Posts Tagged ‘inception

26
Jul
10

Does ‘Inception’ Make Nolan the New Morpheus

A heist movie of the subconscious.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joesph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine. Directed by Christopher Nolan

A heist movie. A psychological thriller. One-hundred percent Christopher Nolan.

I’m going to be as unbiased as I can possibly be in reviewing this one. I’ve been a fan of Nolan’s work since “Memento,” (having watched it in theaters at least three times) and count him as one of the best current filmmakers, if not one of the best of all time. He is the psychological storytelling of Alfred Hitchcock mixed with the technical side of Ridley Scott.

What is “Inception?” That’s been the big question on everyone’s minds as the trailers haven’t shown or given away much. The truth is: they can’t. Explaining this film in under five minutes is like saying “Memento” is about a guy with memory problems or “The Prestige” is about two magicians trying to outdo the other. Yes, both quips are technically correct but lack the gravitas of what the films are truly about.

Leo DiCaprio is Dom Cobb, a man living on the edge of heightened paranoia and concern. What he does isn’t exactly legal -breaking into the thoughts and dreams of other individuals to steal their secrets- all the meanwhile trying to evade the Cobalt Group (for a job that apparently went wrong) and U.S. authorities for skipping country because of a misunderstanding in the regards to the death of his wife Mal (Cotillard). He’s caught between running from reality and the sadomasochism of his dream world where he returns repeatedly to the memories of being with his wife, their times together, her death, etc.

The “forward chronology” of the movie starts in what appears to be a dream -Saito (Watanabe) is holding something secret and Cobb and the gang have to extract his secret. Easier said than done. Cobb is able to retrieve the secret but not before Mal, the thorn inside his dream world, causes problems for him. Cobb then returns to an apartment where his team and Saito are at and Saito is not impressed until he finds that they’re in yet another dream. Cobb and Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) try getting out of Tokyo but not before Saito proposes a job: he wants the heir of an electrical conglomerate Robert Fischer, Jr. (Murphy) to disband the company en whole.

Therein lies the challenge: not extraction, but the inception of an idea. To make the guy whose head you’re inside BELIEVE that he came up with the idea himself. Arthur contends that it’s just not possible but Cobb believes, on the border of knowing, that it CAN be done. And the prize? Saito is powerful enough to get Cobb waived through immigration so he can see his children James and Phillipa again who are staying with his in-laws.

Speaking of which, he travels to Paris to meet with his father-in-law Miles (Caine) who taught him everything he knows about controlling dreams except for the heist business. Dom pleads for help for the quintessential “one last job”: he needs an architect, someone who can help design a dream world. He’s introduced to Ariadne (Page), who gets interested/addicted to the idea of building dream worlds on a larger scale and joins the team.

Rounding out the rest of the crew is the “chemist” Yusuf (Dileep Rao), the information/research/impersonator Eames (Tom Hardy), and “tourist” Saito. The chemist has a drug that will prolong the dream state, Eames does covert intel on the guy, and Saito is just there to watch it happen (or help make it happen). They conceive the idea of a three-layer dream to get into Fischer’s head and give him the idea that his father (Pete Postelthwaite) doesn’t want him following in his shoes and should disband the entire company. When Fischer’s father passes they have the perfect window of opprotunity – ten hours – to pull it off. Mission: Psychological is on…

But not without a few snags. Remember Mal? When everyone is dreaming there’s a shared state of consciousness and she often appears at inopportune moments causing a debilitating state for Dom. If that’s not enough Fischer has military “projections” (filler people in the dream world). Seems that bit of intel escaped Eames. Trouble comes in threes and after Saito is shot time is shortened and the stakes run high. Will Dom and company be able to plant the idea in the guy’s head? Will they even get to that point? Will Mal screw everything up? Will Cobb see his children again? Will any of them survive? And so forth.

I loved the movie. It begins like a dream – you don’t know where it really begins or why – and it ends on a note that makes you question all that you just watched. It’s smart, the cinematography (especially for the hallway fight scene) is great, and it’s one-hundred percent story. The camera becomes an invisible person of sorts and you’re strapped into your chair for the ride.

