Jelly nail art has been all the rage this summer—decorating our fingers with a finish that’s part stained glass window, part squishy sandal throwback. There’s a nostalgic appeal to them we can’t get enough of, but the latest idea to arrive on our feeds might be even better. Enter fruit nails, which (like jelly nails) are a glossy, fun, and eye-catching.
There’s no single template for testing the trend, but we’re particularly enamored of New York nail artist Mei Kawajiri‘s take. Kawajiri recently shared the manicure she gave Gigi Hadid, involving a sheer base decorated with ultra-delicate kiwis, watermelons, and strawberries. “Summer vacation Nails no.2 is Fruits,” she declared in the image caption. Consider it the perfect way to celebrate the warmest days of the year.
Already, other nail artists have shown off all the ways you can mix and match the style on social media. You can do it Kawajiri’s way—with a natural base and dainty accents—or you can go for punchier neon colors that incorporate larger fruits and patterns. The possibilities are actually endless and there’s so much inspiration out there. Kawajiri even went on Instagram to show off tomato nails she did by painting teeny tiny tomato vines on a customer’s hand. Scroll through for a whole season’s worth of inspiration:
If you’re too busy to pop into the salon for a fresh serving of fruit nail art, you can still give yourself a DIY manicure at home with Olive & June’s fruit nail stickers. They have an adorable fruit salad mani kit that includes polish, top coat, and a set of decals for $22. Order up!
That’s when Caelynn, still upset, pulls Blake aside. He’s more apologetic to her, saying he had no idea she felt this way. “I feel like a slimy, disgusting secret that you’re ashamed of. You literally told me to lie for you,” Caelynn tells Blake through tears.
And then the drama transitions to real life. In an attempt to clear his name, Blake released a series of screen shots of text messages with Caelynn that he claims show she was aware their hookup was meant to be casual. “If I come over it’s strictly for sex,” Caelynn allegedly says in one of the messages. “Nothing more, nothing less.” The texts also appear as if both were hesitant about going public with the hookup. “If we play it off as not being a big deal then it’s not. Everyone hooks up in this world,” Caelynn reportedly says in a text.
Via both an Instagram Story video and actual post, Blake explained his decision to publish the texts. “Releasing the text messages was the last thing that I wanted to do,” he says in the videos. “I know that it’s not good, but I feel like I have no other choice but to release those. I hope Caelynn can forgive me one day, but with my character and my name being attacked like that, I felt like I had no other choice. Maybe some of that was edit from Caelynn, and maybe they spliced together some of her conversations; I don’t know. Maybe she can address that later, but I don’t know what else to do.”
He continues, “I’m not trying to go and attack Caelynn. I’m just trying to get my truth out there. I hope none of you go and attack Caelynn. I truly I hope that she has a chance to talk about what was spliced together and what they didn’t show. Maybe she was saying other things. But right now, I feel like I have no choice.”
And here’s his post, which essentially echoes the same sentiment. Caelynn has not responded to Blake’s statements.
Ultimately, though, Blake decided to delete the texts and urged people to stop attacking Caelynn.
Last night, Post Malone joined Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for a night of celebration and a brief interview about his upcoming Posty Fest. The high point of the night was a joint performance from the two as they gave a rousing, clapping rendition of “Seven Drunken Nights,” an Irish folk song most famously performed and released by The Dubliners in 1967. Armed with a glass of beer, the rapper and host led the crowd in the hilarious number.
Post Malone took a sip from his cup to start things off as Fallon began his sad verse in a jovial tone. Fallon came home to find another man’s pipe in the place of his, confusing him. “I said to her/ ‘Will you kindly tell to me/ who owns the pipe up on the chair/ where my old pipe should be,'” he sung, signaling the gigantic clapping chorus from Post Malone and the band. “Oh you’re drunk, you’re drunk, You silly old fool/ Still you cannot see?,” they sing, before attempting to explain the pipe’s existence. Post Malone went next with a similar situation, finding the existence of another man’s boots where his should be, under his bed. And then after that, Fallon found another man’s head. They continue to drink, smile, and laugh at these potentially marriage-shattering discoveries as the audience joins in on the celebration.
Later, after a game of Beer Pong, Post Malone revealed that this year’s Posty Fest will take place on November 2 in Dallas, TX. While he didn’t announce any artists yet, it should be expected that it will be massive. Last year’s Posty Fest brought out both Travis Scott and Tyler, The Creator. In September, Post Malone will be heading out on tour with Swae Lee.
Watch Post Malone and Jimmy Fallon sing “Seven Drunken Nights” up above.
