By Robin E. Simmons

TENET

After the long wait for the home theater version, this much anticipated film from Christopher Nolan is visually dazzling, intellectually confusing and emotionally empty.

Playing with time in some form has been an element of some of Nolan’s mostly non-linear, often cerebral (?) films.  The idea that time and fate itself is malleable is clearly something that fascinates Nolan on a personal level.  But the irony that his preferred art form – cinema – is highly linear creates a kind of unsettling cognitive dissonance when watching “Tenet.”

What if we could ride time’s arrow to any place in the past of future we desire?  What if the flow of time for our planet and the universe could be modulated or perhaps redirected?  What if Armageddon was the downside of this discovery? What if time itself was somehow weaponized and devices or a nuclear based electronic trigger that controls it were sought, bought and sold on the international black market by our enemies and nefarious arms dealers.

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Nolan’s 11th film is more about the jaw-dropping wonders of state of the art cinema than about telling a great story.  In fact, narrative is mostly jettisoned in favor of constant and confusing exposition.

John David Washington is a charismatic protagonist.  But it’s Robert Pattinson who steals every scene he’s in.  Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh co star.  Michael Caine is on screen for only a few minutes.

Is our collective and personal future predestined?  Dare we tempt fate with what we assume is our free will?

GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN (1958)

For the first time ever, cult classic fans can enjoy what the distributor calls the ultimate cinematic experience.

The story is about Dr. Frederick Cleveland (Morris Ankrum), his daughter Janet (Sally Fraser) and scientific researcher Wayne Brooks (Ed Kemmer) who are in pursuit of an ancient artifact from Vargas, a giant 500-year-old Spanish conquistador.  When a lightning storm interrupts their search, the team finds much more than artifacts when the long-lost Vargas returns to life, with a murderous rage and an axe to grind!

This silly and fun British horror film has been resurrected from the original camera negative with a stunning 4K transfer that includes exclusive special features: never-before-seen interviews with C. Courtney Joyner and actor Gary Crutcher and a fascinating commentary from film historian Tom Weaver, directed by Daniel Griffith at Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.

One reviewer said Giant From the Unknown could best be described as Andy Griffith meets the creature from the Black Lagoon.

This limited edition will not be around for very long.

robin@coachellvalleyweekly.com