Archive for July, 2010

I Saw it at the Theatre (in a Dream): Inception

Posted in Tony on July 27, 2010 by eightdollardreams

 Spoiler Warning: Many major plot points revealed within.

[the first pain reliever a film-maker reaches for is] the fantasy sequence or the dream sequence because
basically you’re looking for a way to say certain things, and the easiest way is to just say it in an abstract way
 you don’t have to work into your reality, and have your character [wake up]

– Brad Bird, director of “The Incredibles” and “The Iron Giant”

    Even in my dreams, I’m an idiot who knows he’s about to wake up to reality.

– Vanilla Sky

  I usually have a feeling of shame when I review a movie that’s been out for two weeks, but seeing as Inception topped last weekend’s box office at #1 once again, I’m sure there’s enough yahoos still rushing to see it that this will find some use.

     But, like I said, Inception (the newest Sci-Fi flick written and directed by Christopher Nolan), has had more than a few reviews already, so I thought I’d weigh in on a few before seeing it myself. When you’ve walked the beat as long as I have you know who to turn to in situations like this.

Curtis, the filthy homeless man who lives in the vacant lot by my house

     Don’t let his unfortunate current social status fool you, Curtis is a well versed cinephile with a keen eye for cinematography, I was sure he had some interesting notes/half eaten cans of tuna that I could pick from.

“It was super trippy man,” he told me, “there’s stairs and shit you know? And water, and like, that chick from Juno, you know, the one that got Jason Bateman knocked up, remember that?”

“Uh, I don’t think that was how the movie went.”

“What movie?”

    It’s a shame the rest of our interview had to be cut short as Curtis needed to “go snort some Nyquill”, but I was glad to hear he’d had a positive impression.

Tony, the much cleaner homeless man who lives in the vacant lot by my house

“I didn’t really get it,” Tony confessed to me, “about half way through they just lost me, and I was completely sober.”

Completely sober?”

“Well, I had a contact high from Curtis, but aside from that and the acid I was pretty straight, yeah”

     Tony wasn’t the only one confused, it seems the general moviegoing audience also had difficulty following the twists and turns of the admittedly convoluted plot. And, hey, it’s not like some great movies can’t be really confusing some of the time, right? Maybe I should get one more opinion.

Smithee

     I arrived at Smithee’s house and let myself in, catching a glimpse of what can only be described as an octopus formed of human centipedes. I showed myself out without asking any questions.

My Review

     Inception is complicated. That shouldn’t be an admission of guilt, Memento was complicated, I’ve known people who had trouble following the Godfather, or even Apocalypse Now, complicated shouldn’t be a death sentence. I’ll admit myself, there was one or two scenes where I was lost, but if you trust that everything is resolved in the third act your brain won’t melt on the drive home.

     Simplicity is my goal while I talk about this movie though, and the best I can do is remind you what Inception is about: a thief (Leonardo DiCaprio) steals (or, later in the film, plants) ideas in the minds of wealthy businessmen by using a piece of fictional military hardware  (I think they called it “Dream Net”, though I like to think of it as “the Briefcase”) that lets him (using iv inserted psychic drugs) enter their dreams.  Not exactly high concept, but there’s only two things you need to remember: “thief”, and “fictional military hardware”.

Inception is a Sci-Fi Heist movie. Ocean’s 11 meets Minority Report.

     Really, swear to god. Even all the usual Heist trope characters are there, the Leader, the Muscle, the Techie, the Planner, the Pickpocket, the Imposter, but what  they’re stealing and how they’re stealing it is different.

     Inception feels unique the whole way through, you’re drawn to the screen in every scene and by the end you’ll be genuinely interested in the characters, even though they don’t get much of a chance to develop.

    The action is top notch, including a zero gravity fight that I can’t get out of my head and a pulse pumping chase through the streets of Mombassa . It’s mostly gunplay and the fisticuffs pass by quickly, but you’ll never go more than a few scenes without action.

      Everyone gives a solid performance but there were three that stood out in my mind as noteworthy:

Ellen Page finally (finally!) uses her full potential

Ellen plays the new girl of the group, and she gives her character intelligence and realism. I was not a fan of Juno, Smart People, or Whip It!, in fact before Inception my fondest memories of her were as Kitty Pryde in Brett Rattner’s gawdawful X Men threequel. I hope we get to see her in more roles of this caliber in the future.

