REVIEWED: THE REBOUND

The Rebound

Zeta's still got it but the script ain't.

On the basis of the promotional material, you couldn’t go far wrong in anticipating that The Rebound is another safe, 12A-rated, sickeningly homogenised, achingly middle-class examination of relationships, free of any of the passion or thought that goes into real, human love. While many of these assumptions are true, The Rebound benefits from the edgier allowance of a 15-rating, and a fun performance from the still-gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones, even if it struggles to land smoothly in the final stages.

Sandy (Zeta-Jones) is a driven, independent mother of two who has recently moved to New York City after discovering that her husband cheated on her. Here she rents an apartment above a coffee shop, where she becomes fast friends with one of the shop’s employees, Aram Finklestein (Justin Bartha), a 25-year-old, directionless graduate who quickly shows an interest in her. He’s great with kids, never looks at other women and is generally nice as pie, but there’s one problem; he’s twenty years younger than her. Can they overcome the insurmountable odds? Will they realise that age is merely a number? Will true love prevail?

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REVIEWED: INCEPTION

Toy Story 3

Inception is that rare mix of bullets and brains

Though its hefty $160m price tag keeps the stakes high from the outset, what really makes Inception not only a huge commercial risk but the year’s most important Hollywood film is what it represents. A vividly original and intensively intellectual reworking of the existential themes explored in the likes of The Matrix and Dreamscape, Inception represents Hollywood’s potential to make films as smart as they are entertaining. The future of the Hollywood blockbuster in many ways rests on Christopher Nolan’s shoulders, for if Inception is a box office flop – a very legitimate possibility given its headiness – then the confounding cynicism that executives and studio heads show for “dumb” film audiences may wind up proving true. Simply put – if you value the intellectual possibility of the Hollywood blockbuster, go see this wonderfully bewildering film, and then go see it again, because boy, does Christopher Nolan earn your money here.

Too much has already been said of the plot – and indeed, go in as ignorant as you can – yet the basic narrative revolves around Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), an expert “extractor”, who enters people’s dreams to steal their secrets. However, he has wound up as an international fugitive as a result, and must find a way home to see his children again. A businessman named Saito (Ken Watanabe) offers Cobb a way home, yet at great risk; Cobb must perform an inception in which, instead of stealing an idea, he implants one in the mind of a fragile rival of Saito’s, Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy). An incredibly dangerous mission due to the unstable nature of the dreams within dreams required to perform an inception, Cobb recruits a sizable team of specialists; Arthur, the point man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Ariadne, the designer of the dreams (Ellen Page), Eames, a slippery impersonator (Tom Hardy), and Yusuf, the medic and tech support essentially (Dileep Rao). Endangering things further is the recurring subconscious presence of Cobb’s deceased wife Mal (Marion Cottilard) in the dream worlds, threatening to sabotage the entire operation.

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REVIEWED: SPLICE

Splice

Yes, the film goes there.

You probably don’t know Vincenzo Natali by name, but you might know his superb 1997 sci-fi cult hit Cube. After two relatively obscure follow-ups – Cypher and Nowhere – Natali returns with what is his first definitive high-budget genre romp, in Splice. Though there are signs in the third act that Natali may have deigned to the wham-bang temptations of a $30m budget (Cube cost $350k, Cypher cost $7.5m), a good amount of that thing money can’t buy – intellect – shines through in this thoughtful, disturbing thriller.

Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) are two brainiac genetic engineers who have risen to fame by splicing together the DNA of numerous animals to create a whole new hybrid. However, when their next plan – to splice human DNA into the mix – is met with reluctance from their financial backers, Clive and Elsa decide to go it alone, covertly performing the splice. However, the result – a fast-growing humanoid with animalistic properties, which they name Dren (Delphine Chaneac) – winds up giving the pair far more than they bargained for. Not only must they keep Dren secret from the backers and also other scientists, but they must attempt to contain the unstable, unpredictable nature of a creature created through “playing God”..

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