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The Most Overrated Movies of 2010 
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Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
Alex wrote:
If Inception had been written as a pure pschological sci-fi thriller without the extended action scenes, I would have liked it a whole lot more. However, its biggest failing for me is that the dream worlds are not at all dream-like. Ellen Page is inroduced as being able to alter dream worlds and bend cityscapes, and then proceeds to do nothing.


She's an architect, not head of dream maintenance. Plus it's explicitly stated in Inception that altering dreams once the dreamer has been brought inside is dangerous. Remember her getting attacked by the projections during training when she started to change that dream world?

-Jeremy


Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:33 am
Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
Emerson discusses the difference between movies that are good and movies that are not, using Inception as the example.


Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:08 pm
Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
thered47 wrote:
Alex wrote:
If Inception had been written as a pure pschological sci-fi thriller without the extended action scenes, I would have liked it a whole lot more. However, its biggest failing for me is that the dream worlds are not at all dream-like. Ellen Page is inroduced as being able to alter dream worlds and bend cityscapes, and then proceeds to do nothing.


She's an architect, not head of dream maintenance. Plus it's explicitly stated in Inception that altering dreams once the dreamer has been brought inside is dangerous. Remember her getting attacked by the projections during training when she started to change that dream world?

-Jeremy


Exactly. The movie makes the point throughout that the dream has to look as close to life as possible. This movie doesn't exist to explore dreams and it's odd to criticise it for something it never set out to do. If you want dreams see Noe's Enter the Void, Kurosawa's Dreams or Linklater's Waking Life.



Emerson sure enjoys talking about a movie he didn't like. That's actually good, I think. I may be mistaken, but I believe he still thinks of the movie as serious cinema and this is why he continues to write about it. The continued dismissal of Inception as a slight picture by some folks grates me more than a little. You're completely entitled to dislike the movie, but at least acknowledge the picture's ambition. Inception is a serious piece of cinema that deserves some study regardless of your opinion.

Ken links to Emerson's thoughts but I can't recall him linking to David Bordwell's thoughts on the picture. Perhaps it's because Bordwell loved it. We (and that includes me) are often reluctant to link to something that will contradict our own opinion. In any case, Bordwell has written two lengthy essays on the picture and I believe they are both required reading for any fan of serious cinema regardless of how they feel about the movie.

For instance, he makes the point that dreams aren't all that important anyway:

Quote:
I suggest, though, that the purpose of the film is not to explore the dream life but rather to use the idea of exploring the dream life to justify creating a complex narrative experience for the viewer.


I like this and tend to agree. Nolan had an idea about complexity and cross-cutting and merely used dreams as a tool to bring these things into the picture.

There is of course, much more. Throughout Bordwell writes lovingly of the picture (he compares the movie's "virtuoso" climax to the end of DW Griffith's Intolerance), but also critically (he calls the action scenes "clunky"). At one point he even addresses a submission that compares the narrative structure of Inception to a segment in Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 3. If that's not a highbrow enough analysis for you then I have no idea what is...

First Inception column:
http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/?p=9692

and second Inception column:
http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/?p=9770


Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:35 pm
Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
I read Bordwell's "Dream a Dream of a Dream in a Dream With Me" (or whatever it's called) a couple times, and I would have linked it if I'd known nobody had done it already. It's a good piece.


Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:37 pm
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Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
ed_metal_head wrote:
The continued dismissal of Inception as a slight picture by some folks grates me more than a little. You're completely entitled to dislike the movie, but at least acknowledge the picture's ambition.


I am one of those people. What was substantive about Inception? The characters? Thematic depth? I found them both lacking, if not downright non-existent. It's a very well-made picture, but Christ it's not about anything other than itself

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Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:53 pm
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Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
JamesKunz wrote:
It's a very well-made picture,
Eh, not really.


Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:05 pm
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Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
It's a very well-made picture,
Eh, not really.


Yeah that was my concession so he'd respect my next point more. It spends half the film explaining its complicated, convoluted rules, even introducing a character solely for the purpose of having someone around to hear expository dialogue (Ellen Page). I change my statement to "It's a very pretty picture."

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Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:09 pm
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Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
ed_metal_head wrote:
If you want dreams see ... Linklater's Waking Life.

Or don't.


Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:50 pm
Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
JamesKunz wrote:
ed_metal_head wrote:
The continued dismissal of Inception as a slight picture by some folks grates me more than a little. You're completely entitled to dislike the movie, but at least acknowledge the picture's ambition.


I am one of those people. What was substantive about Inception? The characters? Thematic depth? I found them both lacking, if not downright non-existent. It's a very well-made picture, but Christ it's not about anything other than itself

Very true, the biggest problem is that Nolan seems to put so much effort into making stunning visuals that he forgot to put an equal amount of effort into developing the characters, which is a big letdown considering how great of a job he did with the characterizations in Dark Knight, and while Inception is ambitious it certainly isn't original like most critics claim, it's basic premise and several scenes are shamelessly ripped-off from the lesser-known Dreamscape which handled the dream-world aspect better then Inception did, as it didn't have such an insane amount of exposition and it was more a imaginative film overall(I too found the snow fortress battle to be a somewhat uninspired Bond knock-off)


Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:52 pm
Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
Vexer wrote:
Nolan seems to put so much effort into making stunning visuals
Eh, not really.


Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:47 am
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Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
My problem with Inception is dreams dont work the way theyre examined in the movie. They dont work in a cohesve organized fashion.

Theyre jumbled, usually unorganized and often make little sense. One minute you can be with a old friend talking whatever, and a minute later godzilla/ninjas/vampires/anyone or anything having nothing to do with the setting your in....might appear (On this thought, I do acknowledge the train, but its not enough).
Dreamscape is a better representation of dreams IMHO

So for me, as a narrative, Inception doesnt work, because I dont buy the premise. Watching the film, I never bought I was watching someones dreams.

