Minisode 052: A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Interview with Mark O’Connell

For this September Donor Pick episode we are sticking with our 2018 #SciFiSeptember theme and covering the Steven Spielberg science fiction film our listeners chose. We’re joined by Mark O’Connell, author of Watching Skies: Star Wars, Spielberg, and Us, both for our discussion of the film and for an insightful interview about his written work.

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence Review  0:01:05

Interview with Mark1:04:10


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You Should Be Watching: September 6-12

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


The Game

Year: 1997

Director: David Fincher

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Thriller

Cast: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Spike Jonze, Anna Katarina, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Carroll Baker, Scott Hunter McGuire, Elizabeth Dennehy, Daniel Schorr, John Aprea, Charles Martinet, Caroline Barclay, Peter Donat, Florentine Mocanu, Kimberly Russell, Gerry Becker

As is common with David Fincher’s films, The Game works on multiple levels. At its surface, it’s a Kafkaesque thriller about a rich investment banker, Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas), a man who has everything. Van Orton receives a unique, well-meaning gift from his estranged brother Conrad (Sean Penn). The gift is access to a new type of personalized game that would integrate into his everyday life and activities, hopefully adding some excitement to it all. But very quickly, Van Orton finds himself trapped in an inescapable nightmare where fiction increasingly becomes his reality.

At a deeper level, Van Orton is a real character. He’s a man who at a young age saw his father commit suicide, which has forever haunted him and overshadowed the choices he would make in life. Now as a middle-aged man, wealthy and estranged from everyone he’s ever loved, he must step up to the mirror of his father and evaluate his life. This reality–the pain, the cynicism, the independent nature along with the fear when his life teeters out of control–affects every nuance of Douglas’ performance.


David and Lisa

Year: 1962

Director: Frank Perry

Genre: Drama, Romance

Cast: Keir Dullea, Janet Margolin, Howard Da Silva, Neva Patterson, Clifton James, Richard McMurray, Nancy Nutter, Mathew Anden, Jaime Sánchez, Coni Hudak, Karen Lynn Gorney, Janet Lee Parker

Famous for playing astronaut Dave Bowman in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, here in only his 2nd film appearance, Keir Dullea as the titular teenager David along with Janet Margolin as Lisa star in this unique, brilliantly acted romantic drama that exemplifies the realities, complications, and horrors of living with mental disorders. Key to making the drama compelling is the detailed character development and compassion shown in Eleanor Perry’s script, and director Frank Perry’s skill in dialing up the tension by taking us into the experience.

David has a genius-level intellect and a strict concept of how things must be ordered, which has made him arrogant and difficult to control, but the threat of a single touch causes him intense fear as he’s convinced it might kill him. He also has terrible recurring nightmares of killing people in surreal ways. Lisa, of much lower IQ, is in a constant battle between herself and an alternate, darker, much more self-assured personality, who can only be kept at bay by rhyming, both by her and by those talking to her. Both find themselves in the care of a mental institution and find themselves drawn to each other, but they have to battle to both understand each other’s difficulties as well as learn to cope with their own if they’re going to make it work.

 


The Thief of Bagdad

    — Expires September 14

Year: 1924

Director: Raoul Walsh

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Family, Romance

Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Snitz Edwards, Charles Belcher, Julanne Johnston, Sôjin, Anna May Wong, Brandon Hurst, Tote Du Crow, Noble Johnson, Sam Baker, Winter Blossom, Etta Lee, Mathilde Comont, Charles Stevens, Eugene Jackson, Jesse Lasky Jr., David Sharpe, Paul Malvern, Scotty Mattraw, Jess Weldon, K. Nambu

Don’t let the nearly two and a half hour run time of this classic silent adventure fantasy scare you off. This surprisingly fast-paced adaptation of several of the ancient Arabian Nights tales, which was remade for the sound era in 1940, was made by the prolific director Raoul Walsh, whose filmmaking career spanned 51 years and is regarded as Douglas Fairbanks‘ favorite of his performances. It entertains with its variety of locations, exotic set design, colorful characters, delightful special effects, and the creative and intriguing story elements.

Fairbanks plays the lead character Ahmed, a common thief who finds himself on the run from the palace guards after he sees and becomes infatuated with the unnamed princess, played by Julanne Johnston. Stop me if this sounds familiar. Ahmed disguises himself as a prince in an attempt to win her heart and soon finds everything coming up roses, despite the existence of other suitors. That is, until the princess’ Mongol slave, played by oriental siren Anna May Wong discovers Ahmed’s identity, leading to the princess having to beg for his life. It goes on from there with a competitive quest and a flying carpet, a cloak of invisibility, a giant underwater spider, and so on. Douglas Fairbanks is a fun, charismatic actor to watch, and the special effects are impressive, especially for a film that’s nearly 100 years old.


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

September 13
Pete’s Dragon (2016)

September 14
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
Half Nelson (2006)

September 15
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

September 27
The Imitation Game (2014)

AMAZON PRIME

September 15
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

September 17
The Witch (2016)

FILMSTRUCK

September 7
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Giant (1956)
Grand Illusion (1937)
Home from the Hill (1960)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Slacker (1990)
Some Came Running (1958)
Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)
Tea and Sympathy (1956)
The Thin Man Series (1934 – 1947)
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)

September 14
Advise & Consent (1962)
Easy Rider (1969)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Fruit of Paradise (1970)
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
A Patch of Blue (1965)
Queen Christina (1933)
Seven Days in May (1964)
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

September 21
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
Mean Streets (197
Night Moves (1975)

HULU

September 30
American Psycho (2000)
Angel Heart (1987)
Babel (2006)
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Bound (1996)
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Hoosiers (1986)
The Ladies Man (1961)
Miami Blues (1990)
Rabbit Hole (2010)
The Rock (1996)
Sleepers (1996)
Spaceballs (1987)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Witness (1985)


JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Black Panther (2018)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
King Kong (2005)
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Nacho Libre (2006)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Scarface (1983)
Unforgiven (1992)

AMAZON PRIME

Chinatown (1974)
Blow Out (1981)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
Hustle & Flow (2005)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Miami Vice (2006)
Primal Fear (1996)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Testament (1983)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

FILMSTRUCK

Cul-de-sac (1966)
Dead Man (1985)
Kes (1969)

HULU

13 Going On 30 (2004)
Adaptation. (2002)
Blow Out (1981)
City of God (2002)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
The English Patient (1996)
Field of Dreams (1989)
The Fly (1986)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rushmore (1998)
Signs (2002)
Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
Sixteen Candles (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Unbreakable (2000)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)


COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

September 7
Next Gen–NETFLIX FILM (2018)
Sierra Burgess Is A Loser–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

September 11
The Resistance Banker–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

September 12
On My Skin–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

AMAZON PRIME

September 8
Stronger (2017)

HULU

September 8
Stronger (2017)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: June 14-20

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found. This week I’m recommending an epic wartime trilogy about a man striving to live up to his pacifist ideals in 1940s Japan, an award-winning film about a mother and her son whose entire world is the room they live in, expiring from Amazon Prime soon, and lastly a fascinating documentary detailing the exploits of the man who famously walked a wire between the Twin Towers of Manhattan. Also, this week is  your last chance to catch Captain America: Civil War on Netflix.

 


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


 

The Human Condition Trilogy

Year: 1959, 1960, 1961

Director: Masaki Kobayashi

Genre: Drama, History, War

Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima, Ineko Arima, Sô Yamamura, Akira Ishihama, Kôji Nanbara, Seiji Miyaguchi, Tôru Abe, Masao Mishima, Eitarô Ozawa, Kôji Mitsui, Akitake Kôno, Nobuo Nakamura, 山茶花 究, Eijirō Tōno, Shinsuke Ashida, Keiji Sada, Yasushi Nagata, Yoshio Kosugi, Toshiko Kobayashi, Taiji Tonoyama, Akira Tani, Junji Masuda, Torahiko Hamada, Teruko Kishi, Takamaru Sasaki, Akio Isono, Jun Ôtomo

 

The Human Condition, Masaki Kobayashi’s epic wartime trilogy is set in Japan during World War II. It represents one man’s complete journey to balance his drive to care for and protect the woman he loves against risking everything to live according to his idealistic principles. From technical details like his perfect blocking and shot construction to the universal concepts of romantic love, sacrifice, and the desire of all mankind to be treated with dignity, Kobayashi’s directorial and storytelling expertise shines through every frame, and his influence on future filmmakers is readily apparent, especially the threads between Part II and Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket as our hero experiences firsthand the brutality of the Japanese army.

Kobayashi centers our viewpoint firmly on Kaji (Tatsuya Nakadai) and his humble compassion right from the introduction, where we meet him and Michiko (Michiyo Aratama), the woman he loves. Kaji is a pacifist with socialist ideals, so despite them wanting to marry, he wants to protect her from the hardship a life with him would surely provide. At one point, Michiko fights to convince him to stand by and let injustice happen so that he won’t surely be killed for treason, and it’s one of the most powerful and heartrending scenes in cinema.

Throughout the trilogy, as Kaji goes from a metaphorical to a grueling literal journey, he continues to face internal conflict over his beliefs and his compassion for his fellow man. But between the utter exhaustion and delirium of himself and his companions, presented in the most visceral of ways, his growing inability to stop the cruelty around him slowly breaks down his resolve and his character. In this, his most broken down and desperate state, we see what is at his core that will drive him to hold on to his humanity.

EXPIRING: Last day to watch on FilmStruck channel is June 22. Will remain on Criterion channel


 

Room

Year: 2015

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, Sean Bridgers, Tom McCamus, Amanda Brugel, Joe Pingue, Cas Anvar, Wendy Crewson, Kate Drummond, Randal Edwards, Jack Fulton, Justin Mader, Zarrin Darnell-Martin, Jee-Yun Lee, Ola Sturik, Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll, Rory O’Shea, Matt Gordon, Sandy McMaster, Chantelle Chung, Brad Wietersen, Derek Herd

 

For those few of you who have yet to see it, Room is an amazing film that will fill your heart with emotion, remind you of the powerful bond between mother and child, and challenge your perspective of the world around you. Brie Larson as Ma gives an Oscar-winning performance, and Jacob Tremblay as Ma’s son Jack gives an Oscar-deserving one. The premise is simple. Jack has lived his whole life in a small room with Ma. They receive a visitor every once in a while who gets them what they need to survive in exchange for sleeping with Ma while Jack goes and sleeps in the closet. Having given up hope of ever leaving the room and for the sake of Jack’s happiness, Ma has embraced the fiction the room is the world.

Their experience is grieving, the horror practically unimaginable. This is Larson at her most vulnerable, completely owning the reality of Ma’s wretched state and its effect on her body and mind. And Tremblay is a revelation. Even as a child actor, he makes it easy to believe the life experiences of Jack, his innocence, wonder, hurt, and anger are his own. This story presents a  fearful yet heavy reality of similar and even worse events occurring all around the world.

But It turns out to be a deeply layered film that sticks with you long after it’s over. Jack’s perspective relate to all of us in a philosophical, big picture, life-changing sense. But so did Ma’s in the sense of our day-to-day reality and how we bear the weight of our past. It’s not easy to take an all-too-common yet tragic story like this and have it say so much about life and death, good and evil, family, depression, perspective, burdens, sacrifice, the media, innocence, and wonder. But the combined efforts of both writer Emma Donoghue and director Lenny Abrahamson masterfully provided just that.

EXPIRING: Last day to watch is June 23


 

Man on Wire

Year: 2008

Director: James Marsh 

Genre: Documentary, History, Crime, Thriller

Cast: Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix, David Forman, Alan Welner, Barry Greenhouse, Jim Moore

 

There’s a phenomenon that occurs now and then in the film world where the subject matter of an acclaimed documentary is sooner or later created as a narrative film. We see that currently with the movies about the life of Fred Rogers. But previously, this occurred with the awe-inspiring documentary I’m recommending, Man on Wire, which details the exploits of Phillippe Petit, a daredevil French high-wire walker who had an inner compulsion to perform increasingly dangerous feats of wirewalking. His ultimate obsession, as dramatized in Robert Zemeckis‘ 4th-wall-breaking film The Walk, was to attach a wire between the Twin Towers of Manhattan and walk from one side to the other.

What makes this film so fascinating and makes the aforementioned dramatization unnecessary, is its intercutting of interviews, archival footage, and re-enactments to clearly tell the compelling story of this strange yet entertaining showman who was driven to do the impossible and the band of friends and accomplices he compiled who would help him do so. As far Petit was concerned, the illegality of the feats he was compelled to perform meant nothing more than another obstacle. Nearly as much as danger itself, It is the forbidden, illegal nature of his plan to walk between the towers that infuses the film with tension and excitement. It plays very much like a heist film with all the detailed planning, setbacks, and specific windows of opportunity you’d expect, even though nothing is being stolen but an experience.


 

COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

June 15
Super (2010)

June 18
Theeb (2014)

June 24
Captain America: Civil War (2016)

June 29
On Golden Pond (1981)

 

AMAZON PRIME

June 15
Anomalisa (2015)

June 23
Room (2013)

 

FILMSTRUCK

June 15
City Lights (1931) *
A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
Metropolis (1927)
Peeping Tom (1960)
Wag the Dog (1997)

June 22
An American in Paris (1951)
An Angel at My Table (1990) *
The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959) *
The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1960) *
The Human Condition III: A Soldier’s Prayer (1961) *
The Piano (1993)

June 29
Dogville (2003) **
The Five Obstructions (2003)
The Italian Connection (1972)
The Music Man (1962)

June 30
Caliber 9 (1972)
It Happened One Night (1934)
The Ladykillers (1955)

*  Remaining on the Criterion channel
** Remaining on the FilmStruck channel

 

HULU

June 30
Zodiac (2007)
Stories We Tell (2012)
A Simple Plan (1998)
Project Nim (2011)
Marathon Man (1976)
A League of Their Own (1992)


 

JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Ali’s Wedding – NETFLIX FILM (2017)

 

AMAZON PRIME

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)
Precious (2009)
Red River (1948)

 

FILMSTRUCK

Arthur (1981)
Baby Doll (1956)
Cabaret (1972)
Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968)
Moses and Aaron (1975)
Of Mice and Men (1939)
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

 

HULU

Precious (2009)


 

COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

June 16
In Bruges (2008)

 

HULU

June 15
Middle of Nowhere (2012)
The Second Mother (2015)
Smoke (1995)
Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak (2009)

 


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

Episode 95.1: Full Metal Jacket Diary with Matthew Modine & Adam Rackoff

After recording Episode 95: Full Metal Jacket, we found ourselves eagerly seeking out even more information about the film. This led to the discovery of Full Metal Jacket Diary, a collection of star Matthew Modine’s journal entries and pictures that had been not only printed in book form and recorded as an audiobook, but developed into a one-of-a-kind immersive iPad app experience. We found Modine’s stories of his time on the set and insight into the mind of Stanley Kubrick to be fascinating.

In this special episode, we sit down with both Matthew Modine and short film producer/iPad app developer Adam Rackoff for conversations about the book, the app, and Matthew’s experiences filming Full Metal Jacket.

** Get Full Metal Jacket Diary Here **

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Music: Going Higher – Bensound.com

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Episode 095: Full Metal Jacket

Our final week of Kubrick Month has arrived and we wrap things up by having a conversation about the movie that gave us the great director’s take on the Vietnam War. Full Metal Jacket is extremely tense, often funny, and incredibly shot, but it is more than just a war movie. It’s also a commentary about humanity and with that provides us plenty to talk through. It’s been an awesome month of celebrating Stanley Kubrick and we’re glad to go out with a bang. 


What We’ve Been Up To – 0:01:26

(Aaron – Maze Runner: The Death Cure)
(Patrick – Electric Dreams)

Full Metal Jacket Review – 0:12:53

The Connecting Point – 2:00:37

Guest Appearances:


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Music: Going Higher – Bensound.com

Support us on Patreon & get awesome rewards:

or you can support us through Paypal as well. Select the link below and make your one-time or recurring contribution.

Rate/Review us on iTunes and on your podcast app of choice! It helps bring us exposure so that we can get more people involved in the conversation. Thank you!

Episode 094: Dr. Strangelove

It’s Week 3 of Kubrick Month and we turn our attention to the director’s version of comedy. Dark, satirical comedy as it may be. Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb isn’t just a movie with one of the longest titles in cinema history, but is a masterful look at how nuclear weapons have shaped the world, and the potential dangers that come with them. For the first time this month we aren’t left scratching our heads and trying to figure out what the film means. Enjoy this conversation about another classic from Stanley Kubrick.


What We’ve Been Up To -0:01:19 

(Aaron – 12 Strong)
(Patrick – The Prince of Egypt, Secret Hitler)

Dr. Strangelove Review – 0:17:49

The Connecting Point – 1:04:09

Guest Appearances:

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Music: Going Higher – Bensound.com

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Episode 093: 2001: A Space Odyssey

This week we continue Kubrick Month by looking at the director’s science fiction masterpiece. Is 2001: A Space Odyssey just an artistic marvel or is it also a genuinely entertaining story? We discuss the possibilities while talking plenty about HAL-9000 and Kubrick’s deliberately ambiguous ending. Join us for this conversation and let us know what you think about the film, theories and all.

What We’ve Been Up To – 0:01:16

(Aaron – Warrior, Phantom Thread)
(Patrick – 24-Hour Comic)

2001: A Space Odyssey Review – 0:14:28

The Connecting Point – 0:59:42

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Music: Going Higher – Bensound.com

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Rate/Review us on iTunes and on your podcast app of choice! It helps bring us exposure so that we can get more people involved in the conversation. Thank you!

Episode 092: The Shining

Happy kick-off to Kubrick Month, listeners. In this first episode of 2018 we begin our celebration of the director by discussing his masterful horror film, The Shining. Also on this episode are reviews of Insidious: The Last KeyPaddington 2 and The Wolf Children.

What We’ve Been Up To – 0:04:53

(Aaron – Insidious: The Last Key & Paddington 2)
(Patrick – The Wolf Children)

The Shining Review – 0:29:51

The Connecting Point – 1:30:15

Contact


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Download this Episode


Music: Going Higher – Bensound.com

Support us on Patreon & get awesome rewards:

or you can support us through Paypal as well. Select the link below and make your one-time or recurring contribution.

Rate/Review us on iTunes and on your podcast app of choice! It helps bring us exposure so that we can get more people involved in the conversation. Thank you!