Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Shanghai Gesture (1941)

“I didn't think such a place existed except in my own imagination. It has a ghastly familiarity like a half-remembered dream. Anything could happen here... any moment…”

            Set in the wilds of Shanghai during a time – but not in the present- when no one wanted control over the town and everyone went wild The Shanghai Gesture is a tale of vice and revenge. Many nationalities, not just Chinese, crawl among the streets to mingle in vice and corruption together.
            One place where the low of Shanghai crawl together is a casino run by “Mother” Gin Sling. Gin Sling is a powerful and seductive woman who worked her way up from poverty to an extravagant, seedy lifestyle. She holds a great power to manipulate people’s thoughts and emotions to her whim.
            A young girl who goes by the name of “Poppy Smith” comes into the casino one night. She is a young spoiled rich girl completely taken with the casino and its inhabitants. A young charming Arab named Dr. Omar (“Doctor of nothing, Miss Smith. It sounds important and hurts no one. Unlike most doctors”) seduces Poppy and she completely falls for him. Gin Sling learns that Poppy’s real name is Victoria Charteris and her father is a man named Sir Guy Charteris who is planning to have her and her casino evicted and torn down to make way for development. Gin Sling remembers Charteris from long ago when he left her and never came back.
            Gin Sling plans her revenge against Charteris. She has Omar seduce Poppy and drive her into an addiction of alcohol and gambling. Poppy falls hard for Omar and becomes insanely jealous that an American girl, Dixie, has been hanging around him. She owes the casino a lot of money but she will not go to her father so she gambles her expensive jewelry. Charteris confronts his daughter telling her that Omar has given the jewelry back and has explained what has happened to Poppy. Her father sends her back to England… or so he thinks.
            The ending is all very interesting and tense. A reveal at the end is told. Throughout the film I saw part of the ending coming and was not really surprised by the reveal but if you do not see the reveal coming you will like it. Put it this way, Gene Tierney has a bit of an exotic look and once Gin Sling learns who Poppy’s father is I had it figured out.
            The great German director Josef Von Sternberg directed the film. Sternberg was famous for using the art of German Expressionism to tell his stories he has a very painterly way of framing his scenes and creating colorful characters. The cinematography plus his artistic eye adds much more seediness and corruption and grime to the story. The story is based off a play that for many years was banned by the production codes to never be made into a film. The gambling and alcoholism for one were almost enough to send the code overboard but there is a lot of sexual undertones that in the play explores more in depth. You can clearly see where the production put a stop to the sexual side but there are many scenes, lines, and body movements to suggest more has been going on than what we are allowed to see. I like this touch of ambiguity it makes the story and the characters more seductive and powerful.
            I downloaded The Shanghai Gesture just to see Gene Tierney. When she made this film she was twenty-one years old. As always she was completely gorgeous so incredibly stunning, her eyes were so beautiful in this film you just want to keep staring at them and not look away. Von Sternberg turned Poppy from a breath taking beautiful sophisticated woman into someone you could no longer stand to look at and just wanted her to go away. Once Poppy turns into a drunk, loose woman all you want is for her to get what she deserves, she does but not in a way that you could see coming. I was a bit shocked for like five seconds and then I thought well that’s what you get!! Poppy reminds me a bit of Tierney’s character in Leave Her to Heaven a few years later. Poppy definitely attests to Tierney’s acting ability if one minute we like the character and the next she is doing a fabulous job making us not like her.

