Category Archives: Movies

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus…Controversy and, well, Creepiness

Terry Gilliam and Heath Ledger

Upon first glance, I’m sure that the title above means nothing to you (unless you’re a film dork like myself). But allow your trustee DailyDale correspondent to fill you in. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is currently the most talked about and controversial film coming out of Hollywood right now. The reason for the controversy is two-fold: First, the films protagonist, Tony, is played by Heath Ledger. As we all know, Heath suffered an untimely and mysterious death last summer right around the time the Dark Knight was released, making his Joker interpretation all the more creepy. He was in the middle of filming this movie (Parnassus) when he passed. This my friends, is called a dilemma. So, wild and whacky Terry Gilliam, who’s responsible for celluloid trips (weird movies) such as Brazil, 12 Monkeys, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas just happens to be Parnassus’s director and co-writer. Long story short? This pretentious bastard decided it would work to show the audience multiple sides of the character, and use a different actor for each “side”. Thus, the film employs four different actors to play the same guy. Gillaim claims this works perfectly as art and for the story’s sake, everyone else smells a dead-actor cover-up.

That my friends, is just the first reason why this movie is causing so much controversy. By the way, when I say controversy what I mean is that now that this film has been made and edited, no distributor in the United States wants to touch it. But why you ask? Wouldn’t everyone be rushing to see Heath’s final film? Won’t that be the number one selling point, that this is Heath Ledger’s last body of work, and thus every distributor should be lining up for it like they did for The Dark Knight? Normally, yes. That should be the case. But, and boy is this a big, fat, Oprah BUT, but what if i told you that the first time you see “Tony” (the Heath character) in this movie he’s hanging by his neck from a noose attached to the London Bridge? Would that be a creepy image to give audiences, perhaps a little too much, when the last time this man was making headlines it was for his death which could have been a suicide? This would be like if Michael Jackson was in the middle of recording an album when he died, and the album came out today with the title track called “If I die from too many pharmaceuticals”. Creeeeeeppppyyyyyyy.
So here’s what we have: A Terry Gillam directed movie (always a gamble to begin with) where the lead actor who died mid shoot is seen hanging from a noose in the first scene, and throughout the rest of the movie is replaced with three alter-egos played by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law. So hey, at least Gillaim picked inexpensive actors!!! (Why do the alter-egos have to be sexy? Couldnt they have casted Andy Dick or Philip Seymour Hoffman? I don’t think my alter-ego is 6’3, blonde with a six-pack)

Anyway, perhaps now you can understand why no distributor in their right mind wants to touch this gamble. But, the fact remains that Heath Ledger was an unbelievably talented, dedicated and versatile actor. For that reason alone I think this movie deserves to be seen. If Parnassus never gets released, Heath’s lasting body of work would be a nut-job clown who makes me shit my pants whenever he opens his mouth. Word on the street is “Tony” in The Imaginarium is a human character with human emotions and someone to identify with. I’d like to see one more of those roles with Heath, I sure as hell identified with him in A Knight’s Tale. And Brokeback. I could do this all day…

Heath in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus


Lord of the Rings Blu-ray Trilogy Delayed!

With its original release date only two months away, the Blu-ray release of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy’ has been pushed back from Nov. 3 to sometime in the first quarter of 2010. Considering that this release only contains the theatrical versions of the movies, with the extended directors cut planned to be released sometime afterward, you can expect that those will also be delayed. Unless the delay was to match up dates with the other edition, but it doesn’t make sense to make them compete in my mind. Personally I will probably wait until the directors cut is released before I pick these up. Hopefully they get their heads right and put them both together like every other Blu-ray so far that’s also had a directors cut. After all what’s the 50 gb of disc space for?

Hot New Blu-Ray Releases

A few classic and cult worthy movies have finally gotten the Blu-ray treatment like they deserved.

Yesterday, September 1st, the Sappihre Series Editions of Braveheart and Gladiator finally hit the store shelves. Theses editions are filled with extensive special features and in Gladiator’s case, the theatrical and extended versions of the movie.
Also, on August 31st, Requiem For a Dream was released, and if anybody hasn’t seen Darren Aronofsky’s wonderfully disturbing story about addictions, watching it on blu-ray might just turn you into a full blown junky.

Inglourious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino takes a baseball bat to the audience’s head!!!

In the trailer for Inglourious Basterds, we see a scene where a petrified German soldier is about to have his head bashed in by a wooden baseball bat at the hands of one of the “Basterds”. This, my friends, is a perfect metaphor for what the movie itself is like. If you know Tarantino movies at all, you know that all of his films exhibit certain qualities that could be called signature Tarantino. And in this movie, he takes his bag of tricks and fuckin bashes them into your head.

Fortunately, QT is one of the most original, badass and captivating filmmakers to ever live, and the film itself proves to share these qualities with its mad-scientist director. The movie plays out like several different stories, that in the end all combine into one (sound familiar Pulp Fiction fans?), and of course they all revolve around World War 2. But never have I seen a “World War 2” film with less cliché scenes. This movie actually has no battle scenes, no explosions, no tanks, no bazookas. Just Hitler, Brad Pitt, a Nazi movie premier gone wrong, and a whole lot of whacky dialogue. That’s all I’ll say in terms of what actually happens, its your goddam job to watch the movie.

I will say this though, it’s good to see that Tarantino is still willing to use film as an experiment, not simply a money grab. In a recent GQ article Quentin noted that “right now is my time to make movies. I don’t want a kid, I don’t want a wife etc. Because that would take away from me making movies. It’s not a job. Not at all is this a job. It’s a passion. When this becomes a job, I’ll stop.”

I hope Angelina's makin lasagna tonight....

Is Basterds a masterpiece like the last line of the film suggests (you’ll see what I’m talking about)? No. Is it as good as Pulp Fiction? No. Is it an interesting and profound movie about people, our weird obsessions, violence, war, and way better than 99% of other movies playing in your multiplex right now? You bet your ass it is. Go see it dorks.