Friday, 27 August 2010

The Switch (2010)

The latest Jennifer Aniston rom-com vehicle The Switch sees her in a familiar role to all her other movies: A single successful woman who has everything in life she could want professionally, but is missing that little extra nugget that is making her life complete. Enter the notion of self insemination with a fresh sample from token good looking all American teacher to complete her ultra good looking one point two family and eternal happiness. Jason Bateman is Wally, Aniston’s self confessed best friend who could never fall into the boyfriend category, even though he’s been in love with her for years. Sound familiar? Say to a certain TV show circa 1995 from whence Aniston shot to fame? Or just a coincidence? Hmm. Bateman provides some strained quips that just don’t last long, and appears bored throughout the duration of the movie. I don’t blame him at all, as it must be pretty lame playing yet another second wheel to the first lady of rom-coms.

Saying this, I do enjoy a good Jennifer Aniston flic, they’re light, airy, usually wholesome and she has that charisma and appeal that makes her the equivalent to Oprah in the movie world. Yet for some reason this newest Aniston regurgitation just didn’t seem to sit right. Aniston herself came across unsettled in her role, almost giving very little effort to a role she’s played many times before. A new direction, or script, maybe?

The main moments of humour were provided by the central characters’ side kicks, for Aniston its Juliette Lewis, who plays an excellent drunk, and for Bateman, Jeff Goldblum, who relaxed into their safe roles knowing the pressure of this disaster movie would never rest on their heads. The Switch’s plot is very basic, which isn’t a bad thing; it’s just executed so terribly that it made me want to switch off. There was little chemistry between Bateman and Aniston, who have known each other for years and have appeared in a few movies together, most notably The Break Up, in which Bateman plays the friend and realtor to the Aniston’s, aka Aniston and Vince Vaughn. They are obviously friends, but are no Ross and Rachel. Trying to convey anything more than friendship in The Switch is just painful to watch. Disappointing.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Inception (2010)

Christopher Nolan is a genius. This is not speculative, this is fact.

His newest and biggest blockbuster, Inception, is a neurological epic to behold. Working on the notion that the mind is the most powerful tool to our disposal, where dreams, crimes, hopes and aspirations are built, expanded and destroyed. Nolan wastes no time going to work at proving to us that there are no boundaries to restrict the possibilities of human emotion, idealism and desperation when the limits of creative control are lifted, resulting in an exhilarating heist movie with a twist-the crime is within the mind, and to solve it, you have to literally go in and get it.

He is a genius in other ways too, as he has managed to create a movie that on the surface appears so complex, that the concentration levels initially start to go into overdrive to process the story unfolding on screen. Which in many cases would deter the blockbuster beefcakes from paying the submission fee and hopping over into The Expendables territory. This would be a mistake, as Nolan’s complex plot is all smoke and mirrors, and once you let the plot wash over your synapses, it’s really the best film ever. Possibly. And for 2010, certainly. Plus, there are plenty of dreamboats to keep everyone happy in the shape of Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and not forgetting the female power within the movie in the shape of Hollywood’s shiniest new toy Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page, who takes the leap into the adult pool and swims with the big fish.

Comparisons have been made to Spielberg’s 2002 Minority Report, where crimes are solved before the offender has the chance to commit them through interpreting their pre-cogs, but these comparisons are in my opinion void. If these movies were cities, visually Minority Report would be one on the cusp of something great, yet dated, whereas Inception, would be beyond the realms of a cities’ landscape, constantly changing, the architecture would expand and shift beyond possibility, and deep into the layers of imagination. Plot wise, the similarities are pointless too as with Inception; the purpose of the plot is to plant an idea into someone’s mind, before they’ve thought of it, and convince them within their subconscious that this idea was their own. With lots of mind bending visuals to help. Taking the director and writer credits, Nolan is definitely genius. Plus zero gravity fist fights are way cool.

There are so many layers within layers that can be explored with such great detail, like the names of the characters and their meanings, the locations, the props, the landscape within the mind and so on, but all this should be explored first hand. Nolan has made a summer blockbuster that actually encourages the individual to think outside the box, or to look within the box within a box in a box, and open said box, and to dive deeper into the unknown. So much is going on, yet when the lights come back on and I start to gather my belongings, letting go of the crumpled popcorn holder that has formed the shape of my gripped hand, I smile, and know that this movie has thoroughly entertained me. And for all the plot curves, dynamics and Bond nods, which are all excellent, I wonder what I will dream tonight.