Tag Archive - Crucial Viewing

Crucial Viewing: Flyerman

Crucial Viewing: Flyerman
Mark Vistorino is Flyerman, a real life superhero who possesses the ability to hand out movie extra flyers in the streets of Toronto with the flair & charisma of a Broadway star. And yet, he can’t understand why he is not famous.

From this seemingly absurd premise, directors Jeff Stephenson and Jason Tan follow Vistorino through five years of his life; in the process revealing one of the most engaging and self-destructive personalities that you are ever likely to meet.

Three for the Screen

A colleague of mine recently went on somewhat of a diatribe about how the movie industry has gone to crap, that he couldn’t remember the last time he had seen a good movie. I suggested that he was only partly correct; that perhaps he was simply looking in the wrong direction and that in actuality it would seem there has never been such an abundance of quality filmmaking coming out of a single era. It simply exists – surprise – outside of the realm of the big budget Hollywood blockbuster. Case in point, here are three very different soon-to-be-released films that look absolutely phenomenal:

The Science of Sleep
The Science of Sleep
Long awaited, The Science of Sleep seems to approach the subject of dreams much in the same way as Gondry’s previous work Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind did memory. Gael Garcia Bernal plays Stephane Miroux, a young man whose inability to differentiate between dream and reality wreaks havoc on his romantic interests. The naive stylings of the stop motion work in this film is like nothing else. Visit the official website for an equal bout of absurdity.

Before this latest effort, Alejandro González Iñárritu has made films that examine wrenchingly heavy subject matter from a personal, almost microcosmic perspective. 21 Grams for example was almost claustrophobic in the way that we were entrenched in the lives of its characters. With Babel, it is as though Iñárritu has maintained the intensity but opened it up to “a range never seen before in his films”; to a global-spanning storyline that links Morocco, Tokyo and the Tijuana border. As stated in the synopsis: “This film brings back the ancient concept of BABEL and questions its modern day implications: the mistaken identities, misunderstandings and missed chances for communication that, though often unseen, drive our modern lives.”

Half Nelson
Half Nelson
I read a review of this movie in the New York Times this weekend and it immediately caught my interest. Ryan Gosling plays a white Brooklyn schoolteacher named Dan, who shuns the set curriculum to instead engage his students in “dialectics and realpolitik”. But before you dismiss this as yet another take on “Dead Poets Society” or “To Sir with Love”, it turns out that Dan is struggling outside of the classroom with crack addiction and the demons that come with it. Defined boundaries blur between teacher and student, innocence and experience; out of which an interesting friendship develops in what looks like a powerful and intense ride.

Crucial Viewing: Why We Fight

Why We Fight
“[The] conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

These cautionary and prophetic words from Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Speech as President of the United States on January 17, 1961 serve as the starting point for Eugene Jarecki’s powerful exploration of the American Military Industrial Complex in Why We Fight. As we learn, the answer to this question is convoluted, misguided and never easy; but rarely does it seem to be for the right reasons.

Crucial Viewing: Beautiful Losers

beautiful losers

A documentary on the artistic subculture that emerged in the early 1990’s influenced by skateboading, grafitti, pop culture and the D.I.Y. aesthetic.

Crucial Viewing: The Yes Men

I finally saw The Yes Men over the weekend and I found it to be a thought provoking and important — not to mention hilarious — film. It is even more encouraging to see that the Yes Men are still very much alive and well and taking on the world’s harsher injustices.

It is often said that the reason we miss a person’s name upon introduction is because we are too focused on how to best project our own persona. Perhaps to a greater scale, this is the defense that can be entered for the financial leaders and decision makers who sit idly by while the Yes Men stand before them purporting completely ludicrous solutions to the world’s financial problems.

Not surprisingly, it is only an audience of university students (bless their naive and innocent souls) who – after being told that world starvation can be solved by feeding developing countries McDonald’s burgers made out of recycled human fecal matter – actually stand up and call foul.

In their own words, “The Yes Men have impersonated some of the world’s most powerful criminals at conferences, on the web, and on television, in order to correct their identities. They currently have hundreds of thousands of job openings”.

I recommend this as crucial viewing to activists and corporate buzzards alike.