Thor: Ragnarok

November 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson
Directed by: Taika Watiti (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”)
Written by: Eric Pearson (debut) and Craig Kyle (debut) & Christopher L. Yost (“Max Steel”)

As unloved as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Thor” franchise has been, it’s still been able to reach the coveted trilogy status. But with the latest film, “Thor: Ragnarok,” it’s abundantly clear that Marvel has decided to burn down the boring version of “Game of Thrones” that is all the Asgard stuff and slot the God of Thunder into a more comical role with a blatant “Guardians of the Galaxy” influence. It’s a great idea, really, and Chris Hemsworth has a clear gift for comedy, but the unwillingness to make a clean break from the tedium on the other side of the Bifrost keeps “Ragnarok” from achieving the same highs as Marvel’s other cosmic franchise.

The film begins with Thor hanging in a cage, conversing with a skeleton, before destroying a devil-ish creature names Surtur intent on bringing on Ragnarok—otherwise known as the destruction of Asgard. Thor returns home with the Surtur’s crown for his father Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) throne room, only to finally uncover that his mischievous brother Loki (Ton Hiddleston) has been posing as their father since the events of the last movie, “Thor: The Dark World.”

When Thor and Loki finally track Odin down on Earth, he’s at death’s door. When he dissolves into nothingness, it allows for the coming of his firstborn, a daughter named Hela (Cate Blanchett) who is determined to rule Asgard and conquer the universe. A battle with Hela in the Bifrost sends both Loki and Thor spinning off into space, stranding the Avenger in a junkyard on a remote planet where he’s captured and sold by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum, the absolute best). There, Thor is forced into gladiatorial combat against the Grandmaster’s champion, none other than fellow Avenger Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who Thor will have to convince to help him in order to stop Hela.

New Zealand director Taika Watiti delivers solidly when “Ragnarok” goes for laughs – which are often wonderfully weird, especially anything with Goldblum – but falls into the same trap as previous directors Kenneth Branaugh and Alan Taylor before him, in that the palace intrigue on Asgard just isn’t interesting, no matter how much vamping Blanchett does in her villain role (also a bad move for the story: spoiling the Hulk reveal in the trailers, but that was probably unavoidable). Doubtless this was all at the behest of the studio at large, eager to move on to something more crowd-pleasing, but unable to resist putting a button on Asgard for the dozen or so people who could have possibly given a shit.

Spotlight

November 20, 2015 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams
Directed by: Tom McCarthy (“The Visitor”)
Written by: Tom McCarthy (“The Visitor”) and Josh Singer (“The Fifth Estate”)

It might not have all the complexity of journalists tracking down a serial killer, like in the 2007 crime thriller “Zodiac,” or the melodrama needed to spur scribes into breaking open a story on the suspicious death of a congressman’s mistress, like in the 2009 political thriller “State of Play,” but the relevancy of a newspaper reporter’s job is made evident in the sincere, insightful, fair and extremely well-paced “Spotlight.”

In a news industry where Buzzfeed headlines and Kardashian selfies are constantly trending for the mainstream masses, it’s refreshing (and equally discouraging) to know a majority of wordsmiths just a decade ago cared more about reporting the truth than creating click-bait content. Not only is “Spotlight” great cinema, it also has the power to remind audiences that a hard-hitting exposé should always be a crucial element of the ever-changing media landscape. Without professionals doing this kind of work (and not just recording grainy cell phone footage), how can anyone be held accountable?

Directed and co-written by Oscar nominee Tom McCarthy, whose track record has been so impressive (“The Station Agent,” “The Visitor” and “Win Win”) since breaking out in 2003 that we might one day forgive him for whatever the hell last year’s Adam Sandler vehicle “The Cobbler” was supposed to be. Spotlight brings the filmmaker back to true form. Set in the early ’00s, the drama tells the story of the Boston Globe‘s investigative “Spotlight Team” of reporters who uncovered a global sex abuse scandal and cover-up rooted deep inside the Catholic Church that ultimately spawned criminal accusations against 250 Roman Catholic priests. For their work, the team was honored with the Pulitzer Prize for public service.

