*Week 8 – Movie Recommendations from #ADAF

Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone, 2008)

It’s an Italian mafia movie. I’m used to seeing vibrant colors, scenic vistas, lots of food, and beautiful narrow streets in Italian movies. In Gomorrah, I’m introduced to a different face of Italy, which I didn’t even know existed. It is a true story. An inside look at Italy’s crime families, it’s based on a very controversial book written by a journalist, Roberto Saviano. It was a big success. This documentary style crime movie is essential viewing, simple, and plain. If you really want to get a very real sense of what crime organizations really do, how they affect people, and how they control a place, I would definitely suggest that you watch this one. “Gomorrah” is a departure from “The Godfather” series. Instead, this film reminds me more of the Brazilian film, “City of God.”

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Robot & Frank (Jake Schreier, 2012)

Set in a not too distant future, an elderly ex-jewel thief (Frank Langella) receives a robot butler (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) as a gift from his son. They soon start working together and form an unconventional heist team.

I grew up watching terminators being sent from the future to kill present day humans and sentinels using humans as docile sources of energy, but the robot from “Robot & Frank” isn’t that kind of machine. He was created and programmed to aid the elderly. However, the main character, Frank (superbly played by the great Frank Langella), out of his own cynicism and senility, doesn’t trust his new caretaker at first. But that not so cordial meeting soon blossoms to a real friendship. That may sound so unforgivingly cliched, but come on! We’re talking about an old guy and a robot here! Equal parts charming and bittersweet, it’s a pleasant movie to watch if you can manage not to think too much about how you’ll cope once you get to “that age.” Much like the relationship between WALL-E and EVE in my favorite Pixar movie, the most poignant part of “Robot & Frank” is witnessing the evolutionary relationship between Robot and Frank, from its comically shaky start to its heartrending end.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015)

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One city, one night, one take! This film blows my mind! Whenever I see a friend of mine, he always asks me if I have seen  “Victoria.” I finally did last night! I knew that it is a single shot movie, but honestly I wasn’t expecting that much action in this movie. I’m taken from my place to another. My heart was racing along with the characters! You start the night with Victoria, a young woman from Madrid, dancing in a club. She meets with four local guys in Berlin and finds herself in some dangerous situations. You experience every moment with them and see how their lives change in 2 hours! Just in 2 hours, there is no timeskip or narration! This is a real deal!

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow, 2004)

Canton, China, 1940s. An inept wannabe gangster (Stephen Chow) is determined to join a notorious local gang. In his efforts, he exposes the residents of a housing complex to be Kung Fu masters with extraordinary powers.

Hong Kong superstar Stephen Chow wrote, directed, and starred in one of the most fun-to-watch movies of the 21st century. “Kung Fu Hustle” is the resulting offspring of the cross-pollination between the Jackie Chan flicks of the 90s with the Looney Tunes cartoons of the 60s. Inventive CGI effects are strategically blended with highly choreographed martial arts action to create pure magic. And to boot, the movie is bursting-at-the-seems funny! Naturally, the gags are mostly physical comedy, but there are also dialogue-based jokes. It’s all zany fun and it’s all top notch. If you consider yourself a martial arts cinema purist and all this talk of wackiness sounds off-putting to you, I’d say… watch it anyway. “Kung Fu Hustle” was created for a purpose: to entertain you with its sights and sounds. And that, I can guarantee, it will do.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Four Lions (Chris Morris, 2010)

“Four incompetent British jihadists set out to train for and commit an act of terror.” It’s a dark comedy about Muslim extremists in Britain written and directed by Chris Morris. It’s a hilarious film that approaches a controversial subject in a very funny way. There are specific parts of the film that are so clever in how they raise questions that I’d love to talk about them, but I’d spoil the film. I think that it’s best to see the film yourself.

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@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze, 1999)

A down-on-his-luck puppeteer resorts to working a menial job in an office, where he discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of Hollywood movie star John Malkovich.

“Malkovich, Malkovich?” When he’s not busy with his “Jackass” caliber shenanigans of wearing an old lady disguise and crashing into several objects while riding a Segway, Spike Jonze is busy directing Oscar caliber films. I would describe his entire body of work as conceptually simple yet visually absurd. Remember that “Wax” music video? It’s a single slo-mo tracking shot of a man running down an LA street… while on fire! Like I said, simple yet absurd. Which is why I think Jonze is such a perfect complement to Charlie Kaufman’s screenplays, the screenplays that inspired me to pursue a screenwriting career, by the way. Take one of Kaufman’s simple (but highly original) story premises from his pages and wring it through Jonze’s absurd cinematic lens and you got yourself one helluva movie there, friend. If you haven’t seen “Being John Malkovich,” I’d suggest you start packing your bags and bring an extra bottle of sanity with you because… you’re going on a trip. A simply absurd one.

See also: Adaptation (Spike Jonze, 2002), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004), both are written by Charlie Kaufman.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Time of the Gypsies (Emir Kusturica, 1988)

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This remarkable tragic-comic drama, set in a Yugoslavian gypsy community, was directed and co-written by Emir Kusturica. The movie plunges into the center of Gypsy life; certainly no other film knows or shows as much about these legendary people. There are so many people here and so many things happening to them for the first time. What I love most about Kusturica’s filmmaking is how he builds and molds his characters. For that reason, I have watched this film several times over the years. Another reason to watch this film is the soundtrack. Especially noteworthy is the score by Goran Bregovic, which manages to create a remarkable tone for the story. There are feasts and fights, weddings and funerals, and no line is drawn between magic and deception.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

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