cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy



Click for full sized poster

The Invisible Circus

Starring Jordana Brewster, Christopher Eccleston, and Cameron Diaz; Blythe Danner
Based on the novel by Jennifer Egan
Written and Directed by Adam Brooks
website: www.invisible-circus.com

IN SHORT: For the arthouse. [Rated R for sexuality, language and drug content. 98 minutes]

In 1969, Faith (Cameron Diaz) and her boyfriend Wolf (Christopher Eccleston) left San Francisco and went to Europe. He stayed in France. She jumped off a cliff in Portugal. Six or so years later, armed with a pocketful of old postcards, younger sister Phoebe (Jordana Brewster) goes in search of her sister's trail, to find answers to questions that were never fully put to rest. Phoebe, like her father before her, was of a generation that "missed" the cacophony of the Sixties. While Phoebe has the lingering memories of a Fifties dad who died early of leukemia, her reaction upon attaining adulthood is a bit different from the rest of us Seventies kidlets. We partied furiously and screwed our brains out. Phoebe sets off in search of discovery.

That hunt can lead two ways. It can lead to discoveries that are interesting to watch or it can lead to a lot of introspection, something best delivered in the thousands of words contained in a novel. As always we don't compare to source material but can tell from the adaptation that the book is heavy on self-introspection and supposition. We know this because the adaptation tells us everything that might have been discovered, if the nature of the search could have led to it. The problem faced by writer/director Adam Brooks' adaptation of Jennifer Egan's novel is that the very plot of the story leads to situations that by their very nature would not be easy to randomly uncover.

Phoebe is in possession of prosaic bits of writing on postcards that she has carefully preserved, that guide her along the stations of Faith's last journey, but those, in addition to a free tab of blotter acid slipped to her by a street lass in Amsterdam don't offer any great revelation as to what life was like for her sister six years earlier. That comes only when she finds the Paris abode of Christopher, the man formerly known as Wolf, who leaves his girlfriend behind to finish the journey to Portugal with Phoebe. For all the alleged freedom and openness of Sixties radicalism, the people that Faith and Wolf found themselves hanging with were about the most restrictive, tight lipped bunch you could possibly imagine.

While the visual distraction of moving from great city to great city is one thing, we never got a real sense of what Phoebe was really after. Brewster's performance is so low key that we never got a sense that discovering the truth about her sister's demise was key to her emotional development. There are flashbacks involving the demised dad that appear more important than the point they are needed to deliver -- that point involves something Diaz' character will do, which is key to the story and thus cannot be revealed here.

The title of the piece appears, and disappears, in one sentence describing a late night party. Given the timeframe and the performance, the characters are probably doped out of their skulls but the film avoids saying so. The filmmakers deliberately tried not to point to markers like clothes and drugs, which we applaud because those bits of production design in a period piece can interfere with storytelling, but Brooks doesn't have a lot of clues that he can drop into this voyage to keep us interested. Blythe Danner appears as the mom but her character doesn't provide a heck of a lot of conflict or support for Phoebe's decision to follow in Faith's footsteps, albeit solo.

The story development is so uninvolving that we found our mind wandering to the point that Jordana Brewster could easily play Angie Harmon's (of Law & Order) sister in a different project. When a film can't hold our attention well enough that we go that far off course, well, it is not a good thing

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Invisible Circus, he would have paid...

$3.00

Rent it, unless you prefer the arthouse circuit. The Invisible Circus is best for that audience, which will gain more from a post screening dissection by conversation.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Adam Brooks
Click to buy films starring Cameron Diaz
Click to buy films starring Jordana Brewster
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.