Monday, July 16, 2012

the Directors: Christopher Nolan


I have yet to see a Christopher Nolan film that I consider good. From my estimation, the man has no idea how to make a good movie; instead, he makes thrilling spectacles of visual wonder. Whether he's playing with linear narrative in a tiny indie thriller, or showing us what a dream within a dream within a dream (within a dream) looks like, Nolan’s movies always have a way of displaying something new.

Most filmmakers with his technical skill rely on just that, technical prowess to tell the story. Nolan’s too smart of that. Like his idol, Stanley Kubrick, Nolan’s films are aesthetically stunning, but smarter than all hell. I sure hope readers enjoy seeing the letter A in bold, because that’s much of what is to follow. Nolan’s movies aren’t good, they’re otherworldly. Here’s why.


Following (1998)
Following is a microbudget, black and white modern day noir in which a man’s innocent hobby catches up with him in the worst possible way.

The Young Man (as he is only known) spends the better part of his days following people around. He doesn’t do this to be creepy or gain knowledge about the person he’s tracking, he just does it to pass the time. When his most recent followee, a thief named Cobb, notices The Young Man tracking him, Cobb invites his follower to join him on some thefts. And, well, shit. At 69 minutes long, there’s not much more I’m comfortable divulging about this film. What's fascinating about Following is that it so clearly displays the immense talent within its creator. It’s a simple, stealthy little movie that deserves to be seen by even the slightest Nolan admirer. A-

Memento (2001)
In early 2010, I called Memento one of Top 10 films of the 2000s, a listing I proudly stand by today. I’ll never forgot the first time I saw Nolan’s ingenious thriller: I went to an indie theater in DC and, without knowing a single thing about it, puzzingly watched Memento unfold before my eyes. It took my about 45 minutes to figure out that the movie was playing in reverse, and once I did, it was impossible for me to catch back up. So, as soon as the movie was finished, I bought a ticket for the next show and watched it again.

And that’s the beauty of Memento: every single time you watch it, there is more to gain. You notice something that wasn’t there, or realize that a single spoken word can completely change your perception of a character. Up until its release, I had never seen a film remotely like Memento. Since then, many films have tried (and failed) to duplicate its style, but no matter, so long as people return to the source, they are in for one of the smartest suspense thrillers in recent memory. If not ever.

Sorry, I haven’t even described what the film is about. And you know what, I’m not going to. If you haven’t seen this movie, know that I cannot recommend it highly enough. The tight script, the revelatory structure, the faithful acting, the haunting score, the cold cinematography – it’s all perfect. If you have seen Memento, then, well, it’s probably time to see it again. Because really, there’s never a bad time to watch this movie. Now, where was I? A+

Insomnia (2002)
I’ve always been a fan of Nolan's fantastic crime thriller, Insomnia, but with every passing viewing, I find myself infinitely more taken with it. Its beautiful construction, its solid acting… it makes a perfect companion piece to Memento, which is as fine a compliment as I can give any thriller.

LA cop Will Dormer (Al Pacino, who hasn’t been as good since) is flown to Alaska to assist in solving the murder of a 17-year-old girl. Roughly 45 minutes into the film, he knows who the killer is, and, better yet, the killer knows it. But, because the murderer (played by an arguable career-best Robin Williams) has dirt on Will that the cop doesn’t want revealed, the two spend the duration of the film gloriously going round and round. To add to the frenzy, Will finds himself unable to acclimate to Alaska’s current 24-hour sunlight season, which slowly eats away at his sanity.

Insomnia is the rarest of films: it’s an upgraded remake (of Erik Skjoldbj√¶rg’s very fine 1997 film), it contains a perfect old Pacino performance, a flawless, in-no-way-humorous Robin Williams performance, and it’s a follow-up to the director’s masterful film. Basically, despite the fact that Insomnia had everything working against it, it does not falter one bit, then or now. A

Batman Begins (2005)
There’s no need to beat around the bush here: Batman Begins completely revolutionized the comic book movie. It proved that a genre designated for fluffy, over glossed works of pulp fiction can be intelligent, fierce, and magically dark. Nolan was an admitted comic book novice when he signed on to helm Batman Begins, and that’s precisely what the film needed: someone to throw tradition aside and give the material a fresh spin.

