With a premise that feels almost Inception-like, this brainy thriller plays around with memories in ways that continually shift the story and draw us in. The ending feels somewhat rushed, but the journey there is riveting and sometimes thoroughly unnerving, while a strong cast adds layers of interest.
In a near future, psychic detectives help solve crimes and cold cases by exploring people's memories. Although John (Mark Strong) lost his job when his own past tragedy intruded on his work at Mindscape, a top memory detective agency run by Sebastian (Brian Cox). Months later, Sebastian thinks John is ready to return to work, so assigns him a simple case to help the troubled 16-year-old Anna (Taissa Farmiga), whose mother and stepdad (Reeves and Dillane) are worried that she won't eat. Or maybe they're the problem. As John investigates her past memories, he begins to realise that she's an unusually smart and perceptive young woman.
Spanish filmmaker Jorge Dorado shot primarily in Barcelona, so the movie has an intriguingly European sheen, even though it's set in Middle America. Everything is insinuating and suspicious, twisting standard horror movie tricks in new ways that are both freaky and fascinating. Images of red roses and running water abound, with scenes photographed in familiar ways that make watching this film almost feel like an extended deja vu experience. In other words, this is a thoroughly entertaining nightmare that brings up tension and continually wrong-foots us about what's real and what isn't.
Continue reading: Anna Review
Richard (Efron) is a 17-year-old wannabe in 1937 New York, determined to get into the groundbreaking Mercury Theatre company run by 22-year-old genius Orson Welles (McKay). When he stumbles into a role in their landmark production of Julius Caesar, Richard can't believe his luck. He's working alongside such ascending stars as George Coulouris (Chaplin), John Houseman (Marsan), Muriel Brassler (Reilly), Jopseph Cotton (Tupper) and Norman Lloyd (Bill). And he feels even more fortunate when Orson's hard-to-get assistant Sonja (Danes) agrees to go out with him.
Continue reading: Me And Orson Welles Review
Based on the novel by Alex Garland, whose first novel, The Beach, was made into a movie that pumped up the action while ignoring the book's philosophical and sociological musings, The Tesseract suffers a similar fate. It's directed by the energetic action genius Oxide Pang (who sometimes teams up with his more prolific twin brother Danny on thrillers such as The Eye). Simply put, he's not a good fit here. Dispensing with the novel's heavy meaning-of-life issues, Pang focuses instead on the bang bang stuff, and what could have been a deep and introspective movie becomes a follow-the-stolen-drugs-through-the-crowded-streets action flick.
Continue reading: The Tesseract Review
So someone in the Sci-Fi Channel marketing department thought that they'd be able to create the definitive version of the novel, making much ballyhoo over it in the press. "This is the way Frank Herbert intended it!" Yes, yes, I'm sure he was precisely thinking of static, made-for-television sets lifted from Star Trek: The Next Generation, bathed in nauseating greens, oranges, and fire engine reds.
Continue reading: Frank Herbert's Dune (2000) Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.