Saturday, 30 April 2011


                      Your mind is the scene of the crime


Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming.


Perchance to Dream

In "Inception" Ellen Page's dream architect Ariadne asks Leonardo DiCaprio's haunted Cobb, "Why is it so important to dream?" Hamlet contemplated death saying: "To sleep: perchance to dream." All is not as it appears. Director and Writer Christopher Nolan's "Inception" is the most original movie of the last 5 years. Nolan takes "Inception" quantum levels beyond his "Memento". "Inception" is simply awesome. My bud Darin cautioned that one has to focus intently during the first 20 minutes of "Inception", and then it really gets confusing. Master storyteller Nolan takes us on a wild ride and circles back and completes all of the story arcs and threads. Leonardo DiCarprio is powerful. He plays Dom Cobb, a corporate espionage specialist whose explicit gift is extracting people's dreams. He is hired by ruthless CEO Saito (charismatic Ken Watanabe) to liquidate a rival corporation.

Cobb must do the impossible and create a dream in Fischer (Cillian Murphy), the surviving son of Saito's corporate rival. This is inception, which Cobb reminds Saito has never been done before. And Cobb is lying. He is a flawed tragic hero, who literally imprisons a dark secret. He is a fugitive living abroad, offering his specific service. Inception may be his last chance at redemption for his very soul and reuniting with his young son and daughter.

Cobb assembles his team. He returns to visit his mentor Miles (solid and great Michael Caine) at a university in Paris. Cobb enrolls Miles's best student Ariadne (spirited and smart Ellen Page) as his dream architect. Apparently, you can get a PhD in dream architecture in Paris—go figure. In a visually stunning display of manipulated dreams Paris literally bends sideways. Ariadne has an innate gift and is totally hooked. Perceptive Ariadne discerns that Cobb is a deadly liability to the mission—he is haunted by dreams of his wife Mal (captivatingly suffering Marion Cotillard). Cobb tells Ariadne to create dreams anew, never from memories. Apparently, Cobb is violating his own rule.

In Chris Nolan's construct, dreams have 3 defined levels. The fourth level is the subconscious, an eternity of desire and fear. Also because the mind accelerates in deeper levels of dreams, we experience a dream time dilation—an homage to Einstein? In this dream math: something like 20 seconds is 20 minutes in level 1, 2 hours in level 2, 2 weeks in level 3, and on the order of years in level 4. Nolan meticulously orchestrates all elements as a van plunges into a river. There is the distinct danger that one may be lost for a lifetime in the subconscious—imprisoned and unable to escape for eternity. So the 2.5 hours of "Inception" would be—I kid. Ironically, Cobb and all involved are willing to risk this for merely money and corporate gain.

What occurs as peculiar in Act 2 in level 3 of the dream is the James Bond-like commando raid on the snow covered fortress. Outwardly, this seems very cheesy. Then the story focuses on Fischer's memories of his disapproving father. Further beneath Cobb must reconcile the ghosts of his wife or forever be lost. Cillian Murphy is surprising in his quiet humanity and power. DiCaprio is powerful and commanding throughout. Nolan generates the space for creation. DiCaprio effortlessly is just being, and is so compelling. For me, "Inception" resonates in these 2 poignant story arcs. Particularly, with Murphy's Fischer there is amazing catharsis, even in retrospect it may have been manufactured. Nolan is brilliant. I think in "Inception" memories are just memories—it is the stories we create about them that either empower us or imprison us. In the end Nolan comes full circle and completes the journey, then in the last frame he makes us wonder. Chris Nolan is the master storyteller—enthralling us and always making us consider the possibilities.

Academy Awards, USA
2011 Won Oscar Best Achievement in Cinematography
Wally Pfister
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Richard King
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Lora Hirschberg
Gary Rizzo
Ed Novick
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Chris Corbould
Andrew Lockley
Pete Bebb
Paul J. Franklin
Nominated Oscar Best Achievement in Art Direction
Guy Hendrix Dyas
Larry Dias
Douglas A. Mowat
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Hans Zimmer
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Christopher Nolan
Emma Thomas
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Christopher Nolan

Directed by
Christopher Nolan
Writing credits
Christopher Nolan(written by)
Cast (in credits order)
Leonardo DiCaprio... Cobb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt... Arthur
Ellen Page... Ariadne
Tom Hardy... Eames
Ken Watanabe... Saito
Dileep Rao... Yusuf
Cillian Murphy... Robert Fischer
Tom Berenger... Peter Browning
Marion Cotillard... Mal
Pete Postlethwaite... Maurice Fischer
Michael Caine... Miles
Lukas Haas... Nash
Tai-Li Lee... Tadashi
Claire Geare... Phillipa Cobb - 3 years
Magnus Nolan... James Cobb - 20 months
Taylor Geare... Phillipa (5 years)
Johnathan Geare... James (3 years)
Tohoru Masamune... Japanese Security Guard
Yuji Okumoto... Saito's Attendant
Earl Cameron... Elderly Bald Man
Ryan Hayward... Lawyer
Miranda Nolan... Flight Attendant
Russ Fega... Cab Driver
Tim Kelleher... Thin Man
Talulah Riley... Blonde

