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Blu-Ray Review: Bradley Cooper in Stylish, Effective ‘Limitless’

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CHICAGO – “Limitless” is a fun, clever riff on the timeless tale of a man who wanted the world but didn’t know the price. From Faust to Icarus to “The Lawnmower Man,” we’ve long been fascinated with the idea that not only is it possible to have it all but that those who do will pay greatly for the privilege. With the best work of Bradley Cooper’s career, stylish direction, and clever storytelling, “Limitless” is a great rental, now available on Blu-ray, DVD, iTunes, and wherever else you like to download new releases.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

What if one little pill could turn your entire life around? Would you take it? You know that it’s bound to come with a few side effects and that every coin has another side but would you do it anyway? Would you take the ride for the inevitable fall? These are just a few of the many interesting questions at the core of Neil Burger’s “Limitless,” a truly fun adult thriller with a great lead performances and strong supporting turns by Abbie Cornish and Robert De Niro (yes, THAT De Niro, the one who has been lazy for years but actually comes alive here for the first time in ages). With excellent pacing, surprising twists and turns, and a truly surreal streak (this is the only film that you’ll ever see that uses a girl on ice skates as a weapon), “Limitless” is almost great.

Limitless was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on July 19th, 2011
Limitless was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on July 19th, 2011
Photo credit: Fox

At times, “Limitless” plays like a yuppie superhero story. Is the little pill that turns our hero into the smartest man in Manhattan that much different than the spider that bites Peter Parker and turns him into Spider-Man? Not really, especially when one considers that the film essentially argues that super-intelligence equals super-everything, including fighting skills and the smarts it takes to get out of truly dangerous situations. Honestly, if not for the side effects and the memory loss and the whole probably-going-to-die thing, I think I’d rather be Edward Morra than Spider-Man.

Cooper plays Morra, a wannabe writer whose former brother-in-law introduces him to the pill that won’t just change his life but the world. Instead of using that oft-reported 10% of the brain that we supposedly use, Edward will use 100%. What does that mean? Not only can he talk his way out of any situation but he can access any part of his memory. Imagine the potential there. Every fact, every fighting movie, every character detail — all instantly accessible. “Limitless” almost makes the argument that the main reason we’re not super-human is the fallibility of our memory.

Limitless was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on July 19th, 2011
Limitless was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on July 19th, 2011
Photo credit: Fox

Before he knows it, Edward is rising all ranks, socially and financially. He’s getting back together with the girl (Abbie Cornish) who thought he had no ambition and working with one of the city’s power players (Robert De Niro). Then the side effects kick in. A bit of research reveals that others who got addicted to the pill ended up dead or are currently sick. And when some truly scary guys get wind of the drug’s potential and Edward’s stash, his life gets very, very dangerous.

Cooper truly delivers in “Limitless,” giving an engaging, charismatic performance. Even more importantly, director Neil Burger does his best work here, bringing a quick pace and stylish sheen to the proceedings, one that looks particularly impressive in HD. Is the movie silly? Of course it is, but don’t think too much about it. Ironically, the best way to appreciate “Limitless” is viscerally. While Edward may be turning his brain up, it would be best to turn yours off and enjoy the ride.

“Bradley Cooper (The A-Team) and two-time Academy-Award winner Robert De Niro star in this provocative thriller. When a burnt-out writer (Cooper) discovers a top-secret pill that unlocks 100% of his brain’s capacity, he acquires mind-bending talents that bring him big money, beautiful women and limitless success, but at a dangerous price.”

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary with Director Neil Burger
o A Man Without Limits
o Taking It To The Limit: The Making Of Limitless
o Alternate Ending
o Digital Copy Of Feature Film

“Limitless” stars Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro, and Anna Friel. It was written by Leslie Dixon and directed by Neil Burger. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 19th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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