Tag Archives: Terry Gilliam

Bartleby’s Best Films of 2009

24 Jan

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Yes sir, I know I’m quite late with this, but this past month has been loaded down with surprises—both good and bad—that have drawn my attention away from the blog. Hopefully, this will be the last bit of procrastination the site sees for awhile. The plan is to get back into a daily posting framework, and if that’s successful, move to a legitimate website sometime in February. Until then, here’s my belated list of  2009’s best films.

I’ve heard many complain that this past year was a weak one cinematically speaking, and in a late scrabble to identify the potential ‘award winners’ for Oscar season many are coming up short with candidates. Well, bah! to that I say. Regarding the medium of film as a whole, I see 2009 as nothing less than a fantastic success.

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Movie Review: Ledger’s final performance haunts the ‘Imaginarium’

14 Jan

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The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (PG-13) Directed by: Terry Gilliam. Written by: Terry Gilliam & Charles McKeown Starring: Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Heath Ledger, Tom Waits, Verne Troyer, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell

 

  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Terry Gilliam film that has stirred in me any sense of wonder or joy.

At last then, here is a new picture from the director that does both of those things. For that reason alone The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is a work to treasure. Filled with elaborate, mind-boggling visuals and moments of madcap fantasy, Parnassus is also one of the more thoughtful Gilliam concoctions; taking the concept of the storyteller trapped within a world of the mundane and tweaking it to create a film that feels like his most personal yet. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Trouble with ‘Franklyn’

22 Jun

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Franklyn (R) 90 min. Directed and written by: Gerald McMorrow. Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Eva Green, Bernard Hill, Sam Riley, Richard Coyle. Cinematography: Ben Davis. Original Score by:  Joby Talbot.

Cinematropolis rating: 5

Ironically,  Jonathan Preest is the very last aetheist on Earth. Living in the Neo-Gothic shambles of Meanwhile City, Jonathan prowls the lonely rooftops like Rorshach on a Red Bull bender, seeking to avenge the death of  a girl he couldn’t save. His enemies are the fashion violating, Mad Hatter-esque Clerics who work for the Individual, head of the most dangerous religious sect in the city.  And in Meanwhile City, there are alot of sects. The world has abandoned reason and logic and its inhabitants embrace any possible glimmer of faith or desperate hope they can cling to; there is even a group of practicing Seventh Day Manicurists. Continue reading

Remember…what the doormouse said! Burton’s trippy ‘Wonderland’

22 Jun

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June 22, 2009-

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves, Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
  All mimsy were the borogoves,  And the mome raths outgrabe.

Thus opens the nonsense poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll featured in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’, the continuation of her adventures in Wonderland. With Disney finally releasing pics from Tim Burton’s newest version, that above bit of surreal grotesquery seems appropriate. Just take a look at the three characters! That’s Depp as the Hatter, looking like a cross between Wendy(yes the fast-food one) and Madonna with a bit of Andy Warhol thrown in for good measure. The frightening doll-like creature with the John Wayne Gacy make-up is The Red Queen by way of Helena Bonham Carter. The last is Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, the only image that halfway ‘resembles’ the typical Burton style. The article over at USA Today also mentions that Michael Sheen is the White Rabbit and in my favorite bit of casting, Chris Lee is the ‘Jabberwock”. If you go over to the site, there are larger versions of the production art that visitors can wander around in and magnify at their leisure. Continue reading

Gilliam’s Parnassus enchants at Cannes and the reviews are coming in!

22 May
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Christopher Plummer as the titular character in Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

 Terry Gilliam is one of the most unique directors working today. Alas, just because he has been working today, doesn’t mean there has been much fruit as of late. Mostly, it’s not his fault. The infamous The Man Who Killed Don Quixote with Jean Rochefort and Johnny Depp crumbled under events outside of his control. His follow-up film The Brothers Grimm was entertaining enough but it was hacked and hampered by the Weinstein Bros and his next venture, Tideland, felt like the artist in meltdown mode. He was cramming every irreverant idea he had into a thin little whisp of a movie and without any sort of constraints it exploded into delirious, over-cooked pieces.

Then, he began work on The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, an all-out folk fantasy with a great cast; Christopher Plummer, Heath Ledger, and Tom Waits. It sounded like the kind of great stuff that had made me fall in love with the man’s work originally. I still consider his trilogy of Time Bandits, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen to be some of the finest examples of fantasy filmmaking ever concieved.

When Ledger died, it seemed like the curse of Gilliam had struck again. But, remarkably, Parnassus was raised from the ashes like a Pheonix when Depp, Law and Farrell came alongside Gilliam and allowed him to finish making the movie by playing different facets of Ledger’s character, and donating all of their salary to Heath’s family in the process.

So this week, the amazing happened. A new Gilliam film premiered at Cannes. And so far, the word is great. Right now the idea of a great new Gilliam movie is a bit overwhelming. All of the current reviews, including ones written prior to Cannes, are available below. I’ll keep updating as they come in.

Variety’s Todd McCarthy gives Gilliam his due HERE.

Kenneth Turan applauds Parnassus and Gilliam’s gumption HERE.

Aint It Cool News’ Harry Knowles cheerfully slobbers over it HERE.

Another AICN alumn, Quint, calls Parnassus “unadulterated Gilliam” HERE.