Tag Archives: Inception

When Boob Tube Meets Silver Screen – 5 films that could probably “cut it” on the small screen

This past Friday, IGN Entertainment released THIS trailer, to promote an upcoming television series, based on the popular, and EXTREMELY profitable, Harry Potter book and film franchise . . .

Of course, if you recall, this past Friday was also April Fools’ Day.  And the above – trailer for the new FX series, The Aurors, set to premiere this summer, ended up being a FAKE (not to mention a Big Fat F-YOU to Wizard Lovers, EVERYWHERE)!

And yet, you have to admit, if a series like this actually DID air on FX, there’s a good chance it would be fairly successful.  After all, The Aurors, has all the ingredients for a television ratings darling, including:

(1) an allegiance to the Harry Potter brand, and the massive geek-chic cult following that comes along with it;

“When I wave my magic wand, millions of dollars in advertising revenue will appear, right before your VERY EYES!”

(2) a savvy nod to the world’s current obsession with All Things Supernatural;

(3) action adventure; and

Might I suggest some prune juice, Harry.  I hear it helps with your . . . condition.

(4) that Crime Procedural Mumbo Jumbo, which tends to bore the STUFFING out of me, but seems to be genuinely popular among most of the American viewing public (as evidenced by the success of the 85,000 versions of Law and Order and CSI currently clogging our television sets).

Don’t shoot!  I swear, I didn’t mean it!

This got me to thinking about other popular films that have the potential to make the transition from the Big Screen to Your Screen.   And so, without further adieu, here are my top five picks (in no particular order) for movies I’d like to see take that oh-so-dangerous small-screen leap  .  . .

1) Inception

I don’t think I’ve ever had as many in-depth, and complicated, conversations about a film, as I have had about this psychological action thriller.  The idea of being able to enter people’s dreams, and by doing so, altering their perception of reality, is just so inherently intriguing and ripe for discussion.  And for a television show revolving around a crack team of insanely attractive and ridiculously well-dressed, “dream engineers” — hired to basically control people’s minds from the inside-out — the possibilities are literally endless.  

Episodes can revolve around a different “dream hijacking” each week, or can slowly unravel an extensive “dream heist” throughout the course of the season.  Of course, at the show’s core would be the brilliant, but deeply troubled, Dream Makers, each of whom has their own extensive backstory, as well as specific, but complicated, rationalizations for choosing this, admittedly morally ambiguous, career path.

Speaking of morally ambiguous career paths . . .

2) The Town

Back in September, I fell in love with a film about a small town called Charlestown, Massachusetts, where children were raised to be bank robbers, con artists, and criminals, with the same intensity and efficiency that other towns invest in growing bankers, doctors, and lawyers.  Everybody loves a “brooding bad boy with a good heart” (especially when he takes his shirt off often).  And The Town had a whole cast of both Brooding Bad Boys and Hard-Nosed, but still hot, Cops to love.  Most notably, it had THIS GUY . . .

Oh, yeah!  That’s Ben Affleck!  And, upon seeing this picture, I totally took back, all those jokes I made about that awful Gigli movie.  Because THIS guy could ABSOLUTELY kick my ass!  Let’s find  a “kinder, gentler” picture.   Shall we?

That’s better!

And THIS guy . . .

A television series based on The Town would boast an extremely unique location, the likes of which has never before been depicted on television.  It would also undoubtedly feature a cast of scorching hot twenty and early-thirty somethings, each with their own idiosyncrasies, family dramas, romantic subplots etc.  And of course, the crime capers depicted in each episode would put the ones in those Ocean’s Eleven movies to SHAME!

Speaking of Ocean’s Eleven (and one of it’s stars, i.e. Matt Damon) . . .

3) The Adjustment Bureau

Ever wonder if the Universe has a specific plan in store for you?  The Adjustment Bureau was a romantic drama / action flick that dealt with the question of “fate” and “circumstance” in a way that  absolutely caters to the self-absorbed and egocentric world in which we live. 

Yes, Joe and Jane Average Citizen, SOMEONE “up there” has BIG PLANS for YOU . .  . and for your life.  In fact, you can find those plans in a BOOK, filled with multi-colored SQUIGGLY LINES that resemble those mazes they put on the back of Happy Meals at McDonalds.  (Those of you who saw the movie, know what I mean by this . . .)

Not only that, the world is crawling with Cute Men in Funny Little Hats who’s LIFE’S MISSION is to make sure that YOU reach your destiny . . .

And there’s a good chance that one of those “Cute Men in Funny Little Hats” probably looks a lot like Roger Sterling from Mad Men.

Because all of us like to believe we were put on this earth for a “reason,” and because we all find the idea of Cute Men in Funny Little Hats chasing us around the City all day, monitoring our every move, oddly appealing (or mildly creepy, whichever you prefer), a television series revolving around the titular Adjustment Bureau would likely be a fun-filled hour of escapist fantasy for the masses.

  Like the Inception series suggested above, The Adjustment Bureau series would work well as either a serial drama, in which a different “guest star’s” fate was adjusted each week, or a long-running storyline, in which the future of a particularly Important Person (like the politician Matt Damon played in the film) is systematically modified in every episode to achieve a specific goal. 

High concept mind benders, philosophical discussions, and crime capers aren’t your thing?  Fear not!  I have two more prospective television series ideas that might be more to your liking . . .

4) Adventureland

This past summer, I rented this fun coming-of-adulthood “period piece” (The film took place in 1987.)  about a recent-college grad, (played by The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg) who, without any immediate prospects for his future, was forced to take a summer job at a small-town amusement park.  Working the “ring toss” with Jesse, was none other than Twilight’s Kristen Stewart (playing a character who kind of, but not exactly, resembled Bella Swan), and 2010’s Sexiest Man Alive, himself, Ryan Reynolds . . .

Yes, I DO find every excuse to put pictures of hot, half-naked men in my blog.  Thank you for noticing!

In addition to having an all-star cast of up-and-coming actors, intriguing characters, and some stellar script writing to its credit, Adventureland boasted a refreshingly fun sense of time and place. 

As an 80’s baby, who spent most of the decade clad in Care Bears underwear, I’ve always been a bit jealous of those folks who actually got to experience this admittedly awesome decade as teenagers, and early 20-somethings.  From the killer music, to the amazing made-for-teen movies (John Hughes anyone?), to the care free days spent making out and getting high behind the Tilt-a-Whirl at your local theme park, the 80’s just seems like it was a great time to “come of age.”

An Adventureland television series would allow us to do just that!  Along with its “youngish” (and indubitably attractive), cast of characters, viewers could “travel back in time” each week, and experience the slings and arrows of early adulthood, all while enjoying a kickass soundtrack, drinking some cheap beer, and riding that old broken down Ferris Wheel for the 25,000th time . . .

5) Scream

At first blush, this one might seem like an odd choice for a television series.  After all, half of the fun of watching horror movies, like Scream, is seeing the characters get killed off, one-by-one, in increasingly gruesome (not to mention, patently ridiculous) ways, while trying to figure out who the killer is, right?  So, how does that translate to an entire season of small screen viewing, you ask?   And I say, how does it NOT?

“Do you like SCARY movies television shows?”

Think about it.  What is the BIGGEST, MOST SHOCKING, thing that can ever happen to your favorite television drama?  The one thing that’s CERTAIN to get ratings buzz for your favorite program, and ensure that EVERYBODY will be talking about what they saw the next day . . .  Of course, I’m referring to the DEATH OF A MAIN CHARACTER.  On most shows, this Major Television Viewing Event only happens about once or twice every season (typically, around sweeps week). 

But imagine the fun and excitement of MAIN CHARACTER DEATHS (along with “fun” Celebrity Guest Star Cameo Deaths”) occurring EVERY SINGLE WEEK!  Nobody is safe!  Everyone is a suspect!  And everyone is at risk! 

The “killer’s identity” would presumably be revealed in the Season Finale.   Or, perhaps, the mystery could be carried over into subsequent seasons, with new cast members regularly replacing the “old dead” onces.  Sure, it’s a gimic!  But look how long they’ve taken to reveal that darn MOTHER on How I Met Your Mother? 

OK . . . just keep smiling and pretend you actually know who “The Mother” is . . .

 If they can do it, so can WE!

So, there you have it folks, five sure-fire television success stories, based on five popular films.  So, which movies would YOU most like to see transition to the small screen?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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The Mind is a terrible place to hide (but an awesome place to play): My review of the film “Inception” – [Contains some spoilers]

A few months back, I literally drooled over the awesomeness that was the then-new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s surefire blockbuster film, Inception.  Well, I’ve FINALLY seen the movie itself.  Here’s my review . . .

When it comes to dreams, nothing beats the lucid ones.  You know the dreams I’m talking about.  The ones where, at some point in the dream, you become certain, without a doubt, that you are, in fact, dreaming. 

It is at that moment, that you have all the power. 