Ryan Murphy’s FX anthology series American Crime Story has tackled major national news stories like the OJ Simpson trial and the murder of Gianni Versace in its first two seasons. Season three, which will be called Impeachment: American Crime Story, will tell the story of the attempt to remove President Bill Clinton from office in the late ’90s after it was revealed he had a relationship with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“This franchise re-examines some of the most complicated, polarizing stories in recent history in a way that is relevant, nuanced, and entertaining,” John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions, said about the series. “Impeachment: American Crime Story will likewise explore the overlooked dimensions of the women who found themselves caught up in the scandal and political war that cast a long shadow over the Clinton Presidency.”
Here’s everything we know so far about American Crime Story‘s third installment.
1. The air date. Production is set to begin in February with a premiere date slated for September 27, 2020.
2. The cast. Beanie Feldstein will star as Lewinsky, with Murphy staple Sarah Paulson playing Linda Tripp, whose secret recordings of Lewinsky led to the investigation. Annaleigh Ashford will play Clinton accuser Paula Jones.
3. Monica Lewinksy is a producer on the show. The story of the Clinton scandal has been told many times, but with Lewinsky’s involvement we’re sure to get a different perspective on events.
“Nobody should tell your story but you, and it’s kind of gross if they do,” Murphy told Vanity Fair of a conversation he had with Lewinsky. “If you want to produce it with me, I would love that; but you should be the producer, and you should make all the goddamn money.”
At this year’s Comic Con panel, Marvel formally announced that The Eternals was one of several big-budget movies set to come out in their newly-announced Phase 4. While there were a few bits of information out about the film prior to this announcement, including Angelina Jolie’s involvement, this is the first time we got any firm details on what we can now expect from this newest addition in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And, while there are only a handful of updates made available about the film at this time, as Marvel has been vigilant about keeping information secret from the public, The Eternals is shaping up to be one of Marvel’s most intriguing and hopefully promising new movies, particularly when it comes to their new slate of movies after the climatic Avengers: Endgame.
We can’t confirm everything about this blockbuster at this time (there are even some folks who aren’t entirely clear if the title is The Eternals or simply Eternals), but we can report on what we know for sure about this new film and we can provide details that will hopefully get you excited to see what Marvel has to offer with one of their latest movies — especially at the start of this newest Phase.
What Is The Release Date For The Eternals?
At the aforementioned Comic-Con panel, it was revealed that The Eternals was officially set to be released on November 6th, 2020. That’s certainly a tight window between now and then, with a little over a year before this blockbuster is set to screen in front of audiences everywhere. But, the film has reportedly been in pre-production since March of this year, and it sounds like The Eternals is already in the thick of preparations so that it can gear up for production.
When (And Where) Did Production On The Eternals Begin?
As we have noted earlier, production on The Eternals was already expected to begin no later than in the next few months. And, ComicBook.com reported that the production appears to have already begun in the early stages, with sets being built in Buckinghamshire, England, which is where the blockbuster was rumored to begin filming a few months ago.
With pre-production now underway, this would mean that The Eternals is shooting around the same time as Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, which is scheduled to be released only a few short months later, in February 2021. The pre-production work for The Eternals reportedly started around late July. Clearly, this movie will film for at least the next few months before post-production fully gears up.
Who Will Direct The Eternals?
In September 2018, it was revealed that Chloe Zhao would be at the helm of The Eternals. The Chinese filmmaker already earned a wealth of acclaim for her sophomore feature, The Rider, which appeared on a number of top 10 lists last year. Zhao was also in the running to direct Black Widow before the position was given to Cate Shortland.
But, it’s clear that producer Kevin Feige and the rest of the folks over at Marvel were impressed with the director’s work and they wanted to bring her on-board to helm one of their latest superhero blockbusters. This, even though the rising filmmaking talent has only made independent films to date, including her feature directorial debut, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, which came out only a few years earlier.
Certainly, The Eternals is a big leap for Chloe Zhao, but she has acquired an exceptional cast for her latest film (which we’ll discuss in just a little while) and it’s clear that Marvel has a lot of confidence in this young filmmaker to prove herself in a major way with this latest film. It is also worth noting that The Eternals will now be the third Marvel film directed by a female filmmaker, following this year’s Captain Marvel and the upcoming Black Widow. That is certainly an exciting development, and it’s hopefully a sign of what’s to come with regards to a diversity of filmmakers directing these movies.
Who Is Writing The Eternals?
In May of 2018, it was revealed that cousins Ryan and Matthew K. Firpo were in talks to write the screenplay for The Eternals. The related writers have only previously had their short film screenplays brought to life, which makes the prospect of them jumping on board to write this major motion picture all the more exciting.
Although, it should be noted that their script for the war thriller Ruin has acquired a great deal of interest — most notably because Margot Robbie and Matthias Schoenaerts are currently attached to star. Production for that film has been slow, so there’s a chance that The Eternals might make it to the screen before this project gets off the ground. But, it’s apparent that Kevin Feige and his team are impressed by these two writers.
Who Are The Eternals?
