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Let me plant an idea in your head: INCEPTION is Breathtaking
I cannot say enough good about this movie. There are so many excellent forces that made this movie that superb piece of art that it is.
First, of course, is Nolan's direction. There is some seriously enlightened direction going on here. It starts off a bit slow (as most of his movies do), but he shortly throws it into overdrive. Before long, the movie is roaring past you. It's exhilarating, simply put.
Nolan's writing is also top notch. The dialogue is refreshingly real, sharp, and coherent. In the beginning, viewers might find themselves a bit lost (don't worry, it's intentional), but Nolan slowly exposes INCEPTION's secrets. The plot direction carries this movie from being a simple heist movie (in the same vein as, say, OCEAN'S 11) to an emotional, thoughtful, intelligent, and utterly astounding thriller. If Nolan doesn't receive a directing or writing Oscar for this movie, then there is something seriously wrong the Academy.
Also worth mentioning are the visual effects and stunts. The VFX are seamless. Even in the film's most visually intense moments, it's not entirely evident that Nolan is using CGI. Of particular mention is a fight scene that takes place in a unstable-gravity hotel hallway. As the actors twist and writhe all over a room where gravity is in flux, the viewer is left dumbfounded by the surprising realism of the scene. There's no other way to say this: INCEPTION looks great.
Finally, we come to the acting. If anything could steal the spotlight from Nolan's directing and writing, it would certainly be the efforts put forth by the cast. Overall, the cast has impeccable chemistry. Everyone plays together so well. - Of course, Leonardo Dicaprio was solid. The role isn't much of a deviation for him, but he plays it well. His most emotionally intense moments hit hard and his character is developed very well. He deftly leads a relatively-unknown, but unbelievably-talented cast. There isn't that much "star power" in this movie, but the caliber of the acting is superb. - Marillon Cotillard was unbelievable. Her role is arguably the film's most versatile and she expertly glides through each aspect of her character. She's a very talented actress who works so well with Dicaprio. Their relationship is one of the emotional high-points of the movie and that is thanks entirely to each actors' powerful contributions to the heartbreaking reality of the relationship. - Ellen Page did a great job in her supporting role, bringing some of her signature wit into it. She has a very big on screen presence and she fits in surprisingly well with the mostly-male main cast. - Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy stole the show, in my opinion. They each play two very well-crafted characters extremely well. Levitt plays a resourceful, no-nonsense point man that wonderfully counters Dicaprio's somewhat-unstable character. Hardy plays a charismatic thief that goes from devious trickster to full-blown action hero. These guys have some seriously impressive acting chops and it was truly a delight to watch their performances. - Cillian Murphy, like Dicaprio, is mostly sticking to a role that he knows, which is not a bad thing. Murphy is a talented actor, which is readily apparent in his last big scene in the movie (one of the movie's most emotional moments). - Ken Watanabe and Dileep Rao also add a lot to the overall chemistry of the ensemble. Their presence, though not as major as some of the other characters, definitely help solidify the ensemble's power.
INCEPTION will stand the test of time as one of the great American films. Nolan is a superb director and cunning writer who has assembled an elite group of actors to create a visually stunning, thrilling adventure. You'd be crazy to not want to go along for the ride.
The Plan (2009)
Insulting to Fans and a Poor Piece of Work in General
I had mixed feelings about the concept of The Plan before I saw it: Olmos spoke a lot about The Plan at a panel at '09 Wizard World Convention in Philadelphia. He was very excited about the project and led us to believe that we would be presented an intimate look at an extended Cylon plot that ran concurrently with the series as a whole.
He did not deliver.
First, the movie is at least 40% Archive Footage (taken from Season 1 and Season 2). The scenes are woven in as helpful "reminders". These "reminders" help connect events from the show to their extended explanations in "The Plan". Truthfully, the archive footage is abrupt and unnecessary. Fans would easily be able to connect "The Plan"'s events.
The story of this movie lacks the provocative and thought-inspiring nature that BSG is so respected for. The writing is poor and the events play out in rather unspectacular way.
The only thing that saves this movie is the strong performances by Dean Cain, Tricia Helfer, and Callum Keith Rennie. Though the writing is not up to normal standards, these actors' mastery over their characters is readily apparent in this flimsy companion piece.
Overall, watch "The Plan", it's not very long and has a few interesting moments (spread far out in the film). More importantly, if you're interested in Brother Cavil, this is a great way to get some perspective on the bitter Cylon "leader." You need to disconnect your brain a little bit at some points (like seeing 7 Cylons hiding in plain sight on Galactica), and if you can, you can enjoy the bits of BSG-goodness hidden in the film.
I must admit, I was one of the skeptics who prematurely judged this show before relatively any information was disseminated about it. I determined that it was going to be a cheap spin-off guided by Ronald D. Moore wielding the retcon-wand.
I was wrong!
The pilot leaves an excellent impression upon the viewers. The accessibility is marvelous! Of course, seasoned BSG veterans will find themselves immersed in the plot, which is focused on the development of the Cylons before the first War. (58 years before the events of the BSG pilot). The pilot also allows for newcomers, clearly presenting its plot and ideas in the first part of the episode.
