Now You See Me
Directed by Louis Leterrier, 2013
John: There are three types of movies. 1) Thought-provoking ones that often end in an unexpected way to throw the meaning and significance of the theme on the shoulders of the viewer. Think Ingmar Bergman…Felini.
Spanky: We wouldn’t waste our time on these, right John? Continue reading
Brad Anderson, writer/director, 2008
HOOK: Edgy Hitchcock-like paranoia Unlimited.
STORY: “Sexy Beast” Ben Kingsley is a crooked Russian cop in the twisted
He's not just Gandhi anymore!
fate of American couple Jessie (Emily Mortimer) and Roy (Woody Harrelson) who have been conducting charitable work for their church in China. Their journey crosses frigid Siberia, as well as the metaphorically darker, colder regions of lust and greed.
GOSSIP: Brad Anderson, best known for his movie The Machinist (in which Christian Bale lost 63 pounds doing the lead), played Don in “A Chorus Line” at the Berald Schoenfeld Theatre, New York City—he was paid in beef-jerky.
JOHN: This is a must see masterpiece. The plot will leave you shaking your head in astonishment for days after. It is tight, clever, full of little touches, and comes to a satisfying climax with that ironic turn at the end that was always so satisfying in Hitch’s movies. And the casting! If you though you could never take the hempy Woody Harrelson seriously, this is the part he was born to play. And the range of emotions Emily Mortimer and Eduardo Noriega can conjure within minutes will take your breath away. The people in the story start out normal, become suspicious, then creepy—and we in the audience are the ones who feel guilty. Russian paranoia without the communists.
GO GO GO GO (4 GOs out of four)
I loved the little foreshadowing in the dining car when a fellow passenger tells the young American couple how customs authorizes cutting off two toes of a tourist because of a visa discrepancy…then he gets up and hobbles off. Or the way Harrelson is suddenly missing at an early stop—this would be the entire plot of a lesser movie. But in this case, it neatly parallels later, more shocking events. The storyline reminded me of a Patricia Highsmith novel (she wrote Strangers on the Train, The Remarkable Mr. Ripley) in which a miner indiscretion leads a character further and further outside the law until the consequences are unbearable. Trans-Siberian hurtles us back to those glorious tales of intrigue that populated the film screen in the 30s and 40s. (By the way, I added that part about “beef jerky.” I love that shit.)
“TWO PAWS UP” (4 BARKs out of four)
KEEPERs: “Cut off all my demons and my angels might die too.”
Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, cult films, dogs, film, film classics, film noir, John Lehman, Jokes & Fun, movie review, movies
Tagged Ben Kingsely, Brad Anderson, Eduardo Noriega, Emily Mortimer, Greed, Hitchcock, Lust, Paranoia, Patricia Highsmith, Siberia, Strangers on the Train, The Machinist, The Remarkable Mr. Ripley, Trans-Siberian, Woody Harrelson
A SCANNER DARKLY, Richard Linklater, director, 2006
HOOK: This is not a stoner drug movie, not a stoner drug movie, not a stoner drug movie.
STORY: 300 hours of art work (painting over every frame) for each minute of film was needed to turn this movie into a graphic novel (as if members of this cast weren’t cartoonish enough).
GOSSIP: Guess who Winona Ryder’s real life godfather was? Timothy Leary. Does that explain everything or what?
JOHN: The format doesn’t really fit the internal conflict of the story’s characters, but the technology does go where no film has ever gone before, and the effect is somewhat mesmerizing. I think Downey Harrelson and Rory Cochrane have a little too much fun, and Keanu Reeves just seems to be pissed he isn’t in another film. My advice: Read the story instead.
GO GO (2 GOs out of four)
SPANKY: I feel like I just escaped from “Polar Express.” This manic movie based on the Philip K. Dick story is guaranteed to give you a splitting headache. Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson are typecast as druggy nuts. Undercover cop Keanu Reeves is doing a surveillance on himself (how paranoid is that), and the interpolated rotoscoping animation makes Winona Ryder seem even more spacey, if possible. She suffers from aphenphosmphobia (fear of being touched). Too talkie, too darkly! Chasing your tail for an hour is more exciting.
“TWO PAWS DOWN” (1BARK out of four)
KEEPER: “Are you getting any cross-chatter between right and left brain hemispheres?”
Posted in cult films, dogs, film, horror, John Lehman, movie review, movies
Tagged A Scanner Darkly, Graphic Novels, Keanu Reeves, Philip K. Dick, Richard Linklater, Robert Downey Jr, Rory Cochrane, Timothy Leary, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson