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Inception has a lot of ideas and it doesn't do anything with them
I cannot ignore facts. I cannot ignore mistakes and plot holes, bad writing, or bad marketing. I cannot ignore hype, especially when it's already on the IMDb top 250, it received praise from critics, cashed in a lot of money, and people call it stunning and unforgettable. The simple truth is that Inception does not live up to the hype. Let me start with the trailer. All the coolest things (the folding city, the collapsing cliffs, the train in the street) are totally unessential to the plot. None of that takes more than a few seconds. So why did they put them on all the posters as well? Nevermind. I'll move on to the real problems of the movie.
So I heard all these people saying how complex the movie is. How I'll need to watch it twice. How the shocking ending will blow my mind. I knew exactly what that "shocking ending" would be half way through the film. The very last paragraph of this review deals with the ending. It's not exactly a spoiler but you can skip it if you don't want to know anything.
Cobb (DiCaprio) takes on a mission to implant a thought into Fischer's (Murphy) mind. As a reward, his contractor Saito (Watanabe) will clean his record with the LAPD. Cobb is wanted for the murder of his wife and consequently he can't return to USA and see his children. Throughout the movie, this is Cobb's main inner conflict, that before he fled the country, he didn't get a chance to see the kids' faces and he wants to see them again. Michael Cain has a very small role as their grandpa and DiCaprio's father-in-law. Why doesn't Cain take the kids someplace so they could be with their father? People move all the time. Or why doesn't he send Cobb some home movies if he wants to see their faces so much? They could even have video calls and all that stuff. It's a long distance relationship but it's something. Well, apparently no one thought of that, and so the main character's main motivation for his actions makes no sense.
As for acting, DiCaprio was good. But if you've seen Shutter Island, You've seen a third of Inception. Dead wife, small kids, a sense of loss, a pretty wooden house in a field, all those flashbacks Teddy had in Shutter Island it's all in Inception. Minus the funny Boston accent.
The mission these mind thieves embark on is to plant an idea into a rich guy's mind. This is called inception. Hence the title, I guess. Everyone says it's impossible to do, so you know they are going to succeed in the end. Inception is essentially a heist movie, but instead of getting into a vault, Cobb's team has to get inside someone's mind which happens to look like a vault. The supposed complexity of the movie boils down to the idea of a dream within a dream. Basically, imagine that once you are plugged inside the matrix, you plug yourself into yet another, deeper, matrix. There, I just explained the super complex plot of the movie. But in case that wasn't enough, there is Ellen page's character, Ariadne. She is the obligatory new member of the team that is introduced to represent the audience and their questions. I'm fine with that. Every movie has one of those uninitiated people. The thing is, she understands everything too quickly and becomes suddenly becomes the most competent character. Pretty convenient, if you ask me.
Let me finally get to the mission. It's the worst part of the movie. Watanabe wants Murphy, who just inherited a huge corporation, to dissolve it, because it was going to become a huge monopoly. So Watanabe hires DiCaprio to plant the idea of splitting the company in Murphy's mind. And so they do that. For two and a half hours. But I don't care if he splits the big company or not. Why should I care if Murphy has a bigger company than Watanabe? The stakes of the movie aren't high, they are nonexistent. I am not given any reason to care about whether or not they succeed. I'm only given more and more action set pieces to look forward to, and a lot of cool slow motion and zero gravity fights reminiscent of The Matrix, but I'm not given any reason to care for what is happening. I liked Watanabe's character only because I like Ken Watanbe. As for Saito himself, I don't give a damn if his competitor destroys his company or not. They don't tell us what consequences it would have, they don't show us what happens with the company, they don't do anything with this initial idea. Which is strange, because the movie is all about ideas being important.
Okay, so I didn't like the plot and the acting was nothing new. What about the rest? Hans Zimmer's unremarkable score works well with the scenes but it would be super boring to hear on its own. The visual effects are good but since all the coolest city-folding scenes were so short, there wasn't really that much to do. The zero gravity stuff was done well, I'll give them that. Cinematography was good, bordering on too much shaky camera.
Here's the paragraph about the ending:
The big ending is that you are supposed to be unsure what was a dream and what was reality. If it was real, then it's stupid because DiCaprio had dozens of ways to be with his kids without making things so incredibly complicated. The movie is supposed to make you think, but if you think about it the whole plot falls apart. If it was a dream, then it's a stupid cop out on Nolan's part. An excuse for all the things that didn't make sense. It was all a dream, so screw you, audience.
