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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VANILLA SKY
I remember me and my wife were queuing up at the Odeon cinema in Manchester, we were running a bit late, we did want to see From Hell with Johnny Depp, but we just missed it, so we asked what was the next available film? you guessed it Vanilla Sky, I remember one of my at my work mates telling me it was awful, but instead of going home we accepted the tickets. We sat, we...
Published 5 months ago by SCULLY

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but rather an anti-climax
This film is similar to Jacob's Ladder in the sense that bizarre things happen for which there is no explanation.
However, the conclusion seems unworthy to the build up. I'm unsure whether this is due to the way in which its handled or because its simply unbeleivable.
I wasn't left with a shiver down my spine as I was with Jacob's Ladder, more a feeling of...
Published on 26 Sept. 2003

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VANILLA SKY, 15 Jan. 2015
SCULLY (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Vanilla Sky [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
I remember me and my wife were queuing up at the Odeon cinema in Manchester, we were running a bit late, we did want to see From Hell with Johnny Depp, but we just missed it, so we asked what was the next available film? you guessed it Vanilla Sky, I remember one of my at my work mates telling me it was awful, but instead of going home we accepted the tickets. We sat, we watched and we went home. It was on the drive home I said to my wife what a wonderful film, it was like a delayed reaction that's never happened to me before, I could not stop thinking about this film, it got to a point that i rang everyone I new and told them to watch, I could go on for hours about this film but there is no point, you have to watch it and make your own mind up. For me being late was brilliant, for once fate was on my side.

Vanilla Sky is a remake of a film called "Open Your Eyes" with Penelope Cruz, it is a good
film but not as good as Vanilla Sky, but still worth a watch.

There is a Blu-ray release coming out on the 30th of june in the USA and hopefully it will be region free
but you never know with Paramount Pictures.


Commentary by Director Camoron Crowe
>Composer Nancy Wilson, featuring a
conversation with Tom Cruise
Two Featurettes: "Prelude to a Dream","Hitting it Hard"
An interview with Paul McCartney
Music Video "Afrika Shox" by Leftfield
Unreleased Teaser Trailer
International Tralier
Photo Gallery with Audio Introduction
>by Photographer Neal Preston
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a head scratcher, but it's well made and worth a viewing, 2 July 2014
Mr Baz - See all my reviews
(#1 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Vanilla Sky [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Sometimes a film comes along which doesn't quite add up and soon after watching it you hit the web looking for an explanation of the story and what really happened, even then it's not quite clear. Certainly a film that requires multiple viewings to get the most out of it.

**Spoiler Alert** (well even with the story explained you don't give much away)

Story wise we have Tom Cruise playing David Aames a thirty something rich and successful owner of a publishing company. Early on we see David in a cell with a mask on covering his face talking to psychologist Dr. Curtis McCabe (played by Kurt Russell). We get flashbacks to past events showing David and his fast paced care free love life with ex girlfriend "Julie" Gianni (Cameron Diaz) and his new love interest Sofia Serrano (Penélope Cruz)

When Julie hears about David's involvement with Sofia she crashes her car with David in it as a passenger, leaving him horribly disfigured and having to wear a mask.

Sounds simple enough to digest but things get a bit more "odd" as time moves on. David meets Sofia after the accident and starts to see her, she helps him come to terms with what has happened, physically and mentally. But on a night out David gets drunk and is left on the street where he sleeps until he wakes the next morning to see Sofia there again. After a while David gets his face repaired by some of the top plastic surgeons in medicine, but is experiencing strange thoughts and flashbacks. He sees an unusual man Edmund Ventura (Noah Taylor) who says strange things to him and he seems out of place with events.

Things take a turn for the worse when David is in bed with Sofia and think he sees Julie lying there, his hurt and anger means he strangles her (hence his appearance in the prison and the psychologist) David sees an advert for "Life Extension" a cryonic service which freezes people to bring back later on just after death. He later meets the same odd man (he saw earlier who looked out of place) he is "tech support" for the life extension.

The tech support man explains what happened to David during his life (evidently the real events that occurred) and tells him he's been in suspension for 150 years, offering him a choice of waking up now..or correcting the dream and putting him back into cryonic suspension. The film ends with the choice being made. (I won't spoil that part)

You can grasp some parts of the story by the presence of the tech support man (ie that David's dream is going wrong) On the the hand you're never really sure if the events even took place (or what events were real), and the final ending leaves the door wide open to the inevitable if school story ish "but was it all a dream" cliché.

