“We pledge allegiance to the Band”.
I’m just watching School of Rock. While I would not call myself anything resembling a fan of Jack Black, his rotund-rocker persona works a charm on this film, which claws its way from the mediocrity the tedious acting of the rest of the cast would consign it to to nothing less than a homage to Rock ‘n Roll and a film with impact.
Led Zeppelin. Black Sabbath. Blondie. Black Sabbath. Deep Purple. Stevie Nicks. A lot of subtle Meatloaf influence in Jack Black’s own improvisations. For a student of rock, this film is like a the Grand Tour of the Great Gig in the Sky, a ride on the Great Big Ball of Fire, and a sight of the Dark Side of the Moon.
It’s a surprisingly unknown movie, so this is my shameless plug for it. Go watch it.
The Alpha and the Omega
This is about Inception. And it is about more than that. Chris Nolan has delivered a veritable monument to creativity with his latest effort. A magnum opus to rival other passion pieces like Avatar, Inception will prove to be another watershed in movie-making history, doing for cerebral creativity what the Matrix did for visual effects (and funky dialogues) and Avatar did for ‘3D’ (still not sure what the buzzword means exactly).
Then again, there have been highly cerebral films in the past. Notable notables are The Butterfly Effect (imho), Identity (imho) and Sphere (… you get the drift) come to mind from, well, the top of my head. What’s so different about this?
Well, for one thing, a non-linear storyline which was a) non-linear, and b) complemented a story-line which needed non-linear storyline. With all due respect the master of non-linear storylines – Quentin Tarantino, neither Pulp Fiction nor Kill Bill needed to be told in the fashion they were. Would they have been even a shadow of the films they were? Of course not, but Inception took the ‘way it was told’ and made it a part of the story itself. How? Think about how you recall your dreams – disconnected images and ‘scenes’, discordant across time, space and interactions. Now think about the dreamlike quality of Inception itself. Clever, no?
Getting to the point I mentioned in the title. Putting the plot, the cinematic style and the visuals aside. The key point that has struck me both in The Dark Knight and Inception has been the fact that both films, with all their dramatic style, intense plots and no shortage of action, is still very very much about the people. Like his predecessor Martin Scorsese, the thing that tends to stay with me the most after each film, the aspect that I end up remembering more strongly than any other; is the depth of the characters. From Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to the late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight to Leanrdo diCaprio in many a film, both directors have created strong yet tortured, and eminently memorable characters.