*Week 7 – Movie Recommendations from #ADAF

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross, 2016)

An idealistic father (Viggo Mortensen), devoted to raising his six children with a rigorous physical and intellectual education, leave their idyllic homestead in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and travel across several states to attend to a family crisis.

Watching movies made outside the United States is a great way to learn about different ways of living. “Captain Fantastic” isn’t a foreign film, but it’s one of those movies that shows a way of life that stands in heavy contrast to the typical urban or suburban American lifestyle. Viggo Mortensen outstandingly plays the role of the patriarch of the Cash family, who carry out a self-sustaining, “outside-the-grid” existence in a forest somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. They live off the land, as they say. Seeing them in their own element is just the pleasant facade of “Captain Fantastic,” because beneath it is a remarkably heart-wrenching story. But it’s impressive in so many levels; it’s a drama, it’s a comedy, and it’s even a fun road trip movie. The main story arc interweaves the subplots concerning the individual family members’ bonds quite well. It’s something that will gain your attention from the very start. For a movie that may end up offending some of its religious viewers, “Captain Fantastic” certainly has a lot of soul.

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

The Kid with the Bike (The Dardenne Brothers, 2011)

“The Kid with a Bike” is a film about a child who obsessively searches for his bicycle that symbolizes his relationship with his father who abandoned him. It is a film by The Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc. They take the concepts of parenthood and childhood into the story and magnificently create the characters and convey the emotions. This film grabs your heart. It has been 5 years since I saw this film in a festival and I can still remember the feeling.

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@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Allied (Robert Zemeckis, 2016)

In 1942, a Canadian intelligence operative (Brad Pitt) carries out a covert mission in Morocco with the help of a French resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard). When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested when one is suspected to be a Nazi double agent.

I know, I know. Robert Zemeckis, Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard… Hollywood A-listers in a multi-million dollar budget movie. If “Allied” doesn’t seem like a movie that we would feature on ADAF, consider this: it landed the 3rd spot in the box office on its opening weekend, then 4th on the following weekend. It’s not exactly the kind of viewership Paramount was gunning for. So I figured that it’s my civic, err, cinematic duty to call attention to this well-executed spy movie of a “Casablanca” flavor, with notes of Private Ryan. Continuing with the food related word play, “Allied” is an example of what I like to call “smoked thrillers” (it’s prepared slow and low, you see). The tension isn’t thrown at your face, but rather, it slowly accumulates until the main character resorts to confronting the conflict climatically. Think of the Louis Restaurant scene from “The Godfather” and stretch it out for two hours. “Allied” will appeal to a wide spectrum of adult moviegoers. If your dad likes war movies and your mom likes romance movies and if either one asks you for a movie recommendation, tell’em, “Go see ‘Allied.'” It’s playing in theaters at the time of this posting. Now to patiently wait for a check from Paramount… (Right, I wish).

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Living is Easy with Eyes Closed (David Trueba, 2013)

“Living is Easy with Eyes Closed” is a comedy road trip movie about a teacher who is obsessed with The Beatles. The English teacher (Javier Cámara) hits the road to Almeria to meet with John Lennon and picks up two hitchhikers on the way. It is a very entertaining, humorous, dramatic, heart warming, and educational movie. I strongly suggest that you to check it out.

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@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Man Bites Dog (Rémy Belvaux et al, 1992)

A documentary film crew follows a sadistic serial killer in Belgium as he goes about his daily routine of thievery and murder, blurring the line between art and crime.

If you think this movie is one of those underground rarities belonging to the controversial and repressed genre of “shock cinema,” well… you can stop thinking that. Because it’s not. “Man Bites Dog” is a faux-documentary from Belgium that’s built up quite a notorious reputation over the decades. Yes, the events you see on screen are all sick and demented, but they’re also all staged. This mockumentary takes the concept of dark humor, ratchets it up to eleven, and stays there! I first heard about “Man Bites Dog” when a friend of mine recommended it to me and claimed that  when he first saw it, he had to stop the VCR — early 1990s, mind you — because his stomach started to hurt… not because of the disturbing human depravity he just witnessed, but because he was laughing so hard! So if you have a strong enough stomach (and abs) and the moral flexibility to brush off a hyper-realistic depiction of murder, then I (hesitantly?) recommend “Man Bites Dog.” If Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Guest ever decide to collaborate on a future project, they wouldn’t even get close to the insanity and hilarity of “Man Bites Dog!” It lives and breeds in its own closed-off turf in the human psyche.

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund, 2014)

Imagine a modern family on a vacation in the French Alps. While they have their lunch at a restaurant, a controlled avalanche comes barreling toward them. In his panic, Tomas (the father) quickly grabs his phone and runs away, leaving Emma (his wife) to cover and protect their kids from the oncoming gust of air and snow. As it turns out, the avalanche was harmless. But Tomas’s questionable actions reverberate after the incident, putting into question his role in the family. Then you start questioning the man’s role in society. Do men and women have the same instincts? What makes a real man? What is a hero? What happens when a man loses respect? It is a sensitive movie about human emotions. Don’t expect a natural disaster movie by looking at the poster. Instead expect a human disaster movie! Great story telling and filmmaking in “Force Majeure.”

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

The Machinist (Brad Anderson, 2004)

A factory worker (Christian Bale), who suffers from insomnia, begins to question his own sanity when he starts to hallucinate and find notes with taunting messages.

People know this movie as “the one with Christian Bale when he weighed 110 pounds.” And indeed, Christian Bale’s dedication to the role and his performance of it really are the selling points. But have you actually watched it? Bale gets a lot of praise (and rightly so), but I think Scott Kosar’s script is the main engine that drives the viewers’ total experience. “The Machinist” is filled to the brim with intrigue and keeps you guessing from start to finish in a way that would have gotten a thumbs up from Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense. The ending itself closely mirrors “Psycho,” which comes at the heel of an eye-opening revelation about Trevor Reznick (Bale), that’s on par with Norman Bates. The last minutes of the movie answers your lingering questions satisfyingly, which feels like your reward for participating in the thrilling, 100-minute game of “What’s going on here?”

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

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