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And Finally, What We’ve All Been Waiting For…Number One.

Inception, one of the biggest films of 2010, and considered the best of 2010 by many, including us here at iHartMovies. And I’m pretty sure a fair few of you knew which movie would be number one because admit it, it definitely deserves the number one spot. Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) once again displays his amazing talent as a director, bringing to life the concept of Inception, which involves the implantation of ideas into a desired individual’s mind, through their dreams, with the help of a nifty-looking briefcase-bound device.

Leonardo DiCaprio once again pushes his brilliant acting abilities to the limit, playing Dom Cobb, a highly skilled thief when it comes to invading people’s dreams to steal ideas from their sub-conscious. However, this art has made him a fugitive in this dangerous new form of espionage, and so has cost him his life he once lived, and everyone he ever loved. However, Cobb has been thrown one last life-line. An offer is made for him to be returned to his family and his old life, but one final mission must be accomplished, which at first, was considered an impossible one…Inception. Instead of stealing ideas, Cobb is assigned to delve into the dream of an individual and instead, plant an idea, and the story continues from here, only getting better and more amazing.

Right from the beginning, the whole script and acting is brilliant. The addition of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer, 3rd Rock From The Sun), who plays Arthur, was a very well-played and convincing character, and who I thought to be, one of the best performances in the movie, along with DiCaprio; and you can clearly see how well his acting abilities have developed over the years, compared to when he was in ‘3rd Rock From The Sun’ all those years ago.

Ellen Page (Juno) also displays an impressive performance as Ariadne, a college graduate, whom Cobb approached for help in creating the structure and designs of the dream worlds. Although incredibly dangerous, Ariadne’s curiosity and high level of intelligence soon causes her to become a permanent member of the team. I found the way in which they went about recruiting Ariadne interesting, as at the same time, it explains the concept of entering dreams, how one would go about it, and a range of other interesting and important bits of information which relate to the movie as a whole. There are also a range of other impressive performances from actors, including Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, and Dileep Rao, all of whom play important and interesting roles.

As the movie continues, the storyline deepens, with interesting sub-plots which soon merge into one, main, brilliant storyline. Every bit of the movie is just simply brilliant, relevant and thoroughly interesting. In fact, at one point when watching this at the cinema, I was so drawn into the film that my friend thought I was asleep and smacked my leg, telling me to wake up…ironic.

The great storyline works in a weird and wonderful way, starting off quite confusing, but making complete sense at the end of the movie, that is, if you have paid attention throughout the movie, which I found to be vital. Some people have interpreted this movie as confusing and weird, with all of the ‘levels’ of dreams, and the other dream-related concepts being a mess (without mentioning them, as I don’t want to give too many details of such an amazing movie away). All I can say to this is, if you listen and pay attention throughout the movie, you shouldn’t have any problems. Although being clever does help…but seriously, this film is quite ‘outside the box’, and as a result, does require a lot of thinking outside the box, and accepting the concept of Inception.

One thing you can’t say about many movies, is that the musical score was amazing. However, in this movie, the musical score was amazing. Excluding obvious films, such as Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings, and The Dark Knight, I never thought the musical score of a movie would be of any significance. But for Inception, even from the trailer alone, I loved the musical score. It’s the best way to describe it. And this is thanks to composer, Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight, Batman Begins), who brought much of the movie to life, with the incredible musical score throughout the whole movie, particularly with the BRMM! sound..you all know what I’m on about.

To sum up, this movie is brilliant, and definitely the movie highlight of 2010 in my opinion. It is such a simple and original idea, invading dreams, turned into a brilliant and complexly made concept, lasting just over 140 minutes, and to be honest, I really wouldn’t have minded if it lasted longer..although if it were a dream I’m sure it would seem much shorter than that…

From beginning to end, it is just great, and is one of those rare movies which makes you re-evaluate your thoughts on what you think and know – in this case, on the concept of reality. And for all of these reasons, and probably many more, we at iHartMovies, have decided to place Inception as our Number One in the Top Ten of 2010.

5/5

By Manpreet Singh

Thank you to those of you who have taken interest in this iHartMovies exclusive, and have read both mine and Daniel Hart’s posts, and we hope you have enjoyed them. Be sure to stay with us for the usual movie news and reviews, and more upcoming exclusives.


At Number 2…Shutter Island Review

Shutter Island - Leonardo DiCaprio

Image by WorthingTheatres via Flickr

Shutter Island (2010) became one of the most outstanding films of the year when it was released last year. If there are any rules on how to make a thriller, then director, Martin Scorsese, has hit the nail on the head. The film oozes mystery, and keeps you guessing (unless you have read the book) until the end. It’s so enticing that it constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat. If you like intense thrillers, and you like to follow a storyline through and through then you will definitely love this film. Some thrillers tend to try and work too hard to engross the viewer and this one doesn’t need to. 2010 was a very good year for film and this one can sit proudly on the list of the year’s best productions.

The story follows Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), a government official with his partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo). The pair are sent on an investigation to find a missing patient Rachel on a small, mysterious island, which has been converted into a mental asylum for the criminally insane. As the story unfolds, you learn that Teddy has his own grudges against the island which compel him to begin his own investigation. As his suspicions grow stronger, and his past is revealed, the audience begins to wonder ‘is everything what it seems?’ And that’s the theme of this thriller. And it keeps you guessing.

The story seems simple, and when you see the trailers, you would expect a different kind of film. But like me, viewers are tricked into thinking you’re watching something else. And here is the trick; following Teddy encourages you to view the island through his perspective alone, and by extension assume that Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley) is evil, just because Teddy thinks he is. Whether he is he or not is your opinion to make. The film uses great camera work, so you believe that what Teddy Daniels is seeing is correct. I had to watch the film a few times to see how it properly played out for the ultimate twist. In a way, there are two big twists in this film, and whether or not you figure out the second one depends on whether you follow the film properly.

The musical score in the film plays a significant part because it emphasises the mood of the film, especially when things start getting strange. But like films such as Inception and The Dark Knight the films wouldn’t be as effective without a great musical score driving behind it. Whether this is a bad thing or not  is left to be questioned but it does leave you wondering what the film would be like without this music. Saying this it suits the film, the over dramatising of the music leaves you confused at first but then it sinks in that it actually matches the storyline.

You feel quite unsettled for some parts of the film because of the mystery around it. You feel obliged to try and figure out the storyline and find out the twist before the end because like most films you like to know it before it comes. People do this because it makes them feel clever. This film is hard to figure out though so don’t expect to guess many turns in the storyline. Some films that are book adaptations sometimes fail to deliver on the big screen however this film has had favourable reviews. Outstanding reviews is always a good sign that its managed to reflect the actual book correctly.

Leonardo DiCaprio is having an excellent two years in acting because this actor never fails to surprise me. I don’t know if any of you have watched Revolutionary Road, which has the greatest drama scenes I’ve witnessed. At first I thought it was because Leonardo was working with Kate Winslet, because he’s worked with her in the past. But even in Shutter Island, he manages to deliver the most outstanding acting, better than any other actor/actress in the film. Mark Ruffalo plays Chuck and plays it lightly, however this works because it justifies how the storyline pans out. The most exciting acting comes from Michelle Williams, who plays Dolores Chanal, Teddy’s dead wife, who turns up in his dreams, memories and delusions. She plays the character with such intensity that she nearly had me convinced she was real, and she wasn’t even in the film much.

The only criticism to point out in the film is sometimes its quite slow but speeds up when it needs to. First time I watched the film I didn’t enjoy the slow parts because I felt the storyline wasn’t getting anywhere. Thrillers need to be fast paced the majority of the time but somehow Shutter Island gets away with being slow and sometimes over-mysterious. Quite a few will probably feel the need to switch off because slow moving films don’t suit some peoples tastes, so it’s a matter of preference, hopefully it doesn’t put many off.

Inception will always be regarded as a better Leonardo DiCaprio film because of the accolades it has achieved however it doesn’t mean this film should be underestimated. This film should have won many awards, maybe it’s release date was timed wrong so it wasn’t lined up for the great awards but if you’re a fan of thrillers, intense thrillers especially than you should watch this.

This film did reasonably well in box office sales, but it deserves more credit than it got because its portrayal of a mental asylum is fantastic and it’s filmed to near perfection (apart from the odd blooper, which some have argued was done on purpose to show the mental delusions). The cinematography of the film isn’t perfect but it does inspire, the darker scenes engross you which is helped by the way it is filmed. I think the acting of Leonardo and Michelle helps the film go forward by some very exciting drama. And the supporting acts just do equally as well. If you are curious watch it.

‘I’ma blow the lid off this place’…a quote you will find so hard not to say having watched this film. Watch it twice… trust me. End.

By Daniel Hart


And At Number 3…Toy Story 3

Toy Story

Image via Wikipedia

Although a children’s film, we all know that we were dying to watch this the second it came out. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen lent their voices back to the big screens once again in 2010 as the duo we all love, Woody and Buzz Lightyear. The movie is set a few years after Toy Story 2, and the story focuses around Andy moving on to college and, inevitably, leaving his once beloved toys behind. The movie then moves on to the gang’s long journey without Andy, depicting their ups and downs as they continue ‘life’, and eventually moving on to what will become of them for the rest of their never-ending existence.

Along the way they are a vast amount of new characters, all of which I enjoyed and thought suited the film and the Pixar style wholesomely. I particularly found Ken’s character to be a favourite, which I found to be very funny, following the original Toy Story-style comedy. I would say that from a comical perspective, the whole movie fits perfectly in to the Toy Story brand of comedy, which is always seen in Pixar movies. Although it had its laugh-out-loud type moments and typical Pixar comedy, I found that the movie was not as comically centred as its predecessors. It seemed that it focused much more on themes relating to loss, and endurance; and you can definitely see glimpses of these themes in certain scenes of the movie.

Based around the themes, I felt there was a stronger storyline throughout this film in comparison to the first two. However, this did not ruin the fun and adventure of the movie, and the feelings of being a kid again. Just like Toy Story 1 and 2, this once again, brings out the inner child in you. Yes, this is a movie for children, but it is also something many of us older people have been waiting for, for so long. It is filled with, fun, excitement, suspense and emotionally satisfying moments…and it sure as hell has its sad moments. I won’t ruin too much for you.. but bring tissues if you’re the tearful type, because I almost cried..and I never cry. This movie is a must for all ages, and one that will be enjoyed countless times over, and will always be an all-time favourite for me, and, surely enough, for many others, and so I have decided to place Toy Story 3 as number 3 in iHartMovies’ Top Ten.

5/5

Our top ten is soon coming to a close, with number 2 being revealed tomorrow, so keep an eye out for it, along with our NUMBER ONE, which will be revealed for all to see, on Sunday.

By Manpreet Singh

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And At Number 4…The Third Installment Of The Twilight series…

The Cast of Twilight - Kristen Stewart, Taylor...

Image via Wikipedia

Surprisingly, Twilight: Eclipse stepped up the game in the saga, unlike the previous two twilights, which solely concentrated on the love story behind Bella and Edward. The Eclipse intensifies the fighting scenes and brings more grit, along with the added love triangle with Jacob, which seems to be getting funnier by the film, and is finally beginning to get a little interesting.

I wasn’t expecting the Twilight saga to be so successful, but from all the hype, it seems to be getting more exciting. For all those who haven’t read the books, you will be wondering how all this mess will be resolved. Bella has the attention of the Werewolves and Vampires; Bella, one girl who seems to have some kind of fate – it’s interesting and keeps you curious as to what will happen next. The main theme of this film is the new wave of vampires raised by Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), and her new vampire boyfriend, with her only motive seeming to be getting revenge on Edward and Bella for killing her blood-thirsty ex. This results in the Werewolves and the vampire family ‘The Cullens’, to unite and protect them both.

Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Bella is as quirky and intense as usual, and you can’t help but praise her acting. Robert Pattinson’s role of Edward is the per usual moody, depressing, love-struck character, which never seems to change, but he does play the role of a vampire well. And as for Taylor Lautner, who I’ve criticised for his acting in the past, decides to step up to the game, and finally gives a performance to shout about.

Some will think it’s a tad crazy to have this film features in the top 10, but it has been one of the top films of the year, and a surprisingly enjoyable one too. If they keep up with the fourth installment then it will be a surprising successful saga. But let’s not fool ourselves, girls will queue for this film, regardless of whether it’s badly made or not.

iHartMovies rating: 4.2/5

The top 10 is nearly coming to a close. Stay tuned for number 3 tomorrow.

