Charles Kirby: Theater, Fatherhood, Film and other stuff too.

Thematics’ Top 6 Rules to Content Creation

  1. Do it for your (hypothetical) children.  
  2. Do not under any circumstances edit for more time than it took to create the content OR watch back what you created until at least 6 strangers, or two people you respect tell you that they watched it and you hear their opinions because if a tree falls in the forest and no one sees or hears it fall, it still creates a carbon footprint but it is widely debatable as to if it mattered to you in any way that it fell. 
  3. Care. Don’t create content while doing anything else to include but not limited to walking, chewing gum or driving over the speed limit.  
  4. Smell yourself. Imagine your minds’ eye coming directly; hear and reproduce for your children a bit of the inner monologue in your head/heart and POST THAT. 
  5. Check Yo Self BEFORE you Wreck Yo Self: Take 6 deep breaths before you clic send with you feet planted firmly on the ground, your butt in a chair or bench like object and put both hands on your thighs. Between your 3rd and 5th breaths, hold your breath as long as you can on the inhale and blow out as long and hard as you can on the exhale. 
  6. Think High/Low: Juxtaposition is a thing and Contrast really does = Interest. Pit black against white stark like a chess board and let the people take the power of the content from there. 

Optional rules that are not to be emphasized too heavily:

Trust the world you value to value you too. Do you value internet trolls and/or bots?

Gather information for the masses.

Reflect a community or current state of mind to the world. 

Help people understand the broad topic, context and multiple angles of the issue.  

Memphis in the 50s

This is Act2 of a doc sorta movie idea we are developing @ Thematics about a college girl, let’s call her Anna, from our family who came of age in 1950s Memphis.

You can ask yourself, what life was like back in the dark ages of this girls childhood, before there was Planned Parenthood and the Harvey Weinstein-types still roamed free. I think of these fast times.

 

Like Watching a Podcast

 Simon McBurney talking to his co-star SENNHEISER's NEUMANN KU100 DIRECTIONAL Microphone (available at www.collabRjabbR.com/marketplace)

Simon McBurney talking to his co-star SENNHEISER's NEUMANN KU100 DIRECTIONAL Microphone (available at www.collabRjabbR.com/marketplace)

I had the fortune to participate in Simon McBurney's current Broadway experience, THE ENCOUNTER. I got to my seat early and had the opportunity to see the headsets attached to the back of each seat that directed me to make sure I had them oriented on the correct ears.  Then Simon came out very casually with the house lights still on to dialog with us.  It's a one man show but we all felt included from the very beginning. The Danish couple next to me were sweetly translating the encounter to each other and the worst NY moment was the jerk in front of me telling them to quiet down; lame.

Does my headline sound derogatory?  I am a huge fan of the podcast format but I have questions for Simon; I hope he returns my tweet request for an interview in altSpaceVR (check it out, seriously). THE ENCOUNTER was on my radar immediately this theater season due to the three dimensionality it explores and the production delivers aurally, but the visuals were left to our imagination; why?

 Go to  https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/feb/11/the-encounter-simon-mcburney-barbican-amazon-beaming-petru-popescu-loren-mcintyre for the full GUARDIAN article from last March about this project which I used significantly as source material for this vlog post...this pic is of a human in the indigenous tribe LISTENING to

Go to https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/feb/11/the-encounter-simon-mcburney-barbican-amazon-beaming-petru-popescu-loren-mcintyre for the full GUARDIAN article from last March about this project which I used significantly as source material for this vlog post...this pic is of a human in the indigenous tribe LISTENING to

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At this point I should say that the story Simon tells is extraordinary. Its about the photographer Loren McIntyre travelled to the Javari valley in the Amazon and the subsequent novel he wrote. Simon retells the story of his journey with a microphone – we listen with those headphones attached to the backs of our seats.  Despite the hallucinatory nature of its narrative, the story behind The Encounter itself isn’t in dispute. In 1994, McBurney was given a copy of Petru Popescu’s 1991 book Amazon Beaming by his fellow director Annie Castledine. The book is based on a real-life encounter between an American photographer, Loren McIntyre, and an Amazonian tribe called the Matsés or Mayoruna. Elusive and little studied by anthropologists, the Mayoruna are known as the “cat people” for their practice of inserting thin wooden spikes into their noses in imitation of jaguars; adding to the mystery, the tribal chief seems to have been able to communicate with McIntyre telepathically. The photographer related these facts to the rescuer who found him six weeks later floating in a canoe, starving and half-naked; the other tales he told were even more unfathomable.

