Excerpt: Full disclosure: I absolutely love Michael Caine and will watch basically anything that he is in. It goes without saying then that when I saw a preview for “Is Anybody There?” on Apple.com some months ago I told myself that I would try and go see it. Alas, as is the case with most of the films that get released by Magnolia Pictures, the theatrical distribution arm of Mark Cuban ’s entertainment empire, I couldn’t find a showing of “Is Anybody There?
Excerpt: The Film In every one of his movies, Sir Michael Caine never seems to age. In Is Anybody There? , the actor's 76 years of age is front and center -- even some of the not-so pretty parts. Caine plays Clarence, an ex-magician who voluntarily pulls his party van up to a residence that doubles as a retirement home. This is where he attempts suicide and slowly loses his mind.
Conclusion: It's all too easy to exploit the elderly for unseemly gags about forgetfulness and loss of motor control, but Is Anybody There? rarely plays Clarence's nascent senility for laughs, choosing to focus instead on the sorrow that accompanies debilitation. The story is tender but never maudlin, thanks to some brutally honest acting from Michael Caine. Adding to the package is a strong audio/video presentation with gorgeous cinematography and detailed sound design.
Conclusion: Contrary to what some critics have claimed, John Crowley's Is Anybody There? is a very effective film. In fact, after I finished viewing it, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the old geezer Michael Cane plays and his dilemmas. Give it a try, you might end up enjoying it as much as I did. This being said, the UK disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Optimum Home Entertainment, looks and sounds very good. I would have loved to see more supplemental features, though.
Excerpt: The movie is charming in a traditionally British way and disappoints for not being more than a quaint period piece, albeit a recent period. A tinkly slow soundtrack accompanies a tinkly slow story. The themes of aging and death don't offer the audience more than creeping rigor mortis as the story fails to engross. See it only for the fine performance of the lead actor and be warned that nobody else is there.