If there were awards for generic titles, Black Site Delta would win them. All of them. Those three little words tell you everything you need to know: The movie’s a militaristic action-thriller set on a decommissioned top-secret base. The “black site” is an off-the-books prison for the kind of clientele who’re too dangerous or too knowledgeable of the government’s secrets to be incarcerated anywhere else. But it’s also a cover for a long-range drone operation, which means that when terrorists hijack the facility, a dirty half-dozen inmates must band together to thwart the dastardly plot.
The problem with discussing plot holes is that nobody can really agree on what they are and if they matter. Everyone enters a movie with different expectations, and different degrees of tolerance for lapses in a story’s internal logic. A particularly diligent nit-picker can probably find some way to tear apart pretty much any narrative ever committed to film, but most people hand-wave those questions away to preserve their own enjoyment. Why didn’t Character X do Action Y in Situation Z? Because if they did, there wouldn’t be a movie. It’s as simple as that.
So, last night I got done watching M. Night Shyamalan’s Split. And, somewhat incredibly at this point in the director’s career, it’s actually really good. Not great, thanks largely to a handful of typically Shyamalanesque problems, but for a genre movie opening in January it’s far better than you could reasonably expect. In it, James McAvoy plays a kidnapper with dissociative identity disorder, Kevin, who harbours 23 distinct personalities and three captive teenage girls.
I’ve been thinking about Split almost constantly since. Which is odd, because it’s not a particularly cerebral movie. By the end, it’s pretty clear exactly what happened and why. But it is a movie with a twist. Several, in fact, and a big reveal at the very end, which is absolutely what people are going to be talking about long after they’ve forgotten the particulars of the movie itself. I didn’t see it coming at all, and it was honestly kind of amazing, especially for someone like me who’s familiar with the rest of Shyamalan’s work. We’ll get to this soon.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar should be viewed as one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time, and here I discuss why.
I am a deep thinker when it comes to the universe, and what this film manages to do is give the feeling of limitless space and the impossible task of demonstrating how difficult space exploration will be when it is our time to space travel. I say our time because it is inevitable, is it not? NASA is already putting the technical processes and the technology in place to get humans onto Mars by 2030. Interstellar goes deeper than NASA’s plan – this is deep space exploration, whereby going through a black hole looks and feels possible on the big screen. The film manages to make the audience feel like they are on the journey of traveling such incredible distances using impressive visuals and amazing cinematography.
When you start reviewing films on a consistent basis, you have this strange realisation that you have to go to the cinemas on your own. Well, not for the “big” films that mass audiences are interested in, but persuading your partner to join you in watching something that is not as celebrated in the media is no small feat. Ironically, the films that get less press tend to be better than the commercial opponents.
Before I went to the cinema on my own, I used to look at others and wonder why they are not amongst company. How narrow-minded of me, to think that. Do you question someone watching a film on Netflix on a lonely Friday night? No, why should you? The instilled belief is that the cinema is a social event, and that argument is correct to an extent.
There is something distinctively relaxing when you go to the cinemas. You grab your drinks and snacks, and then you sit comfortably in your chosen seat watching the adverts and trailers in a lightly dimmed room preparing yourself for the full feature. Then, the lights dim more, and this is it. The film is about to start, and what lies now is just you and the big screen. The audience falls silent, and you watch a narrative unfold in front of you.
At least that’s how I used to remember the cinemas, especially when I was younger, where theatre staff held torches so they could investigate an issue or if someone was anti-social so they were removed from the viewing. Now, frankly nobody gives a shit – cinema courtesy is dead, and having a distraction-free trip is now the luck of the draw.
I recently reviewed Warcraft: The Beginning and what really struck me is that I honestly did not understand the story. My main issue with the narrative is that it did not cater to those who were unfamiliar with the Warcraft games. A lot of things happened in the film at such a fast pace. In my quest to understand the film, I did a Q&A with a Warcraft fan called Nyn.
Nyn has been a Warcraft fan for more than a decade, and first played World of Warcraft in Vanilla. She is a former guild leader, an officer in her current guild, and a married mother with two daughters. Her “main” character is named Nynaeve (from the Wheel of Time books). Nyn loves fantasy, and grew up wanting to live in Middle-earth or Narnia.
Make sure to follow Nyn on twitter – @Lawilc01
Here is my Q&A with Nyn: