LONDON – Former bureaucrat and long-term political prisoner Sam Lowry has been killed in a church explosion.
News came in earlier this week that Sam Lowry has been killed when the church he was in blew up. Lowry first came to prominence in the 1980s when his short career in Information Retrieval was cut short following an ill-advised dalliance with a terrorist. He subsequently spent three years in prison and on his release fell out of the public eye, living an itinerant life. Rumor also tells of several stays in mental health facilities. Over the last few years Lowry joined a religious cult and changed his name to the High Sparrow. His group gained a foothold in the city of King’s Landing which is just south of Bristol in the United Kingdom. A friend spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the Studio Exec:
What makes this so tragic is that Sam was putting his life together and I’ve never known him to be so happy. He had a group of helpers around him, with some quite gruesome tattoos. But he was doing what he wanted to do. He kept telling me that I had the blessings of the seven. I don’t know what he meant but it seemed to bring him peace.
Lowry and many of his followers had congregated in the church when suddenly and inexplicably a massive green fireball erupted from its very foundations, causing damage to nearby buildings and injuring several passers by.
The police are not treating the incident as suspicious.
Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is an unambitious man working his humdrum job in records, dealing with a fully automated home where everything malfunctions and living happily enough in a society plagued terrorist attacks and an authoritarian regime that suppresses all freedom. Like Hamlet, he would be happy ‘were it not that I have bad dreams’. Okay. Sam’s dreams are a Mitty like escape from the fearful drudgery that surrounds him. He is a winged knight forever rescuing the fair maiden, but it is this which will get him in so much trouble when he meets his fantasy in the form of real life trucker Jill (Kim Greist). This leads him to accept the promotion his mother (Katherine Helmond) has finagled to Information Retrieval.
Brazil presents perhaps the most successful cinematic version of George Orwell’s 1984 – there are several direct references in the film. However, Gilliam’s dystopia is not only oppressive by design but arbitrarily incompetent. The whole course of events starts with a typo, the ghost in the machine is a squashed fly. The ludicrous – rogue plumbers who actually fix things on time are considered terrorists, socialites compete on who can have the most radical plastic surgery – mix with the horrifying. There’s something dreadful in Sam’s fate as he is essentially a little boy, cosseted by his mother and who has never questioned the world in which he lives, as he races whooping towards a confrontation with forces he doesn’t understand. Pryce is perfect in the role. And the cameos are all pitch perfect grotesques. Gilliam’s fellow Python, Michael Palin is excellent as Sam’s cheery peer, a friendly torturer who is as much fascinated by office politics as he is committed to his own gruesome efficiency; Bob Hoskins as Spoor, the government plumber and Robert de Niro as Tuttle, the rogue plumber.
Gilliam’s visual sense creates a detailed and visually striking world, the creaking 1940s technology of tubes and ducts. Tom Stopard co-screenwriter is on hand to give the same detail to the language of euphemism and coercion that dominates the film. Or the deputy minister Helpman (Peter Vaughn) with his endless supply of sporting metaphors. Read the posters in the background – ‘Don’t Suspect a Friend, Report Him!’
Brazil was Gilliam’s masterpiece and the troubles he had making the film and getting it distributed set him on a trajectory of awkwardness for years to come, but frankly it was worth it.
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JUPITER ASCENDING: REVIEW – Jupiter Ascending – directed by the bafflingly employed Wachowksis – is a film that aspires to the grandiose adventure, excitement, well written dialogue, fully fledged characters and kinetic direction of Star Wars 2: Attack of the Clones. And fails.
Mila Kunis plays Jupiter ‘Ascending’ Jones daughter of an astronomer who is shot by Russian gangsters. Don’t worry, that he is an astronomer doesn’t matter nor that he is shot by Russian… who are they anyway? Gangsters? Burglars? Again don’t worry that’s just random event number one in what is going to be a tiring journey through the plot equivalent of chaos theory. Jupiter cleans toilets and her mother – originally a mathematician we are told, has now become a drudge and her Russian family have happily become semi-racist stereotypes. She’s not happy cleaning toilets and has decided to raise money selling her ovaries so that she can buy a golden telescope because her father was an astronomer – oh so it is important, an astronomer by the way who spends his time peering through the telescope in the middle of a city or in the living room. But don’t worry by random chance all her DNA is exactly the same of the old Queen of the Universe and so she is now hunted by the Queen’s children – including silly Eddie Redmayne – to be variously exploited and/or killed. To the rescue comes Channing Tatum as Teen Wolf/Albino/ pixie/Birdman/Starlight Express wannabe. Although not to the rescue because he’s working for one of the siblings. Oh and bees love her, or at least don’t sting her, which you have to say, as a perk for being Queen of the Universe, is pretty modest.
Do you remember that idea of the room full of monkeys with typewriters and infinity typing the complete works of Shakespeare? Well, this is the first draft. It’s nods to other films – Brazil, The Fifth Element, Blade Runner and Attack of the Clones – only make you wish you were watching other films. Yes, even Attack of the Clones. The dialogue is cloth-eared; the humor flat; the characters motivated by stunning dumbness. Jupiter makes you realize how fantastic a character Katniss Everdeen is. Where The Hunger Games is about a young girl becoming a rebel and a fighter, Jupiter is wetter than Dale Arden, endlessly rescued from her own stupid decisions. It’s as if the Wachowskis are hell bent on giving young women a role model of domestic acquiescence who in the end learns to get up early and clean toilets cheerfully.
When Warner Bros. denied they were burying Jupiter Ascending in February (from a Summer Blockbuster spot), no one really believed them. It’s only a pity they couldn’t have literally buried the film somewhere where it wouldn’t have been found.
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HOLLYWOOD – Five Terry Gilliam fans were rushed to hospital last night with injuries sustained while straining to like his latest film The Zero Theorem, starring Christoph Waltz.
Doctors said their condition was stable but it is the only latest in a spate of incidents involving fans of the ex-Python’s work as his latest film once more fails to be anything other than ho-hum.
Despite having made some of the weirdest and most interesting cinema of the 80s-90s, the Brazil director has hit a bit of rut of late. Starring Johnny Depp, The Man who Killed Don Quixote fell through after flash floods and terminal illness attacked the crew and cast. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was fatally wounded by the premature death of star Heath Ledger and though the intent to slog on was admirably obstinate, the result was less than satisfying. Tideland was a minor curiosity and The Brothers Grimm was caked cack.
Medical authorities have warned that the best way of coping is to radically lower expectations prior to viewing. Dr. Sepious Brown said:
Try to take into account that the studios are never going to give Terry the money he needs to really bring his visions to life. Add to this that his ability to tell a story seems to have got lost along the way. So anyone planning on seeing The Zero Theorem should perhaps prepare for it by watching some of Terry’s most recent films.
The Zero Theorem is currently in theatres. Please approach with caution.