Tag Archives: Anna Friel

Limitless (2011, Neil Burger)

I never thought I’d see a movie where Bradley Cooper gives a far better performance than Robert De Niro. Not to say Cooper’s good in Limitless—the film is mildly amusing, sort of an amped up episode of “House,” mixed with Love Potion No. 9 and Flowers for Algernon, but Cooper’s still a lot better than De Niro.

Leslie Dixon’s script has a lot of strong points (one wonders if the weaker details are from the source novel). If Limitless were a little smarter, working to alienate instead of embrace, it would be even better. The real problem—besides De Niro being awful and Cooper being weak—is director Burger. He has two modes. One is bad handheld digital video and the other is bad, digitally enhanced digital video. It’s horrific at times.

Oh, wait, I forgot the photography—when Cooper’s got his super mental powers (which include his eyes getting bluer)—is important. It’s high contrast when Cooper’s in super-mode. Actually, I suppose Jo Willems’s photography is good, doing what Burger asks of it. It’s just a stupid request.

Abbie Cornish is weak as Cooper’s love interest, as is Andrew Howard as his nemesis. Anna Friel barely has any lines but she’s decent; Tomas Arana has none and he gives the film’s best performance.

One of the funnier problems is how Cooper’s a handsome guy made scuzzy for when he’s dumb. If they’d reversed it, it would’ve been much better.

But lots of changes would’ve made it better.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Neil Burger; screenplay by Leslie Dixon, based on a novel by Alan Glynn; director of photography, Jo Willems; edited by Tracy Adams and Naomi Geraghty; music by Paul Leonard-Morgan; production designer, Patrizia von Brandenstein; produced by Dixon, Ryan Kavanaugh and Scott Kroopf; released by Relativity Media.

Starring Bradley Cooper (Eddie Morra), Robert De Niro (Carl Van Loon), Abbie Cornish (Lindy), Andrew Howard (Gennady), Anna Friel (Melissa), Johnny Whitworth (Vernon), Tomas Arana (Man in Tan Coat), Robert John Burke (Pierce), Darren Goldstein (Kevin Doyle), Ned Eisenberg (Morris Brandt), T.V. Carpio (Valerie), Richard Bekins (Hank Atwood) and Patricia Kalember (Mrs. Atwood).


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Land of the Lost (2009, Brad Silberling)

I kind of remember the “Land of the Lost” theme song, but don’t remember ever watching the show. I watched the movie because of an interview Elvis Mitchell did with Silberling, but have no idea what he said in that interview to make me interested in seeing it.

Land of the Lost was a box office disaster, which makes it sort of interesting to see. The film’s got some great production design, if not production value–the studio shoots are clearly shot indoors (the forest scenes and the volcano top) and it really hampers the effect. I can’t figure out if those scenes are supposed to look cheap or not (wasn’t a big thing of the original series how cheap it looked?). Because then there are scenes where it’s this grandiose sci-fi and not cheap-looking at all. So I’m confused.

I’ve also become something of a Will Ferrell fan, who knowingly plays idiots well. Because his character in this one is supposed to be a scientist, it takes a while–it’s not believable the guy graduated from sixth grade, much less got his doctorate (and why is a paleontologist doing work in quantum physics?).

The real draw is Anna Friel, who I don’t think I’ve seen in anything before. She plays straight woman to Ferrell and Danny McBride’s morons and turns it into this magnificent role.

The plotting is lousy–the film drags on and on and it’s only occasionally funny (but then riotous), but it’s not terrible.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Brad Silberling; screenplay by Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas, based on the television series created by Sid and Marty Krofft; director of photography, Dion Beebe; edited by Peter Teschner; music by Michael Giacchino; production designer, Bo Welch; produced by Jimmy Miller, Sid Krofft and Marty Krofft; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Will Ferrell (Dr. Rick Marshall), Danny McBride (Will Stanton), Anna Friel (Holly Cantrell), Jorma Taccone (Chaka), John Boylan (Enik), Leonard Nimoy (The Zarn) and Matt Lauer as the host of the Today Show.


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