My weekly movie reviews. You can also read these on letterboxd.
This week focuses on three films by Terry Gilliam.
THE FISHER KING (1991)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
This is probably Terry Gilliam’s best riff on the fantasy genre because it is most grounded in reality. It’s anchored completely by the performances. However amazing Robin Williams is, he plays more into his hyper antics and serves Gilliam’s more eccentric instincts than Jeff Bridges and Mercedes Ruehl who both steal the show. Those two could be part of a different film or one that shows a side of Gilliam he’s never fully explored. It’s the quieter, more human moments of THE FISHER KING that make it a memorable film, not the magical ones.
Watched on Criterion Channel.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Sometimes I wish Terry Gilliam was a more serious filmmaker. Of course, he takes his work seriously but his tendency to lean into bizarre, whacky, farcical content doesn’t always benefit the movie he’s directing. In JABBERWOCKY, the visuals and set design are fantastic. The jousting sequence is one of the best put to film. I can’t help but feel like these images could serve a more serious picture. But they’re all undermined by the silly tone and at least in the case of JABBERWOCKY, the humor hardly works.
Watched on Tubi.
TIME BANDITS (1981)
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
I’d never seen this one all the way through and it is quite enjoyable. The cast is likable enough though the movie never sits long enough with any of them to form real characters. It works more on the concept of jumping through time and the cameos, especially Sean Connery’s, throughout the journey.
There are some impressive set pieces, the flying cages and rope swinging for example, but there are also some real head-scratching moments where I was asking myself what Gilliam was thinking. Some of these are simple blocking, like when one of the bandits goes to retrieve the map and for no reason other than the directing needing him to lag behind so the villain can turn him into a pig the character just doesn’t run away. It’s odd and amateurish.
The good pieces of TIME BANDITS don’t quite add up to a great movie but certainly a watchable one.
Watched on Criterion Channel