Tim's Vermeer; No Clue; Jimmy P.:Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian 


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Tim's Vermeer (PG-13)


Building on the work of artist David Hockney, who famously posited that master artists like Johannes Vermeer were technologically assisted by early cameras, restless inventor Tim Jenison hit upon a mirror method that would have allowed Vermeer to practically trace his paintings on top of a live projection. Fittingly, Jenison's good friends Penn and Teller were attracted to this pulling back of the curtain on potentially one of history's greatest magic tricks, and so the trio embark on a periodically documented five-year journey to a proof of concept, the results of which are genuinely thrilling. If true, would the arduous tracings be a form of cheating? Tim's Vermeer explores a reconsideration of the tradition of artistic illusion: Cavemen used light and angles to make their drawings come to life, while Photoshop has unavoidably influenced modern photography. Is this any different? Capably mounted and presented, Penn and Teller continue a long career as entertaining explainers and disciplined skeptics. — Justin Strout

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No Clue (NR)

Entertainment One

Canadian comedian Brent Butt (who many savvy Americans might know as the dude behind the series Corner Gas) has broken into feature films with his comedy of errors, No Clue. Playing a slack-jawed novelty salesman/everyman who is mistaken for a private eye, Butt enters into a slight adventure trying to track down a popular video game designer who might have been murdered. With a nice mixture of tepid slapstick and chuckle-worthy asides, No Clue is definitely charming in its gentleness, but it's the type of mistaken-identity sitcom humor that went out of style as soon as Three's Company was axed. Butt's humor is definitely an acquired taste, which goes a long way toward explaining why not only has he not caught on with Americans, but that this movie that co-stars David Koechner went straight to DVD in the States. Still, if No Clue is dangling there in your local Redbox, it's definitely worth a loonie hour and a half. — Louis Fowler

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Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian (NR)

IFC Films

Based on a true story that I'm not exactly sure needed to be told, this foray into the Freudian mind of a Native American post-WWII is a maddeningly idiosyncratic tale that offers little in the end. In a bit of mildly offensive casting, Benicio Del Toro is shell-shocked veteran Jimmy, a Blackfoot who is suffering from all kinds of bizarre ailments, like spontaneous blindness and excessive migraines. Mathieu Amalric is the quasi-sleazy Frenchman assigned to look over his case at a VA hospital in Kansas, wherein he finds that everything wrong about Jimmy has to do with mannish, overbearing women who've oppressed him his whole life. Though kind of interesting, the film's also filled with the type of goofy 1950s science that causes many people to dismiss psychosomatic troubles in the first place, something the movie bravely acknowledges. Too bad it's also so lackadaisically heavy-handed that it risks driving off anyone interested in future studies. — Louis Fowler


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