It's not quite as cryptic and bizarre as "Mulholland Drive", but it's far from clear cut either. There are a number of interpretations of the story and ending, but I'll let you do the research on that. The film is well directed, with a good cast and script Cruise fits into the part well and the supporting cast are also strong. This is just one of the odd ball films out there you'll hate with a passion or really like.

I enjoyed watching it, but it's a bit like pickled onions with jam and Marmite on toast (all at the same time)'s not really normal for breakfast :-) This is certainly not a normal film. If you fancy something a bit out there, this might be a film you'll really enjoy..sort of.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, challenging, funny and deeply engaging. Approach with watchful joy., 1 July 2015
This review is from: Vanilla Sky [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
[For some reason my review became attached to one of those confusing duplicate listings. Reproduced below...]

Vanilla Sky achieves a rather outstanding balance: its surface is an enigma that demands logical attention; while dynamically the narrative can be anything from obscurely alarming to warmly reassuring, according to the viewer's mindset of the moment. The film's primary preoccupations are what we might understand as 'dreams' and 'love', in all senses of both words. For that reason, almost any given moment is open to reactions as diverse as poignancy, alarm or even disgust.

This is an ambitious film. In fact it is downright presumptuous... and it has pretty much every right to be. I was originally distanced from seeing it by the distracting and irrelevant Cruise/Cruz hype/furore that surrounded its 2001 release. I now regret having allowed so much time to pass: I would like to have had this film in my life long ago. In any case, I am very glad that it is here now. And, on serious reflection, perhaps that hype was not entirely irrelevant after all: the Cruise/Cruz scenes blaze with a chemistry that one can honestly believe might torpedo a supposedly fairytale marriage (Cruise and Kidman).

Part of this relates to the film's casting strategy, including a performance in which Cruise casually and relentlessly challenges his image as a vacuously comfortable pretty-boy (as he has done quite a few times, but that is another matter). Other matters of casting and direction work similarly. In particular Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Timothy Spall and Tilda Swinton deliver expectation-defying turns.

And this, incidentally, is partly why in this assessment I will not directly compare Vanilla Sky to the film (Abre Los Ojos) of which it is a remake. Vanilla Sky is partly about being a narrative with global profile. It is worth noting that Penelope Cruz here reprises her role from the earlier film; but she does so in a piece that deserves attention in its own right for being concerned with (among other things) the relationship between expectation and performance. This is why the existence and nature of the audience will affect this film's dynamic, more centrally than with many others.

The use of screen icons here is important. There is a curious moment, for example, that one might find oneself instinctively reading as one of Charlie's Angels kicking the crap out of Ethan Hunt. Elsewhere we find Snake Plissken transformed into the soul of compassion, or suddenly being impelled to reflect (for a while with no spoken lines) upon his own position in events. Timothy Spall's character is a totally indomitable rock in a pool full of sharks; and Tilda Swinton's unerring ability to deliver the terrifying ice maiden is put to magnificently surprising use here.

This is a difficult film to review in public, because extended attention to its narrative, or detailed comparison directly with any other film, will inappropriately prime a viewer. If you have not seen this film, then book the 130-minute slot for it, and see it cold. In fact, book three or four hours: if for some reason you quickly lose patience with Vanilla Sky, then you still have a free half-day to apply to something else; but if it hooks you as it did me, then you have the time to reflect on it and maybe even watch it again (or sample the director's commentary) immediately.

Unusually, a line in a brief accompanying promotional piece ('Prelude to a Dream') really does sum it up rather well: 'It's a story, a puzzle, a nightmare, a lucid dream, a psychedelic pop song, a movie to argue over... and, most of all, a movie that extends an invitation. Wherever you want to meet it, it will meet you there.'

This kind of puff is usually just that, but in this case it is a completely fair observation.

(DO NOT, however, see this before the film. The so-called 'prelude' is about the filmmakers' conceptions going in, and how those evolved. See the film with an open mind first, and then see what you think of these related remarks.)

Cameron Crowe's commentary as director is a delight, also, not least because he is joined by the film's composer (and they were married, at the time) Nancy Wilson... who provides sporadic guitar accompaniment to the commentary itself. Crowe is eloquent concerning meticulous regard for this film as being far more than simply the sum of its parts. Discussing the removal and then reinstatement of a scene between Kurt Russell and Tom Cruise, for example, he says, 'Every little thing mattered. When you took one thing out, the whole movie was affected. Things way down the line meant something else. It was a house of cards; it was a tent of dominoes; it was intricate.'

