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Being John Malkovich (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

John Cusack , Cameron Diaz , Spike Jonze    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (456 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
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While too many movies suffer the fate of creative bankruptcy, Being John Malkovich is a refreshing study in contrast, so bracingly original that you'll want to send director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman a thank-you note for restoring your faith in the enchantment of film. Even if it ultimately serves little purpose beyond the thrill of comedic invention, this demented romance is gloriously entertaining, spilling over with ideas that tickle the brain and even touch the heart. That's to be expected in a movie that dares to ponder the existential dilemma of a forlorn puppeteer (John Cusack) who discovers a metaphysical portal into the brain of actor John Malkovich.

The puppeteer's working as a file clerk on the seventh-and-a-half floor of a Manhattan office building; this idea alone might serve as the comedic basis for an entire film, but Jonze and Kaufman are just getting started. Add a devious coworker (Catherine Keener), Cusack's dowdy wife (a barely recognizable Cameron Diaz), and a business scheme to capitalize on the thrill of being John Malkovich, and you've got a movie that just gets crazier as it plays by its own outrageous rules. Malkovich himself is the film's pièce de résistance, riffing on his own persona with obvious delight and--when he enters his own brain via the portal--appearing with multiple versions of himself in a tour-de-force use of digital trickery. Does it add up to much? Not really. But for 112 liberating minutes, Being John Malkovich is a wild place to visit. --Jeff Shannon



Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Charlie Kaufman has the distinction of writing the two most deranged screenplays I know of with "Adaptation" and it's predecessor, "Being John Malkovich". Here it became clear that a mind of unsurpassed creativeness had been loosed among the movie-making crowd.
Four fantastic performances are given by John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener and Malkovich himself, and they are guided by Spike Jonze' direction and Mr. Kaufman's screenplay.
Cusack is a gifted, tortured, starving artist, and not just any artist, but a puppeteer - working with marionettes. The film opens with a marionette performance so poignant it seems neary human - the performance reminds me of the opening of "White Nights" in which Baryshnikov dances "Le Jeune Homme Et La Mort". In White Nights it takes a moment before you recognize that you are watching a performance of a ballet, and in this film the marionette is so life-like it doesn't require much suspension of disbelief to think the puppet alive. In another similarity between the two films later on a human-sized marionette is made to "dance" the lead role in "Swan Lake" surrounded by human ballerinas. The rest of this film is SO startlingly original that it's easy to overlook the fact that the movie has some REALLY skilled puppeteering in it.
But I digress. Puppeteering doesn't pay Cusack well, so there are money arguments between John and wife Cameron Diaz, who looks like a cross between a street person and a washer-woman here. She works in a pet store and keeps a collection of animals including a dog, ferret, bird and chimpanzee - all apparently with some form of veterinary post-traumatic stress disorder. Diaz' Lotte is the kind of person who forms close emotional ties with animals but has more difficulty being intimate with other humans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Fun in John Malkovich's Head June 2 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is different from any other movie ever made. It is a fun trip that raises many thoughtful questions. WARNING: DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE IF YOU SUFFER FROM PARANOID DELUSIONS OR SUBSCRIBE TO MATRIX-TYPE CONSPIRACY THEORIES. It will send you over the edge. The basic story is that down-on-his-luck wanna be puppeteer John Cusack reluctantly gets a day job at the gentle urging of his frumpy wife (yes they make her a frump) Cameron Diaz. This day job changes both their lives as Cusack discovers a portal that leads to John Malkovich's head. Nothing and no one is what they seem, and it is very hard to see who is controlling who, even at the very end.
I can't imagine John Malkovich's face when he was approached with this screenplay. I can't believe anyone in his right mind wouldn't run the other way when presented with even the most basic premise for this film. But then again, at least in the movie, Malkovich is anything but in his right mind. Heck, for most of the film, he isn't even IN his mind. Creepy, huh? Creepy doesn't even begin to cover it. But I highly recommend it. Just be warned not to drive or operate heavy machinery after seeing it.
This movie is best watched late at night. Most of the scenes are in fact shot at nighttime, adding positively to the surreal effect of the story. Cusack, Diaz, and Malkovich turn in wonderful performances. Catherine Keener is suitably hateable as the selfish Maxine.
This movie encourages you to look deep beneath the surface of a person. It is also good for some serious out-loud laughs.
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Format:DVD
Warning:before watching this film you should realize that this could be one of the weirdest, craziest film of all time. It kept me scratching my head.
Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a puppeteer who is struggling for stardom in fame. In order to put food on the table, Craig decides to get a job. He finds himself as filing clerk. He then discovers a portal to the mind of John Malkovich. The portal allows you to be John Malkavich for 15. Your John Malkovich for fifteen minutes and then dumped in the turnpike of New Jersey. Then he falls in love with his co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener)Craig, Maxine, and Craigs current wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) charge $200 to let people be John Malkavich. But then as Lotte continues to go to the portal and then falls in love with Maxine, as Lotte continues going to the portal and being John Malkavich. It is then a war between Craig and Lotte of who's getting Maxine. It is a crazed script.
Personally out of this film I was just stunned. Watching this film once isn't really enough. It can be kind of disturbing in ways. Personally I thought the movie was a great success. But that's me, other people think it is a stupid film out of the story. But it is not, you will like it. Really before watching this I didn't even know who John Malkovich was, and still technically don't. And its weird to see someone play themselves. Since in this page they don't show what are the special features. So here they are.

