And right in the middle of the Austrian dangling train car scene, arguably the biggest wowser super-climax in the whole damn 27-year-old franchise, a 40something beefalo who’d almost certainly been gulping a 36-ounce soft drink, bolted out of his seat to run to the bathroom. He ran back in just when the last car has fallen and everyone was safe. Brilliant timing!
Even if, you know, it doesn’t quite manage to do the thing that you might want it to do.
See how this works? In the space of a single day Oppenheimer has suddenly become a more sympathetic contender in the Barbenheimer equation because everyone knows it won’t perform as well. It’s now The Little IMAX Engine That Could.
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Paul King‘s Wonka (Warner Bros., 12.15) is obviously an exercise in charmed whimsical fantasy. But it is, apparently, set in 1950s England. (Clearly indicated by the cars and clothing worn by extras.) It serves as a prequel to Roald Dahl‘s 1964 novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
It’s not really 1950s England as it actually was, of course. It’s 1950s England by way of diverse presentism. And only a truly foul and poisoned person would even mention this obvious fact.
Timothee Chalamet, Keegan-Michael Key, Rowan Atkinson, Sally Hawkins, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant and Jim Carter.
Everyone who cares about first-rate, upscale, drop-your-pants cinema will soon be seeing Oppenheimer (Universal, 7.21), and the vast majority will almost certainly love it for various smart-guy reasons — the intense Nolan-esque focus, the mindblowing visual scale, the fierce ambition, the psychological intensity.
I’m certainly not expecting it to be any kind of financial shortfaller, although I suspect it will register with a fair percentage of the viewing public as not escapist enough but that’s fine — who wants brainless escapism from an effete aesthete like Chris Nolan?
But I had to laugh this morning when I read a one-word comment on Jordan Ruimy’s World of Reel site…written by a guy I don’t know (and probably don’t want to know) called “Hannibal Lolocaust”.
The morning actually started with two dismaying Letterboxd grades from a couple of French critics who saw Oppenheimer in Paris this morning, named “peachfuzz” (i.e., Emmanuel van Elslande) and Nathanael Bentura. The former gave it 3.5 stars out of five; Bentura gave it 3 stars. Obviously the opinions of two small-time French guys is statistically insignificant, but if I were Nolan I’d be going “hmmm.” Just a little bit. Especially when you add that tweet from Sean Nyberg.
Why isn’t someone saying it’s an ecstasy pill…a profoundly fascinating journey? I know, I know — Kenny Turan was very impressed.
Here’s another fellow who was favorably impressed: “It is very destabilizing. It’s very long with multiple movies in one, but in the end it’s pure Nolan. Quite fascinating. I don’t want to oversell it either, but it’s at the top of the basket of Nolan films, I would say.”
What does “very destabilizing” mean, I wonder? Not following a clean narrative line or something?
Turan: “Arguably Nolan’s most impressive work yet in the way it combines his acknowledged visual mastery with one of the deepest character dives in recent American cinema, Oppenheimer demanded to be explored on its own [terms] with as much depth as possible.”
HE to friendo: “What the hell is Kenny actually saying? Deep character dive. What, in a submersible?”
Friendo to HE: “It’s largely a character study, apparently.”
HE to friendo: “Jesus, now it’s starting to sounmd like a chore to sit through. From everything I’ve read and watched J. Robert Oppenheimer has always struck me as a gifted genius physicist, but deep down he was a strand of overcooked fettucini. Sensitive to a fault. Who wants to hang out for three hours with a guilt-stricken weeny?”
Friendo to HE: “The embargo lifts at 5:30 pm today. Right after the Paris premiere.”
HE to friendo: “Pack your bags, kids! We’re all going on a long Oppenheimer guilt trip…a deep dive into the Cillian Murphy guilt swamp…splashing around in that swamp like Bela Lugosi in Bride of the Monster…just kidding. And yet, as I’ve said two or three times, WITHOUT showing what actually happened, horrifically, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 8.6.45 and 8.9.45. What about the incidental fact that the Japanese bad guys, obstinate and fanatical to an agonizing fault, had to be defeated, and as ghastly and horrific as the atom bomb was, those two homicidal explosions ended the war with Japan? Naahh, the Murphy guilt swamp is more compelling.”
Friendo to HE: “I don’t think Nolan just focuses on the A-bomb. He zeroes in on Oppie’s destructive obsessive nature as a man.”
HE to friendo: “Yeah, I’m getting that.”
Friendo to HE: “Allegedly there’s full frontal nudity. Murphy and Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, an off-and-on lover of Oppie’s in the late ’30s and a Communist party member who came to an unhappy end.”
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- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »