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Movie Review: Vanilla Sky

Story: The same things that are good about this film are also bad about this film. The soundtrack is great but there is too much of it. The editing is good and then it wavers. The script is interesting and then confusing. The scenes are lingering and then choppy -- and on and on. I guess in the standard movie reviewer vernacular you could say this film is 'uneven.'

The title Vanilla Sky refers to a gazillion dollar impressionist painting owned by the playboy heir of a publishing empire who seemingly has it all ... looks, women, fame and fortune. I don't know why director Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry McGuire) chose to change the name of the original Alejandro Amenabar film of three years ago, which was Open Your Eyes other than Vanilla Sky sounds like the name of an old Beatle tune, and Crowe tends to be all about the soundtrack. The film is about what happens to this young narcissistic man when he loses his looks (and his normal world) in a car accident. It is about excesses in a definitely pre-Sept. 11 New York City. (Without revealing the ending, I would warn those who are still seeing those horrible images of September 11th, this is not the film for you.)

Acting: Tom Cruise is at his best. His body, that face (which looks a lot better now that he is older), that famous smile, that confidence. Director Crowe knows what is best about Cruise and uses it to his advantage. Spanish actress and Cruise's new love, Penelope Cruz (who also starred in the original) was too cutesy for me. She tended to be all about her full head of hair and tossing it about. I did think that she and Cruise did have chemistry up there on the big screen. I usually do not think that he has any chemistry going with his female leads -- but this time it worked. You think there is any way this is real? Hmm! Cameron Diaz as the psycho girlfriend was over the top.

Lobo observation: Many of today's top female stars have a physical similarity. They have a very small space between the bottom of their noses and their lips. Picture in your mind's eye Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Julia Roberts, etc. I think it is that infantile, baby look that Hollywood finds so very appealing.

Critters: Benny the Dog has quite an important role. Penelope Cruz's character also has a back dog.

Food: There are some sumptuous spreads but I think it was all about booze.

Visual Art: His character is a gazillionaire so there is art all over the place. There is also a movie poster of the old film Jules and Jim.

Blatant Product Placement: Other than the opening scenes in a wonderfully empty Times Square, the only thing I remember is an Apple laptop.

Soundtrack: Plentiful and over the top.

Opening Titles: Held until the end (I think).

Theater Audience: We went to an omelette showing (the too early for popcorn time) so there were only about 6 other people in attendance.

Quirky Meter: Too confusing to gauge.

Squirm Scale: I don't like heights. So the scenes from on high were nauseating for me.

Predictability Level: I still am not 100% sure what happened.

Oscar Worthy: NO

Nit Picking: Because I am very familiar with the landscape of NYC I was all too aware of the impossible car scenes and their supposed locales.

Big Screen or Rental: Who cares? You could always have a Tom Cruise month of rentals and watch him grow up. My favorite is still Risky Business.

Length: Two hours (seemed much longer).