Thursday, July 29, 2010

Inception (2010)

Holy cow. This lived up to all the hype that I had put on it based on the trailer. The acting was superb, the story was terrific, and the action was unbelievable. The most fun I've had watching a movie in a long, long time.

Cobb and Arthur (Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) specialize in a very unique form of security/thievery. They do so by invading their subject's mind. However, Cobb has something else on his mind and that's seeing his kids again. Through a serious of events, Cobb is a wanted man in the United States. He decides to take one last job from a wealthy international businessman (Ken Watanabe) in order to get his past crimes erased and so he can see his children. The job he is intended to do is not as easy as it seems. Without getting into too much detail, because it will being to ruin the movie, I will say that things on this job go out of control. The main question is: Will Cobb see his youngsters ever again?

At it's core, this is a very basic action movie plot. Guy needs to do one more job to get out of the biz. It's where the story goes with that plot that I absolutely loved. All of the cast were terrific, but Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy really commanded the screen and took over when they were needed. I got bothered by one person leaving the theater early when I went so I will say this: Don't NOT leave/miss this movie. Watch it in theaters if you can, Blu-Ray if you wait. It's well worth it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Alice In Wonderland (2010)

I was told you love this or hate it and yet I'm caught right down the middle. I really liked some parts of this, while others I didn't. Tim Burton just seemed a shade off his game on this one.

At age 20, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is set to be engaged to her beau. Problem being, she doesn't want that. It's at that point when she notices an oddly familiar rabbit in a waistcoat. She follows him to a tree and, you guessed it, down a rabbit hole. While down in Wonderland (it's actually Underland, apparently I've misunderstood), she does not believe the sight of it. A talking dormouse, flowers with faces on them and the Bandersnatch that almost kills's all too much to be real. When she meets the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), it's definitely got to be a dream. As her journey progresses, things start to seem familiar to if she'd visited this place before but that couldn't be possible. Once she meets the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), that's when it starts getting real.

I was very intrigued by the idea of Alice returning to Wonderland and this not being and exact copy of the 1950s animated movie. I mean it has the Cheshire Cat and the Tweedles, but there are many differences. The thing that threw me out of it was that it was clearly made with 3-D in mind. Tim Burton's got the talent to make a movie and have 3-D follow him, not the other way around. At least Avatar gave you the feeling of a movie first. The other thing, this is NOT appropriate for young kids. How it got to be PG, I have no idea. Still, I do recommend it, but my mind may change on later viewings.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Invictus (2009)

Clint Eastwood can direct a movie and there is no debate about that. While this was a good movie, it was definitely one of Eastwood's weaker efforts. Not for lack of trying though.

The film begins in South Africa circa 1994. Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) was released from prison after 27 years for opposing the country's segregationist rules of Apartheid and, between 1990-1994, Mandela develops a following and is elected president of South Africa. The country is still racially divided though. The evidence of this is country's rugby team the Springboks, led by Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), and for now, they suck. But Mandela has hope that they will pull together and unite the country when they host the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Oddsmakers had the Springboks as a good chance to make it out of the first round, but that was it. Since it's a true story, nothing should be ruined for the viewer. For one tournament, the country can forget their troubles.

The "not for lack of trying" that I was talking about was the acting. Great performances from both of the leads which, not surprisingly, led to Oscar nods for Damon and Freeman. The problem with this was that I didn't feel the story was portrayed as inspirational as it clearly was intended. I say watch this, but don't expect the same work you saw from Eastwood in Mystic River, Unforgiven, or even Changeling. It just won't add up.