This is going to be a tricky needle to thread. My relationship with Christopher Nolan’s movies has been had its ups and downs, but it has taught me one lesson more than anything else I can think of – The value of expectations. So let’s go back to his last work.
In the lead-up to Inception’s release, I was wildly excited. Memento is one of my favourite movies, and I had baited breath for Nolan to do another one-off mind bending thriller. I went into the theatre to watch Inception more prepared for a movie than I ever have been. I was going to carefully follow everything, make sure to note every detail. As a result, I hated it. I thought Inception was an bland caper movie with paper thin characters wrapped in the cloak of a “Wow, wouldn’t this be cool” idea, an idea that Nolan spends the first 45 minutes of the movie telling us all about – particularly how cool it is. I had paid super close attention, and knowing from Memento that timelines would be good to track, didn’t have issues following what was happening, so it didn’t really “blow my mind”, either.
Inception was a massively popular movie, almost universally loved in spite of its many problems, and I’m convinced this was entirely due to my unreasonably huge expectations walking into the movie. I am sure that most fans of Inception went in with large expectations, but I would SUSPECT that most of those came from the Batman movies, not Nolan’s more complicated plots like The Prestige, Insomnia, or Memento.
Continue reading Interstellar
One of my favourite documentaries of all time is The Fog of War. In it, Errol Morris uses his clever Interrotron to interview former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The movie plays a bit like a monologue; Morris’ voice is hardly present. The movie is structured on MacNamara’s “11 lessons”, which are given to us as he moves us through his wildly fascinating life. Ever present in The Fog of War was the invisible elephant in the room of Iraq. McNamara had, for the vast majority of his life, maintained that former Secretaries of Defense should not criticize current ones. His rhetoric and general message sure seemed pointed towards the Gulf, however, and shortly before he passed away he changed his mind and spoke publicly against the war. This was after he took part in this film, however. Clearly, Morris had something to say about Iraq with the film, though it stands alone as a study of McNamara’s life and times. Continue reading The Unknown Known
It is impossible, so far as I can tell, to discuss a Wes Anderson movie without discussing Wes Anderson. If he were a car company, he’d be Morgan. Are his movies good, or are they simply charming? Is the depth an illusion? Is it too abstract, too inaccessible? Does it matter? There is a uniqueness to his films that is hard to articulate, but completely recognizable. Yes, there’s the symmetry of the shots, the faded colour palette, the 2 dimensional movement of all of his characters (people move either towards/away from the camera or directly across the camera), the whimsical melancholy… But he’s not reinventing the wheel here. The elements of a Wes Anderson movie can be found elsewhere, and yet you can look at a still of a Wes Anderson film and almost always recognize it as such. What is Anderson’s place in the film world? What does he contribute to the greater medium? How has he influenced other film makers? I have no idea, and I honestly think there is little value to be had in the answers. On to his latest offering, then.
Continue reading Grand Budapest Hotel
Ever since it became public a few days ago, I cannot stop watching the trailer for Metal Gear Solid V. Every time, I search for the new clue that will unlock what’s going on. Are the super natural beings helping or hunting Big Boss? The first thing we see out of place in the gameplay trailer is someone who looks suspiciously like Psycho Mantis. Are the super natural things, all of which resemble things from Big Boss’ past, merely the result of Psycho Mantis digging into his subconsciousness? My good friend Nick and I have been discussing this trailer at length, pausing at moments and analyzing what we see. The scarred face man doesn’t have a tattoo on the back on his head, so he likely isn’t Hot Coldman. If Ground Zeroes opens with the infiltration of the Cuban base, and Mother Base gets raided while Big Boss is infiltrating the Cuban Base, then you likely play someone other than Big Boss during Ground Zeroes. I wondered why I couldn’t stop watching this trailer and dissecting it, then I remembered the last time Nick and I did something like this.
Continue reading Mystery