The Prestige

IntroRevenge

As the Oldboy remake approaches, the subject of revenge is no doubt teeming in everyone’s heads – at least in terms of punishing the people who decided to remake Oldboy. While there are so many lists out there about the most “brutal” or the most “satisfying” revenge films, perhaps it might be fun to explore the strangest, if not most laughable ways people enacted their justice.

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IntroMadGenius

Crazy science is so embedded in movie-making that it’s been with us since the very conception of film with such classics as Frankenstein and Dr. Caligari. While the best stuff was almost exclusively from the time of black and white – the 1980s and beyond have seen their formidable share of folks with PhDs in crazy. See for yourself…a lot of mad doctorates have been handed out recently.

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The Sting

The best part about faking your death has to be getting to decide how it will all go down. Instead of a bathroom heart attack, you can have fun with it and get mauled by a bear or spontaneously combust. The following characters know exactly what I’m talking about, as when it came time for someone to “die” they all had a bit of fun with it. Without a doubt, spoilers ensue, but even mentioning what movies they’re for would spoil them for you, so if you’re concerned at all, just don’t read.

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IntroRedemption

Sometimes a person just doesn’t get along. In films, it can be the other characters that don’t mesh, or sometimes it’s the audience themselves who just can’t stand a single idiot character that won’t go away. I believe the term is “Jar-Jaring” or, if you’re referring to television, “pulling a Lori.” Last year I gave you a pretty okay list of characters that achieved excellent redemptions for their wrongdoings. Today I want to explore those who did not. These are the asshole characters that tried and failed, or simply didn’t try at all. Hey spoilers!

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It’s got to be difficult enough to simply stand there in front of all those people and equipment and play costume make-believe. So that must go double the moment you’re asked to interact with anything that isn’t there, such as a big CGI dinosaur or any given Andy Serkis role. Worse than that, there are also times when actors have to play both sides of a conversation. Not only do they have to pretend to interact with an imaginary role – but also play that imaginary role interacting right back at them. It sounds complicated, so here are some of the best instances.

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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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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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Movies We Love

Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because, of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t want to work it out. You want to be fooled. In the late 19th century, the magician Alfred Borden, “The Professor,” is on trial for the murder of rival magician, Robert Angier, “The Great Danton.” What the prosecution is trying to prove and what the consensus seems to say is that Borden, furious that Angier had stolen Borden’s “The Transported Man” trick, drowned Angier in a Chinese water torture cell on the evening of his final performance.

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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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Charles Carter is investigated in the death of President Warren Harding, duels with his nemesis Mysterioso, falls in love, out of love, in love again, and manages to escape life’s harshest dangers even when they have him bound in a straight jacket and thrown into the river.

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