What movie was that...?

16 March 2013

Life of Pi

directed by Ang Lee

“This movie better not be just about a bunch of animals,” my wife stated as we sat down for Ang Lee’s wonderful Life of Pi. I told her a movie like this was similar to being hypnotized. “You have to want to be hypnotized, though. Otherwise, it never works.” Life of Pi is lovely, lush, sincere and beautiful, but you have to want to be hypnotized by its delicate charm. Ang Lee deserves all the praise he has earned for taking such a cerebral, philosophical novel and translating it into a work that compels us to watch and to be wrapped up in its magic. The story is surely well known (as beloved as the book is): Pi, the lone survivor of a shipwreck that orphans him, finds himself sharing a life boat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. As the pair struggle to define their own roles and survive the fickle and dangerous terrain of the Pacific Ocean, Pi and Richard Parker come to rely on one another. Lee finds a way to connect many of the dots in fine fashion, weaving faith, interconnectivity, survival, adolescence and the meaning of life itself into a kind of blanket that comforts the soul. Is it a film that will stand the test of time? I’m certainly not one to draw such audacious assumptions, but it sure made my heart glow.

PS Holy hell, Suraj Surma! You got mad squabbles, kid! Bravo.

14 March 2013

Side Effects

directed by Steven Soderbergh

Soderbergh has threatened this before, to go all Jay-Z on us and quit the game forever, but until that day actually comes I will continue to be excited for each new Soderbergh work. Side Effects finds the filmmaker at the top of his game with an effortlessly tangled and beguiling tale that is at once familiar and new. Channing Tatum is Martin Taylor, a white collar convict loosed from the clink and back to the beautiful wife (a deadly good Rooney Mara) who waited for him. As Martin struggles to get their lives back on track to success and decadence, Emily (Mara) struggles with dark corners all her own. After a surreal car accident, Emily comes under the care of psychiatrist Dr. Banks (Jude Law is spectacular!) who believes it’s simply a matter of chemical equilibrium. After a few trials, Dr. Banks (at the recommendation of a wonderful Katherine Zeta-Jones) discovers Ablixa, the latest and trendiest cure-all, and I won’t spoil any more for you. It’s as taught a thriller as I’ve found in recent years, and the excellent level of execution on all fronts, from acting to sound design, make for a devilishly good time at the movies. Side Effects is the slick and twisty product of a master craftsman, lethally sharp, a pharmaceutical grade thriller designed to jack with your mind in all the most delicious ways.