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Memento (2001)

Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts.

— Leonard Shelby

It has been a while since I have seen the film that put Christopher Nolan’s name out front and center, the #29 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Memento. It was nominated for two Oscars, including Best Original Screenplay and  Film Editing. The strange thing is that the story is based on Jonathan Nolan’s short story, Memento Mori. Personally, I don’t like movies that go backwards through the narrative. There is something tragically simple about this movie that make me forget about my past grievances with this way of storytelling.

I don’t know how to approach this review without spoiling the ending, which is in the beginning of the movie. Hmm… Be forewarned. A man who has short-term memory loss, Leonard (Guy Pearce) had just shot a cop named Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) in head. He takes a Polaroid for a little reminder that the person that he thinks raped and murdered his wife (Jorja Fox) and lost him with his memories will be documented.

As you know the narrative is backward to retrace the events that lead to Teddy’s demise. The puzzle is slowly being put together. Leonard has an arm full of Polaroids. All of the clues to find the killer has been either in the Polaroids or have been tattooed on his body as a reminder of his ultimate goal of revenge.

Was Teddy telling the truth? Because a person named “John G.” was the person that was there that night his life changes. Teddy is not his real name. Leonard realizes this from Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), a woman who Leonard befriends while he is investigating. Is she working for him or against him? He cannot trust anybody unless it was written on the back of the Polaroids.

He tries to remember Sammy Jankis (Stephen Tobolowsky), a former case of his when he was an insurance investigator. He thought that Sammy was faking his condition which it is exactly like his. Everything that Sammy remembers before the accident, he knows. He has trouble building new memories like Leonard. His wife (Harriet Sansom Harris) thinks at she could do something to trigger his memories, but nothing happens.

Leonard has to deal with betrayal, manipulation, murder, drugs, and theft all for the ultimate goal of solving his wife’s murder.

The movie is carefully thought out about what happens next. I thought the flashbacks in black and white broke up the movie in a good way to see how Leonard knows certain things and not others. This is probably the best performance of Guy Pearce’s career. I thought that the ending was different from what I remember. It blows my mind that the movie about memories and not making new ones could make me questions how the ending or beginning was.

But I did have some questions about certain elements of the movies that didn’t make any sense to me. What happened to the drug money? How did Leonard get those items that belonged to his wife? I cannot think of how that happened. I went over the movie again.

Judgment: I know that Nolan is capable of making movies outside of the Batman franchise that could still be good.

Rating: 9/10

The 2011 Omie Award Winners

Another year has gone by. It is that time ladies and gentlemen to reveal to winners of the people and pictures that should have been nominated for Oscars. (Side note: There were a number of people who voted for people or pictures that were nominated for Oscars. It’s not the point of the awards. This is for the ones left out of the running.) Here are the winners of the third annual Omie Awards.

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Picture goes to…

for the showing that nerd hero could triumph at the end,

Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Producers: Eric Glitter, Nira Park, Marc Platt and Edgar Wright

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Director goes to…

for winning his second Omie award as making a dizzying thriller taking place in the human mind,

Christopher Nolan, “Inception”

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Actor goes to…

for portraying a husband that is desperately trying to keep his marriage together, Dean,

Ryan Gosling, “Blue Valentine”

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Actress goes to…

for portraying the bad-ass, highly-intellectual computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander,

Noomi Rapace, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Supporting Actor goes to…

for portraying the betrayed friend/lesser known co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Severin,

Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Supporting Actress goes to…

for playing a determined stage mother that might have a screw or two loose, Erica Sayers,

Barbara Hershey, “Black Swan”

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Original Song goes to…

for making epitome of teenage rebellion,

We Are Sex Bob-omb,” from “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Foreign Language Film goes to…

a film that showed the ramifications of adultery, betrayal  and lust,

“I Am Love” . Director, Luca Guadagnino

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Animated Feature goes to…

for re-telling the classic story of Brothers Grimm’s, “Rapunzel”

“Tangled”. Directors, Nathan Greno and Byron Howard

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Original Screenplay goes to…

for the story of a young ballerina trying to find her inner dark side,

“Black Swan”. Written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John J. McLaughlin

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Adapted Screenplay goes to…

for adapting the geeky anime-style manga book,

“Scott Pilgrim vs the World”. Written by Michael Bacall and Edgar Wright. Based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley

The Omie Award for Most Deserving Documentary goes to…

for displaying a pointed look at the way the educational system is in disarray,

“Waiting for Superman”. Producers: Leslie Chilcott and Michael Birtel

And for the granddaddy of them all, The Suck-It! Award goes to…

for Clint Eastwood’s disaster of movie about psychics, death and the Tsunami, 

“Hereafter” nominated for Best Visual Effects.

