Rank #1: 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
Rank #2: 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.This Week Over The Garden Wall (2014)Goliath (2016)Queer Eye (2018) Recommendations Palookaville (1995)Fargo (1996)Whip It (2009)
Rank #3: 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. Next Week 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 Recommendations 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 Footnotes 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
Rank #4: 3.39 - A FIELD IN ENGLAND and Psychedelia
Back after a hiatus, we delve further into Ben Wheatley’s oeuvre, with his 2013 historical horror A FIELD IN ENGLAND. Our reviews are mixed, but then we do get into some very interesting discussions about genre collisions, social structure, and whether or not Ben Wheatley will be a success as a blockbuster Hollywood director with his…interesting use of generic and visual ideas! Next Week Our final Ben Wheatley film is his latest offering, FREE FIRE (2017), available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Free-Fire-Sharlto-Copley/dp/B06XXNTJ4V. This Week’s Media THE HORNE SECTION TV PROGRAMME (2018): Alex Horne, Joe Auckland, Ben Reynolds PRIVATE SCHOOL (1983): Noel Black, Phoebe Cates, Betsy Russell Recommendations NANNY MCPHEE (2005): Kirk Jones, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth AMBASSADORS (2013): Jeremy Webb, David Mitchell, Robert Webb GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017): Rupert Sanders, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Carmen Pitt NAKED LUNCH (1991): William S. Burroughs, David Cronenberg, Peter Weller Footnotes For more on the history of the English Civil War, this is a good place to start: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=M6rMqOtMNasC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. While we’re recommending books, this is a good introduction to one of the many genres with which Wheatley engages in this film: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=1VGsrJEdnfEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=giallo+horror&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj0rLSXk_jbAhUJa8AKHWLED-kQ6AEILzAB#v=onepage&q=giallo%20horror&f=false. This is a good article on the presentation of psychedelia on film: http://realitysandwich.com/318989/psychedelia-in-the-movies. Sam mentions Rabelais and ‘the world turned upside down’; Bakhtin’s take on Rabelais is quite old, but still very good: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=SkswFyhqRIMC&pg=PA370&lpg=PA370&dq=rabelais+the+world+turned+upside+down&source=bl&ots=wgwpACfQeE&sig=kjdL0t4B9x3Cw86XlgKCwgmf-xM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjz4J_Zk_jbAhUiDsAKHWNACAYQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=rabelais%20the%20world%20turned%20upside%20down&f=false. Looking for more on the concept, though, I found information about a ballad called ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ that was a direct political response to Parliament’s restrictive policies about freedom of expression and celebration — so this is probably what O’Neil is talking about: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Turned_Upside_Down. Finally, to end on a cheery note, this is an introduction to a book on death, purgatory, and other upbeat topics: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195399301/obo-9780195399301-0083.xml.
Rank #5: 3.38 - KILL LIST (2011) and Ritual Punishment
This week’s film is the incredibly disturbing — don’t watch it if your constitution is in any way delicate; it will stay with you — Ben Wheatley film KILL LIST. We talk about how this film takes a while to get going, but when it does — oh boy! Also on the agenda today: social realism, Lovecraftian horror, and religious symbolism. Next Week Our next Ben Wheatley film is A FIELD IN ENGLAND, available here: This Week’s Media WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (1988): Robert Zemeckis, Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (2018): J.A. Bayona, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard TROLLPLAY (2018): Alice Fraser, Cal Wilson, Sami Shah Recommendations UTOPIA (2013—14): Marc Munden, Adeel Akhtar, Paul Higgins STRIKE (2017–): J.K. Rowling, Tom Burke, Holliday Grainger DOOMSDAY (2008): Neil Marshall, Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins THE WICKER MAN (1973): Robin Hardy, Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee Footnotes Firstly, there’s more on social realism in cinema here: http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/1037898/index.html. These articles are good on folk horror and the like: http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/where-begin-folk-horror, http://www.bfi.org.uk/news/10-great-british-rural-horror-films. We talk about the mundanity — or banality — of evil, and there’s much more on that idea here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/02/07/hannah-arendt-the-banality-of-evil. If you’re not familiar with Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, as mentioned by Rob, there’s much more here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu. Finally, this is the Mark Gatiss series to which Rob refers (sadly no longer available on the iPlayer): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_History_of_Horror.
