In mid-1980s Romania, under the nose of the Securitate, Ceaușescu’s secret police, thousands of Hollywood films were smuggled into the country by an underground operative named Zamfir, and they were all covertly dubbed by Irina Nistor, a courageous translator whose distinct voice captivated the nation and became a symbol of freedom. Chuck Norris vs. Communism is a documentary, a thriller, and a comedy.
The Department of Time: Con el tiempo en los talones (With Time on His Heels) First Watch Season 3, Ep 1
Amelia and Alonso are sent to the premiere of "Vertigo" at the 1958 San Sebastián Film Festival, to foil a plan by Russia to kidnap Alfred Hitchcock and force him to produce propaganda films. While the Ministry is under construction, a wheelchair-bound Salvador becomes suspicious of a Sony Walkman-wearing construction worker he observes through his office window. [more inside]
A young man comes to possess a supernatural notebook, the Death Note, that grants him the power to kill any person simply by writing down their name on the pages. He then decides to use the notebook to kill criminals and change the world, but an enigmatic detective attempts to track him down and end his reign of terror.
A former secretary, newly appointed as a scriptwriter for propaganda films, joins the cast and crew of a major production while the Blitz rages around them. [more inside]
After having suffered a heart-attack, a 59-year-old carpenter must fight the bureaucratic forces of the system in order to receive Employment and Support Allowance. The newest from critically acclaimed director Ken Loach.
A father tries to reconnect with his adult daughter. [more inside]
Now that the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine rewatch is drawing to a close, we have tossed around some ideas about what Star Trek to cover next in recent threads. Let's organize our thoughts here and hash it out. [more inside]
A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
“Following a long fascination with the religion and with much experience in dealing with eccentric, unpalatable and unexpected human behavior, the beguilingly unassuming Theroux won't take no for an answer when his request to enter the Church's headquarters is turned down. Inspired by the Church's use of filming techniques, and aided by ex-members of the organization, Theroux uses actors to replay some incidents people claim they experienced as members in an attempt to better understand the way it operates. In a bizarre twist, it becomes clear that the Church is also making a film about Louis Theroux. Suffused with a good dose of humor and moments worthy of a Hollywood script, MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE is stranger than fiction.”
Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he's saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable.
Late for a date, a young man receives a chance phone call with disturbing news. [more inside]
A man continually trying and failing to get his wife to stay dead; a self-absorbed ad agency creative director who comes up with one unworkable inane idea after another; a British hitman who only wants to know everyone's function in life; and an unfortunate office worker and father whose brain is left scrambled after a stage hypnotist is murdered in mid-performance. Starting off as unrelated plot lines, they intertwine with each other as they continue on their respective ways.
The story of the 2007-2008 credit and housing bubble collapse, seen through the eyes of a handful of misfit financial investors who predicted it would happen. Based on the book by Michael Lewis.
A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity. The screenwriter's ambivalence about their relationship and her unwillingness to let go leads to a situation of violence and madness. [more inside]
A family of four are the sole inhabitants of a small island, where they struggle each day to irrigate their crops. [more inside]
Next up for MeFi Horror Club: on August 13th, we'll be discussing You're Next (2011) by Adam Wingard. This is a kind of convention-tweaking slasher film, with considerably more energy and fluidity than standard slasher fare. It makes for a pleasing pivot from how these stories usually unfold. [more inside]
The most delicious event since macaroni met cheese. Inspired by the beloved children's book, the film focuses on a town where food falls from the sky like rain. [more inside]
A married couple's children disappear on a day trip into the mountains outside Tijuana. That's bad. Then they come back. That's worse. [more inside]
A married couple's children disappear on a day trip into the mountains outside Tijuana. That's bad. Then they come back. That's worse. Here Comes the Devil is the next MeFi Horror Club pick. [more inside]
The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri - now confined to an insane asylum. [more inside]
We talked about it, and considering the success and good run of the Spirit Of 99 Club, why not a Spirit Of 1979 club? Eh? Eh? [more inside]
Podcast: NPR: Pop Culture Happy Hour Podcast: Selma and the Use of Dramatic License in Historical Dramas
This week on Pop Culture Happy Hour, NPR Monkey See's Linda Holmes, Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon are joined by NPR Code Switch's Gene Demby to discuss the Civil Rights Era film Selma. They'll discuss the direction by Ava DuVernay, the Oprah of it all, and how well it brings Martin Luther King, Jr. to life. Then they'll discuss other historical dramas and the advantages and limitations of dramatic license. All that plus What's Making Us Happy this week.
