Monday, July 26, 2010

Inception: A tear jerker... But not sad.

It's rare nowadays that I will walk out of a film convinced that I've just seen the best film of the year, but I did with Inception. It annoys me when film adverts brag "the best film of the year!" when it's only January and the critic is either exciteable or deliberately trying to get his or her name out there. This is not one of those moments. I don't think I've had such an excited immediate reaction to a film since The Fellowship of the Ring.

Maybe Rose was hoping he'd wake up when she "let him go".

For the two people who haven't seen it yet (who are even more unlikely to be reading this anyway), I won't give a plot synopsis because I think part of the fun is watching everything unfold (or fold onto itself as the case may be). I went in knowing about the film, but thanks to a great advertising campaign I was intrigued but not overly informed so everything in the film took me by surprise. In this regard, Nolan's script is truely a well polished and intelligent script. Too often people judge scripts on their dialogue (weakpoint), but a script is so much more than that. Considering the plot and what I suppose you could call "mythology" of the film is so convoluted, everything is seamless and surprisingly easy to grasp. There is certainly a fair share of expositional dialogue but it is necciscary, and unknowing characters like Ariadne (Ellen Page) and Saito (Ken Watanabe) make it far less clunky than it could have been.

Wet Dream

The entire cast of the film is in great form but the real star of the film is Nolan. The directors vision and flair for action sequences is bursting through every frame. I have amittedly been slow to get on the Nolan bandwagon, thinking The Dark Knight was good bu very overrated but you can consider me a shrieking groupie. In fact I have an embarassing confession, in the scene in which Joseph Gordon Levitt's character is fighting in the hotel hallway with shifting gravity, and cutting to his sleepy face being spattered with rain and limp arms flailing about the van... I teared up. Was this scene sad? No. Whilst the film was emotionally poignant it's by no means a tear jerker. So why did I nearly cry? If there was any doubt I'm a total film nerd here it is: Occasionally when I'm watching a great film and scene is so well made I become overwhelmed with the greatness of the film at that moment and tear up. This has happened in only two other films in memory (Lust, Caution and Sunshine).

Such a tearjerking moment...

The cast itself is excellent. DiCaprio has rarely been better. Often I find his performance can come across forced and he seems desperate to give a great performance, but this time there was none of this. Perhaps it was the genre that made Leo avoid "dramatic" acting, or maybe it was a case of Nolan getting the best out of him. Either way DiCaprio gives the film it's emotional core that is so essential to it's success. The moment on the hotel window (you know the one) I thought he nailed it. I couldn't mention that scene or the emotional core without his partner, Marion Cotillard. The role fits her sensibilities, with an other worldliness to her charm and beauty. It's not hard to see her as the woman of DiCaps dreams. She's surreally beautiful. Her sudden menace is also incredible and genuine.

"You jump, I jump, remember?"

Props too to Tom Hardy who was an absolute scene stealer and is it just me or was there something about him that was unbearably sexy?

Ok not just me then.

I could go on about the technical marvels of the perfect cinematography, dazzling CGI, the perfectly interwoven action sequences of the final dream, the clever plot devices, and everything else I love about the film but I'm sure you have something better to do for the next 5 hours it would take me to list everything I LOVE about this film.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inception: A Knee Jerk Reaction

Best. Movie. In. Years.
5 Stars.
Expect more incoherent gushing on the film soon.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Sequels That Never Were

I'm going to say something very unoriginal: Sequel's suck. Now I'm going to say something even less original: There are SOME good sequels. Cue roll off of exceptions; Godfather Part II, Terminator 2, Aliens etc etc blah blah blah. But what about those movies that were begging for a sequel that never came for whatever reason? Sequels get made because they are a low risk way of making money if the first one was remotely successful, but sometimes for some reason or another the oppurtunity for a sequel is never capitalized. Sometimes with very good reason. With Robin Hood clearly being the first of a new franchise (despite anyone yet to greenlight the sequel) it promted me to think of all those movies that ended with the promise of a sequel that never came so here goes with the top 5 "Thank God They Didn't Make a Sequel" and the top 5 "Sequel Please". Any sequels in the pipeline are ineligible!

Thank God They Didn't Make a Sequel:
5. Mac and Me

The kid from E.T. had aged poorly

After Mac's alien family are sworn in as American Citizen's, and the reasons that the USA is A-OK are rammed down our throat, the human family and Alien family ride down the highway in a convertible before a large speech bubble appears promising "We'll be Back!". 22 years later and we're yet to hear from them. This flop that tried desperately to be the new E.T. is now a notorious joke.

4. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Connery knew how to deal with any sequel offers.

This one stands for all those crappy comic book movies that attempted to kick start a new franchise and failed epically (Van Helsing, The Phantom). This one took a cool concept, the collision of those creepy old heroes and beloved characters, but it ended up being like when you mix your favourite play-doh colours and you are left with a brown muck. It's reported that this horrible film and the horrible film production are responsible for Sean Connery's retirement and that is unforgiveable!

3. Godzilla

Despite a strong start to his career, Toothy was unable to shake the iconic role of "Godzilla" and became typecast.

By box office sales Godzilla was my no means a failure, but by every other means... it was. There is an entire legacy of films and mythology that this film let down. Roland Emmerich does what he does best and makes everything big and bombastic and forgets to make the film remotely interesting. The end of the film features a Godzilla egg hatching and a baby Godzilla breaking it's way out in one of those horrible "Oh oh! Here we gooo agaaaiiin!" moments. Hazzaa it didn't!

2. Hancock

Let's just say Jada Pinket wears the pants in the relationship...

This could go into the failed superhero category along with League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but since it was a new invention rather than based off a comic it gets its own special placement on the fail list. The fact that some people actually managed to like this great big hunk of crap, baffles me. The plot was daft, the villain was totally uninteresting and the plot was absurd beyond all reason. I sequel has been confirmed and denied over and over but at the moment it seems the project is kaput. Thank goodness.

1. The Covenant

Uhh.. Erm.. What was this movie about again?

If someone asked me what the worst movie I'd ever seen was I would immediately say this. I think it even realised how crap it was so included as much clevage, abs, biceps and well rounded buttocks as possible to blind people from the atrocious filmmaking. It was like a game I would play with... invisible people when I was five, shooting energy at people and pretending I had very non-specific powers. Of course at the end they can't find that dastardly villain amongst the rubble after the yawn and eye rolling in equal meaure final battle scene. They drive away in the convertible knowing that they'll see him again... Thankfully we haven't.

Sequel Please:
5. I, Robot

There was something about Will Smith that set him out from the crowd.

Dear Will Smith, if you plan on making a sequel to any of the films in your backlog please consider I, Robot. Even though the rumours about an intelligent sci fi being butchered once Hollywood getting their grubby hads all over it are more than likely to be true, there was still a lot to enjoy. There's certainly enough srouce material based on one of the gazillion Isaac Ismanov books. Pure blockbuster entertainment at its finest elevated to a level of excellence due to the sleek direction of Alex Proyas. So if he's on board then I will be too.

4. Superman Returns

Brandon flew away from the beckoning straight to DVD offers.

It's undoubtable that one day another Superman film will be made, but unfortunately it will likely be completely unrelated to this fantastic 2006 film. The critics loved it, but the public weren't so hot on it. I certainly was. Brandon Routh was everything I could ask for in a Clark Ken/Man in tights, Kevin Spacey was delightful, and the intelligent script packed a real punch. Brian Singer made X-Men 2 the best Superhero film ever, and for me this one wasn't far behind. At the very least could Brandon Routh have a ongoing career please?

3. Lemony Snickets: A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Even Meryl knows its worth it, and she is God.

This is probably the most baffling of all as to why a sequel was never made. Very popular with the public, the books have a huge following and even those prickly critics liked it! Jim Carrey gave what was probably his best performance of the last decade, as well as the entire cast. Good child actors are so rare and all three of the kids nailed it. The direction and art direction are also incredible making a quirky, yet creepy film that would make Tim Burton jealous. From whatever series of unfortunate events, there is not even the glimmer of a sequal on the horizon.

2. Master and Commander: The Far Side Of the World

Fighin' round the world...

Russel Crowe? Peter Weir? Patrick O'Brian? Some of the best cinematography... ever? Where is the sequel?! The film picked up an impressive amount of Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. The Patrick O'Brian novels have a huge and dedicated following and the first film certainly did it justice, and kept the fans happy. Even everyday fans of good cinema would also be... all aboard :-D

1. The Incredibles

The Incredibles hug their Oscar.

All bow down to the glory of Pixar. Even through their impeccable track record, The Incredibles is seen as one of the best. If the wonderful Toy Story trilogy is any good indication, Pixar will make sure that any sequel would be as, if not more incredible than the first. (I'm having a puntastic good time here today). The superhero genre is something that will never run out of storylines, so surely it can't be a lack of good idea that's holding the studio back? Come on guys!