Rank #1: 3.35 — AUSTRALIA (2008) and Epic
This week our focus shifts to Luhrmann’s sweeping Antipodean magnum opus, AUSTRALIA. We sort of already know what there is to be said about this film, so we spend a lot of time talking about the movie’s politics, its visuals, and how it tries to do many different things, but doesn’t always succeed — and how this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Our final Baz Luhrmann film is his latest: the 2013 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY, available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-Gatsby-Leonardo-Dicaprio/dp/B00IHS048U
This Week’s Media
JESSICA JONES S2 (2018): Melissa Rosenberg, Kristen Ritter, Rachael Taylor
THE MACHINE GIRL (2008): Noboru Iguchi, Minase Yashiro, Asami
THE MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS (2003): the Wachowskis, Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne
THE SEARCHERS (1956): John Ford, John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter
PADDINGTON (2014): Paul King, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins
RABBIT-PROOF FENCE (2002): Paul Noyce, Everlyn Sampi, Kenneth Branagh
Firstly, this book is particularly good on the postcolonial ethics behind some of the debates in this film: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=difIAAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=info:pOGIhm_SRvAJ:scholar.google.com/&ots=vjWkvAM_7a&sig=X6s8WO9L1LED6xQgI-Q3xO_HzXI#v=onepage&q=Stolen%20generations&f=false (Chapter 4 is especially good on the Stolen Generations). There’s more here: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=5zHAGNPTkqIC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=info:zNarV2dx7-MJ:scholar.google.com/&ots=PRKYmalN5f&sig=_hpxr3pmZr49SzWeVbAjMyA6uTM#v=onepage&q&f=false. We don’t have space to focus on MOULIN ROUGE this month, but it’s the only Luhrmann film we don’t deal with, and is an...interesting watch! https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ET1OQ2E For some alternative viewing — and some other touchstones we mention this week — have a look at CROCODILE DUNDEE (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00FYO5KIE/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1527329695&sr=8-4&pi=PI_PJPrime-Sash-Extra-Large-2017,TopLeft,0,0_AC_SX118_SY170&keywords=crocodile+dundee+video&dpPl=1&dpID=61y8Q6LV0-L&ref=plSrch) or BUTCH CASSIDY (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00YI9PSY2/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527329750&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=butch+cassidy+video&dpPl=1&dpID=51v0SQEjnVL&ref=plSrch). Here’s the apology to the Stolen Generations issued by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008: https://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/our-country/our-people/apology-to-australias-indigenous-peoples. Finally, this is a good treatment of the epic film genre: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pxCRAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.
May 27 2018
Rank #2: 3.36 - THE GREAT GATSBY (2013) and Decadence
This week we conclude our Baz Luhrmann season with his most recent film, 2013’s THE GREAT GATSBY. We have disparate opinions on this — and differing levels of familiarity with the story — but then we move onto a discussion of the movie’s presentation of different ideas about wealth, concepts of class and race on-screen in various countries, and the extent to which the film works as a presentation of the very social dislocation that is its subject.
Next week we begin our Ben Wheatley season with his 2009 film DOWN TERRACE — find it here: https://www.amazon.co. uk/Down-Terrace-Julia-Deakin/ dp/B00FYO0A0W.
