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The Town (2010)

This is the not fucking around crew so get me something that looks like a print because this not fucking around thing is about to go both ways.

— FBI S.A. Adam Frawley

Oh, my goodness. You guys! It sucked being away from the blog and I missed you all. I’m not totally back, but I wanted to give you something to tide you over. Last weekend I went to movies to watch Ben Affleck’s latest directorial effort, The Town. Let me just say that I loathe this title. It’s so plain and simple. Feelings aside, I wanted to see this film because I was put off by Affleck’s first film, Gone Baby Gone. I wondered what his second effort would yield. All I can say is don’t  watch the threaterical trailer it would spoil it for you.

Going back to his roots, Affleck’s latest tells the story about the bank robbery capital of the world, a Irish majority suburb of Boston called Charlestown. Affleck plays Doug MacRay, the leader of a group of bank robbers who have honed their skills to pull off the perfect heist. Along for the ride is the loose cannon of group, Jem Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), the tech guy, Desmond Elden (Owen Burke) and the getaway driver, Gloansy Magloan (Slaine).

During one of the group’s robberies, Doug forces to the bank manager, Claire (Rebeeca Hall) to open up the bank vault. She is clearly frazzled because she has a semi-automatic gun pointed at her with a bunch of guys in scary Rastafarian-like masks. Doug almost takes pity on her and tells her to calm herself and she would not get hurt. When she opens the vault, things go awry when somebody is trying to open the front doors, and Jem’s short fuse cause craziness. Jem butts the assistant manager with his gun and takes Claire as a hostage.

Eventually, Jem lets Claire go not without taking her driver’s license, but Jem thinks that Claire will be liability and needs to be taken out, because she lives in their neighborhood and might go the cops. Doug doesn’t want that to happen, so he volunteers to track her town, because he has an inexplicable pull towards Claire. He lies to Jem that he couldn’t find her and starts to have a relationship with her.

Meanwhile, the FBI S.A. Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) and his partner, Dino Ciampa (Titus Welliver) are quick on the robbers trail and they would do anything to bring these guys down. Things gets complicated when Doug and Claire’s relationship is threatening the bonds of the brotherhood.

After a month and half of not watching a movie, I was feening for it like crack. Even though, I’ve never tried it. Don’t try it, kiddies out there. I had the choice  to see this, Easy A or try to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I think I might have picked the wrong film. I’m not saying that this movie is bad. It was fine. The first third of movie was boring as all get out. I was checking my watch a couple of times. Having a movie about the bad guys doesn’t work when you have Ben Affleck robbing banks for their boss, Fergie the Florist (Pete Postlethwaite)  and he is trying to get into Rebecca Hall’s pants. It didn’t gel with me.

I did enjoy the action elements of the film with the standoffs at the banks, the shootouts and the comic touches in the film, but the romance part of the film killed the movie for me. Besides that the ending of the movie is completely predictable that I knew who was going to survive and who wasn’t.

Judgment: This makes me want to revisit Gone Baby Gone again.

Rating: **1/2

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: **

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