Now that I do some research re: the intent of the project, I understand a little better what Simon and Complicite intended to explore but I guess I am sculpting my opinion with Marshall McLuan in mind: WHY BROADWAY??!!?  I assume that there must be some metric out there that has to do with commerce, EGOT-awards and personal habits on stage and the venn diagram those three things envelope because, when I attend any live performance these days, I am functioning under the laws of physics (as far as they are understood by my creative brain/heart) in combination with the five elements of production: scenery, lighting, sound, projections and costumes to support the text and performer; am I forgetting anything?

So my thoughts about the PRODUCTION ELEMENTS -- 

AUDIO fantastic: Sennheiser is an industry standard in my book. It did not surprise me at all when Simon introduced us to the NEUMANN KU100 Dummy Head microphone by approaching the "left ear" of the mic (see the pic at the beginning of this post and buy at www.collabRjabbR.com) and talking directly in to the correlating left ear now embedded headphone in my LEFT ear. It was disorienting, uplifting and similar to those moments I have in the car when I transport into the podcast I am listening to and forget about the LIE around me... 

LIGHTING, SCENERY and COSTUMES simplistic: which I assume is distinctly deliberate. Contrast Does = Greater Interest and the audience was clearly engrossed in the sounds injected into our ears making us feel the hallucinations, attacks, exhaustion and visceral FEAR that Loren felt.  My fav moment btw was when he awakes in his hammock and his camera is up in a tree and the meaning of his entire journey becomes pointless removing his ability to document the Mayoruna visually (I too have been transformed in to this state of mind with my iPhone in my pocket and my children by my side as though what we did together does not exist without video).  But about 12 minutes in to the story I took my headphones off; I wondered what the theater sounded like?  Was there a soundscape in the theater as well?  I didn't sense one. A missed opportunity.  And I waited for the lights to change color but they stayed within a very tight palette of warm-to-cool "white light" and six distinct angles. His costume certainly evoked adventure, maybe even war-like environments, but no added textures or colors as the story reached its deep embedded psycho-drama for the photographer, the head of the tribe and the indigenous community he infiltrated.  And the scenery of a white desk, mic, videotape and roadcase were tabula-rasa that embodied aural elements, but not visual ones.  At one point Simon strewn(s) across the stage this huge mass of VHS-like videotape and uses it to exponentially increase the blast inside our headphones of leaves rustling and forest attacking Loren, but, no increase in the visual dynamics.  Why not?

 NOTE: the single-directional sidelight pops Simon's body away from the 2D backdrop and the green blobs sculpt the space from a front projection as you can see from the color shift on his stage-right t-shirt/jeans pant-leg but why not stronger imagery?  I assume he wants us to make the pics in our minds-eye but then I guess I would prefer to just listen to the story in my car.  I hope Simon calls me back to discuss, I am sure he knows better that I do.  

NOTE: the single-directional sidelight pops Simon's body away from the 2D backdrop and the green blobs sculpt the space from a front projection as you can see from the color shift on his stage-right t-shirt/jeans pant-leg but why not stronger imagery?  I assume he wants us to make the pics in our minds-eye but then I guess I would prefer to just listen to the story in my car.  I hope Simon calls me back to discuss, I am sure he knows better that I do.  

PROJECTIONS lame: Too strong for me to say, I am sure, and I sense my place in this discussion. Mr. McBurney and his longtime producer Judith Dimant know way better than I do about the use of the production elements available to them in a West End or Broadway space/budget and this is why I hope to amend this post with their reply/interview but, I will speak very personally, I was bored.  I saw a super bright projector that played games with my depth/imagination but ultimately, with a story so visual and rich, why not take us to different to a wider range of "places"?  

This is not a rhetorical question; please, tell me.  Please.

