Tuesday, May 23, 2017

WE RANK 'EM: Ranking Nolan

Who comes to mind when I ask you who the most controversial director working today is? Definitely Christopher Nolan, right? Oh, it's not? Well, to be honest, we didn't think so, either, until the Flock over here basically went all Civil War (I was Cap; Vance was Ant-Man) over his filmography. So we decided to make an accord over the whole business and just rank all his movies. Here they are, ranked from lowest scoring to highest:

(2002) Insomnia 4.4

I've never been a fan of Al Pacino, so I derived some schadenfreude out of seeing him thrash around, sleepless. I, however, wanted nothing more than to fall asleep and forget I ever saw this boring clod of night-soil. -Sean

Terrible remake of an excellent film. -Chloe

Not only does his star Al Pacino, i.e. the most overrated actor of a generation, but it's a crap remake of an excellent Swedish/Norwegian film. Like most remakes, this one should never have been made.  -The G

(2014) Interstellar 

Score: 4.8

I thought this movie was delightful. My quibble with the movie is the quasi supernatural stuff with Cooper and Murphy and how that resolves in the black hole / tesseract / whatever the hell that mess was. I disliked that resolution, but everything else? Wonderful. -Joe

Despite an almost visceral dislike of Matthew McConaughey's smug face, and extreme disappointment with the Soylent Green-like revelation that it's just super-evolved humans, not gods or aliens or anything, who reach through time and tesseracts to save a smirking idiot like him, the world-building is lush, and despite its way-too-long running time, the story is thrumming with tension (thanks, I think, to the excellent use of sound throughout).  -Sean

You want to talk overrated? I'll tell you what's overrated: this steaming pile of hot garbage. I saw it at the Hollywood Cineramadome on opening night, where the crowd tends to be a bit drunk and a bit rowdy. Needless to say, the cringeworthy dialogue elicited laughter on more than one occasion. That said, there might be a good 90 minute movie in this bloated, 169 minute monstrosity. Just terrible.  -The G

One of the five worst movies I have ever seen. I would give it a negative rating if I could. Boring, pretentious, and comically inept. Any smart science is lost in how stupid this movie is. -Dean

(2012) The Dark Knight Rises 

Score: 6.2

It had all the problems of Dark Knight (the all-or-nothing morality, etc.) and more: a totally gratuitous femme fatale in the underutilized Marion Cotillard, the 'reveal' of her true colors about as exciting as a mid-career M. Night Shymalan twist. Unfortunately, it also had little of interest; I was cheering for Bane. -Sean

I'm not really sure what the complaints are all about. -Joe (I'll fill you in- Dean)

(2005) Batman Begins 

Score: 6.5

I hate prolonged origin stories and that's what this film is all about. Plus the growl voice is super lame. -The G

I really enjoyed this when it came out. It was the first time I saw anybody own onscreen how psychologically screwed up Bruce Wayne is, and I dug that. -Vance

It's Batman. Origin stories are so unnecessary at this point. -Joe

(1998) Following 

Score: 6.8

I walked away from this movie thinking, "Yeah, that was good," not thinking, "Yeah, that was pretty good for spending no money except on film stock," and that's a true testament to what this film gets right. I could write an essay about how hard it is to accomplish something like this in the way Nolan & crew accomplished it, but I'll just say it's a hell of a first at-bat. -Vance

An extraordinary first effort, cinematographic gold despite the tiny budget, this put the world on notice to expect great things from Nolan. -Sean

(2010) Inception 

Score: 7.2

An OK film that I think gets remembered more for the ending than the actual movie. Great visuals and performances (bonus for basically making the US aware of Tom Hardy) -Dean

It doesn't really make sense, but it's beautiful and strange, and really, what more do we want in a good film than that? -Sean

For years, I had an ongoing Surrealist art project with a friend, so I'm a sucker for dream stuff. This was a big-budget movie that -- while not deep -- was at least thoughtful, and not based on a franchise. It's the kind of movie I wish there were many more of. -Vance

(2006) The Prestige 

Score: 7.5

Awful adaptation of a great book, knows nothing about stage magic, empty af (But David Bowie) -Chloe

One of my all-time favorite movies. Great writing, direction and performances throughout. -Dean

(2008) The Dark Knight 

Score: 7.6

An excellent superhero film, and it has a really badass score too. A bit empty, but remember--this is a superhero film. They are all empty. I loved both villains. -The G

This is about as good as a superhero movie can be, really. Of course the morality is laughably black and white, but it's got twists, it's got turns; you'll laugh, you'll cry--it was better than Cats! -Sean

I know I'm in the minority. Yes, Heath Ledger is great, but the repeated "Save one or the other" plot device bored me, and I have a kid who was the same age as Gordon's, so watching Dent hold a gun to his head for 19 hours (felt like it) was unbearable. A profoundly negative theatrical experience for me. -Vance

I love this movie- academically. It does so many thing right, and well, and Ledger is amazing. Then I re-watched it the other day, and does anyone else remember that this movie is eight hours long? No matter how good your movie is, if the audience is checking their watch with 45 minutes to go, it's too long and too overstuffed. And that is with a lot of very tight editing. -Dean

(2000) Memento 

Score: 8.4

Great idea, interesting filmwork and editing, GUY PIERCE -Chloe

A film so good it was unsettling, thanks to Nolan's technical skill: imagine this story in the hands of a more established (at that time) director! -Sean

Enjoyed this one when it came out; saw it again a few years ago and felt it mostly held up. -The G  

Those are our thoughts on Christopher Nolan's films- what are yours? Chime in!