Created by Jack Kirby in 1976, The Eternals are a band of humanoids who were considered an offshoot of the evolutionary process which created sentinent life inside the Marvel universe. They were once intended to be the protectors of Earth, and they’ve gone to war with their counterparts, The Deviants. They are basically superhumans, unaffected by cold and heat and they can live for thousands of years without threat of disease or easy destruction. They’ve got a mental bond that prevents them from being seriously/fatally hurt, and they’re capable of extraordinary feats like mind reading and flight.
In short, they’re basically the best of the best, in many respects. Although they do have some limitations (obviously), which will likely be explored in this film. They have several years of history, but it sounds like the characters chosen to be at the forefront of this introductory tale range from a variety of generations, with some characters arriving from the first generation, the third generation, the fifth generation and several others. It’s unclear how closely this story will follow the origins of the characters from the comics, or when we’ll be introduced to the characters with respect to the current timeline of the MCU.
Who Will Angelina Jolie Play In The Eternals?
It has been confirmed that Angelina Jolie will play Thena, one of the genetically-engineered crime-fighters in the titular Eternals. She was the first person to be cast in the film, which was considered a bit of a surprise. The actress has focused less on acting and more on directing and producing in recent years, with the exception of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which is expected to be released in the fall.
Jolie also has other upcoming projects, including Taylor Sheridan’s Those Who Wish Me Dead and Brenda Chapman’s Come Away, both of which are expected to be released later this year or sometime next year. So, it does like she’s decided to step back into acting a bit. Even though Jolie keeps herself busy in both her professional and personal life, she found the time to join the MCU.
Who Will Kumail Nanjiani Play In The Eternals?
Actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani has kept himself exceptionally busy in the last few years, and now he’s set to star in The Eternals in the role of Kingo. Ever since breaking out on television with Silicon Valley and at the cinema with The Big Sick, a semi-autobiographical dramedy he also co-wrote, the actor has been working on a variety of different projects for screens both big and small.
He was recently seen in Men in Black: International and Stuber, along with an early episode of CBS All Access’ reboot of The Twilight Zone, and he recently filmed the final season of Silicon Valley, which is expected to debut next year. Nanjiani also did another voiceover role for The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle and he starred in The Lovebirds, both of which are expected to be released next year. This is another huge role for the up-and-coming talent, and it continues his ascension to Hollywood’s high ranks.
Who Will Salma Hayek Play In The Eternals?
Earlier this summer, it was revealed that Salma Hayek was being considered for a role in The Eternals. This information was confirmed at Comic-Con when she was announced as one part of the ensemble. The actress is set to play the role of Ajak, and it will be fun to see Hayek in another high-profile role.
The actress has proven her action chops in the past, notably with her work in Desperado, Once Upon A Time in Mexico and, most recently, The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Hayek is also set to appear in the sequel The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which is expected to come out next year. Even though the actress has proven herself throughout multiple genres and in a variety of films, The Eternals will be one of her biggest projects yet.
Who Else Is Expected To Appear In The Eternals?
In addition to the actors and actresses mentioned above, The Eternals is also expected to star Games of Thrones‘ Richard Madden, The Walking Dead‘s Lauren Ridloff, Atlanta‘s Brian Tyree Henry and Don Lee. They’ll each be playing Ikaris, Makkari, Phastos, and Gilgamesh, respectively. TheEternals is also expected to star Lia McHugh as Sprite, and it was recently announced that Gemma Chan and the great young actor Barry Keoghan have reportedly joined the cast as well, although their roles have not been confirmed at this time. Clearly, it’s shaping up to be a tremendous cast.
As we said before, there are still a lot of details left unclear about The Eternals at this time. But with the release date fast approaching (even if it’s still over a year away), we should expect to see and hear more about this film and these characters in the months to come. For now, however, this is the extent of what we know about this new blockbuster, and we’ll continue to keep you posted on the details here at CinemaBlend, so be sure to bookmark this guide for all updates!
CinemaBlend’s own Nick Venable recently spoke with Andy Serkis at TCA about his upcoming FX miniseries A Christmas Carol, which is being written and executive produced by Steven Knight, and directed by Nick Murphy. Naturally, though, the conversation shifted briefly to Venom 2 given yesterday’s big news.
While Andy Serkis can’t say too much about the sequel given that it’s still early into the development process, he took the opportunity to shower Tom Hardy with praise about what he did with the Eddie Brock/Venom dynamic in last year’s Venom. That was a big selling point for Serkis coming aboard, and he intends to keep highlighting the tension between Eddie and the symbiote for their next cinematic adventure.
But Andy Serkis isn’t just collaborating with Tom Hardy in the usual actor/director manner for Venom 2. Serkis also revealed to Gamespot that Hardy is helping craft the story with him and writer Kelly Marcel. Whether their efforts result in a movie that’s more critically well received than its predecessor remains to be seen, but judging by Serkis’ comments, it sounds like this stage of the creative process is off to a solid start.
