Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers ( 2004) - FILM

Geoffrey Rush chameleons the chameleon in his award winning portrayal of funny man Peter Sellers. Sellers was a complicated and mean spirited individual and all of his major life beats are hit in classic Bio Pic style. Director Stephen Hopkins (of PREDATOR II fame!) throws in some very odd cartoony bits of style that clash straight up against the rough nature of the story being told - which while may be the point - only succeeded in taking me right out of the narrative. Still, Rush's performance is more then enough to give this one a watch.

Count of Monte Cristo (2001) - FILM


Forgotten in the annals of big budget adaptations, this adaption supposedly only shares the title of the French Novel and takes liberties with everything else. From my perception of having never read the source material to base it on, the film plays like a very enjoyable expensive looking adventure that only skirts the surface weight of the material. Director Kevin Reynolds (Of WATERWORLD shame) has a knack at keeping things interesting by giving it a big budget sheen constantly moving sheen without sacrificing its classic roots. Jim Cavaziel and Guy Pearce makes appealing heroes and villains (respectively). Recommended.

The Killer Elite (1975) FILM


There's a fun action film hanging around the insides of Sam Peckinpah's did-it-for-the-money film THE KILLER ELITE. The problem is that it's lost in so much padding. James Caan is fun as the swarmy CIA agent that's betrayed by his partner and left for a cripple. Instead of giving up, Caan learns some martial arts (which he barely uses) and teams up to save a Japanese client that's being chased by some Ninjas. The action is fun, in slow motion, and bloody, but there isn't nearly enough of it, and the story is a complicated mess of goobellygook. Mildly Recommended.

My Year of Flops - BOOK



I'm usually fairly uninterested in books that have to do with bad movies. It's just not fun to me. Yes, I realize they did something bad, and yes, it's sometimes quite funny to sit there and continually repeat "I can't believe they did that!" but it can only take me so far.
In MY YEAR OF FLOPS, writer Nathan Rabin doesn't want to make fun of the films he's considering in his essays, but wants to find them as something more than the original public did. He's always looking for a diamond in the rough.

And throughout the book he not only finds films that deserve a second chance, but he evaluates a lot of films I had never even heard of (the greatest compliment I can give to a book of lists). And even when he analyzes easy targets (Battlefield Earth anyone?) he still finds enough interesting things, from a production trivia perspective to a more analytical outlook, to make it worth reading over.

Highly Recommended.

The Cincinnati Kid (1965) - FILM

Norman Jewison crafts a solid motion picture that allows Steve Mcqueen to act as cool as ice (as per usual). The whole gambling idea just doesn't have much at stake, I never felt there was much danger to Mcqueen or the outcome meant much other then a personal point of pride for the main characters. I need a little something more if I'm expected to watch them play Poker for forty five minutes.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

POINT BLANK (1967) - FILM

"I...want my money."


Lee Marvin is the baddest of badasses in John Boorman's Neo Noir masterpiece. Marvin stars as Parker, a man on an unstoppable path for the money that's owed to him. Grim, funny, perfectly paced and filled with bursts of crazed non-linear editing that the film is still remember for to this day. See it now.


BULLIT (1968) - FILM

Peter Yates energetically directs a story that doesn't have much going on about it. Steve Mcqueen exudes quiet cool. There's one wicked (and deservingly famous) car chase. Everything else is kind of dull.

WITNESS (1985) -


I'll be completely honest and state that I wouldn't really be interested in this film if it wasn't for the charming presence of Harrison Ford. And after viewing the film, I know I would have never made it through if it was for him. Director Peter Weir is a master of creating atmospheric tome poems, and he doesn't fail here when it comes to visually illustrating the world of the Amish. There just isn't much going on here, no discoveries made, or hard beats it, the film just plays itself out as a visually stimulating slow paced 80's cop film that happens to take place in an interesting locale. Odd 80's score from the man that scored LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

ELECTION (1999) - MOVIE

I'm surprised it took me so long to see this film in its entirety. As a kid, I saw the ending one night on TBS and felt that I really didn't want to see something that seemingly ended in a downer.

