Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Terry Gilliam) - 2009

Step into the "imaginarium" of Terry Gilliam.  Mr. Gilliam, graduate of Monty Python and Harvey Kurtzman's Help! magazine, is an artist with a distinctive style.  His art is such that ever frame of the movie is carefully crafted to set the mood.  A Terry Gilliam movie is not so much a film production as it is a great feat of engineering.  His ability to bring the creativity of his mind to the screen is unparalleled and under-appreciated.  Certainly, the boring Academy voters will not bring a nomination for this offbeat movie.  It is their loss.  And, truly talented directors like Gilliam are not motivated by gold-plated britannium statuettes.

Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) made a deal with the devil (Tom Waits) and was cursed forever with his immortality.  Plummer and Waits are perfect in their roles.  The stars are Heath Ledger (1979-2008) and Lily Cole, as the doctor's beautiful 16-year-old daughter.  Ms. Cole steals every scene with her wide-eyed and bow-lipped innocence.  The ensemble cast is excellent even without the addition of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell serving as surrogates for the late Ledger.  Director Gilliam performed magic to weave his tale in Ledger's absence.  The final result is destined to be a cult classic long after everyone has forgotten the awarded movies of 2009. [JAM 1/14/2010]