Friday, November 15, 2013

Netflix This Movie! Vol. 51

Documentaries, new classics, old classics and a sleeper. What more could you ask for?

Adam Riske: A Band Called Death (2013, dir. Jeff Howlett, Mark Christopher Covino) I'm very thankful to have heard about the new documentary A Band Called Death when it played earlier this year on Video On Demand because if not for VOD, I would not have seen what is now my favorite movie of 2013. It's a wonderful story filled with awesome punk music and moments that made me happier than any other movie this year. The documentary follows the 1970s punk trio Death and their new-found popularity decades after they disbanded. Death's music is ferocious and catchy, but it's also interesting to see the trio's evolution from a funk band to the punk band Death and then later to a religious rock band and reggae outfit. They are like The Juicy Fruits from Phantom of the Paradise, but for real. Seek out this movie on Netflix. It's kind of the best.
Erich: Marwencol (2010; dir. Jeff Malberg) This documentary focuses on Mark Hogancamp, an artist who achieved minor fame for building and photographing a scale model WWII town in his backyard. The comic panel-style photos tell Hogancamp's ongoing story of the fictional village and its doll inhabitants, but the film tells a sadder tale. The photographs weren't just an art project to Hogancamp. They were the way he decided to deal with a brutal assault that put him in a coma and destroyed much of his long-term memory.
Heath Holland: The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh (1977, dir. John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman) Have you watched The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh as an adult? This thing has layers, man! When I was a kid I loved Winnie the Pooh because he was sweet and cuddly. I enjoyed all the adventures in which the animals in the Hundred Acre Wood found themselves. Coming to the same material with adult eyes is a really emotional experience for me. The movies are all about imagination and the power of belief, but they're also about our ever-changing relationship with our own childhood. I can't make it through a Pooh cartoon with dry eyes anymore. Disney captured the magic of A.A. Milne's stories but somehow made them feel even more sentimental and meaningful. They grow with you over time, revealing new meaning as the years pass.
JB: Being John Malkovich (1999, dir. Spike Jonze) This film is both weird and wonderful. How weird is Being John Malkovich? Sad sack John Cusack discovers that thanks to a weird quirk, he can enter John Malkovich's brain for 15 minutes and control him like a puppet -- and those aren't even the weirdest scenes in the movie! How wonderful is Being John Malkovich? Well, John Malkovich agreed to be in it, didn't he?
Patrick: The Hard Word (2002, dir. Scott Roberts) Solid Australian heist movie starring Guy Pearce as the leader of his three brothers (another of which is played by Joel Edgerton in an early performance) hired to pull off a job while serving time in prison. Here's a movie that manages to cover a lot of the familiar beats of the standard crime thriller while still going some places you don't expect it to go. It's one of those movies you stumble across one night, get sucked in and finish it thinking "That was a cool movie. Why don't more people talk about it?" Well, here you are.


  1. Good choice Alpha. i saw this a little while ago and enjoyed it quite a bit.When watching it I thought there was a bit of unattractive egotism in the brothers at the beginning (appearing like reggae versions of Milli Vinilli complete with matching band jackets) which didnt really gel with their punk story. However, now upon reflection, with the different personalities and motivations of the different brothers it doesnt seems as big an issue as it felt at the time.
    Regardless, when the sons come into the doco there are some real "heart filled with joy" moments.

    I remember seeing The Hard Word at the cinema, but for the life of me I cant remember anything about it besides the "writing on the glass" scene between Griffiths and Pearce, of course because of it subtle academically inspired metaphorical subtext. Definitely need to revisit.

    1. Oh man, those moments with the sons discovering their dad and uncle's music is THE BEST.