Friday, July 23, 2010

A Review Within A Review Within A Review Within A Review of Inception


A couple of days ago I saw Inception so I thought that instead of writing one review on it, I'll write several reviews within each other and possibly plant an idea in your head which you will in turn run with and unknowingly make happen all because of me. If none of this makes sense to you, then you haven't seen Inception so 1) maybe this will make you want to see this movie 2) maybe this will provide a moment of entertainment for you 3) maybe this will make you think I'm an idiot. If all goes well, you will get a lot of post for your buck. Several reviews for the price of one, which by the way is zero dollars. And you'll also get a fabulous idea to boot. So here it goes.

I think it's interesting that Inception stars Ellen Page, only it never mentions her anywhere in the previews. She has a rather pivotal role, but all the notice goes to Leo. Maybe Christopher Nolan really hates Juno, like I do. Maybe he saw Juno and hated that it was so caught up in its own clever vernacular and thus couldn't be taken seriously even though it dealt with a very serious subject. And hey doesn't Juno do for teen pregnancy what Pretty Woman did for prostitution? And hey didn't Juno really screw up her pop culture smarts when she said Thundercats Are Go instead of Thunderbirds Are Go? Thunderbirds was a terrible movie by the way. It really did the TV show a horrible injustice. If you want to see Thunderbirds done right, watch Team America: World Police. Did you know that the creator of Thunderbirds, Gerry Anderson, originally wanted Thunderbirds to be a live action TV series, but made them marionettes to save money? And what's Ben Kingsley doing as The Hood? Man, that guy will star in just about anything. Like Sexy Beast. Now there's a fantastic movie. I love to watch a really brilliant actor just chew up a role and spit it out. And Kingsley does that in about every scene he's in, but especially on the plane ride he never takes. But really, when I think of Ben Kingsley, I think of his geeky, menacing character in Sneakers. A fun movie to watch on a rainy day with the tween kid. But let me get more specific here and talk about the scene I really think of when I think of Ben Kingsley. And that's the one when he knows that Redford has broken in and stolen the black decoder box. So he does this kind of tip-toe run to his office. This geeky prance to his office. Now if I thought that my old friend who is really my nemesis had just stolen my little black decoder box that could help me break any code in the world and he may actually still be in my office, then I wouldn't do a geeky tip-toey prance in to my office. I would do a haul ass, arms a flailing full sprint in to my office and I would be swinging at anything that moved. In addition to Ellen Page, Inception also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lukas Haas who both star in one of my all-time favorite modern day teen noir films and that is Brick. What a great idea. Let's breed very tall humans that can pick us up from our chairs in front of the TV where we've fallen asleep and take us upstairs and tuck us in to our beds. Then in the morning they could give us piggyback rides. Brick is what Romeo+Juliet tried to be. A really cool movie that bends genres and ties them in to really crazy knots. What saves Brick from not becoming a movie that's really about how clever it is, is that it has a sense of humor. It knows the fine line between clever and stupid. Did you get that? I just dropped a Spinal Tap quote in there. Within that review, within a review, within a review, within a review comes a Spinal Tap quote. You know, it's been so long since I've seen Spinal Tap that I may not consider it to be a great movie anymore. I still quote it often and remember it fondly, but it may not hold up with another viewing. I loved Waiting For Guffman when I saw it in the theater and if someone asked me today if it's a good movie, I would tell them it's a great movie, yet I have made no effort to watch it again. The thing that hit me the hardest when watching Inception was that I was thinking. I was wondering. I was going back in my mind to put the pieces together. When is the last time I had to do that? When is the last time a movie that didn't have David Mammet's name attached to it, do that to me? It was a refreshing experience. Inception is great fun. The idea of a dream within a dream within a dream is a really interesting proposition and I enjoyed that I could be stimulated with an idea rather than a visual shock and awe. Christopher Nolan knows, as any good filmmaker does, there are other ways to stimulate your audience that don't involve robots, explosions or 3-D. As for the specifics, I don't know that I share the same level of craziness about Leo that everyone else does. I think it's hard to grow up in the movies and not still have that childlike stigma attached. Spielberg brilliantly cast him in Catch Me If You Can, but I don't know that DiCaprio has officially grown up for the leading man roll. When he talks about his kids, I can't believe it. And when he suffers from inner turmoil about his lost wife, I can't really believe that as well. Inner anger I can buy as I did in Gangs of New York and The Departed. Thankfully, this movie didn't necessarily need an actor with enormous emotional depth. It just needed someone to take us from one scene to the next and Leo does that for us. But to me, Inception isn't so much about the acting as it is about the concept. And it's a great concept. Nolan knows how to put together a movie. And I might just call Inception a really good thinking man's blockbuster.