Christian Bale fits seamlessly into the role of Bruce Wayne, nailing his abused torment, subtle sarcasm and dry wit better than any actor before him. And as Batman, well, I know some people take issue with Bale’s voice when he dons the cape, but I think it is iconically badass.

Aside from Bale and the other actors involved (who are all stellar), Batman Begins contains a fluid, engaging story (two words I would not use to describe most films of this sort), minimal special effects to achieve its stunts, and a style all its own. Coherent, fun, and never remotely close to insulting our intelligence. B+

The Prestige (2006)
Last week, as I watched The Prestige for the first time in years, I tweeted my admiration for the film, calling it one of Nolan’s best. Within 10 minutes, I had received dozens of tweets from people who downright hate the movie, which honestly stunned me to no end. Don’t get me wrong, every person is entitled to their own opinion. If you hate a movie then you hate a movie. Fair enough. I just had no idea that so many people hated this movie.

I’ve always considered Nolan’s tale of two battling magicians to be as fine and twisty as anything he’s done. It’s an amusing, non-linear story of competition that never dares to let me fully comprehend it. I like it. A lot. And I suppose I foolishly assumed others did too. Most everyone who told me they don’t care for the film said it was due to its ending, which I won’t dare reveal here. That’ll come on Thursday. For now, let me say that I consider The Prestige to be an incredibly intelligent film about an incredibly oversaturated concept (that of dueling professionals, and magicians in general). There’s simply nothing I don’t love about it. A

The Dark Knight (2008)
Expectations for this follow-up to Batman Begins couldn’t have been higher. And I say with complete confidence that when Heath Ledger removed his mask and told William Fincher that whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you… stranger, all expectations were completely shattered.

The make-up, the mannerisms, the score, the bass in Ledger’s voice – it’s fucking perfect, something that will be forever imprinted in my movie freaked mind.

If Nolan revolutionized the comic book movie with Batman Begins, then he completely redefined it with The Dark Knight. Everything about it bleeds perfection. It is a master at the top of his game, effortlessly flexing his limitless skill. The action sequences, the deception, the acting, the villainy, Wally Pfister’s ice cold lensing – much has been written about the achievements of The Dark Knight, and this brief review is, quite simply, more of the same. Will The Dark Knight Rises be better? Honestly, I doubt it. But hell, how could it be? A

Inception (2010)
As he got close to wrapping Insomnia, Nolan pitched the concept of his next movie, Inception to Warner Bros., who said they were eager to read a script. Nolan promised them a draft as soon as Insomnia was finished, and nearly 10 years later, Inception finally hit the screens. And if you think about it, it's completely understandable that Nolan took so long to develop such a remarkable film. If he changed anything (literally… anything), then that would alter the entire script. A new line of dialogue, an added subtle gesture, Inception is a series of chain reactions unveiling before us, and to amend one of them in the slightest is to change the path entirely.

Making a movie about dreams lends itself to so many opportunities, because, really, a dream can be anything, and when filmed, you can do anything with it. What Inception gets right is its immaculate leveling of restrain and bombast. It knows when to hush, and it knows when to huff and puff.

Like virtually every other film on this list, the first time I saw Inception, I sat dumbfounded in amazement. Not since 2001: A Space Odyssey had I witnessed a natural phenomenon like gravity used as effectively as it was here. I knew, in that first viewing, that I was watching something that would stand the test of time. It would go on to evoke its fair share of detractors, sure, but Inception is the kind of movie we’re going to be talking about as long as we’re talking about movies. It’s the difference between science fiction and sci-fi. It is, may I dare say, a game changer to the film artform. A

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Four more days, folks. Four. More. Days.

In Summation
Masterful
Memento
Inception

Great
Following
Insomnia
Batman Begins
The Prestige
The Dark Knight

Good
None

Eh
None

Just Plain Bad
None

Previous Director Profiles include:
Steven Spielberg
Oliver Stone

Next on the Week of Nolan:
Tuesday July 17
My Favorite Scene: Inception

Wednesday July 18
In Character: ???

