Double Feature: Taxi Driver/I Stand Alone

30 May

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In this episode, Michael and Eric discuss Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Gaspar Noé’s I Stand Alone.

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Musical Notation: Early Kubrick

30 May

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In this episode, West discusses music from the early films of Stanley Kubrick, including The Killing.

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BP Movie Journal 5/26/16

27 May

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Tyler and David discuss the movies and TV shows they’ve seen, including:

Movies
THE NEW LAND
THE HOBBIT
DEAD SLOW AHEAD
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
AMUCK!
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE
THE DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID

TV
MODERN FAMILY
X-MEN
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
PROJECT RUNWAY
THE LAST MAN ON EARTH

Home Video Hovel: The Emigrants/The New Land, by David Bax

26 May

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Criterion’s release of Jan Troell’s The Emigrants (1971) and The New Land (1972) as a two-disc set allows us to approach the films in the most fitting possible way, as a single, gargantuan epic. Adapted from novels by Vilhelm Moberg, Troell’s diptych tells the tale of a group of Swedes who leave their homeland in the late 1840s and start anew across the sea in the Minnesota territory. For most of the massive, six and half hour total runtime, Troell favors a straightforward narrative approach that is nonetheless naturalistic and sympathetic to the emotional and physical extremes of the characters and their journeys. On occasion, though, he breaks into extended, impressionistic and nearly wordless segments that recount, in engrossing detail, things such as the backbreaking and unceasing daily efforts to keep a farm running or a young man’s unlucky journey to California to seek his fortune in gold.

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Chevalier: Everybody Wants Some, by Aaron Pinkston

26 May

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I’m not sure if the new wave of films coming out of Greece has been formally synthesized, but a small group of filmmakers have made some very interesting cinema lately. Yorgos Lanthimos, the director of Dogtooth, Alps, and the upcoming The Lobster has (rightfully) gotten most of the attention, but his frequent collaborator Athina Rachel Tsangari is an important figure as well. Tsangari is most known for her 2010 film Attenberg, an appropriately weird (for Greek cinema) but emotionally resonant film. Her follow up, Chevalier, may not be as outwardly bizarre as its counterparts, but it is just as committed to its high-concept premise. Chevalier may also be the most accessible film in this recent run—though given the standard, I’m not sure if that might not be a compliment.

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Hammer-Rama: The Revenge of Frankenstein, by Alexander Miller

26 May

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Needless to say, The Curse of Frankenstein shook up the world of horror and put Hammer on the map. By this time, Universal’s classic monsters descended into self-parody with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein along comes this colorful and lurid reimagining of Shelley’s novel with gore and sex accentuated by a straight-faced execution of material that had been the subject of ridicule. American audiences and studios alike were enthusiastic in 1957, and Hammer went from quota quickies to international commodities. By 1958, Hammer had revised not one but two wildly successful classic monster movies with The Curse of Frankenstein and Horror Of Dracula. Naturally, more monsters would reach the silver screen but Hammer decided to revisit the Frankenstein series after going to Transylvania.

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Alice Through the Looking Glass: Logic and Proportion Have Fallen Sloppy Dead, by Scott Nye

26 May

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Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is one of those strange 21st-century box office smashes that has remained completely unmemorable and which few seem to particularly like. The sequel, then, has the advantage of a world and design scheme audiences seem to dig, but the chance to tell any kind of story they wish. And, indeed, as Alice Through the Looking Glass opens on a battle at sea, you might wonder if you’ve wandered into the wrong theater and/or In the Heart of the Sea was receiving some sort of ill-conceived revival. But fear not, for we are more firmly out of the Burton’s strange tactic of making the story that of a grown woman reliving a child’s journey, and into the story of a grown woman launching her own sort of adventure. Director James Bobin might not be able to avoid all the toxic elements Burton established, but he does more with them than his famous predecessor.

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Criterion Prediction #36: The Decalogue, by Alexander Miller

25 May

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Title: The Decalogue

Year: 1989

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Cast: Artur Barciś, Olgierd Łukaszewicz, Olaf Lubaszenko, Jerzy Zass, Jerzy Stuhr, Krystyna Janda

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I Do Movies Badly: Fish Tank

25 May

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In this episode, Jim discusses Andrea Arnold’s critically-acclaimed Fish Tank.

X-Men: Apocalypse: The End is the Beginning is the End, by Tyler Smith

25 May

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An odd thing has happened. While everybody was concerned about Batman fighting Superman and the Marvel heroes engaging in a Civil War, Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn were quietly re-energizing the flagging X-Men series. With the decent X-Men: First Class acting as a soft reboot and the effective X-Men: Days of Future Past passing the torch from the older generation of performers to the new, the series has been revitalized. Of course, it seems strange to consider this a small development, as each film has destroyed its competition at the box office. But, somehow – likely due to the proliferation of the Marvel films – the X-Men series still manages to be a forgotten cousin, of sorts; highly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed, then quickly pushed aside. With Singer’s new entry in the series, X-Men: Apocalypse, the reboot is finally completed and the series poised to continue indefinitely. While Apocalypse is hardly a perfect film, I find myself excited to see where the series goes from here.

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