Ultimate 2010s Blogathon: Inception (2010) by Drew’s Movie Review

After 2 weeks of blogathon guests, Ultimate 2010s Blogathon is at its conclusion with me and Drew’s concluding movie reviews to wrap-up the blogathon. Drew starts off with a review of 2010’s Inception. You can’t go wrong with this Christopher Nolan directed psychological science fiction thriller.

Dream extractors Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and their team are hired by Japanese businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe) to perform inception, or plant an idea in someone’s mind, on Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), son of Saito’s dying competitor.

Christopher Nolan is a writer and director who is known for films that are bold, that go big, and that are completely original. One of his boldest and biggest films came between the latter two films in his influential The Dark Knight trilogy. Inception has all of Nolan’s trademark elements and, most importantly, the cast to make it work. And it works. It works in a spectacular and unforgettable fashion.

Sometimes movies try to explain their world before getting into the story, often using an overbearing amount of exposition. But Inception doesn’t do that. Rather than use the beginning to set up the technology or concept to enter one’s subconscious, it is used to introduce the notion of dreams within dreams, which becomes an important aspect of the story later on, and also simply give an idea of what it the technology does. The movie accepts that entering dream space is already an established technology so it can start with a bang. However, later in the film we do get the exposition needed to explain such a high concept technology. This information is given to us through Ariadne (Ellen Page), who acts as the bridge between the movie and the audience. But again, it is done in a way that is neither pandering nor dull, somehow making exposition exciting and entertaining.

Although there is a large ensemble, almost everyone gets their fair share of screen time. Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are the main focus but they handle the attention well and give amazing performances. They play off each other humorously and you can feel that their characters are close friends. I haven’t seen many of Cillian Murphy’s films but I’m impressed with his performance here, playing well opposite, and later along side, DiCaprio. Ellen Page is the newcomer to the team and acts a great surrogate for the audience. She offers an innocence and a bit of naivete to the group. However, I would have to say my favorite performances is Tom Hardy as Eames. He brings a charisma that fits his character perfectly.

Cobb has become one of my favorite characters in cinema. He is very complex and it’s easy to forget that he is a thief. He is an antihero but is one because of the circumstances and wants nothing more than to return to his family. Most antiheroes say they have good intentions and only become so out of necessity but secretly enjoy being a thief/killer/whatever kind of antihero they are. Cobb, on the other hand, is truly not a bad person and is only leveraging his skills in a way he believes will allow him to return to his family the quickest, even though it is not a way he would prefer.

I have mentioned many times in other reviews how important the score can be to a movie. Like most other aspects of Inception, the sound work and music beautifully complements what is happening on screen. The movie can get loud to accentuate the action going on but it also gets very quite, making these moments more intimate. Hans Zimmer is my second favorite composer (behind the wonderful John Williams) and for a good example of why he is amazing just look at this movie. His score is memorable and gives a certain gravitas to the events unfolding on screen.

There are some amazing visuals, too. Working inside a dream allows the action to be limited only by the imagination. One of the coolest is an early scene when Ariadne is learning about molding dreams. She is walking around Paris and makes the city fold on itself, among bending the streets and architecture in other ways. There is also a fight scene in zero gravity in a hotel hallway. And these are just a few! On top of that, many of the effects are done practically rather than with computer animation. Even though this film takes place in the dreamscape, it adds a bit of realism in a world that is anything but real. The effects department truly outdid themselves.

I thought Inception was GREAT 😀 Like most of Christopher Nolan’s films, it features a grand and unique concept. Even though the concept is big, it is never dumbed-down or spoon-fed to the audience. The film assumes that they can figure things out for themselves and moves on accordingly, offering marvelous and extraordinary action pieces and character moments. Each character is complex yet relatable and all the actors and actresses play well off each other. Nolan has proven time and again his place as one of the biggest and best storytellers in Hollywood today, and Inception just might be his crown jewel. So far.


Cast & Crew
Christopher Nolan – Director / Writer
Hans Zimmer – Composer

Leonardo DiCaprio – Cobb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Arthur
Ellen Page – Ariadne
Tom Hardy – Eames
Ken Watanabe – Saito
Dileep Rao – Yusuf
Cillian Murphy – Robert Fischer
Marion Cotillard – Mal
Tom Berenger – Browning
Pete Postlethwaite – Maurice Fischer
Michael Caine – Miles
Lukas Haas – Nash

You can find all the blogathon entries updated daily HERE.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

After postponing date night, my boyfriend and I finally got around to going to see The Dark Knight Rises at the theatres last Wednesday.  I’ve never shared the same love for this movie as many superhero fans have.  These Batman movies are definitely ranked among the  higher ones.  I had revisited the first two over the course of the last 2 weeks.  This was good because I never had seen Batman Begins and really wanted to get a better idea of how Batman (Christopher Nolan version) got to where it was, instead of Batman just already had made the decision and was fighting the big bad guys in Gotham.  I have been debating how to structure this post but finally decided to not make a quick review of Batman Begins and Dark Knight instead this is just a review of this movie alone (although it is hard to not link to the previous movie).

I did a bit of research and looked into what other movies Christopher Nolan did.  He has definitely made a lot of movies that I’ve really appreciated. I think the first movie I watched from this director according to IMDB was Memento.  That movie was amazing and original.  He did the Prestige as well.  Although this one was enjoyable.  The part that made it less amazing was the fact that around the same time frame, The Illusionist came out and I had enjoyed watching that one a little bit more.  I’m sure that could have a debate going. It just depends which one is more to your taste.  What do I have to say about Christopher Nolan? He makes movies with darker and more serious tones and his ideas are very original, from setup to the character development, etc. I’m into that genre of movies so I’m fine with that. I like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  Watching those two made me want to go see The Dark Knight Rises.