Sincerely,

Charles.

call @ 917.453.4762

tweet @cckirby2

email cckirby2@gmail.com

Looking for a co-founder

I am looking for a CTO.  Ideally she would be interested in being a significant decision-maker in the company, versed in gamification and app development and interested in the Art of CollabRation.  Men are open to apply, but it is our intension to build a diverse company and we already have two white guys so...

Peter Pan...emphasis on Peter.

I ask this as an open question that I cannot accept, or do not understand, the answer: Why is Peter Pan still being played by a girl?  I don't even want to get near whether Allison Williams was "good" or "ridiculous".  Whether her accent paled in comparison to the other excellent actors around her.  Or if it was suspicious that Christopher Walken was walking thru dance steps that we know he can do and talking thru lines we suspect he can sing.

 Sam Swann and Fiona Button in the RSC's "Wendy and Peter".  Why is this a twist?

Sam Swann and Fiona Button in the RSC's "Wendy and Peter".  Why is this a twist?

But what I would like to explore is why did Cathy Rigby originate the role of a LOST little BOY and why is this tradition upheld?  

Winning ain't easy.

Kevin Durant is a modern day Karl Malone and everyone else knows that he is jumping to Golden State? Or what?

How does a winner win?

Kevin Durant is Karl Malone & Russell Westbrook is John Stockton, they are great but they can't beat Steph Curry and LeBron the King. And not for nothing, but with six minutes left when Billy Donovan goes small and takes out Stephen Adams, he loses the best player OKC has. When Draymond Green pommels his own head against the hardwood and Stephen Adams goes down all I could think about was if a man who kicked me in the balls twice I'd be looking for revenge every second. They become 2 disparate data points who don't kno how to close the deal. KD & RW may be the best individual talents on the floor but look no further than the Golden State sideline for a perfect example as Michael Jordans Steve Kerr stands there watching.  

And I don't know where it fits but KLAY THOMPSON’s 41 points in Game6 single handedly carried OKC home as the second banana. Straight up comparison, apples to apples, SC jumps into the second row in Game2 and IN GAME7 ANDRE DESHEILDS (from my beloved ‘CUSE) DOESN’t EVEN JUMP (and Reggie Miller says “well no one caught SC). And speaking of playoff experience, ANDRES VERASCOU gives a tremendous contribution at the 6 minute mark.

If E-40 can have a resurgence than so can I. KD can hit his shot. At 1:40 mark of game7 KD goes on a 7-0 run but he can't get RW or any of the other guys to reach the W. Robeson passed up the open 3, Obaka fouls SC beyond SC has CHOICES at the end of game6 in OKC and game7.  Even when he dishes to DG and the shot doesn't fall, SC can shake it off for DG BECAUSE THEY ARE UP BY 6!  KD has no choice but to jack up 3s and RW doesn't even take a shot. And then we all just watch SC dibble...

So as Kenny “the jet” Smith says that it's CONFIDENCE + DISCIPLINE.

I sure am glad someone knew what is takes because MJ is pretty quiet on the topic. When does football season start?  I am ready...

 

PROCESS: Conversations on pre-viz

Here we will be posting conversations from the Prague Quadrennial. It will hopefully be an opportunity to see an eclectic group of scenographers designers and directors student and others speak about how we make what we make...here are the seven questions we will ask each interviewee:

1. My students always ask me how do you get a job. If you don't mind, Can you tell us how you got this job? 

1a. How do you start?  After the job comes in to your vision, what is the first next step?

2. Get specific about the play or opera that we are looking at. 

3. How do you solidify a vision in your head?

4. How do you get that vision out of your head?

5. Tell us the tools you have used over the years to communicate.

6.  Tells us your keys to collaboration. 

7. Is there anything else you would like to communicate re: Production Collaboration?  

        Or your PROCESS...

 Student from Austrailia's NIDA program gave us a tour or their Gothic Spiral and the narrative that inspired this first year project.  

Student from Austrailia's NIDA program gave us a tour or their Gothic Spiral and the narrative that inspired this first year project.  

 Michael Scott Michael of Dr. Zivago infamy sat down with us in front of Kafka House and had a cappuccino ...

Michael Scott Michael of Dr. Zivago infamy sat down with us in front of Kafka House and had a cappuccino ...

DEEP DOWN review

It was awhile ago but anytime that anyone wants to put my name in the same sentence with the genius of Bob Crowley, I am going to repeat it as often as I can...

