REVIEWS, Zero Popped Corns

I Just Watched This Movie; “Darkest Hour”

Fresh Talent. Every great movie star had their start somewhere. Directors are always taking chances, casting relative unknowns with the hope that they will be the next big thing. The new film “Darkest Hour” takes the ultimate chance by choosing a total neophyte to play the lead role of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The actor, Mr. Oldman, an obvious stage name reflecting his advanced age, may not have been recognizable to audiences, but he still brought a tremendous presence to the role. As an older, unattractive, heavy man it seems that Gary hit the jackpot with a role that fit his physical features perfectly. His performance was astounding as well, though he mumbled a bit too many of his lines. Another first time actor, Kristin Scott Thomas, proved herself to be just as, if not more talented than her notable twin brother Daniel Day Lewis. In a supporting yet significant role, veteran actress Lily James (“Cinderella”, “Baby Driver”, “Downton Abbey”) delivered a strong performance as well.

Duration. It’s important that movies are a reasonable length. It’s scientifically proven that humans cannot sit in a chair for longer that two hours and thirty minutes without either falling asleep or having to urinate, so movies are kept within this limit. However, some directors look to push their captive human audience to the limits. Christopher Nolan is one such director. His films have progressively increased in length through the Batman series up to “Interstellar.” He ultimately reached a breaking point, though, last year when his epic film about Dunkirk hit the mark of three and a half hours. At such a length, the theaters declined to show it, and he was forced to split the film into two separate movies. The 2nd Unit crew, led by Assistant Director Joe Wright, took on the responsibility of refining the fourth parallel plot about Dunkirk, the one focused on Churchill, into its own full feature. After seeing the 90 minute “Dunkirk” and this 120 minute “Darkest Hour,” I am beyond excited to watch the original “Nolan Director’s cut” once released on DVD.

Historical Accuracy. Often the biggest controversies surrounding historical dramas is the accuracy of the events and people shown. The film, “Darkest Hour,” deals with an extremely important event in world history; The Second World War. During the movie it struck me as odd that the United States was only mentioned once, and really had no role. Here the British Prime Minister was dealing with the end of Western Europe and the threat of invasion at the hands of the Nazis, and not a single American was there to help. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers from the allied forces were dying, and even more civilians were being killed, captured, and thrown in concentration camps, and yet the movie refused to show any American assistance. This made no sense to me. I mean, didn’t the USA win World War II? So we must have been involved from the beginning of the war, right? Oh well, the Brits rewriting history I guess. On a side note, I will say that the film was accurate in it’s depiction of the British parlement. They have a much better system than the American congress. We should have our two parties sit on separate sides in stadium seating and let them yell and throw blank sheets of paper at each other.

While “Darkest Hour” was filled with a lot of talking and speeches, the film kept up its energy not just with clever dialogue and engrossing performances, but also with adept editing and deft camera work. I give it zero popped corns.

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Uncategorized, Zero Popped Corns

I Just Watched This Movie; “Interstellar”

Sequels. They’re extremely common in the film industry. When people like a movie, sequels are often a profitable way to give the audience more of what they loved. Successful director/producer/writer/physicist Christopher Nolan understands the value of a sequel, and with “Interstellar,” attempted to replicate the critical success of last year’s hit “Gravity.” Following new characters, many years after the events of “Gravity,” Nolan explores the view of Earth from space, flying in space, and the struggle to find gravity in space. ¬†Knowing that you must modify the original, Nolan’s depiction of space is much much larger, as well as significantly quieter. Additionally, there was a larger cast. While the plot didn’t have much to do with “Gravity” in general, Nolan seemed to force “Gravity” into the film all the time. For example, early in the film, a book falls off a shelf, and the character says that “Gravity” did it. I found blaming that occurrence on the previous film was unnecessary.

Exposition. In films with a lot of back story, or a complex premise, or advanced physics, or philosophical theories, or all of those like “Interstellar,” it is necessary to inform the audience as to what is going on. An effective and traditional way of doing this, is through dialogue. Nolan expertly cast Matthew McConaughey as the lead knowing how well he reads exposition. Starring in “True Detective” last year, McConaughey proved that he could explain complex and confusing ideas and background information in a way that people could easily understand. During “Interstellar,” McConaughey’s familiar voice and accent guided us through a universe of quantum theories and multiple dimensions. If it ever became confusing to understand the science behind a scene, it was comforting to know that the astronaut farmer on-screen knew exactly what he was talking about.

Experience. Most movies strive to be called an experience. In my opinion, they are films that an audience goes out to see in small theater, or maybe just in their living room. They have a slow plot and subtle performances. When you finish these movies, you feel like you’ve just experienced something similar to what you experience in your everyday life. “Interstellar” has been falsely called an “experience” by many of my film reviewing peers.”Interstellar” was way too grand and out-of-this-world, to be classified as an experience. Watching this movie in IMAX, I felt like I was trying to save all of humanity and my mission led me across galaxies. But that’s nowhere close to my normal everyday activities. There’s got to be a better way to describe the action of watching “Interstellar” and feeling the many emotions that it evokes because it is certainly is not an “incredible movie going ‘experience’.”

Perhaps overly ambitious at times, “Interstellar” is an epic film of size and scope that contains all the suspense and moving moments that one would expect from Christopher Nolan. I give it zero popped corns.

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