Chasing Sleep

chasing

Scrolling through Amazon Prime/Lovefilm/Netflix/Whatever, you can come across films you’d heard about many years before and somehow forgot about, or indeed titles you’ve never even heard of but which feature a favourite actor or director. With Chasing Sleep, I had vague recollections of hearing people say good things about it. It also featured Jeff Daniels, an actor I’ve always respected but who rarely gets the big hit he deserves. The blurb made the film sound interesting enough, so I decided to give it a shot in the hope that I’d stumbled upon a new favourite, similar to how I first encountered Fallen, Dark City, and a few others many moons ago.

Chasing Sleep does have an interesting premise similar to many thrillers of old – Daniels, a professor, wakes one morning to find that his wife is not in the house. After a few calls to family and friends and eventually Police, he finds out that his wife’s car has been abandoned near the house of someone she had been suspected of having an affair with. Hallucinations, guilt, cops, students, etc are all visited upon Daniels as we try to find out the truth, but it becomes clear that he is losing his grip on reality, on sanity, and that he is unsure of his own actions never mind those of his wife.

Chasing-Sleep-2

This is a very slow-burning thriller that doesn’t give the viewer too many answers, leaving the whereabouts of the wife as well as each character’s motives and actions open-ended and vague. Daniels is effective in the lead, giving a drowsy performance where he rarely strays from confused, tired, and moving in a dreamlike and passive manner. The surrounding cast do a fine job in ambiguous and minor roles, with Gil Bellows, Julian McMahon, and Emily Bergl each acting as a distraction to the steadily collapsing Daniels.

Have you seen or heard about Chasing Sleep? Is it something you would be interested in seeing or is it not something you would recommend? Let us know in the comments!

Dumb And Dumber

Dumb And Dumber

In the 90’s the Farrelly brothers brought a new stream of gross-out toilet humour to the movies, and with Dumb and Dumber they hit their peak. There’s Something About Mary may have been a bigger critical hit, but this film, uniting the talents of Carrey and Daniels is the funniest film of the decade, and for fans of this kind of humour, it is the best comedy ever. If you like your jokes subtle, or Frasier style then be warned-here we have lewd sexual jokes, making fun of blind kids, drinking urine, and laxatives…

Dumb and Dumber is above all a road movie, following two friends who are dumber than the average person across America in search of a woman who left her briefcase behind. Lloyd (Carrey) works as a chauffeur, and after taking a beautiful woman to the airport he realises she has forgotten her briefcase. He takes it, intending to give it back to her, getting fired in the process. Unknown to him, she left it on purpose as it was full of money for the mob. Soon two hit men are after Lloyd. His friend Harry looks after dogs, and after he messes up another job he too is fired. After hitting rock bottom they decide to look for the briefcase girl, as Lloyd has fallen for her and hopes that she will love him when he returns her case. All he knows though is she is called Mary, and was going to Aspen. So they head out on the road. Along the way the get into a few scrapes, encounter the hit men, get lost, but eventually make it. When they find Mary, Harry goes on a date with her leaving Lloyd jealous. But they are both kidnapped leaving Lloyd to save the day.

This is Carrey’s funniest performance, every second he is on screen will make you laugh. Daniels is the perfect support, being equally dumb but letting Carrey steal the show. Holly is very good as Mary also, and the rest of the cast are good in mostly small parts, from the hit men to Sea-bass. The cinematography is very good for a comedy, exploiting the scenery to its fullest, the soundtrack is brilliant, and the plot is hardly complex, but nor is it simple. Funny moment are everywhere, and everyone has their favourites. Mine- the fact that when Harry asks Lloyd to buy only the bare essentials as they have no money left, then Lloyd goes and buys a jumbo hat etc, the dream sequence featuring lighting farts and a vicious fight, the Sea-Bass sequence, and the snowball Harry throws at Mary, yes laughing as i type (must watch it later). Other moments include, ‘Pretty bird’, ‘Tick-tack sir?’, the laxatives, and various one-liners. Aside from all the jokes, the film has a charm about it, the two friends are constant losers but we love them anyway. 1994 was a magnificent year for movies, many of my favourites come from then, and this is undoubtedly one of the best.

This DVD restores many cut scenes, and includes other deleted parts some of which are funny, others which are mildy amusing. This is probably the best version of the film yet, and as it’s cheap you should snap it up now.

As always, feel free to leave any comments on the movie and the review. Is this the high point in Carrey’s career? Did you prefer this over There’s Something About Mary?

Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia

One for spider lovers the world over this is an impressive fusion of genres which, unlike many other movies which use the same tactic, pays off. Funny, tense like Gremlins but scarier, especially if you’re afraid of the hairy little dudes, the story of a small town under attack by killer spiders is one which has never been explored better. Naturally the saviour is a man who has been terrified by spiders since childhood, and Daniels is perfect for the role, as both a father and reluctant hero. Goodman’s brief cameo is many people’s highlight, and the others are all good in tiny roles. The doctor who refuses to believe the story, Daniels’ wife etc all help to add to the small town double intrusion theme. Daniels’ family, like the spiders, are outsiders. Perhaps comparable to The Birds, in that the newcomer seems to herald the outbreak, although in this, we know the spider is brought via the corpse of a reporter. The spider effects are impressive, and the scene with the `spider’ on Daniels’ bedroom wall at night is a classic. So, if you haven’t seen it and are looking for a cheap, genuine laugh with a few scares, this is one of the best of the nineties.

For fans of the movie the DVD is poor, with no features whatsoever. Unforgivable in this day and age of added treats.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the movie, or your scary real life spider stories…