Of All the Aronofsky films, The Fountain stands out as my clear favorite. A brilliant film weaving together three stories spanning three different eras, The Fountain focuses on the themes of life, death, rebirth and....Mayan mythology. Not surprisingly, this reminds me of when my friend tried to sell the book Snow Crash on me by saying it has "pizza delivery and Sumerian mythology." But I digress. When I first saw the film, I knew almost nothing of it, other than it was by "the guy who did Requiem for a Dream." I walked out of the theater in utter awe. I revisit The Fountain every so often, and with each subsequent viewing it becomes even more beautiful.
One of the most fascinating things about the film are the visuals. Watching the film you get the feeling that it includes millions of dollars of CGI, when in fact all of the visual effects were completed for around $140,000. Beyond this the visuals were enhanced by the sweeping and epic score of Clint Mansell, whose primary theme for Requiem for a Dream has become the de facto song used in most trailers. Sadly, the film didn't even recoup half of its $35 million budget, once again proving that incredibly awesome and intelligent films totally get the shaft in theaters.
Mutant Chronicles, directed by Simon Hunter, 2009.
Moving from brilliance to lackluster attempts at greatness we have Mutant Chronicles. Based on the table-top role-playing game, the film follows a band of soldiers as they attempt to presumably destroy an alien machine that converts people into mutants, thousands upon thousands of which have nearly destroyed the world. While the film possessed a pretty killer story, due in part, I think, to Philip Eisner, who also wrote the screenplay to one of the freakiest movie in existence, Event Horizon, the film managed to simply not do it for me. It was heavily stylized, especially when it came to the gore, with the blood maintaining a bright hue throughout. This is in stark contrast to the muted, dark colors prevalent throughout the film, providing a dichotomy that, unfortunately, detracted from my own overall enjoyment of the film. The film actually contained an amazing cast, with the likes of Thomas Jane (who is a good actor, despite some awful roles he takes), Ron Perlman, John Malkovich (although it's primarily a cameo), and Sean Pertwee, who's one of my favorite actors.
Evolution, directed by Ivan Reitman, 2001.
I LOVE this movie. It's utterly stupid, but utterly brilliant. David Duchovny is absolutely hilarious as a former government employee who, along with his colleague at a local Arizona community college, investigate a meteorite that managed to bring it with organisms that evolve at an exceedingly fast rate. Paired up with Orlando Jones and Sean William Scott, you would think this would be a recipe for the most annoying movie ever, but it somehow works. Scott, despite being typecast as Stifler for the rest of his life, does a solid job, and Orlando Jones is, well, Orlando Jones. Then there's Julianne Moore, who I simply loathe as an actress, but that's neither here nor there.
The creature design in the film is pretty brilliant as well, ranging from small worm-like creatures that rapidly evolve into giant, flying dragon-like creatures. Eventually the aliens become so large, and our intrepid heroes utilize the he greatest form of product placement in history to counteract the growing threat. The film even concludes with a tongue and cheek commercial at the end of the film, proving it didn't take itself too seriously, and that I think is one of the reasons it was such a fun film.