VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Mr. Nobody (2009)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Jesse: 5/5 stars, 10/10. (I made this rating up for Jesse, based on him saying it might be his favorite movie of all time.)
Native ratings: 4.2/5 stars Netflix, 7.8/10 IMDB.

Cloud Atlas, The Fountain, Click, Benjamin Button, Ink (2009), Inception (a bit). Smush them all together and you get this movie. I was hooked in the first 20 seconds. This was awesome.

Basically, this movie is about making choices, and the parallel universes that arise with each choice that is made. Hell, they even touch on string theory, chaos theory, and the butterfly effect at points… It is also about how it’s better to make a decision than it is to stand there scared of the various consequences that may arise.

The structure of the movie is pretty amazing, and the cinematography is 10/10 for sure. Over 500 visual effects.

It also had a better than average soundtrack. Mr. Sandman … used even more than in 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag!

The plot synopses on IMDB is pretty good, and though it has minor spoilers, you could simply stop reading the summary when you get to the words “at the end”, and it would not affect enjoyment of the movie (and in fact, this is part of how I was enticed to finally obtain this movie): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485947/synopsis … If you want a total-spoilery version, one better to read AFTER watching the movie, check out the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Nobody_(film)

This was awesome, yet I have a weird cognitive dissonance where I don’t QUITE want to rate this 5/5 stars. My IMDB rating (film quality) is not affected by this dissonance, by my Netflix rating (emotional response) is for some reason. Maybe if I had watched it in a state other than sobriety… I’d have had that “OMFG THIS IS SO AWESOME” feeling. But it WAS awesome. I just didn’t FEEL it like I often do. In part this is because I am anti-spirituality. I can’t help but feel that the message was a bit trite and cliche in the fact that it basically boiled down to “seek happiness”, which we all ALREADY KNOW.
However, this message was done VERY VERY VERY well! Just like Cloud Atlas‘s trite “fight for what is right” message, which was also done VERY well.
I’m so confused by my 5-star resistance here. But I”‘l go ahead and give it 5 stars anyway.

Political side-comment: It’s bullshit that USA typically won’t play this movie due to there being sex scenes with underage people (even though Juno Temple was fucking 20 in this!). Fucking Puritans! The Europeans should have persecuted The Puritans much harder. Seriously: The longest IMDB thread is about a nipple, and not the actual movie! Fuck us! Fuck us up our censored asses!

Written & Directed by Belgian filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael (this is his first English endeavor).

Starring Jared Leto (My So-Called Life, Requiem For A Dream, American Psycho, Fight Club, Panic Room, Girl Interrupted) as Nemo (adult/old).
Sarah Polley (Dawn Of The Dead, eXistenZ, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Go, Splice, 1 ep of Friday The 13th: The Series) as Elise (adult).
Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure, Troy) as Anna (adult).
Linh Dan Pham (Dante 01) as Jean (adult).
Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Conners in The Amazing Spider-Man, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) as Nemo’s dad.
Natasha Little (we haven’t seen her stuff) as Nemo’s mom.
Toby Regbo (uncredited as Young Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1) as Nemo (age 15).
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises, Kaboom, St. Trinian’s, Small Apartments, The Three Musketeers, Year One) as Anna (age 15).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485947/combined

Looper (2012)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native rating: 4/5 stars Netflix, 7.8/10 IMDB>

It’s really hard to go wrong with time travel, Bruce Willis, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I am probably fucking up by not quite rating this 5 stars like Carolyn…. But it’s just not quite as up there as, say, 12 Monkeys, another movie where [spoilers] Bruce Willis meets a younger version of himself.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1276104/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Impostor (2001)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native rating: 3.2/5 stars, 6.1/10.

Another movie based on a Philip K. Dick story … which is something we’ve been doing lately. But not as good as the previous movie based on a Philip K. Dick story that we last watched: Next (2007).

This one had fewer twists than Next.

However it had a few similarities to Next: A guy wanted by the government in order to [SPOILER ALERT] stop a nuclear explosion that happens, driven by his love for a girl, and with either Tony Shalhoub or his evil twin Jose Zuniga (who basically looks just like Tony Shalhoub, if you ask me).

It also had some similarity to Total Recall (both versions) [which is also based on a Philip K. Dick story] — a guy wanted by a government that claims that he is somebody else than he thinks he is.

I’m starting to think Philip K. Dick isn’t quite as creative as Hollywood thought. I’m seeing some common themes in these PKD-story-based movies.

Anyway, this movie suffere dfrom a common flaw in movies like this: It’s all just a big chase scene. But even more so in this one than usual. Enough that it dragged it down by lack of characterization and plot development. Total Recall (2012) had more characterization than this!

Impostor was still an enjoyable dystopian-future movie… But it could have been a lot better.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0160399/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Next (2007)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Native rating: 3.5/5 stars, 6.1/10.

Seeing as we love movies based on Philip K. Dick stories, love time-related gimmicks (like time travel, precognition, etc), and love Nic Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel…This was a no-brainer movie to watch.

In fact… I’m surprised we hadn’t really noticed this movie until a recent Slashdot article talking about Hollywood’s love of movies based on Philip K. Dick stories (such as Blade Runner, Total Recall, Paycheck, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, The Adjustment Bureau, Impostor).

Suffice to say, it was actually somewhat better than we thought it would be. It starts out with a bit of mystery and intrigue, but then quickly changes gears to major action, all the while having a romantic angle as well, and then a great ending that really threw us for a loop. This was a great action-scifi-thriller…. Even if the idea of evil Russians seems a bit outdated.

Nic Cage as a man who can see 2 minutes into the future. It’s more interesting than you’d think.

Also, the screenplay was by 2 people who (between the two of them) wrote Total Recall (1990), Big Trouble In Little China, Armageddon, and Jumanji.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435705/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Dante 01 (2008)

3/5 stars, 6/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 2.5/5 stars, 4.9/10.
(Netflix’s guess for us was 3.1/5, very good Netflix!).

Directed by Marc Caro, who co-directed The City Of Lost Children & Delicatessen with Jean-Pierre Jenuet.

They used to collaborate together, then they went their separate ways when Jeneut went to work on Alien:Ressurrection. After that, Jenuet went on to do Amelie & Micmacs. These movies are very much in the same cinematic style as Delicatessen & The City Of Lost Children, except they are very whimsical, missing all of the darkness from Delicatessan & The City Of Lost Children.

Apparently, the darkness came from Marc Caro. So we sought to see what a Marc Caro movie was like WITHOUT Jenuet.

The answer: Not as good.

This kind of came off as Chronicles Of Riddick meets Clockwork Orange meets Pandorum. The movie had very good visuals, an interesting moral dillema, and a disturbing, claustrophobic insane-asylum-on-space-station atmosphere — but the ending was a total cop-out that left few satisifed.

And a lot of questions were never answered, which makes the mystery aspect retroactively come off as pretentious. Like, for instance, what was the company *TRULY* doing with the nanotechnology? Adding Christ allegory only makes a movie more pretentious and revolting to me.

I don’t regret seeing it, but my impression is Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet are both incapable of making a single movie as good as when they both collaborated. ¬†They should get back together!

Special thanks to Ian Buckwalter for helping me understand the Jeunet/Caro dichotomy, and pointing out to me that this movie exists in the first place.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0487928/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Death Machine (1994)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us, though the general public only rated it 2.7/5 stars (Netflix guessed 2.6 for us!) and 5.5/10.

This is the closest film I’ve ever seen to the movie Hardware (1990).

There are a few scenes that seem to be in DIRECT homage to Hardware. It lacks some of the comedy and psychedelia in Hardware, as well as the amazing cameos…

But in terms of cinematography, subject matter, style, and even character appearance (including the “villain”), this is simply a Poor Man’s Hardware. It even has William Hootkins (“we all sing, the wibbery-wobberly..walk!”), though he’s playing a suit instead of a perv.

Despite this being a poor man’s Hardware, it’s still better than 95% of scifi horror movies from the 1990s. So it gets 4/5 stars and 8/10, instead of the 5/5 stars and 9/10 rating that Hardware received.

Brad Dourif is pretty fricking crazy in this, and a lot of people are saying Heath Ledger must have watched this film at some point as inspiration for his insane portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight.

We watched the 111-minute (PAL/Europe) cut, though I would have preferred to get the 128 or 120-minute cut. Stay away from the 99-minute Netflix cut. You’ll be sorry. Get the PAL (europe) DVD if at all possible.

This movie also gets a very special LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for having THE STRANGEST MARIJUANA JOINTS TO BE FEATURED IN ALL OF FILMDOM.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109575

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Extracted (2012)

A very interesting premise: Being able to scientifically observe *other* peoples’ memories, thanks to corporations perverting technology originally meant for people to examine their *own* memories as a way of dealing with trauma. Now what happens if you get stuck in someone? This comes off like The Host meets The Cell (but with no romance).

However: Such a slow, slow, slow build-up. 40-50 minutes. But then it got interesting. And stayed interesting. Hell, it got so interesting it actually felt a bit rushed at the end.

I think this movie could have benefited from some better editing. It could have been a 4/5-star, 8/10 movie easily. Maybe even better. But it missed its mark a bit.

Written & directed by Nir Paniry.
Starring Sasha Roiz as Tom.
Jenny Mollen (Crazy, Stupid, Love) as Abbey, Tom’s wife.
Dominic Bogart as Anthony, the heroin addict.
Richard Riehle (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Miss Nobody, Hatchet, Palindromes, Mysterious Skin, Dorm Daze 2, 1 ep of The Legend Of Korra) as Father Riley, the prison priest.
Nick Jameson (President Yuri Suvarov in 24, Batman: Year One, Eurotrip, Beowulf, The Critic, 15 eps of Spider-Man-TAS (1990s), 13 eps of Mission Hill, 6 eps of Star Wars: Clone Wars, 1 ep of Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Richard, the PR seller.
Rodney Eastman (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 4, 1 ep of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) as Eric, Anthony’s drug-dealer friend.
Frank Ashmore (the original V, Airplane!, 6 eps of The Guild) as Martino.
Ty Simpkins (47 eps of The Guiding Light, Iron Man 3) as Young Anthony.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1757746/combined