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Deadpan Richard Ayoade's follow-up to the terrifically spiky teen black comedy Submarine is a Dostoevsky-inspired tale of a nerdy office clerk, Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg), whose life is overturned by the appearance of a gregarious doppelganger, James Simon (Eisenberg again, obviously). Horrified that no one else even notices this inexplicable doubling, Simon finds his already questionable identity being eaten away by his own worst enemy: himself or rather, a mirror image of himself, possessing all the confidence, charisma and charm that he so sorely lacks. A dab hand at dramatising absurdist paranoia, Ayoade fills the future-retro landscape with sounds and visions lifted from Terry Gilliam's Brazil and David Lynch's Eraserhead, with effective if derivative results.
Eisenberg does sterling work as the central split personality, conjuring two distinct characters who play off each other with well choreographed ease. »
- Mark Kermode
To hear that studio executives want to trim down or alter brainy science fiction films is not very rare. Just ask Terry Gilliam, who battled with Universal studio head Sidney Sheinberg over the final cut of Brazil. Or, recall that Warner Bros. released a version of Blade Runner in 1982 that few would consider its essential cut. So, when Harvey Weinstein proposed to cut 20 minutes from the English-language, South Korean hit Snowpiercer for its North American release this summer, fans of Bong Joon-Ho reacted with scathing vitriol. As it stands in its 126-minute form, Snowpiercer is too conceptually dense and absurdly entertaining to cut down to palate the needs of dim audiences. That version would simply be too confusing. However, what we’re presented with is far from a science fiction classic.
Snowpiercer touches on themes related to the disparity between rich and poor, although for every rich idea of visionary wonder, »
- Jordan Adler
Sixth edition of Denmark’s largest fiction festival will feature 160 feature films and more than 400 screenings and events.
Flow will screen at the Imperial cinema on April 2 and also competes for the New Talent Grand Pix. The festival’s main prize will award €15,000 to one of ten debutants to feature at this year’s edition, including Paul Wright’s For Those in Peril and Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook. Competing for the prize are:
Jennifer Kent, The Babadook (Australia)Eskil Vogt, Blind (Norway)Felipe Barbosa, Casa Grande or the Ballad of Poor Jean (Brazil)Paul Wright, For Those in Peril (UK)Benjamin Naishat, History of Fear (Argentina, Uruguay)Michalis Konstantantos, Luton (Greece)Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child (USA)Allessandro Rossetto, Small Homeland (Italy)Bas Devos, Violet (Belgium, Holland)Fenar Ahmad, Flow (Ækte Vare) (Denmark) [pictured]
Overall, this year’s »
- email@example.com (Ian Sandwell)
Terry Gilliam may be a national treasure but that doesn’t preclude him from making films which can at times sink a little too much into his fertile imagination at the expense of being particularly absorbing. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen was a late 1980’s financial disaster which found him being given a lot of toys to play with but not being able to make a film which really connected with the heart or head and his last effort The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus is a film which seems to get by almost on the good will of the viewer alone. He is a man to be admired certainly, any man who makes Brazil must be, but he is also one prone to palpable flaws. »
- Ian Loring
Terry Gilliam's latest begins with a naked man wrestling with a steam-punk console in an abandoned church, feverishly awaiting a call (from God?) on a wiry future-retro phone. Meet Qohen Leth, the bastard son of Sam Lowry and James Cole, enlisted by his corporate employer to solve the titular theorem and prove that all life is meaningless while attempting to alleviate his suffering via the all-engulfing portals of a cybersex site.
Although Gilliam has publicly debunked a supposed "trilogy" connection with Brazil and Twelve Monkeys, it's clear that screenwriter Pat Rushin has been marinated in the director's back catalogue, with riffs and preoccupations from previous works (wheezing machinery; intrusive surveillance; man against the state; imagination v reality) littering the landscape. From Waltz's shaven head to his worriedly distracted manner, we know this character – or, »
- Mark Kermode
"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long," muses Dr Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner. This statement doesn't apply to a startling list of classic movies that faded fast at the box office on initial release, but whose flames have been burning with more intensity as the years have passed...
Blade Runner (1983)
Budget: $28 million
Box office: $33.7 million (including re-releases)
While androids dream of electric sheep, accountants must have endured hellish nightmares in the aftermath of Blade Runner's dismal run at the box office in the summer of 1982. An opening weekend of barely $6 million (£3.61 million) was attributed to an ill-conceived advertising campaign, the competition of Et for bums on seats and a mixed reception from viewers who felt stunned by the imagery but alienated by the narrative.