Venom 2 is Andy Serkis’ third directorial endeavor. He kicked off this portion of his career with 2017’s Breathe and followed that up with Mowgli: The Legend of the Jungle, which was originally intended to be a Warner Bros release, but was later moved to Netflix. Serkis also served as the second unit director on The Hobbit trilogy.
Of course, most people know Andy Serkis best from his acting work, particularly motion capture roles like Gollum, Caesar and Snoke. It remains to be seen if Serkis will also play a character in Venom 2, but if he does, don’t be surprised if rather than bringing life to some CGI creation, he instead appears as a normal-looking human, like he did in his last superhero movie, Black Panther.
No specific Venom 2 plot details have been revealed yet, but the Venom mid-credits scene introduced Cletus Kasady, and Woody Harrelson is signed on to reprise the serial killer, so expect for him to become Carnage. Venom 2 will also bring back Michelle Williams as Ann Weying, a San Francisco district attorney and Eddie Brock’s ex-fiancée.
Venom 2 is expected to be released in theaters on October 2, 2020, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on how it’s coming along. In the meantime, keep up to date with this year’s movies with our 2019 release schedule.
In a little over two decades, Christopher Nolan has gone from being a micro-budget independent filmmaker in London shooting his directorial debut on the weekends to one of the most respected and revered directors in Hollywood and across the globe. It was no easy feat.
The filmmaker is one of the rare directors working today who can sell a movie based solely on name recognition alone, and that mark of quality craftsmanship that comes with each of his movies is one of the few assurances in a changing Hollywood landscape. In short, Christopher Nolan is one of our truly great filmmakers.
That’s why we’re taking this time to celebrate him by looking back on all ten of his feature films, which have culminated into an incredible career — filled with films both big and small, expansive and intimate, visually stunning and intellectually stimulating. It is an enviable career, to be certain, and one that doesn’t come about readily for most people in the movie-making business. It takes a lot of passion, wit, skill and care to make the movies that Christopher Nolan creates, and it’s clear that this level of respect and dedication has earned him a great career.
Now, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s address a couple key notices: 1) Christopher Nolan is a masterful filmmaker, so it should come to no real surprise that the British storyteller has never (at least in my opinion) misstepped and made an outright bad movie. While not every movie can be as good as the last, he is an supremely confident, dutifully assured craftsman, and he weaves elegant, engrossing, compelling and sometimes damn near impeccable movies.
So, when one film is ranked higher than the other, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean it’s bad or less deserving of praise. Instead, it can come down to personal taste or recognizing that while one film is really good, the other one is even more amazing.
2) While Christopher Nolan incorporates his familiar, well-honed style into every one of his features, his films — notably in terms of focus and genre — can often be very different from each other. With the noted exception of his Dark Knight trilogy, each movie is striving to be something different and to do something different, which can make the task of ranking his individual movies a little tricky.
There is no exact science to this ranking. I’m not here to turn movies into math. I hate math. I’m just here to rank them as I see fit, and I’ll do my best to explain why one movie is above (or below) another.
Now, without further ado, here’s a ranking of all of Christopher Nolan’s films to date — starting with the quite good ones, working through the genuinely great titles and finally walking up the ladder all the way to the masterpieces. It’s not an easy task, but few things are truly easy with Nolan.
10. Following (1998)
Everyone had to get their start somewhere. For Christopher Nolan, his first brush at feature filmmaking came through the humble efforts that created Following, a lean, intriguing, intensely small-scale, micro-budget independent movie shot for 15 minutes on Saturdays throughout the course of three to four months and made on a small budget of $6,000 (which is basically less than the catering budget of any of his current works). While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of his other, better movies, it’s certainly easy to see why this early film paved the way for what came next.
It’s a fractured narrative that follows a nondescript 20-something whose habit of following people throughout London results in some dangerous, high-stakes conclusions when he interacts with the wrong people. Following doesn’t carry the director’s smooth visual style, favoring a sort of French New Wave black-and-white vibe as the handheld camera frantically and intently follows our directionless lead throughout the perils that define his adventure.
Nevertheless, Following benefits nicely from sharp performances, a nicely-honed screenplay and smart low-budget filmmaking that proves that even on a minor scale like this movie, Christopher Nolan was a smart and commendable filmmaker really to challenge himself with each new turn.
9. Dunkirk (2017)
Right off the bat, I’m getting divisive. Certainly, there is a tremendous amount to admire in Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Dunkirk. The sparse, tensely dramatic war picture is an incredible technical feat and narrative accomplishment, allowing the British director to hone in on his talents for building a wealth of suspense and dread with the perpetually ticking clock announcing the impending doom that is always felt in the hearts and minds of these soldiers.
It’s a captivating watch in the right moments, allowing itself to always feel urgent and dutifully true to life, even if the events themselves took place nearly 80 years prior. It’s a movie that’s always rich on atmosphere, tension and the jittery feeling that anything can go wrong at any moment.