Rank #6: 3.37- DOWN TERRACE (2009) and Family
The first film in our Ben Wheatley season is his cinematic debut, DOWN TERRACE. We offer contrasting reviews in perhaps surprising directions (given our PP form), and then spend time talking about different attitudes to masculinity, what it means to be part of a family unit, and how this film — for all its apparent parochialism — could in fact be a comment on the political situation in 2008. Next Week Our next film is the *incredibly* brutal KILL LIST (2011). If you’re prepared to give it a go (and please do skip it if you’re at all averse to...hard-hitting movies), then watch it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kill-List-Neil-Maskell/dp/B00FFIN2TS. This Week’s Media MILLION-POUND MENU (2018): Fred Sirieix, Atul Kochhar, Scott Collins THE CHURCH (1989): Michele Soavi, Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana Recommendations W1A (2014–): John Morton, Hugh Bonneville, Monica Dolan FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER (2011–): Martin Dennis, Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird THE JOB LOT (2013–): Luke Snellin, Sarah Hadland, Russell Tovey EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014): Doug Liman, Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING (1960): Karel Reisz, Albert Finney, Shirley Anne Field Footnotes First of all, here are links to Ben Wheatley’s bios: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wheatley and https://m.imdb.com/name/nm1296554. Rob mentions the Oedipus complex; while there’s lots available on that online, this book is a good — and short — introduction: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=F7REVY8I_fQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. ‘Saving the cat’ gets a good treatment from TV Tropes, where it’s also known as ‘petting the dog’: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PetTheDog. Finally, for more on the idea of British social realism (including ‘kitchen-sink dramas’) on TV or film, see this book: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QdN0mhkEmK4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.
Rank #7: 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 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 Recommendations 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 Footnotes 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)).
Rank #8: 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. Next Week 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 Recommendations 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 Footnotes 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.
Rank #9: 3.34 — ROMEO + JULIET and Playfulness
Our next foray into Luhrmann territory is his version of the 16th-century play: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S ROMEO + JULIET (1996). Sam goes off on one about one of his pet topics, and we take things further by discussing the playful and inventive qualities of the play brought out by Luhrmann — along with his innovative use of pop culture and the art of the soundtrack. Next Week The next Baz Luhrmann film sees us jumping into the next decade, with AUSTRALIA (2008), available here: https://www.amazon.com/Australia-Shea-Adams/dp/B001UG56ES. This Week’s Media Q — THE WINGED SERPENT (1982): Larry Cohen, Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark BROEN IIII (2018): Hans Rosenfeldt, Sofia Helin, Kim Bodnia Recommendations THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995): Bryan Singer, Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne DANGEROUS MINDS (1995): John N. Smith, Michelle Pfeiffer, George Dzundza BROKEN ARROW (1996): John Woo, John Travolta, Christian Slater ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (2007): Julie Taymor, Evan Rachel Wood, Footnotes You can get a general overview of the storyline here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romeo_and_Juliet (and compare the film version here: [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romeo_%2B_Juliet]). Shakespeare’s primary sources were a 1562 Arthur Brooke poem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tragical_History_of_Romeus_and_Juliet) and a prose work, published later in the 1560s by William Painter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Painter_(author)). Rob mentions Bertolt Brecht (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertolt_Brecht) as a touchstone for the opening presentation of the drama; for more on Brechtian stage mechanics, see here: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/english/documents/innervate/09-10/0910jonesebrecht.pdf. Rob refers to ‘smash cuts’ a couple of times — if, like Sam, you felt you needed to look this up, then this may help: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SmashCut. We discuss long takes towards the end, in relation to the Mantua scenes of Romeo’s boredom; here are a few good comparators: http://www.indiewire.com/2014/03/ranking-the-20-greatest-most-celebrated-long-takes-87699. Finally this Q&A has some good ideas on the ‘soundtrack v score’ idea that we start to mention at the end of today’s episode: https://movies.stackexchange.com/questions/26376/what-is-the-difference-between-a-movies-soundtrack-and-its-score.
Rank #10: 3.33 — STRICTLY BALLROOM and Convention
This week we embark on our next directorial mini-season with the work of Baz Luhrmann. We start with his cinema debut, 1992’s STRICTLY BALLROOM. After opening reviews, we talk about mockumentaries, cinema aesthetic, and artistic frustration — both in the film and in Luhrmann’s direction itself. Next Week Our Luhrmann mini-season continues with the next movie in his ‘Red Curtain Trilogy’: 1996’s ROMEO + JULIET. Watch it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/William-Shakespeares-Romeo-Juliet-Sorvino/dp/B00FZA99RA This Week’s Media TASKMASTER (2015–): Alex Horne, Andy Devonshire, Greg Davies AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018): Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Robert Downey Jr. Recommendations BASKEKETBALL (1998): David Zucker, Trey Parker, Matt Stone THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (1994): Stephen Elliott, Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving CONFETTI (2006): Debbie Isitt, Martin Freeman, Olivia Coleman AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME (1999): Jay Roach, Mike Myers, Heather Graham Footnotes Firstly, this is an interesting article on the mockumentary form in which the film starts: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/apr/05/mockumentary-british-comedy-tom-kingsley Here’s a reminder of the theatrical convention of the fourth wall, to which Sam refers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_wall (And, while we’re at it, here’s a short piece on a few more theatrical conventions to which Luhrmann the theatrical director and Luhrmann the film auteur may have been reacting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dramatic_convention ) Here’s the IMDB page for last year’s THOR RAGNAROK, which Rob mentions as a comparator this week: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3501632 And finally, for more camerawork titbits (this time not from Rob!), head here: https://indiefilmhustle.com/types-of-lenses-camera-lenes