I was a fool.

A stylish black comedy about High School politics that involves many complex emotions (and humans just asking like flat out jerks) but presented in a poppy style. You barely realize the horrible things going on because it's so much dang...fun.

KRAMER VS KRAMER (1979) - FILM

Classic film about a father )(Dustin Hoffman) fighting his wife that left for fifteen month (Meryl Streepe) for the custody of his son. Every note is hit perfectly. The ending is a little saccharine and pat, but the performances pull it through and make it believable.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FILMS I WATCHED TODAY


It feels like a lazy Sunday I had when I was ten years old - flipping through the channels and only finding old movies and new stuff I didn't really WANT to see but will watch because it holds a vague interest to my sensisiblities.

-The Magnificent Seven: Classic on every level.

-Death Race 2 (2010): Above average DTV flick that doesn't have an ending and is pretty slack on the whole 'racing'



Monday, October 4, 2010

Lethal Panther (1990. HONG KONG)

(ALSO KNOWN AS DEADLY CHINA DOLLS)

Cut and Paste Master Extraordinaire Godfrey Ho, famous for taking unfinished films, shooting ten minutes of new footage, and editing the whole thing together and releasing it as "NINJA VERSUS SOMETHING OR OTHER" tries his hand at the Girls with Guns craze that was sweeping Hong Kong in the mid-nineties.

As per usual, he delivers a sleazy by the numbers product that goes the extra mile to deliver the goods.

To my eyes, this seems like a straight up original job without any extra footage, but I could be wrong. The final product is still as disjointed as ever, and it deals with two assassins, a police woman and...some other girl...blowing away anyone in a suit and tie. They hate people in suits because one of them killed an entire family of bears.

To be honest, the subtitle on my copy kept hiding right under the screen, so the plot wasn't much of a concern. I had to keep myself interested by the constant barrage of uninspired gunfire, the full frontal nudity, and the non-acting gweilos. The major problem with the film is that most of the action is pretty rote: Close up of gun firing, close up of person being hit, cut to person rolling out of the way.

I actually got *gasped* bored about thirty minutes in.

This is trash ladies and gents. The girls look pretty. The violence is violent. The story is inconsequential. It does nothing new with the genre, in fact, it's fairly happy with flat out ripping scenes off. Hey look! The assassination scene for A BETTER TOMORROW!

Was that Carpenter's Halloween theme song I just heard?

And then the movie just ends.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

MY HEART IS THAT ETERNAL ROSE (1989. HONG KONG)


An oddity in the usual 'churn them out' gangster action genre.

Two young lovers (Kenny Bee and Joey Wong) are broken up when one of them has to go on the run. Six years later they come together again, only to find themselves tangled in even more complications. Heavy handed melodrama peppered with explosive squibs is ensue.

A good looking film drenched in colored lights (Thanks to the cinematography by Christopher Doyle) that's filled with strong performances from a game cast held back by a fairly routine Heroic Bloodshed plot. Art-House Director Patrick Tam does his best with the trite material, but it can never escape its script. Most Heroic Bloodshed translate the overwrought drama into explosive choreographed gun play, but in this film the action is short and perfunctory. It exists only because the genre demands it to exist. Tonly Leung is the stand-out (When isn't he?) as the body guard that goes beyond his calling.

RAPED BY AN ANGEL (1994 USA)

Did I...Did I...Just see a man force a mentally handicapped child to rape a woman?

Wong Jing does it again. He's only writing this time around, but it's the same old low-brow exploitation trash. The story deals with a young women who breaks up with her rape loving boyfriend, and then he proceeds to rape her for real, prompting her best friend to take legal measures that the rapist weasels out of, and then shit goes to hell as everyone vies for revenge.