Some critics have hailed “Inception” as Nolan’s magnum opus. Roger Ebert cited that Nolan had been working on the script/story for ten years. I’m in agreement. Film students watching Nolan’s work could cite many of the themes in this movie are carried over from previous ones: the guy so in love with his wife that he cannot forget her (“Memento”), a father dying and his son having to come to terms not only with the death but of becoming heir to a giant corporation (“Batman Begins”), a man who will grow old and probably die alone (“Insomnia”) and being reunited with children (“The Prestige”). “Inception” takes all of these, and maybe a few more, and rolls them into one cinematic pill to swallow.

Nolan once talked about “Memento” saying that as the life of Leonard Shelby unraveled, so did his conscience while he was making the film. It makes you ask how you remember what you remember. “Inception” asks not only about memories but of the stuff we make up, whether it’s to set us free or imprison, and how do we deal with what’s going on. Dreams are more than our escape.

Not only did Nolan take some of his best tricks and throw them in, but his cast and crew are some he’s worked with before. Ken Watanabe was in “Batman Begins,” Cillian Murphy was in both, and Michael Caine has been in every Nolan film since “Batman Begins.”

Will the movie payoff in the long run? I would like to say yes but it’s a hard sell: a heist movie/ psychological thriller. It’s more intellectual than, say, “Inside Man.” The beginning is a bit slow and detached but once you’re into the movie you’re with every frame until the very end. As for the end itself there is no clear answer as to what really happens, but I have my theories.

My grade: A

If you’re interested in hardboiled thriller, check out the blog story “The Big Adios” at:

http://aidencobb.blogspot.com


18
Sep
09

Movie News and Views September 18, 2009 Poster Edition

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And folks, I can’t make this stuff up…

 

– Writers have been hired to work on a sequel to “Hancock,” the Will Smith superhero movie. They’re running with the idea that “there’s another god out there.” Yay

– David Fincher’s Facebook movie has been greenlit and is being written by Aaron Sorkin.

– Jessica Biel’s name is the most-searched on the Internet with the links often going to adware/spyware/Trojan sites.

 

– Plot details on the new Christopher Nolan film, “Inception”:

 

“Inception” takes place in a world where people can enter other people’s dreams. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a CEO type, who illegally dives into dreams to extract information. He does this via a portable device, which is basically an injection into the bloodstream. In one scene, Cobb’s team enters a person’s dream while on an airplane.

The team who creates the dreams is comprised of Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Eames (Tom Hardy) and Ariadne (Ellen Page), a young college student who is considered the “architect.”

Fischer (Cillian Murphy) is a business-type who is soon to become the head of a company. Cobb’s team is attempting to insert an idea into his mind to compel him to split that company in two.

The only real villain in the story is Saito (Ken Watanabe), who blackmails Cobb, but Cobb’s wife (Marion Cotillard) also causes some trouble for the main character.

At one point, both Cobb and his wife are stuck in a dream and the wife tries to convince him to stay in that world, which she considers much better than real life. Cobb, however, wants to return to his children. Later on, the wife commits suicide in the dream in order to come back to the real world. When Cobb also comes back, he is charged with his wife’s murder and has to flee with his children.

 

– The WB, ever infinite in their wisdom, is developing a movie based on the TV show “Soul Train.”

– Ericson Core has been hired to direct “XxX 3: Return of Xander Cage.” Yeah, we’ve really been waiting for that one.

– Watch for “Heathers: The TV Series.”

– Friends of actress Shelley Duvall are worrying about her mental health, citing her claims that her property is a portal to an alien dimension and that she says she’s possessed by aliens.

– Rob Zombie is set to write and direct a remake to “The Blob.”

– Watch for “Swamp Thing” to be remade in 3-D.

– Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” has a release date of December 25, 2009. It’s noted that this is the movie Heath Ledger was working on when he died.

– More sequels being put into developmentt: “Rambo 5,” “Bad Boys 3,” “Halloween 3,” “Host 2,” “30 Days of Night,” “Big Momma’s House 3,”

– Jon Favreau and Robert Downey, Jr. will re-team for the comic property, “Cowboys and Aliens.”

