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Tracks (2014)

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In case you missed the news, I’ve started contributing to The Cinematic Katzenjammer, in addition to Gone With The Movies. Of course, The Cinema Monster will still remain my home. That being said, it’d mean the world to me if you could head on over to The CK and give my latest review (Tracks) a gander. And while you’re there, feel free to drop a like/comment, seeing as the site is also run through WordPress! So logging in and such won’t be a hassle. Just click the link below!

Tracks (2014)

If you did happen to miss the notice last week, you might have missed out on my review of “The Trip to Italy.” Don’t feel left out, it’s very easily rectified. Simply click on the link below and it’ll immediately direct you to the article!

The Trip to Italy (2014)

127 Hours (2010)

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An adrenaline high that pushes the boundaries of patience, mortality, and extremeness. “127 Hours” is a biographical-drama that is anything but easy to watch. Confined to a crack in a vast desert and the innermost thoughts and emotions of a doomed individual. “127 Hours,” without any doubt, is a severely draining experience. However, regardless of its morose and heartfelt tendencies, this expressionistic piece rewards just as often as it takes. As always, director Danny Boyle offers some immaculate, stunning, and at times stomach-churning visuals to accompany his flare for the dramatics. Delightfully atmospheric, airy, and elemental. Boyle’s  “127 Hours” is an entrancing piece that is arguably the illustrious director’s most complete and honest film to date. Provoking an array of colourful reactions and breathtakingly tingling to every sense,  “127 Hours” is a true masterpiece.

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Aron Ralston (Franco) prepares for a day of biking and hiking through Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. After biking for a while, Aron meets Kristi (Mara) and Megan (Tamblyn), two hikers who are apparently lost. The three stick together and end up doing a blind jump into an underground body of water. Soon after, Aron is invited to a party by Kristi and Megan, then parts from the girls. Continuing on his adventure alone, Aron soon finds himself stuck in a life-threatening situation with seemingly no escape.

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The build-up before the accident, let alone the nauseating climax is exhausting. While watching “127 Hours,” from start to finish, there is a constant fear of inevitability that tugs incessantly at the viewers reflexes and Boyle knows this and uses it as somewhat of a tiring agent. This effect works in brilliant contrast to the alarming, persisting melancholic visions, beautiful visuals, and paced self-brutality. Not to mention A. R Rahman’s outstanding score that ranges from deviously haunting, decidedly up-beat, and splendidly resplendent. Everything about Boyle’s “127 Hours” flourishes and acts as an intoxicant that poisons the viewers physical and mental bodies in the most exuberant, best way possible. It might be a bit too claustrophobic or detailed for some, to say the least. Yet, if you can power through, “127 Hours” is a rewarding cinematic experience.

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Just because “127 Hours” has a relatively small cast and bit parts, doesn’t mean that the roles and the actors who characterize them perform inadequately, actually it’s quite the contrary. “127 Hours” stars the impeccable James Franco, the exquisite Amber Tamblyn and the radiant Kate Mara. Tamblyn and Mara only appear on screen sparsely, however their affect on the film is monstrous. Exuding the energy and care-free lifestyle of young, ambitious sightseers, Mara and Tamblyn perform perfectly. I’d give the slight advantage to Mara, simply because I am smitten with her. As for James Franco,  who I feel should’ve won an Oscar for this role, is truly remarkable. Every minute of his performance is outstanding. Whether he is flipping through memories, gazing into the future, or dissecting his own body, Franco completely delivers.

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On a personal side-note, I saw this film for the first time at its premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival. Danny Boyle and the entire cast was in attendance, including Aaron Ralston. Upon hearing of his real-life struggles and memories regarding being stuck in the canyon, the film resonates so much more. Hearing Boyle and cast discuss filming and trials and tribulations that accompanied such a difficult shoot, I grew to appreciate “127 Hours” with an unparalleled depth.

