Leonardo DiCaprio is THE EXTRACTOR. He is the best extractor in the whole extractation biz, and no one's extractables are safe while DiCaprio and his six intrepid ought-to-be-extracted chin hairs are on the case. What are extractables, you ask? Shut up. They're brain documents, or something. What is extraction? The army invented it. Dreaming ain't safe, DiCaprio says. "It makes your consciousness vulnerable to theft." The chin hairs waft about like oily kelp. DiCaprio is thinking hard. About yo brainz.

Christopher Nolan has been working on the script of Inception for the past entire 10-year decade, which must be why it feels about a decade stale. Not bad-stale, necessarily—kind of comforting-stale. Like cold pizza. Delicious! Or a crunchy Chips Ahoy, moistened by Father Time's rheumy tears, which thus becomes a chewy Chips Ahoy. Weirdly delicious! Or that Dorito I found last week, stuck between my fitted sheet and my mattress like one of those dinosquitoes from Jurassic Park. Delici...um...ish. (Speaking of, can you imagine if we could clone Doritos!?!? I already know what we'd call the facility: the Cooler Ranch. Intern, put out an ad for a "Samuel L. Jackson type" to run the powdered-cheese cannon. Chop chop, intern! Am I the only one here with vision, people!? UNLIMITED DORITOS!)

Anyhow, Nolan told the Los Angeles Times that he was inspired by turn-of-the-most-recent-century reality-benders (including his own): "You had The Matrix, you had Dark City, you had The Thirteenth Floor and, to a certain extent, you had Memento, too. They were based in the principles that the world around you might not be real." There's some Mission: Impossible in there, too (Inception is structured as a classic heist) and some Jamiroquai and obligatory Escher (snooze) and a dash of the long con. The temporal origami isn't as interesting or unsettling as Memento's, but overall Inception is a fun, familiar, exciting, slightly silly, and surprisingly restrained action movie that's almost populated by real humans.

Once you get a handle on Inception's internal geometry (Nolan gamely plunges into the thick of it—no wussy exposition here), it's a fairly-straightforward-if-mindfucky premise. A decade post-Matrix, we're beyond being mind-boggled by the exchange "They come here every day to sleep?" "No. They come to be woken up." But it's still fun to watch Inception unravel itself. DiCaprio and his team—Ellen Page (professional nag), some British guy (my boyfriend), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (suspenders), Dileep Rao (the one with the drugs), and Ken Watanabe (apparently the CEO of American law enforcement)—have to climb all up inside Cillian Murphy's dreams and convince him to dissolve his father's corporate empire. Commercial concerns turn to personal ones as it's revealed that DiCaprio's thuggish-ruggish subconscious is running around dreamland fucking everything up.

That and his chin hairs. Keep those chin hairs out of the Doritos cloning machine. recommended