November 24, 2006
November 5, 2006
Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy create a skeleton of a plot to hang the improv scenes on. I imagine the movie-within-a-movie "Home For Purim" sounded funnier than the result onscreen: A Tennesee Williams-style southern melodrama, but featuring a Jewish family reuniting for Purim. Plenty of people in my audience were cracking up at the Jewish jokes, but I was only mildly amused. Rachael Harris showed a lot of potential as the lesbian girlfriend Mary Pat Hooligan, but her character just peters out.
Several scenes were included which were necessary to advance the plot, but were not funny. For example, Parker Posey and Christopher Moynihan are a Reese and Ryan-style couple. When she is rumoured for an Oscar nomination, she senses his jealousy, and they argue over it, but the scene of them arguing is not funny- I imagine the improv juices weren't flowing?
Perhaps the Hollywood premise is worn out, or the magic just wasn't there, but FYC just didn't spark. (Kendall Square Cinema)
November 4, 2006
Director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins) uses flashbacks - within - flashbacks to tell the story like a magic trick, which can get a little dense: at one point, Borden is reading Angier's diary, where Angier writes (in a flashback) about reading Borden's diary, where Borden reminisces (in a flashback) about his own past. Just like a magic trick, The Prestige rewards close viewing. In fact, the first words spoken are "Are you paying attention?" The movie does not have a "twist" ending like The Usual Suspects, where no reasonable viewer could figure out that Verbal Kint was Keyser Soze. The Prestige does require your full attention to keep up, and sharp minds will start to unravel the mystery by the mid-way point. (AMC Burlington)
I was never a fan of magic shows or magic tricks growing up- I always felt like the audience was being played for fools. I can appreciate a clever piece of misdirection, and admire deft sligh-of-hand, but a guy in a tux onstage playing with props never impressed me. I once went to a magic show at the Cabot Theater in Beverly, where the magician levitated an assistant into the air under a cloth- except I spotted the assistant roll out of sight as the cloth "covered" her.