Archive for June, 2008

Amazing Movies You Must Watch #2

Posted in Amazing Movies that you Must Watch with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2008 by themoviecult

Sex, Lies, and Video  Tape

Sex, Lies, and Videotape is an explicit drama about the sex lives of four people, released in 1989.  Written and directed by the sometimes amazing Steven Soderbergh, and starring great character actors in the main roles, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, is a great example of independent cinema.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape has a complex, character-driven plot.  It starts with John Mullany (Peter Gallagher) and his wife, Anne Bishop Mullany (Andie MacDowell), who are living in a weak, loveless relationship.  Anne is sexually repressed, and John is having an affair with her sister, Cynthia Patrice Bishop (Laura San Giacomo).  John’s old friend, Graham Dalton (James Spader), is back in town and comes to stay with the couple.  Right away, he seems unusual.  Graham learns about all of the characters, but as hard as he tries, he is unable to keep from revealing himself to them.

Graham and Anne

There’s more to it, and it’s all about Graham’s unusual sexual fetish – but summarising it here would spoil a lot of the fun and enjoyment Sex, Lies, and Videotape has to offer.  It is near impossible to guess what may happen next in Sex, Lies, and Videotape – Soderbergh’s script keeps its twists close to its chest.  The ending of the movie, itself, is as satisfying as the brilliant build-up deserves.
 
The writing in Sex, Lies, and Videotape is superb.  The realistic dialogue is almost perfectly unique to each character, and used to help track their growth.  While the love triangle aspect of the film’s writing had happened in many movies before (and has in many since), Graham’s character is amazingly fresh.  His peculiarity makes for an explosive catalyst to the story.

Cynthia

Do see this film if you get the chance to, because it is an amazing display of writing, acting, and directing coming together to great something brilliant.

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Article: Top 5 of Slacker Cinema

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2008 by themoviecult

Slacker Title

Slacker Cinema has been prospering for decades, possibly because we enjoy watching loveable, charismatic characters with potential waste their life and dodge responsibility.

Some think that Richard Linklater’s 1991 independent film, Slacker, was responsible for the creation of the slacker film.  The movie wasn’t the first to feature slackers, but it has certainly played a major part in inspiring the tradition.

With Slacker Superhero movie Hancock hitting cinemas in early July, you’ll need a refresher course on the influence lazy, futureless characters have had on cinema. Let’s take a look at the upper echelon.  Here’s the “top five” of Slacker Cinema.

#5 Will Hunting

Will Hunting, from Good Will Hunting

From…

Good Will Hunting.  Written by and starring both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.  Directed by Gus Van Sant.  Released in 1997.

The Slacker

Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a young and brilliant mind, able to understand the most advanced mathematical concepts better than anyone has in a long while.  He is a prodigy, predicted to be able to offer as much to the world as Einstein did.  Unfortunately for the world, Will Hunting lives only to waste his life away as a janitor, get drunk and start fights, like a true slacker.

Great Slacker Moment

This is the correct way to intentionally botch a job interview:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOtVg05JLPc&hl=en

#4 Randal Graves

Randal Graves, from Clerks (and Clerks 2)

From…

Clerks.  An independent hit and one of the classics of Slacker Cinema.  Director, Kevin Smith’s first movie.  Released in 1994.

The Slacker

Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) is a typical slacker in that he has no motivation.  He also doesn’t care about anyone but himself.  He spends his life working in a video store.  He is unpunctual, unfriendly, and careless.  He has no problem closing the store for five minutes during his shift to have a chat with the guy at the nearby convenience store, and he has no problem telling rude customers where to go.

Great Slacker Moment

This clip conveys Randall’s attitude to work perfectly:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8H7wUKryrw&hl=en

#3 Smokey

Smokey, from Friday

From…

Friday.  The classic comedy starring gangster rapper, Ice Cube, and crazy funny man, Chris Tucker.  Released in 1995.

