Fantastic Fest 2017 – The Death of Stalin, Wheelman, Blue My Mind, and Downsizing

Welcome to The Green Screen of Death! We’re proud to offer more coverage to Fantastic Fest 2017. Please check show notes below for our format.

0:00 – Intro

1:35 – Review – The Death of Stalin

7:35 – Review – Wheelman

13:30 – Review – Blue My Mind

19:02 – Review – Downsizing

23:10 – Lightning reviews – Tigers Are Not Afraid, My Friend Dahmer, The Cured, 3ft Ball and Souls, V.I.P., Five Fingers for Marseilles, Super Dark Times, 1%, Revenge, Haunters: The Art of the Scare, Juvenile, Fantastic Fest Shorts, Gemini, Bodied, Jupiter’s Moon

40:00 – Closure

Fantastic Fest 2017 – World of Tomorrow Episode 2, Bodied, and The Endless

Welcome to The Green Screen of Death! Thank you for checking us out. We’re proud to present our reviews from Days 3-4 of the fest. There’s a lot of great stuff here, so do yourself a favor and check it out!

0:00 – Intro

0:56 – Review – World of Tomorrow Episode 2: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts

7:45 – Review – Bodied

12:55 – Review – The Endless

18:15 – Lightning Round Reviews: Applecart, Junk Head, 1922, Brawl in Cell Block 99, Take It Out in Trade, Mom and Dad, The Square, Top Knot Detective, Les Affames, Blade of the Immortal

Fantastic Fest 2017 Review – World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts

Don Hertzfeldt has been ascending as a filmmaker for years – World of Tomorrow felt like the peak of his career, it appears his ascension will continue. World of Tomorrow: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts takes the audience back into Emily Prime’s world, while introducing new versions of her, including Emily 6, who serves the same purpose as a backup hard drive for Emily Prime. Hertzfeldt takes a plunge into new depths of the human spirit, human emotions, and continues the conversation about preserving ourselves for the future.

This film picks up with Emily Prime drawing pictures, and Emily 6 stops in for a surprise visit. Emily Prime is as cute, and innocent as ever. Emily 6 tells Emily Prime her purpose, and reason for existence. Emily Prime is game for the adventure, and off they go. Hertzfeldt finds a beautiful balance of whimsy, joy, and deep melancholy underneath the surface.

There’s much room to discuss our desire to live forever, whether it’s through leaving a mark on this world with something memorable, through the cloning process, or cheap memory banks. Why do we have that feeling? Is the present not good enough for us? A repeated theme is also, “We mustn’t linger. It is easy to get lost in memories.” Some of us dwell on the past – whether it’s a recent past in our lifetime, or in a golden age we long for. We spot these in popular culture every day. Would the works of “It” and “Stranger Things” be as popular if we did not long for something in our childhood? Nostalgia can be a fun thing, it can also set unattainable goals of happiness and expectations from this world. Let’s live in the now!

On a technical aspect, the elephant in the room is the lack of a universal method of preserving our art. Hard drives fail every day. Can artists rely on unreliable hard drives so that tomorrow’s generation can enjoy their work? Who can they trust to backup their works of art? With every new iteration of storage, the films must be converted to that format, and eventually these formats will outlive each artist living today. That is a scary thought! Think about your favorite film, wouldn’t you feel sad if many generations pass in your family, and your family cannot enjoy the same art you held in such high regard? If the purest forms of art hold a mirror to us, we lose a part of ourselves if/when we lose that art.

There is one particular sequence involving the “bog of reality” that was way too real. It’s not the most pleasant place, but simultaneously, Hertzfeldt gives us much hope. Think about some goals and dreams you have not reached, what stopped you? This sequence may terrify some, but Hertzfeldt coats this with delicious sugar that makes this bitter pill easy to swallow. It’s reassuring to realize that you’re not alone in this world, these themes are familiar because they’re so relatable.

