Interstellar is a Great Movie if You’ve Never Seen a Movie Before

Interstellar

It would have to be a constant dull pain to exist as Christopher Nolan. To have a large scale, smart idea, and a unique enough film making skill set to pull it off, only to see a major studio smear little dabs of it’s own shit here and there, just enough to take the edge right off.

Interstellar isn’t a bad movie in the vein of the clodhopping Prometheus, there are moments of awe, of spectacle, and there are some sincere things to appreciate about it. Among it’s flaws, the beginning doesn’t really draw you in like it should. The first fifth of the story is choppy, disjointed, and just downright uncinematic. A different set of gears are explored once the story moves to space, as there is a pace and rhythm to the film that picks up significantly. While there are elements of spectacle and awe to take in along the way, none of it constitutes of enough substance to take in upon repeated viewing or even make mention of as a recommendation. Now sure, you can say that you’ve seen Interstellar so that you are able to air on the right side of cool, however you’ll soon be searching your memory banks for something positive and exciting to leave your partner in conversation with.

“Yeah, there was, a lot of space in that movie”

The main flaw of Interstellar is that it replaces the dynamic thrill riding,mind bending aspect of sci-fi with a story of relationships that we may or may not care about. Those very relationships make Interstellar a marketable, relateable film for the studio to back, it’s just that no one was ever clamoring for a sweet, caring, sci-fi date movie. We live in an comic book movie world, like it or not, and if you’re going to make this movie and tell this story, you’re either going to have to make if fun and poppy like the Avengers,or dreary, serious, and thoughtful like Children of Men, to pull it off right.

Praise goes out to Matthew McConaughey for his restrained, almost subtle performance. Taking into consideration how over the top some of his body of work is at times, he could have been very cartoon like in a space thriller, and fortunately he chose another route. Director Christopher Nolan puts together some moments of true cinema here and there, he jabs and jabs without really dazzling us in the way you think he might be capable of. Another thing working against him is an overwrought, bombastic soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. A little bit of witchy sounding organ music would have played well, however, Hans pumps the volume of the organ up to eleven, and clobbers us with strings upon strings upon strings. If he were conducting forty five cellos, it certainly sounded like forty six.

Although Interstellar isn’t as smart, or as dynamic as the previews would have you believe, its is everything a major studio could possibly promise, and that’s a palpable bit of escapism.

 

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Big Bad Wolves Takes Care of Business

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A series of brutal child murders leads to an arrest,  not a conviction of, a local school teacher. Two men, flawed men, men that aren’t exactly 100% in the right, and are a thousand percent convinced that they have their man, have intersected each others lives while trying to encourage a confession out of the accused. The fun begins during numerous unexpected interruptions.

this is one such example of fun beginning

this is one such example of fun beginning

Big Bad Wolves is a comedy,crime, thriller, not necessarily in that order, that takes its crime and thrills seriously enough, with just a garnish of comedic effort. The dialogue is all in Hebrew, filmed in Tel Aviv, Israel, and was written and directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, who have teamed up previously on another demented piece of work called Rabies ( Kalvevet in Hebrew). Quentin Tarantino has his named stamped all over this for approval and distribution, which is great if you’re fan of his, although if you’re a detractor you can be rest assured that this story is devoid of any sort of his gimmicky shtick.

The direction, pace, and shot selection is exceptionally tight. The color and contrast is particularly effective, because if it were any bleaker, you just might end up disgusted with yourself at the parts that are available to have a laugh at.   Big Bad Wolves is a solid offering for the art/indie theater crowd, and well worth making a purchase of if you’ve heard any hype at all.

 

 

Lunopolis is a found footage movie about found footage, and that’s alll you need to know

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When one Google’s mind trip movies on Netlfix, 2009’s found footage-ish, low budget, damn near no budget, indie, sci-fi flick Lunopolis will be at the top of said lists, and when one has has a sense of imagination and a touch of adventure on their resume, one watches said movie sight unseen.

Right off the bat, this film is able to portray, with significantly limited resources to dwell on, that good old fashioned sense of classic sci-fi that we all know and love. Lunopolis starts off as three film makers found footage about a mysterious object located by way of a broadcast from their favorite unexplained phenomena radio program. Luckily the film does not settle for just being average, and as the story progresses, it finds a depth you never see coming.

While you wont recognize one actor involved, they way the intensity and complexity of the story is ramped up as it plays out goes a long way to make you forget about it’s short comings. Lunopolis is impressive while not trying to impress too hard. It may not be as subtlety mind altering as 2004’s Primer, few films are, however Lunoplis is every bit as clever as it has to be in order to tell a story effectively while still being watchable by the average person.

Like A Reverse Flash Gordon

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When a comet is set to collide with the planet Hondo, the citizens decide to send their most decorated solider, General Trius, on a mission to find a new home their people. Crash landing on Earth, Trius is all but ready to obliterate the natives until his actions are thwarted by the powerful essence of…music.