Don't be mistaken: "Caprica" is not BSG. We are presented with an immersive, cerebral drama dotted by provocative, daring, and controversial ideas.
The casting maintains BSG's standards; Stoltz and Morales are simply astounding. Morales' portrayal of Joseph Adama, inspired by Olmos' portrayal of William, gives a wonderful glimpse of William's heroic father. Stoltz's portrayal of Dr. Graystone provokes a lot of thinking and questions.
If the quality of the pilot is any indication of what's yet to come, RDM and the creative team are set to continue BSG's legacy of first-rate television programming with another masterfully created television masterpiece.
Marley & Me (2008)
More than Meets the Eye
"Marley and Me" exceeds anything that you might expect from an animal-comedy movie. Marley is a wild dog who finds a loving family with John and Jen Grogan (Owen Wilson & Jennifer Anniston). The movie is a chronology of the Grogan family's life with the "world's worst dog."
The movie is surprisingly poignant and beautiful. Wilson and Anniston really nail their performances and give starkly realistic portrayals of their characters, two middle-class parents in everyday life experiences. Their time with Marley is fun, wild, loving, and beautiful.
If you're a dog lover, this movie will tickle you to no end. If you're in need of a pick-me-up on a bad day, this heartwarming adventure will leave you feeling good by the end, if not just a bit heartbroken.
Don't write this movie off. It's a wonderful story with a lot of love to give.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Thank you, QT
Thank you so very much Quentin Tarantino. You continue to provide endless entertainment for American theatergoers. "Basterds" is, simply put, a masterpiece. It embodies all things Tarantino. The movie has a very strong script, plenty of stomach-wrenching gore, an superb soundtrack, and a strong cast.
"Basterds" requires theatergoers to abandon a strict definition of the word "history." Many Americans have a very reverent manner in dealing with all things WWII-related and, save for Mel Brooks and a few other choice individuals, generally frown upon "disrespecting" our veterans. "Basterds" is a total departure from this mentality.
Let's be honest with ourselves, we're a rather uptight society, and you would be showing a surplus of naívety to think that the overall scheme presented in this movie isn't something that crossed the minds of every American solider involved in WWII.
In the 5th act, Tarantino lets the audience play a part in the biggest mind-f**k since "Johnny Got His Gun." For the last 20 or so minutes of the movie, we watch, in agony and aggravation, as Nazis take delight in the portrayal of one Nazi sniper killing nearly 300 Ally soldiers. As we watch the Nazis laugh hysterically, we are filled with a disgusting feeling that makes us want to grab some friends and skin some Gerrys. But just as we wield our daggers, Tarantino turns the tables. He burns down a theater full of Nazis and lets us watch as Eli Roth blows Hitler and Goebbels' faces off with a machine gun. Now he's got a theater full of Americans laughing at a movie depicting hundreds of Nazis getting incinerated and gunned down. Who's laughing now?
And so, it is for that reason that I say "Thank you" to Quentin Tarantino. He makes it okay to turn WWII, the darkest moment in our world's history, into something fantastic and wild.
Grey Gardens (2009)
Beautifully acted examination of the decadence of two glamorous women
I never knew that Drew Barrymore had this in her. Her performance in "Grey Gardens" is electrifying and inspiring. She is so tragically beautiful in this examination of two women who loose everything. Barrymore's performance is so tragic and desperate. Jessica Lange's character nurtures Barrymore's descent into despair in the role of an over-zealous mother, without much of an idea of what is truly best for her daughter.
The bond between Barrymore and Lange is untouchable, stronger than most bonds in on-screen pairings. The pair are quirky, divine, and glamorous, even as their wealth and dignity are forcefully ripped from them. It is truly a struggle to maintain character.
Jeanne Tripplehorn's turn as Jackie-O is quite notable as well. She plays a wonderful opposite to the decaying Lange and Barrymore.
This film is truly beautiful and tragic, but is delightful to watch and will be enjoyed for ages.
Wonderful adaptation, not without flaws though...
Fantastic movie, overall. Here's the flaws: 1.) The movie is excessively violent, to the point where it begins to distort the characters somewhat. Nite Owl, Ozymandias, and Silk Spectre II are WAY too brutal during their combat scenes. 2.) Too much excess and fluff. Critical elements were removed from the screenplay, which allowed for Snyder to keep unnecessary scenes. 3.) The title scene is poorly done. 4.) Not long enough. This should be 3.5 hours+ long. 5.) The ending is crap. It completely destroys some of the characterizations.
Here's what Snyder does exceptionally well 1.) The music is unbelievable (the soundtrack choices) 2.) Rorschach and the Comedian were played impeccably 3.) Special effects were very good. 4.) RICHARD NIXON! HARROOOHHHH!
Summer Heights High (2007)
Watch for Mr. G -- Somewhat enjoy the rest!!!
