Inception

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Postby Okri » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:11 pm

Thoughts I Had while watching Inception

1. Exposition is right. Holy shit, the film keeps explaining shit for us. I laughed out loud when during a climactic twist they added another explanation about Inception for us. And they did it again. It's practically a drinking game.

2. The performances are surprisingly deft. Whoever though to pair Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon Levitt deserves a bonus, because their scenes were minor highlights. In fact, I think that's one of the better things about Inception - the number of interesting actors throughout - liked Murphy and Watanabe as well. Dicaprio... not bad. Dude needs a non-tragic wife story.

3. I don't mind Nolan's handling of the action sequences, though that's clearly not his strong point. The zero-G scenes with Levitt were extremely well done. The shoot-out in the snow was well done and was well done.

4. Any way we can switch the best picture and screenplay with director and film editing? It doesn't deserve any of them really (And I speak as someone who probably would've given The Dark Knight all four... though in Oscar terms, not real terms), but I find it funny where it found success.

5. Now that he's explained everything over and over and over for us, I'd be willing to sit through a sequel.

6. This would make an awesome video game.

7. Uri complained about lack of dream feeling and I definitely agree - no moment feels like a dream at all. It feels like an action movie. Which is fine in terms of entertainment, but in terms of actual movie greatness.... well, Moby Dick aside, it makes it more minor than it actually is.

8. Thanks Damien/dws for lowering my expectations. I suspect if I saw it during the summer hype fest I would've been disappointed. Now it's just a pretty cool thrill-ride.

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Postby flipp525 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:58 pm

I'm a little late to the game (again), but I thought Inception was fantastic. It was one of several movies I was able to catch up on this past week on my trip to L.A. (also Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The King's Speech, both of which I loved). I was riveted practically the entire time. One of the best things about it is the clear path the film takes and how the rules of inception are put out there for the audience in a way that doesn't feel particularly clunky and expositional (through dialogue and visual examples). The conceit of the film is a pretty bombastic one and I didn't feel as nitpicky about it as I thought I might. Like Tee, I'm not quite sure where all the confusion comes from; the plot is not that hard to figure out.

No cohesion among the cast, Damien? I thought the ensemble was truly mellifluous throughout. They acted as this impenetrable unit so much so that I couldn't think of who else I'd cast in the roles. It didn't hurt that there was eye candy in practically every shot: admitted bisexual Tom Hardy, cutie-pie Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and a meaty-looking Leo DiCaprio who I never find that hot. I even enjoyed Ellen Page's sassy Ariadne. (I love it when ctresses formerly in contention for the same Oscar then act in a film together like Cotillard and Page. See also Paltrow and Blanchett in Ripley).

I've read through some of the rumblings on this board and, honestly, I'm not sure what more someone could've asked for. This is one of the most original, audacious and well-executed so-called "blockbusters" that's come out of Hollywood in a couple years. Would you rather have something like this or Transformers 3: Revenge of Megan Fox's Twat?




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Postby dws1982 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:09 am

I think I disliked this more than Damien, or at least as much. Yeah, maybe it's more ambitious than your regular summer blockbuster, but ambition alone doesn't get you anywhere. Basically, I thought it was just total pretentious garbage, and it should've been renamed Exposition, since that's basically all there is too the film. Two hours into the movie, and DiCaprio's still yammering on about some arcane rules of inception. Ridiculous. Life's too short for this kind of crap.

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Postby Greg » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:53 am

It appears that Inception is becoming one of this boards all-time divisive films.
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Postby Sabin » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:48 am

Finally saw it the other day. It gives new mwaning to the term "self-indulgence." And "incoherent." There's a real sense of arrogance and contempt for the audience on Nolan's part for making the central premise and key events unclear for so long -- he's no Resnais and this ain't no Last Year At Marienbad.

I'm not quite as negative as you are on it, but I don't like it. It's not a good movie. Somewhere between self-indulgence and incoherent, I find it an expulsive act of fanboy-ism in itself, something he had to get out of his system. I usually warm to such films whether they range from endearing messes (The Fountain) or flat-out masterpieces (A.I.). Inception is neither but I don't think he's aiming for the world of Marienbad, or anything contemptable.

Of course his fan boys would say that dreams are incoherent so why should a movie consisting primarily of dream sequences be incoherent too? But a piece of fiction should abide by a certain set of rules new matter how fantastic they may be (as in most sci-fi). And this thing has no rules.

I agree. This dream world makes no sense. And it's an unrecognizably literal dream world. But the bigger problem is how atonally edited it is, how monotonously-paced the film is from the first plunge. It's an exhausting film.

I agree with Uri about Leonardo. I think he's wonderfully talented (see especially Marvin's Room), but he still is not convincing as an adult. On paper, this is a wonderful cast, but on screen there's no cohesion among them.

They have no characters! The only character present is DiCaprio's Cobb, and between Leo's insistence on playing the same character now two or three times in a row and that his character is a miserably tormented individual, he's starting to become a very wearisome presence in film. Like Mel Gibson's penchant for mental instability, one gets the impression that Leonardo DiCaprio gets off on anguish. I think one of my favorite things about The Departed is how it validates his impulses at every turn, and occasionally plays them for laughs. He's more of a man-boy in that film, which helps. Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are wasted.

Essentially this is a $200 million picture about finally seeing the faces of 2 little kids. Majorly atrocious. And the effects scream out "CGE"! THe loudness was impressive, though.

Do you mean GCI?
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Postby Damien » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:33 am

anonymous wrote:I'm sorry it's no New Moon, Damien. :p LOL.

I disagree about it being "incoherent". I fully got the premise and the concept of dream infiltration/sharing after about 15 minutes or so. And oddly enough, the film strongly reminds me of a Tarkovsky film with action sequences.

Oh the concept is very easy to grasp -- it's what Nolan does with that concept that's such a mess.

Tarkovsky? You crazy nut! :D
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Postby anonymous1980 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:18 am

I'm sorry it's no New Moon, Damien. :p LOL.

I disagree about it being "incoherent". I fully got the premise and the concept of dream infiltration/sharing after about 15 minutes or so. And oddly enough, the film strongly reminds me of a Tarkovsky film with action sequences.




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Postby Damien » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:45 am

Finally saw it the other day. It gives new mwaning to the term "self-indulgence." And "incoherent." There's a real sense of arrogance and contempt for the audience on Nolan's part for making the central premise and key events unclear for so long -- he's no Resnais and this ain't no Last Year At Marienbad.

Of course his fan boys would say that dreams are incoherent so why should a movie consisting primarily of dream sequences be incoherent too? But a piece of fiction should abide by a certain set of rules new matter how fantastic they may be (as in most sci-fi). And this thing has no rules.

One of the few clever things is having "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," featured in a picture starring Piaf herself, Marion Cotillard. But thenNolan replays it to death.

I agree with Uri about Leonardo. I think he's wonderfully talented (see especially Marvin's Room), but he still is not convincing as an adult. On paper, this is a wonderful cast, but on screen there's no cohesion among them.

Essentially this is a $200 million picture about finally seeing the faces of 2 little kids. Majorly atrocious. And the effects scream out "CGE"! THe loudness was impressive, though.


2/10




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Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:08 am

Sabin wrote:I am a Nolan fan and this is a work beneath him.

Odd. I'm NOT a Nolan fan and I think this film is his best work to date.

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Postby Sabin » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:36 am

Yeesh.

This movie did not improve for me. The only pleasure one can get from Inception is being completely lost in awe. The entire film feels like the prison that Cobb constructs for Mal. This film has nothing to say about dreams and exists as [not at all evocative] film school malarky constructed around an ending designed announce its magnanimity. Just as Ariadne must keep working at the two-minute maze, I wish Nolan had started over on the back of this film and created the movie he was clearly capable of making. I am a Nolan fan and this is a work beneath him. It is monotonously-paced and devoid of characterizations. I had zero emotional reaction to anything I was looking at, including even the filmmaking itself. I think it is fantastic that Leonardo DiCaprio has survived Titanic and given great performances in films like Catch Me If You Can and The Departed, but he has now given the same morose performance for several films in a row. He looks like he is ready to void his bowels in every scene. And I never want to see Marion Cotillard in another film again. This is the most joyless couple in cinematic history. I can't see them ever having anything to talk about that would link them together. He evokes her visage so consistently and without variation that upon her arrival in the dream within a dream within a dream, all I could muster was "That bitch again?"

And the talking! This is a heist movie, first and foremost. It's not about dreams. It has nothing to say about dreams. I barely can be bothered to conjure the resemblance of a dream, but no matter. Because it is a heist, it features people talking about what they are going to do for the first hour or so. And then once they get in, the world of the dream itself has been so insufficiently set up, that they must talk about how the stakes have been/are being raised to each other. And then because the stakes must be raised within a world that is not real, every single time out, there is more explaining about how things are now different and more dangerous. Before we go any further, I will say that clearly there is no evidence one way or another that the entire film is a dream. Rather it is a gesture of heist-dream movieness from Nolan to his audience. I have no problem on Earth with a filmmaker purging something inexorably bound to his system. We are often times better for it. On the whole, I liked Aronofsky's The Fountain, and Spielberg's sense of duty to a fallen colleague resulted in the most unexpectedly brilliant film of his career (A.I.). Inception is another one of those films, a movie of movieness and impulse. I wonder why Nolan felt the need to spend so much of this film explaining everything. When the first trailer for Inception came out and people what it would be, I joked that it would be shot/reverse shot. I joked because I am a fan of Nolan's work, but seriously that is basically all Inception is. Even when it's a chase, even when it's not shot/reverse shot, it feels like it. Just coverage designed to explain what the fuck is going on in this film. If he had created a film so complicated that its entire running time had to consist of explanations, why didn't he just make a different movie?

There is quite a bit of cool stuff in this film, but it is my least favorite of Nolan's film. I said earlier that anybody who reads into this film as being essentially a metaphor for how Nolan works as a director is a fanboy reading too much into this. I was wrong. It is a metaphor for how he works as a director because it absolutely cannot work as anything else. The idea of getting into someone's head, leaving and returning, etc. But I also think it's an incredibly uninteresting one, and nothing to be praised for.
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Postby Uri » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:59 am

Mister Tee wrote:
Uri wrote:And I'll keep saying it as long as he make movies in which he's supposed to portray, well, a grown up man - De Caprio should just go away. It's not his fault, but he's just not up to it. And the fact that he's surrounded here be fellow former child actors only enhances it.

This is an interesting point, Uri. DiCaprio, Page and Gordon-Levitt -- whatever their chronological ages -- do all give off the vibe of teens playing dress-up, which makes the film feel like a children's crusade. Gordon-Levitt felt far more like an adult in Mysterious Skin than he does here.

It's a weird trait of recent Hollywood decades, as certain actors (Tom Cruise, Winona Ryder) have retained barely-pubescent personae even while they pass into middle age and beyond.

Don't forget Lukas Haas who's in the mix too. I think one of the main reasons George Clooney is so successful is that in this age of eternal youth it's extremely refreshing having a movie star who's believable as an adult.

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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:16 am

Uri wrote:And I'll keep saying it as long as he make movies in which he's supposed to portray, well, a grown up man - De Caprio should just go away. It's not his fault, but he's just not up to it. And the fact that he's surrounded here be fellow former child actors only enhances it.

This is an interesting point, Uri. DiCaprio, Page and Gordon-Levitt -- whatever their chronological ages -- do all give off the vibe of teens playing dress-up, which makes the film feel like a children's crusade. Gordon-Levitt felt far more like an adult in Mysterious Skin than he does here.

It's a weird trait of recent Hollywood decades, as certain actors (Tom Cruise, Winona Ryder) have retained barely-pubescent personae even while they pass into middle age and beyond.

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Postby Uri » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:39 am

Sonic Youth wrote:But if I had to pick a film it reminded me of, I'd go with Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys. The protaganist doesn't inhabit multi-layered dreams, but he does zip through different periods in time and what he does influences the outcomes of what happens in the future, with his actions in one dimension influencing the consequences in others. Inception is sort of a twisty variation on that. The difference is, Gilliam's film has so much more visual flair and imagination arousing the sense of the fantastical. Nolan's film just sits there, and worse, it's so pompous and self-important, like his other stuff. His films work best when there's either a comical or an affectingly hapless character to serve as counter-weight to all the gravitas. Guy Pierce, Hugh Jackman and Heath Ledger helped their films immeasurably. Inception doesn't have the benefit of that, although I do give props to Cillian Murphy who at least tries, and manages to give his character great dignity in the midst of all this silliness.

I avoided this thread before seeing the movie, and since I saw it yesterday, I went and slightly rummaged it, before maybe saying anything about it. And when I saw Sonic's post, I couldn't help smiling – 12 Monkeys came to my mind halfway through the screening as a film which had the kind of atmosphere and attitude this one so fatally lacks. For a piece about dreams it's amazing how totally devoid of any sense of dreaming Inception is. And Memento, which I liked a lot and is the reason I still give Nolan a credit each time a new movie of his comes along, did have this surreal quality about it so I guess I was hoping for something like it here too. But I'm afraid Nolan, who is obviously an intelligent and maybe even a visionary film maker, turned out to be such a tight assed one, there's no place for a shred of spontaneity or a whimsical surprise to allow me into his world.

And I'll keep saying it as long as he make movies in which he's supposed to portray, well, a grown up man - De Caprio should just go away. It's not his fault, but he's just not up to it. And the fact that he's surrounded here be fellow former child actors only enhances it.




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Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:19 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:has a director ever been nominated twice by the DGA only to be snubbed each time by the Academy? It seems they are just not fans of Nolan's work.

Rob Reiner managed it twice in a row -- for Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally -- then only eked out a weak best picture nod for A Few Good Men, missing again in directing.

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Postby Sonic Youth » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:57 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:Honestly, I doubt Nolan wanted all that exposition in there. I would imagine much of it was there to appease the studio execs. If they are going to spend $160 m on a film that is this original and head-trippy, they probably insisted Nolan keep the dumber element of movie audiences from being lost.

Nah, Nolan's a guy that loooooves to hear <s>himself</s> his characters talk.
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