Congratulations to all of the winners that should have been nominated for Oscars instead of safe choices that were nominated this year. especially, the “Scott Pilgrim” was has won the most with three, followed by “Black Swan” with two. I hope to see you again next year as the Academy screw over more deserving nominees for blah movies and performances.

2011 Golden Globes Nominations

The Nominees Are…

Best Motion Picture, Drama

Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical

Alice in Wonderland
Burlesque
The Kids Are All Right
Red
The Tourist

Best Director – Motion Picture

Darren Aronofsky
Black Swan
David Fincher
The Social Network
Tom Hooper
The King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan
Inception
David O. Russell
The Fighter

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

Jesse Eisenberg
The Social Network
Colin Firth
The King’s Speech
James Franco
127 Hours
Ryan Gosling
Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg
The Fighter

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

Halle Berry
Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman
Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence
Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman
Black Swan
Michelle Williams
Blue Valentine

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy

Johnny Depp
Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp
The Tourist
Paul Giamatti
Barney’s Version
Jake Gyllenhaal
Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey
Casino Jack

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy

Anne Hathaway
Love and Other Drugs
Julianne Moore
The Kids Are All Right
Annette Bening
The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone
Easy A
Angelina Jolie
The Tourist

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Christian Bale
The Fighter
Michael Douglas
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield
The Social Network
Jeremy Renner
The Town
Geoffrey Rush
The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Amy Adams
The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter
The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis
Black Swan
Melissa Leo
The Fighter
Jacki Weaver
Animal Kingdom

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

127 Hours
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Inception

Best Animated Feature Film

Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3
Tangled

Best Foreign Language Film

Biutiful
The Concert
The Edge
I Am Love
In a Better World

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Bound to You
Burlesque
Coming Home
Country Strong
I See the Light
Tangled
There’s a Place for Us
Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me
Burlesque

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Alexandre Desplot
The King’s Speech
Danny Elfman
Alice in Wonderland
A.R. Rahmin
127 Hours
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
The Social Network
Hans Zimmer
Inception

Best Television Series, Drama

Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
The Good Wife
Mad Men
The Walking Dead

Best Televison Series, Comedy or Musical

30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
The Big C
Glee
Modern Family
Nurse Jackie

Best Actor in a Television Series, Drama

Steve Buscemi
Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston
Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall
Dexter
Jon Hamm
Mad Men
Hugh Laurie
House

Best Actress in a Television Series, Drama

Julianna Margulies
The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss
Mad Men
Piper Perabo
Covert Affairs
Katey Sagal
Sons of Anarchy
Kyra Sedgwick
The Closer

Best Actor in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical

Alec Baldwin
30 Rock
Steve Carell
The Office
Thomas Jane
Hung
Matthew Morrison
Glee
Jim Parsons
Big Bang Theory

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Hope Davis
Special Relationship
Jane Lynch
Glee
Kelly McDonald
Boardwalk Empire
Julia Stiles
Dexter
Sofia Vergara
Modern Family

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Scott Caan
Hawaii Five-0
Chris Noth
The Good Wife
David Straithairn
Temple Grandin
Eric Stonestreet
Modern Family
Chris Colfer
Glee

Best Actress in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical

Toni Collette
United States of Tara
Edie Falco
Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey
30 Rock
Laura Linney
The Big C
Lea Michelle
Glee

Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

The Pacific
Carlos
Temple Grandin
You Don’t Know Jack
The Pillars of the Earth

Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Dennis Quaid
The Special Relationship
Ian McShane
The Pillars of the Earth
Édgar Ramírez
Carlos
Al Pacino
You Don’t Know Jack
Idris Elba
Luther

Best Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Claire Danes
Temple Grandin
Hayley Atwell
The Pillars of the Earth
Jennifer Love Hewitt
The Client List
Judi Dench
Return to Cranford
Romola Gara
Emma

Inception (2010)

What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.

— Dominic Cobb

Inception is one of my most anticipated films of the summer. I was worried that this movie was hyped up too much for me to enjoy fully enjoy it. It is currently the #3 Movie of All Time on IMDb. That scares me, because the same thing happened with The Dark Knight. I did not see the theatrical trailer, read any reviews or look at the promos for this movie. I wanted to go into this movie fresh with no bias whatsoever. All I thought about when I saw this movie was making it a drinking game, hearing the word “dream” uttered.

This mind-bending movie is about how complex the human mind can truly be when an extractor Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has the ability to go into people minds. He’s sorta like a mental bodyguard that provides security for his clients’ important secrets, but he ultimately steals from them.

He is outsmarted by a shady businessman, Saito (Ken Watanabe) who wants to use Dom and his associates to penetrate the mind of his rival’s son, Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy). In return for his participation, Saito will reunite Dom with the family that he abandoned when his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) kills herself to make it look like he did it.

