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Toronto Preview! Moriarty Drinks Deep From Darren Aronofsky's THE FOUNTAIN!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Acts of faith. Acts of devotion. Acts of love. In Darren Aronofsky's THE FOUNTAIN, these are all the same thing, the acts that connect his characters to something larger. The greatest miracle of this beautiful, human science-fiction story is that he's managed to make a film about infinity that pays full service to the subject while managing to only run 98 minutes. Not many films can blow your mind and break your heart at the same time, but this one will.

This one’s been a long time coming, it feels like, but that’s only because I’ve been covering it since so early in the film’s development. As a result, we’ve been able to follow along here on the site as the film geared up for production with Brad Pitt set to star and Warner Bros. ready to spend somewhere north of $70 million. We also followed along as the film fell apart when Pitt pulled out, and drama erupted behind-the-scenes. It was crushing to observe, and I would imagine that it was exponentially worse for the director, who passionately felt this material and who couldn’t just turn around and walk away from it. He eventually rewrote the script so it could be done for about half the price while still preserving all the ideas that made the project so appealing to him in the first place. Hard process, full of hard choices, but it’s a compromise I wish more filmmakers would be willing to make at times, especially when we’re seeing more and more films push past the $100 million mark for no discernible reason.

If you’d like to read my very first script review for the film, click here.

If you’d like to read my report from the Montreal set of the film, click here.

And if you’d like to go into the film without knowing a single thing about it... something I’d actually advise... then go ahead and skip the rest of this article until after you’ve seen the film. I won’t be offended.

Okay... now that they’re gone... here’s how it went down. I drove over to Warner Bros., I parked in some parking lot I’ve never used there before, I walked through some building I’ve never been in there before, and I saw it in some tiny (but nice) screening room by myself. Actually, it was me and a Warner Bros publicist, Tiffany. I asked them to crank it so I could really enjoy Clint Mansell’s score, and they certainly did.

Walking out of it afterwards, stepping out of this incredibly dark screening room and this 98 minutes of... magic... it seemed painfully bright. I wanted to run the film again. I didn’t want to step outside yet. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone afterwards, either. I just wanted some time to take it in.

It’s a lesson for me. A thrilling one. Because whatever I thought THE FOUNTAIN would be, it wasn’t. Whatever I’d read and seen, the movie that Aronofsky made is so much more.

My screen saver is THE FOUNTAIN right now, the third one of the group you’ll find under “downloads”. My desktop is THE FOUNTAIN right now, a really high-quality still of Jackman versus the Shaman with the sword of fire in the temple. The movie just sort of rattles around inside me, no matter what else I watch. I see an average of three movies a day right now, and this one ends up being the one I think about every night. And part of what I find so seductive about it is just how simple it is, but how complex it appears.

Stripped of everything else, THE FOUNTAIN is about a woman who is dying, and she's scared of dying, and she handles it by writing a book.

It's not just any book. It's a book for her husband. For her beloved. It's a book that she will give to him unfinished, a book he is supposed to write the ending for, a book that will transform him and his world completely.

The "three different time periods" thing that has always been part of any description of the film is a little misleading. It's a linear story. Sort of. Primarily, it's about this woman. And her book. And his search for the ending. And that's pretty much it. It's so simple. It's such a beautiful love story.

The Conquistador material is the book that she wrote. It's not real. It's fiction. It's them because she wrote it and obviously meant for the characters to be them. There are all sorts of clues about their “real” relationship in the fiction. In the book, Tomas is driven, heroic but ultimately Sisyphean in his attempts to push past the limits of the known world in order to save the woman he loves. In the real world, Tommy is a medical researcher, working on a cancer cure, determined to beat Izzy’s cancer to its conclusion, determined to stop it cold before it can take her. The more driven Tommy becomes, the more desperate the quest of Tomas becomes.

Yeah, but... what about the outer space stuff?

You look at the poster, and it’s just this beautiful surreal spacescape picture, and how does that play into anything else that I’ve described above? How can you incorporate that and have it make any sense?

