Certified Fresh Forecast: "The Illusionist," "Factotum" Are Your Alternatives to "Snakes"

by | August 17, 2006 | Comments

Amid all the attention surrounding "Snakes on a Plane," smaller cinematic gems like "The Illusionist" and "Factotum" may be slipping under the radar. Both movies are in the running for Certified Fresh, and both movies offer a reprieve for those who don’t want anything to do with snakes!

Norton casting his spell on Biel in "The Illusionist."

"The Illusionist" (Yari Film Group), an adaptation of Steven Millhauser’s short story, stars Edward Norton and Jessica Biel in a film about forbidden love, dark magic, and dangerous obsession. Set in 1900 Vienna, critics say the film achieves a dreamlike, transitional quality that well-becomes a film about illusions.

At 69% with 26 reviews on the Tomatometer, "The Illusionist" is mesmerizing the majority of critics with its sumptuous setting, deft storytelling, and illusory visuals –- all of which make it a good candidate for Certified Fresh. But as more reviews come in, the Neil Burger pic is beginning to trend downward and might just miss the CF mark.

"Factotum" (Picture This! Entertainment) stars Matt Dillon as celebrated writer Charles Bukowski’s alter ego Henry Chinaski, who had a series of menial jobs, failed relationships, and numerous bouts with the bottle while working on his craft. Dillon’s reserved performance is perfect for this understated, booze-soaked tale, and supporting appearances by Marisa Tomei and Lili Taylor help buoy the sedate pic.

With 22 reviews in, this Bent Hamer-directed Sundance entry is floating at a promising 77% on the Tomatometer; could this mean clear skies ahead for Certified Fresh status?

Dillion as the hard-drinking Chinaski in "Factotum."

Author: Natalie Lin

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