            The rest of the cast does very well. Ona Munson is delectably wicked as “Mother” Gin Sling. Although not Asian in the slightest the makeup and costume department did a wonderful job making her look exotic. If you are a true classic movie nut like me you will notice the croupier from Casablanca is also the roulette croupier in this film. I noticed it was him right away from the way he said (possibly) “no more bets” in French. 
            The Shanghai Gesture is an early Noir from 1941. You can clearly see the coming of the genre and the characteristics of it: there is corruption and vice, a femme fatale who drives others to do what they normally would not, a tale of revenge and vice, a seedy view of the world from the ones who live in it. The Shanghai Gesture is an understated and under watched classic film. Although not one of the greatest films and slightly boring at times The Shanghai Gesture is worth viewing especially for the moral and sexual ambiguity and the ending.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love Crazy (1941)

So whenever I write a review of a William Powell and Myrna Loy film I am forever going on about Myrna Loy and how amazing she was and usually just write a few lines about William Powell. I love Powell he’s hilarious he was an amazing actor and one of the only classic actors I can never get sick of watching. Love Crazy, one of the many Powell and Loy pairings, truly belongs to Powell. From beginning to end all you can do is laugh at him.
            Steve and Susan Ireland (Powell and Loy) are celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary. Every year since they have been married they always reenact their first date on their anniversary. However on this anniversary things do not go according to plan. Susan’s mother comes by and trips and hurts herself. Susan has to go pick up her aunt at the train station since her mother cannot leaving Steve alone with her. Steve cannot bare to be with his mother – in- law alone so he goes down to stay with a former girlfriend who happens to be living on the floor below him.
            Susan comes home and the situation is not good. She believes Steve has cheated on her and immediately seeks out a divorce. Nothing did happen between Steve and his former girlfriend but Susan will not believe him. All he wants is Susan he truly loves her. He finds out that in order to stay married to his wife he can claim insanity and she can do nothing to divorce him he would have to be in her custody.
            After Steve finds out he can claim insanity and stay with Susan the film takes off from here. Everything is pretty much a huge misunderstanding. Steve really is love crazy he just wants to be with Susan. Of course by the end the couple does wind up back together.
            William Powell is a riot. He does so much physical comedy and looked like he had a blast doing all the scenes. If you read a review of Love Crazy anywhere you will read about the end where Powell dresses in drag. The scene is almost embarrassing to watch it is so hilarious and perfectly done. This scene is what makes the film his film. In order to get back into his apartment unnoticed he dresses up like a woman even going so far as to shave off his mustache!! He has got a really bad old lady wig on and a frumpy dress with the back tucked into his underpants! Steve somehow manages to fool everyone around him into thinking he is his own sister. Possibly the best part of the scene is when the yarn that was supposed to be one of his top assets gets caught on a record player and unwinds.
            I love the ending to this film. Susan is so taken with Steve for dressing up like a woman to get back to her and the fact that he did not do anything wrong they go into the bedroom. The phone rings and all we see is their hands reaching for the phone. Good lord how your imagination just runs!!
            Myrna Loy was as always wonderful but her character drove me up a wall a bit and I kind of wanted to smack Susan. She was a too stubborn for me. Florence Bates plays Susan’s mother. The only other role I know her from is Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and all I could see the woman as is Mrs. Van Hopper. I found the mother almost as annoying as Mrs. Van Hopper. I really did not even like the character which I guess is the point but knowing her from Rebecca and not standing her from that at all made the character worse for me. Gail Patrick play’s Steve’s former girlfriend. I have seen her in Stage Door with Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn and she was pretty good. She has that face that you would not trust and here you definitely do not trust her character at all.
            Love Crazy is a must see for any William Powell and Myrna Loy fan. The script is not that great but the acting as always with these two is incredible. You will also probably never read a review where the chemistry between Powell and Loy is not mentioned. I have no choice but to mention their chemistry here it was incredible and I really mean it. In the first few minutes they are hugging and kissing and being really sweet. It is hard to describe unless you see it but it is not hard to imagine that fans really thought Powell and Loy were married in real life. You can just see they were great friends outside of their films and just enjoyed working together. You will never ever find chemistry between actors like theirs ever again.
            There are many fantastic screwball moments that make Love Crazy worth watching. Many moments are guaranteed to make you laugh till your stomach hurts and your eyes tear.

Monday, March 28, 2011


“If you want to understand me, watch my movies.”

