If the nearly three hours of Los Angeles Plays Itself wasn’t enough for you (and how could it be?), you’ll be pleased to know that you can get the same sort of kicks for another couple hours by checking out Thom Andersen’s 1996 film Red Hollywood, codirected by Noël Burch. The subject matter is different – this one looks at the work of blacklisted screenwriters, directors and actors – but the droll and clip-heavy tour through Hollywood history will be instantly recognizable to fans of Andersen’s magnum opus.
In this episode, Eric and Michael discuss Under the Skin and Spring.
August is nearing an end. Fall is about to begin followed by the earliest tinges of winter. Sounds like a perfect time to grab a cup of your favorite tea (Russian Caravan is a personal favorite) and take a look at the upcoming sequels of interest waiting for us the rest of the year.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – The original Maze Runner was a surprise hit in the burgeoning genre of post-apocalyptic young adult dramas with muted violence, coquettish romance, and anti-establishmentarianism. Can this duology sprint its way into a full-fledged franchise? I’m mildly curious to check out the first after enjoying similar genre fare Divergent more than I care to admit.
In this movie journal, Tyler and David discuss what they’ve seen recently, including:
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
9 TO 5
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER
THE 47 RONIN
THE SULTAN’S JESTER
WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS
Z FOR ZACHARIAH
BEST OF ENEMIES
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
THE HOBBIT (Tolkien Edit)
THE DEER HUNTER
WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER
WELCOME TO SWEDEN
SHOW ME A HERO
Director Craig Zobel (Compliance) knows how many post-apocalypse movies we’ve seen in recent years and so he doesn’t spend much time setting up backstory in his new Z for Zachariah, based on the novel by Robert C. O’Brien. After a few bleakly beautiful establishing shots of a decimated town (courtesy of cinematographer Tim Orr), we see a woman in a gas mask scavenging through the rubble, then carting her goods over the hill into the neighboring valley, where she is finally able to breathe free. Zobel may not completely steer clear of the apocalypse subgenre’s clichés (the woman, Ann, played by Margot Robbie, does appear to have kept up her leg-shaving regimen) but his overall economy in establishing time and place illuminates his true motivation. He’s not interested in telling us how the world of men was unmade but rather how it will be made again, by grace or by force.
Rene Clément’s 1952 classic Forbidden Games wastes no time in setting its terms as an uncompromising exploration of the complications of innocence in a time of war. Paulette (Bridget Fossey) accompanies her parents as they flee Paris before the Nazi onslaught, just one more in the train of refugees clogging the roads. Their car dies, blocking the road, and, as Paulette’s father worries over the engine, men in the line behind them take hold of the vehicle and, lifting, pushing and pulling it, dump it off the road and down into a ditch, showing no sympathy, patience, or consideration. Desperate, the family takes what luggage they can, Paulette rescuing her puppy from the wreckage, and begin to walk, attempting to cross a bridge as Nazi planes, emblazoned overhead with the Iron Cross, strafe and attempt to bomb it. As they huddle before it, Paulette’s dog escapes her hold, running across the bridge, and she dashes after it, her mother and father rushing after her. They reach her as she reaches the dog and another plane swoops low, tackling her to the ground and holding still as a trail of bullets makes its way across the bridge, suddenly gouging a new hole in each parent’s back. The plane passes. As Paulette lifts her head and realization dawns, her puppy twitches beneath her, its neck broken in the fall. This, an elegant and cruel portrayal of the fatal consequences of Paulette’s innocence, is how Forbidden Games opens.
In this episode, Paul and David discuss old episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.