Director/Cinematographer Andrew Lau (who later went on to Direct INFERNAL AFFAIRS and STORM RIDERS) delivers a solid looking picture that mixes the Hong Kong's usual 'soft visuals' with gritty hand held camera work to accentuate the brutal going ons. It's technically sound, but personally, I don't find much to withhold my interest. It's a lot of filler, broken up by a few rape sequences, followed by a ten minute set piece of HOME ALONE style pay back (I kid you not).

There's a lot of flesh on display, but as usual, Chingmy Yau does nothing but tease and Simon Yam, the hardest working CATT II author alongside Anthony Wong, shows up to chew up a little scenery.

Not my cup of tea.


FUTURE COPS (1993. HONG KONG)

It's difficult to try to write a little about Wong Jing without giving the reader a ten volume set on the man's exploits. He's the lowest common denominator man working in Hong Kong, he churns out rip-offs, fad followers, and pure commercial fluff on what seems like daily basis. The man has 91 directorial credits, 125 producer ones, and 121 writing ones! He has no shame, he wants to make a buck, and his kitchen sink approach to production usually guarantees at least a vaguely entraining product that will kill some brain cells in the process

Which brings us to SUPER COPS

Originally conceived as a official adaptation of Wong Jing's obsession STREET FIGHTER 2 that starred all of the most popular Hong Kong pop stars. (Andy Lau, Aarow Kwok, Jackie Cheung) Jing lost the rights at some point, and instead of scrapping the project he used all the costumes in a film that has nothing to do with the video game property. The characters look like STREET FIGHTER 2 characters, they use the same MOVES as STREET FIGHTER 2 characters, and some of them are even named off of STREET FIGHTER 2 characters...but this ain't STREET FIGHTER 2

Instead, it's a weird re-tread of the Wong Jing produced FIGHT BACK TO SCHOOL. The bulk of the running time concerns itself with a Stephen Chau rip-off getting into wacky Zucker Bros style slapstick comedy with the time travelling Video Game characters (Don't ask) in High School. It's not very involving stuff, but it is continually inventive, and stuff is always...moving?

Forget any kind of choreographed action from credited martial arts supervisor Ching-Siu Tung. The action in FUTURE COPS is a complete recreation of the repetitive moves from the video-game. It's an odd choice that could have worked better for one scene, but doesn't keep the viewer interested for AN ENTIRE FILM! Check out Wong Jing's classic Jackie Chan picture CITY HUNTER for a solid STREET FIGHTER parody.

Like most Wong Jing pictures, this isn't a real movie. It's a collection of very odd scenes, untranslatable humor, and pure spectacle trotted out for the audience's enjoyment. And enjoy you will, even if it may be with a trace of horror.

SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE: DVD REVIEW

Right from DAY 2 I'm going to go off and cheat and review a DVD instead of an actual film. The SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE films range drastically in quality, but all in all, they're not 'good' films by any stretch of the imagination. The first is a straight ahead slasher with zero frills (You even learn who the killer is fifteen minutes in) and some interesting gags, the second is a a weird musical/hallucinogen hybrid that doesn't work in the slightest but is interesting to see crash, and the third is a routinely competent slasher Directed (as you will learn in the special features) by someone who didn't, and still doesn't, have any interest in horror films.

The new 2-DISC set of SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE: THE TRILOGY released by SHOUT FACTORY is everything a fan could ever want. It has commentaries by the cast and crew on every film, an in-depth hour and change documentary on the making of all the films, and a vaguely remastered picture.

I bring up the vague part, because PART 2 still has the crappy sound that my partner in arms (and SPM super-fan) Adam 'The Riot' Thorn has been listening to since he got his first VHS copy of the film. I'm sure that SHOUT FACTORY did its best from the material it could pull out. The films were never meant to be seen in pristine condition after they hit theaters, and any complaints are mere nit picks against this amazing package.

