Memento

Memento Movie

We can learn a lot from the movies. Of course, sometimes what we learn has no basis in reality. For example, lawyers should not take their cross-examination techniques from Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men, and doctors shouldn’t be too quick to use a defibrillator as demonstrated in… well… pretty much every medical drama ever made. Certain real-life afflictions make excellent plot points in movies and television, and one of the biggest cliches that’s still used today is amnesia. Whether it’s Jason Bourne trying to get a hold of his past or a poor widower chasing down a man named John G., amnesia makes for a compelling story where we get to learn alongside a person who already knows the thing that they don’t know. But is movie amnesia realistic, or is it total crap?

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Christopher Nolan

This week in our Scenes We Love series, we continue the theme of last week’s special week-long edition by celebrating the work of Christopher Nolan. Only this time we’re not talking about Nolan through the lens of Batman on film. We’re here to take a look at four scenes from Nolan’s other films. From Memento to Inception and beyond, Nolan has proven himself to be a dynamic, contemplative player who can deliver small scenes with big emotional resonance and big scenes that dazzle. All is represented as we talk through 4 Scenes We Love from the non-Batman films of Christopher Nolan.

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Nothing more satisfying than a good solid confession, unless of course it’s your own confession – then it kind of sucks. What’s great about films is that there’s never a boring confession; no one ever spends 120 minutes of movie watching to learn that the hero was the one who accidently dented his neighbor’s car. So – here are some confessions in films that, because of the performance or the situation, stood out amongst the rest. Oh also, by definition alone the following is practically all spoilers – so heads up.

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Christopher Nolan

Born in July of 1970, Christopher Nolan was always sort of made for Summer. As an adult, that promise has been fulfilled with blockbuster spectacles in the hot months, but it all started when he was a child. It was then that he picked up the drug that became an obsession for the rest of his life: a Super 8 camera. The result of those early ambitions and the study of storytelling in college led him to create shorts, build a feature in Memento that drew acclaim, and to embark on a studio career that has blended intelligence with popular culture. He’s invaded our dreams, altered a genre and made magic. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a man who is waiting for a train…

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Memento (2000) The Plot: Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is a man with some problems. Foremost, he has an inability to formulate new memories, which means his entire life is dictated by his note taking abilities and his tattoo reminders. A close second is the fact that he’s hunting the man who murdered his wife.

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Culture Warrior

“If Michael Bay directed Raiders, the Ark would be opened in the first act, and people’s heads would explode through the rest of the film.” I don’t typically seek out wisdom from Twitter, but this below-140-character observation (made by @krishnasjenoi and retweeted by @ebertchicago) struck very close to something that’s been occupying my mind as we enter the fifth week of the summer movie season. Though the statement works better as a fun hypothetical critique than a contestable thesis (in other words, there’s no way we’ll ever really know, thank goodness), the sentiment feels relevant. Though the modern Hollywood blockbuster has been a staple of studios’ summer scheduling for almost forty years, the films that become blockbusters don’t look or feel very similar to the films of the 70s and 80s that somehow paradoxically led to today’s cavalcade of sequels, franchises, adaptations and remakes. Criticizing Hollywood’s creative crisis is nothing new. But with the mega-success of The Avengers and the continuing narrative of failure and disappointment that has thus far characterizes every major release since, it seems that this crisis has been put under a microscope. The moment where unprecedented success is the only kind of achievement Hollywood can afford and the well of decade-old franchises and toy companies become desperately mined for material is something we were warned about. But Hollywood’s creativity-crippling reliance on existing properties is not the only, or even the primary, problem faced by mass market filmmaking’s present moment. The bloated numbers sought after each and […]

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It’s easy to stick some cool tats on a character and enhance their presence – and we all love cool looking tattoos. It gets better when there is thought put into the tattoos, such as Mickey Rourke’s surprisingly well-researched prison tattoos in Iron Man 2. What’s even better than that is when a tattoo is not only well thought out, but also speaks worlds about that character and the story surrounding them. It’s not always possible in the context of the film – but when it is, it’s nice to see. Here are some of the tattoos I’m talking about.

