*Week 4 – Movie Recommendations from #ADAF

IDIOCRACY  (Mike Judge, 2006)
IDIOCRACY (Mike Judge, 2006)

Average American Joe Bauers wakes up 500 years into the future from a top secret hibernation program and discovers a society so depraved of intelligence that he’s easily the smartest person in the country.

Today is November 9, 2016… the day after the US election. The title and image of today’s ADAF post is one that perfectly sums up how I feel today (and probably for the next 4-8 years). “Idiocracy” is directed by Mike Judge, the creator of the animated TV series “Beavis and Butthead,” “King of the Hill,” and one of my favorite comedies of all time: “Office Space.” “Idiocracy” envisions a future stupid America… a really, really stupid America. Normally, I’d say that this movie will have you laughing. But given what has happened yesterday, you’ll only be laughing if you can manage to overlook its prophetic vision, whose onset seems to have become reality.

Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon @anotherdayanotherfilm

TWICE BORN (Sergio Castellito, 2012)
TWICE BORN (Sergio Castellito, 2012)

It’s a movie the critics didn’t really like but one the audience loved! I’m part of the second group. “Twice Born” is a highly emotional screen production about love, war, motherhood, fear, and pain. The Bosnian conflict happened in the late 90s. It was huge and terrible, but surprisingly, not many movies were made about it. This film deals with human tragedy that pushes someone over the edge! By the end of the film, it feels like you just came home from a long journey. Director Sergio Castellito carries the story back and forward between present day and 20 years in the past. It follows a mother, Gemma (Penelope Cruz), as she goes to Sarajevo with her son where she lost her husband. The story involves a lot of characters and they are all very well established! I absolutely adored the performance of Emile Hirsch and Penelope Cruz. The story is based on a book written by Margaret Mazzantini, the director’s wife. If you want to watch this film, don’t think its purpose is to make you feel sad. It also warms your heart. And a quick note: The last 30 minutes of the movie is so intense and surprising.

Recommended by Merve Tekin @anotherdayanotherfilm

 

CUBE (Vincenzo Natali, 1997)
CUBE (Vincenzo Natali, 1997)

Six complete strangers of varying personalities and backgrounds find themselves inexplicably placed in a maze rigged with deadly traps.

I first saw this movie in a philosophy class in college. At the time, what connection a mystery/thriller movie from the 90s had with philosophy was lost on me. In hindsight though, the connection is clear: “Cube” has an existential theme. You can call it a “Saw” movie with an undercurrent of Kafka and Heidegger. On the surface, it’s about a group of people struggling to navigate their way out of a deadly labyrinth of interconnected cubes. But dive deeper and you’ll realize,  the question of “how” they’ll get out is actually less important than “why” they’re in there in the first place. “Cube” is a prime example of how big ideas can easily overcome low production budgets.

Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon @anotherdayanotherfilm

WHITE GOD (Kornél Mundruczó, 2014)
WHITE GOD (Kornél Mundruczó, 2014)

Although this film starts like Disney movie with a 13 year old girl getting separated from her dog, this Hungarian drama is definitely not for children. This is an image-and-sound driven example of purely cinematic storytelling. The camera gets down low at ground level following much of the action with a hand-held camera to better show the harsh urban landscape through a dog’s eyes. The best part of the storytelling is Hagen doesn’t need to be a person for you to be on his side. He is a dog, and that’s all he needs to be. A great quote from this film summarizes it for me: “Society treats all animals as meat—and even if you think you’re not part of that mentality, you probably are.”

Recommended by Merve Tekin @anotherdayanotherfilm

 

 

 

The Place Beyond the Pines (Derek Cianfrance, 2012)
The Place Beyond the Pines (Derek Cianfrance, 2012)

Unable to provide for his partner (Eva Mendes) and their newborn son, a stunt motorcyclist (Ryan Gosling) resorts to robbing banks, a desperate decision that puts him on the same path as a rookie cop (Bradley Cooper), who works for a corrupt police department.

The movie’s logline reads like a crime thriller, but believe me, it’s not. “The Place Beyond the Pines” positions the characters — and your emotional attachment to them — in the foreground and in the background, the plot that seems to progress at a crawl. That doesn’t mean it’s a boring movie to watch (I wouldn’t recommend it if that were true), it just means that the strong characters and their well-defined intentions are enough to keep you emotionally invested. There’s no clear good guy, nor is there a clear bad guy. As you navigate through the moral grey areas, you’ll sense a vagabond’s approach to the storytelling, which is heightened by the contemplative soundtrack. “Pine’s” airy, transcendent music fittingly complements the free-floating story, similar to how the pulsating electronic beats of “Drive” (another movie with Gosling as the lead) perfectly matches the retro/gritty nature of its plot. Lastly, you might have heard the rumor that “The Place Beyond the Pines” has a jarring plot twist about half-way through. Don’t believe it; it’s actually a plot leap. It’s just one of the many things you’ll fondly remember about this great movie after your viewing.

Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon @anotherdayanotherfilm

 

Wild Tales (Damián Szifrón, 2014)
Wild Tales (Damián Szifrón, 2014)

If you were to tell me that something unexpected will happen in a movie, I’m in! In “Wild Tales,” it happens a lot!  This is one funny, clever, sarcastic, and thrilling film. Director/writer Damián Szifrón puts together 6 different short films that have revenge as the common theme. Frustration leads to revenge! I think many people have crazy, secret thoughts of seeking revenge when they feel injustice, inequality, or the pressure of the demands of society. This movie takes these thoughts and puts them on the screen. After I saw it with my brother, we discussed it right away. Specifically, the question of “What would you do in that situation?” was stuck in my brain long after the film finished. The last story, concerning a wedding reception gone awry, is just brilliant! I don’t think anything has entertained me so much as that for a long time! “Wild Tales” is a wildly entertaining film. Please let me know: out of the 6 vignettes, what is your favorite tale from “Wild Tales?”

Recommended by Merve Tekin @anotherdayanotherfilm

 

Arrival (Denis Villenueve, 2016)
Arrival (Denis Villenueve, 2016)

When twelve enigmatic space vessels arrive at disparate places across Earth, an expert linguist (Amy Adams) is tasked by the US government to communicate with the aliens and find out the purpose of their visit.

I wondered if I would ever recommend a movie that’s playing in theaters at the time of my posting. Now I have my answer. “Arrival” is not just about aliens; it’s so much more. The main reason why sci-fi has always been my favorite movie genre is because it requires you to use not only your eyes and ears, but more importantly, your brain. In this case, “Arrival” will liquefy your brain in the way “Inception” liquefied it back in 2010, but not in an action-packed manner. “Arrival” is kind of like “War of the Worlds” if Terence Malick had directed it. So don’t expect lasers and explosions; watch the “Independence Day” sequel if that’s your thing. “Arrival” is conceptually heavy and will take patience to mentally digest. For its overwhelming greatness, I give a lot of the credit to Denis Villenueve, an underrated French-Canadian director whose movies — all of them — are truly exceptional, but haven’t received the attention they deserve. There’s just something in his movies that latches onto you and doesn’t let go. “Arrival” is his latest work and it’s his best piece to date! But maybe that’ll change in 2017 with “Blade Runner 2049.” The final revelation in the closing minutes of “Arrival” (literally the last 5 minutes) will… blow… your… mind. Remember “The Sixth Sense?” Jaws will drop. Goosebumps will bump. And eyes will water. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll finish this post by saying: Christopher Nolan’s “Memento” showed us a new way of looking at memory. Robert Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future” showed us a new way of looking at time. And now, Denis Villenueve’s “Arrival” shows us a way of looking at memory’s relation TO time. Like I said, it’s about so much more than just aliens.

I dedicate this post to my dog, Gigi, who departed one day after I saw “Arrival.” December 26, 2005 – November 15, 2016

Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon @anotherdayanotherfilm

2 Replies to “*Week 4 – Movie Recommendations from #ADAF”

  1. Out of these, I would really love to watch Arrival !

  2. Nice choice!! I love movie Twice Born!!!
    Thanks for sharing! See you tomorrow in class 😉

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