If you're a slasher fan, or just a little curious, take the time out to check these out! Even if you're not a huge fan, the conceptualizations that the SPECIAL FEATURE add are worth the price of admission.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Witch from Nepal (1986. HONG KONG)

Chow Yun Fat stars as a descendant of a mighty warrior that can only defeat an evil one eye browed dude by holding on to a pair of...testicles?

"DUEL TO THE DEATH is one of the crazies films of all time Mr.Cing-Siu...Could you remove all that energy for your next picture?

Very tame effort from wire-fu expert Ching-Siu Tung that seems to be trying really hard to be a 'hollywood art' picture: A very languid pace, not much action, but a very pretty look. Chow Yun-Fat (still in his Box Office Poison phase before A BETTER TOMMOROW) does what he can with the paper thin material, and keeps a straight face through all the out of nowhere explosions, but it's all rather tame stuff from a director that was famous for his insanity. Wire-Gags don't translate to something interest. We need action choreography!

Notable stand-outs is a bizarrely out of palce scene with George Romero style zombies (That don't really do anything) and a villain that loses his face before he explodes.

Skip it.

MADMAN (1982. USA)



Whoa! Long time no see. Instead of returning into this review game at a snail's place, and slowly get back into my groove, I'm going to jump into the demon's maw feet first.

A REVIEW A DAY TO HONOR HALLOWEEN!

Enough of that. Lets get to the meat.

MADMAN

A fairly standard "SLASHER IN THE WOODS" films that the eighties churned out like rabid rabbits, MADMAN isn't a lost classic by any means, but it does have few times directorial flourishes that make it tentatively interesting.

PLOT TIME: A bunch of camp Councillors are chased by a MARZ THE MADMAN!

The Carpenter-esque synth score matches the blue tinted night time kills perfectly, and the editing gets surprisingly versatile once Mr. Madman steps out of his POINT OF VIEW to actually deal some damage to the wooden-plank imitating camp Councillors sitting around waiting to be chopped up. It takes way too long for things to get really bloody (FIFTY MINUTES!), and while the film is sometimes clever, it isn't smart enough to keep the viewer interested for that long a slog - even with unintentional laughs like the great 'Jacuzzi Ballet'. The film even seems to comment on the fact that all these characters are interchangeable by never having a set protagonist. I don't think the Director deserved to have this be his only feature film, as he did show some chutzpah, but the whole is way too workmanlike.

I recommend it as a tentative watch.

The tagline MARZ NEEDS WOMEN did make me chuckle though.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE (1986. USA)


I never need to see Gene Simmon’s breasts ever again.

John Stamos stars as Lance Star Grove – gymnast, martial arts master, skilled lover. His life is turned upside down when his James Bond-ish father (Ex- James Bond George Lazenby) is killed by a hermaphrodite leader of a post apocalyptic gang (Gene Simmons!). Stamos goes on a mission to figure find out the truth, have a ridiculous sex scene with Vanity, and blow away a dozen Road Warrior henchmen.

Yea, that’s exactly what it is.

There’s nothing particularly ‘good’ about NEVER TOO YOUNG. In fact, expert scientific testimony decla8, it’s ALL BAD. Really Really bad. The story makes zero sense; the direction is flat, and the never ending stream of jokes mind meltingly stupid. Everyone scrapes the bottom of the barrel. Gene Simmons channelling Rocky Horror’s Tim Curry is not a very pleasant sight. Vanity doesn’t even seem to be acting, just reading off cue cards as someone holds a gun to a small child off-camera (Her motivation!). Stamos is the only really fun actor, Even with all this bad...bad...stuff...The film is never...ever... boring. In fact, I’d highly recommend it for a pure blast of putrid fun! It’s the kind of bad that transcends horribleness and becomes a laugh riot to sit through. The tone 80’s comic book tone is perfect, and the weirdly over the top violence is the icing on the cake. It’s the kind of film that has no discernible audience other than Stamos lovers and masochists. Stupidly imaginative, the best description was given by a friend of mine: ‘It’s like the retarded action packed step cousin of Buckaroo Banzai.”