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A man awakens from a long coma to some disturbing news. First, he discovers that it was a bullet to the head that almost killed him. Second, he now sees the world upside down. Headshot tells the story of a hitman who recovers from a bullet wound to the cranium and returns to the job with a minor handicap. He can move, think, and behave normally, but he’s forced to view everything upside down. This literal flip flop bleeds out to his metaphorical world as well leaving him discombobulated, confused and intent on discovering the truth about who shot him and why. Obviously the Christopher Nolan comparison is a bit of a stretch, but a few elements bring his name into the discussion. The most obvious being that the production company behind the movie is called Memento Films. But there’s also a lead protagonist with a head injury whose moral compass seems a bit out of whack and a storyline that lives the majority of its time in the past. Tenuous connection or not, Headshot looks to be an exciting and intriguing thriller. Check out the trailer below… but only if you don’t foresee watching the movie anytime soon. It appears to give way too much away.

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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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Why Watch? Because all week long we’ll be featuring short films featuring the gang from Community. Today’s features Donald Glover sucking on the male sex organ. User discretion is advised. This short works so damned well, especially for movie fans, because it’s a parody of Memento that takes things in a completely absurd direction. It imagines a world where Leonard Shelby is black (just like Spider-Man), and his roommate takes advantage of his short term memory loss by making him play a mouth-based video game. It’s been online a while and already been seen a bajillion times, but that’s no reason not to give it the spotlight once again. What Will It Cost? Just 3 minutes of your time. Check out Memory Loss for yourself:

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray is all about the unexpected. I expected to put Christopher Nolan’s breakout drama Memento on page one as my pick of the week, but was swayed instantly and heavily by the latest contemporary classic being added to the Criterion Collection. I’ve also found comfort in another season of Weeds, even though it’s not the best work of the Botwin clan. We also dig deep into some intentional schlock-and-awe, pull the rug out from under the latest Galifianakis joint, explore the crisis in America’s public schools and without warning, I sing to you. Yes, dear readers of the high definition affliction, I bet you didn’t expect me to break out into song, did you? Fish Tank Most people know The Criterion Collection for their work in the realm of classic films — restorations, remasterings and the cataloging of cinema history’s most important works. So when they take a contemporary film and add it to their collection, you know that’s something special. Take Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, a tough-as-nails portrait of a girl on the cusp of womanhood, dealing with life in the housing projects of Essex, forced to live in close quarters with Michael Fassbender. In all honesty, I would probably try to sleep with that man if given the chance. Alas, that’s not part of the equation here, so I’ll tell you what is. A quality film, a meticulously crafted presentation (as only Criterion can deliver) and plenty of extras, including three short films from director […]

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Cult film? Maybe. Memento was a hit when it was released in 2001, earning $25 million in just 500 theaters. Chances are you may have gotten to see it, but if you didn’t, the film’s (and Christopher Nolan’s) popularity has given you another chance. For one night only (February 17th), the fantastic film (that was named #1 on our list of the best movies of the decade) will be in theaters. Select ones. Here’s the list. Make sure to tattoo yourself on the hand to remember to go.

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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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Even though story details recently emerged, no one really knows much about this film, yet everyone seems to be on the edge of their seat. Is it just because of Nolan?

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Some of the best revenge films manage to mess with that formula in creative and startling ways, but originality isn’t always a necessity. Sometimes you just need a grieving, cat-eyed father who knows how to handle a gun and cook a mean plate of pasta. Welcome to Johnnie To’s Vengeance.

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This week’s Culture Warrior is getting its bunker ready for Y2K.

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As you may have noticed, the blogosphere is all a-twitter with Best of the Decade lists. To our credit, we here at FSR have published two lists. Now it is time to look at what everyone else is saying…

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Just over 3,000 films were released in the past ten years. Instead of sleeping, Neil and Cole (with the help of a supercomputer) whittle that list down to the best 1%.

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cultwarrior_decadeinreview

This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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