Monthly Archives: July 2010

Inception Movie Review

My other most anticipated film of the summer finally came out this weekend. Christopher Nolan’s Inception, like Toy Story 3, salvages a very disappointing summer movie season. To see a major studio tentpole film like this is the reason why I love movies. Kudos to Warner Bros. for rewarding Nolan’s The Dark Knight success with a cart blanche ticket to craft this amazing film. Whilst many films have delved into the nature of dreams, no film has done what Inception has. Inception takes concepts of time, physics, and sleep and takes them to places I’ve personally not seen.

The rules of the dreamworld that the characters create in Inception are spelled out early and often. Perhaps the biggest flaw of the film is that it continues to tell us the rules rather than show us the rules. There is a scene where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character (the protagonist Cobb) explicitly explains to Ariadne (the lovely Ellen Page) not to mess with the dream’s architecture she built nor build with her memories as she runs the risk of making the mind aware it’s dreaming. All the while Cobb explains this the projections of his dreams (the extras) begin to get violent. I felt this scene could have used less dialogue. It would have been much more jarring to see the dream turn violent and have Ariadne awaken in shock, learning her lessons the hard way.

No film can ever be perfect. The incredible ambition of Inception could never really be perfected. In spite of my minor quibble illustrated above, I absolutely adored this film. There was not one moment in its runtime I was not engaged or intrigued. When Ariadne begins to experiment with the physics of the dreamworld she’s training in with Cobb, the inverting and twisting city-scape is an incredible visual feast. Nolan has masterfully played with the notion of physics within this film.

The central conceit and titular idea of the film is astounding. The concept of instilling an idea into someone so that they feel the idea was naturally their own rather than a suggestion is an amazingly powerful thing to ponder. I wish Inception would have done more to examine the morality of such an endeavor but the action set-pieces were so thoughtful and engaging that I was rooting for the cast of characters anyway.

As far as the action set pieces go, they are some of the most engaging and original I’ve seen in a sci-fi film since The Matrix. The scenes where Joseph Gordon-Levitt is battling projections in a dream that has lost gravity were incredibly well done. Seriously some of the most visually interesting fight scenes Nolan has ever directed. The cinematography of Inception was also top-notch.

There are tons of layers to this film, both literal and figurative. I didn’t want to spoil too much in this film. I’ve left a lot of detail out of this review. The cast turns out excellent performances all around. The film generally strays away from holding the audiences hands which is a rare feat these days. The film is a brave cry to Hollywood that thought-provoking films can also be major summer tentpoles. Inception is another feather in Christopher Nolan’s well stocked cap. Now if the man can complete his Batman trilogy unscathed by studio meddling the world will be a better place. I’ll be seeing Inception again in the future for sure. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to see something unique and engaging this summer.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Toy Story 3 film review


Image taken from Cinecon.com. If you wish me to remove it please let me know

In a summer that has let me down immensely with regards to films, Toy Story 3 lifted me up. It is going to be very difficult to distill how incredible this film is into meaningful or insightful words and criticism. Pixar has absolutely unequivocally proven they are the masters of their craft. Not only has Pixar created a phenomenal end to a franchise that showed the world the power of computer animation to audiences worldwide, Pixar has crafted the first astonishing second sequel I’ve ever seen.

While I’m gushing about the film, I don’t want to spoil the experience. I also don’t want this to be a cheap little review like the other films I’ve recently gave half-assed reviews to. No, this film deserves not only my whole ass but everyone’s whole ass. This is a complex, beautiful piece of work rich with texture and adult themes.

Toy Story 3 is a continuation of a grand story arc. Toy Story showed us that our child’s play things come alive. They feel, they fight, they stick together. The movie introduces us the rules toys live by: be true to your owner and to each other. Understand that others may be better than you but always be better to yourself. (Woody’s jealousy regarding the arrival of one Buzz Lightyear comes to mind).

Toy Story 2 reminded us that while toys are ageless, children are not. Children grow up, lose interest, find out about the world less through their imaginations. Toy Story 2 is partially about coming to grips with aging and irrelevance and then embracing that eventuality by living each moment in the moment (Jessie’s fear of being forgotten and thrown away and then her acceptance that she can always start anew.)

Toy Story 3 brings the above films together. Now the reality is there. Andy, the imaginative little boy who so dearly loved all his toys has indeed grown up. While he has no interest in toys a part of him still is drawn to his two favorite toys (Buzz and Woody). College is calling him away and now the toys must accept fate: the attic or the trash heap. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen provide the poles by which the film is measured. Fantastic voice work from both of them. Woody still believes that he and his fellow toys can be of use to Andy at some point. Buzz isn’t so sure.

The toys wind up, through misunderstanding and the vagaries of the world, at Sunnyside Day Care. They are met with promises of a toy-heaven. They will never be forgotten and will never not be played with. New children will always come to play with them and they will not rot in attic or be lost to a garbage dump. The center of this promise is one Lotso, an old bear (voiced by Ned Beatty) who is later revealed to be a false prophet.

I won’t say any more about the plot. I promise you the reader it unfolds in logical and meaningful ways. I will say this, Toy Story 3 is the most adult and dark of all the films. It is truly a wonder how Pixar balances comedy, drama, and genuine emotion. You will be choked up. If you fail to get choked up in this film I advise you to look in a mirror and wonder at how you can be a human being.

Near the end of the film, Pixar brings you to the emotional edge and proves to the world they are masters of visual storytelling. The character reactions and emotions, with no dialogue, are beautifully rendered and displayed. If you have ever lost someone close, or fear losing someone close, you will be choked up. Just a master-stroke. My father told me that at 58 he never expected to tear up watching a computer-animated film about toys that live when no one watches them.

Toy Story 3 is about many things. On one track, it is about how Andy represents the march of time. How, as we grow up, we lose a piece of ourselves. We allow the world to beat us down, destroy our imaginations. At the end of the film, Andy has one final hoorah as a child and it’s beautiful. Toy Story 3 can also be viewed as a treatise on the importance of family and friends. The intrepid toys bicker, fight, and even at times seem to truly hate each other. Yet, when all the chips are down they realize that all of that is petty and small. They unite and overcome in the face of all odds. Your immediate family is what you were born into. Love those people, for they do not last forever. I know this well and this is why the film affected me so much.

There you have it. I have no other words to say. This is one 26 year old man’s opinion and interpretation. See the film and judge it yourself. Toy Story 3 is Pixar’s strongest film to date in my opinion. I have no higher praise than that considering how much I have loved all of their films over the years even with the slight missteps of Cars and A Bug’s Life. Pixar knows their craft.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

The A Team (2010) film review

This summer has been rather lackluster for the usual tentpole blockbuster season. Joining the chorus of mediocrity is the updated A-Team. I was a kid when the show was originally aired. I think I saw re-runs. My father was an actual A-Team fan though and was surprisingly excited for the film. I was vacationing in San Diego, CA when this premiered. A 5.7 earthquake struck the theater moments into the movie, creating an intense viewing experience. Thoughts are below:

  • It was absolutely mindless entertainment but had a very strange plot structure. I felt like much of the movie went in circles…
  • Jessica Biel’s beauty was wasted
  • Women may swoon for Bradley Cooper and I don’t blame them. I wish I had that muscle definition and didn’t like food and beer and working 9 hours a day at a sedentary job.
  • Rampage Jackson was an adequately satisfactory Mr-T. I mean, B.A. Baracas
  • Liam Neeson’s American accents really are pretty uneven. Thanks Family Guy for tuning me to that…
  • Things go boom and a tank flies!
  • I wasn’t bored
  • It was a fairly violent PG-13 film
  • My dad wasn’t thrilled by it but was also entertained. He had low expectations and they were met

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Get Him to the Greek Film Review

One of several films I failed to write about was Get Him to the Greek. This is an unofficial follow-up to 2008’s (I think) Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It brings back the breakout character of Aldous Snow (played with aplomb by Russell Brand), the sex and drug fueled rocker behind such international sensations as “The Clap”. The film, directed and primarily written by Nicholas Stoller (a writer for Forgetting Sarah Marshall), tells the story of Aaron Green (Jonah Hill, who while hilarious is looking more and more obese with every film). Green is charged by his psychotic record industry boss Sergio (a scene stealing P. Diddy) to bring Aldous Snow to the Greek Theater in LA in like 72 hours or some shit.

Thoughts:
 

  • Get Him to the Greek is a very funny comedy. It won’t be timeless but damn is a good piece of pop culture
  • The “African Child” music video introduction was… edgy
  • P. Diddy is fucking funny
  • Jonah Hill has got to lose some weight, he looked bloated an unhappy. You’re a talented dude, take care of yourself
  • Aldous Snow’s shtick is hit and miss
  • The soundtrack is often funnier than the film
  • You may never look at Lars Ulrich the same
  • Favorite quote, “It’s like I’m a 50’s housewife. Like my dreams don’t matter”

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Apolgies

It’s apparently been nearly 60 days since my last review. Things have just been incredibly hectic for myself. Work is beating me up a bit and I’ve both had my heartbroken and have found new romantic endeavors. Also, I just failed to sit down and write. I’m going to be adding several very short reviews today.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.