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A CurtainUp Review  Deep Down by Les Gutman 

With utility poles that shrink as they approach an iridescent sky, and a stage filled with dirt, the smell of which wafts into the audience, Charles Kirby's outdoor set for Deep Down is, in a small way, as striking and evocative as Bob Crowley's much applauded one for Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center. Also similar to Twelfth Night, Bill Sims Jr. establishes a bluesy feel in Deep Down with a musical performance that begins as an overture and continues throughout the play's many interludes. (It alone is well worth the price of admission.) I begin with these perhaps odd comparisons for a couple of reasons. First, because they remind us that it doesn't always take a great deal to achieve a lot. Second, because they reconfirm that no amount of decoration can overcome a performance that lacks credibility. 

Doug Grissom's play may have a valuable contribution to make to the discourse on race relations in America. It explores the footprints of slavery that remain in the consciousness of African Americans, and the ways in which whites relegate the subject to the coffin of "history" while oftentimes continuing to act on its prejudices. Set in 1963 in the rural South, it seems both dated and distant. Perhaps it requires that much perspective in order to be given consideration, yet neither the disjointed story, overburdened with the obvious, nor the lop-sided cast succeeds in helping him artfully make his point....

The review does not get better but can be found here if you are interested...

   http://www.curtainup.com/deepdown.html

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SAINT JOAN was another beautiful production

One of the greatest pleasures of working in academic theater for many years, is a fourth sibling in a wonderful family sends us their daughter and she plays the lead in a gorgeous production!  Thanks Beck Family!  And it's worth mentioning that my Tech Theater students figured out how to make a murphy bed (seen here)!  For Joan and King Charles the conquerer to meet for a nice moment after he burns her at the stake...

Broadway World's review affirms PROVIDENCE!

BroadWayWorld Reviews: On the Edge of Hope

👤by Kristen Morale

A riff on Inge's BUS STOP, David Gill takes us back to 1995 when the bus breaks down at a Rhode Island Bus Stop.

The idea of "providence," although dealing much with powers not associated with the mundane world, is, after all, very much a human affair. Sometimes human destiny is better found when brought forward by hands not our own, in an act which seems random and inconvenient to those on the receiving end, but is truly the only way we can ever find ourselves again.

At times, it seems we are not in control of both our own lives and the way in which we react to them. It is inevitable that certain people - those so full of indecision and regret - cannot live much longer with such a burden placed upon their shoulders. Whether their "providence" concerns issue of morality, love or simply drifting with the tide, attempting to find oneself in this midst of bad decisions and an unrelenting feeling that something is missing from an individual's life, there is one thing that all such people in search of something have in common: they are all human.

Watching people - complete strangers - help each other absolve themselves of what burdens them so in what is essentially a giant intervention, is something amazing; it is a random circumstance that each of us undoubtedly wishes would happen in our own lives. Symbolically trapped in the Providence, Rhode Island bus terminal, people meet and talk about their lives, breaking down barriers and seeking the forgiveness and certainty they seek so ardently, not even knowing how "providence" sneaks in until the very end.

Written by David A. Gill and directed by Tom WallaceProvidence is essentially a deep study of humanity - of how difficult it is to be human and live without existentially getting lost at least at least a thousand times. Originally produced at Transient Theater in Chicago and marking the completion and production of Gill's first full length play, this show is a triumph. It is about the consequences of living with a hole in the center of one's being, and the pain associated with trying to bandage it up while life unrelentingly continues in the meantime. It also focuses on the opposing force: the joy associated with the attempts and efforts of people to fill that empty space with more than kind words; that hole is filled with individual feelings of understanding, forgiveness and love. The magic that is Gill's play occurs when human action mingles with divine influence, and this combination is both messy and incredibly effective and beautiful.

In what turns out to be quite a unique, well thought out and basically a very "complete" story, Providence finds a handful of strangers, each with different stories and circumstances, stranded in the Providence bus terminal and patiently waiting for many different things to happen. As their destinations are not the same, the audience bears witness to an array of scenarios beneath one roof. One group is awaiting the arrival of a piece which mysteriously disappeared from inside the bus, while a woman has unfortunately missed the last departing bus of the evening; the others wait for the nasty rain which plagues their travels to subside so that they may eventually get on with their lives. And, of course, there is the town drunk, who has found himself waiting in the terminal providing little bits of nonsensical yet incredibly relevant comments and advice that give the play that much more weight. Each person is stranded, angry for different reasons that have very little to do with his or her current situation; it is as though a divine hand has assembled such a troubled group, so that the true healing can begin.