It's hard not to wonder whether the film would have fared better if the studio had faith in director Ridley Scott's original vision, »
Being the final part of Terry Gilliam's trilogy of unrelated movies set in dystopian futures (begun in 1985 with Brazil and continued in 1995 with Twelve Monkeys), The Zero Theorem drops us into the middle of an Orwellian, candy coloured nightmare, that, despite being unapologetically over the top, has a ring of horrible truth to it, considering how much technology encroaches on modern day life on a daily basis. Advertising takes up every available free space it can, Batman fandom has evolved to become a religion, and social gatherings are played out under the sickening glow of mobile devices permanently attached to party goers hands. It's a fantastically realised world, chock full of wonderful little details, that serves as the perfect back drop for this tale of existential angst and finding ones place in the universe. Kicking off with a shot of a yawning void, you're pretty much thrown headfirst into »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom White)
Before we start here’s a confession. I’m a fan of Terry Gilliam’s work. Unashamed, bordering on (but never becoming) an apologist. From the bedtime anarchy of Time Bandits to the dark satanic future of Brazil, from the dizzying false heights of Munchausen to finding myself washed up on the Tideland – each and every one of his films has connected with me, some inextricably so.
The more of them I saw, the more I became hooked on his dreamatic musings; a new Gilliam film is a big deal in my world. He was also my first film teacher with the BBC’s long forgotten series called The Last Machine taking in a whirlwind tour of the first century of cinema from sideshow contraption to documentarian to a gateway to other worlds. Gilliam knew cinema, and came across as a man possessed with a love of ideas and visual poetry. »
- Jon Lyus
In Terry Gilliam's new film, The Zero Theorem, Christoph Waltz spends most of his time huddled over a console, trying to solve the mind-bender of the title. Good training for him to reveal the mysteries of the universe
Can you start by explaining what the Zero Theorem is?
"Er … Zero is 100%. Everything adds up to nothing. That's it. That covers the whole thing."
Did Terry Gilliam explain it to you?
"No. I think he was busy with other stuff. But that's what the assumption is, and that needs to be proved. Ok, I have no idea what it's all about, but that's really the story of the movie – that one doesn't really quite get it. As a mater of fact, there is an actual zero theorem."
Does it have something to do with quantum mechanics? Matter and anti-matter, that sort of thing?
"Yes. But it's so complicated »
- Steve Rose
Terry Gilliam's latest movie is overworked, over-designed and overdetermined in its hyper-crazy world
There are a few funny ideas and striking images pinballing around in Terry Gilliam's new movie, which is a Phil-Spector-type wall of zane. But The Zero Theorem basically defeated me. It is frantically overworked, over-designed and overdetermined in its hyper-crazy world where nothing seems really to be at stake. When the film stops to draw breath it can be captivating – as when the action removes to a weird, virtual-reality paradise beach where the setting sun never quite dips below the horizon. Christoph Waltz is Qohen, a put-upon, melancholy computer programmer in a dystopian futureworld city that will not be unfamiliar to those who have seen Ridley Scott's Blade Runner or Gilliam's Brazil. Qohen's shadowy corporate employers task him with solving the top-secret "zero theorem" – a job they give to all troublingly clever types – then »
- Peter Bradshaw
Interview Ryan Lambie 14 Mar 2014 - 06:29
In person, Terry Gilliam's every bit as mischievous, funny, generous and entertaining as you'd hope. The director of some wonderful science fiction and fantasy films, from Jabberwocky to Time Bandits and Brazil to The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys, he's one of the most imaginative and individual filmmakers working - and then there are the wonderful animated short films he created, which came to international prominence thanks to Monty Python's Flying Circus.
When we meet Mr Gilliam on the fifth floor of a London hotel, the sun's shining through the window and the director's positively beaming. He's encouraged because there's plenty of light and fresh air in the room - a stark contrast, he says, to the sometimes dark and claustrophobic rooms he »
Feature James Clayton 14 Mar 2014 - 06:37
In The Zero Theorem, Christoph Waltz plays Qohen Leth - a hairless and reclusive computer programmer who lives in his pyjamas in a cavernous ancient cathedral in a dystopian future. This sounds a bit like a midlife crisis. In fact it is a whole life crisis and, for Qohen, that existential despair isn't just a pastime - it's his job. The main protagonists search for the meaning of life forms the narrative core of Terry Gilliam's new film.
Anyone who's ever searched for the meaning of life will be able to tell you that it's a terrible, soul-destroying business unless it's turned into a Monty Python movie. It's therefore a huge relief to know that Gilliam is handling this headspinning sci-fi feature. The quest for »
★★☆☆☆There are many charming discrepancies in Terry Gilliam's creative output, but one miscalculation lingers; is it us or him who has lost the plot? Are we too wired into our own pragmatic nightmares to appreciate his trademark brand of sociopolitical lampooning? Or is his genius simply burning out? A decade of 'hmmms' have left us craving for something altogether undeniable. In The Zero Theorem (2013), possibly the most conspicuous dead ringer to his faultless Brazil yet, hermetic number-cruncher Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) undertakes menial corporate tasks in a pre-Blade Runner dystopia as he waits for a call from an unknown celestial deity.
- CineVue UK
The difficulty in counting down films so clearly influenced by Kubrick is that there are certain directors who are just tailor-made for it. So, you start to run into situations like this section of the list, where two directors have two films and two other directors had a film mentioned in the last section. But that’s the way it goes. Much of Kubrick’s style isn’t reflected in the work of, say, Todd Phillips. Or Todd Haynes, for that matter.