Dom puts together his team together with his researcher that creates a dossier on their mark, Arthur (Joseph Gordon Levitt), his shifter to trick the subject to be any person in the dream, Eames (Tom Hardy) and the chemist who will inject the team with a special sedative that will allow them to sleep, Yusuf (Dileep Rao).

They need an architect which is essentially a person that could create and keep up the façade of delving into a person’s mind. Dom goes to his former professor; Miles (Michael Caine) to enlist a person that could be as good as him sense his memories about Mal easily distract him. Miles suggests Ariadne (Ellen Page), who is quickly tested about discerning what reality is and what is not.

On an international flight after Fischer’s father, Maurice (Pete Postlethwaite) dies, the team drugs Fischer. When the team goes into Fischer’s mind, they didn’t realize that his mind would be heavily fortified with a projected army that could threaten their mission and their only way to wake up.

What can I say about this movie? I understand that Nolan wanted to make a cinematic version of M.C. Escher painting about how the mind play tricks on you. I thought I was tricked. At first, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. When Ellen Page’s character came in, she was like the audience who is trying to understand this world she knows nothing about. The endless exposition doesn’t help matters when random characters try to tell you about the human psyche. It’s like you are sitting in a long boring lecture in college.

My brain broke with this movie. I could not follow it worth a damn. I wanted to follow along, but I got lost somewhere in the first hour of this 2 ½ hour opus. I tried to focus on Dom’s guilt over his wife’s death. That went away. Next, I tried to focus on the action with seemed like it came out of The Matrix with a tinge of a Lionel Ritchie video thrown in there. Lastly, I tried to hold on to the ending which is ambiguous and up to your personal interpretation. If you know that the ending is coming, it’s not fun.

This film is not fun or cool. If it was something like Primer about a dialogue that went over my head, but was still cool, I would understand. I was yawning in this movie. I lowered my expectations with this movie because of the hype that The Prestige got and I hated that movie. I think this movie tried to be too ambitious. I got nothing out of it.

The whole idea of going into people’s minds sounds good on paper, but onscreen you’re like, “Who gives a fuck about the different levels of the mind.” The whole reasoning behind the inception mission was petty and selfish. I believe Christopher Nolan created this movie for himself to enjoy. It seems that he has to dumb it down for the audience with endless amounts of exposition. It seems arrogant and condescending. I’m insulted by the notion. I expected more.

Judgment: This movie is like a Rubik Cube that never gets solved. Don’t bother trying.

Rating: **

Second English “Inception” Teaser Trailer

The second teaser for Christopher Nolan’s psychological thriller, “Inception” is released. There was a French version of the teaser that I purposely stayed away from. This teaser has me interested to see what the final product. It reminds me of Nolan’s “Memento” and Gondry’s  “Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind”.

It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard. It set for released summer 2010. Watch out for it.

The Prestige (2006)

prestige

Never show anyone. They’ll beg you and they’ll flatter you for the secret, but as soon as you give it up… you’ll be nothing to them.

— Alfred Borden

After seeing the craptacular spectacle that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I wanted to see a better Hugh Jackman movie. I thought that I might see The Prestige. This movie came out in 2006 with the double bill of it’s companion piece, The Illusionist with Ed Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel.

This movie is currently #82 of the Top 250 of All Time on IMDB. I think that this movie is overrated. I love Christopher Nolan, but this movie is a mess. When you get the twist, the rest of the movie makes no sense. I will discuss the ending in the spoiler section.

Based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Priest, brothers Christopher and Jonathan Nolan tried to make another Memento, but Memento was more clever than this movie. It was contrived to say the least.

It is almost the turn of the 19th century, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are rival magicians that are trying to upstage each other.

After a freak accident that leads to the death of Robert’s wife, Julia (Piper Perabo), Robert is determined to make Alfred pay from his crime.

The movie mainly focuses on “The Transporting Man” trick with the magician disappearing from one door and appears at another door when an flying object is at play.

Angier’s mentor, Cutter (Michael Caine), the assistant, Olivia (Scarlett Johansson) tell Alfred not to pursue upstaging Borden. It would only lead to disaster. Angier doesn’t want to hear it. His hard-headness leads into bizarre obsessive stalker territory.

Next, Angier is so consumed with his determination to beat Borden that he enlists a mad scientist, Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) and his assistant, Alley (Andy Serkis) to make a device to replicate himself. (This is not a spoiler. It’s revealed at the beginning of the movie.) Even Tesla tells Angier not to go ahead with the trick.

I was bored throughout the movie. It was over two hours long. It felt even longer. The plot is ridiculous and improbable for turn-of-the-century London.

Judgment: Avoid this movie like the plague.

Rating: **

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