The Slacker

Friday is not the only day of the week Smokey (Chris Tucker) has nothing to do.  He is an irresponsible, carefree dope smoker.  He deals drugs, unsuccessfully.  When not not working, Smokey spends his days sitting around, getting high, and making fun of the locals.  He never has any short term plans, and just like a good slacker, he is either unwilling or unable to plan for his future.

Great Slacker Moment

Smokey, doing what he does best:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYvuoGC8k5E

#2 Peter La Fleur

A True Underdog Story

From…

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.  The 2002 sports comedy, starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller.  Directed by newcomer writer/director, Rawson Marshall Thurber.

The Slacker

The smart ass, carefree Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) is a loveable gym owner who frequently turns up to work hung over.  He can, because he owns the place.  La Fleur likes to quit, because slackers don’t do hard things.  An inspiration to slackers everywhere, his motivation is beautiful: “I found out that if you have a goal, you might not reach it.  But if you don’t have one, then you are never disappointed.”

Great Slacker Moment

La Fleur converses with Lance Armstrong (who can’t act) about quitting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNJTDt9d6Kk

#1 The Knocked Up Gang

The gang, from Knocked Up

From…

Knocked Up.  The romantic comedy for both women and men.  Written and directed by comedy genius, Judd Apatow.  Released in 2007.

The Slackers

Ben (Seth Rogen), Jonah (Jonah Hill), Jay (Jason Segel), and Martin (Martin Starr) all happily live together in a share house.  They like nothing more than to waste their time getting high, mucking around, and talking about movies.  Mostly, they have no jobs, and no ambitions, and thus are the royalty of slackers.

Great Slacker Moment

Practical jokes around can have their dangers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W56WagyhEAY&feature=related

Cult Scenes #1

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2008 by themoviecult

Natural Born Killers

The Movie
Oliver Stone’s bizarre satire on public obsession with crime, made in 1994: Natural Born Killers.  It contains excessive violence, and is shot in Stone’s trademark style, with many different cameras and lenses used.  It follows a young couple in love, Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson), and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis), on a cross-country killing spree, spurred on by media coverage.

Behind the Scenes
The script for Natural Born Killers was originally written by Quentin Tarrantino, and it was meant to be a 60’s style crime romp.  The screenplay was sold to Oliver Stone, who revised it to make it comment on the media and television’s impact over the serial killers, rather than follow a shallow crime/comedy story. 

On the director’s commentary, Stone said that he looked past Tarrantino’s obsession with the 60’s to make it cover all eras of American television and popular culture, because it added context to the story of the couple.

Oliver Stone also made the story focus on the serial killers, rather than smug journalist Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jnr) – changing the duo from being ordinary people to being social outcasts with broken childhoods.  Stone kept most of Tarrantino’s trademark dialogue.

Quentin Tarrantino disliked the movie that was made from the script he had crafted, so much so that the requested to have his name removed from the credits.  The film lists Tarrantino under the “story by” credit.

Mickey and Mallory Knox

The Context
Well into the killing spree, Mickey and Mallory Knox are weak and lost in the desert.  They stumble upon an old Indian’s hut, and the Indian takes them in.  This scene comes just before the turning point in the movie, where the Indian chants in an attempt to remove the demons from Mickey.

The Scene
(You can find the Parable – without sound – here)

INT. INDIAN’S HUT – NIGHT 

Mickey and Mallory are at the door.

INDIAN
Come on in.

He motions for them to sit in an overstuffed chair.

MALLORY
Thank you (pointing to herself)  I’m Mall-o –
ry…That’s Mi…ckey.

Everyone nods and smiles.  An Indian boy comes in and sits next to the Indian.

INDIAN (in navajo to the Boy)
Good looking woman…uh…Man’s got things in
his head he can’t get out…demons.  Too much
TV…Trouble follows that one.

MICKEY (to Mallory)
This is like the twilight zone or something.

LATER:
 
Mickey is deliriously sleeping, and Mallory is silently looking around the room. The boy and the old man converse in Navajo.

INDIAN BOY
Can you help them grandpa?

INDIAN
Maybe they don’t want to be helped.  They both
fly too close to sun.  Now they are falling to
earth.  That is why they have come here.  My
prayers would mean nothing in their world.

A snake is crawling over to the Indian who reaches down and picks it up and puts in his lap.

INDIAN
Once there was a woman who went out to
collect firewood.

The Indian stokes the fire.

INDIAN
She came upon a poisonous snake
frozen in the snow.  She took the snake
home with her.  She put the frozen snake
on her favorite blanket by the warm fire.
She fed it and nursed it back to health.  One
day she picked the snake up and it bit her on
the cheek.  As she lay dying she asked the
snake, I loved you, why have you done this to
me?  The snake answered, “look bitch, you knew
I was a snake.”

The Indian and the boy chuckle. The Indian takes the snake to the door and puts it down.

INDIAN
Old man, go be a snake.

Amazing Movies you Must Watch #1

Posted in Amazing Movies that you Must Watch with tags , , , , , , on June 3, 2008 by themoviecult

City of God

 

City of God is an epic, character driven Brazilian film, made in 2002.  It’s a coming of age story.  It is also a powerful study of crime and violence, with a mash of beautiful and barbaric characters, imagery and themes.

 

The film is about two young men who are coming of age in the City of God – the crime-infested, poverty-stricken slums of Rio de Janeiro.  Rocket refuses to embrace crime and dreams of escaping through his passion for photography.  Rocket is our main character and the narrator of the many stories in the City of God – a reliable and modest source.  Rocket’s polar opposite, L’il Ze, dreams of being the most powerful and feared criminal in the slums, which he does through ruthlessness and violence.

 

L'il Ze

 

City of God’s characters each have their own morals, dreams and motives.  Their stories often intersect.  The plot is based upon the experiences of writer, Paulo Lins, from his novel, Cidade de Deus (City of God).  Only from a true story could such realistic characters and such an endearing and realistic plot come.

 

Beautiful Cinematography

 

The cinematography is beautiful.  The movie starts in cluttered, dirty, suburban streets that are bustling with life.  The evidence of growth and change in the slums is noticeable, through the many jumps to different times.  The crime and violence is shocking and confronting, and it directly clashes with the beautiful imagery to create unconformability.

 

City of God is amazing because in the space of a few minutes, you’ll both laugh and be shocked.  Every part of the production, from the script, to the direction, to the acting, work together to make this film unforgettable.  You’ll see the characters grow from small thieves, to owning the City of God, and then you’ll see them make way for the next generation.

 

Unsettling Imagery

 

Explained in its simplest form, City of God may seem like a selfish exploitation of the violence of the streets of Rio de Janeiro, in the name of making money.  It’s a complex masterpiece because it does so many things and goes to so many places.  It raises the issue of the link between poverty and crime without being melodramatic.  At some points, it is endearing, funny, and heart-warming.  Sometimes it is tragic, and there’s the stink of futility.

Introduction

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2008 by themoviecult

Hi. I’m Matthew Nicol. This is the Cult – my blog about movies.

 

I love movies. I’m sometimes fanatical about them. I spend a lot of my spare time and money watching them. Even b-grade movies can be awesome, despite their low budgets and review scores.

 

I like the far off places I get to go to when I watch movies. Sometimes into history. Sometimes into the mind of a surrealist writer or director. I like turning bad acting performances into little in-jokes among my circle of friends, and I enjoy speculating on what just happened when the director has left it up to me to do so.

 

I don’t really have any credentials. I don’t consider myself to be an expert on movies. I love to watch them, and I know what I like. That’s about as far as it goes. I’ll be talking about movie issues and trends on this page, and hopefully sharing a bit about the cinema that I enjoy best.

 

I hope you’ll stick around.