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Reviews for July 16th, 2010


Directed by Christopher Nolan.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) leads a secret team of experts who enter people’s dreams to steal ideas from them. Saito (Ken Watanabe), a powerful and wealthy businessman, desperately wants Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy), the heir to a rival corporation, to split apart his corporation before he inherits it from his dying father, Maurice (Pete Postlethwaite). He offers Cobb a deal: if he and his team are able to successfully implant the idea inside Fischer’s mind through the challenging process of inception, he will make one phone call that will drop Cobb’s murder charges for murdering his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), so that he can safely travel back home to reunite with his two beloved kids. Cobb takes the leap of faith and assembles a team of experts, namely, Eames (Tom Hardy), Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Yusuf (Dileep Rao), and Ariadne (Ellen Page), the architect. To explain the plot any further wouldn’t do it any justice and, on top of that, it would spoil the many unpredictable surprises and awe-inspiring thrills throughout Cobb’s elaborately designed mission that grows increasingly intricate and complex as it progresses. Writer/director Christopher Nolan has woven a mind-boggling, profoundly imaginative sci-fi thriller that has all the elements that turn into a classic because it’s consistently clever, well-acted, suspenseful, intricately layered, timeless, intriguing and even moving when it comes to Cobb’s longing for Mal. Each and every scene counts, so please be sure to listen carefully to every line of dialogue. Inception is essentially a refreshing, well-needed oasis in a year inundated with dumbed-down, unoriginal and forgettable blockbusters. Many sequences, which won’t be spoiled here, will haunt your psyche and leave you in sheer awe. The use of action and CGI never becomes excessive or unnecessary because it’s actually used to serve and compliment the story rather than the other way around. Nolan will probably connect with many of you when he has Ariadne say in the middle of an important scene, “Wait. Whose subconscious are we going into again?” Audience members with Attention Deficit Disorder will feel very perplexed and probably end up misconstruing the film, but attentive audience members will be rewarded by its many layers of sheer brilliance and intricacies which beg for intellectual discussions and repeated viewings. At a running time of 2 hours and 28 minutes, Inception is a groundbreaking, intriguing, exhilarating and brilliant sci-fi thriller that’s destined to become a timeless classic. Mark my words: It will be remembered for years to come. Please see it in glorious IMAX for a completely immersive experience.
Number of times I checked my watch: 0
Released by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Opens nationwide.

The Contenders

Directed by Marta Mondelli.

*Full review coming soon*

Number of times I checked my watch: 7
Released by Simmia Productions and The Contenders, Inc.
Opens at Indiehouse.


Directed by Lance Daly.

Two preteens, Kylie (Kelly O’Neill) and Dylan (Shane Curry), live next door to each other in the outskirts of Northern Dublin. Dylan’s father (Paul Roe) suffers from alcoholism and has a violent temper. Kylie has a workaholic mother (Cathy Malone) and four siblings. One day, after an argument with his father turns violent, Dylan locks himself in the bathroom and escapes through the window with the help of Kylie as she holds a ladder below him. He and Kylie decide to run away together toward downtown Dublin where they hope to find Dylan’s long-lost brother who ran had away years ago. Their adventures include traveling as passengers on a barge where they meet a man who teaches them about the songs of Bob Dylan. Once they arrive in Dublin, they search for Dylan’s brother only learn that he has been evicted and became homeless. They no must do whatever they can to survive on the streets all alone when they spend all of their money. Not surprisingly, Kylie and Dylan grow closer together throughout their journey and even share a kiss. Writer/director Lance Daly knows how to tell a seemingly simple story in a refreshing, gently heartwarming way that’s filled with comic relief and a few gritty twists and turns that pose as a threat the Kylie and Dylan. He gradually reveals more and more dark revelations about Kylie’s traumatic experiences at home. Both she and Dylan are essentially wounded souls who find a common ground together as friends and, eventually, as boyfriend-and-girlfriend. The cinematography looks exceptional with the use of black-and-white during the scenes at home and a slow change to color as the two of them get farther away from home. Kelly O’Neill and Shane Curry, both first-time actors, give natural, raw performances far better than the majority of kid actors in the film industry today. They both provide an abundance of charisma and tackle the full spectrum of their characters’ emotions in such a way that allows you to care about them as human beings. By the time Kylie and Dylan arrive back home, their experiences together have changed them forever. Kisses, at a very brief running time of 1 hour and 15 minutes, never overstays its welcome and manages to be exquisitely-shot and deeply affecting with just the right balance of humor, sweetness and grittiness. Newcomers Kelly O’Neill and Shane Curry shine in raw, heartfelt and charismatic performances.
Number of times I checked my watch: 0
Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Opens at the Angelika Film Center.

Operation: Endgame

Directed by Fouad Mikati.

*Full review coming soon*

Number of times I checked my watch: 6
Released by Anchor Bay Films.
Opens at the Quad Cinema.

To Age or Not to Age

Directed by Robert Kane Pappas.

*Full review coming soon*

Number of times I checked my watch: 6
Released by Sag Harbor Basement Pictures.
Opens at the Village East Cinema.

Valhalla Rising

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.

*Review coming soon*

Number of times I checked my watch: 9
Released by IFC Films.
Opens July 16th, 2010 at the IFC Center.

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