A chilling real-time thriller starring Maisie Williams - from Game of Thrones - as a teenager battling with an anonymous cyber-stalker. The plot of Cyberbully is inspired by dozens of real-life cases. Channel 4 TV movie. Notable for taking place in real time, in one room, with only Williams (the rest of the 'cast' are online in skype calls, vines, youtube videos etc). [more inside]
This week on Pop Culture Happy Hour, NPR Monkey See's Linda Holmes, Stephen Thompson, Glen Weldon and Bob Mondello discuss Disney's film adaptation of the Broadway musical Into The Woods. Then they'll discuss movie franchises--why do some take off while others never fail to leave the ground? All that, plus What's Making Us Happy.
In this Australian sci-fi thriller, a strange, surly man takes a seat at a bar in 1975 NYC. He makes a bet with the bartender that his story will be the most incredible he has ever heard. What unfurls is a twisting tale of gender, destiny, and identity. The bartender (Ethan Hawke) has a story of his own. [more inside]
An emotionally distant and depressed writer of travel guides must carry on with his life after experiencing family tragedy. [more inside]
English teacher John Keating inspires his students to appreciate poetry and make the most of their lives. [more inside]
An unorthodox and irreverent DJ begins to shake up things when he is assigned to the US Armed Services Radio station in Vietnam. [more inside]
Salesman Tommy Wilhelm packs up for New York City to try to repair the pieces of his broken life. [more inside]
A small-town loser determines to have one more shot at the big time by winning a football game. [more inside]
Cult film club: Edward Woodward stars as Sergeant Howie, a naive young police officer sent to Summerisle, a secluded island off the coast of Scotland, to investigate the disappearance of a young girl named Rowan. When he arrives there, he finds a very tight-knit community that is mistrustful and hostile to outsiders. Soon, Howie begins to realize that the town might be a strange pagan cult, one given to unbridled sexuality and possible human sacrifice. Seeking an audience with the oddly civilized Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), Howie hopes to get to the bottom of the mystery, but instead he finds something more shocking than he could have ever imagined. [more inside]
The best film ever made, followed the following week by the remake of The Wicker Man, starring Nicolas Cage, which somehow manages to be terrible and wonderful at the same time. See you Monday. Summerisle, Summerisle, Summerisle, Summerisle.
Cult Film Club: Streetwise charmer and cardshark Eddy (Nick Moran) walks into the biggest card game of his life carrying a stake backed by the life-savings of his three best mates, Tom (Jason Flemyng), Bacon (Jason Statham) and Soap (Dexter Fletcher). Eddy is the sharpest player on the circuit but the game is a set-up, and Eddy leaves owing the underworld boss "Hatchet" Harry (P.H. Moriarty) half a million. Harry gives Eddy a week to come up with the money before he starts taking fingers as collateral. (Continued) [more inside]
When a Russian musician defects in Bloomingdale's department store in New York, he finds adjusting to American life more difficult than he imagined. [more inside]
Based upon Stephen’s riveting and suspenseful short-story from "Full Dark, No Stars", A Good Marriage tells the story of Darcy Anderson as she learns the inconceivable truth about her husband of 25 years. [more inside]
Cult film club: "I like that. Turn it up!" Performance is the Altamont of '60s cinema; psychedelic and hallucinatory, decadent and depraved, polymorphous-perverse. And you can dance to it! Melding the sex, drugs, and rock & roll ethos of swinging '60s London with the gangster film, Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell's genre-bending cult classic is so mind blowing that star James Fox did not act in a film again for nearly a decade. [more inside]
One of my favorite genres of movie are those where the protagonist is dealing with living inside of a simulated or constructed reality. The Matrix is the most popular example, but there are many, many more (of vastly varying quality). There are already a lot of movie clubs going, so I thought I would put out a feeler for interest.