****

Who the hell thought up the bonkers title for this film? It sounds more like the story of a serial killer (Perhaps religious fueled?) that's going around murdering kiddies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Other Guys (2010. USA)


THE OTHER GUYS doesn’t know what it wants to be. The first half hour works the best as we follow along for a few minutes with two hilarious super cops played by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Samuel Jackson. They’re the Hollywood interpretation of law enforcement, while Mark Walberg and Will Ferell are supposed to be the other end of the spectrum, the guys who sit at a desk. The comparison between Hollywood action fiction versus reality is ripe idea (explored hilariously in the classic British HOT FUZZ) but the film doesn’t know if it wants to play it straight or to be a to dabble in a NAKED GUN style absurd fest. It jerks wildly between both, throwing the tone all over the place, missing more than it hits. Sadly, The Rock and Sam exit the picture very quickly and we’re left with people that simply aren’t as fun. Walberg is funny as the quick-to-action tough guy that gets stuck with a button down type (Ferell), but after the first half hour, Marky Mark is relegated to just reacting to Ferell going crazier and crazier – which isn’t very funny. Ferell was once a pimp named Gator! Hilarious!? It’s probably even funnier if they bring it up every two minutes! The plot is gibberish, Steve Coogan is completely wasted, the film sags heavily from the middle onward, never recovers, and ends with a whimper. Listen up parodists, if you want to mock big budget Hollywood action scenes, YOU NEED TO DELIVER THE ACTION. Don’t tease the viewer (As there’s a bunch of cool stunts that do happen) but deliver. We need the explosions, the destruction and the thrill of an action scene. That’s the JOKE. Unless that is you’re presenting it as minimalist take on the reality of police work...which this isn’t. THE OTHER GUYS is a fun concept and cast, squandered by lazy writing and bloated (yet till vacant) execution.

Also, please stop on the modern pop culture references that date themselves as they come out of the actor’s mouth – Jersey Shore? Maroon Five? It may be worth a easy laugh or two, but it just makes everything feel cheap. Who am I kidding? It'll never end.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

GOOD, BAD, I'M THE ONE WITH AN OPINION: THE FEAR OF CRITICISM

GOOD, BAD, I’M THE ONE WITH AN OPINION

The Fear of Criticism.

******

“Everyone’s a critic” he said with a sneer

******

A friend asked me why I hate every film once the face of the planet. The statement caught me off guard considering I'm a cinematic consuming nut job.

“I love tons of stuff” I yelped like a hurt five year old.

My friend saw I was about to burst into tears and wanted to avoid making a scene.

“Well, you always LOVE or HATE stuff. There’s no in between.”

Anger bubbled in me. He thought I didn’t know any better. I was just a sap that made snap judgments and stuck by them for no other reason than pride. He thought I was ruled by nothing but emotion.

I jumped on his chest, primal screamed, and ripped his throat out. WITH MY TEETH!

SORRY

THIS IS WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED:

“That’s not true. There are tons of films I don’t LOVE but would recommend to people.”

“But then, why do you always tear everything apart?”

“I...I just... I like to talk about stuff. You know – discuss!”

“You always criticize stuff.”

Criticize.

No one likes that word.

It means you’re saying nothing but hurtful things, smashing the pieces to make fun of them, being a bully because you have a superiority complex.

LETS MAKE THIS CLEAR

Bad criticism is saying something is bad. Good criticism is saying what’s good, what’s bad, and how it could have been done better – unless it’s perfect.

Very, very, very, very things are perfect*

There’s GOOD and BAD in everything. I enjoy discussion, breaking things down, and analyzing why something worked or didn’t. I like to build a case. One that has its own logic (internal or external). People can disagree, that’s unavoidable, but an opinion should be solid enough that it can be appreciated, if not agreed with. I'm not going to get into what make a film work or fail miserably, because you have to make up your own mind. If I set it down on paper, I wouldn't even agree with my own criteria sometimes depending on the film. It's all subjective, but it needs to have its own logic**

I can understand how someone can say ‘Well, I liked it...because…well…I just felt it.”, but more often that’s just an excuse to avoid talking about it, not a reason. Some people don’t like discuss stuff. They just want to watch it, read it, listen to it, enjoy it and move on. I don’t like it, but I can respect their wishes, just as long as they don’t start to knock me down if I want to do it.

