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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: **

28 Days Later… (2002)

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He was full of plans. Have you got any plans, Jim? Do you want us to find a cure and save the world or just fall in love and fuck? Plans are pointless. Staying alive’s as good as it gets.

— Selena

It has been years since laying eyes on 28 Days Later… Seeing it again last night, I realized I love it even more than the first time that I saw it.

Danny Boyle has an eye of turning the typical zombie movie genre on its head. He created something rather unique that elevated the genre as a whole to another level.

Jim (Cillian Murphy), a man wakes from a short coma finds himself the last man in London. The streets are empty, littered with trash, overturned cars and piles of dead bodies.

Jim wanders around the cityscape until he goes to a church where there are more dead bodies and the “infected” are. The infected are people that contracted a rage virus that broke out when a bunch of activists tried to free infected laboratory chimpanzees and the virus gets out. This could be an allegory to the AIDS epidemic.

He encountered more of the infected as Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley) help out Jim by disposing of them with gas bombs, guns, baseball bats and machetes.

I enjoyed the endless amounts of blood and gore. It was humorous. It was tense and suspenseful like good horror movie should be. Boyle’s signature moves worked well here with the double speed shots, and the quick cuts.

This is a road trip movie that speaks to the survival of the human race. What happens when the world as you know it is gone forever? How can you survive? By any mean necessary.

Judgment: If you want to see a solid zombie flick that pushes the limits of the genre, check this movie out.

Rating: ****1/2

Sunshine (2007)

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So if you wake up one morning and it’s a particularly beautiful day, you’ll know we made it. Okay, I’m signing out.

— Capa

Deviating from his usual formula of “boy gets girl, boy gets money, boy is all right in the end” style of movie, Danny Boyle dipped his foot into the sci-fi genre by making Sunshine. Not to be confused with the Ralph Fiennes vehicle, Sunshine from 1999.

Never heard of this movie until a couple of film critics were suggesting this movie to watch. Watching it was an interesting experience that I wish had a better ending.

Roughly fifty years into the future, the Earth is in the middle of another Ice Age when the sun begins to die. A team of astronauts went out on a mission to revive the dying gas giant. The missions fails.

Seven years later, eight crew members of the Icarus II tries to finish what the crew of the Icarus failed to do. The captain Kaneda (Hiroyuki Sanada) made it his ultimate goal to re-ignite the sun and all costs.

One of the ships crew members, Trey (Benedict Wong) makes a disastrous mistake that sabotages the ultimate mission. They discover that the Icarus I is still floating near the sun. They want to rendezvous with it to get the necessary supplies to complete the mission.

Boyle’s infamous Dutch angles are present here. No idea why. There are a lot of sequences of some of the characters  in an observation deck staring directly at the sun. Why?

I enjoyed the first hour of the movie, when I finally understood what the hell was going on with the plot. It was very good, but the train jumped off the rails big time. The last thirty minutes of this flick transformed from a tense, sci-fi drama into Jason X all of a sudden. WTF! I cannot divulge what happens, but the movie completely lost me.

Judgment: If you want to see a person flesh torn off, this movie is for you.

Rating: ***1/2

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