That journalistic determination leading them to the source of the crimes is the main focus of “Spotlight.” While the stories of the individual victims and perpetrators is paramount in breathing life into the story, it’s the Globe’s writers’ efforts to deliver these remarkable revelations that serve as the lungs of this compelling narrative. Oscar-nominated actors Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”) lead this impressive ensemble cast, including Rachel McAdams (“Southpaw”) and Liev Schreiber (“Pawn Sacrifice”) as the Globe‘s new earnest editor who wants the paper to concentrate more on local coverage. What they find at the core is a corrupt system where the crimes of Catholic priests had been swept under the rug for years.

Where McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer (“The Fifth Estate”) shined most with the screenplay is in the fact they did not sensationalize the subject at hand, respected everyone involved and stayed fiercely objective (even the Vatican’s official radio station called the film “honest”). In doing so, “Spotlight” is also able to point out the faults of its hero reporters and show that despite the immense accountability they inherit when they choose to take on an assignment like this, they are still flawed human beings that make mistakes. Nevertheless, this isn’t a film about the people, per se, as much as it is about the procedure. “Spotlight” takes the research, analysis, interviews, red tape, dead ends and backroom politics of investigative journalism and turns it into an art form.

Infinitely Polar Bear

July 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky
Directed by: Maya Forbes (debut)
Written by: Maya Forbes (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”)

With a movie title as cutesy and sappy as “Infinitely Polar Bear,” a play on the fact that the main father character is living with bi-polar disorder, one could’ve imagined this independent drama falling under the disease-of-the-week umbrella where audiences would be subjected to a series of melodramatic scenes edited between unimaginative montages and glossed over to fit the standard indie film festival mold.

Such is not the case with “Polar Bear,” a charming and heartfelt albeit occasionally shamelessly sweet drama that rises above some of the weaker parts of the script with a fantastic performance by two-time Oscar-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”), In in the film, Ruffalo plays Cameron Stewart, a manic depressive father living in Boston who is entrusted to take care of his two young daughters (Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide) while their mother Maggie (Zoe Saldana) goes to graduate school in New York so she can make a better life for her family.

Shot with grace and brimming with humor, what makes “Polar Bear” memorable is not only Ruffalo’s impressive take on the role, but also the way his character interacts with his daughters during the course of the year and a half their mother is back and forth between cities. Cameron is not a perfect father. He can’t take care of himself much less a pair of rambunctious kids. The family dynamic director/writer Maya Forbes presents is unique as we watch daddy and daughters try to find a way to coexist. Forbes does this without including all the usual clichés about a dysfunctional family trying to survive. The material feels new.

Some messy plot development aside, “Polar Bear” warms the heart and feels very personal. It’s easy to see that Forbes, who bases the film on her own experiences living with a father who was manic-depressive, isn’t just making a movie. She’s sharing intimate thoughts and feelings and doing it in a way that makes the narrative feel significant and never false.

Foxcatcher

December 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by: Bennett Miller (“Moneyball”)
Written by: Dan Futterman (“Capote”) and E. Max Frye (“Where the Money Is”)

When the buzz-worthy true story film “Foxcatcher” was pushed from its December 20, 2013 release date citing the film not yet being completed, you couldn’t blame film fans for being a little concerned. Normally when a film’s release date gets pushed back, (see “The Great Gatsby” being pushed from December to May) it could be the sign that a movie isn’t quite as good as believed and has fallen out of awards contention. But in an act of faith and belief in the films merits, Sony Pictures Classics shelved the film nearly an entire year to have it ready to compete for the 2014 awards season. It’s too bad “Foxcatcher” falls short of being worth the wait.

Seeing a way to escape out from under his brother Dave’s (Mark Ruffalo) shadow, Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) accepts an invitation to train at the estate of billionaire heir John du Pont (Steve Carell). As the training facility at Foxcatcher Farm grows, so does the ego of du Pont as he insists on being heavily involved in the training and referred to as “coach.” As the pressure mounts, du Pont’s behavior spirals out of control, the relationship between him and Schultz becomes strained and Schultz must fight to keep himself and his career together.

When the first promotional materials came out for the film, displaying the comedic actor Carell wearing facial prosthetics, breathing heavily and speaking with an odd tone, it was clear that this was a character meant to be chilling and dark. This is exactly what is brought forth in the film, albeit with a striking lack of nuance. Even though certain elements of Carell’s performance can certainly be unsettling, it can’t help but feel a little one-note. It may be that the prosthetics were so obvious, but the performance also felt distracting and unfortunately, Carell never fully disappears into the role. Tatum, on the other hand, is extremely underused. Spending most of the film sulking, he rarely gets the chance to do anything beyond subtle character work and the occasional hulking out scene.

In this case, the faults of the films characterization should not be placed entirely on the actors. One of the biggest flaws of the film is that its screenplay provides so few arcs for its two lead characters. In Carell’s case, there’s almost no arc and with Tatum, the character turns are so quick and jolting, often changing from scene to scene. Ruffalo, who plays Mark’s brother Dave is given the most to do character-wise and it is no coincidence that he gives the best performance of the film.

“Foxcatcher” is a film that is somber, moody and unquestionably dark, yet it is slow moving to the point of feeling labored, cold, and quite often subdued to a fault. It is beautifully shot and there are without question scenes that display the kind of talent that Miller has as a director. Still, the event that the entire movie is clearly building towards often lacks the necessary tension and never quite seems worth the journey. There are some themes like sibling rivalry and the quest to be lauded that are at play here, but for such a rich and interesting story, “Foxcatcher” is all mood and atmosphere and not much else.

Thanks for Sharing

September 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow
Directed by: Stuart Blumberg (debut)
Written by: Stuart Blumberg (“The Kids Are All Right”) and Matt Winston (debut)

In recent years, there’s been a focus on the topic of sex addiction, especially in the realm of celebrities. Stars like Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods and David Duchovny have been proclaimed as sex addicts with the latter two actually checking into rehab to work on their conditions. Despite their efforts for treatment, a debate rages on whether or not sex addiction is even a real thing, or rather an excuse or justification for infidelity or promiscuity. While the attention of sex addiction in the media has been on celebrities in the spotlight and under the microscope, Hollywood has recently taken a look at regular people in their sex addictions. The film “Shame,” for example, showed a very dark side of the addiction, revealing self-destructive, dangerous, and obsessive behaviors akin to any other type of dangerous dependence. While “Thanks for Sharing” doesn’t quite delve into the pitch black tone of a film like “Shame,” it is nonetheless an interesting look at sex addiction and its impact on relationships.

Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is a recovering sex addict who is celebrating five years of sobriety. To keep him on the right track, he continues to attend meetings run by his sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins). Also attending meetings is Neil, (Josh Gad) a doctor whose addiction and deviancy is bordering on unmanageable. Each of them, in various stages of their addiction, struggle with relationships, primarily Adam, who is hesitant to jump into one with Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a love interest he meets at a party. Together, the three help each other through their 12 steps and fight the urge of temptation to keep themselves from falling off the wagon.

The successes of the film can largely be attributed to the strength of its core set of veteran actors in Ruffalo, Robbins and Paltrow. Robbins is great as the patriarchal figure in a few different relationships, and provides a solid presence throughout the film. Ruffalo and Paltrow work great on screen together and their relationship is the best pairing throughout the film. “Thanks for Sharing” also features a strong turn from Gad, who has tended to overdo things in previous films. Gad’s plays for comedy aren’t as successful here, but his attempt at drama is quite nice and he adds a lot of solid traits to his schlubby character.

With Ruffalo’s and Robbins’ characters currently “sober,” the first half the film is less of a focus on how their addictions are harming them now, but rather what the impact of their previous lives has on their current lives. Ruffalo’s character, for example, only allows himself to use electronics when absolutely necessary and cannot be in the same room as a TV to rid himself of temptation. There is a certain level of embarrassment that Ruffalo plays when courting Paltrow’s character that is evident. It’s really interesting to watch that relationship play out knowing what we know about his character’s past.