The Plan (2009)
great start, disappointing middle and end
The attack on the Colonies was great and the movie started with locations we have never seen and characters we didn't know that much about. Helen in a bar, Tory in a car, Anders in pyramid camp. But then the movie started relying on footage from the miniseries and first season and The Plan went downhill. They set up all these things and then they just forget all about them.
The interesting thing about this movie is that they really didn't show us ANYTHING groundbreaking, revealing or surprising. I expect to see the story of the Olympic Carrier, more of Helen on the hospital ship, and definitely more of Tory! They show her surviving a nuke blast and that's about it. How did she get on Galactica? Why wasn't Cavill with her like he was with the rest of the Final Five? Hell, even that promised revelation of how Shelley Godfree (spelling?) got off the ship was total BS. So she went out of the air lock. Yawn. Really didn't see that coming... And they try to explain her disappearance by making up yet another Six model, the which I call Slut Six. But what's her story then? How did she get on and off Galactica? What happened to her? This was supposed to be about the Cylons yet I don't know anything about the Cylons! My biggest problem with this movie was all the reused footage. I mean, I get why they used some of it. To establish where and when in the story we are. To show us which moments were influenced by what. But half the movie? They recycle half the movie?! I thought Edward James Olmos would do a better job directing. They could have at least shown us more about the Resistance and Anders. How did their group become so big, for example? And I remember when Anders showed up on the show he told Kara they liberated a school and used it as their HQ. Well show us that action for frak's sake! Before Kara left them Sam told her they would look for more farms and destroy them. Well show us that! Why are you showing me scenes from The Farm that I already watched twice before? Instead of a movie that was supposed to fill in the gaps and give us a different viewpoint we get two or three Cavill copies stepping in and out of old reused scenes from the show. When they said it would be the war from their side, I expected more stuff inside their world. Where were the baseships, heavy raiders, the Colony, resurrection ships and stuff like that? Why didn't they show us more of the world we've seen in the episode Downloaded? THAT was a story from the Cylon POV. Not this.
Basically, there were only two things I liked. The beginning and the very end. I loved the twist where Cavill stabbed the child. One would expect that a child would turn him over to being more human, not Kara and Sam hugging in the forest. So that was sort of fun. And the shots of the two of them floating through the fleet was awesome.
Diary of the Dead (2007)
This was actually a very good movie. The trouble is, it's by Romero, so everyone expects another classic. If this were by a young new director, or just by anyone else, people would like it more.
The annoying thing about Diary of the Dead is the voice-over, which tends to get a bit preachy and repetitive. But still, it raises questions and valid points. Why do people blog and shoot everything with their cell phones? Of all the hip new movies shot with a digital camera, like Cloverfield or REC, this is the least shaky and pretty easy on the eyes. It also shows (as part of the message of the whole movie, I'd say) that anyone can make a movie these days for any amount of money. What's the point of doing a 300 million dollar movie if any talented student can do the same with two cameras? Anyway, this is a zombie movie, so let me get to the bloody point. There's quite a lot of violence, although the headshots and some of the gore are digital, which is a shame and a departure from the great Tom Savini stuff I came to know and love. But still, it's better and far more entertaining than Land of the Dead, so I encourage you all to go for it. Maybe it was because I had low expectations based on the rating, but I really loved this movie. Forget it's by the same person as Night of the Living Dead and just enjoy a new kind of zombie flick that's here to stay. And bite off your arm.
PS: for all people who like "group of people going from A to B and encountering problems" kind of movies, you'll love this
If you get past the slow-paced first 15 minutes, a very funny movie awaits you. It is a very enjoyable watch, not too philosophical or ranting about how war is evil like other movies do. This is pure situation comedy, mistaken identity, hilarious scenes and situations, with only a small moral at the end which does not spoil your enjoyment.
Also, at the beginning, Veikko tries to free himself very much like MacGyver, which I find both interesting and amusing. The Russian guy, Ivan, look a bit like Gary Oldman and the few visual effects with airplanes are really very good.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
to anyone who thinks redux (a.k.a. the director's cut) isn't better than the original...
Whoever says the the Redux version sucks, never saw a good movie... French plantation sequence to long? What's the problem, you're without a Steven Seagal flick for too long so the French part bores you? something is out of Willard's character? How do you know? Ever met the guy? This re-cut version is the best thing that ever happened to the movie. And anyone who says extra footage of Kurtz shouldn't be there obviously can't appreciate the genius of the late Marlon Brando.
This is by far the best movie ever, and seeing the original after seeing the redux is like eating only half of your lunch, leaving the best bits on the plate.
Lost: Live Together, Die Alone (2006)
for those who are confused about Elizabeth (Libby) talking to Desmond
It was Libby talking to Desmond in the flashback, and if anyone is confused about her past (like how did she end up in the same hospital Hurley was in) then you should know that despited Libby dying in season 2, the character will be explored more in season 3 and we will get answers to questions surrounding her.
BTW, great episode. It had a really great cliffhanger and some interesting questions...like what happened to Eko and Lock and what about the four toe statue?
I cannot wait till season 3, Lost just rules!!! I hope all the unanswered questions will be answered. I loved how they explained why the plane actually crashed. Desmond did it when he did not manage to type in the numbers in time. 4 8 15 16 23 42
Klaatu Barada Nikto
I first heard of this movie when I saw its soundtrack listed as one of the most classic original scores of all time. It sure is. The music is incredible. And so are he visual effects. And the movie itself.
An alien (apparently an actual human from another planet similar to Earth) arrives to Earth with his big robot Gort and land in Wahington. After being shot at during his arrival, the alien, Klaatu, is taken to a hospital. He then escapes and joins a group of people renting rooms at an old lady's house. He then contacts a professor of some sort (presumably a professor of physics) and arranges for a meeting with scientist from around the world. He delivers his message to them. He states that Earth will be destroyed if the human race will threaten the universe with atom bombs. He leaves. The End.
It is a very simple story, but it hides a big message that is still very important. Let's say that Earth in the movies is the United States and the universe would be the rest of the world. Americans will destroy everything if they start attacking somebody else. No one cares if they shoot each other in their backyards, but leave everybody else alone.
This could of course be applied to any other state, USA is just the obvious choice for an example.
In times like these, with Iran developing nuclear warheads, China on the rise, and terrorism everywhere, we could easily destroy the whole planet. So leaders of countries, watch this movie.
Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
nothing special, but still okay
After seeing Broken Flowers the other day, I had great expectations for this Jarmusch film. I must say that I was disappointed. It was funny at times (especially the part with Molina and the one called No Problem). But it got pretty repetitive at the end. The RZA/GZA/MURRAY story had some lines and ideas from the one with Iggy Pop, and the last story had some lines and ideas from the one about the Tesla coil thing (with the White Stripes duo - a really lame casting choice).
Cate Blanchet was really good, playing both characters of her story (which seemed kinda odd, since she was playing two cousins. Now how come cousins look the same just like twins?).
The worst thing was the song playing during the end credits. It was some dumb rock song, which totally didn't fit into the melancholy of the movie, and was really in your face and inappropriate.
Masters of Horror: Jenifer (2005)
Sickest thing ever!
I've seen a lot of sick and disgusting movies. No big deal. But Jenifer, for some reason, seemed really sick and disturbing to me. I almost couldn't watch. I can't explain it, it wasn't the guts and gore of eating a cat, it wasn't the awful face of Jenifer. But the overall effect of it was really something. Watch this if you dare, but you will be saying to yourself (ok, more like screaming at the TV) WHAT THE...!!!
It is possible that some people will not like the ending, some even might find it predictable. But in no way is it disappointing, and in no way does it ruin the whole thing. It's a splatter of gore, just as I am used to with Dario Argento. It's not a masterpiece, but it is a very good (or should I say very evil, bad, filthy, sick) episode of the Masters of Horror series.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The ultimate trip!
The best sci-fi I have ever seen!!! I've read the book before seeing the movie and couldn't imagine how such a story could be filmed. But Stanlez Kubrick proved it is possible! It was (a little bit) slow-motioned, but nonetheless brilliant. Especially the ground-breaking visual FX. I am absolutely sure that if filmed today, it would be completely CGI and visibly not realistic. The models and effects really deserved the Oscar. Although I didn't understand the ending until I watched it three times, the overall effect of the movie was that I saw monoliths all over my room and was waiting for a game of chess with Hal 9000... Absolutely brilliant and disturbing, simply an EPIC!!! The music in the movie is also great, with the Waltz working perfectly, the ships dancing in the realistic space.