This Week’s Media
R.I.P.D. (2013): Robert Schwentke, Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds
DEADPOOL 2 (2018): David Leitch, Ryan Reynolds, Josh Broli
GANGS OF NEW YORK (2002): Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis
VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (2017): Luc Besson, Dane DeHaan, Cara Delivigne
THE DEPARTED (2006): Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon
THE ICE STORM (1997): Ang Lee, Kevin Kline, Joan Allen
For more on the original 1925 novel, see here: https://en.m.wikipedia. org/wiki/The_Great_Gatsby. As a reminder of the Brechtian separation we were talking about with ROMEO + JULIET the other week, there’s this: https://en.m.wikipedia. org/wiki/Separation_of_the_ elements. Here are articles on ideas of dramatic archetypes and dramatic dislocation: http:// dramaticapedia.com/2012/08/17/ the-8-archetypal-characters-2 and http://tvtropes.org/ pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ DramaticDislocation. This book is good on twentieth-century history, including The Great Depression and The American Dream: https://books.google. co.uk/books/about/America_in_ the_Twentieth_Century.html?id= sJ2KPwAACAAJ&redir_esc=y. And this is good on outsiders in US history: https://books.google. co.uk/books/about/Deportation_ Nation.html?id=irgpGACppy0C& redir_esc=y. Finally, Sam mentions THE BIRTH OF A NATION; if you really want to depress yourself, check out the 1915 original (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/ wiki/The_Birth_of_a_Nation) or the 2016 remake (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/ wiki/The_Birth_of_a_Nation_( 2016_film)).
Jun 04 2018
Rank #3: 4.17 - VAMPIRE’S KISS (1988) and Parasitism
This week’s film is the 1988 vehicle for a young Nicolas Cage: VAMPIRE’S KISS. After some mixed reviews (this episode is basically one of us trying to persuade the other of the merits of this film…), and a little discussion of aesthetics versus narrative, we talk about misogyny, corporate greed, and the changing symbolism of vampire movies.
Next Time Next up in our journey through the vampire genre is another film led by an iconic personality of modern Hollywood: the 1998 Wesley Snipes feature BLADE.
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (2014): Matthew Vaughn, Colin Firth, Taron Egerton
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF (2010–): Anna Beattie, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding
KICK-ASS (2010): Matthew Vaughn, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nicolas Cage
FLASHDANCE (1983): Adrian Lyne, Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri
THE RUNNING MAN (1987): Paul Michael Glaser, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso
RUSSIAN DOLL (2019): Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Yul Vasquez
This is good on the concept of aesthetics on film, a la Rob: www.filmtheory.org/aesthetics-films, while this is more in Sam’s wheelhouse: www.study.com/academy/lesson/narrative-film-introduction-history.html. Here’s more about the idea of the yuppie, which we talk about quite extensively: www.study.com/academy/lesson/narrative-film-introduction-history.html/terms/y/yuppie.asp. Finally, having talked a fair bit about misogyny and masculine identity in crisis this week, this is a good book: www.books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=G5ll1ykr2IkC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=info:heSUVrsrwmgJ:scholar.google.com/&ots=zEb85PzLPu&sig=jl1rG0bwlzsqs65WYODUD5U2SeE&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false.
Sep 08 2019
Rank #4: 4.16 — GANJA & HESS (1973) and Ecstasy
This week we look at the 1973 film GANJA & HESS. After some pretty favourable reviews, we talk about the thoroughly confusing nature of the film, the idea of cinema as an immersive experience, and the different versions of the movie Bill Gunn was forced into making (and wanted to make) — all the while dancing around the idea of the ecstatic or out-of-body experience. (We don’t actually talk about it in the episode, but it seemed very appropriate as a theme for this week’s Prestige, given our discussions of religion, blood, sex, and race.)
We move from the…well, not sublime to the ridiculous, but it is a change of tone! Our next film is the 1989 black comedy VAMPIRE’S KISS.
Recent Media THE GREAT BRITISH MENU (2006–): Jennie Bond, Mark Bazeley, Wendy Lloyd
THE CHEFS’ BRIGADE (2019–): Jason Atherton, Anna Maxwell Martin
JAMES ACASTER: REPERTOIRE (2018): James Acaster
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968): George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea
VALHALLA RISING (2009): Nicolas Winding Refn, Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson
SCROOGED (1988): Richard Donner, Bill Murray, Karen Allen
GET OUT (2017): Jordan Peele, Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams
After our discussion of the importance of sound in this film, this seems a good article to start off with: www.popularmechanics.com/culture/movies/a19566/a-brief-history-of-sound-in-cinema. It turns out ‘ululation’ is the right word: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ululation. Rob mentions cinéma vérité when discussing the church scenes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinémavérité. This book is good on Blaxploitation cinema in general: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=1EeSAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbsgesummaryr&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false, and this article has more on BLACULA in particular: https://film.avclub.com/blacula-blew-some-fresh-air-into-a-musty-genre-crypt-1826873409. Finally, given some of what we’ve been talking about in this episode, it seems pertinent to mention the #1619 Project from the NY Times, information on which can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html.
