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A Nightmare on Elm Street

When a teen boy kills himself late one night inside an all night diner, in front of his girlfriend, after having not slept for days, no one knows it yet but Freddy Kruger has just made a comeback.

At the teen’s funeral his girlfriend Kris falls asleep and encounters herself as a child standing in front of the grave. When she’s snapped awake she notices a photo of her and Dean, her boyfriendย  from when they were five, which is odd because she is sure the two of them had only met in high school. Kris is positive that something strange is going on but no one seems to want to talk about it. No one except for Nancy, a waitress at the diner who also witnessed the apparent suicide.

After Kris’s mother is called away on a flight, her ex Jesse climbs into her bedroom window to see how she’s coping. Frightened by recent dreams, Kris asks Jesse to spend the night with her. Kris is afraid she is having the same dreams that Dean was having, dreams so terrifying that they caused him to kill himself. Only, Kris isn’t convinced these are ordinary dreams since Dean kept repeating โ€œYou’re not realโ€ over and over again just before slicing his throat open. Kris thinks something in his dream caused Dean to kill himself and is worried the same thing could happen to her. Her fears prove to be correct when she encounters a burned man with a bladed glove who tortures and murders her in her sleep, causing her to die for real.

Jesse wakes up in time to witness Kris’s horrific death and decides he’s not sticking around. He knows what it looks like and that no one would believe that Kris was killed in her sleep. No one, except of course Nancy. Jesse warns Nancy that something strange is going on and that whatever she does, she mustn’t fall asleep. He then takes off only to be apprehended by the police. Once inside a cell, try as hard as he might Jesse just can’t stay awake any longer and is confronted by the burned man with the glove who proceeds to kill him too.

Nancy realizes something strange is going on and she and her friend Quentin know they need to figure it out soon or they’ll be the next to die. After doing some digging the two find photographs of the kids from when they were five. Everyone is in the photo including Kris, Jesse, Dean and several other kids. When they confront Nancy’s mother they learn the awful truth, or at least part of it. Nancy’s mother confirms that all the kids had known each other when they were little since they all went to the same preschool. She tells them of a man named Fred Kruger who worked as a gardener at the preschool who had been accused of molesting the children. She tells Quentin and Nancy that Fred had taken off before he could be arrested and that the parents decided not to tell the kids what had happened so that they wouldn’t have to remember such horrible events in their childhood.

While trying to track down the other kids in the photo Nancy learns that every one of them had died horribly in their sleep. When the two confront Quentin’s father, the high school principal he reluctantly fills them in on the gory details. Turns out Kruger hadn’t escaped after all. In fact all the parents had decided to take the law into their own hands and burned Kruger alive, even though they weren’t sure whether or not he was really guilty. Quentin fears that Kruger has somehow found a way to enter the kids dreams to kill them in retaliation for causing his death for a crime he was innocent of.

Nancy and Quentin feel Freddy drawing them to the old preschool and the truth. Now all they have to do as stay awake, and alive, long enough to find it.

Well, at least we now know how to actually kill Freddy. Just stick him an an awful remake. For a movie about a guy who kills you in your sleep I had a hell of a time keeping my eyes open.

I wanted to like this version of A Nightmare on Elm Street, really I did, especially as it stars Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy. I absolutely loved Haley as Rorschach in Watchmen and he was actually not a bad Freddy… He just wasn’t all that scary either.

Maybe I’m getting stubborn in my old age of 35 but to me Robert Englund will always be Freddy Kruger. Apparently during this reboot of Elm Street they wanted to make Freddy more frightening by taking away his personality. Freddy without his one liners and innuendos just isn’t Freddy. Sure, some of the quips are still there but lets face it, it’s not like Freddy gets a whole lot of screen time in this one.

This version seems to be more about the kids and let’s face it, there isn’t a Johnny Depp in the bunch. Depp, as many will recall, got his big break by being slaughtered by Freddy. While the kids are alright you really just don’t end up getting emotionally invested in them and ultimately don’t really give a shit when they die. Heck, even their deaths aren’t all that interesting.

