Category Archives: in treatment

Life of Pi

Life of Pi ~ Well, it may not be the live action version of Calvin and Hobbes, but the moral of the story is Don’t move to Canada.

I saw Life of Pi the day after I saw Skyfall, marking not only a return for me to seeing movies in theaters after a while, but also seeing two visually stunning films back to back. The visuals are amazing. This is notably the first film I have seen in 2D, that was available in 3D, that I have regretted not seeing in 3D. I spent a good amount of time saying, “Wow, that would have been incredible in 3D.”

Told in flashback, in the framing sequence of a man telling a writer of a life-changing event he experienced as a younger man, Life of Pi is about perception. Pi’s family, who owns a zoo in India, decides to move to Canada, with the animals, via a shady Japanese freighter. Shipwrecked, Pi finds himself alone with a tiger on a lifeboat at sea for months. His survival is at the core of the tale, and director Ang Lee makes it all worthwhile with this incredible piece of eye candy.

There’s a kicker at the end, that in the film disappointed me, but had I read the book the movie is based on, I might have hurled it across the room. Yeah, it’s like that. Good thing I didn’t read the book, I’m sure it would have infuriated me. It is the stunning visuals in the film that talk my anger in off the ledge.

Young Pi, played by Suraj Sharma, is fantastic in a role using primarily gestures and facial expressions – and acting for the most part alone, with and against a completely CGI tiger. Yeah, that blew me away. There’s no tiger, it’s all CGI. But that tiger is a hell of an actor too. The adult Pi is played by one of my favorite Indian actors, Irrfan Khan, who folks might know from The Amazing Spider-Man or Slumdog Millionaire, but who I loved in HBO’s “In Treatment.” His performance is both solid and subtlety brilliant.

Life of Pi must be seen, preferably on the big screen, and preferably in 3D. This film will be in contention for several Oscars this year. See it.

And oh yeah, don’t move to Canada, or at least not the way Pi did.

Chronicle

Chronicle ~ The famous tagline of the Amazing Spider-Man legend is “With great power comes great responsibility”, and that’s really what this ‘found footage’ scifi horror adventure flick is about. Or maybe that’s what the tagline for Chronicle should be, because as we see as the movie proceeds, we need to add a word to the saying – “With great power should come great responsibility.”

In the film, Michael B. Jordan (“Friday Night Lights”) the popular guy, Alex Russell the regular guy, and Dane DeHaan (“In Treatment”) the picked-on misfit nerd with family troubles all get super powers, specifically telekinesis. This commonality bonds them to each other in an unorthodox friendship. Much like M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, the best part here is the boys learning to use their powers. One particularly wonderful scene shows them learning to fly. It’s breathtaking. If “Smallville” had done it this well, it would still be on the air, and if The Man of Steel (telling the origin again) does it like this, it will be a hit. Worthwhile just for these scenes.

Things break down of course each one subjected to their own inner struggles. Guess which one becomes the villain, kinda telegraphed, but still well done. The ending battle is pretty cool as far as special effects go, but the found footage format makes it difficult to follow. As much as I usually dislike that kind of flick, the end is the only place it doesn’t work. This was much better than I thought it would be. Recommended for the genre crowd.

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Don’t forget, The Virtual Book Tour for THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES by Fran Metzman is featured today at Becca Butcher’s blog with an interview with the author.

The tour continues tomorrow on my good friend Robin Renee’s blog. Don’t miss it! For a full list of Blog Tour stops, go here.

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See You Next Tuesday… In Therapy

While I’ve been waiting for Netflix to finally send me the first season of “The Wire” so I can catch up with the rest of the world on that flurry of excitement – I’ve been watching HBO’s other hot but somehow overlooked show, “In Treatment.”

Airing weeknights and based on an Israeli TV series, it’s quite an experiment in television. Monday through Thursday we see different patients’ sessions with their therapist played by Gabriel Byrne, who occasionally and sexily lets his Irish accent out to play with a effortless growl. And then on Friday, we get to see his own session with his unofficial therapist played by the ever-squinting Dianne Weist. My own personal dislike for her aside, she’s quite good in this.

The real acting however occurs on Tuesday evenings when Blair Underwood portrays patient Alex (seen above). This possibly gay fighter pilot who accidentally murdered children in a school in Iraq is a powerful character, more compelling than any other I’ve seen on TV lately. Underwood and Byrne together on Tuesday nights is an acting tour de force. The other nights are good, but Tuesdays will be the ones up for Emmys this year. “In Treatment” is must-not-miss television.