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Found 11 results

  1. Joel Mayward


    Christopher Nolan's upcoming film (which may or may not be released on July 17, depending on how well we've controlled the coronavirus pandemic) has a new full trailer: It looks very Nolanesque: time-bending visuals, enigmatic narrative, a blue-grey-beige color palette, and massive set pieces. I'm intrigued by the cast Nolan has here, and interested to see how this film will fit in the larger cultural conversation about when/how to reopen things in our pandemic era.
  2. Links to our threads on Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), as well as the quasi-related Catwoman (2004) and the in-development Superman: The Man of Steel and Justice League. - - - Christopher Nolan takes flight with Superman: 'We have a fantastic story' Still, it was a frustrating moment in the Batman franchise that led to this new Superman revival. Nolan and Goyer, a key collaborator on both Batman films, were at a story impasse on the third Batman film (which is now picking up steam as well) when, as a distraction, Goyer gave the filmmaker a daydream version of how he would tackle a story about the last son of Krypton. . . . And that third Batman film? Jonathan Nolan is “now doing the hard work” of writing the script based on the story by his sibling Goyer. “My brother is writing a script for me and we’ll wait to see how it turns out.... He’s struggling to put it together into the epic story that you want it to be.” “Batman Begins” was the origin and back story of the hero, while “The Dark Knight” found the hero reeling as his Manichean, good vs. evil worldview was upended by a new villain, the Joker, who was a wild-card agent of chaos going up against order, be it a police department or the mob. The second film ends, literally, with Batman on the run, a fugitive. So what happens next? “Without getting into specifics, the key thing that makes the third film a great possibility for us is that we want to finish our story,” he said. “And in viewing it as the finishing of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story.” Nolan said the key characters from the two first films and the actors who play them will be back. “We have a great ensemble, that’s one of the attractions of doing another film, since we’ve been having a great time for years.” . . . His villain choices to date have steered clear of strongly supernatural or super-science characters (no Man-Bat, Mr. Freeze or Poison Ivy, for instance) but he shook his head when asked if that was a trajectory he would continue. He did however concede one tidbit: “It won’t be," he said, "Mr. Freeze.” . . . “I’m very excited about the end of the film, the conclusion, and what we’ve done with the characters,” Nolan said.“My brother has come up with some pretty exciting stuff. Unlike the comics, these things don’t go on forever in film and viewing it as a story with an end is useful. Viewing it as an ending, that sets you very much on the right track about the appropriate conclusion and the essence of what tale we’re telling. And it harkens back to that priority of trying to find the reality in these fantastic stories. That’s what we do.” Los Angeles Times, March 10
  3. Christian Bale. That's the big news at AICN. With Nolan (Memento, Insomnia) at the helm, does this story have anything more to give audiences? I'd venture to guess that in Nolan's hands, we might finally have a Batman film of serious substance. He's all about conscience, the guilt of violence, the difficulty humans face in trying to deal out justice that resolves anything... Well, he's got a great leading actor. I wonder if the project will make it to the screen.
  4. Tyler


    Christopher Nolan's next movie will be about the WWII evacuation of Dunkirk. Atonement also had a famous Dunkirk scene.
  5. Is there really no thread on this? I looked twice, using Google and A&F's search function. I recently posted some thoughts upon revisiting the film Ten Years Later:
  6. LatinoReview, where the news first broke about Routh as Superman, is now reporting with confidence that an offer to play the Joker has been made to Heath Ledger.
  7. Nolan tackles 'Inception' for WB Studio gets 'Dark Knight' director for sci-fi pic Variety, February 11
  8. Persona

    Following (1998)