As a cinematic experience, it’s a ticking time bomb that’s also willing to let itself breathe in moments of somber, sobering reality, realizing that tragedy is always at the door of triumph and that for every victory, there’s the inevitable defeat of many good men. But while it’s understandable to see why Dunkirk is the Christopher Nolan movie that finally got on the Academy’s good notice, earning eight Oscar nominations and winning three awards, it is also the one that feels less-than-whole compared to Nolan’s other, more involving, character-driven narratives.
The actors in this cast, including very strong work from Cillian Murphy, Barry Keoghan, a surprising Harry Styles and particularly Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance, provide their good graces, but the characters are intentionally left distant, only rarely making us feel like we know these noble men in the midst of perpetual war and grave sacrifices.
It should be stressed that it’s an incredible accomplishment as a film, but when it’s all said and done, there is something a bit absent in Dunkirk compared to the other Christopher Nolan movies. It’s a commendable film and one that’s rich in its execution (particularly in how it juggles three totally separate narratives in the span of its surprisingly tight runtime). It is only a lesser movie by Nolan’s incredibly high standards.
Still, compared to the rest of his filmography, this is one where it’s easier to praise what it pulls off than it is to richly remember the characters and its story. For a movie that’s meant to honor the everyday sacrifices of these war-torn soldiers, it’s disappointing that we’re often at a distance from these men — even though the movie itself is often great about making us feel how they feel during every intense moment they’re left in the thrust of ongoing war.
8. Insomnia (2002)
Made in-between Memento and Batman Begins, it can be easy to see why Insomnia — much like his debut, Following — is often forgotten-about in the broader conversation about Christopher Nolan’s oeuvre. The director’s third feature film, a remake of the Norwegian film of the same name (and the director’s one-and-only remake to date), was Nolan’s first time working with an American studio, and it was the first time he was working with veteran acting titans like Al Pacino and Robin Williams.
It can be easy to see why this movie is seen more as a stepping stone for Christopher Nolan’s career rather than a monumental achievement that should be revered in the same way a number of his other, better movies are often discussed and celebrated. But it would be inconsiderate to write Insomnia off as simply a lesser Nolan film, especially as it carries a number of underrated charms.
The story, which follows a sleep-deprived LAPD detective (Al Pacino) and his partner (Martin Donovan) investigating a murder in Alaska, where the sun will often not shine, in order to investigate the murder of a local teen. In terms of Nolan’s more ambitious, narratively windy films, Insomnia can easily be seen as something a little more formal and potentially formulaic by the director’s high expectations.
But while the story itself doesn’t often try to push any new creative or thematic bounds, particularly as a remake, it shouldn’t be readily dismissed for being a little more simplistic and focused. Indeed, Insomnia is a great showcase for Nolan’s quieter, more tempered creative choices, particularly when it focuses on Al Pacino and a chilling supporting turn from Robin Williams, providing yet another showcase for what the comedic actor could accomplish outside of the laugh department.
In the broad conversation related to Christopher Nolan’s filmmaking, Insomnia is certainly a little too somber and grim to be celebrated in full. It can be hard to champion this movie as readily as any number of other movies set to be listed. But Insomnia is, to state an obvious pun, a bit of sleeper hit, allowing Nolan to expand into a bit more traditional storytelling and allowing the director to reach a wider audience until he made his pivotal next film.
7. Interstellar (2014)
Two years after delivering the final entry of his Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan gave the masses Interstellar, his second foray into the realm of science fiction. Set in a dystopian future, the movie follows Matthew McConaughey’s Joseph Cooper, an astronaut who embarks into the depths of space with his team to go through a wormhole near Saturn so that they can find a new home for humanity, resulting in a temporally-bending chain of consequences. Back on the increasingly desolate Earth, we also follow along with Joseph’s daughter, Murphy, who continues to await her father’s return and tries to fix Earth’s problems her own way.
It’s a beautiful and devastating film, allowing Christopher Nolan to continue to push himself in bold, invigorating ways while also appearing to be one of the more personal films in Nolan’s resume, touching on the connections we lose while we push ourselves farther and father into our work, and how our inherent desire to be at the forefront of humanity’s greatness can often remove us from what makes us human in the first place.
It’s a rich movie to dissect, and it’s clear that Nolan had big ambitions here. Unfortunately, though, some of those ambitions can get a little too heavy-handed and a bit too broad-reaching, resulting in an occasionally messy and over-extended film that doesn’t entirely reach the full scope of its huge, incredible desires.
Interstellar is often a long and frustrating film, one that is often at the peak of greatness but never fully accomplishing what it sets out to achieve. There is a tremendous amount to appreciate, particularly from its great performances of its talented ensemble to its rousing score and stunning cinematography. And it is clearly a movie that intriguingly challenges what one can accomplish in a single film, resulting in Nolan’s arguably biggest and most elaborate film.
