Midnight Shooter the Jokes on Him

*Note: I will not put any images of James Holmes up in this post as I refuse to aid his obvious wish for fame.*

As if we really needed another reason to not interact with our fellow inhabitants on this planet we call home we now have the aptly named Midnight Shooter.

The ‘Midnight Shooter’ aka James Holmes, who was in the process of ‘dropping out’ of his neuroscience course at the University of Colorado, is a 24 year old man who amassed over 6,000 rounds of ammunition, four different guns, incendiary devices, tear gas cannisters and materials to make grenades and napalm. All this on top of his body armour kit which included crotch and neck protection and a gas mask. Most of this, police say, was purchased over the internet and delivered to Holmes’ residence.

Holmes spent two months planning his midnight slaughter at the premier of the eagerly awaited Christopher Nolan film Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. It appears that Holmes bought a ticket to the midnight viewing and after going in, wedged open an exit door and went to his car to arm himself and armour up. He then re-entered the theatre and tossing two tear gas cannisters on the floor, opened fire with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

The body count was amazingly and thankfully low. Fourteen unfortunate film fans died in the onslaught and estimates of the injured has been rumoured to be as high as fifty. Details of the arrest of Holmes is vague, but it appears that his rifle jammed and he used his pistol until he ran out of ammunition. Presumably he surrendered when he ran out of ammo.

Obviously that was his intent all along. Why kit yourself up with state-of-the-art body armour if you intend to go out in a blazing gun battle with the police. If you’ve gone to all that trouble, you don’t want the police to kill you before you have your fifteen minutes of fame.

What’s disgusting is that this animal is now telling all and sundry that he’s in a movie. Incredibly every bugger he’s told this to is now repeating it as gospel.

It’s almost like the punch line to a bad joke, you know the one I’m sure. “I might be crazy but I’m not stupid!” So we are meant to believe that this murderous, fame seeking beast really believes that he’s in a film and that none of this is real? Yeah all right mate, pull the other one it’s got bells on.

I suppose we could give him a little credit. At least he didn’t claim it was because he’d played Grand Theft Auto for 48 hours straight. Or that God had told him to do it.

No, he’s claiming to be ‘The Joker‘ from the Batman verse. Sorry, but I’m not buying it. James Holmes is another of these ‘special’ kids who had to grow up only to realize that he’s not special at all.

If you want to look for blame or for a reason, look at our society today. Our ‘child worship’ as George Carlin put it, is causing our youth to grow up into ever more disenchanted adults. I did a article about the fact that a load of school kids said they wanted fame as a job when they grew up. Our culture has allowed this to happen. The only thing people seem to be teaching their children is the attitude of being owed something.

I’m sure that if Holmes’ past is looked into, we’ll find he was a spoiled, unrealistic child who believed he was so special that he didn’t need to exert himself to succeed in anything. Just like his neuroscience class that was ‘too hard’ he found that life was too hard to face normally. So this cretin purchases huge amounts of killing materials and makes his plans.

Unfortunately for Holmes when it is proved that he meticulously planned his slaughter, he’ll be done for murder one. And America has the death penalty sunshine, I hope you continue to feel special right up to your last breath.

Inception (2010): Matrix for the New Millenium **may contain spoilers**

Cover of "Inception"
Cover of Inception

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan Inception is a masterpiece of a movie. It features an all-star cast and has so much chopping and changing of plots and action that you begin to feel like you’re watching a movie version of the game Twister.

Starring in no particular order:

Leonardo DiCaprio

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Ellen Page

Ken Watanabe

Cillian Murphy

Tom Berenger

Marion Cotillard

Michael Caine

Pete PostlethwaiteDileep RaoTom Hardy, and  Lukas Haas. A pretty impressive group by anyone’s standards.

The budget for this film was 160 million dollars and the box office return was in excess of 825 million dollars making Inception a real blockbuster film with a capital B.

The basic (as basic as you can get in this film) is that Cobb (DiCaprio) is a dream thief. He is in exile from America as he has been accused of murdering his wife and he is unable to see his children in Los Angeles as a result. The irony is that this dream thief dreams constantly of returning home and seeing his kids.

Cobb has been offered a ‘clean slate’ by ruthless businessman Saito (Watanabe), which will allow Cobb to return home and wipe the murder charge from his record. What Saito wants in return is for Cobb to not steal a dream, but to plant an idea which is known as “Inception.”

The target, a business conglomerate, owned by tycoon Maurice Fischer  (Postlethwaite) who is dying and leaving it all to his son Robert (Murphy). Saito wants Cobb to plant the idea through Robert’s dream state that his father really wants him to sell the conglomerate off and make his own fortune.