It’s the most challenging material in the film. It is almost pure image, with very little dialogue during these scenes. Whatever Tommy calls himself at this point, he is alone, so he has no real need for any name. It’s just him, this strange and beautiful tree, and the big cold empty mere inches away on the outside of this bubble. If you expect to have this completely spoon-fed to you, you may leave the theater disappointed. I think all the answers are in the film, and I think it’s fairly simple to follow. If someone dismisses this film with a cursory “weird,” my guess is they weren’t even trying to pay attention. I think this is the most accessible, audience-friendly film that Aronofsky has made so far. By a long shot. I would recommend this to a fan of 2001 or THE MATRIX just as quickly as I would recommend it to a fan of THE NOTEBOOK, and I think both would have an equally rich experience with the movie. To me, all the space stuff is about sacrifice. It’s about keeping a promise. It’s about loving someone enough to never give up on them. Tommy’s haunted at this point, alive for so long and alone for so long that all he has to keep him company are ghosts from his life. Primarily Izzy. She’s constantly having the same conversation with him, trapped in this one moment that Tommy seems to recognize as a turning point, a decision he would take back if he could.

Many of the images that I find myself turning over and over as I think back on the film come from these space sequences. I’ve never heard Darren Aronofsky talk about Terrence McKenna, but it would not surprise me to find out that he’s read McKenna’s work. The way he establishes an actual relationship, even if it is played out on a chemical level, between Tommy and the tree on the ship, is pretty remarkable and brave. As pieces begin to fall together and the big picture of the movie is revealed, these space scenes became the most moving to me. Jackman’s physical transformation is startling, extreme, but it’s not just a stunt. It plays perfectly into the way Tommy’s been affected not only by Izzy’s death, but also by the task she left him, and everything he does is a response to that. One of the key parts of any intimate relationship is the way we are affected by gestures of love or devotion, large and small. In all three of the versions of the relationship between Izzy and Tommy that we see, the gestures add up, and the lack of them matters. When Izzy is dying, Tommy channels so much of himself into his work that there’s nothing left over for her. In his rush to make sure she has more time, he misses the time with her that he should be cherishing. The way Jackman plays that vicious circle, and the way he knows what he’s doing but he can’t stop himself from doing it... wrenching. Devastating. I make sure to spend a certain amount of time doing nothing but paying attention to my family because I know... that adds up. It matters. Jackman’s torn apart over the course of this film, and that’s hard enough to play, but then he’s also healed and made whole once again, in a way that I not only completely believe, but that also feels really personal. Aronofsky’s notion of redemption is beautiful and emotional, but never maudlin.

You know what really breaks my heart about this film? Knowing that he and Weisz just had a child, this film feels like Aronofsky is saying goodbye to his wife at the very start of what I assume (and hope) will be a long and happy life together. In a way, this is a gift. It’s the things you never get to say to someone or about someone until it’s too late, and now they’ve been said. Izzy is a remarkable woman, a lifeforce. And she struggles to make her peace with the idea of dying. The book is part of that. The way she reaches out to Tommy is part of that. And when she finally achieves peace, she’s luminous.

Both Jackman and Weisz are tested here as performers, asked to do things they’ve never done before. Jackman in particular shows us a range in his work that is revelatory. I honestly think this guy can play anything after seeing how he handles the tricky shifts of tone and attitude, and the way he throws his entire physical identity into the role. It’s completely egoless work. This isn’t a typical movie star performance. He doesn’t seem concerned with being “cool” in the film. Instead, even in the most outrageous moments of the film, he reaches for something grounded and real. I’m sure most of the conversations about this film will start with Jackman’s work. Great as it is, I think it would unfair if it overshadowed what the textured, mature work that Weisz does. This is a tricky role to play. It could be cloying. It could be gooey. Aronofsky’s sensibilities are such, though, that Izzy comes across as a real person, not a fading saint.

