Monday, May 9, 2011

Another two movie day: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and The Tourist

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

This was Heath Ledger's last movie. In fact, I think he died while they were still working on it. Every time he entered a scene, I was sad that he's gone all over again. He was beautiful and brilliant and tragic and that's all I'm going to say about that.

So, the movie. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a complex story about a wager between Dr. Parnassus (Chris Plummer) and the devil.

They have a competition to see who can collect the most souls in the Imaginarium. The winner gets his sixteen year old daughter, Valentina. Parnassus travels in a side-show trailer that folds into a stage and on that stage is a mirror.

People who enter the mirror (the Imaginarium) see their dreams and are offered a choice. If they choose correctly, they receive enlightenment. If they choose incorrectly, the devil gets their soul and he collects immediately.

During the course of this competition, Heath Ledger’s character, Tony, shows up and helps them with the show while trying to deal with his own demons.

The story takes place in two types of setting. The real world is gritty and dreary. The wardrobe for the main characters is ragged gypsy, while the general public is dressed in modern attire.

The other setting is inside the surreal mirror world, where the imagination of whoever enters becomes their surroundings. One lady dreams of material things so she is surrounded by shoes and Faberge eggs. A kid sees a candy world. The visual effects are amazing.

There is actually more to the story than this. I said it was complicated, right? We have the romance between Parnassus and Valentina’s mother, the romance between Valentina and Aaron, a guy who travels with the show, etc. Trust me, we could be here all night. Way too much story. Not enough time for each component to be fully developed.

The story lags in a few places and gets confusing. I watched this with my 13 year old daughter and she kept asking me questions, some of which I couldn't answer.

The movie wasn't bad, but it was too complicated to cram into two hours of film. C+


The Tourist

We have Johnny Depp as Frank and Angelina Jolie as Elise. Elise is in love with a man name Alexander Pearce who stole money from a gangster and disappeared two years prior to the beginning of the tourist story. Both the mob and the police are after him. They follow Elise because they know he will contact her.

And he does. She receives a letter instructing her to board a specific train to Italy and to choose a man that is is his height and build and make them (as in the police and the mob) think the man is him.

She finds Frank on the train and he accompanies her to the hotel. The ruse works. The police and the mob proceed to chase Frank.

The Tourist is filmed like old movies. There aren't any slick special effects. The characters aren't super human and exceedingly agile (like many parts Jolie plays).

Visually, the movie is absolutely gorgeous. The architecture and the all-around beauty of Venice are as much a part of the story as the characters. There are more boats than cars, which was very cool.

The glamour is way over the top. Jolie is constantly dressed like she just stepped out of Mad Men, even riding in boats with high heels on. Her eye shadow was mesmerizingly perfect too.

Depp and Jolie do pretty well as a romantic couple in a timid sort of way. There isn’t really any mad passion in the movie but it worked.
Great movie A-

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