As I said in the top 10 thread - technically masterful, but doesnt work for me as a story.


Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:02 am
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Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
Alright, time for me to stop being a douche about it and explain myself.

Inception is not a technically masterful movie. Christopher Nolan has a lot of great ideas, and that can't be taken away from him, but he is a journeyman filmmaker--if that.

The scenes, especially when the action picks up, are shot and edited in a way that makes almost no sense whatsoever. The worst offender is the shootout scene in the snow, which seems as though numerous running hand-held shots were taken with the camera aimed at nothing in particular, which were then sliced into tiny fragments and assembled in random order. I doubt even Nolan himself knows what the hell is going on in this scene, other than the global "people are shooting at each other in the snow."

The writing is pretty abominable, too. I found that the vast majority of the dialogue is purely expositional. It serves very little purpose other than conveying things to the audience that the filmmakers were either unable or too careless to dramatize. It is profoundly disappointing that a film of such ideas has to relate them to us in the least-interesting way possible.

Aside from those issues, Inception is also depressingly unimaginative. While making the most of its dream-related premise is probably more a matter of artistry than technique, it is a matter of technique (story construction, specifically) that a movie stays true to its premise at all. The premise is the movie's thesis statement--the overarching force that holds all the material together. Inception often seems to forget that it takes place in dreams. When it occasionally remembers what it's supposed to be about, we get the best scenes in the movie.


Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:57 pm
Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
JamesKunz wrote:
ed_metal_head wrote:
The continued dismissal of Inception as a slight picture by some folks grates me more than a little. You're completely entitled to dislike the movie, but at least acknowledge the picture's ambition.


I am one of those people. What was substantive about Inception? The characters? Thematic depth? I found them both lacking, if not downright non-existent. It's a very well-made picture, but Christ it's not about anything other than itself


I'm not actually the Messiah, just a naughty boy, but I see why you might be confused.

A lot of what I like about the film is raised in the links I pointed to (I hope that you do read them sometime). Above all I admire the construction of the narrative. That is, the number of "levels" that the story takes place in. During the wondrously edited climax (the falling van) I believe that the story takes place in up to 5 different levels. And, in some of these levels, we follow characters that aren't together at the same time. This is incredibly complex and I believe that it's a testament to the creator (maybe I should capitalise "creator" ;) ) that we are able to follow exactly what's happening all at the same time. To my knowledge, something with so many threads has never been attempted. You may or may not like that, but I argue that it's unique in cinema and so is one of the reasons the film merits study.

Of course, the film is also intentionally set-up to be a metaphor for the actual process of making movies. I forget exactly who represents what, but Cobb == Director, Saito == Producer and so on. The way they go about the heist is also set-up to mirror parts of a movie shoot (location scouting, rehearsals etc.). Again, you don't have to like the metaphor, but the director is on record as saying it's intentional so it's incorrect to suggest that the picture is about nothing than itself.

So far, I have found no other 2010 film that offers the mix of complexity and substance that Inception offers and this is why it's my favourite film of the year. If it was 2009 I'd probably put it behind QT's picture and Antichrist, but in this year it towers above the other releases I've seen*.

* Dogtooth is really close, but I guess that's a 2009 picture too.


Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:32 pm
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Post Re: The Most Overrated Movies of 2010
ed_metal_head wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
ed_metal_head wrote:
The continued dismissal of Inception as a slight picture by some folks grates me more than a little. You're completely entitled to dislike the movie, but at least acknowledge the picture's ambition.


I am one of those people. What was substantive about Inception? The characters? Thematic depth? I found them both lacking, if not downright non-existent. It's a very well-made picture, but Christ it's not about anything other than itself


I'm not actually the Messiah, just a naughty boy, but I see why you might be confused.

A lot of what I like about the film is raised in the links I pointed to (I hope that you do read them sometime). Above all I admire the construction of the narrative. That is, the number of "levels" that the story takes place in. During the wondrously edited climax (the falling van) I believe that the story takes place in up to 5 different levels. And, in some of these levels, we follow characters that aren't together at the same time. This is incredibly complex and I believe that it's a testament to the creator (maybe I should capitalise "creator" ;) ) that we are able to follow exactly what's happening all at the same time. To my knowledge, something with so many threads has never been attempted. You may or may not like that, but I argue that it's unique in cinema and so is one of the reasons the film merits study.

Of course, the film is also intentionally set-up to be a metaphor for the actual process of making movies. I forget exactly who represents what, but Cobb == Director, Saito == Producer and so on. The way they go about the heist is also set-up to mirror parts of a movie shoot (location scouting, rehearsals etc.). Again, you don't have to like the metaphor, but the director is on record as saying it's intentional so it's incorrect to suggest that the picture is about nothing than itself.

So far, I have found no other 2010 film that offers the mix of complexity and substance that Inception offers and this is why it's my favourite film of the year. If it was 2009 I'd probably put it behind QT's picture and Antichrist, but in this year it towers above the other releases I've seen*.

* Dogtooth is really close, but I guess that's a 2009 picture too.


Okay, it takes place on different levels. That's cool in conception, agreed. But does it ever blur the lines between reality and dreaming? No, it makes everything so abundantly clear at all times. It's on different levels, but they're so rigidly constructed. It comes across as more workmanlike than artistic.

Alright I didn't think of the movie-making aspect while criticizing its depth (though I did read that in an Ebert interview) but that doesn't move me much. As a matter of fact, it kinda dovetails nicely with my theory that the movie is about itself.

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Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:11 pm
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