July 19, 2010

REVIEW: Inception

Many newspapers reviewers have said that Christopher Nolan's Inception is too "complicated" when in reality, it is just complicated enough. Movies today, it seems, cater to the absolute lowest common intellectual denominator with nothing but cute animals, tired jokes, and fluffy plots. When Academy Award-Winning actress Penélope Cruz's most commercially successful movie is G-Force, a movie about secret agent guinea pigs, something is wrong with the world. The success of Inception just might make it right again.

If you've read my past reviews, you'll know that I place a strong emphasis on the plots of movies. What are movies but stories? -- stories that allow us to explore areas connected to, but just beyond, the human experience? That's why I loved Inception.

The story centers around Cobb, an "extraction" specialist, who uses a Matrix-like artificial reality network machine to infiltrate people's dreams and steal their deepest, most profitable secrets. In his crew are an architect who designs the 'levels' where the dreams take place, an impersonation expert who acts out characters int he dream, a chemist who develops drugs to sedate his targets, and various other dream-bandits. Cobb's greatest challenge, and the movie's focus, comes when a businessman offers to clear Cobb's troubled background in exchange for planting an advantageous idea in the businessman's rival's head.

July 11, 2010

REVIEW: Nightlight: A Parody

The Harvard Lampoon lives up to its narcissistic self-promotion in this laugh-out-loud hilarious parody of that ultimate tween literary decay, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. I can't tell if it's the pure absurdity of the basis books (and the magnitude of their popularity) or if the kids at Harvard really are that funny, but Nightlight had me in stitches to the bemusement of the other passengers on the NYC subway.

Basically the book is written as if a girl as insane, spacey, and self-obsessed as Bella 'Goose' were actually the narrator and 'Edwart' were not a vampire but rather a highly odd, slightly-hypochondriac, overachieving dweebish high school student. Knowing more than just a few Dartmouth students who, like Bella, seem to live in their own little worlds where their suffocating underachievement and complete awkwardness is remaped in their brain as evidence of insightfullness, attractiveness, and being interesting, Nightlight was a lampoon for me on many levels.