Some films go from blank page to your local movie screen relatively quickly; Up in the Air wrapped principal photography last spring, which is why it feels so timely. In other cases, exigent circumstances (better known as real life) get in the way and keep a film sitting on the shelf for years before it can be seen. Three such movies are being dumped into our theaters this week, and while you probably won’t care about the delay (nor should you, necessarily), you’re probably aware of the well-earned bad reputation that films released in January generally have. I’m here to tell you which of these movies deserved better.
Terry Gilliam truly seems to be cursed. The documentary film Lost in La Mancha chronicled the epic run of bad luck that took down his Don Quixote movie in mid-shoot a few years ago. That seems to have been matched by the director’s experience filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Not only did Gilliam’s lead actor suddenly die young, but his longtime producer, William Vince, also died after a lengthy illness, and Gilliam himself was severely injured after being hit by a car. If I were him, I’d be afraid to leave my London flat. Gilliam, on the other hand, managed to cobble together this movie. I wish I could report that it was worth the wait, but that simply wouldn’t be true.