Aug 25 2019
Rank #5: 3.42 - THE LIFE AQUATIC OF STEVE ZISSOU and Fatherhood
Rob & Chris continue their wade into the whimsical world of Wes Anderson, looking at his 2004 film, The Aquatic Life Of Steve Zissou
Aug 08 2018
Rank #6: 3.41 - BOTTLE ROCKET and Innocence
With Sam off being bigger and better things for a month, we're roped in Chris from The Space Jam Continuum to fill in his shoes, as we discuss Wes Anderson's debut hit, Bottle Rocket.
Jul 23 2018
Rank #7: 3.40 - FREE FIRE and Space
We conclude our Ben Wheatley season with his most recent offering, 2016’s FREE FIRE. After our initial responses to the film, we go on to talk about claustrophobia, empathising with the IRA (!), and whether or not Wheatley has made the ‘step up’ to Hollywood (CA) direction.
Our next director is one on which Sam will sadly (good luck, Rob!) be missing out: Wes Anderson. The first film recommended by Sam’s very able replacement, Chris MacLennan, is his debut, 1995’s BOTTLE ROCKET. Get hold of it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bottle-Rocket-Luke-Wilson/dp/B00ET02BX6
This Week’s Media
THE HANDMAID’S TALE (2017–): Margaret Atwood, Bruce Miller, Elizabeth Moss
STATH LETS FLATS (2018): Tom Kingsley, Jamie Demetriou, Robert Popper
MORTIMER AND WHITEHOUSE: GONE FISHING (2018): Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse
KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017): Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson
28 WEEKS LATER (2007): Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne
DISTRICT 9 (2009): Neill Blomkamp, Sharlto Copley, David James
BABY DRIVER (2017): Edgar Wright, Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal
For an introduction to Cecil B de Mille and some of his spectacular early Hollywood blockbusters, see this book: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YLPTleQHkrUC&printsec=frontcover&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false On the use of space in cinema, this article is good: https://filmanalysis.coursepress.yale.edu/mise-en-scene Should you want to brush up on your knowledge of some of the paramilitary organisations who may or may not be represented in the film, knock yourself out: https://www.thoughtco.com/guide-to-the-irish-republican-army-3209135 , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrikaner_Weerstandsbeweging , https://www.history.com/topics/black-panthers And finally, here’s more on the ‘180 Degree Rule’ that Rob talks about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4wX_dmh8_g
Jul 09 2018
Rank #8: 3.39 - A FIELD IN ENGLAND and Psychedelia
Jul 03 2018
Rank #9: 3.31: MARIE ANTOINETTE (2006) and Anarchy
(The audio from Rob gets better about 7 min in...)
Our next Sofia Coppola film is her 2006 historical biopic MARIE ANTOINETTE. We talk about decadence, loneliness, and why this film tries to several very interesting things — but doesn’t quite succeed in pulling them off.
We conclude our Coppola mini-season with her most recent film, 2017’s THE BEGUILED. Will it be LOST IN TRANSLATION, mark 2, or another MARIE ANTOINETTE? Find out here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074P9VGN4.
