Mamo 473: Dear White People

As Mamo gets near the end of its first season, we take in the formal mastery of DUNKIRK while wondering aloud: just white people? Really? And at least one of the Matts is a pretty hefty fan of GAME OF THRONES but greets this CONFEDERATE news with a hefty: really, white people? Really?

Friday One Sheet: Dunkirk

Many of the posters for Christopher Nolan’s war-rescue picture Dunkirk have been of the super-wide banner variety. Here is a classic vertical design (and nothing gives a vertical impression than a sailboat) that emphasizes the scope and chaos through depth of field rather than panorama. There are a lot of elements and things to see here, shadows of air planes, fishermen working frantically, soldiers drowning in the water, or floating on objects. The fire offers a few flashes of colour in an otherwise desaturated ‘grim seas’ palette. It is also noteworthy that the IMAX specialty releases of films tend to be a bit more adventurous with their poster designs, probably because they are not distributed as widely.

Teaser: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

Billed as an ‘announcement,’ but lets call it a teaser as Christopher Nolan’s World War II rescue picture, Dunkirk does not release until July 2017. Shot on 70mm, with all the production value and weight a film can muster, I am excited that Warner Brothers keeps giving him money to make whatever movie he pleases. Enjoy the rhythm and the photography of this handsomely cut teaser trailer.

Mondays Suck Less in the Third Row

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The International Space Station just got a new projector screen. Nice choice of film:

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Some Thoughts on the Worldview of Interstellar


Before reading below, it should be noted: THERE BE *SPOILERS* HERE, TOP TO BOTTOM.

One of my favourite quotations from recent science fiction cinema comes from Steven Soderbergh’s shockingly underrated 2002 remake of Solaris. When discussing how mentally equipped mankind is for stellar discovery, the mission-leader, Dr. Gibarian opines, “We don’t want other worlds, we want mirrors.” To be specific however, it was the ghost of Gibarian, or perhaps even a construct from an Alien intelligence projected from the mind of psychologist Kris Kelvin. Maybe it was just a dream. It’s complicated, but you get the idea. We go out into space to learn more about ourselves, finding new life and civilizations is just something incidental along the way.

In the case of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, we not only want mirrors, we also want old-time agriculture, book-shelves of dead-tree textbooks, battered and well loved pick-up trucks, baseball, and presumably, 35mm analogue film. In other words, apple-pie Americana with minimal materialism or digital devices. The only thing missing in the film’s love of all things twentieth century are the churches; in a way they too show up incorporated heavily into Hans Zimmer’s score. Co-incidentally enough, if the bombastic score were absent the epic organ-chime moments, it would very much resemble the subtle, driven work in Cliff Martinez’s score for, of all things, Solaris. Mirrors, indeed.

There is a bit of classic political head-butting in dusty small town America when former NASA pilot turned farmer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) goes into his kids’ school for parent-teacher interviews. In what is perhaps the films best scene, the principle and school teacher inform Cooper that the administration has ranked every 15-year old student’s future career path by a computer algorithm, a nanny state decision which must be abided. To add insult to injury, these governmental stewards charged with educating the youth are also moon-landing deniers and take umbrage to Coop’s daughter bringing ‘outdated textbooks’ into the classroom. Cooper, being the more come-what-may kind of cowboy (“alright, alright, alright kids, flat tire be damned, lets harvest and repurpose that old Indian solar wardrone!”) who likes manual-transmission, Morse code, and flying by the seat of his pants. The shackling of the future, and of history for that matter, to the lowest level of ambition, merely surviving, or as he puts it, staring down at the dirt, instead of looking up at the stars, gets his dander up. He’s a believer in technology, optimism, and problem-solving around a fast-ticking clock, in a world which has no interest in engineers or ideas. He funnels this frustration into his relationship with his bright and willful daughter. When the school administrators are looking to him to discipline his daughter, he tells them he is instead taking her to a ball game, and giving her popcorn and soda-pop besides. (Her suspension from formal schooling is the quick result of his insolence, but nevertheless yields the result of her eventually saving the human race. Take that big-government liberals!)

In the mean time, the United States is experiencing a second Great Depression and Dust-Bowl scenario. We are never specifically told what is happening anywhere else in the world over the run-time of this inward-looking film (heck, we don’t even know what year it is!) Presumably, either America’s climate change denial, or its preemptive strike foreign policies, possibly even over-subsidizing corn-production to the point of mono-culture, has brought the whole ecosystem to the brink and the human population has been reduced to a fraction of the 7 billion souls at the beginning of the 21st century. Environmental blight and ecological collapse is diminishing the remaining oxygen supply to the point where there is only enough for a few more generations. That is the scenario and it is grim, possibly man-made, and quite likely, irreversible.

Would you like to know more…?

Teaser: Interstellar

After all that grim business of Batman and terrorism and financial meltdowns with the Batman Franchise, it looks as if Christopher Nolan have decided to go with a more positive outlook for America. The trailer of Interstellar doesn’t tell us much, other than to dream and hope, and hold hands in a (probably government subsidized) cornfield.

But here is your wiki-synopsis: When a wormhole is newly discovered, a team of explorers and scientists embark on a voyage through it to transcend previous limitations on human space-time travel.”

I admire this trailer even as it leaves me rather flat in the same way that Star Trek: Enterprise’s intro left me flat. Or, perhaps this unaffected feeling is due to the unintended similarity to the clunky and cornball bumper shown as part of Cineplex Canada’s pre-show infotainment.

Mamo #309: Mam o’ Steel

Sometimes, you just gotta call for a do-over. Unsatisfied with our first Man of Steel show, we return 2 days later to discuss ‘roid rage cinema, Christ allegories, and the future of the DCU. You know, like we do. We believe in Superman.

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Mamo #308: Mamo of Steel

The Men of Mamo bring their steel to the party and tackle the Zack Snyder / Christopher Nolan / DC Comics / Warner Brothers megalith, Man of Steel, upon which all hopes for the future of everything have, perhaps capriciously, been pinned. You will believe two men can gab.

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Friday One Sheet: OblivInception

Apparently Christopher Nolan’s influence has fully asserted itself in the blockbuster world judging by all the Star Trek, James Bond and other franchises seeming to shoot and market their films in this manner. Vide the new Tom Cruise sci-fi film Oblivion – a film whose first impression comes from this key art, I know nothing otherwise – and tell me you don’t immediately think of Inception. Based on this bit of advertising, I am not only not excited for the film, I am slightly embarrassed.