Has Christopher Nolan’s Tenet conked out too soon in its beleaguered theatrical run, snoozing while no one’s watching? Would it have performed proportionately better had it not capsized in the vast, tumultuous sea change that is the Age of Coronavirus? Perhaps it isn’t fair to argue over its meager box office profits while much of the American theatrical market is shut down or heavily restricted, but argue over it we must, for we are Of The Internet. Sometimes we must ponder things deemed insignificant in the grand scheme, and sometimes we go to tortuous lengths to justify our painfully contrived palindromic headlines.
Developed from a script by Nolan’s brother, Jonathan Nolan, the sci-fi movie is a time travel epic based on scientific theories developed by American physicist Kip Thorne, who will executive produce. The press release announcing the distribution news describes the film as “a heroic interstellar voyage to the furthest reaches of our scientific understanding.”
For now, that’s all we have. Collaborations between the Nolan brothers have yet to create dreadful results. Their track record tells us it won’t be a straightforward ninety-minute shoot-’em-up. Based on the precedents set by Nolan and Nolan’s innovative narrative explorations of dreams, memory, anarchy, class warfare, and Robin Williams’ serious side, I expect a time travel tale crafted under their watch to be a mind-bending reexamination of that sci-fi subgenre in a way we didn’t already see in Back to the Future, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the various conflicting Terminator products, and several hundred Star Trek episodes.
If the Nolans plan to incorporate the work of a real physicist into the script instead of borrowing from other time-travel films (which is typically how those films are made), you can bet that at some point half the audience will be lost, no matter how hard they concentrate, no matter how many pages of grad-school textbook exposition are seamlessly woven into the dialogue.
The proactive solution is obvious: if we intend to enjoy Interstellar to the fullest, then we have nineteen months to subject ourselves to as many intensive, self-taught science classes as possible before it arrives in theaters. Continue reading
Depending on which polling organization you follow because of how reassuring their results are to you, the American minority that remains “undecided” in the 2012 Presidential election may presently represent as much as ten percent of the voting public. I’ve not seen any recent polls that project a double-digit breakaway lead for either of the Big Two candidates, so it’s conceivable that the contemplative 10% could make or break a political career. For the sake of unfair generalization, I’m assuming that 10% won’t eventually flock to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, or to any of the ignominious candidates from the Green, Constitution, or Justice parties. I’d never even heard of Virgil Goode, Jill Stein, or Rocky Anderson before tonight, until some online friends inspired some light reading on my end. Lord knows how many other serious candidates with more than ten supporters are out there.
The undecided have much to ponder this year. In one corner, they have the incumbent President Obama, among whose qualities is the fact that he’s not Mitt Romney. In the other corner, they have the non-incumbent Mitt Romney, whose most attractive feature seems to be that he’s not Barack Obama. For contrarians, there’s always an affable Libertarian candidate at ringside. Some people favor incumbents because they’re a safe, known quantity. Some people vote against incumbents on the principle that anything resembling lack of change is bad. If you intend to vote against someone rather than for someone, you’ll have three or more options: Not-Obama, Not-Romney, Door #3 Who’s Neither, and Messrs. and Mrs. Probably-Not-Appearing-on-Your-State’s-Ballot.
If you’re a fan of Not-Obama in general and Team Republican in particular, I believe I have an idea for you. It involves one of my childhood heroes coming to your rescue.
The short, spoiler-free version of my impression of Looper: the film is a knotty but ingenious cat-and-mouse thriller that moves from urban squalor to rural tranquility with an enviable dexterity while contemplating the effects of poor choices on our lives (our own as well as others’), the things we’ll sacrifice to stay true to our selfish nature, and what we’re willing to sacrifice if we think harder about what’s most important in the grand scheme. Other reviews have already noted the effectiveness of the makeup, the subtlety of the near-future visual designs, and the fun of watching Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing different versions of the same character. Consider those thoughts seconded here, since I can’t think of a good reason to retype them in my own redundant words.
However, I wouldn’t go so far as to grade it A+++++. I recognized more than a few moving parts from other films, albeit parts that are shuffled together skillfully, retooled for improved functionality, and kept as far removed from the trailers as possible.
Before proceeding, I brake here for COURTESY SPOILER ALERT for those who plan to see it but have been too busy or who avoid theaters. Now is your moment to escape for the sake of your future moviegoing experience, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.