Posts Tagged ‘Lily Cole’


20130512033330!Imaginarium_of_doctor_parnassus_ver3As you may have guessed from the title “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” is an odd movie. Directed by Terry Gilliam, it is the strange tale of a mysterious immortal who complicates his life by making deals with the devil. Complicating Gilliam’s life during production was the unexpected death of his star Heath Ledger but, the show, as they say, must go on and here we are after the untimely January 2008 passing of the young actor, with a completed film. How did Gilliam finish the movie? A new credit, “A Film from Heath Ledger and Friends” tells the tale. Three of Ledger’s buddies, Johnny Depp (seen dancing on a leaf!), Colin Farrell and Jude Law, stepped in to play “through the looking glass” versions of the late actor.

Set in present day London the film begins with a look at Doctor Parnassus’s (Christopher Plummer) bizarre traveling show which offers people a chance to step through Dr.P’s magical mirror into an alternate reality. He’s selling imagination, but his gift of mind’s eye manipulation came with a heavy price. Eons before he made a trade with the devil (Tom Waits)—remarkable power in exchange for his first born daughter on her sixteenth birthday. That anniversary is now days away but with the help of a mysterious stranger named Tony (played by Ledger, Depp Law and Farrell) and the magic mirror Dr. P just may be able to save her.

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” is more a piece of surrealist art than a traditional movie. Imagine watching a Salvador Dali painting come to life and you’ll get the idea. Gilliam, who co-wrote the script as well as directed, has allowed his imagination to run riot. While the story meanders to and fro he fills the screen with unforgettable images; Old Nick dangling Dr. P from the end of a branch or a multi-eyed hot air balloon shaped like a man’s head or the ensemble of skirt wearing, dancing Bobbies. Visually it’ll make your eyeballs do the Watusi.

The story, however, may leave some a bit baffled, but so what if it warps the brain a bit? The film oozes Gilliam’s trademarked anarchic spirit—he might be the only filmmaker who could replace his leading man with three other actors and actually pull it off—and is the most original movie of the year.


THE-MOTH-DIARIES-Movie“The Moth Diaries” is based on is the atmospheric 2002 debut novel by Rachel Klein. The book is ripe with gothic menace. It’s a “Dracula” allegory that explores female sexuality, jealousy, supernatural bullying and repression at an all-girls private school. On screen in this lazily made movie, however, those qualities become as thematically washed-out and colorless as star Lily Cole’s ghostly complexion.

Adapted for the screen by director Mary “American Psycho” Harron, the story revolves around Rebecca (Sarah Bolger), a young woman studying gothic literature at a creepy old private school. Her studies begin to bleed into her real life when a new student, the otherworldly Ernessa (Lily Cole), comes between her and her BFF Lucie (Sarah Gadon playing a loosely veiled version of Ms. Lucy Westenra, from Bram Stoker’s Dracula). The gothic horror trifecta of sex, blood and death become all too real as students and teachers start dying and Rebecca’s worst nightmares come true.

Mary Harron should have been the perfect person to bring this feminist gothic horror to the big screen. Her past films, “I Shot Andy Warhol,” “American Psycho” and “The Notorious Bettie Page” are rich experiences, studies in subtext and nuance in a way that “The Moth Diaries” just isn’t.

At a slight 85 minutes, it feels as though large chunks of narrative have been randomly removed from the film in order to snap up the pacing. The movie does fly along, but it does so in sacrifice of fully thought out ideas, dramatic tension or characters you care about.

Despite some atmosphere and a fetching cast, “The Moth Diaries” is so lacking in depth not even the addition of 3D would add some dimension to this cardboard-thin excuse for a gothic tale.

What could have been an interesting study in anxiety and subjugation is, instead, a melodramatic mess that makes the histrionic “Twilight” series look multidimensional and didactic.