So this is a little out there.
Inception, as you know if you care, is the latest movie by Christopher Nolan, and has been called ‘James Bond meets The Matrix.’ Nolan is known as a writer and director for clever, intricate-ly plotted films such as Memento and The Prestige and the rebooted Batman franchise, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. He also did a film called Following, which you can find right now on Netflix streaming, a black and white little mindbender which is worth checking out when you have some time and are up for something a little daring.
None of Nolan’s films are perfect, but their flaws are the most forgivable I can think of. If you’re going to dream, dream different. Dream big. Roger Ebert noted:
I thought there was a hole in “Memento:” How does a man with short-term memory loss remember he has short-term memory loss? Maybe there’s a hole in “Inception” too, but I can’t find it.
I was chatting about Inception with friends on an off-topic e-mail list when a bunch of little things that had lain dormant finally coalesced and turned into something truly mind-bending.
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Credit my friend Paul Glenn for pointing me to this. It’s refreshing to see a writer at the top of his game absolutely savage a film with nothing more than words and truth.
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.
The plot is incomprehensible. The dialog of the Autobots, Deceptibots and Otherbots is meaningless word flap. Their accents are Brooklyese, British and hip-hop, as befits a race from the distant stars. Their appearance looks like junkyard throw-up. They are dumb as a rock. They share the film with human characters who are much more interesting, and that is very faint praise indeed.
The battle scenes are bewildering. A Bot makes no visual sense anyway, but two or three tangled up together create an incomprehensible confusion. I find it amusing that creatures that can unfold out of a Camaro and stand four stories high do most of their fighting with…fists. Like I say, dumber than a box of staples. They have tiny little heads, except for StarscreamÂ®, who is so ancient he has an aluminum beard.
Aware that this movie opened in England seven hours before Chicago time and the morning papers would be on the streets, after writing the above I looked up the first reviews as a reality check. I was reassured: “Like watching paint dry while getting hit over the head with a frying pan!” (Bradshaw, Guardian); “Sums up everything that is most tedious, crass and despicable about modern Hollywood!” (Tookey, Daily Mail); “A giant, lumbering idiot of a movie!” (Edwards, Daily Mirror). The first American review, however, reported that it “feels destined to be the biggest movie of all time” (Todd Gilchrist, Cinematical). Itâ€™s certainly the biggest something of all time.
I’ve been thinking about The Dark Knight for three solid weeks, now. This really has got to stop. I’ve got me a new job, a serial novel to finish writing, a monthly magazine to develop and release and publicize, and some grinding to accomplish in Age of Conan–my ranger and conqueror won’t get leveled up by themselves. The problem is, I’ve got something like 6k words written, and I still don’t have an elegant way to approach the things on my mind and in my head. Unfortunately, my experience has been that the only way to rid myself of them is to write them out. Therefore, since I don’t know how to approach this, but I clearly have to do something to work these things out, I’m going to take a stab at writing about these things in a couple of chunks. This is the first one.
In this summerâ€™s biggest blockbuster, The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, and David Goyer have a great deal to say about the will and the character of their vigilante hero.
For one thing, this is no mere superhero movie–it is an epic crime drama of the sort I have never seen before. For another, when they started filming The Dark Knight, it turned out they weren’t done crafting Batman’s origin story. However, by the time the final credits run, they will have finally completed creating the legend we think of as Batman. Continue Reading »