Thursday, July 29, 2010


On July 18 I got up off my lazy ass and out of my box long enough to take the Red Line subway to North Hollywood, and Universal City's CityWalk.
I went there to go to the movies, which I hadn't done since "Avatar," came out last December. Not having a car, or desiring one, CityWalk is relatively easy for me to get to. All I need to do is take one of several Metro buses that are available to get downtown, to Broadway and 5th, let's say, to the Red Line Station at Pershing Square, then taking the actual Red Line subway under Los Angeles, under Hollywood, under the Hollywood Hills, to North Hollywood on the north side. The first stop (there are only two) is at Lankershim Blvd. near the Hollywood Freeway (101).
By the way, did you know, dear readers, that when they were building the Red Line subway they found over 2,000 fossils of creatures that lived a long time ago, including 64 extinct species of fish, the tusk of an Ice Age elephant and the bones of an ancient longhorn bison. Fossil evidence showed that tens of thousands of years ago, sloths, horses, elephants, and camels walked around among redwood trees in Los Angeles. Redwood trees! I don't know what kind of redwood trees were growing in L.A., there are many kinds of the Cupressaceae or cypress family, but they do include the sequoias, or coast redwoods, which I find very interesting, and which goes a long way in maintaining my argument that we should actually plant a sequoia in our garden in the back. Now I can no longer be laughed at and ridiculed for my vast forward vision. Now there is a precedent, by God!
The scientists also found evidence of a great flood in the San Fernando Valley, where I grew up, 9,000 years ago that swept away the sequoias.
So that's what happened to them!
Anyway, once at the Universal City station all one has to do is go up to the street, cross Lankershim, and wait for a shuttle bus to take you up the hill they have there to CityWalk, which is a thoroughfare actually, with restaurants, shops, games, concert theaters, bars, movie theaters, a bowling alley, and a spanking brand new Taco Bell.
I like Taco Bell. They have good soft tacos and cheese quesadillas there. They closed the Taco Bell in downtown L.A. about two years ago, and there aren't any close by so I've had to do without.
I hate that.
But I digress.
I go to CityWalk to get to the AMC movie theaters they have up there. They have about 14 different screens, and about 10 different movies you can watch. Inside they have enormously expensive popcorn and soda you can buy. It's like $12.50 for a large popcorn and soda! $12.50! You know how much it costs them to provide that popcorn and soda. About a dollar, including overhead.
I brought my own freaking popcorn, and I'm sorry to say, spent $5.25 on a large Coke.
I was there to see the new Christopher Nolan film, "Inception," of course. I saw it in theater number 3, which was one of their smaller theaters, but it was alright. I was there for the 12:40PM show, and the theater filled to about three quarters full.
The movie is 2 hours and 28 minutes long, and I would be there until about 3:30, after which I would go to the new Taco Bell and pig out. Uuuuummmmm. I wish I had one of their tacos right now.
The film itself was very good, very unusual. The vast majority of movie critics liked it to. As I write this "Inception," has been #1 at the box office in this country two weekends in a row, and might make a third considering what is debuting this Friday.
"Inception," stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page (she's so cute. I just saw "Juno," again over the weekend and she's just wonderful. Watch out for her in "Hard Candy," though), Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, and Pete Postlethwaite.
The film has been billed as a sci-fi heist thriller, which pretty well sums it up. Leonardo plays Dom Cobb, a man who makes his living entering others dreams and stealing secrets. He has been accused of murdering his wife (Cotillard. How she is murdered is not made clear in the film), and is unable to return to the United States, and to his children for fear of arrest. Watanabe's character offers him a deal that if he can plant an idea into the mind of a business rival, which is called inception, rather than stealing one, he will make it possible for Cobb to come back to the U.S. Gordon-Levitt, the kid from "3rd Rock from the Sun," all grown up, gave a terrific performance as one of Cobb's crew, which also consists of Page's and and Hardy's characters.
Digital effects are used sparingly but with amazing efficency, which along with the striking musical score serves to make a unique and lasting impression.
"Dreams within Dreams within Dreams."
And that's where Cobb and his cohorts go to get the job done... maybe.
Or maybe it's all a dream...
Or just a movie...
Apparently Nolan really really liked the 1969 James Bond film, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," as there is a significant scene involving a battle at a snowy mountain top fortress, which gets blown up, just like in the Bond film.
As for myself the only thing I liked about that movie was Diana Rigg.
And I always liked Donald Pleasence as Blofeld, Bond's arch nemesis. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," had Telly Savalas for God's sake.
Anyway, the picture above is of all the major cast members hanging around the intersection of Hope and 7th Street (what's Erin doing up there!?), right here in downtown Los Angeles. My lovely case manager, Erin, Paul, Hardy and I drove through that very intersection this very morning (last Monday morning) when returning from Home Depot to buy some rakes for the Garden Club (Erin has her very own rake now, which we affectionately call, "Erin's Rake") .
Didn't see Leo though.
Anyway, they had a big car chase scene here in the downtown area. They filmed this sometime around August or September of last year. I didn't know anything about it. They're always filming stuff around here.
There was a cool scene where a freight train comes out of nowhere (it's a dream, remember), and runs into and over a bunch of traffic. That would have been fun to watch.
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and was glad to come out of my box to see it. It's probably the most unique motion picture of the year, and will certainly be a huge success for Christopher Nolan and the cast.
There is some controversy as to whether Cobb is still dreaming at the end when he is reunited with his children. The little spinning top he uses to tell if he is dreaming or not is spun, but Cobb becomes distracted by his kids, and the camera blacks out before the top falls over which would ensure he is not dreaming.
Erin assures me, insists actually (she saw the movie too) that Cobb was not dreaming.
For me, well I'm not so...

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