Cinematographer Matthew Libatique has been turning out some of the most consistently interesting work right now on movies like INSIDE MAN, EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED, and, of course, Aronofsky’s earlier films. He takes a lot of mainstream jobs in between the films where you can really see his artistry on display, but this one is a chance for him to really show what he’s capable of. Libatique’s an alchemist, turning light into gold, and his precise, beautiful work in this film elevates it across the board. It’s really hard to believe this film cost what it did, because Libatique gives it an epic feel even in the most intimate moments. Clint Mansell’s score would be a sensational piece of music even divorced from the imagery in the film, and I’m sure I’ll be playing that CD on endless loop as soon as it’s been released, but the way it works with the images is nothing short of perfect. Mansell underscores the emotional journey that Tommy takes without hammering the audience. He enhances, but never overwhelms. As much as I love the REQUIEM FOR A DREAM score, the way Mansell uses Mogwai and the Kronos Quartet to perform the score is inspired, and surprisingly moving.

In the end, that’s the thing that sticks with me about the film. We live in a cinematic age right now where dazzling visuals aren’t just commonplace, they’re expected. Special effects are used on even the most routine films to add some sort of eye candy. Anyone can buy a certain amount of “wow” for their film if they hire the right digital house.

But what Aronofsky gets right here is the humanity, the purpose behind those images. When we see the spacescapes as we travel towards the dying Xibalba nebula, they are dazzling, but there’s more to it. I thought it was just an interesting stylistic choice to use the microphotography of Peter Parks to represent the starfields, a chance to do something visually different. But I think it goes deeper than that. This film is ultimately about the big questions: what happens to us when we die? Where do we go? What do we become? Should we be afraid, or is this something to be embraced and even welcomed? By using actual photography of chemical processes so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye to represent an astrological phenomenon so large it can be seen from millions of light-years away, Aronofsky ties the universe together in a circle, just as Izzy’s death leads to another life, just as Tommy’s ultimate fate is no ending at all. There is such unspoken beauty in the final ten minutes of this film that I found myself twisted in two emotional directions at once: sorrow for the pain that Tommy deals with and joy at the release that he finally earns. It is a triumphant film, a film that has something on its mind and something in its heart, and a film that will exist and impress and inspire long after any silly awards season is over. Don’t get hung up on the little shit with this one. Don’t worry about awards or box-office in the short term. THE FOUNTAIN was built to last, and all that time it took to get here was worth the wait. Aronofsky has earned the right to go anywhere from here, and I for one will follow.

Gotta go finish this week’s DVD column now, and then work on a special DVD SHELF review of two of this week’s best discs, both from the same studio in the same year. Fun stuff, so until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 3, 2006, 9:46 p.m. CST


    by The Ender

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 9:52 p.m. CST

    With That Out Of The Way, Lets Recap A Few Ender Facts

    by The Ender

    1. I Hope Demon Dave And Bernheim Get Skull Fucked And Juggfuckled when their soiled shit stain puke of a fucking corpse arrives at the morgue. 2. Alexandra Dupont Is a Cunt. 3. The Fountain And Pan's Labyrinth, and Brick are the movies I was most excited about this year. Seen Brick, it was amazing. Just fantastic. And I cant wait to see the rest of my three picks. Requiem is a powerful, powerful movie (it got 2 of my friends to quit doing drugs, no lie) and I think an important film. Both artistically and just emotionally. 4. I think Juggfuckler is here to save us all. 5. Did I mention that Demon Dave is a fucking hack piece of cocksucking shit, protein shake drinking steroid insulated Uwe Boll Face sitting Dick Bludgeoning Queef sucking Fuck faced cunt? Okay good....

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 9:55 p.m. CST

    by Nicholas Rage

    I realy can't wait to see this movie. This review did not change my opinion of it because I got board with it after 3 paragraphs and stoped reading. hehe. But I take it he liked it.

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 10:12 p.m. CST

    Did you giggle all through it?

    by theBigE

    Oh wait, that's what Harry does. Sounds great, Mori. I too skipped good chunks of your review because I don't want it spoiled. I can't wait until....October? November? When's it coming out? Have they moved it again?

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 10:33 p.m. CST


    by Mr Nice Gaius

    Incredible review, Moriarty. Thanks a million. It been a long time since I've heard of a film that's had that much of a profound effect on a viewer/writer/critic (LOTR or Brokeback Mountain maybe?). At only 98 minutes, did you feel that it was shortchanged in any way? Would a longer cut be of any benefit? Or, does it play out exactly as needed? Thanks again. Cheers.

