The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Reviews

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Ronnie Scheib
Variety
February 23, 2012
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Hank Sartin
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Christine Champ
Film.com
May 6, 2011
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is one of those movies that, despite spectacular elements, doesn't add up to a spectacular film.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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January 15, 2010
Terry Gilliam, the veteran film director who cut his teeth as the animation wizard of television's legendary Monty Python's Flying Circus, has flirted with genius throughout his career, and bedded her from time to time. In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnas
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Tom Long
Detroit News
January 8, 2010
Parnassus is fun to watch a good deal of the time, and Gilliam is almost always visually surprising, but Ledger could have used a more momentous send-off.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
January 8, 2010
It teases with magnificently tantalizing moments that don't quite add up to one grand insight. Which, come to think of it, is an epiphany of its own peculiar sort.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
January 8, 2010
When it's all done we're left with another recent Gilliam trademark: the highly imaginative mess.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
January 8, 2010
Shot through with a bold, extravagant generosity of spirit, this journey behind the literal and figurative looking glass marks a gratifying return to form for Gilliam, whose recent films haven't quite lived up to his capacities.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 7, 2010
It plays like a salvage job, with all the attendant compromises. Though the film is laden with backstory and exposition, not much actually happens onscreen.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 7, 2010
I'd love to report that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a work of renegade genius. Alas, it's a minor film, memorable largely as the farewell of Heath Ledger, who died when his scenes were only half completed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 7, 2010
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is vintage Terry Gilliam, a pour not to all tastes but one certain to please lovers of Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 7, 2010
Your mileage may vary, especially if you feel that the gifted celebrity dead should be mourned with taste and decorum. In which case, why are you even at a Terry Gilliam movie?
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 7, 2010
Parnassus is a step up from Gilliam's two previous pictures (the ineffectual The Brothers Grimm and the torturous Tideland), but it still feels like a cobbled collection of ideas and conceits rather than a stand-alone story.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 7, 2010
Terry Gilliam is a director who aspires to magic and, with The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, he's pulled an unruly rabbit out of a seemingly discarded hat.
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
January 7, 2010
The behind-the-scenes tragedy gives Gilliam an easy excuse for the dull chaos that engulfs the story, but he might have generated it all on his own.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 7, 2010
I attended the Cannes screening of Doctor Parnassus to be baffled, which I was, and then the Chicago press screening, where I had an idea what was coming and tried to reopen my mind.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
January 6, 2010
If you're game, Parnassus is a richly rewarding experience. If not, it comes off like pretentious nonsense.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 6, 2010
The cinema's greatest fantasist serves up towering cliffs and blinding blizzards, Satan conjuring up clouds he can walk on, a road of rose petals winding into a desert -- an imagination that has no peer.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Michael Phillips
At the Movies
December 28, 2009
Gilliamâ(TM)s visually assaultive technique doesnâ(TM)t make it easy on either the story or the actors.
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A.O. Scott
At the Movies
December 28, 2009
A surprisingly interesting picture.
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
December 25, 2009
Terry Gilliam's latest is a full three-ring affair, complete with puffs of smoke, glitter and grunge, some hocus-pocus, mumbo jumbo and even a dwarf.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 24, 2009
Parnassus continues Gilliam's decade-old habit of sabotaging his work by piling on wild images without regard to character development or storytelling.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 24, 2009
Not up to the very best work of either Gilliam or Ledger, but it's a surprisingly satisfying coda to the latter's all-too-brief career.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 23, 2009
Though rambling and at times self-indulgent, its wit and pageantry, boosted by Heath Ledger's final performance, render it irresistible.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
December 23, 2009
It meanders and jaywalks according to its own confused rhythms, and the suggestion is that if we don't get it -- or if we get bored -- we're just not clued in to Gilliam's genius.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
December 23, 2009
As is so often the case since his Monty Python days, Gilliam is best at visual games and weakest at storytelling.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Tasha Robinson
AV Club
December 23, 2009
Gilliam is Parnassus, carrying his tatterdemalion show forward from year to year and trying to get people to pay attention, and the mingled sense of bitterness and hope in his story makes this whole crazed fantasy into something far more real.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Ella Taylor
Village Voice
December 23, 2009
Gilliam and McKeown's willful refusal of coherent narrative and determination to pack every idea about art they ever had into one scenario, make this fiendishly gorgeous movie more exhausting than exhilarating to watch.
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Jake Coyle
Associated Press
December 22, 2009
The resulting film is an outlandish juggling act. It teeters, creaks and breaks at the seams, but somehow holds together better than you would expect and better than such an extravagant farce should.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 22, 2009
If I was a teacher and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was a student's paper, I would give it an "incomplete."
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 22, 2009
Despite a shaky framework, the magic works. It's a chance to see Ledger one last time in the act of doing what he loved. Take it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Keith Uhlich
Time Out
December 16, 2009
It's a film teeming with visual invention (often to the point of exhaustion), yet the big-budget pageantry is always counterbalanced by Gilliam's deeply felt and thematically potent sympathy for the downtrodden artistes of the world.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
December 14, 2009
[Gilliam] can follow any train of thought, so he does, and it's no surprise when the trains run out of steam.
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Tom Huddlestone
Time Out
October 16, 2009
It's unlikely Gilliam's own, undeniably brilliant career will be revitalised by this rambling, undisciplined and indulgent piece of work.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
June 1, 2009
A carnival show with a mirror to the imagination allows Gilliam to employ his remarkable gift for imagery, but the worlds he creates will not take the breath away of children or grown-ups.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
May 22, 2009
The helmer has made a pretty good thing out of a very bad situation in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus".