Alice in Movieland

{January 15, 2010}   Mesmer (1994)

So I continued jumping around through Alan Rickman‘s filmography and landed on Mesmer. … Good enough entertainment, I suppose, considering I didn’t have anything else to do that day but watch movies, but it was very slow-paced and … boring, really (aside from the pleasure of listening to Rickman’s voice). You can decide for youself (the entire movie’s on YouTube here), but I’m going to move on. He does have long hair in this one. That was interesting.

Plot Synopsis (taken from In 18th century Vienna, middle-aged Dr. Mesmer believes that he can cure physical and mental diseases by manipulating a force within the body that he calls “animal magnetism.” The only patients who seem to respond to his treatments, however, are troubled young women who react ecstatically to his caressing therapeutic touch. He makes particularly good progress with a blind teenager whose sessions with Mesmer provide her with a means of escape from her father, who’s been raping her. At one point the girl hits her head, and regains her sight; Mesmer takes the credit, and they seem about to embark on an affair. However, Mesmer’s jealous wife and the medical authorities conspire to have him exiled from Vienna. He relocates to Paris and becomes a deliberate quack, exploiting his magnetic therapy methods to provide bizarre entertainment for fashionable court ladies. His French medical colleagues hold a hearing against him, calling in his former patient, who is now blind again, to testify against him. At the last moment, an approaching mob of revolutionaries forces the doctors to scatter in panic, leaving Mesmer alone with the girl. She accuses him of abandoning her. Sadly, he tries to explain himself.


{January 11, 2010}   Close My Eyes (1991)

If I was uncomfortable mentioning the inappropriate segments in John Gissing, it’s a wonder I review this movie at all. This is where I began questioning if I was just watching all the wrong movies or if I had seriously misjudged Alan Rickman. …or if, perhaps, the British film industry was just okay with a vast deal more sexual content than I am used to. I try not to be a prude… The tagline is “There Are Some Relationships So Taboo, They’re Irresistible.” Okay, that’s intriguing, I’ll give you. RUN AWAY!!!! Rickman plays a man named Sinclair… The movie is about the affair and sexual escapades of his wife with her brother!!!! Not with *his* brother. No, no, that would have been a welcome dose of *normal* perversion. No, they ramped up the aberration to the extreme, well beyond anything that had ever crossed my mind as acceptable movie material. She’s sleeping with *her own* brother. Gag me, the review’s over! Someone close MY eyes.

{January 11, 2010}   Nobel Son (2007)

So, for a completely different side of Alan Rickman… Not that you *wanted* to imagine the total opposite of Colonel Brandon, but I found it.

Short story: The best parts, and even they’re a stretch, were mashed together into a mildly entertaining preview, which I will not show you because it would be wrong to lure anyone into watching this movie.

Is my watch broken? Shouldn't this movie be over by now??

Long story: Rickman plays Dr. Eli Michaelson, professor of Chemistry, arrogant genius, rude chauvinist, perverted prick. I think that covers all the bases. First time we see him, he’s shagging a student. Moments later, we find that his monstrous ego *can* get worse as it swells to gargantuan proportions when he learns that he has been awarded the Nobel Prize. Enter: Hideous Jerk. So he, his wife Sarah (Mary Steenburgen), and son Barkley are all to fly out to receive the award and all the fancy perks and parties that go with it, but when it’s time to leave for the airport, Barkley’s nowhere to be found. Patient man that he is, Eli refuses to wait for him and they leave without him. When they get the call that he’s been kidnapped, Eli assumes it’s his son’s idea of a prank and hangs up on the kidnapper. It takes getting a severed thumb in the mail to catch his attention. However, when Sarah delivers the $2,000,000 ransom from the Nobel prize money, we find Barkley in league with his kidnapper, who incidentally claims to be his half-brother Thaddeus. Things get complicated (as though they weren’t already) when, instead of never seeing each other again after the con, Thaddeus rents the apartment over the Michaelsons’ garage and endears himself to Eli as the-son-who-would-follow-in-his-footsteps that Barkley never was. At this point, however, my brain was aching with boredom, so when the plot further raveled, my eyes continued watching but all I remember seeing is “Are we there yet??????” This movie’s only saving graces are Rickman’s voice and the pleasure of seeing Bill Pullman and Danny DeVito in supporting roles. (Eliza Dushku has a notable part as a fairly obvious mental case.) Other than that, I want to gauge my eyes out in an attempt to reclaim those 102 minutes of my life and hope that the 2 and a half minutes that you’ve wasted reading this review give you just enough of a hint that you steer clear. Save yourself. Do NOT watch this movie.

Just to demonstrate I’m not alone: Nobel Son (2008)Nobel Son Review, and Nobel Son Movie Review. I’ll not shame Wiki and IMDb by linking them.

et cetera