How ironic that the buses which are meant to physically move each person from one point to another are not functioning; instead, an emotional trip occurs before the audience's collective eye without any movement on any character's behalf. The line-up of characters is as follows. There is a famous singer (played by Carla Briscoe*) who is headed to Connecticut to meet her fiancé, a man she is hardly in love with. There is a young Harvard grad (Joel T.Bauer*) who is convinced he is the cause of his best friend's death, two friends (Nick Adamson and Nico Meyer Allen) who are continuously at odds with one another because of their inability to see each other in the way each wants to be seen. They are on their way to the wedding of one boy's father, and are only going because of an obligation to be the "son" he has hardly been to a distressed parent.

One young, eccentric woman (Geri-Nikole Love) is on her way to meet a spiritual guide that will tell her what she wants to know about life, including some very intriguing news of her hamster's death. She also falls for the more dimwitted of the two male friends heading to the wedding. There is a rather sleazy guy (Richard Lear*) who is perpetually by the phone, makings calls to every woman he has ever known in Providence to see if he can hook up with any of them during his unplanned stay in Rhode Island. There is the psychology major (Michelangelo Milano*) who has been hanging out at the terminal collecting oral and visual accounts of peoples thoughts and opinions for an assignment; he is actually not so much a psychology student as he is a choreographer. Finally, there is the half-conscious drunk (Todd Butera*) who moves from seat to seat, and from person to person, providing witty comments and somewhat nonsensical sayings that somehow magically capture the essence of each conversation being had an, essentially, come together to bring this entire play to its greatest significance. All of these people come together and determine which among them is best to help each figure out the current debacle that is their lives.

The characters have their stories to tell, their doubts and fears spilled out to another equally troubled person who is eager to listen, yet each also comes to represent another person the physical retelling the situations which create the most turmoil in the mind of each individual present. The singer could be speaking about the love she had once upon a time, and instantly her current conversation is transferred to that night she spent with him on the beach, one of the other people in that terminal naturally stepping in as the man whom she lost because of her choice to remain loyal to her fiancé. This happens with each character within the play, and it is really something amazing to watch these actors transition from one character to the next; the talent upon that stage is extremely, extremely evident. I mentioned that this play is "complete" because of how much detail and care is placed into the telling of each story, and how these strangers become so intertwined and essential to the new life structure built by the time the rain has stopped and the bus is apparently able to move once again.

This play really emphasizes how much of a "chance" it seems to meet people who will be there to put the pieces of one's life back together, all the while proving that the power we as human beings possess to change both the lives of others and our own is so significant in itself. Without giving too much away, it may have been unplanned how such people with pain so similar could have wound up beneath one roof, but how they influence one another and create entirely new beings towards the end of the show is something only a proper show of humanity can do. Gill's show is longer than the usual straight play, but if you stay for the entire journey, you will see how much wonder there is to be found in watching these people figure themselves out when they have no one but themselves to focus on. This play shows that each of us is in need of some sort of healing, and finding the means by which to make this happen is something glorious - almost divine, in a sense. Providence deserves to be seen at least once, as it is that great a show.

Oh, and watch out for that drunk guy. He has a much bigger part in all this than you may think.

Aside from the incredibly talented cast, credit must also be given to Charles Kirby (set, light and sound design) and Jonathan Michaud (costume design) for their great work behind the scenes.

Providence opened on October 9th and will continue performances until October 26th. The performance schedule is as follows: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. All performances take place at Roy Arias Stage IV, located at 300 West 43rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. Tickets are $18, and the space is so intimate that every seat is pretty good! For reservations, please call (646) 637.2709 or visithttp://www.providencetheplay.com/.

Enjoy the show!

*Actors Equity Member

Photo Credit: Pepe Pombo Photography

A very nice review for PROVIDENCE, a new play I designed.

