Notes from the Manager
Most of you have probably heard of The Illusionist already, but it was nominated — along with How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 — for a Best Animated Feature Academy Award. I haven't seen it yet (the Blogger's opinions here are based on the "universal acclaim" it has been receiving from other critics).
The film is by Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville), based on a script by Jacques Tati, a French filmmaker who had a very singular approach to comedy: it's gentle physical comedy (not exactly "slapstick"), with a heavy dose of social commentary. Many of his films are available on Criterion Collection discs (and via Netflix Streaming), including Playtime, which is widely considered to be his masterpiece. Personally, I would not recommend starting there with his movies; it seemed to me like all of Tati's ideas distilled into one movie.
And yes, for those of you in the Chicago area, it is actually playing at the Music Box Theatre, one of my favorite moviehouses in the city, and one that is long overdue for Jason and Devi to visit… I will definitely be catching it there as soon as possible.
UPDATE: I was interviewed by MTV Geek not that long ago, and it looks like they've posted it. Checkitout!
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Saturday, October 4, 2014
Written and directed by James Ward Byrkit.
Starring Emily Foxler, Hugo Armstrong, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Lorene Scafaria, and Maury Sterling.
A new Patreon backer at the $50 level opted out of the usual reward of a plug in the “Become a Multiplex Patron” box (above, on the website), asking instead for me to plug the 2013 indie science fiction filmCoherence (with which he is not affiliated). I was happy to oblige, and so “A fan of Coherence” — a.k.a. The Patron, as I’ll refer to him from here out — is, for the duration of his patronage, among Multiplex‘s supporters. (And, yes, I will review just about any movie a $50 backer asks me to.)
What really got my interest in the film (aside from being asked very nicely to see it) was that The Patron compared it to Shane Carruth’s Primer, one of the best no-budget sci-fi movies ever made. I can definitely see the comparison: both are decidedly low-budget films with small casts and a science-fictiony premise. I feel like seeing the film fairly blind is probably the best, so I won’t summarize the plot beyond the premise of eight friends having a dinner party when a comet passes over and Strange Things Happen, but I don’t think I’m quite as enthusiastic as The Patron.
Unfortunately, the “go in as blind as you can” suggestion means I feel like I need to be pretty vague. Some clunky (and largely unnecessary) exposition gets spat out early on, which tried my patience a bit, but it gets fun as the plot gets rolling. And the plot is definitely the star of the film, not the largely forgettable cast of affluent, Southern California white people or the dialogue, which often feels improvised (in that it neither pushes the story forward nor reveals character, as good dialogue ought to).
Despite some genuinely terrifically creepy or suspenseful moments in the film, a handful of contrived plot points hold it back from being much more than a fun genre flick for me, but I found myself wondering what would happen next — almost up to the very end. A late turn in the film got more of an eye-roll from me than the shock that I think it was supposed register. As always, your mileage may vary, but the film’s merits make it well worth a viewing, particularly for science fiction fans suffering from blockbuster fatigue.
Here’s the trailer! If it piques your interest, please do check it out. It’s available for rent from Amazon Instant Video or for purchase from its official website, among other places. (I never recommend reading YouTube comments, but definitely on’t read the comments if you want to stay away from spoilers.)
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