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BobG
07-18-2010, 08:13 PM
So...did anybody else see this, ummm... mess yet?

Shawn Francis
07-18-2010, 08:35 PM
I was planning on seeing it today, but, at the last minute, I changed my mind and went bike riding instead. With the unbearable heat up here finally giving the region a break, I really wanted to be outdoors today instead. Might see it next weekend, haven't decided yet. The one flick I'm lookin' forward to, at the moment, is PIRANHA 3D. Might see THE EXPENDABLES. So, what's the verdict on Nolan's latest here, thumbs up or thumbs down?

Troy Howarth
07-18-2010, 09:26 PM
Not yet, but I'm going to. Interestingly, this has been so ultra hyped that the one negative review it got early on - from David Edelstein, if memory serves - drew an unimaginable amount of criticism. I've no problem with people voicing such criticism AFTER seeing the film, but before? Oh well, I like Nolan (Insomnia and The Prestige are the only ones I really love, however) and, barring Ellen Page, I like the looks of the cast.

Adam L
07-18-2010, 10:10 PM
So...did anybody else see this, ummm... mess yet?

It's a mess in a good way. At least it's ambitious and visually interesting (http://www.regrettablesincerity.com/?p=5453).

Alex K.
07-18-2010, 11:37 PM
I thought it was okay. It had a lot of great ideas, but it doesn't do enough with them. Plus it feels too long, and the action unnecessary.

Richard R.
07-19-2010, 12:11 AM
I Loved it. Inception is very smart, sleek, and full of some really neat science-fiction "World building" (the rules of how dream extraction operates, the talismans, the projections, etc.). It felt like a William Gibson short story.

It is, however, a very dense and complicated movie, and it demands a lot of attention and patience from the viewer. Maybe too much... at the opening night screening that I attended I could really feel the audience getting restless around the 40-minute mark.

Ryan T.
07-19-2010, 12:21 AM
You know, considering I really dislike Christopher Nolan, his films, and all the hype surrounding him, I was surprised that this was as good as it was. And clocking in at 2 1/2 hours the time just flew by. A solid mainstream movie with some very daring and interesting ideas. I might be a little biased, however, as the film deals with certain concepts that I find intensely fascinating (consciousness, reality, lucid dreaming, etc.), and although it's quite Hollywoodized and sometimes pandering, it succeeds where the Matrix failed embarrassingly. It's not without its flaws but it's totally worth seeing. Recommended.

Jeff Mclachlan
07-19-2010, 12:29 AM
I didn't enjoy it, but that may be the fault of the prejudices I brought to the movie rather than the movie itself---I don't buy Leonardo DiCaprio as an adult lead, and I don't like stories that take place in worlds where the author can make up and retract rules as he goes. Also, I know what dreams are like, and I know people can't go running around having adventures in them, at least not action oriented ones where I'm supposed to have a feeling of jeopardy. I call this Tron syndrome, where I just find the basic premise so ridiculous I can't engage with it. And again, this is just my bugaboo. Most people don't have a problem with it.

But I will ask why you'd feel the need to create a dream world just so characters can have shoot-outs and car chases. Those are both things that would be more exciting if they took place in the real world.

Ryan T.
07-19-2010, 12:39 AM
I didn't enjoy it, but that may be the fault of the prejudices I brought to the movie rather than the movie itself---I don't buy Leonardo DiCaprio as an adult lead, and I don't like stories that take place in worlds where the author can make up and retract rules as he goes. Also, I know what dreams are like, and I know people can't go running around having adventures in them, at least not action oriented ones where I'm supposed to have a feeling of jeopardy. I call this Tron syndrome, where I just find the basic premise so ridiculous I can't engage with it. And again, this is just my bugaboo. Most people don't have a problem with it.

But I will ask why you'd feel the need to create a dream world just so characters can have shoot-outs and car chases. Those are both things that would be more exciting if they took place in the real world.
I find myself agreeing with most of this, but for whatever reason I was able to overcome these prejudices and enjoy it for what it was. As far as dream logic goes, the film was not accurate at all, but then again, third party equipment was used to focus the dreamspace they entered like special sedatives and brain monitoring devices, etc. which allowed me to suspend my disbelief a little.

Having said that, I think this sort of film would've been much better in the hands of someone like David Lynch, who seems to be able to capture that strangely ambiguous dream logic perfectly without being expository, obvious, formulaic, etc.

Jon Houghton
07-19-2010, 12:56 AM
I almost stayed at work late to catch the last showing, but decided against it because I would rather watch Euro sleaze in my comfortable chair right now

Jeff Mclachlan
07-19-2010, 01:07 AM
I'm actually sort of bothered that I couldn't get into it. I spend a lot of time watching older, cultier movies, and movies from eras I have nostalgia for, and when something new comes out that everyone seems to love, like this or Avatar, I start to fear that I'm entering my cranky old man phase where everything old is good and everything new is crap. I mean, I'm sure by any rational standard Inception is a better movie than, say, The Burglars with Jean-Paul Belmondo, which I watched recently, but why did Inception bore me and The Burglars entertain me to no end?

I saw Inception with a group of friends, and they all loved it. I seriously felt like an asshole being the one guy who didn't. I don't want to give the impression that I don't like new movies, or that I always go against the critical grain. Usually my tastes are pretty close to the general consensus. It's just the big, long CGI epics (this, Avatar, Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings---) that bore me to tears.

Actually, listing all those other movies I finally figured out my issue specifically---I don't like fake worlds. I like science fiction as long as it takes place on a recognizable earth with relatable elements to grasp, but try to tell me a story where the author has the power to make up all the rules and I check out. But even there there's things like the original Star Trek, which I do like (although I hate all the spin-offs)and the new Dr. Who----

Ah, fuck it. I like what I like. It doesn't have to make sense, does it?

Aaron G
07-19-2010, 09:33 AM
I'm kinda excited about this film, coz the ideas in it really appeal to me, and I'm a big cyberpunk conspiracy noir dork at heart. But all the 'intellectual' critics are saying it's a missed opportunity and it's a piece of shit. The other 'reviewers' are going 'aww geez fucken cool man, it got me thinking'.

That's what I got worry about.

But I will see it to decide for myself.

Larry Wilson
07-19-2010, 10:44 AM
I must say that I absolutely loved it. Rare is the film that can feature such huge special effects and have such an intense emotional payoff. And I completely disagree about DiCaprio. I believe he's one of those rare actors that can capture an audience and make them immediately like and identify with him. Feeling the way I felt walking out of that theater, I'm really surprised that the film is receiving such mixed reviews here.

One complaint I had was that the soundtrack completely overwhelmed much of the dialogue. Did anyone else have this experience? I saw a digital presentation, so maybe that was the issue. The mix seemed very off, though. The music (which I loved) and the sound effects seemed way too loud and buried a lot of dialogue. I'm looking forward to seeing this again and hopefully following it a little better. It's the best movie I've seen this year by a mile.

Wostry Ferenc
07-19-2010, 11:58 AM
Forgive me if my pants remain unshitted.

Couldn't get into it at all. As usual with Nolan: colder than Antarctica.

Troy Howarth
07-19-2010, 12:06 PM
I think Insomnia is his "warmest" film, funnily enough... that film had a major emotional anchor in Pacino's burnt out cop. I think The Prestige improves greatly with repeat viewings, but the opposite appears to be true of his other films, at least where I'm concerned. I think he's talented, but yes - much of his work is "clever" without having much of a soul to it.

MatthewA
07-19-2010, 12:19 PM
(Hope my thoughts, as fragmented as they are, make sense. At work, doing 5 things at once, but I wanted to throw some thoughts in here and see what other opinions are.)

I just wrote a large diatribe against this film, but I feel that it's almost a waste of time and my complaints may be nitpicking (although, when nitpicky complaints start to add up, it stops being nitpicking) so I deleted it. I want to add as well, that I do like The Prestige and The Dark Knight and I think Christopher Nolan is very talented. But I still want to say a few short critical thoughts...

Overall, I was disappointed. Nolan could have done anything he wanted to (and I'm assuming he did), so to see it turn into just a high budget espionage film, with car chases and gun fights in dreams (??!!), was such a let down. I have to disagree with the opinion that this film is smart. It's not. It's not smart at all, it's the illusion of being smart because typical Hollywood films are so fucking dumb. Inception still explained everything to the audience (mostly through the pointless Ellen Page character) in the worst way. A film about dreaming leaves almost nothing open for personal interpretation (the cop-out and cheap ending does not count!). I saw the phrase "missed opportunity" used in this thread and I completely agree.

I thought Leonardo Di Caprio did a terrible job acting, but an excellent job impersonating Jack Nicholson. Whoever said he doesn't buy him as a leading adult man, I 100% agree with that as well.

I know I'm an outcast for not liking this film and "should just shut the fuck up if I didn't like it" (Someone told me that!) But I'm sick of hearing, "It's a popcorn film, lighten up!" When can we start holding Hollywood films accountable for making dumber and dumber films? I mean really, the whole "popcorn film" thing has blown up in the last 10 or so years, that phrase has seeped it into the middle America psyche and made shit like this and any number of other films impenetrable to criticism simply because it was made to entertain and you shouldn't think about whats happening in the film or plot continuity or any other number of problems around. So because it's made to entertain and that's it, criticism is pointless, and quite frankly, annoying to those who can shut off their mind and enjoy what they see. Fuck, I don't even know if all that made sense, hope it did a little bit.

(end caffeine induced hippie rant)

I read this review the following morning after I saw the film, for the most part, I agree with this guy. It's an interesting view from the other side of the glowing rose-tinted glasses reviews.
http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/andrew_ohehir/2010/07/14/inception

I'm at work right now, so I can't really get in too deep with criticism in one post, but I do want to discuss this film and hopefully I won't (and others who share similar opinions) be met with such insane hostility as I have other times I tried to rationally discuss this with people. I don't think it's a bad film, but, man, I'm totally disappointed in it.

Troy Howarth
07-19-2010, 01:00 PM
I wouldn't think the "it's a popcorn film" argument would work with this film, since it's being marketed as a very intellectual type of picture. Whether it really is or not, I don't know... Now, I will say that I do think there's room for big, dumb, loud action films - hell, I admit it: I enjoyed The A Team for what it was. But there's a difference between "let's blow shit up" films like that and films like this which purport to be operating on a more intellectual plane.

But I will say that I think DiCaprio is a wonderful actor. He's matured in recent years, and I think he's more than capable of carrying a film. I can't comment on his work in this film, but I've been extremely impressed with his other recent performances.

MatthewA
07-19-2010, 01:18 PM
The popcorn thing came about because when I wasn't being told to shut the fuck up, it was that I should relax because that's what this movie is, which I disagreed with.

Yes, I like dumb action films as well. Those type of films seem truer to themselves than something like Inception. That possibly may be what I didn't like the most, it being marketed (I don't think you can blame Nolan here?) as something more than your average big-budget flick. No, I don't think this movie is smart, but I don't think it's dumb either. I do think it may have relied too heavily on dumb conventions at times, which bogged it down.

Pete Bogh
07-19-2010, 01:38 PM
I liked the film a lot, and I'm eager for some spoilery discussion of the events, but I'll hold off on that.

I don't know how much anyone else read about advance word on this film, but lot of the stuff in the press set it up to get torn down. When critics are going on about how a film is overly-complex, how it will require multiple viewings, how it will go over people's heads, etc.. it's a terrible set up to get skeptical, genre-hardened viewers to tear the thing apart, or to 'put it in its place' as unoriginal, not very complex at all, or basically to find any way they can to bring it down. That's how I felt, at least; it was set up as a challenge to beat, instead of an opportunity to be told a compelling story, and I found Inception to be an expertly told head-fuck that has a surprising amount of emotion in it.

Of course it's not for everyone, and I think there are perfectly valid reasons some people will be put off by it, but they won't have anything to do with a lack of originality, poor storytelling, acting, or a lack of substance. I'm looking forward to seeing it again.


SPOILERS:

If you've seen it, what do you think of this (http://chud.com/articles/articles/24477/1/NEVER-WAKE-UP-THE-MEANING-AND-SECRET-OF-INCEPTION/Page1.html)?

Troy Howarth
07-19-2010, 01:51 PM
The popcorn thing came about because when I wasn't being told to shut the fuck up, it was that I should relax because that's what this movie is, which I disagreed with.

Yes, I like dumb action films as well. Those type of films seem truer to themselves than something like Inception. That possibly may be what I didn't like the most, it being marketed (I don't think you can blame Nolan here?) as something more than your average big-budget flick. No, I don't think this movie is smart, but I don't think it's dumb either. I do think it may have relied too heavily on dumb conventions at times, which bogged it down.

I don't think it's necessarily Nolan's doing, but he brings that kind of baggage with him. It's a double edged sword, especially when a director of his stature just decides to make a "fun" film.

Larry Wilson
07-19-2010, 01:52 PM
I found Inception to be an expertly told head-fuck that has a surprising amount of emotion in it.

I agree with this completely. I don't want to give away anything, but I was so unexpectedly affected during one portion of the film that I simultaneously got goosebumps, momentarily caught my breath, and teared up. And not just a little -- several tears rolled down my cheek. I was so emotionally affected that I'm still somewhat beffudled by all the comments that this is a "cold" film. I just could not disagree more with that assessment, but I guess everyone carries their own baggage into a film and therefore has their own unique reaction.

Wostry Ferenc
07-19-2010, 02:05 PM
I'd like to stick to my previous comments: it's a cold film. To me it feels like Nolan is trying to emote, trying to produce emotions on film, but feels very mechanical. Like it's something he has heard about.

Of course if you guys were affected this much by the film, the error must be in me. :)

And yes, it's written like a complex film, yet it's pretty dumb and simple, it's just that the way it's written is purposely dense. So that it feels complex.

AND YET!

In today's Hollywood, where utter stupidity rules in a way that couldn't have been forseen even in the 80s (when the dumbing down began), I salute Nolan for even TRYING to make a film that appears smart and original. Is that sad?

Larry Wilson
07-19-2010, 02:33 PM
Of course if you guys were affected this much by the film, the error must be in me. :)


I don't feel that way in the least. My statement was that everyone carries their own baggage into a film and therefore has their own unique reaction. My honest reaction was a very emotional one. Yours evidently was not. No one is right and no one is wrong here.

I do disagree that Inception is a dumb film pretending to be smart, however. I personally feel that Nolan is an auteur, and these same themes (nature of reality, perception, memory) run through almost all of his films, starting with the great Memento. I don't think there's anything dumb about Nolan's films, and Inception has cemented him as one of my all-time favorite filmmakers.

Troy Howarth
07-19-2010, 02:35 PM
Nolan definitely fits the definition of auteur - but while that is sometimes read to mean "great director," it's really more of a catch-all expression for filmmakers whose personal vision is evident in all their works, whether they originated said project or not. Stanley Kubrick is an auteur, too, but then again so is Ed Wood.

Pete Bogh
07-19-2010, 02:39 PM
Of course if you guys were affected this much by the film, the error must be in me. :)

No! You like what you like and can only be true to your instincts, there's nothing wrong with disagreeing on this! Still...

SPOILER WARNING:

..
..
..
..


Wostry, did you check out that spoiler-laden link in my previous post, and if so, do you agree with its theory on what is happening in the film? I ask because, if we do agree on that view, it may address some of the strange coldness of the performances as well as some of the (more perfunctory?) action stuff.

This is *not* meant to be an excuse for ANYthing that might be a turn-off to you or any other viewers who didn't like the film, but it does matter very much to me as someone trying to puzzle out the entirety story. I thought the comments about 8 1/2 are especially interesting, but mileage/sympathy on that is certainly going to vary from one viewer to the next :)

Wostry Ferenc
07-19-2010, 02:44 PM
Pete, I'm going to sleep now, but tomorrow I'll read the whole thing.

Wostry Ferenc
07-19-2010, 02:46 PM
btw Hardy steals the whole fucking movie :)

Jeff Mclachlan
07-19-2010, 04:22 PM
Agreed on Tom Hardy. I'm actually looking forward to his Mad Max movies a lot more now, especially since all hope of ever seeing Mel Gibson in the role again has been effectively dashed. I actually liked most of the cast except for Leo and Marion Cottilard who came off as more of a creepy alien than a sympathetic human woman. I know in some scenes she was supposed to be creepy, but there's many more where you're supposed to feel for her, and I thought a less, "exotic", let's say, actress would have been more effective. And I couldn't stop looking at her forehead mole. If I was having a dream about Marion Cotillard, the first thing I'd do is dream away the distracting mole.

But again, YMMV. If you found her appealing, I think that would go a long way towards having the movie work for you.

RichardDoyle
07-19-2010, 04:39 PM
I'll say up front ... my comments are not directed at anyone here. Everyone here who has an opinion about the film seems to have one grounded in reality.

I really dislike the controversy surrounding this film. It seems like an argument between ridiculous fanboys and folks that are looking to dislike anything by Nolan because of who he is and what he stands for in their eyes. The latter camp is really starting to annoy me. They seem to be really overly proud of themselves for "seeing through" this whole Nolan adulation that they seem to have largely manufactured in their own minds.

I'm by no means a huge Nolan fan. I like his films, but I don't think he's a great filmmaker. Just a pretty good one. This seems to be the majority view. If anything, I think "Inception" was hotly anticipated not so much because folks think he's a genius, but more because it's a big budget film directed firmly at adults and that's becoming a rare thing during the summer months.

The folks who carry on as if there's this monolithic conspiracy to enforce a unified love of Nolan's films seem delusional to me. It's a controversy created by film critics that should really only be of any interest to film critics.

Troy Howarth
07-19-2010, 06:24 PM
Nolan's pretty young yet - I don't think he's delivered the film he's fully capable of delivering... but I do hope he doesn't start doing nothing but big FX dominated films. Like I said, I think the man's got talent - I'm always interested in checking out what he does, though I do think some of his stuff has been a little overrated in the long run.

John K
07-19-2010, 06:54 PM
Very happy to see a more tempered enthusiasm prevailing on these boards, mostly so that I don't get assaulted when I too shrug and go "meh, it was pretty good." I guess it depends on who you hang out with, but I'm still fairly young, and among a lot of people in my early-to-mid-20s age group, Nolan, and particularly "The Dark Knight" are very sacred cows, and conversations can quickly escalate into shouting matches if you're not careful to temper your criticisms with "oh, but it's just me, I'm probably crazy"-style remarks.

INCEPTION is neat, to be sure - stunning visuals and beautiful ideas, though the problem is the whole thing is a little too literal. Accepting its MATRIXy like rules by themselves, I could get into it, but when I was supposed to accept them in relation to dreams, I just couldn't buy into it. All the strictly defined levels of dreaming, with one agent always having to stay back to protect the dreaming dreaming dreaming dreamers, was really cool as a sort of alternate worlds concept, but I just don't buy it as dreams go. And the REAL problem is with the idea that slipping an idea into someone's dream would somehow affect them in some way. When I wake up from a dream, I go, "huh, that was [interesting/cool/stupid/whatever]," but that's about all the stock I take into it. I just couldn't buy into the idea of this being a realistic way of influencing someone's thoughts or emotions.

I was fine with all the actors in general, and I have no problem with Leo (Ellen Page's character did seem utterly superfluous, though, and Michael Caine seemed sorely underused) but Cotillard consistently annoys the hell out of me. In every goddamn movie she seems to play some poor, sappy, doe-eyed spurned woman (PUBLIC ENEMIES, NINE, this), and it's just getting aaaaagonizingly old already. There was nothing about her character that seemed appealing to me, and certainly nothing I would want to spend years dreaming about.

As usual, my middling reviews tend to focus on all the negative points and none of the positive, but I did like this overall, and it's miles above everything else that's out there right now, by and large. But it's not without its problems, and I'm glad others feel as well that Nolan's artistic touch is rather cold. I was worried I was the only one.

I'll see it again to make sure I didn't miss something earth-shattering (I was watching from the projection booth, so I think some of the whispered climactic speeches only half came through), but for now, I liked it but didn't love it. I expect to bear numerous welts after discussing it with my friends this weekend...

Jeff Mclachlan
07-19-2010, 08:44 PM
You're criticism is pretty similar to mine, i.e., I just wasn't really buying the concept. But I also had the "don't like Leo" thing going for me which is probably why I liked it less.

Larry Wilson
07-19-2010, 08:48 PM
Well, I'm 43, so I hardly consider myself a "fanboy" or a boy of any other sort. ;)

I personally love Nolan, but I would never push my feelings down anyone else's throat. I also love Polanski, Tourneur, Kubrick, Scorcese, Bava and countless other filmmakers, and I likewise do not really care if other people share my admiration. I just enjoy their films a great deal. End of story.

BTW, The Dark Knight is one of my least favorite Nolan films (although I still like it a great deal). But Memento is probably my favorite film of the 2000s.

Steve R
07-19-2010, 09:24 PM
Looking forward to this one, will see it next wknd.

FWIW the one of Nolan's that I first got into was Following.
Wonderfully written piece that he wrote knowing he'd have to shoot on wknds only for many months to get it done. B/W, real low budget and
very satifying. You could tell he likes mysteries and noir. He works in a
whole different vein now, and though I was not a fan of the Dark Knights, I dug Presitge and really am not very aware of any kind of big fan base about him. Batman, yeah but not really Nolan.

Aaron G
07-20-2010, 06:29 AM
I really, really, really wanna like this film even if I ain't seen it. But my 6th Sense is telling me its more Hollywood drek

I mean is it better than DREAMSCAPE or BRAINSTORM???

MatthewA
07-20-2010, 10:02 AM
A better, smarter, and more creative movie with similar themes to Inception would be "eXistenZ", IMO. Just replace VR with dreams.

D.Wilt
07-20-2010, 01:53 PM
I liked it a lot, but I wouldn't characterise it as a "masterpiece" or (as someone on IMDB wrote, "this will be a religion in 10 years").

It was entertaining and 2.5 hours that did NOT drag, but it did not make me think profoundly about life, the world, or myself.


Full-ish review here:
http://mexcine.tumblr.com/post/829904006/inception-2010

btw, I saw it Sunday at the early afternoon show. Probably 20 people in the theatre, which seemed quite odd considering how well this did at the box-office and the general rave reviews in the mainstream media.

Larry Wilson
07-20-2010, 02:22 PM
btw, I saw it Sunday at the early afternoon show. Probably 20 people in the theatre, which seemed quite odd considering how well this did at the box-office and the general rave reviews in the mainstream media.

I also saw it Sunday afternoon, the theater was packed, and the line for the next show was huge. I think it did very well in the Dallas area.

Troy Howarth
07-20-2010, 02:36 PM
Any individual theatre isn't going to provide much a barometer for these things, though - I'm sure there were some theatres you couldn't get into, and other ones that looked deserted.

John G.
07-20-2010, 02:56 PM
Nolan's pretty young yet - I don't think he's delivered the film he's fully capable of delivering... but I do hope he doesn't start doing nothing but big FX dominated films. Like I said, I think the man's got talent - I'm always interested in checking out what he does, though I do think some of his stuff has been a little overrated in the long run.
Like INSOMNIA? ;)

Troy Howarth
07-20-2010, 03:04 PM
Like INSOMNIA? ;)

If you look back over the thread, you'll see I still regard that as his best film - with The Prestige coming in a close second. Those are about the only films he's made that really have a strong emotional core, IMO.

John G.
07-20-2010, 03:07 PM
Sorry Troy, I've been dancing around this thread because I want to see his new movie and yet I want to avoid spoilers.

PRESTIGE is his best film for me, by a wide margin, followed by MEMENTO. I'm surprised you find INSOMNIA to have a "strong emotional core" - to me it was sentimental nonsense (that ending!) dripped over a cool and clinically-effective original film.

But we've been through this before. :)

Troy Howarth
07-20-2010, 03:08 PM
And we'll never see eye to eye - but yes, I think Pacino's guilt ridden cop provides that film with a very strong emotional anchor.

Larry Wilson
07-20-2010, 03:12 PM
Any individual theatre isn't going to provide much a barometer for these things, though - I'm sure there were some theatres you couldn't get into, and other ones that looked deserted.

OK, I'll revise. I think it did well at the Grapevine Tinseltown 17. :D

Larry Wilson
07-20-2010, 03:15 PM
PRESTIGE is his best film for me, by a wide margin, followed by MEMENTO. I'm surprised you find INSOMNIA to have a "strong emotional core" - to me it was sentimental nonsense (that ending!) dripped over a cool and clinically-effective original film.:)

Memento is tops for me. I've seen it easily a dozen times and find something new to like every time. I don't think it will ever get old for me.

Troy Howarth
07-20-2010, 03:20 PM
Memento is tops for me. I've seen it easily a dozen times and find something new to like every time. I don't think it will ever get old for me.

Memento is very *clever,* but I think it's emotionally uninvolving... I'd sum it up for me by saying, "It's interesting... but so what?" :D

Larry Wilson
07-20-2010, 04:13 PM
Memento is very *clever,* but I think it's emotionally uninvolving... I'd sum it up for me by saying, "It's interesting... but so what?" :D

I don't find it emotionally lacking in the least. I find it compelling, in fact.

Not every movie has to have a huge emotional impact, and I don't think that's what Memento is going for. But what it has to say about the fragile nature of memory/perception is fascinating to me, and I find the ending chilling. That's some sort of emotion, isn't it?

RichardDoyle
07-20-2010, 04:14 PM
Looking forward to this one, will see it next wknd.

FWIW the one of Nolan's that I first got into was Following.
Wonderfully written piece that he wrote knowing he'd have to shoot on wknds only for many months to get it done. B/W, real low budget and
very satifying. You could tell he likes mysteries and noir. He works in a
whole different vein now, and though I was not a fan of the Dark Knights, I dug Presitge and really am not very aware of any kind of big fan base about him. Batman, yeah but not really Nolan.

"Following" is a great film.

I think the problem is that Nolan has become firmly associated with "The Dark Knight" in the public consciousness. So much so that every conversation about him is really about "The Dark Knight". So much nonsense went on with folks calling it "the greatest film ever" and shouting down folks who disagreed that there's a built-in backlash against anything he does now in some quarters. I don't think equally irrational response.

Troy Howarth
07-20-2010, 05:16 PM
I don't find it emotionally lacking in the least. I find it compelling, in fact.

Not every movie has to have a huge emotional impact, and I don't think that's what Memento is going for. But what it has to say about the fragile nature of memory/perception is fascinating to me, and I find the ending chilling. That's some sort of emotion, isn't it?

I think every film should be involving, otherwise why would I care about what happens or even want to bother spending time with it? I mean, a film can be about scummy, backstabbing people and still be involving. I just didn't get that out of Memento. It's not a bad film by any means, but I would bracket it with A Clockwork Orange (a rare film by Kubrick that I still can't get into) as films that are a little too in love with their own cleverness.

Troy Howarth
07-20-2010, 05:31 PM
"Following" is a great film.

I think the problem is that Nolan has become firmly associated with "The Dark Knight" in the public consciousness. So much so that every conversation about him is really about "The Dark Knight". So much nonsense went on with folks calling it "the greatest film ever" and shouting down folks who disagreed that there's a built-in backlash against anything he does now in some quarters. I don't think equally irrational response.

Haven't seen Following, so I can't comment on that one... but otherwise I think you've nailed it. Nolan has a very heavy mantle to wear at this point, and I think it's come very early on for him. Much of it does stem from Dark Knight, there's no question about that, and I think this has created a very... touchy attitude towards him. I've been a fan of his since Insomnia, but the talk of him being some kind of boy genius has worn a little thin; that said, I think it would be unfair to dismiss him based on the hype. By the same token, I do think that some have become extremely taken with him, as it were, and when you put the contrasting points of view together in the same room... it can get explosive.

Larry Wilson
07-20-2010, 05:52 PM
I just didn't get that out of Memento. It's not a bad film by any means, but I would bracket it with A Clockwork Orange (a rare film by Kubrick that I still can't get into) as films that are a little too in love with their own cleverness.

I don't think Nolan structured the film that way to be clever. I think he did it to place the audience squarely with the lead character. We never know more than Leonard does until the very end of the film, so we are sharing the entire experience with him. It's not just a gimmick to run the movie in reverse; it allows the audience to experience the manner in which Leonard perceives his reality. I don't like "gimmicky" films either, but I don't see Memento that way at all.

Ryan T.
07-20-2010, 05:56 PM
A better, smarter, and more creative movie with similar themes to Inception would be "eXistenZ", IMO. Just replace VR with dreams.
I'd agree but I really hated the end of eXistenZ. Otherwise it's a terrific film.


...but I would bracket [Memento] with A Clockwork Orange (a rare film by Kubrick that I still can't get into) as films that are a little too in love with their own cleverness.
I agree with you here.

Larry Wilson
07-20-2010, 06:01 PM
I do think that some have become extremely taken with him, as it were, and when you put the contrasting points of view together in the same room... it can get explosive.

Ha -- I'm not capable of being explosive. As I've indicated before, I do like Nolan immensely and I don't mind sharing my feelings. If others don't feel that way, it's absolutely no skin off my back. I'm going to enjoy his films whether others like them or not.

Troy Howarth
07-20-2010, 06:05 PM
I don't think Nolan structured the film that way to be clever. I think he did it to place the audience squarely with the lead character. We never know more than Leonard does until the very end of the film, so we are sharing the entire experience with him. It's not just a gimmick to run the movie in reverse; it allows the audience to experience the manner in which Leonard perceives his reality. I don't like "gimmicky" films either, but I don't see Memento that way at all.

Unfortunately, that's pretty much where it fell for me - again, not a bad film, but a "clever" one that I just couldn't get into; it's not something I could picture myself revisiting.

Troy Howarth
07-20-2010, 06:06 PM
Ha -- I'm not capable of being explosive. As I've indicated before, I do like Nolan immensely and I don't mind sharing my feelings. If others don't feel that way, it's absolutely no skin off my back. I'm going to enjoy his films whether others like them or not.

I wasn't saying you, of course - but there are people on both sides of the fence who do get plenty riled up.

Larry Wilson
07-20-2010, 06:07 PM
Unfortunately, that's pretty much where it fell for me - again, not a bad film, but a "clever" one that I just couldn't get into; it's not something I could picture myself revisiting.

I feel like I've picked up a lot more plot points and understand the film much better on repeated viewings. Give it another shot some day Troy -- you might be surprised.

Or maybe not. :)

Troy Howarth
07-20-2010, 06:10 PM
I'm not dismissing it altogether - again, I'm not saying it's a bad film... but when people talk about the shortcomings of Nolan's work, this is one that comes to mind. I'd also point to the Batman films for the same basic reason - the sidebar characters are so much more interesting than Bruce Wayne himself; Bale does a fine job, but he's not very well delineated and doesn't exactly make for the most inspiring protagonist.

Chuk H
07-21-2010, 02:37 AM
While I did enjoy this film, I wish it had been more "Jungian" than "Freudian".

Aaron G
07-21-2010, 10:08 PM
While I did enjoy this film, I wish it had been more "Jungian" than "Freudian".

'Freudian' cinema is easier to understand unfortunately, esp. for mainstream audiences.

Nolan seems to be the new Ridley Squat.

Another stylistic master hack.

Who thought 'Dark Knight' was the 'greatest movie ever'??? I thought it was the best Batman movie, but it wasn't better or more fun than IRONMAN. I MOMENTO I've completely forgotten about it, except when Heath Dedger blows up the hospital..!

Ryan Emberg
07-22-2010, 03:14 AM
I felt it was a pretty not bad film, if overly complex. I kept thinking of Existenz all through it, and appreciated Cronenberg's ability to be lean, economical and cerebral without becoming too busy and overwrought. I don t think its Nolan's strongest film, and it is being overpraised in general, but its easily superior to most multiplex fare. For me Nolan is easy to get behind. He commands a lot of clout when it comes to netting talented actors, commanding sizable budgets, and turning massive profit whilst *key* still making strong memorable films consistently. I don t see a lot of that from anyone else. He s pretty much the strongest thing going in Hollywood.

Tom Hardy? super cool. di Caprio? solid like usual. Ellen Page? hardly anything to do. Michael Caine? criminally hardly anything to do. Tom Berenger? looking pretty rough. Cillian Murphy? again not much to do. obviously character depth is not a strong point.

Among his films, this one is closer to the bottom ranks, but it s nowhere near the depths Ridley Scott has hit in the last couple decades.

Randy Thomas G
07-22-2010, 03:19 AM
I thought it was a very successful sci-fi action film. Not too deep in character because it was an action film after all, but also because DiCaprio's character is the emotional centre of the film, and there I thought the film was also effective and moving, more so than the oddly similar Shutter Island actually (although I liked that film as well).

Robert F
07-22-2010, 05:15 AM
I wanted to see this under the influence of hard drugs in IMAX. But instead I saw it sober at a struggling normal theater. If it was as good and as complex as "they" said it would be then I'd see it once more under the influence of hard drugs in IMAX.

I will not be seeing this film again.

Wostry Ferenc
07-22-2010, 05:50 AM
Wostry, did you check out that spoiler-laden link in my previous post, and if so, do you agree with its theory on what is happening in the film? I ask because, if we do agree on that view, it may address some of the strange coldness of the performances as well as some of the (more perfunctory?) action stuff.

It's a very well thought out theory and the piece is very well written, but I don't think Nolan had that in mind - just because I still feel that the complexity of the narrative is all surface.

I think debating the merits of INCEPTION is actually more entertaining and enjoyable than the film itself, which, to me, wasn't particularly entertaining at all.

Wostry Ferenc
07-22-2010, 06:01 AM
...but of course, it's probably still the most complex Hollywood blockbuster ever, so that's no reason to complain. No, my main grief is still that Nolan can't involve me emotionally at all.

Troy Howarth
07-22-2010, 09:05 AM
...but of course, it's probably still the most complex Hollywood blockbuster ever, so that's no reason to complain. No, my main grief is still that Nolan can't involve me emotionally at all.

I don't know- it was made in England, but it was American financed and was very successful in its day - wouldn't 2001 count in that regard?

Aaron G
07-22-2010, 09:27 AM
If it was as good and as complex as "they" said it would be then I'd see it once more under the influence of hard drugs in IMAX.


You've spolied my party with this film!

So I am going to save my psychedelic drugs for Gaspar Noe's new movie.

Hopefully it delivers the 'trip' it promises....

MatthewA
07-22-2010, 10:11 AM
Eh, when I saw Inception my friend and I got high in the parking lot beforehand and it did nothing. Made it kind of boring, actually!

Wostry Ferenc
07-22-2010, 10:40 AM
I don't know- it was made in England, but it was American financed and was very successful in its day - wouldn't 2001 count in that regard?


Blockbuster to me is a film that is somewhat designed to be mass entertainment. I don't think Kubrick was thinking in those terms.

Paul A J Lewis
07-22-2010, 10:52 AM
Blockbuster to me is a film that is somewhat designed to be mass entertainment. I don't think Kubrick was thinking in those terms.
The term 'blockbuster' probably has a different meaning to us today, in this post-New Hollywood age of synergistic marketing and media saturation - a retrenchment into the 'event picture' ethos of 1950s Hollywood, before the Hollywood Renaissance (the era of 2001's release). Whilst I wouldn't argue that INCEPTION is a big picture, over here it's had relatively little promotion, at least of the kind that usually accompanies blockbuster releases (in the modern sense of the word): I've only seen one television interview with one of the actors (Ellen Page on the Jonathan Ross Show) and there's relatively little in the way of billboard advertising. The promotion of the picture seems to have been built up via the ambiguous teaser, which seemed to be shown at almost every film I attended at the cinema from February onwards, and Nolan's reputation. (I would add that I think that, in part, Nolan is respected over here because he's a British face who's made it in Hollywood.)

cworkman
07-22-2010, 10:53 AM
I've loved Nolan up until this point, and there's a lot a good to point to in INCEPTION, but it wasn't entirely successful in my opinion. Part of the problem is its length. Now, I have no problem with long movies, but this one seemes to spend too much time on REPETITIVE action sequences. There's just too much slo-mo movement around the hotel, for instance; and before anyone says, "It was designed that way to illustrate the difference in time between the various levels of dream states," yes, I get that, but that doesn't make it any less redundant and boring. The performances were ALL excellent, I thought; Nolan is terrific at coaxing good performances from his actors, and this is no exception. But overall, I'd give the film a C+ for being way too long and repetitive.

Wostry Ferenc
07-22-2010, 11:08 AM
I just remembered that I fell asleep for ca. 15 minutes in the first half hour.

Keith B.
07-22-2010, 11:56 AM
The film was a bit too long, and Ellen Page seemed to be reading off cue cards, but other than that, I really enjoyed it. It was satisfyingly complex on the surface in a way that the Matrix films really tried for and failed. The only really silly part is the (SPOILER) snow-filled attack on the fortress at the end, which was way too 007-ish. (END SPOILER). I'd give it a 8.5 out of 10, or a B+.....better than THE PRESTIGE and INSOMNIA, not quite as good as MEMENTO or the BATMAN films.

Troy Howarth
07-22-2010, 12:08 PM
Blockbuster to me is a film that is somewhat designed to be mass entertainment. I don't think Kubrick was thinking in those terms.

Fair enough. I'd be inclined to agree, though Kubrick definitely did aim for mass audiences - he took the failure of Barry Lyndon very badly for example. In any event, it really was pre "blockbuster era."

Troy Howarth
07-22-2010, 12:10 PM
The term 'blockbuster' probably has a different meaning to us today, in this post-New Hollywood age of synergistic marketing and media saturation - a retrenchment into the 'event picture' ethos of 1950s Hollywood, before the Hollywood Renaissance (the era of 2001's release). Whilst I wouldn't argue that INCEPTION is a big picture, over here it's had relatively little promotion, at least of the kind that usually accompanies blockbuster releases (in the modern sense of the word): I've only seen one television interview with one of the actors (Ellen Page on the Jonathan Ross Show) and there's relatively little in the way of billboard advertising. The promotion of the picture seems to have been built up via the ambiguous teaser, which seemed to be shown at almost every film I attended at the cinema from February onwards, and Nolan's reputation. (I would add that I think that, in part, Nolan is respected over here because he's a British face who's made it in Hollywood.)

They've been promoting the hell out of it over here, but this is no surprise given the amount of money that went into it; understandably, they're looking to ensure a hit.

cworkman
07-22-2010, 12:22 PM
The film was a bit too long, and Ellen Page seemed to be reading off cue cards, but other than that, I really enjoyed it. It was satisfyingly complex on the surface in a way that the Matrix films really tried for and failed. The only really silly part is the (SPOILER) snow-filled attack on the fortress at the end, which was way too 007-ish. (END SPOILER). I'd give it a 8.5 out of 10, or a B+.....better than THE PRESTIGE and INSOMNIA, not quite as good as MEMENTO or the BATMAN films.

I disagree about Ellen Page but totally concur on your thoughts about the snow-filled attack on the fortress.

cworkman
07-22-2010, 12:23 PM
They've been promoting the hell out of it over here, but this is no surprise given the amount of money that went into it; understandably, they're looking to ensure a hit.

And it looks like they've got one, with opening weekend rolling in $60 million.

Larry Wilson
07-22-2010, 12:33 PM
Looking at most of the reactions here, I wonder if it will have "legs" as they say. The packed audience I saw it with seemed to enjoy it, however. There was quite a spattering of applause when it ended. Also, I've talked to a number of people who enjoyed it as much as I did, so the film definitely has its backers. There are just not a lot of them around here. :)

Troy Howarth
07-22-2010, 01:08 PM
And it looks like they've got one, with opening weekend rolling in $60 million.

Probably, but not necessarily... it had a high price tag, plus you gotta factor in advertising; the test will be to see if it has legs... if people continue to go, it will pay off... if not, it could end up being a flop in the end.

Wostry Ferenc
07-22-2010, 02:05 PM
I disagree about Ellen Page but totally concur on your thoughts about the snow-filled attack on the fortress.

I think Nolan is an obssessively methodical (respect!), but not particularly imaginative fella. That third level or finale or whatever... I mean... that's it? A concrete, boring fortress which looked like it was tossed together the day before... Fucking Cannon had better action scenes in their films!

Actually none of Nolan's films had scenes that floored me visually. Dark Knight came close.

Troy Howarth
07-22-2010, 02:09 PM
I think Insomnia has some wonderful imagery, but it was more the acting and characterization that pulled me in. The Prestige had some magnificent images, though, notably the field of light bulbs; that certainly impressed me.

cworkman
07-22-2010, 02:19 PM
I love THE PRESTIGE and THE DARK KNIGHT, like BATMAN BEGINS, can take or leave INCEPTION and MEMENTO, and hate INSOMNIA.

Just what was this film's price tag? I was surprised by the lack of special effects sequences. And the trailer gives too many of them away; there is little in the film beyond what we see in the trailer.

We'll see if it holds up. I'm not sure it will, but that may simply be because I didn't like it all that well. I'm certainly no barometer of what will be successfull; otherwise, FOREST GUMP would have been a bomb...

cworkman
07-22-2010, 02:22 PM
I found the denoument of INCEPTION a bit too similar to that in the superior SHUTTER ISLAND, to be honest with you.

Larry Wilson
07-22-2010, 02:26 PM
I found the denoument of INCEPTION a bit too similar to that in the superior SHUTTER ISLAND, to be honest with you.

I thought there were some striking similarities as well. I really liked both films, but I prefer Inception because I had a much more emotional reaction to it than Shutter.

Troy Howarth
07-22-2010, 02:39 PM
I love THE PRESTIGE and THE DARK KNIGHT, like BATMAN BEGINS, can take or leave INCEPTION and MEMENTO, and hate INSOMNIA.

Just what was this film's price tag? I was surprised by the lack of special effects sequences. And the trailer gives too many of them away; there is little in the film beyond what we see in the trailer.

We'll see if it holds up. I'm not sure it will, but that may simply be because I didn't like it all that well. I'm certainly no barometer of what will be successfull; otherwise, FOREST GUMP would have been a bomb...

I've read the budget was in the 200 million price range... it shot on numerous continents, incorporated a lot of effects (they may be seamless or not draw attention to themselves, however), and it has a pretty high profile cast. I don't know - it may well end up making a ton of cash... we shall see.

paul h.
07-22-2010, 02:48 PM
possible SPOILERS




Just saw it, I liked some of the ideas, but the execution was bloated. It ran too long and as others mentioned, the action sequences at the end were repetitive. It would be interesting to see this film cut down by about 30 to 40 minutes. It could really benefit from being tightened up. I'll give it 3 stars out of 5. For the record, I do like most of Nolan's work.

RichardDoyle
07-22-2010, 02:54 PM
Who thought 'Dark Knight' was the 'greatest movie ever'??? I thought it was the best Batman movie, but it wasn't better or more fun than IRONMAN. I MOMENTO I've completely forgotten about it, except when Heath Dedger blows up the hospital..!

Just a sample (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2008/jul/24/isthedarkknightreallythebestfilmevermade)

Personally, I thought it was a decidedly okay film, nothing more.

RichardDoyle
07-22-2010, 02:59 PM
Looking at most of the reactions here, I wonder if it will have "legs" as they say. The packed audience I saw it with seemed to enjoy it, however. There was quite a spattering of applause when it ended. Also, I've talked to a number of people who enjoyed it as much as I did, so the film definitely has its backers. There are just not a lot of them around here. :)

I don't think we're a reliable sample. We're a more sophisticated audience. ;)

cworkman
07-22-2010, 03:42 PM
The Dark Knight is made by the performances of its central villains. Outside of that, it's somewhat pedestrian but still a fun ride. I like it a bit better than IRON MAN (I liked IRON MAN 2 better than the first one, actually, thanks to a terrific performance by Mickey Rourke).

Robert F
07-22-2010, 06:47 PM
You've spolied my party with this film!

So I am going to save my psychedelic drugs for Gaspar Noe's new movie.

Hopefully it delivers the 'trip' it promises....

Hell yeah save that shit for Gaspar Noe. There's no Gaspar Noe in theaters in this neck of the woods.

Randy Thomas G
07-22-2010, 08:24 PM
I thought there were some striking similarities as well. I really liked both films, but I prefer Inception because I had a much more emotional reaction to it than Shutter.

Ditto.

Brett Evans
07-23-2010, 02:25 AM
Personally, I really liked the film. It was complex but I have to give the director credit as everything seemed to fit together and make sense.

I agree with a couple of the criticisms above though. It may have been overlong ... but not by that much in my estimation. Maybe around 10 mins. or so. I also do agree that the fortress attack scenes really did look straight out of a James Bond film.

I recommend seeing it ...

Paul A J Lewis
07-23-2010, 06:07 AM
They've been promoting the hell out of it over here, but this is no surprise given the amount of money that went into it; understandably, they're looking to ensure a hit.
Yes, I guess over here it's being sold in a quite different way, more quietly than a conventional modern 'blockbuster', with Nolan's involvement foregrounded.

Perhaps surprisingly the KARATE KID remake seems to be getting a bigger promotional push over here: you can't move for advertising for that picture, KNIGHT & DAY and THE A-TEAM.

(Slight Spoiler)

I can understand people's claims that the film (and Nolan's other pictures) are 'cold', but I'd describe them as 'mannered'. The mannered, restrained style of Nolan's pictures works well for me: for my money, the avoidance of Hollywood 'guidance of feeling' is one of the appealing things about Nolan's films. There's one moment of what could amount to emotional histrionics in INCEPTION - Di Caprio's reaction to Cotillard's suicide - and that moment is shown twice (IIRC), and each time Nolan prematurely cuts away in the middle of Di Caprio's cry of anguish. That blunted (affectless) emotional content of the films seems endemic of Nolan's approach, and something which appeals to me as a viewer. Perhaps it's a cultural thing though.

For the most part, his characters remind me of the characters in J G Ballard's novels, and there seems to be a theme of the 'death of affect' running through Nolan's pictures; I'd argue that the perceived failure to provide emotional epiphanies on screen is an integral part of the canvas on which Nolan is painting.

I couldn't help but think that INCEPTION was on some level an examination of the role of film (and, especially, video games - highlighted for me by the discussion of the Escherian impossible architecture of the dreams, which seemed to allude to the use of 'invisible walls' in video games); I took the film as covering similar territory to Cronenberg's eXistenZ. (Imagine the device in the metal suitcase reimagined by Cronenberg, along the lines of the typewriter in NAKED LUNCH ;) )

Larry Wilson
07-23-2010, 11:37 AM
Nice post Paul. I thought I remembered DiCaprio hanging his head and crying momentarily the first time we saw the suicide, but I could be wrong.

Regarding the "cold" thing, Kubrick's films are about as cold as it gets, but he's regarded as one of the greatest ever directors. I love Kubrick, but there's not a moment in any of his films that elicited the kind of emotion I felt at the end of Inception. I've never felt that Nolan's films are cold and have been a little surprised that so many people find them so.

Troy Howarth
07-23-2010, 11:40 AM
Nice post Paul. I thought I remembered DiCaprio hanging his head and crying momentarily the first time we saw the suicide, but I could be wrong.

Regarding the "cold" thing, Kubrick's films are about as cold as it gets, but he's regarded as one of the greatest ever directors. I love Kubrick, but there's not a moment in any of his films that elicited the kind of emotion I felt at the end of Inception. I've never felt that Nolan's films are cold and have been a little surprised that so many people find them so.

Interestingly, I don't find Kubrick's films to be cold at all. One only needs to look at the denoument of Paths of Glory to see how emotional he could be. There is a coldness to 2001, but it suits the subject very well. I dislike A Clockwork Orange because I find it to be rather smug and also decidedly cold on the whole, but I don't find this to be true of his work at large.

Larry Wilson
07-23-2010, 11:52 AM
Interestingly, I don't find Kubrick's films to be cold at all. One only needs to look at the denoument of Paths of Glory to see how emotional he could be. There is a coldness to 2001, but it suits the subject very well. I dislike A Clockwork Orange because I find it to be rather smug and also decidedly cold on the whole, but I don't find this to be true of his work at large.

Really? To me many of his best films (Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Clockwork, 2001, Dr. Strangelove) have what I've always felt is an intentional emotional detachment.

Troy Howarth
07-23-2010, 12:02 PM
Really? To me many of his best films (Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Clockwork, 2001, Dr. Strangelove) have what I've always felt is an intentional emotional detachment.

In Clockwork and 2001 it's no doubt intentional... I guess I do feel a certain detachment from Barry Lyndon, but the sheer beauty of it pulls me in. I wouldn't say that's true of Strangelove or The Shining, no.

Larry Wilson
07-23-2010, 12:29 PM
Don't get me wrong -- I'm a huge Kubrick fan and love all the films I mentioned. I've always felt that detachment in them, but it's never bothered me. But keeping with this topic, I would say that Kubrick's films as a whole leave me colder than Nolan's.

And I do agree about the beauty of Barry Lydon.

Paul Casey
07-23-2010, 12:32 PM
Interestingly, I don't find Kubrick's films to be cold at all. One only needs to look at the denoument of Paths of Glory to see how emotional he could be. There is a coldness to 2001, but it suits the subject very well. I dislike A Clockwork Orange because I find it to be rather smug and also decidedly cold on the whole, but I don't find this to be true of his work at large.

SOME!

Troy Howarth
07-23-2010, 12:38 PM
SOME!

It should be obvious that I was referring to the generalization that Kubrick's films are invariably "cold." A couple strike me that way, but the bulk do not.

Paul Casey
07-23-2010, 02:07 PM
It should be obvious that I was referring to the generalization that Kubrick's films are invariably "cold." A couple strike me that way, but the bulk do not.

I think what had me confused was when you said "I don't find Kubrick's films to be cold at all" and then mentioned ones that you found cold. That put my brain into a dilly of a pickle.

Paul A J Lewis
07-23-2010, 02:20 PM
Nice post Paul. I thought I remembered DiCaprio hanging his head and crying momentarily the first time we saw the suicide, but I could be wrong.
Thanks, Larry :)

On the topic of Kubrick, I'd describe Kubrick's films as 'clinical' rather than 'cold': they have an objectivity to them, the characters studied like lab rats caught in various mazes, and (thankfully) never extend into sentimentality and bathos. Kubrick's pictures also seem to deal with the death of affect, BARRY LYNDON in particular (think of the blank-eyed Ryan O'Neal towards the end of that film; Lyndon's social progression leads to a numbness of being) - which is still my favourite Kubrick picture. EYES WIDE SHUT covers this theme quite directly too. Heck, if you want evidence that Kubrick's films are clinical, look at the great Leonard Rossiter's performances in 2001 and BARRY LYNDON: the man uncharacteristically has not one bead of sweat on his forehead :D

Kubrick's films deal with the absence of empathy and intimacy; the worlds through which the characters move are largely cold, inhuman and sterile (the totalitarian landscape of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE; the modern city of EYES WIDE SHUT; the military barracks and warzones of FULL METAL JACKET). That lack of warmth, comfort and intimacy is a key aspect of the social environments depicted (with more than a little irony) in the films. I don't think it's entirely fair to criticise Kubrick's films as 'cold', because the very 'coldness' of the landscapes depicted in the pictures he made is one of his major subjects (as with J G Ballard, Joseph Losey, Harold Pinter, David Cronenberg and, I would argue - in specific relation to this thread - Christopher Nolan). Kubrick's great subject is emotional detachment within sterile, inhuman environments/bureaucratic societies; the kind of emotional detachment that's taught to the young recruits in the first half of FULL METAL JACKET, which tries to tame Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, and which leads Jack to attack his family in THE SHINING, etc.

I would also add that I don't think that films being 'cold' is necessarily a bad thing, especially in today's age of popular culture-as-emotional guidance, with by-the-numbers screenplays driven by emotional epiphanies (perhaps one of the great myths of modern culture) and a foregrounding of who is having 'good feelings' and who is having 'bad feelings' - with the people having 'bad feelings' being 'redeemed' at the end of the narrative. (Eg, see this interview with respected documentarian Adam Curtis for a critique of this approach to film/television: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/20/adam_curtis_interview/print.html .)

M Sanderson
07-23-2010, 02:31 PM
i read that for a surreal film, it was a bit too structured.

reading that reminded me of THE DARK KNIGHT, one of the most excessively overplotted films i've ever come across.

Troy Howarth
07-23-2010, 02:45 PM
I think what had me confused was when you said "I don't find Kubrick's films to be cold at all" and then mentioned ones that you found cold. That put my brain into a dilly of a pickle.

I admit, it did come off a bit clunky... Well anyway, hope it's clear now!

Troy Howarth
07-23-2010, 02:47 PM
Thanks, Larry :)

On the topic of Kubrick, I'd describe Kubrick's films as 'clinical' rather than 'cold': they have an objectivity to them, the characters studied like lab rats caught in various mazes, and (thankfully) never extend into sentimentality and bathos. Kubrick's pictures also seem to deal with the death of affect, BARRY LYNDON in particular (think of the blank-eyed Ryan O'Neal towards the end of that film; Lyndon's social progression leads to a numbness of being) - which is still my favourite Kubrick picture. EYES WIDE SHUT covers this theme quite directly too. Heck, if you want evidence that Kubrick's films are clinical, look at the great Leonard Rossiter's performances in 2001 and BARRY LYNDON: the man uncharacteristically has not one bead of sweat on his forehead :D

Kubrick's films deal with the absence of empathy and intimacy; the worlds through which the characters move are largely cold, inhuman and sterile (the totalitarian landscape of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE; the modern city of EYES WIDE SHUT; the military barracks and warzones of FULL METAL JACKET). That lack of warmth, comfort and intimacy is a key aspect of the social environments depicted (with more than a little irony) in the films. I don't think it's entirely fair to criticise Kubrick's films as 'cold', because the very 'coldness' of the landscapes depicted in the pictures he made is one of his major subjects (as with J G Ballard, Joseph Losey, Harold Pinter, David Cronenberg and, I would argue - in specific relation to this thread - Christopher Nolan). Kubrick's great subject is emotional detachment within sterile, inhuman environments/bureaucratic societies; the kind of emotional detachment that's taught to the young recruits in the first half of FULL METAL JACKET, which tries to tame Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, and which leads Jack to attack his family in THE SHINING, etc.

I would also add that I don't think that films being 'cold' is necessarily a bad thing, especially in today's age of popular culture-as-emotional guidance, with by-the-numbers screenplays driven by emotional epiphanies (perhaps one of the great myths of modern culture) and a foregrounding of who is having 'good feelings' and who is having 'bad feelings' - with the people having 'bad feelings' being 'redeemed' at the end of the narrative. (Eg, see this interview with respected documentarian Adam Curtis for a critique of this approach to film/television: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/20/adam_curtis_interview/print.html .)

Yes, I'd say clinical is a good description - detached, perhaps. When I think of "cold," I think of a film that generates no empathy on the part of the audience.

RichardDoyle
07-23-2010, 04:54 PM
Yes, I'd say clinical is a good description - detached, perhaps. When I think of "cold," I think of a film that generates no empathy on the part of the audience.

I think there's an ambiguity in "cold" that arises in this context. It can mean having a lack of feeling or emotion (which I think is true of all of Kubrick's films from "2001" on at least) or a failure to arouse feelings or emotions. The first sense is not automatically negative, while the second one most likely is.

Changing this a bit to talk about empathy specifically, I think Kubrick's films lack empathy for their characters, but don't fail to arouse empathy in the audience.

AdamAskov
07-23-2010, 05:25 PM
Thanks, Larry :)

On the topic of Kubrick, I'd describe Kubrick's films as 'clinical' rather than 'cold': they have an objectivity to them, the characters studied like lab rats caught in various mazes, and (thankfully) never extend into sentimentality and bathos. Kubrick's pictures also seem to deal with the death of affect, BARRY LYNDON in particular (think of the blank-eyed Ryan O'Neal towards the end of that film; Lyndon's social progression leads to a numbness of being) - which is still my favourite Kubrick picture. EYES WIDE SHUT covers this theme quite directly too. Heck, if you want evidence that Kubrick's films are clinical, look at the great Leonard Rossiter's performances in 2001 and BARRY LYNDON: the man uncharacteristically has not one bead of sweat on his forehead :D

Kubrick's films deal with the absence of empathy and intimacy; the worlds through which the characters move are largely cold, inhuman and sterile (the totalitarian landscape of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE; the modern city of EYES WIDE SHUT; the military barracks and warzones of FULL METAL JACKET). That lack of warmth, comfort and intimacy is a key aspect of the social environments depicted (with more than a little irony) in the films. I don't think it's entirely fair to criticise Kubrick's films as 'cold', because the very 'coldness' of the landscapes depicted in the pictures he made is one of his major subjects (as with J G Ballard, Joseph Losey, Harold Pinter, David Cronenberg and, I would argue - in specific relation to this thread - Christopher Nolan). Kubrick's great subject is emotional detachment within sterile, inhuman environments/bureaucratic societies; the kind of emotional detachment that's taught to the young recruits in the first half of FULL METAL JACKET, which tries to tame Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, and which leads Jack to attack his family in THE SHINING, etc.

I would also add that I don't think that films being 'cold' is necessarily a bad thing, especially in today's age of popular culture-as-emotional guidance, with by-the-numbers screenplays driven by emotional epiphanies (perhaps one of the great myths of modern culture) and a foregrounding of who is having 'good feelings' and who is having 'bad feelings' - with the people having 'bad feelings' being 'redeemed' at the end of the narrative. (Eg, see this interview with respected documentarian Adam Curtis for a critique of this approach to film/television: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/20/adam_curtis_interview/print.html .)

Best post in a while!

Thomas D.
07-23-2010, 05:28 PM
Interesting discussion here. I just saw this the other day and was less than impressed. In summary, I liked the first 30 or 40 minutes a lot, but I found the rest of it to be an uninteresting puzzle married to unexciting action scenes. The setup was there to go some interesting places, but I felt like it was just an excuse for some Matrix-y action shenanegins that I didn't find particularly interesting. I thought it was pretty well shot and well acted, except for Gordon-Levitt, who was horrible as usual, and Berenger, who apparently phoned in his performance from a bar phone. I wrote a review where I mostly rant on these type of films:
Inception review (http://cinemagonzo.blogspot.com/search/label/Inception%20%282010%29)

Randy Thomas G
07-24-2010, 02:50 AM
I think the snow fortress sequence was quite purposefully a reference to Bond films, just as the hospital room scene referenced 2001.

As for being cold, I find it an odd criticism of this film as I found Cobb's storyline with his wife and children actually more engaging emotionally than the similar storyline in Shutter Island.

Either way, I agree with Paul that 'coldness' is actually a quality I find valuable in films these days of cheap emotion, there's a proud tradition of this in lots of great modern writing, including not only Ballard but also the great Paul Bowles short stories and early novels.

Troy Howarth
07-24-2010, 10:37 AM
I can't comment on Inception just yet, but I found Shutter Island to be emotionally DEVASTATING, especially at the end. I guess we just can't all relate to the same things.

Steve R
07-25-2010, 11:18 PM
Really enjoyed Inception today.

One of the few times that the CGI suited the film well. The construction, or archetecting of the dream worlds lent itself to the kind of imagery that well done CGI can render. The influence of M.C. Escher's work on the production design was both a joy to behold and fit the plot very well, serving as an obvious metaphor.

Nolan is clearly a movie fan and the nods and references were plentiful from Citizen Kane to On Her Majesty's Sercet Service.

I had no problem following the story and manipulations. Much of it is spelled out very clearly as the film goes on. Sequences like the one in which Ellen Page's character tries to go further down Cobb's elevator make things clear. There were a couple bits like that. One of the team even remarks after hearing the expending time line explanation that he is bad at math - so it gets spelled out clearly so everyone can catch up and follow along. That's such an old school gimmick to have a character's musings or actions fill the audience in in case that missed or misunderstood a key point.

For me I love the Chris Nolan of Following and Memento and this was a big budget return to that part of his style. Well done. I was also very heartened to see it doing so well. The picture feels more adult than much of the usual Summer fare. My only misgiving would be that some of the "action" scenes went on too long, particularly the raid on the snow covered fortress. Was nice seeing many of the "regulars" from Nolan's films pop up. Oh and the water imagery was well written and well executed. Not since Chinatown has water imagery gotten such a nice run in a twisty who/what done it mystery.

Will be great fun to revisit this one at home on DVD when you can rewind and say, what was that bit? Kudos to Mr. DiCaprio for doing two "odd ones" lately, I'm sure attaching his name helps the production roll more smoothly.

Steve R
07-25-2010, 11:19 PM
oops, double post...or was this one a dream?

Larry Wilson
07-26-2010, 09:35 AM
oops, double post...or was this one a dream?

:D:D:D

Larry Wilson
07-26-2010, 12:34 PM
It made $43.5M this weekend to remain firmly in first place, so it appears it could have legs. It certainly inspires a lot of conversation, which is never a bad thing.

Jessie Li
07-26-2010, 02:05 PM
This movie was really fun and after I left the theater everyone was talking about the new Piranha 3d film. Honestly the film was kind of long. I am really excited to see it and I know that it is guaranteed to rock. I am a big horror fan and I have not seen anyone Man Vs. Nature films in 3d yet. Also, it has Aja from the Hills Have Eyes. Anyone else ready to get hooked like me?!?

Guillaume P
07-26-2010, 04:16 PM
I just saw this the other day and was less than impressed. An uninteresting puzzle The setup was there to go some interesting places, but I felt like it was just an excuse for some Matrix-y action shenanegins that I didn't find particularly interesting. I thought it was pretty well shot and well acted


I agree...aside from some good special effects,decent action scenes and acting,it was mostly boring,uninvolving...there's a surprising lack of dreamy mood for a film about dreams!

but i admit that,aside from his well made remake of "Insomnia",i don't like Nolan's films,i find them too long,too talky,explanatory,noisy (the loud Hans Zimmer score on "Inception"...almost 2h20 of music for a 2h26 film ha ha)...:(
But at least in "Inception" there is the lovely Ellen Page!:o

Thomas D.
07-26-2010, 05:07 PM
I agree...aside from some good special effects,decent action scenes and acting,it was mostly boring,uninvolving...there's a surprising lack of dreamy mood for a film about dreams!

but i admit that,aside from his well made remake of "Insomnia",i don't like Nolan's films,i find them too long,too talky,explanatory,noisy (the loud Hans Zimmer score on "Inception"...almost 2h20 of music for a 2h26 film ha ha)...:(
But at least in "Inception" there is the lovely Ellen Page!:o

I liked all of his previous films, and loved Memento on 1st viewing (it didn't stand up on 2nd viewing for me so much), but I just thought the script was shitty and a big wasted opportunity. Also, any action/suspense scenes that are completely divorced from realism bore me to tears (see the entirety of the second Matrix movie). It's fine if there is magic or fantasy or super powers properly integrated, but when a heist scene defies real world logic, physics, spatial dynamics, and dream logic for that matter, I don't really give a shit if the hero succeeds or not.

I also like Ellen Page a lot, even though I hate Juno. Go figure.

Guillaume P
07-27-2010, 05:06 AM
Also, any action/suspense scenes that are completely divorced from realism bore me to tears (see the entirety of the second Matrix movie). It's fine if there is magic or fantasy or super powers properly integrated, but when a heist scene defies real world logic, physics, spatial dynamics, and dream logic for that matter, I don't really give a shit if the hero succeeds or not.

the way Nolan edits his film (3 or 4 parallel actions/dreams into dreams into dreams...) is also repetitive and annoying..i had the feeling that if Nolan cut one hour of his film,or added one hour,it would have been exactly the same result!!
"Inception" seems to me like a bloated,overlong,arty version of "Dreamscape"...:p:rolleyes:

PS: i also liked Page in the cute "Bliss"!

Randy Thomas G
07-27-2010, 06:04 AM
I can't comment on Inception just yet, but I found Shutter Island to be emotionally DEVASTATING, especially at the end. I guess we just can't all relate to the same things.

I liked the ending of Shutter Island, but I was more affected by the similar scenes in Inception. Completely subjective of course.

Thomas D.
07-27-2010, 07:00 AM
"Inception" seems to me like a bloated,overlong,arty version of "Dreamscape"...:p:rolleyes:


I pretty much (indirectly) said the same thing. With the way Inception seems to be raking in the cash, we'll probably see a Dreamscape remake in the near future.

Larry Wilson
07-27-2010, 09:27 AM
I liked the ending of Shutter Island, but I was more affected by the similar scenes in Inception. Completely subjective of course.

Agreed. I personally know several other people who were similarly affected, so it is not an isolated event that Inception is able to elicit a strong emotional reaction.

Troy Howarth
07-27-2010, 09:43 AM
Agreed. I personally know several other people who were similarly affected, so it is not an isolated event that Inception is able to elicit a strong emotional reaction.

I honestly don't think the "cold" criticism is as widespread as you're taking it to be - it's a criticism that has been leveled against Nolan's work on this forum, sure, but that's purely subjective like anything else. I can't say if it applies to this particular film, but I would apply it to some of Nolan's other work.

Steve R
07-27-2010, 09:57 AM
Part of that perceived "coldness" may be attributed to the kind of clinical plotting that is favored by some mystery writers. My guess is that Nolan is a big fan of intricate puzzle like mysteries and some of that style, which to me is more British or European in nature than the American writers working in the same genre, may have rubbed off on him.

Pete Bogh
07-27-2010, 03:16 PM
This is pretty cool, takes just over 1 minute, requires sound:

Edith Piaf / "Non, je ne regrette rien" / Hans Zimmer / Inception score

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVkQ0C4qDvM

John G.
07-28-2010, 09:01 AM
A few pages back, Chuk Hell had a really perceptive complaint about wishing this film were more Jungian than Freudian, and indeed I've heard this criticism from some major critics (A.O. Scott from At the Movies/NY Times also wishes the film wasn't so orderly).

Having seen the movie, I wonder if the rather conventional (if exciting!) action scenes does not somehow cleverly comment on the unimaginative psyches of the film's protagonists - the businessmen, architects and espionage mercenaries that populate this world. These dreams-within-dreams are thus limited by the rather literal metaphors of secrets-locked-in-safes and elevators to different levels of the subconscious... Cillian Murphy's character has trained his mind to combat dream-espionage by filling his thoughts with SUV's driven by men with machine guns - I was watching the film and as characters opened fire at each other in the middle of a crowded street, I thought to myself "This reminds me of Michael Mann's HEAT," and now that I think about it, I bet his character has that film on DVD. :)

I think the film subtly plays with this sort of postmodern self-referentiality... that the third level of dream too-closely resembles a 007 picture may not be a failure of the imagination on the part of Nolan but rather a reflection that his characters cannot construct any reality that does not reflect one that already hasn't been constructed by cinema.

Thomas D.
07-28-2010, 12:34 PM
Having seen the movie, I wonder if the rather conventional (if exciting!) action scenes does not somehow cleverly comment on the unimaginative psyches of the film's protagonists - the businessmen, architects and espionage mercenaries that populate this world. These dreams-within-dreams are thus limited by the rather literal metaphors of secrets-locked-in-safes and elevators to different levels of the subconscious... Cillian Murphy's character has trained his mind to combat dream-espionage by filling his thoughts with SUV's driven by men with machine guns - I was watching the film and as characters opened fire at each other in the middle of a crowded street, I thought to myself "This reminds me of Michael Mann's HEAT," and now that I think about it, I bet his character has that film on DVD. :)

I think the film subtly plays with this sort of postmodern self-referentiality... that the third level of dream too-closely resembles a 007 picture may not be a failure of the imagination on the part of Nolan but rather a reflection that his characters cannot construct any reality that does not reflect one that already hasn't been constructed by cinema.

This is interesting, and hadn't occurred to me previously, but I don't know if it really works for me on that level when I think about it. For one, we don't really see these people in their daily (and supposedly empty) lives, or how their lives only exist as extensions of pop culture (although I see where you get the inference).

Also, these characters doing the heist are all presented as strong heroes with very defined goals, and these action scenes are a means to an end for these characters. I think if your theory was the idea Nolan was going for, these characters would be presented as being "trapped" in these dreams, having them work against their goals.

SPOILERS!
Having said that, you could maybe tie this idea to the ending, and say that Leo is constructing these action dreams to get away from the pain of his wife's death, in a similar way that people consume pop culture to get away from the horrors of life. I haven't analyzed the ending that much, but I don't know if I buy that that's what Nolan was going for.

I think a good example of a filmmaker that does this sort of thing well is Verhoeven, specifically with Total Recall.

The important thing to ask is: do a substantial number of viewers accept a satirical slant to the material? I tend to think fans of the movie view the characters as cool characters fulfilling goals through cool action scenes, but I can't say for sure.

Steve R
07-28-2010, 01:50 PM
Interesting angle, John.

There is a point while Cobb is explaining to Ellen page's character how to construct the dream worlds that he advises her not to lean too heavily on memories.
That's strategic advice. Protective so they don't get found out.

I get your point, but this is a commercial movie. To have characters descend into dreams that are completely untethered, that reflect Lovecraftian or even
more adventurous takes on reality would frankly lead this story in ways that betrays what it really is. It's a puzzle, A fun, mystery driven puzzle.
Without the recognizable keys to unlock it, it becomes a whole nother kettle of fish and simply not what Nolan had in mind.

I think those recognizable references are there on purpose to help you navigate your way through the story. Clues if you will that were created by someone who loves movies.
They work as simple plot points, too but are more enchanting if you get the references. At least to me they were.
It can always be darker, more inventive, but I give Nolan credit for spinning a tale that is very challenging yet is accessible on a pretty large level.

Pete Bogh
07-28-2010, 02:29 PM
SPOILERS
.
.
.

John: I had the same thoughts as I watched the film, that not only were the mostly perfunctory action sequences a result of bland but functional corporate/military training, but also I was laughing at how closely the street fights and snow-fortress siege resembled standard Bourne/Bond-esque set-pieces. It is absurd enough that I felt like on some level it *had* to be a comment on the general lack of outrageous creativity not only in the films we watch, but in our own supposedly boundless dreamworlds: both my own dreams and those I hear from friends seem to lean towards settings found in everyday/tv/movie situations, rather than vastly creative and trippy dream-like vistas. There are always exceptions of course, and if one happens to have sci-fi and fantasy epics every night while I'm dreaming about office stress and being chased, then good for them!

Also, there's good evidence to support that Cobb is never awake at all throughout the film, and therefore the target's mental training and its unimaginative content is yet another invention of his own mind in a dream-state. Who knows!

This leads to Thomas's comment about thew audience, and I must add that as I was thinking about this during the chase scenes, it was followed quickly by the thought that this was exactly the sort of joke/commentary which many viewers would not find terribly amusing in the middle of what was semi-sold as a cutting-edge 'action' blockbuster! It's a perfectly understandable reaction, but I'm glad it didn't hit me that way.

Kaushik Sankaranarayanan
07-29-2010, 12:06 AM
Just got back from seeing this.
Isn't this film a ripoff of The Thirteenth Floor (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0139809/)?

Aaron G
08-03-2010, 05:28 AM
So I finally saw this, and well, it was a interesting dissapointment, but prove to me that Nolan isn't the new 'Kubrick or Hitchcock', in fact he IS the new 'other' english director that people never seem to pull out of their arses to compare him to, and that is RIDLEY SCOTT, which makes this bloke IMHO a MASTER HACK!!

I've read all the responses, and here are some of mine in response:

1. nolan is 'cold'. I don't think so, but CONVENTIONAL - yes, very much. Another bloody simple 'heroes journey 101' charatcer mechanism going on here. Some might say 'thats the point he's being 'post modern' and 'films are dreams' thats why it's 'conventional'. OK, well I'll 'dream' and watch a far superior 'action/espionage/cyber' movie like the The International or DEMONLOVER (both of which I didn't love, but were better than INCEPTION).

2. 'Freud vs Jung'. Yeah Chuk hit it on the head. Total Freud, refer back to 'the heroes journey'

3. Auteur? Well if you consider Ron Howard or Joel Schumacher or Michael Bay 'auteurs' well then you can have him. MASTER TECHNICIAN, most defintely.

4. Why does Nolan always have these intense musical crescendos followed by a low booming drone for EVERY ACTION scene? To me it's all sound and fury signifying nothing, especially when the action scenes aren't anything out of the ordinary.

SPOILERS:

5. WHERE WAS THE SEX? Sure DeCrapcrio's wife always turned up in his dreams, BUT HE NEVER FUCKED HER!!! Come on!!!

6. Maybe I missed something along the way, but why did the story resolve to only bloody DeCraprio's dream when it established that other 'inceptors' dreams could interfere with proceedings? And why did it only focus ultimately with DeCraprios' conventional 'freudian' issues. Sure there was the other guy, but all the other charatcers 'subconscious' could have added an extra layer of sophistication and complexity, instead of the simplistic fucken conventional bogan fucken 'written by committe' dogshit Hollywood shits out and audiences come back to. MEH!

