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Movie Review: Cold Souls

Alternate Title: The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

Story: If you like your films with a heaping amount of the unexpected and a plot that causes you to think than you might want to check out this new film by director and writer, Sophie Barthes.

The main idea is that your soul is an organ just like, let's say, your pancreas and if it is causing you distress it can be removed, stored or traded with little fuss. Our protagonist, Paul Giamatti (played by a neurotic Paul Giamatti) is going through some trying times as he stars in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. He decides to unburden himself of his soul so he can get on with his life. Not surprisingly, this decision does not come without consequences. It turns out there is a Russian underground soul trafficking organization and his soul gets stolen while in storage.

The film has some good laughs and also some thought provoking questions. It is filmed with an eye for the chilly and filled with interesting characters. The problem however is that the initial concept quickly runs out of steam. This soul train sadly ends up on the wrong track.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc5xdI5FPq8

Acting: Paul Giamatti is, as always, terrific. Dina Korzun as the Russian soul mule is very interesting. Emily Watson's talent as the woeful wife is totally wasted. David Strathairn as the soul doctor gives his usual great performance.

Trivia: Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti was born in1967. He graduated from Choate prep school, majored in English at Yale, and obtained his Master's Degree in Fine Arts, with his major in drama from the Yale University School of Drama. He is a Boston Red Sox fan. Paul is the youngest of three children. His older brother, Marcus Giamatti, is also an actor. His sister, Elena, designs jewelry. His father, A. Bartlett Giamatti, was a professor of Renaissance Literature at Yale University, and went on to become the university's youngest president. (In 1986, Bart Giamatti was appointed president of baseball's National League. He became Commissioner of Baseball on April 1, 1989 and served for five months until his untimely death on September 1, 1989. He was commissioner at the time Pete Rose was banned from the game.)

Predilection: None

Critters: Lots of street dogs in Russia.

Food: Chick pea is featured.

Sex Spectrum: Without a soul it is difficult to enjoy sex.

Opening Titles: Black background with white type.

Visual Art: The emptiness if life without a soul is depicted beautifully.

Theater Audience: Five other soulful people and me.

Weather: Brrrr - it is a cold winter in both St Petersburg and on the shore of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I started to look at my watch about half way through.

Predictability Level: I was not sure where this film would end up.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours