INCEPTION delivers on its premise’s wild leap of faith. Yet like so many blockbusters, visuals trump narrative: after abandoning your toddlers for fifty year-weekend with your wife, would you (Leonard Dicaprio) leave them out on the back porch without hugging them to say goodbye, even if a four-eyed lawyer was poking papers in your chest? If your forsaken son was a wild-eyed dream architect, lost in his illusions, would you (Michael Caine) implant your best student (Ellen Page) in his psyche? While enjoyable as the CITIZEN KANE of video games, if it weren’t for Hans Zimmer‘s score, such multi-tiered redemption twaddle wouldn’t be anywhere near as involving. Sequel idea: it was all just a metaphorical season of DALLAS.

SALT has that other big movie problem: plot twists wag wayward, conspiratorial premise (punch line: real Russian moles rounded up during wide release). Clandestine Soviet super-spies (and deep undercover double-agent) converge on Presidential bunker to launch missiles on Middle East to incite Muslim revenge — call it “motive enhancement.” Best defense: any film that wastes Andre Braugher needs a lot of hokum to stay float. Costume dept. design flaw: brunette Jolie wig out-distracts blonde, and Liev Schreiber’s grows grim in men’s suits. (Why not play CIA in drag?)

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