repo man, a repo man of human organs in this world in the future where a company called, The Union, has a monopoly over the world’s mechanical organ market. The prices are ridiculous, forcing people into high interest loans that if they default on will have their replacement lung, heart, or liver gladly repossessed by an eager repo man like Remy. Remy’s best friend and co-worker Jake is all about the business and when Remy shows some signs of retiring to sales Jake begins to panic about the end of their partnership. Remy’s home life hits an all time low after an on the job accident forces Remy to get a Union heart and his wife and child leave him as he has to keep working repo which his wife desperately wants him to stop. Remy has lost his edge though and soon finds himself on the other side of the repo business.
Terry Gilliam’s latest is a bizarre and imaginative tale that while a bit scatter shot and unclear at times it is still rather entertaining and allows for a great ensemble to have a lot of fun.
Dr. Parnassus is an old man, centuries old in fact, and he is involved in an elaborate betting game with the Devil that has gone back and forth over hundreds of years. Eternal life, women, and countless other stakes have been in play between the two and the fate of Parnassus’ daughter Valentina is currently up for grabs. The game they play revolves around a mirror in the possession of Parnassus who travels around in a mobile stage with a troupe including his daughter, himself, Anton who is a slight of hand artist, and Percy who is a little person that has been with Parnassus for ages, as they perform a show enticing patrons to pass through the mirror which takes them into their own imagination which are than manipulated by both The Devil and Parnassus toward a choice that must be made in their favor to win the game. With only days remaining till Valentina’s sixteenth birthday, the day in which she will become the property of the devil, a game to the first to gain patrons five souls begins and a mysterious young man comes into the troupe’s life when they find him hanging under a bridge, seemingly to his death. [Read more...]
Guy Ritchie teams up with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law to reboot the classic tale and the end result is an entertaining and well acted effort that fails to ever really be anything but pretty good; not that there is anything wrong with that.
Instead of going straight into traditional origins and reboot territory, I think the film wisely throws us right into the fire and the potential end of an era as Sherlock Holmes trusty companion Watson is about to move on with his life and move out of the two’s flat. Holmes is a bit worked up over this and add the fact that there are no cases worthy of his skills left in London. Luckily a mysterious plot surrounding the dark and possibly sorcerer like Lord Blackwood gives Holmes something to mull over and keeps him and Watson working together for the time being. An old flame, Irene, and a crafty criminal on top of that also re-enters his life and she is working for a mysterious figure as well. All of a sudden Holmes has plenty to do and luckily for us the man stays busy.
The movie never drops a beat, moving along at a whips pace and always holding our attention. The set pieces are elaborate and plentiful with the factory explosion sequence being one of the most impressive cinematic scenes I have seen in some time. All in slow motion and staying right with the actors, this building blows up around them, pieces of rubble and flames flying into people, it was the highlight of the film. [Read more...]
Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of the beloved Sherlock Holmes brings about an exciting perspective on what I assumed was only a droll, meticulous British detective. Then again, all I know of the character is what I can remember from watching PBS’s Wishbone as a child.
Following the capture of the black magic practitioner to blame for a string of murders, Holmes and his trusted companion, Dr. John Watson, find themselves disbanding the team as Watson sets out to move in with his soon to be fiancé. However, this is put on hold when they are informed that the recently hanged murderer, Lord Blackwood, is not as stiff in the grave as a buried man ought to be. Curious to the magic that seems to be afoot, Holmes again takes up the case to stop whatever Blackwood has planned.
Being the sleuth that he is, it’s easy to assume that Sherlock Holmes would be nothing more than a slow paced exploration of the man’s methods to solving a mystery, but there is far more action than one might expect. Instead of just giving a squinty-eyed look around a room until the “Oh look! A clue!” moment, Holmes is quite the man of action in the sense that he can take a punch as well as he can give one, and Ritchie is the perfect director to bring out this side of the character.