Produced by
Zakaria Alaoui.... line producer: Morocco (as Zak Alaoui)
John Bernard.... line producer: France
Chris Brigham.... executive producer
Jordan Goldberg.... co-producer
Thomas Hayslip.... associate producer: Canada
Christopher Nolan.... producer
Kanjiro Sakura.... producer: Cross Media, Japan
Yoshikuni Taki.... producer: Wave Media, Japan
Emma Thomas.... producer
Thomas Tull.... executive producer
Original Music by
Hans Zimmer
Cinematography by
Wally Pfister(director of photography)
Film Editing by
Lee Smith

Watch It Again

Watched Source Code Again and it is reastless

1408 (2007) FILM REVIEW



The cynical and skeptical writer Mike Enslin writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his last book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the evil room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr. Gerald Olin objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally the reports relating the death of more than fifty guests along decades in the cursed room. However, Mike threatens Mr. Oiln, promising to sue the hotel, and finally checks in the room. Along the night, he finds that guests of room 1408 can check in when they like, but they can never leave the room alive.


Horror | Thriller

Different, Subtle, and Very, Very Good

Please note that this review refers to the theatrical version, and not the Director's Cut DVD release which features a completely different ending.

Mike Enslin is a cynic. He is the author of books that detail and debunk popular ghost stories and haunted hot-spots, and it quickly becomes obvious that he is somewhat disenchanted with the life that he leads. That is, of course, until he receives an invitation to Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel, a room in which lies his and arguably John Cusack's biggest challenge yet.

It soon becomes apparent that 1408 is not your standard horror movie, as what follows, after an enjoyably creepy encounter with hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L Jackson), is essentially 90 minutes of John Cusack in a room. On his own. Save for, of course, whatever lurks inside 1408. It is a challenge that Cusack rises to expertly; we all know he's a good actor and a brilliant everyman (I don't remember a film in which I've wanted to see him crash and burn), but 1408 allows him to display his range to great effect as the room confronts him with the physical dangers of the present and the emotional tragedies of his past.

While it's relatively light on big scares, 1408 instead creates a powerful sense of unease that combines wonderfully with Cusack's portrayal of a man enduring his own private hell. Each challenge thrown up by the room takes the movie somewhere new and unexpected, ensuring that the movie never really gets tired or repetitive, and as a result each scene in the room is tense, surprising, and very, very creepy. However, that's not to say that it doesn't lose its way occasionally. Some of the CGI usage is quite ineffective, and about two-thirds through the movie it feels like it's about to go the wrong way, but it recovers well for the final act, and its haunting ending ensures that you'll remember it long after you leave the theatre.

A brilliantly acted, well developed version of King's short story, 1408 is a different type of horror movie, but in all the right ways. Very good!

Directed by
Mikael Håfström 
Writing credits
Matt Greenberg (screenplay) and
Scott Alexander (screenplay) &
Larry Karaszewski (screenplay)
Stephen King (short story)
Cast (in credits order) 
John Cusack ... Mike Enslin
Samuel L. Jackson ... Gerald Olin
Mary McCormack ... Lily
Tony Shalhoub ... Sam Farrell
Len Cariou ... Mike's Father
Isiah Whitlock Jr. ... Hotel Engineer
Jasmine Jessica Anthony ... Katie
Paul Birchard ... Mr. Innkeeper
Margot Leicester ... Mrs. Innkeeper
Walter Lewis ... Book Store Cashier
Eric Meyers ... Man #1 at Book Signing
David Nicholson ... Man #2 at Book Signing
Holly Hayes ... Lady at Book Signing
Alexandra Silber ... Young Woman at Book Signing
Johann Urb ... Surfer Dude
Andrew Lee Potts ... Mailbox Guy
Emily Harvey ... Secretary
William Armstrong ... Clay the Lawyer
Kim Thomson ... Desk Clerk
Drew Powell ... Assistant Hotel Manager
Noah Lee Margetts ... Bellboy
Gil Cohen-Alloro ... Maitre D'
Benny Urquidez ... Claw Hammer Maniac
Ray Nicholas ... Factory Owner
Tina Maskell ... 1950s Lady
Paul Kasey ... Kevin O'Malley
George Cottle ... Mailbox Worker
Julian Spencer ... Mailbox Worker
William Willoughby ... Mailbox Worker (as Will Willoughby)
Angel Oquendo ... Taxi Cab Driver
Thomas A. McMahon ... Cop #1
Anthony C. Mazza ... Cop #2 (as Anthony Mazza)
Chris Carey ... Fireman
Kevin Dobson ... Priest
Lily Grace Alexander ... 10 Year Old Girl (in director's cut only)

Produced by
Kelly Dennis .... associate producer
Lorenzo di Bonaventura .... producer
Antonia Kalmacoff .... associate producer
Jake Myers .... executive producer
Richard Saperstein .... executive producer
Jeremy Steckler .... associate producer
Bob Weinstein .... executive producer
Harvey Weinstein .... executive producer
Original Music by
Gabriel Yared 
Cinematography by
Benoît Delhomme (director of photography) (as Benoit Delhomme)
Film Editing by
Peter Boyle