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Posts Tagged ‘Inception’

First off, Happy Easter to all.  Christ is risen!!
I’ve been off work a few days this week with a viral infection in my throat which has made it very difficult to swallow (and sometimes breathe).  The result is that I’ve had some time (between sleeping) to watch a few movies.  Normally when I’m off work, I like to read, but I’ve found when I’m ill I can’t really concentrate enough to make reading enjoyable.  Anyway, the three movies I’ve watched are: “2012” (a disaster epic from 2010), “The Departed” (an undercover cop movie from 2006), and “Star Knight” (a science fiction / history – “They’ve visited us” – movie from 1985).
The first movie, “2012” was a very enjoyable disaster epic with fairly spectacular special effects (and some banal ones as well).  The acting is so-so, but the effects make the movie.  The best acting in the movie is done by Woody Harrelson – who I normally don’t care for mainly for his choice of roles.  In this movie, he is the predictor of the disaster, comes across as believably paranoid / crazy and is genuinely great in the role.  I guess I like him as crazy but not dark.  This was the third time I’ve seen this movie.  The first was at the theater, where the big screen made the SFX look fantastic (particularly Los Angeles sliding into the Pacific and the destruction of Yellowstone).  The second time I watched it was after the DVD came out and I watched it on my TV at home.  To be honest, the movie did not carry over well from the big screen to the home viewing.  I have a 48 inch hi-def screen, but a lot of the smaller SFX details did not come across when viewed from 8 to 10 feet away.  In contrast, this third viewing was on my 32 inch flat-panel connected to my PC and viewed from about 2 to 3 feet away, and it was terrific.  It didn’t make the movie better, but it made the viewing better.  I’ve noticed a similar viewing effect when I’ve watched some other films – most notably, “Avatar“.  So my recommendation is this is a very entertaining SFX disaster movie, but see it on as big a screen as you can and sit as close as you can.  Recommended.
The second movie, “The Departed” is a police / mob undercover movie with a number of major young(-ish) movie stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg and some oldie but goodies Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin.  The movie is set in Boston and the main conflict is between good mole (DiCaprio) in the mob and bad mole (Damon) in the police.  The movie is very well done as characters, plot and pace go.  I had some minor problems with the poor use of technology, but all in all it was a terrific movie.  I can’t honestly say it’s appropriate for everyone to view as there is a considerable amount of foul language, so there are age and sensitivity issues for the viewing audience.  Other than that, highly recommended!  Oh, and a shout out to my daughter Rebecca for recommending this to me.
The third movie, “Star Knight” is an alien visits earth in the middle-ages movie.  It was done in the mid 1980’s so there has to be some allowance for the SFX – which for that period are actually pretty good.  The movie, however is terrible!!  The best thing about this movie is it is only 91 minutes long, so you’re not wasting 92 minutes of your life.  There are a few movies I will see just because the actors in the films are known quantities and are predictors of quality.  The movie they are in may not be great, but almost without exception, their role is outstanding.  Among these are actors like: Bogie, Hepburn, Tracy (from the oldies) and Nicholson, Streep and (my personal favorite) Duvall.  There are some younger actors emerging though who I think will one day be in a similar category.  I like Damon, Wahlberg and DiCaprio.  Of these three, I must admit, Wahlberg seems to have the most limited range of characters.  DiCaprio is the most recent addition to my list.  I have seen very little of his work and did not enjoy him or the movies I saw him in early: “Titanic” and “The Quick and the Dead“.  Anyway, last year I thoroughly enjoyed him in “Inception” and I think he was also exceptional in the movie just above (“The Departed“).  Well, (that’s a long way to get to here), one of my other all-time favorite actors has been Harvey Keitel.  Again, I have not always liked the movies he was in, but I always liked him.  This movie is definitely the exception.  He is bad and the movie is terrible.  In fairness to Harvey, the movie, a Spanish film originally called: “El caballero del dragon (The Knight of the Dragon)“, was on sale for $4 and it had a pretty good DVD jacket and blurb on the back, but I bought it on the strength of his name.  As stated previously, this was both a waste of time and money.  I am hoping Keitel did this as bad camp, because it is almost – but not quite – so bad it is funny.  There is a vague nod to “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (I hope that is what it is) in one scene, but even as camp, the movie fails.  I guess even the best actors will take any role just to stay active.  Sorry Harvey…  This is among the worst movies I have EVER seen.  Frankly, I don’t even have another movie to compare it to because I’ve blotted them out of my memory, too.
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Well, if there was much doubt about my review the other day about “The King’s Speech“, it was laid to rest tonight when the movie won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay at the 83rd Academy Awards.  Bravo Colin Firth!  Well done, lad!
I must admit, “Inception” did not do as well as I thought it was going to when I first saw it.  I felt it was a brilliant movie and would have a long term impact on the industry and society – much like “Matrix” did.  But it (“Inception“) never has.  It also won several awards tonight, but they were technical awards mostly about sound.
Friday night, I re-watched “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen“.  I must admit it was much better on the smaller screen and I was able to follow the fight action much better with the limited view of having everything directly in front of me instead of having to shift my eyes or head as I would have to do at a theater.   I’m going to watch T:I and T:II again before T:III comes out later this year.  I think, so far, the first was better than the sequel because the first had more (and better) humor, but T:II had some pretty good moments too.  I particularly like the action shot of the carrier being destroyed by the Transformer bad-guy “meteors”.  That was a very well done action sequence.