Thursday July 19
The Polarization of The Prestige

Friday July 20
My Favorite Scene: Insomnia

Saturday July 21
Review of The Dark Knight Rises

Sunday July 22
Why You Need to Follow Following

68 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. That's damn right. Praise his light.

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  2. Alex, my man, this is why Nolan is an innovator of his craft. He brought the 'noir' genre all the back from the grave, but added his own style, flare and made it his own. I think where 'The Prestige' gets it's detractors from is that there are too much suspension of disbelief moments in a movie grounded in exposing magician's tricks, i.e there is a twin Hugh Jackman just in town, the transportation machine, the end with Bale's reveal. I still agree it's a great movie of how a grudge can escalate into madness, just I see where the people that don't like it come from. I look forward to more of 'Nolan Week'. Oh, and please for the love of god see 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' I want to read your thoughts on that one.

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    1. I saw Beasts of the Southern Wild last week! LOVED it. Gonna post my review once this Week of Nolan has concluded.

      I agree with everything you said about The Prestige. Yeah, I love the hell out of that movie, but I can now see why people dislike it, for all the movies you mentioned.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, always love finding new Nolan admirers out there!

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  3. YES, I have another Nolan lover! There are so many who hate him (and I don't like those people), but to me, he's just a genius. Nolan week is going to be so awesome! I'll be doing a Nolan retrospective on Thursday, before I see The Dark Knight Rises. I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!

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    1. Nice! Nolan fans, unite! I honestly had no idea so many people hated him before last week. But oh well, we like who we like. I think he's a humble genius, and I just adore his work. Looking forward to your retrospective!

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  4. Great piece my friend...

    Here's my list of Nolan's films from best to worst so far. It will change this weekend. I'll get my ticket for a Saturday/Sunday morning screening.

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    1. Thanks buddy... gonna give your list a thorough read with fresh eyes tomorrow. Thanks for letting me know you posted it!

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  5. I really like both the format and content of your director profiles. I didn't love Inception as much as everyone else seems to. I think part of the problem might have been that my expectations were too high. Memento, on the other hand, is one of my all-time favorites. I think it's absolutely brilliant.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! I think Inception has as many detractors as lovers. Maybe it's expectations, maybe it's boredom - either way, I love it to death. Glad we agree on Memento! I'll love that film forever.

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    2. I think part of my issue with Inception was expectations. I was expecting something surprising and mind-bending, and in the latter part of the film it just seemed to morph into an action movie. Glad you loved it. :-) BTW, my daughter and I saw an animated movie called Paprika. it had a similar premise to Inception, and we actually enjoyed it more. I was curious whether you've seen it.

      And yes, I'll love Memento forever. ;-)

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    3. No I haven't seen Paprika, but I've heard that parts are similar to Inception. Definitely going to scout that one out. PS, are you on Twitter, because you definitely should be!

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  6. I have yet to see Following, but other than that I saw all of his movies. I'm glad you liked Insomnia, I love the cinematography, editing and Pacino's work there - it's really a great performance, something he doesn't give us often anymore. I thought it was really a fantastic depiction of the titular insomnia - with all the quick cuts to how the character is percieving the world.

    However there is some sort of shift in Nolan's work after the great Prestige - he seems to have too much - too much money, too many actors, too many story acts - and in 3rd acts his films lose a lot. TDK's third act with the ferries, sonar and Two Face was quite simply embarassing for me to see. It was such lazy writing. And Ledger was so incredibly good that comparing to him everything in the film was forgettable. It's such a shame because he really can make a great film - the only thing I didn't like in The Prestige was Johansson and apart from that it was simply flawless. I can't believe people are complaining about the ending! It was chilling - truly showed the sacrifice of one of those men.

    Then was Inception which had the same problem as TDK- it had great story and wonderful first 2 acts but the 3 act apart from the ending...the whole snow sequence is probably the least imaginative thing out of all his movies. It's a rare thing when I really want to like the film and I'm sure it will be great and I'm wrong. Sadly Inception marked the time I was wrong.

