Archive for Christopher Nolan

Interstellar (2014) Review (PG-13)

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on November 9, 2014 by Crash! Landen

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Film director Christopher Nolan’s latest silver screen offering is a thought provoking thrilling entertainment even if it’s not always logical. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, an ex-pilot turned farmer in an age of blight and famine. The human race is slowly starving, suffocating even, with no answers in sight. Cooper, a widower, is someone who is a bit disappointed by humanity’s state of malaise; no longer reaching for the stars. He doesn’t enjoy being a farmer other than to provide for his two children (Tom and Murphy), still yearning to fly.

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By an act of fate (or maybe not so much), he comes into contact with a reformed version of NASA (which was shut down after having been deemed as unnecessary). There he meets an old friend: the physicist Prof. Brand (played by Nolan favorite Michael Caine) who now leads the mission to save humanity. He has a plan to do just that, having been studying a wormhole that was ‘placed’ in our solar system by… fifth dimensional beings. My brain immediately went to Mr. Mxyzptlk (one of Superman’s arch-foes), but I remembered he was from the fourth dimension. Oh. We have more theoretical dimensions nowadays, I guess… But, I digress.

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A number of manned spacecraft have already traversed the wormhole to a galaxy far, far away. Brand wants Cooper to fly a new mission to find out if the worlds that the manned spacecraft have found are habitable. Cooper at first refuses (because he’s a father), until Brand illustrates that he’s offering a chance to save his children. With that, Cooper sets off with a team of scientists that includes Brand’s daughter (played by another Nolan regular: Anne Hathaway). And here… We…………….. Go!

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As with most, if not all of Nolan’s films, the running time is quite bloated with excessive content that allows for more ill conceived moments that momentarily take the viewer out of the story (And there are quite a few ill conceived moments). I say “momentarily” because another staple of a Christopher Nolan movie is that he knows what buttons to push to get the audience behind his protagonists’ journey as he does here. Even when a spaceship’s crew is lightening their load in order to attempt to escape the gravity of a black hole, I just ignored the utter ridiculousness of that particular idea and enjoyed the action. Nolan ‘sells’ the situations of his characters very well, even in the scenes that really added nothing except extra running time minutes. There are some black hole sized gaps of rationale that just don’t make sense, especially in who drops the wormhole near Saturn… Some cinematic time loops make sense. This one doesn’t if you think about it. But, anyway… There are also some revelations that didn’t seem to be properly set up (the one involving Anne Hathaway’s character in particular).

 

I’m not complaining about the extended length too much nor the movie’s coherence. I was never bored; never checking my watch. The story was as epic as something covering this kind of subject matter should be. It was the kind of spectacle that Hollywood films can be. The sound accompanying the IMAX visuals was worth the few extra dollars (to me). The story does offer up a little to think about with all of the concepts that get kicked around. Some of Nolan’s reoccurring themes make their way into the story, also. One such theme that I don’t think has been talked about much is the way  Nolan focuses on the way stories are told and the reliability of the truth of the story by the teller (as in ‘Following’, ‘Memento’, ‘The Prestige’, even the Batman films to some degree). That’s touched on a little in the beginning of the film (with Murphy’s teacher who talks about the ‘faked’ missions to the moon) and the theme makes itself evident later as well.

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I don’t think this is Nolan’s best work, but it was worthwhile to see at the movie theater. There are some real knockout scenes that echoed some of the films that probably directly inspired this one (especially Kubrick’s 2001) along with some head-scratchers (it’s not surprising that some of the people behind the VERY flawed 1997 Jodie foster vehicle ‘Contact’… which also co-starred McConaughey… were also behind this one). Some things like the extended epilogue should have probably been cut from the film, but on other scenes I can’t even come up with a description for (as in the ‘docking’ scene) other than that it was just really damn cool. The fact that it also reminded me of the fun but ridiculous Luc besson film ‘The Fifth Element’  in the ‘message behund the film’ didn’t help, either. There are parts in this that are better than what is taken in its entirety. Some of the best parts of the film involved McConaughey playing the brash pilot and also some of the obvious tearjerking scenes with his daughter (who I have failed to mention until now… played by Mackenzie Foy who maybe stole a few scenes from her adult costars). But the good parts far outweigh the bad (and I didn’t even get to the at first not very impressive robot comedy relief). Just go see it and make up your own mind, but if you like science fiction (or Christopher Nolan’s past films), there’s a really good chance that you’ll probably like this one.

4 of 5

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Sometimes I Hate When I’m Right…

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words with tags , , , , , , on August 5, 2011 by Crash! Landen

I said it was a Zack Snyder movie and it’s cetainly looking that way, he of the rubber costume fetish. Christopher Nolan (of the Batman rebooted franchise) may be producing and helping with the story, but Snyder is still at the helm and he definitely has been more concerned with how his movies look (and that there be at least equal amount of screentime in super slo-mo as normal speed) than the substance (story). I’ll withhold judgement until the movie, but I’m not impressed by the first photos released.

It looks like this Supes shops where all of the movie superheroes are shopping these days. They all have costumes with that textured fabric now that somebody sewed together for them, yet still are mindful of the secret identities.  The new Spider-Man has the same sort of get up… And there is just something tragically wrong with Superman having that 1970s John Travolta slicked back hair-do. It almost looks like a pompadour. Anyway…

I liked what comic artist Erik Larsen tweeted on the subject: “And am I the only one who thinks it’d be cool if a movie Spider-Man’s costume actually looked homemade? It could look a bit creepy even.” Maybe not the creepy part, but I liked the first part…

At least in the pic of Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, they had him with the forehead curl…

Okay, that was blog ‘filler’… I needed to stay on track with the daily posting thing….

The Best Part of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2011 by Crash! Landen

The trailers of course.

The big one first. I was excited to see the teaser for The Dark Knight Rises. It had a couple of clips from the previous films along with some of the old dialogue. It features a shot of Gary Oldman as Gordon talking to what has to be Batman (or Bruce Wayne) offscreen. He seems to be setting up a point for the film (about who takes the place of Batman). There is a quick shot of Bane in closeup and one of his back as he seems to be lumbering slowly up stairs as Batman readies himself  and there’s a shot of a guy ascending what looks to be the well that young Bruce fell into in the first film. Maybe… In any case it looked Cool. Not as cool as The Dark Knight’s teaser (“Tonight people WILL die. I’m a man of my word…” Cue laughter), but still pretty damned cool. I’ve always thought Bane was a stupid character, but in Nolan’s hands, he’ll surely be worthwhile as a villain.

There were a couple of other interesting looking films. One was Hugo, a kids movie by… Martin Scorsese?! Whaaaaaa—?!?

And a Disney film… of the classic space opera serial John Carter of Mars (called simply: John Carter). It looked pretty killer. Finally, some decent looking films.

If Only…

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words with tags , , , , on July 12, 2011 by Crash! Landen

… This were coming out this week.

Tom Hardy as Bane

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2011 by Crash! Landen

The official site for The Dark Knight Rises is up, Matthew Modine was just added to the growing cast ( with Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway,  Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and now we get the first pic of the Bat villain Bane played by Hardy…

 Is there any way that I can just fast forward past the latest X-movie, Captain America, Green Lantern and any other comics related flicks and go straight to this one? Just asking…

Zack Snyder’s Superman, Not Henry Cavill’s

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words with tags , , , , , , , on January 31, 2011 by Crash! Landen

Just heard the new Superman has been cast and British actor Henry Cavill has won the role. I have not seen one single film that he’s been in, nor do I watch the Tudors. As others have said, that’s probably a good thing. The picture above looks close enough to the John Byrne drawn version of the 80s.

But, as I often say, never give too much of the credit to the actors for a film’s success or too much blame. It’s the director. David Goyer and Christopher Nolan are writing the script (and Nolan is one of the producers), but that really doesn’t mean a darn thing, either. A director (along with an editor) can butcher even the best told story.

This will be the guy that makes or breaks the new Supes franchise: Zack Snyder. There are a lot of nerds that worship this guy. I’m not one of them. His best film (IMHO) that he’s made so far was the Dawn Of The Dead remake and that one wasn’t as good as the original. I did like it though. I also have liked his other films I’ve seen, but not to a large degree. “300” was far too long and after initially liking the look of the film, I started having second thoughts about it. The more I see those types of green screen films where only the actors are real (but not always), the more I notice how devoid of actual emotion that the film gets out of me. Aide from Gerard Butler(!) shouting about “dining in Hell” and everything else got a little old. “300” wasn’t the best written story in the world, anyway.

I also liked “Watchmen”, but found it to have the same kind of lifelessness that “300” had. And the slow motion shots. Wow.  It causes the same problems as the greenscreen, not to mention making his films twice as long as they should be. Combine the two and you’re looking at geeksturbation which is what he’s going for it seems. that would explain all the hot tail in his latest film “Sucker Punch”.

He also changed the meaning of the Watchmen ‘graphic novel’ (it was actually a 12 issue limited series, later collected, but I digress) also, by making one of his few seemingly insignificant alterations. I’d suggest reading the comics instead of seeing the film. It’s watchable, but is extremely spotty in quality. I hope I don’t have to say all of the same things about the Superman reboot. The superhero film disappointments are piling up.

Anne Hathaway Cast As Catwoman…Umm… Selina Kyle

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2011 by Crash! Landen

Two days ago, it was announced that Anne Hathaway would be playing Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan’s next Bat-flick. It took about 12 seconds for indignant nerds to take the net to vent their frustration. Yet again, instead of a ‘wait and see’ attitude there’s the knee jerk reaction by a vast number of nerds that hate her because the movies she’s been in weren’t necessarily aimed at their nerd tastes.

Personally, I think it’s a great choice. I have no doubt that she’ll be just fine. She played a similar action role in “Get Smart”, but then again, I liked that one much more than most. Tom Hardy will be a great Bane, also. I never cared for the character in the comics. Despite some great art by various pencillers and inkers, the whole ‘breaking of the Bat’ was a sham and a money grab, anyway. If Nolan decides to go in that direction, I’m sure he’ll do the same great job that he’s been doing with Bane’s character. Hardy’s a great actor from what I’ve seen and Nolan will see to it that there’s something interesting for him to do to put Batman through the ringer.

The actors won’t make or break the film, anyway. It’s the director and except for one (slight) misstep (the Insomnia remake which wasn’t terrible), he’s got a great track record. When it was announced that Heath Ledger would play the Joker in the Dark Knight there was catastrophic upheaval in all of Geekdom. I even read one of my all time favorite comic book artists proclaiming that because the ‘batpod’ had what LOOKED to be gun turrets mounted, that Nolan was ‘off the leash’ and ‘what had begun with promise in “Batman Begins” was now ruined’. He also shut down any forum on his site that mentioned the Dark Knight. Then the movie actually came out and Heath Ledger became some sort of genius to nerds everywhere (Not to the artist, though. He’s still protesting in anger I think.).

All that said  you may think I’m being hypocritical having judged the new X-flick by the photo just released. Maybe, but I don’t think so. I still go by the director (who I have been underwhelmed by in his previous efforts. He’s had some good films, never great). And I’ll wait to see the trailer to make a decision to see it or not, like always. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Yeeeeaaaahhh... She'll make a decent Catwoman.