30. Inception (2010)
Directed by Christopher Nolan
What makes it Kubrickian? As directors go, few rival the sense of complete control over his films like Christopher Nolan, famous for his obsessive attention to detail, much like Kubrick. With Inception, Nolan dialed up the control, creating multiple worlds set within dream landscapes, painting incredibly stunning shots and moments. Focusing on Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his team of dream surveyors, Inception is »
- Joshua Gaul
Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, also known as Uma Thurman Being a Literal Goddess For the First Time, opened 25 years ago today. Now, it's not technically true that this was Uma's cinematic debut since she appeared in two long forgotten movies (Kiss Daddy Goodnight, Johnny B Goode) and one well remembered one (Dangerous Liaisons) before March 10th 1989 when this film premiered (due to delays -- you know how Terry Gillian do). But it was meant to be her debut. And print the myth, you know? And Uma is enough of a goddess that she deserves the myth and not the truth.
Uma as "Venus, Goddess of Beauty and Love"
One of my favorite 80s anecdotes was Gilliam being furious that Dangerous Liaisons beat him to release in the two film contest of prestige costume pictures that could get the new jaw-droppingly beautiful starlet out of her costumes first for audiences. »
- NATHANIEL R
Terry Gilliam is making a comeback this year. In July, the ex-Monty Python animator will reunite with his Flying Circus colleagues for an O2 residency. Before then, though, Gilliam returns to dystopian sci-fi with The Zero Theorem, a film whose patchwork aesthetic can't help but recall his 1985 masterpiece, Brazil.
Apt really, considering how prescient his visionary fable has become. Never mind the imminent World Cup. Gilliam's Brazil – a land where the authorities wield information as a weapon and where dreams are shackled by callous austerity – is even more pertinent to life in 2014.
What is Brazil? It's the story of clerk Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), whose diligence in resolving a messy, fatal paperwork trail brings him into contact with Jill (Kim Greist) – the girl who haunts his dreams of combat with a giant baby-faced samurai, and who may or may not be a terrorist.
Where is Brazil? "Somewhere in the 20th century, »
'Bad Grandpa became the first narrative feature to include a documentary flashback sequence in which its protagonist sucks off an anthropomorphic fish'
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In documentary circles (the haughty, wine-sipping ones that invariably form in the foyers of west London arthouse cinemas) 2013 was hailed as something of a banner year for movies that blended fact and fiction to strange new effect. Stories We Tell illustrated the family history of director Sarah Polley with a blend of real and fabricated archive footage; The Act Of Killing caused outrage in certain quarters by offering an Indonesian mass-murderer the chance to re-enact his crimes; and Bad Grandpa became the first narrative feature to include a documentary flashback sequence in which its protagonist sucks off an anthropomorphic fish. The latter film went largely ignored by critics upon its initial release, but was rightly rewarded with an Oscar »
- Charlie Lyne
Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they get lost in the whirling modern wonder of Jacques Tati‘s fictional Paris to revel in whimsy, caprice and noisy angst. In the #43 (tied) movie on the list, the doofy Mr. Hulot (Tati) bumbles around the labyrinthine steel and concrete of a tech-addled city while tourists bounce around station to station and the background eventually comes to the foreground. Honestly, writing a plot synopsis for Playtime is a self-defeating purpose. But »
- FSR Staff
It feels like work on Terry Gilliam’s existential sci-fi flick The Zero Theorem has been underway for ages now, so fans of the director will likely be relieved to learn that the film will finally hit theaters this summer after being acquired by Amplify.
For a while, it was uncertain whether the odd, high-concept flick would find a company brave enough to handle its distribution. Following confirmation of the deal, Gilliam stated:
“The Zero Theorem is a very unique film that I’m especially proud of, so it is a relief to be distributed by a company that is not afraid to push the boundaries.”
Amplify was formed earlier this year when digital distribution company Go Digital, Inc. and Variance Films decided to merge. GoDigital CEO Logan Mulvey and Variance Films President Dylan Marchetti have been working with Kent Sanderson, formerly of Focus Features, since January to acquire films for Amplify, »
- Isaac Feldberg
Amplify and Well Go USA Entertainment have teamed up to acquire the U.S. rights to acclaimed director Terry Gilliam’s science-fiction opus,The Zero Theorem. The partners will release the film to theaters across the Us in late summer, with a home video release to follow. Amplify will handle theatrical and digital distribution rights, with Well Go USA releasing the film on DVD and Blu-ray.
Directed by Gilliam (Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, Monty Python and the Holy Grail), The Zero Theorem stars two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds) as Qohen Leth, an eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst. Living in isolation in a burnt-out church, Qohen is obsessively working on a mysterious project personally delegated to him by Management (Matt Damon) aimed at discovering the meaning of life – or the lack thereof – once and for all. Increasingly disturbed by unwanted visits from people he doesn’t fully trust, »
- Michelle McCue
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