Review: Stuck in Providence 

Every traveler’s fear is being stranded. For whatever reason it may be, weather or broken transportation, being forced to stay in a terminal is never ideal. In David A. Gill’s fascinating play Providence, a group of travelers are forced to spend the night in a bus terminal in Providence, Rhode Island. As the night dwindles away, the strangers realize that when the present is halted, the past must be confronted.
When a bus bound to New York experiences mechanical issues, the occupants of that bus are stuck waiting in a terminal until the bus can return to its route. What starts out as muddy comedic vignettes quickly turns into an evening of pain, sadness, and the search for hope. Though it is set up as an ensemble piece, the secretive Trevor serves as the entrance point for the audience. Trevor, who has a dream or premonition of some sort, spots a woman he believes to have the answers he’s been searching for, thus hiding her bag so she can’t leave. Trevor, and the woman, Glory, for the most part are each other’s sole interactions with the occasional blip from the inebriated man. Through their interactions, we learn of Trevor and Glory’s past and the secrets they’re forced to confront upon arriving at their destination. On the other side of the story, best friends Robert and Stuart encounter the free-spirited Patema who places a wedge between the pair. All the while, the man on the phone searches his little black book for a lady companion. As the interactions occur, there are occasional flashbacks to Trevor, Glory, and Robert’s past that allow for insight to their current situations. With so many stories to track, many of which contain mutual themes, playwright David A. Gill offers an odd structure to his piece. The conceit of reality is that everything is happening at once in the same room, but rather than jumping from the two main dialogues, there is a lot of overlapping and “say and wait” dialogue, causing some of the actors to be forced out of the moment as they awkwardly wait for their cue. Additionally, Gill and director Tom Wallace have many of their characters exiting the stage without intent. As far as plot is concerned,  Providence relies on vagueness. The intriguing aspect of the script is the character relationships, both familiar and stranger. How these characters interact with one another is captivating. How they react to the stories they hear is what makes this play real. For the most part, the duo and trio are the main interactions, but the most intriguing contact of the evening was between Robert and Trevor late in Act II. Their dialogue was filled with life and humor, a beautiful juxtaposition to the rest of the play. The first act is filled with so much exposition, it feels like a giant set up for something. But by the second act, the payoff was lacking due to a very unsatisfying and confusing ending. From the start, there was always something off about the world of Providence. Our main characters received a very clear and clean ending with their stories neatly tied but before we can sit in hope, the true identity of the inebriated man is bizarrely revealed. On the whole, there is some fluff that could be trimmed to allow for a intermission-less play to keep the momentum consistent.
Providence relied heavily on chemistry between the actors as this was very much a character driven piece. The trio of Nick Adamson, Nico Meyer Allen, and Geri-Nikole Love drove the play as Stuart, Robert, and Patema respectively. Adamson utilized the goofy nature of Stuart playing off of Allen’s polar opposite Robert. Though we never truly learned the origin of their friendship, their bond was quite stunning, exposing a new definition of bromance. Nico Meyer Allen utilizes his snark to cover the sever pain Robert has suffered. Love as Patema blended well with Adamson as the newfound adorable pair. Joel T. Bauer as Trever, the wildly eccentric firestarter, is brilliantly erratic. Though his character arc takes some odd twists, Bauer commits to it fully. His moments with Michelangelo Milano’s seductively handsome Andrew were wonderful, but it was truly the sole moment with Allen that displayed the strongest chemistry, and actors, on stage. Carla Briscoe as Glory was painfully neurotic and was only able to shine when her character’s walls were successfully broken.
Despite a difficult structure to tackle, director Tom Wallace created the world of Providence to the best of his abilities. By capitalizing on the sincerity of the relationships, Wallace directed his cast to do discover the humanity and heart within each individual. Production designer Charles Kirby had a limited space to create a giant terminal. While the space looked like a rundown waiting room, the spacial relationships suffered greatly. Wallace rightly asked his actors to live in the moment, getting loud when called for, but rarely did the other characters take note of the outbursts allowing for some unrealistic moments. With the set up as it was, eavesdropping needed to be a larger part of this world.
Providence has many of the elements for a well-made play but a clean and clear restructure may be in order for the bus to finally take off. Despite living in a specific time, Providence is a universal story that strikes the right chords.

