San Diego is once again holding their annual event, Comic Con, and man do I wish I was there. All the gaming and film related news and reveals to have come out these past few days have made me giddy with excitement. The new additions to the "Marvel vs Capcom 3" roster make me want to sell my soul for a copy of that game. People at the "Scott Pilgrim vs the World" panel were all surprised to a screening of the full movie. I could go on but no. Sadly though, as this is an event originally intended to celebrate comic books, I don't really hear much about the comics themselves. I've even heard that the comics section get pushed back in favour of these other massive booths which is a little disconcerting to hear. I may read comic books here and there and enjoy reading them but I'm not a major comic book fan am not saying I'm knowledgeable with it - I just think that they're pretty awesome. Kinda sad to hear this if it is indeed true cause this kind of convention is typically NOT the type to attract attention from media outlets like Entertainment Tonight...yuck.
So I'm starting Semester 2 of University this week and while I do look forward to learning new things, there are a few things I'm disappointed about. The clash with Japanese and Cinema Studies means that I won't be able to get to the film screenings and would be forced to attend the compulsory workshops for Japanese. This is disappointing because the films that will be screened in the cinema this semester are AWESOME! "Goodfellas", "House of Flying Daggers" and "Kung Fu Hustle". No epic picture and sound for me. Secondly, I'm worried about screenwriting since one of my assignments requires me to write a 20 page screenplay that's worth 65% of my mark for that subject. Finally, I'm disappointed that I was forced to pick a tutorial for screenwriting on Friday. I would've had a four day long weekend again but I wasn't aware that the tutorial selections were even open for screenwriting. Oh well. Gotta make the best outta everything, right?
Okay, so I'm quite proud of this letter I wrote to the editor of GameInformer Australia, Chris Stead. Sure, it's not it's own article and is simply a "letter to the editor" but I'm very appreciative and thankful that GameInformer would choose it and publish it in this month's issue. One small step for me, perhaps? While I do appreciate the fact that they would even consider publishing my opinionated letter, I just wish my name wasn't published as "Hieu Chen". :(
WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING
So normally I would give a short review about each individual film I've seen but I thought that for this week, rather than congest this section with each film - I'd discuss the film career of Christopher Nolan. I will, however, put up a small review only for "Inception". This past week I watched two films of his that I hadn't previously seen before ("Following" and "Insomnia"), revisited his "Batman" universe and saw his newly released film, "Inception".
Nolan's a writer/director that I admire simply because his films are incredibly ambitious. With the exception of "Insomnia" and the "Batman" films, he and his brother, Jonathan Nolan, write truly original films that aren't afraid to break conventions. Watching "Following" reminded me a lot of "Memento" with the unconventional method in structuring the film and telling the storytelling. Nolan also seems to favour creating intricate films surrounding characters that are, in one form or another, psychologically damaged or carrying heavy burdens. The openings of several Nolan film either give incentive as to what the film will be about ("Inception", "Memento"), give clues surrounding the major plot points and/or twists in the story ("Following", "Insomnia", "The Prestige"). Crucial to Nolan's films seems to be the theme of memory. All of his films have had characters affected by past memories. Bruce Wayne ("Batman" series) is affected by the death of his parents, Leonard ("Memento") suffers from amnesia and Detective Will Dormer ("Insomnia") is haunted by the memory of his slain partner. While on the subject of memory, Nolan often inserts quick flashbacks into a scene - a visual motif that has made it's way into all of his films. His films continue to push the boundaries of cinematic storytelling and it's great that studios are willing to give him money for ambitiously original ideas instead of tentpole franchises based off comics, games and toys.
"Inception" isn't quite the complicated film that it's made out to be. It's a great film, yeah, but it's basically an action film with a lot of science fiction implications (not that I don't enjoy a smart action movie). Do not try to turn your ears and brain off for a second because if you miss one piece of jargon used throughout the film, you may find yourself in a world of confusion. The story is simple enough to follow and is one of corporate espionage. The real draw of the film, of course, is the idea of delving into the dream. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an experienced extractor, a person whose job it is to steal information about people from their subconscious while they're dreaming. This made-up theory of "subconscious diving" isn't too intricate to be puzzled by, rest assured, but it is one that is quite ingenious. Plotholes may appear in relation to the time spent in dreams versus the time spent in reality but they're not so big that they make you rethink the entire film. I liked that it wasn't you're regular heist film where the characters needed to steal something but instead needed to plant something. The film is long but never quite feels that way as you are really involved with the plot and it's characters (characterisation and interaction between Marion Cotillard and Leonardo DiCaprio could've been cut down for the sake of the main plot). Nolan seems to have fixed his problem with editing though and has learned not to need rapid fire cuts during action sequences. Plenty of action and suspense to keep you on your seat, finely acted from the entire cast (could you expect any less from Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page and Cillian Murphy) and rather visually arresting - "Inception" is one of the year's best mainstream films to have been released so far.
TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS
Max Brooks' novel, "World War Z" is moving along and has Brad Pitt attached to star in the film. The news comes straight from Comic Con via Brooks himself. Pitt's production company, "Plan B" will produce the film. The story is about a fictionalised version of Max Brooks who travels across a zombiefied America documenting the survival stories of the zombie apocalypse.
Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch" also got a bit of a debut this past week at Comic Con with a few character posters. I like some of the steam-punk aesthetic that's going on. Is that a mecha I see, also? Ya know, if you told me this was a comic book adaptation, I'd go along with it but I was actually surprised to find out that this film was actually an original conception. Now for a trailer please.
Below is the new trailer for "Buried" starring Ryan Reynolds who's in a box for the whole movie apparently. I've been really interested in this film and I've read around that his performance is deserving of an Oscar nomination. Interesting. The trailer doesn't even tell you anything but, on a marketing standpoint, tries to appeal to the masses with extracted quotes that are sure to generate interest and excitement. I could do without all those silly colourful lines though.
Anyone wanna see Darth Vader rob a bank? You can read more about the story HERE but for now, there's the picture down below.