This Week’s Media
ELLA MINNOW PEA (2001): Mark Dunn
WESTWORLD (2016–): Jonathan Nolan, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandi Newton
THE DREAMERS (2003): Bernardo Bertolucci, Michael Pitt, Eva Green
THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS (2004): Asia Argento, Jimmy Bennett, Dylan Sprouse
CLUELESS (1995): Amy Heckerling, Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash
SPY (2015): Paul Feig, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne
Firstly, here are the Wikipedia pages we mentioned that you could before (or during!) this movie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Antoinette, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_consorts, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_monarchs, and (if you’re Sam) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Window. This is a good book on the representation of anarchy in culture: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fRR8eWzRhbYC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=anarchy+politics&ots=9Qg-eG03Ia&sig=QNjqdX-8VuFeHx2SOEaQ9QYpcWU#v=onepage&q=anarchy%20politics&f=false, and these are both good on the relationship between anarchy and punk (self-consciously alluded to by the opening titles, as we discussed): https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sXeFAgAAQBAJ&dq=anarchy+punk&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s and https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vRtLRAmcNF0C&dq=anarchy+punk&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s. Finally, here’s a list of alternatives to this week’s film, if you’re interested in the period: http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/lists/10-great-films-set-18th-century.
May 01 2018
Rank #10: 3.29 - THE VIRGIN SUICIDES and Teenage Memory
Apr 16 2018
Rank #11: 3.28 - THE SLIPPER AND THE ROSE (1976) and Class
You know how it goes, Sam's not here so no notes...
Apr 09 2018
Rank #12: 3.21 - DO THE RIGHT THING (1989) & Morality
Spike Lee Month continues with his 1989 classic DO THE RIGHT THING. We’re both (spoiler alert) very positive about the film, before getting into discussions of right and wrong, racial tension, and police brutality (keeping it light!), as well as EMPIRE RECORDS, DIE HARD 3, and the very sad continued relevance of Lee’s film.
Next in the Spike Lee mini-series is 2000’s BAMBOOZLED, available on DVD here
This Week’s Media
BUNKS (2013): Jennifer Pertsch, Dylan Schmid, Atticus Mitchell
SAS: WHO DARES WINS (S2): Shaun Dooley, Ant Middleton, Colin Barr
LEON (1994): Luc Besson, Jean Reno, Gary Oldman
OKJA (2017): Bong Joon-ho, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO (2016): Raoul Peck, James Baldwin, Rémi Grellety
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1992): James Foley, Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon
As Sam said, we could easily spend much longer on this film; we do have to move on, though, so here are a few notes on this week’s episode. First up, here’s a link to Immanuel Kant’s philosophy (Rob started with the big hitters, this week). Next, here is a primer on the (perceived) MLKJr/Malcolm X dichotomy. This is a good article on the making of the film. And this has some interesting things to say about the scary timelessness of the movie.
Feb 12 2018
Rank #13: 3.19 - BIRDMAN (2014) & Renown
Our last Iñárritu film is 2014’s BIRDMAN, OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE) (don’t worry: that’s the last time we’ll use the subtitle). We offer fairly similar reviews, before talking about style over substance and the director’s views on the superhero genre — and we end with some concluding thoughts on Iñárritu’s oeuvre.
Our next mini-season is all about Spike Lee — we start with his 1986 breakout SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, available here.
This Week’s Media
ANTFARM DICKHOLE (2011): Bill Zebub, Mike Nastri, Jessica Mazo
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (2017–): Akiva Goldsman, Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones
MCMAFIA (2018–): James Watkins, James Norton, David Strathairn
ROUNDERS (1998): John Dahl, Matt Damon, Edward Norton
THE REVENANT (2015): Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy
THE TREE OF LIFE (2011): Terrence Malick, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn
VICTORIA (2015): Sebastian Schipper, Laia Costa, Frederick Lau
Footnotes There’s an intro to the basics of magic(/al) realism here. Here’s our standard link to something on the subject of Chekov’s Gun, a concept that gets another airing this week. There are some interesting thoughts on social media notoriety here and here. Finally, the IMDB page for Emmanuel Lubezki is worth a read, if only to marvel at the extent of his body of work, particularly as cinematographer
Jan 29 2018
Rank #14: 3.14 - LOVE ACTUALLY (2003) & Romance
The band’s back together! Sam’s back from new-baby intensiveness, just in time for a festive episode for the end of the year — and it’s a film which may or may not (don’t mention that Bruce Willis film) be a Christmas movie: LOVE ACTUALLY. Rob was expecting more negativity from Sam — maybe fatherhood has mellowed him — but we’re both broadly positive about the film; notwithstanding its faults, which we discuss towards the end of the episode, along racial and gender lines.