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    1. Love everything you mentioned about Insomnia... those quick jump cuts are such a perfect touch for the material.

      Really interesting comments about the third acts of his later films. I definitely think the final acts of both of those movies are nowhere near as great as what comes before, but I do like them all the same.

      Johansson is a tad weak in The Prestige, but like you, I think it's inventive and truly great. Ahhh, I really hope TDKR is good!

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  7. He is the Man !! There is a reason why there is so much anticipation every time this guy makes a movie. Your rating pretty much says why. Just Good is New Bad for him. I simply can not remember a director who delivered such a quality movie after movie. Can Not Wait for Friday !!

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    1. Sounds like you and I agree wholeheartedly on the work of the great Christopher Nolan, which is totally awesome. So pumped for TDKR!

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  8. Great piece my friend. You are more excited about TDKR than I am, but I have just been let down (again) by TDK ;-)

    I LOVE Memento and Inception, and I think Insomnia is an excellent thriller so I greatly admire Nolan's work, I just find that a few of his films don't hold up as well outside of the big screen. The ones I mentioned did for me. The Prestige didn't, and neither has TDK. Here's how I'd rate them.

    Memento - 5 (A)
    Insomnia - 4 (B+)
    Batman Begins - 4 (B+)
    The Prestige - 3 (B-)
    The Dark Knight - 3 (B-)
    Inception - 5 (A)
    TDKR - ??? (Thursday!)

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    1. Man, this is just all over the place haha. Seems like Memento and Insomnia are his only real safe films. Most people seem to have problems with one or all of the others. Guess I'm one of the few who's taken with it all! Thanks for sharing your grades, I always love seeing your ratings.

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  9. Nolan is almost indescribably brilliant. I have to agree with you, I can't understand why people don't like The Prestige. It might actually be my favorite Nolan movie, which is saying something because I love everything he's done. I think what puts that movie over the top for me is David Bowie and that Nolan rewards the watchers who are really looking.

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    1. Dude I love Bowie's work in The Prestige, and I agree that his presence sends it to the next level. Glad we agree on his work, hope you're excited for TDKR!

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  10. I must admit that I tried to watch Following but I couldn't get into it. I'll need to try again. Just watched Batman Beings and TDK again over the weekend and I was impressed by how well they connect (I just looked up at the TV and a preview for TDKR was playing).

    Memento is good. Insomnia is great ("Don't lose your way.") The original with Skarsgard is in my Netflix queue and I've been meaning to watch it. I saw your tweets on The Prestige. Truthfully I've only seen it the one time but I definitely don't hate it. Inception is a damn fine film and I'll be watching it for years to come.

    Can't wait for 11:00 p.m. Friday, already have my ticket.

    Great post, my friend.

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    1. Ha, don't you love little coincidences like that? You're writing about a movie and then it's just... there.

      Man, I loved Insomnia upon rewatching it over the weekend, such a great film. Seems like you're a pretty solid Nolan fan. Friday can't some soon enough.

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  11. Brilliant post!
    My favourite Nolan film is The Dark Knight. It's just such a smart movie. I guess he has made smarter films, but none with a character like the Joker. I love villains, and as amazing as Ledger's performance was, it was Nolan's vision that brought us such a total crazy badass. And I happen to love the whole ferries part, and why that sets the Nolan's Batman films apart since everyone else will be all 'tit for tat' in the situation, and he attempts to bring out the humanity in people.
    I love Memento and Inception too. Still haven't seen Following :/

    I won't count Nolan as one of my most favourite filmmakers, but the fact is that he is the king of the smart blockbuster, which is awesome!

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    1. I'm surprised (and happy) to hear you're such a Nolan fan given your distaste for The Prestige, but hey, any fan of Memento, Inception and TDK is all right with me! I like the ferry scenes as well for exactly the reason you mentioned. I love how he subtly throws stereotypes on their ass, like a big, black prisoner doing what's right. That's always worked for me.

      Sooo curious to read your stuff come Thursday.

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  12. After reading this amazing post I need to watch some of his films.

