Ingenious, rage-inducing movie, which I wouldn’t like to ever watch again. Jennifer Lawrence is humbly fixing up her beloved poet husband Javier Bardem’s family house while he searches for inspirado, then the house is no longer their own, as random stranger Ed Harris and eventually his wife Michelle Pfeiffer and murderous children move in. Bardem publishes his new work and fans and media flock to the house to meet him, and he welcomes the chaos, while Lawrence is having a baby then trying in vain to keep it from the insane mob. The movie becomes more and more ludicrous, but in a purposeful way, until it loops back on itself. This is all a Metaphor, everyone agrees, but curiously, the critics disagreed on what exactly it’s a Metaphor for. Script by visionary nutcase The Fountain Aronofsky, photography by grimy underlit-interiors The Wrestler Aronofsky, featuring an appearance by Crazed Kristen Wiig.

Watched this the same night as The Social Network. They both currently rank in the top 150 movies of all time according to IMDB voters, who have no sense of history. I cringed when I saw Aronofsky’s handheld follow-cam from The Wrestler, but he didn’t overdo that stuff this time. He’s always had a knack for filming deteriorating human bodies and creating sustained intensity through editing and music – plenty of opportunity for both in a story about a ballet dancer going mad. Mila “Extract” Kunis was just as good as Natalie Portman. Barbara Hershey (as Portman’s mom) and Winona Ryder (as the washed-up dancer Portman replaces) round out the cast – apparently a very female picture, though it didn’t feel like one. Will Darren ever make a movie in which nobody dies (or suffers massive trauma, whatever) at the end?

Do I detect an Inland Empire influence?

Too bad the song “Black Swan” wasn’t in the movie, but it couldn’t have made a bigger impact than it did over the ending of A Scanner Darkly.

Supposedly Mickey Rourke’s big comeback film, but I first heard of Mickey Rourke in 2005’s Sin City, and I didn’t think three years was all that long a wait. Checking his imdb page, I’ve seen him in four other movies this decade so it’s not like he hasn’t been around. But these statements are made by the same kinds of people who didn’t see Johnny Depp in anything between Edward Scissorhands and Pirates of the Caribbean. Point is it’s a showcase film for Rourke, who’s rumored to be the same kinda washed-up aging broke druggie loser as his character. Does his acting shine in this? Oh yes: comeback achieved, awards deserved. Does the rest of the movie hold up? Not really, no.

First off, I knew this would be a smaller film after Aronofsky got himself into the shithouse with hyper-expensive personal epic The Fountain, but I didn’t realize he was following the new indie wave towards handheld follow-cam dramas. Seems about a sixth of the film was the back of Mickey Rourke’s head walking between rooms. There’s nothing here, not even in the Clint Mansell score, reminiscent of our ol’ Aronofsky. The man’s got a right to change, but by flushing his sense of style, he’s making it so the next time there’s “a film by D. Aronofsky” it’s not going to mean anything.

Written by The Onion’s Robert Siegel, and there’s some good comedy when Rourke’s supermarket boss Todd Barry is around, but the writing is kinda garbage overall. The attraction here is the performance, and less the acting and line-reading and emotion than the physicality, The Body of Rourke (oh, and the fine Springsteen song over the credits). Take that away, or give it to a lesser body (say, the early-rumored casting of The Body of Nicolas Cage) and you haven’t got a theatrical release, you’ve got something that dies on video… Jesus metaphors, stripper with heart of gold, overplayed/underwritten Evan Rachel Wood performance and all.

Oh, he dies at the end.

Huge Ackman is a simian surgeon/scientist in a secluded snowy setting. Rachel Weisz (the superbitch from “the shape of things”) is his cancerous fantasy-author wife. Ellen Diet-Pills Burstyn runs the lab that Huge works at, and Ethan “you dumb bastard- it’s not a schooner, it’s a sailboat” Suplee is some guy who works there too. Huge needs to cure the monkeys of their cancer in order that he may cure his wife of hers.

BUT, Huge is also a Spanish conquistador looking for the tree of life in the New World in order that he may save Spain’s Queen Weisz from the invading forces. AND, Huge is a bald futureman in a futuresphere floating towards an enchanted nebula in order that he may save The Weisz Tree Of Life from its impending death. These two things aren’t actually happening, but are being imagined by our present-day Huge & Weisz in their books and dreams and imaginations.

In all three realities, Huge is obsessed with saving Weisz, needs her, but as Paul said, thrives on her illness(es) so that he’ll be able to keep saving her. He literally feeds off her in futureworld and fetishizes the ring she gives him in Spain, which he loses down a drain in the present and tattooes onto himself in futureworld.

Movie is beautiful almost all of the time, with good music swelling up at the end, some fab fantasy segments (plants sprouting out of Huge’s body after he first tastes the tree’s sap), some wacky effects (apparently stuff was composited onto microscopic cells to create futureworld instead of the whole thing being a CG creation), lots of closeups on our heroes, some total distractions by the schooner guy, and neat connections between the three planes.

Those connections are what keep the movie interesting. It’s such a complete story, circular and self-referencing, going back over itself and leaping way ahead of itself. A well-built movie, obviously so clearly thought out, more than just a straightforward story (though it is that too: Huge tries to save wife, she dies anyway, game over). Imaginatively detailed, every scene a necessary part of the whole. Deserves a better shake than it’s getting.

Katy may have liked this (she liked Pi). Paul at least didn’t hate it and everyone else is incredulous that I bothered to see it.