Directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger.
THE PLOT: DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a ‘subconscious security’ specialist who can orchestrate and enter people’s dreams and then extract information through sleight-of-mind tricks. Business tycoon Saito (Watanabe) needs Cobb to insert rather than extract a Athought though – by heading inside a dream of arch rival Robert Michael Fischer (a sterling Cillian Murphy) and planting the idea of breaking up the billion-dollar empire run by his soon-to-be-late father (a bed-ridden, gibbering Pete Postlethwaite).
THE VERDICT: It’s a Bond movie directed by M.C. Escher. It’s also, according to Nolan, Fred Astaire’s dancing-on-the-ceiling classicRoyal Wedding meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. In truth, it’s somewhere between The Matrix and one of the two unforgivably long, boring and overly-talky Matrix sequels. Almost brilliant, Inception is also at least half-an-hour too long. RATING: 4/5
Directed by Radu Mihaileanu. Starring Aleksei Guskov, Dmitri Nazarov, Melanie Laurent, Miou-Miou.
THE PLOT: Now reduced to being a cleaner rather than a conductor at the Bolshoi, thirty years ago Andrei Filpov (Guskov) was fired from his post after he dared employ Jewish musicians. Which didn’t go down too well with Brezhnev and his boys. An urgent request for the orchestra to fill in at Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet gives Andrei his chance to swing his beloved baton once again. By hiding the fax.
THE VERDICT: His ace violinist for the night, by the way, is played by Melanie Laurent, so striking as cinema-owner Shosanna in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. Not that she adds any grit here. It’s all mildly far-fetched and something of a fairytale, but writer/director Radu Mihaileanu soon has you forgiving the plot holes here by the sheer force of the film’s Gallic charm. RATING: 3/5
Directed by Lucas Belvaux. Starring Yvan Attal, Gerard Meylan, Anne Consigny, Andre Marcon, Francoise Fabian, Alex Descas.
THE PLOT: Set in present-day Paris, Attal plays rich lad-about-town Stanislas Graff, who has the first of quite a few bad days when he’s bungled into the back of a car, taken to a cave, and has one of his fingers cut off. Leading the onslaught of abuse and demands is Marseillais (Meylan), who specialises in schizophrenic good kidnapper/bad kidnapper routines.
THE VERDICT: Thanks to some nifty camerawork – switching between the victim’s point of view and some jagged close-ups of the brutality unleashed – you get a true sense of the torture involved. Both psychological and physical. That Graff is no saint makes the negotiations, and the instant investigation, all the more tantalising. Based on a true 1978 event, in which French millionaire playboy Edouard-Jean Empain was kidnapped, this is a taut, tightly-wound thriller with a riveting central performance by Attal. RATING: 3/5
THANK YOU FOR THE GAZE
Don’t forget, the Dublin Lesbian And Gay International Film Festival turns 18 this month, with this year’s GAZE running from July 30thto August 4th.
Being held at the Light House Cinema in Smithfield, this year’s programme boasts feature, documentaries and shorts from all around the world, including, of course, our own green and peasant land.
Documentaries include the Toronto Film Festival winner The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, Prima Donna: The Story Of Rufus Wainwright’s Debut Opera and All Boys. On the feature front, premieres include Jordan Scott’s Cracks, starring Eva Green, and shot in Ireland; Xavier Dolan’s semi-autobiographical offering I Killed My Mother; Italy’s Loose Cannons and, closing the festival, Roberto Caston’s acclaimed Ted & Ralph-esque drama Ander.
Full details on www.gaze.ie.
GOING UP THE COUNTRY
The IFI National will be heading out on the road for a summer tour of films from the Irish Film Archive, taking in the Galway Film Fleadh, Donegal’s Earagail Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Dublin City Libraries and Waterford’s Copper Coast.
Along the way, the IFI National aims to bring informative, nostalgic and thought-provoking films back to the local communities where they were made. And so, Glimpses Of Galway played the Fleadh, and Unseen Donegal headed north. Coming up, the 1958 adaptation of Una Troy’s novel We Are Seven – retitled She Didn’t Say No – heads to her native Waterford. And the GAA-themed offering, Ireland’s Athletic Assault And Battery: Hollywood And Hurling, heads to Kilkenny, along with a Gabriel Byrne retrospective.
The tour ends in September with some more movies and documentaries from the Rare Auld Times playing various libraries throughout the city in September. Full details on www.ifi.ie.
From the makers of the documentary series The Liberties comes two films – 140 Characters and The 80s; both playing as part of the IFI Ireland On Sunday screenings.
Inspired by the length of a tweet, 140 Characters introduces 140 characters from across Dublin, each asked a mystery question that reveals something of their aspirations and imaginations. Getting its world premiere, The 80s sees directors Tom Burke and Shane Hogan interviewing people across the country who are in their eight decade. The double-screening – which takes place July 25th at 1pm – will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Full details on www.ifi.ie.
Fans of David Lynch may want to get themselves over to www.lynchthree.com, where, for $50, you can help fund a new documentary on the oddball filmmaker, and received a limited edition self-portrait donated by the man himself. You will also effectively become a member of the LYNCHthree project, receiving regular updates on the progress of the film, which is the third in a trilogy about the enigmatic director.