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Ben Kingsley gets joint top billing but takes an early bath in this tiresome tale of an ageing executive who pays to have his dying soul transplanted into the body of a younger man. Enter Ryan Reynolds as the empty vessel into which Sir Ben’s spirit is magnetically injected – only to discover that this new body has a mind and memory of its own. Or, as Derek Luke puts it: “You thought you were buying a new car, turns out it has a few miles on the clock.” Recycling riffs from John Frankenheimer’s superior 1966 thriller Seconds (which in turn inspired Face/Off), Tarsem Singh’s dopey romp signally fails to mine the identity-swap promise of its premise. David and Alex Pastor’s script may be lumpen, but Reynolds »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
As far as high concepts go, Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds playing the same person isn't a bad start. But this switcherooo turns out to be one of the least distracting elements of Tarsem Singh's slick, silly sci-fi Self/less, which gets a running start with smart ideas it can't follow through on.
Kingsley is Damian Hayes, a haughty and emotionally detached real estate tycoon with terminal cancer. Desperate to survive at any cost, he crosses paths with a shadowy scientist (Matthew Goode on enjoyably snakelike form) who offers him a radical new procedure known as shedding, whereby his consciousness is transferred into a healthy, lab-grown new body. What do I have to lose, he asks himself, because presumably he's never heard of Faust.
In this excerpt from the Guardian film show Xan Brooks, Catherine Shoard and Peter Bradshaw watch Sir Ben Kingsley nab the body of Ryan Reynolds in Self/Less, a sci-fi thriller in which a dying billionaire implants his consciousness into a younger man with terrible consequences. Directed by Tarsem Singh and co-starring Natalie Martinez and Matthew Goode, Self/Less is released in the UK on Friday 17 July Continue reading »
- Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw, Catherine Shoard, Zoran Trajkovic, Richard Sprenger, Henry Barnes and Andrea Salvatici
Glances at fundamental questions of identity and humanity and decides that they are best resolved via fistfights, gun battles, and car chases. I’m “biast” (pro): mostly love Tarsem Singh’s films; big Sf geek
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
A ruthless old real-estate tycoon billionaire, Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley: Exodus: Gods and Kings), is dying of cancer, so he has his mind transferred to a younger body (Ryan Reynolds: Woman in Gold), as you do when you’re a ruthless old man wealthy beyond belief and terrified of your mortality. Of course he doesn’t ask the tough questions about the hush-hush project of clearly dubious morality, not even when the suave mad scientist in charge, Albright (Matthew Goode: The Imitation Game), smoothly notes with a slick grin that he’s not asking the right questions. This is »
- MaryAnn Johanson
From comic-book adaptations to sci-fi, fantasy and horror. Here are the new geek-skewed shows coming to Us TV in 2016...
The world of TV has never been so crowded and, at the same time, geeks have never had it so good. As saturated as the big screen is with superhero films and sprawling shared universes, that mentality has well and truly bled onto the small screen too.
So there’s a lot of comic-book adaptations coming up in 2016 from Marvel, DC and others, but genre TV is represented across the board with science-fiction, fantasy and horror represented at pretty much every network and cable channel in the Us.
Here's some of the geek TV that will be making its way to us from the Us next year.
Aka Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Part of Netflix’s own connected slice of the McU, there has been a lot of confusion over when we »
Said to be a dark and modern (how original!) re-imagining of the L. Frank Baum’s novels, NBC's Emerald City looks to be going the True Detective route as it has enlisted Tarsem Singh to fill the directors chair for all ten episodes of the new series. Emerald City was originally ordered straight-to-series in January of 2014 but NBC ended up pulling the plug due to some creative... Read More »
- Kevin Fraser
Tarsem Singh‘s Self/less isn’t getting much love from general audiences or critics at the moment, but thankfully the filmmaker is already preparing a rebound. Singh is set to direct all ten episodes of Emerald City, NBC’s upcoming drama based on The Wizard of Oz. More details on the Tarsem Singh Emerald City project after the jump. […]
- Angie Han
Single director seasons has been a rising trend in television, with last season providing the two most notable examples in HBO’s True Detective and Cinemax’s The Knick, with David Fincher and David Lynch poised to do the same with Utopia and Twin Peaks respectively in subsequent seasons. To date, however, the trend has been limited to cable channels. NBC, however, is jumping into the ring as well, as reports have now emerged that the network channel has tapped director Tarsem Singh to direct all ten episodes of its upcoming series Emerald City.
