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We caught a preview screening of The Jacket last week, a sort of thriller/suspense film starring Adrian Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It's pretty much a rehashed Jacob's Ladder, but with a Back to the Future ending. Brody stars as a Gulf War I vet with amnesia. He gets flashbacks, then ends up in a mental hospital where he gets flash forwards. There is a lot of effort put into making the film feel creepy and cold, but after a while I actually got a little bored with it. There's not much suspense, just some confusion. But if you really liked Jacob's Ladder or Donny Darko this might be for you.
I also caught a screening of Robots, the new animated feature from Fox. It's very similar to Toy Story, but instead of taking place in modern day, semi-realistic surroundings the environment is entirely imagined. If Dr. Seuss had been a robot fetishist he might have made something like this. The film is packed full of punny jokes, but in dialogue and visuals, so there are plenty of adult laughs despite the thin, kid-friendly plot. Robin Williams does his usual manic sidekick character, but the other characters have little personality. But the visuals are incredible. Imagine every kitchen appliance from the 40's and 50's you ever thought was super cool came to life and started dancing around in a city designed by Rube Goldberg. The detail is amazing - surfaces are scuffed and scratched, background scenery is busy and alive, everything seems to move even when it doesn't have to. And the characters are imaginative as well, something between Iron Giant, Short Circuit and the old art deco Superman cartoon. If the plot and personalities behind it were as interesting it'd be a fantastic film. Instead, it's just good cotton candy to share with the kids in your life (or in yourself.)
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