7. They have that notion of falling over to wake up as an escape. Well they flew from Sydney to LA, for those that actually have don'e that flight, there are moments of turbulence. Nolan goes for 'hyper really' or at least plausibility in his 'signature' he really stuffed up there!

What I liked :

1. The idea of the subconscious and 'projections' to set up 'the bads guys'/obstacles was a clever and original device, and besides some cool FX, that was all that was 'visionary' IMHO

John G.
08-03-2010, 06:05 AM
Nolan has indeed achieved something of a formalist filmmaking - MEMENTO, THE PRESTIGE and INCEPTION all have these "meta" structuralist moments where the film's style comments not only on the action but on the very constructed nature of film itself. Claims of emotional detachment are indeed true - the style and structure of his films almost demand a deconstruction of emotion - but I don't see this as a fault. They don't emotionally engage me, but I do appreciate the skill and shiny surfaces of his artifice.

I've succeeded in making a post as pretentious as a Christopher Nolan film. :)

Aaron G
08-03-2010, 06:27 AM
I don't care too much for emotion or lack of in films. I mean you can go watch a mellodrama or Spielberg film if you want emotion. I prefer the abstract complex emotions found in art film or Cassavetes.

I generally go for ideas in films, most of the emotional content in films, esp Hollywood, are rehashed ad-infinitum.

I don't find Nolan 'cold' at all. 'Dark' perhaps, but not cold. He'll never make a 'warm' movie, but then Ridley Scott did, so you never know1

John G.
08-03-2010, 06:33 AM
Yeah, it was all downhill for Scott after BLADE RUNNER, wasn't it? I'm not being ironic either... THE DUELISTS, ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER are perfect.

Troy Howarth
08-03-2010, 07:23 AM
I'd basically be inclined to agree about Scott, but for one thing - I LOVE Hannibal. Other than that, much of his subsequent work veers from the competent to the uninspired.

John G.
08-03-2010, 08:46 AM
I like HANNIBAL too, but even there one gets the sense that he is negotiating between a more aesthetically successful and entertaining style (the Italian section) with more commercial and mainstream sensibilities (the rest of the film). I do love the crazy Grand Guignol climax and the sick-joke ending, though... this is perhaps why critics were not fond of the film, however.

Anyway, I've felt that recent Scott films have made too many concessions to the conventional, mainstream filmmaking, hence the "hack" tagline he often gets pegged with these days (maybe not undeserving).

Troy Howarth
08-03-2010, 09:08 AM
I like HANNIBAL too, but even there one gets the sense that he is negotiating between a more aesthetically successful and entertaining style (the Italian section) with more commercial and mainstream sensibilities (the rest of the film). I do love the crazy Grand Guignol climax and the sick-joke ending, though... this is perhaps why critics were not fond of the film, however.

Anyway, I've felt that recent Scott films have made too many concessions to the conventional, mainstream filmmaking, hence the "hack" tagline he often gets pegged with these days (maybe not undeserving).

I'm undoubtedly biased, but I do think the Italian section is the best part of the film - it's the best Argento film Argento never made. The rest isn't quite that great, but like you, I love the sick, twisted sense of humor and the crazy ending. I've no doubt you're right - a lot of critics just couldn't appreciate the morbid humor of it.

I saw Robin Hood - it's not a bad film, really, and I'm hoping Max Von Sydow is remembered come Oscar time... but the casting of Crowe is all wrong for a lot of reasons. For one, he's too old to be playing what is, in essence, the young Robin Hood. For another, he looks just as he did in Gladiator, which ties into the third problem - his casting in itself makes it feel like Return of Gladiator. With a better piece of casting in that lead role - not that he's BAD in it - it might have stood up better. I think a lot of people had that basic problem with it, really.

Scott's a talented stylist, but he seems to be on autopilot anymore. I don't get a rush out of his films, nor do I get a sense that he's really passionate about it anymore. I could be wrong, but it just seems like he doesn't much care about it.

John G.
08-03-2010, 09:25 AM
Re: GLADIATOR - Oliver Reed is easily the best thing about the film.

Troy Howarth
08-03-2010, 09:35 AM
Absolutely - and WHY he wasn't nominated for a posthumous Oscar is beyond me... of course, he wasn't even nominated for The Devils, which is a crime in itself.

Larry Wilson
08-03-2010, 10:27 AM
So I finally saw this, and well, it was a interesting dissapointment, but prove to me that Nolan isn't the new 'Kubrick or Hitchcock', in fact he IS the new 'other' english director that people never seem to pull out of their arses to compare him to, and that is RIDLEY SCOTT, which makes this bloke IMHO a MASTER HACK!!

I think it's a disservice to call Nolan the new Kubrick, Hitchcock or anyone else. I think he is his own director with a very singular vision.

John G.
08-03-2010, 10:45 AM
I can see the comparison to Kubrick in regards to the tone, but you're definitely correct in saying that they are definitely very different directors - Kubrick seems to be a more eclectic filmmaker, keen on adapting literary works, working across all genres. Nolan seems more content on creating these structuralist puzzles. I don't really see the connection at all to Hitchcock.

Troy Howarth
08-03-2010, 11:12 AM
Comparisons are inevitable, but yeah - I don't see much of a parallel between what Nolan's doing and what Kubrick, Hitchcock, Ridley Scott or Kenny Ortega, for that matter, have done before him.

Pete Bogh
08-03-2010, 02:18 PM
1.....Another bloody simple 'heroes journey 101' charatcer mechanism going on here. Some might say 'thats the point he's being 'post modern' and 'films are dreams' thats why it's 'conventional'. OK, well I'll 'dream' and watch a far superior 'action/espionage/cyber' movie like the The International or DEMONLOVER (both of which I didn't love, but were better than INCEPTION).

2. 'Freud vs Jung'. Yeah Chuk hit it on the head. Total Freud, refer back to 'the heroes journey'


Alright - there's a lot of great reasons to dislike INCEPTION; the most damning is that people aren't feeling moved, or connected with the film. Perfectly valid, several of my close friends feel the same, etc. But, if on the other hand you're going to take it to task for academic reasons, I have some questions--

You've brought this up as a criticism of the film, clearly, and I'd like to know: where is the start and end of Cobb's "Hero's Journey", and how exactly does the structure of INCEPTION qualify as the simplest, most basic level of the Hero's Journey story, as you seem to imply by referring to it as '101' level material? I guess what I'm wondering is, if INCEPTION is so simple to be described as Heroes Journey 101, where does that leave Star Wars, Blade Runner, Road Warrior, and every other Hero's Journey example where layers of perception and questions regarding the nature of reality are not even significant factors in the narrative's events or its themes?

You also seem to be expressing some disappointment or exasperation that, although never mentioned by name or term, the film has elements of Freudian dream analysis. Is a psychological thriller set inside one or more layers of dreaming no place for Freud -or Jung, for that matter- to be present? I think this is a weird criticism, since once again, neither the men nor their theories are mentioned in any sort of intrusive way, and I for one would argue that a complete omission of dream theory would be... well, it'd be really fucking weird to leave out human psychology in a film about adventures inside people's dreams.

If, on the other hand, the criticism is more specifically that there's too much Freud and not enough Jung, nearly every piece I've read on the film which bothers to mention psychology, including this one (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evil-deeds/201008/inception-art-dream-and-reality) in Psychology Today, as well as countless reviews and analysis by various unsavory armchair/amateur (http://www.cinemablend.com/new/What-If-Inception-Were-Analyzed-By-Dream-Experts-19638.html) psychologist-movie reviewers (http://youngdaguerreotypes.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/on-christopher-nolans-inception/) and blogger-types, also points out that for those looking, elements of theory from *both* Freud and Jung can be found throughout the story. There are still others (http://www.michelle-chin.com/2010/07/movie-review-inception-2010.html) who claim that, in service to the story, Nolan has cherry-picked from both thinkers to the point that no serious linkage or dominance can be claimed by either school of dream theory! So I guess my question is: what is it about the film that so clearly makes it "total Freud" to you, and not also "total Jung", and why would either be a bad thing in a film about dreams?

Aaron G
08-03-2010, 06:38 PM
Alright - there's a lot of great reasons to dislike INCEPTION; the most damning is that people aren't feeling moved, or connected with the film. Perfectly valid, several of my close friends feel the same, etc. But, if on the other hand you're going to take it to task for academic reasons, I have some questions--

You've brought this up as a criticism of the film, clearly, and I'd like to know: where is the start and end of Cobb's "Hero's Journey", and how exactly does the structure of INCEPTION qualify as the simplest, most basic level of the Hero's Journey story, as you seem to imply by referring to it as '101' level material? I guess what I'm wondering is, if INCEPTION is so simple to be described as Heroes Journey 101, where does that leave Star Wars, Blade Runner, Road Warrior, and every other Hero's Journey example where layers of perception and questions regarding the nature of reality are not even significant factors in the narrative's events or its themes?

You also seem to be expressing some disappointment or exasperation that, although never mentioned by name or term, the film has elements of Freudian dream analysis. Is a psychological thriller set inside one or more layers of dreaming no place for Freud -or Jung, for that matter- to be present? I think this is a weird criticism, since once again, neither the men nor their theories are mentioned in any sort of intrusive way, and I for one would argue that a complete omission of dream theory would be... well, it'd be really fucking weird to leave out human psychology in a film about adventures inside people's dreams.

If, on the other hand, the criticism is more specifically that there's too much Freud and not enough Jung, nearly every piece I've read on the film which bothers to mention psychology, including this one (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evil-deeds/201008/inception-art-dream-and-reality) in Psychology Today, as well as countless reviews and analysis by various unsavory armchair/amateur (http://www.cinemablend.com/new/What-If-Inception-Were-Analyzed-By-Dream-Experts-19638.html) psychologist-movie reviewers (http://youngdaguerreotypes.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/on-christopher-nolans-inception/) and blogger-types, also points out that for those looking, elements of theory from *both* Freud and Jung can be found throughout the story. There are still others (http://www.michelle-chin.com/2010/07/movie-review-inception-2010.html) who claim that, in service to the story, Nolan has cherry-picked from both thinkers to the point that no serious linkage or dominance can be claimed by either school of dream theory! So I guess my question is: what is it about the film that so clearly makes it "total Freud" to you, and not also "total Jung", and why would either be a bad thing in a film about dreams?

Regarding the 'heroes' journey, those films you mentioned all provided quite original ideas for their time, regardless of the 'conventionality' of their heroes (though Blade Runner was more complex)..INCEPTION aint that original, so for a film like this to convince me, it would have to really go for something, like the film itself mentions 'deeper'. In regard to the Freudian aspects, the whole filmic journey was on DeCraprio overcoming the loss of his wife to reach the goal of incepting the idea, yr basic grief, loss, repress, anger, acceptance etc..Dr.Phil freud shit, minus all the libidnal stuff. Seriously these psychological/dramatic mechanisms have been done ad infinitum in mainstream films, I as a discerning film goer expect more, especially from some kind of 'visionary' 'auteur'.

Regarding Jung, his dream archetypes were more surreal and abstract of which the film for the mian overlooked these aspects, and one of the reasons I feel Nolan's film fails in terms of its creatvity and originality, which ultimately makes it way more 'pretentious' than people may say Robbe-Grillet is! I was ultimately watching this annoying, cookie cuuter fucken by-the-dots blockbuster that was trying to pass itelf off as some 'superior' entertainment, I was constantly thinking about Robbe-Grillet movies while this dumb film was playing before me in a logical and boring spectacle of hysteric crescendos, shit blowing up and fucken Leonardo DeCraprio causing shit to fuck up for not getting over his wife, while no-one else on the team caused shit to fuck up on such deep levels since they were all cyphers there to shoot-shit up, despite Nolan delivering all this mumbo jumbo to make us think otherwise. Puullease!!! Sure 'its only a movie', but Nolan fans regard him on some pedastal of his providing 'superior' or 'more intelligent' entertainment, when it reality he's serving up the same dumbed down shit.

Aaron G
08-03-2010, 06:44 PM
Scott's a talented stylist, but he seems to be on autopilot anymore. I

Just like Nolan.