Tarsem, whose latest feature Self/Less is currently in theatres, is known to most film fans for his work on the 2006 feature The Fall. He currently has five features under his belt, along with an assortment of music videos, including that of Rem’s Losing My Religion, but has yet to work in television.
- Deepayan Sengupta
Emerald City is a long-gestating television series based on the classic story of The Wizard of Oz that has now been taken over for redevelpment by writer and executive producer David Schulner (Desperate Housewives). The show is set to tell the story of Dorothy Gale and her K9 police-dog who “are transported via tornado to another world, one far removed from our own — a mystical land of competing kingdoms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy”.
Aria Arjona (True Detective) will play Dorothy, and today comes news that Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Mr. Selfridge) and Ana Ularu (Serena) have joined the cast in the show, which is described as a “modern and dark reimagining of the classic »
- Scott J. Davis
Update with character descriptions, additional casting: Tarsem Singh has been tapped to direct all 10 episodes of Emerald City, the recently resurrected NBC series that underwent a redevelopment via writer/executive producer David Schulner. Shaun Cassidy is also executive producer on the Universal TV-produced series. Oliver Jackson Cohen, Ana Ularu and Gerran Howell have joined the cast of the series, described as a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in… »
The action follows twenty-year-old Dorothy Gale (Adria Arjona) and her K9 police dog who are transported via tornado to a mystical land of competing kingdoms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
Have you seen Self/less? After that, you’d think I’d lose some faith in Tarsem Singh, but the idea of Singh directing a TV show about a dark, twisted rendition of the Land of Oz is way too intriguing. Emerald City centers on 20-year-old Dorothy Gale. She tries to break into an underground facility in the Midwest, but things don't go according to plan. She manages to escape, stealing a police dog in the process, but her getaway route puts her right in the path of a nasty tornado. When she wakes up, she's in Oz, but this time around, the fabled land is packed with dark magic and lethal warriors. NBC gave Emerald City a straight-to-series 10-episode order back in January 2014 and even advertised the show that summer at Comic-Con, but then in August, news broke that the network and executive producer/writer Josh Friedman couldn’t »
- Perri Nemiroff
Directed by Tarsem Singh.
An extremely wealthy man, dying from cancer, undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man. But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body’s origin and the organization that will kill to protect its cause.
Self/less is one of those films that wants to be one thing, unfortunately is another thing, and as a result is two ideas clashing leaving behind a fragmented mess of a movie. Typically movies like this were usually always destined to be terrible but Self/less had the potential to be a provocative science-fiction thriller. The problem is that the science-fiction part (and pretty much everything interesting about the story) are ditched for an onslaught of generic action scenes, »
- Robert Kojder
In Self/Less, Ben Kingsley plays a dying, shark-like real estate tycoon who has his identity transplanted into that of a younger body, played by Ryan Reynolds. We’re told that the new body has been grown in a lab – that it is essentially a blank slate. Of course, that turns out not to be the case, but for a few moments there I allowed myself to savor the possibility that Tarsem Singh’s new film had snuck in a sick, subtle dig at Reynolds’s bland, lifeless persona. At any rate, a movie that starts out with Ben Kingsley and winds up with Ryan Reynolds has its work cut out for it.That body – which for a while makes the once-debilitated Damian Hale (the aforementioned millionaire) physically fit and irresistible to women – turns out to have once belonged to a former soldier, now presumed dead, whose mind has been wiped clean. »
- Bilge Ebiri
‘He’s one of few actors to play both Marvel and DC superheroes and, in 2011, he narrated a film about a whale. Yet to many Reynolds remains difficult to place’
Ryan Reynolds has tried everything. He’s done gross-out comedy in Van Wilder, intellectual posturing in The Nines and mega-budget action in R.I.P.D. He’s one of relatively few actors to play both Marvel and DC superheroes (Deadpool and the Green Lantern respectively) and, in 2011, he narrated a film about a whale. Yet to many he remains difficult to place: a forgettable midpoint on the spectrum of Hollywood’s famous Ryans, slap bang between Gosling and Phillippe.