Now let me finish my cocktail with a naked Kate Winslet who is feeding me no-calorie chocolate cake before someone gives me a "kick" out of this dream.

18 comments:

Chris Dickey said...

It was a great flick, Shakespeare's MSND dream premise with a little Matrix thrown in.

Not only did it make you think, but when is the last time a movie has generated this much conversation afterwards? WOM will keep it going at the box office...

And the critics thought the general US audience would never tolerate it...

Kate Winslet Piper? Really? Titanic thing?

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

Glad to hear that you liked it. For some reason, I feared you'd be the Armond White of the group of bloggers I read regularly.

Simon said...

That review confused me immensely.

Kramer said...

Piper is no Armond White. White is Satan in human form. And while I didn't hate Juno, that thundercats line about ruined it for me. One of the most forced lines in movie history. (In addition to being incorrect.) Hey, there's an idea for you: the most forced and out of place lines in cinema.

PIPER said...

Chris,

Maybe not Kate Winslet. Maybe Kate Beckinsale.

Paul,

Armond White? Ouch

Simon,

Don't go see the movie.

Simon said...

I have. Wasn't nearly as confusing.

(because it's awesome)

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

A.O. Scott? The dude from the New Yorker?

J.D. said...

I'm waiting for the inevitable Salon.com article explaining this post to me. ; )

Well said, sir! I totally agree with you that the film contains a fascinating concept at its heart. And for a big summer Hollywood blockbuster being able to have so many people talking about it and pondering what it all means, etc. I love it. What was the last Hollywood blockbuster to do that?

As for Leo, I know what you mean but this might be the first film where I actually believed that he might have a kid and/or be married. I mean, Nolan was pretty successful giving him the Michael Mann makeover with the snazzy suits, gun and no-nonsense/all-biz attitude. Which reminds me, it's about time Leo did a Mann film, pronto!

brian said...

Why the Juno hate? It's better than The Breakfast Club. Talk about stilted dialogue.

PIPER said...

J.D.

A Mann/Leo picture might be the best idea of this post.

Brian,

You always gotta hate on Hughes don't ya. Diablo Cody wouldn't know where to begin if The Breakfast Club hadn't come around. But that's not what bugged me about Juno. It's not the whippy dialogue by teenagers. It's the complete and utter knowledge of everything pop culture. The Breakfast Club isn't a who's who on everything cool. It's a bunch of kids sitting around talking it out. I'm willing to stretch my belief enough to allow for teenagers to talk above their age, but like I've said... there isn't a brain big enough to store all the shit she knew.

PIPER said...

Simon,

I will be releasing a directors commentary soon which will explain it all. $10 with a $5 rebate.

琬安琬安 said...

唯有穿鞋的人,才知道鞋的哪一處擠腳............................................................

黃黃莉茹曉元 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份............................................................

corndogfuneral said...

AKA: Birdflu

I agree with 黃黃莉茹曉元.

NIce to read you again Piper. Where you been? WHile I haven't seen Inception, Brick is fantastic. And since you used it in your review of a review, it must be worth seeing.

李冠文 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Dickey said...

Is agree with 琬安琬安 but totally disagree with 李冠文....

Burbanked said...

I'm pretty sure I enjoyed this review, but I can't be certain. Parts of it will stay with me forever, and I like the idea of a labyrinth review. I enjoy thinking about it later and often - but at some point I do have to ask myself how much fun the review actually was, or do I merely appreciate the review for having such grand ambitions. Reviewers don't often create something completely original, however, that hasn't been based on an existing property, sequel, superhero or cartoon remake, so I give this review a great deal of credit.

In the end, I'm a big fan of this reviewer and he can do no wrong.

PIPER said...

corndog,

It's good to be back. I like writing this stuff, just don't always have the time to do it.

Burbanked,

Make no attempt to understand this. I don't even understand the damn thing. And while I promised a review within a review within a review, what I really delivered was a nonsensical stream of consciousness.