Inception

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Postby rolotomasi99 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:42 pm

Mister Tee wrote:I think there are two big dfferences between District 9 and Inception as regarding a screenplay nomination. First, District 9 was specifically cited for its surprising wit (to the point where many ignored its devolving to standard action by the climax), where Inception, at least by my impression, has taken some heat for the clunkiness of its exposition. Second, Inception is, unavoidably, a product of the Hollywood blockbuster machine, where District 9, by virtue of its South African origin, is viewed as slightly exotic -- always a plus with a branch that, since the mid-40s, has been a sucker for non-American efforts. I'd concede Inception has a better shot than many other, even well-regarded summer hits -- like the Spider Man movies -- but I still think it's facing an uphill battle against the Kids Are All Right type scripts to which the writers are partial. (It may score with the WGA, however, as Dark Knight did)

I loved INCEPTION but even I had a hard time sitting through all that exposition. However, exposition has always been a major part of sci-fi and heist films. Given that INCEPTION is both, I do not think it had any more exposition that those two types of films generally have.

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.

DISTRICT 9 had quite a bit of exposition, especially in the beginning with the faux-documentary elements. I think the screenwriters will appreciate Nolan's efforts to craft a smart and original big-budget film. It is definitely true this seems to be a pretty good year for original films, but I think INCEPTION has a good chance.

Nolan's chances for director seem the iffiest of all INCEPTION's possible nominations. He should have been nominated for MEMENTO, but even that snub was not enough to help him with THE DARK KNIGHT.

The DGA and the director's branch of the Academy often disagree, but 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.
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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:08 pm

BJ, I had the same feeling about the editing: watching the cross-cutting among the various dream levels near the end, I thought, this'll get voters all excited about voting for that award next winter.

I, too, thought it noteworthy to use Piaf's signature song with Cotillard such a central presence. I'm told Nolan claims it was in the script prior to her casting, but, as it is, it comes off like an inside joke.

I think there are two big dfferences between District 9 and Inception as regarding a screenplay nomination. First, District 9 was specifically cited for its surprising wit (to the point where many ignored its devolving to standard action by the climax), where Inception, at least by my impression, has taken some heat for the clunkiness of its exposition. Second, Inception is, unavoidably, a product of the Hollywood blockbuster machine, where District 9, by virtue of its South African origin, is viewed as slightly exotic -- always a plus with a branch that, since the mid-40s, has been a sucker for non-American efforts. I'd concede Inception has a better shot than many other, even well-regarded summer hits -- like the Spider Man movies -- but I still think it's facing an uphill battle against the Kids Are All Right type scripts to which the writers are partial. (It may score with the WGA, however, as Dark Knight did)

rolo, I think you're viewing the Nolan and Daldry nominations through the wrong end of the telescope. The DGA, for openers, is far more reflective of overall Academy membership than it is of the Directors' branch -- its slate is far more likely to match five for five with the best picture category than best director. So Nolan having been nominated there (nominated twice, in fact, though the first time for a far more director-friendly film) isn't indicative of the directors' branch taste as it is of overall Academy taste. And big grossing films not deemed serious by critics -- going back to Jaws, but recently including Seabiscuit or Green Mile -- are the sorts of films often left off by the directors even while securing best picture nods. (Dark Knight, of course, failed at both despite its DGA selection)

So, as far as Daldry -- yes, it's true he's been nominated for every film he's made, but I don't think the nominations he got for The Hours or The Reader were reflective of any deep directorial love for the man, but instead of (god knows why) general best picture respect for his films. The only instance where you can argue the opposite is the lone-director nod he got for Billy Elliot, one of the more dubious directors' branch substitutions of the modern era. Choosing it over Chocolat felt like pretty much a lateral move, but there were two points in its favor: 1) Billy Elliot was pretty well reviewed, even if viewed as square; and 2) Daldry was then viewed not as a humdrum mainstream drama guy, but as a Tony-winning stage director coming off a visionary revival of An Inspector Calls, which may have pre-disposed some to voting for him.

