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Best Robots From Movies (Anyway, That’s All I Got)

robots

It’s much more laid-back on ATAIG this week, because we decided to talk about some of our favorite (and possibly least favorite) ROBOTS from movies, in celebration of last week’s low-budget sci-fi thriller Upgrade (not technically a robot, but we thought it was close enough). Listen as the ATAIG crew discuss some of the most well-written, interesting, bizarre, or ridiculous mechanical beings to grace motion pictures (which is a fancy way of saying that Sam totally nerds out while Anthony and Jason calmly discuss some sci-fi movies). Enjoy!

Hosted by Sam Noland, Jason Read, and Anthony Battaglia!

Question for you: Who are some of your favorite Robots (Robits?) from movies? The more obscure the better! Also, what Robot would you want as your personal sidekick?

Go on…Best Robots From Movies (Anyway, That’s All I Got)

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Second Opinion: Seriously, ‘Interstellar’ Is Worth Another Watch

interstellar

Christopher Nolan’s ambitious sci-fi space epic Interstellar has proven itself to be a very contentious topic of discussion among hardcore moviegoers (and Nolan fans). And in the three years since its release and after Nolan’s newest film Dunkirk, the debate has only gotten more divisive.

Some liked it, some (including Jon Negroni himself) didn’t, some were indifferent, etc. Despite all this debate, Interstellar has managed to gain a surprisingly devoted following, many of them (like myself) even more impressed the second time watching it.

As the title of this article suggests, I remain a staunch defender of Interstellar. Yes, it definitely has flaws, but there’s still a lot to love. When I first saw the movie, however, I was sad to say that I didn’t like it much. I found it boring and confusing, and it just kind of left me disappointed. It wasn’t until the recent release of Dunkirk that I decided to give it another shot, along with some other Nolan movies, to gain a fresher perspective.

I was amazed by how much I loved Interstellar the second time.

I almost didn’t think I was watching the same movie, and I eventually came to the conclusion that time was the key factor here. It had been over two years since I first saw the film, so I had actually forgotten a lot of what had happened, weirdly enough. I did remember most of the actual plot thanks to a combination of my disjointed memory and some of the online discussions I had observed over the years, so I pretty much knew the basic premise going in, which I think made for a much more complete experience. An emotional one.

In fact, the emotion of it all is what surprised me the most watching Interstellar the second time. The personal story of the characters, the beautiful imagery, and the score by Hans Zimmer all worked together to sell me on humanity being at stake. I truly felt like time was running out and that every second was important. The relativity scene and the docking sequence stick out as being especially tense and heavy, making for some decent thrills among the more conceptual material.

On top of all that, I was impressed by how Nolan balanced all this heaviness with a very unique story about a father and his daughter. Although Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and Murph (Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain) don’t have a lot of screen time together, the connection between them managed to be as potent as it needed to be, even across time and space (a point the movie directly addresses, of course).

interstellar

That said, I attribute this successful character relationship to the editing by Lee Smith. He cut these scarce scenes together in just the right way for them to display the mutual care between Cooper and Murph and how they can’t seem to move on, even though it may be in their best interest to do so. The performances by McConaughey, Foy, and Chastain obviously help too. They’re able to convey the pain of leaving a loved one behind in a very convincing way, and I was excited to see where the story was going even though I already knew the ending. That’s not easy to pull off.

But what I liked the most while rewatching Interstellar was the overall message I must have missed the first time around. It might be a hackneyed thing to say, but I was impressed by what I think Nolan was getting at with a recurring motif in the movie in the form of Professor Brand (Michael Caine) repeating these lines from a Dylan Thomas poem:

“Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

First, recall the premise of the movie: humanity is on the verge of extinction and/or famine as a result of a second dust bowl destroying the world’s resources. You get the sense early on that most people have basically accepted their fate and are just trying to have as good a time as possible before it all slowly ends.

What I think Professor Brand, and by extension Christopher Nolan, is getting at with the poem is that we shouldn’t just give up on life. We possess the intelligence, the potential, and the technology to resist the natural order of things, and we should use our humanity wisely. Just because we can. Why not fulfill our potential as intelligent beings?