By Daniel Hart


The first in our Top 5…Iron Man 2

In 2010, Robert Downey Jr returned in Iron Man 2, as the witty and ever so charming, Tony Stark, in the sequel to the 2008 hit, Iron Man. And well, Downey pretty much delivers  perfectly, in the portrayal of Stark, as he did in the first movie, with his comical and sarcastic, yet oddly serious, view on life.

With Tony Stark’s alter-ego Iron Man now being compromised, the United States put pressure on Stark from all angles to force him to share his state-of-the-art technology with the military. Disinclined to do this, Stark must put his trust in new allies, and old allies, including the lovely Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), as well as encountering new and deadly enemies.

Now, me, being a big fan of Iron Man 1, was expecting great things from this sequel, and overall, it did deliver in more or less all aspects. As mentioned, the portrayal of Stark was excellent, and there was a relatively serious plot to the film, with a fitting combination of drama, suspense, and might I add, a much larger dose of comedy than its predecessor, which I especially enjoyed. In terms of action, it did deliver, although nowhere near as much as I expected, with only a few actions scenes, not long in duration, compared to the first Iron Man, which contained prolonged scenes of explosive action. However, I found the remainder of the film interesting enough and well produced to not let this this decrease in action affect my view on the film…although a little bit more action wouldn’t have hurt anyone.

Although I’m not hugely familiar with Mickey Rourke’s previous work, I must say that I found his performance as Ivan Vanko, a.k.a Whiplash, to be a powerful and convincing one; a cold man, determined to rival Stark’s technology, agreeing to help Justin Hammer (played by Sam Rockwell), a rival of Stark’s, who had been publicly embarrassed for producing failed attempts of Stark’s technology. Vanko agrees to help produce improved products for Hammer, before the plot begins to unveil further.

One area I must say I am very disappointed with, is the role of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Everyone knows that Jackson is undoubtedly a legend in the movie industry, with brilliant roles in films such as Pulp Fiction. However, I get the vibe that his roles in recent films are beginning to seem less and less important, and dull. His role as Nick Fury did not stand out to me in any way. But who knows, perhaps he may re-ignite his classic talent in the up-coming Avengers movie. I enjoyed Don Cheadle’s role as Lt. James Rhodes, more popularly known as the badass that is of course, War Machine, who represents a firm and respectable ally of Stark’s.  However, I must admit I preferred Terrence Howard as Rhodes in Iron Man 1.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and, although I wouldn’t say it’s as good as  the first one, it came quite close, and is definitely worth watching, especially for the Iron Man fans out there, which is why this movie has veen placed at number 5..oh, and due to a surprisingly well played role from Scarlett Johansson, who provides good acting, as well as some stunning eye candy…

I give this movie a strong 4.1/5

Look out for the fourth in our top ten of 2010 at iHartMovies, which will be revealed tomorrow.

By Manpreet Singh


At Number 6…Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Image via Wikipedia

In 2010, the long awaited first half of the Harry Potter finale hit the cinemas. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Ruper Grint) return for the beginning of the end, in the first half of the Seventh adaptation of the books by J. K. Rowling. The trio return, along with the rest of the usual characters, in a desperate bid to find the last of the remaining Horcruxes, in the hope that they will finally be able to stop He Who Must Not Be Named…also known as the malicious, Dark Lord.. Voldermort. In his quest to find the remaining Horcruxes, Harry and pals stumble upon the existence of 3 items, which they soon realise are the most powerful items in existence, The Deathly Hallows. The race between Harry and Voldermort has just intensified, as Harry must now stop Voldermort from obtaining The Deathly Hallows, which will have inevitably dire consequences for the whole world, allowing Voldermort to subsequently become ‘The Master of Death’. Scary stuff.

I will be honest, I was quite excited for this, but by the time I had left the cinema, although happy, I did not really feel satisfied. However, upon thinking back on it, it was a great film, with just a few small areas which I found slightly disappointing. For one, the film was very slow, in that it took quite some time for things to kick off. There was a lot of slow progression, with not much really happening at many parts, which kind of got boring at times. However, I think these parts were quite important nevertheless, and in hindsight, were quite interesting in representing the development of each of the main characters, and how they slowly began to become overwhelmed by the importance of their journey, and how much is at stake, but also how they managed to endure through some of their hardest of times, and eventually, get back on track.