In any case, I don't think the evidence is there that the Nolan exclusion resulted from any extraordinary pro-Daldry sentiment -- I'd say it was more the Holocaust-obsessed older sliver of the Academy combined with comic-book skepticism. And I'd agree with BJ, that if Nolan has any "it's his time" sentiment within the directors' branch, it's far more tied up in memories of Memento than feelings he was robbed for The Dark Knight.

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Postby The Original BJ » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:10 am

Despite enjoying this movie, I find that I haven't had any desperate urge to post anything about it since I saw it opening weekend. I bet that sort of sums up my feelings about the film -- it's a ride that's a lot of fun, but lacks the emotional richness that usually accompanies films with more staying power.

To start with, I have to say bravo to Christopher Nolan (and Warner Bros.) for crafting a summer blockbuster that's hugely ambitious -- both original in concept, and sensationally executed. I think it's important not to overvalue this achievement -- I don't think it has enough going on thematically to resonate in a really special way. But I also wouldn't want to undervalue this accomplishment either -- in an era when most summer movies struggle even to be fun as entertainment, it's refreshing to see one that even attempts to keep so many narrative balls in the air. And I'm with Mister Tee -- this is many notches above Avatar for me.

Quickly, plus-side: The image of the car falling off the bridge felt instantly iconic. The zero gravity sequence was super cool. The way the narrative strands were juggled was hugely impressive -- editing awards? And the final shot was perfect.

Quickly, negative-side: Is it just me, or is Nolan not the strongest director of action sequences? Does every shot need to be a close-up? Not expecting character development from a movie like this...but I wish I cared more about the players as individuals. LOTS of exposition in the first hour.

Quickly, neither here nor there: Amusing how Edith Piaf provided the music for the kick...when Edith Piaf is in the movie!!!!

On the film's Oscar chances, I think I'd rate them even higher than some. I actually think Nolan is a likely Director nominee. He's been building up a steady line of credit for some time, and is seen as overdue for this recognition (I'd agree, though far more for Memento than the oft-cited Dark Knight). I think the fact that the film is an original hit -- not the umpteenth sequel in a franchise -- may help him scale the hurdle that tripped him up in '08.

And, Mister Tee, you really think a Screenplay nod is out of reach? A hit movie with a concept considered to be fresh and a lot of time-jumping/interlocking narratives? Seems like a good enough bet to me. Didn't the writers embrace District 9, too?

Overall, on summer movie terms, not quite at the level of Toy Story 3 for me, but very well done nonetheless. Would that more mainstream entertainments could be this exciting and imaginative.

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Postby rolotomasi99 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:30 am

Mister Tee wrote:
rolotomasi99 wrote:Director seems like a longshot, though those in the Academy still upset about THE DARK KNIGHT snub might be able to eke out a nom for Nolan.

The people who meet this criteria are mostly on the Board of Governors -- hence, their implementing a rule change after 60 years to ensure future Dark Knight's make the best picture list. There is NO evidence people in the directors' branch have similar feelings, given that they went to the extreme of nominating Daldry for The Reader to fill the slot.

I think the fact that the DGA nominated Nolan shows he has a great deal of support among directors. However, the directors in the Academy have some sort of bizarre love for Daldry. The man has been nominated for all three of his only directing jobs. That says more about Daldry than it does about Nolan.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:27 am

OscarGuy wrote:I would place score as one of the most likely nominations, could even yield a win. Not only is the score an integral part of the feel of the film, especially that final scene, but this is probably some of Zimmer's best work and a vast departure from his rather commonplace stuff of recent years.

Not only is the score great, but it is also an important component of the story. This link has a great quick video about the deeper meaning behind the score. Just thought it was interesting.

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/07/27/inceptions-musical-s.html
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Postby Franz Ferdinand » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:54 pm

Greg, I saw it in IMAX the first time, regular theater the second. IMAX blows it out of the water: the sound alone is worth going for.

BTW, what is the line you were referring to? Spoiler alert, but I am curious.

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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:53 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:Director seems like a longshot, though those in the Academy still upset about THE DARK KNIGHT snub might be able to eke out a nom for Nolan.

The people who meet this criteria are mostly on the Board of Governors -- hence, their implementing a rule change after 60 years to ensure future Dark Knight's make the best picture list. There is NO evidence people in the directors' branch have similar feelings, given that they went to the extreme of nominating Daldry for The Reader to fill the slot.

I think screenplay is also a deep long shot; the talkiness is viewed as the film's greatest flaw by detractors, and the concept, while clever, is not mind-bendingly so like Memento or Usual Suspects. If Duplicity wasn't considered, I don't know why this would be.

And, though these days you don't ever want to say absolutely never, I'd be hugely surprised if any performance was even in the conversation (beyond fanboy sites) by December.

Picture (on the District 9 precedent) and a ton of techs, absolutely.

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Postby anonymous1980 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:00 pm

I think Marion Cotillard has an outside chance at sneaking in Best Supporting Actress if Inception really goes over well within the Academy.

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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:35 pm

I would place score as one of the most likely nominations, could even yield a win. Not only is the score an integral part of the feel of the film, especially that final scene, but this is probably some of Zimmer's best work and a vast departure from his rather commonplace stuff of recent years.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:06 am

Re: INCEPTION Oscar chances

Visual Effects seem like a guaranteed nomination, and a win seems highly likely with the only possible spoiler being TRON LEGACY.

Sound and Sound Editing also seem guaranteed nominations and very possible wins.

Editing, Cinematography, and Set also seem like very strong possibilities for nominations.

After that is where it gets fuzzy. If we were still working with five nominees, I would say Best Picture was a longshot. However, last year's crop of ten nominees showed us that two sci-fi action films can be nominated for Best Picture in the same year. I think INCEPTION has a very real shot at a Best Picture nomination.

Of the three types of dramatic categories (acting, writing, and directing), Original Screenplay seems like INCEPTION's best chance. Director seems like a longshot, though those in the Academy still upset about THE DARK KNIGHT snub might be able to eke out a nom for Nolan. I think any acting nominations are highly unlikely, especially considering Dicaprio gave a far superior performance in SHUTTER ISLAND.

Score seems like the only other possible nomination left.

That would be 6 very likely nominations, plus 4 other possible nominations.
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Postby Greg » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:13 pm

I found Inception to be a truly great film. I was kept constantly engaged in going from dream state to dream state and from dream state to reality, so much so that the film felt considerably shorter than its 2 1/2 hours.

I was in awe several times at how the special effects were used to convey what was happening inside individual minds, like when parts of a Paris street began to explode and collapse when Ariadne realized she was actually in a dream. I also appreciated the few times this led to humor, such as the group flagging down a cab in torrential rain and someone asking/nagging "Couldn't you have peed before you went under?"

Despite this being an action thriller, I found the end quite moving with Cobb fighting to get back home and to reality and his coming to terms with Mal's struggle in those regards.

I can understand how some people will feel frustrated with the convolutions of the story, as losing track of it not only makes the plot more difficult to follow; but, I think it would also lessen the emotional impact of the story.

This I believe is the type of movie that will actually get richer upon a second viewing. Especially so for the very ending, I want to see if a line I remember fairly early in it is exactly as I remember it and thereby implies that the fast-cut last instant of this means what I think it means. I almost anticipate another repeat viewer in the theater shouting "Aha!" at the line.

My rating: 9/10

As far as Oscar potential, I think there are solid nomination chances for Best Picture, Nolan for Director and Original Screenplay, as well as Original Score, Film Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing. The big questions will be the acting categories; but, I think there are reasonable chances of nominations for Leonardo DiCaprio for Lead Actor, as well as Cillian Murphy for Supporting Actor and Marion Cotillard for Supporting Actress.

By the way, I saw this in 2D. There is no 3D version; but, there is an IMAX one. Has anybody, besides Sonic, seen Inception in IMAX?
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:47 am

Sonic Youth wrote:Likewise, I hated this film not because it isn't Antonioni, but because it's Christopher Nolan. I'm not exactly sure what's difficult to understand about that. And why the extreme example of Antonioni? Are we unable to accept that there's a whole range of filmmaking possibilities in between the two, many less outlandish?

