Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA/Germany, 2005. Paramount Pictures, Escape Artists, Kumar Mobiliengesellschaft mbH & Co. Projekt Nr. 2 KG. Screenplay by Steve Conrad. Cinematography by Phedon Papamichael. Produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch. Music by James S. Levine, Hans Zimmer. Production Design by Tom Duffield. Costume Design by Penny Rose. Film Editing by Craig Wood.
Nicolas Cage plays a Chicago weather reporter whose life couldn’t possibly be less fulfilling: his ex-wife (Hope Davis) has no intention of trying to restore their union, his pre-teen son (Nicholas Hoult) is constantly getting into trouble and his overweight daughter is in a self-destructive funk. On top of this, his disapproving father (Michael Caine), a successful writer, is constantly judging him for his life choices. Cage is up for promotion to a national weather position in New York, something he hopes will improve his chances to put his family back together, but this doesn’t stop him from doubting himself on a regular basis. That inspired rarity, a brilliant studio film with Nicolas Cage, has managed to happen in this touching, hilarious and absorbing film. That it’s directed by Gore Verbinski, a filmmaker with such charming classics as Mouse Hunt, The Mexican and Pirates of The Caribbean in his repertoire, is, in my snobby opinion, even more of a surprise. However, there it stands: Cage gives another brilliant performance to challenge his work in Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation., and Caine underscores his scenes with challenging subtlety.