Ruthless Roundtable: Inception

Cos 101_0871pt2 by you.

Here we are at another Ruthless Roundtable, it dawned on me that I didn’t introduce the participants the last time…so, I’ll just say, this time around we have myself, Mother Brain, Chosen 1 and Margarita Flower.

I’ve been trying to get something out for Inception since I saw Inception back on July 24th (Inception) anyway, I figured seeing how powerful of a movie Inception was that it would be a good thing to include it as a Ruthless Roundtable discussion.

I know, Inception has been out for a while and I don’t even know if its still in the theater. But better late then never right?

Cos’ review of Inception


We saw Inception back on July 24th and I figured I would post a review of this shortly after, but I completely forget (and went on vacation and started a new job) but as I always say, better late than never.  As soon as I saw Christopher “Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight” Nolan was attached, I knew it would be a must watch movie (I didn’t add Insomnia because I’ve never seen the whole movie…). Nolan has become one of those must see directors. Whatever he has put his hands on has made us think, opened our minds and has sent the movie industry into a different direction. How many comic book related rumors have the projects put on hold until they the rewrite the script in the vein of The Dark Knight. There aren’t that many directors that can move any entire industry in a certain direction. At the top of my head I can say Nolan and James Cameron, and Cameron mostly because he is always at the cutting edge of special effects.

Inception is no different when it comes to special effects. Unlike many movies today, and I’ve mentioned this many times, but Nolan knows how to utilize special effects to enhance the story as oppose to covering up for what the story lacks. With a story about dreams, this has been one of the concepts I have wanted to write into a film since I was in high school  (I actually did write a script, back in high school (that I think is on my parent’s old computer) about how two teenagers dream an adventure together and help each other out. I think I called it Night of the Sandman and later ended up calling it Enter Sandman, after the Metallica song. I incorporated some dreams I had had at the time into the story. If I read it now it would probably be really embarrassing) but it was never on this scale. This is the type of thing you can only hope to come up with let alone do.

The acting was pretty damn good, I have to say, I don’t know what people complain about with Leonardo Di Caprio, I think he’s a good actor. He has become this (and last decades) Tom Hanks (who has trailed off into nothing the last few years). I will say that Jospeh Goron-Levitt really surprised me. After growing up seeing him as the oldest alien in a kids body on 3rd Rock From The Sun, I was highly impressed with his acting ability and how his presence was clearly seen next to such an actor like di Caprio. And, what can I say about Ellen “Juno’ Page…she annoys the shit out of me. I mean, I’ve seen her in Hard Candy, X-men: The Last Stand and I have to say I was concerned when I heard she was in this movie, but unlike her Juno co-star, Michael Cera, she definitely shows her acting ability seeing that I didn’t see her as Juno but as the character that she was playing.

Great action, great acting, great special effects, great score, and most importantly, great story.

I totally feel like it you haven’t seen this in the theater you are missing out a true film going experience.

Mother Brain’s review of Inception

The Mother Brain Files: Inception (Review)
By: Mother Brain

The Dark Knight director, Christopher Nolan, knows how to produce an event movie. His latest work, Inception, is virtually everything I ever wanted to do in a movie but could never have the patience to think the idea throughly. Its story and concept have been shaded in mystery from the moment it was announced about two years ago. The trailers   that played in theaters for almost a year explained very little of the plot. Only the wide scape and visually stunning style of Nolan’s Batman films mixed with a bit of the James Bond films, Heat, and Minority Report in addition to the works of Stanley Kubrick. After sitting through half of a disappointing summer at the movies this year, I’m proud to say that Inception was the relief I needed as a movie goer.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb, a ‘dream thief’ who is partnered with Arthur played by Joseph Gordon-Levett. Together, they extract information from people’s minds as they dream for corporate espionage. But one mission is revealed as an audition by a business man named Saito (Ken Watanabe) who wants Cobb and Arthur to execute the act of ‘inception’, which involves planting an idea into someone’s dream. The mission sounds simple: If Cobb succeeds in performing the inception on Saito’s competitor (Cillian Murphy), he can return to America to be with his children. Yet various obstacles within the dreams stand in the way.

The concept of ‘tampering’ with people’s dreams was previously explored in the 1984 film, Dreamscape, starring Dennis Quaid. Where the latter film dealt with psychics who could defeat your worst nightmares or literally kill you within the dream, Inception takes the direction of a darker Ocean’s Eleven movie due to the amount of time spent on establishing the crew that Cobb puts together to execute the job: Ellen Page as the architect of the worlds within the dream, Tom Hardy as a character who can take the form of different people in the dream, and newcomer Dileep Rao as a chemist with the drugs necessary to sustain the dream states.

I remember saying to myself after Dark Knight’s massive success that Warner Brothers should let Nolan do any project he wants so they could ease him into a 3rd Batman film. Normally filmmakers in that position go for non-commercial projects that kill their momentum. Nolan instead chose a film that was less about eye candy and more about creating a puzzle that the viewer has to watch closely to mentally piece together much like his breakout film, Memento. The cinematography by Wally Pfister is beautifully executed, giving the dream worlds an edge of reality without the overuse of CG. Among such dynamic sequences include the rotating hotel hallway fight involving Arthur and the subconscious projections in the mind of Murphy’s character, the chase scene Mombasa with Cobb, and the James Bond-style climax on an arctic fortress. I also have to give props to production designer, Guy Dyas, for his mix of modern sets with the whole global feel of the film.