            Before I had viewed The Great Dictator I had never seen a Charlie Chaplin film. Sure being a film nut I had read about him especially since I like Paulette Goddard. How can anyone with any interest in film not have heard of Charlie Chaplin? He was a film pioneer in so many aspects. Sometimes people tend to overlook how deep Chaplin was as a person and how much his films reflect his personal life and beliefs.
            Chaplin focuses on the personal life of the great entertainer such as where he got his inspiration for many of his films and the women he married. There are mentions of his four marriages with emphasis on his ones to Paulette Goddard and Oona O’Neill. What is interesting about this movie is how it only just focuses on Chaplin it does not put an enormous amount of focus on his films or the people in his life we are shown the man and only him.
            The movie starts off showing his early life as a kid in London with his mother and brother. You feel bad for Chaplin seeing these glimpses of his childhood without his mother but the movie does not give long to feel sorry before it is off to another time in his life. That is how the movie pretty much progresses. We are introduced to the people who came into his life and after a few minutes they are gone and forgotten and he is off to the next thing.
            Everyone in the cast is amazing. Time again I am reminded why Hollywood has given Robert Downey Jr. so many chances the man is such an incredible actor. You really do feel like you are watching the actual Charlie Chaplin at times. I was very interested how he was going to pull off the way the real Chaplin spoke since he had a very nice soft speaking voice and Downey did it wonderfully. Downey even played the physical comedy wonderfully. I admit half the reason I wanted to watch this movie besides the fact of wanting to learn a little something about the comedian was to see how Diane Lane played Paulette Goddard. The real Paulette Goddard had a bit of a high voice, a bit of a long nose, a small face with a big mouth when she spoke and smiled, and a great attitude. Of course this was not all about Paulette Goddard so what was shown of Lane playing the actress was good. I liked in one scene of the movie how they had Paulette mention to Charlie that she was going to try out for Gone with the Wind which the real actress did but because everyone in Hollywood was so conservative back in the day and they all thought Charlie Chaplin was a communist she lost out on the part (which looking at it she would not have made a very good Scarlett O’Hara but I do feel bad for her because she never would have been largely forgotten). The actress Moira Kelly who plays Oona O’Neill (as well as Chaplin’s first love Hetty Kelly) was really good I liked her acting. Kevin Klein plays Chaplin’s good friend Douglas Fairbanks. Marissa Tomei is only in the movie for a short time as silent actress Mabel Normand.
            Perhaps the best casting of the movie is Charlie’s mother played by one of Chaplin’s daughters Geraldine Chaplin. I thought that was a nice touch casting someone from the actor’s real life.
            My favorite part of the movie was seeing how Modern Times and The Great Dictator came into being. For Modern Times, Chaplin had felt bad about how many people were left poor after the stock market crash. In the movie he says jobs that men had in factories were now being taken over by machines. In reaction his character in the movie is constantly surrounded by machines and does work that he is capable of doing himself for him. The Great Dictator scene was a made in reaction to how much he and Hitler looked alike and how men like Hitler were ridiculous. I felt so bad that people were booing the speech and saw this film as pushing communist ideas. Nothing like that could be farther from the truth about the film. I seriously wanted to cry when they had someone throw a tomato at the screen and calling Chaplin a “red”. (J. Edgar Hoover had an issue with Chaplin and for some reason thought the actor was a communist which was absurd. He had a folder thousands of pages long of  information on Chaplin even things on his personal life). I was happy at the end when clips of Chaplin’s films were shown and the scene from The Great Dictator that was shown was when Paulette Goddard hits the storm trooper in the head with the frying pan but also accidentally hits the Barber/Charlie on the head and he’s walking around all screwy (I was possibly just excited to see the real actress).
            Chaplin is a very good movie from start to finish. I feel it respectably told the story of film’s greatest entertainer, writer, producer, and director. The movie excellently shows where his inspiration for his films from his personal life originated. I also really liked how this was also a bit of a history of the cinema and how it got started. One of the characters in the movie a director said he only makes two pictures a week… nowadays one director probably makes one picture a year, making two pictures a week is a myth today.
            Chaplin is all around very well made from direction to acting to script to lighting and everything else in between.  
The real Charlie Chaplin (without makeup and costume) and Paulette Goddard

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Among the Living (1941)

Among the Living is a mix between a Film Noir and a Horror. The story comes close to being both genres but stops just half way. The combination of genres creates an interesting story of good versus evil.
            John Raden’s father has just passed away. His father built the town in which they live. Upon his father’s death John learns that his twin brother Paul who he thought to have been dead for the past twenty-five years is still alive and kept like an animal in the old family house. The doctor who told John about his brother was paid off by the father to write a death certificate for Paul. The twin has not been mentally stable since he was a boy after his father beat the mother and he witnessed the beatings.
            Paul escapes his holdings and frightens an old hired hand to death. No one else knows that Paul is alive so no one can imagine who could have killed the hired hand. Paul walks around town in amazement he has never been around so many people and seen so many different things before in his life. He takes a room in a boarding house where a young woman named Millie lives with her mother. The two become friends and she takes a bit of an advantage with his naïveté.
            One night Paul kills a woman after she had been screaming and making fun of him. The town is now up in arms over the killing calling for the serial killer’s head (well that and a $5,000 reward does not hurt either). Only John and the doctor know it is Paul. Once Millie finds out as well some other towns people a mad chase begins. The end of the chase winds up with John the one being caught having been mistaken for Paul.
             What makes this half way to being a Noir is the family secret and a shameful past aspect. The father was most likely ashamed of Paul for being mentally disturbed and for making him that way so he had the doctor falsify a death certificate. John unwillingly falls into this family secret with its darkness. We are made to feel bad for him but also we feel bad for Paul who has been locked away in a decrepit old house in one room for God knows how many years. He gets frightened and does not want to be taken back to his old room. The horror aspect comes from the fear that Paul is a mad killer on the loose in a small town that most likely their biggest crime is someone stealing a piece of candy. The town does not know how to handle this situation and handles it in a mob almost like Frankenstein.
            Albert Dekker takes on the roles of the twins John and Paul. He does an excellent job playing the good guy with John and the unfortunate Paul. For John he is clean and proper looking; with Paul he is unshaven, his hair a mess, and slouched over in messy old clothes. Susan Hayward was very good. This is one of her early films (she was twenty-five years old). Millie was a bit of bitch she took advantage of Paul and in the end turned her back on him. Hayward played the part very well. It was funny to see her play this young seductive girl with a bit of a (real) Brooklyn accent. She had some risqué scenes going on too: she pulled her skirt up to store some money in her stocking and she changes into a new dress in front of Paul. At the end she flirts with a man by pulling her dress above her knee with her mother sitting right in the middle of them! Hayward is the whole reason I even wanted to see this film and like the story she does not disappoint.  

            Among the Living runs short at 66 minutes but its impact is felt. Films with a short running time I feel have more of an impact and are of course well with getting right to the point of the story. I felt terrible for Paul Raden he was abandoned by his family and taken advantage of my Millie. The film is very good and as I said at the beginning of the review the mix of Noir and Horror creates a very interesting story. I wish Among the Living was widely available. I had to download it in order to see it. I am very happy I was able to find it somehow. It is one of those rare films that you feel special to have and to have seen because not everyone has. The film is an excellent thriller and worth seeing if you can find a copy.

Among the Living (1941) directed by Stuart Heisler, starring Albert Dekker, Susan Hayward, Harry Carey, and Frances Farmer

Among the Living is currently available to view in full on youtube

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wings in the Dark (1935)

So my fascination with classic aviation films continues. Again what can be better than an aviation film starring Myrna Loy and this time Cary Grant as her leading man? Wings in the Dark is one of four aviation themed films Myrna Loy would make in the 1930s and her first film with Cary Grant.
            Grant plays arrogant flyer Ken Gordon. Ken is an aeronautical engineer who has been trying new instruments that will help flyers fly blind in bad weather. Sheila Mason (Loy) is a famous stunt aviatrix; she flies stunts only because other things are closed to women. Ken lands at the field Sheila flies from. He has just successfully tested his instruments for flying blind. Sheila is very taken with him for all he has done.
            Sheila’s agent has come up with an idea to fly with Ken when he flies blind across the Atlantic to Paris. When the day comes for Ken to fly he is unable to get a permit because the flight is too dangerous and he also had no idea that Sheila would have been flying with him. He tells her she never would have been allowed to fly with him. After everyone has left Sheila and Ken begin to talk. She talks him into going ahead with the flight to forget about the permit and just go. Ken goes to light the gas for the stove, the fire blows back in his face and blinds him.
            Ken is upset; he feels all his hard work with his instruments has come to nothing. Sheila takes on dangerous stunts to help him with money and also helps to boost his moral. Ken starts to work on his instruments again and has almost perfected it when the company who owns his plane takes the plane away from him. To top everything all off he starts to begin Sheila is just doing everything for him out of charity and pity; he does not realize she really does love him and truly wants to help him.
            Sheila takes on a very dangerous flight from Moscow to New York for $10,000. Almost close to landing she comes into trouble with the weather she cannot find the landing field. The only person that can help is Ken.
            Myrna Loy said in her autobiography that she did not really like working on this film. She and Cary Grant did not work too well together she said he was a little difficult to deal with. Funny because they did have good chemistry and they would go on to work very well together in The Bachelor and the Bobby- Soxer and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Cary Grant was not Cary Grant yet he's just like any other actor nothing really too special to write about. He was very handsome though and I went a little silly seeing him in an aviator's uniform. Myrna Loy was good with what she was given. You can believe her to be a spunky but sweet aviatrix.  Loy made the film on loan at Paramount from MGM. At the time Loy was seeing the film’s producer Arthur Hornblow so she got top billing.
            Amelia Earhart is credited with being a technical consultant. Loy commented how Earhart being a consultant was just a publicity stunt there was no reason for her to be. Sheila is apparently based off the famous aviatrix. 

            Wings in the Dark was fun to watch because it is an early Cary Grant film. It was just fun to watch as an early aviation film. Unfortunately the film has a very B- movie feel to it which is most likely why it has been largely forgotten and is a shame considering its two stars. At this time though Cary Grant was not a major star so it does not have his leading man power behind it you can kind of feel he was just thrown into making it. The very ending is bad I totally predicted it right from the beginning but the rest of the film is good. If any other actors had played Shelia and Ken it would have been plenty alright to be forgotten about, Grant and Loy save the film from complete obscurity (hell, it is even in a pack of Cary Grant movies that no one has heard of). I say watch the film if you like both Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. Wings in the Dark is definitely worth seeing once.
            Currently on Youtube so head on over ASAP before it might possibly get taken off.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Cat and the Canary (1939)

“There are spirits all around you.”
“Well, could you put some in a glass with a little ice? I need it badly”

The Cat and the Canary is a good silly, fun ghost story. This is the first pairing of Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. The next year they would make The Ghost Breakers which pretty much is the same premise of The Cat and the Canary just set in a different location.
            A millionaire named Cyrus Normand has left just one of his relatives his fortune. Joyce Normand (Goddard), a niece of his, is left his fortune and his house in the bayous of Louisiana. Unfortunately Cyrus has left a clause in his will stating that Joyce will keep her inheritance if she does not go crazy which the family is prone to and if she does not die within a month of receiving her inheritance. He made a second will in case anything should happen to Joyce.
            Cyrus’ mistress, Miss Lu, senses spirits around the house and tells the guest that one of them will die. With the will stating if Mary dies or goes insane the stakes against her raised and it seems everyone in the house has a motive to either kill her or drive her insane. To make things worse a guard who is believed to have come from the nearby asylum starts walking around the house because, according to him a patient who is a killer has escaped and could be anywhere.
            The lawyer Crosby was sitting in the library with Joyce when all the sudden a hand reaches out from behind a secret passage in the bookcase and takes Crosby away. Joyce looks back not knowing what has happened to the lawyer. Everyone now thinks Joyce is going crazy. Later in the night Crosby’s body falls out of a secret passage in Joyce’s room proving that she was not crazy.
            Wally Campbell (Hope) makes it a point to protect Joyce. Wally is a bit of a coward with false confidence but that is what endears him to Joyce. He is the only one who believes Joyce when strange things start happening to her.

