Tuesday, August 24, 2010


InceptionRelease Date: July 16th, 2010

Click here for the Inception Trailer.

Dom Cobb(Leonardo DiCaprio) lives in a world where people can enter other people's dreams and, in doing so, extract information that would otherwise be impossible to retrieve. Dom is an extractor, a professional thief who specializes in conning secrets from his targets by infiltrating their dreams. Dom has a specialized team including his partner Arthur(Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is the point man, the Forger Eames(Tom Hardy) who can take the form of other people in a dream and Ariadne(Ellen Page), the team's architect who is in charge of constructing the worlds were the dreams will take place.

Dom and his team are approached by Mr. Saito(Ken Wantanabe), a businessman whose dreams they were infiltrating. Mr. Saito reveals that he was testing the team for a job. Mr. Saito wants Dom and his team to perform something known as Inception, implanting an idea into somebody's head through their dreams which will then push the person to make the decision in real life.

The act of inception has never been successfully done and Dom is wary about trying it. Mr. Saito's target is Robert Fischer(Cillian Murphy), the son of Mr. Saito's terminally ill corporate rival and heir to his father's business. Mr. Saito wants to implant the idea that Fischer should break up his father's empire so Mr. Saito can be number one in the industry. In order to perform inception, Dom and his team must infiltrate a dream within a dream within a dream in Fischer, deeper than anyone has ever gone.

Due to the depth of the project, Dom enlists the help of Dr. Yusuf(Dileep Rao), a sedative chemist. Yusuf develops a sedative that is strong enough to keep Dom and his team unconscious long enough to achieve their objective. However, should someone die in the dream they will not be woken up in real life as is common with extracting information. Instead they will be stuck in a limbo for an indeterminate amount of time. With the risk of inception along with the risk of going so deep into a human's subconscious, the added threat of any training the subject has had against dream infiltration and Dom's personal struggles against a ghost from his past, the hopes of coming out of the dream is slim at best.

Ok so Inception comes from the mind of Christopher Nolan, the same genius that brought us The Dark Knight. So needless to say, this movie is probably going to be good. But it isn't good, it isn't great, it's phenomenal. This is probably one of the best movies I have ever seen and is definitely one of my new all time favorites.

First off, the premise behind the movie is just so intense. The possibility of going into somebody's dreams and retrieving information or even implanting information is beyond cool. Couple that with all the things some of these characters can do in the dreams and the imagination highway seems endless. One thing I loved about this film is how Leonardo DiCaprio's team could do almost anything they want and add or subtract virtually anything. It sort of reminded me of the premise behind The Matrix where the characters could receive anything and learn anything instantly.

Let me just say that if you don't like movies that make you think, then you should not see this movie. You will be constantly wondering whether or not the characters are in a dream, how many dreams they are in or if they are in real life. But this just adds to the overall suspense of the film. It also grabs your attention and doesn't let go until the credits roll, and even then you won't want to leave.

I really loved the action in this film. Car chases, shootouts, assaults on military bases and an insane fight in zero gravity are just the tip of the iceberg. One cool element that added to the action was how, if something went wrong, a person's dream could begin to collapse causing all kinds of mayhem.

I thought all the actors and actresses were fantastic. There was a nice blend of personalities and styles. From fairly new actors like Ellen Page to seasoned veterans like Leonardo DiCaprio and the always incredible Michael Caine, there was somebody for everybody to enjoy. All the performances were top notch and will definitely be ones people remember for years to come.

I don't think I can find any fault with this ending. The one thing some people may have a problem with is the ending, which leaves plenty of room for debate. But I like that fact about the ending so for me it is a positive. Overall this movie was fantastic. It had a story that blew my mind and caused me to doubt whether or not I was living or in a dream. The action was intense and flowed perfectly with the story and most certainly was not overdone. The acting was incredible and no person delivered a bad performance.

Overall I think I will have to say that this movie is my favorite of the summer. In my opinion this film needs to win an award for Best Picture. I give Inception 10 Totems out of 10.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Grown Ups

Release Date: June 25th, 2010

Click here for the Grown Ups Trailer.

