Saturday, October 8, 2011

Snazzy modernist house built on smelly dump

If you're going to have a cool shiny sci-fi premise and shoot it all Matrix-y and Fight Club-y, you ought to try and have a halfway-decent premise, not a tired old canard of an excuse. I'm talking about the discredited idea that one only uses 10% of one's brain, and that the other 90% is not available to us. (This doesn't make sense even on its own terms, without trying to prove or disprove it. Why an organism evolve so as to have 1000% of necessary brain capacity?)

The film gets worse from there. First, the hero is going to do a lot of despicable things, so it is necessary to get an actor who is handsome and charming. Instead, they got lizard face sleazeball Bradley Cooper, who looks a comedy group's version of a leading man, not a real leading man. And he has all the charm of the guy who used to stand behind and to the right of the guy in high school who gave nerds swirleys. He is a complete nonentity who the studios are trying to promote into a star the way they tried with Bill Paxton 15 years ago. Notice how people swarm to Bill Paxton movies? These actors are just ciphers that directors plug into roles so as not to upstage those directors and their schmancy tricks.

The picture quickly lurches into a ramshackle remake of X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, which is to receive an official remake next year; that is, a medical breakthrough gives the protagonist extraordinary powers at a greater and greater cost to his mental and physical health. Unfortunately, Limitless, being a 2011 movie has to have a "happy" ending, requiring it to twist itself into knots and negate its own story.

And it seems Robert DeNiro has decided to emulate his role model, Marlon Brando, picking up easy money by sleepwalking through parts for which he is miscast for films seeking names, whether or not those names fit the story or the role.

Sorry if this post is more judgmental than I like to be, and less observational, but the only thing to observe is the cynical, mechanical way a project like this is put together. That is, not created, but "put together" like a Chevy or a Frankenstein monster.

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