Oh and one final note. If you really want to kill Freddy, here’s a hint… DON’T. Freddy is only powerful in the dream world and only has access to the dream world when he’s dead. That means every time you ‘kill’ him, he’s just gonna keep coming back. If you want to stop Freddy, pull him out of the dream world into the real world and keep him alive. Have him tossed into an asylum in a nice comfy padded cell and pump him so full of Thorazine that he can’t even remember his own name. Freddy’ll have a pretty hard time killing kids in their dreams while he’s laying in a puddle of his own drool. Nightmare over.

A Nightmare on Elm Street stars Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz and Clancy Brown and is currently playing in theaters.

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Come one, come all and bare witness to the wonders of Doctor Parnassus’ amazing Imaginarium. A doorway into the very mind of Doctor Parnassus, the Imaginarium allows people to step into their imaginations and experience them in ways they never thought possible. To step into the Imaginarium is to be transformed forever but whether it be change for the better or for the worst remains to be seen. You see, it’s not only Doctor Parnassus who holds sway over the Imaginarium, there is also the evil Mr. Nick to contend with.

Over a thousand years ago Doctor Parnassus (played by Christopher Plummer) had been a monk charged with the responsibility of keeping the world existing by continually telling the story of the world. It was believed by his order that if they were to ever stop telling the story the world would cease to exist. When Mr. Nick (played by Tom Waits) pays the monks a visit he challenges their beliefs and forces them to stop telling the story of the world by magically sealing their mouths shut. When the world does not end after all Parnassus assumes that it is because there are people all around the world telling stories and as long as those stories are being told the world will continue to exist.

Believing this to be a ‘weak hypothesis’ Mr. Nick asks Parnassus if he is a betting man and so begins a thousand year gamble between the two. Throughout the centuries Parnassus and Mr. Nick make wagers on who can collect the most souls with Parnassus winning the first wager in which he is granted immortality. Sadly immortality comes with a high price and after hundreds of years Parnassus finds himself a broken shell of a man in a world no longer interested in imagination.

Here in the present, Doctor Parnassus is the leader of a destitute traveling theater troupe consisting of Percy, a fellow monk and loyal friend (played by Vern Troyer), Anton, a young apprentice (played by Andrew Garfield) and Parnassus’ daughter Valentina (played by Lily Cole). Parnassus now spends his days drinking and telling his daughter tales of his past and how he met and had fallen in love with her now dead mother. The worst part is that in order to have Valentina’s mother fall in love with him he had asked Mr. Nick to grant him youth and mortality with the price being the soul of any of Parnassus’ children upon their sixteenth birthday.

As Valentina’s sixteenth birthday approaches Parnassus is granted one last chance to save his daughter. A final wager between Parnassus and Mr. Nick, a race to be the first to collect five souls, shall determine the fate of Valentina. Things look hopeless, that is until the troupe rescues Tony (played by Heath Ledger), a man hanging from a bridge who claims to have amnesia. There is more to Tony than meets the eye but has he been sent by providence to help Parnassus and his daughter or is he merely a pawn of the evil Mr. Nick?

I had been waiting to see this movie ever since I first heard it was being filmed. Of course the fact that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus had been Heath Ledger’s last film before he died had a lot to do with that. Thankfully, as sad as Heath’s passing was this film stands as a wonderful tribute to a gifted actor.

The movie is full of charm and whimsy and is unmistakably a Terry Gilliam production. The tale of a man who foolishly continues to gamble with the devil, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is fun yet bittersweet as it is Heath Ledger’s final film. The use of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to represent the many faces of Tony while inside the Imaginarium not only saved the film, it could have easily been originally written that way.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is slated for DVD and Blue-Ray release on April 27th 2010.

An absolutely wonderful film I give The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus five very happy smilin’ dudes out of five.

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