Like any great writer, Hertzfeldt is a keen observer of the human spirit. Throughout the film you may recognize emotions that feel so intimate that it feels like he wrote a piece just for you. This film is an emotional rollercoaster! One moment you’ll be laughing at the cute delivery from Winona Mae (Emily Prime and Hertzfeldt’s niece), then you’ll feel the complete desolation of your existence when you consider the vast universe and how small each of us is in the big picture. These emotions often unite together, and left this writer in a constant state of cry-laughing through the runtime.

Hertzfeldt’s technique involved him recording his niece, Winona Mae between the ages of 4-6. He tried a loose script with her, asking her to repeat lines but that was a futile effort. Instead, Hertzfeldt captured quiet moments with his niece on his iPad. He then used all of the clean audio he could find to write the story. This particular technique is daring, and fascinating that he could accomplish such a beautiful story using raw audio footage from his niece. During the Q&A, Don Hertzfeldt whispered “Boyhood” into our ears – hinting that it’s possible that World of Tomorrow could become an episodic telling of Emily Prime’s life as she grows up. WOW. If that’s the direction he wants to take this, we will gladly sign up to witness this delightful series.

Fans of the first World of Tomorrow will find much to love. Any newcomers will be in heaven as they can discover both of these films back to back. World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts demands repeat viewings. Don Hertzfeldt gives us much to think about long after viewing this film. We urge you to support this film whenever it becomes available. Invite your friends and family over to watch the film. This is an absolute, must-see.

Fantastic Fest 2017 – Thoroughbreds, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Welcome to The Green Screen of Death! Thank you for checking us out. We’re proud to cover Fantastic Fest. Our first review episode features full reviews from the first two days of the fest, and we offer quick and dirty thoughts on other movies we’ve watched. Format below!


0:00 – Intro and La Barbecue discussion

3:35 – Review – Thoroughbreds

7:40 – Review – Mary and the Witch’s Flower

12:50 – Review – The Killing of a Sacred Deer

20:55 – Lightning Round Reviews: Vampire Clay, Thelma, Ichi the Killer (4K Restoration), Before We Vanish, Cold Hell, Bad Genius, Let the Corpses Tan, Ron Goosens: Low-Budget Stuntman, Anna and the Apocalypse
38:22 – Closure

76 – Logan Lucky, Wind River, and The Trip to Spain

Welcome to The Green Screen of Death! We took a week off, our batteries are recharged!

0:00 – Intro and non-movie discussion

12:35 – RIP Jerry Lewis

16:25 – The Rant – Where we rant about anything movie-related

19:45 – Review – Logan Lucky

29:08 – Review – Wind River

37:20 – Review – The Trip to Spain

46:00 – Breaking News!! Press Credentials for Fantastic Fest!!

46:50 – Movie Club Discussion – Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Next movie: Frozen River)

61:30 – Lightning Round and Fantasia 2017 Coverage – The Dark Tower, Detroit, A Ghost Story, Savage Dog, Tokyo Idols, Assholes, 78/52, Icarus, The Villainess, North by Northwest, The Transfiguration, The Glass Castle, An Inconvenient Sequel, The Hitman’s Bodyguard

84:00 – Upcoming films and closure

Fantasia Reviews – 78/52, and Assholes

78/52

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho paved the way for filmmakers, and film lovers past and present. 78/52 is a frame by frame analysis of the famous shower scene that has often been replicated, but never duplicated. Alexandre O. Philippe (Director) interviews some of the people directly involved in the film such as Marli Renfro (Janet Leigh’s body double), as well as filmmakers who were inspired by Hitchcock’s craft: Eli Roth, Karyn Kusama, and Guillermo del Toro to name a few. The approach peels back like layers of an onion: the audience learns about the bigger picture, set design, symbolism of the setup, the political climate of 1960, then as the layers are peeled away we learn more about the process, how each shot was captured, and the meticulous way Hitchcock lured in audiences for a terrifying scene.

It’s remarkable to consider the political landscape of 1960. The average American citizen was aware of global threats, but did not consider their own home as a form of terror. Even photographing the toilet was considered off-limits during this time. It’s fascinating to listen to these talented filmmakers, writers, critics, actors, actresses all discuss the brilliance of every frame from this sequence. Psycho is so deeply ingrained into our cultural landscape that it has no doubt changed the way many of us take a shower while we’re home alone.

Part of the fully realized goal of this finely crafted film is to gain a new appreciation of a film most film lovers have viewed many times over. There’s a fascinating sequence where there is a deep discussion of the Marion’s internal struggle over confessing her crimes, and accepting the consequences. Water is a powerful symbol and it can be used to represent life and death.

78/52 is a must-see film for film lovers. Whether you’re looking for insight into a film you adore, or just want to hang out with some friends and participate in the conversation, there is a lot to chew on. Shot beautifully in black and white, this is a visually and aurally pleasing film to watch about a woman getting murdered in the shower.

Assholes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch an extreme close-up of two people making out while their mouths are covered in disgusting herpes sores? Me neither! The film opens with Adah (Betsey Brown) talking with her therapist about her family problems, as well as finding someone else who enjoys the same off the wall sex as she does. Lucky for her, the next patient Aaron (Jack Dunphy) explains to his therapist how he fantasizes about aggressive anal sex – voila! A match made in…hell? Aptly named, this film follows the antics these assholes get into – from patronizing her brother in the film, as well as her parents. Watch as these two assholes spit into each other’s mouths, hump on the streets of New York, and give everyone around them a horrible time, including the audience.

Written and Directed by Peter Vack (Brown’s real-life brother, and on-screen brother), it’s difficult to put a finger on the point of this film. The subversive nature is manufactured to shock and upset the audience. The audience can do without repeated close-ups of herpes sores, but Vack goes to that well repeatedly. Is the audience supposed to walk away with a lesson in preventing the spread of STDs? Did we witness a bizarre collective therapy session for Vack and his family? Did we mention that his parents are in the film and witness many of these bizarre sexual acts being performed on their daughter?

There are a few entertaining takeaways, however. Assholes is a well-shot film by Justin Zweifach. While the content may not be appealing, the shot composition is well-planned and beautifully executed. There is a sequence shot in Times Square that looks breathtaking, all while you watch these jerks cause mayhem and hump each other in the streets. This sequence has shining moments that are quite funny.

At the end of the day, Assholes is intended to be a shocking film that some people may dare others to watch. We hesitate to make that same recommendation when there are better subversive films available already.

78/52 and Assholes appear as part of our coverage of the 21st edition of Fantasia 2017.

Fantasia Review: Tokyo Idols

In Japan, the “idol” industry provides a living for young girls, and fulfills desires of much older men. The girls range between the ages of 10-20, and the men appear old enough to be their fathers or grandfathers. The girls perform pop songs, while dancing along to the music while these men dance and cheer for them the way North Americans may imagine young children cheering for boy bands on this side of the globe. Sounds harmless, right? Kyoke Miyake’s (Director/Writer) documentary sheds light on the dark side of this industry.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: Tokyo Idols”

75 – Dunkirk, Valerian, Atomic Blonde, and Movie Club #50

0:00 – Intro and non-movie discussion

7:50 – R.I.P. Sam Shepard

11:00 – The Rant – Where we rant about anything movie-related

16:50 – Review – Dunkirk

31:50 – Review – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

39:45 – Review – Atomic Blonde

48:00 – Movie Club Discussion – In the Mood for Love (Next selection: Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

1:05:35 – Movie Club Top 5 Discussion Full Letterboxd List

1:28:50 – Lightning Round Reviews: The Invisible Guest, A Ghost Story, Lady Macbeth, The Little Hours, Top of the Lake Season 2, Game of Thrones, Your Name

1:42:17 – Upcoming films and closure