You are the Master of the Universe.  You are a god.  There are no limits to what you can do.  Everything is yours for the taking . . . and the making.  You have become the big kid in the playground of your own mind . . .

Party Hard!

At least until you wake up, and have to face your boring, crappy, normal life again.

A lucid dream – that’s what seeing Inception felt like for me.  Because if I could create the ultimate movie in my mind (and was also significantly smarter, and more creative than I actually am), I imagine it would look a lot like this.  Seriously, what more could you possibly want in a movie?  Inception offers (among other things):  

*A brilliant writer/ director (Christopher Nolan). 

* THIS guy . . .

(It pains me to note that he kept his shirt for the ENTIRE film . . . CLEARLY an oversight on Chris Nolan’s part.)

* THAT GUY . . .

(Also stayed clothed.  SO NOT COOL, Mr. Nolan!)

*A major HEIST, the likes of which you have never seen.

No . . not even there.

*Hypnotic and mind-boggling special effects that will shock and awe even the most jaded of movie goers  (I know, because I am one of them.)

*Action sequences that will leave your heart racing, even if you generally have little patience for the “Golly gee, let’s blow stuff up for no reason,” nature of action flicks (Me again!)

*A tight, if slightly convoluted, plot that will hold your interest throughout the film’s entire 2 hours and 22 minutes run time, even if you don’t always understand what the f*ck is going on . . .

*Psychologically mind-bending concepts that will give your brain one big fat “O.” (Lord knows, our brains could all use a good roll in the hay these days.).  The movie will also undoubtedly keep you up all night contemplating the meaning of it all.

“Hmmm .  . . why DID they make Leo and Joseph keep their shirts on?

*A twist ending, whose biggest “twist” may very well be that it is not a twist at all

And romance?  Well, there’s a little of that too . . .

There are some who say that Inception is best experienced by people who know absolutely nothing about it’s plot.  Well, I don’t necessarily think that’s true.  Before I watched the film, I read a few non-spoilery reviews first, because I just couldn’t help myself.  Honestly, I felt that they helped me get a better handle on what I was seeing, while not spoiling any of the film’s big surprises.

What follows is the basic premise of Inception.  So if you are a spoiler phobe / movie purist, this is where I leave you . . .  I mean it, GO!  I don’t want to get yelled at later . . .

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, an expert at navigating the mine field of the human mind through dreams.  He’s a white collar criminal of a very unique kind – one hired by the most dangerous and most powerful men and women in the world to perform a task called: Extraction.  Extraction involves entering into a person’s mind while he is sleeping, and “extracting” from it information that is guarded carefully by the dreamer, when he is awake.  The information in question is typically depicted as a locked safe, hidden in the deep recesses of the Dream World.

“No WAY you’re getting my secrets, Leo!  (Can I still dream about you though?)”

Following a deep personal tragedy in his life involving his wife Mal (played by Marion Cotillard), Cobb and his “partner-in-crime” Arthur (played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, who by the magic of good genes, just seems to keep getting hotter and hotter each year), spend most of their lives on the run.  Cobb and Arthur are constantly being hunted, both by enemies they have made in the field, and by Cobb’s own inner demons, the latter of which literally plague his unconscious as he “dreamwalks.”

 

But Cobb has two children he longs to see.  He desires consistency and the comforts of home.  A powerful business man named Saito (Ken Watanabe) . . .

 . . . knows this, and uses it to his advantage.  He makes Cobb the proverbial “offer he can’t refuse:”  One Last Job. (Where have we heard THAT one before?)

But this one’s a little different . . .

Saito isn’t interested in Extraction, what he desires is Inception.  Saito wants Cobb to put an idea in the mind of his business competitor, Fischer (Cillian Murphy – He of the beautifully chiseled porcelain face, and entrancing blue eyes, who, for whatever reason, always looks a bit evil .  . . but in a good way) . . .

This implanted idea will convince Fischer to break up his empire into little, less monopolistic, pieces.  To do this, Cobb needs a team:  his bromantic buddy Arthur is the hottest  most obvious choice.  But other key players are needed.

His father (played by Michael Caine), a professor of Dream Architecture, suggests that Cobb use his star student, Ariadne (How’s THAT for a name?  No offense to all you Ariadne’s out there, of course), played by Ellen Page.

Coolest.  Girl.  Ever.

Ariadne will build Fischer’s dream world. 

The next addition to the team is a chemist, Yusuf (Dileep Rao).  He will be responsible for crafting a sedative strong enough to put the “Dream Team” and Fischer in “Dreamland” long enough to complete the job.   You see, apparently, even though dreams only last a few minutes at most, our minds work faster when in REM sleep.  Therefore, time seems slower in dreams.  (Who said action flicks weren’t educational?)

“OMG, Leo is SO dreamy!”

And, finally, there’s Eames (Tom Hardy) . . .

 . . . a con artist and master at Deception.  His job is to make Fischer believe that the people and places in the dream are creations of his own mind, and not those of intruders, who are out to alter it.  This is an important job, because our minds have natural defenses to foreign ideas — and, in Fischer’s mind, these defenses are armed and dangerous. 

Get out, you evil Dream Crasher, you!

I had never actually seen Tom Hardy’s work before Inception.  But he stole my heart in this movie.  Aside from looking like THIS. . .

(He’s the one on the left, obviously, with the tatts . . .  and the abs . . . and the gorgeous . . .)

And THIS . . .

But not like THIS . . .

(That’s Thomas Hardy . . . as in, the dude who wrote those lame books you had to read in high school.  Nice try, Google Images, but you can’t fool a fangirl!)

Hardy’s Eames is just so friggin cool!  He exudes masculinity, confidence, and, most importantly, sex appeal.  He’s smart, without being pompous or geeky.  Plus, his subtle rivalry with Gordon Levitt’s straight-laced Arthur, is a joy to watch.  I never thought any male actor would have the ability to take my eyes off of Gordon Levitt or DiCaprio in this film, but Tom Hardy succeeded in doing it for me, BIG TIME!

What follows is a classic international crime caper with one major difference:  None of what is happening is technically REAL, at least not in the way you and I think of as real.  The film also poses some very interesting questions about the origins of our inspirations, and the ways in which our everyday lives are shaped by basic assumptions we hold about what is REALITY and what is FANTASY. 

What makes your waking life REAL, and your dream life FAKE?  And who says you aren’t dreaming right NOW?  (Admit it, I just creeped you out a bit, didn’t I?)

How does Inception end?  Well, let’s just say you’ll be thinking about it, and talking about it, for some time to come . . .

In case it isn’t COMPLETELY obvious by now, I ABSOLUTELY 100% recommend this film to . . . well . . . anybody with a pulse, actually.  (I also recommend TOM HARDY to any girl with a libido, and any producer who WANTS girls with libidos to attend their manly films . . . )

Just in case you forgot what he looks like . . .

Inception is in theaters now.  Have you seen it yet?  If so, what did you think?  I’ve been just dying to pick someone else’s brain about it, since I got out of the theater last night  . . . particularly about the film’s final scene.  Never has such a small and seemingly simplistic object seemed so intriguing . . .

 

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INCEPTION – The Film I Am Most Excited to See in Summer 2010

* Helmed by the esteemed writer, director, and producer of The Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan? CHECK!

* Features an all-star cast including, none other than: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, Luke Haas, and Ken Watanabe? CHECK!

*Awesome Tagline: CHECK!  (Your mind is the scene of the crime.)

*Mindblowing special effects? CHECK!

(I should probably note that special effects typically bore me.  Most of the time, at least as far as I am concerned, they tend to be of the  “been there, seen that,” variety.  However, watching the above-pictured scene — you’ll know it when you see it in the trailer — literally sent shivers down my spine . . .)

*Highly mysterious script and plot, kept completely under wraps by all involved in the film?  CHECK!

(I’m a connoisseur of all things “spoilery.”  And I LOVE finding out the deep dark secrets of movies, and television programs, before anyone else does.  However, when film writers and producers tease me, and REALLY make me work for it, it secretly turns me on . . .)

* Post-apocalyptic plot concept that appears to raise mind-bendy philosophical questions regarding (1) the power of human thought (“What’s the most resilient parasite?  An IDEA”);  and (2) the way in which the seemingly insignificant choices we make in our lives can shape our destiny and that of the rest of the world?  CHECK!

(Sounds a little like that other program that I watch . . . right?)

Unfortunately, the producers of Inception will not let me embed the trailer.  (I came embarrassingly close to tears, when I learned this.)  However, I am providing you with the link to it, below (Just click on the video image, and then on the word “YouTube” when it appears).   

I STRONGLY URGE you to check it out, if you have not done so already.  You will NOT be disappointed, I promise  . . .

Inception hits both regular and IMAX theaters on July 16, 2010.  Will YOU see it?  Because I sure as heck will!

(P.S.  I’ve SEEN IT!  I saw Inception!  To read my in-depth, slightly spoilery review, click here.)

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Filed under Inception, Movie Trailer Recaplets, Summer 2010 Movies