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 ♥ hated it . ♥♥ 'sok . ♥♥♥ liked it . ♥♥♥♥ loved it . ♥♥♥♥♥ will force you to watch it

***

Sunday
Jul182010

Inception

♥♥♥1/2

Now before you all jump on me, that's a three and a half hearts right there, which is a lot of hearts. There is so much about this movie that I loved, in a lot of ways, it did deliver. I'm just saying there's things I'd change.

First with the good. Gosh there's so much. This is capital E Epic. Visually stunning, everything about it was done in a big way. The concept is expansive and breathtaking. Most of the performances were pitched perfect. It put a whole bunch of my favourite people in the one place at the one time. And I was with it, all the way.

So why did it feel like it was condescending to me? I like it when movies are smarter than me, but I hate it when the movie feels like it needs to explain things to me because it knows it's smarter than me. While the intricacies of the technology that was happening was definitely a bit of a mind fuck, the plot itself is pretty straight forward. I felt, and you certainly don't have to agree with me, that the huge chunks of exposition dotted throughout the first half of the movie were entirely unnecessary, or at least handled in a different way. First rule of writing -- show, not tell. It did a whole lot of telling. I have the vaguest feeling that somewhere during production, the movers and shakers at the upper echelon got lost in the detail, took a step back, and went "Jesus! How are they supposed to get this?". It's only annoying because I felt like I was following fine, and the plot went exactly where I thought it would go. If I could predict plot points that were presented like they were a surprise, then you could probably ease up on the explanation. That was my second major gripe. It was ultimately predictable. Which is not always a bad thing, but as I mentioned, it was built up as if it was supposed to be surprising, which made it somewhat lacklustre. It was saved from the sheer Epic proportions of how it was all going down, which should hint at just how Epic it really was.

I felt that the movie was really going when it just let the craziness of what was happening flow. For me, it was in the sequence that I took the screen capture from. That was the moment I could sit back and let the actual film happen, and it was wonderful. Now I won't lie, I am always a partial to a bit of Joseph Gordon-Levitt action, especially when he's looking so dapper dressed in gorgeous suits. But it was really the moment when the film was less concerned with whether we were getting it, and was finally able to do some truly ballsy things. I gotta say, some moments in this film? Totally Boss.

I get pretty excited when Cillian Murphy is in anything, especially when they don't rely on his impossibly blue eyes (but still find time to flash them momentarily) and let his immeasurable chops speak. Now I'm not saying this was the most demanding part for the dashing Irish, but for what he was given, he was able to turn out a nuanced and sympathetic performance.

Marion Cotillard is consistently strong, and a lot of charming things. Leonardo has more or less pigeon holed himself as our local intense guy, but as always, can't fault him one bit. Nolan did not create an actor's film here. It requires strong actors with thoughtful performances to work at all, but it does not exist to exhibit the acting. By no means a bad thing, not at all. But it did leave a glaring spotlight on the odd one of the pack. Ellen Page. Love her, I think she's effervescent and cool and I want to be her friend.

Not right for this part.

Let me explain myself. I discussed this with a friend after the movie and he helped me succinctly put this into words. She keeps drawing this timid line between being the cocky bright shining star of her class, and, well, Juno. The smartarsed but terrified young pregnant girl in a small town. She didn't have much chemistry with Leo, who had to spend a bulk of the film explaining things to her. Next to all these intense players, she kind of pales away. She's at her strongest when she's the cool refreshing sideline commentator, when thrust front and center, she's yet to command too much ownership. There were scenes at the start when I thought, "If you look as terrified as you do, you would not be doing what you're doing." Her actions were simply not justified well enough.

Now I'm being a bit harsh. She wasn't bad, really. She was just miscast.

It really is a worthwhile film, and it really does need to be seen in the theatres, on the biggest screen you can find near you, because did I mention it was EPIC?

Sidenotes: Michael Cain, a constant bit player in the roster of Nolan's talents? Also, don't think I did not spot that evident glob of glycerin running down your cheek during that cut to the close-up, Marion. You know the one I'm talking about. You delivered so much in the medium shot, so all is forgiven. And you are so adorable in those Times Screen Tests, I'll forgive you for anything.

Now back to Joseph in those dapper suits... and let's not forget the considerable good tastes you displayed in your screen test, bodes good tidings for our imminent marriage.

Wednesday
Jul142010

BIG BANG BIG BOOM

BIG BANG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU on Vimeo.

BLU has a new video! This time packing even more wow. They seem to be more comfortable mixing medias and delving more heavily into the physical stop motion than using just the animation on the wall and to such cleaver effect. This made me go "HOLY CRAP" at least 3 times. Maybe they should teach this story of evolution to school kids in middle america, we'll see what the bible toting creationists would have to say about that.

Monday
Jul122010

Exit Through The Gift Shop

♥♥♥♥

So much fun.

So this really isn't about Banksy, like I'd thought going in. The main subject really isn't street art either, though there's a lot of it. The main subject matter is this absolute nut job who somehow got himself tangled in the world of street art, in a pretty major way.

It's like you're hearing this incredible story from a good friend, the friend being Banksy, the most notoriously private and most prolific street artist in the world. You just have to trust that he knows how to tell it to get the best effect. Boy does he. By the end you realise that the way everything unfoldes is genius. Like all good stories, it just keeps getting better, and you get a well rounded street art 101 along the way. You get to meet some of the major players in the scene, see each of them work, and see how their life is affected by this nut job.

Just go see it, it's playing at the Sunshine. You'll have fun, or I'll buy your popcorn.

Sunday
Jul042010

Bag'o'Books

I gave a 15 year old girl a bag of books on my trip to China. Mother armed me with the task of giving her things that helped me grow as a young woman, I gleefully took it on as another opportunity to bombard a young girl's mind with my thoughts and opinions.

Let's start at the start:

***

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera.

My all time favourite book, the first book to brain fucked me at a time I was most susceptible. I saw myself in it, I saw the person I wanted to be, I saw people I was afraid of becomming, I saw lives I wanted to live. Maybe now I'll read it and see the pointlessness and the fear of living, but as far as life changing goes, this would still rank as number one.

(I'm not a fan of the cover of the U.S. edition, this was a limited edition that I found in a bookstore in bk last year which I prefer)

***

The Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers.

To teach her that we are the generation of possibilities, of doing it our way and doing it ourselves, and that we can laugh at any tragedy in the face and find our own place in the world. It's a memoir of someone who did something out of nothing, figuring it out along the way. It negotiates the line of having immense responsibilities and feeling woefully inadequate. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll want to make it on your own.

***

No One Belongs Here More Than You, Miranda July.

For the sensitivity, the beauty, the exquisite pain. She exemplified the glorious mundane. Stories of loss and longing and missed connections. And one about a patio.

***

Then the rest are just some good reads I threw in there. My life wasn't exactly changed, but perhaps my world view was altered.

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides. A modern epic about a Greek American hermaphrodite growing up in Detroit during the auto boom. Some powerful soul digging, identity searching stuff.

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami. Another mind fuck on epic proportions. Distinctly Japanese, it feels like a Miyazaki film but just for adults because it's entirely unsafe. It does things to you, physically.

Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut. Kurt Vonnegut rated this as one of his best works himself. I still haven't read every Vonnegut to be able to say for sure, but it's pretty damn good. It was sad when he passed, so it goes.

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