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    1. Thanks man! I can't recommend Nolan's films highly enough, especially Memento.

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  13. Great post! I dig your blog especially your "The Directors" series seeing as we like many of the same filmmakers. I am a huge fan of Nolan's films, especially "The Prestige" and "Inception". I didn't love "Memento" as much as everyone else seems to but maybe I just wasn't in the right mood. I'll probably give it a rewatch soon seeing as I just bought a Christopher Nolan bly-ray box set from Costco. With those to look forward to (especially "Insomnia", haven't heard much about it but it sounds great) and "The Dark Knight Rises" coming out on Friday its looking to be a good week.

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    1. Thanks man, and thanks for stopping by and commenting! Glad to hear you're a Nolan fan. Memento is definitely one that I appreciate more and more over time (I am much more fond of it today than I was in 2001). Hope you dig Insomnia, it's a great little crime thriller.

      A good week indeed!

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  14. Been swamped since yesterday, but finally made it here. Fantastic write-up! I haven't seen a Nolan film I dislike. The guy just makes awesome movies, and this is a great profile of his already stellar career. Plus, it makes me want to watch Insomnia again because I haven't seen it in years. I might re-watch Memento too, but the film looses a bit of its luster every time I see it. Great start to the week of Nolan man.

    For kicks:

    Following - A+
    The Prestige - A+
    Batman Begins - A
    Inception - A
    Memento - A
    The Dark Knight - A
    Insomnia - B+

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    1. Thanks Josh! Looks like you and I are more or less right on point with our Nolan admiration, which is bitchin'. Love your post about why you consider Following his best. That is one I appreciate more with each viewing. I'm excited for tomorrow's post!

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    2. Thanks for the appreciation. I'd been tweaking the Following post for two weeks and debating on whether or not to post it. Glad you liked it so much.

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    3. Duuude you're crazy! Don't EVER think twice about posting stuff like that. It was awesome man.

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    4. Thanks man. I'll keep that in mind then.

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  15. Great capsule reviews, and I agree Nolan’s movies always have a way of displaying something new. I haven't seen Insomnia in ages, should put that right. Can’t wait to read your review of The Dark Knight, and DKR of course!
    On the one hand I admire Christopher Nolan for going to the big studios and convincing them to finance these thought-provoking blockbusters.
    On the other hand I would like to see him mix it up and direct smaller films like Memento again. I'm not saying I don't like big explosions, but I don't mind that he tries other projects too.

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    1. You know what, I actually couldn't agree more with you. I would kill to see Nolan make a $10 million Memento-ish mystery thriller. He has it in him, and who knows, maybe after the wham bang boom of TDKR, he'll be craving something smaller. I'd be completely open to it.

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  16. Memento is easily his best film, but that's not to say is other films aren't winners as well. I think it would be interesting to see him scale it back down to something along the lines of The Prestige again.

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    1. Yup, agree on all fronts - Memento is his best, and it'd be awesome to see him scale back for a feature (or two).

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  17. No mention of Doodlebug? It shows so much of the promise of things to come! Memento is my number one but I love them all. Actually Following is my least favourite. I'm more excited about TDKR than I ever have been about a comic book film!

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    1. I was going to mention Doodlebug but I'll probably cover it in my Anthology Breakdown column later on. It is a groovy little short though, isn't it? Dude, I'm crazy pumped about TDKR!

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  18. Wow, great post Alex! From your line in first paragraph "...the man has no idea how to make a good movie..." I thought you're gonna dis the director. Glad you rated Insomnia highly as well, it's kind of an underrated one from him but it's in my top 5 favorite Nolan movies.

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    1. Thanks Ruth! Yeah I was trying to start things off with a little deception there ;)

      I love Insomnia, a perfect crime thriller, in my opinion. Nolan is the man!

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  19. Great writeup, Alex. Your post has given me a stern reminder that I sorely need to go back and revisit most of Nolan's filmography. I haven't seen Memento or Insomnia in years, and I still want to re-watch the Batman films before catching TDKR. The only films from him that I haven't been entirely smitten with are Insomnia and Inception, but I suspect I will enjoy them more the second time around.

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    1. Thanks Eric! That's what I always find - that when I revisit his films, I appreciate them a little more everytime. But that's just me. I'm a huge admirer of what he does.

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  20. Saw The Dark Knight Rises last night... was it better than TDK? I'm not sure, but quite likely equal on different terms. I need to see it a 2nd time (IMAX this time, for both a 2nd viewing and the IMAX experience) in order to make a fair assessment. There's a lot going on and I had high schooler literally surrounding me, so their occasional comments made Tom Hardy's accent a little tough to understand (he's even said it takes getting used to, as it's based on an Irish gypsy).

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    1. Can't believe I missed this initial comment. Oops!

      I need to ask you which one you like better, now that all these months have gone by. Me? I think I still go TDK, for Ledger alone.

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  21. Fantastic review of an amazing director.
    I just wanted to comment on The Prestige in particular. I too rate it highly and find it hilarious that people hate the ending. I don't think it is the ending they hate, it's the fact that they were fooled. The answer is so obvious it is infuriating, and I love that. I didn't guess the twist(s) and I'm glad I didn't, because you appreciate what Nolan did more.
    He is a cinematic magician.

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    1. Hey man, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

      You know what, I think I might just have to agree with you. While I'd never assume why someone dislikes a movie, I do agree that many people straight up hate to be fooled. Me? Hey, if it's smart, I always welcome some trickery. Love that film.

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  22. In 2014, I'm attempting to watch a movie every day. For the first sixteen days, I watched Kubrick's entire filmography. I am now in the process of watching all of Nolan's films. I still have two left to watch, but I've seen them both already. Here's how I rank Christopher Nolan's films:

    1) Memento
    2) The Dark Knight
    3) Inception
    4) The Prestige
    5) The Dark Knight Rises
    6) Batman Begins
    7) Following
    8) Insomnia

    Up next, I'll be watching all of the films of Paul Thomas Anderson (I've already seen all but Boogie Nights and Magnolia). Then in February, I will be watching all 2014 Oscar nominated movies.

    Basically, every second month, I'll be watching all of the films of certain directors. In March, it will be Krzysztof Kieslowski and David Lynch. The other half of the months, I will have a different theme.

    Examples being:
    i) Decades - a film from each decade from the 1920's to the 2010's, three times over.
    ii) 30 Films from 30 Countries - Pretty self-explanatory. I will watch one movie from thirty different countries over the course of a month.
    iii) In December, I will watch films released in 2014 that I want to see.

    So, do you have any ideas for other themes? Or directors? The directors I already have are: Terrence Malick, Richard Linklater, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, The Coen Brothers, David Fincher, Michael Haneke, Quentin Tarantino, and Ingmar Bergman. Any era is great.

    Sorry for the long comment. Thanks.

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    1. That's a great goal. You're going to love your Kieslowski and Lynch months. In terms of themes... I'm honestly not a theme guy. When I make a list, I get theme oriented, but in terms of binge watching, I've never viewed flicks that define a certain theme. Now, I am, obviously, a BIG fan of watching a director's entire body of work. The filmography that has benefit me most is easily Bergman's. It is varied, but so essential.

      But yeah, watching films from every decade and/or as many countries as possible is always a great idea. I really look forward to what you have to say about some of the directors you're watching soon.

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  23. I love Nolan, but i'm glad he's done with the Batman movies now. Not that they are bad, but his original movies are just so much better. I'll take The Prestige and Inception over The Dark Knight any day. It also seemed like he had given up by The Dark Knight Rises. That was the first movie from Nolan i just did not like. It felt so sloppy. Especially for a Nolan movie. There were so many plot holes and stupid character decisions that i could not believe it was made by the same guy as the previous two. It felt like when Brett Ratner took over for Bryan Singer with the X-Men movies. But at least Interstellar looks amazing. I can't wait for that one.

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    1. I've loved every film Nolan has made, but I too am glad he's moved on from Batman. I'm so excited for Interstellar and whatever else he cooks up in his career. Is there a director making better huge movies right now?

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  24. Interstllar! Wow, was epic. Could you update this profile and ad Interstellar? And, if you can, could you update the Scorsese, Coen and Fincher profiles as well?

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    1. You know, I decided a while ago to not update these profiles, because I want them to act as a sort of time capsule, you know? That's why I don't update the formatting on those posts either. I like to track how I've grown as a writing/designer.

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    2. Okey, but can you include another page for you ALL review. A page like My Filmmaking, the Directors, Lists, etc.

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    3. That actually is something I need to do. Like ASAP. Do you think I should separate them by grade? Or just list them all in alphabetical order?

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    4. I think by the year release is better.

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    5. Hmm tough call. I may just do it by letter. A's - everything that begins with a, B's - everything that begins with b, and so on. Might be easier to find films that way, you know? Plus, my thoughts on a lot of my older reviews have changed. Tough call!

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  25. My Favorite Nolan films would (in order):
    The Dark Knight - the best superhero film ever
    Interstellar - the best sci-fi ever, but many flaws
    Memento - an excelent film, but for me it was too small
    Inception - absolute brilliant, but over complicated and too overrated
    The Prestige - it was awesome, but I liked more The Ilusionist
    Insomnia - the last great film with Al Pacino, but I liked more (not much) the original
    Batman Begins&The Dark Knight Rises - are both good, but too many flaws(The Desert)
    Following - maybe too fency for me.

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    1. Good stuff. I absolutely loved Interstellar.

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    2. Interesting picks. I suggest you see more sci fi ;)
      All kidding aside, the guy is yet to make a bad film- even if his notoriously rabid fanboys (not base, the guys in the comments here have some intriguing things to say) and massively overrated reception puts me off a little.

      I have to agree with you Alex, Memento certainly is his best film- and I doubt any more he makes will surpass it- a work of superb writing prowess. Its a shame that 'too small' is a criticism above. Just because a man makes such colossal films now, does not de-value the smaller pics, at least to me. If anything, its easier to persuade an audience to like a film because it is 'epic' than impress them with smaller-scale stuff.

      My favorite film of his is Memento, by far. The others... I enjoy. Some of them are drifting around my 600 mark (my list only holds just over 650 films :p) but never bad.

      The next Kubrick? God no. A good film-maker? One of the guiding lights in contemporary film, at least among most of the blockbuster drivel that is released.

      I cant stay with you on all directors you like (Loathe pretty much everything Oliver Stone and find everything Ridley Scott did outside of Blade Runner lacking any luster) but since reading your posts and re-watching the films, I can look a little further past the fetid cloud of fan-rage that sadly hangs above a lot of his films nowadays.

      Nice post. Look forward to Sergio Leone, Kurosawa, Tarkovsky and of course Bergman. Take your time man ;D

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    3. Typically, if a director starts with indie flicks then moves to blockbusters, I'm still usually drawn to their smaller work. Nolan, Memento; Jon Favreau, Made; Bryan Singer, The Usual Suspects; Doug Liman, Swigners; Joe Carnahan, Narc; Justin Lin, Better Luck Tomorrow - and on and on.

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    4. Certainly. Me too. Limitation forces creativity and I love that about movies. Hell- look at Eraserhead (not for too long though :/)

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    5. Yeah exactly. Totally agree there. I mean, of course there are plenty of bad micro-budget movies, but there are a ton of bad big ones too.

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  26. I finally summed up the courage to cover the guy. Not easy considering my 'past' with Nolan as discussed in the post but I'm glad to have seen all the films again and really made my peace with them.

    http://musicmotionmadnessfilm.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/director-retrospectives-christopher.html#more

    Also, if its planned, who's going to be the subject of your next director post?

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    1. Awesome, can't wait to give this a read. Man, I have so little free time nowadays, it is difficult to commit the hours to covering an entire body of work. I still wanna do Bergman though. I mean, I HAVE to do that one soon!

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    2. Aha good luck with that. I've only seen about 30 of his over the last few years and that was a STRETCH in itself. Just keep at it and enjoy your own work as well man- Loved Fossils!

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    3. Thanks dude! Really appreciate you watching.

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