COUNTERPUNCH WEEKEND EDITION NOVEMBER 7-9, 2014
Regular readers of my film reviews are probably aware that my focus is on works that follow in the humanistic tradition of classics such as Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy or Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”. As such, I generally have little reason to write about the typical Hollywood blockbuster except toward the end of the year when I have a responsibility as a member of New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) to vote on exactly such films.
For NYFCO, something as crude as a Michael Bay movie would never pass muster. But like most film critic societies that are tied by umbilical cord to the Hollywood studios, there is a place at their table for something like “Gravity” that received best director and cinematography awards in 2013, even though it was nothing but Michael Bay adapted to the carriage trade.
Since I have a suspicion that Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” that is opening at theaters everywhere this week will have the same sort of middle-brow appeal as “Gravity”, I thought it was worth my time to attend a press screening a couple of days ago. Since the film was being screened on IMAX, the medium that Nolan considers optimum for the sort of thrills he seeks to impart, it would be my introduction to an experience that like 3D seeks to substitute sensationalism for sensibility.
As I sat before the immense screen at the AMC Lincoln Square being assaulted by the loudest sound system I had ever encountered in a theater, I was reminded that no amount of technology could replace an intelligent plot and character development. If there is anything that Christopher Nolan represents as a filmmaker, it is the belief that technology trumps just about everything else.