Philip Craig

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The Time Traveler's Wife Review


Excellent
Adapting Audrey Niffenegger's wonderfully complex novel to the screen can't have been easy, but Rubin (Ghost) has written a thoroughly engaging film. The heavy emotional tone makes it feel a bit girly, but it's still a terrific story.Henry (Bana) has time-travelled since the night his mother (Nolden) died in a car crash. He can't control his "trips", although he seems to go to places with an emotional resonance. When he first meets Clare (McAdams), she's in her 30s and has known him since she was 6 (Proulx). As a result of this paradox, their relationship develops very differently for each of them. Eventually they find friends (Livingston and McLean) who are in on Henry's condition. And a doctor (Tobolowsky) who may be able to help.Director Schwentke invests the film with a lush visual style that circles around the characters as they try to make sense of their life together. Subtle effects and clever editing work extremely well, even if Mychael Danna's music is a little too insistently weepy. And while the premise presents Henry's condition as something like epilepsy, the film can hardly help but start feeling like a terminal illness drama, as signs of impending tragedy start to appear.Bana is good in what's essentially a thankless role. The script doesn't offer him much personality beyond earnestness, so Bana plays him as a nice guy just trying to muddle through. Opposite him, McAdams is a wonderful breath of fresh air, really capturing Clare's steely resolve and quiet pain. Livingston and Tobolowsky are also extremely good in far too few scenes.There's definitely the sense that this film is edited down from a richer, more detailed novel. One problem is that Henry's ageing is far too subtle, so we're never quite sure which time he's travelling from (see Christopher Nolan's Memento or, better yet, Following, for how to do this well). And although we notice loose threads and missing scenes, the editors have done a remarkable job of making such a fragmented tale hold together both emotionally and logically.

And in the end, the film compellingly explores the nature of relationships while quietly moving us to all kinds of tears.

Spider Review


Good

David Cronenberg's "Spider" is a mesmerizing immersion into the precariously unstable mind of a psychiatric patient who has just been released after 20 years in an asylum.

Living in an orderly but cavernous and colorlessly dreary halfway house in the empty industrial corner of London where he grew up, the haggard, misshapen man in his 30s begins a journey -- into his past and deep into his own mind -- that threatens the tenuous grip on reality that earned him his provisional freedom.

The director's preternatural talent for uncanny atmospherics permeates the film from its very first frames -- the opening credits run over Rorschach-test-like images of the peeling paint on the halfway house walls. But "Spider" is dominated by a few extraordinary performances with the ability to stir visceral reactions from beginning to end.

Continue reading: Spider Review

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Dev Patel Is A Lost Boy In Touching True Story Drama 'Lion'

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There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.

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Spider Movie Review

Spider Movie Review

David Cronenberg's "Spider" is a mesmerizing immersion into the precariously unstable mind of a psychiatric...

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