– In unfortunate news, Filipino-Canadian film critic Alexis Tioseco and his partner Nina Bohinc,a freelance writer, were found shot dead in their home in Quezon City, Manila. (Sept. 2, 2009)

– “The Green Hornet,” has begun filming. It stars Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour, and Tom Wilkinson. Directed by Michael Gondry.

– “Tron Legacy” will be released December 17, 2010.

 

– “Rambo 5” details: John Rambo could track anyone – or anything – on earth. Now the military desperately needs him for a mission that his ultrasensitive instincts tell him he should refuse. A beast is loose somewhere north of the Artic Circle. It has already decimated a secret research facility and annihilated a squad of elite military guards. And the raging creature is headed south toward civilization, ready to wreak bloody devastation.

It’s a job that Rambo and his 22-year-old hunting partner, Beau Brady, can’t turn down, but they and a team of highly-skilled special forces kill team discover that the prey is a terror beyond their wildest imagination – a half-human abomination created by a renegade agency through a series of outlawed genetic experiments. It has man’s cunning, a predator’s savageness, and a prehistoric power that has transcended the ages. And even if Rambo and Beau survive its unrelenting hunger for human blood, they’ll still have to confront the grim reality that it may have grown immortal.
– “Children of the Corn” to be remade.

– “Resident Evil 4: Afterlife” will star Milla Jovovich, be directed by Paul WS Anderson, shot in 3-D, and released on August 27, 2010.

– Viggo Mortensen has quit acting for the time being.

– The WB has created DC Entertainment to compete against Marvel.

– “It’s Alive” is being remade.

– Jeff Bridges will re-team with the Coen Bros. on their remake of “True Grit.”

– Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis have been confirmed to be in Stallone’s “The Expendables.”

– Peter Berg is set to direct “Battleship,” the movie based on the Hasbro board game. It has a release date of July 1, 2011.

– There’s now a Harry Potter theme park.

– Bus driver/film fan Andreas Jankov has officially changed his name to Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov. There ya go.

 

Special thanks to WorstPreviews.com!

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27
Aug
09

Movie News and Views August 27, 2009 Trailer Edition

“A Serious Man” – Coen Bros. movie about a man trying to find clarity in the Sixties. Opens October 2, 2009.

“Youth in Revolt” – Michael Cera is a teenager who falls for the girl of his dreams and develops a split personality who creates havoc. Wasn’t this “Fight Club?” Also stars Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, M. Emmet Walsh, Justin Long, and Fred Willard. Opens October 30, 2009

“The Fourth Kind” – Milla Jovovich in a thriller based on the real-life story of a town in Alaska where people have been disappearing and where they fear there’s a government coverup. Opens November 6, 2009

“New Moon” – Episode Two of the “Twilight Saga” based on the books. Opens November 20, 2009

“Avatar” – James Cameron has spent the last 4 years working on this one: a complete CG movie filmed in IMAX 3-D. Tickets are on sale now! Opens December 18, 2009

“Legion” – Paul Bettany is an archangel trying to save humanity after God gives up on it and sends an army of angels to begin the apocalypse. Mankind’s future rests on a woman about t give birth to a child who will be the next Christ. Also stars Dennis Quaid and Tyrese Gibson. Opens January 22, 2010

“The Wolfman” – English period piece with Benecio del Toro returning for his brother’s funeral only to find that he was mauled by a werewolf. Benecio gets attacked and bitten as well and begins to change. Also stars Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt. Opens February 12, 2010.

“Inception” – Sci-fi from suspense director Christopher Nolan (“Insomnia,” “The Prestige,” “Batman” movies) Stars Leo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, and Ken Watanabe. Okay, now I’m curious… Opens July 16, 2010

“The Ghost” – Ewan McGregor is a novelist hired to ghostwrite a biography on a Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan). He begins to uncover secrets that put his life in jeopardy. Also stars Kim Cattrall, Tom Wilkinson, Jim Belushi, and Timothy Hutton. Coming soon!