The Brothers Grimm
One of the biggest visionary filmmakers of recent times, former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam quickly fell on hard times as money to fund his features became harder and harder to secure. Made with the Weinstein brothers, The Brothers Grimm (2005) feels like a compromised film, although it contains many glimmers of the greater film that it could have been. Matt Damon and the late Heath Ledger star as the title brothers, not yet storytellers, but rather a kind of medieval ghostbusters who create and vanquish their own ghosts for pay. It follows that they must battle a real evil in the form of an evil, beautiful queen (Monica Bellucci).
Gilliam's touches are evident throughout, including the oppressive design of the woods with its dead leaves and black crows, even if Ehren Kruger's script is a little lacking. Jonathan Pryce, Lena Headey, and Peter Stormare co-star.
Newly avaialble on Hulu Plus
Shadows and Fog
One of Woody Allen's stranger movies, Shadows and Fog (1992) was based on a one-act play Allen had written in 1975. It was shot in black-and-white entirely on studio sets, deliberatly evoking the German Expressionism movement of the 1920s. Allen plays Kleinman, the Kafkaesque hero who finds himself hunted by a mob for no particular reason. Several other strange characters roam about in the night; these are played by an incredible cast of A-listers, many of whom only have a few minutes of screen time: Jodie Foster, Mia Farrow, Kathy Bates, Madonna, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Donald Pleasence, Lily Tomlin, and more.
The movie doesn't quite come together as a whole, but some of those vintage 1970s-era Allen zingers are intact; it has quite a few laughs, as well as some luscious cinematography.
That voodoo that Vudu does so well
Easily the most disappointing movie yet made by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar (2014) still found a devoted and passionate following among film fans and many film critics. Inadvertently borrowing a plot from the much-hated 1998 movie Lost in Space, Interstellar features overwrought post-apocalyptic ideas, iffy story twists, forced editing, and limp dialogue (including a much-repeated Dylan Thomas verse). Additionally, the controversially noisy, dialogue-drowning sound design drove many viewers crazy. Yet it contains some truly haunting moments, notably when a black hole distorts time, as well as the hallucinatory climax.
It may survive more as a sci-fi camp classic than any kind of masterpiece, but certainly fans of the genre will want to give it a shot (if they haven't already). Recent Oscar-winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway star, along with Wes Bentley, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Michael Caine, and Casey Affleck.
Don't miss this on TubiTV
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.