CONTAINS NO SPOILERS, DELIBERATELY
It's nice, once in a while, to catch a film without knowing anything about it beyond "50s romantic thriller" or "Bolivian vampire comedy". This is one of the rarely trumpeted advantages of online rental - you can be surprised in a way that doesn't really happen at the cinema, as the trailers, posters, merchandising and the endless promotional juggernaut mean that actually going to see the movie feels like an afterthought as you feel you've already seen it.
Apparently The Nines did get a cinema release in the UK but I completely missed it; it certainly didn't come to any of my locals. Ryan Reynolds is an actor off a CSI-style TV show who is placed under house arrest after a drugs'n'booze bender and gradually becomes aware that Things Are Not What They Seem - principally the prevalence of the number nine (at this point I thought, obviously, of the Jim Carrey film The Number 23, but this is mercifully unconnected) and something called Knowing. His neighbour (Hope Davis) and his PR manager/minder (Melissa McCarthy) seem to want to convince him that he's not who he thinks he is. And then the world ends.
And then it's a reality TV show following the production of a new pilot show by writer Ryan Reynolds (not the same character): a mystery called Knowing which seems very much in the vein of Lost, and which is being produced by Hope Davis and starring Melissa McCarthy. But things aren't going very well and strange things start happening: he thinks his house is haunted (it's the same house Ryan Reynolds I was living in earlier), and the number nine keeps cropping up.... And then it's the Knowing pilot itself starring Reynolds (again, not either of the first two characters but now, apparently, a completely fictional person in a TV show) and Davis and McCarthy. What does it all mean? Who is he really? Who are Davis and McCarthy? What's it all about? Actually, the solution given is pretty interesting and I didn't see it coming, though I'm not entirely sure how it all works with regard to its crossing over of different realities. And I'm glad I hadn't read much on the web about the film in advance; it's a case where seeing it as cold as possible yields the best results. I don't think it's a great film, but it's certainly worth a look.