Lenny Feder(Adam Sandler), Eric Lamonsoff(Kevin James), Kurt McKenzie(Chris Rock), Rob Hillard(Rob Schneider) and Marcus Higgins(David Spade) are 5 friends who reunite after 30 years to mourn the death of their Junior High basketball coach, Coach "Buzzer"(Blake Clark), who led them to their first, and only, championship. The friends and their families gather in New England for the funeral and decide to spend the following 4th of July weekend in the very same lake house they celebrated their victory in 30 years ago.

While at the lake house Lenny, along with the rest of his friends, are shocked to find that their kids would rather sit inside and play videogames so the group forces them all to stay outside and find new ways to amuse themselves. When the families gather later the first night at a local restaurant, Lenny runs into his old nemesis Dickie Bailey(Colin Quinn). Dickie still holds a grudge about their basketball game 30 years ago, claiming that Lenny was out of bounds and challenges him and his friends to a rematch to which Lenny declines.

Later on at a 4th of July barbecue, the families run into Dickie and his friends again, who try to challenge the group to a rematch only this time Lenny and his friends agree. The game goes back and forth for a long time but, due to the players being old and out of shape, everybody quits except for Lenny and Dickie who bring out their sons to continue playing with them. As the game winds down, Lenny has a chance to make a game winning shot, exactly the same as he did 30 years ago. However, Lenny intentionally misses the shot, giving Dickie a sense of victory.

At the fireworks later that night, Lenny and his friends watch fireworks with their families, having an increased appreciation and love for one another. The weekend accomplished what it was intended for by bringing all the families closer together and helping them realize what was truly important in their lives.

Adam Sandler has been one of my favorite comedians for a long time now. He has a history of making some insanely funny, albeit over the top films and was one of the funniest cast members on Saturday Night Live. That being said, Sandler has taken a different turn in his comedic ways, shifting focus from all out comedy explosions like Happy Gilmore and The Waterboy to more subdued comedies that always find a way to add in some life lesson like Click or Funny People.

For me, this new style of comedy doesn't really work well for Sandler. While these movies are all, for the most part, pretty good films, they lack the classic Sandler humor that made him great in the first place. The same goes for the other actors in the film like Chris Rock, who hasn't done a film in many years, David Spade, Kevin James and Rob Schneider. All of these actors seem to be reverting to a more mild mannered form of comedy. This could be due to the fact that all the actors have been making movies for quite some time, with the exclusion of James. They seem to be slipping into what I like to call the "Eddie Murphy Complex". Now that most of them are married and have kids, they are trying to make movies that they are comfortable with their kids watching, just like the last 20 Eddie Murphy movies.

That all being said, this wasn't a terrible movie and it did bring out some genuine laughs. The comedy in this film wasn't as subdued as in some films but it was definitely more family friendly. The film wasn't as funny as I had hoped it would be but nevertheless it still made me laugh and when you bring in 5 actors that are known for comedy its going to happen. I thought all the actors in this film did a great job. The main 5, Sandler, James, Rock, Spade and Schneider were all pretty standard and delivered up to par performances. Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, and Joyce Van Patten, who played Sandler's wife Roxanne, James' wife Sally, Rock's wife Deanne and Schneider's much older wife Gloria, respectively, all did a nice job too. They were all such different characters that it made for a nice hodgepodge of personalities to blend together.

It seems that Sandler always puts the same 7 people in all of his films and this one is no different. Supporting character like Steve Buscemi, Tim Meadows and Colin Quinn are all familiar faces we have come to see in Sandler films and I find it kind of nice to have them there. It's kind of like a "Where's Waldo" game when you watch the film, trying to find the Sandler regulars.

Overall this wasn't a bad film, but it wasn't a great one either. Sandler has been lacking of late with his films on the comedy front. I think he needs to revert back to his old school ways. However, I do like a serious Sandler every now and then and those of you who saw Reign Over Me know what I'm talking about.

Standard acting, above average laughs and a decent life message make this one of Sandler's decent family films. Definitely not his best and definitely not his worst, Grown Ups succeeds as an average film.

I give Grown Ups 6.75 games of arrow roulette out of 10.