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 10:49 p.m. CST

    Why is this rated R?

    by Kink

    "Some violence" That's it? I'm not quite sure what the hell the MPAA is thinking.

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 10:50 p.m. CST

    Aronofsky the new Del Toro/Rodriguez?

    by chickychow

    Why dont you use a lil more hyperbole Moriarty. Why don't you just come out and say that all you want in life is Darren Aronofsky giving you a blumnpkin on your most liquidy of days.

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 10:51 p.m. CST

    The Ender you know what would solve all your problems?

    by chickychow

    Killing yourself and sparing us your idiotic tirades. and that Juggfuckling this is already over, man. someone killed it, and I suspect it was you.

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 10:53 p.m. CST

    I HATE Darren Aronofsky

    by brokebackcowboy

    *I* wanted to get Rachel Weisz pregnant. Damn, she is beautiful. Thanks for the review, Mori.

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 10:55 p.m. CST


    by thatpeterguy

    I'm dying to see this but I'm over here in Korea and they never distribute these kinds of films out here. I guess that's why God created torrentspy. Not that I would ever use that. I'm just saying.

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 10:57 p.m. CST

    Yeah Ender...

    by Mr Nice Gaius

    You're gonna want to tone that waaaaayyy down.

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 11:02 p.m. CST


    by brokebackcowboy

    Ender is undoubtedly high-strung, but you gotta admit, his descriptions are vivid. Ouch.

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Mori, answer me this.....

    by JohnGalt06

    Okay, so I know Izzi doesn't finish her conquistador novel because she wants Tom to finish it. So are the space sequences meant to be the final chapter that he writes himself? Is the fact that she is not physically present there representative of the fact that he writes it after she's dead? Is that why the space nebula he's flying toward looks exactly like whatever was in his petry dish under the microscope? Just wondering...

  • Sept. 3, 2006, 11:39 p.m. CST


    by drew mcweeny

    ... that's a valid reading of it, and there's also just as much argument that the journey to space is a literal one based on the breakthroughs Tommy makes in his research. I'll be curious to see how you interpret it when you see it.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:01 a.m. CST

    I am actually going to wait

    by oscarxp

    Harry seems to love anything, which I respect but Morarity seems to be spot on or not be afraid to to say a film sucks, I would normally would go ahead and read the review because I have a really bad case of wanting to know too much. I have watched the trailer many times and still do not know what the film is about. If Darren is hiding more stuff then he has shown (which has been amazing)...I am willing to wait to be blown away. This film is my top choice to see this fall and something tells me it will make my top shelf (aka the movies I keep around no matter what to watch when I want to be reminded how much movies can mean something instead of what they are slowly becoming).....SIDE NOTE...I think we lived through the last remaining time of good movies those who were born in the early eighties....We will talk about films to our kids like Our parents talk about how good music use to be.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:04 a.m. CST

    I always wondered why Pitt walked away from this..

    by Windowlicker74

    He walked around with this huge beard for half a year and then all of a sudden he was gone. anyone know why?

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:04 a.m. CST



    I'll be seeing this Darren... I'll support you dammit!

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:24 a.m. CST

    The only film this Year that I must See.

    by Atomica

    Seriously, and just like Vaughn passed X3 up for Stardust, I'm totally stoked that Aronofsy passed on Bats to finish his dream film.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:37 a.m. CST

    I'm really looking forward to this...

    by mattyholmes

    So i haven't read the review, I want to keep spoiler free. Just wanted to say that this and The Prestige are the two flicks left from this year i cant wait for. (join our brand new forum!)

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:58 a.m. CST

    Too bad...

    by PirateEmery

    I kinda thought it would have been awesome for the same characters to be in three eras. Find and drink from the Fountain of Youth, live to the present, journey to the future to find a cure. Oh well...

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 1:26 a.m. CST

    who cares.

    by calami-shami

    Steve irwin is dead. Why cant Jackman bring him back?

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 1:53 a.m. CST

    How are we supposed to read these reviews

    by happygolucky

    when they're so riddled with spoilers you can't make it past the first few sentences?

