toretorden

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Big Fish
(2003)

A son tries to separate fantasy from truth in order to find out who his father is
Ed Bloom (Albert Finney), a larger-than-life kind of guy, has always told miraculous stories about his life where fantasy and reality are seemingly interwoven. This has lead to years of alienation from his son Will (Billy Crudup) who feels he never heard the real stories and who doesn't appreciate his father's fantastic tales. When Ed Bloom is on his deathbed, his son returns. Feeling like he never knew his father, he hopes to separate the lies and fantasy in his stories from the truth, hoping to find the true person underneath the tall-tales.

In the movie, Edward Bloom recounts stories from his life. We see the younger Edward Bloom (mostly played by Ewan McGregor) as the main character of these fantastic tales. There are many themes in this movie as they vary with the story being told, but the main theme is the relationship between father and son as his son rediscovers and comes to terms with who his father is.

It's a heart warming, adventurous, funny movie where fantasy and reality go hand in hand and the possible is as likely as the impossible.

To me, this is Tim Burton at his best. Warmly recommended!

The Fisher King
(1991)

Heartwarming, funny, adventurous .. one of Terry Gilliam's best.
Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) is a successful radio-host almost at the top of his career with a cynical stick-it-to-the-man attitude. Unwittingly, he inadvertently provokes a psychotic listener to kill the patrons and himself in a small café with a shotgun.

.. Then we meet Jack Lucas, 4 years later. His career is destroyed and he spends most of his time feeling guilty and wallowing in self-pity. He gets by living off his girlfriend. One night when he's feeling particularly bad, he goes out on a binge and ends up in the nastier parts of town. He's about to get killed by a gang when Parry (Robin Williams) and his friends come to his rescue. Parry is a mentally insane bum who nevertheless takes care of Jack. Jack then later learns that Parry lost his former life and his mental health an evening 4 years ago in a café when a psychotic radio-listener shot his wife in the head with a shotgun.

Jack Lucas, ridden with guilt, sees his opportunity not only to save Parry, but to save himself in the process. Throw in some holy grail legend, a red knight (the manifestation of Parry's past), interesting characters and romancing subplots and you got yourself an adventurous, sometimes hilarious and heart-warming movie.

Personally, I think this is Terry Gilliam at his best.

Brazil
(1985)

A look into a future where efficiency and technology leaves no room for humanity.
This movie is a pessimistic look into a future where technology, bureaucracy and efficiency has in many ways replaced humanity and people's freedom to do as they want.

We meet Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a bureaucrat who dreams he could fly away from technology and bureaucracy and find the woman of his dreams. The reality of his life is something quite different. He's a slave of the modern, needlessly (in)efficient society where you can't do pretty much anything without the right form and a stamp. While trying to sort out the wrongful arrest of a Harry Buttle, Sam meets the woman he recognizes as the woman from his dreams (Katherine Helmond).

Because of a mistake, it's believed that Sam is responsible for terrorist bombings and so he becomes hunted by the same people he used to work with and so the life of both him and the woman he meets are eventually in danger.

In this movie, a cold society with it's needlessly advanced and (un)efficient bureaucracy turns innocent people into villains, gives no room for human emotions and turns friends against each other. The movie has a "lovely" feeling of desperation and helplessness as Sam is never on top of any situation but finds himself being pushed or pulled along by circumstances out of his reach.

The ending, which I won't spoil, is deliciously daring and in retrospect - about as good as I think it could possibly be.

Many (perhaps most) prefer this to the Fisher King, so depending on who you are and what you prefer, this may just be Terry Gilliam at his best.

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