However, whenever the interesting scenes came, they were definitely enthralling, keeping your eyes glued to the screen. The movie was also quite heavy from a comical aspect, like the previous films, which I quite enjoyed, with some of the scenes having me involuntarily laughing out loud; and I felt that the comical aspect didn’t over-do itself into ruining the darkness of the film, as the gloomy feel to the storyline was still definitely there, and probably stronger than ever. I feel the action scenes and any crucial scenes were evenly placed within the storyline, which was also firm and present throughout the whole movie, making constant progress, towards Part 2 of the movie, although I do think it could have had a little more action like its predecessors..although I’m sure they’re saving the best for the second movie.

I haven’t really read any of the books as I’m not a huge reader. However, from what I have heard from avid Harry Potter fans, although many of the seemingly essential parts of the book were not portrayed, the movie generally represented the book quite well; particularly with the scene in which The Deathly Hallows are being explained, which I also found particularly enjoyable, due to the unique, animated manner in which it was presented.

Overall, although there is some room for improvement in Deathly Hallows Pt.1, I quite enjoyed it, with an interesting portrayal of the characters’ personal development and journey throughout the film, and how they have changed since the previous movies. And although at times it was somewhat tedious, and the ending a little annoying (although it is only Pt.1 to be fair) I still enjoyed it, and thought it was a good build-up to what I feel will be a brilliant conclusion..In fact, I’m pretty sure Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 will be awesome.

4/5

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 will be hitting the cinemas on 15th July this year, so put it in your diaries..which I’m sure many of you will have already done. Stay tuned for the first of our top 5, which will be revealed tomorrow.

By Manpreet Singh


At Number 7…Shrek Forever After

Shrek

Image via Wikipedia

After Shrek The Third, which I found to be quite poor, I thought I would give this film a watch, considering it was the last in the series, and for the fact that I love the first Shrek movie, and quite enjoyed the second one too. I wasn’t really expecting much from Shrek Forever After, but found that it actually wasn’t too bad of a movie. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy once again lent their voices for the film, as the animated Shrek & Donkey we all know and love from the first Shrek movie, along with Cameron Diaz returning as Princess Fiona.

The storyline focuses on a very stressed out, troubled family “man”. Shrek has become bored and downtrodden with his life, and hesistates about the choices he has made. Fairytale character, Rumpelstiltskin, offers Shrek a way out of his misery and burdened life..or so it would seem. Once Shrek makes the decision to trust Rumpelstiltskin, he realises that he has in fact made the worst decision of his life, as his entire existance and the life he once knew, is transformed, creating an alternate reality for the worse, with the life he used to live ceasing to exist.

I felt that after two Shrek movies which failed to live up to the standards of their superior original, things began to look up in this final chapter..I mean, they had to, or else the whole Shrek saga would forever be labelled as a failure..which it most certainly is not. Shrek Forever After somewhat returns to its original classicness..the movie is generally a laugh, and has a fair amount of laugh out loud moments, often at times displaying classic ‘Shrek’ comedy..although saying this, it would never be able to top its initial classic. However, the movie manages to bring back the happy, heart-warming feeling that a good, animated film should, and has a sufficient enough storyline (for an animated movie), to keep you interested.

I watched this in 3D, and was pleased to see that the quality of the actual movie had not been sacrificed for the 3D effects, as I thought it might have done. The film managed to maintain the Dreamworks level of quality, with Myers and Murphy once again managing to make me chuckle, and the combination of new and old characters ending up with a positive outcome. I was however, disappointed at the lack of other certain characters, which I enjoyed in the previous films, such as Pinocchio.

Overall, Shrek Forever After will never never be as good as Shrek, the first, which will always be a classic in my eyes, and surely, many others’. However, I feel that the film was quite a success; it managed to end the story in a suitable, and heart-filled manner, somewhat getting back in touch with its original Shrek-ness. And although it can’t beat the original, it sure as hell beat Shrek the Third, and managed to pull off a positive, and enjoyable ending, entertaining for 5 year olds, as well as 50 year olds, bringing the fairytales we all know back to life, thus making it my number 7 for iHartMovies’ Top Ten of 2010.

4/5

Be sure to watch out for Number 6 in the list, which will be revealed tomorrow..

By Manpreet Singh