Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Posts tagged “Inception

Academy Awards Liveblog – A Day Too Late

So last night on Facebook I liveblogged the Oscars. Here’s the transcript in an attempt to actually post something today.

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Top 10 of 2010 – Films

2010 is officially over. Now it’s time to be overly critical of the entire year and reflect upon it and judge it on the whole by the content it produced artistically. If it were up to me, the following ten films would be the nominees for best picture. But then again, I have no sway with the academy. If anything, these films will be disqualified based on my recommendation…

THE TOP TEN FILMS OF 2010


10. The A-Team (Our Review)

I think that the only other person in the world who will have this on their top ten list would be former Marvel editor Nathan Cosby who loves this film only a little less than his pet bulldog Daffy. (Seriously, check out his twitter feed. It’s amazing.) The fact of the matter is that the chemistry between the leads here is absolutely amazing. Never in my life would I have thought Rampage Jackson could be as funny as he was here. Liam Neeson gives his full effort here and never lets the fact that this is a remake of a campy eighties tv show get in the way of doing a great job playing the leader of the group. Also, Jessica Biel’s legs. So there.

 

 

 

I have this framed in my room....9. Kick-Ass (Our Review)

You know, I’ve said that I don’t care for the original series which they based this one on and that really hasn’t changed. I think the second volume has benefited from the movie by taking what was improved upon and working it onto the page. But where the comic book series by Mark Millar was hobbled by it’s own hype and uncertain tone the film thrived by finding what it wanted to do and rolling with it. It is hard to think of a film that was more fun this year than Kick-ass. That alone earns it a spot on the list. Any film that can overcome the handicaps of it’s source material and come out the better product at the end of it deserves a little bit of praise.

 

 

8.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One

While this one has some problems with pacing, but aside from that it’s a testament to how the material has grown since it’s beginnings. The biggest test that the series has had to face was the aging of its stars and keeping the tone of the films consistent with the audience’s development. A generation literally grew up alongside these characters. A new generation is jumping on as well, and they have to be able to latch on as well. The balancing act between keeping the films friendly to the childlike wonder of the earlier entries as well as pleasing the matured sensibilities of the established audience earns this one a place on the list.

 

 

7. Toy Story 3 (Our Review)

This one was a long time coming. The franchise that put Pixar on the map came back to prove that Disney can produce a sequel that isn’t complete and utter tripe. All films are made to make money, let’s be honest, but this one never felt like a cash grab. The narrative is developed, the characters feel in tune with what they should be, and the care that went into making the film is on display in every frame. While other animated fare, like Shrek for example, seem to stop about halfway through development and focus more on cheap gags and silly humor, Toy Story 3 tried and succeeded at being a top notch film first and foremost. That sort of thing earns you loads of credit in the end. The emotional heft of the film is quite impressive and is a testament to what Pixar can achieve.

 

6. Inception (Our Review)

I’m sure a lot of people expected this one to rank higher, but having recently revisited the film on home video I have to say that while it is still quite an amazing film, it’s not the best film to come out this year. I think that Christopher Nolan will come out better because of this film however, because he’s built himself up as a big name in Hollywood because he doesn’t seem to make films that fit the established mold and therefore will be able to make more films like Memento and the like whenever he finishes up his time on the Batman franchise. If anything, the biggest accomplishment of this film is getting the mainstream to engage in layered discussion about a film. Also, good to see that modern audiences can handle cerebral sci-fi.

 

 

5. Black Swan (Our Review)

It’s hard to argue against this one. It’s ham-fisted arthouse with a great deal of marketing hype centered around a thirty second blip in the narrative to draw in the mainstream. I honestly don’t think a lesser director could have pulled this off. It’s not Aronofsky’s best film, as I think the Wrestler is better constructed and that one had Marisa Tomei as a stripper, but Black Swan has the distinction of being his most ambitious and dangerous film since The Fountain, which seemed to crumble a bit under its own weight, a problem that Black Swan didn’t have a problem with.

 

 

4. Scott Pilgrim (Our Review)

I know I’ve run this into the ground. It’s an amazing film and one of the most distinctively off kilter than anything else that hit the cinemas this year. Edgar Wright outdid himself and the fact that so many people were alienated by the style only proves that maybe the movie was released ahead of it’s time. The only problem being that the film captures a time period very much cemented to this era, and so everything about the film works against it while making it unique. Time will do great things for this film, as it creates a bubble of nostalgia that works in ways other films only wish they could attain.

 

 

Hail Mary...3.The Town (Our Review)

Ben Affleck you magnificent bastard. The fact that he has so redeemed himself these last few years is nice. Gone Baby Gone was excellent but The Town was just amazing. The fact that he managed to remind us that he could indeed act while proving that he is one of the better working directors of the moment is a feat that cannot be understated. Also, let’s not underestimate the novelty that at least in my eyes, this was about Daredevil and Hawkeye straight up robbin’ folk.

 

 

 

Profile Picture Updated2. The Social Network (Our Review)

This film is a perfect storm of acting/writing/directing. This is a film that had to overcome a serious handicap in the fact that everyone in the civilized world laughed at the very concept. However, when word spread that the film was actually quite good, people felt the need to see it as if to prove to themselves that the concept was too silly to be a good film. The joke was on them as I’ve met very few people who can say with a straight face that it wasn’t one of the best films of the year. Jesse Eisenberg managed to make Mark Zuckerberg, a certifiable cunt if there ever was one, a somewhat sympathetic character and future Spider-Man Andrew Garfield turns out an impressive performance as the partner Zuckerberg pushed to the side. The film captures the attitude of a generation so succinctly that it deserves any and all praise I can heap on it.

1. True Grit

It’s been forever since we got a straight forward western on the big screen. I think the last was probably 3:10 to Yuma a few years back. The last people you would expect to play the western straight on film would be the Coens, but they manage to pull off one of their most mainstream efforts while simultaneously reinvigorating a seemingly dormant genre by playing to its strengths. They manage to give us a film that reminds the audience why westerns were so popular once upon a time. The characters play to a part of the human condition and the stories do too. This isn’t a very complex story. It is an open and simple theme held high by complex characters. Every actor in the film gives their all to create memorable and unique characters that set the film apart from the 1969 version in nearly every way.

 

 

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I have to admit that I didn’t get to see as many films as I would have liked this year. I still haven’t seen some supposedly great films like Winter’s Bone but of the films I’ve seen this year, this is the best I could put together. That having been said, if I decided to put together a list of the worst shit I saw this year it’d likely be a top twenty.


Film Review – The Other Guys

Will Ferrel is one of those guys who is either hit or miss with me. I absolutely love Anchorman and think the last time SNL was funny was when he was on the cast list. Talladega Nights is one of my go-to quote-films, as I often threaten to “come at someone like a spidermonkey.” But then again, did any of you see Land of the Lost? That was just a cinematic bowel movement. Even worse is the fact that it also had Danny McBride and the cute girl from Pushing Daisies so I was much more disappointed than I expected.

With The Other Guys, Ferrel seems to get his footing back and I think alot of it has to do with the fact that he plays way against his established type here. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves, he still plays a baffoon, but he’s not the overly confident baffoon he plays in films like Anchorman or Talladega Nights where he lords his false sense of superiority over everyone. He is not an alpha male at all. He’s subdued and odd but he’s not a complete imbecile. Playing the straight man to Mark Wahlberg, who essentially plays his character from The Departed with a bit of uneducated regression, we get a different film than we would have gotten if Ferrel has basically played Ron Burgandy with a badge.

The film works not because of the narrative, which is the case with most cop comedies. Did anyone watch Naked Gun for the story? No, it was for the chuckles. The Other Guys brings some heavy laughs and 98% of it comes from the actors in the film going at it straight faced and with no sense of irony. Duane Johnson and Sam Jackson put in some hilarious moments as the absent minded supercops of the NYPD who rack up millions in dollars worth of property damage chasing perps down over an ounce of marijuana. Rob Riggle and one of the other Wayans brothers play great ball-busting asshole cops and Michael Keaton is downright hilarious as the “angry police captain” character who’s just a few degrees off the accepted stereotype. Seriously, he delivers some of the best gags in the film and it saddens me that we don’t get to see him get much work nowadays. I need to watch Beetlejuice again.

Long story short, if you’re looking for a funny flick to pass the time (and it’ll pass some time, it’s only serious fault is that it’s just a wee bit too long) you really should give this a shot. You’ve seen Inception like 80 times already, it’s time to see something else. I’m serious now.


Film Review – Inception

Writing a review of Inception isn’t an easy task. It’s a film that’s complex and layered in ways that a single viewing of the film really isn’t enough to gain concrete perspective on everything the film is, everything the film sets out to be, and everything the film accomplishes. It is one of the most amazingly crafted films I have seen in years and the reason that it is such an amazing product comes from the inabilty of anyone watching it to catagorize it into any one particular niche. It’s very much a science fiction film. Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein would have greatly appreciated Inception as a testament to what you can do with the genre. At the same time, it borrows heavily from the Michael Mann heist style neo-noir of Heat with casual effortlessness.

The criss-crossing of established genre boundaries and refusal to hold the audience’s hand makes Inception a sight to behold in a summer of films that aspire to be a whole lot of nothing. I mean, I loved Predators but it was mostly a remake of the original without being a remake. That’s really the bottom line. This summer has been a summer bereft of originality. While there is a bit of familiarity in the style of Inception, and while it owes a great deal to what came before it, it’s a game changer in the way we look at the summer blockbuster in the same way The Matrix was back in ’99. This film is brilliantly taut, it’s an action film that knows how to pace itself and yet deliver on every level at the same time. There is a real element of uncertainty to the film’s narrative because anybody can die at any time and that may not be the end of their life. At what point does the danger of the subconscious cross over into the world of reality? Nolan keeps us on the edge of our seats knowing that death is a possibility for any of these characters. There is a sense of foreboding that follows every character, an intensity that is not often seen in modern cinema. Nolan is the kind of person who would kill of DiCaprio in the middle of a film for the sake of jarring the viewership, and you can feel that as the story progresses.

While the film is visually amazing and outright stunning in certain places, it’s the scriptwork that realy holds it together. The character work and the layered complexity of the dreamscapes and heist plans make for an engaging experience that goes beyond what our eyes are taking in. Not a lot of filmmakers nowadays can pull that sort of craftmanship across the board. Nolan proves himself to be in the caliber of someone like Stanley Kubrick with what he’s given us here. I will say that I think this is a movie that NEEDS to be seen on the big screen. While it’s an amazing story, the visuals cannot be denied. It’s a spectacle. Nolan hasn’t done anything like this before. Everything captured on screen here is a testament to his worldbuilding ability. With all the amazing work that went into all the different elements of Inception, it is going to be a film that people hold in the same regard as 2001 or Blade Runner when they point to good intelligent sci-fi. The resurgence of Sci-Fi as an accepted genre makes me seriously happy. The fact that we get different subsets reaching different audiences without being dismissed as the bastion of nerdfolk gives me hope for the future. That Star Trek and District 9 were so praised and now we get something like Inception shows that sci-fi can be a respected niche again.¬† It just takes the right steady hand to play in that sandbox.


Christopher Nolan to Oversee Superman Relaunch (aka let the inevitable geekgasm commence)

Nolan!

Hey, remember back in 2006 when Bryan Singer hopped off the X-Men train to helm a new Superman film and everybody got their collective geek panties all soiled up and sopping wet only to complain about the end product not being as good as they had hyped it up to be in their mind before walking into the theater?

Get ready to get bumrushed by a striking case of deja vu because we’ve got a similar situation a’brewin at Warner Brothers, once again centered around the floundering Superman franchise and a nerd-christened messiah coming in to save the day.

According to Deadline, Batman Begins & Dark Knight director Christopher “Jesus Christ” Nolan has been brought in by the studio to act as the overseer of a retooling of the Superman franchise. Because, you know, he made those awesome Batman movies so he must be able to work that same kind of magic on a character that is, quite literally, the opposite end of the spectrum as far as what the character is or represents.

I will pause here to say that Nolan is a competent director. Hell, he’s more than competent. He’s actually one of the finest working directors in Hollywood at the moment. But nothing in his long list of credits gives me any indication that he is the right person to manage the creative direction of the Superman franchise. All of Nolan’s work seems to focus on the deeply psychological elements of the characters that inhabit the worlds he creates. I hate to use such a cliche, but Nolan’s work tends to be very dark. Memento, The Prestige, his Batman films, Insomnia… none of those films have the sense of levity that a Superman film needs. Granted he is just the architect here, and not the director, but one would assume he will have a heavy hand in the tone the new film will take.

It’s almost like they are trying to repeat the mistakes of Bryan Singer’s film. While I myself enjoyed Superman Returns, I can see the flaws and pinpoint where and why it did not take off with a mainstream audience. Nobody wants to watch a dour Superman. The tone of a Superman film should be closer to that of Jon Favreau’s first Iron Man, where the sense of adventure is overshadowed by the character drama or serious moments, but instead enhanced by those elements.

These are films based off of comic books after all; and while I won’t be the guy who says that as an art form comics should be light and fluffy, they seem to suffer when they take themselves too seriously.

So what is my point in all this?

Really, this is just a preemtive strike. I want to ask everyone here and now not to start wetting themselves over the prospect of Nolan at the helm of a Superman film. A name does not ensure quality. Just because he gave us two amazing Bat-films does not mean that he will deliver unto us a Superman film with everything we want with no flaws whatsoever.

Just be pragmatic.

That’s all I’m saying.