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This makes the prim, Swiss, married Jung a little nuts. Soon he and Sabina are violating the stern protocols of classical psychoanalysis by having an affair that features sado-masochism. Freud, acted like a Jewish pope by Mortensen (with, yep, a phallic cigar), is more distantly entangled. He nudges along Sabina’s therapy while enjoying the gossip. In a fine tangle of irony, Jung’s sweet wife (Sarah Gadon) will eventually ask the improved, now deeply Freudian Sabina to analyze her guilty husband. Occurring from 1904 to 1913, the story seems timid, as if scared of an obscure scandal now a century old.

The old truisms apply: Freud as the magisterial father figure and stern rationalist, with Jung as the rebel son, not Jewish but instinctively mystical. We also get a sense that Spielrein generated important ideas (she was later, in the wartime Soviet Union, a victim of Hitler). Though handsomely made, this is David Cronenberg’s most sedate, passive movie. While not supine on a couch, it is often listless. John Huston churned up more panic and drama with Freud (1962), in part because star Montgomery Clift felt cornered by Huston’s scorn for Clift’s “weakness” (homosexuality). Though Freud is out of fashion now, he shouldn’t be boring.

Reviewed in the movie capsules: Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.

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dwbat Dec. 22, 2011 @ 11:26 a.m.

Looks like a different version of "The Polar Express," which looked very creepy.

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David Elliott Dec. 22, 2011 @ 6:16 p.m.

dwbat: The creepiness comes from a sense of the technology overriding all other values. And what charms in a comic-book frame can seem coldly overblown on the big screen, as in 'Tintin.' I prefer 'motion-capture' and 'blue-screen' tactics when they are allied with clever ideas, like the dream games anchored in familiar actors in 'Waking Life,' by Richard Linklater and Robert Sabiston. Or the glorious excess of nostalgia so beautifully stylized by Kerry Conran in 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,' a retro feast despite its reliance on very generic story elements. Thanks for reading.

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dwbat Dec. 22, 2011 @ 9:04 p.m.

Well, I was referring to the creepiness of the faces and eyss, which are created by this technology. Regular animation is so much better.

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Scott Marks Dec. 23, 2011 @ 8:58 a.m.

I agree with your thoughts on the "open casket" look of motion capture animation. It makes the characters look like a touring company of "Children of the Damned." But when used well, as in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," it's barely perceptible. I was shocked to learn that all of the apes were CGI.

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