5 votes

Movie Monday Free Talk

We haven't had one of these in a while, and given the amount of time people are spending indoors, I figured it might be good to share some movie recommendations.

I will post my own comment regarding some movies I've seen recently, but I wanted to also share some quarantine / pandemic movies that might be interesting given the strange times we find ourselves in. Warning: they are probably not a great way to take your mind off things, if that's what you are searching for, hence why I'm separating them from my other comment.

  • Contagion (2011) - Probably one of the more relevant movies, and certainly on people's minds. It's an interesting worst case what-if scenario, and actually tackles some of the political struggle with organizing around a pandemic.
  • Perfect Sense (2011) - Overshadowed by Contagion, which is arguably the better movie, but I liked the premise of this one: a disease that slowly takes away your 5 senses, one at a time. I didn't like the ending, but for a thought experiment it captured my attention. It threw in a love plot line which may or may not have been necessary when the reaction was more interesting, but it does help provide a ground floor experience of a more terrifying epidemic.
  • It's a Disaster (2012) - I have somehow managed to miss watching this movie, despite it being on my watch list for some time. A comedy, which may come in use in this trying time, it centers around a group of friends who invariably become part of a self-quarantine at their house.
  • Rear Window (1954) - A Hitchcock classic. Jimmy Stewart is confined to his NYC apartment due to a leg injury, and has all the time in the world to spy on his neighbors, where he becomes obsessive over a potential domestic dispute between a couple across the way.
  • The Lighthouse (2019) - Superb acting by Willem Dafoe. Two men, a seaman fresh to the trade and a seasoned veteran, are servicing the sole lighthouse on a tiny island as part of a contract. They are forced to stay longer than either imagined due to a storm passing through them. They get at their wits end with each other and their sanity slowly falls apart. Beautifully shot in black and white and with authentic vernacular, it really transports you to a different time period.


  1. UniquelyGeneric
    There's been quite some time since the last Movie Monday discussion, so here's a few unrelated movies I've seen that I felt like putting out there for those interested: Do the Right Thing (1989) -...

    There's been quite some time since the last Movie Monday discussion, so here's a few unrelated movies I've seen that I felt like putting out there for those interested:

    • Do the Right Thing (1989) - written by Spike Lee, this movie starts off with seemingly slice-of-life character vignettes in Brooklyn on a hot summer day, but the tension between characters intensifies over time, highlighting the racial issues that the US has seemingly not been able to overcome nearly 30 years later. The climax of the movie seems like something we could have seen at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, and made all the more real/tangible by initially introducing characters with human flaws at the beginning.
    • Y Tu Mamá También (2001) - from the same director as Roma, this movie is marketed as a sex-comedy, but really has a more indie spirit to it. The main characters are a pair of teenage boys who are sex-obsessed, and a woman who gets them to take a road trip. While it certainly has some more lighthearted elements, it's not a superficial comedy about sex. Indeed, it has a more authentic aura around the characters, where it feels less like acting, and more like two friends who have known each other their whole lives.
    • Battleship Potemkin (1925) - Heralded as one of the greatest films of all time during its release, this movie made landmark achievements in filming techniques and is still visually stunning even today. Pioneering early styles of propaganda, the film has been banned in many Western countries at some point in time, including the US (the plot centers around the historical account of a mutiny on a Russian navy ship).
    • The Kid With a Bike (2011) - For once, a French film that doesn't focus on existentialism and sex. Jokes aside, it's about a young semi-orphaned boy who develops a relationship with a hairdresser who attempts to provide some level of stability in his formative years. Not quite a coming of age film, the movie instead focuses on compassion and care for others despite familial relations, and the unending desire for acceptance.
    • The End of the Tour (2015) - A reporter follows David Foster Wallace during his book tour of Infinite Jest. In doing so, he gets to see a little bit of the behind the scenes views of the author's day to day, sprinkled with his musings on life. Jason Segel is a great fit for the role and captures a melancholic everyman in a very natural way.
    • Raising Arizona (1987) - The Coen brother's first, and probably least serious, movie. It's entertaining to see Nic Cage in a goofy role that isn't consumed by memes at this point. While not the most refined of the Coen brothers, it certainly still has their style baked in throughout.
    • Cinema Paradiso (1988) - An Italian filmmaker recalls his childhood friend, a projectionist, who gave him a love of film. The movie captures a long gone time of censorship and difficulties using film as a medium. It's a heartwarming tale that shows that even simpler times were not immune to their own unique problems.
    • Midnight Cowboy (1969) - Made famous for the improvised line "I'm walkin' here!", this movie is a common tale of a bright eyed youngblood travelling to NYC to try to make it big. In this story however, the youngblood was intending to become a hustler, but instead gets chewed up by the city and exposed to its gritty underbelly. The relationship with Dustin Hoffman is the real magic of the movie, teetering from friend and foe throughout.
    • The Tribe (2014) - Wow, what a unique film. A new take on a silent film, the movie does have audio, but no words are spoken as nearly all characters are deaf and communicate only in sign language. A boy tries to fit in to a new boarding school where he is an outsider to "the tribe" of boys who tend to be the troublemakers around town. While amazing for a foreign film to engage an audience so well without having a single line of spoken dialogue, it's grip does not let go as it takes you into Eastern bloc depression and dark realities.