            The ending is really good. There are some hints here and there of who it could be but I found myself so focused on Paulette Goddard and Bob Hope that I really did not notice the hints too much. You won’t see who the killer is until the end.
Cat #2

            Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard were so good together. Hope was hilarious the more Wally got scared the more his one liners zinged by. Wally even admits it himself by saying that he kids himself into being brave. One of my favorite lines is one of the old lady relatives asks Wally if big empty houses scare him and he replies “No not me, I used to be in Vaudeville.” I adore Paulette Goddard and I loved her even more after watching her as Joyce. She did not do anything extraordinary, to me she was just good. So far in the films I have seen her in she did not overact. I also really like how Goddard played her characters with a good sense of humor and a bit of an attitude. She was not overshadowed by Hope if anything she was keeping up quite nicely with him.
            Looking at The Cat and the Canary today it looks like a Scooby-Doo story but if you can look at it when it was released in 1939 it is really good. The plot is something that was not done before. It is so much fun to watch. I had a very good laugh along with some suspense.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Test Pilot

Fueling my love for any kind of aviation themed film I had to see Test Pilot. And nothing could get better for me than an aviation film starring Myrna Loy. Loy’s character is only a passenger and a spectator in the film with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy being the masculine, over confident flyers.
            Gable plays a daredevil pilot named Jim Lane. On a flying record from California to New York his plane malfunctions and he has to land on a farm in Kansas. The farm Jim lands on belongs to Ann Barton (Loy) and her family. Ann comes running out to Jim. Immediately there is a spark between them. They both tease and banter with each other. Ann tells Jim he is like a dream that has fallen out of the sky to her. After some talking Ann takes Jim back to her house where he can wash up and eat. She takes him into town following breakfast where they go to a baseball game and a movie. That night Jim tells Ann he loves her and how he has never felt what he feels for her for a woman before. Ann feels the same way but she knows he has some wild tendencies and feels she needs to play things safe.
            The next day Jim’s friend Gunner (Tracy) comes with some mechanics to fix his plane. Ann has thought things over and does not want Jim to leave. She even wants to go with him but he says no. Once in the air he realizes he how much really does love Ann and goes back for her. On the way to New York Jim and Ann get married.