We live in a society that is terrified of criticism – because with criticism comes the threat that something is at fault – and in a society with school system that cherishes 100%, mistakes are unacceptable. It has to be either perfect or terrible. Instead of dismantling something from a critical perspective, and offering improvements for the next time around, most people chose not to talk about it. If we do have something to say we describe it in the broadest of terms. We cover up our actual critical opinions with “Worst thing I’ve ever seen”, ‘GREATEST THING EVER” or “It’s not a classic or anything...” because those sentences are buffers. They’re just empty buzz phrases intended deflate opinions. No one takes that hyperbole seriously. No one has to worry.

Sometimes, we don’t discuss, but state opinions as fact. THIS SUCKED. THIS ROCKED. YOU’RE WRONG. YOU’RE RIGHT. No changing our minds. We’ve decided something and we forced ourselves stick by it. I find that even worse than being quiet. Just because you’re louder than me doesn’t mean you’re right.

I once got in a fight with someone after I said I thought a film was 'TRASH'. I admitted later on it was a harsh word to use, but I still I listed all the reasons the first word came about. They remained angry, accusing me thinking I know everything, that I was DEFINING the film and saying THIS IS WHAT IT IS. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not a god, I can’t create matter. I can only speak for myself. Opinion is my thoughts. If I say something is ‘awesome’ that’s because I perceive it as awesome – I’m not saying t will be awesome in your eyes. I don’t know everything. I’ve lived a different life than you. My opinion could be different than yours. My opinion can change, I can be convinced, I can double over and admit I was wrong. The trick is to leave the doors open***

Don’t jump to the conclusion, or to the negative, remember it all makes up a whole, but stuff can live independently. Some parts of the cake are tastier than others.

“So...You said one of the supporting characters was bad. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU THE FILM IS A CLASSIC!”

“I thought the cinematography was amazing.

“Yea, but, there’s stuff you didn’t like, so that MUST MEAN YOU HATE IT.

“The story is filled with twists and turn. I really liked the—

“WHYDOYOUHATEITSO!?”

It’s easy to paint things in black in white. Shades of grey make things complicated. The world so inundated with information that it’s much easier to rate everything on a number scale or make up your mind on a buzz phrase. Instead of saying “The film didn’t work on a pacing level for me, but I did enjoy the characters” we’d much rather go “IT SUCKED!” We don’t need to be afraid of discussing things. It’s not going to bite us back. It’s just going to make the experience fuller.

Next time you go see a movie – talk about it with your friends. Have a discussion. Don’t be afraid of being a critic. It’s not a bad thing.

****

P.S: I won’t get into things like “What did you expect? It’s not Shakespeare! All I wanted was ROBOTS FIGHTING!” orr “I enjoy things on nothing but ironic levels.” That’s a dry rant for another day.

*The list of things that are perfect at this moment are Neil Patrick Harris, Shaun of the Dead, and selected works of Terry Pratchett.

** I say this now and await the swarm of people that will say “You always jump to conclusions, like when you said that…”. Yea, none of us are infallible and sometimes we’re lazy. It’s much easier to write it then continually practice.

*** The title of this text is a play on quote from the film ARMY OF DARKNESS - a piece of cinema I LOVE but will be the first to admit is full of crippling faults. Sometimes certain elements superseeds the most basic of cinematic expectations.

SCOTT PILGRIM'S FINEST HOUR - COMIC


The only conceivable way I can see someone hating (with a fiery cheat code fuelled passion) the last volume in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s PILGRIM saga is if they never liked the series in the first place. FINEST HOUR is not going to change anyone’s mind about the series. Scott does not get cancer and spend 200 pages slowly dying. It delivers more of the same - hilarious comedy, visual gags up the wazoo and some kick ass video inspired fight scenes.