But while Interstellar has a lot working in its favor, the downsides are often glaring. And while it is an intriguing step forward (in many respects) for the acclaimed director, it’s also one that doesn’t quite get fully out of the stratosphere or prove itself to be one of Nolan’s most engaging or impeccable films — though it’s arguably one of his most meaningful.
6. Batman Begins (2005)
In many ways, Batman Begins was the film that put Christopher Nolan into the general public’s gaze, lifting him up from arthouse darling to one of the most culturally-distinguished and acclaimed filmmakers of our times. Batman Begins wasn’t the movie that fully made that transition just yet (that film was set to come in just a few short years), but it was this superhero film that announced Nolan’s presence in a major way.
And it was the movie that turned this rising British director into a staple of ambitious blockbuster filmmaking in Hollywood, allowing him to make movies on bigger, bolder scales and become one of the most influential storytellers of the early 21st century. That is a hell of a lot for a mere superhero origin story to accomplish.
Meant to turn Batman’s tarnished reputation after the ill-fated Batman & Robin into something worthy of the legendary comic book character, Batman Begins was a revisionist take on the origin story of this classic hero, allowing the Dark Knight to become something that was both more grounded and more thematically dense that your typical light-hearted superhero affair.
The resulting 2005 film became a cornerstone for how the ever-expanding superhero genre was set to shine (or, rather, darken) in the next ten to fifteen years, giving validity to the notion that men in tights could also be richly-realized and intellectually-stimulating characters through which broader social, political commentary could be infused on a major scale in Hollywood.
Batman Begins was a vital film for how superhero movies would currently be seen and taken seriously in Hollywood, and its sequel, The Dark Knight, would only continue to impress upon those concepts in key and vital ways in blockbuster filmmaking. But as a film, you can tell that Batman Begins is the director’s first attempt at blockbuster filmmaking, considering that the transition can often be a little bumpy.
The action sequences don’t pack the same punch as the character and conversation-driven sequences, lacking the technical prowess the director would hone in future films, and the third act can feel a little bombastic compared to the more somber, quieter first two-thirds. But at its best moments, Batman Begins is an astounding achievement for the filmmaker, and it’s undoubtedly the movie that would pave the way for how moviegoers around the globe view the director today.
5. Inception (2010)
Movies are often considered dreams projected into life, and Inception is one film that certainly tackles that notion head-on. Christopher Nolan’s loopy, brain-splitting science-fiction film, centered around a team of thieves who steal information by breaking into people’s subconscious minds, is a movie that often blurs the line between how we see reality and what can be become reality in a dream.
It’s an engrossing, sometimes even maddening mind-bender of a film, and one of the director’s most formally-challenging films at the early to mid-point of his career. It also announced Nolan’s presence in a major way as a top-tier director, proving to audiences what he could accomplish after The Dark Knight and how he could play with form and structure.
It’s an impressively layered marvel of a movie, pleasing the eyes and the mind as it plays with how the cinema can twist and turn the logics of reality, all while staying grounded and true to the core foundation of these rooted characters. But in addition to its stellar cast, lead by Leonardo DiCaprio, it is also an astounding technical feat that never sacrifices intelligence or original ideas even while appealing to a broad audience. The film’s impressive mix of practical effects and CG are often enhanced by the weighted notions of morality and possibility that are at the core of this logic-hopping movie.
Inception is a wonderment of a film that continued to astound audiences massively impressed with the director’s most recent film. Inception is the film that allowed Nolan to be a major commercial selling point — the mere mention of his name became enough validation to make whatever he wish to make. And it was the film that suggested that Nolan’s expertise could expand beyond what we initially perceived, becoming a wholly inventive storyteller who’d continue to push and challenge himself with each new film, continuously creating daring, invigorating art with commercial appeal.
4. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Once again, I expect this choice this ruffle a few feathers. But similar to Christopher Nolan, you have to make some bold choices. The Dark Knight Rises has unfairly been perceived as the lesser of the three Nolan Batman movies, with the reputation of being overlong, over-indulgent and narratively unwieldily. And while there are quite a few flaws to be gleaned from Nolan’s astoundingly ambitious trilogy-capper, it also feels definitive and rousingly epic in a way few superhero movies — or other films, for that matter — often do.
It’s also, undeniably, one of the most towering and grand movies ever presented onto the big screen, and it’s certainly one of the most impressive superhero movies to be made in cinematic history, providing a fitting and formidable finale to what might possibly be the greatest superhero trilogy to date — much to the distress of Marvel lovers.
Left with the nearly-impossible task of making a sequel to arguably the greatest superhero movie in history, The Dark Knight Rises could’ve easily played it safe and made a more conventional, formulaic finale that tied up loose ends in cheesy, familiar ways. But it’s clear that for Nolan to feel as though the effort is worth the while, he needed to make something that was appropriately worthy of the legacy he founded, resulting in a movie event that is often grand and impressive in its use of practical effects and visually splendid set pieces. At the same time, it also felt rich and cinematic —and intensely stripped down and character-focused — through its exploration what truly makes the man in Batman, and what becomes of our heroes during their greatest fights.