He is not wrong, you know. Some will be dazzled and seduced by this kind of film, while others will find it infuriatingly baroque and/or pompous. Either way, however, I do believe that the world is a better place for having Vanilla Sky in it. In this respect I will compare it unspecifically to the work of Terry Gilliam (whose work I generally love) or David Fincher (whose work often aggravates me). People should be allowed to care this much about making films, regardless of any single viewer's taste. While I'm here, I might as well point out that the soundtrack ( reflects similarly painstaking attention to detail.

Robert Altman argues persuasively (for example in discussing The Player) that directors get disproportionate credit since the whole enterprise is always a huge collaboration, and as far as that goes he is of course correct. On the other hand Altman's own work nevertheless demonstrates that the director's unifying vision (which he recognises but downplays) is a vital component. No film vindicates this view more robustly than Crowe's Vanilla Sky.

As a bit of a bonus, for those of us who care about such things, the DVD is nicely compiled as well. A couple of short documentaries ground the film very comfortably: first is the aforementioned 'Prelude'; and 'Hitting it Hard' documents the international publicity tour. The title of that one is taken from a fan's query. A visibly shattered Cruz confirms that she is indeed doing just that. A strange little interview with Paul McCartney is great fun, self-effacingly downplaying the rather lovely story (told in the commentary) of the theme song's genesis. The economically purposeful selections in the photo galleries (with a succinctly informative audio intro by the stills photographer) get far more across than the normal bloated waste of these things -- while the photography itself is also an upper-end showcase amongst such offerings. And the laid-back sincerity of the commentary is a delight. Even the animated menu is sparsely and effectively designed to reflect the film's general tenor.

I rather like this film, and I sincerely hope that you do as well. If you don't, then please still value it for being there.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb film, 20 July 2011
This review is from: Vanilla Sky [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Being a guy im not usually into romantic films, but this one blew me away the first time I saw it, because of its arty and sci-fi aspect.
I also liked the Penelope Cruz love triangle which heiped me get into it and the story and characters are interesting.
The idea of being frozen and living through your dreams and imagination is quite unique, as in the future this could possibly happen.
Maybe the fact that I am an emotional person and who has an imaginative/creative side and love music,photography and art is another aspect that made me like this film alot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing :), 17 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Vanilla Sky [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
One of if not the best film, i have ever seen.

So many things i connect with, directing, sound, video quality and acting all brilliant. Some over-acting from diaz but good :)

The features are good, skip the director commentary though. 16:9 5.1 great video quality, is not overly compressed, looks great on HD tv. Colours are vibrant and blacks are well, pretty dark so bravo.

