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The Masked Reviewer

This film comes from the mind of Charlie Kaufman, who also wrote a little diddy called Being John Malkovich, as well as Confessions of a Dangerous MindAdaptation, written by Charlie and his twin brother Donald, is a strange ride, but in a good way.  It's autobiographical in many ways.  It's bizarre at times, very funny at other times, and holds you attention all the way through.

If you liked Malkovich, you're bound to love this.  It's not quite as far fetched, but it is out there.  Nicholas Cage portrays Charlie Kaufman with spot-on accuracy.  But, you know, who cares?  He could've been way off and the movie still would have been great.

It is an intellectual movie, and it does require you to pay attention.  It's not what the Masked Reviewer would call an art film, but it is definitely not mainstream.  It's self referential, but in a brilliant way.  It's a movie that all  who consider themselves a connoisseurs of movies should see.  If you find talky/wacky movies like Being John Malkovich to be hard to follow or not very interesting, you probably won't get into the groove of Adaptation.  If you hated the Hollywood insider vibe of The Player, it might not appeal to you.  Everyone else is almost sure to enjoy it.

The film also stars Meryl Streep who is very good, and Chris Cooper (of American Beauty, you know, the Nazi lovin' son beatin' guy who blows Kevin Spacey's brains out when saw it right?) is brilliant.  There were a few other people in the movie who were also good, but Cage, Streep, and Cooper were the big three.  Or big four, actually, since Cage plays both Charlie and Donald Kaufman (they're twins).  Speaking of which, there is an interesting piece of information that changes your viewing of the movie; it's not a spoiler, per se, but rather a bit of real life background that might change your viewing appreciation.  If you want to read it, go to the bottom of the page and read the Spoiler section.  It doesn't really spoil anything, and maybe you already know this, but the Masked Reviewer takes the surprise element of a film very seriously and won't jeopardize it here.

The Masked Reviewer gives this film the coveted Golden Mask.  It's good watchin'.


 If you like Nicolas Cage, take the Nicolas Cage Movie Poster Quiz!

Expectation from the Title: Deals with adaptation.  It does, in several different clever ways.  Nominee for Best Use of a Title, 2002.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Nice):  This is actually good.  It's Maskalicious.

The Pros: Great insider Hollywood stuff, funny, intricate plot, great characters, well acted, well paced, and very clever.

  The Cons: It gets a bit weird, but likeably weird. 

Spoiler: Okay.  Twirl your noodle around this.  The movie deals with the writers, Charlie and Donald Kaufman.  They've both been nominated for an Academy Award for this film.  But...Donald Kaufman doesn't exist.  Charlie made up Donald when he first came to Hollywood.  They're the same person.  Knowing that puts much of the stuff that seems to be real life into perspective.  Charlie insisted that he and Donald both be credited for the screenplay.  The Masked Reviewer hopes more than anything that the Kaufmans win the Oscar this year, just to hear the speech.  One might suspect that many Academy voters would be inclined to vote that way, not even counting the fact that the screenplay is, as usual, brilliant.  Now, in keeping with tradition, I'll make some stuff up in case someone accidentally happened to glance at the spoiler section by accident.  The following never happened in this movie; a GIANT GORILLA, wearing a tutu, swings through the rafters and after doing a triple summersault, lands face down in the guacamole.  Larry helps the gorilla to the side of the ballroom and straightens her hair.  It's nice to see more parts for female gorillas, and Hollywood should be commended for their open-mindedness.


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