            Drake, the man who owns the plane Jim flies, lets him go. Jim has to borrow money from Gunner for a while until he gets a job. Eventually he gets a job as a test pilot flying new planes for the Army. The job is very dangerous. All three have had their nerves shaken after a friend of theirs died when his plane crashed. Ann feels like she is tortured every minute that Jim spends up in the air not knowing if he will come home at night. She confides in Gunner how she feels and he feels the same way at times but they cannot tell Jim how they truly feel they have to keep up a happy and supportive appearance. She tells Gunner she has packed her bags to the point where they are worn out and has a ticket back home in her bag at all times.
            Gunner and Jim take on a dangerous test flight. Ann is more of a wreck than ever because she cares deeply for both men.
            Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, and Spencer Tracy were amazing together you can see they all had such great chemistry. They all fed off of each other so nicely. Loy wrote in her autobiography that she knew how to play against Gable’s tough side she said all she had to do was play tough with him. In the scene where Ann and Jim first meet and the scene where they say they love each other you can see her playing to his attitude and toughness. Before watching Test Pilot I was on the fence with really liking Gable as an actor but after this I saw his range and what little more he could do besides being the tough guy all the ladies want. There was a scene where he was talking to Lionel Barrymore’s character Drake at the end and he played the emotions of sadness and guilt so well it was such a fantastic scene. After that I became a fan of Gable. Loy was of course fabulous. She was so funny with Gable in the scene where Jim and Ann meet. I laughed so hard when they were at the baseball game and she was yelling at the players and all into the game. At the movies she was mouthing the lines. As usual she did extremely well with playing emotional scenes, all Ann wanted to hear was Jim tell her he really loved her and you can see that emotion on her face. All Loy’s scenes with Tracy were the best. Tracy is an actor I am not too fond of but I enjoyed him very much here. I liked how Gunner had a superstition where he would blow a kiss and then stick chewed gun on the back of the wing for good luck.
            If I had not started watching Test Pilot at 11:30pm as soon as the film was over I would have watched it again. Everything about this film was amazing. The story was very well written and acted. The love story aspect was not overdone mostly because of Gable and Loy not overacting and the fact that Tracy’s character loved Jim like a brother as well. The dialogue is great it never fails to keep your attention. When Test Pilot was originally released it was reviewed favorably and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing and Editing but as with everything else at the Awards in 1939 it most likely had no chance and lost out to Gone with the Wind. Today the film is considered a significant aviation film because it showed contemporary planes. Myrna Loy said that this was one of her personal favorite films she made in her long career. You can clearly see her enjoyment watching the film.
Myrna Loy
            As of this writing Test Pilot can be viewed on youtube, it is not available on DVD only VHS (which is a total crime). If you are any kind of classic movie fan or like aviation movies get over to youtube as soon as possible and watch Test Pilot. There are so many good elements and moments throughout the whole film that cannot be missed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


“Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.”

            Every once in a blue moon now it seems that Hollywood will actually allow an original movie to grace theater screens. Original plots and stories are becoming more and more rare with the studios playing it safe and releasing remakes or a dumber way to put it “re-imagining”-s of old movies or hell even new ones (seriously do we need a “re-imagining” of Spiderman or a remake of The Thin Man when both worked so well the first time they were released?). Last summer Warner Bros. released Inception, a totally original story written and directed by Christopher Nolan.
            Inception is a movie about dreams and almost violating someone’s deep subconscious thought. Leonard DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb. He can get into people’s minds using a device called Inception which gets in between someone’s dream process. This device makes Dom a world class criminal along with a team who helps to construct and plan the dreams. The plot of the movie is complicated to explain and if I were to even explain a little of the plot it would pretty much give the whole story away.
            I remember last summer seeing posters and advertisements all over the place when I was visiting England for a month. Advertising everywhere really does work because I really wanted to see it from all the posters. As soon as I got home I went to see the movie with my brother and I walked out so thrilled and amazed. I was in love with the movie I saw it again. Everything about Inception is brilliant. Very little special effects were used which adds more of a reality and did not add a cheapness. The acting by the entire cast was incredible. Leonard DiCaprio just gets better and better no one could have done as well as he did. Marion Cotillard was nothing short of amazing as Dom’s wife Mal. Joseph Gordon- Levitt, Ellen Page, and Tom Hardy were excellent as well.

            What I really liked about Inception was that I could not predict what was going to happen next I did not even want to I just wanted the story to keep going. To me a sign of a good movie is not being able to predict what will happen or if you think you know what will happen and the opposite of what you were thinking happens. The idea of going into someone’s dreams and changing their thoughts is so fascinating.
            Inception is one of the best movies to come out in the past ten years. I have seen the movie countless of times since I saw it in theaters and I am still blown away and in awe by its originality. Inception proved that movie audiences want something original that movies like this can be successful. Christopher Nolan created something incredible and possibly started a new trend of original ideas again in Hollywood. You can see Nolan put so much care into the writing of the script and the direction. I hope to see more writers and directors put more care into their works in the future.  I was so happy to see that Inception won for Best Original Screenplay and Best Effects at the Academy Awards because it totally deserved both ( I would have liked to have seen it won for Best Picture as well but…)
            Definitely see Inception. You do have to pay close attention to understand much of the plot… but if you are a true movie lover you won’t mind paying attention. After you have seen Inception go on to IMDB and check out the trivia section, there is so much cool information.