If we can manage it, next week will be our Review of 2017 (or, in Sam’s case, Review of the First Ten Months of 2017…)
This Month’s Media THE PUNISHER (2017): Steve Lightfoot, Jon Bernthal, Ebon Moss-Bachrach
LA LA LAND (2017): Damien Chazelle, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (2017): Rian Johnson, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher
THE GOOD PLACE (2016—): Michael Schur, Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper
Recommendations KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (2014): Matthew Vaughn, Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson
THE TRUMAN SHOW (1998): Peter Weir, Jim Carrey, Laura Linney
THE HOLIDAY (2006): Nancy Meyers, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet
GOOD OMENS (2018): Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Adria Arjon
The other storylines Richard Curtis proposed for the film are here: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2017-03-23/richard-curtis-reveals-the-love-actually-storylines-he-left-out. The four types of Greek love, which Sam shamefully couldn’t bring to mind, are these: https://totescute.com/four-types-of-love-greek-style. This article has all the Easter Eggs Emma Freud revealed, as mentioned by Sam: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/love-actually-film-secrets-facts-7061864. And finally, here’s a good piece on the different sorts of textuality that are (or may be) at play in the movie: https://www.decodedscience.org/what-is-transtextuality-understanding-the-meaning-of-the-words-we-read/28891/2
Merry Christmas! It’s good to be back. :)
Dec 25 2017
Rank #15: 3.12 VERONICA GUERIN (2003) & Fear
Our Schumacher mini-season concludes with the 2003 biopic VERONICA GUERIN. For a second week running (savour it), we’re largely in agreement with our reviews of the film, and then we talk about how these events passed us by, the difficulties in bringing a real life to screen, and the parallels between the protagonist and a quite surprising tortured genius.
Next Week’s Film Sam’s off on parental duty, so the next month sees Rob — with a number of guest hosts — get stuck into the oeuvre of Steven Spielberg, starting with the 1991 ‘classic’ (Sam’s quotation marks) HOOK.
This Week’s Media
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (2009): David Yates, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint MINDHUNTER (2017—): Joe Penhall, David Fincher, Jonathan Groff
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (2017—): Bryan Fuller, Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones
CON AIR (1997): Simon West, Nicolas Cage, John Cusack
IN BRUGES (2008): Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson
HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK (1992): Chris Columbus, Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci
PUSHING TIN (1999): Mike Newell, John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton
In the vein of starting with a light-hearted subject, our first link for this episode is to Tim Murphy’s book Rethinking the War on Drugs in Ireland: books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9e2KT-zW6bcC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=drugs+in+ireland&ots=bS3Lal7lQB&sig=Q3E4nnS0hhbv1Cew7QeGy_H2bsw#v=onepage&q=drugs%20in%20ireland&f=false. Veronica Guerin’s life makes for an interesting read (although the jury’s out on the film): books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Pm37P54fAzMC&oi=fnd&pg=PT3&dq=veronica+guerin&ots=vDl85zPDa6&sig=zP1aC2D1YBaqTRUm9EbAFJTG7QU#v=onepage&q=veronica%20guerin&f=false. This account of her funeral (included at the very end of the film) is good: www.independent.co.uk/news/tears-and-applause-at-journalists-funeral-1339427.html. The IMDB Trivia page, as usual, is a good one: www.imdb.com/title/tt0312549/trivia. And finally, Rob mentions considering Guerin as a tragic protagonist or ‘hero'; for more on this, this is a useful — if very basic — source: http://www.litcharts.com/literary-devices-and-terms/tragic-hero
Oct 30 2017
Rank #16: 3.08 — DODES’KA-DEN (1970) & Dreams
Our final Kurosawa offering is one of Rob’s favourites: 1970’s DODES’KA’DEN. Sam liked it, too (though with some caveats), and we go on to discuss the director’s use of colour, sound, and film in general — with a look back at his oeuvre, as explored over the past month.
