Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The verdict on ‘Tenet’

They said it wouldn’t happen. Some folks said it shouldn’t happen. But it finally has: Christopher Nolan’s eagerly awaited new movie Tenet has made it into theaters worldwide, despite the pandemic. Is it any good?

Critics mostly think so, though it’s not unanimous. As of this writing, it has a 81 rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a sampling of the more prominent reviews.

Watching the fan reaction on Twitter, it’s like a hunk of meat has been thrown to a pit full of hungry tigers. It’s almost disturbing how far out of their minds people have gone over wanting to see this movie. Granted, it is Nolan, a director with a proven track record of success, and in a normal year, the level of hysteria for this movie would not be so unusual, but there has been absolutely nothing normal about the buildup towards the release of Tenet.

Still, one can’t deny the reality of the life we’re all living now: going to a movie theater is simply not a good idea at the moment. Sure, I’m tempted; I imagine many of you are too—and I doubt anyone wants to see the theaters suffer for lack of new material—but I had thought The Virus would have been manageable here in the States by now. That hasn’t happened yet, and it won’t for awhile. And it’s not like the threat has completely vanished around the rest of the world either. I don’t blame Warner Bros. or Nolan for wanting to keep the theatrical experience alive—I blame the covidiots who won’t wear their masks!

What we’re seeing now from critics are debates as to the ethics of recommending a new theatrical release like Tenet or New Mutants or Unhinged—i.e., doing their jobs as they normally would—when it means the real possibility of their readers taking their advice, contracting The Virus and maybe dying. For some, there’s no question which way they stand on the issue. Others are more willing to continue as before, but with caveats.

Tenet will be available after The Virus is gone. From what I can tell, the negative reviews for it aren’t that negative; at least, they’re not saying anything unexpected. And while I’m still not 100% sold on it, at this point, I’m willing to wait until the time is right. As for the theaters, they’ve weathered crises like this one before.

But yeah, it looks like I’m done with theaters for now, Tenet or no Tenet... but I don’t believe it’s forever. And neither should you.

 More after the jump.

A quick word about Chadwick Boseman: I knew from the first time I saw him in 42 he would have a bright future as a movie star, and he did. For awhile it looked like he would be typecast as historical figures: Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall—but as the Black Panther, he struck gold, a black superhero with a universal appeal, in one of the greatest superhero movies of all time and certainly one of the best movies of the past decade. This loss hurts because we’ve been robbed of all the great movies Boseman could’ve and would’ve starred in further down the road—and there would’ve been lots. What he gave us, though, was more than impressive enough.


Virginia and I have begun to hang out together again. So far it’s nothing but outdoor meals and some random shopping, but it feels wonderful to be able to be with her again. A couple of weeks ago we had a late lunch in Queens with Ann too. It’s not back to normal by any means, but it beats the alternative.

I’ve gone back to my novel again after putting it away for a long time. This time I’m revising it so that the romance takes priority over the baseball. I’ve gotten a couple of other writers to look at it and I’m critiquing their manuscripts in return. Helps to have some fresh eyes on it. If nothing else, it’s kept me occupied, which is what I need. 

Superstars of animation (besides Disney)! Beginning Friday.

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