[Inception & Shutter Island]

Throughout Inception I had this weird little parallel thing going on in my mind, all the superficial things about it that are similar to Shutter Island. Both star Leonardo DiCaprio, of course, and he’s operating in different levels of reality. He has a dead wife fucking with his head, and he may or may not be responsible for her death. They both begin on water and end with choosing a reality.

Both are structured like genre films: Shutter Island is noir (with Leo as the everyman cast into a world of dark characters) and Inception is heist (with him assembling a team to pull off one last big job). And one did not work for me at all, while the other is one of the best films I’ve seen all year (it being number 97, that’s saying something.)

Shutter Island was a maddening waste of talent, beautifully shot & wonderfully cast to no purpose at all. Enough doubt was laid from the beginning that I never believed anything to be true, and without any touchstones, I found I didn’t care.

In Inception, however, you know truth relatively. You might not know if you’re in reality, but you know about how far away from it you are. There are things that never made sense in Shutter Island, and there are things that shouldn’t make sense but do within Inception.

So, anyway. You should have skipped Shutter Island, but you should see Inception, ideally in the theater. The visuals are amazing, of course, but the sound design also really demands the theater experience. It’s definitely one of those films that I don’t want to tell you too much about; my plus one knew basically nothing about it, and I think her experience was probably even better. I will echo another blogger who saw it last night and expressed regret that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is not going to be the new Spider-Man. I will say that the cast is fabulous, the first 20 minutes could very well feel mannered and confusing until you get into the flow of the film, and so just roll with it, and the payoff, in my opinion, was quite satisfying.

And now I totally want to see it again.

[July, July. More or less.]

As soon as I hit post on my last in-theater entry, I remembered that I had forgotten to include Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. It’s the first of three Miyazaki films that the Northwest Film Forum is showing this summer. I had intended to see them all (the other two are My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, both of which I own), now I think probably not, as they appear to be showing them all dubbed.

Sigh.

The voice cast for Nausicaa included Edward James Olmos, which had the effect of compelling one to declare “so say we all” after half of his lines. Which is unfair to the movie. It was a bit slow-moving for me at times, but the character of Nausicaa herself is basically the most kick-ass heroine ever, so it didn’t matter.

This weekend Several weekends ago I finally caught up with the rest of the world and saw Iron Man. It was a huge amount of fun. I don’t know anything about the Iron Man mythology, but I do know that staying through the credits is worth it.

Next up, the highly anticipated My Winnipeg. It’s allegedly a documentary. It is definitely one of my favorite movies of the year. It did not actually teach me anything about Winnipeg. I am okay with this.

Then this week, like the rest of the world more or less, I saw The Dark Knight, which I have a whole laundry list of issues with, but I can say that the experience of seeing it in IMAX was pretty freakin’ amazing. (Dear lord. It’s currently ranked #1 on IMDb. That is such crap I don’t even know where to start.)

Finally, last night I went to a midnight of The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Because I am crazy. It was … not good. But I will admit that I was totally into it, even though the plot made absolutely no sense, and that I was utterly delighted by the sheer quantity of Callum Keith Rennie in it. Scruffy! Evil! Speaking Russian! He was pure win.

Aside from Callum, it’s strangely off. It has weird issues of sexuality & Catholicism. We’re supposed to believe it’s set in Virginia, but the BCness of it is overwhelming. And let’s not even talk about the final shot, FOR THE LOVE.

But, big-screen Callum. Yay.

[The Prestige]

I don’t know why, but I’ve been woefully out of the upcoming film loop lately. (Those of you who read my regular blog can feel free to take a moment to DIE LAUGHING now.) Seriously. When I went to see The Illusionist, I saw the trailer for The Prestige, and until then I had never heard of it. Yeah. I know. I must have some sort of card I should turn in.

I flailed all over the place when I saw the trailer, though, and since The Illusionist didn’t do much for me it just kicked up the anticipation that much more. Then I learned that it was based on a book, which I hunted down and devoured and then, well, it finally came out. And I loved it. It’s changed from the book, but it’s still about these men and revenge and obsession and yay. It’s beautifully adapted and shot, and haunting in all the best ways. -And- it was made within the studio system, I think. There is hope!