The result is a movie that carries the weight of finality in a manner that few superhero movies are willing to, especially these days, while also feeling justified in its completion. It feels vindicated to make our lead character a fragile and often weak man, broken in several different respects, who must earn the right to be Gotham’s savior — whether they deserve him or not — during its greatest moment of peril. We feel the perseverance of this wounded character, and we’re made to see a very familiar larger-than-life character in a new and intensely realistic way.
It’s also a very political and thematically dense film, with an abundance of ideas constantly streaming through its free-flowing conscious. The result is a richly-realized look at the legacy of our heroes, and how they can be both human and larger-than-life during their greatest failures and triumphs. What makes a hero is often what makes a man, and The Dark Knight Rises is the rare superhero movie that respects both the super and the human of this super-heroic send-off.
3. The Prestige (2006)
At its core, making movies is a magic act. At its earliest days, cinema were often used as a luxurious, encapsulating way to dazzle and spellbind audiences through the art of editing and photography. Once again, Christopher Nolan pays his respects to the foundations of filmmaking through his work, particularly with his fifth film, The Prestige, which can often be ignored for what it is: one of Christopher Nolan’s best, most enrapturing feats.
Boasting two impeccable turns from Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, The Prestige is the director’s twisty, intensely (and inventively) suspenseful mystery-thriller which provides a number of twists and turns, while never using them solely as a cheap way to keep the audience’s attention — particularly from its constantly moving slight-of-hand.
Instead, The Prestige is a dynamic, vigorous look at obsession and deception, reminding viewers of the great wonders and thrills that can come from an incredible bit of magic, while also providing a pulsating, head-spinning look at the world of magic-makers, and how the concept of creating a twist of fate can often leave one removed from what should be obvious in front of them, and how playing God can often make someone disconnected from their own fragile reality. Plus, this is also a wonderfully entertaining movie to boot.
Christopher Nolan is, in many respects, one of our greatest working magicians, creating spellbinding cinematic achievements that constantly dazzle and spellbind audiences of all ages. In that respect, The Prestige is the director’s ode to the wonders (and dangers) that come from this deceptive profession, and how the greatest trick that a magician can pull is to make you believe that the impossible is possible, and how fiction can be a reality — at least, in the moment they have you under their spell.
2. The Dark Knight (2008)
Quite easily the director’s most famous and monumental film, The Dark Knight is an absolute game-changer. Not merely for the superhero genre, which was given a validity and a reverence it only partially received prior to this movie’s debut, but for blockbuster cinema as a whole. Particularly with blockbusters proving that they could be just as intellectually dense and thematically stimulating as any other form of media — while never sacrificing the enriching entertainment value and gripping stories that make going to the movies, at their peak, one of our most deeply satisfying experiences.
Meant as a continuation of Christopher Nolan’s previous film, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight succeeds as both a sequel and as a standalone triumph, providing one of the most intensely dynamic and dramatic movies — especially of this size and scale —in cinema history. The film’s bold, intrinsic influences on their well-celebrated characters provided a whole new depth and nuance to some of the most popular literary and cinematic characters in history, particularly with the introduction of Nolan’s take on The Joker, played phenomenally by the late, great Heath Ledger, in what became the tragically young actor’s best performance — even if he heartbreakingly never got to celebrate its powerful success.
Through the weighted dichotomy of order and chaos, civility and anarchy, which feeds The Dark Knight‘s incredibly well-realized morality play, Christopher Nolan made a masterpiece of this genre, a film that richly and impressively fed comic book adaptations with a vibrant and engaging look at humanity in heroes and what it means to be good or evil — if such concepts can be boiled down in such a simplistic manner — and whether or not it is in humanity’s best interest to value themselves or each other in times of grave destruction and disorder. It is undoubtedly the finest adaptation of this character we’ve gotten to date, and it is easily one of the greatest superhero movies that has ever been made — and possibly the absolute best.
1. Memento (2000)
While it was through The Dark Knight trilogy and major films like Inception that audiences everywhere became aware of this prominent filmmaker’s greatness, for many moviegoers, it was through their introduction to Christopher Nolan’s sophomore feature, Memento, that they became aware of this formative British filmmaker’s potential. And it was through this film that it became apparent that Nolan was a storyteller meant to shake up the filmmaking scene in an undeniably vital way, already producing original, structurally dexterous art even from the beginning of his impressive career.
An entirely inventive look at the mystery genre, which flipped the concept of distorted reality on its head by having the entire film be told in a backward fashion (i.e. the last scene of the story is the first one we see and visa versa), what could’ve easily been merely an amusing gimmick became a brilliant dissection of the unreliable narrator, and how the conclusions we draw from our main characters — even in a fractured presentation — can often be deceptively twisted, believing what we want to believe (or what we expect to believe) from our protagonist before the truth slaps us right in the face.
