#17 - The Act of Killing (2013)
Synopsis - A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.
Why Do I Love?
This is easily my favorite Documentary I’ve ever viewed. It’s a ballsy, important and a monumental achievement that permanently shines a bright light on and exposes things we knew, but don’t really want to face, as a world. It also has the potential to help enact change.
The Act of Killing is beyond chilling and haunting. It’s so absurd at almost all times that it becomes surreal. At the heart it’s very human and humanity is vile. It covers a lot, manipulates many and is impossible to turn away from or shake afterwards. Again, it’s really ballsy and dedicated filmmaking. (6 years to complete this thing!)
What’s your favorite Documentary?
#18 - Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Synopsis - An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.
Why Do I Love?
Dr. Strangelove is an immensely funny, black humor, satiric take on a topic that remains terrifying. Nuclear bombs and the absolute maniacs that control them, for one. Kubrick taps right into the hysteria and paranoia of the Cold War, but then lets Peter Sellers loose, playing a number of major roles, including the iconic Dr. Strangelove himself. Scott and Hayden are pretty amazing as well, but Sellers is astounding.
Sellers as President Muffley, trying to explain to the drunken Soviet Premier, on the “Hot Line”, that the U.S. has accidentally sent planes to drop Nuclear bombs on his country and have no way of calling them back, but it is not an act of aggression, is one of films funniest scenes ever. Party due to the absurdity of the situation and that this type of thing would be possible. In part in the babylike way the President must converse with the drunken Premier. And just due to the immense distrust and paranoia in the conversation and the ether as a whole.
Dr. Strangelove is so damn smart, so damn funny and so damn relevant.
What is your favorite Black Comedy?
Directed by Guillaume Canet, Written by Canet and James Gray, Starring Billy Crudup, Clive Owen, Marion Cottilard, Zoe Saldana and Mila Kunis
Synopsis - Two brothers, on either side of the law, face off over organized crime in Brooklyn during the 1970s.
Thoughts - Blood Ties is a low key, really well acted film about a man whose allegiance is tested. What comes first, family or duty? The 70’s period is well reproduced, but there are moments, and a few musical choices that make it feel like an American crime story being told by a French guy, which it is. Clive Owen is fantastic playing a fuck that you can’t help kind of like, very much like Johnny Boy in Mean Streets.
There’s plenty of 70’s Lumet (Serpico, Prince of the City) influence and a little of James Gray’s We Own the Night. I mostly liked it and would welcome a lot more films of this type. It’s silly that it has barely been released.
Hear my take as part of the Quick Fix at the 2:03:56 mark of Episode 69. You can find the podcast at Flicksation.com or on iTunes. (I’m Ian in case you didn’t know)
My Rating : 7/10
Hide Your Smiling Faces
Directed and Written by Daniel Patrick Carbone, Starring Ryan Jones and Nathan Varnson
Synopsis - After a neighborhood tragedy, two adolescent brothers confront changing relationships, the mystery of nature, and their own mortality.
Thoughts - This is very small, opaque and short, but what’s there is worthy. It’s kind of a loss of innocence film, with young boys experiencing, dealing with and pondering death for the first time. It also has a morbid touch of humor.
Hear my take as part of the Quick Fix at the 2:17:57 mark of Episode 69. You can find the podcast at Flicksation.com or on iTunes. (I’m Ian in case you didn’t know)
My Rating : 7/10
Synopsis - A man is chosen by his world’s creator to undertake a momentous mission to rescue the innocent before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the wicked from the world.
Thoughts - I love a lot about Noah. It’s big, judgemental and absolutely dripping with dread. It features some breathtaking visuals and an equally amazing Clint Mansell Score. So, basically I am saying it is a Darren Aronofsky film. There’s an interesting blend of Old Testament wrath and some New Age Hippy Trippy stuff. I also love the idea of taking a silly and slim Bible story, $125 Million from Paramount and turning it into a parable about man made climate change. If you do not have respect for nature and animals the water will rise and swallow us all up. And it asks the question: Is Man worthy of Creation? The answer is….probably not, but maybe a few Vegans. Ridiculous and highly enjoyable film. As long as you crave dread.
Hear my thoughts as part of our discussion at the 6:01 mark of Episode 69. You can find the podcast at Flicksation.com or on iTunes. (I’m Ian in case you didn’t know)
My Rating : 8/10
I watched Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England for a second time last night, under very different circumstances. Most importantly, with clearer audio and having not just had a long and annoying day of work. I’m currently on vacation. Fuck work! Work is for hosers!
Anyways, I had an entirely different experience with the film. The first time it felt like 60 minutes of tedium and 25 minutes of amazing, experimental stuff. On second viewing, EVERYTHING worked.
It’s rare for a second viewing this soon after the first to do much more than clarify a few things or just re-enforce what I’d thought on first viewing, but this is that rare case.
A Field in England is awesome. I’ve adjusted my rating. It is now an 8/10 and one of the best films of 2014.
After three years of talking about it, we finally get to discuss Darren Aronofsky’s uber-ambitious, Noah, and the rest of the crew talk Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
We also toss around recent film news, go to Film School with Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot Le Fou, and finish with some other films we’ve seen of late in the Quick Fix. (I touch on Hide Your Smiling Faces and Blood Ties)
If interested, the links are below.
The Flicksation Facebook Page (Like Us)
The Flicksation Website (Follow us on Tumblr)
The Flicksation Podcast (iTunes)
You can listen on the website, but I urge you to subscribe to the podcast through the iTunes Store. Just search The Flicksation Podcast.
#19 - Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Synopsis - A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Why Do I Love?
When I think of Punch-Drunk Love, I immediately think about how well Paul Thomas Anderson, with immense aid of Jon Brion’s amazing Score, are able to get the viewer into the head of the lead character, the ever uncomfortable Barry Egan. This is a sweet love story and an effective offbeat comedy, but for me it’s all about that discomfort the audience, like Barry Egan, always has. The constant fluttering and buzzing of the music, often making it hard to hear or at least concentrate on the dialogue, is used masterfully. Barry Egan could explode at any moment and do just about anything, and as the audience, you just want him to be OK. It’s like he’s constantly about to be pushed over the edge of a cliff, you can feel the tension, but you just don’t know when that push will come.
Everything with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzman or any of Barry’s sisters is absolute comic gold! Punch-Drunk Love is my favorite Paul Thomas Anderson film.
What your favorite PTA film?
#20 - Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973)
Synopsis - The July 3rd, 1973 historic concert of the ‘leper Messiah’. This was to be David Bowie’s last concert with the the Ziggy persona and the Spiders from Mars.
Why Do I Love?
There is no musician that even approaches David Bowie in my world. This film features a 26 year old Bowie, and his band, The Spiders from Mars, in their last ever show. A fact that was only known to Bowie until he announced it right before the final song. I’m sure they were thrilled!
It’s an amazing concert and an important film as it caps off a phenomenal era of Bowie music. David Bowie was never going to be “one of the guys”. He’s too big and too weird. He’s an Alien and a Star. He was also never interested in repeating himself musically. Though his Berlin Era is my favorite of his or anyone’s, ever, there is no concert film I love more than Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Basically a goodbye to Glam. It’s also awesome to see guitarist Mick Ronson in all his glory and at his peak.
What is your favorite Concert Film?