Deception: The Conceptual Complexity of ‘Inception’

Prior to its release Inception had a wave of good publicity that put it on track to become the masterpiece and game changer brought to you by Christopher Nolan, the visionary behind The Dark Knight and the storyteller behind Memento.

In The Dark Knight Nolan reinvented the blockbuster, merging old school visual techniques with the best equipment and talent along with magnificent thematic storytelling. In Memento Nolan rewrote the rules of Hollywood narrative structure. In Inception Nolan was supposed to combine big budget with big ideas, but did he succeed?

For the most part reviewers have been saying no, and for good reason. The movie is long and spends a great portion of the beginning explaining its plot complexities, the rules and regulations of dream hopping, which can be boring and tedious with the absence of real action. Some have attacked the premise as being not as original as audiences think, stating that Inception’s silent homage to The Matrix or Shutter Island are rip-offs. In fact most of the backlash coming from critics stems from concept, which is confusing because concept is the strongest asset to the film. Picking out the flaws in length, lack of action, miscasting of Page, the mild performances, poor characterization or underdevelopment of Cotillard’s Mal character would be more fair arguments. Continue reading

Advertisements

Summer Movies ’10: Ranked and Reviewed

It is certainly not the most memorable summer for well received movies, as we have all come to know, grumble about and lose sleep over. Maybe we were spoiled with 2008’s dark knights, robots and iron clad heroes and 2009’s alien invasion and balloon flying escapades.  So far there have been a few highlights, even if there have been even more dim ones plaguing our expectations and hopes for the summer movie culture. Check out how CyniCritics rated and reviewed some of the top movies released this summer and how our score compares with the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes.

Toy Story 3: A-

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Inception: B

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85% Continue reading

Inception’s Early Reviews: It’s Just the Beginning

Among the endless and plaguing remakes, reboots and sequels which Hollywood has been chastised for earlier in our State of the Box Office, comes a willing, bold beacon of hope to rise up against the order of Hollywood and save the summer from a single state of mind, a breath of fresh air, a sneaking guardian, a… dark knight perhaps?

Maybe. At least that is the word so far.

Early reviews for Christopher Nolan’s latest mind-bender are calling the Memento, The Prestige and The Dark Knight creator’s newest film “easily the most original movie idea in ages.” Peter Travers from Rolling Stone rated the film three and a half out of four stars, complimenting Nolan’s audacity in storytelling, visuals and ambitions. The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and a handful of other notable publications have all joined the bandwagon, commending the film for skipping CGI for in-camera photo-realistic imagery, its grand multi-reality setting and complex narrative. Continue reading

Summer Box Office Predictions

1. Inception

Release date: July 16th

Plot summary: Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) is an agent who has the technology to enter the minds of business tycoons to retrieve their strategies and sell them to the highest bidder. But the mind is no safe place for Dom and his team who find themselves in a place where things can rearrange and people can have powers outside of reality. When a heist goes wrong, one CEO seeks to steal the technology from the thieves attacking him.

Why it will rule: Just a few short summers ago, Christopher Nolan delivered audiences The Dark Knight, a domestic and overseas smash that made $1 billion worldwide and nabbed the attention of critics and mainstream audiences alike. Nolan’s talent lies in making brilliant narratives into dark, compelling films that are popularized by their own quality. Add in Leonardo DiCaprio and his latest success with Scorsese’s Shutter Island and Warner Bros. incredible marketing team for dark blockbusters, it looks to be a hit. All that and the trailer proves that this is going to be Memento mind-bending with The Dark Knight effects squad and July release.

Why it will fail: With the exception of the Batman franchise, Nolan has yet to have a real big blockbuster. Without the branding, and without knowing what it is really about, audiences might turn down this smarter box office fair for more Transformers style blow em’ up blockbusters as entertainment. Also, this movie is missing the Heath Ledger effect.

Estimated box office: $100 million OW / $410 million Domestic

2. Toy Story 3

Release date: June 18th Continue reading