Aided wonderfully by a great lead performance from the excellent actor Guy Pearce, Memento is quite easily Christopher Nolan’s most ingenious screenplay and the film that balances his thematic and formative desires with a wonderfully engaging screenplay that constantly leaves you in a state of suspense, guessing what has already happened even when we already know the intended outcome. It’s a phenomenal feat of both storytelling and filmmaking, and it’s the film that not only introduced Christopher Nolan’s power and potential as a filmmaker, but (in my view) remains his best feature.
There is no denying that Christopher Nolan’s filmography is an incredible roaster of astounding films, many of which are constantly the source of in-house fighting when it comes to which one is actually the best of the best. These are merely one man’s picks, but we’ll be happy to hear what you have to say (because surely, you have your own personal favorites) in the comment section below. The mark of a great filmmaker is knowing that nobody’s list looks exactly the same as the next, and nearly all the films we listed could arguably be considered his greatest. Let us know your picks.
Warning: SPOILERS forOnce Upon a Time in Hollywoodare ahead!
Although he’s arguably best known for leading the 1950s TV series Bounty Law, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood character Rick Dalton also has some notable movie credits on his resume, including The 14 Fists of McCluskey, where he played a eyepatch-wearing, flamethrower-wielding Nazi hunter. While Rick seemed perfectly comfortable using this fire-spewing weapon (more on that later), DiCaprio himself was anything but pleased with using it at first.
Shooting this particular Once Upon a Time in Hollywood scene required Leonardo DiCaprio to actually set his co-stars on fire, which the actor was understandably concerned about doing this. Co-stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo, who’s been working in Hollywood for 26 years, tried to ease DiCaprio’s concerns by having himself be set on fire first. Alonzo recalled:
Frankly, I’d be more concerned if an actor using a flamethrower wasn’t concerned about permanently injuring people he’d never met. In any case, Leonardo DiCaprio fears were quelled after some “coaxing” by supervising stunt coordinator Zoë Bell. As laid out by Huff Post, after DiCaprio saw that Robert Alonzo was safe after the demonstration, he had everyone in the room applaud the stunt team.
But that wasn’t the last time Leonardo DiCaprio had to use a flamethrower during the course of making Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Towards the end of the movie, it was revealed that Rick Dalton kept the weapon after shooting The 14 Fists of McCluskey, and when he was surprised by a severely injured Sadie Atkins, one of the Manson Family members who broke into his home, he broke out the flamethrower and set her ablaze.
Presumably the second flamethrower scene was filmed later in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s production, meaning Leonardo DiCaprio wouldn’t have had any issues using it at that point… or at least, not as many issues. In any case, it just goes to show that while one should never be blasé about using a flamethrower in any situation, including making a movie, these stunt people have had years to perfect the process of simulating such a scene.
At least now Leonardo DiCaprio will be better prepared on the off chance another movie requires him to use a flamethrower. But that’s just one of the ways that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stands out among the other summer cinematic offerings. Quentin Tarantino’s ninth movie has collected a lot of positive reviews and has so far made over $81 million worldwide.
When we heard Avengers: Endgame would be the culmination of the expansive MCU thus far… it seemed like an almost impossible task. How were they going to pull it off? There were so many storylines and characters in play, and 21 movies before it. But the filmmakers managed to wrap up the Infinity Saga and give Captain America a fairytale ending with Peggy Carter, thanks to the film’s introduction to time travel. But there is a theory revolving around the internet regarding that twist, and Cap’s possible attendance of her funeral.
Endgame brought on a lot of discussion among fans too. Such as this: did Steve Rogers fall in love and start a life with Peggy in the same MCU timeline we’re familiar with or in a new alternate one in his mission to return the Infinity Stones?
Some theorize that if he went back to the same time (which makes sense considering that’s the timeline where the stones are missing), perhaps old man Cap was present at Peggy’s funeral in Captain America: Civil War. Here’s what Captain America trilogy, Infinity War and Endgame co-writer Christopher Markus says:
In fact, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely apparently disagree with the Russo Brothers on how time travel works in Endgame, therefore at this point it’s up to the audience’s interpretation. Markus continued with these words to Los Angeles Times:
There is something poetic about this image of two Caps from different times and lives being in the same room during that heartbreaking Civil War sequence where Chris Evans’ character tearfully carries her coffin. It’s easy to imagine the old Cap somewhere in the stands seeing his past self in mourning as he now carries the satisfaction of getting to share a life with her.
The co-writers are no longer working for Marvel for now, since they’ve just masterfully written Captain America’s onscreen story arc and the highest-grossing movie of all time! Endgame is available to own on Digital and coming to Blu-Ray on August 13.