Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 363: Thu Dec 29

Contact (Zemeckis, 1997) & Interstellar (Nolan, 2014):
Prince Charles Cinema, 5.15pm & 8.15pm

An excellent 35mm double-bill from the great programmers at the Prince Charles.

Chicago Reader review of Contact:
Given that Robert Zemeckis, in his post-Forrest Gump mode, has a clear case of Oscaritis, and that the heaps of piety expended on this ambitious 1998 adaptation of Carl Sagan's SF novel lead to traces of unintentional camp, this is still an adroit and compelling piece of storytelling, well worth anybody's time. Jodie Foster plays a dedicated radio astronomer and atheist who receives the first message from extraterrestrials; Matthew McConaughey (one of the campier elements) portrays a sort of New Age Billy Graham and romantic hunk who helps to negotiate her dealings with Washington, not to mention spirituality and sexuality. Others in the cast include not only James Woods, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, Angela Bassett, and Rob Lowe, but also a host of TV regulars (most of them CNN favorites) playing themselves: Bernard Shaw, Larry King, Bill Clinton (who seems to be taking over the Forrest Gump role), Jay Leno, etc. If indeed the view of reality is strictly CNN, the aesthetics (if not the politics) are strictly Ayn Rand; the otherworldliness manages to be both visually exciting and very southern California. James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg wrote the screenplay, though the late Sagan and his widow Ann Druyan both worked with Zemeckis on the adaptation.
Jonathan Rosenbaum


Chicago Reader review of Interstellar:
On a visual level, Interstellar is an exceptionally well-crafted Hollywood entertainment. Director Christopher Nolan, art director Dean Wolcott, and their effects artists render the imaginary settings in stunning detail. The film is rife with brilliant imagery: a horizon of frozen clouds, an ocean wave as tall as a skyscraper, the flashing interior of a wormhole through which the principal characters fly their spacecraft. The most striking thing about these images is that we’re rarely encouraged to ooh and aah over them; unlike most ambitious space operas since 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Interstellar inspires not wonder but a cool contemplation. Nolan and his brother Jonathan, who cowrote the script, advance a hard-science perspective, incorporating such concepts as the theory of relativity and placing dramatic emphasis on research and problem solving.
Ben Sachs

Here (and above) is the trailer for Interstellar.

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