Cobb’s ‘business’ partner Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) says it is not possible. Cobb maintains that it is. He and his deceased wife Mal (Cotillard) had practised this. Unfortunately it is very dangerous and we learn that this was how Mal died. Although Arthur decides to help Cobb he is not convinced that they can do it safely.

Cobb must now come up with a new powerful dream ‘architect’ because this was Mal’s job before she died. Ariadne (Page) is recruited via Miles (Caine) Cobbs father-in-law. He then gathers the rest of his team; Eames (Hardy) an identity forger, Yusuf (Rao) who controls the sedatives required by the team, Arthur and Saito as the mission observer.

In order for the idea to be planted, the team must go into several dream states, each deeper than the previous one, in order to evade the target’s defences.

And evade they must for Robert has had his brain ‘trained’ by a security company. This training allows his dreaming state to be patrolled by security guards who can spot intruders and terminate them with extreme prejudice. This is not the only hurdle the team have to overcome. It seems that Cobb’s dead wife, Mal, is alive and well in his sub-concious and she will try to sabotage their mission.

The last ‘danger’ the group face is being in the dream world too long. If you go too deep and cannot be brought back, via a drop or your dream self getting killed, you will remain in the dream state forever. You can also become confused as to what is ‘real’ and what is a dream, to help each team member keep track, they each have a personal totem that behaves differently in the dream state. Cobb’s is a top that spins perpetually.

So the  team must go into a dream and then go into another dream and into another dream. Each dream state requires a team member to stay in that level and watch over the remaining members as they go deeper.

Confused yet?

This film looks amazing, you can see where the 160 million went. Nolan masterfully helms the many twists and turns of the verse and at no time does he leave one string dangling. My daughter and I went to see this at the cinema. We both were on the edges of our respective seats through the entire film.

What The Matrix did for cinema combat, Inception does for cinema environment. Two of the film’s set pieces, ‘the exploding room’ and ‘the anti-gravity room’ were real sets. The mountain fortress was real as well, just in miniature so it could be blown up.  CG was used at a minimum to help sell the shots. Nolan created these set pieces by taking a step back in the world of special effects. 

But where CGI was used, it worked beautifully. When Cobb is interviewing Ariadne, the scene begins with the two of them at a Parisian Bistro. They are seated with drinks in front of them. Cobb is explaining how dream architecture works. He then looks at Ariadne and says, “Do you remember how we got here?” When Ariadne starts to respond, items from the ‘busy’ set start exploding. *On a side note here, the scene has so many props in it, that if it were not computer generated it would have set Nolan back a large part of that 160 million.*

After the set explodes, they then start walking the streets. Ariadne starts practicing her architecture and literally bends the streets and buildings, while Cobb explains the rules of the ‘dream verse.’

CGI is used for the world that Mal and Cobb created that resulted in Mal killing herself in the mistaken belief that the created world was the real world that she desperately wanted to go back to. The city in the parallel world is almost Dali-esque in it’s depiction. When Cobb and Ariadne go there to deal with Mal, it is decaying and falling into the ocean. It is like the place is eroding from lack of use and it looks disturbing.

But two of the most impressive scenes that did not rely on CGI were the exploding room at the beginning of the film and in the hotel scene later on.  Using an ‘anti-gravity’ room, which in essence was a ‘room’ that was suspended in mid-air and rotated. The actors were attached to wires in some cases, but for the most part they really were working in ‘free-fall.’

And free-fall is how Nolan sells the film so well. Remember the “dream within a dream within a dream” bit? Well, this tier system that requires a team member to stay behind in each level, starts with the first team member, who actually has everyone else with him but in a dream state, drives a van they are all in off a bridge. Cue the first free-fall. And it has a effect on the next team member who is in the hotel portion of the dream.

The film only had  about 500 visual effects. A very small amount for a film with so many special effects and such a huge budget.

The film moves almost seamlessly between the real world and the dream world. But it does this so often that is almost like a cinematic shell game. By the end of the film you have to decide what was real and what was a dream. What ever you decide is based on your interpretation of the series of events.

When the film ended (prepare yourself for the controversy) two things happened almost simultaneously, we both looked at each other and said, “Blu-ray.” We also immediately started discussing the ending and how we saw it. We weren’t the only ones either.

For the first time in years, I saw a room full of people discussing excitedly the film they had just seen. The room was full of laughing, talking, and arguing people. I really can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an audience act that way after a film.

As we left the cinema, my daughter turned to me and said, “Wow, that was ‘The Matrix of the new millenium.”

I think she’s right. Just like The Matrix, Inception changed the rules and bent the rules it couldn’t change. It went so far outside the box, that the box ceased to exist.

If Inception is not on the list of  films to see before you die, it should be.

Right at the top.