Cillian Murphy

Inception

Year: 2010
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan

RYAN’S REVIEW

When this movie hit theaters back in 2010 Amber and I were front and center, eagerly waiting to see it.  I distinctly remember sitting there thinking about how I really had no idea what this movie was actually about.  The advertisement was specifically vague and didn’t offer much insight into the plot.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what it was about though.  It was the new Christopher Nolan movie and it was going to be awesome.  With Nolan, the fact that it is going to be awesome is practically guaranteed. Needless to say, the movie was awesome and I went on to see it in the theater three times overall. That’s a steep number by today’s standards but it says something about how incredible the film is.

This movie hits on all levels.  It’s made by one of the best in the business; it has an outstanding cast, and a story that is truly original in a time when original ideas aren’t hitting the big screen. This movie came out when 3D ruled more than any other time.  For this movie to be so visually dazzling without that effect says more than can be put into words about the director.  Christopher Nolan has been on the rise for some time and this was to date the best he has done. As for the 3D effect I will say this, it was badass when James Cameron did it but everything else has been only a waste of time.  Nolan is a director smart enough to know that and he specifically doesn’t use it in his film.  Clearly, he doesn’t have to. In this movie he made something that can’t be matched, and the scenes without gravity are truly incredible.  Nolan also has an interesting ability to convey violence without actually showing it.  This ability allows him to get the PG-13 rating coveted by studios because of the extra money it brings in.  If I remember correctly this movie was an idea Nolan created in his youth, and he waited for the technology to be available to film it.  I was ill when I first heard about this movie because I was impatiently anticipating the next Batman movie and the making of this would only delay it.  When I saw the movie I didn’t mind but it only made me anticipate Nolan’s next film more.  Too much in fact because I was really disappointed with The Dark Knight RisesMy disappointment over Nolan’s final Batman notwithstanding I still believe in him and I will be excited about any film he is involved with.

The cast of this film is jam-packed with talent. It begins with the lead role of Cobb.  In which Nolan chose to cast the best in the business.  Leonardo DiCaprio in my opinion is the cream of the crop, greatest actor of his era hands down.  His track record speaks for itself and how he has managed to not win numerous awards is beyond me.  The Academy doesn’t like him for some reason but that doesn’t change the fact that he is the best there is. He has worked with nearly every important director out there and he has been in some of the best movies I have ever seen.  I think he is a bit out shined in this movie by some of the others but if anything it’s only because being great comes so natural to this guy. DiCaprio performs his part so deftly it’s easy to take his talent for granted. DiCaprio may be the best in the business but in this film Joseph Gordon-Levitt outperformed him.  I have watched Gordon-Levitt since his days on Third Rock from the Sun and I am thoroughly impressed with how his career has blossomed.  He owns it in this movie and deserves to be remembered forever for the performance. This was the first movie I had seen Tom Hardy in but he left an impression as well.  I am a big fan of Ken Watanabe and obviously Christopher Nolan is too because he casts him often.  Nolan likes Cillian Murphy as well and I think that’s cool because the guy fits into all his movies perfectly. I always liked Tom Berenger and really liked seeing him in a significant role in a new movie. This was one of the last movies Pete Postlethwaite appeared in before his death, he was a significant loss as he has been part of many good movies.   Last but not least, although his role was small Michael Caine still managed to bring plenty to the film.  Nolan has cast him in every movie he has made over the last several years and for good reason.

The female leads were just as good as the male.  I had never heard of Marion Cotillard before seeing this movie but I am aware she has had a long career in foreign film.  I think she was terrific in this movie. She has a look that can turn you cold and her character is wildly unpredictable. I was also unfamiliar with Ellen Page but I think she brought a lot to the film too. She infuses the cast with youth and fits the part of the college student well. Most people know her from the film Juno, but that it still sitting on my “to-watch list” and has been for some time.

The biggest thing that makes this movie great is that it’s a movie unlike any you have ever seen before.  It has a wildly imaginative story that is truly original in an era where most of what is hitting theaters are remakes and continuations of outdated franchises.  I think this movie proves there is still a place in the industry for original ideas, whether they confuse half of the viewers or not. This movie did seem to confuse a lot of people but I don’t know why.  It may be a bit much for the close minded viewer but I didn’t have any problem at all following it.  In the end when the Cobb’s top keeps spinning I think that it suggests that he is in fact still in limbo.  The fact that he walks away before seeing it fall simply means that he no longer cares if he is or isn’t in reality anymore.  He would rather see his kids again regardless what it means.  Cobb may have never come back to reality but it was possibly still a happy ending for him despite that.

