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Entries in Memento (3)

Wednesday
Jan 27 2016

Retro Sundance: 2001's Memento

WhenMementoarrived in 2001,it was a total buzzfest: Everyone was talking about it.It had a Wachowski level of cool (even co-starring Wachowski favorites Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss),it had a gritty noir sensibility,and an innovative time-bending structure deftly designed to get you inside the brain-damaged mind of Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce).It left Sundance that January with the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award,hit movie theaters in March,and when awards season came it was nominated for an Oscar for the Screenplay (Chris Nolan's first Oscar nomination) as well as the Editing prize.The movie has lost none of its cachet in the intervening years,retaining a 92% "fresh"rating on Rotten Tomatoes,and clocking in at #46 on the IMDb Top 250.

But I have a personal reason for loving this movie,as well as a story (I always have a story) if you'll indulge meafter the jump...

Click to read more ...亚博足彩app

Tuesday
Jan 03 2012

Curio: Peter Strain Illustration

Alexahere.I recently came upon the work ofPeter Strainand was instantly wowed.Peter is an illustrator living in Belfast who has a vibrant,ink-saturated,dirty design aesthetic.He also happens to be the artist-in-residence at the Queens Film Theatre in Belfast,so he has focused much of his time on film posters for the indie cinema house.And,lucky for us,he is selling prints of many of these posters at hisshop.Here is a sampling,but really,you should check out all his workhere.

More includingMementoandThe Lost Boys...

Click to read more ...亚博足彩app

Wednesday
Mar 16 2011

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: MEMENTO

"What are you going to do when you find him?"In honor of cinematographer Wally Pfister's recent Oscar win (Inception) and the 10th anniversary ofMemento's theatrical release (today),we're looking back on Chris Nolan's breakthrough for the season 2 debut ofHit Me With Your Best Shot.

Memory and its malleability are the skeleton themes whichMemento's inky flesh clings to.Leonard (Guy Pearce),who has lost both his wife and his short term memory to a murder/rape,is out for revenge.He tattoos "facts",quotes intended,onto his skin to remember them and he also takes polaroids;these repetitive shots of skin and photography are the movie's signature images.My "best shot"naturally combines them both.

The most ingenious thing about the screenplay's reverse construction is that as you become acclimated to it you start to wonder how each scene will begin in order to get to where you know it's already ended.The same thing happens with the polaroids.After a few of them are revealed you begin to wonder how each was taken.So in addition to Memento's overarching mystery "What exactly happened with that murder?"you get the continually evolving mini-mysteries of what the hellis going onhas just gone on?

The final crucial polaroid,which is actually the first in true chronology is this spookily cheerful one of Leonard,pointing to his chest.This is a space we already know he has left empty on purpose,for (maybe) hen his revenge is complete.But that's too literal as he's also pointing to his heart.He looks nothing like the Lenny we've come to know.

Look how happy you were.

Lenny flips it over but no clues await him on the other side.The clue we're looking for this late (i.e.early) in the game is not what happened but who Lenny is or has become.Later in the narrative (i.e.earlier in the film) he'll turn the photo over again while talking to a cop about how no one trusts him.It's an especially telling moment as it's the only time he's not looking for clues by flipping a picture over."We all need mirrors"he says at one point in the film but he obviously doesn't want to seethisparticular reflection.

Chris Nolan has returned to these themes of self deception and adjusted memory in subsequent films,but it works best inMemento.Returning to this impressive calling card ten years later,  the biggest shock to the memory is how muchfunit is.Each scene involving Dodd (Callum Keith Renne ofBattlestar Galacticafame) in particular has a bracing dark humor.

This sense of humor is not referenced to imply that the film fails to intrigue or haunt with its disturbing undertow.It's just that Nolan's subsequent films have often been clever without exactly being "a gas"(just occassionally gassy).I'd be hesitant to callMementoNolan's best film without rescreeningThe Prestigebut it sure makes a strong claim.

Do I know you?
I urge you to check out these entries.I'm usually pretty proud of my own pieces for this series but I still felt a bit of the old disconnect with Nolan (I've always had to look at the critical reception of his work at a certain remove) and honestly I think some of these accomplices have outdone me with their pieces.Bravo.

FACT 1: Pussy Goes Grrr chose a vulnerable fleshy moment.
FACT 2: My New Plaid Pants sees the symmetries and the fog of memory.
FACT 3: Cinephilia & Sass remembers Sammy Jenkis.
FACT 4: Okinawa Assault identifies the bullet casing as totem.
FACT 5: Serious Film doesn't trust Teddy's lies.
FACT 6: Movies Kick Ass doesn't trust Nolan's eyes.

and my apologies...
I forgot to link to...
FACT 7
: Amiresque is waiting for Natalie to come into focus.Beautiful choice,Amir!

late arrivals!

FACT 8: Against the Hype knows thatMementoknows from irony;"it peddles unabashedly in it."
FACT 9: Luisergho finds the facts touching.


Next Wednesday...
We'll be gazing at two bonafide immortals,Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando,in the well-Oscared classicA STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE(1951).It's part of our weeklong celebration for theTennessee Williams Centennial.If you've never seen it,talk about a perfect opportunity to fill that void in your life.Will you join us?