The writing of the film is one of its stronger points, with a levelheaded script that avoids cliché for the most part. Of course, Robbins’ character has a rolodex of adages and sayings that he spews off the top of his head, but it’s believable when you considering he has been leading group meetings for years and years. The strong writing is most evident in the portrayal of these intimate and intense meetings with people bearing their souls for one another. The film captures these meetings and the darker parts of sex addiction relatively well, without ever getting too gratuitous.

That being said, the film can be a little uneven at times.  A few of Gad’s obsessive and perverted behaviors are a little silly and the first half of the film strives for a bit of a humorous tone with mixed results. The back half of the film is nearly exclusively somber in tone. One story in particular is over the top in its execution, but the film manages to just barely stay grounded. It’s not a perfect film by any stretch, but “Thanks for Sharing” is a decent little glimpse into the world of addiction and the struggles that addicts go through to maintain sobriety, even years after becoming clean.

The Avengers

May 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by: Joss Whedon (“Serenity”)
Written by: Joss Whedon (“The Cabin in the Woods”)

It happens in the second half of the highly-anticipated Marvel comic-book movie “The Avengers,” a precisely planned superhero assemblage that has been culminating since 2008’s release of both “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” reboot (most über-nerds unfairly ignore director Ang Lee’s fascinating “Hulk” of 2003 as art-house nonsense). As “The Avengers” ensemble cast, including Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, contemplate how to stop the supervillain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from destroying the earth with his barrage of alien soldiers and machines, Captain America (Chris Evans) takes it upon himself to assign his comrades to do what each one of them does best.

“Hulk … smash,” he says, directing his bulging, green, gamma ray-infused super teammate who swiftly carries out his instructions by ripping apart serpent-like battleships running amok in NYC. It’s a phrase fanboys will be pleased to hear, especially since Marvel seemed to agree with their assessment of Lee’s aforementioned attempt, which prompted the studio to hit the reset button by plugging Edward Norton into Eric Bana’s transforming role as Bruce Banner (the role now belongs to Mark Ruffalo after creative differences arose between Marvel and Norton). From that point on, the comic-book conglomerate knew exactly what they needed their Universe to become.

“The Avengers” isn’t trying to reinvent the comic-book movie like Lee or Christopher Nolan with his “Dark Knight” trilogy. It’s evident that the studio’s main objective is mass commercial appeal and not to clutter things up with complex ideas and themes. That’s exactly what they’ve been doing over the last four years. With releases like “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” they wanted to give fans already invested in these characters concrete evidence no one was going to wax philosophical. They wanted big, blaring scenes capable of melting eyeballs in 3D. In the simplest of terms, they wanted to see Hulk, well, smash.

And smash he does in “The Avengers” alongside the mightiest of heroes, which first appeared together in comic books written by industry savant Stan Lee in the early ’60s. Back then, the squad was created to compete with the ever-growing popularity of DC Comics’ Justice League. While the roster has changed over the years, the modern film adaptations have chosen to follow the characters best able to sidestep their natural comic-book kitsch (sorry Ant-Man, your protruding shoulder pads are just too silly to overcome). With approximately $1.8 billion in box-office revenue worldwide, geekdom has spoken. Despite its flaws, “The Avengers” is solid entertainment.

What better way to appease the geeks than with one of their own? Directed by cult favorite Joss Whedon (TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”), “The Avengers” is pumped with exciting action sequences and razor-sharp special effects that can compete with anything Marvel has ever put out. Known for his clever writing ability (screw Buffy, the dude wrote Darlene’s “To Whom it Concerns” poem during a Season 2 episode of “Roseanne!”), Whedon’s dialogue is perfect for more charismatic characters like industrialist playboy Tony Stark — though far less so for characters like Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and the always doltish Thor, who unfortunately doesn’t provide much oomph to the already ordinary storyline. It starts with Thor’s evil brother Loki, a flimsily written antagonist who is able to get his hands on a powerful cube known as the Tesseract, which holds the key to unlimited sustainable energy. With the planet on the brink of destruction, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) rallies his all-star team together to (trumpet fanfare) save the human race. Before they can do that, however, the Avengers must experience some growing pains as a diverse superhero unit and quibble like kids on the playground. It’s during these fight scenes that fanboy fantasies come true. Watching Thor’s hammer slam down onto Captain America’s shield is the stuff of epic wonder. Other amazing feats of action bliss include the Hulk intercepting a fighter pilot as he ejects from a damaged jet, and Stark changing into his Iron Man suit in midair.