Oh, and the story wraps up and stuff.

No plot synopsis. Load up the old SAVED GAME.

O’Malley seems to have second guessed everyone’s prediction of ‘Who is Scott going to end up with!?” as he takes the time to cycle through every character and why they aren’t right for him.

Not only do we get that, but O’Malley actually throws a curveball of character development into the mix. Scott, who’s always been blissfully ignorant of the world around him, actually...dare I say it...grows as a person? An Not in a cheap way either, but a way that’s organic, and logical to everything that’s happened to him.

The book’s climax takes up a good half of the page count, and while it feels a little long, it gives every major character the series has seen a chance to pop in and make an appearance. Scott’s-Ex Envy Adams actually plays a pretty big role here and I really enjoyed how the little moments from the past books came to play in the last one.

If you were wondering the answer is...Yes. I was surprised by who he ended up with, but it never felt cheap.

The book never pretends to offer finality. Life is in constant flux. Nothing is EVER static and the only way we can ever keep going is not by erasing our past, but letting it bleed into the present, and affect our future.

Even if getting to that point means fighting your evil Nega-Doppledanger.

Go read it now.

INCEPTION (USA. 2010) - FILM



“You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”

Inception is clever, solidly constructed heist film that is well paced, has a great ensemble and is technically impressive. It just wasn’t mind blowing.
I wanted to be WOWED. I wanted to shiver at the awesomeness that was happening on-screen. I wanted to have a big giant grin forced onto my face...and that never happened.

The film is about a team of idea extractors led by a man named Cobb (Leanardo Dicaprio) that take attempt to perform an INCEPTION – putting an idea in a subject’s mind in a certain way that makes them believe that they formulated the idea themselves.

I was involved with what was going on, it was exciting, but I was never completely wrapped up. Director/Writer Christopher Nolan’s injects emotion into the proceedings, but they seem to be to move the plot forward instead of being true moments of audience connection. He lingers on them only briefly, and then moves on, never allowing us to really grasp the impact these moments should have.

I’ve been crippled by the hype. The people that have been screaming “INCEPTION IS THE BEST THING SINCE PLAY DOUGH!” have ratcheted my expectations too high. The film became something that could never, ever, reach the lofty heights I’d constructed in my brain pan.

After mulling it over for a while, I believe if I took this film in without any outside interference or prior reference my opinion would be the same. The concepts on display are well constructed, a world is built, but I was disappointed at their minimal use. For example, Ellen Page’s character who’s tasked to be an architect of the dream world, we’re even shown her creating a world around her in training, but she never does it again (unless I’m missing something) on screen. Once they enter the dream for the last chunk of the film, the world becomes fixed, all of the razzle dazzle of the opening scenes, all the promise it showed, are kept to the background and things turn into a straight forward action film with a few clever little switches.

Inception has one great action scene: The anti-gravity fight between Joseph Gordon Levitt and a bunch of faceless goons. Everything else is good, not great, and has already fallen out of memory. Christopher Nolan does a MUCH better job than the garbage action that BATMAN BEGINS, but he still hasn’t gotten there yet.

You could argue that the stripped down lean dream approach is better. It would be silly if things started to turn into a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET film, but there should be a fine line Nolan could have hit, that would have made the film work, but he never went for it. He kept up the bare minimum. The film is about IDEAS not IMAGANITATION. An idea can be the simplest thing in the entire world, but still dominate everything .

You should see INCEPTION. It’s nice to watch something in a packed multiplex that never talked down to its audience. Pay attention or you’ll get lost. Could this be a herald to a new wave of intellectual thinking man entertainment?
Ha. All we’re going to get is a wave of pseudo intellectual ‘dream films’ that completely miss the point.

Kind of like I have?