Michael Block at 1:38 PM

Interstellar Sucks.

Wow, this is sort of difficult for me to say, but, I did not like Christopher Nolan's INTERSTELLAR.  Its confusing and expository at the SAME TIME.  The wordy explanations and interminable monologues kill a stunning set of ideas.  And though the sound and cinematography are HUGE, nothing can save bad line saying (is that the opposite of line reading).

A few things to contextualize my opinion:

  1. I like the Nolan Brothers a lot.  I include MEMENTO in the short list of 18 films that I have my film students watch for homework (in a semester long High School Drama elective) and it is a really good film.  Their DOODLEBUG is an excellent example of a short film; I show it in class.
  2. I am not particularly a Science-Fiction fan (loved the original Mad Max for instance but I would pick The Shining over 2001).  
  3. In my opinion, The Dark Knight trilogy is masturbatory and they are all too long (when the Two Face storyline launches after the 120 minute mark is jaw-dropping) and lastly,
  4. Love and Science are not mutually exclusive.

The Grapes of Wrath meets Twister.  See those two movies first and then sneak in to Interstellar at the 120 minute mark to see how Nolan depicts the 5th dimension...that is worth 30 bucks and I look forward to the Disney ride.

The important question we all agree is,                                          

"What is this movie about?".  

A student of mine loved INTERSTELLAR because the incredibly complex science was accurate.  And a colleague loved INTERSTELLAR because it was big and beautiful, visually and aurally impacting.  And I am equally aware of the commerece if the film business.  The Nolan films are always worth seeing on the big screen, even INTERSTELLAR.   I recognize that many films I am looking forward to this season (FOXCATCHER and INHERENT VICE for instance) could be seen on the small screen.   So given all of these tremendous attractions (gravitational pulls if you will) of the science and the cinematography...could they PLEASE hire someone else to write about love?  It's a complicated topic.

I have never written a major motion picture.  I have had the opportunity to work with a few great screenwriters, but basically I am nobody,  But for whatever reason, I am using the self-publishing, web of internets, to blog, and you are reading it, so, can someone please explain to the Nolan's (and me) the difference between a good line reading and a bad one?  Why in INCEPTION, do the characters that explain whats going on (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leo, et al) tell us this information along with pictures and yet in INTERSTELLAR, the visual of the last ochre crop on EARTH being burned, is almost thrown away so that someone can TELL us that the soil is burning?!?

A good debate about INTERSTELLAR starts at timecode 9:30...my fav quote, "in what world does Topher Grace give a better performance that MATT DAMON!"

For a film that talks so much, why can't I figure out which planet they are going to?  Are Michael Cain and Matt Damon supposed to be the same age?  And did the guy Ann Hathaway loved die?  And why is Jessica Chastain so believable  no matter what they made her say but Ann Hathaway makes the lines sound like pudding?  Why do the robots in this film make me want to see Aronofsky's NOAH again?

I know that I am not really answering the questions...and maybe in a STUNNING turn of events....INTERSTELLAR is just more of a talky film and I was expecting a picturesque film.  Maybe the Nolan's were exploring there inner Woody Allen and I just was wholly unprepared....but I don't really buy that...I guess I just wanted you and my friends to be more prepared than I was for the letdowns of this film.  I saw it at the 42nd street IMAX and every time I guffawed or made an exclamatory remark or chuckled loudly at the sentences flying out of the (primarily female) character's mouths, I was chastised by the couple sitting next to me...so I guess this is just a  warning, let me save you the same embarrassment..

 

As always, FILMSPOTTING's Adam Kempanar conducts a calm, long-form discussion that verbalizes many of my feelings precisely.  


Ultimately, I am glad I decided to stay through the credits, because the 18 minutes that we are in that 5th dimension are very interesting.  Jonathan and Christopher Nolan are visionaries who have built a STUNNING sequence.  I wish I could have pressed the mute button.  

Let me know what you think.

Sincerely,

Charles

  Two of the  most beautiful people in the movie business are on an enormous IMAX screen having a sweaty slugfest and we can't even tell them apart because they are wearing spacesuits!

Two of the  most beautiful people in the movie business are on an enormous IMAX screen having a sweaty slugfest and we can't even tell them apart because they are wearing spacesuits!