Jonathan Nolan

Paramount

I know what you’re thinking. “Here come those movie-hating FSR jerks to poop on Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar with all their negativity! No wonder they were rejected from film school!” Good one guys. But here’s the thing —  we love movies, and more than that, we know that criticizing or asking questions of a film doesn’t negate the things a movie gets right or the overall entertainment value we derive from the film. Honest. Here’s my positive, spoiler-free review of Interstellar as exhibit A. (And here’s our own Neil Miller’s even more positive collection of words on the film as exhibit B.) Even great movies can have questionable plot turns or head-scratching moments, and while I don’t find Nolan’s latest to be anywhere near great I do think it’s a good movie… with questionable plot turns and head-scratching moments. It’s a story about nothing less than the survival of the human race, about intergalactic travel and the bending of space and time, about love and rockets. The film is a sensory spectacle with incredible visual effects and a fantastic score by Hans Zimmer, and at its heart is an emotional journey about a father’s love for his daughter. It’s worth seeing in theaters. But enough of that. It’s time to poop on Interstellar. **Spoilers for the film are below, obviously.**

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Paramount Pictures

The Earth is in bad shape, and mankind is on the fast track to follow okra and obesity into extinction. A devastating blight has swept the planet, killing off plants and crops and making way for epic dust storms (haboobs to anyone who’s spent time in the Sudan or Arizona) that leave the small communities that remain in constant struggle for food, good health and cleanliness. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a farmer growing the only viable crop left, corn, but his heart is in the skies above. A NASA test pilot before nature and societal pressures grounded him — this is a time/place where textbooks teach that the Apollo moon landing was a hoax — he now settles for the more earthly life along with his two children and father-in-law. But someone, or something, wants him to reach for the skies once again, and they’re communicating through his daughter Murph’s (Mackenzie Foy as a child, Jessica Chastain as an adult) bedroom bookshelf. He’s soon forced to choose between the draw of his family and that of the unknown, and with the fate of humanity at stake he’s compelled to choose the latter. Along with a few other astronauts he sets out for a wormhole that promises to hold the key to the continued existence of our species. Interstellar is in many ways as ambitious and messy a film as the sci-fi adventure it’s portraying, and its themes, visuals and pockets of bald emotion are guaranteed to appeal to fans of director Christopher […]

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Paramount announced today that principal photography is officially underway in Canada for Christopher Nolan‘s galactic voyager movie Interstellar. The film, based on a combination of an original idea by Nolan and an existing script by Jonathan Nolan, follows a group of intrepid explorers who use a wormhole to bend the limits of human travel and experience a radical space journey. On this fantastic voyage? Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine, among others. Nolan is re-teaming with his usuals: production designer Nathan Crowley, editor Lee Smith, and composer Hans Zimmer for the film as well. Though not much is known about the film yet besides these little tidbits, it sounds like a fantastic sci-fi affair with the trappings for something of epic proportions. Can you just picture Michael Caine hurtling through a wormhole set to a Hans Zimmer score? Because I’m definitely imagining that right now, and it’s the best movie of the year. Interesting to note: renowned physicist Kip Thorne is consulting on the film, as well as serving as executive producer, so this wormhole journey might actually be pretty factual. Interstellar is in theaters November 7, 2014.

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Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan‘s epic superhero trilogy is behind him which means it’s time for him to direct something original and better. Consider that less of a knock on his Dark Knight trilogy than it is praise for his non-superhero films like The Prestige, Memento and Inception. But while legions of fans online would squee at word of him directing Will Beall’s script for the Justice League movie… that announcement doesn’t appear to be forthcoming. He’s going with time travel and some well-earned nepotism instead.

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises (and other Christopher Nolan films). Christopher Nolan is the first director to make more than two Batman films. In the past, a second Batman film has provided a space for filmmakers to explore their excesses. In the case of Batman Returns, Tim Burton was able to further develop a vision of Gotham as an elaborate fairy tale. Batman & Robin was Joel Schumacher’s venue for exploring Batman as full-blown camp. For Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight manifested a mammoth vision of the summer superhero blockbuster by way of Jules Dassin and Michael Mann, where the Gotham setting gave way to an intricate, sprawling matrix of a metropolis that contains an eternal struggle between order, chaos, and every gray gradation in between. Until Nolan released The Dark Knight Rises, however, a Batman story reaching a third and final act was without precedent in the hero’s manifestations within the moving image. Not only has no previous director articulated a vision of the Caped Crusader in three parts, but no film, serial, or television show has attempted to bring a definitive end to their particular version of the superhero’s arc. The Batman of the moving image is one that largely exists in perpetuity. That Nolan has attempted a completist, closed vision of the Batman universe is relatively anomalous. Despite The Dark Knight Rises’s virtues and shortcomings (and the film has both of these in spades), perhaps the major reason for the film’s comparably […]

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A Tale of Two Cities Movie

Look, everyone. Let’s be honest. From here on out it’s going to be all The Dark Knight Rises, all the time. A few foreign films might slip into the mix, and some sort of Asian Film Festival in New York might end up on the radar, but for the most part everyone will be writing about Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming trilogy cap forever and ever and ever for the next two weeks. That being said, Wired has crafted a must-read article on how Nolan’s vision has been brought to masterful life. It features Nolan, co-writer Jonathan Nolan, and the stars of the film weighing in on various aspects of production, but the most interesting note might be where the story was really born from: Dickensian England. Jonathan Nolan claims that the goal was to see Gotham truly destroyed, and the best place to look for a story of total. shocking destruction in a modern city was the classic you were forced to read in high school, “A Tale of Two Cities.” 