While the narrative itself leaves much to be desired, Whedon, who also has the overrated meta horror movie “The Cabin in the Woods” out at theaters, does have a knack for hilarious pop-culture references, snappy one-liners that get every character involved, and some physical comedy. It all keeps the story from falling into too many past superhero pitfalls. “The Avengers” may not divert much from the typical superhero blueprint, but what hardcore Marvel enthusiast would really want that anyway?

Shutter Island

February 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley
Directed by: Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”)
Written by: Laeta Kalogridis (“Alexander”)

There are times during Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese’s (“The Departed”) thriller “Shutter Island” where you can feel the anxiety of the picture frothing up inside your gut. Once Robbie Robertson’s disturbing Hitchcockian score and Robert Richardson’s misery-stricken cinematography merge to create the ominous tone during the opening scenes, it is obvious Scorsese plans to keep you as uneasy as he possibly can for as long as he can.

There is only so much, however, that a masterful director like Scorsese and a few members of his technical crew can do before its foundation collapses from under them. Adapted from the Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”) novel of the same name, screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis (“Alexander”) rides Scorsese’s coattail as far as she can before the work itself shrinks back into predictable dark corners. The twist and turns might be sharp, but that doesn’t make them any less dull.

Collaborating for the fourth time with Scorsese, Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Aviator”) plays Teddy Daniels, a U.S. marshal investigating the disappearance of Rachel Solando, a murderess from a mental hospital known to house the most criminally insane patients. Teddy’s new partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) joins him on his tour through the facilities where he plans to interrogate every one who knows Rachel, including psychiatrists Dr. Cawley (Sir Ben Kingsley) and Dr. Naehring (Max von Sydow) who aren’t exactly cooperating with Teddy’s methods of inquiry.

Teddy, however, has more to worry about than unsupportive head doctors who seem to be hiding the truth. Nightmares of his dead wife (Michelle Williams) and his time in the war begin to haunt him as he and Chuck end up stranded on the island during a vicious thunderstorm. They are the type of hallucinations that would easily be dismissed if they were in any other horror-type movie, but since Scorsese is directing the scenes we’re led to believe that they should be considered more artistic than overly-stylistic. However you want to identify them, they have no bearing on any emotional aspect of the story, which is unfortunate since they are revisited numerous times.

Most of the emotional pull comes from DiCaprio’s performance itself. Walking a fine line between awareness and madness, his on-the-spot portrayal of a man uncertain of his own mental welfare as he caves in on himself is frightening. Still, the suspense refuses to take another step forward once the pieces start fitting together more obviously. Once that occurs, it is only a matter of waiting out the rest of the unsubstantial plot points in “Shutter Island.” By then, all the dread has subsided and that ball of nerves that was floundering around inside you earlier feels more like bad indigestion.

Where the Wild Things Are

October 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Max Records, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener
Directed by: Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”)
Written by: Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”) and Dave Eggers (“Away We Go”)
 
Not since director Alfonso Cuarón’s “A Little Princess” in 1995 has a film captured the vastness of a child’s emotional scope than Spike Jonze’s “Where the Wild Things Are.” Based on Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, the film is an artistic and extraordinarily expressive fantasy that evokes the complexities of life through a misunderstood nine-year-old boy named Max (Max Records).
 
Max is angry. His igloo fortress has been demolished by his older sister’s friends, his science teacher just announced to his class that sometime in the distant future the sun is going to die, and the family dog won’t stay put long enough for Max to get him in a good headlock.
 
