Blood Simple (1984)
June 11, 2015, 8:58 am
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Blood Simple (1984)
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Blood Simple is the first film in The Coen Brothers dynasty. And boy, did they hit the ground running. It’s hard to think of any other directors that put out such well regarded films with the same kind of consistency. Not to put Blood Simple down, but it only gets better from here.

It’s a film about deceitful people who all think they are on top of the game. Until they find out they are clueless. Until events beyond their control and their own mistakes come together. A circle of manipulation that ends with you either dead, or wondering what the fuck just happened. It’s a conceit that you might think you’ve heard before. And that’s because this isn’t the last time The Coen’s made this film.

The Coen Brothers have developed a reputation as weavers of the complex. Simple people get caught up in events far above them, with only a piece of the plot to hold onto. A labyrinth of connections tied together. It could be contrived if it didn’t all make perfect sense.

Maybe the film lacks the high-budget polish of later Coen films. But it still looks great. It’s dark and brooding. Lit by streetlights and headlights. Or whatever neon buzz is illuminating Marty’s bar.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
June 8, 2015, 9:35 am
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Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Directed by: Wes Anderson

Moonrise Kingdom is a coming of age story that defies traditional approach. It is an honest film that distills the essence of a story down to its core ingredients.

The characters are all driven by linear goals. They have one driving motivation that defines them and no other emotions. Except a slight melancholy that permeates the bones of any Anderson character. Being a scout leader is what defines the scout leader. Being a cop is what defines the cop. The representative of Social Services has no other name than ‘Social Services’. The two ‘troubled’ children just want to be together.

Mr. Bishop (Bill Murray) is the only character that displays any sort of volatility. Every other character moves through the world like a blank mannequin. Character traits pinned to them like scout badges. This seems to be a trait of many Anderson characters. Goals are what drives them. From Dignan in Bottle Rocket, to Francis in the Darjeeling Limited. To Sam in Moonrise Kingdom. Plans are what drives them. Itineraries and Inventories.

Moonrise Kingdom plays like a children’s adventure story. Dripping with nostalgia and child-like drive to adventure. But it is also infected with a sadness. In the two main characters, Suzy and Sam, this is a chance for them to break free of the world. If only for ten days. To forge a kingdom of their own to live in. Away from parents and scout masters and arbitrary life. But it’s a fleeting escape as they know it is coming to an end. As they grow into adolescence, the real world hunts them down. The whole turbulent ordeal culminating in a storm.

But for that fleeting moment in Moonrise Kingdom, there was hope for the future.

Watch this Kogonada short on Anderson’s obsessive symmetry. See how much of the footage pulls from Moonrise Kingdom. It’s testament to the intricacy with which he builds and frames every shot of the film. The obsessiveness that defines great directors.

Kung Fury (2015)
June 1, 2015, 8:04 am
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Kung Fury (2015)
Directed by: David Sandberg

The nostalgia driven Kung Fury viral train is off the rails. It’s time to jump on the bandwagon.

The product of Kickstarter, David Sandberg’s mind and a whole-lot of 80’s revival. All of the tropes and all of the clichés packed into one neon-dream half-hour short film. Over the top action and unnecessary special effects. Time travel. Hacking. Video arcades. David Hasselhoff. The greatest 80’s soundtrack since… the 80’s. And it’s kind of terrible. Terrible and great. Both of those things.

It’s also free. Right there on Youtube.