Last night (Saturday), I re-watched “The Guardian” with Kevin Cosner and Ashton Kutcher.  It’s a cross between “An Officer And A Gentleman” and “The Karate Kid“, but it really works for me.  They both worked individually (for me) so there is no reason to think a combo wouldn’t.  The movie is about the US Coast Guard elite jump-swimmers (they jump from helicopters) who save lives at sea.  Of the two, I’d rate Guardian over T:II if only because it was less comic bookish.  All in all, a good weekend for watching movies and relaxing.
Non-Movie Notes:
Friday I got a permanent crown put in.  I got the temp a couple of weeks ago.
Yesterday, Hil and I went out for another meal with Donnie (my son’s god father).  He’s going away on vacation for a couple of months, so it was kind of a farewell dinner.
Hil and I went for an afternoon walk around Lafayette Reservoir this afternoon, after church.  It was beautiful – sunny but with a nice cool breeze.  It felt good to spend some time out with Hil – just walking and enjoying the air, view and each other’s company.
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Well, another day gone.  Another day closer to retirement!
I didn’t sleep well last night.  I’m not sure why, perhaps it was the late night cuppa-tea, but I had one of those “Inception” nights where you have a dream which seems absolutely real (virtual reality real), but you know it’s a dream.  I can rarely remember the whole thing when this happens, and this dream was no exception.  Anyway, I was in some kind of CSI/serial killer tracking police squad and we were trying to track some deranged wacko.  I can remember very few details: I wasn’t a cop, I was only working with them.  The crimes were gruesome.  We never caught the “perp”.  I remember thinking, “This is not me doing this, so I must be dreaming.”  At that point, I stopped being a player in the drama and became an observer of the drama and myself as a performer in the drama.  That sense of duality there was pretty weird, too.  I woke once, just after mid-night and when I went back to sleep, I went right back into the dream.
As I said, I don’t remember much more about the details of the dream.  I do remember feeling close to consciousness several times and thinking, “Just relax and go back to the dream.  We might still catch him.”  Anyway, and like I said before, the more I thought about the awareness of dreaming, being in the dream, the more I thought about the movie “Inception“.  Hil woke me at the usual time (4:30 AM) and I was still in the dream.  I’ve always thought dreams were fairly short lived affairs.  The dream itself might have a duration of some length, but the actual time dreaming was seconds or minutes.  This dream really seemed to take all night and (as I said) I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all.
Other musings:
Hil and I went out for another trip around the neighborhood.  This was a little over an hour, but much slower.  I reckon we walked about 2.5 miles.  My BP was more or less normal and my pulse was in the high 80’s and regular.  That’s two days now with no “known” irregular pulse.  Woo-hoo!!
On my daughter’s (Rebecca) recommendation, I’m having a little play with scheduling the release of my quote posts.  I’ve set two up to go off tomorrow and the next day.  I’m not really comfortable with the concept of timing posts this way as it seems deceptive somehow.  If something strikes my fancy today and I create the post today, is it misleading to publish it later?  Doesn’t that give the impression I had that thought later?  Fortunately, almost no one reads my little disturbances (ripples) in the time-space continuum, so my ethical itches will remain unscratched (or at least uncommented on).
And finally, I’m reading about computer greats and one of them said something I’ve believed for years but never really knew how to express (I paraphrase): If you’re developing software that has lives dependent on it, it has to be perfect.  If you’re not, then you need to get it (the software product) out to the users as quickly as possible so they can tell you what’s wrong with it (what needs improving, not that it doesn’t work).  If you get a reputation for faster results, the market (your customer) is more forgiving.  But they still end up being more demanding in the end.  Speed spoils.
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Yesterday, I picked up my copy of “Inception” on DVD and watched it when I got home.  It’s a terrific movie!  On second viewing, the love story (the main character and his dead wife) actually make the movie for me.  Yes, there is the Sci-Fi, and yes, there is the action and convoluted plot, but to me, the power of the movie comes from his enduring love.
I still feel the movie (as stated above) is terrific, but in all honesty, it does NOT translate to the small screen as much as I had hoped.  It’s a bit like the movie “2012” in that regard.  The special effects are so grand, they lose detail when compressed on to a TV (I have a 48-inch HD TV).  The scale is particularly lost in the mirror and folding city scenes.  Still, I know it’s a movie I’ll watch again and again over time, so it’s nice to have the convenience of owning the DVD.
I’m still undecided about the ending…
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It’s another hot day here in Concord, CA.  Sooooo,…  I went to the movies again!
This time I went with my oldest daughter (Rebecca) and my son (James).  We went to see “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice“.  It’s a Disney flick, so it’s kids appropriate (both of mine are in their 20’s), but we still really enjoyed it.  If you’ve ever seen the classic Disney film, “Fantasia“, you already have a good idea what the film is about.  As a matter of fact, one main scene is lifted right from Fantasia.  But in the end, who cares?!  It’s a light, summer, good-time movie.  It’s got decent special effects, a decent plot (it’s a kids summer movie – don’t think about it too hard!), the acting is ok, I found myself rooting for the new apprentice, it has a formulaic happy ending (again, so what – it’s Disney!), and it IS entertaining.
The ONLY bad thing about the movie was seeing it the day after viewing “adult-fare” “Inception“, “Apprentice” doesn’t compare well with “Inception” at any level except the special effects.   Still, I would definitely recommend both for the big screen and I will be buying both when they come out on DVD.
Hil and I went out for a very nice Thai dinner after I dropped the kids off.  All in all, a pretty good weekend!
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