Nonetheless, Reynolds is clearly a likable man and a capable actor, which perhaps explains why directors from Tarsem Singh to Atom Egoyan are still keen to work with him. Out this week on DVD, The Voices sees him unite with Persepolis director Marjane Satrapi »
- Charlie Lyne
“Self/less” director Tarsem Singh is hardly selfish when it comes to his opinions on superheroes and superhero movies. In an interview with HitFix, he practically calls some of the “X-Men” films unwatchable and finds characters like Superman unrelatable. “They are the gods of the West…They are the Krishnas and Christs and everything for a generation,” Singh says. “I just personally could never relate to the person who wears his underwear outside his pants.” Singh minces no words when trashing early movies in the “X-Men” franchise, saying “I couldn’t even sit through ten minutes of them.” He does go on to note that “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” directed by Bryan Singer, is “brilliant.” As for his own desired to direct superhero movies, don’t expect anything any time soon. Singh explains the only one he’s interested in helming would be Batman, but that’s in the confident hands of Zack Snyder. »
- David Eckstein
In Tarsem Singh's Self/Less, Ryan Reynolds plays a man who was formerly Ben Kingsley. That is to say, when Kingsley's character discovers he's dying, rapidly, he undergoes a high-tech procedure that puts his consciousness into the body of an "empty vessel"; that vessel being Reynolds. With this new body comes an exciting new life, a rebirth. But, of course, there's... Read More »
- Eric Walkuski
I remember when I was young, my father, a sort of rogue ecologist who learned everything he knew about rivers and their ecosystems secondhand, told me about these species of bottom feeders that lived in streams all over the Missouri and Mississippi river basins. I don’t remember what species they were but the thing about them was that they only flourished in polluted bodies of water. They didn’t flourish because of the pollution necessarily so much as their natural predators, killed off by the pollution, ceased to keep them in check and so their population would explode. Despite their usefulness as a gauge for the health of a stream, they were generally unwelcome.
- Chris Melkus
Unless you were paying close attention beforehand you would never know that the new sci-fi thriller "Self/less" was directed by the one and only Tarsem Singh. At worst, the often frustrating filmmaker has always had a keen eye, whether it was used helming a landmark music video such as Rem's "Loosing My Religion" or creating visual feats such as "The Fall" or "Immortals." Why Singh took such a conservative approach to this particular film, a project that could have used his stylistic flourishes, is head scratching. The concept is pretty simple. A dying billionaire, Damian Hale (Ben Kinsgley), is given the opportunity to "shed" his current body and inhabit a younger, healthier shell. In theory, it's painless; it just uses a machine to transfer the memories from one person into the brain of another. Actually that means it's just a new body that thinks it's the previous person, but »
- Gregory Ellwood
Body/mind transference, the central idea behind the thriller Self/Less, is so flush with opportunity that it’s frustrating to see this new movie fly off the rails so early and so completely. Self/Less has the premise for thought-provoking science-fiction, but it doesn’t have the gumption. It would rather be a blockbuster than a mind-bender but it turns out to be neither. Ben Kingsley stars as Damian Hale, a miserly real-estate magnate at death’s door who pays a quarter million dollars for the services of the shadowy corporation known as ‘Phoenix Biogenics’ (we know he’s rich because he’s shown in his Trump-style penthouse complete with solid gold doors and bannister). Albright (Matthew Goode), Phoenix’s spiffy young chief, offers his clients ‘Shedding’, a process of transferring the mind from the old and sick body into a healthy younger human grown organically in their lab. »
- Tom Stockman
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