This movie was very successful when it came out two years ago and for a while became the thing everybody talked about.  If you managed to miss it then it is more than worth your time to try to see it now.  With an excellent cast, one of the best directors out there, and a story that thinks outside of the box it is definitely a must see.  I really enjoyed it and I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I love this one. It reminds me a lot of my favorite movie of all time, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I like the intricacies of this film. It is so in depth and if you aren’t paying attention to every minute, it is easy to get lost. This movie was made for movie lovers. The ones that watch and take everything in. The ones that are judging every scene, every sentence, everything. This movie is unexplainable; all that is explainable is that it is worth watching. Period.

This is one of my favorite ones to write about. I really like this poster. The world is turned up on itself, which is pretty much what happens when you dream. The laws of physics do not apply. I like the allusion to this in this poster. The font choice is bold and red is a perfect color. Once you have seen it, or even if you have seen this trailer, you can almost hear the “BOOOOOONNNNNNGGGG” sound when you look at the title. The only thing I think is unfortunate about this one is that the cast is standing in the street like that. I understand that they were trying to give as much billing to the characters as possible, but they have them standing around in the street and it looks like a Christian Rock group’s cover photo. Just my opinion, of course…but I don’t like it. It’s campy. Otherwise, this is a beautifully done poster.

NEXT MOVIE: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

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Batman Begins

Year: 2005
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: David S. Goyer, Jonathon Nolan, and Christopher Nolan

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie caught us all by surprise, I don’t think anybody was expecting much from another Batman film, and the franchise reboot was a new and unfamiliar idea in 2005.  I had never even heard of Christopher Nolan.  I was aware of Memento and had heard good things, but I had not actually seen it.  I knew of Christian Bale but he was by no means an A-list actor and not very well-known at the time, most of his movies didn’t have wide theatrical releases. These films are good but little known, films like Equilibrium, American Psycho, and The Machinist.  The Machinist wasn’t great or anything but to see what Bale put himself through is really amazing.  Nolan and Bale both became house hold names with this movie and that notoriety was well deserved.  They took a franchise that was in the dump and turned it into one of the highest grossing franchises of all time, one that will rival Spiderman in the end, if not completely surpass it.

I followed this film very little during its production because I was so disappointed with the last Batman movie, Batman & Robin.  I did not think the franchise could come back from that and not knowing the two biggest names in this movie I assumed that it wouldn’t be very good.  I was happily proven wrong though.  Amber and I were at Myrtle Beach and went to the theater to see it on a whim.  I was blown away, I usually know so much about a film already before I go in I have certain expectations that are usually right on target. This movie caught me off guard, but this is the kind of surprise that I can appreciate. This movie is easily one of the best comic book films ever, and a movie that will always be remembered.

Christopher Nolan is one of the most exciting directors out there right now, I think he is the most exciting one actually.  There are many great directors out there making great movies, but Nolan is different.  At the center of all his films is a great and interesting story and his Batman is no different. David S. Goyer, who has been involved with several great comic book films wrote the script along with Nolan and his brother. Batman Begins is very well written and the performances are fantastic. Nolan always has many great actors on hand and he makes good use of him.  I am a big fan of Ken Wantanabe, who Nolan has used more than once, he has a small but excellent part in the movie.  Michael Caine is a Nolan regular, he makes a fantastic Alfred. Katie Holmes is the ever necessary hot chick.  Her part was actually originally written to be Harvey Dent, but they needed a female lead so they made subtle changes to the script and changed the name to Rachel Dawes.  Cillian Murphy, another Nolan regular is great as Scarecrow.  Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Tom Wilkinson, and Rutger Hauer are all great.  My wife would be mad at me if I didn’t make a special point to mention Liam Neeson, he is her favorite actor of all time, she is in love with him.  Finally, Christian Bale as Batman.  Some people criticize his voice as Batman but I think it was necessary for the role.  Bale is great as Bruce Wayne, looking every bit the part and owning it.  He is good as Batman too but he does lack an upper lip, making him look a little funny when he gets close-ups.

I am always running into people who tell me they have never seen this movie, less these days but it still happens regularly.  I am shocked by that, especially since everyone has seen The Dark Knight.  If you haven’t seen this movie then you are in luck, because you have something great and exciting to look forward to.  This movie is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I am not one for watching movies on vacation, but Ryan talked me into seeing this with him on our very first beach trip together. It was totally worth it. I thoroughly enjoy this film. I love the plot line and how we learn about how Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. It holds my attention throughout. Ryan and I have this inside joke that he tells everyone that I am completely in love with Liam Neeson. I think it stems from Love Actually, because I love the character he played in that film, but now it is an everlasting joke at me that I am in love with him. It kills me, but he finds it funny and continually finds ways to tell everyone, including you all. In any case, I think he plays a great character, and with every good movie there is a twist at the end. So this one is a definite must see.