Next Week’s Film THE LOST BOYS (1987): we kick off a look at Joel Schumacher with his 1987 comedy; it’s generally pretty available, whether streamed or on DVD.
This Week’s Media
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (2017): Matthew Vaughn, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore
AN UNLIKELY HERO / PAPER MAN (2009): Kieran Mulroney, Jeff Daniels, Emma Stone
CITY OF GOD (2002): Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund, Alexandre Rodrigues
RISING SUN (1993): Michael Crichton, Philip Kaufman, Sean Connery
THE OMEGA MAN (1971): Boris Sagal, Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe INLAND EMPIRE (2006): David Lynch, Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons
The critical reception received by the film (including Kurosawa’s reaction to this reaction) is documented in the following book: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=C2z3otM-y5kC&pg=PA460&rediresc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false. The IMDB page on the film is good, particularly on the ‘Committee of the Four Knights’ group of Japanese directors: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065649/trivia?ref=tttrvtrv. I don’t know how reliable this site is, but it’s still a potentially interesting exploration of the meanings of various colours in Japan: https://www.color-meanings.com/color-meanings-japan. Rob mentions the following as a possible corollary for the film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120889. Finally, this is the first part of the Youtube video Rob talks about in the course of his recommendations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP468k1u_Mk.
Oct 02 2017
Rank #17: 3.03 — K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER (2002) & Camaraderie
Our latest Kathryn Bigelow offering is the 2002 thriller based on a true story, K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER. We discuss its editing, pacing, and narrative, in a discussion that ranges from the way in which Bigelow tries to tease out relationships on different social levels to more on her depiction of masculinity, particularly in a military context
This Week’s Media
THE PINK CHIQUITAS (1987): Anthony Currie, Frank Stallone, Bruce Pirrie
ATONEMENT (2007): Joe Wright, James McAvoy, Keira Knightley
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2016): Antoine Fuqua, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt
MADMEN (2007—15): Matthew Weiner, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss
NKNOWN (2011): Jaume Collet-Serra, Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger
THE CONSTANT GARDENER (2005): Fernando Meireilles, Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz
Firstly this week, here’s a link to the historical narrative adapted into Bigelow’s film (the ’Nuclear accident’ section is particularly relevant): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SovietsubmarineK-19. Then, here’s a fairly basic piece explaining the building blocks of camera technique, a number of which KB uses in the cramped space of the submarine: http://www.elementsofcinema.com/cinematography/camera-movement. This is an interesting book collecting some essays on post-World-War-II nuclear diplomacy: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=79RJheQYvq8C&oi=fnd&pg=PR8&dq=russian+cold+war+party+camaraderie&ots=gOKV934XTD&sig=qVst45eyi3bXblB66eDeVVnY9yg#v=onepage&q&f=false. This gives a better explanation of a ‘match cut’ than Sam offered! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matchcut. And finally, here’s more on the composer who did so much to help build tension aurally in the film (Sam meant to wax lyrical about him, and forgot): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KlausBadelt.
Aug 21 2017
Rank #18: 3.01 — POINT BREAK (1991) & The Female Gaze
We kick off Season 3 with a fresh approach: we’re going director-by-director, for four weeks at a time. The subject of our first four weeks — the director of our first four films — is the fêted director of ZERO DARK THIRTY, subject of an early PP episode, and the forthcoming DETROIT: Kathryn Bigelow.
We’re starting at the other end of Bigelow’s career, though, with her 1991 breakthrough POINT BREAK. A surprisingly progressive film, given its era, we talk about the particularly ‘female’ way it’s shot, the breathless editing style, and how the characters may be archetypes that reach beyond the movie itself.
