‘Interstellar’ – What Did You Think?

Interstellar

There’s a moment in Inception when one character encourages another to “dream a little bigger, darling.” Well, it certainly looks like Nolan took that advice to heart with Interstellar. Nolan’s first post-Batman movie is stunningly ambitious, even by his usual bold standards.

Matthew McConaughey leads the sci-fi epic as an astronaut who travels deep into space in a last-ditch effort to save the human race. That includes his beloved kids Murph and Tom, whom he has to leave behind on their dying farm. Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, and David Gyasi play the other astronauts on the journey with him. Michael Caine is the NASA guy leading the charge down on Earth.

Interstellar is a mind-bender of a journey that makes most of Nolan’s other films look tame in comparison. He clearly has big things to say about the importance of science, the experience of parenthood, the nature of humanity and the value of love. That last bit turns out to be especially unusual, since Nolan tends to be a cerebral, even chilly director. Emotions are not thought to be his strong suit, at least on film.

So there’s no question Nolan is aiming high. But does he hit his mark? This is your space to discuss all that and more. Spoilers are not just tolerated but actively encouraged.

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final interstellar trailer

There’s no denying the visceral power and prowess of Christopher Nolan‘s Intersellar. The ninth film from the popular director is his most ambitious, and it looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The sets, miniatures, and images of space travel and planets all combine to make a film the scope of which rivals any other space movie.

Emotionally, the film comes close to achieving a similarly momentous effect. Interstellar follows Coop (Matthew McConaughey), a father forced to leave his family in a possibly mad attempt to preserve the future of humanity by finding another habitable planet. The tale is filled with drama, humor, intense action and surprising plot twists. There’s rarely a dull moment in the movie because the story is so compelling and poignant.

But maybe it’s all a bit too much. The script, by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, packs ideas and theories in every single scene. Concepts about love, survival, physics, and time burst from the film more prominently than the emotion and visuals. Even with a nearly three-hour runtime, so many ideas are presented that the film rarely has time to focus on one over another. The result is a technical marvel with a powerful narrative that ends up feeling a tad empty because we aren’t sure exactly which point it’s trying to make. Read More »

Inception

In honor of the release of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar this week, I’ve been working on a musical project for the past few months: Attempting to perform the final music track from Inception (“Time” by Hans Zimmer) using a single, looping cello. I’ve been re-discovering my love for the cello recently, and by incorporating an electric pickup and a looping pedal, I have tried to create large-scale sounds using repeating chords on a single instrument.

Hit the jump to see a music video of “Time” performed using a single cello.
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Interstellar McConaughey car

Christopher Nolan controls every single aspect of his movies from preproduction through publicity. He wants every single thing about his film to be handled just right, from something as important as the IMAX film capture all the way through to who writes about the movie before release. Recently, multiple reports said he personally went to numerous theaters that would be screening his latest film, Interstellar, to double- and triple-check the sound and picture quality. That’s a comforting fact, to know that he’s out there making sure things look and sound great.

Much less comforting is the buzz coming out of those screenings. From the first press screenings through opening night, fans have been complaining about issues with the film’s sound mix. Reports say multiple scenes have the music and sound effects so loud that dialogue is drowned out. This doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident. It’s a complaint that’s been registered all over the US, Europe, and Canada.

Below, we’ll present some of those reactions, some of the stories, and some of the explanations hoping to get to the bottom of these possible Interstellar sound issues.  Read More »

Interstellar Nolan cockpit

“I think audiences get too comfortable and familiar in today’s movies,” said writer/director Christopher Nolan in 2002. “They believe everything they’re hearing and seeing. I like to shake that up.”

In nine films, Nolan has crafted a mathematician’s approach to luring audiences into realities only to question their very makeup. The films invariably follow similar characters: white guys of middle-age who have been deprived of family by violent means. These men deny truths about themselves and/or struggle to connect with the people closest to them. The term “auteur” is debased and often justly dismissed, but Nolan is one of the few who might earn the term — and even then there are big influences to factor in, such as his brother Jonathan Nolan, working partners David Goyer and Wally Pfister, and most importantly his wife and producing partner Emma Thomas.

On the eve of the release of Nolan’s latest film Interstellar, we’ve taken a look at it along with the other eight feature films that make up the bulk of his work. Read on for one examination of the films and find out how Christopher Nolan films ranked amongst his filmography.

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Christopher Nolan

As much as Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight Trilogy helped set the tone for the modern superhero movie, Marvel Studios created the structure for the modern superhero franchise. Specifically the idea of a huge, shared story told over multiple films. It’s not a new idea, obviously, but the particular way Marvel did it on the big screen was. The fact the MCU is still going after six years, and will continue to soldier on, is super-impressive and a testament to Marvel’s success.

One of the biggest tools Marvel uses for this is the post-credits sequence. A scene tangentially related to the movie you just watched, placed in the credits to tease what’s coming next. It’s become a staple of their brand and is mimicked pretty regularly. (Marvel didn’t come up with that, either, but the studio redefined the use of the post-credits stinger.)

One place it hasn’t been mimicked is the new slate of DC Comics movies. Granted, we’ve only seen one so far, but why is that? Well, Warner Bros. asked Nolan, a producer on Man of Steel, about adding one. He said “A real movie wouldn’t do that.” But did he mean that as a blanket statement? Maybe not. Read more about Christopher nolan and credits scenes below.

UPDATE: Nolan has now responded to these comments. Read More »

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Interstellar header

If your local theater has a film projector, it’s likely you can see Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar beginning on Wednesday, two days before the rest of the country. It was the famously old school director’s way to paying respects to the past, and also letting people know his preferred format: film. The problem is, over the past few years, almost every theater in the country has begun to transition to digital projection. Digital is cheaper to distribute, easier to handle, and is not subject to the same sort of handling damage that can mar film prints.

The final numbers have been released and the number of theaters opening Interstellar on film versus on digital (with the digital rollout taking place on Friday) is pretty staggering. The numbers for Interstellar film theaters are below. Read More »

Quentin Tarantino Christopher Nolan

Odds are if you read a site like this, you’re going to see Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar no matter what. Whether the reviews are good or bad doesn’t matter. You just want to see what Nolan has in store in his epic sci-fi drama.

And while some of the critical response has been varied, one group which seems to be wholly Nolan’s side is one comprised of his fellow filmmakers. Names like Rian Johnson, Brad Bird, Paul Thomas Anderson and Edgar Wright have all praised the film. Now, Quentin Tarantino has heaped even more accolades on it. He likens the work to two filmmakers who bring to mind something very different and specific. Read the Quentin Tarantino Interstellar quote below. Read More »

Interstellar daughter

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is one of the most ambitious, visually spectacular films I’ve sen this year. But it’s also a film with some really deep problems. In many ways, it highlights Nolan’s best and worst tendencies: his penchant for intricate, convoluted stories, his tendency to elide character work to move the plot along, and his knack for breathtaking visuals.

Hit the jump for my full video review of Interstellar. I discuss basic plot details about the film, but nothing I would consider spoilers. That being said, consider yourself warned.
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