Story of a man who simply wants to eat breakfast.
On second viewing I’m still confused as to the repair workers’ murderous motivations, or how Timlin heard the conversation about tattooing anchors and “mother” and snuck inside that kid. If the cop is lying about everything that could explain it. On third viewing I’ve decided the movie’s double-agent loyalties and its inconsistency about scar tissue are nothing to fret about.
Scott Speedman costarred with Kate Beckinsale in the Underworld series, which have Resident Evil-ish posters, which makes me tempted to watch them. Ah no, I guess not.
Best movie I’ve seen in a while. Some hits from the sites:
David Cairns in Shadowplay [comparing to eXistenZ]:
There are factions in ideological conflict over questions of authenticity, but instead of Phildickian Big Question #1 (What is reality?) this is more about Phildickian Big Question #2 (What is a human being?). Evolution seems to be getting out of hand… is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Kristen Stewart in Vulture:
It’s really fun to have three scenes. If you don’t nail it, you’re wallpaper. Timlin is so locked up, self-oppressed, wants to be good at her job, and totally represents the rigidity of the government that they live under. And she experiences an awakening in a split second … I’m very rarely asked to play weird little characters like that.
Vadim Rizov in Filmmaker:
No lines are overtly comic in the sense of being meant as funny by those delivering them, but the audience always knows when to laugh at a particularly weird exchange even as Shore’s score keeps a straight face … A lot of the dialogue is unapologetically Big Picture thematics, repeatedly drawing links between suffering and its ability to generate art while wondering if the two are really inextricable. But this thematic flexing, which is simultaneously direct and vague (and hence seemingly infinitely suggestive without actually committing to anything), is less absorbing than Cronenberg’s style, a finely honed, mysterious ability to make medium-shot coverage of characters talking on chiaroscuro-shaded stage builds weirdly entrancing.
Amy Taubin and David Cronenberg:
AT: I laughed throughout.
DC: You are the right audience.
AT: And I cried a lot.
DC: And that’s even better.
Way more colors, in more places, than ever appeared in Rafiki.
Piles of e-waste merging with society in the nearby towns…
Inspired by Cemetery of Splendour
The Q&A: “Technology is a reflection of human consciousness… we are the technology.”
Need to watch again with Katy, in a more alert state, but this was an extremely cool movie to be drowsy with, and the excellent director(s) Q&A afterward lasted almost as long as the movie.
The opposite of what I just said about Undine (“thought the overall structure of the movie only kinda worked, but moment-to-moment I was quite thrilled to be watching it”) – in this case I didn’t appreciate any particular scene at the time, but ended up thinking it was great.
Set ten years in the future, telling a story about the past (then-present) year 2001, when raves were still in fashion. The Assassin star Shu Qi is Vicky, stuck with her abusive and controlling man Hao-hao (Duan Chun-hao of Long Day’s Journey Into Night). She’s with rich Jack (Hou lifer Jack Kao) for a while, but movie is a cycle – I like the pulsing music under all the action that sometimes rises and takes over. Beautifully mobile camera, I dig how it moves from outside to inside Jack’s place via security cam. I guess I’ve seen half of Hou’s major films now, but I still don’t have a strong sense of what he’s on about.
After Ape and The Alchemist Cookbook, Potrykus joins some others (Ben Wheatley, Bruno Dumont) in that select group of recent filmmakers who I can’t quite say I love, but I feel I need to see everything they’ve made right away.
Abbie (Ape-man Joshua Burge) spends the entire 90-minute movie in his undies on the couch. First he’s attempting a “challenge” timed by abusive older brother Cam (David Dastmalchian of Ant Man and the Wasp). It’s established that Abbie has never completed a challenge, and now he’s attempting something involving rounds of a skateboarding video game with drinks of milk in between, and we know where the movie is headed when he secretly pees in the milk jug while Cam is downstairs finding his Billy Mitchell issue of Nintendo Power. After Abbie’s terrible, disgusting failure, he gets “one more final, ultimate challenge” – to stay on the couch and defeat Mitchell’s unbeatable Pac-Man record before Y2K.
Abbie convinces a friend (Andre Hyland, The Death of Dick Long) to come help, but Dallas just watches tapes of Abbie embarrassing himself, eats all his food and ditches. Adina Howard (a mid-90’s music star) comes over with food and comics, says the final level of Pac-Man is unbeatable but gives Abbie some tips. He practices mind control on her guy Cortez (hey, it’s Cortez from Alchemist Cookbook!), offers 10k of his winnings to the exterminator to leave the couch in place and bring sandwiches, and he uses an endless supply of duct tape and videotape to operate and document his tiny kingdom.
Is the entire first 80 minutes worth suffering through to reach the final act, in a post-Y2K wasteland, when Abbie finally rises from the couch and uses the telekinetic powers he has honed in his seclusion to explode the head of his returning brother? Probably, yeah.
It becomes less random as the series goes on and sketches start calling back to each other or continuing from previous episodes. It is pretty random tho, also one of the most imaginative series I’ve ever seen. Seems like a high-budget Adult Swim thing, with sketches and animation and music and interviews – can’t believe it’s on HBO, or that creator Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty) landed a big-budget live-action cartoon on the heels of this.
Very many participants, including actress Dominique Fishback, the Ghanaian director of Afronauts, and Solange Knowles.
“People have become slaves to probability.”