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly excellent! This film is a mindboggling masterpiece, 1 Jun. 2005
Bawno (Bristol, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vanilla Sky [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
I was genuinely surprised at how good this film was. I didn't know what to expect when I sat down to watch this but rest assured you WILL either LOVE it or HATE it. Vanilla Sky is one of those funny types of films people have mixed views on.
I liked it due to its original direction from Cameron Crowe and its unusual but brilliant storyline. I won't go into detail but Vanilla Sky is basically a story about Tom Cruise and how everything in his life is going great; new job, new girlfriend (Cruz), great money. However, it al goes pear-shaped after he meets up with his old girlfriend (Diaz) who persuades him to get into her car and then she tries to kill them both by running it off a bridge! From then on we see Cruise live his life with a deformed face and we go through his highs and lows after the accident until we learn that he is not living in reality and he has experienced nightmares and dreams!
As said, I loved Vanilla Sky due to its compelling and complex storyline and great direction. What got me was how Cameron Crowe tells the story through dreams, nightmares, flashbacks, visions and sub-consciousness (which I found brilliant) and then brilliantly ends the film with a great twist! In fact, most of the film doesn't actually happen at all (if that is understandable)!!!
Crowe also uses some great cinematography as well as beautiful film-making due to the picturesque use of colour and locations e.g. the subconscious scene where Cruise and Cruz are both in a beautiful park in Autumn time surrounded by dying trees all showing off vibrant oranges, yellows and reds!
I personally thought Vanilla Sky was amazingly excellent!
I really liked the original and complex storyline, great direction, vibrant colours and inventive cinematography. If you're into films that mess with your mind then I suggest no other than Vanilla Sky. I personally thought it was brilliant and whoever thinks like me will thoroughly enjoy this and be mind boggled by it. Others of you will hate it! One thing is certain though, the critics were indeed correct; this film is too clever for its own good!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, 16 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Vanilla Sky [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
A very intelligent and unique film. I had to watch it a few times so be clear on the whole storyline though, but the more i watch it now the more i enjoy this film. I haven't seen another film like it
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that improves with subsequent viewings., 23 Mar. 2003
Jason Parkes (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
Fortunately it is possible to change your mind, which having watched this film for second and third times I now have (an earlier review of this is rather critical). Perhaps some of this can be put down to seeing Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) not long before this came out, the fact that the advert was mindblowing & the fact a person was talking on their mobile for pretty much the duration of the film when I saw it in the cinema.
I still have reservations- Cameron Crowe's major theme here is how we mould our lives around pop culture (something not present in the original)- this would have been enough for an original film & fused with the source material is a little overlong.
But this film really comes out with further viewings- Cruise playing that strange version of his on-screen persona, surrounded by an ostensibly perfect life in the material sense (as in Eyes Wide Shut), having issues with his father (as in Magnolia) & displaying hedonistic flaws (see his addiction in Minority Report). The guy does try- though he has not managed a performance of the intensity of that given in Born on the 4th of July. There are many small details that come out in subsequent viewings- the whirring on the soundtrack around the splice moment, the reconstruction of "The Freewheelin Bob Dylan", the dreamcar (Ferrari) versus the reality car (Thunderbird) etc
The idea that there is something beyond merely the acquisition of the material- which may explain why Sofia is such a stumbling block for David Aames: something he never had/ever could have...
The structure, which seems to be rambling & confused (I preferred the psychiatrist in the original) appears to have much more clarity when viewed again. From the various points of flashback (the Kurt Russell scenes, the occasional dream) we see a film made of (i) David Aames 'real life' (ii) His life post-car crash & (iii) a virtual life from a cyrogenic realm somewhere in the future.
The soundtrack is excellent, this is Cameron Crowe remember? So Radiohead & Sigur Ros happily sit next to The Monkees 'Porpoise Song' (from 60s mindbender 'Head', co-written by Jack Nicholson), Underworld's 'Rez' & their earlier incarnation Freur's 'Doot Doot', a new song by REM and the older 'Sweetness Follows', Leftfield's 'Africa Shox' etc. Of particular note is Jeff Buckley's 'Last Goodbye' (which should have been played in full) & the song Cameron Diaz performed as Julie G- which was co-written with Crowe's wife Nancy Wilson (who was in Heart & has provided music for earlier films such as Singles & Almost Famous). & how can a film that features a good song by Paul McCartney & such joys as Chemical Bros 'Where Do I Begin', Spiritualized's 'Ladies & Gentlemen...' & Beach Boys 'Good Vibrations' be even close to bad? As with David Lynch, Oliver Stone & Martin Scorsese, Crowe knows how music should be used in cinema.
I still don't quite buy ANYONE cheating on Cameron Diaz & think that Penelope Cruz isn't half as charming as she is in the original film (I'd have preferred the gorgeous Alicia Witt, who appears in a small role, in her place). Nice to see people like Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall & Tilda Swinton in supporting roles (add to that a cameo from the singer of Red House Painters- who appeared in Almost Famous).
Let's face it, Hollywood for the most part avoids what is now seen as "art films"- so this is pretty bold & out there for Hollywood (remember that films like Mulholland Drive & Lost Highway are French-produced): give me this over ANY film with Brittany Murphy in anyday. It's not on a par with Lynch's work, Lost Highway being the film it most closely relates to (a man turns a dream into a nightmare, use of doubles etc), or close to the paranoia of films like Pi or Seconds. But Vanilla Sky is well worth persisting with & one that will reward in multiple viewings- which, again, is not something one can say of 'Dude, Where's My Car' or stock-thriller's like 'Swordfish'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, 16 Dec. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Vanilla Sky [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This film is simply bizarre.Te acting is amazing, special effect superb, yet i have to ask: was the plot writer schizophrenic? If not then he certainly managed to convince me and my friends that he must be. This film is must-see in that it has to be seen to be understood. I personally loved it and the first time I saw it rewound to watch it again instantly. Definately the type of film everyone should own.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of cinema, 3 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Vanilla Sky (DVD)
Excellent. .very intelligent ..watched a second time and picked subtle out stuff I had in the opening scenes at Cruise's character's birthday party..the once beautiful Gibson SG guitar broken but on display..and the disparaging comments about it by Penelope Cruz's character..until she realizes Tom Cruise character is behind her.
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