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La science des rêves (2006)
Don't let that vote fool you
This is a perfect example of a love-it-or-hate-it movie simply because its very nature means it's somewhat plot less -- we're constantly unsure if what we're seeing on the screen is really real or just in Gael Garcia Bernal's dreams, and some moviegoers abhor uncertainty, hence I think the large number of "1" votes for this flick. (Also, the film is ostensibly foreign, but moves from French to English with equal measure, with a little bit of Spanish tossed in, too. So maybe the shifts in language also irked some people, but I found it enchanting.) So don't let those low votes fool you; this is a beautiful, sublime film, and if you let yourself go onto its wavelength, you'll most likely find yourself *enjoying* the (perhaps unsolvable) visual puzzle Michel Gondry has created here. It is the quintessence of magical realism, and yet everything comes across as absolutely effortless, unlike the forced whimsy of, say, last year's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the too-clever-by-half Adaptation. I dare say it's probably one of the best films of the year.
One of the most beautiful movies ever made
The story is a confusing jumble of techno-mafia and corporate malfeasance, but the reason to see this movie is very, very simple: It is drop-jaw, eyes-wide, pulled-back-into-your-seat beautiful. In many ways, it feels like the film Stanley Kubrick wanted to make when he was planning 'A.I.' -- just somehow *more* intellectual and emotionally distant. But I cannot overstate just how stunning, how tactile, how revelatory the visuals are. When it comes out on DVD, buy it, and play it during parties with the sound turned off -- I guarantee you will have a small crowd in front of your TV all night.
THIS is "better" than the first film?!
I have not seen the first 'Tomb Raider' movie, but if what people are saying is true -- if the sequel, 'The Cradle of Life,' is indeed BETTER than the first movie -- than thank goodness I did not have to subject myself to the original "adventure" of Lara Croft. As it is, the second film is an incomprehensible mess of poor direction, editing and writing, overloaded with awkwardly filmed, joyless action scenes and pockets of deadening plot explanation. I especially blame director Jan de Bont for this mess -- for someone who started so promisingly ('Speed,' 'Twister'), de Bont has certainly collapsed into such a studio hack that one wonders what Paramount was thinking when they hired him. Seriously, there is an action sequence set in Shanghai that involves a pagoda, a helicopter, Lara Croft and some kind of orb, but I could not tell you for the life of me what exactly HAPPENS during that sequence.
The only saving grace here is Angelina Jolie, who must be the acting equivalent of teflon -- the movie's sheer badness just slides off her as she floats through the film with as much good humor and aplomb as one could possibly be expected to muster. But this is the last time she can allow herself to be the best part of a gawd-awful movie -- audiences can only be expected to endure so much.
The best action movie this summer
Bottom line: while not as epically cast as 'Terminator 2' nor as low-budget gritty as the original 'Terminator,' 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines' delivers precisely what it set out to do -- create high-budget kinetic fun with characters by now so familiar that dialogue is rarely ever necessary -- which is much much more than one can say about almost every other film this summer. (The exceptions, of course, are 'X2,' 'Finding Nemo' and '28 Days Later.') Der Arnold fits his role like finely-cut body-built hand to black- leather glove, and new-to-the-series director Jonathan Mostow injects a very welcome sense of knowing humor into the proceedings. Meanwhile, somehow Nick Stahl and Claire Danes manage to not only avoid the curse of the young-pretty-talented-actor- cast-in-overwhelming-Hollywood-spectacle, but actually ELEVATE the film with their subtle, emotionally grounded performances.