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Peter T Chattaway

Inception (2010)

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Peter, does that mean these characters are living in Escher's World? :)
My mother said it was okay.

Ha! Was that a deliberate hat tip to me? :)

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David Edelstein @ New York magazine is the first critic to spoil the film's perfect 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes ... so now the fanboys are calling him "worse than Armond White."

See, Christian? I tried to tell you about this guy. :)

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I just want to note that Inception is the second movie this week, after The Sorcerer's Apprentice, to make hay of the myth that we only use 10 percent of our brains, and think what we could do if we used all of it. Thank you.

: Ha! Was that a deliberate hat tip to me? :)

Ha, no, I'd forgotten about that thread. I'm just a Chagall fan, is all. (Plus I recently linked to this spiffy Lego Escher site at my Facebook page the other day.)

I bet your subconscious remembered. Maybe only Dom Cobb could tell us for sure.

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Reading reviews. Wow, David Poland really Does Not Understand this film. I mean, holy smokes, he says that DiCaprio's character "has a side arc of his own, with Cotillard, but it’s really a side arc." Like the guy who told Lewis that his play about the man with the phobia of trees wasn't bad, but he really needed to lose "the padding about the trees."

You know who does get this film? Drew McWeeny. I'm really looking forward to his spoilerific follow-up after it opens.

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Todd McCarthy throws up his hands in trying to explain this film's plot:

I have no trouble believing that it took Nolan ten years to work out the film’s story, which might deserve to assume the mantle long held by “The Big Sleep” for possessing the most confounding movie plot. In honor of the occasion, and fully acknowledging the possibility of getting too many details wrong, I will happily forgo an extensive attempt to try to recapitulate it.

I love that bold admission. Throw in the towel!

I had trouble connecting the ostensible idea for the Inception job to the DiCaprio storyline, which really does have heart and soul, I thought -- contra McCarthy. But the outcome of the Cillian Murphy storyline and the energy stuff -- did that feel like a separate storyline to anyone else, something that didn't naturally tie to the rest of the plot? I kept wondering about the Watanabe and Gordon-Levitt characters, as well as the other team members, who seemed less important and less relevant as the story unspooled and became increasingly about DiCaprio's character. Only Page's character has a strong connection to Cobb's fate, but she's saddled with some clunky lines.

I'm still thinking this through. I would like to hear from others who have seen the film, if they're inclined to share.

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SDG wrote:

: I just want to note that Inception is the second movie this week, after The Sorcerer's Apprentice, to make hay of the myth that we only use 10 percent of our brains, and think what we could do if we used all of it. Thank you.

Oh dear. I can forgive this in a piece of junk like The Sorcerer's Apprentice, but I'd rather not have to deal with it in a presumably and/or ostensibly smart movie like this one.

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Rex Reed on Nolan and Inception (and it ain't pretty):

Writer-director Nolan is an elegant Hollywood hack from London whose movies are a colossal waste of time, money and I.Q. points. "Elegant" because his work always has a crisp use of color, shading and shadows, and "hack" because he always takes an expensive germ of an idea, reduces it to a series of cheap gimmicks and shreds it through a Cuisinart until it looks and sounds like every other incoherent empty B-movie made by people who haven't got a clue about plot, character development or narrative trajectory. Like other Christopher Nolan head scratchers-the brainless Memento, the perilously inert Insomnia, the contrived illusionist thriller The Prestige, the idiotic Batman Begins and the mechanical, maniacally baffling and laughably overrated The Dark Knight-this latest deadly exercise in smart-aleck filmmaking without purpose from Mr. Nolan's scrambled eggs for brains makes no sense whatsoever. Is it clear that I have consistently hated his movies without exception, and I have yet to see one of them that makes one lick of sense. It's difficult to believe he didn't also write, direct and produce the unthinkable Synecdoche, New York. But as usual, like bottom feeder Charlie Kaufman, Mr. Nolan's reputation as an arrogant maverick draws a first-rate cast of players, none of whom have an inkling of what they're doing or what this movie is about in the first place, and all of whom have been seen to better advantage elsewhere. Especially Leonardo DiCaprio, who remains one of the screen's most gullible talents. After his recent debacle in Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese's dopey insane-asylum bomb, one hoped for something more substantial from the easily misled Leo, not another deranged turkey like Inception. He should have stayed in bed.

http://www.observer.com/2010/culture/can-someone-please-explain-inception-me

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Note to self: Put Rex Reed on your Ignore List.