I don't understand why this is being hailed as "The Next Office": this show is disgustingly terrible. The premise, though intuitive, features three characters, two of which are just downright unpleasant and unenjoyable. Jonah is downright unenjoyable and unfunny. The character is just plain stupid and juvenile. Ja'mie is a bit predictable but still brings a few cheap (forgive the irony) laughs to the show. She is a mockery of characters like Cordelia ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and the cast of "The Hills." The drama teacher, Mr G, is the only bright part of the show. He is coarse, cold, and hilarious. This show has a lot of potential. Axing Jonah and replacing (or just generally removing them and making Mr G the central focus) is a great way to turn a mediocre comedy into a absolutely enjoyable and downright hilarious comedic adventure.
Futurama: Bender's Game (2008)
Funniest "Futurama" Movie Yet!! To Be Loved By Fans & Newcomers Alike!!
Totally. 100%. This is the downright funniest of the three films. The story isn't as strong as the first one's, but the laughs are a million per minute. From the opening hilarity of Fry declaring "I've never been more excited to see poop, well, except maybe once" to the hilarious and heartwarming ending, this movie doesn't let you down. This movie has a lot of great one-liners and fans of the show will most definitely not be disappointed. I'd also recommend this flick for non-regular viewers. The standalone story gives for a great and welcoming introduction to the hilarity of the show. The only thing missing was the star-studded guest starring list that the previous films boasted. This "shortcoming" is hardly a notable complaint when you look at the piece of work that this film truly is! I highly recommend watching it!
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
Thank You, Kevin Smith!
Kevin Smith does it again. Critically, I'm sure this movie will bomb, but to Kevin Smith fans and other enlightened individuals, you can see the beauty of this movie. The story is excellent and the script is downright hilarious. I give a mountain of credit to the casting people for this movie: the cast was perfect. Seth and Elizabeth give stellar performances in the titular roles. Craig Robinson (of "The Office" fame) gives a highly enjoyable performance, leading the supporting cast. Kevin Smith regulars Jeff Anderson (Randall, "Clerks" & "Clerks II") and Jason Mewes (Silent Bob) shine in roles that Smith clearly tailored to their supreme talent. Justin Long steals the show in his cameo. The story, which some critics will label as predictable, is a sweet story of friendship and getting by in difficult times. It's easy to see that Kevin Smith mirrored some elements of the story from his own life. The movie is one of the most enjoyable movies of 2008 and I highly recommend it to anyone who is desperately in need of a good laugh or is a Kevin Smith fan.
Simply the Best
This movie was absolutely fantastic. The simplicity of it (a movie with relatively no dialogue to advance the story) is simply mind-bending. The movie progresses at a wonderful, delightful, enjoyable, and entertaining pace.
The characters are downright adorable and lovable. Story is fantastic.
I enjoyed this movie so much. By far the best full-length feature that Pixar has made to date. "Wall-E" is simply delightful. Enjoyable for all ages. Wonderful kids entertainment, but a beautiful, heart-wrenching, apocalyptic undertone that the adults can sink their teeth into.
The whimsy of the trash-compacting robot is downright astonishing and enjoyable.
I heartily recommend this movie to anyone!
Battlestar Galactica (2004)
The Apex of Sci-Fi Television
Sci-Fi television will never get any better than this show. Battlestar Galactica is one of the best dramas to ever be aired on television. There's so much about this show that makes it special.
First, the acting is phenomenal. There's a great ensemble cast, but two actors that definitely stand out in the cast are Edward James Olmos (Cmdr. Adama) and Mary McDonnel (Pres. Laura Roslin). These two are involved in the best scenes in the show and the interplay between their characters is out of this world. Their relationship is so complex and beautiful. I've actually cried a few times during some of their most dramatic scenes on the show. Other standouts in the cast are Katee Sackhoff (Kara "Starbuck" Thrace), James Gillis (Dr. Gaius Baltar), and Tricia Helfer (Number Six).
Second, the tone of the show is incredible. It is a very dark toned show. This isn't about scientific exploration and peacemaking like Star Trek. This is about human suffering, human bonding, and the survival instinct. Like creator Ronald D. Moore (of Star Trek fame) says, it's not like Star Trek where the set is destroyed and the next week everything is back to normal. There's despair, there's destruction, and there's hopelessness. It's very easy to get very emotional during this show.
Third, the cultural tones. The show isn't about lasers, warp drives, and weird aliens. It's about politics. It's about religion. It's about humanity. There's so many elements of culture and society that find themselves in this show. Without going into spoiler country, this is difficult to explain. One spoiler-free example is when Laura Roslin is sworn in during the miniseries. It almost exactly duplicates the Lyndon Johnson swearing-in. There's so many awesome elements of the show that transcend the traditional science fiction show.
Battlestar Galactica is a beautiful show. I recommend it to anyone. For politically-minded people, this is a great show to sink your teeth into. For people who dig romance, check this show out, there's some great love stories. For people who dig sci-fi, well there isn't actually that much science fiction here. It's very serious and to a point, almost believable. For people who enjoy a well-written script, WATCH THIS SHOW. The writing team, nay, the entire production crew is incredible.
This show is very special. I'm glad I found it.