Max’s resentment boils over when his mother (Catherine Keener) seems more interested in spending time with her boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo) rather than going upstairs to look at the bed-sheet fort he has built in his room. The snub prompts Max to toss on his wolfish pajamas and cause a dysfunctional family scene in front of his mother’s company.
 
Enraged, Max runs out of the house and through the neighborhood until he reaches a rickety sailboat that will inevitably wash up on the shore of a dreamlike island inhabited by a pack of, well, wild things.

The creatures, portrayed fantastically by visionary director Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”) and Jim Henson Shop designers, stomp, growl, and destroy things with the best of them, but there’s also a softer side to these characters that enhances Sendak’s nine-sentenced book. Not long before Max makes his introduction to them, the wild things crown him king after his exaggerated storytelling impresses them. The script, penned by Jonze and Dave Eggers (“Away We Go”), bristles with well-written dialogue as Max holds casual conversations during his stay on the island.

Each furry beast has his or her own personality and shares some of those traits with Max. All of them are disheartened in some way, including Carol (James Gandolifini), who is to Max what the Scarecrow was to Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Their bond grows as Max instructs all the monsters to – brace yourself for the main plot of the film – build a colossal fort where they can all live together as one big family.

The storyline, however, isn’t what makes “Wild Things” one of the most remarkable and daring family films of the last decade (although one could argue most kids are really not going to be able to wrap their heads around the more philosophical scenes in the movie). Instead, it’s Jonze’s seamless attention to the affecting relationships Max is experiencing in his parallel worlds that makes “Wild Things” truly memorable.

The entire film speaks on a metaphorical level that is imaginative and disturbing. There’s no easy answer to the sadness Max or the wild things are feeling. Jonze and Eggers don’t pretend to have one either.  At his core, Max just wants to feel safe. It’s unexpected that he would find this amongst animals who, at any given time, could swallow him whole or crush him as they horseplay.

Minimal in delivery and heavy on melancholy and themes related to loneliness and sorrow, “Wild Things,” which took more than five years to complete, is worth every second Jonze spent creating this new classic tale. It’s far removed from Hollywood and is every bit hopeful and painful as the most perceptive mind could imagine.

Blindness

October 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga
Directed by: Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”)
Written by: Don McKellar (“The Red Violin”)

With 2004’s “City of God,” Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles quickly became one of the most talked-about directors of the new century. That’s why you hope projects like “Blindness” are mere flukes in a career that started off so impressive.

Adapted from the novel by Jose Saramago, “Blindness” tells the story of a group of people who are quarantined when an epidemic causes them to lose their sight. The plague starts when a man goes to an unnamed ophthalmologist (Mark Ruffalo) when he suddenly loses his sight while sitting in traffic. The following morning, the good doctor has lost his vision as well.

Soon, a handful of people are infected with the “white blindness,” an idea that somehow gives Meirelles reason to whitewash most of the film with extra lightning and overexposing some scenes. The visually aggravating cinematography, however, is the least of the film’s problems. Although it’s an interesting idea, McKellar’s narrative is ineffective.

As more people become sick, they are sent off into hospital wards where an aggressive pecking order amongst the blind community slowly begins to take shape. Julianne Moore (“The Hours”) plays the eye doctor’s wife, who goes to the ward with her husband despite being the only person who can see. It’s never explained why Moore’s character doesn’t lose her vision, which isn’t that big of a deal. “Children of Men” never tells us why Kee (the pregnant girl) is the only one in the world who can bear a child. The difference, however, is that Kee in “Children of Men” was a symbol of faith. In “Blindness,” Moore’s character is so frail, there’s really no reason to develop her into anything more than collateral for the heathens that live among her.

There is so much Meirelles wants to say about the blind leading the blind, his metaphors come off heavy-handed and wasted. “Blindness” may be reaching for some deep-seated ideas about the brutality of society, but there’s no way to describe exactly what he wants us to know when he’s delivering it in incoherent, sometimes laughable, pieces.