    Nolan links: Insomnia (2002), Batman Begins (2005), The Prestige (2006), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Black & White February Filmsweep Reaction: Like Europa, blogged only a few days ago Here, Christopher Nolan's Following has all the main ingredients for the making of a modern film noir: a down and out writer, an investigating cop, a sassy blond dame, a gangster, a blackmailing, and a few double-crosses where characters are as quickly and easily betrayed as they are discarded. Shot in black and white on a shoestring UK budget, the writer/director's debut deals in what would later become standard in his stories: time-shifting mazes, non-sequitur paradoxes, and the schemes of powerfully weak characters voyaging to a certain elusive section in the dark corridors of the human psyche. Nolan likes puzzles. There's no doubt about that. His films are like navigating that old brain boggler, the Rubik's Cube -- it can be done, but it's never easy, and you might have to twist and turn along the way. Even Nolan's 2010 blockbuster Inception gave us a summer popcorn movie plugged with references to Escher, lost labyrinthian corridors and the architecture of a dreaming mind in disarray. The Maze is a regular character that turns up in Nolan's stories; it's one of the reasons we look forward to new projects that bear his name. The stories are always different; there's no regurgitation from film to film. But The Maze is always involved, one that characters endlessly grapple with and stumble around in. There are many different ways to put it on display, and Nolan always has a knack for a new entrance into it. Where Inception and The Dark Knight challenged the popcorn crowd with layered dreams, higher moralities and paradoxes -- and earlier films like Memento and Insomnia dealt with memory and its survival in time -- Following is the film that set these circular themes in motion. It's the smallest of Nolan's films, but feels unmistakeably Nolanesque, launching the vibe he would be known for: the weaving of layered schemes and stories together. An unemployed and somewhat bored twenty-something, who fancies himself a writer, takes to the streets to find subjects for his own interests, and maybe he'll get some some writing done, too. He, who the script calls "The Young Man," and maybe lies about his name when he says it is Bill, becomes addicted to "Shadowing," his own term, which is following different people around. Any age, race or gender, he just wants to see who they are, where they're going and why. He makes rules to keep himself safe in the daily hobby, like never following a woman down a dark alley, or never shadowing the same person twice. It's when he breaks these codes of conduct that the hobby becomes more of a burden than he intended. He's cornered and confronted by a man that he's followed into a diner -- Cobb, also the name of DiCaprio's thief-character in Inception. Cobb has noticed the fellow shadowing him, but he's been up to an interesting hobby himself -- he's taken The Young Man's idea of following strangers to an even higher level of danger. He quickly takes The Young Man under his wing. Cobb isn't interested in simply following people around or guessing what they're like. He knows how to find out everything about them without ever saying a word. The answer, he says, is in home invasion. He teaches "Bill" that sneaking into someone's flat can provide an adrenaline rush like one has never felt before, and as a bonus you can steal things if you want to. Burglary isn't really the point though. The point, says Cobb, isn't found in any valuables within the house. The point is to see into their consumerist lives, and to take, so that they realize what they had. When they end up thieving together, they aren't interested in jewels or gold or cash that might be hidden under a pillow. They're more interested in CDs from the family room stereo, or digging through a resident's underwear to leave at another victim's place. They're into mementos and family pictures, diaries and books with personal notes in them. "Stuff" is not the ultimate goal of these robbers -- it's privacy, and the knowledge that they've been there. They'll take only one of the two earrings in a woman's jewel box -- leaving just one behind only adds to the mystery. At one residence they pop the cork from a bottle of wine, but barely drink a drop before being caught in the act of drinking it. They've got to act on their feet quickly to get out, but the couple in that place will remember them forever. I've heard of people that need to break out of the structure of their isolationism, but this is ridiculous. The idea of a burglar that isn't interested in material possessions almost sounds Robin Hood-ish, like stealing from the rich to give to the poor. I'm unconvinced of Robin Hood's nobility in the first place, but I can see the parallels in such a tale (depending on which version of the legend). However, there's nothing noble about these robbers and their habit of breaking into flats, even if only for a peak. It's voyeurism gone extreme -- social studies for the socially maladjusted, on an urban sprawling scale. "You take it away to show them what they had," says Cobb -- but it's unconvincing when he speaks, like someone talking to a cop about a speeding ticket. Cobb's real motives remain elusive even at the end of Following, but Bill is just pathetic, useless, bored, and slightly dangerous in his boredom. He's an un-magnificent man in an un-magnificent life. He's going nowhere fast, following nothing