·Trailer and tv spots
·Interview with director spike jonze
·Cast and crew
·Spikes photo album
·Art on the puppeteering
·Seven and a half floor orientation
Over all I think the films great. Just remember its weird. A must see though.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Unrealized potential April 17 2004
Format:DVD
I purchased this film with high hopes, being an aficionado of off-kilter movies. And with a plot like Being John Malkovich's, how could I go wrong? A downtrodden puppeteer, working on floor seven and half of an office building, discovers a portal into the mind of John Malkovich. Even with such an intriguing premise, though, I felt this movie struck out (I am in the minority in feeling this).
Let me first say that all of the primary actors performed brilliantly. Cusack played both the melancholy and crazy sides of Craig the puppeteer quite well, and Diaz really shone as his quirky wife. One of the best performances was by Malkovich himself, lampooning himself quite handily and playing the different "inhabitants" of his body as adroitly as he played his own self.
However, even these brilliant performances don't save the movie. Fantasy is a difficult genre to conduct successfully, contrary to popular belief. One of the unwritten rules of fantasy is that, no matter how fantastical the story, it needs to be internally consistent. The film fails miserably in this aspect. Sometimes only a single person can inhabit Malkovich, sometimes multiple people. Far-fetched explanations about the subconscious and the "power of the puppeteer" attempt to account for this discrepancy but ultimately prove insufficient, if you follow them through to their logical conclusions. The writer also throws in several random occurrences with no apparent connection to the idea of the portal. Why, for instance, does Malkovich end up in a world full of people who look like him when he goes through the portal? Is this some play on his ego? On the nature of how we see the world? I really don't know, and I don't think these inconsistencies were meant to be "things to make you go hmm," as in other films.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird but entertaining
I found this movie to be pretty strange. I liked the idea behind it, but it was not executed in a manner that really made me want to keep watching. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Samantha K Krewulak
4.0 out of 5 stars "...a metaphysical nightmare.."
Being John Malkovich(released Oct/99)stars John Cusack as Craig Schwartz,Cameron Diaz plays Lotte Schwartz, Catherine Keener plays Maxine Lund,Orson Bean plays Dr. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Robert Badgley
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Purchase
This is a great release for a great film. Very worthwhile purchase for any fan of the film. Definitely recommended to all.
Published on Aug. 3 2012 by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Shipping
thank you for fast shipping and correct product classification. I would buy from you again for sure, thank you, I will enjoy it soon.
Published on Dec 16 2011 by Barbaros Remzi KARSLI
3.0 out of 5 stars Bien
Le disque et la pochette sont très bien, sauf qu'il manque un disque à l'intérieur... c'est un SPECIAL EDITION, et ce disque manque.
Published on June 1 2010 by Jennifer Dodon
1.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy is Important
Unlike the excellent follow-ups of "Adaptation" and "Eternal Sunshine," this movie lacks a human element. There is not a single likable or relatable character in the entire movie. Read more
Published on June 7 2006 by William P. Jacobs
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird, but good.
'Being John Malkovich' is a really weird, but good film. Towards the end it gets kind of sad though.
Published on April 10 2004 by Dhaval Vyas
1.0 out of 5 stars Preposterous, poorly lit, poorly directed, pretentious, dour
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (2000-?) has been touted as a masterpiece, but it's difficult to see why: 1.) The narrative is absolutely preposterous---not to mention obviously... Read more
Published on April 7 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Why Deranged Writers Should be Supervised
This movie is a perfect example of how you shouldn't take drugs before writing scripts. The first part was amusing but bizarre; the second half ruined the first half by introducing... Read more
Published on March 7 2004 by Confederate
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