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Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Old 07-14-10, 03:26 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by dan30oly View Post
I just really hope this turns out better than the last Leo film I saw - Shutter Island - that movie was absolute garbage.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:30 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by dan30oly
I just really hope this turns out better than the last Leo film I saw - Shutter Island - that movie was absolute garbage.
Originally Posted by Blu Man View Post
Originally Posted by dan30oly
Best Movie I saw in the theater in 2009: Transformers 2. Worst Movie: Avatar
Best Movie I have seen in 2010: The A-Team
What'd you really expect him to say? Not that Avatar was particularly great, but man was it leagues above Trannies 2.

As long as the visuals are nice, the pacing decent and it proves entertaining, I'll be happy with Inception.

Last edited by RichC2; 07-14-10 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:32 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
What'd you really expect him to say? Not that Avatar was particularly great, but man was it leagues above Trannies 2.
And is the "A-Team" the only movie he's seen in 2010? No wait, forgot about the garbage that is "Shutter Island".
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Old 07-14-10, 03:33 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
My first impressions of the film: Incredibly shot, well performed, and the least impressed I've been with a Nolan film since Insomnia (although it is significantly better than Insomnia). It's shockingly straight forward, with no real surprises. It has several flawlessly executed sequences that will make you say wow, but it mostly leads up to a good film and not a great one. I'll be seeing it again tonight for work, and I'll write my review after the second viewing, but as it stands right now it's definitely not my favorite film of the year, or even the best film Leonardo DiCaprio has been in this year.

It's interesting how many people finding out that a movie is good instead of great leaves them feeling disappointed. It's like they enjoyed the movie overall, but wanted to be completely floored and weren't. Nolan is a solid filmmaker with very little flaw, but he isn't the next coming of Kubrick as many seem to think for some reason.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:36 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD View Post
It's interesting how many people finding out that a movie is good instead of great leaves them feeling disappointed. It's like they enjoyed the movie overall, but wanted to be completely floored and weren't. Nolan is a solid filmmaker with very little flaw, but he isn't the next coming of Kubrick as many seem to think for some reason.
Nolan is entirely too narrative driven to really fit in with the greats, so far at least. He's still a young guy in directors terms (39) and has had one hell of an introductory decade (though most revered "modern" classics (ie: Godfather) were made by directors in their 30s.) He needs to learn how to take a step back and let his narratives breath, even if just a little. Still makes for some damn entertaining movies, though.

Entirely off topic, but I'm still trying to figure out how The Prestige ($40m in 2006) cost less to make than Insomnia ($46m in 2002).

Last edited by RichC2; 07-14-10 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:38 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD View Post
It's interesting how many people finding out that a movie is good instead of great leaves them feeling disappointed. It's like they enjoyed the movie overall, but wanted to be completely floored and weren't. Nolan is a solid filmmaker with very little flaw, but he isn't the next coming of Kubrick as many seem to think for some reason.
Nolan and Kubrick has two things in common.

1.) Spinning Hallways/Lack of gravity.

2.) NY critics hate them.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:40 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Daytripper View Post
And is the "A-Team" the only movie he's seen in 2010? No wait, forgot about the garbage that is "Shutter Island".
I can easily see how someone would like A-Team the best so far this year It's my second fave behind How To Train Your Dragon.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:43 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD View Post
It's interesting how many people finding out that a movie is good instead of great leaves them feeling disappointed. It's like they enjoyed the movie overall, but wanted to be completely floored and weren't. Nolan is a solid filmmaker with very little flaw, but he isn't the next coming of Kubrick as many seem to think for some reason.
I've felt that Nolan has been noticeably improving as a director and storyteller since Insomnia (which was a step back from Memento), topping himself with each film through The Dark Knight. I was hoping he would somehow do the same with Inception, but it was not to be.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:49 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

...I actually thought TDK, for all it does right, was a step backwards from The Prestige in terms of directing, though The Prestige was a much smaller scale movie.

Ebert's 4 Star Review of Inception:
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/...IEWS/100719997

He briefly defended the people who didn't care for it on Twitter, as opinions are opinions afterall.

Last edited by RichC2; 07-14-10 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 07-14-10, 04:20 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

I should reiterate that I think it's still very much worth seeing, with some truly memorable moments. Just don't go in expecting something on the level of TDK (or The Prestige).