John G.
08-03-2010, 08:28 PM
I think you may be selling the film a bit short, Aaron... the different synchronized overlapping of the different levels of the dreams was very well done - its not quite style over substance but rather the constructed artifice over any "deeper" emotional resonance.

Regardless of what Nolan fans are saying about his films, the man is very much in control of his vision and while the themes may be a retread, I love the way his films are structured.

Troy Howarth
08-03-2010, 08:44 PM
Just like Nolan.

I wouldn't say that's true of Nolan, myself. You may not like what he's doing, but I don't think it's true to say that he's not trying. Don't get too wrapped up in what the big time fans are saying - they have a passion for his work, and they're entitled to it, but simply because that may be overdone at times, it doesn't necessarily follow that he's a "hack."

Aaron G
08-03-2010, 09:34 PM
I'm over expending energy on this major disappointment of a movie.

Pete Bogh
08-03-2010, 11:56 PM
I'm over expending energy on this major disappointment of a movie.


Naw man, thanks for answering! I just wanted to bait you into elaborating :) and I agree with you in part.

I'm a bona-fide sucker for Philip K Dick-like metaphysical thrillers, and was very keen on the parts of Inception that were directly about Cobb's damage: how it affects his life and endangers those around him. But the cliched shoot-outs and action bits did bother me, nearly all of them feeling utterly empty and pedestrian contrasted against the consciousness-questioning that the movie is supposed to be about. Hell, my first thought was that shit was some sort of satire! I know the characters were all trying to adhere as close to reality as possible to complete the missions, but it made for sequences that looked like they could be from any other post-Bourne action film, and that's a problem when there's several of them throughout. Maybe it's just the video game player inside that found the stuff so bland and arbitrary, but it happened in almost every action-y scene outside the remarkable rotating hallway fight.

It made sense when I found an interview where Nolan mentioned how much he loves and is influenced by the Bond movies, and that On Her Majesty's Secret Service is probably his favorite one. Now, I like that choice a lot, but it still doesn't make a gunfight on skis particularly interesting-- *especially* in the context of full-on dream-world combat! I felt lucky that I was interested enough in the psychological thriller and sci-fi fantasy parts to not worry about the men-in suits shooting at each other-action ones. Like Memento, like Dark Knight, and like Insomnia, there was an emotional/character/mystery/puzzle component that I was really able to get into, despite all the running/shooting/skiing/jumping, and that's genuinely rare for me to encounter these days.

Troy Howarth
08-04-2010, 07:16 AM
I'm over expending energy on this major disappointment of a movie.

Message boards are great for, you know, actually discussing things. ;)

Randy Thomas G
08-04-2010, 07:33 AM
Nolan is obviously operating within the realm of mega-budget Hollywood filmmaking here, so there's only so far he could push the dream elements. Considering this is an action film, I think he did a good job of developing the material beyond the conventional box office 'smash' but this isn't in the league of a masterpiece or anything.

Jeff Mclachlan
08-05-2010, 08:37 PM
Christopher Nolan ripped off Uncle Scrooge! Seriously, check out this comic---there's some really striking similarities to Inception here.


http://videogum.com/208132/caught-inception-ripped-off-scrooge-mcduck/remakes-and-spinoffs/

Jeff Mclachlan
08-05-2010, 08:41 PM
I actually like the story in the comic better than Inception. There are some ideas in it that are more clever than anything Nolan came up with, like making specific sounds to influence the dreamer to imagine different objects.

And Donald Duck is a more compelling protagonist than little Leo any day.

Steve Barr
08-06-2010, 05:08 AM
I liked Inception, with some caveats. I loved the neo-Noir feel.

My biggest problem with it, and this is also a problem with Hollywood action films such as True Lies, is that it is not really an action movie, but a love story pretending to be an action movie. The sappy scenes this plot requires really drain some energy from the action movie I thought I was going to see.

SPOILERS

Given the concept (thanks D. Duck) I would have preferred a stripped down, single level dream (or single dream within the dream of the movie) with more inventive dream logic than guys with guns. I hope someone is brave enough to make a movie with more "freight train comes out of nowhere," impossible architecture, people appearing to be someone else, etc. kinds of twists. He's not my favorite director, but perhaps Guillermo del Toro could tackle Inception 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Christoffer S
08-07-2010, 07:18 PM
I liked it. The 3rd and 4th levels felt a bit lame, but the overall idea and the visuals made me like it. Also, I feel this was the first massive CGI film that actually had a purpose in all that CGI.

Lars Andersen
08-19-2010, 11:47 PM
Just saw this.

I think Nolan's main problem is his pacing actually. This film wants SO much, as others mentioned. Including all this, the running time wasn't nearly enough - it's just too "deep" for it's own good, and I actually found the action scenes to be in the way. Just like with Dark Knight, I noticed that the first hour of the film was too fast paced and it never settled down for the viewer (or itself) to dwelve on anything. I was surprised that this was actually an action movie more than anything else, and though it passed by quickly, I saw a potential for a much greater movie had the action scenes been toned down and focus been on all the other questions and problems of this dream-reality it also tries to show. The love affair/relationship thing didn't work at all for me, it was just pushed in and in the wrong places, and I found her to be miscast as well. It was flawed. Dark Knight suffered some of the same problems, but actually managed to get away with these things better (still find it over-rated as well). I don't understand the hype around this film - top 3? Come on...

Still, 7/10

Kamyar
08-20-2010, 08:08 AM
I was shocked by the script, it's so dumbed-down. Having two people sit down and explain the film is just godawful exposition. So much for the whole "artistic/intelligent blockbuster" business. :rolleyes: And the script commits the biggest sin of them all in the end. a)

Ellen Paige is so beige, she has zero presence and always plays the same kind of role, Leo Dicaprio does his best "Shutter Island" expression. I was terribly dissapointed. The movie ends up at 05/10 for me because of the stunning visuals, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Marillon Cotillard.

Since I hated a lot about this flic and wanted the characters to suffer, my interpretation of the ending is b)



SPOILER

a) The "It was/could've been all a dream" premise. *vomits*
b) that Mal wasn't insane, she was right all along and Leo is stuck in his own dreams because he didn't trust his wife.

SPOILER END.

Patrick B.
08-20-2010, 12:08 PM
I loved it. Plain and simple.

Larry Wilson
08-20-2010, 12:45 PM
I loved it. Plain and simple.

Welcome to our very, very small club. ;)

Jonathan D. Cox
08-20-2010, 01:46 PM
Welcome to our very, very small club.

Count me in!

Lars Andersen
08-21-2010, 02:53 AM
Plain and simple isn't good enough ;-)

Why!?

Jonathan D. Cox
08-21-2010, 10:15 AM
I generally loath summer blockbusters but I embraced this film despite the fact that Christopher Nolan's dreams look exactly like summer blockbusters. Polanski's THE TENANT looks exactly like many of my dreams as do the Brother Quay but I digress. I had no problem accepting the film's premise and felt that it followed it's own internal logic acceptably enough. I think Leo is a fantastic actor and I had just watched him in SHUTTER ISLAND a few days prior to viewing INCEPTION. I thought SI was excelletn btw. Ellen Paige lacks charisma but certainly didn't annoy me. As for the abundance of espository dialogue I actually expected more than the film provided. It would be nice if the film makers gave the audience a little more room to suss things out for themselves. However when a film costs as much as this and is targeted for mainstream audience consumption I expect a certain amount of dialogue to be dedicated to explaining the plot. Comes with the territory IMO.

Troy Howarth
08-21-2010, 12:34 PM
I think Leo is a fantastic actor and I had just watched him in SHUTTER ISLAND a few days prior to viewing INCEPTION. I thought SI was excelletn btw.

Welcome to MY very, very small club! :D

Steve R
08-21-2010, 05:25 PM
Shutter Island, Incecption small fan club now boarding.

Got my ticket :cool:

Jonathan D. Cox
08-21-2010, 08:25 PM
I regret not paying the premium for the IMAX presentation.

Daniel M
08-21-2010, 08:43 PM
Troy and Jonathan, make room for me in that very small club. LDC's got skills.

Christoffer S
08-22-2010, 08:05 AM
Count me in! I join the LDC club aswell.

James Flower
08-22-2010, 08:18 AM
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs287.snc4/40691_456595162078_620767078_6241765_5329847_n.jpg

Tony D
09-05-2010, 04:35 PM
I finally caught up with it last week. It's good, but hardly great. (IMdB currently has it as the 4th best movie OF ALL TIME!) The ideas are good, the visuals are fantastic but it's lacking in human drama despite the attempts to make DiCaprio's backstory compelling.
I contend that the over-the-top action and effects actually dilutes the heart of the storytelling. Here's one example where if the budget were cut in half, it would had twice the impact for Nolan would have had to be more creative in telling his tale rather than just showing one more chase and/or one more huge Sfx setpiece.

Frankly, I got bored at times with all the visual overload, and looked forward to the quieter character moments. I also got more than a little frustrated by all the new "rules" of dreaming that seemed to keep popping up long after the initial set-up. It reminded me of one of those crackpot guests on Art Bell's radio show, who, when caught in an apparent contradiction in their bizarro conspiracy theories - all of a sudden come up with an out of left-field new rule explaining that contradiction. Kinda like when you used to play with a friend over at their home and they would magically come up with a brand new "House Rule" so that they could win.

I understand the economic incentive to go big to attract a wider audience. It must have been difficult (even coming after DARK KNIGHT) for Nolan to sell the studio on a head trip movie, but, I'm talking art not commerce here. Lastly, Ellen Page, who I like, was miscast. She just seemed lost. And, to put her on screen near Marion Cotillard (I totally disagree with the previous diss of her performance(s) - she is quite compelling) makes the 'girl' vs. 'woman' comparison ever more apt (perhaps part of Nolan's plan, but still jarring).


SPOILERS++++++++++++






Biggest issue was that the dream sequences largely were these huge SFX and stunt sequences. One reviewer aptly put it by saying that it seemed like they were from a Michael Bay movie. And, the CITIZEN KANE by way of 2001 setpiece with the son and the father was laughable. Oh, come on!!! A pinwheel (Sleigh) from the photo and the large empty room pulled from a memory (2001)? I just laughed at the ripoff - oh, sorry, "hommage".
I left the theater thinking that the film's ending was "real". But, then, I harbored some second thoughts thinking that DiCaprio & Watanabe's characters may have entered limbo and then tried to imagine a better outcome. But, I'm now convinced again that it was all real. There was limbo, but it was relatively brief and ended by the time the plane landed.

Randy Thomas G
09-06-2010, 04:28 PM
From interviews it seems that Nolan's intention was to make an big-action film with more character and emotional centre than is usual for the genre. In that I think he succeeded. I also dug Shutter Island btw.

Ivan Hutchins
09-07-2010, 02:08 AM
It is however, a very dense and complicated movie, and it demands a lot of attention and patience from the viewer. Maybe too much... at the opening night screening that I attended I could really feel the audience getting restless around the 40-minute mark.

RichardDoyle
09-07-2010, 05:20 PM
Troy and Jonathan, make room for me in that very small club. LDC's got skills.

Me too. I wasn't wild about "Inception", but I think Leo (like a lot of big Hollywood actors) tends to get a bad rap because he's a star. I think he's matured into a really good actor.

Troy Howarth
09-07-2010, 06:16 PM
Really, he always was a good actor - people still hold Titanic against him, and it's ironic that his worst performance made him a star... but it was a cliche character spouting idiotic dialogue under the tutelage of a director who doesn't seem to care a damn about actors; no wonder he's "off" in it.

Paul Casey
09-07-2010, 06:19 PM
I don't think he's done too badly for a guy that learned how to act from Kirk Cameron.

Troy Howarth
09-07-2010, 06:21 PM
I was thinking back - I probably should make allowances for his very early work on TV and in whatever Critters movie he showed up in... but then again, he was just a kid. Looking at the bulk of what he's done since then, I tend to like his performances a great deal.

Jonathan D. Cox
09-07-2010, 09:06 PM
Really, he always was a good actor - people still hold Titanic against him, and it's ironic that his worst performance made him a star... but it was a cliche character spouting idiotic dialogue under the tutelage of a director who doesn't seem to care a damn about actors; no wonder he's "off" in it.

Never saw TITANIC. The hoopla crushed my interest in it. Good thing apprently.