"Sincerely, your favorite fan", actors, Are You Not Entertained?, Dear..., directors, Film Spotlight, In My Opinion, movies, Science Fiction

Dear Christopher Nolan,

My daughter and I recently saw Tenet, and we talked about you for the rest of the day. Vanessa’s initial reaction was that your film was more of an experience than watching a story unfold. I was doing my best to listen carefully because I knew I was in for a cerebral experience that demanded my concentration. I wish key clues of the narrative weren’t given when the characters wore various kinds of face masks. It happened a few times. That was one way in which I had no idea what just happened or what was said. I started to panic because I kept scratching my head. I mentally checked, “Okay, I’ll have to watch that again to find out what was said.” To my daughter, I asked, “Maybe I’m too old or stupid to get it?” She replied, “If the whole movie is like that, isn’t ironic you get bored? You love smart movies, Mom. Maybe this was too smart for its own good?” Hmm.

This was the first time since the pandemic that we were back in the movie theaters. We went to a 1pm showing and there were ten people in the whole theater spread about wearing masks. I crunched on my popcorn with enthusiasm. Yes! Back at the movies. Focused and ready to love it. Why did I leave the movie two-and-a-half hours later feeling confused and unsure if I could even say I liked it? I told Vanessa, “Well, I guess I’m going to have to watch it again to find out what I missed the first time.” She replied, “Shouldn’t you want to see it again instead of having to see it again?”

Tenet

Mr. Nolan, let me take a moment to commend you for your efforts. I love mind-benders. I was your biggest fan while watching Inception (2010). You had the perfect balance of outstanding graphics, edge-of-your-seat thrilling cat and mouse scenes. You had an ensemble cast who all did their part to make the narrative interesting to watch. What worked? Your film had heart. I watched Inception many times because I wanted to. Each viewing brought me pleasure and another detail I’d missed before that raised my esteem for you. Tech + heart + thrilling = An A+ movie. May I suggest, sir, that you remember that formula?

Mr. Nolan, I enjoyed your Dark Knight trilogy. You do have a gift for bringing great talent into the ensemble cast. That’s a strength of yours. Heath Ledger was at his best. I loved Sir Michael Caine as Alfred (I didn’t know he was knighted!) I never tire seeing the faces of Gary Oldman or Tom Hardy or Christian Bale. Marion Cotillard is always mesmerizing. Congratulations.

With regards to Tenet, Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh acted best. Nice Russian accent, Ken. Their relationship was more interesting than the physics involved in the narrative. I suppose that was the “heart” element to focus on when not wondering what the hell was going on with the backward/forward interplay of time. However, I feel John David Washington‘s character was a wasted character. Heck, he didn’t even have a name. Just a secret agent known as “the Protagonist”. I never had a chance to care about him. This would be my biggest complaint with Tenet. Pattison did okay. Sometimes the actor acts; sometimes he’s a bore. I can’t decide how I feel about Robert Pattinson. Now I hear he’ll be the next Batman. Hmm.

In Tenet, the chase scenes involving the time sequences were thrilling and complicated and gorgeous to watch. You are unique and clever. I don’t see how anyone would object to your thrilling scenes. I won’t.

If I ranked Tenet, I’d give it a 7/10.

Mr. Nolan, I think your contribution to cinema is important. I certainly like your work more than I dislike it. After all, you gave us Memento (2000). Guy Pierce was outstanding and the mysterious thriller worked for me. Can you make more of those?

I’ll watch whatever you make,

Cindy Bruchman

P.S. Interstellar was fantastic. Heart–your protagonist had heart! Please don’t get lost in the cold abyss of technology that you forget to give your characters a heart. After all, that’s what makes movies worth watching.

 

2010s, actors, directors, Film Spotlight, movies

Inception

dreams1

What’s the meaning behind the ending?  

Cobb (DiCaprio) wakes up from three layers of a dream, walks through security because of Saito’s magical phone call, acknowledges his dream team at the luggage carousel, sees the faces of his son and daughter, and then spins his totem and leaves the room. It wobbles but doesn’t fall. This closing shot has made view-goers in recent years question the reality of Cobb’s situation, and it’s one reason why I appreciate Christopher Nolan’s script and his message–thrilling movies with substantive scripts are why I love going to the movies.

Christopher Nolan: “I feel that, over time, we started to view reality as the poor cousin to our dreams, in a sense … I want to make the case to you that our dreams, our virtual realities, these abstractions that we enjoy and surround ourselves with, they are subsets of reality.”  (Ben Child, The Guardian, 5 June 2015)

I revisited the 2010 blockbuster Inception the other night and in the five years since its release, five things stood out this time:

Saito_Cobb_Arthur_Dinner
Ken Watanabe as Sait,o Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur, Leo as Cobb

  1. Chris Nolan’s script is intelligent; it’s a fine mind-bender, made more comprehensible when watched a second time. It’s fast paced; you’re pretty sharp in my book if you understood everything after one viewing. Check out these awesome NeoMam Studios INFOGRAPHS
  2. It is a fascinating thriller made more thrilling with Hans Zimmer’s pendulum swinging score.

3. The CGI stands necessary to the film’s effectiveness.  Who hasn’t wanted to climb Escher’s “Penrose Stairs”?

4.   CGI? Chris Nolan? Hans Zimmer? It’s a trifecta of repulsion for some. Why is that?

5. The two female actors, Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard, gave perfect performances. Where is Ellen Page these days? Marion’s Mal was sultry and haunting. It’s only a matter of time before Cotillard wins another Oscar. She’s fantastic in everything she does.

Have you seen Inception lately? What are you favorite scenes?