This Week’s Media
DESPICABLE ME 3 (2017): Pierre Coffin, Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig
MULAN II (2004): Darrell Rooney, Mark Moseley, Ming-Na Wen
GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017): Rupert Sanders, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Carmen Pitt
SCRUBS (2001–10): Bill Lawrence, Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke
TOMBSTONE (1993): George P. Cosmatos, Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer
TANK GIRL (1995): Rachel Talalay, Lori Petty, Ice-T
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001): Rob Cohen, Paul Walker, Vin Diesel
On the subject of Kathryn Bigelow, here’s our ZDT episode, from Season 1: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/zero-dark-thirty-the-other/id990653468?i=1000382263499&mt=2. To make up for the fact that Sam got the lead actor confused, here’s a link to this summer’s ATOMIC BLONDE: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2406566. (Though, on a side note, if they were going for 80s pop chic, why does the trailer use a Eurythmics song rather than the open goal of Blondie’s ‘Atomic’??). Here’s a whole book on the ‘hard body’ action films of the 80s: https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Bodies-Hollywood-Masculinity-Reagan/dp/0813520037. These are various editing tips, some of which — as explained this week — chime with KB’s work: https://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/12-tips-for-better-film-editing. For more on gender studies and ‘the female gaze’, the work of Anneke Smelik (as advocated on previous PPs) is a good place to start: http://www.annekesmelik.nl. Finally, this is a good primer on the historical (but quasi-folkloric) figure of Johnny Appleseed: http://mentalfloss.com/article/62113/9-facts-tell-true-story-johnny-appleseed.
Aug 07 2017
Rank #19: 100 - THE PRESTIGE (2006) & Misdirection
To mark our 100th episode, we go back to the film that in part gave the podcast its name: yes, it’s The Prestige on The Prestige! We talk about how this film works as an allegory for a magical illusion, some theories about how the movie might represent parts of Christopher Nolan’s psyche, and how this technique really works in this film whereas in others it probably/definitely (depending on whether you ask Sam or Rob) doesn’t.
This Week’s Media
DHEEPAN (2015): Jacques Audiard, Anthonythasan Jesuthasan, Thomas Bidegain
BABY DRIVER (2017): Edgar Wright, Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey
MEMENTO (2000): Christopher Nolan, Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss
LABYRINTH (1986): Jim Henson, David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly
CARRIERS (2009): Àlex Pastor, David Pastor, Lou Taylor Pucci
THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995): Bryan Singer, Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne
A lot of what we talk about this week has the idea of meta-cinema behind it, which we’ve talked about a lot before: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metacinema. (We do so most obviously in the last episode of Season 1, on JOHN DIES AT THE END: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/john-dies-at-the-end-and-meta/id990653468?i=1000382263507&mt=2). Sam’s fact about jump-cuts in the film comes from the IMDB page on the film, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0482571, which also has the (quite short) section on production gaffes. This is a good article about some of the cinematic trickery of the movie: http://www.avclub.com/article/prestige-plays-trick-its-audience-hiding-secret-pl-232247. Finally, here are a couple of videos: an interview with Nolan himself about the film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOD4d--mztc, and a longer ‘making of’ video, taken from the DVD extras: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOD4d--mztc.
Jul 24 2017
Rank #20: 2.44 - WAYNE’S WORLD (1992) & The Fourth Wall
This week’s ‘palate cleanser’, post-Batman, is the iconic Mike Myers vehicle (iconic, but unwatched for one of us!). We talk about the conventions with which the film is fairly obviously playing, touch on its meta-filmic nature, and think about the extent to which this is a genuinely funny comic film with very few jokes.
This Week’s Media
TAMPOPO (1985): Juzo Itami, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (2014): Matthew Vaughn, Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson
PARKS AND RECREATION (2009—2015): Greg Daniels, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones
BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE (1989): Stephen Herek, Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter
THE CLASS OF 1999 (1990): Mark L. Lester, Bradley Gregg, Traci Lind
JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK (2001): Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck
Firstly, here’s more on the concept around which we’ve based this episode. Rob spends some time talking about Myers and camera angles; this gives more info on the details of this. This is the American TV series that required some Googling from us(!). And this is a good piece on some of the stories behind WW that we may not have had time to explore.
Jun 13 2017