Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jennifer Lopez: Self-Appointed Patron Saint of 2000?

Glenn from Stale Popcorn here to throw in two cents worth of discussion about the year 2000 per Nathaniel's request.


It was quite surprising to read the other day that Nathaniel Rogers had not seen Tarsem Singh's The Cell. I know he can be a bit queasy when it comes to horror, but there are quite a few cinephiles who swear by that movie as some sort of masterpiece. From two completely different ends of the spectrum there is Roger Ebert, whose four-star opinion might not hold much (much?) weight these days, but reading his four-star rave (and later top ten placement) of the time in 2000 was influential in my desire to see the film. And then there's Nick Davis' rave, which makes me sit here and scream "YES! Of course!" a lot. In my own humble opinion I say that The Cell is a stunning very-VERY almost masterpiece.

Of course, one really should experience The Cell on the big screen, but in this day and age of so many movies being released week after week that a cinephile is "expected" to see, one can't truly see them all. It's just that there's only so much our eyes can soak in when viewing on a TV (no matter the size) of Eiko Ishioka's (shamefully Oscar-snubbed) costumes, Tom Foden's production design and Paul Laufer's cinematography, which takes famed macabre artworks and turns them into cinematic nightmarish hallucinations. And it takes a cinema sound system to truly get the bombastic effect of Vincent D'Onofrio screaming "WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?" within his cacophonous chamber filled with wall-hangings masked as villainous capes.

The film has so much more in it though than pure aesthetics though. Just take a moment to think of the fact that the character played by Jennifer Lopez, a psychologist that literally enters inside the mind of patients, sees herself as a pure and kindly mother saint when we enter her mind. Or once the credits start to role, but think about how hard it is to portray pure nightmares on screen and how well Tarsem does this through his use of dialogue and pacing.


If you haven't already seen The Cell please do so. You have the ability too so why not. It's not like how Tarsem's second feature The Fall, which still hasn't even received a release here in Australia. You have no excuse! I've actually written more on the subject at Stale Popcorn so feel free to drop by.

15 comments:

Arlo said...

I really enjoyed The Cell and think it is underrated. I believe it was the first R rated movie I saw in theaters too! So that was exciting for a 13 year old. I haven't seen it since actually but I do remember it being horrifyingly beautiful. If that's possible.

I also love The Fall. I saw it on a tiny screen on a plane coming back to the US last year. I was mesmerized, even when watching it on such a small screen (probably the worst way to fully enjoy it). The little Romanian girl was wonderful in it.

Dean said...

It is in my opinion the most underrated movie of the decade.

Tim said...

The Fall is literally one of my ten favorite films of the decade, and yet there's something about The Cell that I just can't quite fall in love with. But it's absolutely worth a viewing and a serious critical re-evaluation. You certainly can't fault it for lack of imagination.

Glenn said...

The critical reception actually baffles me. I mean, so many critics (and cinephile audiences) rant and rant and rant some more about movies being the same over and over again, and yet here was a movie that was framed as "mainstream", but was in actual fact a big giant "Fuck you!" to everyone who went to see it expecting some sort of Ashley Judd thriller with a sci-fi angle. And that the makers had the balls to just do anything they wanted (the harp sequence comes to mind) sure is something.

I wish I could have seen The Fall. It only played for a week at one cinema and I wasn't even aware it was happening. It's vanished ever since.

pomme said...

"the cell" is a long version of Tarsen REM's video clip for me.
beautiful to look but awful story for a movie.

that needs a director's cut because i remember the stories between the director and the studio:he wanted to kill Lopez after 20 min of the movie and the studio disagreed

Chris Na Taraja said...

The Cell is not the greatest movie ever, but it is visually stunning and the concept is more thriller than horror, although there are some pretty disturbing images. it's worth a look or two.

I think they could have killed Lopez, she's the weakest thing about the film.

Chris Na Taraja said...

Yeah killing the star is a bad idea...hello PSYCHO!!!

jahs34 said...

This is a coffee table book of a movie, beautiful imagines, no story at all, even at the end the cell device wasn't useful to solve the mystery, they kinda just stumble there.

Victor S said...

I really love The Cell and The Fall. Tarsem movies are not supposed to be seen on a small screen, but that's how I've seen both and all I could think was that it I would love to see them in the big screen.

Glenn said...

"No story"? NO STORY! What movie did you guys watch, exactly?

Debbie said...

Vincent D'Onforio is the most underated actor of our times. When will he get his Oscar or Emmy?

Carl said...

I am all on board with the love for "The Cell". Saw it in its initial theatrical release and it is every bit the scrumptious eye candy that has been described above. I think the script and story are solid as well, and I thought J.Lo held up well playing against D'Onofrio and Vince Vaughn. Glad to hear there is at least a vocal minority (?) that think as highly of this film as I do.

Any of you out there who also feel the love for another eye-candy spectacle, 1998's "What Dreams May Come"?

Glenn said...

What Dreams May Come is not a movie I can defend at all (apart from the visual effects).

It still disappoints me that The Cell could only manage a Best Make-Up Oscar nomination.

Bailey said...

I actually love this movie, but agree with those who say it is lacking with regard to plot and script. Then again, I am an art nerd and had no real idea what this movie was going into it the first time, so I was really excited to recognize so many references from the art world. It really is a quite visually stunning film, and those parts are done perfectly.

I hardly ever enjoy Jennifer Lopez's performances, so killing her off after 20 minutes might have actually kind of been shocking to the audience and made me like her more. (Though to be fair, I thought D'Onofrio was a forgettable villain.) And how hilarious - I had never really thought about how J.Lo was a saint in her own head at the end lol. Girl shock. We all knew that was up there all along.

Banksy said...

The Fall is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's criminal how overlooked and undermarketed it was. It deserves a re-release on the big screen.