It’s this kind of compelling philosophy that makes me love science fiction as a genre.

Despite all of the praise I’ve given it, I still don’t think Interstellar is a perfect movie. Most of my flaws stem from pure filmmaking aspects. For instance, I think the shifts in tone between intellect and emotion can be very jarring at times, and some scenes can be a little too wordy and bogged down in exposition.

interstellar

I think there are numerous wasted characters, as well, most notably Dr. Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) and Dr. Mann (Matt Damon). They’re both a bit underwritten and don’t have as clear motivations as you’d expect from the rest of the script. Plus, Dr. Mann is a little on-the-nose in that one scene I don’t think I have to spell out.

Also, and this is painful to say, the ending is…perfunctory. I think most people agree the story wraps up sappy and with little apparent thought put into the broader implications of the whole enterprise. I don’t want to accuse the studio of meddling, but it really seems like someone put something into the movie at the last minute in an attempt to make the film more accessible. Who knows?

Problems aside, I’m happy to say I finally got my money’s worth after almost three years. If there’s anything I would like you to take away from this belated review, it can be found right in the title. Maybe Interstellar is worth another try. Coming from the perspective of someone who came around after just one rewatch, I think there could be more to it than you originally imagined.

Second Opinion Grade: B+


 

How Would You Rank The Christopher Nolan Films?

nolan

This past week, there’s been the usual discussion between Nolan nerds over how his latest film, Dunkirk, fits in with the rest of his work. I normally stay out of these ranking conversations because my rule of thumb with Nolan is that his movies take time to process and analyze, for better or worse. Sometimes, his movies seem better on the second watch or months later. Sometimes, they’re worse. I doubt Dunkirk will be any different, either way.

Go on…How Would You Rank The Christopher Nolan Films?

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ Is More Survival Epic Than War Movie

dunkirk

Dunkirk was written and directed by Christopher Nolan and is his most recent film since Interstellar. Nolan has tackled a variety of genres to mostly great success; heists, magicians, space, and even comic books. But how does the blockbuster artist fare with historical war fiction?

Most war movies tend to be action movies. Many of the best ones go beyond the typical violence and bloodshed to delve deeper into psychological thriller territory, while others spend their first hour unfortunately delving into needless romantic subplots and love triangles (ahem).

Go on…Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ Is More Survival Epic Than War Movie

Best Animated Movie Of 2014

Best animated movie of 2014

This week on Now Conspiring with Jon and Maria, we debate the best animated movie of the past year. From How to Train Your Dragon 2 to the recent release of Big Hero 6, which film do you think deserves top praise?

Also on the show, we finally discuss whether or not  Interstellar is actually worth watching, along with an impromptu overview of the surprise hit, Whiplash. And stick around for some awesome discussion over the future of Toy Story 4.

Introducing for the second week in a row, guest Sara Peery! Hope you enjoy the show.

What’s your favorite animated movie of 2014?

Maybe There’s a Hidden Story Behind All Of Christopher Nolan’s Films After All

Interstellar hidden story

If you’ve been keeping up with my latest ramblings, then you know that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Interstellar, despite my feverish love of Nolan’s past work. And I’ve never considered much about the underlying themes or connections between his movies. Until now.

No, this isn’t like a “shared universe” theory. No one has time for that. This is something better.

Akshay Seth | The Michigan Daily

And I realized something. The film’s final act, like its labyrinthine middle, rushed start or organ-blasting score, isn’t meant to inspire. Because this film is a farce. It is Nolan’s letter to Flora, his daughter. Stretched to the grandest scales, this movie is his most withering self-critique. Here’s why.

I think Akshay’s on to something. And after reading through his admittedly long arguments, I’m a believer.

If anyone’s capable of doing something like this across multiple movies over 16 years, it’s Christopher Nolan.

Big Hero 6 Review, Star Wars 7 & Interstellar (Podcast)

This week on Worth Watching, we have two guests joining the show: Sara Peery and Jordan Smith! We talk about Big Hero 6, the latest plot rumors around Star Wars Episode VII, and finally figure out why Maria hates Marvel movies. Enjoy!

big hero 6 worth watching

 Click here to download the episode

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