Netflixed: Being John Malkovich

“Being John Malkovich” (Universal Studios)

I re-watched this Charlie Kaufman / Spike Jonze film after seeing it over ten years ago in a theatre, it still made me laugh with the sheer absurdity even on this second viewing.

When puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) discovers a door that’s, in fact, a portal into actor John Malkovich’s brain, he concocts a plot to sell 15-minute excursions into Malkovich’s mind — and the ultimate head trip — for $200 a pop. Spike Jonze directs this uncommon dramedy from writer Charlie Kaufman, co-starring Cameron Diaz as Craig’s wife, Catherine Keener as his co-worker and Malkovich as himself. [Click to Netflix Being John Malkovich]

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Endlessly inventive film – if you missed it the first time around, or haven’t seen it in a while, give it a viewing. The scene with John Malkovich playing hundreds of dopplegangers is well worth a third or fourth viewing, it’s that much fun.

Apparently, the Steppenwolf Theatre building in Chicago has a half-floor used for storage.

Roger Ebert:

What an endlessly inventive movie this is! Charlie Kaufman, the writer of “Being John Malkovich,” supplies a stream of dazzling inventions, twists and wicked paradoxes. And the director, Spike Jonze, doesn’t pounce on each one like fresh prey, but unveils it slyly, as if there’s more where that came from. Rare is the movie where the last half hour surprises you just as much as the first, and in ways you’re not expecting. The movie has ideas enough for half a dozen films, but Jonze and his cast handle them so surely that we never feel hard-pressed; we’re enchanted by one development after the next.

[Click to continue reading Being John Malkovich :: :: Reviews]

Scott Tobias:

Putting aside the fact that Charlie Kaufman’s insistently surreal script for Being John Malkovich was staked on the actor’s willingness to appear in a supporting role, it’s still a miracle that a film conceived with such brazen disregard for the marketplace ever got made. In description, Kaufman’s lunatic flourishes seem to have emerged from a haze of pot smoke: an ulcerous chimp with feelings of inadequacy, a building designed to accommodate miniature ladies, a production of The Belle Of Amherst featuring a 60-foot Emily Dickinson puppet. But there’s sturdy intelligence and depth behind the material—aided immeasurably by Spike Jonze’s ultra-realistic direction—that keeps it grounded in basic human desires

[Click to continue reading Being John Malkovich | DVD | Review | The A.V. Club ]

David Edelstein:

Being John Malkovich is everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a crazy comedy. It’s close to pure farce, yet its laughs are grounded in loneliness, impotence, self-loathing, and that most discomfiting of vices to dramatize: envy. The action is surreal, the emotions are violently real. The screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman, is a genius at finding slapstick correlatives for people’s nebulous sense–or non-sense–of themselves. It’s possible that no one has ever come up with a more absurdly perfect metaphor for our longing to be someone–anyone–other than who we are than a portal into the head of John Malkovich.

[Click to continue reading Insiders and Way Insiders – By David Edelstein – Slate Magazine ]

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