An impossible to summarize movie. Something about time travel.
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki
Review by Jon Kissel
Tenet is a film that finds its director giving into his most irritating tendency. Christopher Nolan has never been able to judiciously parcel out his exposition dumps, and this is the most clunky and dense of his films. Inception and Interstellar at least had recognizable rules and stakes. Tenet is a series of unmotivated decisions that occur because some offscreen future version of the characters dictate that they must, a film obsessed with plot and uninterested in making the audience care what happens, a story whose most interesting ideas could be lifted out of it with no impact. Nolan clearly wants viewers to watch Tenet over and over again so they can decipher the machinations and the visual cues, but why would anyone put themselves through this disorienting headache of a trial for a second time? Congratulations on your 5000-piece jigsaw puzzle, Nolan, but maybe make it a picture of something more interesting than a brick wall.
The legend of Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, holds that he consulted the wise algorithm for ideas about what original programming to produce, and he discovered that subscribers loved Kevin Spacey and David Fincher. Voila, House of Cards is born. Seven years later, Spacey has a lesser Q-rating, but the same smell of calculated imitation is all over Freaks. A hearty base of Stranger Things, some Dogtooth for indie cred, a seasoning of contemporary buzzwords for political relevance, and there’s your movie. Directors Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky have enough pull to entice well-known actors, and that seems to be the only reason this was released in theaters instead of buried on the SyFy channel.
As the fourth Star Wars film in four years, the troubled production that was Han Solo’s origin story is the sore thumb of the bunch. While each previous film has its detractors, some louder than others, Solo is the film whose critical dismissal and lackluster commercial haul was striking enough to push the giant ship of Disney away from continued annual returns to George Lucas’ universe. The energy of Solo itself is like a self-fulfilling prophecy, such that the actors and filmmakers may have anticipated how their work was going to be received, put their heads down, and made it to the final frame. From Ron Howard on down, no one seems creatively inspired or happy to be here, resulting in a film that has little impact after the credits roll.
The Iron Giant takes place back when America was great, and all that that implies. Monochromatic coastal hamlets, packed diners, and comfortable blue collar work keep everyone happy and docile, painting a picture of ideal life with no conflict or disagreement. This bubble is in danger of popping from contagions all around. Sputnik beeps across the upper atmosphere. A filthy beatnik is running the scrap yard. Most of all, a sentient robot alien is romping through the forest, chomping on cars and recklessly exploring. Brad Bird’s stellar debut uses these interlopers to tell a big-hearted story of courage and wisdom. He mixes cultural commentary on an insular and paranoid time with the kind of raw emotion and epiphany that works so well on this viewer.
One of the most successful books in recent memory, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One pays homage to all things nerd culture of the 1980’s through the guise of the most important man in its dystopian future setting, James Halliday, and the virtual world he created, The Oasis. As with any book adaptation, there’s always a question on how it will translate to the big screen. This was especially the case here, with wall-to-wall pop culture references and a wide assortment of locales experienced in the book. While Steven Spielberg’s adaptation largely throws many of the book’s events out the window, the movie still retains many of the important touchpoints of the book and while the execution seems a bit forced at times, it’s hard for anyone not to enjoy this movie.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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