Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
As far as remakes go this new version of The Karate Kid is a rather decent adaptation for a new generation and a brilliant career move for an upcoming action star and one who is certainly past his prime. Generally speaking, there is rarely a good reason to make a remake of any movie, particularly classics like The Karate Kid. If you watch the 80s coming of age teen flick it is still as effective and good a film as it was when it first came out. The story is pretty much universal; a teenager learns to face his demons (a bully at school) and is rewarded (by getting the girl). We have all seen countless of similar movies. So why remake this classic film? Obviously studios had economic reasons to do so. But it seems there were other reasons for the actor’s involvement besides cashing in a check, and that actually elevates The Karate Kid from a been-there-seen-that summer rehash to a personal film.
Friday, July 16, 2010
The thing about a Nolan film is that you really have to watch it. Inception really isn't a movie where you can space out at any point. It all requires heavy attention. Christopher Nolan is a real filmmaker. This movie is about something. It's a very simple message, and it's not really clear what that message is until the final act, but you have to put your faith in Nolan that everything you see really is going somewhere.
Inception tells the story of Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man who specializes in entering people's dreams and extracting information. He is hired by a very powerful man, Saito (Ken Watanabe), for a very special job, one that only Cobb seems convinced is possible; inception. Inception is the process of putting an idea in someone's mind and actually convincing their subconscious that they are the one that thought of it.
What's so great about Inception is that it's a totally original idea, yet it is woven through the fabric of your classic heist movie archetype. Everyone on Cobb's inception team is hand picked, and they each have their area of expertise. You know, like there's the guy who's good with explosions, there's the guy who stays in the van, and there's the guy who is the vault expert? Well this time we have Ellen Page who is the architect of the mind's mazes, we have Dileep Rao as the chemist who sedates people enough, etc. I don't want to reveal any more about the movie, but the general plot is the story of Cobb's inception of a powerful man, Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) in order to fulfill an offer he simply can't refuse.
DiCaprio and the rest of his ensemble cast, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard and a very likable Tom Hardy, are simply off the hook. Gordon-Levitt may steal the movie, but that's only if the audience has grown to love every single one of his performances like I have. He does not overshadow DiCaprio however, but at this point I've come to expect greatness from every DiCaprio performance. He certainly delivers this greatness in Inception.
The single greatest success of Inception may in fact lie with its logic. Despite the crazy images presented to you in the trailer, the story is rather easy to follow, and very logical. In fact, the story is so straightforward that no matter how abstract Nolan gets, and no matter how many dream layers deeper our characters get, we still know what's going on. Christopher Nolan allegedly spent ten years writing this movie, and it shows. All of those trippy shots from the trailer without normal gravity all make perfect sense once you reach them. Unlike Nolan's previous mind-f**k, Memento, at the end of Inception I understood what I had just seen. And while I encourage multiple viewings to catch more and more things that I'm sure are there, it doesn't necessarily demand them.
Another tremendous success lies with the combination of the visual effects, editing, cinematography, and Hans Zimmer's score. To say this movie is superbly well-made is an understatement. Zimmer may have written one of the most impressive scores of his career, pounding, exploding, and softly serenading in just the right places. As for the effects, they may be some of the best I've ever seen. This stems from Nolan's love of doing as much on camera as possible. He believes, and I wish the rest of Hollywood would follow in his footsteps, that special effects should always be an afterthought. "It's always very important to me to do as much as possible in-camera, and then, if necessary, computer graphics are very useful to build on or enhance what you have achieved physically" said Nolan in an interview. Hear that, James Cameron?
I'm not sure what else to say about this movie, for this is a review and not an analysis. Perhaps I'll blog about the imagery of Inception, assuming I take enough heroin and am able to fully comprehend all the things Nolan has going on. Whatever happens, I close with the fact that Christopher Nolan has now made 6 incredible - not good, incredible - movies in a row. As far as I'm concerned this puts this relatively young man among the leagues of our all-time greatest directors. Perhaps, like PIXAR, Christopher Nolan will screw up one day. But it doesn't seem to be happening any time soon.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly, but I left Predators a bit disappointed. It's only a step better than your forgettable summer blockbuster, and it also contains the greatest single miscasting of the decade.
It's not that Adrian Brody isn't a great actor. In fact, I've always liked him. But when I say he couldn't have been more wrong for the lead in this movie, you better believe it. Meak little Adrian Brody works in roles like The Brothers Bloom and King Kong, but in a movie where he is supposed to be a Batman-voiced action hero, it's just absurd to take him seriously.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Universal's Despicable Me is exactly what I expected out of a non-PIXAR animated summer release, though perhaps a bit funnier than it should be.
Despicable Me's hero is Gru, a villain. He doesn't want world domination or to kill thousands of innocent people however. All he wants really, is some respect. Gru is easy to empathize with, and Steve Carell really brings him to life, perhaps more than anyone else could. I usually don't care for big celebrities in voice acting roles but Carell does a very good job with Gru, giving him a humorous eastern European accent that works.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
This summer is beginning to look a lot like last year’s; this means that we are probably going to get one good movie, Toy Story 3, and everything else will be an incomprehensible blur of flashy explosions accompanied by a deafening soundtrack. Maybe Nolan’s Inception might save the summer, and Sorcerer’s Apprentice might not be that bad, but in a summer which had Prince of Persia as its middle point, chances seem slim. Thankfully, we have other means of watching films outside the box office. Although it is still the best way to watch them, iTunes rentals are still possible and we can post reviews like this one.