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Two TV spots, new pictures, and banners from The Dark Knight Rises? What else could you ask for in about a day’s time? To make that month and a half wait we have left until the film finally opens a little more tolerable, there’s plenty to chew on and savor here. In usual Christopher Nolan cult fan fashion, it’ll be interesting to see how the fandom dissects the meaning of Joseph Gordon-Levitt “kneeling,” what secret Bruce Wayne and Miranda Tate are “talking” about, or what Selina Kyle is really looking at. These new pictures and posters (courtesy of Empire) don’t give us the answers we need, but some message boards out there will most likely come up with countless theories over the matter. First up, here’s a slew of gritty pics, all featuring nothing but gumdrop smiles and a much needed reminder of Nolan’s undying love for “happy” characters:

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The proposed live action Akira being developed over at Warner Bros. is slowly and steadily becoming the most talked-about film project of all time. The ups and downs of bringing this beloved story to the big screen have been well documented, but the most recent news made it look like this project might finally be ending its wild ride. Reports came in last week that all work on the film had been halted, the entire thing was being rethought, and maybe it could get scrapped indefinitely. But that was last week. This week, Variety is reporting that a new strategy for resuscitating director Jaume Collet-Serra’s project is being hatched. It sure didn’t take long to get the roller coaster going again. Last week’s reports said that the main reason for Akira being halted was that it needed to, yet again, go through some budget cuts. But according to a source that talked to Variety, that’s not exactly the case. While trimming some more fat from the budget is certainly something that Collet-Serra and his producers are looking at, mainly the reason the film is being re-tooled is just that there are still problems with the script they’re working with. Reportedly there are still questions about some character elements and the film’s look. And that’s after this thing has already received rewrites from the likes of Steve Kloves and David James Kelly.

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When it comes to procedurals there’s no doubt that CBS is king. From the boys in Hawaii to the profilers in the F.B.I., over the last decade CBS has successfully taken the reigns of crime-of-the-week king from NBC. But this season they decided to have a little fun with the genre they know all too well. And that fun comes in the form of the latest program from the camp of J.J. Abrams, Person of Interest. The show follows former military man John Reese (Jim Caviezel) who is recruited by a very strange rich guy known only as Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) who, through a machine he built for the government, is able to predict crime before it happens… Sort of… The machine can’t give out details without exposing Finch’s back door to the machine, so all he gets is the social security number of the titular person of interest, and that person could be the victim…or the culprit.

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!Commentary Commentary weekly your to back Welcome See what I did there? This week, we’re hitting up one of the finest pieces of cinema in the last 15 years and hearing from the uber-intelligent man behind it. The film? Memento. The director? Christopher Nolan. In this commentary, you’ll uncover mysteries, technique, and styles the filmmaker put into one of his several masterworks. What you won’t be getting is any information on Dark Knight Rises. Sorry, but me just including that title here ensured 54 more hits. It’s a proven fact. So, without further ado, here is what I learned from listening to Christopher Nolan’s commentary track on Memento. In addition, I also learned a thing or two about my own short-term memory problems. Yeah, I have some trouble remembering things. Like that time I took a picture of Joe Pantoliano’s corpse. See what I did there? This week, we’re hitting up one of the finest pieces of…Oh, never mind!

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With all that Comic Book Convention 2010 stuff slowly dying out, someone out there in the superhero world had to pipe up and keep the train rolling down the track. After all the Marvel talk, it might as well be a DC property. The rumor of the day is that Jon Hamm – the actor known as Mad Men’s Don Draper and Liz Lemon’s impossible boyfriend – might be up for the role of Clark Kent (a man who, if you look at him without the glasses, resembles Superman an awful lot). This isn’t a done deal, but if it’s headed that way, it’s enough prompting to take a look at the pros and cons of what casting him might mean.

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Culture Warrior

With all the invention, intriguing plot webs, and overall solid cinematic storytelling that Christopher Nolan’s films are credited for, yet another innovative characteristic of his signature narrative approach is often looked over: his own special brand of antihero. A thread that has connected Nolan’s films (scripted often in collaboration with his brother Jonathan) is the presence of a central male character who possesses some combination of destructive egotism, desperate selfishness at the risk of others, aggressive self-righteousness, willful delusion, or even the first signs of a messiah complex (“asshole” is used in the title of this post simply as an umbrella term for all the negative traits connecting these protagonists). I credit this aspect of storytelling and character development to the brothers Nolan, for filmmakers who work so successfully in Hollywood aren’t often able to bring to the screen characters who contain so many obvious flaws, and further credit goes to them for actually immersing us in their characters’ subconscious (figuratively in the case of all their films not titled Inception), making us give a damn about these characters to the point that sometimes these otherwise obvious personality flaws are only visible upon reflection after the film has been experienced. Nolan’s characters are often complex and intelligent, but beneath any confident exterior resides a deeply troubled psychology – some more obvious than others.

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Chances are that you and yours are keeping an eye on the world of Christopher Nolan and his movement (or lack thereof) on the next film in his Batman franchise. After the tour-de-force that was The Dark Knight, who can blame you? We’re keeping an eye on it as well. And by we, I of course mean everyone who writes about movie on the internet. Thus, this may not sound like news to many of you. But follow along anyway, lest ye be strapped with the dull-drums of your real life.

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The Dark Knight Logo

So far the battle lines have been drawn and the draw-bridge is up on the castle that holds all the answers for fans of The Dark Knight — no one is talking about another film. Fans appear to be excited, though.

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The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight’s writing duo David Goyer and Jonah Nolan talk about where the film’s story comes from, how they crafted the very unique dynamic between Batman and The Joker, and where Harvey Dent fits into the picture.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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