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Cold Souls (2009)

Paul Giamatti , Emily Watson , Sophie Barthes  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Giamatti, Emily Watson, Dina Korzun, Armand Schultz, Michael Tucker
  • Directors: Sophie Barthes
  • Writers: Sophie Barthes
  • Producers: Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Andrij Parekh, D.J. Martin, Daniel Carey, Elizabeth Giamatti
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003152YWI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,181 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cold Souls" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

In this surreal comedy, Paul Giamatti plays an actor named...Paul Giamatti. Paul very well might have found the key to happiness for which hes been searching, soul storage. But complications arise when he is the unfortunate victim of "soul trafficking." Balancing a tightrope between deadpan humor and pathos, and reality and fantasy, Cold Souls is a true soul searching comedy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing March 21, 2010
Format:DVD
This movie has an outlandish premise in the vein of Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: your soul is a physical thing that is extractable, easily removed and returned. In addition, it is sometimes preferable to be without a soul for a while, or to borrow someone else's. It's not the premise that bothered me but the fact that the film did nothing with this concept: neither dark comedy nor insight into whether the soul is the essence of humanity. Some visually beautiful scenes, very good actors, and yet it all seemed flat and...soul-less. This film did make me want to see Uncle Vanya on stage, as I was reminded what a great play it is.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended .... February 4, 2010
Format:DVD
(Just watched this on Netflix, where it came out on 2/2/10. Why is it not yet available on Amazon? I think it says something when you give a DVD a Netflix-level commitment, then you immediately want to add it to your collection because it warrants repeated viewing.)

An actor named Paul Giamatti struggles with his performance as Uncle Vanya in a production of Checkov's play. As a possible cure to his internal struggles, his character ends up at a company specializing in the extraction and storage of a person's soul.

I won't say any more about the plot; there is a certain joy of discovery in "Cold Souls." Elements borrow from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Being John Malkovich;" the film had a very Charlie Kaufman feel to it, but slightly more serious in tone and subtle in its humor. Also, as a fan of Mr. Giamatti's work, it was interesting to see allusions to his other films (the white room sequence recalled something similar in "Amercian Splendor").

In terms of the DVD, there are few extra features. Deleted scenes, a 5-minute short on the fabrication of the Soul Extractor, and trailers for other films. The absence of a commentary is a disappointment. I'm hoping that a Blu-Ray version includes more, and possibly I was watching an inferior "Netflix-only" version of the DVD.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flat, Unfunny, Not Being John Malkovich April 1, 2010
Format:DVD
I rented this movie "soul-y" because I love Paul Giamatti. And because the picture on the cover reminded me of his character in one of my favorite movies - Sideways. But that's where the similarities between these two movies end.

I was disappointed with this movie for many reasons. First, the DVD cover has raves from some movie reviewers claiming how side-splittingly funny this flick is. Huh? I can't remember laughing once, let alone snickering. Ironically, I found the funniest moment in one of the deleted scenes (the one where Giamatti is rehearsing a scene and is told to act it like the wind). This is not a comedy. Not even a black comedy - which I would have welcomed.

Second, though Giamatti's character looks like it was pulled directly from Sideways (complete with the bad brown corduroy blazer), that's where the similarities end. He appeared uncomfortable and self-conscious in his scenes and didn't seem to believe in the premise of the movie or the dialog.

Third, well, the movie is just flat. You immediately are reminded by the premise of Being John Malkovich. But Malkovich somehow made you accept its incredible premise; Cold Souls did not. And if you don't buy into the gimmicky basis of the plot, then you are going to have a tough time taking the rest of the movie seriously.

The movie left me feeling so gypped that I scoured the bonus features for something to enjoy. The deleted scenes were ok but the documentary on the design of the soul removal machine was ridiculous. The guys who designed it went on and on about their artistic influences for its look. Like they just created the Pieta. Wha? The thing looked like the love child of an MRI machine and the Michelin man. There was nothing impressive about its appearance. The designers should start looking for work in a different field.

Very disappointed. But I'll forgive Giamatti this one time...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They didn't know how to end it August 8, 2010
Format:DVD
Paul Giamatti plays himself in this film. It is an incredibly inventive story line.

