November 2014


Exposition and Emotion in Interstellar

Interstellar1

by Daniel Stidham

My first impressions upon leaving Interstellar were not gushingly positive. I almost tweeted about how full I felt from being spoon-fed by Chris Nolan for 3 hours, though I held off my quipping in order to give myself time to think about the film. Without giving anything away, I found a major third-act revelation in his new science fiction opus to be frustratingly over-explained. Something that ought to feel like a major discovery, a heavy realization about the very nature of time and space, quickly spills forth from two characters ill-equipped to diagnose or apply it. Before we have a chance to let it sink in, they are already using it to tie plot threads together and push the story forward to its resolution. The result is, ahem, a lack of gravity (I’m sorry). A feeling of weightlessness, if you will (I wouldn’t if I were you). It’s a sense that Nolan is interested in big ideas, but only as long as they provide “whoa” moments to audiences. READ FULL ARTICLE

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The ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Director: Various
Starring: Various
Running Time: 2 hrs, 5 mins
Rated: R


Review by Daniel Stidham

To say that The ABCs of Death 2 is a better movie than its predecessor is a lot like a chef telling you the meal you are about to eat is better than a Twinkie that was left on the counter for a year. It’s technically true but tells you almost nothing about the dish itself. After all a Twinkie is barely food and The ABCs of Death was barely a movie. For that project, 26 different directors from around the world were each given a letter of the alphabet and asked to choose a word starting with that letter. Using their word as inspiration they were to create a short film having to do with death. The resulting 26 shorts were compiled as The ABCs of Death. Now, that sounds like a premise rife with potential to unleash the creative instincts of cutting edge artists, who, when given complete control over the contents of their shorts, would in no way fill 2 hours with juvenile, lazy, disgusting crap.

But that’s not what happened.

Thankfully, The ABCs of Death 2 is a much better film than the stale, spongy log of preservatives that came before it. Dramatically better. While it follows the same format – 26 letters, words, and short films about death – the overall quality of the work is way up. It’s not exactly high art but there’s nothing in this swath of shorts as dismal as the first film’s “G for Gravity,” “M for Miscarriage” or “F for Fart.” Maybe the budget was raised, or the producers were pickier, or the directors were given more instruction. It’s hard to say. In any case, they’ve assembled a compulsively watchable anthology in which the misses are balanced out by interesting and imaginative vignettes.

Read the full review on CutPrintFilm.com