As new character after new character is introduced, we yearn for more action in the casino. This one is set inside a computer, making the various episodes into programs Phig, the host voiced by Jenna Elfman opens to our waiting eyes. More invigorating, but perhaps not as sound as Fantasia , the other IMAX presentation I had the fortune to see this year, Cyberworld 3-D , as the credits point out, was culled from a variety of sources — which excited me. How nice to be rewarded with the knowledge that I was right.
If we can take that triumph deep into the world of narrative film — we can begin to register movies as potent narcotics with the DEA and open detox centers for flick junkies. Oh, how long will you make us wait, oh cinema Lord? Now Trier has tackled two films of deeply disturbing and outstanding circumstances where strong women overcome men — some of help, some of hinder — in their ability to hide their handicap under a lovable mask of innocent and soaring spirit. This film is not nearly the life affirming experience Breaking the Waves is probably because for all the hooks in this film, it would be tough to top such a visceral and vibrantly told love story.
Dancer in the Dark is quite engaging and often, an honest and brilliant reflection on the healing powers of musical fantasy. The mixture of martyrdom and musical is often revoltingly exciting entertainment. Bjork is the key to a transcendent, experimental introduction of musical interludes among extremely dark and draining occurrences. In a way, this deception is fitting for a story as melodramatic as this one.
Strange then, that a film this expertly crafted would make such key mistakes as prematurely — and, in fact, without transition — visually impairing Selma. Why take an obviously sympathetic and well constructed character and leave her dancing a forced darkness that has nothing to do with blindness — either literal or figurative. The performances are especially strong. Stormare imagines a wonderfully low-key stylization — that almost broke my heart — of the pathetic lout who has fallen hopelessly in love with Selma.
He wants it by any means necessary. The other edge of the sword, unfortunately, has an all too shallow and wretched appearance. Lurie has chose to include the kind oversimplified emotional reaction a husband and wife who just happen to be playing chess in a diner while their son is at home in a nuclear targeted New York that movies like Fail-Safe could elicit with their subject matter alone.
He uses thin, overplayed parallels to chess. He begins complex issues at one point Pollack is refused negotiation because he is Jewish and just allows them to fade away without properly completing them. Finally, there is a tad bit of good news. Early in the film there is a scene that is worth seeing if you know someone with a good bootleg.
The monkeys have just finished courting and are hanging out by a beautiful tree, when the evening takes on this haunting shade of pink. Aladar and the monkeys watch what looks like raining fire on the opposite island.
Then appears a shot of a mushroom cloud, as if subliminally placed there — disturbing and sharp. Then the island Aladar is on is bombarded with meteors. This is interesting on the grounds that it so clearly takes the hypothesis that Dinosaurs were wiped out by giant meteorites — and runs with it.
Nice to see that surrounding all the cloudy, unoriginal stuff there is still a ray of good decision-making struggling to break free over there with the boys at the big mouse factory. As the titles came up, I realized she had been sitting there in awe of what had transpired, mostly because it had to do with dinosaurs — which she has begun to really admire. Thank God for that.
At the very front of the charm lurking inside a nightmarish set full of characters that look like Hieronymous Bosch rejects practicing a vile critique of modern Christmas preparation — is the indispensable Jim Carrey, a physical comedian not quite like any in history who is constantly being compared to actors of days gone by anyone considered in his league is always either hopelessly more dignified or much less talented.
The makeup almost renders the comedian indistinguishable as he pitter-patters and stomps his way through the film, spewing what — oddly enough — sounds like a series of one-liners from a Grinch bit he may have once done when working as a starving comedian in Canada. But I doubt it.
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Nevertheless, most of his lines and certainly all of his mannerisms seem like they benefit from the metaphorical significance of being plastered inside such an elaborate costume. Which brings me to my gripe — and its transcendence. What this does, throughout most of the film, is irk the audience into an alienation effect, thereby making this, a very familiar story, seem quite foreign to us.
It turns out to be refreshing, but with much duress.
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This is certainly not what Dr. Seuss could have envisioned. The look of the film is nicely overdone. It is not perfect, but it is not sacrilegious either. Now, who will be carving the roast beast while I, myself, sit on this here fence? And right quick.
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As it unfolds to reveal a series of strange and cerebral breakdowns, so many of its implausible aspects begin to take shape as a vote for whimsy among a seemingly pedestrian narrative path. Would it be possible to define three separate acts? These elements are only present in an all-encompassing, loopy manner. The characters are all quite alive and entertaining; bubbly and interesting; caring and complacent.
They experience love and hate essentially through Dr. T — and he nearly loses his mind trying to keep that sweet, almost plastic Southern kindness. Amen to whomever first enjoyed pondering Richard Gere in this part — he was born to play it. As he grapples with how much he loves his image and layer after layer sheds, unbeknownest to these women whom I took as being only slightly, but consciously decieved by Dr.
T — as I envision all women to be, somewhere in the depths of their soul, decieved by their gynecoligist. Gere, from all of his experience playing betrayal experts and two-timing womanizers knows how to wring that utterly kind but sweetly flirtatious demeanor. If one only examines the events of the film and his place among all of these women, one has no trouble seeing him as a keystone — but a keystone that is aware of his place and is constantly, in tiny ways, manipulating it — for better or worse.
The first person I would have thought of, having read this role on paper, would have been Richard Gere. He lives up to it in one of his very best performances. In her best scene, she waltzes around a crowded mall, stripping her clothing, eventually dancing nude in a fountain.
Hudson, soon to be married, awaits the arrival of her maid of honor Tyler. Reid is a tour guide at a JFK conspiracy awareness exhibit. T begins dating a golf pro played by the ravishing and mysterious Helen Hunt almost immediately after his wife is sent to a mental hospital; whether it was a progressive disease is left unsatisfyingly unclear. It was refreshing to see a film so idealistic and yet, so unorganized and unconcerned with point-by-point arguments. As a free-flowing display of troupe acting to the tune of Altman-light, I was wholeheartedly pleased to see all the strings coming together, coming and going, and crossing each other to get tangled in their own web of the sexes.
On the other hand, its an erratic mesh of great acting and smart narrative rulebreaking for the greater good. I enjoyed it about as much as I think I was meant to. The end result of increased indulgence would have been something disturbing and controversial. And Fuck! Anybody got a large bottle of shampoo? How to make this right — how to make this right — hmmmm? I might make everything slower and less flashy, I might even lose the music and make the black comedy — of which most of this movie benefits, but not nearly as much as a black comedy should — really, really dark.
Everyone has a great time standing around looking disaffected after Mona Dearly Midler , the most hated denizen of a crummy little burg in upstate New York, plummets to her death. Everyone is a suspect and everyone has their own little connection to the murder that they, like the townies they are, bungle covering up.
Luckily the rest of the movie is full of a great brand of mean spiritedness.
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All in all, Gomez brings the tightness — the script is properly structured and clever if a little dull in spots and the cast is nearly a hoot. Glowing, review, right? I would recommend it. Glowing contradiction, right? But to be at all serious about it being a comedy is an impossibility. The film never delves below the laughs it gets out of specific scenes — pure laughs — laughs that are intentional and not subtle in the least. Putting it lightly. Yeah, nice review Ben. Of course, this can work — and it cannot. In essence, the door swings both ways.
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I am in love with Gong Li. And she really is a marvelous actress. And as usual, her masterfully irresistible presence just blows us away. Utter beauty and hypnotic talent.
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The assassin, Jing Ke Zhang Fengyi , is also, in his own way, hypnotic. The introduction of his talent that is, to kill — quickly, thoroughly and brutally comes with swift resonance as he lays waste to a family of swordmakers, indebted to a money lender. And when he crosses paths with Lady Zhao, involved in a plot between she and the emperor of Pan — one that crisscrosses in a marvelous way — he is the stunning vision of a Kurosawa warrior — enacted as it were, in the history of China.
And finally, the king of Qin, Ying Zheng — nicely introduced on the battlefield, fighting alongside his men to capture his turf. A nice evocation by Li Xue Jian- who posesses a valuable range. Though the film really is spectacular and calls comparison to American war epics — here is a film that also loses so much to an American audience, ignorant to the history of China and lost in the translation of behavior. Why is it that in so many Chinese films the characters break into laughter in such a farcical manner?
And the ever teetering moral attacks a law partner has as he juggles the overbearing Brockovich and a case he would rather not add to his workload are something to behold though I doubt any actor besides Albert Finney could have made it so darn enticing In short — flaws are flaws, but characters who keep us distracted from obvious glitches are miraculous and rare.
Less is more. But not much more. For a well-rounded film, one that would have moved me to tears and one that would have been three hours plus, no doubt — this would have been the route to take. More is more. And though Soderburgh lends so much less of his time-fragmenting, color-saturated, dialogue-jumpcuts than he has in his past films — it remains, mostly, of his mark.