Brainstorm (Remastered Edition)
Arnita D. Brown | USA | 03/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brilliant researchers Lillian Reynolds and Michael Brace have developed a system of recording and playing back actual experiences of people. Once the capability of tapping into "higher brain functions" is added in, and you can literally jump into someone else's head and play back recordings of what he or she was thinking, feeling, seeing, etc., at the time of the recording, the applications for the project quickly spiral out of control. While Michael Brace uses the system to become close again to Karen Brace, his estranged wife who also works on the project, others start abusing it for intense sexual experiences and other logical but morally questionable purposes. The government tries to kick Michael and Lillian off the project once the vast military potential of the technology is discovered. It soon becomes obvious that the government is interested in more than just missile guidance systems. The lab starts producing mind torture recordings and other psychosis inducing material. When one of the researchers dies and tapes the experience of death, Michael is convinced that he must playback this tape to honor the memory of the researcher and to become enlightened. When another researcher dies during playback the tape is locked away and Michael has to fight against his former colleagues and the government lackeys that now run his lab in order to play back and confront the scariest thing any of us will ever face, death itself. Despite changing styles in special effects, this is a timeless and beautiful story that transcends the genre and, with Walken, Wood and Fletcher, becomes more than just a story about shiny gold tapes that record brain waves. It's more about immovable objects and irresistible forces and what happens when they collide. Watch it as an experience rather than as a scientific treatise and you will surely have a great ride.
Fascinating movie, fascinating history, unremarkable dvd yet
black*mamba | snaketown, usa | 03/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"DVD review: I understand why part of this film is one aspect ratio and why the other part is another; I get that! So, film purists, don't attack me; I was singing praises of preserving a film's aspect ratio and bought letterboxed laserdiscs before dvd back in the early 90s when some of you were kids watching Home Alone movies with your mamas. And on a theater screen the explosion of the wider screen brainstorm scenes may have been impressive. But at home most of the film is puny and windowboxed and it is annoying. I have hung onto my 2000 dvd with the constant aspect ratio and hope that in the future a bigger, better special edition dvd will be released. It should contain two versions: one for the purists and one with a constant widescreen for heathens like me, and it should be chock full of extras including commentary and deleted scenes and a gag reel (Walken must be precious and priceless in those outtakes) and making of documentary. The history of this movie is even more fascinating than the movie itself and there is so much to be explained, from Wood's death to the special effects, etc etc. It's an insult to keep re-releasing this and offer nothing but a change in aspect ratios.
Film review: Brainstorm is not a major classic but an underrated early 80s gem with a climax that does disappoint, I'm afraid. Still, the rest of the film is compelling, it's a fascinating premise, and all of the leads are solid. I'm a huge lifelong Christopher Walken fan and he is as always stunning to watch, but I have to be objective and say that he may have been upstaged by Fletcher in this. She may have an Oscar, but she is tragically underrated and deserved another one for this. I first saw her heart attack scene when I was little and never forget it. Thanks to her, I never smoked."