Marion Cotillard manages to switch from scary to sweet like a light switch

      Marion plays Leonardo’s wife (or rather, her memory), and she shows considerable talent doing so. In Leo’s good memories of her she’s sweet and kind, all hand-holding and giggles, but when Ellen’s character trespasses in Leo’s dreams, she becomes a threatening, dark spirit of Leo’s vengeful guilt, and it’s convincing! It must take a whole lot of talent to play two distinctly different characters in one, and Marion does it so well.

Tom Hardy is a bona-fide action hero

     In Inception, Tom Plays Eames, the slick talking pick pocket who helps Leo in his heist, but very soon Tom will be playing Max Rockatansky (of the Melbourne Rockatanskys) in Mad Max 4: Fury Road. Being very invested in the Mad Max series, I was eager to take this chance to judge if he had the chops to fill Gibson’s racist boots.

I was not disappointed.

In the third act Eames departs on a marathon run of ass-kickery that sees him dispatching at least a dozen guards, blowing up a Humvee, and then a hospital (because fuck them, that’s why). Fury Road, here we come!

Tl;dr

Inception is far and wide the best movie of the Summer so far, and I’ll peg it as the best geek culture movie of the year right now. Go and see it. And hey, if you don’t get it, you can ogle this for two hours.

Good stuff.

-TM

Howdy! Howdy! Howdy!

Posted in Tony on July 27, 2010 by eightdollardreams

Hey, I’m Tony Montana (no relation).

I’m a personal friend of Smithee’s, and I’ll be helping him out here on Textual Intercourse from now on. Mostly writing movie centric articles.

You’ll like them, trust me.

Awesomely yours,

-Tony Milhouse Montana

I’ve got gravel in my shoe! So here’s a movie review! Or two! (… or three)

Posted in Smithee on July 23, 2010 by allensmithee

Yesterday, I watched three very distinct movies. I’d say, that in my books, the first one is a good film and the other two are great films. Now, in my humble opinion, a great film is probably not qualified as such after one viewing, so I’ll have to watch the good (but not great) one again some time and form a better opinion on it.

The three films that I saw yesterday are as follows:

Zombieland (2009)
Macross Plus: Movie Edition (1995)
Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)

So, this is a discussion of these movies, and just like if you just went out with some buddies and are talking after a movie, I’m not going to summarize them (much) and I’m not going to avoid spoilers, so tread carefully, I suppose.

Zombieland
Zombie kill of the week? Close, but two days ago, I saw somebody put c4 on a zombies back at the bottom floor of a building, run up to a higher floor of a building, drop a big chunk of raw pork down and watch as hundreds of the undead crowded around, until BAM HE DETINATED THE ZOMBIE BOMB and they all flew everywhere at once.

In my house there are a few big issues. I’ll name one: All the movies we have are chick flicks. There are obvious exceptions, and those exceptions are the movies I watch. But generally we’re missing two important things. 1) Horror movies. 2) Comedy films.

We’ve got some comedy movies obviously, but there’s a gap in the type I tend to like. Luckily, this movie was rented by my elder brother, and now I’ve seen it. And it is pretty dang good!

I liked that there were zombies for one thing! Obviously the movie isn’t scary as well as being comedic (although I’d love to see a movie like that), but it does have zombies in it. Sometimes I felt there were gaps too long without zombies, and I’d have liked to see more go splat, but that’s not really the point of the movie, so it works out in the end.

There were plenty of laughs, and it really got its themes down and stuck to them. Unfortunately, nobody will regard it as a good lesson teacher in family and sticking together, because it is both a zombie film and a comedy, but I just might. Take out some of the goofier moments, and it’d be a perfectly valid drama film, actually.

Hot Tub Time Machine is a good example of a movie with a serious message, mixed in with many laughs and boobies!

Actually we have one horror movie and that is Night of the Living Dead (original version)… As a fan of the genre, I need to change this and get more.

Macross Plus: Movie Edition
Don't fall for her tricks. She may be cute, but she'll put you to sleep while you're flying a space plane robot mech at mach speeds, low altitude, in the middle of a huge metropolis.

I was having a conversation with a big fan of the Macross series, especially Plus and he said something to me, sentiments that I echo well.

Actually, reverse that. First I posted a status update on Facebook, then he commented on it through a conversation we were having over Trillian.

