Looper. Solid scifi. Just take a nugget of a concept and let it spool out around a handful of people. It makes movie sense in the moment even if it doesn’t later. I love this vision of a possible future. Dystopic, but not totally dire. Just worn out. Good job with the makeup, and especially how Gordon-Levitt takes on some Willis mannerisms. I love Jeff Daniels’ character. There is some violence that a certain demographics won’t take to very well, but I appreciate that he did it anyway, it fit the story, and that it wasn’t over-the-top exploitative. It was sad. I also liked some of the audio editing and they he played with the sound stage. There’s too much leeenns flaaare. But good movie! Rian Johnson knows his craft. Makes me want to watch Brick again.
Lincoln. The best movie about the legislative process released this year! For real, historical biography isn’t my thing (Lawrence of Arabia excepted), so I liked that the condensed timeline here moved it more into political drama with horse-trading and cajoling and backroom negotiation. I have my complaints (over-teaching; soft-focus soap opera lighting; lens flare; tokenism; etc.), but still… DDL is the man. His storytelling, along with the other individual performances, make it worthwhile.
Brick. Hard-boiled film noir in modern high school suburbia. Everything was treated very carefully here, and it totally works for me. I could understand how ostensible 17- or 18-year-olds talking like Dashiell Hammett characters might not work for some, though. Some of which characters are clearly set to type (femme fatale, loyal informant, short-fused blockhead, sad-sack, etc.). Most of the movie has great, lively style but isn’t afraid to undercut itself every now and then. Solid score. I say it’s worth your time.
Inception. This is a good movie. Worth seeing? Sure. Superlative? No. Interesting ideas and there’s enough ambiguity to puzzle over ‘til the End of Days. Five Ways of Looking at Inception is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
The trouble was that I didn’t care much. My first reaction was “Inception: all muscle and nerves, no heart. Interesting but probably at least 48 minutes too long.” It kinda reminded me of the situation where a writer has an awesome essay and then later writes a book on the same topic. This movie was a book where an essay (i.e. short film) might have been a tighter, more engaging experience.
Other assorted observations:
- I think the dark, corporate angle is legit. The idea of executive-level extraction-resistance training is a nice scifi hypothetical.
- I liked the idea of different levels of dreams operating at different time-speeds. Pretty cool.
- Lots of explanatory dialogue…
- Mediocre score.
- I’d like to see more movies where not everyone is wealthy and skilled.
- I’d like to see action movies with fewer hordes of incompetent gunmen.
- Ski chase. Dead wife reappearing. Zero-gravity fights. Old man dying in a minimalist room. I don’t think this is a bad thing, btw.