Going into the Dark Knight Rises, I had taken the time in the last few months to watch most of the trailers released (I think there was 4).  I wasn’t really sure how the movie would pan out.  The trailers made the movie look pretty awesome, in a somewhat vague way.  It gave us an introduction of the cast, but we already know the cast since its mostly carried forward from the first two in the trilogy.  I’m a huge fan of Anne Hathaway so I was really excited to see how she’d pull off Catwoman.  On the other hand, I was a bit worried as well.  I really loved Michelle Pffeifer’s Catwoman as well.  Then we come to Bane.  He is the villain of the final instalment.  Last time I saw Bane was in Batman and Robin, okay, bad memories, especially since that Bane didn’t say anything.  So I have no idea what is the deal with Bane and why does he hate Batman to the extent of ruining him, and wait, was he able to talk all along?  The previews also gave us the very much aged Bruce Wayne, walking with a cane, etc., but that made sense after I finally stayed awake for the final part of The Dark Knight and he runs off into the dark, so that was a bit more clear.  Now all the issues I had are laid out, lets see how my expectations turned out.

Expectations were definitely not failed.   I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises.  As usual, the effects were fantastic and the story had enough going on for me to stay awake through the whole thing (and I don’t even want to talk about how bad my day was).  The final instalment was definitely exactly that.  You probably would enjoy the experience so much more if you had gotten around to watching the first two movies.  I don’t see this as a problem though.  The trilogy was meant to be seen as a whole to portray the story of Batman in a complete way from how he came to be to how he rose up.  I’m not sure who would actually go see the final instalment, after seeing all the previews and expect to be amused.  Well, you would probably still be amused because its a decent storyline and there was enough action and obstacles to keep your attention.  Either way, my suggestion, if you want to see this one, do go see at least The Dark Knight, just to have an idea of what how the characters had developed to where they were, especially how Batman got to this stage in life and better understand what he does.

Stemming from that, I loved the fact that they were able to keep ALL the actors from the previous instalments for all 3 movies.  Lets just say, I enjoyed this trilogy because they casted a lot of actors that I liked.  Michael Caine (playing Alfred) is remarkable as usual with his comments and he came out with this one with a bit of a different approach, showing his deep care for Batman/Bruce Wayne and had a pretty heartwarming and heartbreaking moments.  Morgan Freeman (as Lucius Fox) was awesome also.  He captures that role pretty good.  Gary Oldman (as Commissioner Gordan) was fantastic.  The new additions were great.  We have Anne Hathaway (as Catwoman/Selena) which pretty much has convinced me that she can play any role (the anticipation for Les Miserables is growing).  She played a pretty captivating role with a nice side story.  Another actor that was included in this instalment was Joseph Gordan-Levitt (as Blake).  My goodness, this guy is moving up so fast and his acting has improved where he can do well in roles of many genres.  We come to another actress that I love a lot is the elegant Marion Cotillard (as Miranda). I’ve seen her in mutliple movies before and she has always owned up to her character. Finally, Christian Bale (as Batman/Bruce Wayne)…..I’m at loss for words.  He is one hell of an actor, I’ve loved him in so many movies.  He sure kicked most of the previous Batmans in their ass.  So with the characters, at this point in time, we have all bonded with the people on screen and its due to the repeating cast appearances and familiar faces.  We have grown to understand their characters and their influences and significance to Batman/Bruce Wayne.  The only thing that brings on mysteries is now that Batman has retired and we see Gotham City 8 years later after the previous incident with the Joker and Rachel and Harvey’s death, we see the changes that have occurred and the good part of the beginning is set in introducing the new roles and also the new situation being on new dynamics between the cast.

I won’t sit around and say I liked which one in the trilogy I liked more.  I found all of it contributed to  an exciting Batman experience.  I thought this one was great and gave it a nice ending.  The only issue I always had was how the villains were never really awesome.  Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow was alright but was he an exciting villain, not really in my opinion.  But then, on the other hand, who can comment about Heath Ledger’s The Joker…he was crazy.  What made his character as a villain extremely convincing was he had no reason behind what he was doing.  You never knew what his next step was, and who likes to watch movies where you already expect the next step.  This was my issue with Bane as the villain.  I watched a good part of the movie and the reason why I was intrigued was not that I had no idea what he wanted to do but why? I kept waiting for the reason to come up.  Or at times I wondered if I missed it because of the comprehensible voices for the characters.  I had three movies to adapt to Batman’s voice, but now you give me Bane who has a muffled voice because of the breathing apparatus.

Other than that, this movie was a thrilling watch. As usual, there was character development for Batman even if his appearance was not very abundant.  The only issue was that there was a whole lot of side stories also.  Everyone seemed to have a story but there was not enough time to go in depth for anyone.  I felt at times that Blake could have had more character development especially with how they ended the movie.  The ending was done very well as it tied up the loose ends that were question marks throughout the movie.  So I was pleased with it all, especially since the ending had a slight unexpected factor.

Overall, this movie was an enjoyable movie experience. I would definitely recommend people to go see it, but with the urge that you have seen the previous movies of the trilogy to fully appreciate what this one has to offer.

On a side note, The Dark Knight Rises was so hard to review by itself.  I almost wanted to add a mini review of the first two just to have a more thorough review.  If you had a chance to see the movie, tell me what you thought about it.

Lots of good movies being released..I should be heading out to the theatres soon enough.