Last edited by Supermallet; 07-14-10 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 07-14-10, 04:38 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
I can easily see how someone would like A-Team the best so far this year It's my second fave behind How To Train Your Dragon.
Maybe if you've only seen four or five movies. The A Team is a fun action flick, but by no means is it one of the best 2010 has had to offer.

Hey, Supermallet, can you add the additions to the poll?
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Old 07-14-10, 04:58 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

I don't think I can edit polls. Maybe one of the admins can.
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Old 07-14-10, 05:12 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
I don't think I can edit polls. Maybe one of the admins can.
Ok, thanks.
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Old 07-14-10, 06:17 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
I should reiterate that I think it's still very much worth seeing, with some truly memorable moments. Just don't go in expecting something on the level of TDK (or The Prestige).
So in essence, a below average Nolan film is still better than an average Michael Bay.
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Old 07-14-10, 06:19 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
I should reiterate that I think it's still very much worth seeing, with some truly memorable moments. Just don't go in expecting something on the level of TDK (or The Prestige).
I think Inception is a far more polished and ambitious film than The Prestige. But I agree that people shouldn't go in expecting to see another Dark Knight. I think it'll do well as an intelligent movie option but it's not going to be a runaway blockbuster.
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Old 07-14-10, 06:20 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD View Post
So in essence, a below average Nolan film is still better than an average Michael Bay.
Nolan could make a movie with nothing but people shitting for 2 hours and it would still be better then a Michael Bay film.
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Old 07-14-10, 06:25 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Brian Orndorf put it well when he said this movie has the emotional investment of a college lecture. As great as the stuff onscreen was, I never felt sucked into it the way I did with most of Nolan's other films. It's like Nolan was studying the subject of dreams, and not living it.
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Old 07-14-10, 06:31 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Brian Orndorf put it well when he said this movie has the emotional investment of a college lecture. As great as the stuff onscreen was, I never felt sucked into it the way I did with most of Nolan's other films. It's like Nolan was studying the subject of dreams, and not living it.
Seems like some think Nolan succeeded in making it emotional, others don't. I guess I'll just have to see.

Ebert said this:
Nolan helps us with an emotional thread. The reason Cobb is motivated to risk the dangers of inception is because of grief and guilt involving his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard), and their two children. More I will not (in a way, cannot) say. Cotillard beautifully embodies the wife in an idealized way. Whether we are seeing Cobb's memories or his dreams is difficult to say--even, literally, in the last shot. But she makes Mal function as an emotional magnet, and the love between the two provides an emotional constant in Cobb's world, which is otherwise ceaselessly shifting.
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Old 07-14-10, 06:34 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Oh, there is an emotional framework, but I don't think it connected very well.
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Old 07-14-10, 06:46 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/44658/inception/

I agree that the movie studies emotion rather than expressing emotion, but I feel that's in keeping with Nolan's work.
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Old 07-14-10, 06:48 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Blu Man View Post
Maybe if you've only seen four or five movies. The A Team is a fun action flick, but by no means is it one of the best 2010 has had to offer.
I've seen more then that. It's still one of my favorites of the year I know, opinions are a hard thing to grasp.
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Old 07-14-10, 07:01 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
I've seen more then that. It's still one of my favorites of the year I know, opinions are a hard thing to grasp.
They really are. I mean when you said The A Team is one of your favorites of '10 I shit my pants and killed my dog. But after crying in the shower for 30 minutes and cutting one of my toes off, I'm all good.
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Old 07-14-10, 08:24 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Entirely off topic, but I'm still trying to figure out how The Prestige ($40m in 2006) cost less to make than Insomnia ($46m in 2002).
Prestige starred Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and Scarlett Johannsen. Insomnia starred three Oscar winners with Al Pacino, Hillary Swank, and Robin Williams. Best explanation I can come up with.
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Old 07-14-10, 08:25 PM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD View Post
Prestige starred Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and Scarlett Johannsen. Insomnia starred three Oscar winners with Al Pacino, Hillary Swank, and Robin Williams. Best explanation I know of.
Insomnia also looks to have been totally shot on location, whereas much of Prestige is sets.
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Old 07-15-10, 04:10 AM
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Re: Inception (Nolan, 2010)- The Reviews Thread

My review for those who are interested:

In nine years, Christopher Nolan has gone from bright new spot in the filmmaking world to one of its leading lights. His first film, Following, was roundly ignored. His second, Memento, was anything but. A mind-bending film constructed backwards, Memento was a film that was far better than it's gimmick premise should have allowed. Warner Bros. liked what they saw and gave Nolan their remake of the chilly thriller Insomnia. Since then, Nolan's rise to prominence has been thoroughly meteoric. He was given the reigns of the Batman franchise after the phenomenal failure of Batman and Robin and gave us Batman Begins, easily the best hero origin film yet made. He followed this up with The Prestige, a sleight-of-hand film about the ultimate sleight-of-hand. The Prestige showed considerable growth from Batman Begins, which itself showed considerable growth from Insomnia. But nothing could have prepared us for The Dark Knight, Nolan's sequel to Batman Begins. Upping the ante in every respect, Nolan not only gave us the most thoroughly realized depiction of Batman and his world yet put on film, but in the process created a propulsive film that stands alone as its own achievement. It also revealed Nolan's fully mature filmmaking style, assured and well realized. Now, in between The Dark Knight and his as yet untitled third (and presumably final) Batman film, Nolan presents Inception, a big canvas mind-bender designed to be intellectual summer entertainment.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, an "extractor." He's a man who gets information from the hardest place to hide it: A person's unconscious mind. He steals information through their dreams. He and his partner in crime Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) have a run-in with Saito (Ken Watanabe), who hires them to not steal information, but plant it through a process called "inception." Normally Cobb would create a dream for the mark himself, but he can't, because he's being haunted by the unconscious projection of his dead wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard). So he turns to Ariadne (Ellen Page) to create the dream while Cobb and his team convince Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) to break up his father's business empire in favor of building an even better corporation.

Inception doesn't sound too simple on the page, but Nolan takes great care in spending plenty of time introducing every concept that the audience needs to know. In fact, coming from the man who brought us Memento and The Prestige, Inception is downright simple. While most people assumed that the big theme of the film would be what is real and what is not, that is not Nolan's aim at all. He doesn't waste his time trying to trick the audience into thinking that a dream is reality or vice versa. Instead, he focuses on the emotional journey of Cobb as this latest job forces him to face his personal demons. This simplicity is surprising, and in a way, disappointing. The film spends a lot of time talking about labyrinths and mazes, but the story itself is a straight line.

Unfortunately, the mechanics being as straightforward as they are, the film throws its hand in with Cobb and his emotional turmoil for a focus. The problem is that Cobb's issues, aside from ringing shockingly close to the character DiCaprio plays in Shutter Island, don't ultimately connect. The turmoil one feels when they've lost a spouse is offset by the aggressive nature of her projection in his unconscious, which is the only version we ever really see of her. These shortcomings don't translate to the performances, though. DiCaprio and Cotillard both bring their A-game, and Nolan's ability to get excellent performances from his cast hasn't diminished. This is the first time I've found Ellen Page less than annoying, and in fact, she is quite good. Cillian Murphy is also multi-layered, and in fact has the best emotional arc in the film, far more interesting than Cobb's stunted emotions.

This might not have been such a stumbling block had the other characters gotten the kind of development Cobb gets. I know that it isn't their movie, but when you have actors as talented as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, and Ken Watanabe, to make them nothing but elements for furthering the plot is doing them a disservice. I barely remembered the names of the other characters as they are much more easily defined by the role they play in the plot. Compare this to The Dark Knight, where many tertiary characters are memorable, or Memento, where every character has their own agenda that plays out through the movie. In Inception, we got Cobb and Mal and then Ariadne serves as the eyes of the audience. But even as she provides a gateway for us to understand what is happening, we learn nothing about her.

That's not to say Inception is a failure. On a visual and technical level, there's enough here to impress even the most jaded movie-goer. There are several "wow" sequences that are structural marvels. But as well-choreographed as it may be, it still lacks the feeling to give it an emotional kick to go with the sensual one. Nolan also avoids using editing to suggest dream logic, which I find strange as the story makes explicit use of this logic when necessary. Film often acts like a dream, cutting to the important moments, switching from location to location, perspective to perspective without the intervening connective tissue. The brain fills these blank spaces in for us in movies, just as it does in a dream. Nolan doesn't capitalize on these similarities, making the editing as obvious as the story.

And while Inception may be a hollow exercise, it is still an enjoyable one. A bulk of the film takes place in Cillian Murphy's dream, and the mechanics of the con the team has developed to make inception possible is tightly wound and thrilling. It's just a shame that all the best parts have to get bogged down by an emotional through-line that is not as interesting as the world it's populating. While there's a lot to like about Inception, I know that Nolan is capable of so much more. 3.5 Stars
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