that nourishes him, so why not follow the first thing that comes by on the street or in the local mall? The idea that people so easily fall into traps like Jonestown or Heaven's Gate is more understandable when considering a man that blindly follows. There's a noted difference between Following and Nolan's, um, following films in the way-too-indie feel of the production. The first film from a debut director is obviously not going to have the production values of something like The Dark Knight or Inception, but it's the music in Following that bugged me most. It's lifted from public samples of some amateur software like Sonic Foundry, and in many scenes it sounds generic, or sometimes grating, or just filler. I imagine this is where most new filmmakers have to begin -- they don't any money so there's no orchestral composer on hand. Still, the samples aim for a Trent Reznor industrial-type background, and as easily seen in The Social Network, only Trent Reznor can be Trent Reznor. I don't think this film would have worked with more silence, so I don't have any answer to this, just an opinion of what didn't work as well. The black and white visuals are edited tightly in and rather save the film from its audio implosion. There are a few holes in the story itself, a plot that doesn't hold up when fully thought through, but you don't necessarily think about it while you're caught up in the back and forth time shifts of the events. It is, in a way, like dealing with a less humorous black and white Pulp Fiction. You don't worry about missing holes, because you're being tossed back and forth in so many. The ending is rushed -- I do think this 70 minute film would have worked a bit better at 80 minutes -- but it leaves its central character "The Young Man" grasping at straws, reminiscent of classic noir. It's not a perfect film by any means, but remains an interesting look into the beginnings of Nolan's universe -- where chaos and collision and moral mazes and memories, and even where the name "Cobb" comes from.
  9. N.B. this post is a continuation of a comment thread begun in the Top 20 Horror Films Nominations thread. There, I nominated Insomnia, alleging that it's a horror movie, and Scott disagreed. Congratulations, you've proven that Seven is horrifically disgusting, at a level that few movies, horror or not, would want to be. Now, let's talk about Insomnia in specific (I've chosen this, out of the two that I nominated, since I saw it tonight, whereas I saw A Simple Plan years ago). First, I'll discuss some scenes that are horrifying, then I'll address the "tone and intention" question. Then... well, then maybe I'll get some sleep tonight. (Mild SPOILERS.) While understated, the scene in the morgue is the first horrifying scene in Insomnia. Close-up shots of water in a bath-tub (associations with drowning), and scissors cutting toenails (associations with slicing and stabbing), but re-contextualized as the murderer dressing and caring for the dead body of his victim. This presentation style worked very well on a visceral level for me, it sent shivers up and down my spine to see her body lying dead and cold, clinically fingered by these cops -- some bored, some upset, but not actually upset by this objectively horrifying sight before their eyes -- while the killer, externally at least, cared for her more than any of them. Then, the scene in the fog. This is a terrifying scene as soon as Pacino drops down into the water, and even though it is clear that someone will be shot inadvertently, who it will be is a matter of great suspense. Then, the moment that it occurs brings no relief, but only horror, as the absolute worst outcome possible occurs. Once again -- the one who should have cared the most, now the one who harms the most. I wonder how many of us would say that when we saw whom Pacino shot, and how that person died, we were not horrified. Pacino's character proceeds to slip into semi-madness, and this includes several rapidly-edited scenes (such as where he imagines he is about to be hit head-on by a truck) which are typical "jump-n-scream" moments. There's nothing uniquely interesting about these moments, but their inclusion says something about the genre Insomnia considers itself to be, I think. More important to me, though, is the descent into moral complicity which Pacino's character allows himself to take, goaded at every turn by Robin Williams' character. This segment of the movie is what sets it apart, I think, and makes it worth nominating over more formally adventurous murder movies by Hitchcock or others. The psychological depth in the antagonism between these two men impresses me. Pacino is foiled by Hilary Swank's character, who retains her goodness throughout the story, at least until the very last scene -- and even there, we could say that Pacino gives it back to her before she can lose it. The fact that she is a shining star of goodness mitigates the horror but most emphatically does not remove it. You've passed over the "radical difference of tone and intention" between the two movies. The tones are different, because Seven is a proto-Saw (ick). However, their intentions are remarkably similar -- to show a plausible psychological path by which a criminal can corrupt a cop into betraying his ideals. I leave it to the rest of you to judge which movie is more successful in its intention. Is Seven more graphic than Insomnia? Heck yes! Does that disqualify Insomnia from being a psychological horror movie? Heck no!
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