Friday, November 7, 2014

Have You Seen Interstellar?

I kind of think that Christopher Nolan did the Batman movies so he can con top-rate actors and studios into letting him make movies like Interstellar, and that makes me feel better about his Batman movies. Interstellar is pretty stellar.

I saw it on 35mm Wednesday night at the Galaxy at the Cannery in Las Vegas. It's the most luxurious cinema I've been to. Electric lounge seats with little tables attached and craft beer on tap makes it my new favorite. Plus, they announce in the beginning of the show that they will literally remove you without refund if you so much as look at your cell phone. And seats are assigned.

The grainy 35mm lends something to this project, I think. It's a dying medium, and the scratches and cigarette burns made me a little nostalgic. It also reminded me of 2001:Space Odyssey in a theater. The film deals a lot with the struggles against decay, reciting Dylan Thomas over and over again, so there's an elegant reach with the degradation of celluloid mirroring the dying of cellulose on planet Earth. And, the Dylan Thomas reading was welcome because it assumes you know a poem--gasp! Smart people who know a few poems by heart will save the world if it ever is saved.

Heavy themes aplenty in this one, but in particular I liked the notion of being stuck between wanting to be a pioneer/adventurer on the cutting edge, doing what you know you're best at and wanting to fulfill your duty to the greater whole of humanity. Being born a generation "too early or too late," Cooper (McConaughey) wishes he could do it all. If that's not a theme for Gen-X-ers I don't know what is.

The sci-fi premise touches some familiar bases that make it a tiny bit predictable, worm holes, time-bending, relativity, black holes, interdiminsional shifting about. But Christopher Nolan navigates them so adroitly, and the acting is so good, and the look and feel of the film is such that you don't mind you might have seen some of this before. And sci-fi suffers from that so frequently at this point, I kind of like that it reminded me of Warren Beatty's Reds in parts.

It's a little talky, but I like cerebral science fiction and wish J.J. Abrams never turned Star Trek into Buck Rogers. It's a little heavy-handed on philosophical themes like love, but that's refreshing too after the genre has been riddled by laser pistols and giant explosions, zip-zap.

Jonathan Nolan wrote this one, but that kind of goes without saying with Christopher Nolan movies. Why we aren't calling these films "Nolan brothers movies" is weird to me. He wrote Memento. If you liked Memento, and since you have eyeballs and are human, I'm assuming you did, you will like Interstellar.

And one more thing: can Jessica Chastain ever be bad in anything? It's as if she single-handedly saves some films. I think she's the most alluring woman in Hollywood, and I hope every filmmaker save Michael Bay starts begging her for even a cameo. Actually, she could probably even make a Michael Bay movie watchable.

1 comment:

Sky Jack Morgan said...

Jessica Chastain is ushering in a new golden age of cinema... maybe.