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 2:03 a.m. CST

    I won't read this until I see the movie....

    by Russman

    I don't know how I've managed not to read an of these, but honestly with a movie like this you guys shouldn't be doing detailed reviews... but that's just me. I'll have to read all of this after it comes out. I won't even watch the trailer again, trying to forget the images I've seen.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 2:20 a.m. CST

    My most anticipated film of the last TWO years.

    by jigsaw

    This has been such a long time coming. I remember how thrilled I was when the pics of Bearded Brad were first published. A few years ago. And then the filmed chemical reactions. I'm counting on this being the film where Aronofsky finally connects with me. In the past his films felt original but headache-inducing (Pi) or aesthetically genius yet shallow, narrative-wise (Requim For A Dream). This film feels like the right mix of brains and looks.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 2:37 a.m. CST

    Man... this and Pan's Labrynth... Film isn't dieing

    by antonphd

    For all the complaints that film is being boxed, and we've heard this for decades, there will always be those who make films like this despite the shit all around them. Thank Goodness.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 7:36 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the review

    by CellarDoor

    I cannot wait to see this film. The trailer does funny things to me, both at a visual and emotional level. I'm just looking forward to the experience of watching this film, celebrating some cinema, be it good, bad or amazing.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Requiem for Love

    by blackwood

    Can't wait.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Eternal Love? (No Way This Will Top 2001)

    by LaserPants

    I'm reasonably sure THE FOUNTAIN may be exceptional, it may very well be brilliant, but the fact that its entire premise hinges on "eternal love" automatically removes it from consideration for being a contender with 2001. I mean, cmon now, "eternal love"? Please. Don't embarrass youselves. Not saying that love doesn't exist, not saying that its not a powerful force, but 2001 touches on a deep existential wisdom; a transcendent vision of cosmic rebirth and the evolution of universal inteligence totally removed from physical / biological experience. No way that a romantic heroic quest to save ones girlfriend (regardless of whether or not she is as beautiful and intelligent as Rachel Weisz) can even come close to touching on this; because it makes the experience something shared on a purely biological level; romantic love being, at best, an elaborate illusion we create to make our biological urges seem more than what they are. To be perfectly honest, THE FOUNTAIN sounds like the kind of story a man very much in love would write. Isn't Aronofsky newly married to Weisz? When they divorce, I eagerly look forward to his reversal of this film: THE EMPTY WELL. Until he realizes that it was all just biology and gets over romantic love (or the equally romantic "unlove") altogether.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 10:44 a.m. CST

    I'm still not excited about this one.

    by McGsStepson

    I know that Devin and Mori loved it but I just can't shake the feeling that this will be some fanboy masturbatory love fest like THE FIFTH ELEMENT or LEGEND or SOLARIS that will not quite hit with the rest of the population. Don't get me wrong, I will still be there for it on opening weekend, I'm just not quite looking forward to it as much as THE DEPARTED, THE PRESTIGE, THE GOOD GERMAN, and APOCALYPTO.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, noon CST


    by Jar Jar 4 Prez

    What a sad person you are.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Venice reception?

    by CellarDoor

    Apparently the film got booed during it's premiere at the fest. Does it ask too much of it's audience to be a hit? Will that stop it from being a good film? I think the 2001 comparison is made due to the film being a challenge, not because they cover the same topic. Didn't critics walk out of the first screening of 2001?

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Laserpants is a cynic!

    by CellarDoor

    But probably right about love and biology. You can tell from the press and the trailers that The Fountain is a deeply humanistic story. Maybe a lesser one in that sense, but still interesting surely?

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:54 p.m. CST

    This better win an Oscar... mostly just cause

    by jabberwookie

    im pissed Requiem for a Dream didnt get anything not cause I've seen this. So the oscar folks better make it up to him this time round.... so looking forward to this, just wish they wouldn't fuck with the release date so much.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Not Sad, Just Honest

    by LaserPants

    I'm actually quite happy, thank you very much. Not really cynical either; just honest and realistic. Hey, I believe that love exists. I've definately been in love before; never said those feelings weren't there or didn't have some weight to them. I'm just being honest about what it is: a romanticized biological urge. That's it! I still recognize the power of it, I just don't romanticize it anymore like I did when I was young and naive (and/or "high"). In all honesty, being clear headed about it has made me be able to have much more fulfilling relationships, so, go figure. I'll take reason over romance, sorry!

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 1:01 p.m. CST


    by The Ender

    I'm sorry to black cloud your reading experience. Truly, I try to use any tirades to fight on the side of righteousness. Secondly the Juggfuckling thing, I think it should be over when Juggfuckler officially kicks Demon Dicks ass. It's pretty harsh to tell me to kill myself, when you could just, I dont know NOT read my posts since they clearly annoy you so very much. I'm here to have fun, and I like the people on here. Except Regina Taylor and Dupont. Peace.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 1:02 p.m. CST

    And, Of Course...

    by LaserPants

    I think the THE FOUNTAIN looks exceptional; its definately on my list of "must-sees." Theres just no way its going to top 2001 (at least to my sensibilities).

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 1:16 p.m. CST

    I agree though... no way it can top 2001

    by jabberwookie

    fuck spielberg can't even top Kubrick... look at the shitfest that was AI... I get depressed everytime i think of how few movies kubrick made when there was so much more he could have given us.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 1:21 p.m. CST


    by Veraxus

    The movie dosn't open until November - so why are you teasing us like this? You're one sick, sick motherfucker Moriarty. God, I am so fucking sick of waiting for this to come out!

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Never apologise, Laserpants.

    by CellarDoor

    Not for choosing reason over simple-mindedness at least.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Booed at Venice...

    by MonsterSpielberg


  • Sept. 4, 2006, 4:36 p.m. CST

    Word, Ender. Word.

    by 'Cholera's Ghost

    Brick was utterly sweet. Fo' real.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 8:29 p.m. CST


    by The Ender

    Brick is what gives me hope in movies. Not just that, but as someone said above, Films Like The Fountain, and Pan's Labyrinth. Wow! This is what I want to be doing. Shit. I just wrote something yesterday at work that nearly made me tear up, just thinking about how amazingly powerful it would be to see executed EXACTLY as I pictured it. An opening for a war movie, that would just knock someone on their ass. Plan on seeing it someday.

  • Sept. 4, 2006, 9:23 p.m. CST

    While Moriarty raves, real critics are wretching...

    by Nate Champion

    I have yet to read a positive review of this movie from a critic who wasn't given a personal screening on the Warner lot.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 2:33 a.m. CST

    What a turkey!

    by fortheloveofgod

    Everybody hated it. Showered with boos!

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 3:35 a.m. CST

    by MMacKK

    Fuck, I cant wait for this. I'm glad I disagree with critics.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 4:06 a.m. CST

    Aronofsky Is OVERRATED!

    by Darth Fabulous

    I cringe every time I read an article referencing his aborted Batman project. At this point, he is more famous for knocking up Rachel Weisz than for his films. Not exactly Kubrickian.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 4:16 a.m. CST

    Variety Review

    by Darth Fabulous This review from the Venice screening sounds a tad more believable than Mori, but I won't judge the film until I see it. Aronofsky just isn't the auteur he thinks he is.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 6:47 a.m. CST

    Best Quote From The Scathing VARIETY Review

    by LaserPants

    "Visual effects, credited to a slew of different companies, are indeed striking with their nearly 3-D layers of golden haze. However, segment ultimately looks like a remake of the wormhole section of "2001: A Space Odyssey," as produced by makers of instructional videos for beginning yoga students." Oh, Oww!! A little praise then alotta OUCH! *** You know, I'll probably enjoy the whole "Rachel Weisz is in it and is done up all beautiful" aspect of it, but this really does sound like a laughably naive, inept, self-indulgent turd. Of course, self-indulgence can also be incredibly cool -- like with Fellini or Lynch or Miike. But Aronovsky? He ain't no Fellini, Lynch, or Miike. I liked Pi and Requium, and this is definately on my list of must-sees, I just imagine lots of eye-rolling and unintentional comedy.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 8:10 a.m. CST

