Saturday, August 17, 2013
Cindy Prascik’s Review of Paranoia
Dearest Blog, a day of lunacy, with an unexpected detour to the DMV, left me time for only one movie on this weekend of four major new releases. Since one of the four has Gary Oldman and the other three do not, I believe the technical term for this decision is "a gimmie." Paranoia it is!
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. I'm going to have to comment on the film's ending, but I won't give it away.
A tech whiz-kid is used as a pawn in two industry giants' bitter feud.
I am sorry to report that Paranoia does not break the mold in this summer of movies that have been less than expected. It's fairly entertaining, but definitely not the smartly twisting thriller I expected.
Star Liam Hemsworth matches his big brother Chris in the looks department, but lacks the magnetism that allows Chris to share a screen with the likes of Robert Downey, Jr. and not be utterly invisible. Oscar-nominated supporting cast notwithstanding, it's up to Hemsworth to carry Paranoia, and, sadly, the task is beyond him. Hemsworth is a fine physical specimen, and his charms are randomly and gratuitously on display throughout the movie. (That's not a complaint, more a warning...you know, if you have a weak heart or something.) His performance is passable, but not strong enough to salvage a so-so film.
Supporting players Oldman, Harrison Ford, and Richard Dreyfuss are the movie's goldmine and are surprisingly well-used. When any one of the three is onscreen, Paranoia becomes infinitely more engaging. For supporting roles, I can't really complain about Oldman's or Ford's screentime, but the movie noticeably loses its spark when neither is present. In these days of Sirius Black and Jim Gordon,
Paranoia is a nice reminder of just how good Gary Oldman is at being bad!
Paranoia has relatively few attempts at humor, and most of what it has falls flat. The film consistently fails to sustain any tension or suspense, and there were zero (0) twists that I didn't see coming from a mile out. I rolled my eyes so much at the ending I was afraid they might stick. Even allowing for its many faults, though, Paranoia didn't bore me, and I wouldn't say it's a terrible movie...just not anywhere near as good as I'd hoped.
For my fellow Gary Fangirls and Fanboys, Paranoia sees Gary looking extra-fine, dapper in grey suits with mostly purple ties (though they went for blue at the end), very handsome. His screentime is more than acceptable for a supporting role and, as I'm sure I don't need to say, his scenes represent all the movie's high points. This is Gary's only big-screen appearance of 2013, so I enthusiastically suggest everyone get out and see him while you can!
Paranoia clocks in at 106 minutes and is rated PG13 for "some sexuality, violence, and language."
Paranoia is carrying a rating of just 4.5 at IMDB, and an embarrassing two-percent at Rotten Tomatoes. Before seeing it yesterday, I heard it called "the worst movie of Harrison Ford's career," all of which I think is unnecessarily harsh. Paranoia is a bit of pointless summer brain candy, to be enjoyed and forgotten.
It's far from brilliant, but I wasn't bored either.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Paranoia gets five.
Until next time...
Forget about rich. Make me Mrs. Oldman, dammit! ;-)