    Anyways, I've got plenty more, but those are the most recent ones I can come up with for now without making this entire post a massive list.

    3 votes
  2. deknalis
    One of my favorite movies ever is Death by Hanging by Nagisa Oshima, so I've using the isolation time as a way to go through his filmography, among watching other things. His films are very...

    One of my favorite movies ever is Death by Hanging by Nagisa Oshima, so I've using the isolation time as a way to go through his filmography, among watching other things. His films are very unsubtly political and often very contemporary to the time he made them, he prefers to confront audiences with his arguments directly at points most of the time as opposed to burying his beliefs in metaphor and allegory.
    From the Oshimarathon:

    • Night and Fog in Japan (1960) - Essentially Oshima airing grievances of the self cannibalizing and exclusionary nature of Japan's student leftist movements. I don't agree with everything he says here but there's a lot of truth and experiences that I see myself and people I know in. As someone who wasn't super familiar with the era in politics, it does feel overwhelming at first, and this is an issue with a lot of Oshima movies, but I found it very compelling after I understood the dynamics in play a little better as it went on.
    • The Catch (1961) - He moves away from contemporary settings for the first time to make a movie set during World War 2, about a town in Japan that captures a black American pilot. It's almost like a thematic prequel to his other work such as Night and Fog, he basically uses a Japanese town plagued problems during the war as a space to explore the shattering of Japanese sense of "last man standing" patriotism and perceived betrayal by the state in some ways, and how it would create the sort of fractured Japan that he explores in movies like The Sun's Burial or Cruel Story of Youth. I think there's a real overabundance of characters dropped right in the audience's lap that hindered the ability to fully follow the movie the whole time for me, but it's still a very interesting work.
    • The Christian Revolt (1962) - Set in the Edo period of Japan, this one feels more like a Japanese Bergman film with the exploration of crisis of faith. While other filmmakers would have underlying hope and inspiration even in a doomed to fail rebellion, Oshima underscores everything with tragedy. It's sort of got that same feeling of being a thematic prequel as The Catch, with a story about hopeless rebellion against institutions and also sort of a tearing down of the "noble samurai" icon and revealing some of the truth behind the myth.
      This one was hard to find, at least with English subtitles, I dunno if it's even possible to buy it legally in the US. As such I uploaded it to YouTube for anyone who's curious.

    couple other non-Oshima related movies:

    • Boy and the World (2013) - Terrific little animated film. There's no (intelligible) dialogue, and the use of music both in its story and the actual craft makes it so you don't miss it at all. Much more confrontational about the effects of industrialization and exploitation of workers than I was expecting, but it was definitely a pleasant surprise.
    • The Exterminating Angel (1962) - My first Luis Buñuel directed movie, and I thought it was great. It's about a group of bourgeoisie that become mysteriously trapped in a room by some invisible force without explanation, and I thought it was a great sort of send-up or social order and decorum being based around projections and appearances rather than any real sense of superiority.
    2 votes