    Thank goodness Brad Pitt backed out.

    by BobParr

    I think he's a pretty good actor but very limited. From reviews I've read Hugh Jackman becomes totally vulnerable in this movie. Brad Pitt doesn't do vulnerable.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 9:50 a.m. CST


    by Saluki

    ... They always do early reviews, but they rarely provide positive outlooks on them.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Hey Mori, good job.

    by Blue_Demon

    This sounds awesome. I'd ignore the other critics as well. Also, it's interesting that you mention the use of microphotography to represent astronomical phenomena. I read that Douglas Trumbull did the same thing with "2001" only it was extreme close-ups of paints and oils mixing in a black medium ( not counting the slit-scan photography for the Star Gate effect. ) I think I just out-geeked you all.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Hollywood Reporter didn't like it either...

    by JohnGalt06

    I will reserve judgment on the movie until I actually SEE IT, which is the only sane thing to do. It could be totally brilliant or nonsensical gobbledygook that plays to a very small audience (ala "What Dreams May Come") or something in between. I guess I'll have to wait until November to find out...

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 3:34 p.m. CST

    critics, right...

    by p4ld3w

    I read today in three of our newspapers that The Fountain was roundly booed... Bring it on! I have been waiting for this since I first heard DA was making a new movie, and fook the critics, who talk up shiteberg at any available opportunity, and harrumph herd-like at anything that may try their tiny minds... i'm gonna watch Requiem (and then Solaris for the sci-fi/romance/geeklit hit!).

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 4:29 p.m. CST

    I don't judge based on other people's reaction

    by DOGSOUP

    So the "boos" don't bother me. It's most definitely worth my time to see and judge for myself.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 7:56 p.m. CST

    This is the kind of review...

    by readingwriter

    ...that makes you realize how bad most movies are, because most reviews are full of phrases like "the trailers give too much away" and "if you just want to shut your brain off for two hours" and other such qualifiers. This is what I call an Impressionistic review because it doesn't tell me much about the movie per se (plus I skipped parts so I wouldn't learn too much) but instead gives me an IDEA of the effect it had on the reviewer. Pauline Kael once mentioned that people were very loyal to movies, because how else could you explain their continued attendance when they'd been burned by the product so often? This review makes me think The Fountain is one of those movies that renews the faith, and makes you think "THIS is why I go to the movies!" I was losing a little enthusiasm over this after being really pumped up by another early review, but you've gotten me excited about seeing this again.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 7:59 p.m. CST

    Self-indulgent and overrated

    by readingwriter

    Two words which tell me the critic is really dying to say "How DARE you attempt to color outside the lines! How DARE you make something that's not aimed squarely at ME and my friends!" We'd still be favoring TV over the movies if it weren't for "selfindulgentoverrated" artists--whoops, another of those offensive words. (Oh, wait, most people DO prefer TV to the movies...) Bring on the artists who dare to not give a shit what YOU (whoever"YOU" might be) think!

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 8:03 p.m. CST

    Name an actress hotter than Weisz...

    by Colonel Kane

    she's gorgeous

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 8:16 p.m. CST

    Three words, not two

    by readingwriter

    I can write and read, just can't count

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 8:52 p.m. CST


    by LaserPants

    2001 was panned by critics too, at first, before they realized it was a work of genius. No, I'm not saying that THE FOUNTAIN is even going to come close to 2001 (for reasons noted eariler; it sounds like a corny new age space romance), but it doesn't mean its going to necessarily suck either. I loved the hell out of Miike's IZO and that has to be the most self-indulgent movie I've ever seen (it also happens to be completely brilliant). So, we'll see. I just get the feeling that people are going to either love this or hate it, and that many of the lovers are going to fool themselves into thinking that its deep when really its just pretty fluff for newlywed stoners / undergrad philosophy majors.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 9:12 p.m. CST

    harry has found everlasting love...

    by Colonel Kane

    why can't i?