Cult film club: The thrill of the hunt. It's the ultimate drug, and the more intense the rush, the higher the price. International superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme teams up with world-famous action director John Woo for this electrifying thriller that WGN Radio hails as "Easily one of the year's best films!" Van Damme is the target of an evil mercenary (Lance Henriksen) who recruits homeless combat veterans for the "amusement" of his clients - bored tycoons who will pay a half a million dollars to stalk and kill the most challenging prey of them all: Man. Laced with dark humor and slam-packed with electrifying action Hard Target is a must see for action fans. [more inside]
Cult Film Club: Step back into the psychedelic ’60s in this sexy, hilarious parody of Valley Of The Dolls, co-written by Roger Ebert. When three fun-loving bombshells with a rock band head for Hollywood to make it big, they find themselves at a hedonistic love-in thrown by an eccentric music promoter. Soon, it seems, superstardom is within reach. That is, if their newfound distractions don’t get in the way! [more inside]
Cult Film Club: Lured by their dreams of fame and fortune, three ambitious young women enter the world of show business and discover how easy it is to sink into a celebrity nightmare of ego, alcohol and 'pills' - the beloved "dolls." A prim New Englander (Barbara Parkins) unexpectedly skyrockets from her job as secretary in a talent agency to a glamorous TV model. A determined singer (Patty Duke) finds that Hollywood success can also spell self-destruction. And a beautiful sex symbol (Sharon Tate) is torn between the money commands and the shame of feeling exploited. Based on Jacqueline Susann's phenomenal best-seller about the underside of Hollywood, this fascinating melodrama was once seen as a shocking behind-the-scenes look at how show business creates instant stars, destroys romances and changes personalities forever. [more inside]
A dissolute matinee idol is slated to appear on a live TV variety show. [more inside]
The adventures of the sailor man and his friends in the seaside town of Sweethaven. [more inside]
Cult Film Club film of the week: Pink Flamingos is a 1972 American transgressive black comedy exploitation film written, produced, scored, shot, edited, and directed by John Waters. When the film was initially released, it caused a huge degree of controversy due to the wide range of perverse acts performed in explicit detail. It has since become one of the most notorious films ever made and made an underground star of the flamboyant drag queen actor Divine. The film co-stars David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Danny Mills, Cookie Mueller, and Edith Massey.
My Favorite Year is a 1983 comedy/drama about a young writer's experience, during one week, on the set of a variety/comedy live TV show. It starred Peter O'Toole, Mark Linn-Baker, Jessica Harper, Joseph Bologna, Bill Macy, and more in an ensemble cast. Directed by Richard Benjamin. Are people interested in planning a viewing, and discussion of, "My Favorite Year"? [more inside]
I'm wondering if there is appetite for a series on films (especially the lesser-known films) made by the American auteurs of the 1960's and 1970's: Altman, Kubrick, Rafelson, Friedkin, et al. [more inside]
Eraserhead, David Lynch's early midnight hit. I will post this on Monday, lively discussion sure to follow.
Patrick Swayze stars in this sexy thriller from the producer of Die Hard and the Matrix. Co-starring Ben Gazzara (The Thomas Crown Affair), Kelly Lynch (Charlie's Angels) and Sam Elliott (We Were Soldiers), Road House delivers no-holds-barred action that pushes the envelope for high-octane thrills! Swayze is Dalton, a legendary bouncer who comes to Jasper, Missouri, for a special purpose: to restore order at the notorious Double Deuce Bar. In one spectacular fight after another, Dalton rids the bar of thugs and henchmen. But when he runs afoul of a ruthless crime boss (Gazzara) who controls the town, the stage is set for a blistering showdown that'll leave only one man standing! [more inside]
A battle of gigantic proportions is looming in the neon underground of New York City. The armies of the night number 100,000; they outnumber the police 5 to 1; and tonight they're after the Warriors—a street gang blamed unfairly for a rival gang leader's death. This contemporary action-adventure story takes place at night, underground, in the sub-culture of gang warfare that rages from Coney Island to Manhattan to the Bronx. Members of the Warriors fight for their lives, seek to survive in the urban jungle and learn the meaning of loyalty. This intense and stylized film is a dazzling achievement for cinematographer Andrew Laszlo. [more inside]
Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton star as "repo men" who get caught up in a series of bizarre adventures involving G-men, a nuclear scientist, UFO cultists and revolutionaries. Put your seat belt on and enjoy the wild ride in this groundbreaking, punk-rock, sci-fi black comedy! [more inside]