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The Dark Knight was "maniacally baffling?" What does that even mean? Batman Begins was "idiotic?" Did Christopher Nolan bully Rex Reed on the playground when they were young or what?

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I just want to note that Inception is the second movie this week, after The Sorcerer's Apprentice, to make hay of the myth that we only use 10 percent of our brains, and think what we could do if we used all of it. Thank you.

I just want to note that this is the third Christopher Nolan film in which Nolan creates scenarios that require putting a bag over Cillian Murphy's head. Whence comes this compulsion?

Also: Am I mistaken, or is that an Edith Piaf recording that plays an important part in this film? Considering Cotillard's major role, that was rather distracting.

Also: Tom Berrenger rivals Mickey Rourke for the most impressive (and alarming) evolution of onscreen appearance since Marlon Brando. The guy's head is a magnificent ruin.

Also: It is just really, really weird that DiCaprio starred in both this film and Shutter Island in the same year. The films could have been 20 years apart and they would have inevitably been compared.

Also: Nolan needs to work with another composer. Like, yesterday.

Edited by Overstreet

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Note to self: Put Rex Reed on your Ignore List.

I stopped paying attention to Reed a long time ago. His criticism is so prone to vitriol and scorn that I find it difficult to take seriously.

Edited by opus

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Overstreet wrote:

: Also: Am I mistaken, or is that an Edith Piaf recording that plays an important part in this film?

I have heard that one of her recordings is in this film, yes.

: Considering Cotillard's major role, that was rather distracting.

Unless it's an intentional homage, of course. (I haven't seen the film yet, so I don't know; I've got tickets for tonight, though!)

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Wow, Clint. I just keep reading and re-reading that Rex Reed quote in disbelief. Reed's never scored a single point for me as a critic, but that may be the single most spectacular self-disqualification I've ever seen from a film critic. He makes Armond White seem deeply insightful.

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Oh, and another thing: If you were frustrated by the difficult sound mix in The Dark Knight, this film's likely to drive you crazy. The main reason I'm eager to see it again is that in any five-minute span of the movie, there was at least one line that made me go "What in the world did he just say?" And it wasn't inconsequential. I really, really need to know what they said.

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Todd McCarthy throws up his hands in trying to explain this film's plot:

I love that bold admission. Throw in the towel!

It's stupid, though. The film actually has a very linear and straightforward story. It might be more challenging to say what it's about, in a thematic sense, but there's very little difficulty about what actually happens ... (with one spectacularly crucial exception).

I just want to note that this is the third Christopher Nolan film in which Nolan creates scenarios that require putting a bag over Cillian Murphy's head. Whence comes this compulsion?

Haw! Well, I've always wanted to do that. Just think how much Sunshine would have improved if someone had thrown a bag over Murphy's head at some point.

Oh, and another thing: If you were frustrated by the difficult sound mix in The Dark Knight, this film's likely to drive you crazy. The main reason I'm eager to see it again is that in any five-minute span of the movie, there was at least one line that made me go "What in the world did he just say?" And it wasn't inconsequential. I really, really need to know what they said.

I'll admit that a reason I want to see the film again is to listen for lines I missed. It's very, very, very, very far from "the main reason." :)

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I'm getting the feeling you and I are going to write very different reviews, SDG. :) I look forward to learning from you. It's not that I don't think the film has a linear, comprehensible narrative - I agree with you that it does. (I actually think that the film works as profound exploration of several ideas.) But there are other aspects of the film, that, well... I need to write my review.

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I look forward to learning from you.

Same here. Already I've learned something: Zimmer's score bugs people who know about music. It didn't bother me, but I did find myself wondering once or twice if it would bother me if I were more of a music guy.

As for the linear story ... well, the real test is how it holds up to subsequent viewings. Sometimes things that seem obscure or disjointed turn out to dovetail perfectly; other times a seemingly cogent narrative reveals insoluble problems. And some people are quicker to spot these things than others.

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Wow. I'm in a workshop all day, get out and eagerly look to see a response to my big concern about how the two storylines fit together, but nothing. :(

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Well, Christian, I'm supposed to refrain from posting a review or an opinion of the film until Friday. That's why I'm not responding to your concern yet.

Edited by Overstreet

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