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 9:13 p.m. CST

    ? for Laserpants

    by readingwriter

    Most "deep" movies are surfacey, and frankly, most of the people who go to the movies for philosophical elements are undergrad philosophy majors--I mean, who is the intended audience for truly deep movies, as opposed to "deep" movies? My question is, what is your standard for philosophical depth in movies--what movies are Deep, and which are "deep" (or New Age deep)? Because 2001 may or may not be deep, but I'd say undergrad philosophy majors are its philosophy's biggest fans. I don't see a whole lot of truly Deep movies out there and would love to read some titles.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 9:18 p.m. CST

    The movie I, Col. Kane, starred in...

    by Colonel Kane

    was sort of deep. seriously The Ninth Configuration is a fucking masterpiece.

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 9:26 p.m. CST

    Ninth Configuration

    by readingwriter

    It's been too long since I saw it to call it a masterpiece, but I will say it has one of the most amazing openings of any movie I've seen--those shots of the foggy mountain, the dream image of the moon behind the rocket, and the astronaut shouting "There's nothing out there!" And how can you not like a movie with the line "The man in the moon tried to fuck my sister!"

  • Sept. 5, 2006, 10:22 p.m. CST

    by Colonel Kane

    "I'm asking Foot to either shit or get off the pot. Diuretic strange gods have been waiting in line."

  • Sept. 6, 2006, 7:32 a.m. CST


    by LaserPants

    Well, its all subjective, init? And by deep I suppose I mean in terms of revealing profound (often frightening) truths about the nature of existance, even if its not "cosmic" in nature. Whereas "deep" would be "like wow man, I'm so high, dude, Rachel Weisz is hot!" and/or "there is no spoon." So, on that tack, I would reckon pretty much everything by KUBRICK, Bergman, Kurosawa (especially RASHOMAN: the whole subjectivity of experience thing), Apocalypse Now, Thin Red Line (and The New World), Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, julian donkey boy (yes, julian donkey boy), pretty much everything by Herzog (but especially Stroszek), pretty much everything by Wim Wenders (but especially Paris, Texas; An American Friend; and Wings of Desire), to name a few offa the top.

  • Sept. 6, 2006, 7:37 a.m. CST

    I Forgot the KRAZY KAT n' IGNATZ Comic Strip

    by LaserPants

    You will never find anything more profound, more zen, than this. Never, ever, never...

  • Sept. 6, 2006, 10:32 a.m. CST


    by readingwriter

    That's a respectable list, but I gotta say, they all look like favorites of those same undergrad philosophy majors--ditto for The Matrix flicks. Those same upm's (to slap a label on 'em) are probably sitting around discussing the subjectivity of Rashomon, and you KNOW Kubrick is their fave director. Of those you listed I'd say Herzog best fits my understanding of the distinction you've made; his movies seem to confront messy reality with messy art. One movie that I consider Deep is Seconds, which is readily understood by someone without even that level of book learnin'. I think it's more a matter of taking an original approach to the material and revealing the filmmaker's understanding of life, as opposed to simply adopting someone else's worldview and wrapping it up in technique. As for Krazy Kat, I'd agree to an extent, though I'm more a Pogo guy myself.

  • Sept. 6, 2006, 8:46 p.m. CST

    dog star man is deep

    by Colonel Kane

    deep i say

  • Sept. 6, 2006, 9:29 p.m. CST


    by 'Cholera's Ghost

    It's so great that Love and its mereological supervenience are finally being discussed here on AICN :-)

  • Sept. 6, 2006, 10:12 p.m. CST

    Love is great...

    by Colonel Kane

    Arthur Lee, R.I.P.

  • Sept. 7, 2006, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Wow, this sounds really trippy and great.

    by minderbinder

    I was never sold on this, but even the beginning of this review makes me really want to see it.

  • Sept. 7, 2006, 6:33 p.m. CST

    I dunno, Minderbinder...

    by JohnGalt06

    It's starting to sound like new-age psychobabble to me. I'm DEFINITELY going to see it but I am keeping expectations down. Just remember that Moriarty also loved THE STORY OF US, BAD BOYS II, and THE REAL CANCUN...

  • Sept. 8, 2006, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Ever heard of fricking spoilers?

    by dplatt

    I know the script and the comic have been out there, but a little warning would still have been cool.