The downside of the film are the performances. While visually stunning, Inception is by no means the best work of any of the major actors involved. The tragic relationship between Cobb and his dead wife (Marion Cotillard) within the dreams often times felt repetitive and overdramatic to the degree of a soap opera. I also felt that good actors like Michael Caine and Lukas Haas were wasted in roles that had no more than 5 minutes of screen time. Without going into spoilers, I wish there was more to the Haas character after establishing him in the beginning (Maybe I still have a fondness to the Amish boy character he played who Harrison Ford had to protect in Witness). This also explains the fact that more time is devoted to humanizing the Cobb character and by the time the film ends, you know very little personally about Arthur and the rest of the crew.

Inception will definitely withstand the test of time and is worth going back to time and again to put the puzzle together. It is a refreshing film that forces you to think but also gives you very satisfying entertainment value that very few films have in the age of 3D-driven garbage.


Chosen 1’s review of Inception

Since seeing Inception about a month or so ago now I still have myself in a frenzy wondering what others thoughts are and how they compare to my own. I have scoured the internet in search for answers to so many questions. “Where did the dream start? Did the dream ever end? Was Fischer the mark or was this all just an overly elaborate disguise put in motion to save Cobb?” These are just a few of the questions that i constantly have running through my head. And while there are many thoughts circulating the internet and some based on interviews done with actors of the flick the answers lie souly inside the mind of Writer/Director Christopher Nolan. I am guessing we will never get a strait forward answer from him. So lets get on with what I believe to be the story is.
I am leaning toward the idea that the whole movie starts and ends in a dream. So Cobb’s life is all a dream that he can never wake up from. He simply finds himself at peace at the end so believes that he has reached his destination.
In his process of delivering the inception to Fischer he begins to realize how his life should be. He begins to understand that what happened to Mal was not his fault. Right from the beginning you see that there is a serious battle between Mal and Cobb. She is able to change the course of the dream sequence that Cobb is in because Cobb wont let go of her. She wanted them to “die” together in order to make it back to “reality” and now he lives with the burden that he didn’t go with her. He plays the scenario in his head over and over as he dreams trying to hide away his feelings that he is the reason she is “dead”. All of this leads me to think that it was actually Cobb who was being delivered the inception. Some other reasons behind me believing this have to deal with what may be plot holes or clues to what the film is truly about. Saito is trying to collapse his major competitor the company that is being taken over by Fischer following the death of his father. How is it that Fischer pays no attention to the fact that Saito is there in the dream sequence? How is it that Cobb seems to be the only one that can alter the dreams architecture if he is not the dreamer? Finally his children at the end are in the same spots wearing the same clothes and doing the same thing as they are in his dreams throughout the movie. I know its Nolan’s sick mind that always leaves us happily unsatisfied ie. Memento and the Dark Knight where its over but we are left asking so many questions as to what would happen next if there were just 10 more minutes in the movie.

Inception 4.5 out of 5 stars and in my opinion Leonardo DiCaprio’s Best film not named Titanic. In closing I would have to say that Cobb’s spinning top falters just a little bit but would continue spinning had the movie not ended.

Some other questions I am looking to be answered. If falling off the bridge caused a loss of gravity in the hotel (Arthur’s dream) then how come the loss of gravity in the hotel didn’t cause a loss of gravity at the snow fort (Eames’ dream) ?
Wouldn’t it be easy for an investigator to be able to tell that Mal jumped from the window opposite of the one of the room that was torn apart thus proving Cobb’s innocence?
How did the team not wake up when Yusuf flipped the fan off the road the first time wouldnt that create a jolt that would wake them up? Before they were able to drop down to the next level? Or when he crashed through the barrier and off the bridge how did the collision not wake up Arthur who was still in his dream level? Can you choose when and what kick wakes you up? If anybody has answers I am all ears…

Margarita Flower’s review of Inception

101_0871pt2 by you.

I thought the storyline was very creative. Does it make it right that people can have access to your mind and put their ideas in there for their benefit? was called into question. You could seen that with the husband and wife storyline. (I forget the character names, sorry) She ends up wrapped up in her own dreams because that was something that HE planted in her mind as her reality. Because she couldn’t handle her own reality or was confused as to what the real world was, she did what she did. This whole last ‘job’ was a way for him to redeem himself from what he did to his wife, right!?

I absolutely loved the casting for the movie. I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I feel he’s a great actor. He can play just about anything. And this is going to sound corny, but Leo Decaprio is good too. I think he’s very under rated as an actor. Maybe because of Titanic.
The special effects were great. My favorite scenes are when Leo is explaining the whole dreaming thing to Ellen Page and she ‘folds’ up the street and they end up walking on the cealing. And when the van is falling, but they cut to the second dream level and Joseph’s character is floating, trying to get everyone in the elevator.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It was worth my money and the time to watch it. I’d watch it again if I could.

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