Been waiting for this to come out in HD so I could watch it again, and didn’t have to wait long at all – because we live in the glorious future. Cool looking movie and Eddie, in his eighth film as Lemmy Caution, is a convincingly noir hero. But it’s got a strangely somnambulist atmosphere, and sometimes it feels like I’ve been given prank subtitles.
“The meaning of words and of expressions is no longer understood.”
Lemmy is visiting Alphaville from the outer countries, guided by the lovely Anna Karina, daughter of some important professor. I think Lemmy asks some questions, tells some lies, shoots some guys, then confounds the computer controlling the city (voiced by a mechanical voice-box) using poetry.
“No one has lived in the past and no one will live in the future … The present is terrifying because it is irreversible.”
Soundtrack features big dramatic music, shrill morse-code tones and a croaky Central Scrutinizer voice, each annoying in its own way. Welles regular Akim Tamiroff plays a short-lived ally, Howard Vernon (Dracula and Dr. Orloff in France and Spain) plays the professor, and Christa Lang (not yet married to Sam Fuller) plays a “seductress third-class”.
Lang and Tamiroff:
The supercomputers of the early and mid-1970s inevitably shared DNA with HAL, the murderous companion computer of 2001: A Space Odyssey, whose influence can be felt throughout the decade (and beyond). But HAL had his antecedents, too, and in many respects he and his brethren share much in common with an unlikely source: Alpha 60 of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 film Alphaville … To create the technocratic totalitarian state of Alphaville, Godard looked no further than the newest additions to Paris: buildings made of steel and glass controlled by pushbuttons and glowing under fluorescent lights. As Jacques Tati would a couple years later with Play Time, Godard considered the price of this progress and wondered where humanity could live in it, and what kind of life people might lead there.
Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz, not Michael Fassbender – I think of each as “the guy from Inglorious Basterds,” so get them confused) is a socially inept worker bee who doesn’t hate his video-game-reminiscent job, just hates having to come into work, so he gets permission to work from home on a special project from management (Matt Damon): proving “the zero theorem”. He’s aided/annoyed by Waltz’s direct supervisor David Thewlis, party-girl-for-hire Melanie Thierry (The Princess of Montpensier) and whiz-kid Bob (Lucas Hedges), who calls everyone else Bob so he doesn’t have to remember names. As Leth’s video therapist: Tilda Swinton – between this, Trainwreck, Snowpiercer and Moonrise Kingdom, she has really gotten into comedy lately.
Kinda about a search for the meaning of life (or a disproof of its meaning), with sort of a Dark City ending. Shot on the cheap in Romania.
Thierry at Leth’s glorious, delapidated-church home:
Sadly (so sadly) Mike D’Angelo might have put it best: “Like a relic from an alternate universe in which Brazil was made by an idiot.” Written by a creative writing teacher from Florida, it’s got its moments, but the story and characters and entire movie seem to add up to nothing (maybe the film proves its own theorem).
Leth and Bob at the park:
So, in the straightforward ending, pre-crime dept. head Max Von Sydow murdered precog Samantha Morton’s inconvenient mother and good cop Colin Farrell, while Cruise’s ex-wife springs him from The Attic to bring justice and a happy ending. But an article Katy found says the ending is too idyllic and perhaps Cruise never awoke from The Attic, but actually dreams the last half hour Brazil-style. I love that the movie works either way.
Highlights: creepy doctor Peter Stormare and the following scene with retina-scanning spiders invading his apartment complex, Cruise escaping via auto assembly line, Morton’s freaked-out performance, the still-exciting technology and how most of it is becoming real. Katy is hung up on the mismatched architecture/design styles of all the interiors.
“I know what people taste like. I know that babies taste best.”
My hopes were too high for Bong’s English-language debut – I found it talky and clunky and obvious. Good ending, though. Revolution within class-stratified humanity-protecting perpetual-motion train is led by Steve “Captain America” Rogers. He’s backed by wise old train architect John Hurt, loyal-to-the-death Jamie Bell, pissed-off mom Octavia Spencer and tech whiz Kang-ho Song. After dealing with company mouthpiece Tilda Swinton through various levels, final confrontation with engineer Ed Harris, who claims to have planned the revolution and wants the Captain to replace him at head of the train. Meanwhile it’s rumored that the frozen Earth has been warming, and might sustain human life again, which will be tested after Song’s daughter Ah-sung Ko (the monster-abducted girl of The Host) is the only one of these people who survives a train crash.
Things: the workers in back are fed “protein blocks” which turn out to be gelatinized cockroach. The two Koreans are addicted to a drug called chrono which doubles as an explosive. Harris claims John Hurt was secretly working with him (for the good of the train/humanity, of course). A cool bit near the end looks like 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Snowpiercer’s mental motor, its driving intelligence, is its obviousness, which allows the film to be misperceived as something silly. .. Bong, however, seems to understand something many others don’t, both about broad entertainment and the state of successful political action. Big action demands broad strokes; nuances emerge later. In fact, this is to a large degree the political subtext of Snowpiercer itself. .. it doesn’t matter who’s running the train. Bong is not telling us anything we don’t already know, but Snowpiercer’s power is precisely in its capacity to boldly visualize this shared awareness: the futility of liberal revolt, the buffoonery of our betters, the hidden human kindling that is always the tiger in our tank. .. Bong shows us that there’s only one track, and so you can’t flip the switch. You can only light the fuse, and embrace the inevitable destruction as the last picture show.