In preparing to perform a character, Paul decides he needs to unburden himself from his soul. He finds a clinic that specializes in just that. Unfortunately, this clinic also does underground soul "adoptions" with an unregulated Russian company. The Russian mule winds up stealing Paul's locked away soul and implanting it in a Russian soap-opera actress. By this time, Paul has realized that he cannot be himself without his soul and the search ensues.

There are plenty of laughs. There are a few dark moments, and I was disappointed that the soul of "Olga" is never detailed more thoroughly. It was an entertaining film. I was looking forward to how all of the characters were going to finally tie in together, but I just don't think they knew how to end it. It pretty much leaves you to your own imagination. Some people don't like movies that end that way, but I didn't mind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lukewarm but well-shot May 10, 2010
Format:DVD
This movie was marketed at a comedy of sorts, but it is actually quite plodding and dour. Paul Giamatti plays a beleaguered NYC theater actor (named Paul Giamatti) who is having a hard time dealing with the psychological anxiety of playing the lead in Checkhov's seminal Uncle Vanya, so he enlists the help of a team of Soul-storers led by the excellent (yet dry) David Stratham. They remove his soul under the guise of making his life better, and for a while, it seems to work. Gradually, he realizes tht soullessness is no fun, as a soul makes you human. (there is also a vague subplot concerning the Russian mob and similarly murky dream sequences involving old greying corpse-like men and small children that play like watered-down David Lynch) The film progresses like a slower version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, without the love-story angle or exciting visuals...and really, come to think about it, without the interesting characters involved in the whole scheme of muddling with intangibility (Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst equalled out Jim Carrey's sadness in that film, here there is no comic relief...just more mopey, flat characters like the Russian girl) There is a pretty drab blue, smoky color palate at work here, and a lot of talented character actors doing their cold, straight-man routines. There are a lot of scenes of Giamatti just staring off at things in a faux-existential stupor. This tactic, while it reinforces his soulless ennui, is painfully slow. Occasional humor permeates the cloud of despondence, as when Paul admits to his wife that he has been turned into a empty, staggering vessel, or when (soulless) his Uncle Vanya takes on a brash, kooky aspect. Otherwise the film is morose, yet admirably well-lit. Intriguing internal conflict aside, there is a serious lack of momentum as well as memorable scenes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Once you understand the concept of this movie...
you will soon begin to enjoy it. Paul Giamatti does a great job in this
movie about having his soul removed and wanting it back, only to discover its
been given to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Pylant
3.0 out of 5 stars Left me cold!
There's no question that Paul Giamatti is an exceptionally fine actor, however it dragged its depressing story. Read more
Published 12 months ago by mbl
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Artistic
It was a very artistic movie. It made you think about the human soul. Mr. Giamatti was very entertaining in this one.
Published 13 months ago by Abigail
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
I seen this movie few years back on HBO. I really liked it, off the wall humor of Paul Giamatti that he is best at. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Perry S
4.0 out of 5 stars Give it a look!!
This movie reminds of Being John Malkovich. It is a cerebral trip and entertains anyone with a dry sense of humor. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Charles Jordan
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, Paul, not your best...
I LOVE Paul Giamatti, and I had high hopes for this movie, but, sorry...didn't make more than 30 minutes before I shut it off. Read more
Published on June 26, 2012 by Lynne Logan
5.0 out of 5 stars Good philosophical movie!
It was a requirement to watch this movie for a college class and I actually liked it. Good movie to watch, makes you think long and hard about what happens to us after we die.
Published on May 11, 2012 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars An original plot
A highly unusual, original, movie. Unfortunately, the movie lost money at the box office which goes to show again that there is no justice in this world. Read more
Published on August 4, 2011 by A. Simon
4.0 out of 5 stars No comedy but quite insightful
It lost a star because in places it moved more slowly than seemed warranted. Not recommended for those with ADD or ADHD.
Published on June 18, 2011 by Bluewater cruiser
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, Dumb, Unfunny, Waste of Time
This is supposed to be a comedy? This movie is not funny or creative. If your idea of entertainment is watching boring, balding, whining, Paul Giamatti have a mid life crisis about... Read more
Published on February 20, 2011 by David Holt
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