*Week 11 – Movie Recommendations from #ADAF

The Jacket (John Maybury, 2005)

If you like stories that are nice and simple, you should maybe pass on this! But if you don’t mind a challenge, go ahead and watch “The Jacket.” It’s about a soldier who is sent to a mental institution for criminals. He then becomes the subject of a doctor’s experiments and his life is completely affected by them.

It is difficult to categorize this film. Is it a kind of sci-fi movie, love story, horror… all? Whatever it is, this film is impressive for sure, and disturbing! It has a complex story line and the character always keeps things in mystery. It makes you really think. Adrian Brody has a way of drawing you in through his eyes in all his films. “The Jacket” is one of those movies you will remember years after your first viewing. I know I did!

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)

In order to fix a deep financial problem, a divorced father (Chris Pine) and his older ex-con brother (Ben Foster) resort to robbing a string of banks, but a seasoned and methodical Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) is hot on their trail.

What I like about this movie is the way the main characters are portrayed; they’re neither completely good or completely bad. In other words, they’re very “human.” In fact, that’s probably the best way to describe “Hell or High Water.” There’s a high degree of human-ness to the story, characters, and their goals to the point that you’ll easily relate to what you’re seeing on your screen. Chris Pine and Ben Foster play two brothers that need a lot of money in a short amount of time. So banks are robbed, getaways are made, and a gunfight or two erupt along the way. A nearly retired Texas Ranger (beautifully played by the one and only Jeff Bridges), meanwhile, makes it his last professional achievement to catch these boys. It’s a cat-and-mouse chase across West Texas that sort of resonates with the Coens’ “No Country for Old Men.” But again, are the brothers bonafide bad guys? Their motive for their crimes is later revealed, and it’s one that makes the movie’s social commentary on how banks take advantage of the needy even more apparent. “Hell or High Water” illustrates that the moral grey area that we all operate in on a daily basis is as vast and far-reaching as the land of Texas.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)

“Winter Sleep” is a masterpiece by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a film set in Cappadochia, central Anatolia. It focuses on the life of Aydın (Haluk Bilginer), a retired actor who now runs the family’s hotel. I postponed to watch this film a couple of times because of the length. It’s three hours and sixteen minutes. However, when I watched it, I never felt that it was long. I was impressed with the simplicity. The rich and deep portrait of various emotional pain are gradually revealed. The conflict between the rich and the poor, a conceited brother and his critical divorcee sister, a selfish husband and an unhappy young wife. Also a naive philanthropist, a resentful tenant, and the dialogues between them allow you to observe humankind. Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) is a streotype Turkish elite who has an identification problem in a male-dominated society. He feels allowed to instruct, intrude and judge. Haluk Bilginer (Aydin), Melisa Sozen (Nihal), Demet Akbag (Necla) and the other actors in the movie convey the characters so honestly that they speak with eloquence. It might not be a movie you’re used to watching. At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Palme d’Or  prize. I would say give it a chance when you have time to focus. You need to understand the characters to enjoy this movie.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer, 2000)

A retired professional thief’s (Ray Winstone) criminal past comes back to haunt him when a menacing and abusive gangster (Ben Kingsley) attempts to recruit him for a heist and won’t take “no” for an answer.

I don’t see why a lot of movie buffs compare this hidden gem to “Snatch” (which also came out in the year 2000) or “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.” I, for one, think “Sexy Beast” is a whole different beast (zing!). I agree that both movies involve British gangsters and have a goldmine of quotable, hilarious dialogue, but I would predict that Guy Ritchie fans would actually rate “Sexy Beast” a lot lower than they would expect. It lacks the frenetic editing and the highly stylized cinematography that Guy Ritchie’s movies are known for, but it makes up for it by creating a situational tension between the hero and villain that steadily builds to a head. It’s so wonderfully executed that it keeps you guessing as to how the conflict will resolve — if at all! And the one secret weapon that “Sexy Beast” has in its corner? Sir Ben Kingsley as Don Logan, my personal favorite role and performance of his; he’s fierce and fiercely funny! Is his remarkable acting reason enough to recommend this movie? I’ll quote Don to answer that: “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” (If you’ve seen the movie, you know how that line is supposed to sound). 

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991)

Two parallel stories about two identical women; one living in Poland, the other in France. They don’t know each other, but their lives are nevertheless profoundly connected.

I still remember the first time I saw this movie in a country I just moved in. I was almost sure it wasn’t just a random thing that I chose to watch his film at the time. This film is an exploration of identity, intuition, spirituality, and the soul. It is hard to find directors like Kieslowski who convey feelings in a very poetic and beautiful way. You have to see the metaphors to understand the characters. It’s a film that you’ll see as an amazing art piece. The music is great, the cinematography is stunning, and Irene Jacob is wonderful. I just LOVE this movie so much.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

The Salton Sea (D.J. Caruso, 200)

A speed junkie with a tragic past (Val Kilmer) looks to escape his vile world of cocaine and crystal meth by setting out to take revenge on the man that caused his downward spiral.

The beginning of this movie is a close-to-cliché beginning. In medias res (in the middle of things, a kind of flash forward), we see our hero in a dire situation while his voice-over narration introduces himself over an emotional piece of music. A great deal of Hollywood movies use that formulaic strategy and it sort of makes you want to roll your eyes every time you see it. But take it from me, keep watching and you’ll soon see that “The Salton Sea,” despite its cinema sins, is one movie that will win you over. It will make you see things that you can’t unsee; it’s quite a wild ride! In what other movie would you see a speargun-toting drug dealer, a reenactment of the JFK assassination using pigeons duct-taped to an RC car, an old man in a wheelchair singing a karaoke of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” a live badger as a torture device, an Asian cowboy, a police captain obsessed with home improvement magazines, and an overweight meth cook without a nose? (By the way, one of those things I completely made up, the rest are true). “The Salton Sea” is not merely a man-made lake in the middle of the desert, it’s a back-of-the-shelf, noir-ish, drug-fueled crime drama that’s overflowing with gritty creativity. Head south, get lost, and you’ll accidentally find what you’re looking for.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Felix van Groeningen, 2012)

The newest Felix Van Groeningen’s film, “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” is a touching love story set in Belgium. It tells of the love affair between Didier and Elise – a bluegrass musician and a tattoo artist. He is a romantic atheist and she’s a religious realist! Their daughter becomes very ill and their love is put on trial. The movie captures your attention with the great music and locks you in for the journey with their fast moving romance, the family tragedy that they go through, and how they both deal with it. It is not a love story you’re used to seeing. You’ll immediately understand that you’re watching something unique. It is a deep movie, very deep.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

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