I am not sure why Mister Tee used Antonioni as an example, but I used Charlie Kaufman. Kaufman has made two films in particular (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK) about dreams, fantasies, the many layers of our minds and lives, and living with regret. To me, those are brilliant films, worthy of deep examination and conversation. INCEPTION was an action/heist film. It had some quasi-philosophical moments, but it should never be confused with a movie with something deeper to say. It would be like watching THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and complaining because it was not as deep as THE SEVEN SAMURAI. They are two very different creatures, yet both praise worthy in their own ways. THE SEVEN SAMURAI may be an infinitely better film than THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, but that does not mean THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is a failure.
If you just have a problem with Nolan’s style, then clearly there is not much else for you to say about the film. Nolan’s films are dark and heavy. They are also expertly put together. I like that he is willing to challenge audiences beyond the usual Bruckheimer fare, but other than MEMENTO I have not seen him make anything that should be picked through with a fine tooth comb. He seems to be enjoying his role as the creator of the smartest popcorn flicks out there, and has shunned the arthouse crowd that embraced MEMENTO and kickstarted his career.
Sonic Youth wrote:His films work best when there's either a comical or an affectingly hapless character to serve as counter-weight to all the gravitas.

I am not exactly sure if this is what you mean, but I found the character of Eames (played by the adorable Tom Hardy) to be quite fun. I loved his flirting/bickering with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, as well as his switcheroo with Watanabe as the blonde lady who steals the wallet. It helped give a nice human element to Leo’s crew.
However, I get what you mean about the dourness of everything. Nolan seems to have trouble with the warmer side of filmmaking.
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Postby anonymous1980 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:10 pm

jack wrote:I second OscarGuy's post. If Inception does become a boxoffice behemoth then hopefully we can put the bed the shit-fest of summer movies like Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Amen.

Execs at Hollywood seem to think teenage boys and people from the Midwest are all slack-jawed yokels who just like to see shiny things go boom and people getting hit in the crotch.




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Postby Mister Tee » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:25 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:
rolotomasi99 wrote: I also love Mister Tee's line about faulting JAWS for not being as good as MOBY DICK.

I dislike the prose of Jaws - I believe Tee was talking about the novel - not because it's not as good as Moby Dick, but because it's as bad as Jaws.

Actually, no, I was making the rather more awkward point that it would be silly to ask Jaws the action movie to somehow be equivalent in artistic quality to Melville's prose work -- silly because they as[ire to different levels. Jaws as a novel IS shit (I only read it after I'd seen the movie, and I was simultaneously shocked by the shoddiness of it and even more impressed by the silk purse Spielberg & Co. had made of it).

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Postby Sonic Youth » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:14 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:I agree with Mister Tee, some people went into it expecting Antonioni. Of course you would be disappointed if this is what you thought the film was supposed to be. I also love Mister Tee's line about faulting JAWS for not being as good as MOBY DICK.

It's a great line, except it doesn't fit here. I dislike the prose of Jaws - I believe Tee was talking about the novel - not because it's not as good as Moby Dick, but because it's as bad as Jaws. (Point of disclosure: I never read Jaws. Replace with The Kite Runner, a novel I loathed and not because it wasn't written by Salman Rushdie.) Likewise, I hated this film not because it isn't Antonioni, but because it's Christopher Nolan. I'm not exactly sure what's difficult to understand about that. And why the extreme example of Antonioni? Are we unable to accept that there's a whole range of filmmaking possibilities in between the two, many less outlandish?

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 think some folks here, much like the print critics, are just having a negative reaction to the fanboy hype. I absolutely do not think this is the third best film of all time (according to imdb users), but I do think it is one of the greatest action/heist films of all times. It should be enjoyed on that level.


Actually, I think some people here didn't like Inception as much as they thought they would, but after seeing the reactions from Sabin and I, they're compelled to defend it. No, really! You must have!

But I do think you're on strong ground defending Inception as an action film first and foremost. It's true, now that I think of it, that the sci-fi does seem to serve merely as the hook to hang an action film on (although it would render the lenghty discussions and explanations about dreams extraeneous). I just don't think he's a very interesting action director either. Sorry.




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