Infallibly filmed and performed, “127 Hours” is immaculate in every sense of the word.

127 Hours: 9 out of 10.

Inception (2010)

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Outlandishly complex, visually mesmerizing, and action-packed. “Inception” is an intelligent blockbuster that bursts forth from the screen with all the spectacle and wonder that makes cinema so riveting. With infinite staying-power fortified by unlimited ingenuity, an empathetic human element, and dynamism. “Inception” is easily one of the best science fiction films to ever be released, if not the best. Written and directed by the distinguished Christopher Nolan. “Inception” is a brilliant addition to his already stellar collection of highly memorable films and adds another layer of superlativeness to his stern and bright reputation. Completed by an all-star cast and an absolutely epic score from the incredibly talented Hans Zimmer. “Inception” is an unparalleled cinematic experience and regardless of its intricate story or the grandness of its heart-stopping scale, should stand the test of time (no pun intended).

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Dominic Cobb (DiCaprio) is a skilled thief who is somewhat of a master when it comes to the artistic science of extraction. Simply put, Dom can be inserted into anyones dreams and steal their most valuable secrets and information. After a failed job, Dom and his partner Arthur (Levitt) are hired by Saito (Ken Watanabe), the original target, to convince a rival company’s owner to disband his inheritance. This tactic is officially known as inception. Upon recruiting Eames (Hardy), Ariadne (Page), and a few others, the group begins plotting against their target, Robert Fischer (Murphy), unaware that Dominic is hiding a dark and possibly dangerous secret about his late wife Mal (Cotillard).

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Once again Nolan is able to top his previous efforts with a completely unique and bewildering idea presented with his usual flare and style. Evidently, more than a few like to poke fun at “Inception” claiming its premise as idiotic, amongst other aspects they feel to be miscalculated. Nonetheless, Nolan’s ability to transcend and harness the abstract remains unrivalled and is a much needed jump-start for the currently unbalanced film industry. While the path he has carved for cinema might not be for everyone. Cinephiles and critics universally agree that Nolan is a mind like no other. Arguably the most successful, forward-thinking, genius working in film as of the moment. Nolan always pushes the envelope and upon assisting in the much needed reboot of the Superman franchise, it appears the sky’s the limit for this one of a kind filmmaker, but I digress, back to “Inception.”

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Very rarely does a film come along that proves to be a game-changer, and in every sense, “Inception” is one of these films. Whether it is the folding over of an entire city, mind-churning paradoxes, or astoundingly choreographed action sequences, “Inception” is deliciously appealing. Granted, a majority of these magical, majestic, delectable scenes take place in a fantastical realm. However it doesn’t degrade the sheer intellect, talent, and innovation infused into every single one of these miraculous scenes. And while the production value and intricacy of these aspects is enough for them to stand on their own. What truly puts “Inception” at another level is the brains that accompany the brawn. Equally matched intellectually and visually, “Inception” is its own excellent contrast. The mind and eyes receive quite the workout, yet, never has a strenuous effort felt so euphoric.

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Talk about easy on the eyes. “Inception” has the outwardly striking, abundantly accomplished, and utterly skilled cast to assist in the completing of this masterpiece. Starring the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cottilard, and Michael Cane, amongst other proficient personnel . “Inception” is undoubtedly the full package with an ensemble that knows no weakness.

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Many will deny it having seen a few of these stars in previous films, but “Inception” officially launched Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Cillian Murphy into the mainstream. Each give a humorous and heartfelt performance that instantly made them crowd favourites. Cottilard and Page do an outstanding job grounding this flick, adding a much needed emotional element to this larger-than-life picture. What can one say about Leonardo DiCaprio, he always makes it look so effortless, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Finally, to quote the great Mr. Nolan, “it’s always good to have a little Michael Caine in your film.”

Literally appealing to every sense, “Inception” is not to be missed by anyone in existence, cinephile or not…and how about that ending?

Inception: 9 out of 10.

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