So it was like this:

(on facebook)
Smithee: the most interesting thing about Macross, is just as the Zentradi must learn culture, Macross itself is an important part of culture. Take the dedication in Macross Plus for example: “Dedicated to you;Our future pioneers”, a timeless message that can remind all future generations to keep in touch with their emotions, and build awesome mecha.

and then a few hours later, on Trillian:

Justinzero: Now do you see why I always harp about the show?
Justinzero: People hate on it because it is popular
Justinzero: fuckwads … who throw more importance in things like “unique” “girly” “otakuesque” type shows”

And then I probably started talking about poop, or dicks or wanting to get laid or something.

But, I’ll say now, that I wholeheartedly agree with him! See, if anime was still made like Macross Plus: Movie Edition, then we wouldn’t have people like me bunched in with people who do that Caramel Dance in hallways. You know what they are? They’re fire hazards!

And it’s unfortunate that I can’t mention Golgo 13: The Professional without it being bundled in the same category as things like…

Oh good God save me...

… this.

Justice must be served!

Me and Trudeau are both after the same thing... 'A just society.'

Oh yeah, the movie is totally rockin’ as well.

Batman: The Dark Knight
I didn't actually watch the Bluray version. It was on DVD.

Totally wicked. I’m getting lazy, and still have to add pictures and funny captions, so I’ll just quote what I said on a forum:

So I just watched [The Dark Knight] again, and it’s great [as ever]. One thing I noticed, and wished is that it wasn’t restricted by a specific rating. They do a lot of cuts for otherwise cool things, just to keep a rating, and I dislike that. Like when the guy’s head would be blown off by Two-Face, or when Joker cuts the Glasgow Smiles on guys.

Another thing I dislike is the happiness of the two boats, like, oh really? That would happen? Especially with Bubba talking to the pasty white guy holding the detinator, like “Oh man, I’m gonna blow this shit up, PSYCHE!” and they all have a merry Christmas.

So, there you have it folks. G’night!

Playstation Network — Now with Movies!

Posted in Smithee on July 3, 2010 by allensmithee

Okay okay, so as I understand it, the Playstation 3 Playstation Network already had movies. Well, with the latest update, unless I’ve had a blindspot towards the top of the screen this entire time, Sony has just added the feature to rent or buy videos and download them directly to PSP.

But wait! There’s more!

For all of you Canadians out there (such as myself and my buddy Justin) you might remember the prospect of having a PSP comic viewer? Well, I certainly do.

I put as much effort in this picture as Sony does on Canadian PSN support
While those Americans are getting their jollies geeking out over digital comic books, we’re stuck with Sony’s view on the Canadian national anthem: “NOOOOOOOOOOO, CANAAADAAAA”

And you can’t do shit with it in Canada. I guess us hoser Canucks can’t handle the muscles and obvious heterosexuality of most absolutely every single Marvel and DC property.

You actually cannot purchase or download a single comic book from Sony’s online services, if you’re signed up as a Canadian user of PSN.

BUT WAIT!

There is actually more (and more, and more, and more)!

If you’re signed up as a Quebecois user, you barely even get descriptions (This is just what I’d last heard, have they updated it at all?). That’s right: So while the Americans, and Anglophone Canadians get a whole lot of this, Francophone Canadiens get a whole lot of that. “That” being NOTHING!

So, that’s how we’ve been gypped. I hear Europe has got it worse on top of that.

You’re asking though, why do you bitch about how Canada has been screwed over in the past by Sony, when this post is about the new movie store on PSN?

Well:

Sony is giving away a free movie on July 14th. Well, well, is this going to be anything like the free comic books everybody else got? At least we can purchase movies if we feel like, unlike comic books where we’re 100% S.O.L.

All I’m worried about is whether or not I should pay Sony my money now, and rent/buy Macross Plus Movie Edition, or risk waiting for dissapointment on the free movie day.

Ignore the obvious watermark, indicating this obvious belongs to obviously me. Obviously not.
When I look at this picture, I see a man. This man represents Sony. What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets! And that’s just what exactly what Sony is.

Maybe they should take a note from Shane Bettenhausen’s amazingly honest PR talents?

Christopher Walken really gets my sarcasm.
“Pssst: Shane Bettenhausen’s PR is exactly what it stands for… Pretty Rotten!- C.W.