Jason Kliot

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Awake Review


Bad
Surprising, really, that "anesthetic awareness" -- helpless, immobile and, it should be noted, very rare consciousness during surgery -- hasn't been explored in a thriller before. Or maybe it has and I don't remember; that would explain why Awake sounds so novel but feels so familiar. In Joby Harold's film, young millionaire Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen) is undergoing a risky heart transplant operation when he realizes the anesthetic isn't working as it should -- he is completely and silently paralyzed, but continues to hear and feel everything around him. If the movie wanted to top itself, it could find a way for Christensen to transfer immediately from anesthetic awareness into catalepsy, and maybe knock off Poe's "Premature Burial." Unfortunately and despite its killer gimmick, Awake isn't consumed with that kind of B-movie zeal.

Clay, like so many men before him, tries to block out the pain by intense concentration on thoughts of Jessica Alba (playing his girlfriend Sam -- though oddly enough, Clay's strongest memories reveal nothing more explicit than Alba's demurely exposed back). His focus breaks down when he overhears some, shall we say, less than reassuring words from his doctors, and from there a trapped Clay races against time, desperately attempting to alert Sam and/or his possessive mother (Lena Olin) of the danger he's in.

Continue reading: Awake Review

Coffee And Cigarettes Review


OK
Coffee and cigarettes. What is it about this magical combination of caffeine and cancer that's so irresistible to millions of café and pub patrons around the world? Despite its title, don't go looking to Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes for the answer. A series of vignettes populated by an all-star cast of actors and musicians, the film has the laid-back attitude of its tobacco-smoking, java-gulping protagonists, each of whom spends his screen time ruminating on a host of arbitrary issues involving class, race, and physics. However, like its central delicacy, Jarmusch's comedy is apt to provide a slight, delectable buzz but little nutritional value.

Jarmusch enlists a diverse cast of indie stars and former colleagues for this modest ensemble, but his uncharacteristically wheezy writing frequently undermines the film's wry humor. Cate Blanchett, in a dual performance, plays an arrogant version of herself as well as her skuzzy, jealous cousin, but the piece's portrait of jealousy and resentment loses steam after you become accustomed to seeing the actress talk to herself. Similarly, The White Stripes' Meg and Jack White provide a brief lesson on inventor Nikola Tesla's Tesla Coil, but save for the creepy, Mao Tse-tung-inspired portrait of Lee Marvin hanging on the wall behind them, the skit is nothing more than an overly long non sequitur. And even a brief appearance by Steve Buscemi can't rescue an insipid bit about two argumentative African-American twins talking racial politics in a Memphis diner.

Continue reading: Coffee And Cigarettes Review

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Jason Kliot Movies

Awake Movie Review

Awake Movie Review

Surprising, really, that "anesthetic awareness" -- helpless, immobile and, it should be noted, very rare...

Coffee And Cigarettes Movie Review

Coffee And Cigarettes Movie Review

Coffee and cigarettes. What is it about this magical combination of caffeine and cancer that's...

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