Sunday, July 25, 2010

Watch This Now

This past weekend, I caught two feature films that left me excited about the future of film. Quite frankly, these movies, along with Toy Story 3, could be the best of the year.

The first would be Inception, which I actually caught for a second time with friends who hadn't seen it before. Visually, stylistically and in terms of narrative, Inception was brilliant. If you like movies, you should go see this movie. A note of caution: Prepare to have your mind blown. You might lose your grip on reality.

I don't want to give any of the plot away, so I won't give you a summary. What I will say is this is the first movie in a long time that kept me constantly surprised. Usually, I can guess where a plot's going to head within the first 15-20 minutes of a movie. With Inception, I had no idea what was going to happen and that made for an amazing ride. I would even recommend a second viewing of this movie, not because it will be easier to break down (because it won't), but because you'll pick up on some smart subtleties you may have missed the first time as you struggled to hang on to the edge of your seat. Writer and director Christopher Nolan is a genius and deserves the many accolades sure to come his way.

The second film was Salt. Don't dismiss this movie as a generic action film. If you have any doubts as to Angelina Jolie's talents, you won't after you watch Salt. While I loved the journey Inception took me on, I'd have to say Salt left a bigger impression on me.

Think about all the action movies you've ever seen. Can you think of any that were carried by a strong heroine? I don't mean Ashley Judd in Double Jeopardy or Charlie's Angels kind of stuff. And before you bring up Kill Bill, let me remind you that we only knew the main character as the Bride - she didn't even get a name. I'm talking about a woman who looks like a trained fighter and is an inventive spy, stone-cold killer and more adept at her job than any of the men in the movie. The only other movie that comes to mind is Tomb Raider, which also stars Jolie.

Angie has done a lot of growing up since Tomb Raider. For one, her body is completely different. Here she works like a machine. Every move she makes is efficient. And yet, she has heart. I think the fear is that a woman action star - especially in the spy thriller type films - won't be believable. Either she'll be too soft or too hard. Evelyn Salt is the perfect balance. She's incredibly tough, but she's got an endearing vulnerability as well. By the end of the movie, you're really rooting for her.

Salt was originally planned with Tom Cruise in mind. After he dropped the project, the character was changed for Jolie. The whole time I watched Salt, I couldn't help but think how generic it would have been with Cruise as the star. Jolie makes Salt. It crackles with her spirit. My hope is that she has opened up the action field for women. I would love to see more women in charge instead of playing the typical damsel in distress role.

Not to be vulgar, but if I were to give you the most concise review of these two films, it would be: Inception = Mindfuck; Salt = Badass. Seriously, go see these movies.

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