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Usually when I do a review of a current film and I think highly of it, I'll discuss it's placement on my list of favorite films of the year. However, when it comes to Christopher Nolan's latest venture into originality, I'll discuss it's placement as one of my favorite films of all time. Yeah, it's that good. Hold on to your seat belts folks, your mind is about to be blown.

No one quite knows what to expect when first going into the film Inception. It's mysterious plot is one that's hard to grasp without the proper medium, such as the film opposed to just the promotional pieces. So it seems as though practically everyone is blown away by it no matter what age. It's ambiguous ending and genius storytelling is unrivaled and one that will be studied for years and years.

Nolan has one of the most creative minds in Hollywood and consistently puts out fantastic pieces of fiction. From Memento up to Inception, Nolan takes originality in storytelling to a whole new level. The idea of going inside people's dreams to reveal their secrets is a superior level of crazy. Then the concept of inserting an idea into the persons subconscious is storytelling at it's finest.

But it's not only storytelling that Inception does best, it's incredible visuals give way to some groundbreaking work by the effects team. Everything is done practically and the film benefits from it. CGI would have ruined it and it wouldn't have worked. The scenes with Zero Gravity are extremely impressive and the best the effect has ever looked on film.

I'm also a huge fan of the overall look of Nolan's films. Watch his filmography and you'll see a very distinct set of colors and angles that he favors. His style is unique and tends to be rather mesmerizing which is good considering the topic at hand. His visual flare lends itself to the aesthetic of feeling like a dream, which is a hard feat to accomplish in and of itself.

One aspect which would have caused the film to fail if not properly executed is the editing and how well it can connect with the audience. Tell too much then you'll lose people in detail, tell too little and you'll lose people from confusion. Inception strikes the right balance and explains everything in a clear and precise fashion. I feel confident in understanding the film in it's entirety.

In order to execute an understandable story even with it's unconventional structure, Nolan needed some great key players and he got that and more. Leonardo DiCaprio is the best he's ever been (which is saying a lot considering his past roles) and brings the audience into the world with just the right amount of charm and intrigue. Ellen Page is great as always and she didn't overstay her welcome. One of my favorite current actors happens to be Joseph Gordon Levitt and his character is involved in one of the coolest scenes of the year, if not of all time: the Hallway Scene. It's a true test of one's physicality and endurance and he pulls it off to perfection.

One person who, while only a side character, is very intriguing and his charisma is palpable. The role of the "James Bond" type character lies in Eames, a part perfected by Tom Hardy. I can't wait to see what else Hardy does in the future because he made one fan from this film. Can't wait to go back and watch him in Bronson. One minor complaint is the casting of Ken Watanabe. I like him as an actor but there were several times where I had difficulty understanding what Watanabe said and I feel like, with a plot like this where every minuscule piece of information is vital, any risk of inaudible speech should be avoided at all cost.

As for the ending, and trust me this will be spoilerific, I am of the belief that the totem wobbles (which is clearly shown in the movie) and that it will fall over. In order to go the more ambiguous route it cuts to black. When watching the movie again, I noticed that the totem never wobbles in the dream. It never even waivers. It is always perfect. And it is in fact, not perfect in the real world. So I believe that Cobb is in reality and has made it back to his kids.

As of this day Inception has been out less than two months and is still only available in the theaters. I have seen it 4 times and hope to see it at least once more before it ends it's theatrical run. I'm not one to see a movie more than once in the theater (unless I like it then I'll likely see it twice) but I just can't get enough of Inception world. Much like those in the movie, where the dreamers just can't get enough and it's truly the only way that they can dream, Inception is my dream and the only way to get more is keep going back for more.


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Once in a great while will a movie have me smiling to myself in the theater. It’ll happen occasionally but not to anything concrete. I was smiling throughout Inception, but come on, that film was absolute perfection. There is no “getting better” than that film. However, one film that I would say holds up as far as smiles go, Scott Pilgrim takes the cake. I was smiling throughout the duration of the film and for all the right reasons.

First off the story: Scott Pilgrim must defeat Ramona Flowers’ Seven Evil Ex’s in order to date her. Sounds awesome right? The story is just ludicrous enough that you know before the film even begins that this movie is not going to take itself seriously and you’re just in for a good time, and that’s exactly what happened.

The casting is absolutely perfect as well. Michael Cera is the best he’s been since Arrested Development, and trust me, that was a while ago. He plays it a little differently and it’s not as “Michael Cera-ey” as his other roles thankfully. That whole schtick got tiresome fast. Mary Elizabeth Winstead does fine in the role (though I wish her character had a little more depth but I understand why she was shown in a widely appealing nature). Kieran Culkin also does a great job as Scotts gay roommate. Some of the funniest moments in the movie come from him.

Brandon Routh also gave a surprising performance. He did a great job in Superman Returns but he hasn’t done much else since and what he’s been in hasn’t been noteworthy. Good to see he’s finally utilizing his talent. Chris Evans also plays the douchebag movie star roll to a T. I was quite impressed with that and liked to see how much fun he was having in the role. Was refreshing. Then of course, Jason Shwartzman as the main baddie of the film Gydeon. He was great as usual and had some awesome lines. I love his “Heeeeyy buddy.”

Onto the man that this film would not have been the same without: Edgar Wright. I will now go blindly into any Edgar Wright film. He has joined the elite ranks of Brad Bird, David Fincher, and James Cameron. Truly one of the greatest filmmakers working today and he proves it with this film. His style and cutting ability is one in a million. He has some of the greatest scene transitions I’ve ever seen on film. And that may not sound like a lot but it completely affects the flow of the film as a whole. Terrible editing can ruin another wise great movie, and this is the case of the editing being absolute perfection.

This also contains one of my favorite moments in a movie for the year. The first being the opening title sequence which stands above many others like it. The start of it with “We are Sex Bob-omb!” and the pullback into an infinite room. Another favorite of mine was the fade to black and white while Todd is telekinetically lifting Scott up. It is truly a mesmerizing shot and one that all cinematographers should study for years to come. And before I forget, the 8 bit Universal Opening Title is one of the most clever things I've seen in a movie in years.

Being an editor, I notice things that most others wouldn’t when watching your average film. I notice the cuts, how long a shot lasts, if it all goes together smoothly. I have an editors mind and it can never be turned off unless the movie is perfect or damn near close to it. Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum where the movie is great and it is improved by my editors mind. Scott Pilgrim would fall into the latter category. The editing in this film is unrivaled. Transitions occur seamlessly and no shot overstays it’s welcome.

With Scott Pilgrim, you get all that you could ask for and more. The general consensus from movie fans is that it’s great but just couldn’t find an audience, and sadly I agree. If only the marketing had been better then maybe this would have been one of the bigger hits of the summer, but alas it’s considered a dud. Regardless, in the movie fans eyes, this is one of the best films of not only the summer but of the year. Edgar Wright, I bow down to you.


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