There are two things that the planet Hondo does not have, well, two things that we are made aware of, music and buckets. Upon discovering a passion he did not know he had, General Trius gives himself the Earth name of Bill, picks up the banjo, places a bucket upon his head, and starts himself a family. The days go by and Bill is content to entertain his young daughter with fairy tales of the far away planet of Hondo and it’s odd customs.

The one day Bill’s life is punctuated by the drama of the inevitable.

What we’re talking about here is The History of Future Folk, a charming sci-fi tale of music and passion. While this feature is low budget, it never feels cheap, and deftly uses it’s sci-fi elements more as enduring qualities than a reliance on the spectacle.  Nils d’Aulaire plays General Trius/Bill with a refined balance that you just don’t see everyday. He’s detached and cool, not to cool for school, just cool enough to get a competent job done.

Tight direction, a pace that is never dull and yet allows for the characters to exist a little in each moment, and music that, if we’re being honest, is scene stealing material. One could easily surmise that all of these elements, in the hands of any other director, with production from any other studio, could have led lead to a misfire at best, or a just plain bad idea come to life at worst. However, at this particular time, with this precise group of individuals involved, the underdog of all underdogs  have just produced the sort of crowing achievement that every artist dreams of.

I won’t lie to you here, I had seen this movie advertised for some months on my Netlfix, and it seemed interesting enough that I would get around to watching it. Life experience will teach that not every quirky idea come to light is pulled off as well as it could have been. Reading a description involving a banjo playing alien folk duo certainly teases the old pleasure center of the brain, just not entirely enough to drop what one is doing, throw it all the chance, and brace for the potential disappointment. Rest assured, you’re not going to have a bad time with this movie, additionally, you’re not going to want to keep quiet about it either.

With only 14 total reviews on IMDB for this 2012 release, and less than 600 likes on Facebook, it will seem unfathomable, if not unconscionable that a larger audience has not been garnered for this fine piece of work.

So now it’s in your hands.

This is your baby.

You tell the world about your baby.

This Must Be The Place

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Cheyenne is a long retired gothic pop star living off his royalties and generally hiding out in Dublin. Having been estranged from his father for nearly as long as he has been out of the public eye, Cheyenne vows to make amends with his late father by tracking down the Nazi who tortured him in a WWII prison camp. This quest is brought on partially through his father’s death, and partially out of the general frustration Cheyenne is going through, a listlessness that he can’t quite break free from.

It’s refreshing to see Sean Penn do some actual acting here and have a nuanced character that he can play around with in Cheyenne. At it’s core, this is a road movie that comes to life  more and more as new characters are introduced, including a scene stealing Harry Dean Stanton. Having said that, Sean Penn is  in every scene and his applied performance leaves you wanting to see more of this character. The pace is brisk and light, the cinema is colorful without being too saccharine, and any movie that features both an appearance and music by David Byrne is a good movie indeed.

Released in 2011, This Must Be The Place is one that you will have wished you had scene in your local indie theater, just for the bragging rights among your peers alone. It is currently enjoying quite a popular run on Netflix, and it’s the type of movie that has the unique combination of being modern, fresh, and watchable to a wide spectrum of tastes. You’d really be treating yourself by cleansing your cinematic pallet of all the comic book and horror movies that are going to be around forever and taking the time to check this one out.

 

Minus One For Effort

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Director Dennis Iliadis has had some moments so far in his brief career, the enticing 2004 feature debut of Hardcore, followed up by the very professional 2009 remake of Last House on the Left. His latest effort, 2013’s +1, (Plus One), is fun, technically proficient,  and leaves a whole lot to be desired.

David and Jill are a young college couple in as good of a relationship as one could hope for in that stage of their, while they are not the textbook perfect couple, they give off a vibe of being in the top ten percent. After a case of mistaken identity, Jill and David are taking a break from each other, and during this break they both end up at the party of the year. Jill arrives with her new flame, David arrives with his doofus best bud.

When the party is punctuated by drama of the paranormal/scientific kind, relationships, motives, and character are tested as the chaos builds up.

The two leads, played by an oddly familiar looking Rhys Wakefield as David, and, what one could consider to be quite the up and comer in Ashley Hinshaw, put in a a believable performance that requires them to play slight variations of the same character. The pace of the story is neither brisk nor overstays it’s welcome, and the cinematography  provides the appropriate atmosphere for both a college party and sci-fi weirdness.

The problem is with the context, or, what this movie could have been versus what it was. With a unique way of pulling of a familiar concept, fun settings and scenarios, the fact that they didn’t really go anywhere with it or provide a little bit of challenge to the story presentation is a bit of a let down. This movie could have been good, and they just settled for the simple way out on so many levels that it comes across as Saturday morning cartoon sci-fi, with boobs.